Dripping Springs, TX: Andre and Evan

We left for Austin, TX at 7:45 a.m…full of energy and smiles :) We were expecting a part for the RV motorized step to arrive that morning at the auto parts store and we were going to pick it up. However, we ended up waiting at store for quite awhile for their delivery truck. The truck finally arrived, but after Matt worked at it for an hour or so, we found that it was not going to work and had to drive back to the other side of town and return it. By this time, it was noon…and we needed to get on the road. It had already been a long morning, and we hadn’t even left town yet! It was a great reminder, though, how blessed we are to always have our home with us wherever we go. Bella and I were able to have play time and snacks during all of it!

All was well until we got to Taylor, TX, when we ran out of veggie oil. The fuel gauge was being a little feisty, and it appeared that we had much more than we did. Luckily, Matt was able to roll safely to a parking lot, and got the issue resolved. We had to switch over to run diesel for a bit…and for the first time in 14,000 miles on veggie oil, we had to run solely on diesel. It’s not a fun thing on the budget! 20 gallons for $90.00. Ouch!

We finally arrived in Austin at sunset (so pretty!), heading to Dripping Springs (just outside of Austin) to park at Andre and Evan’s eco-homestead in the hills! We arrived, got parked and headed inside. The first thing we noticed was the wonderful simplicity and beauty of their home. It was clear they took pride in creating a haven for their family. In talking with them further, we got a better picture of their home and what their goals were. I asked Evan to give me the run down in her own words:

We have a 2000 square foot metal roof to collect our water from. We had to honor our HOA restrictions, but decided on a roof that size based on André’s calculations for the amount of water that we needed. We have (2) 10,000 gallon holding tanks for the house and (1) 3000 gallon tank for the garden and (1) 200 gallon prewash tank. The first 200 gallons go into this tank so that any debris from the roof stays in this tank and doesn’t go into the household tanks. We also have a 1000 gallon tank as the garden back up. Our hope is to install a shop building this year and collect water from that roof as well. It will probably be about 1200 square feet of roof. Another project this year involves a covered porch for the front and a cover over the back patio. The coverings will provide more water collection and also help keep the house cooler in summer.

The actual structure is a metal building that we finished out. It came with an insulated liner. We added traditional studs for the walls, drywall and formaldehyde free insulation in the walls and the ceilings. We then wrapped the entire structure with limestone. Again, we had to comply with HOA restrictions, but this greatly increased our R factor (how well something is insulated). I estimate that we’re at R45, but that might just be my enthusiasm. We’re basically a house within a house and the air pocket in between the framing and the metal structure adds to the insulation.

We have only rainwater collection, so we’re very water-conscious. We had to change some of our water habits when we moved here, but now they are just habits and we don’t even notice that it’s a sacrifice. For the three of us we probably use 30 gallons of water a day. Some more or less depending on whether or not it’s a laundry day or if the dishwasher is run. We use the dishwasher about once every three days. Most days we’re under 30 gallons. We take military showers so that helps.

We’ve used low or no VOC paints, reclaimed materials when we can find them, and bamboo flooring from sustainable sources. Some of our furniture is new, but most of it is inherited or Craig’s listed.

Now that’s an eco-friendly house! And let me just tell you…their house is wonderful and inviting to be in! They are set back up in the hills and they have enough land to feel very secluded and free. It’s lovely. Every time I walked from the house to our RV, the crisp cool air would fill my lungs…and it was almost as if it had some kind of magical “happy” potion in it. :) Ahhhhhhh…

Evan and Andre are involved with various eco-minded projects in their city. They are in the process of starting a food coop and are working closely with CSA’s and local growers. They are also in the very beginning processes of planning and developing a holistic health and wellness center. They are part of a team of healers that are interested in non-Western practices. Evan in in school right now for naturopathy and André is a 5th degree black belt in a variety of martial arts. He teaches Tai Chi, Qi Gong and is a Reiki master. It was so refreshing and fun to see a family that walks their talk. They are passionate about the environment, each other, and living simply. The best part is that they are actively teaching their daughter to follow that same path.

Our days in Dripping Springs were filled with little girls laughter, raw food making, and good conversations. We ate at the cutest little restaurant, The Leaning Pear (located in Wimberley, TX). I could have stayed on their patio for the rest of my life! :) We also loved the Thai Noodle House, near the University of Texas campus. Big portions of yummy food for little prices!

A big thanks to Andre, Evan, and Pilar for their generous hospitality!

Photo album here.


  1. In your Photo album, I noticed both girls were bathing in a blue “bath tub”. Any chance you would know where I could find that?

    Comment by Wendy — May 17, 2008 @ 10:09 pm

  2. Your “tour” sounds awesome! My husband and I have been talking about getting a SVO car, but my husband was wondering about using diesel as well as veggie oil. Is that okay to do? How easy is it to find veggie oil? Can you put it right in your car from the restaurant or is there a “purifying” process.

    Comment by Mandy — May 19, 2008 @ 6:21 am

  3. Wendy…I don’t know what the tub is, sorry :) I think it’s just a large plastic tote/tub.

    Mandy…yes, it would be a “dual” system with diesel and SVO. There is TONS of oil. You just need to add a kit to your vehicle to filter and gather the oil. Check out http://www.goldenfuelsystems.com for more info.

    Comment by livelightly2 — May 21, 2008 @ 4:47 pm

  4. Wendy:

    We bought the tub several years ago at Ikea. I don’t know if they still have them. It seemed less expensive and kinder to the environment than installing a huge tub in our home. I hope you are able to find one.

    Comment by Evan — May 27, 2008 @ 10:08 am

  5. Thanks Evan and livelightly2! Will check IKEA,doesn’t hurt to try. :)

    Comment by Wendy — May 28, 2008 @ 9:40 am

  6. I found 2 books that have helped me sooo much in my beginnings of rawfoodyism
    1) raw food made easy
    2) raw food for busy people
    thought I would share…:)
    I love all your blogs btw!!!

    Comment by beth — June 22, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

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