Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tires a tiring scenario

Our truck has never had the right tires on it since we have been here and I have completely eaten through two sets on these dirt roads. For the third set I thought I would try something different than a car tire, I needed a light truck tire, but since I have 14" wheels that is not an option. So I needed 15" wheels and tires and after a lot of research and money I ordered tires and wheels through the mail.

I had everything on hand last Friday and proceeded to mount the tires on the wheels Saturday.  Getting them mounted was easy, but getting them seated/inflated on the bead was impossible with a small air compressor. As far as I could see it, I had two options: give up and bring it to a shop on Monday; or use the last-resort, ether-explosion method.

Being a DIYer I chose the explosive technique but I couldn't make that work either.  Phil discovered that the technique seemed to work best if the tire was vertical, sitting on the tread. So we attempted to mount all four tires that way, with ether and a spark. 

It worked!

The tire upgrade is working out fantastically, and I have been all over the Ranch this past week running service calls. Our automotive repair business has been busy, and I always love figuring out the correct diagnosis and how to fix things.

It also seems to be solar power season!  We completed an install this week and have 3 or 4 more coming up. 

Well that's it for now -- I will add some photos soon but until then I am getting some Zs.   

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Terlingua Time: a Local Phenomenon

It's hard to imagine that a week has gone by already, but there you have it.  All in all, we're pretty busy these days, but sadly not on our own projects right now.  To make up for it, we try to keep our project list interesting, and enjoy every accomplishment.

Monday night we had a rare night out and took advantage of the Monday burger BOGO at the Starlight.  Good food and music, but $4 for a margarita is too much.Starlight_01.JPGStarlight_02.JPG
Thursday was Casey's birthday and the community potluck.  Turnout was fair to middling, but as always the food and company was great.

potluck_9-16.JPGLeaving the Bad Rabbit Cafe, we stopped to watch a thunderstorm dumping rain on the Chisos Mountains, the heart of the Big Bend National Park.  The Chisos often create their own weather patterns, and are home to a huge variety of plants and animals.

Chisos_Mtns-Big_Bend_Nat_Park.JPGThough we didn't get much rain from the storms, we did get a double rainbow in the evening and another big one the next morning.  Too bad our little mountain house isn't quite as lovely as the rest of the scenery.

Rainbow9-17.JPGSaturday evening I spotted a blacktail rattler crossing Lake Ament road and stopped to watch it for a while.  It was a perfect photo-op, but I didn't have my camera on me, so the photo below is from Wikipedia

blacktail rattlesnake.jpgBlacktail rattlesnakes are not endangered, but they are less common out here than the western diamondbacks.  The one I spotted was very greenish, which is why I stopped, thinking it might be a mojave (aka "emerald death") which are out here but in limited numbers.  Besides their green color, mojaves are known for having a seriously bad attitude, even chasing people and cars.

But the blacktail was pretty mellow (as far as rattlers go, at least) and they are pretty snakes with bold patterned skin and stripes across their eyes.

Saturday was also my sister's birthday, so I snapped some pictures of her birthday sunset:

It was an exceptionally beautiful sky, with pink and purple clouds blanketing the horizon.  Happy birthday Liz!

Today we are working on adobe.  Messy stuff, but very rewarding.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hair of the Dog

We came home Friday evening to find that Sprocket had a large, red, swollen bump on his hind leg.  Fang marks are obvious, as you can see in the picture below, but the perpetrator is still a mystery to us. punctures are spaced just a half centimeter apart, so it was small - whatever it was.  Possibly a small snake or a tarantula?

Any one have any clues as to what this bite is from?


Friday, September 3, 2010

Wild as the West Texas wind

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The wild West Texas wind rolled in today.  Haven't heard of any damage from it yet, but it sure seemed to wake up a lot of South County.  But given the way the day started today, we thought we should finish with it too.

We finally got our PhilMax blades up and spinning this evening, and so far they seem to be doing great.  They seem to love the erratic gusts of wind we've been getting today, and spin up to charging speed quickly.
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The wildlife out here is getting active.  We've seen lots of javelina, mule deer, and other critters out along the roadways over the past few days (though still not the primate who left his bag of feed; see previous post).  The local quails had two clutches this summer, and the babies are like tiny copies of their parents running around.

Our animal is doing well too.  Sprocket is back at his post as guard hound and loving it, though sometimes he barks too much at night.

A chicken got et while we were away, so we're down to nine.  They're getting pretty hefty though.  Finishing the coop has been on the back burner lately, but I wan't to get some work done on it this weekend. 

I will take lots of pictures for the next post.

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