This posting is so overdue considering that John Wells was my first new friend out here. John was my first visitor and dinner guest at Estrella Vista a few days after we moved in. He delivers sun-baked cookies every Christmas. Whenever our paths cross at the Grub Shack, he is my lunch partner.

John is director of the Southwest Texas Alternative Energy and Sustainable Living Field Laboratory, a one-man enterprise in which John is the chief researcher and sole guinea pig. The title sounds grand, and John has impressive business cards and has everybody around here but me wearing “Field Lab” t-shirts, but the fact is, The Field Lab is mainly a cow, John, and a figment of his sly sense of humor.

John is an artist and former New York City fashion photographer who found his way out to West Texas about three years ago, initially drawn here by Abe’s and Josie’s website which chronicled their off-the-grid experiences (www.velacreations.com).

He bought a large parcel of land about eight miles from our place and lives there alone with a pet Longhorn cow named Benita (immortalized on this postage stamp) whom he coddles and spoils like a pretty girlfriend, all the while designing, creating, and perfecting brilliant technology systems for sustainable, off-the-grid living. He has put up a small house, windmills and solar collectors, solar hot water systems, a solar oven, etc., etc., all of it beautifully conceived and crafted.

John has a blogsite of his own at http://thefieldlab.blogspot.com/, the success of which certainly dwarfs mine and probably Abe’s and Josie’s site and anyone else’s out here, as well. I love John and admire everything he’s doing, but to tell you the truth, I am challenged whenever I visit his blog because it makes me feel like such a slug. John is always working, whereas I am more, um, relaxed. Visiting his site usually leaves me exhausted just thinking about all the effort he expends. Reading John’s blog is like doing isometric exercises.

Please give yourself a workout and visit John’s blog. You might even enjoy it enough to order a t-shirt.

3 Responses to “cow-boy”

  1. June 25, 2010 at 2:48 am

    Thanks Dan! A Field Lab tshirt is in your future.

  2. June 29, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    Hello Dan;
    I have followed John Wells for over a year now, he has inspired me on off the gid living. John has a dream and I admire him for doing it. The Field Lab (TFL) has come a long way and I am still waiting to see the poo tomatoes and poo etc. I grow some poo tomatoes this year using hog poo from my pet hogs. I had a good half bushel of tomatoes from 6 plants, that was hard to believe. I like Johns TFL live cam. I watched him work while I was sitting in my easy chair, I got real tired so I do know what you are talking about.

    • June 30, 2010 at 12:11 am

      Hi, ya Caboose!

      I hope you’re feeling better these days.

      As a fellow admirer of John’s, I think you can imagine how fortunate we are that he is a member of our community. It is one thing to be able to monitor his achievements over the Internet, and a completely different thing to be a beneficiary of them. There are many innovative and talented people out here, and a cumulative “halo effect” is resulting with John being one of the brighter lights. Everybody benefits.

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