Friday, April 29, 2011

Dry Thunder Storm

Been sitting out watching the thunder heads to the south and watching the rain make it a short distance down from them before evaporating. Also seeing some lightning which obviously was making it to the ground so that could be a disaster if it strikes where it would start new fires. I've seen the lightening, but as of yet haven't heard the thunder so it must be a good distance from here.

Frann came over this morning and we made a big dent in getting the dungeon cleared out, but most of the stuff is setting outside the tank until I can sort through it to see what to keep and what to trash. Would be about right to get some rain tonight considering there is a lot of stuff out there that I wouldn't want to get wet, but it would be worth loosing some of it just to get some rain. I plan to start sorting through the stuff early in the morning and try to get everything I want to keep in the Dungeon II before finishing cleaning up the dungeon and pulling the front wall I built in to it out.

I don't know if it was the lifting and loading the trailer this morning that caused it or maybe the changing weather, but for the past few hours I've been having some real bad pains in my left shoulder. I'd liken them to having a rusty railroad spike driven in to my shoulder. Fortunately it isn't a constant pain just occasional attacks. Hopefully I can get past it to finish cleaning out the dungeon and getting it ready to go back.

Sorry I missed taking any pictures of the rain falling and never reaching the ground. No other pictures either.

BTW the thermometer read 105 in the shade shortly after Frann left.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fold up bunk W/Storage - Grub Shack Update

Abby had posted on her blog about possibly not having a bed to allow more room in her cabin when built. I've been entertaining this idea if and when I ever get my place built. The bunks I built in the old dungeon were exactly 1/2 a king sized bed mainly because I needed the length, but didn't need the width. I already had a memory foam topper for a king sized bed so was able to split that down the middle and stack one on top of the other for a 4 inch thick mattress on the main bunk.  Those bunks worked out well. With this idea it would be about the same, but I'd build a cabinet that would be anchored to a wall and the bunk would fold up into the cabinet leaving a place for storage both under and above it. It wouldn't be like having the full length of a bed sticking out in the room when it was down so it would still be saving space then. the under storage would be big enough to hold a pillow and other stuff (maybe clothing) and the same for the top three storage areas. With the right tools and a good grade of wood it wouldn't be hard to build.

It could also be used for guest seating and putting the foam up and leaving the bunk down could also serve as a dining table.

Grub Shack Update
Went to the mailbox once I got the battery charged on the falcon. (It was dead this morning) Anyway the backhoe is parked across from the GS and looks like they will start installing the septic system before long. Will sure be good to be able to get food out this way again. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

FRANN!!! / Dungeon

Wrong culprit from last thread!

Windy as hell again this afternoon so I gave up on working on the Dungeon II. I've got to be through and have all of the stuff moved out of the dungeon by Sunday though because I schedules pickup of it then. Still got a lot to do and it looks like early mornings is the only time I'll have to work on getting it done. (If the wind keeps up)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Door and Bumper Sticker

I got the door moved from the Dungeon to the Dungeon II and hung this morning just before the wind got up. Still like a lot of work to get it right, but its too damned windy to do anything out there now. Wish I had some milk and ice cream because I could make milkshakes in here just by combining them in a glass and setting the glass on the counter. Did I say its WINDY as HELL?
I was going to open the trunk on the falcon this morning to get a tool out and what do I see. Yep a bumper sticker stuck on the trunk of the falcon!!! Don't know who done it?
Its now part of the dress up on the Dungeon II. Note the sticker to the right of the door on the Dungeon II.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tank Party

BF or Before Frann. She was running late and didn't make this photo.

WF or with Frann.
Nick performing in the tank or Dungeon II. Seen also is Lanette (Sp?) and John Wells who was taking photos and doing a webcast using his computer and my WiFi. I think the Dungeon II kicked Nick up a notch or two and Frann said he would probably want to buy it from me now. ;) He is really good without it though.
Ammo and speed load clips for the rifle I picked up at the estate auction. This was compliments of Bigfoot. Thanks again Bigfoot and hopefully you'll will have a good trip home.
The hat Frann brought me. Thanks Frann.
Now Ain't I COOL. ;)

The party went very well and I think everyone had a great time and a lot of good visiting going on. Everyone said it was a great party and I was a good host. Problem is that it doesn't matter how good a host is. You need good guests to have a great party and all of mine were great.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thunderheads / Tank Party?

Looked like we might have a chance of rain last night, but unfortunately the buildup of Thunderheads to the east went east. I never did hear any thunder and don't know if there was any rain back that way or not. At least I guess there was hope for that area.

The Tank Party is going to be this Saturday at 6:00 PM. Thoughts were for everyone to bring a couple of cans of spray paint and paint some sort of art on the tank, but it isn't far enough along for that so the tank party will actually just be an excuse for a party. It will be a pot luck supper followed by some shooting for those who bring something to shoot. At this time it looks like about 12 people will be here IF everyone shows up (including John Wells) I'll believe that when I see it. ;) I'm hoping it won't be too hot or too windy! The last couple of days haven't been bad for wind, but have sure been HOT! I saw 103 in the shade yesterday, but that was early and I figure it got a good bit warmer than that.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Last Night's Moon - Today was HOT

Last night's moon with all the smoke / haze in the air. Seemed to be a good bit clearer today, but it was sure HOT. 99 in the shade was the highest I saw, but I think it may have been hotter. Don't know what the temp out of the shade was?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Estate Auction

Been needing a hunting rifle. Mosin-Nagant
The bondo over fiberglass screen wire has been working well on the Dungeon II. I saw the guy I rent the dungeon from at the estate auction this morning and told him I would be ready for him to pick it up at the end of the month. I guess I better get my butt in gear and get the rest of the holes patched, the door moved from the dungeon and put on the dungeon II and get my stuff moved! I think Nick needs a front in his dungeon so maybe we can trade? My dungeon front for a door that will fit the door jam in the dungeon II.

Tried an experiment yesterday evening by hooking my Zune to a set of computer speakers and putting the setup inside the Dungeon II. Sure sounded good so I guess Nick will have to play his guitar in it at the Tank Party. Should sound like a symphony orchestra. ;) Of course we will have to pick a cool day for it. :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Grub Shack Closed

Old picture of the Grub Shack because I forgot the camera again  when I went to the mailbox this morning. It has had an addition to the front with more tables and shaded area. They also had people sign or draw pictures on all of the tables and were in the process of coating them with a clear coating. Of course they have just added WiFi also so that will be one more thing some people will miss for a while.

Anyway thanks to more bureaucratic BS down here the Grub Shack is temporarily closed because they will have to have a new septic system put in. Remember when that happened to the Legion? I'd heard that they were going to have to get a septic system installed or close, but figured they would at least have some time to get it done, but when I talked to Jerry this morning he said they had to close it down now. He did say that they will get one, but he doesn't know how long it will take. Now... since the legion no longer serves food, Susy's Snack Shack is closed, The Grub Shack is closed and Tivo's only opens in the late afternoon (If then) that just about means a trip in to Study Butte if you want to eat out. Not only that, but the GS is a local gathering place for folks in this area to hang out and visit plus wait for the mail to be put in the boxes, a place to get Ice and so on. What a BUMMER this is!

And on another note the FLY problem here is worse than I've seen it since I've been down here. It did get pretty bad last year at one time, but nothing as bad as it is now. I made a trip down south yesterday to do laundry and a woman in the laundry may have come up with the reason for the fly problem. She said that the flies were moving away from all of the fires and wound up down here. Perhaps that is true? I don't know what else would have caused it, but they are BAD everywhere down here including at Terlingua Ghost Town and Study Butte.

And on another... nother note... I think I've been had! I had bought some new T-Shirts on the last trip to Alpine and more on the trip to Odessa because my old ones are just about worn out. Yesterday when I was doing laundry I dried them on the Wash and Wear setting like I always have with the old ones and what happens? Well the new shirts will likely wind up at the Legion for people to take or at the Study Butte bench one. It seems that what were LARGE t-shirts might now fit a 6 year old. Never had that problem with the old t-shirts even with the first drying, but the new ones are really flimsy compared to the old ones.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Another Fire and More Smoke

I made a whirlwind trip to Odessa with my neighbor and his wife yesterday for him to find a pickup. He did and it turned out to be a good one. (Probably too good to be down here being beat to death by the roads down here) Anyway while we were in Odessa A fire had started about 60 or so miles south of Odessa around Iraan and I 10 was closed in that area and traffic was being rerouted. They were cutting in fire breaks along I 10 to keep the fire from spreading across the highway.

By the time we were getting ready to head back down here the smell of smoke was all over Odessa from the fire down south and a thin blanket of smoke was almost starting to look like light fog there. On the way back down here we smelled that smoke for around 70 miles and then at least the smell subsided some and it lightened up some, but it was still pretty smoky to the south east. When we were within about 50 miles of Alpine the smell of smoke and charred earth came back and then we saw where the fire had been in that area again.

Yesterday morning on the way to Odessa and just east of Alpine we saw where the fire in that area had covered a vast area. Encore Energy people and equipment were putting up new poles to replace all of the ones that had burned down. It looked like a small army out there. Power lines were hanging almost to the ground and only being healed up by distant posts in some areas because the post between them no longer stood. Last night when we got back to that area it looked like power companies from other states had joined in and the army had grown significantly. They were still hard at it shortly before nightfall, but it looked like they had made good progress in getting a lot of the missing poles replaced.

I'd emailed Frann to tell her we were going to Odessa that morning and to see if she needed anything from there, but she said she didn't, but told me to be sure and take my camera to take pictures. I forgot it so no picture for this thread. :(

Last night after I got home I had a killer sinus headache from smelling all the smoke. I took four Advil and a Benadryl and that didn't help much so I made use of a saline nasal inhaler trying to get that smell out of my nose. It only worked to an extent, but did help some. I still have a slight headache this morning.

As a side note I did get to visit with my little sister and RN for lunch and then we all went out to eat for supper and we left from there to head back south. Would have liked to have seen my older sister and her family as well as other family there, but time and searching for pickups didn't permit that.

I saw Nick day before yesterday and he gave me a good idea on patching the Dungeon II without welding. His idea was to use Bondo to patch the holes. For those who don't know what Bondo is? Well its sort of a paste used in repairing dints in automobiles and the like and once its put on it hardens and becomes permanent. The idea sounded good so I picked up some that had fiberglass strands in it which will hold up much better. That will free me from having to use the welder and maybe starting a fire around here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Building Green (Another option)

My aunt told me that SMU is building several houses on campus as a test bead so I did a little searching and came up with this link and pictures. The pictures were robbed from the site at the link. Looks like there may be another alternative to building green down here? It would sure take the back breaking labor out of filling and moving sandbags! Perhaps using sand bags up to a certain level then switching to plastic blocks would make a build stronger and easier to build once the level got to a height where sandbags would be too much work?
 Building with Plastic Blocks

Worth checking out. Main problem would be coming up with all the plastic, but seems like there is a lot of aluminum can recycle bins around here. Perhaps we would also start seeing bins for recycling plastic.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Table / Desert Rat Stew / Fires

I managed to get a little stuff done around here yesterday despite the heat and high wind. I expanded the solar panel coffee table by one more panel, but still need to add the part to charge multiple AA sized batteries from just the ambient light in here during the day.(provided I don't keep it totally covered with junk)  That will be the next step as far as the table goes. I only had two bad panels so don't look for it to get any bigger. ;) I plan to add a magazine and junk rack under it later on.
Yesterday for lunch I decided to try an experiment so made what I'm calling Desert Rat stew. No it didn't have any Rat meat in it. That's just what I called it. It turned out pretty good and my neighbor was here using the Internet so he tried some to. He also thought it was good. It was made from a can of finely diced Spam, a small can of chicken breast meat, a can of Rotel sauce, Minute Rice, Fajita seasoning and several other seasonings. Sorry... No recipe to it because I didn't measure anything. I just kept adding seasonings until I thought it was right. Guess I should have added some cactus, but I didn't bother.
 Yeah I know. It doesn't look to good, but it was a lot better than it looked. ;) That was all that was left of it when I thought to take a picture. I'm still waiting on the Yuccas and other cactus to fruit and bloom so I can start experimenting with them.

So far no fires in this area. I sure hope our luck holds up! I got the Dungeon II cleaned out and swept out and started patching some small holes with windshield sealer instead of welding them. I don't want to take any chances on sparks from the welder starting a fire here. I may repatch them with the welder if we ever get any rain. I will have to do a little welding on the door frame, but have all the grass, creosotes and so on cleaned up on the side where the door is. Hopefully within a week I'll have pallets on the floor to store my stuff on and have everything moved from the dungeon in to there. (Provided I get the door from the dungeon added by then.) The Dungeon should take its leave from here at the end of the month.

I took the falcon to the legion for ice yesterday and when I got back my carpet driveway was blown over by the Dungeon II. I hate that because it is very heavy and hard to handle and move. Its getting windy as heck again now so it may be in the next county before I can get it put back where it belongs.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Frdge / North Terlingua News

I'd left the freezer door open inside the fridge last night and when I checked this morning the old probe thermometer I had in the fridge part read 66 degrees??? Everything in there felt a lot cooler than that so I brought that thermometer in here and put it next to the clock with the digital thermometer in it. I waited about 10 minutes and there was a 19 degree difference between the two. The thermometer I had in the fridge was way off. I just now checked again and there is about a 20 to 21 degree difference. I'd made a high speed trip to SB between the first reading and last one and went in the hardware store to see if they had a fridge/freezer thermometer and they didn't, but the Cottonwood Store did. I have it in the fridge now and will monitor it through out the day. Looks like the fridge is actually doing good so outside of adding more insulation to it I'll probably leave it as is.
And Now for the North Terlingua News. I ran in to Eva at the Study Butte store and she said Keith Chapman is planning on putting in a small store across from the Grub Shack. He is the owner of the storage buildings there and the store will likely be on the very corner of 118 and the Terlingua Ranch Road. This would be a very good thing for us out here because the drive for supplies would be much shorter. For me it would mean the difference between a 43 mile round trip and an 8 mile round trip. It would also mean an easy trip on the trike so that would save much more gas. I think its about time someone put a store out here. From what I hear he won't be selling gas, but the gas saved on the shorter trips would help a bunch!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

More Madness!

A while back Frann saw what I was using for plugs for some unused hose connections around here and she said only I would come up with an ideal like that? I guess it just comes natural for me because when I need something for a purpose I just grab the first thing handy that will do what I want to do. In this case after the rather LARGE spider ran out on my hand when I picked up a hose my thoughts were to keep anything like that plugged that I didn't want spiders in.
Yesterday I got ready to take a shower about 4:30 and the water was almost too hot to take one, but I decided to grin and bear it because I really needed a shower after the following days work helping pull the engine. I'd already taken two showers out of the tank without refilling it, but thought I could get three out of it because the pump wasn't pumping too good. Big mistake! I hadn't no more than soaped down my hair, face and beard real good when the water ran out. Now... I don't know how many of you have ever gotten soap in your eyes, but I can tell you it isn't a fun thing to do!!! Anyway I had to put my swimming trunks back on, house shoes (which were sitting outside the shower) and keep my eyes open long enough to get to the water jug next to the door so I could rinse my hair and face to get the soap out of my eyes. Then I took that jug which was getting low and took it to the water tank to refill it so I could add enough water to the shower tank so I could finish the shower. Well the water tank is getting low so I had hell getting enough water in the jug, but managed it and finished up my shower.
This morning I figured out that I was going to have to come up with a better way to do things around here so I moved the pump from the shower tank to the main water tank and added a 75 foot garden hose to it with a nozzle on the end of it. The pump is an RV type pump that shuts off and on by demand so this will work out pretty good. With the 75 foot hose it will reach to the shower and I can suspend the nozzle overhead where the shower nozzle is so will be able to take a shower by doing that. The draw back is that the water in the hose will be hot and then when that water is purged out it will be cold water from the tank so taking showers like that could be a real blast. At least it will let me keep taking showers here rather than down south. It will probably also get me in gear to get the new shower and dressing room finished.
This will also help with the swamp cooler because rather than having to go around to the water tank to fill a one gallon jug to pour in the swamp cooler numerous times a day I can just walk out the door and fill it with the nozzle. It will also help with patching holes in the new/old Dungeon II because when I'm welding I don't want to start a wild fire around here. If I caught something on fire I would have the hose and nozzle ready to grab it and put the fire out before it had a chance to spread. I will get the water tank refilled before starting on that because I want to make sure I have plenty of water.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

RN / Nick / Frann / Tony

RN was down for a few days to finish pulling the engine out of Frann's motor home. He had been here some time back and we didn't have any luck that time because of a hoist malfunction. We didn't have much luck day before yesterday either because the wind was so high and there was a MAJOR sand storm. After having our eyeballs sandblasted and eating another few pounds of it we decided to say to heck with it and went out to visit Tony to see how he had come along on his Tetrahedron. Looks like he's pretty well finished, but he wasn't there (probably because of the sand storm.).
While we were out that way we stopped by Nick's place to see if it was ok and outside of the lock on his dungeon being missing, all of the contents being gone and the graffiti being painted on it everything looked fine. Don't know who might have done that dastardly deed?

Caught the below picture at the junk yard across the road from Nick's place and I'm not sure who it is, but I think it may have been the bandit responsible for the graffiti and theft at Nick's place? ;)

Anyway... Back to pulling the engine. Yesterday turned out to be a very nice day! Not too hot or cool and no sandstorm or for that matter no wind to speak of. Unfortunately though the bad luck on getting the engine out returned and we had pure hell getting it out. Every time we would run in to a stump we'd try something else just to run in to another stump. After beating our brains out all day it finally came out though. We didn't make it back here until it had just gotten dark. (around 9:00 PM) and RN decided to head on home so he had to drive another 220 miles to get there. Perhaps Frann will post some pictures I didn't get on her blog? RN, We / I left your ball-peen hammer at Frann's She said she would hold on to it for you though.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

TANK Party?

Frann keeps insisting I have a tank party so I guess I need to oblige her. Never heard of a TANK PARTY before so not sure what's supposed to happen at one. Maybe if enough people show up we can get smashed,  all hold hands while circling it and singing Ring around the Tankie? If it was just at the right time we could have BBQ prickly pear pads, fried Yucca Fruit with sauteed Yucca Flowers, How about a mix of Strawberry cactus and Prickly pear apple wine or perhaps some of the Mescal made from the prickly pear pads? Of course we will need some type of meat so maybe I'll get out and scare up a few rattlesnakes. Hay might as well keep it all desert food right? ;) Who all is going to be down here on Labor Day or Memorial day?
That steel door is HEAVY!!! I think instead of using it I'll use the door I put in the front of the dungeon. I'm going to need to do a good bit of rust through patching, but hopefully will have that done before the end of this month so the Dungeon can go away. I'll use pieces of the iron that was cut out for the door to patch the larger holes with and can just weld up small holes. It should then be water proof, rodent proof and snake proof above all.
Sure wouldn't hurt to coat the inside with rust killer. Don't know if I'll do that or not though?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dungeon II (Its here!) /Javelina sighting

Before the move.
After the move.
The Dungeon II turns out to be 11'3" in diameter instead of 10 feet. All the better. We worked most of the day yesterday modifying and old trailer that had been used to haul a very old bulldozer  so we could use it to transport the tank here. It worked well but was stubborn about coming off the trailer. I had it chained to the trailer hitch on the falcon and Juan tried to pull forward to get it to slide off, but it stuck. I stuck the falcon in low gear and shot the gas to it and the falcon is actually what pulled it off of the trailer. Fortunately Juan had an old Mack truck that had been turned in to a winch truck and that was how we loaded it on the trailer. I'm still pondering whether to build a pyramid over it, but now I'm thinking more about building an observation deck on top instead. That would be more functional and could also be used as a shooting platform for target practice which would put the targets considerably further away. Its going to take considerable work to get the tank ready for storage, but I should have that done well before the end of this month so I can have the Dungeon picked up.

Pretty crappy photo since it was taken through the dirty windshield of the falcon. While on the way back from Study Butte a couple of days ago I passed a large pack of Javelina beside 118. I made a U-Turn to take photos of them and as soon as I got back beside them they started scattering. The ones marked with the red lines are only part of the number that were actually in that pack. Id say at least 5 of them had headed in to the brush and can't be seen. These make the first live Javelina I've seen since I've been down here. I have seen quiet a few deer including Mule deer and white tail.