Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Cleaned the pool - flushed the misting nozzles - tended the jungle.  97,105,70,0,B,0
The rattle was won at 6:05AM this morning.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

new glass/new snake

Got my tempered glass for the new solar ovens today.  Very impressive packing job they did.  Also got some bits from Harbor Freight including something to help my old man eyes see up close for upcoming soldering.  Went shopping this afternoon at my friend Mikey Sklar's online store.  Ordered his battery charger/desulfator kit to evaluate. is rattlesnake #3 that I have killed at TFL in 4 1/2 years .  This one was right next to the SW container door.  85,107,70,0,B,0

 Next Benita Memorial Tshirt order includes his rattle. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thank you for your service to our country...

Tended the flock, watered the pots, cleaned the pump carb, transplanted some KP date palm seeds showing signs of life, got good tater sprouts, sometimes the bunnies just chill.  More storms just missed TFL early this evening.  92,99,69, .10,B,0

Sunday, May 27, 2012

a sunday...

90,100,69,0,B, 1.18

Saturday, May 26, 2012

critical mass...

I did a native soil test today (thanks for asking RevJLB)... high ph, medium nitrogen, high phosphorous, low potash.  Will have to run a few more tests with the native soil alone and with my potting mix mixture to confirm results and take appropriate action.  Rigged up a solar powered pump and filter for the pool in case I feel the need to jump in again.

The lady bugs were too little too late for the bean plants.  Seems that in the last 24 hours, the plants were totally infested.  Picked off the last beans then chopped out the plants and stuck them in the burn pit.  Had to cut back the squash plants quit a bit too.  They might have to go next.  Another thunderstorm just missed me this afternoon.... 75,99,69, .51,B, .23

LATE NIGHT UPDATE:  Another storm passed through from 10 to 11 and gave me another .32".  First storm was .19" 

Friday, May 25, 2012


Sudden business in Alpine this morning...gave me an excuse for more parts for plants and solar ovens.  Greeted by gully critters when I got home.  (BTW...thanks to Terlingua Ranch road maintenance techniques, this is where the original road used to be - they graded the bypass through multiple 5 acre tracts without owner's permission)  Winds out of the SSE all afternoon...25 to 35mph.

Got my Ladybugs today...going to release some tomorrow morning.  Mixed up some dirt batches for new planting pots.  I am being very scientific about this - native dirt + potting mix till it looks and feels like something a plant would be happy growing in.  89,101,70,0,W,0

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Transplanted the olive and the guava tree this morning, and started 6 grow bags with potatoes...then it started getting HOT.  Got my new tempered glass coming early next week so did some more pondering about the perfect solar oven design.  Working on a variation of this plan. 95,106,71,0,B,0

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

guard donks

Some burros came in this morning for breakfast.  Had their fill then lounged at the end of my driveway.  Mounted my misting pump on a west end door and tested out a misting ring from that end since wind was out of the west today. 

Got new trees late today that need to get potted in the morning...4 pygmy date palms, a pineapple guava, and a manzanillo olive (for future martinis).  Plucked a bean side dish for supper tonight.  94,104,73,0,B, .31

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

...and the winner is?

Someone posted the dirt doctor suggestion that was either the first or second spam filter deleted it because it searched for "" instead of "".  Who was that person who deserves to win?  That is a good site I have never seen - that a lot of other folks have suggested after the fact.  And thanks for all the other wisdom I received.  Shipped off 8 more Benita Tshirts this morning then got to work rigging and testing my second misting line.  Brief storm this afternoon that gave me a trickle - nice big drops that came almost strait down for a change...the big nasty scooted by just NE of me - got nuthin but wind and dust out of that one.   85,103,63, .13,W,0

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Contest

The first person to give me a natural spray solution for controlling spider mites that actually works wins a free Benita Memorial Tshirt.  Keep in mind that I have tried a lot of home remedies and none of them work on the Field Lab mites.  Doing searches online seems to lead to mostly pot growing sites.  and BTW...I just ordered 1500 ladybugs...  81,97,64,0,B,0

Sunday, May 20, 2012

palm sunday

Re-potted some palms for the water feature.  Long day organizing tools and hardware.  Cleared the south wing.  This afternoon I noticed it was getting rather dark in the NW.  Checked the doppler radar and a line of storms was heading this way so I prepped for the worst.  Storms fizzled right over me and re-formed for a dose of rain for Study Butte.  Not a drop at TFL.  80,95,62,0,B,0

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Unloaded lots of recyclables and trash in Alpine this morning.  Picked up 2 fruit trees...a grapefruit and an orange (with an orange already on it!).  Also grabbed ingredients for some upcoming Field Lab Solar Oven Zucchini Bread.  Ran into my friend Emily Harman who I haven't seen in over a year.  She's a baker now and was making a delivery to Blue Water Natural Foods.  I got a beautiful/heavy organic loaf of 9 grain bread and some chocolate chip cookies from her.  Look for the brand locally...NICE BREAD / handmade.

Picked up, trucked home, installed (with extra pavers to distribute the weight), filled with 100 gallons of rainwater, and jumped into an IDEAL feature for the courtyard.  92,103,61,0,B  

Friday, May 18, 2012

corner chaos

Need some more parts from Alpine soon so I prepped a load to be extracted from the Field Lab.  1/3 trash, 2/3 recyclables.  Lots of stuff to sift through to clear 2 containers and the N/S wings of the courtyard.  Slowly working on the outer perimeter.  Starting to think about curb appeal. 

My dwarf banana plants are popping out a new leaf about every 10 days.  More beans for dinner tonight.  88,103,60,0,B, .17

After sorting the good vs. worthless for awhile, it started to get hot so I moved inside for a search.  The big solar oven hurdle for me has been finding the right kind of glass at a reasonable price.  On an off chance, I started web digging and finally came up with a site that had good info.   they have a link to this glass site    FINALLY!...I found what I think is the perfect solar oven glass connection.  I ordered four pieces of tempered glass (24" x 24" x 1/4") to use for some next generation solar ovens...pretty happy with $31.50 per piece, including shipping. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Nice morning grape vine shadow...planted some taters today (Yukon Gold and All Blue) from  Also got some yellow onions and elephant garlic started in short tubs I got from my girlfriend, Carolyn Burr.

One of the 4 Palo Verde trees I started north of the greenhouse withered up so I transplanted one of her sisters that I started at the same time and has been living in a pot over the winter.  85,95,56,0,B,0