Wednesday, May 31, 2023

death and taxes

Very productive day today in Alpine.  Went by the Brewster County Appraisal District office for an in-person protest and they substantially lowered the assessments for all of my tracts.  92,97,70,0,B

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

another storm related issue...

My Wifi booster seems to have been adversely affected by one of the recent electrical storms.  It no longer "boosts" like it used to.  Did a little digging online and found an identical replacement for twenty bucks cheaper than the now defective one that I bought a year ago.  90,98,60,0,B

Monday, May 29, 2023


replaced a 2 year old swamp cooler pad
resurrected a 25 year old furby

Sunday, May 28, 2023


Job 5:8 I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: 9 Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number: 10 Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields: 11 To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety. 12 He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. 13 He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong. 14 They meet with darkness in the day time, and grope in the noonday as in the night. 15 But he saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty. 16 So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth. 17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:  

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Holy Roof!

Well...the polycarbonate "window" in the greenhouse roof survived for 12 years and 4 months before sustaining any damage. Over the years there have been about 8 pea sized hail events that lasted about 5 minutes and one nickel sized hail event that lasted about one minute. The storms usually came out of the north. This time it came from the south and was golf ball size and lasted about 15 minutes - and now lots of holes. I noticed that not a whole lot of water gets in from all these little holes, so I don't have to be in a big rush to fix it. Just had to tarp a few things off and move a few things out from under major drips. I plan on replacing all of the polycarbonate with metal and eliminate "the window" by this fall. It has been many years since this building officially functioned as a greenhouse anyway. Guess I will start calling it the workshop instead of the greenhouse from now on. 78,86,66, .19",B

Friday, May 26, 2023


Last night's storm only lasted about 30 minutes but ended up with nearly an inch of rain. That much rain that fast is pretty devastating to my road. Planning on a drone road check tomorrow. Also got some golf ball size hail that didn't damage any solar panels but took quite a toll on the greenhouse polycarbonate roof section. 86,90,65,0,B

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Double Feature

Audio from Mike North's YouTube JawDuino video.
Got the line level audio working well with the "talking" skull.  
Still working on getting it to tell the time
85,89,67, .80,G,Hail

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

sort of working

Can get both programs to work independently, 
but can't seem to get them to work together...yet.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Monday, May 22, 2023


Just got a new component to use for this.  It is part of the build for my next clock project.  I will have to combine two different Arduino programs to make it happen.  The idea is that the raven skull I posted about will move as audio from a "talking clock" Arduino program announces the time - so it looks as if the raven is telling the time.  Talking clock parts arrive Wednesday.  83,93,64,T,B 

Sunday, May 21, 2023

fat of lambs

Psalms 37:16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. 17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lord upholdeth the righteous. 18 The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. 19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. 20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.  

Saturday, May 20, 2023

first fledge coming soon...

Hard to believe this thrasher hatched just 12 days ago. Will be ready to leave the nest in less than a week. He (or she) is significantly bigger than the 2-day younger sibling because of getting feeding preference. 68,75,63,0,B

Friday, May 19, 2023

It was bound to happen...

Well, the 2023 Notice of Appraised Value letters have arrived in south Brewster County.  I fully expect they would eventually be catching up with the land rush that occurred since the pandemic which caused land prices to go up over 10 times what they used to be.  The problem is they are going way overboard with the appraisals and just about every landowner out here (including myself) is going to file a protest with the district because of increases across the board of around 800%.  In the real world, appraised value is typically much lower than the fair market value and Brewster County appears to be valuing nearly all tracks of land out here at or above even the most high-priced land which has highway and grid access.   Another anomaly is the example in the above photo.  They have placed the value of two 20-acre tracts attached south of TFL at $90,000 each (an 800% increase) while the fair market value is closer to $35,000 each.  What is particularly odd about that is my TFL 40-acre tract has been valued at $80,000 while the 40 acres just to the south is being valued at $180,000.  76,88,62,0,B

Thursday, May 18, 2023



Wednesday, May 17, 2023

test stand

Jaw hinged and skull mounted for testing.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023



Monday, May 15, 2023


Only 2 out of the 3 eggs hatched successfully. The new babies are 7 and 5 days old. Seems that thrashers give food priority to the first hatched. 63,82,60, .53",B

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Saturday, May 13, 2023

38 wires


Friday, May 12, 2023

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Wednesday, May 10, 2023


118 got resurfaced from just north of the ranch road down to the National Park entrance.  Been 5 years since the last time.  92,98,60,0,B

Tuesday, May 9, 2023


Fairly simple circuit sculpture I call "Where and When". Couldn't get all of this to run using one microcontroller so the GPS and OLED display are running off an ESP32 Mini (bottom board) and the buzzer, servo, and blinking LED are running off an ESP8266 Wemos D1 Mini. It takes a couple of minutes for the GPS to get a lock and then a bit more before the info is displayed so I set up a delay on the blinking, beeping, and servo motion. The GPS is accurate to within about 2 meters and the time is listed as UTC (coordinated universal time - which is 5 hours ahead of daylight saving time in my central time zone. 89,99,57,0,B

Monday, May 8, 2023


Amazing how fragile a hatchling is...  83,101,59,0,B

Sunday, May 7, 2023

written for our learning...

Romans 15:4  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Desert Toad

Taking advantage of a little water dumped out by my porch.  90.97,53,0,C

Friday, May 5, 2023

From China with love...

AliExpress is really stepping up their game.  These clock kits made a pretty quick trip from the other side of the world.  89,96,56,0,C

Thursday, May 4, 2023

board yet?

These are all the Arduino compatible microcontroller boards (with their relative sizes) that I have tried so far except for the smallest one - the Seeed Xiao.  It is due to arrive next Wednesday.   With a little trial and error, I was finally able to get the GPS working with the ESP32 Mini this morning.  I am hoping I will be able to finalize the GPS project using the tiny Xiao.  83,91,66,0,B

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Glass Bed

Time for a 3D printer upgrade...

Monday, May 1, 2023

Satellite Imagery 1985 - 2022

Recently noticed that Google Earth has the latest update for satellite imagery out here so I thought it would be interesting to show how things have changed since 1985.  The first image was just a blur zoomed in the same as all the other images.  87,97,60,0,B