Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hornby Island Caravans

The paint crew was on the job today...dug out my gallon of white primer and mini roller and hit the steel.  Took 6 hours to finish off all the new high metal on the east side with 2 coats.

Been thinking about how to finish off the interiors of my containers.  I now have a favorite solution thanks to my new email friend Michelle Wilson of Hornby Island Caravans.  Found her on page 168 in the Tiny Homes book by Lloyd Kahn.  http://www.hornbyislandcaravans.com/  Click on her facebook link to see lots of pictures of the magic she does with these small living spaces on wheels.  I love the idea of an all wood interior with a curved ceiling.  That outta soften up the inside of a steel box.  58,74,36,0,B

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mr. Floppy - In The House

Last night's UFO was the innards of a Honeywell rate gyroscope.  I bought two of these last year from a surplus place - they were used for missile guidance systems back in the 80's.  I don't know how they packed that sucker in there but it was a bitch to cut one of them open to see what's inside.  Mine cost $16 each - I bet our govt. paid a lot more for them for their weapons of mass destruction. 

Continued working on the courtyard/container Rubik's cube today.  Mr. Floppy helped so I gave him some advertising space.  59,69,33,0,B

Sunday, January 29, 2012

UFO Sunday


Saturday, January 28, 2012


The Field Lab Gypsies 2012 packed up and hit the road this morning.  Thanks to Waylon, Robert, Jason and Jeff for a great steak dinner last night.  Pretty gusty out here so decided on an Alpine run....critter snacks and various bits'n'pieces.

here's that link one more time:  http://www.banzai-sushi.com/

Home in plenty of time to lay out 2/3's of my sushi order to thaw out for 2 hours.  Took it over the the McKenna's for dinner tonight along with a pre-warmed bottle of sake....it was damn good.

Friday, January 27, 2012


My pomegranate tree is sprouting new leaves - hope that means we wont be getting another deep freeze in February.  UPS dropped off the rest of my towing gear this afternoon...a pulley block and a 30' towing strap, both good up to 10,000 lbs. Made some good headway clearing a container today.

Forgot I had overnight guests arriving when I bumped the sushi dinner to tonight.  Keeping it on ice for one more day.  The Field Lab Gypsies came out for their second annual camp'n'cookout.  Only 2 from the original crew made it this year (with 2 more new guys)  but they cooked rib eye steaks, potatoes, and a dutch oven peach cobbler just like last year.  56,74,31,0,C

Thursday, January 26, 2012

sushi delivery

Started shuffling container contents again...trying to clear the courtyard and prep for cutting doors in the two west end containers.  Good thing is - every time I do this, I find more stuff to give away and throw away.  Not sure how long it will take to pare it all down to just the essentials...but the "stuff" gets smaller every time I do this  Had some quality time this afternoon with Benita and then a Fed Ex delivery.  Splurged on an order of Sushi last week that just arrived -  but too late in the day for dinner tonight.  http://www.banzai-sushi.com/   Still frozen solid thanks to a big chunk of dry ice that survived the 2nd day air trip.... Exotic foods shipped to the middle of nowhere.  First I tried deep dish pizza from Chicago...tomorrow night we dine on sushi from Seattle after I thaw it out.  Pics and a review to come.  53,66,27,0,C

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

some days are like this...

43,55,39,T,W    T stands for trace (just a sprinkle)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Thanks to Chuck...I finished the paving job today without having to pick up more pavers in Alpine.  Chuck checked the blog last night and called to offer some he had in a large kennel be built for his dogs (they were all over me as I extracted them).  Picked them up late this morning - finished some cuts and set my camera up again to finish tonight's presentation (I started the time lapse of the installation yesterday).  Swept the sand so feverishly - I broke the handle on my 8 year old push broom.  Feels good to finally be done after setting a total of 744 pavers.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGP-_iwJ8oU  62,69,33,0,B

Monday, January 23, 2012

seven pavers short...

Something to think about when thinking about growing your own food.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

sweet feed

Woke up early and had 3 bowls of Capt. Crunch cereal and watched cartoons for two hours...no, wait a minute - that was 45 years ago.  Would have never thought then that my Saturday mornings would end up being 3 cups of tea and feeding a longhorn cow in the desert. 

Got a surprise visit from the guy that got stuck down south from me over a week ago - Monroe Elms (former Presidio Co. judge).  He brought out his aunt and uncle to go try to find the swimming hole again - this time I drew him a map and they got in and out on their own.  Just so happens his uncle (Oscar Elmendorf) is the sales rep for HiPro that services this part of Texas.  HiPro is the only brand of range feed that Benita will eat.  He brought her 100lbs of Sweet Feed as a gift.  She loves it.  Not very often does a single longhorn get a personal visit from a feed sales rep.

Spent the afternoon digging and moving 12 more wheel barrow loads of dirt into the courtyard - from the hole that Chuck and machine started for me.  Just about finished back filling that NE corner.  Not quite sure what that big hole is gonna be good for.

Friday, January 20, 2012

all day project...

Well...I didn't think it would take all day to finish the winch hookup, but it kinda did.  First thing - I needed some bits to bolt it all together which prompted another trip down south to Bee Mountain Hardware and an excuse for another Cafe breakfast.  Found a home under the hood for everything and snaked the wires around away from all the hot'n'moving parts of the engine.  Plugged in the remote and it winched!  The goal of course is to never have to pull myself out of a bind since I have yet to get stuck out here in 4 years.  Will save this new capability for the less prepared, which happens often out here...and I will only charge half what the local towing service does. 

Meanwhile, back in critterville - had a full day of longhorn, burro and rabbits.  Dennis spent half the day snacking on top of a bale of alfalfa.  Might just have to set up a bed of alfalfa sprouts for the rabbits once the greenhouse gets going - they will be allowed in the courtyard but I won't have to worry about them eating my food since all the growing beds will be out of their reach.  63,80,32,0,B

Thursday, January 19, 2012

got the winch

Morning run to the post office to mail out books and grab a real breakfast at the Motor Inn Cafe.  No Mr. Floppy today, so Benita ate without disruption and I didn't have to chase off a donkey over and over.  Moved a pile of dirt into the last back fill section of the courtyard.  Afternoon visit from my friends Casey http://www.allenergies.net/ and Dr. Gig  http://www.gigatrike.com/ .   When it comes to off grid systems, I'm just a hack - but these guys really know how it all works.  Rounded out the day with deliveries from Fed Ex and UPS....got my hitch mount and winch.  Lots of wires to snake around once I get the thing bolted down.  61,79,30,0,C

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Day off - headed down south to visit with some friends.  Mr. Floppy was standing guard when I got home.  Got my order of Tiny Homes books.  The box took a beating in the mail and I lost 6 of the mini versions of the book.  Sent off an email to Shelter Publications and they are gonna make it right for me.  Got some packaged to send off for late Christmas presents.  56,73,33,0,C

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Alpine run today...stopped by the Obbinks and got some fresh eggs and a visit with a baby goat and a zonkey.  52,76,40,0,B

Monday, January 16, 2012

From Texas to Milan

Rigged, formed and poured a step for the north wing doorway - that was all that was on the work list today.  My friends Jason, Cynthia and little Luna stopped by on their way to Alpine.  Luna was disappointed that Mr. Floppy wasn't home this afternoon.  She did get a chance to talk to our BFF Kristinna back in NY on my pay phone though.

Had a great late day visit from my new best friends Emilio and Laurel - a Texas girl married to an Italian boy.  They spend most of their time in Italy but come back to visit her home state at least once a year.  Emilio is a professional photographer and Laurel writes cookbooks and has a bilingual blog about food.
http://www.unamericanaincucina.com/en/  They videoed an interview with me and she did the intro in Italian...without a hint of a Texas twang.  63,83,39,0,B

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Had to repair another blown hose on the solar shower this morning - got a little colder overnight than I thought it would....but we are in a warming trend now - looking at highs in the 80's next week with not so bad overnight lows.  Set up the solar powered pump and transferred 250 gallons from one of the greenhouse tanks to the house tank.   Poured the long section along the NE container and finished up faster than I expected.  Too much day left and not enough beer ( http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/10-surprising-health-benefits-beer ) so I built and set the form and poured the end section too...a 12 bag day.  46,66,21,0,C

Friday, January 13, 2012

85 pavers

north wing paved... 44,60,29,0,C

Thursday, January 12, 2012

rabies drop...

Been wondering why I keep seeing the same small plane buzzing around out here a lot the past couple of days.  Posted the question to my local friends on Facebook and got my answer in 5 minutes.  The Texas Department of State Health Services is dropping rabies vaccine throughout the area for the critters.  http://bigbendnow.com/2012/01/dshs-combats-rabies-with-aerial-vaccine-drop/

Weather wize - it was not conducive for outdoor labor today.  Happy to have a rest break anyway since I ain't gettin any younger.  Headed south with the good neighbor for a long breakfast at the Motor Inn Cafe - got caught up on ranch politics with friendly neighbors and assurances from the Brewster Co. Sheriff's office that recent arrests in the area are being dealt with appropriately by the county attorney.  Good to be on the side of the good guys when you live out here.  Even better to know that the bad guys are on the constant radar of local law enforcement. 

So the day wasn't a total labor loss...I stripped the forms off the last pour and leveled out the dirt in the NW wing.  35,46,37,0,B

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Alpine run today to stock up on stuff and pick up my IBC totes.  Just so happened that Julianne was in town with her truck too, so I loaded 2 into mine and 1 into hers for transport back to TFL.  The plan is to use these for an aquaponics experiment.  http://www.backyardaquaponic.com/ 

When she dropped off the third IBC, Julianne also brought along a replacement shaft key for Jam (JuliAnne's Mixer).  I extracted my quick fix screw and the real fix is in now.  48,59,24,0,B

Monday, January 9, 2012

tote day

First rainstorm of 2012 at 5AM.  Busy morning working out some details for an aerial shoot that some Google Earth folks want to do at TFL next month.  Meanwhile, my buddy Bennett Jones in Alpine brokered a deal on three 300gal IBC totes for me at $150/apiece.  Total rainfall for 2011 was 3.82".  39,55,43, .06",B

Sunday, January 8, 2012

motor control...

Sunday off...big breakfast at the Motor Inn Cafe while my clothes worshed at the laundromat.  60% chance of rain late tonight into tomorrow so I prepped for the just in case event.  Windy and wet is the forecast for the next 24 hours.

Afternoon project - see if I can power up the telescope motor drives.  I bought it 8 years ago and finally got around to firing it up.  Took awhile to get the hang of the menus on the handheld computer.  I seem to have brought it to life.  If I read the manual about 10 more times I might be able to align the scope correctly for some nice deep space imaging. 

Got a great photo today from Kristinna....Mr. Floppy seemed quite intrigued by a mini human and Luna was happy to make his acquaintance.  56,66,44,0,B