Man spends 20 years digging in Texas to make a lake in his “salvaged” tiny home village
He's now 68 and he says he's "in the best shape of my life."
Elijah Chan

Brad Kittel embarked on an ambitious project on a barren plot of land characterized by three feet of thick red clay where nothing could grow.

Recognizing the need for dirt and rocks for construction, Kittel seized an opportunity when a nearby truck stop needed dirt.

Through negotiation, he managed to supply 5,000 semi-loads of dirt by offering a competitive price, allowing him to excavate and shape the land according to his vision.

This marked the beginning of a remarkable transformation from desolate clay to a vibrant, thriving environment.

During excavation, Kittel discovered a natural spring, which led to the creation of a pond that was 10 to 12 feet deep.

The natural spring provided a reliable water source, prompting Kittel to alter the land’s contour to develop a larger lake and multiple water bodies.

These bodies of water were designed to retain water even during dry seasons, ensuring a sustainable ecosystem.

The discovery of the spring and subsequent water management efforts were pivotal in transforming the land into a lush, vibrant habitat.

Kittel’s creativity and resourcefulness shone through in his construction projects.

He built the “Ship of Salvage Dreams,” a three-story ship using salvaged materials, exemplifying his commitment to sustainability.

He also utilized industrial landfill waste to construct “Miracle Mountain” and other earth sculptures, showcasing the potential of repurposing discarded materials.

Additionally, he created an interconnected system of canals and water bodies, further enhancing the functionality and beauty of the landscape.

YouTube Screenshot - Kirsten Dirksen
YouTube Screenshot - Kirsten Dirksen

The transformation of the industrial wasteland into a thriving ecosystem was nothing short of extraordinary.

The once barren land now teems with fish, turtles, beavers, otters, and diverse plant life.

Kittel’s work emphasizes the importance of sustainable practices and the use of salvaged materials.

By advocating for these methods, he demonstrates how discarded materials can be repurposed to create sustainable housing and communities, promoting environmental consciousness and resourcefulness.

YouTube Screenshot - Kirsten Dirksen
YouTube Screenshot - Kirsten Dirksen

A key aspect of Kittel’s work involves salvaging materials from old buildings.

He demonstrates how beadboard walls, longleaf pine joists, and antique hardware can be reused to create homes and furniture.

This practice not only reduces waste but also preserves the historical and aesthetic value of these materials.

Kittel’s approach encourages others to embrace salvaging as a means to build sustainable and unique homes, highlighting the beauty and utility of repurposed materials.

YouTube Screenshot - Kirsten Dirksen
YouTube Screenshot - Kirsten Dirksen

Looking to the future, Kittel envisions using his project as an embassy and home base to showcase what can be achieved with salvaged materials.

He aims to teach others how to build homes and communities using trash and salvaged materials, fostering a culture of sustainability and self-sufficiency.

His vision includes forming villages where people can learn to live sustainably off the grid, furthering the impact of his innovative methods.

YouTube Screenshot - Kirsten Dirksen
YouTube Screenshot - Kirsten Dirksen

A viewer said, “Long ago when I began my adventure in earth sculpting, none of this existed.

I turned this all into a wonderland, for food, for life… a miraculous world out of the imagination and trash.”

This sentiment captures the essence of Kittel’s journey and the transformative power of creativity and determination.

His work stands as a testament to the possibilities that arise when we reimagine waste as a valuable resource.

YouTube Screenshot - Kirsten Dirksen
YouTube Screenshot - Kirsten Dirksen

Kittel’s achievements extend beyond personal satisfaction.

His transformation of an industrial wasteland into a vibrant ecosystem serves as an inspiring example for others.

By inviting others to join him in Salvage, Texas, Kittel creates opportunities for people to experience sustainable living firsthand.

Whether as overnight guests or long-term residents, individuals can learn from Kittel’s methods and contribute to a community built on the principles of sustainability and creativity.

YouTube Screenshot - Kirsten Dirksen
YouTube Screenshot - Kirsten Dirksen

Brad Kittel’s journey is a remarkable story of vision, perseverance, and innovation.

From a barren piece of land to a thriving ecosystem, he has shown what is possible with creativity, resourcefulness, and a commitment to sustainability.

His work not only transforms the physical landscape but also inspires others to see the potential in salvaged materials and sustainable practices.

As Kittel continues to teach and expand his vision, he paves the way for a future where communities can thrive in harmony with the environment, turning waste into wonders.

See how one man turned a 43-acre “barren wasteland” into an oasis thriving with life below!

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