Young Couple Says NO to a Mortgaged Life


image via vela creations

Amidst the Chihuahuan Desert, Abe and Josie built a home out of dirt, designed a wind turbine from scrap parts, and raised their newborn without diapers and other conveniences. When their first hand sculpted house went up for sale a couple of years ago in Far West Texas, I was one of many people interested in the real estate deal of a lifetime. But like others who have met this young couple and heard their story, I was inspired to start from scratch, rather than to take out a mortgage, even for their one of a kind, self powered, adobe oasis in the desert. Their website, Vela Creations, is an online, off-grid, informational handbook based on their experience and continued success in the alterlife.

Read further for more of their story and look for an in depth interview with Abe and Josie in the coming weeks.

Added on 09/24/09: In depth interview with Abe Connally of Vela Ceations now on TreeHuggerAbe and Josie have the smarts to survive well in the big city, but they have chosen a different life, a remote life, off grid, debt free, and on their own terms and timeline. What is refreshing about this couple is that they are not rebelling against modern times. On the contrary, they are embracing it, and are in a sense early adopters of a lifestyle that was not possible until very recently. That is because their off grid, pay as you go lives are dependent on emerging technologies such as affordable DIY energy harvesting, satellite internet, and other modern advances. While off grid systems can be a costly investment, Abe and Josie have found the lo-fi, affordable route, proving that there is no reason to wait for off grid technology to improve or become more affordable. Anyone can do this now. It is a simple choice to opt out of an enslaving, over priced, city life.


Abe and Josie, without tens of thousands of dollars to spend on state of the art solar arrays and other expensive off grid requirements, designed their own wind turbine out of a treadmill motor and PVC piping, capturing free energy at virtually no cost. They also built a battery bank out of discarded, but still good batteries, from golf courses, and stitched together solar panels from broken and dumpstered solar panel fragments. Their wind turbine, which they named the Chispito, has been a big hit on the internet. The schematics are shared online for free, and hundreds of people of have chosen to build them.

When I first visited Abe and Josie, they were doing laundry, by hand, in a wash tub. Two years ago, I thought that this was unusual, and even a bit regressive. But after living off grid myself for the last couple of years, I know that this is by far the most appealing option, as a front loading washing machine is not only expensive, but also requires an enormous amount of energy, especially for an off grid setup.

Abe and Josie recently moved to a new location to build their 2nd hand sculpted house. They are keeping a detailed blog as they go. They are also developing their latest and best creation, a new baby human named Leo, who doesn't require diapers.

An interview with these young pioneers is coming soon! In the meantime, check out their very informative site,

Further Reading:

Cob House Built For Less Than $3,000

How To: Build Your Own 1000 Watt Wind Turbine

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