Saturday, November 30, 2013

new friends...

Andrea, Brian, Keith, Dawn.  54,69,32,0,C,0

Friday, November 29, 2013

Poaching Season

That's what I call hunting season out here.  I have become acquainted over the years with several different groups of hunters that own property out in my area.  All of them are very adamant about folks staying off their property yet every year they all hunt pretty much wherever they please.  50,65,28,0,B,.13

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

dreams of flight...

Narrowing down equipment, training, and financing.  43,59,25,0,B,.14

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

candle heater?

Facebook does it again...
Several friends have posted the link to this video recently.

Is there something magic going on here?  In one word....NO.  I was almost tempted to experiment with the idea until I really started to think about it.  Candles can only produce X amount of heat.  All this really does is give a little more surface area to radiate off the heat instead of it shooting straight up to the ceiling (it's still gonna end up there, anyway).  It might work OK under your desk to concentrate the heat to keep your legs warm (don't kick it over) but it won't do any more to heat your home office than just burning 4 candles on your countertop.  One guy even has a website that sells fancy ones.  I really like the electric light bulb versions!  All in all, it is a very cute idea but pretty worthless as a viable heater when it comes right down to it.  I might have to buy a 100 pack of tea candles to see how many I need to burn in order to match my Mr.Heater Big Buddy on the low (4000 btu) setting.

Monday, November 25, 2013

pulled the plug...

No Carl Jr' just wasn't meant to be.  Rather than his failure to perform - I prefer to think that he was just too much of a gentleman.  As long as I have all the gear - will order some fertile eggs from his breed next spring to try out.  I really want to see hatching happen since I've never seen it before.

Had a mouse run in my open door just before the big cold swooped in on us.  Decided to just let him live it up for awhile while he could.  Even put out some food and water for him.  Had enough just before bedtime last night of his waking me up in the middle of the night, gnawing on papers under my counter.  Rigged a ramp to a large Rubbermaid storage tub with some sunflower seeds in it.  Turned out the lights and within 5 minutes I heard him "plop" in.  Put the lid on and let him spend the night in there.  Set him free by the barn once it warmed up this morning.  He's on his own now.  42,51,34,0,B,0

Sunday, November 24, 2013

the folly of human conceits...

We treat each other as if we are merely rats in a cage.  

Philippians 4: 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 32: 15 Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. 16 Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. 17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. 18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;

Saturday, November 23, 2013

dark donkey times

Got an update today on Mr. Floppy's friend.  It's not looking good.

Blue Boy has been standing on one leg for a year now, and that leg is breaking down.  We still have BB at EquiFitness where he is receiving acupuncture and water treadmill therapy.  He has Lucky the goat for company, and his attitude is great.  He is such a sweet donkey, full of wisdom and a desire to live.  He doesn't have a mean bone in his body.

When Blue Boy was hit by the car it broke two bones in his elbow (shoulder on a donkey)  It also damaged his radial nerve which controls the movement of that leg.  We have thought it was bruised, damaged and needed time to come back.  Now, we are starting to believe it was severed.  Because it is difficult for BB to get up and down, he has caused a wound to form on the injured leg near the knee.  Dr. Buchanan believes BB's only chance will be to fuse his knee straight to get the weight off the other leg.  Unfortunately, just the titanium plate and screws are $5,000. add that to the cost of surgery and it will be approx. $15,000 to $20,000. to do the surgery.  The real problem is that with the wound located where surgery needs to be done, will compromise the end result of the surgery.  They need the area to be pristine so that a septic event will not occur.  Blue Boy is running out of options.  I am devastated.  

He is comfortable, in fact, he is even enjoying his stay at the fitness center.  He is not in distress, and his attitude remains friendly and positive.  I love this old donkey.

Friday, November 22, 2013

something solar

Update on my solar upgrade:
The deal fell through on the panels I was promised so I cancelled the order.  So...

I have gotten a lot of questions over the years from folks about what they need to take their house "off the grid".  That is always a tough question because most people don't realize it means a change in lifestyle unless they are willing to spend a small fortune.  So today I decided to tackle the issue by proposing a system to take just a home office off the grid.  I am going to experiment with this exact system (which will ultimately be used for my airstream trailer) to see how it actually performs.  I am sourcing everything that anyone could get right now if they wanted to.  The goal is to keep it under $1000.00.  This is all off the shelf stuff that doesn't require bulk buying and includes free shipping (except for the batteries).  Tax, some wiring, and odds'n'ends will add to the total cost.  This is just my best guess for now so until I try it out for myself - buyer beware!  I plan on ordering everything next week and will document additional costs and how I put it all together.

Solar panels x 4 = $521.56:

Charge controller x 1 = $42.99:

Inverter x 1 = $117.12:

Lighting x 1 = $7.93:

Batteries x 3 = $254.97:

Book x 1 = $16.17:

Total: $960.74

(Note about batteries:  I have several friends who swear by their systems that are using deep cycle marine batteries instead of golf cart or specialty solar batteries so I figured this would be the time to put them to the test.  Having an old battery to exchange saves a $15 core charge.)  34,50,50,0,B,.13 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

2 million -------------------------------------------------→

That's a lot of visitors....
I tried to do a screen grab at the 2 million mark but the counter jumped from 1,999,998 to 2,000,010 in one page refresh.  Will try again at 3 million.  Cheers!  64,79,56,0,B,.16

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Cold front blowing in this weekend with some slight chances of rain.  A double excuse for a supply run to Alpine.  On the list was some "correct" fuel for the beer can stove...that was the secret.  Boiled a can of soup with extra veggies in 5 minutes using 2 tablespoons of fuel.  (update:  Ok - I was just guessing how it would work out when I posted this, as I hadn't cooked dinner yet.  Just really cooked a can of Progresso Rich & Hearty Loaded Potato with Bacon soup with a can of creamed corn added to it.  Took 10 minutes (not 5) to bring the thick mass to a boil but only used 1 tablespoon of fuel)  64,81,45,0,B,0

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

wall to wall carpet

Following the instructions that came with the I stop turning the eggs, fill the water reservoir all the way to add humidity, and lay down some paper towel so the chicks will have slip-free footing.  Is it still called wall to wall carpet if the room is round?  I don't have my hopes up too high and will actually be quite surprised if something hatches in the next couple of days...otherwise I will have 7 very nasty - slightly warmed eggs.

A facebook friend posted a link to this video for a beer can alcohol stove.  Did an experiment today and it really (kinda) works.  I only had isopropyl (70%) alcohol for the test and it calls for alcohol that is a bit more concentrated.  Found lots of other versions of this stove and I might have to try a few of them.  66,82,44,0,B,.14

Monday, November 18, 2013

final countdown

If all goes well...the eggs are due to start hatching on Thursday.  I think I have handled my end correctly but since I didn't candle the eggs, I won't know for sure one way or the other till next weekend.  Kinda like skipping having an ultrasound done.  It has been awhile since I have done any webcasting.  I figured this would be a good excuse so I got the gear and software ready just in case there is a show.  C'mon Carl...I'm rootin' for ya buddy!  63,77,53,0,B,.13

Sunday, November 17, 2013

money isn't anything...

A lesson about our nation's debt from 2003...when it was only $6,783,231,062,743.62.

Exodus 22:25 If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.

Proverbs 22:7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

just up the road...

The Radio Frequency Hazard Diner

Friday, November 15, 2013



Thursday, November 14, 2013

this is how it went...

Wednesday morning I'm online for awhile then start packing up for a recycling and supply run to Alpine.  Tried to log on again and my modem was just internet.  Picked up my phone and got a dial tone so I figured it was just a modem glitch and would hope it worked itself out by the time I got home:
1.   Recycling center - dropped off glass'n'cans
2.   Bank - to notarize a deed for a land sale.
3.   Courthouse - paid my property taxes
4.   North end of town - picked up some alfalfa
5.   Phone company - paid my phone bill for Oct and Nov (!)
6.   Johnson Feed - chick and range feed
7.   AutoZone - terminal connectors I needed for my generator
8.   Grocery store - food
9.   Joe's house - Dropped off the deed to the seller and collected some cash
10. Highway - grabbed a huge tumbleweed to bring home (just because)
Made the round trip in record time.  Felt rather proud of myself for having such an efficient trip.  Got home to find still no internet.  Figured I would call them in the morning to sort it out.  Kept myself entertained till bedtime the old fashioned way...shortwave radio.

Still no internet this morning.  Checked all my wiring and still got a dial tone so it just had to be a bad modem.  Came down to the Motor Inn Cafe for breakfast and a chance to log on to announce my technical difficulties.  Also was hoping to run into Danny - our Big Bend Telephone service guy.  Came back home, checked all the stuff on my end one more time and decided it was time to call for service.  Although I got a dial tone, I wasn't able to call out.  At this point I was sure it was a problem with my phone line...not the modem.  Drove over to the Cains and used their phone to call for service.

My pride of efficiency got shot right down.  My phone had been disconnected for non payment!  I have gotten into the habit lately of skipping a month.  They send out a termination notice a couple of weeks later just before the bill for the next month arrives.  Once I get the next bill, I pay for 2 months.  Well this time I waited one day too long (actually 2 hours too long) and they shut me off.  Normally they charge $185 to reconnect (which includes a $150 penalty that apparently I signed off on when I got my phone contract).  The representative on the phone took pity on me and waved the penalty as a one time courtesy since I have been such a good customer.  So it cost me $35 for someone to flick a switch (or click a mouse) to turn my service back on....but I admit - I deserve a penalty.  I think I will make a point of paying my phone bill on time from now on.  54,59,42,0,B,0    

Technical Difficulties

Modem pooped out...will catch up once Big Bend Telephone comes out to service me.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Gloomy Tuesday...even the boys stayed inside most of the day.

An otherwise dreary day was saved by a package in the mail all the way from South Africa.  This is the reciprocal gift for the snakeskin I sent to my friend Josie Borain a couple of months ago.  Ronald Nelson (the nicest guy in Texas) just happened to call me right after I had opened up the box.  I described the contents and said along with the other stuff there were 2 bags of something called biltong.  He knew exactly what it was so I didn't have to google it.  What's this world coming to when a Georgia hillbilly has to tell a former New York City sophisticate that biltong is South Africa's version of jerky!  One package is marked beef and the other is kudo.  I did have to google kudu - African antelope....or perhaps something more exotic:
"Of the 146 samples tested over 100 contained undeclared meat species. All the samples marked beef were correctly labelled, but for the most badly labelled case 92 percent of packets of kudu biltong contained different species such as horse, giraffe, pork beef and even kangaroo.    42,48,58,0,W,0

Monday, November 11, 2013

GPS Catch

Decided checking my geocache would be a good excuse to play with my new GPS.  Discovered two things.  1.The cache is still there and loaded with goodies for the next person to find it.
 2.Maria never updated the correct coordinates.
Thanks to premium member afudc (with over 13,000 logged finds) who was first on the scene - he had listed the correct numbers in his logged visit and some of the folks who came after him had used his coordinates to find the cache.  A couple others were completely lost and I had to show them where to find it.  Maria was supposed to update the coordinates but it must have slipped her mind.  Anyway...the correct numbers are there now so come and get it.  Now that I'm registered on the site, I might have to start tracking down some of the other geocaches in the area.  I had no idea there were so many in the US.  62,80,45,0,B,0

Sunday, November 10, 2013

no regret?

How should one live in order not to feel regret when one is dying?  Technology will never soften the heart, nor will morality ever be legislated.  For every action there is a reaction.  All actions have consequences.  How we are judged and who will render it will be each individual's final consequence. In case you missed it because you were watching your favorite TV show last week - from a man who has helped millions of people around the world discover for themselves that Christ is real...
A quote from the program that got my attention.  "Christ lived the life that I should live and died a death that I deserve."

Saturday, November 9, 2013


A little field work with Ben today.  He has mastered the "whoa"'s the only one he really likes so far.  Hope he remembers "stop" when he finally gets the hang of "go".

Been thinking about getting some Field Lab critter audio to offer up as free ringtones for folks with cell phones.  Did an experiment today with some audio of Carl.  Took awhile to figure out how to capture and edit the sound file and actually be able to post it on the blog.  52,67,41,0,B,0

Friday, November 8, 2013

more rain...

47,51,44, .5",B,0

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Experimenting with some variable voltage boosters and regulators to find the magic mix to run all sorts of stuff directly off my battery bank instead of through the inverter.  Looking for the right smoothing capacitor to power the incubator (and the brooder if I get some hatchlings - due around Nov. 23rd).  Problem with the incubator is the voltage jumps up and down because the heating element clicks on and off about every 2 seconds once it is at temperature.  Hoping this will be as easy to figure out as the go kart was.  52,60,48,0,B,0

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Reading List

Ben and I made it into one of these books....Big Bend People.  Nice feature of Dick and Bonnie Cain in Authentic Texas.  Ben's foggy morning picture posted on the Longhorn Benita facebook page caused quite a stir today - over 17,000 unique views in the first 24 hours.  60,69,50,0,B,0

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

foggy morning

Socked in by heavy fog this morning.  Ben was ready for his breakfast alfalfa - served in the mist.  Tackled the leaking gas tank today.  Decided against the epoxy and went straight for the weld.  Got lucky and didn't burn through the thin tank metal, and because I cleaned the tank out really well - it didn't explode.  Not very pretty, but the leak is sealed.  64,79,58,0,C,.12

Monday, November 4, 2013

comfort level

Decided the driver's side bucket seat in the go kart could use a boost...raised it up 2 inches.  Took it for a comfy spin and 2 miles from home I discovered the threaded nipple coming out of my gas tank has worked itself loose and was leaking fuel - dripped my way back to TFL without running out of gas or setting the engine on fire.  Epoxy, weld, or replace.  59,68,63, .06",C,0

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Gospel According To Carl

When I wrote about Carl's demise a couple of days ago - I referred to him being dead as a doornail.  After posting that, I decided to look up where that phrase comes from.  Apparently, a very long time ago nails where used to fasten thick boards together to make doors.  The pointed end sticking out one side was bent over to hold the nails in place...rendering the nail useless or "dead" from now on.  The search also listed this phrase from a Middle English allegorical narrative poem The Vision of William Concerning Piers The Plowman written by William Langland around 1362..."Faith without works is feebler than nothing and dead as a doornail".  Two things occurred to me.  1-That sounds like scripture. 2 - If it is scripture, why is a writer from the 14th century quoting it at a time in history when few had access to the Bible (none at the time had been printed in English) other than what the Popes doled out to control the uneducated.  This was pre-reformation and although Langland was a contemporary of John Wycliffe (one of the earliest opponents of papal authority influencing secular power), it is unclear if he was aware of the movement that was about to start which would ultimately topple the early Roman Catholic Church's control of the masses.  A brief summery of Langland's epic would suggest that he had an inkling..."an intense quest for the true Christian life from the perspective of medieval Catholicism".

So....this is Carl's message:

James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe , and tremble . 20 But wilt thou know , O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

James 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way , and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was . 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound , they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off , and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall : 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

guest of honor

Finally got a chance to meet Alegra Rose aka Scruffy Jones.  She came out for a visit today with her friend Brandt.  Scruffy was the artist that made the Benita Bottle Stopper for me back in early 2010.  Ben was very curious when she came up to the pen...there was "something" about her that he really liked!  61,80,40,0,B,0

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ben's November Tip to Tip

66,79,55,0,B,0, 38 7/8"