Wednesday, March 31, 2010

the rig

hmmmm...I'm starting to remember what a hundred+ degree day with a UV index of 10 feels like. Had a couple of nice little blooms on a potted cactus I saved last year after a longhorn uprooting. Began rigging the rig for the solar fryer. - so far all the parts are going together as planned, but the first test was a flub. A combination of factors caused the Jiffy Pop failure: high winds, not enough mirrors, started late in the day. But I was close - the pan started to sizzle and actually popped about 30 times. Thus we enter the "tweak the project" phase. Cooked for real in the solar oven today - seasoned boneless chicken breast with sliced potatoes. 80,99,45,0,B
IP cam note: A longhorn chewed the cable AGAIN so that is why the image is stuck on Saturday. Should have it up and running again soon ....after I dig a trench for the cable.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

winter refrigerator

Made the rounds up town including my visit with my friends at KRTS. If you are ever in Marfa - feel free to drop in on them....just like the Field Lab - visitors are always welcome at the studios of Marfa Public Radio. As usual, I was late leaving and late getting home with the goods. Benita hung out like a champ waiting for some supper.

Reloaded refrigerant into my winter time ice box. 90 beers and cold SW Texas nights = 6 months of free food cooling in my insulated box on the porch. Think I got about another 2 or 3 weeks before I have to move it inside and start buying an ice block once a week.

Adding a new indicator to my daily string of numbers....C=calm, B=breezy (0-15mph winds), W=windy (15-30 mph winds), G=gusty (30+mph winds). 73,93,34,0,B

Monday, March 29, 2010

KRTS Marfa Public Radio

A bit behind schedule - the KRTS Marfa Public Radio spring pledge drive ends tonight and I have yet to renew my membership. Killed a couple of birds with one stone today...will deliver the dough to them Tuesday. Doing a supply run tomorrow and will drop off a loaf of "Benita approved" Field Lab Solar Oven Bread along with a check to the radio station.

Sussed out the parts list to complete the solar fryer today, ordered more mirrors, then just played with the longhorns. Pulled the loaf out of the oven then hit the road south for some porch time and dinner with Dr. Doug at the Starlight Theatre. Looking forward to a couple of 100+ degree days coming up. 64,86,33,0 To those new to the blog....the numbers I post are as follows: temp at 8PM, high temp of the day, low temp of the day, rainfall.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


This is the time of year when the herd starts their visits - had 32 longhorns here this morning. The bellowing calf from yesterday was here again but this time with its' momma...Beatrice! I think this is her first calf, and I like to think that Benita is the grandmother. Above photo is 3 generations?

Did my best today to bond with the new visitors. Worked a little work in sideways by playing with the new solar fryer throughout the day....yup - it's gonna work just fine. Reached a max temp today of 525 degrees.....set stuff on fire in no time. Now I just gotta rig it for presentation. 63,82,43,0

Saturday, March 27, 2010

little mirrors

I gotta hand it to B.J.'s Craft Supplies....I ordered 200 one inch diameter mirrors from them on Thursday morning at 7:53AM and they arrived by mail today! Now that's what I call service...

Benita had some guests today...8 cows and 3 calves. Everyone seemed to get along quite well....a little bit of feeding and lots of napping. One calf was here without its' momma and bellowed all day long.

Ran down to Bee Mountain Hardware and found just what I needed as usual - some 5 minute epoxy. High winds all afternoon but managed to glue down 198 mirrors onto the satellite dish - soon to become my solar fryer. Need to place another order of at least 60 more for this dish and perhaps a load for the next one. I think this is going to work quite well. 69,83,45,0

Friday, March 26, 2010


Rather obsessed with solar cooking today in order to prep for the Terligua Green Scene demo coming up on April 10. Just couldn't wrap my brain around how to keep the cooking surface level as I tilted the dish for my satellite fryer. Searched all over the internet and didn't find exactly what I was looking for so I am just going to have to design it myself. Had to rig some parts to see how it worked and soon discovered it is just a parallelogram. Ordered 200 one inch diameter glass mirrors to glue to the dish surface. Good price and fast service - my mirrors got shipped the same day I ordered them.
Just one more thing to distract me - also started playing with one of my old bike wheel wind mills - good attention getters.....hope to fix up my Stepper Spinner to show off soon. It is featured in my very first YouTube video posted November 21, 2006. 79,92,35,0

Thursday, March 25, 2010

TFL loves TFT

Since I didn't get much done here other than spending way too much time at the GrubShack and cutting a couple of pieces of trim for the shower upgrade (as well as a very nice breeze free shower at the end of the day) - thought I'd take this rare occasion to respond to all of yesterdays comments.

1. Thanks, Mike
2. need to worry about the shower being see-through.....I have an awesome body.
3. too!
4. frann,..full sun in the winter and shade in the summer to moderate the hot water temps.
5. zwango...will treat the wood somehow...someday.
6. Caboose...soon I will have enough water for scrubbing baths and a recreational hot tub.
7. Trevor...rock stars get a free shower as long as I can video tape it.
8. bill.patin...the longhorns smell the running water and come up for a drink sometimes.
9. & 10. are my "on the road/off the grid" hero! If the Field Lab ever goes on the road - you are the model! you gotta check out more of the photos... 63,84,36,0

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Stuff

Good Alpine run just about everything on the long list - it gets revised as I'm shopping. Made a run to Marfa to check out a feed store but they didn't have Benita's favorite blend. Just as well, as she headed out NW of the Field Lab yesterday afternoon which usually means she won't be back for awhile. Problem is we didn't get good rain recently so there is no grass growing out here - yet. Got more range feed and a bale of coastal just in case she comes back soon. She will be 22 on April 5th so I have to be ready for a party.

Recently, I connected on Facebook with a woman that was married for a couple of years to an old college roommate and best friend of mine - Parry Wilvers. Natalie Wilson Schorr moved on and is still the brilliant artist I briefly met over 20 years ago....except she no longer smokes a pipe. I saw some "dolls" she has been making and asked her to make a couple of longhorns for me. She just finished them and they are on their way to the Field Lab as we speak. Parry and I are due to hook up next month when he comes to San Antonio on a business trip. The past is a freaky thing indeed... 73,95,38,0

Monday, March 22, 2010

lost day in search of hay...

All the way to Presidio and luck on finding some of Benita's favorite hay. But it was a very nice day for a long drive on the river road. Just enough time left in the day to finish the long list for an Alpine supply run tomorrow. On the road again.... 68,86,29,0

Sunday, March 21, 2010

it's what's for dinner....

Some hunter/neighbors SW of me came out today to drop off their extras on the way back to the big city. Kind of nice to have 3 generations stop by for a visit. When any part of the group that owns Panther mountain goes camping, I make out like a food bandit when they leave. Plenty to keep my belly full for awhile including some fresh killed Aoudad - tasted like...meat.

Maria the botanist was out again today to study my plant life. Not much new discovered other than the young blooms didn't really care for the freeze we had last night. Took her for a brief tour of the swimming hole - the epicenter of the 6 mile range of the Terlingua Creek Cat's Eye. Thanks to no wind for a change - off and on throughout the day, I prepped the blocks for the SE corner for the greenhouse foundation. Benita watched. 58,75,23!,0

Saturday, March 20, 2010

almost nuthin...

High winds started last night at about midnight....let up after an hour then persisted throughout the day. Benita stayed on the south side and I stayed inside. Worked on the plan for the new solar oven which will be based on the design from these folks.

Ryan saved the day from being a total washout by showing up late this afternoon with the machine he rented for a week....and cut me an access road into my canyon for the future mega-dam. 46,66,41,0

Friday, March 19, 2010

nature tour...

Today was all about a Field Lab tour for my new friends Carl and Sheila and then just a day of observing nature. My buddy Thrasher was a bit vocal this morning. 68,91,38,0

Thursday, March 18, 2010

newest hand feeder...

Pretty much lost the day to minor chores, mindless errands, and a trip down south for laundry. Worked an hour on my new solar oven design to debut at the Terlingua Green Scene on April 10th. Shopping list shaping up for an Alpine run soon.

Cows on hand this afternoon and old friend Carmella learned the hand feeding trick. She's looking fat and milky so I reckon she will drop one in the next couple of weeks. 72,85,33,0

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

this worst part done...

Resigned myself to hard labor . This south edge is the lowest to the ground so had to do quite a bit of digging to give myself 10" of room for the blocks with concrete to follow. Luckily the rocks tend to come out in big chunks. The rest of the foundation edges only require leveling with sand. Shoveling sand doesn't seem quite as bad as swinging a pick.

On the lighter friend Scruffy Jones just posted a video in appreciation of my patronage. Check out the link - "Scruffy the Longhorn" at her blog - especially if you have never seen hair horns. Benita approves this message. 64,88,29.0

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

had help today...

Well....barely a trace of rain last night - but I was ready for a downpour just in case. Cloudy and windy most of the morning. Around 10AM I noticed a familiar face approaching....Benita! We spent about an hour getting re-acquainted which means I watched her eat range feed. Managed to work in a good neck scratch for her too. She spent about an hour on the south side of my house out of the wind.

Lunched at the GrubShack then returned home to introduce my neighbor Chris to Benita. She has become a real fan. Chris has been asking about B ever since we met on the Homes Tour. They hit it off well enough for her to be able to hand feed Benita.

Spent the afternoon prepping the foundations for the west side of the greenhouse. The north side was a breeze but the south side involved quite a bit of rock chopping to make room for a course of cinder block. Just like old times - Benita followed me around a bit while I chopped'n'blocked. I think all that eating and watching wore her out...or perhaps it was the 10 mile walk she just did to get back home. 50,68,37,0

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

possible pollinators...

My friend Maria from Sul Ross came south today to check out the blooming Cat's Eye plants. She has counted over 1000 individuals growing on my 60 acres. This afternoon, we positioned ourselves next to the largest plants on my property to observe what bugs might be pollinating them.....bees and ants so far.

Here and there - the rest of the day was about clearing the west end of the greenhouse and prepping for rain tomorrow. Cleared out the woo room and re-located all my tools and parts to the NW container. Moved 18 sacks of concrete mix (including 6 congealed bags to my little dam by the pump) to make way for some perimeter foundation work. Nice diversion from working on the roof system. 68,95,33,0