Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Since changing my life and moving out here, the thought of a deadline rarely occurs to me.  Alarm clocks are definitely out of the question.  When I woke up with the sunrise this morning, it suddenly hit me that today was the deadline for the Texas Monthly Short Film Contest.  To add to the mix...we had cloudy skies and a threat of rain coming in.

Fired up the new Field Lab brain and discovered that the quick time DVD I had made with the sick laptop ran fine on the new machine.  Next up - downloaded Acrobat Reader so I could print out the rules and entry forms.  Last bit of business was downloading drivers for my printer.  Was clouding up pretty good but I took a chance and headed to the post office in Study Butte to send off my entry.  Last stop was some ice for the ice box.  Heavy rain on the way home at the hill by Luna Vista.  Got back at noon just as some drizzle started.  Grabbed my mail at the corner and found my new video editing software arrived - Adobe Premiere Elements 8. (something to play with on a rainy day)
 Light rain steady from 1 - 2 PM.  More coming tonight and tomorrow...but I'm good to go for awhile.  78,92,72, .04", W

Tuesday, June 29, 2010



Monday, June 28, 2010

odd monday...

Had a suprise visit today from Beatice and Benito.  They spent the day here with Benita.  Benit"O" still remembers that it's OK to be chummy with me...and he knows his name.  That was a great way to start the day. 

Made 4 more Field Lab tshirts for recent orders and shot down to the post office to send them out.  Lots of chances of afternoon thunderstorms so I gotta get out when I can.  Got back home and took a nap for 2 hours.
Took a late afternoon shower and the skies were still relatively clear so I went down to the food - just a couple of Margaritas with good company.  Home again at 6:45 and cleaned out the spray gun and all its' parts.  Two more (cool work) hours on the scaffold this evening finishing off the south side of the roof structure.  89,100,67,0,B

Sunday, June 27, 2010

B day...

Our resident piano tuner just happens to be a bee expert also.  She was called in to remove a hive that had evolved inside an old stereo speaker outside the house of a resident that is deathly allergic to bees.  She called The Field Lab and asked if I was interested in adopting them.  My first thought was bee stings - my second thought was Field Lab I said sure,  prepped a rain cover for them, and she dropped them off.  75,98,73,0,B

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mr. Floppy

Early breakfast at the GrubShack
2 hours of painting
Spray gun clogged, got hot outside, time to quit for the day
Burro visit including a buddy from last year - a scarred up old burro with extra floppy ears I call Mr. Floppy.
Topped off the day with another "almost rain" event.

Friday, June 25, 2010

the thinker...

Made a run to Alpine today and took Doc Savage with me. It was his first trip north since moving out here 42 days ago. We ran our errands and I introduced him to my friends Suzy and Carla at the Cheshire Cat Antique Store. Made it back down to the ranch just in time to drop off some goods ordered for the GrubShack.

Came home and unpacked my stuff then checked in on my virtual life on the web. Found that my good friend Dan had written up a nice piece on his blog about I headed over for a visit to compare notes on Blog-dom and deliver a Field Lab tshirt to him. Please give his blog a ponder...this guy is scary/brilliant (and I mean look at all his posts - not just the one about me) I have to say that if I spent as much effort thinking as he would leave me very little time to actually do any physical labor out here. The man is a master of getting things done by just thinking and planning. We have similar visions but just different means of making it happen. He is a good man to know out here because of his mental prowess. And by the way....the Field Lab has a Christmas tradition going on out here - the last stop is always Dan's because Santa gets a glass of fine Scotch when he stops by. 86,102,74,0,B

Thursday, June 24, 2010

spray day...

Logged 6 hours behind the spay gun today(alerted to my typo 12 hours later - that is spray not spay)... I'm really itchin' to get the greenhouse going again. I think the sprout thing is helping get me in gear. The recent shift in my diet also seems to provide quite a bit more energy even in the heat of the summer. Hmmm....critters are raised on vegetable matter and by cutting meat out of my diet, I'm simply eliminating the middle man - going strait to the source...and pulling a plant out of the ground is so much less violent than killing and butchering an animal. Benita approves this message. 84,101,75,0,B

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

shock the system...

Easy cool morning loading up the new Field Lab brain with software. In and out tending the cow.

Broke for a nap as it heated up outside then a long lunch at the GrubShack...including their soon to be world famous home made ice cream. My choice today was what I call Super Chocolate but Eva makes a couple of different flavors each week (I will try them all). I have resisted but now I am hooked.

Spent the afternoon researching sprouted wheat bread recipes....just the thing for my solar oven. Every day seems to be filled with more bad news from the outside world which tends to push me further away from our over-processed society. I'm afraid my beer bread recipe using generic self rising flour is doomed...and saving my last can of Spam for the Field Lab Museum. I welcome anyone's experience with organic bread making.

Dinner tonight - sprouted lentils and wheat berries with diced shallots and avocado in a quesadilla with Fontina cheese from Denmark. 94,101,76,0,B

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

big brother

Yet another computer day...the new HP "all in one" (the CPU and drives are all mounted behind the screen) arrived this afternoon. Even out here in the middle of nowhere - one can order a computer on a Friday and have it delivered to the front door the following Tuesday. The thing I really love about a new computer is that it is usually twice the speed and storage for the same price (or less) of the old one. You gotta love Moore's Law. So far so very good but will take some time to get it up to speed with all the imaging software yet to be loaded. Nice to have a big screen again. One more item ordered before I deal further with the sick laptop. With this gizmo I can pull the drives out and suck the info onto the new HP before sending it off for repair. 95,107,79,0,C

Monday, June 21, 2010

239 Elizabeth Street

Day off for clean up and a visit from Gordon, Sharon and little Ace. Sharon was a neighbor in my old apartment building in NYC back in the 80's - we went through some tough times together with an evil landlord. My New York friends were an a road trip heading to LA and made it this far out of their way to drop in. Seems like a whole other lifetime ago. 94,103,77,0,B

Sunday, June 20, 2010

form pulled

Pulled the form off the SW pour and it turned out just fine. A couple of the concrete bags had more pea gravel than sand but it's all good. Just one more like this one then two more with 20 bags each...Walter (the cement mixer) will be called into service for the big pours. Tacked a shade over my solar water heater to cut the sun.....staying warm enough just with the ambient daytime air temps. 95,101,75,0,B

Saturday, June 19, 2010

beat the heat...

Thunder and lightning woke me up sometime around midnight....late night storms don't happen out here very often. Sucked it up and got to work early for a change. Set the form and rebar and did the pour for the SW side of the greenhouse. Finished 11 bags of concrete just in time as I was starting to get dizzy. 9 - 1:30 was a good Saturday's labor for a change. Cooled off at the GrubShack for two hours with about a gallon of iced tea and their famous combo sandwich.

Headed out to the American Legion Post 653 for beers and dinner. First time I have been there in over a year - the interior is all spruced up with a new paint job. Hung out on the patio till sunset with my favorite neighbors Fred and Mario. Finally....a well earned day. 89,100,72, .31",C

Friday, June 18, 2010


Missed the cool work window outside this morning so hunkered down once again inside. Loaded the photo editing software I use onto the netbook so I can tweak and post pics again (photos from yesterday). Searched online and found another HP to get me back in business with a full size monitor. This time I am skipping the laptop route and getting what they call an all in one desktop - still low power but heartier. I took into consideration all the suggestions folks gave me but I am rather brand loyal and I don't fault HP for the failure of my laptop - I put that thing through hell the last 3 years and probably got at least 6 years of life out of it being that I ran it 14 hours a day in this desert...still confident that HP will bring it back to life.

Finally got around to signing up for the medevac helicopter ambulance service for rural areas. I think the sudden illness of my computer must have motivated this. For $50 per year, I can get choppered out if need be and that's it for my out of pocket expenses...they try to squeeze the rest of the $25,000 price tag out of my insurance company. The only down side is - if I really need it...I probably won't be able to enjoy the ride. But I will try to get photos for the blog. 87,103,68,0,B

Thursday, June 17, 2010

it was bound to happen...

More computer woes ....reckon it's time to send the abused laptop to the doctor. Blogging from the netbook photo capability as of yet from this angle.

Good labor day in spite of connection problems. Built the form for the west end of the south side for the next pour for the greenhouse perimeter. Also fabricated and installed frames with canvas to shade the morning and afternoon sun from the porch.

Well...Benita is now more popular than I am on Facebook. She just passed me today - has more fans than I have friends. I sure am proud of that old cow.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

garden in a jar

Been in contact with HP....they are ready and willing to fix my laptop woes if I can't sort it out myself. Downloaded a bunch of updates last night that really screwed things up. Had to do a system reset in safe mode to clear up the havoc. Checked some online strategies on how to open up the laptop. Got most of the innards exposed so I could blow out all the dust and grime inside - and there was a lot. Had to remove 26 screws to get it open. Running fine all afternoon so we shall see if I need to send it off for more doctoring.
A new neighbor (7 miles east) is experimenting with growing sprouts as part of an approach to sustainability. He calls himself Doc Savage. He gave me about 6 tablespoons of alfalfa seed and two jars to play with. In 3 days that little bit of seed completely filled two 26oz jars with sprouts after soaking for 12 hours then rinsing them 3 times a day. I reckon this warrants further consideration. 91,101,67,0,B

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

rain in Agua Nada

Cleared the courtyard and surrounds this morning...tour at lunch more tshirt sent off this afternoon...then rain. Pumped 1000 gallons into the water bank. 78,103,68, .4",W

Monday, June 14, 2010


Seem to be developing major computer issues....posting tonight in ''safe mode". Spent half the day trying to figure out what the problem is. Laptop runs fine for hours or minutes then the display goes haywire and I have to shut down or it shuts down by itself. Also having trouble tricking it into finding network access to the internet. Maybe this is the universe telling be to suck it up and get back to work on things in the real world.

241 night at the Starlighight...they have been having issues (don't we all) with their swamp cooling system. This is an industrial sized portable unit they borrowed from my buddies Doug and Kat...we got all caught up at the bar tonight. Several visits coming up so I gotta get going early and start clearing the grounds and prep for the next assault on the greenhouse.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

stay in the shade...

Battled five failed upload attempts to YouTube using GoogleChrome as my browser....started number 6 using Internet Explore then went south for laundry duty. Came home to find success. Exclusive preview track off the upcoming CD by the Bent Love Handles.

Benita was smart today....just stand still in the shade and everything will be all right. 88,106,72,0,W

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Bent Love Handles

In the studio this morning with Brent Lovelady and William Rich...The Bent Love Handles. They were working on some songs for their debut album due out in October. Since I love the music that they write, I'm hoping that The Field Lab can help them out with some advance publicity. Spent the hot afternoon inside working on a video mix of their song After A Fall...on YouTube soon. 80, 110,74,trace of rain, W

Friday, June 11, 2010

grid connected...

More chances of afternoon isolated thunderstorms coming up so I ran to Alpine for parts'n'stuff. Hit the local health food store to buy some Kombucha (my new favorite drink) and alfalfa seed for sprouting to add to my new non-Spam meals. Working toward a vegatarian diet since it is much easier to grow veggis than it is to raise, I don't think I can resolve the conflict of having relied my whole life on 6 degrees of separation between the living animal and my meal meat.

Stopped off to visit my buddy Bennett Jones and found his newly installed solar array... 2820 watts. His system is grid connected with no storage capacity set up yet. Nice thing was - when I showed up he was on his way out to check the meter and discovered it was time to turn on the AC in his house because he was feeding more into the grid than he had used so far today. 92,109,73,0,W

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Lost my third window for the small solar oven last spare and this one got blown over, and the other piece got nailed by hail last year. If I broke hearts out here as much as I break glass - I'd have a long list of Terlingua ex's by now.

Good news is I actually got some manual labor done this morning before it got hot. Cleared all the rock from the SW side of the containers where the next foundation pour goes. 8 wheel barrow loads of rock and gravel got added to the pile where my fire pit rocks ended up.

Long afternoon fighting with my computer over video files. I re-edited my cowboy poem to submit to a contest at Texas Monthly. Converted the file to their preferred format but getting some audio dropout at the beginning of the burned DVD I have to submit. The file on the laptop plays fine. I got 3 weeks to figure it out. 91,105,73,0,B

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

end of the day save...

Highlight of an uneventful day was the end of it. 97,101,71,0,B

Monday, June 7, 2010


Today seemed like a really good day to experiment with a window air conditioner I bought over a year ago. Since my windows are the wrong size....I had to improvize. The intake for the unit had to be channeled to one window while the vent that blows the cold air was piped to the swamp cooler. We had an exceptionally warm night and high humidity in the morning - this did the trick. Chilled down the hut 6 degrees in just over an hour....running off the generator. Nice to know it works well - for those super hot days. I will easily live with some noise in exchange for the cool air when I need it.

Received my new external hard drives and immediately put one into service by backing up all my photo and video files on the laptop. These little devices are amazing....about the size of a deck of tarot cards and stores 500 gigabytes of data for $75 including shipping.

New video on YouTube in case you missed it...Brent Lovelady performed one of his new songs at the Field Lab yesterday. 90,102,75,0,B

Sunday, June 6, 2010



Saturday, June 5, 2010


hmmm....and I thought yesterday was hot. Spent only 2 hours this morning removing the remains of my first firepit. Temps started soaring and the sun got to skin-scorch levels by 10:30 AM. GrubShack lunch then back inside for the day. Loaded some new software into the computer so I can shoot and edit some video for my rockstar neighbor, Brent Lovelady. Inside temperature got up to 87 degrees with Pepino doing its best. 121 degrees (in the sun) at 3:29 today. 103,112,63,0,C

Friday, June 4, 2010


Got hot quickly today - just indoor chores, some fast solar cooking for supper, and a shout out to an old friend. Equestrianly speaking....this is a must have for all the hard core horse folks out there. Invented and patented by Robin Parow - my former next door neighbor in upstate NY. 100,108,62,0,B

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Thursday morning....for your entertainment pleasure till I post tonight...

Made an Alpine run today...among other good things, I got a saltsicle for Benita. Seems my modem is fine but ordered some new external hard drives to backup the data on my computers and a new surge protector for the phone and power lines. 95,106,57,0,B

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

modem problems

electrical storm last night...stay tuned.

Been having intermittent internet connection problems all day....picking up a new modem in Alpine tomorrow - just in case.

Spent 2 hours visiting Dick and Bonnie Cain at their house today. Made sure he knows who Benito is before he goes and castrates the wrong little guy.

My buddy Czar just uploaded some videos of his "unboxing" and how to quick-fold the Field Lab tshirt. Brilliant! 75,104,68,0,C

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


My buddy Mr.Brown (and Field Lab visitor last year) received his official limited edition Field Lab tshirt today...#001! Please continue to send photos so I can post them all on flickr. Once I get a bunch of pics - will post the link here.

1. Thanks for all the nice comments about my Aunt passing. She was the best!
2. Received several emails today that the shirts are being delivered to their new owners.
3. Rigged the ceiling vent for the Pepino.
4. Installed a drain on Pepino
5, Dismantled the old fire pit - time for new/bigger rocks.
6. Installed new weather stripping on my front door (see #7)
7. Conenose beetle season has started.
8. Delivered dinner to Benita at 7PM...2 miles from the Field Lab.
9. 82,105,66,0,C
10. Uploaded 2 new videos over the weekend