Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy Birthday Aunt Kathy!

The girls came to TFL today.  They chilled in a cardboard box till I got the pen sealed up.  Added chicken wire around the parameter, some additional bits so I could apply the bird netting over the top then rigged a rope and pulley so I can open and close the door from outside.  BTW...the back side of the coop opens so I can clean and collect eggs someday.  Their foster mom thinks they will start laying in September.  The new arrivals spent their first few hours hiding under the coop.  Had to go out at twilight and chase them into their new overnight space.  I think they get it now.  Carl knows somethings happening but I don't think he has actually seen them yet.  Not gonna let them "mix it up" till the girls get a little older.  78,91,66,0,W,0

Sunday, April 29, 2012

bad to my batteries

Been putting off cleaning up my batteries since next on the list is moving them and the panels to a new spot by the SW container.  As usual, the positive sides build up the corrosion over time and I decided I'd better do a pre scrub just to keep things running smoothly till their next home and brand new connections.  Cleaned and soaked all the positive ends with baking soda and water (works like a charm)then sanded them back to bare copper.  Bolted it all back down with a healthy portion of dielectric grease at each connection.

Lopped off another squash today - just shy of a full pound.  452g = .996489lb  This one I am going to coat with wax and drive it 1,000 miles so it will taste like what's in the grocery store...

Used my two cutouts from the containers for a heavy duty coop roof and additional shade on the pen.  81,97,59,0,B .99

Saturday, April 28, 2012

coupe de ville


Friday, April 27, 2012

tire time too soon...

Back to Archie's this morning for a new set of last set barely made it a year and a half due to a bad front end alignment that ruined those tires and then the pointy mesquite that took out number 3 on Sunday.  Looks like #4 is the new spare.  Forget the dirt and rocky roads out here - I think Brewster County should offer a tire subsidy due to their archaic paving methods for our highways. Trying Yokohama Geolanders this time.

Had to leave early this morning so I skipped the AM watering routine.  The EarthBox squash plants were VERY unhappy when I got home at 1:30.  I know big leaf plants are water hogs and I think 3 in one waterbox is too many.  They require about a gallon a day.  A good long drink brought back most of the life by the end of the day.  We all learn from weather stress out here so maybe the plants will pick up on that.  Chopped off my second harvest - a black beauty squash that weighed in at 392 grams. 

Got a great post birthday present  package in the mail today from Swamp Girl 2011.  Prunes - for my ass, figs - Turkish, pistachios - unsalted, fckn granola with pumpkin seeds - good for my prostate (whatever that is), an actual cat claw collection in a glass vial (that will come in handy some day), real maple syrup - grade B for most nutrients, and super homemade oatmeal raisin cookies.  To top it off, the note included a paw print from her dog, Alex.  88,100,69,0,B, .86

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Worked on the pen and got a start on the coop before it got too hot.  Gonna just keep screwing parts together till a coop in the corner emerges.  Carl checked up on the workmanship.  Thankfully it was overcast all day or I woulda seen 110°.   92,103,65,0,B,0

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

gotta date with a date

Worked on the chicken pen for about 2 hours - then it started getting HOT fast.  High of 105° today.  I hate getting right to work first thing in the morning, but it is the only option this time of year if I want to get anything's gonna be a long/hot summer as usual.

Got a first bloom on the Pomegranate (thanks Bennett Jones).  Care package from my buddy JD had lots of seed packets and a bag of organic Medjool dates from California.  I ate 'em...I planted 'em.  95,105,56,0,B,0

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


My facebook friend Bryce warned me of the heat wave moving in...decided this morning would be Pepino II rejuvenation time.  Also put up the west side shade.  Cleaned out the chambers and installed a new pad.  Thankfully, it is still plug'n'play...hooked it up to my batteries and it purred away and cooled like a charm.  Outside high in the shade yesterday was 95° and it got up to 92° inside.  Today the high was 99.5° outside (in the shade) and it got up to 83° inside.  Got my final bits for the courtyard delivered today...some good ol' pressure treated 2x4's and 5/4 x 6 decking. (once installed, this material will get no direct sunlight)

Plucked my first food from this greenhouse season today....a squash just under a pound (372.3 grams = 13.13 oz = .82 lb.)  First dividend.  I reckon the best way to figure out my return on investment is to weigh all the food I produce.  Adding a new number to the string at the end of the blog posts.  The last number is the weight in pounds of food harvested.  89,99.5,58,0,W,.82

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Super Jeep

Called in the big gun this morning for my Toyota extraction from the outback.  We changed the flat with an ever ready spare and Chuck yanked me out of the hole with his superjeep. 

Earthbox plants planted per instructions are growing very fast...squash week6, beans week 5 - first bean bloom today. 
My fig tree is still happy.


Sunday, April 22, 2012


Gotta first squash just about ready to eat.

Old Brown Cow is a new favorite at TFL.  She is the only other longhorn that Benita would back off from.  Did the Good Samaritan thing this afternoon.  Another trespassing tourist got stuck in the bad spot 4.5 miles SW of TFL.  After his long walk I drove him back down and got him out with the my truck is down there with a nice big stick stuck through the sidewall of my drivers side rear tire.  Will deal with that tomorrow.  87,95,56,0,C

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Alpine run for last minute coop essentials, deck materials for the courtyard and parts for Aunt Kathy's solar water heater....made it home just in time for a nice long visit with Brittanie Shey from the Houston Press and her husband Christopher. 36,94,50,0,B

Friday, April 20, 2012


...only $3000

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Stage 1

Prepping the area for the new chicken zone along the SE corner of the greenhouse....shhh - coop and much more stuff yet to come.  88,98,67,0,B

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Working up a coop plan just in time...Carl snuck into the courtyard - thankfully skipped the greens - and hunkered down in a tub I just planted 2 days ago with spinach seed.  Gotta first bloom ready to pop on my pomegranate.   86,94,47,0,B 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Kids from NY

Had a great visit from my new NY friends Wayne, Jason, Nadine, and Natasha.  They brought a very pleasant beer for me to sample.

Packed up 75 tshirt orders to ship out this week...thanks for supporting TFL!

Plants are doing their plant thing in the greenhouse.  83,91,46,0,B

Just found this vid today from a fellow John Wells on Facebook.  It I wasn't me, I wouldn't mind being him - he's talented, young and has hair.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Started 4 more tubs with spicy salad mix, malabar spinach, peas, and swiss chard.  The squash is exploding with growth.  Beans are just starting to take off. 

Harvested some Cat's Eye seeds from the recent bloom from Mother Plant 1.  Got a sweet potato sproutin.  74,84,39,0,B

If you are not using PayPal...Benita Tshirts can be ordered the old fashioned way...snail mail cash and specify size to:   John Wells   2500 Mailbox Rd.  Alpine, TX  79830.  Make sure to include an email address so I can confirm the order.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

tub poppin...

First big blooms on a squash plant today - started from seed 7 weeks ago.  Started prepping more planting tubs.  These things are next to impossible to separate by hand.  Tried drilling a little hole in the bottom of each one - applied some compressed air - and POP!  73,80,52,0,W

Saturday, April 14, 2012

bore snakes, chickletts, and tshirts

Picked up some cleaning supplies, checked out Carl's new girlfriends coming next week, and got my load of awesome tshirts from my buddy Rick at Bullshirtz.  He did an excellent job - Benita brown ink on desert tan shirts - these are printed on 100% cotton, preshrunk. They go on sale Monday - $20 including shipping and tax within the US - $35 for international orders.  Will post the pay pal link - cash through the mail will work too.  86,94,54,0,W

Friday, April 13, 2012


Stopped by for a farewell visit to my buddy Manitoba Tony.  He finished up the latest round of construction over this past winter on his pyramid house and metal outhouse.   I met him and his brother Russ when they came out to visit me 4 years ago...just when I was finishing a pour on the front porch of my hut.  There is a Canadian dime stuck in that pour thanks to them. 

Otherwise...more prep in the greenhouse.  Morning dew on wheat grass, new morning glory sprouts, and 4 heavy tubs'o'dirt prepped for transplants.  84,93,55,0,C