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Oldtimer Digs Homestead To Create Waterworld Meets Tiny Village


When we first met Brad Kittel 10 years ago he had built dozens of tiny homes from the remains of abandoned houses on his 43-acre town of Salvage, Texas. In the past decade, he has moved on to sculpt the earth around his hamlet, creating 20-foot-deep lagoons, bayous, moats and a Walden pond in Texas.”

source.image: Kirsten Dirksen

He now has “5 miles of coastline” for kayaking and swimming, but these extensive waterways are also Kittel’s solution to growing food on the dry clay of his property. He has created a complex system of canals connected by pipe that moves water across the property.

Kittel’s system doesn’t just irrigate his food forest, but given his location on the site of a former foundry, the plants, like cattails, also clean and filter the water. His property now hosts a diversity of animal life, like beavers, turtles, herons and loons.


All that digging has put Kittel in “the best shape of my life” at age 68. He invites others to join him in Salvage, either as overnight guests or longer term residents by purchasing one of his homes with a long-term land lease. “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.”