Saturday, July 31, 2010

in the zone...

1.  Figure out how to get all the metal up there without killing myself...check
2.  Figure out how to do it fast...check

I really wasn't in the mood to get started on the roofing today so I showered this morning instead.  Almost made an Alpine run but the swampy spot has already been chewed up pretty good my tourists.  How they got through I do not know.  Beatrice came running up to the truck as I was turning around - she was a little too frisky and I had no range feed for her.  She chased my truck about 100 yards at full gallop before giving up.

Came home and put on the work clothes and started the sky monkey routine.  That first sheet of roofing I clamped into place yesterday screwed down with ease.  Quickly figured out a routine that worked and ended up with 12 sheets in place by the end of the day.  56 more to go.  Good light wind day for handling the panels - only light breezes out of the south - that was just the right direction to help me.  I got a feeling this is going to go a lot faster than I dreaded.  91,94,71,0,C

Friday, July 30, 2010

step one...

1.  Make sure the heavier gauge metal is going to conform to the radius OK....check
2.  Figure out how to get all the metal up there without killing myself...yet to be determined

The plan is that three quarters of the roof surface will be covered with corregated metal roofing for shade.  I am starting with 10' panels on the low end south side first.  One quarter (from the center going 12' to the south) will be transparent polycarbonate to let the low winter sun in while all the metal will cut it in half during the high summer months.  The plan is always subject to change.  We shall see....

Thursday, July 29, 2010

dear neighbor...

I recently had a revelation thanks to some good friends of mine that I have a great deal of respect for.  I would like to apologize to my new neighbor who I made a brief reference to in a blog post from April 15th.  I humbly expect your forgiveness for referring to you as a dumb ass, featuring a photo of your vehicle stuck in the mud, and making light of the fact that you and your wife like to watch television.  Although the references were uncalled for (but without true malice - more a trial by fire initiation hazing), I must say that I believe your response has been rather harsh. I forgive you for all the things you have said about me in public and on the internet.  Although I do not expect us to be friends, there is no need for us to be enemies.  We both have a lot of work to do and we are all in this together.  Please accept my sincere apology.  I would respectfully request that you do not malign the character of people I know.  I take a great deal of offense to that and I am not at liberty to forgive you for things you say about my good friends.

That being said:   I finished painting today.  The cow birds and occasional Yellow Headed Black Bird are enjoying the view till the roof goes on.  71,92,70, .46", B

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

game called...

75,95,76, .46",B

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010


Ladder duty for 4 hours this morning - working my way west.  Good temperature day but the winds got a little too breezy this afternoon to continue.  Will probably need one more gallon to hit all the little spots I seem to have missed - they are really standing out now that everything is turning white.

Cleaned up and showered down - contemplating a trip to the Starlight.  Roads have healed since the deluge but still some swampy spots to reckon around.   Decided last minute to stay home and enjoy the solitude.  All dressed up and nowhere to go.

Note:  1.  The live webcam from my .org site has been down since early June but will be up again full time in August.  2.  The limited edition of 100 hand made Field Lab tshirts is sold out - I will continue to make some for a short time if anyone wants one, but they will no longer be numbered.  88,92,68,0,B

Sunday, July 25, 2010

lizard buddy...

Spent the morning hours watching the desert dry from yesterday's rain.  The plants are gonna really love it.  The road should be good to go by tomorrow afternoon.   Found this small lizard looking for flies on top of one of my 1 qt. dutch ovens.  He was only about 3" long from nose to tail.  I was able to photograph him on macro from only an inch away from his face.  Not always that easy to get a up so close and personal to a wild creature.
Changed the oil in the generator and finally got around to some more spaying late this afternoon.  The sprayer was giving me a hard time - but after cleaning it out 3 times, if finally did the job correctly.  Got kind of windy after 2 hours on the ladder so I only managed to get some spots touched up and the east end tips primed.  To finish the center sections, it will be a lot of up and down on the ladder.  83,92,69, .02", B

Saturday, July 24, 2010


71,95,70, 1.15"!,B

Friday, July 23, 2010

the strange path

Early morning bread baking.  Mixed up a double batch of the basic "no knead" recipe last night.   Almost had a tragedy - the lid stuck on my first batch in the clay cooker.  Let it cool for awhile then easily pried the lid off - then popped it back into the grill for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.  My fears of a ruined loaf and a broken vessel went away - all was well in breadland.  I took the loaf to the GrubShack, had a BLT with a couple of slices, and donated the rest for them to share.  In return, Eva gave me a freebie on today's sandwich.   Too windy and hot to paint today so I hunkered down with a book.

Early this month, I was contacted by Lloyd Kahn.  Seems he is working on a new book about tiny houses and would like to include the Field Lab.
He sent me his latest book which I just received in the mail yesterday and I couldn't put it down this afternoon.  It really took me back in time.  I bought his first book when I was in high school and all these years later - we are suddenly in contact.   I used to spend hours in the bookstore checking out these kinds of alternative houses - what I always thought of as "hippy houses".  Perhaps someday I will build and live in a house like that, I used to think.  Always wondered that those people were like.  Hmmmm - and now I know because I seem to be one of them.  Too many new ideas now for the future guest quarters.  85,98,74, .10",W

Thursday, July 22, 2010

two more gallons...

Sprayed for awhile this morning...took a break...sprayed some more...ran out of paint.  Late afternoon / last minute trip to Alpine.  I would really like to finish the paint job this weekend.  Feels good to be almost through with the present phase of construction.

Got my latest delivery from UPS before I bugged out.  This is a clay Superstone Covered Baker for large loaves of bread.  Couldn't find a cast iron version (with a high lid) so this is the next best phase toward the pursuit of the perfect Field Lab bread.  89,96,74,0,W

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

painted feet...

Three hours of painting then dinner with Chicken George and Hoss


Monday, July 19, 2010

Larry the film guy...

This morning I discovered that someone was coasting deep into my blog history from PSI - The Paul
Scherrer Institute in Switzerland.  Seems we sort of have the same thing going on but they are on a much larger scale.  That is one hell of a corporate campus.   

Entertaining a new friend (and photographer) from southern California for a couple of days.   We just discovered that we lived 12 miles apart when we were kids.  Gearing up for a heavy photo day tomorrow.  It will take awhile for Larry to post some photos - he is shooting real film through a couple of super sweet Leicas. 94,100,69.0.B

Sunday, July 18, 2010

6 hour Sunday...

Took the "day of rest" off and put in 6 hours of spraying.  Just past the 3/4 mark on the sky steel.  Worked it into two shifts today - early cool morning and still kind of warm late afternoon.  Long break and a nap in between.  One of my Robber Fly buddies (nice beard) came by to snack on the front porch fare.  I need to coax one of these guys inside to dine on the 5 flies that refuse to leave my living space.  91,99,67,0,B

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Baked my loaf of "easy crusty bread" to perfection this morning in the gas grill (at 500 degrees).  Surprise visit from my new friends Neil and Barbara.  Managed to get back into spray mode for 2 hours then a 2 hour leisurely lunch at the GrubShack.  Had Eva make my BLT with some of my fresh baked bread.  She also made a grilled cheese (on my bread) for my buddy Dan.  Gave loaves of FL Beer Bread to Dan and to David. The 2 D's are the only ones that have had a problem with my Field Lab tshirs...Dan can't stand the fact that they are 10% polyester and David insists on a pocket.  Check out David's blog for more tales of life in the desert.   Played with Benita for awhile then added 15 gallons to the solar shower and scrubbed off the week.  My new favorite thing to do is head to the Starlight for a couple of margaritas during the hot part of the afternoon, then come back home to work some more after it has cooled off.  Rather empowering to leave a bar early and get back to the grind. Sprayed 2 more hours away and I'm done for the day. Cheers!  91,101,72,0,C

Friday, July 16, 2010

plant find...

Maria the botanist was out today and I showed her a strange plant I had found recently on the south 20.  Looked to me like one kind of plant growing out of another and I was right.  Seems one of my wild Acacia shrubs has a parasitic mistletoe growing out of it.  Mistletoe is the common name for a group of hemi-parasitic plants in the order Santalales that grow attached to and within the branches of a tree or shrub.  I never knew that.  I thought they only sprouted at Christmas time over a doorway.  90,99,73,0,B

Thursday, July 15, 2010

old standby...

Whipped up a 4 loaf batch of my best tested FL Beer Bread this morning.  Before my decision to start transitioning (sooner) away from processed foods (part of the self sustainable thing) - I stocked up on enough beer bread parts to bake about 30 loaves.  Might as well crank 'em out while I got the stuff.  Little done in the in between hours other than mindless errands.  Topped off the day grinding up another batch of wheat sprouts and the secret mix for the perfect loaf - round two.

I have been noticing that the greenhouse doesn't seem to be building itself - I should probably address that issue...  88,100,71,0,B

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Title of the blog tonight courtesy of my IT (and BT - bread technology) guy in the UK.  The morning was all about bread.  Dough rose to perfection overnight.  Prepped the small solar oven and preheated my dutch oven inside for 2 hours.  Did a quick stretch and fold of the mix and let rise a second time for one hour then dropped it into the hot dutch oven.  Baked covered at 275 in the solar oven for 1 3/4 hours then uncovered for another 45 minutes.  Good crust - good crumb - good taste.  Still some perfections required, but I'm close with this version.

Afternoon spent clearing the cubbies - found old shopping lists that included dog food (I miss my Goldie).  Went through the pile of computer disks and discovered I had already found the software for my G9 - 3 days ago.  I didn't look closely at the disk the first time.  All I saw was for Mac on the left side - upon closer examination I discovered it also said for Windows on the right did I miss that? - must be a left/right thing... Finished off the day further clouding the mind of my all in one with Adobe Premiere Elements 8 - ahhh, to master it for future videos.  90,103,78,0,B

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

gate keepers...

Dick Cain was out riding the range today with his son and his brother.  They pushed the longhorns back away from the highway...most of them ended up right in my front yard.  This is the group that settled in to guard the Field Lab entrance. 

Well the heat is back....Cleaned house then searched for the software disc for my Canon G9 to no avail - must dig deeper.  During my supply run yesterday, I stocked up on more bread making parts.  Started another batch of alfalfa for supplementing my dinner menu and some wheat berries for my second attempt at the perfect loaf.  My IT guy in the UK sent me this link for Easy Crusty Bread which I mixed up tonight for baking tomorrow.   The next sprout bread attempt will be on Thursday.

Lots of puffy clouds in the area this afternoon.  Plenty of spotty downpours all over Brewster county and finally a brief one right on top of me for about a half hour at 8PM.  85,104,79, .06",B

Monday, July 12, 2010


Finally got out for a supply run to Alpine - seems like forever since I haven't had the threat of an afternoon thunderstorm hanging over my head.  Took some range feed with me on the way out and ran in to Benito - very cool when a longhorn comes when you call him - even more interesting to see the other grown longhorns watch and think as I hand feed my little buddy.  Spent pretty much the whole day 65 miles north.  Got lots of stuff and saw lots of folks.  Came home in plenty of time to treat Benita (and Marlys - she came up to the house when I called her by name), then added more mileage so I could have a couple of Margaritas at the Starlight.  BTW...I finished off the fire pit (with wings) yesterday morning - only 2 rocks to spare.  84.102,75,0,C

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Benita

The big city lured me when I was young
the women were gorgeous - I sure had my fun
had the world on my plate
but it wasn’t my fate
I moved to the desert - my life’s just begun

She’s a real pretty girl
with big brown eyes
and a heart as wide
as the west Texas skies
found her out on the prairie
that was quite a surprise
My Benita...

Lots of women in my youth that I have had
some made me happy…most made me sad
aint one of them near
like the one I got here
my fortunes have turned and I sure am glad

She’s a real pretty girl
with big brown eyes
and a heart as wide
as the west Texas skies
our affections are mutual
of that I surmise
My Benita...

This here girl that I got is like no other
she’s had 15 kids, now that’s quite a mother
she sleeps most of the day
eats grass, grain , and hay
of all of my past ones this one is my druther

She’s a real pretty girl
with big brown eyes
and a heart as wide
as the west Texas skies
but in the heat of the day
she is covered with flies
My Benita...

She pees by the gallon and poops by the pound
the queen of the desert and all that’s around
a west Texas longhorn
that moos like a car horn
hooves, fur, a long tail - the best friend that I’ve found

She’s a real pretty girl
with big brown eyes
and a heart as wide
as the west Texas skies
we are of different species
she’s 5 times my size
My Benita...

In this great wide world I have searched long and hard
found the beast in me, my reputation is marred
by those big brown eyes
and the wide Texas skies
an adopted old longhorn I call
My Benita.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blackbird Naturals

The supposed day long deluge was only morning drizzle.  Although I really didn't deserve the treat - I did a GrubShack lunch this afternoon after waiting for the road to dry out.  Got a double delivery today.  UPS brought me my copy of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and USPS brought me something really special - more about that later.

Was pretty pleased with my rock work yesterday so I went out and fetched 3 more loads.  Spent the late afternoon assembling the e"rock"tor set - adding some stone walls to the fire pit project. One or two more days of drizzle and rocks and I will be returning to spray paint mode.

Back to the special delivery today...this is my tale of a crazy life path and 6 degrees of separation.  Way back in the 80's, I met and became friends with a makeup artist named Bonnie Maller.  She introduced me to photographer Chris Callis who I worked for and became good friends with.  While working for Callis, I met another photo assistant and good friend - and now successful photographer, Dan Winters.  At the time, Dan was dating Denise Milford, now another successful photographer and film maker - and good friend.  After I made the move here, Denise introduced me via the web to her sister Debbie Young.  Debbie introduced me via the web to Anthony Anderson - both I consider good friends though we have never met in person.  Today I got Truffles I ordered from the company that Anthony started with Alexandra and Andrea.  The truffles are UNBELIEVABLE!!  The internet links are as follows:

75,87,70, .21",B

Thursday, July 8, 2010

got my rocks on...

Quick breakfast at the GrubShack then down south for some essentials including a load of last storm due to pass through tomorrow.  Hung my stuff then did a 2fer at the GS in case I get rained out for Friday and Saturday- breakfast and lunch.  Fueled up so I hauled rocks and built my new fire pit...that has been on the list for a long time.  82,89,66,0, B