Thursday, July 20, 2017

another bump...

Nearly 3 months in and just when I think "the bucket" has had its last dying breath - someone new finds it.  This morning it was the Ukraine.  This is the second time it has made the rounds there.  88,92,73,0,B

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

solar project...

Looks like I have something to keep me busy through the weekend.  I have committed to cooking a pizza when the film crew is here next Tuesday.  My big solar oven has been laying in the same spot since the stand broke last year.  A little welding and a lot of cleaning and it should be good to go.  Let's just hope we have a sunny day.  77,88,74,0,B

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

plenty of room...

Looks like it will take at least one more big storm before I won't be able to squeak by.  The rest of the road is all dry now and clear sailing for at least the next week.  87,94,71,0,B

Monday, July 17, 2017

Sunday, July 16, 2017

how much more...

Matthew 7:
11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

Thursday, July 13, 2017

the goggles have landed...

A bit of touch and go this morning with the weather.  Was afraid I wouldn't get my deliveries due to rain.  Luckily the nearby storms passed this morning with only a brief sprinkle and it was clear sailing.  Headed out at 2 PM and caught a new FedEx driver headed my way with the goggles.  I told her I was sorry she didn't get a chance to meet Chupa.  She was more than happy to avoid the encounter since she had already heard all about him.  Ventured south and caught a substitute UPS driver on the road with another delivery.  I figured Manny must be on vacation because normally I am his first stop and he gets here by 1 PM.  Brought the new gear home and charged everything up.  Easily got through linking the goggles with the Mavic and luckily my poor eyesight is just right to be able to see an incredible image without any glasses (the view is truly amazing).  The fit of the goggles on my noggin was a little iffy and they tended to slip (as I have seen in some of the reviews).  Figured out that wearing a backwards baseball cap under the rig was just what I needed to keep them in place.  Lots of little things to still figure out.  Will do a full review of all the new gear eventually on YouTube.  82,88,75,0,B    

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

7 years ago...

Had a return visit today from Larry D. Hayden.  Good to get caught up after 7 years and Chupa was on his best behavior (sort of).  Ben really enjoyed seeing a Hasselblad for the first time.
Larry shot this iconic image of Benita when he was last here. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

glad that is finally done...

Tackled the worst of it yesterday.  First major clean up since my accident 2 1/2 years ago.  Last on the list is to find out what is going on under the bed - where the monsters live... 95,96,76,0,W

Monday, July 10, 2017

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Saturday, July 8, 2017

another tail light

Just over a year ago I replaced this tail light.  2 months ago the new one jiggled loose and lost a vital part and I have been nursing it along by applying a little duct tape to hold it in place.  Last week I forgot to check the tape and took a trip south for some errands.  That evening I noticed the tail light was gone.  Found it the next day along the highway about half way to Study Butte.  Just installed a new replacement today (and put some thread lock on the 2 screws that hold it in place).  90,95,75,0,B

Friday, July 7, 2017

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Name that critter.

First time I have noticed one of these at TFL.  Do you know what it is? Note: proper identification includes being age specific... 79,90,73,0,W

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Made an executive decision today (I love making those) and ordered the DJI Goggles for my Mavic Pro.  Rather than get another dedicated tablet (I already have 3 tablets and none of them work very well in this application) I decided on the FPV (first person view) goggles.  Came to that conclusion after a good amount of research.  When I first started hearing about the goggles, I sort of wrote them off as a silly racing drone accessory.  What I have come to discover after seeing a lot of reviews is that they are the perfect solution for being able to precisely control the drone while filming (which is the whole point of why I decided to buy the drone in the first place). They are 20 bucks cheaper than the new bright DJI CrystalSky 5.5" monitor and there is absolutely no issue with glare from the sun when you wear them.  From what I have seen it is a truly immersive experience and just like being in the cockpit when flying the drone.  They work wirelessly with the Mavic Pro with DJI's new OcuSync technology and provide a flawless HD video feed from the drone throughout its full distance range and a touch pad on the side of the goggles gives access to all the configuration and flight mode menus.  80,102,75, .04",W

Monday, July 3, 2017

Sunday, July 2, 2017

let not the sun go down upon your wrath

Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;  24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.  25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.  26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:  27 Neither give place to the devil.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Big Ben is 5 years old!

95,98,75,0,B, 68.25" tip to tip

Friday, June 30, 2017

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Ben's shot at the limelight...

Finally found a good reason to get cleaned up around here.  Just confirmed today that I was willing to participate in a re-visit for Ben Fogle's New Lives In The Wild.  They filmed out here 5 years ago and my episode was the first one they shot.  The series has been a hit for Channel 5 and they are on their 5th season of episodes now.  They contacted me last year about the possibility of another visit and we just confirmed the dirty details today.  They will be here along with Ben Fogle for a one day shoot the last week of July.  For those who saw the episode, you probably noticed that baby Ben was totally left out of the story although they featured the beheading of his dead mother - unfortunate since I named my Ben after Ben Fogle.  At my insistence, they are going to include old footage of baby Ben along with new footage of Big Ben when they come back for this episode.  They also want to talk about my YouTube channel.  If I can coax Ben into appearing in a video for my channel, then I will really score.  Win-Win-Win.  103,105,75,0,B

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

just as I suspected...

He has been caught on camera two nights now...also making his way into the greenhouse.  I have a plan for his demise.  Manny shall be avenged.  94,102,70,0,B

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Finally got everything squared away with Google Adsense and my first payment was deposited into my checking account...$1,147.17.  Up until May, I had only accumulated $44.34 in ad revenue and was still months away from seeing any benefit since monetizing my YouTube channel at the beginning of the year.  I wasn't expecting any money til about October.   They don't pay out until you reach the $100 threshold, but "the bucket" put me over in style with 6,892,562 views for my channel from Jan 1 to June 1.  Unfortunately, 2,043,633 of those views came from shares that did not count toward monetization, resulting in $511 in lost revenue.  In order to be counted, the video must be viewed from a YouTube link where the ads will play and a good number of those shares came from sites that do not present the video correctly (there really isn't anything I can do about that and even un-monetized views help spread the word).  Also, ad revenue is much smaller outside of developed countries.   Another interesting tidbit I have learned is that one can only expect about 10% of subscribers to actually keep coming back for more.  At $0.25 per 1,000 views (this is a general estimate and a number of factors influence this including watch time, ad impressions and click-throughs), I won't see any more payments that big unless I score another viral hit, but at least my channel got a nice jump-start on growth.  And as my channel grows, so will the amount of revenue sharing per views because advertisers pay more if you consistently reach a large audience.  Next payment for who has been watching in June won't be until the 18th of July and is only projected to be about $50.  89,94,72,0,B

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017

no yoke...

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

oh the irony...

Kind of ironic that I just posted a video of the state of my water supply while Study Butte / Terlingua is under a water emergency due to problems with the municipal water system.  Did a supply run to Alpine yesterday which included picking up over 28 gallons of bottled water for a neighbor who has no catchment in place.  Also looks like my kitchen has relapsed into its' natural state of chaos.  Stay tuned for an upcoming time lapse video on my channel of the transformation back to order.  89,91,73, .01",W

Friday, June 23, 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

first suspect...

The game cam caught a suspect last night.  He was brought in for questioning and released.  Chupa failed to identify him in a lineup.  97,104,77,0,B  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

tweaking my sensitivity...

Thanks to plenty of YouTube videos, I have tweaked the control sensitivity of the controller joysticks and camera gimbal movements for smoother operation of the Mavic Pro and its' camera.  The only issue I have now is that my little Samsung tablet doesn't really have enough processor speed to handle the load of data sent from the aircraft.  The screen is really hard to see in direct sunlight (there are sun shades available but they only help a little) and video sent back from the aircraft keeps breaking up and the app crashes if I try to go into the intelligent flight modes.  DJI is about to release a new super bright dedicated tablet specifically for their drones but it is a bit on the pricey side - although it has two (not just one) microSD card slots and an HDMI output port.  An Apple iPad mini 4 seems to work very well but does not have a microSD card slot for extra memory.  On the android end, the best option was the nvidia shield tablet K1 made for gamers as it had plenty of processing power to handle the load.  The problem is - that model has been discontinued and it seems they have nothing new in the pipeline for the foreseeable future.  I still have a ways to go mastering simple maneuvers before I start trying to get fancy so I will live with what I have until I make a decision on an upgrade.  And don't bother with suggestions in the comments - I am well aware of all the options available although I only listed a few above.  Keep in mind that I have done an extraordinary amount of research on this.  It's not that I don't appreciate a helping hand from time to time, but it get's frustrating because most often the suggestions I get have little to do with my real world applications.   That being said - if you personally own and fly a DJI Mavic Pro and have found a tablet that works perfectly, feel free to chime in.  If you do not own a drone but have done a google search for "best tablet for Mavic Pro" - please don't bother sharing.  Been there, done that.  97,99,72,0,B

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Is is always a bad sign when you go to a chicken coop and see feathers everywhere.  Something managed to get into the pen two nights ago and killed Manny.  Chupa was in his own personal pen and was unharmed.  (I have been keeping them separated since they started fighting a couple of weeks ago.)  Strange thing is, Chupa was just as vulnerable in his pen as Manny was.  I reinforced the main pen and Chupa made it through last night unscathed.  I couldn't find my game cam so I just got a new one today.  Perhaps I will find what evil is lurking out there tonight.  93,96,74,0,B 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017

think before you speak...

Matthew 12: 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.  36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.  

Saturday, June 17, 2017


Just had the hottest day so far this year.  Good news is we had a nice overnight low and along with really low humidity, Pepino was able to keep up extraordinarily well.  Just cranked on the AC at 7:30 PM for a little extra end of the day cool down.  On days like this it is good to have an indoor project like working out details for future videos.  105,107,68,0,B

Friday, June 16, 2017

Thursday, June 15, 2017

first flight...

Since I got it a week ago, I decided it was finally time to launch the drone this morning .  Did 5 short flights in "beginner mode" just to get a hang of the controls. So far so good.  Did a firmware update when I came back inside which took about a half hour.  The app tells you when a new update is available (requiring an internet connection) and DJI can actually update not only the aircraft, but also the batteries, controller, and android app as needed. Tune in tomorrow night for the video.  99,102,77,0,B      

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

little rascal...

So I am cooling off in bed last night watching a video on my tablet computer with Pepino blowing right on me when I notice an itch on my right shoulder...and find a small welt.  A little while later it happens again...and I knew immediately what was going on.  Quickly found a conenose beetle lurking just under my pillow.  Had he waited til I went to sleep and not been so impatient to feed on me, he could have nailed me several more times overnight.  A Bic lighter ended his feeding frenzy.  From my cowboy poem I uploaded 8 years ago...

The worst critter I found
since I came to this town
the conenose beetle that you never see.
He bites you at night
then poops on the bite
adding insult to injury.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

too hot...

Kind of ironic that I just uploaded the final installment of the Pepino how to and we have a week of weather that it just can't handle.  (A poignant reminder to those who might try to build one that Pepino has its' limits.)  Although it is quite effective keeping the hut cool for sleeping once the sun and the temperature goes down - when we get a string of 100+ degree days in a row, I have to run my AC for a couple of hours in the late afternoon to stay comfortable.  This is the time of year that we weed out 50% of the new arrivals that think they can live out here.  99,103,73,0,B

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

What is your purpose?

Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  

Saturday, June 10, 2017

savoring the moment...

You know if the box has a lithium ion battery must be something good.  99,103,63,0,B

Friday, June 9, 2017

Thursday, June 8, 2017


Decided on a quick supply run to Alpine for some final Pepino parts.  Didn't get out til about 2PM since I was waiting for my drone delivery (a few more parts of my order are due to arrive tomorrow so I won't be opening the boxes til the weekend...for an unboxing video of course).  Came really close to getting swamped out.  There wasn't supposed to be any rain today but something changed and the gloom on the horizon made me a little nervous on the trip back home.  Rain was pouring pretty hard south of my road but didn't hit TFL until just as I turned into my driveway.  By the time I unloaded four bales of alfalfa and three bags of feed, the downpour ended.  81,91,68, .15",B

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Big Jack


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

I finally gave in to temptation...

I have been resisting buying a drone for over a year...until today. My thought has always been - how much drone footage can you actually shoot before the novelty wears off? Decided if I can come up with 50 drone videos to shoot for my YouTube channel - I would buy one. I came up with 75. So I am cashing in on some of the money "the bucket" video has made and ordered a DJI Mavic Pro along with a number of a la carte accessories (at a better deal than any package price I could find).  91,92,75,0,B

Monday, June 5, 2017

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Saturday, June 3, 2017

a shower...

Had a storm sneak up on TFL this afternoon.  Came from NW to SE - usually they go SW to NE.  Had a pretty steady rain for a little over an hour.  Normally Ben goes in the barn when it rains but he stood outside the whole time watching some of his burro buddies get wet.
72,87,65, .70",B

Friday, June 2, 2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017

in production...

Finished the next installment of the Pepino project for YouTube.  Had to do some creative rigging to get the shot.  84,90,66,0,B

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

perfect pumping...

Tested out the timer with the new pump today.  Another win.  The new pump is (again) half the price of the one I have been using, a quarter the size, and plenty of flow.  82,84,61, .04",B

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

perfect timing...

The weirdest things get me excited.  I really love this timer circuit I found for the new Pepino how to video series I am doing.  The one I have been using for the pump on my DIY swamp cooler was twice the price of this one, came in kit form, and only had rough timing adjustments via micro potentiometers.  This new one comes fully assembled, has 18 different programmable functions (I only need function #6), and I can precisely punch in the on/off timing cycle down to the millisecond.  The "chinglish" instructions are a little difficult to understand, but thanks to YouTube videos like this I figured out what is what.  79,83,58,0,B

Monday, May 29, 2017

Sunday, May 28, 2017

spiritually discerned...

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

one hit wonder?

Decided to celebrate my incredibly lucky score on YouTube with a new postcard from my favorite online printer.  The video is still slowly plugging along after its' peak over two weeks ago.  Up to 6.3 million views now, but fading quickly.  It is very likely that this will never happen again... but I have 60 more videos planned for the rest of the year so we shall see what happens...98,102,69,0,C

Friday, May 26, 2017

Thursday, May 25, 2017

burro break

Shot part three of the YouTube Pepino project today.  Had to use my sheet metal break to do some bending for a chunk of duct work.  The last time I used this was 5 years ago back in the days when Mr. Floppy used to hang out (I think he must have died at least 3 years ago).  Funny thing is...I "break" it out today and just happened to have a new burro on hand almost in the exact same spot.  99,103,62,0,B

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

hot battery

Part of my morning routine is to check my battery banks.  Two days ago I discovered one of the 3 batteries left in my dying bank was really hot.  Not good.  Removed it from the bank and placed in out away from everything just in case it decided to go up in flames (or explode)...the main reason I check my batteries daily.  I think it is time to put the new batteries into service and retire this group for good.  Just so happens I shot a video of the switch which will be posted soon.  90,93,54,0,B  Note: my battery set ups are not very pretty and are one step above Frankenstein - but they work for me.  Don't do as I do.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

sibling rivalry...

Well...for some reason Chupa and Manny suddenly decided to fight a lot.  Normally, they get along pretty well and will spar occasionally but yesterday it was relentless.  Apparently they had been going at it for while in the morning before I let them out of the pen.  Both of them were a little bloody.  Throughout the day they went at it a couple more times until Manny hid in the Airstream.  Last night when I was ready to put them back in the pen, I thought Chupa had killed Manny.  He was lying frozen on his back.  I put Chupa in the pen and decided to wait a little while to try to figure out what was going on...Manny didn't appear to have any visible injuries and his eyes were open.

About a half hour later (after doing some digging online) I went out to check him and he was not moving but his eyes were still open.  I turned him back over on his feet and he hopped right up as if nothing had happened.  Seems a fight had induced a state of "tonic immobility" ...a natural state of semi-paralysis that some animals enter when presented with a threat - a defensive mechanism intended to feign death.  It can be induced by humans in various ways and is known as chicken hypnosis - a barnyard parlor thick of sorts.

It was getting dark by this time so I took a chance and put Manny in the pen with Chupa.  They both went calmly into the coop.  This morning I came to let them out and Manny was immobilized on his back again, so I righted him but kept him in the pen for the day.  I let Chupa out but he spent the whole day right next to the pen.  Decided it might be a good idea to provide separate sleeping quarters so I slapped together a makeshift second coop to keep them apart overnight to avoid any early morning conflicts.  For the next week or so they will take turns during the day - one in the pen while the other gets to run around.  The question I try to get video of Chupa "hypnotizing" Manny?  77,84,64,0,B

Monday, May 22, 2017

a monday matinee...

89,92,62, .92"(yesterday),B

Sunday, May 21, 2017

this won't end well...

This has got to be the most pathetic scam email I have ever received.
Wrong on so many levels...

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  Galatians 6:7

"Therefore we must call upon God, He has promised to help: therefore let me not think Him to be false or untrue to His promises, for we can not dishonor God more than by not believing or trusting in Him. Therefore let us beware above all things of dishonoring God; and so we must be patient, trusting and most certainly believing that He will deliver us when it seems good to Him, who knows the time better than we ourselves."  Hugh Latimer 1485-1555    

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Ben's little blue bowl...

Made an executive decision yesterday and took Ben's large trough out of service.  Decided it was kind of silly to have so much water sitting out there for just him (and occasionally Javier), especially since I was loosing a lot to evaporation.  Years ago someone gave me a float valve and I thought it might finally be time to try it out.  Ben inspected and approved the new water source as soon as I set it up to fill for the first time.  So far so good.  80,83,71,0,W

Friday, May 19, 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017