Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Aunt Kathy!

Placed my forth PaloVerde seedling in its' waterboxx this morning.  Waited for this one to show definite signs of second life.  Mr. Floppy came in today with a girlfriend.  All day visit with my new friend Cindy who is out looking for a piece of paradise to perhaps settle on.  Did my weekly check on the waterboxx experiment and cut out some minor seedlings so the strong could survive.  Had to do a photo of my new favorite possessions - groovy bowls from my friend JD.  Laid out the packages of seeds she sent me for my birthday to inspire swift progress on the greenhouse.  90,99,52,0,B

Friday, April 29, 2011


My rabbit friends Dennis (Hopper) and (Hopalong) Cassidy are coming in like clockwork for breakfast and supper every day.  Cypered out my next steel order from Mueller but just missed my salesman Eddie Torres by phone so will place the order on Monday.  Stopped by the Mt. McKennites this afternoon and happened upon a good deal.  Their new friend Kevin just finished installing their septic tank and offered to haul some old 40' power poles from the GrubShack out to The Field Lab for me. 

My friend Cynta gifted me last week with some tiny wire scorpion sculptures she used to sell for the folks in Boquillas before the border got locked up.  One of the many projects resting in the back of my mind has been to rig these with some mini solar panels and pager motors to make them jump around in the sun.  Just placed the order today for the gizmos to bring the scorpions to life.  96,102,52,0,C

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Vitamin K!

Just so you chard can be sent through the mail.  I got some from Dr. Deb 2 days ago and it arrived intact in a Ziploc bag.  Rinsed, chopped, boiled and added it (with some canned mushrooms) to one of my favorite brands of store bought vegan meals.  Chard seems to be packed with all sorts of good stuff.  84,92,50,0,B

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

what watts?

Prepping to place a steel order from Mueller on Friday.  Since no instructions seem to have come with my greenhouse - I'm trying to put the rest together in my head.  Hope to figure out all the parts I will need to close in the monster.

A number of people have asked me how much wattage my new chest fridge draws when it's running and I have no idea.  Just ordered the Kill A Watt meter to find out.  The fridge is running off an inverter so it will be a good way to check my wattage and also the voltage drop from the long extension cord running from my battery house to the hut.  A very handy item to have around for the grid connected to see what appliances are energy hogs.

While Denver Frank was here we got to talking about water filtration.  He suggested a product from Sawyer.   Looks like a good way to go for potable water from my gutters (if it ever rains again out here).  80,88,63,0,W

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

shoot'n guests

Everyone slept in this morning....then coffee and snacks.  2 hours on the shooting range then lunch.  Trip to the swimming hole then beers.  Dinner at the Starlight.  Came home to a dust storm.  89,91,61,0,W

Monday, April 25, 2011


Cooked up 4 loaves of Field Lab Solar Oven Bread yesterday.  This morning I made my annual April pilgrimage to Marfa to drop off bread and some dough on the last day of Marfa Public Radio's spring pledge drive.  Second time FL visitor and good friend JD arrived this afternoon with new FL friend Frank.  They drove down from Denver for a little desert heat....and brought presents for me and Benita.  78,93,60,0,W

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

tank party


Friday, April 22, 2011


Helped move some septic tanks

Early dinner at Cynta's Ghost Town manse 


Thursday, April 21, 2011

look out for the bull

Seems that Oscar the bull is in love with Beatrice for the next couple of days.  Benita doesn't seem to care that her ex is after her daughter now.  The 3 came in together for breakfast this morning.  Had to chase the bull off so Benita could get a bite.  About half way down my driveway, Oscar decided I wasn't such a threat after all and began to assert his (immense) authority.  Once he started his dirt kicking display and "growling", I retreated quickly to the house.  I always keep a healthy distance from him.  He came charging back to the house but was quickly overcome with thoughts of love - not war, probably because I was out of sight and Beatrice is in heat.  As much as I like these longhorns, I reckon I will ultimately have to fence them out of the immediate surroundings.  I waited for Oscar to lie down before I made a dash to the truck and escaped south for some supplies....30% chance of an isolated thunderstorm this afternoon (it didn't happen).  Stocked up and mailed off a set of postcards to a new friend from Oak Park, IL - where I was born.  Got 10 gallons of gas in Study Butte ($4.11/gal - ouch!) and headed home.  Just has hot as yesterday but felt hotter for some reason.  Cut up enough chicken wire to surround the final two tree pens. 89,102,70,0,B

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Night Of The Lepus

morning visitors...afternoon visitors. 
managed some work during the hottest part of the day.
picked up some chicken wire from Chuck.
got 2 waterboxxes placed with PV sprouts in their new protected habitats.

DVD in the mail from a friend - might make me think twice about having rabbits running loose.  90,102,61,0,B

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

curb appeal...

Landscaping on tap for the day.  Sorted through my pallet supply to set up some cattle guards for my waterboxx test with the palo verde trees.  Sprouts are looking good but need to get some chicken wire to add to the critter guards to keep the rabbits away from the fresh greens and water supply going into place.  79,96,56,0,B

Monday, April 18, 2011

climate control...

Forgot to post the latest photo from the Waterboxx experiment.  Went and checked the field on Saturday.  A couple of new sprouts happening, a few weeds taking hold, a critter dug under #4 looking for the moisture, and #27 is still the champ.  Prepped 8 TFL palo verde seedlings for transplant into my own Waterboxx test to be placed on the north side of the greenhouse.

Monitored the chest freezer conversion for a couple of hours today.  Seems fairly consistent with the compressor running about 9 minutes every hour and a half.  The temperature inside the partially loaded fridge fluctuates between 33 and 40 degrees.  Inside house temperature got up to 75 degrees today with a high of 100 outside.  Pepino II still performing well with last years pad still inside.  Since my thermometer is mounted outside with the temp sensor located inside where the air first comes out of the swamp cooler - the readings are reversed.  From the photo - 97.7 is the outside temp in the shade on my front porch...69.5 is the air temp coming out of the swamp cooler into the house.  82,100,51,0,B

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Power of One

first dung beetle of the season

assembled and testing the thermostat kit

outside/inside skin temperatures after 1.5 hours running the freezer full blast. (thanks Neil for the IR thermometer)

Special note:  The Grub Shack is closed and has to do some upgrades due to a persnickety inspector.  All the locals are pitching in but Jerry and Eva need more funding for some new refrigeration and a septic tank.  Everyone that sends one dollar will have their name forever posted at my favorite spot as a friend of The Grub Shack.  Please mail donations to Eva Langevin, 9970 Terlingua Ranch RD. Alpine, Texas 79830  85,100,49,0,B

Saturday, April 16, 2011

AMS Pictures

Katie Dunn came out with her production assistant (Bert, her mom) to begin some interviews for what might become a documentary about off grid living in the SW Texas desert.  After the grand tour and a gruelling Q&A session, I introduced her to several other good friends I have made out here that are following the same path.

Plugged the new chest freezer into one of my systems (I have 3 isolated solar charging systems) to check it out.  Did a test and ran it for about an hour and the dang thing got real cold without a dent in the power supply. 

Some of the rainbow cactus that I rescued from longhorn damage are starting to bloom.  First couple of Palo Verde are sprouting nicely as well.  80,93,46,0,B
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