Friday, May 31, 2013

pineapples and bananas

Finally got a pineapple top to root and start new growth (on the 4th try).  Banana plants are still pumping out leaves - each one bigger than the last.  90,106,61,0,C,0

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013



Monday, May 27, 2013

castaway monday

Put 3 new ingot molds into service today.  Two of them are for finishing up the limited edition ingots (I have poured 80 so far).  Just for fun I tried out a coin mold I got from Canvasman34.  Gonna use it for gifts for family.  My custom Benita stamp is due to arrive on Wednesday.  85,102,69,0,W,.40

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Unconscious Collective

As Carl Jung puts it:  "in addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (soul), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes , which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents."

As I see it, our collective unconscious is made up of either The Holy Spirit or Satan.  We have a generation growing up that has absolutely no exposure to religion of any kind.  All they know of this world is materialism and instant gratification.  That seed planted by the teachings of Christ in all humans has gone dormant in them because it needs to be nurtured by a pre-generation in order to grow... a fertile breeding ground for Satan to do his work.  They are a group I call the Unconscious Collective.

Psalms 51 : 1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned , and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest , and be clear when thou judgest . 5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean : wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice . 9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. 83,102,71,0,B,0

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Starbucks for critters

My new friend (and Ben's best new friend) Bonnie Coffey came down for a visit today.  She is from Tampa but has property near El Paso...checking this area to see if she wants to get even further away from the rat race.  She brought some gourmet snacks for the boys.  Ben LOVED it but Buddy hasn't developed a sophisticated palate yet.  Gonna see if they can order it at Johnson Feed next time I head to Alpine.  It's packaged like Starbucks, but 50lb bags go for about 15 bucks...and it's made in Dell City, TX.   80,99,66,0,B,.36

Friday, May 24, 2013

490 grams

Turned Ebay forks'n'spoons into clean nuggets today....ready to remelt into ingots tomorrow. Will broadcast some of the procedure on Ustream at  I have a new greenhouse lizard buddy this season.  He seems to like hanging out nearby while I'm working the furnace.  His name is Mr. Lizard (clever!)  83,97,65,0,B,.16

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Swamp Cooler Season

It was a little tough getting to sleep last night.  Seems the desert and my hut are warming up.  Put off another day of melting sterling at 1800° so I could get Pepino II back into action - almost a full month later than last year.  Still works like a charm.  84,102,74,0,B,0

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New Lives In The Wild

Finally saw the episode the British film crew shot last year.  It actually turned out pretty good even though they left baby Ben out.  Now I have another film opportunity to ponder from the folks at

Greenhouse is doing well except for my green swarmed with white flies and only got one harvest off of it.  Gonna stick a grape vine there that I got from a recent visitor.  Got one lone grapefruit hanging in there just a little larger than a golf ball.  My fig tree from last year is loaded up with baby figs.  Still getting lots of chard, spinach, and kale.  85,99,65,0,B,.20

Monday, May 20, 2013

it's all about the mold

Here is a brand new mold and the first mold I tried and abused.  That pour I did in my makeshift brick oven took over an hour to finally melt the silver. I have done about 15 more pours with mold #1 and it is just about finished.   All that pressure from the torch really eats away the graphite.  I have added a "pressure shield" to the mix and with a 5 minute melt time in the mini micro, I'm getting much less mold degradation.  I think I can get at least 30 ingots out of a mold now.  Did 14 in total today.  I was reluctant to pursue this venture using propane when I discovered the big solar lens couldn't do the job until I figured out that one 20 lb load of gas is way more than enough to do 100 ingots  The Ben'n'Bud Feed Fundraiser will officially start in about 2 weeks.   88,101,65,0,C,.25  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

walk not after the flesh

Following the teachings of Christ is a tricky thing in this world.  I am surrounded by earthly beauty.  I am surrounded by earthly comforts.  I am surrounded by people who vehemently disbelieve.  Yet I am aware of something that isn't seen or felt.  All the stuff of this world makes it a tricky thing but I am up for the continual challenge because of the rewards I am finding by simply trying.  
Romans 8 : 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be . 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12 Therefore , brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die : but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live . 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  87,102,63,0,C,0


Saturday, May 18, 2013


Nice Saturday.  Figured out I don't have to train Carl not to attack me if I'm wearing shorts....I just put him in the pen with the girls.  He hangs out all day near them anyway and doesn't seem to mind being in with them.  Now I can try out different outfits to test him with while he is behind bars - he really hates sandals with socks.  90,103,58,0,C,0

This just in...Canvasman34 has another one of his micro mini furnaces available on Ebay...bidding ends Sunday night.  These things are great if you want to play with fire.

Friday, May 17, 2013

too cute to melt...

Nice mid morning visit with new friends Neil and Elizabeth.  They are from the Austin area - visiting Big Bend for their first wedding anniversary.  They win the prize of "most photogenic couple".  Cranked up the micro mini all day and pumped out 11 ingots.  Just got a second mold and a third one is on the way.  Need some extras to keep production going because of the cool down time on the molds...they come out of the furnace at 1800°+.  Here is one pound of sterling.  One of my cheap Ebay items was a salt server.  A much more sophisticated way to season your food rather than using a salt shaker.  I melted the little bowl but just as I was about to melt down the spoon, I caught a glimpse of my Mexico Midget tomatoes and the spoon was spared.  92,108,59,0,B,.36

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Animal Psychology

Interesting turn of events today.  A picture of Carl and a bunny will have to suffice.   Did an Alpine run for feed and supplies.  Got home around 3 and it was getting hot finally...up to 93° inside the hut (I think Pepino II season starts tomorrow).  Decided it was time to put on shorts and sandals.  Went out to do chores around the grounds and Carl came after me just like he does with all my visitors.  He was relentless no matter what I said to him.  Put my jeans and boots back on and....nothing - he was my buddy again.  This could definitely be a problem as summer rolls in.  Now I have to train Carl to accept my bare legs - maybe they are just too white.  Perhaps I will try shorts and boots tomorrow to ease him into it.  83,102,57,0,B,0  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

the boys are doin' fine

Ben just got a new tip to tip measurement this afternoon... 24.5",  He is only getting more lovable as he grows - which is good because he is big enough to kill me now.  Hardly horns me anymore...just wants to be scratched.  Bud has come along quite well.  He hand feeds from strangers now and reluctantly loves getting scratched and brushed...but not into the tape measure yet.  They were romping around like crazy last night after the cool temps and rain we got.  

Looks like summer is finally getting here.  87,97,55,0,B,.32

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I think I got it

Fired up the micro mini for the first time today.  From a stone cold start, it takes all of 5 minutes to get yellow hot and melt the silver.  Had trouble with the first five pours - didn't fill the mold even though there was still melted silver in the top.  Suddenly something Canvasman34 said to me in an email popped into my head after my first success with the mold and that fork I cut up..."That is great that the mold worked with so little silver. Normally it needs twice the ingot volume to get a full pour."  I guess I got lucky with that first pour I did in my makeshift brick oven.  Added more silver and got 3 good pours in a row.  I was only using about 35grams for the failed attempts.  55 grams seems to work well. Turned my partial ingots back into nuggets and pickled the batch.

Got rain this afternoon!  60,95,62, .4",W,0

Monday, May 13, 2013

in a pickle

Hunted for an hour to find a chunk of copper tubing in my stuff.  Finally found one and made some copper tongs.  Mixed up a batch of pickle acid ( sodium hydrogen sulfate - "to effectively remove surface oxidation and flux from silver, gold, copper and most other nonferrous metals after soldering or casting" ) for my nuggets in a mason jar and set it in my old solar oven without the glass cover and it still got up to 150°.  Cleaned all the scale and flux off the pieces (including ingot #1) so they are ready for the final melt into ingots.  Reserved numbers are as follows: 1 - 51,54,56,59,61,62,63,67,72,74,77,90,91,98,99,100
Number 5 is reserved for Pablo Jaramillo who came out just over a year ago with his daughter.  He contacted me a year before that and it seems to me I remember him telling me about coming to the area to spread his wife's ashes in Big Bend.  That ingot is my memorial to her and free to Pablo's daughter but I will need to get her address from him. 

If you would like to reserve a number, don't send it as a comment on the blog - send me an email so I can keep track of them easier.76,94,45,0,B,.28

Sunday, May 12, 2013

the work of our hands...

Just found this news from my old upstate home town.

Psalm 90 : 12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. 13 Return , O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants. 14 O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 15 Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. 16 Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. 17 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.  74,79,53,0,B,0

Saturday, May 11, 2013

pre ingots

All the big chances of rain scooted by TFL today....only got a sprinkle. Melted down the rest of the booty I got on Ebay into manageable nuggets (11 oz ). Still about a month away from coming up with a price and going into production.  Some folks have contacted me about reserving a specific number in the limited edition of 100 ingots.  If you are interested in a specific number, send me an email.  1,2,3,6,7, and 13 are spoken for.  That is just to reserve a number - no obligation to buy since I haven't set a price yet.  66,74,56,0,T,.34

Friday, May 10, 2013


Good odds of rain falling on TFL.  Finished installing the gutter on the greenhouse west shade.  Did a temp-plumb to a 125 gallon tank.  A half inch of rain from this roof will fill it.  68,86,75,0,B,.2