Monday, February 28, 2011

new addition...

Benita's friend Mr. Cow (that's my pet name for her) has been looking pretty plump lately.  Yesterday she was showing signs that she was about to drop...was in for breakfast then headed off east by herself around 11AM.  Sure enough - she strolled in this morning looking quite a bit slimmer with a wobbly calf at her side.

New press folks coming out Friday so began the latest round of cleanup...shuffling the stuff.  First on the list was retrieve the contents of 3 garbage bags that exploded across my desert during the wind storm yesterday.  Finished sorting the debris from the solar oven construction and filed all the tools away then cleaned up the old solar oven since primo solar cooking season is upon us.  Went back to rock chipping for the late afternoon and made good progress on the water tank bed for the greenhouse catchment system.  Two margaritas and four tacos at the Starlight to cap off the day.  56,78,36,0,B 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011


Popped the unfinished box in the sun this morning for a dry run...200 degrees in 40 minutes - but no hotter.  Built the outer shell and put it all together this afternoon with insulation.  No materials in the Field Lab stock to build the frame for the single pane glass lid.  Another heat test with reflectors tomorrow.  I think I'm going to try a mini version of the Heaven's Flame Solar Cooker for my production run. 

Was contacted last week by a soon to be new friend Bill Schneider-coming out to find his "bought sight unseen" land and try an experiment with the "waterboxx".  Weather permitting, I will be hauling some water and a temporary storage tank to him when he comes out to find his tract next month..  I read about these last year but forgot all about them till Bill reminded me.  Thought it would be a good experiment to try here as well so I ordered 4 to test out from Amazon.  59,75,30,0,B

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

the fog...

Had a nice long deep fog roll in from the east this morning but only 90% humidity so hardly a trace of water in the gutters.  Clear as a bell at the Field Lab but Mt. McKenna a mile away was engulfed in the low mist.  Took a break from rock breaking to work on the new prototype solar oven.  Got the basic shell together lined with sheet metal.  For awhile I was in a time machine zone today...I built a lot of video monitor props back in NYC using all the same techniques that I am using to line these ovens.  64,85,39,39,0,B

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Rock chopping for a half day....almost there.  Found some seams to work through to get at the high side.  kmswoodworks wins the prize for my chosen alternate route if need be.  Should have the area prepped with a level bed of sand soon.

Got some shooting time in this afternoon with my new neighbors from Mt. McKenna.  Aim is still true with my Taurus .357.  Had a chance to check out my first semi-automatic pistol....Smith and Wesson M&P40.  Was pretty impressed with the performance.  68,85,42,0,B

Monday, February 21, 2011

a rock and a hard place...

Unscheduled Alpine run this morning...seems the last bag of range feed I had was not Benita's choice.  (A bag I purchased two weeks ago was torn and all taped up -  filled with another brand).  Made good use of the trip and picked up parts for a series of solar ovens I am building to sell locally.  Before hitting the road, I placed my order for more Benita mugs - as soon as they arrive I will put a purchase link on the blog.  Just as well that I spent the morning north.  Nice shade on the east side when I got home so I could start excavating by hand the area for 2 water tanks.  Found a huge mass of bedrock right where I'd rather it wasn't.  Hopefully I can chip away at it to create a nice level spot for the NE side tanks.  67,87,45,0,B

Sunday, February 20, 2011

dew drop in...

Catchment test:  high humidity in the early hours ( 98% ) yeilded 7 gallons of water in the gutters off the greenhouse roof.  The fog didn't burn off till about 9:45AM.  71,89,45,0,W

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Visit from my friends Ryan and Xilia...end caps and straps on the north gutter...highest overnight low since November 22nd...happy up 3000 gallons of 2 1/2 year old stored creek water for a neighbor to wet his talcum road (clearing two old tanks to hook up to the greenhouse catchment system for a total of 12,000 gallons of storage capacity)...shorts and sandals weather.  65,87,53,0,W

Friday, February 18, 2011

bubble up


Thursday, February 17, 2011

talk about...Pop Rivets

Headed south early this morning to look for the super camper vehicle I saw yesterday...but they had skedaddled to parts unknown.  I really wanted to meet these folks after checking out their website.
Two short shifts today yielded 50 pop rivets through the gutters along
both sides of the greenhouse. 
 Purdy cloud cover for most of the afternoon.
Bug season is starting.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

this aint no natty light...

More visitors today so dung shovelin' on tap for the morning shift.  I'm a bit behind since there have been so many longhorn visitors this winter.  Two wheelbarrow loads and the poop is cleared from the epicenter of TFL. 

Met my new best friends for lunch at the GrubShack at noon.  They followed me out behind the Ural in a veggie oil burning Mercedes.  Benita and I welcomed Tim and Sam out for a long tour and visit.  They gifted me with special brew that they make a business of providing for the hops aficionado.  Perhaps there will be a FL micro brewery offering for "Beernita" in the future.  61,86,36,0,C

Monday, February 14, 2011




Sunday, February 13, 2011

San Antonio Express News

Just house cleaning and visits today.
1.  Lisa Krantz from San Antonio
2.  Alyce and Julian from Ft. Davis
3.  Mr. Floppy
4.  60,74,21,0,C

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Needed more bits for the gutters and new stock for the pantry so headed to Alpine today.  Special treat for Benita was a bale of alfalfa...which can only be given a little at a time as this stuff is way too rich for an old longhorn. 

Picked up my latest order from sciplus that was dropped off by UPS at the GrubShack yesterday.  Two items were missing and one still included but was broken - with two holes in the shipping box, one of which had been taped up.  Not too worried because American Science and Surplus will replace the missing and broken items without a fuss.  One of the prized possessions that did make it is what I consider to be the perfect solar mechanism....a nice small brass sundial...item 92848 from  Best part about it - it has no alarm function.  44,70,19,0,C

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bent Lovehandles

Got some more gutter work done but it all takes a back seat to the Bent Lovehandles.  CD release party tonight at the Starlight Theatre.  The boys played to a packed crowd.  Please support my friends and buy their'll love it.  Order info at their website -  54,68,19,0,B

Thursday, February 10, 2011

south mounts

Welded the gutter mounts at the far ends first...pulled a tight string line across the expanse and got the other 4 in perfect alignment.  Attached the GM to the far end on the north side and pulled the string to make sure that gutter is sloped correctly ( 1/4" per 10').  Planning on painting the mounts before putting in the gutter on the south side - will have to mask the north side mounts that are already in place.  Looks like the weather is finally starting the slow climb toward the days of hellish paradise that is summer in Terlingua.  39,54,17,0,B

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Jerry and Eva came through like champs today....GrubShack was open because it didn't get below 20 degrees.  Was below freezing till around noon.  Thankfully, the north winds petered out.  I hugged the wood stove this morning while gulping coffee and a hot breakfast.  Came home with just enough time to cut and mark all my pieces for the gutter mounts before heading back for a closing time hot chocolate.
Production mode for the rest of the day.  Rigged a jig to hold the parts then zapped them all together.  Amazing how fast this kind of work goes once I get in "the zone"...just wish I was as fast at getting started as I am at finishing.  One last super chilly night on tap that could very well bust a pipe, so I drained the thermosyphon and hoses to the solar shower.  Perhaps in the low teens overnight which is the threshold for my water systems...and prepared to fix my own breakfast in the morning.  33,44,20,0,B 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

truss mount...

Gave a great deal of thought this morning to the gutter situation.  The trick is to keep 51' of length at just the right slope so gravity will do the work.  3 hours at the GrubShack rendered project enlightenment.  Decided on the truss gutter mounts while basking in conversation with the Terlingua Ranch Illuminati.  Just the parts I need are in the steel skeleton crate that my go kart arrived in over 2 years ago.  Got one up and mounted and clear to go for the other 11.  Wish I had thought of this before mounting the north side....will set these in place for the south side first to assure perfect pitch.   Two more days of chilly weather coming in but nothing like the last blast.  Cutting and welding the other mounts is the perfect cool weather activity.  Rounded out the day by setting up a new batch of Kombucha....I got scobys growing out of control.  Benita got the deluxe treatment today.  59,78,24,0,B

Monday, February 7, 2011

north gutter up...

A very good day:
1.  GrubShack was open today after the long freeze
2.  Got the north gutter in place - straps'n'braces to follow
3.  Solar shower was the perfect temperature by 4PM
4.  241 night at the Starlight with Chuck
5.  Benita made it through the cold - came home tonight for a snack
6.  44,68,19,0,B

Sunday, February 6, 2011

warming trend

Hard to get back in the game after 6 days of sloth.  Gusty winds all day didn't make it any easier.  Managed to cut'n'place over a dozen "spacers" to help line up the gutter mounts on both sides of  the greenhouse.  Wind out of the NW all day so worked on welding the southside parts into place.  One more cold front coming in later this week then we should be good to go for the steady climb into the hell temperatures of summer.  BTW...the wheat grass soil experiment is alive and well.  52,65,21,0,W