Sunday, September 30, 2012

background check

I reckon since the Christian stuff just kinda popped up here - I should give a little background for clarity.  First of all, it has been going on in my life for awhile now and suddenly I felt compelled to share this experience as I do with most of the rest of my life.  All my family have been church goers for generations.  Growing up,  I had the benefit of being exposed to a Christian life.  I attended Sunday school each week for 8 years, then "graduated" to regular church services for 4 more years.  Once I was in college, I stopped going to church.  I was all gung ho to jump into the world.  From age 19 up to 50, I lived without any personal  connection to Christ.
About 2 years before  I moved to the desert,   I was reunited with my Crazy Aunt Jean.  She was not crazy...but that is what we called each other (I was crazy nephew John).  We hadn't seen each other in over 30 years but all that time melted away and we were best friends again instantly.  I stayed with her several times at her home in Circle City, AZ.  She was loaded with faith.  Because of my great respect for her, some of that faith started to rub off on me.   BTW - Aunt Jean used to baby sit me and my brother when we were kids.  She was the one that told us that our mother had gone to Denver to get married to that guy that came around all the time ( I was 5 years old).  We spent the next day getting a "Welcome Dad" party ready.  My new step father became the greatest positive influence in my life.  He died 8 months before I moved here.  Crazy Aunt Jean died 2 years ago. 

So I come out here to build my off grid empire...and  because of my Aunt Jean, I started giving a little prayer of thanks each day at sunset.  (I have a lot of free time with no distractions so I can really think about the crazy path my life has taken)   One day a couple of months ago, my friends Rebecca and Leddie come by for a tour of the greenhouse.  These two are about as genuine as you get.   We did the tour and I told Rebecca I've been meaning to come to Church services but something always comes up.  She said simply, "That's the devil talkin".  That comment kinda just bounced off of me that day...but soon after I began to think...what if shes right? 
About a week later, I started thinking about what is really holding me back from going to Church again.  I really had been meaning to go.  Could that really be true? Does Satan really try to guide me away from Christ?   My first step is to accept Christ in faith and be aware that Satan will try to convince me otherwise.  I thought long and hard about the something else that stuck in my mind...But what if I become "one of them...a saved CHRISTIAN"?   From my own experience and thanks to the media, I have a very vivid notion about the stereotypical Saved Christian.   I thought about that aspect for awhile and decided of the choices I have today - that might not be so bad, and I can certainly become my own version of my perception.   I have jumped in feet first with the notion that there is a Satan that will try to persuade me otherwise and faith that the Bible is a true written history and our only chance for eternal salvation.  It really doesn't take that much effort (just faith) so why not give it a shot.  It is going well and I have great respect for Bonnie Cain as a real friend and for her message each Sunday.  Like everything else out here...this is a work in progress.
Matthew 13 : 9 Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!"10 His disciples came and asked him, "Why do you always tell stories when you talk to the people?" 11 Then he explained to them, "You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others have not. 12 To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I tell these stories, because people see what I do, but they don't really see. They hear what I say, but they don't really hear, and they don't understand. 14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah, which says: 'You will hear my words, but you will not understand; you will see what I do, but you will not perceive its meaning. 15 For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes -- so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.' 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Swamped in...

Got another .38" overnight for a grand total of almost an inch and a half.  Added about 2,500 gallons to my tanks.  My road is a mess and over half gone in this spot.  Gonna have to wait for at least another day for the puddles to dry then fill in enough to fit through the washout.  Funny how the worst spots on my road are due to the Poatri road crew's maintenance techniques.  Going below grade simply does not work.

Had a little training session with the steer today.  Since Ben has already been traumatized by a rope halter - this ill fitting / off color one didn't bother him a bit. (good thing he doesn't have a mirror)  Having him feel comfortable with head gear is half the battle.  Ordered this one which I'm sure he will love.

Thanks to the road conditions there was nowhere to go but down today so I dug another hole and set the SE corner fence post. 
68,77,68, .38,C,0

Friday, September 28, 2012

last rain?

Rain overnight.  Rain this morning.  Rain this afternoon.  Rain tonight.  Me'n'Ben stayed dry.
68,70,70, 1.1,C,0

Thursday, September 27, 2012

found a hole

Been waiting on my auger guy all week...still a no show.  Decided to do hole number one myself and go from there.  Digging went pretty easy - 3' down and 18" in diameter.  Since that went so well, I fetched pole number 1 that doubles as the SW corner of the pole barn and the new Ben fence range.  Used a jack stand I built for when I raised the trusses.  Turned out the extension I put on it for my out of service flame thrower was just the ticket.  Jacked the 12' pole up and it dropped in the hole.  Step two went well so I decided to go ahead and fix it into place with 6 bags of concrete.  A full days hard labor ain't so bad when you don't do it every day.  16 more holes to go - sure hope the auger guy shows up. 
71,91,70, .08,B,0

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

mas o menos

Ben's horn nubs are growing well.  Noticed this morning that his "stuff" was finally gone.  Checked the trail from his morning romp but didn't find anything.  Found it in the pen this afternoon (to go into the Field Lab Museum along with his umbilical cord).  Ben is officially a steer now.  Healing up nicely down under.  The banding did a good clean job of it after 7 weeks.  He is also taking to eating hay quite well now.  That's my boy!  80,92,63,T,B,0

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

cuttin stem pipe

Got a magnificent weed growing in the greenhouse...and lots of jalapenos coming in.  Mr. and Mrs. Floppy had a late afternoon snack yesterday.  Cut up some pipe today for my corner H braces.  80,94,62,0,C, .26

Monday, September 24, 2012

University of Texas School of Public Health

Great group out to visit this morning.  Bunch of masters and phd candidates.  Mandar, Aleisha, David, Ed, Jeff, Avi, Darwish... and Benita (in her first public appearance since her remains were found).  Gonna have to keep in touch with these brainiacs since I think they will have a lot to offer for the future.

Re-strung the fence lines since the grading.  I have a peculiar knack for the perpendicular so was able to square of the area first try.  Marked all the spots for the auger man.  Need 17 holes drilled - 3 each for 3 corners and 8 for the forth corner including the new pole barn.  Plan as of today is a fenced area of 314' x 166' with a 12' x 36' mansion for Ben and hay storage.  82,92,61,0,C,0

Sunday, September 23, 2012

this country, this world

One of my dad's favorite sayings after watching the nightly news was, "This country is going to hell in a handbasket".  When I was a kid I didn't know that he really meant it and I didn't understand the truth of that comment.  During my 18 years living in Manhattan and Brooklyn, I noticed that nearly all the payphones on the streets had  "PRAY" or "WORSHIP GOD" scratched into them (sometimes both).  No one really knows who did that, but it was everywhere.  All those years it always got my attention but I saw it as just words and not a suggested action.   It's on my phone booth now...and an action I take daily. 
Matthew 7: 13 "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way. 14 But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.15 "Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are really wolves that will tear you apart. 16 You can detect them by the way they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit.  78,90,52,0,B,0

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012


Was pricing fencing materials again this morning on McCoys website.   The time is right to pull the trigger - field fencing and barbed wire are on sale.  Tracked down the tractor guy and we are good to go this weekend (fingers crossed).

My part time SW neighbor Dona Lu came out to work on her place for the weekend.  She pre-built studded walls for an out house building and needed a second pair of hands holding the parts so she could lag screw them together.  Quite impressed with her design and carpentry skills. 

The girls have been doing their part about every other day now.  Egg salad with tuna and cheese on tortillas for dinner tonight.  Actually did an internet search about hard boiled eggs today.  Mine have been hard to peel cleanly.  Seems that is the case with REALLY fresh eggs.  83,93,57,0,C, .26 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

while I'm at it...

My new friend Jeannette Gibbons came by for the tour this morning.  Forgot to get a photo.  Funny thing is, I did a Google Image search before she arrived.  We joked about this photo of a Jeannette Gibbons that isn't her (she had seen it) - a mug shot from 2007.  No sign of my grader-contractor today and I didn't get out to hunt him down.  Highlight of the day was a visit this afternoon from my friend Nick's donkey - Jesse James. We bonded.

Filled up lots of idle time working out  self publishing issues.  I have been approached by a couple of publishers for a book, so I am exploring all my options.  Going to do a test run for a sample with  Looking to do a printed edition of my blog on my five year anniversary.  Been working on a preamble to the series - my last year in New York and the first 8 months in the desert before I started the blog.  82,95,57,0,C, .23

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

more choppin...

Cut the 3 utility poles that have been sitting at the end of my driveway for over a half year.  These three were slated for a tower structure someday but the bull pen is the priority.  Not so little Ben is gonna outweigh me in about 6 weeks.  Worked up a quick tow rig for the gennie so I could do the deed today without having to huff it down to the work zone.   While Doug and I were talking yesterday, one thing he mentioned was backing up my blog posts...something that hadn't occurred to me.  Since they live in GoogleLand right now I reckon it's probably a good idea.  Explored the options this afternoon and saved the lot.  Cracked open the latest gift tonight and tasted some real beer - thanks Doc.  82,91,58,0,B,0 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Guest Feeder

My longtime friend Doug Kleemann came out for a visit today while on a road trip from Seattle.  We have corresponded for years via the internet and finally got a chance to meet in person.  Ben was happy to meet him too.  After the feeding I gave Doug the nickle tour then got caught up on aspects of our lives beyond email.  Topped it off with a great dinner at the Starlight.  78,95,58,0,B,0

Monday, September 17, 2012

the memories...

Last time I was in Alpine, I checked at Radio Shack to see if they had any 8 gig SD cards in stock.  They didn't... they had been on sale, marked down from $17.99 to $11.99 all summer.  Ended up finding some at for only $5.75 each including free shipping.  I use these as an additional layer of backup for my photography.  I also store all the files on my computer as well as an external hard drive.  Once I fill up an SD card, I date it and store it away.  Depending on how itchy my trigger finger is - it takes on average about 6 months of shooting to max one out. 

Decided on a last minute run to Alpine this morning.  Knew at least 3 generations of Cains would be in town so I shot up to get some fencing wisdom from real cowboys.  Had a great catfish lunch at Penny's Diner.  Dick came to McCoys with me to look at some options.  Worked out a deal with Scott and Jared to get some steel pipe for my corners.  Scott's accountant was out of town so he sketched the invoice with chalk on the concrete floor of their shop. 

My friends at Premier Longhorns in Oklahoma  have been kind enough to answer a lot of my questions about how to train a longhorn for riding.  They posted this picture on their Facebook page today.  I might just have to print this out and stick it up in Ben's pen to inspire him.  85,95,49,0,B,0

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Simple Sunday...

Which came first - the chicken or the egg?  If you think about it (like I have time to do), that simple question offers a lot to think about.  I asked Carl the same question and he said, " I did!"  Although a very clever answer, Carl tends to think only about himself without fully examining the bigger picture.  78,88,49,0,B,0

Saturday, September 15, 2012

rain, no wind...

Nice steady drizzle for about 4 hours this morning.  That doesn't happen very often out here.  The rain fell almost strait down which hardly ever happens out here.  I am fortunate in my situation to be able to spend the day bonding with a longhorn calf.  Tried out the Ustream thing again and I think I have overcome the technical issues.  The live feed has moved here again until further notice.  63,73,58, .42",0, .18

Friday, September 14, 2012

sweater weather

Cloudy and cool all day today...that doesn't happen very often out here and is always welcome.  Worked a bit on the plan for Ben's future home then fetched the last three poles.  They were bears to load into the bed of the pickup.  Did 3 trips.  Went back through the archives to relive the last pole barn I built with 3 friends on my property in NY.  This one was a monster - 24' x 72'...and 16' from ground to trusses.  I ended up throwing away 2/3 of the stuff stored in that space before I moved out here.  Ben's barn will be just big enough for him to be comfortable with just a few bells and whistles.  66,78,63,0,B,0

Thursday, September 13, 2012


A day in Chuck's forest....cutting up some utility poles he has donated to the pole barn cause.  As is these are about 35' long and VERY heavy.  Lumber jacked them into 12' lengths and carted 6 pieces home - the three fat ends to come tomorrow if I don't get rained in.  Giving Carl the deluxe treatment tonight.  He gets to sleep inside for a change.  He has been roosting with Ben lately but decided to come in tonight to check the blog.   Might not seem like much to you and me, but to him it's probably a big deal.  That's the way we roll at TFL.   80,99,69,0,B, .24

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Staked and strung the new fence area.  Ben approved the corners.  Facebook friends of me or Longhorn Benita will be able to see a production still for tonight's blog photo.  Hired my friend Ron Mohr to come out next week and grade the perimeter for a nice/smooth fence install.  88,100,68,0,B,0

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

found the perfect diversion...

1.  Just don't seem to be inspired to work on the container project.
2.  Ben is getting big...FAST

Answer:  Get to work on Ben's future living quarters....
that inspires me.

Alpine run today for a trash & recycling run and bits'n'beer.  Priced out some fencing materials at McCoys. Working up a plan for Ben's new R&R (range'n'rest).  Plotted out on GoogleEarth a nice flat area on the TFL spread with good drainage and no rock... 180' x 310'.  Working on a 10' x 20' pole barn plan for the south end of the romper zone for hay storage and sheltered repose. 

Monday, September 10, 2012