Monday, January 31, 2011

gutter contemplation...

Lost a half day due to civic duty - got called for jury duty.  Because the trial is a lawsuit against the Terlingua Ranch unofficial POA...of course all TR land owners got booted from the pool.  At least I made 20 bucks for my trouble today.  Home in plenty of time to ponder the first section of gutter to be mounted.  Clamped it into place and gave it just enough thought to figure out how best to proceed.  I must say that it will make a brilliant functional accent to my structure.  Now bracing for the impending cold that is about to descend on this desert paradise for the next few days.  66,76,30,0,B

Sunday, January 30, 2011



Saturday, January 29, 2011

blew it off...

Rigged up my multiple escape routes and climbed up on top today fix a few spots and clean up the roof.  Lot of metal shavings from the screws are caught in little nooks and crannies up there.  Thought it would be best to remove them before installing the gutters.  Generator - compressor - 50' hose - roof cleared of the tiny bits.  Just in case you didn't tune into the live video feed from TFL today - you missed me juggling apples on top of the roof then sliding off the north side onto the roof rack of my truck.  62,76,37,0,C

Friday, January 28, 2011


Back to work after the brief stay at my favorite resort in Alpine.  Finished welding up the new parts for the gutter mount on the south side by the end of the day.  Top photo -  the not so precision notches I cut before welding the C purlin into place across each truss end. 
Hmmmm...20% chance of a rain tonight.  I think I will let that pass.  53,70,23,0,B

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Had early morning business in Alpine - hence the overnighter at the Antelope Lodge.  Got my fill of PizzaHut, TV, and looooong shower but didn't sleep well at all...I'm too used to my own little bed.  One trick to keep in mind about that motel is that after an especially cold night - sometimes the hot water won't work in the shower.  After many stays there, I learned that all you have to do is open all the faucets and wait about 15 minutes and the hot will start to flow. 

Morning events went very well,  picked up a few items, visited with Suzy and Carla ( Benita's biggest Alpine fans) then sped south for a "just before closing" lunch at the GrubShack.  Main item of need was more C purlin to finish up the south side prep for the gutters.  Not only does Johnson Feed supply my Benita snacks, they also keep a nice inventory of structural steel on hand.    49,70,18,0,C

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Slung all the gear to the south side today.  Had to adjust 3 truss ends then got 16' welded into place.  Clamps are my only assistants - and I only had to pay them once.  30% chance of rain on Saturday.  Gutters won't be ready but I sure could use a sprinkle for a roof rinse and a leak check.  43,68,27,0,B

Monday, January 24, 2011


Had the Bob Special with ham this morning at the GrubShack.  Got sucked into the vortex and lingered just a little too long there.  Long enough in fact to see the mailman and Manny from UPS.  He dropped off the new(old surplus) telephones I ordered from .  I got for my old house, one for the new house, one for the office, and one for the future guest house.  Tested them and they all work fine.  Making a call on one of these phones seems so much more humane.  53,69,31,0,W

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

moving on...

My camper guests survived the night just fine.  Too chilly for me to join them early this morning as they hunkered over their breakfast tacos.  Right after they finished packing up, Benita and crew came in for their breakfast show as we came up to the house for the porch portrait.  Spent the rest of the day working on the north side gutter mount.  Only 18.5 ft. to go.  52,74,26,0,B

Friday, January 21, 2011

Field Lab Gypsies

Got that first chunk of perlin welded into place and gathered materials for the rest of the stretch.  Short day due to overnighters that arrived this afternoon.  My buddy Dennis Baker showed up with 8 in toe to camp for the night at The Field Lab.  The boys set up shop while I finished up the welding.  I gave the crew the grand tour, then we all hunkered down at sunset for ribeyes, taters, beans, and award winning dutch oven peach cobbler by the campfire.  60,71,25,0,B

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Began trimming some of the truss ends yesterday.  Seems I wasn't thinking about gutters when I built them.  Fixed what needed to be fixed on the north side and started the first section of plumb C perlin to weld across.  This will give me something sturdy to attach the gutters to.  Thanks for all the comments on yesterdays post - that was a major milestone and ever so glad to have it finished.  60,80,39,0,B

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Big cow day for Sunday Siesta.  Nice to know they all like to lounge around here all day even though Benita gets most of the food and all the water.  High humidity and freezing temperatures led to a frosty greenhouse this morning...water was dripping everywhere once the sun came up.  Set up the GoPro for a test timelapse - all went well.  Down to my last sheet - the most difficult of all.  I'm saving that one for tomorrow.

David Hamilton, one of my favorite facebook friends (that I have never met), sent me a little brush he picked up in Japan on a recent business trip.  I saw his updates while he was overseas and suggested a trade - TFL postcards for a trinket from Asia.  I showed it to Mr. Cow today and she just didn't get it.  51,71,24,0,B 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

so close...

Eight hour day...3 at the GrubShack and 5 on the roof.  So close to the welcome end of this phase I can almost taste it.  The new GoPro arrived today.  Such a cute/tiny camera.  I reckon my G9 would be about this size without the LCD.  50,69,22,0,C

Thursday, January 13, 2011

tiny rock work...

Record cold for 2011 this morning...17 degrees.  Was 55 inside when I woke up.  Warmed myself up just like yesterday.  Attempted some roofing but the wind shut that down.  Resigned myself to more missed screws on top and finished laying out the strap on the high side - 8 more sheets of poly to go.  Brief tea time back at the GS then calm enough for more roofing.  Got 2 panels up then my buddy Justin Warren Graham arrived for a visit.  We hung out till the sun set behind Agua Fria mountain then he was on his way to a job at a ranch way west of me.  Just before he left - while we were chatting by my rock wall, I noticed this tiny structure.  I wonder what bug built these nicely conceived chambers.  The openings are about 3/16".  43,59,17,0,B

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


The cold front rolled in this morning.....sunny, but chilly and windy all day...expecting an overnight low in the low teens tonight.  If the winds clear and temps warm up by Thursday - I hope to finish the roofing by this weekend.  Seemed at last count - I won't have enough screws so made a toasty truck ride of a 1/2 day trip to Alpine to make sure I have enough to finish the job.   Love crossing the suddenly foggy frost covered hills before descending into town. 

Hunkered down all morning in the hut planning the wash of a day.  Before I left for the 3hr round trip, I gave into buying a new camera online.  My friend Paul just got one and it has a number of features that appeal to me:  price, waterproof housing (aka dust proof), cheap replaceable lens package for the housing, and the ability to shoot HD video and time lapse at a number of settings.  My dust filled G9 is worthless now for time lapse videos.  I ordered the basic model ( Hero Naked ) without all the mounts - that's what duct tape is for.  ...  and no, I won't be mounting it to Benita.  34,47,32,0,B

Monday, January 10, 2011

old style monday...

Decided to go to work today just like the masses.  Had to take advantage of a perfect weather day since we got 2 crappy ones coming up.  Seven hours of up and down and 6 sheets of polycarbonate installed.  Perfect solar hot water temperature for a shower at 4:30,  then treated myself to my first visit to the Starlight Theatre in over a month.  Hadn't eaten all day so I ordered the Diego Burger.....a pound of ground beef, 3 kinds of cheese (american,swiss,pepperjack), 4 strips of bacon, 2 fried eggs, sauteed onions, pickles, pickled jalapenos, all on a giant bun with a steak knife instead of a toothpick to hold it together.  I could only eat half of it and I'm still stuffed 3 hours later.  56,74,25,0,C

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

first storm a bust...

First predicted thunderstorm of the season looked like it had potential but only provided a brief sprinkle, no thunder, but at least some nice sky detail.  Got two more pieces of polycarbonate installed and was just about to start the third when the clouds rolled in and the winds picked up.  Almost forgot what it was like to scramble for the storm...that wasn't.  57,72,34,T,B

Friday, January 7, 2011

one sheet

Good cow day today.  So nice to have my buddies hanging out this time of year.  This was the view when I came back from breakfast.  Got one sheet of roofing up today...took a long GrubShack break...then finished missed screws along the high side of the roofing while it was too windy for more poly.  Each panel takes 36 screws.  I'm 1/3rd of the way through a total of 972 screws. 

30% chance of an isolated thunderstorm tomorrow....I will be happy with a sprinkle.  59,73,40,0,B

Really good news from the Big Bend on NPR today.  The Boquillas crossing into Mexico will be re-opened - scheduled for April 2012.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

debris cleared

Finished up the organizing today...good to get the debris cleared.  Kinda looking forward to roofing again (at least that is what I am telling myself tonight).  This is the mess that is my other two storage containers.  Good thing is, at least half of this stuff will be moving into the office and new house once those containers get insulated and walled up.  Then perhaps I will be able to move freely in all 4 containers.  Rather nice to be one step closer to the final product.  Already took 9 bags of trash to Alpine - next trip...a big load for the recycling center.  54,72,41,0,B

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

coming together

Made a big dent in the stuff shifting.  Reached the point this afternoon where it all started to come together.  That's the nice thing about lots of tiny steps - they really add up after awhile.  One more day of this'n'that and I will have to get back to the greenhouse roof.  57,69,33,0,B

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

this just in...

Been asked by quite a few folks what the total rainfall for The Field Lab was last year.  Went through the records and tallied up a less than whopping 8.78" for the year.  Biggest one day accumulation occurred on April 14th... 1.16".  Most of the rains happened in April, June, and July.  Working up a detailed chart for 2010 is on the list.  Photo of the day from the archives - after the heavy rain event with a rainbow landing on Mount McKenna.  54,73,30,0,B

Monday, January 3, 2011

packrat vs. packrat


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stuff Shifter

So glad we are in the dry season right now.  Perfect time to start clearing and saving while being able to leave the stuff outside till it all gets sorted out.  Each item needs to find a new home or be parted with...which is rather tricky because I need to empty two of my shipping containers and clear the courtyard.  I think I am on a week long binge to adjust the belongings and belongnots-a big Rubik's cube.  Feels good to clear the palate for the new year. 50,63,33,0,C