Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Local News (A Bunch of it!)

Hopefully April 30th the Dungeon will no longer be here and Dungeon II will make its appearance. Not likely I'll ever live in it, but it could happen I guess. It will basically just take the place of the Dungeon for storage.
This is not a picture of the actual tank, just similar. The one I'm supposed to get is 10' diameter and about 8 or 9 feet tall. I'd ask the guy that owns it a couple of months back about selling it to me and he said he would. Then I mentioned I wanted to cut a door in it and use it for storage so I could get rid of the dungeon. Well at the time that was a mistake because he took my idea and decided to do the same. This really turned out to be a good thing though because yesterday he stopped by to see if I still wanted to buy it. I told him not much chance of that now because I didn't have the spare $. He said that he and his wife had decided all of her stuff wouldn't fit in it so they plan to keep the container they are renting from the same guy I'm renting the dungeon from. However, he had already cut out for the door and welded in the frame for a steel door and I'll be getting a steel door with it. There are some real small holes in it, but he has already patched some of them and I'll patch what he didn't patch. He will also let me pay it out so when its paid off it will be mine rather than keeping on paying rent on the dungeon.

Some might consider it an eye sore sitting up here so I may camouflage it with several shades of paint to make it look like 9 Points. ;) Then again I've been wanting to build a pyramid so that would make it pretty easy to make one to cover it.That should make a hell of a catchment system!

More work done on the Fridge hut and now I'm thinking I may just keep the blueboard on it, get some lath and plaster over it like I did the Battery Hut. Not sure what I'll do as far as an outside door goes because with the wind conditions around here the wind when out of the right (or is that the wrong) direction could make opening it a real challenge. I'm thinking I may make it where it opens from the top and rig up some sort of prop rod system or where it will just lay back over the top. In either case I'll probably get  conked on the head if the prop rod fails or the wind catches it on the top and blows it over. Either that or I'll raise up and conk myself on the head without thinking about it. Oh well.

On another note I talked to John Wells at the Grub Shack yesterday and he said the Grub Shack is going to be getting free WiFi for their customers. You can see his blog by looking to the right of this page and going to The Field Lab.

And still on another note, my neighbor Robert just stopped by and told me they just came back from Alpine and had to get the radar used on the way up there. He said they made them get out of the pickup and drove the van around it. He said it took about 5 or 6 minutes before they could go on. I bet this will be real interesting during the Chili Cook off! Now... before when Frann and I were coming back from Alpine there was no place big enough for that van to circle vehicles so I'd bet they were xraying as people drove through? If so perhaps raising hell on several blogs got someone's attention and they are now doing it right?

BTW I ran across the below video while looking for Charcoal as fertilizer. I'm sure the guys will enjoy it a lot better than the gals (Would probably take a guy to understand why I say that), but there is good info on there for all. Especially some of their other videos about solar cooking and so on.

I'd seen a program on TV years ago where some ancient Indians along the Amazon had used charcoal and pottery shards to make some of the most fertile soil in the world. They say it is still that way after centuries. I could see the charcoal helping, but couldn't figure out what part the pottery shards played. A while back Just Me told me to get a piece of ceramic to put in a tobacco bag to keep it just at the right moisture. It dawned on me then that the Indians evidently used the pottery shards to capture water and keep it from sinking out of reach of the plants they were growing. See link to video below.


And this Just in: More Texas BS

Oh Yeah.... And I waited around here all day for Paul the deputy to show up about the ID Theft case and he never made it. Second time that's happened! At least I got a lot done.

Backscatter radar and now this. 

Brought to my attention By Dave Secor 

Something else that should be fun at the Chili Cook Off! Maybe they can sell rides in it?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Radar / Fridge / ID theft case

First picture is of the Backscatter radar between here and Alpine. Frann's pictures on her blog were taken on the way in to Alpine and this one was taken on the way back. The light on the top was flashing on the return trip so I assume that meant it was in operation?
Been working on the new hut for the fridge. No thanks to McCoy's in Alpine because they didn't have much I could use. They were out of 1/4 and 3/8th inch OSB board so I guess I'll wind up doing like I did on the shower and use blueboard foam until I can get OSB. I was planning to plaster it like I did the battery hut, but it looks like that will be a while off. For now the fridge is just temporarily sitting on a pallet with some steel siding behind it to block the evening sun. I did have the thermal board on top to help, but had to use that for the flooring in the hut.
Unfortunately I ran out of long screws so what you see is as far as I got. I'll have to go south in the morning to get the information the Sheriff's deputy said I need and he will be here Tuesday to fill out the report so I can have my credit reports frozen for seven years rather than the 90 days it is now. Ill get more screws there and see what they have at that small hardware store while I'm down there. I had called the sheriff's department and a deputy was supposed to call me back, but the phone never rang so I assumed they just didn't want to bother with it. Turns out that was NOT the case because they tried several times. What the problem was is that the old phone with answering machine I got at the thrift store in Alpine doesn't ring unless its plugged in to 110 volts. I'd been unplugging it at night and one morning I forgot to plug it back in and it stayed that way for over a week. I could call out so assumed no one had called. CRS is really grand! However, that is the first phone like that I ever had that wouldn't still ring if unplugged! I cornered one of the deputies in Study Butte last week and asked him and he said he would send someone here after I told him where I lived, but it was yesterday before I ever saw one. He saw the falcon at the Grub Shack and stopped there to talk to me. He told me what all he needed and I told him I'd have to get that tomorrow so he said he would drop by here Tuesday. It will be nice to get that behind me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pepper / Pad / Sunset

Had another visit from Pepper Sunday. The new family had her at the legion (untied) and she slipped away to pay me a visit. As usual I walked out the door and there she was. She was panting hard and looked thirsty so I filled up the dogie water bowl. Also had some brisket that I was about to chunk because of the age so she got to eat well while she was here. After a short visit I decided to take her down to the legion not knowing she came from there and when I headed out to the falcon / trike she stood in front of the car door expecting me to open it and let her in. I fooled her and took the trike instead. As always before she loved to chase along with me when I was riding the trike. When we got to the legion there were 3 of the 10 remaining new pups the new owner's Dane had left and I think Pepper isn't getting as much attention as she used to so more than likely that was the reason for her to visit me. She normally won't do that when the girls are where she is and they were all three there.

Got the foundation poured for the new fridge hut, but unfortunately the concrete I had didn't go near as far as I thought it would. Looks like I'll have to pickup a couple of bags when I go south tomorrow to finish it off. I decided to put it on the west side of the trailer near the door so as not to have to go far to get to the contents of the fridge. The trailer will shade the hut until probably around 11:00 AM and hopefully I'll have it and the fridge well enough insulated to allow it to work good in the afternoons.

Another sunset from last night. It was pretty cloudy most of the day yesterday and we had a chance of rain, but unfortunately didn't get so much as a sprinkle. I don't think it is in the forecast again at least for the next 5 days.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Purple Haze / Moon beside 9 Points Mesa

Most of yesterday afternoon there was a thick blanket of haze to the east. Wasn't dust nor was it smoke that I know of so I suppose it was smog from either Mexico or somewhere else. Almost reminded me of being back in the DFW area. I was pretty choked up last night probably because of it. :( Just goes to show not even people down here can get away from SMOG!
A shot of last nights moon rising beside 9 Points below.
Bought a little propane/electric fridge from one of the legion members yesterday, but will have to do some work on it. Supposedly it will work once I get the stuff to hook it up. I sure hope so because buying ice is getting mighty expensive. Of course I'll have to run it off of propane because I'd never be able to run it off of the solar and batteries.
It looks like crap, but if it works I won't care. I'll have to pour a small level pad with concrete and put a small enclosure around it because it will stay outside.

The Foots (Bigfoot & Littlefoot) invited me to the legion Friday night for supper and a few drinks. Had a good time and when I got home the above calendar was sitting on the door step with a rock on top of it. I didn't have a clue who left it until yesterday when I went to the mailbox and Grub Shack. Tony (the guy that is building the Tetrahedron  house) was at the GS and asked how I liked the calendar. He said he saw it in the NAPA automotive parts store when he went to Alpine and saw the July car was a Ford Falcon so he got it for me. :) Of course its a 1964 falcon rather than a 1968 like mine, but I love all falcons! Thanks again if you see this Tony!
The Yuccas are blooming down south now so should start that around here before too much longer. That will mean more stir fried flower peddles at first and then fried Yucca fruit later on. Once they start it happens over a pretty good period of time because some bloom much later than others. Its possible later in the year to be able to have both the fruit and flowers to eat. The flowers are by far the best, but once the fruit gets to a certain point it isn't bad fried. I think it can also be boiled and I'd like to try pickling some also. Matter of fact I think pickling them should be better because they have a slightly bitter taste otherwise. Might be good with some Sweet & Sour sauce with chicken added to the dish? I'll let you'll know when I try either.

 And another close up of the moon a little higher in te sky last night.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Threat of Rain

Didn't get much done today, but this afternoon Bigfoot showed up and he was headed south. He wanted to know if I wanted to ride along so after thinking about it I said sure. He needed some stuff from Bee Mountain Hardware and I did to for the shower so that was the first stop. On the way in I spotted a curious looking animal which I thought was a badger that had been run over on 118 and it was on the shoulder. I didn't say anything and don't know if he saw it to or not but we passed it so fast that I doubt it?

We stopped at the legion to see if they had ice yet or not, but they didn't and after making my trip to the GS this morning  and getting two blocks and a bag of ice I had a spare block so let Bigfoot have it because they were out.

When he was dropping me off I noticed what looked like thunderheads building to the west and I mentioned to him that it looked like that to me. Once he had left I was sitting out enjoying the nice evening and kept hearing thunder off to the west. Later I heard a few drops hit the top of the trailer so I rushed out to get a feel of them, but unfortunately they eluded me. I don't think any or much of the rain ever hit the ground, but HEY its a promise of rain.

See pictures below.


Tourist / ID Theft / Out of supplies.

I'm going to have to make a good effort to get the falcon running today! I'm about out of ice and the legion is to. The GS was low also the last time I was there so unless they've got another load since then a trip there wouldn't help. I'm also low on other supplies and in BAD need of a shower so... I sure need to get the falcon up to the trip south!

From what I hear from the neighbor SB and BBMI is bustling with tourists so I hope I'll be able to get a shower IF I make it in.

As for the ID theft I called the sheriff's office yesterday to try and get them to fill out a report on the ID Theft and the person on the phone said the deputy who would do that had stepped out and would call me back shortly. I made that call yesterday morning and the return call never came. I can't hang out in here all day waiting so will have to try to get south and then call them again tomorrow.

The picture below I took a couple of evenings ago and it was a couple of tourist on bicycles with trailers behind them. I can't imagine making it up the mountainous part of 118 on a bike without a trailer much less with one. The trailers appeared to be pretty big to. All I can say is those two people must really be tough!
Below is another sunset from day before yesterday when it was mostly cloudy.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Desert Mummies / Snake proofing

Been working on the first part of snake proofing the It'll Du. I don't want any more supprises of snakes crawling through there while I'm in there. (Poisonous or not!) At least when I get through it will be easy enough to see if anything is in there when I open the flap. I imagine I'll use the old setup I made to keep snakes from crawling in the dungeon door when I had the door opened. That should pretty well take care of any potential problems there. I guess I'll start working on lighting for it after I get finished with the snake proofing. Before long I plan to resurrect the shower so I don't have to go south every time I need a shower. Lots and lots of projects to do around here and I'm having a hard time finishing one before starting another one. I guess I need to FOCUS! ;)

As for the Mummies? Well I picked up a bag full of cans to take to the legion for recycle and under it was what was in the picture below. Two mummified rats. I guess the rat poison under the dungeon really did do some good. Odd that the rats were together. Husband and wife?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Resurrected & a few photos

With gas prices going as high as they are and problems off and on with the falcon I decided it was about time to resurrect the trike. I figured it would be a lot harder than it was because it hasn't even been started in months since Dale and Dwight were here the last time. One small motorcycle battery was never enough to start it so a couple of years ago I added a second small motorcycle battery to help out because there wasn't room for a larger battery within the frame area. Now motorcycle batteries are real bad about not lasting too long and both of the old ones were dead. They are also not good at being revived with the Epsom salt solution like I used on the golf cart batteries for my off grid needs. I had a car battery that I haven't doctored yet and it wouldn't start a car during cold weather so I decided to use it on the trike because it will start it fine. I lost my storage rack in the process though so will have to come up with some other place to haul cargo. I may build another small trailer to tow behind the trike? As with the falcon this desert is really taking its toll  with the trike even with it never being ridden. BTW... John Wells calls it a Mad Max styled trike. What do you think???
Actually getting it started wasn't hard at all once I put the car battery on the luggage rack and wired it up. Matter of fact with a little choke it started right up. I had to add brake fluid and purge the brake lines to get the brakes working, but since I could reach the bleaders and brake peddle at the same time that wasn't a problem. I assumed that the road in front of here would be near impossible to ride it on in the deep powder areas and also figured that IF I could get through those areas I'd be covered in the powder, but after a couple of trial runs that wasn't the case. Looks like we will become an item again. ;) BTW the trike gets 40 MPG (City) and I've never checked it on the highway, but it will sure beat the 17 MPG (at best) that the falcon gets for highway.

The below pictures were taken of last evening's sunset.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

More - Don Mahan (on Terlingua Ranch)

Why wasn't I allowed to run? By Don Mahan


Monday, March 7, 2011

New OLD mailbox & Street Sign

Got the old mail box from my Lil Sis and believe it or not it is much older than the Falcon also in a couple of pictures. It came from our old home place and is likely dated back in the 50s. The Falcon is a 68 model. Of course I did a lot of scraping and sanding on the box before painting it and adding the numbers. The numbers are chrome plated plastic and are meant for Automotive use, but then since I'm an old car nut I figured they would go good on it. They are on the side of the box that will never see direct sunlight so they should hold up Ok. I'd intended to buy red and orange paint when I got the black to paint the box with, but forgot it. I intended to paint a flame job on the box and probably still will later on. The part that the box is mounted on came with some of the solar panels and lent its self well to what I modified it to do. The post is a T-Post and it took some MAJOR pounding to get it through the pavement and another 16 inches deep! I measured several times to know how deep I'd have to pound the post and to get it lined up with the other box. Looks like I did a good job of it. (Patting myself on the back)

The reflectors are also stick on type and are also on the non sunny side so hopefully they will hold up to. The box on the other side had reflectors on both sides to keep people from hitting it at night so I added two under my box because the one on the other box was mostly blocked by my T-Post.

Now the last picture is of a street sign I picked up at an Automotive swap meet many years ago and have decided to put it at the entrance to my driveway. I figure that's a fitting use for it. ;) I did say I'm an old car nut didn't I?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

After Burn / Girl's day out.

Frann arrived yesterday morning for the trip to Alpine and had her neighbor Cindy with her so I got caught up in a Girl's day out deal. I was stuck with two Crazy Women instead of one. ;) Of course they had to put up with one Crazy Man to though. It was an enjoyable trip. And I thought Girl's Day outs would be boring. Not in the least.

On the way in to Alpine it appeared that the wild fire had been completely extinguished, but then the wind got up yesterday afternoon and the trip back south told a different story. About every where we looked hot spots had fired back up or were heavily smoldering.

On the way to Alpine
Last picture Frann was captured in the shot. The two before that were on the trip back south.

The wind got up last night and howled all night and is still howling now. Grrr Frann was supposed to pick me back up this morning and we were going to go to Julianne's to help her cover her dome with a huge tarp (I think made to cover the dome on an observatory), but with the wind being so high that has been canceled now. I can imagine finding the three of us somewhere in southern Mexico hanging on to that tarp because of the high wind.

Coming Soon to a Border Patrol Check point near you.
Well maybe not near you, but near us. On the trip to Alpine besides the burned areas it was noticed that new equipment that had not been at the check point before is now there. The lane for vehicles to pass through had already been changed for some reason and its now obvious why. The Backscatter Xray system is now there and if not already functioning now it soon will be. (See Frann's Plan for more info)  

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wild Fire / Cone Nose / Cracks

There has been a wildfire raging between here and Alpine for several days now. Below are some pictures of the smoke from it on the horizon between Santiago peak and 9 Points Mesa. It would be about 30 miles North of here and is in rough terrain so they aren't having much luck in stopping it. Fortunately so far the wind has been keeping most of the smoke away from here, but there is enough of the smell to make it a little tougher for me to get my breath. See more about it here http://www.kwes.com/Global/story.asp?S=14174392&Call=Email&Format=Text
The Cone Noses have already come out. Note the remains of one I squashed out by the falcon yesterday afternoon. Damn! I thought it was much later in the year when they came out.
Here is a close up of Bee Bee a couple of days after I applied the mud. Note all the damn cracks in it. It turns out that McCoy's gave me the wrong stuff for the job and this is the results of that. I ordered White mortar MIX and they gave me the raw gray mortar (without the sand) instead. I don't have a clue what to do now, but one guy that does this sort of thing said I might be able to apply the mixed stuff over it and take care of it. He also said it might not to. Grrr!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Texas Independence Day

Source: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/7452641.html

AUSTIN, Texas — A handwritten document proclaiming Texas was freeing itself from rule by Mexico is 175 years old.

Wednesday was Texas Independence Day. It was March 2, 1836, when historians believe the original and five copies of the declaration were made and signed.

Only the original remains. The pages are on a now rare public display into April at the Texas Archives and Library in Austin.

Texas became a U.S. state in 1845.

Just thought some who didn't know should know. Especially the ones living in Texas or planning to move here.