Sunday, July 31, 2011

guests bearing gifts...

Friends Paul from Georgetown and IT Neil and son KDog (all the way from the UK) arrived today...brought lots of good stuff.  92,103,67,0,B

Saturday, July 30, 2011

false hope...

75,99,68, .19",B

Friday, July 29, 2011

pre don...

Had a brief sprinkle this morning that ended up going NW of here - enough rain to cause Terlingua Creek to run and shut down the TSB mine for the day.  Welded up and mounted the two spliced purlins today.  I added a chunk of 2" flat bar to the back side of each meld.  Ran a couple of errands down south then watched some nice big storms scoot all around me this afternoon.  89,101,75, .03", B

Thursday, July 28, 2011

low lagoon...

With tropical storm Don looming...and guests coming Sunday - decided to do an early morning supply run to Alpine.  The lagoon is low and could use a refill before my IT guy from the UK (with son) and our friend Czar arrive with kayak in tow.  Got home by 11:30 in time for it to be too hot to do any construction.  Bought primer to seal all the new steel once it's in place before applying the roofing.  Also got some grub since my garden harvest is pretty small at this point.  Did a water and much needed laundry run to Study Butte.  Little plant by the outlet on my house water tank is 3 years old now and hanging in there.  Had a late afternoon donkey visit.  Bagged and refrigerated the little dead bird - my friend Carolyn Ohl is coming by tomorrow to pick it up.  Seems some researchers would really like it as a specimen - could be a Bullock's/Scott's hybrid Oriole.  99,106,74,0,B

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

just prep...

No welding today - just measuring and cutting all the parts for the last 8 joists.  Got enough full length purlin for all but two that will have to be grafted from shorter pieces.  Did some chores with the Mt. McKennites then did a run out to the waterboxx experiment north of me.  Two plants still surviving out of 32 starts... a palo verde and an acacia.   All of the waterboxxes were pretty low on water - 8 of them dry.  Replenished the reservoirs for the two still growing.

Spotted another new burrito with his mama then a sick bird on my porch.  I moved the bird to the shade of the courtyard and put out some water but it died a half hour later.  96,108,74,0,B


Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Clocked in at 8:30AM.  5 hours later, I had the rest of the "ears" up and the middle 4 purlins secured.  Still just as hot by the time I finished but was pretty comfortable working away in the rising heat today.  Checked on some Pecos melon seeds (I got from the Mt. McKennites) that I plopped in some potting soil 4 days ago - they punched up through the dirt pretty quick.  Transplanted them into the canyon upstream from the black lagoon to see how they'll do in the wild.  98,107,73,0,B

Monday, July 25, 2011


Made a slight design change a couple of days ago.  At first I was going to mount the purlins on top of the beams.  Decided on a more streamlined appearance for the soon to be new shade so I'm butting the purlins  flush with the beams.  That being the case...I am adding some angle iron ears to give me more meat to weld to.  Took just over a half day to get 16 (8 to go) of them cut, marked, ground, clamped and welded into place.  Sun beating down on a black welding helmet makes one a little dizzy after awhile.  Quit for the day when it reached 102 in the shade (which I ran out of).  Brief sprinkle from 3-4PM.  97,108,72, .02",B

Sunday, July 24, 2011

long sunday shift...

Benita had breakfast this morning with her buddy Dennis Hopper.  Outside edge welded on today.  Seemed to take forever.  Had to trim all the beams then mounted a 20 foot section across the middle.  By the time I welded the south side piece on it was already 2PM.  More stormy chances this afternoon so I headed south for generator gas.  I wasn't fooled by the doppler radar when I got home so I cut and pasted the north piece on the long west beam.  Today was the last good chance for rain - the 10 day forecast looks pretty dry.  93,101,69,0,B  NOTE:  Last year on this day it rained 1.15".

Saturday, July 23, 2011

last beam up...

Morning shift getting the last beam in place.  Cleaned up the work zone....again.  Watched the clouds build all around yet no rain at TFL today.  Plunked a chunk of trim on the greenhouse doors this afternoon to prep for the exterior latches.  85,103,70,0,B

Friday, July 22, 2011

last pour

Post 4 poured and coined.  Trucked a water tank over to Ugly Betty.  Visited with Jerry and Eva.  While waiting for the red tape to be cut - they will be doing Sunday dinners (donations only)at the GrubShack for the month of August.   Watched rain storms yield to the FL Vortex all afternoon.  73,113,74, .13", B

Thursday, July 21, 2011

forth post ready to go...

Chipped my way down to the 30" mark on hole 4 by 10 AM.  The hammer drill ran like a dream.  Post 4 is plunked, plumbed and ready to pour. Another round of storms in the area but not a drop at TFL as of 9:30PM.  Had a late afternoon visit from a momma burro with her young'n.  First time I've seen a baby burro out here.  92,110,72,0,B

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

juego de escobillas...

Slight chance of rain events for the next couple of days so it was time to stock up on bits and pieces.  Nice little morning shower happened just south of Panther Mountain.  Among other items...I picked up some pallets from my buddy Bennett Jones and found a lone prickly pear tuna (for Benita) on the road.  Got home in time to watch several storms all around me but just a sprinkle at TFL.  My mailbox had the new brushes waiting and it took all of 5 minutes to do the surgery on the drill.  Looks like I'm back in business for hole 4 tomorrow morning.  97,110,72,T,B  (T means trace amount of rainfall)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

this is gonna suck...

Slept in till 8:30 this morning - 10 hours of sleep.  By the time I was ready to get moving, my girls had settled down in the work zone shade. (this photo from a couple of days ago...but it was the same deal today)  Just didn't have the heart to roust my 3 favorite longhorns out of the way.  Had the rest of the morning to come up with a plan. 

Can't finish hole 4 yet - need to seal the rest of the west end - will have to vent the high hot air in the greenhouse - some visitors brought me some louvered vents over a year suddenly added up.  Nice cloud cover during the afternoon and I rigged up a large vent to work around for the rest of the west side.  This will help suck the hot air out.  It's been so long, I forgot who brought me the vents...but THANKS!  Send a comment and take credit.  95,104,71,0,B

Monday, July 18, 2011

3 beams up...


Sunday, July 17, 2011

stick in the mud...

Woke up a little earlier than usual.  Today marks 8 years since I have used an alarm clock.  A little breakfast and 3 cups of tea and I was out the door at 7:45AM.  Finished the pour on post #3 by 8:40.  Way to much day left to quit now so I moved all the hole debris and one load of cow poo out of the work zone.  Clocked out at 11:30.  Not bad for a Sunday morning.

Part of the reason I chose Texas as my new home is because of political affiliation.  It hadn't occurred to me that perhaps there was another reason why Texas is a red state.  95,106,72,0,W

Saturday, July 16, 2011

eke, a hole...

Eked out 8 more holes from the ailing hammer drill this morning...just enough to hit bottom of hole 3.  Cut, drilled, prepped, planted, plumbed and ready to pour tomorrow morning.  95,105,74,0,B

Friday, July 15, 2011

hole number 4...

Have yet to bottom out hole #3...decided to get started on #4 this morning.  Only got down about a foot then the hammer drill quit on me.  The dreaded worn brush syndrome.  Opened it up and sure enough, one of the brushes was down to nothin'.  Once again to the rescue.  New brushes will go out in the mail on Monday. 

Took advantage of the sudden down time and changed the oil on the generator then baked some long overdue Field Lab specialty bread in the solar oven for my good neighbors.  Shot a video of how easy the caliche is to drill through.  98,104,73,0,B

Thursday, July 14, 2011

hole number 3...

3 hours drilling and chipping in the shade this morning and almost done with hole #3.  Got some nice big chunks out of this one.  96,107,75,0,B

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


So what do you do when you have something to do that you don't want to do?  Do as much of the to-do to prep for the do without having to do the actual do.  That's what I did today...measured and marked the next two awning holes to be drilled out.  Was banking on a late afternoon downpour that never materialized.  At least I have something "to do" tomorrow that is ready to be done.  94,110,70,0,B

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Got the north beam welded into place this morning.  The cow already knows where the new late day shade will be.  Ominous weather in the area so I shot down south for last minute provisions.  Storms to the left of me...storms to the right - just 2 hours of drizzle here.  Not enough to add to the pond - a better chance tomorrow afternoon.  I had a feeling that I wouldn't get a gusher because Benita stayed close by all day.  Usually when a big storm is coming, she takes off.  I wouldn't be surprised if her horns tell her how bad the weather is going to be. 

Hiked around after the 2 hour drizzle and checked a resurrection fern coming back to life on my south 20 and the queen mother of FL Cat's Eye plants with a millipede crawling around.  84,109,78, .17, B

Monday, July 11, 2011

lizard leg...

Day off to rest up...two more holes to dig soon.  Had more promising cloud cover out of the south-but it only lent a little shade.  Chased longhorns away half the day then watched Benita's new ankle lizard eat his fill without getting stomped on.  Couldn't help but be reminded of this old short film -
Bambi vs. Godzilla   99,105,73,0,B

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chef Boyhowdee

Five hours and two Field Lab visits and I finally got the south beam up'n'welded for the west side greenhouse awning.  Celebrated the achievement with Italian Night for supper.  Chef Boyardee pepperoni pizza maker mix with extra "real" cheese and fresh broccoli, mushrooms, and mesquite seasoning - cooked in the gas grill.  Had a late afternoon sprinkle that had potential but all it did was cut the dust. 
90,103,70, .04,B

Saturday, July 9, 2011