Friday, April 30, 2010

Visitors today!

Left to Right MC, OGT, JustMe
I'd heard that OGT was headed this way and then heard that MC was to. I was sitting out front after rigging up a makeshift evap cooler all afternoon and up came MC. Wasn't 5 minutes after she got here and here comes OGT. OGT took us to dinner (Supper to some of us rednecks.) at Tevo's place. I wasn't real hungry, but the food was good so it all got eaten. MC is supposed to meet us back at the dungeon tomorrow at noon and then hang out with us the rest of the day. Don't know about them, but I had a great time. OGT also came bearing some gifts that I can probably use. Thanks OGT.


We all had a great time at the legion last night for the fund raiser. MC surprised everyone by singing Patsy Cline's  "I'm Crazy" and you would have sworn it was Patsy Cline singing it herself! Man can that lady sing! Contrary to OGT saying that he wasn't good enough on the guitar to do any playing also surprised everyone by doing just that anyway and danged if he wasn't also a good singer and did great on the guitar to. He also got to play some sort of home made wash tub bass thingy and did very good on that to. MC was more or less the Bell of The Ball and both her and OGT now have a lot of new friends and fans.

Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera there, but OGT did let me take some pictures with his cell phone so when he send them to me I'll post them also.

Also unfortunate that OGT didn't read his reservations all the way through and didn't think his plane from Odessa/Midland was supposed to leave until this evening, but then found out he had to leave about 4:30. We had planned Breakfast and some target practice this morning, but by the time they had gotten here it was really too late for breakfast and they had to hit the road fast to make it to the airport. :(  Just Me and myself did do some target practice and then she had to go get ready to head for Midland herself. All in all it was great to have the visitors and now its back to the old lonely grind around here.

More pictures from OGT's cell phone. I was thinking he took the one of MC and me with my camera, but it was with his cell. Unfortunately the ones in the legion didn't turn out to well, but the second photo is of OGT jamming out on the tub and the third is of MC being caught with the pool cue.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Yucca Soup

One of the legion members was asking about whether Yucca fruit could be eaten or not since there is plenty of it down here now. I did some searching online and found that it could and since there is a yucca a very short distance from the dungeon that is loaded with fruit I decided to make some Yucca soup and try it out. I ate a fair amount of it just to see what it would be like and whether there would be any side effects and a slight bitter taste was all. Some diced tomatoes, other vegetables or meat would have probably made it a decent meal. My conclusion would be that if you are hungry and didn't have anything else to eat it WOULD be a viable meal. I plan to try grilling some of it with BBQ sauce just to see how that turns out. To me it was about like eating a semi tough steak. That was after boiling it for 30 minutes with a little sea salt, course ground pepper (not the dog), and a few other seasonings. I didn't have any Rotel Sauce or tomatoes on hand to try it with.

On another note I finally got that shower I needed! Sure was nice and in my own shower!

 Found one of the Yuccas that was pre blossom so decided to try cooking the stem to see if it tasted like asparagus spears. It didn't, but wasn't bad and not as bitter as the fruit. There are others about to blossum so I guess I'll be trying the flower peddles next. According to the site I got the info from they are the best part of it to eat.

Anyone know what the plant or bush below is with all the red berries on it? No! I'm not planning to eat the berries. ;)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Progress but not much.

Made a little progress on the shower, but not enough. Maybe tomorrow? Its been pretty hot this afternoon and I just couldn't make myself do much more. I'm about out of stuff to use with the build, but plan to cover the interior with a tarp to keep the water off the wood and I might be far enough along tomorrow to take a shower in it. Sure could use one! Not sure what I'll do for a door yet, but it will have a window at the top to give enough light in there to shower by. I still need to dig the trench further out so it will drain where I want it to, but that will come later. I need to get several pieces of corrugated tin for the roof and gutter because I plan to do rain catchment off of the It'll Du complex. Contrary to the way this looks in the pictures the buildings are not leaning. ;)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Meet Pepper

 Dale took a bunch of pictures and I hope he can get them sent to me pretty soon so I can add them to this thread. Was nice to have them here again, but the whirlwind trip sure didn't leave much time for fun. We did go to Bill and Caren's place to drop off a tool he had lent me. On the way there I pushed a lever on it and it broke off. I hate it when stuff like that happens. I  told him I'd buy him another one, but he said he didn't use it so no need. I think I know what kind of bourbon he likes though so maybe I can make it up to him with a bottle of that later on.

Back to Pepper, we went to the swimming hole and find that she likes the water. Was hard to keep her out of it, but then we really didn't try. She also likes my bed instead of the sheet on the floor that happens to be the mate to the one on my bunk. I'll be adding a pad to it and try to teach her that that is her bed and mine isn't??? If not We will go from there. I also found out she likes to chew up paper towels (on my bunk) so I guess I'll be putting a dispenser on the wall where she can't get to it.
Along with lots of goodies Dale and Rhonda brought me this is one of them.
A 275 gallon container (Food Grade) which had had soda syrup in it. Great shape to and now I need to get some black paint to paint it before getting it filled.

And back to Pepper... After physically removing her from my bunk 6 times I decided to try a short shot of odor eater shoe spray on the sheet in front of her. She didn't like that and evacuated the bunk ASAP. She is now taking a nap under the falcon. I decided to try something and that was to spray a light spray of that on the area of the bunk she likes and see if that stops her from going there. If not then we'll go from there.

We also did some target practice with Dale's AR-15 and 45 Auto which Pepper didn't like either. By the time we were finished she was most of the way to 118 and it took some time to coax her back to the dungeon.

I've also discovered that when Harleys go down 118 she walks to the door to investigate.

And now she's just in an out of here. Still very windy and I've smelled a lot of smoke in the air today. Hope its slash and burn in Mexico and nothing burning around here!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Told Ya!
Pretty warm night last night so I had the door open late. I noticed something scampering from the bushes over to and under the Falcon. I shined the light under it and saw a couple of small eyes looking back at the light. I went out trying to find it, but it had disappeared. Then about 30 minutes later I heard a loud snap and figured it had met its end by the trap. Just checked while ago and that was the case. Looks like I'd be doing better by placing traps under the falcon rather then in it. Or maybe both.

Pictures are from last night. Was starting to look like more rain, but that didn't happen.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Complex

Just a shot of what I've gotten done so far to the It'll Du complex. Looks like now that I've had a day old shower at the BBMI I'll start cleaning up the dungeon to make room for Dale & Rhonda's air mattress in here so they won't have to put up their tent this trip. Now that I don't need heat in here the heater and cooker can go out side while they are here and with some more cleaning and moving stuff to the back there should be room.

Note the A-frame is no longer part of the shower. I'm thinking about using it and two more of the poles to construct a pyramid of some sort. Perhaps a guest house that should stand up to the high wind and elements. Might even try it out myself for a while once I get it done. That may be a while though. It will likely be all metal and stucco construction.

Yesterday as I was driving back from Study Butte I saw something dart out from under the dash and then noticed a tail curled up and sticking out from behind the shifter housing. It was really quiet a stimulating experience since it happened so fast I couldn't tell what it was. I leaned forward to see and it was a Kangaroo Rat as far as I could tell. I was going to reach down and try to grab the tail and fling it out the window, but before I had th chance it darted back up under the dash. I was too close to the dungeon to turn around and go back to SB for a mouse trap or poison so headed down to the legion to see if they had a trap I could borrow. They did so it will be in the falcon today.

Now before any of you Monk types start raising hell I don't  want to hear it! Rodents are real bad about gnawing on the insulation of electrical wiring and I can't be putting up with that! Also where there are rodents there are usually snakes sniffing them out and looking for them. I SURE don't want that! I've known some women in my life that would have bailed out of the car going 65 miles per hour just because of the sight of a rodent. I might do the same if it were a rattler. Lets call this self defense and be done with it.
 The Dirty Deed is done! (at least the bated trap is in place.) I noticed some insulation has fell out from under the dash so the little SOBz are already being destructive. Not only in the car, but outside to. Note the last picture I added where they have completely gnawed the bottom out of a bag of charcoal by the container. Evidently seeds aren't all they eat. Looks like they like paper to? I do know they like insulation to build nests out of. Next trip to town I'll also be getting some poison to! Guess I need to get some Rat Shot for the pellet gun to. Should come in handy for them and snakes to. I hear that one person here found 4 baby Mojave rattlers on their property and those are the deadly ones. See the link below the picture where that picture came from. According to one source (Just Me) an EMS person said to keep a spare bullet around for yourself in case of being bitten by one because you'd be dead before you could get to Alpine and the death would not be a good one.
Mojave Rattler

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Critter Dirt

Got the form and base for the shower setup yesterday. unlike the floor in the It'll Du I needed the floor in the shower to be higher to allow me to add the drain. It just so happens that the Critters that dug all the holes out by the wind genny provided me with excellent dirt to use to build that up. What good little (or maybe BIG) Critters they were. Still haven't seen one of them and might just as soon not. I poured the pad also and it didn't turn out too well but with putting water on it it looks like it should drain ok. I'll have to trench out to the lower plateau and extend the drain out there to a holding tank or something. I plan to use the gray water for watering plants one of these days.

O'l Billy Bob is expected here at the dungeon today, but he spent the night in the Legion parking lot last night. Hope he didn't have a bad night because it got pretty windy around here again. Its back up again now so that may hamper my working on the shower. Did I say I could use a shower right now? Looks like it may be two or three days until my next one. I guess if he stays up wind of me he'll be OK?

Looks like some thunder heads building to the southwest and I think I heard some thunder while ago. Sure hope they are going some other direction! All in all its starting to look like it might be a crappy day!
This Morning

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Starting about 4:30 yesterday afternoon it began to rain. It was coming down in sheets and the wind was blowing so hard that the rain was almost falling horizontally. That continued until about 9:45 when I noticed that I no longer heard the defining sound of high speed rain slamming the roof and various sides of the dungeon. The wind seemed to change directions totally about every 15 minutes so most of the time I had to have the door closed.

At some point in there I noticed the light flickering and a beeping noise coming from something I had plugged in here so I shut down the computer. Shortly after that I lost power in here so assumed the Half-A battery hut hadn't done its job because of the blowing rain. I was right because an inspection when I went out there at about 10:30 showed that the little inverter I'd used had been getting pounded with splashing mud from beside the Half-A and the blowing rain to. That inverter is now toast! (Second 300 watt I've lost so far since I've been here.) I scrounged around in the back storage and found my next size up inverter and took it out to Half-A and hooked it up. Came back in and had power, but the internet was down. I tried several times between then and the time I said to heck with it and hit the rack. I guess I should have made Half-A a Full-A so I wouldn't have lost the other inverter, but I didn't expect the rain to be blowing at a 60 degree angle! I'll have to remedy that ASAP.

Got woken up by several coyotes howling real close to the dungeon about 4:30 this morning so decided to try it again and then the server was up, but wouldn't let me connect to the internet. Its still that way so this will likely be posted from the Legion after noon (IF the internet is up there.) The internet down here is like the on grid power. You never know whey it will be lost area wide. (Same with cell phone in a power outage and this all happens often)

Now for the inverter I'm using now? well its an old 800 surge/400 watt running) and was defective when I bought it at a garage sale years ago. Its a power hog to start with and will NOT run the load of the two 300 watt inverters I've run through. I left it connected with very little load on it from the time I swapped them out late last night and it had already drained the battery bank by about 8:30 this morning when I was trying to compose this offline. Needless to say when it cut out this computer shut down and I lost most of the new thread. This is all over from scratch.

When going to fire up the charger earlier I noticed that when I wired up the batteries with the heavy cable I'd failed to connect the two bank so I've only been using 400 AMP Hours of batteries since then. I also noticed that the wind genny was charging the back bank and they were hotter than a firecracker because of the high wind last night and not having been used since then. (Another one of those DUAH's!) Well when I've been running the charger I've been charging the front bank and that was the one I've been getting my power from and the little 300 watt inverter has still been making it 24 hours between charges. The damn 800/400 will never do that though so I need to come up with another 300 fast! I may resort to trying out the 1000 watt inverter Dennis sent me and see how that does, but for now its over kill for what I need.

Before the storm last night.
Rain, Sun, Rainbow & Wind. You can see the angle the rain is falling at and the sun is actually shining on my little piece of heaven in this photo.
Above are from this morning.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Evap Cooling 101

I've been doing a little tinkering and jury rigging to come up with the first stage of a two stage evap cooler for the dungeon. I'm far from finished, but what I've done so far helps in here immensely as is. I'll probably add a stage II thread to this later on.

Most of you living in houses or Apartment more than likely have refrigerated air in them because it works anywhere. It can get expensive though because it uses a large compressor to pressure up freon and then meeter it through an expansion device going in to an evaporator coil inside where you live. An Evaporative cooler works about the same way with out having to use a compressor (Which draws high AMPS (Electrical current) which in turn runs the electric bill up. The evaporate cooler just blows air through a medium that is soaked with water. The water evaporates and cools the air without compression. It also operates much more cheaply because of that. Now there is a problem with this and that is if you live in a very humid area Evaporative cooling doesn't work and can also add insult to injury by adding even more humidity inside making it feel hotter than it really is. In areas where there is very little humidity an evaporative AC really shines. They can almost freeze you out even on a hot day. In the case of this one I've chosen to make it a pull through rather than forcing air through the cooling pad because I'm limited on space on the outside in case I ever want to close the dungeon doors and go out of town visiting. The way this work is by pulling air across the damp pad which works the same way and most of it will be inside rather than outside. The way I have this first part setup is that it also sucks the hot air off of the sealing and pushes it outside at the same time. (Hot air rises, cool air falls) So... the cool air being sucked through the dampened pad goes down and the hotter air goes up and is removed. On an Evaporative AC this is a must or the air just keeps getting more and more humid and the cooling effect drops off a bunch.

I've taken a cheap plastic mixing bowl and cut the bottom out of it to mount the fan where it will blow through it. I cut a hole through the upper part of the dungeon front (the part I built and without modifying the container in any way) for it to discharge through. This sucks fresh air through the blue pad (which is an evaprative cooler pad) which I dampen every so often. I used another cheap plastic mixing bowl on the outside with the side cut out of it and facing down to allow the discharged air to escape, to keep rain from coming through the hole and to keep direct wind from hampering the fan.

Next step will be to build an enclosure with a pan in the bottom to mount the evap cooling pad in and add a pump which will drip water through the top of the pad to keep it wet. Then it will run down through the pad and the water that doesn't evaporate will be cooled by the water that does. That cool water will be circulated through something like a car radiator and air will be drawn through it to further the cooling effect of the cooler.

I'll also be adding a second fan in front of the cooling pad and radiator to force more air through the system. For now this is running off of the solar battery charger only so it isn't draining any batteries or costing anything to run. At night and on cloudy days it will have to be switched to battery power. but the fans draw a very small amount of current so no big deal.

Hope I didn't loose anyone here?

  Had another neighbor visit today (Buddy Crawford) and he brought along a 55 gallon water barrel so my storage capacity just jumped by a bunch ! He said he has another one he will bring the next time he comes this way so that will make it even better. Buddy reads this and John's blogs, but I guess never posts. Thanks much Buddy!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yep, the other one!

Blowout 2 occurred on my way back from Study Butte this morning. Unfortunately it happened in a very bad place. The most treacherous down hill part of 118 between here and Study Butte. Fortunately I felt it coming and managed to slow down and make it to the bottom where I could pull off the road. This time I found out what caused both of the blowouts! The defective valve stems cracked causing the tires to deflate rapidly.

I got a recall notice from Discount Tire before I left Plano, but didn't have a chance to take the tires back to have new valve stems put in. This was the other nearly new tire! I haven't had the chance to go get the other tire RN brought down here mounted so took it slow the rest of the way home running the other old tire that the steel belts are showing through. He also brought one of my old tires and rims that I am able to use as a spare until I can get something else.
Now for the Batteries and wiring. Bill another one of my neighbors brought me enough heavy cable to allow me to wire up the battery banks with it. He also let me use his cable cutters and crimper to crimp lugs on the ends of each one. The lugs were a little too expensive for my taste so I improvised by buying some 5/8 inch copper tubing and cutting it in to about 1 1/2 inch pieces. I then smashed one end flat, inserted the stripped cable end in the other end, crimped it and then used the torch and solder to solder it to the cable. I then drilled a hole in the flat ends to bolt them to the battery. Took 18 of those to make the full set, but now the battery array has sufficient wire for the job.
Looks like I may not be getting much done for a while. I guess we need the rain though. Its raining now.