Wednesday, March 31, 2010

HOT, More Bloom & Old House

Looks like its going to be a HOT one today. Its already 94.5 in the dungeon at 10:47 AM and the hottest I saw it in here all day yesterday was 104.3. The shower water got up to 113 yesterday and I bet it would get much hotter today, but I plan to use it before it gets over 105. ;) The first two photos are a Yucca about 100 feet from the dungeon. More blooming going on.

Picture 3 if of the old house or cabin that was flattened. I'll probably add to this tonight when it cools off, but for now I'm going to retire to the shade behind the dungeon.
Picture 4 is the old water line that  was run in this area back in the 40s. Sure wasn't burried very deep, but it looks like it could still be used today. What a shame!

And for OGT the wind hasn't been blowing enough fir the wind genny to do any good so with heavy usage of the batteries at night and some in the day its back to running the gas charger every 24 hours for from 20 to 30 minutes.
Picture 5 a picture of the New Improved Snake Screen. Picture 6 a picture of a tarp I put up for shade when it got up to 105.4 in the dungeon. I hung out under it until about 2:00 and took a shower. Then the wind got up ant ripped my shade tarp down. I went back in the dungeon and it had cooled down to 97 with the high wind, but when I tried to get on eht internet it was down. I'm at the legion posting this now.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Answers to questions revealed

Figured I need to post some kind of picture with this post so here it is. One of my neighbors stopped by and asked if I wanted to go check out an old abandoned house that had been flattened years ago. I figured why not so we went to it to pilfer around. One of the things was the old speedometer above as far as junk goes. I posted a picture on my web site to see if any of my members could tell me what it was for. Could be from an AC Cobra since this was the domain of those back in the 60s. I guess I'll see if one of my 4000+ members can identify it. The neighbor said he thinks the house got leveled in the same tornado that ripped the roof off of the old store on 118. Could be because something sure leveled it! BTW that was the only tornado in recorded history down here.

On the way back from the hike we stumbled across one of the old water pipe lines that were put in here back in the 40s to supply people with water down here. Supposedly they were trying to get people to settle down here so water was piped in all over the area. Evidently it wasn't a very successful venture. Never the less when the land was sold to the Terlingua Ranch they ripped up a lot of the old water lines when they graded the roads. What a waste because part  of the line was exposed and still in usable condition. That sure could have solved the water problem for many down here!

And for the mysteries of why some rocks seem to be out of place here? Well according to  my neighbor eons ago a volcano about 10 miles south west of here exploded and blew them up here. Makes a lot of sense now. That could also account for areas where the critters have been able to dig because of the rock being fractures underground. Perhaps large boulders dropped on those areas with something like the effect of a meteor???


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Desert Blooms / Lunch / Entertainment /First Shower!

For lack of anything else here is a couple of the plants that are now blooming on this place. Don't have a clue what the names of the plants are?

Its windy as heck again today which is good for the power situation, but not for modivation to get out and do something. For now I'm staying inside.

As for lunch? Well I decided to use up a package of Butter Flavored Noodles I had and didn't have a measuring cup so decided to use one of the 16 ounce Styrofoam coffee cups to measure the water. Now the packet said to use 2 cups of water and all the time knowing that 16 ounces makes 2 cups I literally added two of the 16 OZ cups of water. Duah! Now needless to say what should have been some good noodles to eat turned in to a rather bland pot of soup. I says to myself "Self you need to add something else to thicken it up!" I added a single serving packet of cheese macaroni to it and cooked it another 5 minutes. Sampled it and it wasn't too good at all. Well I says to myself "Self add a can of Tuna!" So I did, that and 4 pinches of sea salt, 4 or 5 dashes of seasoning salt, a few dashes of garlic salt, 4 pinches of course ground black pepper and a hand full of minute rice to absorb some of the extra liquid. Hay! It turned out not too bad! Was out of Coke which I usually have with meals so it was V8 juice to the rescue. Now I've pigged out so much on it I can see a nap in my near future!

Entertainment? Well yes... I need something around here to help keep me from going completely NUTS so this is my entertainment system. I use my Zune (Microsoft's answer to the Ipod) and connect it to my old computer speaker system. It works quiet well and has great sound for such a cheap setup. I got tired of the ear bud thingies a long time ago and when I ran across the speaker system in the storage I decided to use them. I have enough music on the Zune to last a good 8 hours without ever hearing the same song twice. It sure makes things a lot easier to take at night when I'm hold up in the dungeon. There is only one radio station in the area and I'd call it LOUSY so that more or less leaves this setup. Works well for me anyway! I can't get the radio station in the dungeon anyway.

Note the battery with the cigarette lighter port added to it. I also found my car setup for the Zune which allows me to charge the Zune without running the laptop while its charging. Saves some on the juice needed to keep the laptop running and when the wind genny isn't running saves gas to by not having to recharge the batteries as often. The speaker system only takes 18 watts to run where the laptop takes over 100 watts.
 Yep! Took my first shower at the ranch! The wind laid down and the water was 103 degrees and I hurriedly put up the shower tarp, used another one for a floor with rocks around it to keep it there and went for it. Hadn't no more than got through when the wind decided to change directions and start making more power again.  I had to really hustle to get the shower tarp down. Now I only used about  3 1/2 gallons of water because I didn't know just how long it would last. First burst I soaked down good, Then soaped up and scrubbed down all over. Then rinse and soaped down some more. Then I use the rest of the 3 1/2 gallons to rinse completely again.  Boy did that 103 degrees water feel good! Now that I know I could have showered twice as long I'll enjoy it longer next time.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Blue Bonnets & Plumbing

First two pictures are of the Blue Bonnets between here and Study Butte. For those that don't know they are the Texas State Flower.

Third picture is the way the shower will work at first. I'll be using the 12 volt pump I used on my old solar heat system I built back in Plano. The pump made it down here and the rest didn't. Eventually I'll convert it to gravity flow, but this will just be a quick way to set it up for now. The pump will run off my batteries and I'll have a pull chain switch in the shower to turn on the flow and turn it off. (Conserve water by soaking down, cutting it off and then turning it back on for rinsing as needed.) The pump is a low flow high pressure and only pumps about 1.5 gallons per minute, but it would still go through the 7 gallons pretty quick if it weren't used as mentioned. The flow will be through a normal shower head and should be more or less like a shower in your home when running. 50 PSI is about normal for that.

For now I've suspended working on it because it is VERY windy and sandy now. I've seen Miss Genny go in to about 30% helicopter mode several times now.


I got industries this morning and built a solar water heater out of an old trailer extension I made years ago and never used. Just more of the junk that made it down here with me (mainly for the iron. I found a better use for it for now. It is how I'll heat water for the shower. (For now)

I also piped up the shower temporarily and tested it out by running a couple of gallons of melt water through it. I've already made that up by partially draining one ice chest. Note that the temp shown in the solar water heater box it read a little over 50 degrees about 10:30 this morning. Its now 1:18 and the temp is already up to 78 degrees and I figure by 4:00 it should be more than warm enough to have a hot shower. If it were to get too hot I'd cover the box with a tarp to keep it from getting hotter. Some how I got lucky and exactly 7 jugs of water will fit in the heater. (Exactly the amount the shower needs!)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

GHG, Shower & Snake Screen

GHG stands for Guest House Gone in case you were wondering. I know everyone had been loosing a lot of sleep wondering what I had stored in the guesthouse so I thought I'd show you. The buckets are full of my stash of hardware as well as the tote. Clothes in the bags that will no longer fit me and then some blankets that I sure won't be needing much longer until next winter. Hopefully now everyone will be able to sleep easy now that you know what was in it. Now I'm going to have to find room to put all of that stuff somewhere else.

You can also sleep more soundly knowing that the snake screen should be keeping unwanted guests out of the dungeon. 

 And everyone can sleep better not having to wonder whether I'll be able to take a shower again pretty soon. I will be able to. If I can get a nice warm day without wind. I'm only going to use the one tarp because it will cover the front and side and the entrance will be the rear where there are no near neighbors to see in it. If they want to use a telescope then that's their problem.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


For lack of anything else to do this morning and limited on what I have to work with I decided to start on a solar shower. Add another point to It'll Du because it is part of the soon to be solar shower. First picture is a frame I built out of my cache of junk and hardware that I brought with me from Plano. And who says being an obsessive compulsive pack rat is bad? The first picture is of it attached to the It'll Du with a very long screw. Shouldn't be a problem there. The next two pictures after that are doctored to show how tarps will be used as curtins to block the view of the general public. The fourth picture is how I have the A frame bolted to the stakes which were pounded in to 12 inch deep holed drilled in to the rock. It ain't going no where as is.  The tarps will only be added at shower time and taken down after the shower. No High wind condition showers! I hear that gets pretty chilly anyway even in hot weather though.

I may use one of the blue containers at first and then switch to a metal tank later. I have the polly carbonate to build a solar heating box when I get the wood to build the box out of. Once I get more pallets I plan to add a piece of OSB board as a floor on top of one and cover it with a tarp to give something to stand on besides the jagged rocks. I also plan to get the plumbing fixtures to add a drain in the center and pipe it down hill to another container so the gray water can be used for watering plants later.

At first I'd planned to build a stand alone pyramid to make a shower out of, but I'd have had to loose the two prop rods holding the dungeon doors up against the sides. I'd have had to come up with something else to do that to so decided to add to the functionality of the It'll Du and it should work out good.

Do I have a plan or what? ;)

Monday, March 22, 2010


Looks like 1000 AMP Hours to me. Even if the last two aren't hooked up yet. They are coming around though and I think they will be added later. My neighbor down the hill says we are supposed to have a very windy night and day tomorrow so since he usually knows what he's talking about I made a push to get the battery bank on the genny to make good use of the wind. Maybe I won't hate the wind so much now. Notice I said 'so much" Didn't say I won't still hate it.

What I have left to do now is build a box over the batteries, inverters and gauges and that will probably happen after I go back to Alpine for more free pallets. I'm starting to gain an affection for pallets. Especially free ones.

When I was topping off the batteries this morning getting ready to move them I had another fuel delivery problem with the charger and it died. Guess I'll try to get that taken care of before I move it out by the genny. Thank goodness for 2 wheel dollies! Those batteries would have killed me without one to move them on!
 I reclaimed my work bench by using part of the old tractor to hold the Harley tank. Just a quick fix and I'll come up with something a little more elegant sooner or later. In the mean time the work bench I reclaimed is now used to hold a 7 gallon  water jug for dish washing and so on. It was moved the the south side of the dungeon this morning and the water in it is already warm enough for a shower.  (Wheels turning in my head)

Friday, March 19, 2010

98 Degrees

Took the trike to get a block of Ice and when I came back the thermometer on the clock said 98.2.  (That was with the window full open.) It cooled down to 98.0 shortly after opening the door. Its down to 96.3 now and holding. Won't be long before I'll be spending most of the day outside in any shade I can find. The first picture is a panorama from the new purposed build site.

Believe it or not it feels comfortable in here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I made a trip in to Study Butte today and just before going up the hill at Bee Mountain headed south a large black furry cat went ambling across 118. I slammed on the brakes to keep from hitting it and it stopped in front of the falcon and snarled as if it was going to attack the car. When it snarled saliva was just pouring out its mouth. It stood there like that for a minute and then ambled on off the highway. Perhaps I should have run over it? I'd hate to think what it would be like with a bunch of rabid coyotes running around here. Maybe I'll start packing when I'm outside? Not actual picture of the cat I saw.
Photo taken from:


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Guests

The guests are on the road and I'll be heading out after while to MAYBE take a shower. Being how its spring break that might cause a problem though. Maybe I should take Dale's pup tent and camp out by the shower room? Not sure what time they will be back this afternoon, but I'm sure they will want to be back before dark. It was pretty cold this morning and cloudy so we were huddled around a fire until they left. At least the sun is now in and out so maybe it will start warming up. Meanwhile I'm back in the dungeon with the heater going.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


To get away from the PCOB and move on it is complete other than some interior cosmetics and now probably a saloon door. Well maybe a tarp on bungee cards where it can be hooked and unhooked to enter and leave.

If the guy I talked to about DSL and a phone was right about them not requiring a permanent structure then no big deal on that. I should be able to pass once I get the wind generator up. However, if that is a requirement then the It'll Du should put me over the top since it is a permanent structure. I guess it can be a combination Phone booth, computer room and pooper all in one. Works for me.

And after another mildly windy day another beautiful evening with another nice sunset.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It'll Du Update

Was a beautiful morning this morning and no wind up until about 11:30 so I did all I could before it got up. I did get to do more work on It'll Du as can be seen in the picture. I don't think there's a wind advisory for tomorrow so hopefully I can finish it up? At least get it usable! (Hopefully with a roof on it and as rainproof as I can make it.) I've decided that the only safe door is no door with the wind like it is around here so have decided to empty out the guest house and salvage the zipper door from it  to use as a door on It'll Du. That should hold up better then a door that would likely get ripped off of the hinges by high wind and still give privacy inside even if you do have to stoop to get in it.

Now where else can you get a view like that while using the facilities?

This internet connection is really lousy now so more than likely this will be posted from the legion!
No doubt one of those times that makes this all worth while. Almost silence other than an occasional vehicle going down 118 and the constant ringing of tinnitus in my ears, but I've learned to accept that over they years. (Ever since Viet Nam) Beautiful sunset, the temp is just right and NO wind at all! I could have gotten more done to the PCOB, but just had to enjoy the evening!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It'll Du

The PCOB is now officially named the It'll Du. Name sort of taken from a bar in Odessa Texas that I used to drop in on rare occasions. It will in fact Du for what its intended. The wind got a jump on me early this morning. One of my neighbors stopped by for a visit and just before he left the wind started getting up. Its now blowing at gale force (Maybe a slight exaggeration) so getting much done out there is not an easy thing to do. It has been coming up about 1:00'ish for the past several days, but this morning it came up about 10:40. I'm doing the best I can out in it, but am about ready to call it a day! I'd about as soon be working in a rainstorm! Of course the sand is with it to it is a sand storm.

As for the It'll Du I'm probably going to cover the inside thrown with some tarp material to cut down on splinters in the legs and any part of the posterior that might be subjected to the OSB board. I may also make It'll Du a convertible PCOB. Not to worry anyone else would have to be standing next to it to see what you were doing. ;) Then again it will eventually be fully covered and roofed.

Monday, March 8, 2010

PCOB continued / Guesthouse Goner!

Work on the PCOB "Poop Composting Out Building" is coming along slowly because of the high wind and lack of wood. (see later in this thread.)
The Guest House is no longer an option as can be seen in the picture. The shock poles have snapped and are protruding through the tarp. I guess the tarp will now be used for the PCOB covering until I get the siding to cover it. What this means is 4 people will be sleeping in the dungeon. Dale, figure on bringing two small air mattresses (single Person Only) Someone can sleep on the top bunk and two in the floor. I'm not even going to repair the tent this time!

Now as for the PCOB... I don't have enough wood to frame up the PCOB and have enough left over to build the thrown so I went scrounging. I went to look at the abandoned couch just in back of this property to see if there was any salvageable wood in it. There wasn't so I went further over to where an old abandoned box spring set was and it had enough wood I could use to make it worthwhile to hook up the trailer and go get it. I already have something in mind for the metal coils and frame, but that will probably pop up in a later thread. Anyway I've been taking it apart for the wood and what I can't use for the PCOB I will use as fire wood for a camp fire. I have a feeling we will be spending a bunch of time outside.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

OUTHOUSE or NOT? That is the question.

First off to set the record straight this is NOT an outhouse in the old fashion term. This will be a composting system of sorts. Note in the picture there is no basement in this outhouse. It is just outside and will probably stay that way. I may add a shower to the side of it later? I'll update pictures on this thread as I go along.
For the foundation for this outhouse I drilled about a foot deep through solid plate rock and then added lag bolts. Then I cemented them in to the rock so if the wind takes this outhouse then it will have its work cut out for it. I used up the last bag and a half of concrete to pour a foundation, but could have used another bag, but wasn't going to go back to Alpine (58 miles) to get one. I'm sure it will do even if it does look like a crappy job. It is! I used most of the ice melt water I've been storing up for it and the swivel for the wind generator so will have to start saving that up again before I start pouring more concrete next time.

I got the 12x20 tarp put over the guest house and hopefully secured enough to keep the tent down and stay in place. If need be I'll drill more places for stakes to anchor it and pound in more stakes for the tie downs. Should do the trick?

Last is a view from here early this morning. It did get partly cloudy later (mostly sunny, but is starting to get more clouds popping up. Hopefully for me no rain tonight, but I'm sure that those who are already setup for water catchment it would be nice.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Outhouse Trip

Took the falcon and trailer to Alpine today for supplies We car pooled, but one person didn't show. Oh well prices are higher in Study Butte, but not my problem. I got some of the wood to build an out house, but got to figuring when I got back and didn't get enough. I did take advantage of some info John Wells at the Field Lab gave me and picked up some free pallets while there so hopefully I can stretch what lumber I bought and the 6 pallets I brought back to do the build. Also used the setup I saw that he had for his wind generators. A swivel made from pipe to allow me to take it down and put it up a lot easier than it would have been the way I was originally going to do it. Used the two 80 LB bags of concrete my brother in law brought to cement it in and bought two more bags while at McCoy's in Alpine to anchor the outhouse with. I'll give the cement a couple of days to harden before trying to put the genny up and in the mean time I'll try to get to pole finished and maybe concrete in anchors for the outhouse. It got pretty darned warm today working out in the sun because there was very little wind. It has gotten up now though and is starting to feel pretty cool out.
Of course the first picture is the lone mountain I told Scavenger I'd post. Not great, but will have to do.