Friday, June 30, 2023


This little gizmo was super simple to hook up and run.  The DFPlayer Mini MP3 Player for Arduino is a small and inexpensive MP3 module with direct output for a speaker. The module can be used as a standalone module with battery, speaker and pushbuttons or in combination with an Arduino UNO or any other controller with RX /TX capabilities. It has a built-in amplifier rated at 3 watts that is volume adjustable to 30 levels, and EQ adjustable to 6 levels.  The audio data is stored on a Micro SD card.  The SD card must be formatted in FAT16 or FAT32 format.  Once the card is formatted, MP3 files can be copied to it. They are played in the order in which they were copied to the card. The DFPlayer should be able to manage up to 100 folders with up to 255 MP3 files. A 32 gigabyte Micro SD card can hold 555 hours of audio in 128 kilobytes per second MP3 format.  85,102,75,0,B

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Photo day...

Wasn't very happy with the photos my realtor shot for my recent 20-acre listing.  Bad composition and several blurry shots from a smudge on her phone camera lens (she should have never posted the blurry ones in the first place).  After waiting nearly a month on her to do a reshoot, I decided to shoot them myself.  It's just as well because all her listing photos pretty much suck anyway.  Didn't post yesterday because I got sidetracked shooting some of the final photos last night at sunset with my drone.  Pushed the Mavic Pro to the max and almost lost it.  Battery was really low and it ended up dropping out of the sky just as it came home.  It only fell about 6 feet but it damaged the camera gimble a bit, broke one of the landing legs, and the battery is defunct now.  Before I repair it or spend any money on a new battery, I am kind of waiting so see if there will be any good drone deals on Amazon Prime Day July 11th.  Have my eye on either a DJI Mini 2 or Mini 2SE.  98,103,76,0,B

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

little ceiling fan

Enhanced my summer comfort by installing this little 5-volt USB powered ceiling fan that I ordered from Amazon.  Runs silently and at only 17" in diameter, it still moves the air around well and creates a nice breeze on me hanging right above my desk.  Looks like we are going to get a break from triple digit highs for a few days starting Saturday.  103,108,74,0,B

Monday, June 26, 2023

The Poet Machines

Testing out the talking head.  Found this poem here.  104,110,69,0,B

Sunday, June 25, 2023

bosom of fools

 Ecclesiastes 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth. 2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. 5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. 6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity. 7 Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart. 8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. 9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools. 

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Action Figure

One of the benefits of printing in sections is that a revise only has to be done on a single part.  Here I decided to make a cut out in the back for the mouth actuating servo.  Having anticipated some revisions, all the parts are just hot glued together.  Once I am satisfied with everything, I will assemble it all with superglue.  93,110,79,0,B

Friday, June 23, 2023

Almost there...

Two more leg sections to print out tomorrow to finish this.  Divided up the design into 22 separate sections in order to print them out efficiently.  I tend to shy away from printing single large pieces in order to avoid wasting time because of a failure after hours of printing.  94,112,83,0,B

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Body parts...

Printing out a body for my talking head.  Using a Thingiverse model I found of the robot Maria from Fritz Lang's 1927 epic silent film - Metropolis.  103,111,84,0,B

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Chat GPT

More AI explorations on yet another "too hot to be outside" day.  
Decided to try out Chat GPT and instructed it as follows:
"write a brief summary of The Field Lab blog on blogger".  
This is what it came up with in about 5 seconds.  For some reason it used the name Mark throughout the summary, so I changed all the instances to my name.  

"The Field Lab" is an extraordinary blog hosted on Blogger, chronicling the adventures of an intrepid explorer named John Wells in his quest for off-grid living. With an infectious enthusiasm for sustainable living and a knack for creativity, John shares his remarkable experiences, challenges, and discoveries while living in the midst of the Texan desert.

Through captivating storytelling and stunning photographs, John provides readers with a glimpse into his unique lifestyle. From building his own eco-friendly dwelling using repurposed materials to cultivating a thriving desert garden, he showcases his ingenuity and determination in creating a sustainable oasis in a seemingly inhospitable environment.

The blog delves into a wide range of topics, including alternative energy sources, water conservation techniques, and innovative DIY projects. John shares practical advice, personal insights, and occasional mishaps, all with a touch of humor and humility. He embraces the realities of off-grid living and offers valuable lessons that inspire readers to embark on their own eco-friendly journeys.

But it's not just about the technical aspects of sustainable living. "The Field Lab" also explores the beauty and tranquility of living in harmony with nature. John's encounters with wildlife, breathtaking sunsets, and the vast expanse of the desert paint a vivid picture of the joys and challenges of his unconventional lifestyle.

Through his blog, John has built a vibrant community of like-minded individuals, fostering discussions, exchanging ideas, and offering support to those seeking to embrace off-grid living. The Field Lab has become a source of inspiration for those yearning to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life and forge a deeper connection with the natural world.

In summary, "The Field Lab" on Blogger is a captivating and insightful blog that chronicles John's adventures in off-grid living. It combines practical guidance, personal anecdotes, and stunning visuals to create a rich tapestry of sustainable living in the midst of the Texan desert, while also fostering a community of passionate individuals seeking a more harmonious relationship with nature.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Cyber Ben with AI

Too hot to do anything but stay inside and play with some AI on the computer. This was generated using Was inspired to try it after seeing this video from Hayls World YouTube channel.

Monday, June 19, 2023

A bit toasty...

Summer is definitely in full swing at TFL.  This is day 11 of over 100° highs.  It has been a while since this has happened.  The last couple of summers were particularly mild - temperature wise.  Checking my recorded weather data, the summer of 2011 the most brutal since I moved here. From late May through early September, there were 117 days with highs above 100 - with one stretch of 55 consecutive days of triple digit peaks.  It was the hottest summer on record for Texas.

According to meteorologists, it looks like at least the rest of June is going to have daytime highs above 100°.  The scorching conditions are linked to a heat dome, or a ridge of high pressure, centered over northern Mexico.  So far, my Pepino swamp cooler (with a newly installed pad) has been keeping up with the daytime heat and cooling the hut down nicely overnight. 107,110,74,0,C

Sunday, June 18, 2023


Jeremiah 10:2  Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.  

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Friday, June 16, 2023

head for talking clock...

Modified from these files found on Thingiverse.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Osmo Action

After posting yesterday's video of the property including a time lapse shot with the Wyze Cam V3, I decided to do another overnight time lapse with my DJI Osmo Action camera to better show off the stars.  I did one of these a year ago and knew that around this time of year the Milky Way would cooperate.   ISO 3200 / 25" exposure / one frame every 30". 98,104,65,0,B

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Monday, June 12, 2023

A little help for Ukraine...

Ordered from an Ebay seller in war-torn Ukraine.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

search me...

Psalms 139:17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. 19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. 

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Friday, June 9, 2023

Thursday, June 8, 2023


Hoping to get my talking head projects running on a smaller microcontroller.  The program running on the chunky Arduino Uno won't run on mini versions of ESP 32 or 8266...but it should run just fine on an Arduino Nano.  89,99,61,0,C

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

More thrashers on the way...

New thrasher activity in an old dove nest.
She's sitting on 4 eggs.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Boosted again...

Fired up the just received Wavelink AC 600 Wi-Fi repeater and getting full signal again 250 meters away at Mailbox Road.  My entrance camera is back in business.  As of today, these are still a great deal on Amazon while they are offering 39% off plus a $15 coupon.  87,91,67,0,B

UPDATE:  This unit has failed already - just like the previous unit.  Not sure what the issue is so I am returning this one for a full refund.  Perhaps there is a reason why they slashed the price so dramatically.  Going to try the Wavelink AC 1200 next.

Monday, June 5, 2023

Own a piece of TFL

I am slicing off 20 acres of prime TFL land for sale for $38,000.  I had this road and building site roughed in a year and a half ago - but decided to sell it off and let someone else build their dream getaway.  I am offering $1000 instant cash back after closing if you contact me first before contacting my realtor.  84,89,66,0,B

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Help, Lord...

 Psalms 12:1 Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. 2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. 3 The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: 4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us? 5 For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him. 6 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. 8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted. 

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Friday, June 2, 2023


I see a new Arduino controlled talking head coming soon...

Thursday, June 1, 2023

a friend...