Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

the fog

Woke up in a fog this morning......a thick, dense fog outside thanks to 96% humidity. Still pea soupy at 9:30AM when I headed to the GrubShack. It was just starting to finally clear over the east side of the HWY by 11 so I headed home. Took another hour before it burned off over TFL. Easy day here just finishing off the last bow tie on the containers - took yet another break for lunch before welding it into place. Blasted Cuban music all day thanks to JD's Christmas present of CD's.....really good music to work to.

My zippy builder friend Ben is back in town to work on his place so I headed over for a visit just before sunset. In only a day and a half he installed a wood stove, 4 windows, a kitchen counter, a sleeping loft and is just about ready for the stairway to heaven. For anyone living in the Fredricksburg area - this is the guy to hire. 46,73,31, .04"
final note: my story was in the top ten for 2009 here...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

no snow

Woke up this morning to only some drizzle....not a flake of snow as predicted. Stayed cooped up inside till the cold and clouds burned off around 3PM. Just as well as my 128 square feet of refuge was a wreck - and needed sorting. The sky cleared up quite nicely by the end of the day. First sign of sun and blue and I was back in the workforce. Notched and welded the diagonals on the north side container gap. Happy to accomplish at least one more tiny step in the big scheme of things. 40,77,39, .09"

Monday, December 28, 2009

jitterbug vipers

Another chance of snow coming up so I made a supply run to Study, propane, bread and cheese - the four major food groups. Back at the ranch, I cut'n'tweaked the diagonal braces to span the voids between containers. Took a bit more time than the others because of the heavier gauge of steel tubing. Clocked out at 3:30 to catch up on some Christmas phone calls and a sponge bath. Topped off the day with my now regular Monday night webcast from the Starlight Theatre. Musical guest tonight was the Jitterbug Vipers and they were excellent! I must say that Slim Richey has a very impressive beard. 51,61,29,0

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

silly horns

Headed out for an early breakfast at the GrubShack - it was the least I could do as Jerry and Eva were good enough to open today. Been noticing some stray cows in the neighborhood lately. Along my road I counted 18. I think they belong to my buddy who owns Packsaddle Ranch LLC. Left him a message today and hope he checks the blog. These bovines look like plain old cows dressed up as devils for Halloween. You call those horns?....I don't think so.

Nice warm sunny day that called for some metal cutting. Beveled the ends of 12 pieces of tubing for the next push to get the rest of the diagonals welded in. (these are the cut-offs) Each one had to be fine tuned to fit perfectly into place. Trying to get every thing cut so I can spend a whole day just on welding. Cutting is OK....but I really love welding.

For inquiring minds: The Field Lab Christmas lights are all LED's - consisting of 8 strings of 50 lights each with a total AC wattage of 76.4. Doesn't take much sun to run those suckers all night long. 43,74,21,0

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Got an early start and welded a bit more before heading to meet the mailman and lounge at the GrubShack. Managed to get out of there after only an hour an a half this time. Got home and finished up the last support on container 4 in no time. With the new lull in the work schedule, I just puttered around and put things in order. Suddenly, I got a real Jonesing for a longhorn fix. I really miss seeing them and they wont be back around here till late February. Must be something about their ominous presence and gentle nature that appeals to me. Loaded up my extra range feed and headed north toward Agua Fria Rd. Headed west about 4 miles and timed the trip perfectly. Passed Dick Cain on the road and passed off two bags of feed to him. He told me Benita is looking healthy and there was another group just down the road at a tank if I wanted to go photograph them. Of course I headed strait to the spot. Nice group of about 20 Benita but I saw Angelina and Carmella - I know they remembered me too by they way they charged up as I flung feed from the bed of my pickup. The pictured longhorn is a familiar one with no I just named her Jan after my buddy JD. Came home with just enough sun and energy left to pre-cut all the rest of the diagonal braces for the trusses. 42,61,34,0

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Got a good jump on the day...but had to break at 10:30 to meet the mailman to get some packages. Let myself get sucked into the GrubShack vortex and ended up having a 2 hour lunch'n'chat. Right back into it when I got home but not enough good weather to let me finish up the supports for container 4. Dark clouds, cold air and a touch of rain shut me down early. Packed up the tools and hunkered down inside the house while the temperature dropped like a rock outside. 40,76,37,sprinkle.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Light Up

Only a minor distraction this morning with the GrubShack open again. Blazed through more cutting and welding today and finished up the vertical mounts for container 3 - got the system down pat now. Left just enough daylight for some beer and installation of the Christmas lights on the Field Lab...they look awesome but you will have to wait for the 25th to see the photo (however-they are on view every evening from the live web cam at ) 51,77,36,0

Monday, December 21, 2009

winter solstice

Got a good day of welding in considering it was the shortest day of the year. The GrubShack is closed on Mondays so I didn't have an excuse. Finished up the vertical supports on container two and got one stick welded into place on #3. Quit at 4:15 for a shower then shot down to the Ghost Town for my regular Monday night webcast from the Starlight Theatre. My friend Trevor Reichman played tonight. Also had a rare chance to chat up my all time favorite waitress Stephanie for a change. Too cloudy tonight for my official solstice sunset photo, but shot one last night just in case - so you get the idea. Now we are on the journey back to summer with each day getting a bit longer. 50,79,31,0

Sunday, December 20, 2009

marfa round trip

Sucked it up and attended a Christmas party in Marfa last night. Don't get me wrong - the party hosts are two of my favorite Marfites, but that should do it for contrived holiday occurrences this year. Booked a room at the Antelope Lodge in Alpine. Slept really well but had to hang around town till 1PM waiting for the hardware store to open today. Exchanged gifts this morning with my buddy Brenda who has worked at the AL since I first stayed there 2 years ago. Did some laundry and visited my friends Suzy and Alex....scored two big heavy doors from them that will work perfectly for the north and south entrances to the greenhouse. Grabbed a few more parts and a new grinder then headed back to home sweet home. 24 hours away is just enough time to make me really appreciate my little slice of heaven. 49,72,26,0

Saturday, December 19, 2009

and the winner is...?

The 200,000th blog visitor is...

Domain Name (Network)
IP Address (Suddenlink Communications)
ISP Suddenlink Communications
Location: North America, United States, Texas, Georgetown
Time of Visit: Dec 19 2009 10:32:04 am
Last Page View: Dec 19 2009 10:32:48 am
Visit Length: 44 seconds, Page Views: 2

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

moving day...

Two years ago tonight I spent the first night out here in my semi-assembled box of a house. 51,71,36,0

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

diagonally speaking...

Late start today ....chasing down breakfast and the mailman took up most of the morning. Borrowed a grinder from my closest neighbor and got to cutting away on the steel. The two sections of diagonal bracing got notched and spliced as planned. Used a narrow width cutting wheel with the loaner/grinder and just followed the marks. I must say that I am quite pleased with how they came together with just a tiny bit of finessing. Welded the parts together and finished off the day cutting the rest of the vertical support pieces. 48,65,37,0

Monday, December 14, 2009

Art D'Lugoff

Got a rip roarin' start on my Monday. Midway through the cutting and grinding, my grinder shit the bed. Had to pack peddle and use my belt sander for some fine tuning. Got 4 cross braces cut and precision tuned to fit but will need a grinder to execute their final placement before welding them into place. Ended up short changed on the day so quit early. Cleaned house, took a shower and headed out to the Starlight Theatre for my normal Monday night.Just yesterday I came across an old friend and former neighbor from my NYC days on Facebook....Sharon Blythe. We shared a lot of anguish over an evil landlord back on Elizabeth St. Feels good to touch base with an old buddy from the hood. I was sad to learn that her father recently passed away. I had the great honor of knowing Art D'Lugoff - legendary impresario of the Village Gate. The absolute best show I ever saw in New York was Tito Puente performing there back in the 80's. Not very often does one get a chance to have a friend that was an icon and who's name and works will live on through history. We'll miss you, Art. 61,85,37,0

Sunday, December 13, 2009


One of the really nice things about this new life of mine is that I really enjoy having lots of work to do on a Sunday.....especially if it is for myself or friends. Today I had a two-fer. Went over to Chuck and Aunt Kathy's to weld up a couple of extra pieces onto their new shade pavilion this morning. Was treated to breakfast with a couple of freezer to microwave omelets that weren't half having a meal with the Jetsons. Finished up his little project by noon.

Back to the ranch and back on the ladder. Pieced together the third support for the trusses on container one. Got about half way done and took a break for a vitamin D tanning session....nice warm sun out there this afternoon. My new buddy Coby came out with wife and infant son for a brief tour then back to work. Finished up just in time before the sun set behind Agua Fria mountain to get some photographs of the latest step in the evolution of the Field Lab. 52,80,29,0

Saturday, December 12, 2009

tools of the trade...

Didn't sleep well last night....something outside of the Field Lab vortex must have been effecting me. I reckon it has passed and I will sleep like a baby tonight. After the normal round at the GrubShack for breakfast, I took advantage of the beautiful day to cut'n'weld the second of 10 truss supports onto place. Amazing how many tools are involved with each step here. Hope to be able to pick up the pace as soon as I finish the first container supports along with the cross bracing to be added next.

Got a CD in the mail today that I have been looking forward to. "Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl"...silly name but I love this duo. I almost moved to Bisbee Arizona because of them. A clever review I once read of their music...."Karen Carpenter meets Tim Burton". Amy's rendition of My Morphine is exceptional. Now if I could only get them to come play the Starlight Theatre...

The day got topped off with a wonderful gift. Seems my friend JD was telling my new BFF Ella about how Benita has gone away for the winter. Together they drew this picture for me so I won't miss Benita too much. How sweet it that? If I had a refrigerator, this would be front and center. Will frame it instead and find a place of honor for it. 52,79,27,0

Friday, December 11, 2009


Had an excellent day of bringing imagination into physical reality. It all came together just as I had seen it in my head for so many days. Welded up the first of 12 truss supports a bit slowly but just as I had imagined it would come together. I think the reason I did not pursue photography is because it didn't give me the amount of satisfaction that sculpture does....and the greenhouse is the biggest sculpture I have ever built. Nice to be back in the physical labor groove again and way from the computer. 51,74,31,0

Thursday, December 10, 2009

just shoppin...

Not much to report today....Alpine and back with more "stuff", then a load of water from the Ghost Town. Did however get an email today from my brilliant independent radio producer friend Joe Richman (from my NYC days) about his year end wrap up. This is someone really worth watching (er....I mean listen to). 46,70,35,0

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

metal work again...

Had one of those really good sunrises this morning - the kind that makes you think twice about life. Built a work table this morning for the next phase of construction. Just as I was finishing up a group of hunters came out for a visit. Killed over an hour chatten up the gunmen then got back to work only long enough to discover I needed to make a (quick) run to the hardware store. Got home in plenty of time to start cutting up some steel. First task on the list is to fabricate more substantial supports for the trusses. I will be replacing the temporary rebar supports I tacked up with the new stuff as soon as I figure it out and actually make it. 47,70,37,0

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

more parts...

The photo above is a shot from the same spot as yesterdays photo with the Field Lab now fully underway. Slept in a bit longer today due to heavy fog this morning. So nice to wake up according to the amount of light outside instead of an alarm clock. Got a call at 9AM from the driver with my steel delivery. I had just enough time to hit the GrubShack for breakfast before my parts were due to arrive. He met me at the HWY and I drove him out my road first so he would feel confident getting the 18 wheeler out here. Took my new friend Raul only about 45 minutes to bring out the goods and offload it all right where I wanted. I really got to hand it to Mueller. Great product and professional service - from the sales staff right down to the delivery driver. Now all I got to do is put it all together.... 65,82,35,0

Monday, December 7, 2009

2 Years in Paradise

2 years ago on this day I began building the panels for what would soon become my new home. Here is a look at the virgin landscape in the days just before The Field Lab was born. 43,82,26,0

Sunday, December 6, 2009

black paint sunday

Inspired by yesterdays realization that I am way behind schedule - I drummed up some chores to fill the day. Solar heat was top of the list. Ripped open the solar oven and vacuumed out all the dust, cleaned the glass, and gave the interior a fresh coat of black bar'b'que paint. Sealed it back up and let it cook away all day to burn off the fumes. Was up to 300 quickly now that the interior has been refurbished. Let it heat up and vent out twice over the course of the day. Now it's good to go for the next round of baking.

Since I am in dire need of a nice hot shower, I figured I should also ramp up the solar water heater. Removed and cleaned the glass from the top and gave the tank a fresh coat of black just like the oven. Put it all back together and watched the water temperature rise. Not quite hot enough for a shower tonight.....but what is one more day.

Nice full sun all day and almost made it up to 80 degrees outside. Feeling a bit low on my vitamin D, I pulled out a lounge chair from the guest room and actually laid out in the sun for an hour. As I sampled a nice Sunday afternoon beer, I spotted something squiggly moving along the ground. A skinny little snake was working its way toward my house. Choosing not to kill on a Sunday, I coaxed him away with a stick. Hope he finds a nice spot to spend the winter...away from my house.

My friend Rachel (famous flower girl from the wedding last weekend) is in dire need of a new computer. Help yourself to her "Equipment Fundraiser Campaign" page to check out art that she is selling to help make the new computer a reality. I will one up any art purchase with a Field Lab tshirt and a vial of precious Field Lab Melted Snow. Each vial by the way contains the equivalent of approximately 526,463 small snowflakes. 47,78,25,0

Addendum: The Field Lab Research and Fact Checking Team has come up with a more reasonable approximation for the snowflake count per 1.75ml of water..... best guess now is 58,450