Thursday, September 30, 2010

3 sheets to the wind...

Only managed three sheets of roofing up this morning before the breeze kicked in - a stiff wind turns this roofing into flying swords...but I think I got the system down. Happy to have at least spanned the gap between containers.    Filled the rest of the day with a trip down south for stuff - some Benita water and the post office for a couple of tshirts to send out (a recent order and the prize for the millionth page viewer).  Was hoping the wind would die out before it got dark for at least one more bit of roof - but no luck.  There is always tomorrow...for now.  80,91,55,0.W

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

learning curve(d roof)

Woke up a little sore this morning - must have been that pallet of concrete I helped offload from the McCoys truck yesterday (no forklift - gonna ask for a refund for the delivery charge).  Did the math and no wonder I felt a bit tweaked... 42 bags x 80 lbs each = 3,360 pounds. 

I finally convinced myself that today would be a roofing day. Was a little slow getting started but all that ladder travel kinda loosened me up.  This section is a tad more difficult than the outside sections.  To get a nice tight seam where the roofing overlaps, I had to remove the screws along the edge where the metal meets and replace them with pop rivets. I think I got it down now after getting the first 4 sheets up.  85,93,56,0,B

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

the girls back home...

Had our good first good overnight low this morning....56 degrees.  Made a quick run to Alpine today for the standard supplies plus a 14" pulley for the bike'o'worsher and a McCoys delivery order for 42 bags of concrete mix.  Got back by 1:30 and spent the afternoon finding a longer belt to order online and a bit of psyching myself up for more greenhouse construction.

My friend Kristinna made it down from Albany to visit my old homestead on Sunday.  She sent me a lot of photos that make me a little home sick for the ol' money pit back east.  72,83,56,0,B

Sunday, September 26, 2010

GrubShack Grandson

SSGT Mark Juarez (GrubShack Eva's grandson in law) was seriously wounded fighting for our country...please take a moment to send a prayer his way.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

prep day...

Spent the day prepping for my final shoot at the Starlight closing party Saturday night.  Live webcast tomorrow starting at 5PM at   Wrapped things up in time to head down for some margaritas.  The Field Lab Vortex seems to be keeping the storms at bay.  Made arrangements to bunk in the Ghost Town tomorrow night just in case.  Small crowd tonight ahead of the final goodbye.  Had a chance to shoot the two biggest porch icons together one last time.  86,90,70,0,B

Thursday, September 23, 2010

wash test...

Ran the first load through the worsher this morning.  Real world test had some lingering issues... belt slipping and chain binding.  Worked out the kinks but found that I need to gear the gizmo up at least double speed to get a more efficient worsh - agitation mode is painfully slow pedaling as fast as I can.   Benita was absolutely no help today.  78.89,69, .10", B

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Starlight Theatre

Long day on the road....Alpine back and forth then Terlingua for some Benita water.  Barely had time to start cleaning up the bike'o'worsher for a paint job before I was consumed by impending dread.

From the Starlight Theatre Facebook page: 

Starlight Theatre

Well, folks- I hate to say it but its true. After nearly 20 years serving the best food and throwing the best parties in South West Texas, we are closing our doors. Our last night will be Saturday, September 25th. We want to thank you for all the great memories.3 hours ago   81,92,68,0,B

Monday, September 20, 2010

cool couple...

Aborted an early morning run to Alpine....the weather was looking too sketchy.  Settled for a preemptive strike to Study Butte to stock up just in case.  Met my new best friends Dan and Jessica at the Motor Inn Cafe.  A very cool young couple that are settling about 10 miles SE of me.  Convinced them to stop by for the tour on their way home. 

Spent the afternoon cleaning out the worsher drum.  Flushed out quite a bit of grime and a few dead bugs.  Picked up a few parts down south to rig the drain hose.  Now all I need to do is clean the frame and some spray paint to spruce it all up for presentation.  Video of the the first worsh soon.  Hope to make an Alpine run tomorrow - I'm getting dangerously low on range feed.  75,85,67,0,B

Sunday, September 19, 2010



Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

agitates and spins...

The worsher functioned quite nicely this morning.  The binding seems to have worked its way out (with a little oil and some heavy handed cranking) but will need to dress the belts for some extra traction.  Assured of smooth sailing, I finished welding the structure - filling in all the parts I had only tacked down yesterday. 

Got my special Kombucha vessels just in time today.  I am going to bottle the first batch tomorrow.  Brewed up another gallon of green tea and sugar tonight for the next batch.  84,92,73,0,B  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

bike on...

Much more time looking and thinking than doing today.  Had to alter and re weld the sprocket mount then jigged the bike into position for some pondering.  Four hours later - executed my best guess. Nice cloud cover took the edge off for more cutting and welding.   Now that all the essentials are in place, I have some binding and slipping issues to contend with.  Grease the bearings - dress the belts.  86,101,66, 0,B

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

HP in Real Life

The Field Lab story at HP finally popped up today.  I must say that I am quite pleased with the press.  Special thanks to my new buddy Kristina Sager (nice shirt!) who was the story coordinator for the piece.  Benita sends out a moo to her new canine buddy Wisco.  Greetings to those who find their way to my blog from the HP site.

Fired up the welder today and got the frame together - working my way toward the bike.  Had to work two shifts today - early morning and late afternoon.  I really enjoy welding again but it is not very fun when it's 102 degrees outside.  Have to transition the drive 90 degrees so I am at the half way point as of this evening.  A few more details to iron out, some spots to weld, and I should be good to go for the first load by this weekend.  90,102,68,0,C

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dasymutilla gloriosa

Mixed day...fuzzy bugs, bike parts, roofing and gutter delivery.  89,96,67,0,B

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Took apart 3 old bike wheels that I had since my NY days looking for the right link to drive the worsher.  There sure is a lot of grease in bike parts.  Finally settled on the best combo and assembled the mechanism to go from chain to belt drive (but now I need a longer chain).  Just a bit more searching through my boxes of parts, some cyphering, a good deal of welding, and the drive will be attached to the Maytag.  Some Yellow Headed Blackbirds took advantage of Benita's shade this afternoon.  88,95,70,0,C

Saturday, September 11, 2010

some assembly required...

Overdue Alpine run today.  Stocked up on stuff for me and parts for the Bike'o'Worsher.  Made the rounds and did the deeds.  Got back home at 3:30 and began the bike meld.  All the parts still need to get much better acquainted before a working machine will come to life.

My kombucha is coming along quite nicely.  After 6 days, a baby scoby (named Victor after an old friend in upstate NY) has skimmed over the top of the mix and is about 1/8" thick now.  Another week and I will be ready to imbibe this batch and start the next one.  Ordered some special bottles so I can gift some of this concoction to friends.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Battled the computer most of the day - seems the Kodak Playsport with included software does not like to shake hands with Adobe Premiere Elements 8.  Searched the internet and found way too many ways to get them to buddy up.  The only thing I decided on was to download the latest version of Quicktime and pull the SDHC card out of the camera and stick it into my computer.  Not sure exactly which fix did it yet, but now I can import video into my editing software.  Posted a rather lame video test up on YouTube just to show it can be done.   at least there is no dust in the frame....

About a week ago, my new friend David Yaseen sent me photos from NYC.  I shipped a Field Lab tshirt to him awhile back and at my request, he just made it downtown to my old apartment building on Elizabeth St. for a photo op.  Hard to believe I spent 10 years of my life living here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

stick bug season...

Nice big stick bug greeted me on my glass door this morning.  Easy day clearing rock from the NW edge.  Eight wheelbarrow loads of the small debris moved out of sight.  Saved the biggest ones for a new stack.  Got a trace of rain late this afternoon that showed up as the drip edge off the new roofing - soon to be caught with the new gutters coming next week.  84,102,70,T,C

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

worsher parts...

Had a visit today from my friend Don B.  I met him the first week I was out here.  Been meaning to get him back out to check my progress because his metal work and dome designs were the inspiration for my welded rebar trusses and curved roof.  He gave me an A+ for my efforts so far.

Picked up the washing machine and spent the afternoon stripping it down to the bare essentials.  The mechanical features all work perfectly even though the electronic brain has failed.  I eliminated all the grid related parts and now I just have to stare at it for a couple of days to figure out the best way to rig it to the bicycle.  Also have to decide the best use for the parts I have extracted.  This is not a new idea - there are plenty of folks out there that have done the same thing - just do a google search for "bicycle powered washing machine".

Shot some tests with the new camera and I am quite happy with the quality but nothing editorially post-worthy so far.  88,91,61,0,C

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Although yesterday was no labor day....I actually did some labor cleaning up the NW corner of the greenhouse - just didn't have time to do the after picture until today.  Now Benita has a little more room for her favorite mid-morning shade.

Today was just an errands day.  Did a laundry and water run.  Hooked up with my new friend - the famous Pablo Menudo down south this afternoon.  He has an electronically defective Maytag washing machine for my bike powered washing machine project.  I'm gonna pick it up tomorrow from him.

My new friends Abby and Jim came by today for the tour.  Benita didn't cooperate for their visit, but I put on a longhorn feeding show for them down the road....starring Beatice and Benito.  Hope to get a photo from them soon to post.

Been anguishing over my next camera purchase.  The G9 is still good for stills but dust inside the camera shows up in the videos.  Was leaning toward the very high end Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR upgrade.  Decided to go the super cheap route for now and bought the Kodak Playsport HD digital camcorder to experiment with.  The cam is waterproof so I reckon that means dust proof too.  Will post some tests with it tomorrow.  81,94,63,0,B