Tuesday, May 31, 2011

film guy

My new friend Ian Midgley
http://www.youaregodblog.com/  has been here the past two days shooting video at the Field Lab.  Finally got a start on the greenhouse welding today...briefly, before it got hot.  A new set of palo verde sprouts are doing well.  Cleaned my house solar panels.  Been hot and humid the past 48 hours.  Very good chance of rain tonight...finally.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Field Lab tours this morning for Rik...then Ron and family.  Did a little work on my dirty batteries and found that a gust out of the west yesterday scootched my north tank about a foot.  I scootched it back.  Got hot quick so I hid inside for the rest of the day and read.  100,113,64,0,B

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Prepped for the hottest day of the season so far.  Cranked up the PepinoII and chilled the house down to 61.9 this morning.  Running the swamp cooler all day, it only made it up to 82.8 inside twelve hours later with a high of 110 outside.

Had a visit this morning from the Mahanays.  They tried to come out for a visit just one year and a day ago but my road was too swampy because of rain so I met them at the GrubShack.  Glad they finally made it out to the Field Lab for the official tour.  Got a mug from them with an award winning photo they shot during last years visit.

Benita just passed the 1,400 fans mark on Facebook today.  Haven't seen her granddaughter Penelope for a couple of months but she just happened to come in today with her momma Beatrice.  I think they knew this was a special day for gramma.  Penelope laid claim to the food bowl right away.

It's been 6 months since I last checked on my battery systems.  Only had to add a little water but I think it's time for a cleaning overhaul.  101,110,66,0,B

Friday, May 27, 2011

solar omelette

Morning meet'n'greet with my new filmmaker friend Ian Midgley  http://www.youaregodmovie.com/   He is in SW Texas looking for more folks for his film project.  Hopefully he will be back to shoot a couple of days here next week.  He needs some work footage and I need a spotter - perfect!

Seems we are entering a really good HOT spell out here.  Forecast for over 110 on Saturday and Sunday.  I think the longhorns know it's coming.  They sure seem to know what shade is all about.
Cooked up a bacon(on the bottom), egg and cheese omelette in the solar over this afternoon.  Sliced it all up and added some boiled chard on flour tortillas for dinner burritos.  99,107,65,0,B

Thursday, May 26, 2011

UV be gone...

Visit this morning from Rodney and Tammy and their grandson Tirstan.  They came bearing gifts (two satellite dishes and lots of beer) and they got the full tour.  Now that I think about it, Rodney hinted about a photo but it went right over my head at the time - sorry I forgot to get their picture.  Will make sure to get a photo next time they visit.  Off and on the rest of the day finishing the first flush plumbing and painting the PVC parts of the new greenhouse gutter system.  As long as I was busy with spray paint - broke out the stencils and worked 5 special order Field Lab "Staff" tshirts into the work schedule.  95,104,63,0,B

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

toll road...

Popped the first test pavers out of the forms this morning...a little on the rough side.  Have to keep them covered with plastic for about a week to let them cure.  Got a break in having to make a decision on how to proceed with the greenhouse floor.  I'm now officially permitted to proceed with welding work thanks to our County Commissioner.  Will have to track down a spotter to watch for fire while working (as per the permit) - I don't think the webcam or Benita qualify for this role.

The bumpy roads out here have taken their toll on my truck suspension.  The front struts lost their stuff today which prompted an emergency run to Alpine for repair.  I have a feeling the rear end is about to go but will save that for a near future regularly scheduled trip.  92,102,54,0,B

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

paver test...

Still mulling over the paver dilemma.  Decided the first thing to do is try casting a couple to see how it goes.  I thought one bag of concrete mix would fill two 17" sq forms 2" deep - came up short.  Will cut the forms down to 16" and try that next.  The wooden forms are sealed with spray shellac and lubricated with a touch of WD40.  The cost of casting them myself is about 1/2 the price of buying pre-made pavers at McCoys, but the same price as Home Depot in Odessa - but getting them from Odessa to here would be cost prohibitive.  I reckon it will all work out...it just has to.  Still plenty of options to consider.

Had a cold dinner tonight...flour tortilla wraps with raw chard (thanks to a second shipment from Dr. Deb) colby and monterey Jack cheese, and chilpotle sauce.  89,101,54,0,B

Monday, May 23, 2011


Set up blocks and rebar to firmly attach all four first flush downspouts off the greenhouse gutter system - to the ground.  Porter Construction finished the spill way off the east side of the dam.  Now I have to work out a deal on getting a big load of bentonite to line the water side of the reservoir.  Did the Starlight tonight with JustMe (winner of the blog contest) and our friend Bob (who I have named a longhorn cow after - too complicated to explain.)  Thought I would get a really good deal tonight because of the sign outside the restaurant.  87,100,61,0,B

Sunday, May 22, 2011

link sunday...

New calf came in this morning...knew this would happen soon cause the momma was "springing" a couple of days ago.  Bindi is its name.  Got a brilliant new drawing of Benita today from Jeremy McElwrath...brother of Jess - aka http://theshady80.blogspot.com/   Harvested my first 3 tomatoes for supper tonight.  Researched CEB's ( compressed earth block) half the day.  Best links I could find were plans to purchase at http://www.dirtcheapbuilder.com/cinvaramplans.html  and this video where I can probably figure it out if I really want to build one.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHfSd1Lkgss&feature=related

Did some digging online for music videos I built props for back in the early 90's and found four - all directed by my filmmaker friend Marcus Nispel.  Really took me back to the day hearing these songs again.  When they shoot a music video, they play the song over and over and over - I still know these songs by heart after all these years.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

muscular hydrostat...

Made an Alpine run for extra plumbing parts and paint for the exposed PVC.  Pricing out pavers for the greenhouse courtyard and finding that it aint gonna be cheap so I gotta do some more thinking about how to best create the 800 sq ft patio.  Ran into my friend Julie and came away with a sample of her homemade goat cheese...goats are the only livestock option I'm considering at this point because I simply can't give up cheese and I'd rather not attempt to milk a longhorn.

First person to comment correctly on the significance of tonight's post wins a special hand made Field Lab tshirt.  Hint:  it has nothing to do with the subject of the post or any of the rapture predictions.

Friday, May 20, 2011

quick sand...

Got my sand quicker than expected.

First time I've noticed the holacantha stewartii blooming.

A view of some cryptobiotic soil crust

Thursday, May 19, 2011

addn to the dam...

My friend Fred Porter began the final phase on the dam project today....more material on top and a spillway to be added tomorrow.  Just ordered 7 cu yds of sand to be delivered next week to level the courtyard.  Planning another Alpine trip again soon to order pavers and obtain an outdoor welding permit.

Had some off time this afternoon and took advantage of an opportunity to upload a new video to YouTube.  Benita is not usually in the mood for interaction when she is laying down.  Today she was in the "zone" and appreciated the extra attention.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0SyTzOXffs

Yet another new critter scooted by The Field Lab this morning.  And no...I won't kill them unless they pose a threat or become a problem.  This badger ran off right after I took his picture.    90,101,69,0,B

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

drat this drought...

Got some more pieces prepped for the west doorway.  Because of the super dry conditions and recent brush fires, I am going to have to get a permit before I can do any outdoor welding.  Plenty of other chores to keep me busy till I can get the OK. 

"The Brewster County Commissioners Court on Monday, May 9, adopted by unanimous vote welding guidelines for use during the emergency burn ban.  Anyone wanting to weld must apply for and receive a permit from his/her County Commissioner. For more information, contact the County Judge's Office, 432-837-2412, or the Emergency Management Department, 432-837-9876.  Persons violating this order may be arrested and fined up to $500."

Saw a new critter today scooting by The Field Lab.  88,100,53,0,B

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

west end...

Began the task of framing in the west end this morning.  Had to notch out my concrete headers to fit the beam in.  This section is 14 gauge 4" square tubing - top chunk is 24' long and 104.64lbs.  Easy to move with a hand truck at one end and easy to lift one side at a time.  82,93,54,0,B

Sunday, May 15, 2011

plumber sunday...

Plumbed in the second downspout on the north side and both downspouts on the south side.  Forgot 3 sets of reducer bushings so the drain valves will have to wait....no rush because we are in a drought and no sign of rain for at least the next 10 days.  http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/09/eveningnews/main20061265.shtml

One of my palo verdes didn't make it so I popped a new sprout into the waterboxx that had the faulty plant.  I'm happy to report that my weird new fivefingers shoes have been worn for 11 strait days with no ill effects (other than they have gotten rather stinky, so I washed them today). 77,91,63,0,W