Sunday, November 30, 2008


First picture first. A real two-holer. If you are lonesome or just nervous about your toilet habits this is the place for you. I ran across this in Ozona, Texas years ago but just now got around to taking a picture. This is the mens(?) room at a convenience store on the East bound side of I10. Cozy, huh. I wonder what the ladies side looks like.
The work this long weekend was to stucco the beam across the gates. It was very cold and windy so I didn't get the paint on but once finished it will match the bunker. We did get some trees cut down and the long grass cut down along the driveway. All in all it was a great trip and we will paint next trip.
I have figured out a neat fixture for the gate post. I wanted to hang a bell in the opening but haven't been able to find one that fits. I thought I would find a fire extinguisher, you know the old steel co2 kind and cut the bottom out and maybe cut one or two vertical cuts in the sides and tune it by cutting more off and using an old ball peen hammer for the clapper. I may even use a large oxy tank because I can have it 3 feet long and still fit. Should ring like a bell.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Gates are swung

It was one of those perfect days in West Texas. 27 degrees to awaken to and 75 degrees by early afternoon. I was able to hang the gates and tackle a couple of other jobs that needed doing. All in all a great weekend.
The gates are a cobble of scrap and purchased iron and some scroll work rescued from a dumpster. Most of it has been in the scrap pile for a long time. Long enough for G'maw and the neighbors to be asking about it. So, cut-cut weld-weld and cover it all with paint and viola, gates for the stucco arch. Next trip the beam across the front gates will be finished with the aid of some more foam and stucco.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A little paint

Made another trip this weekend. Put on the brown coat Friday and followed up with color coat on Saturday. The courtyard really looks good now but there has been so much rain this year that I need to get rid of the weeds before I can put down the pavers. The picture of the mountains show how green everything is. It really has been a wet year. Speaking of wet, we have been talking about taking some bottled water "just in case", well this would have been a good time to do it. Well went bad (lost its prime or spun the impeller on the motor shaft) the motor was running so. Mr Prude, the well service guy, was on his way but we had to leave so won't know if it got fixed today or not. Next trip we will carry some water to leave, "just in case".
The first picture shows the glass block climbing up the arch. I have thought that it would really look good and besides I have 500 glass blocks just waiting to be used. The blocks would climb each side and if there is any space at the top I will use a cut concrete block to close the gap and hide it with a star or something. We shall see.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Made it

Finally made it this weekend. My arch looks pretty good and next trip I will add some color to it and the fence. The frame is made over a skeleton of wire and styrofoam and anchored with rebar at the posts. I was supposed to melt a channel into the foam with a torch in order to run re-bar around both sides of the arch. Forgot the torch, so I just threaded wire through the arch and mounted it on the surface. Time will tell if I did the right thing but it seems solid. Not counting the labor and the drive the whole shebang only cost $50.00 so if I have to rebuild I can do it on the cheap and nothing lost.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Curses, foiled again!

Plans for a trip to the bunker over the holiday went down in flames. Problems at the Austin homestead overcame the wanderlust. I had built the frame for the arch here in the backyard and all that remained to be done was to put it up and flesh it out with some stucco. The frame is made out of Styrofoam and wire and will be easy to install next trip. Some people look at me as if I were nuts for doing it this way. Little they know how many buildings are done in the same way.
I had planned to go on a trip to the Black Hills this week. Fly into Denver, then drive to Custer and spend a few days running around the area (Mt Rushmore, et al). This too, had to be canceled. I may be able to run out to the bunker this weekend. We shall see.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Quick Trip this weekend

It's been a while so we need to get something done. I will load up thirty or so blocks to build the other fence post and get prepared to do the arch between them. Sounds like a good days work. The arch will be a combination of glass blocks and ferro-cement. I will try to incorporate some broken wine bottles in the cement just for the heck of it. That will be my attempt at art and if it don't come out too well I can always cover it with the cement. The fun will come while I collect bottles. I have never been a wine snob but now I will have to buy it by the color of the bottle instead of whether it has a cork or screw cap.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The fence comes together

Memorial day '08. The fence is far enough along to show. Lots of work. The fence is cinder block with a top of glass blocks. I scored a thousand glass blocks from the remodel of a high school. They were painted green on one side and Barbara had to clean them up. The fence meets the gate post with a rubble of glass block and small chunks of concrete left from the windows. The blocks will get a parge of stucco and then the same paint as the gate, that's why I didn't do a pretty job with the blocks. It took both days to git-er-done, the footings had been done on the last trip and one post was already up too so this time it was just...clean the glass blocks, lay the concrete blocks and sit back and admire.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Back to work

The storm blew in about 5:oo AM Sunday morning. The door on the work trailer was banging and sleep was slipping away so I went out to shut it. The thermometer on the wall said 66 degrees but as I ran across the yard I could tell it was coming down (I had slipped on only my shoes). By the time I was back in bed the temp had dropped to 60. Sleep was out of the question so Barbara made coffee and warmed up pizza for breakfast. I like cold pizza for breakfast myself but it goes better with stale beer, so I settled for warm. Meanwhile we tried to find a weather report on TV.
By 7:00 the wind was blowing 45/60 and the temp was down to 40 degrees. What's going on, it is almost May. I spent some time trying to finish up a few things left from Saturday but the wind chill was a real factor. I had laid about 40 concrete blocks and tools were everywhere. The best I could do was to pick up and put away. Trying to close the gates was interesting.
The blocks were hard to work with until I was able to stand up to lay them. Once I was able to run strings and the base was level I walked right along. Next trip I will bring the blocks up to 32" high and then run 24" inches of glass blocks on top, neat. I measured the gate post for a bell but then this morning with all the wind I thought that even a brass bell would just end up like a wind-chime and drive us crazy so more thought on the subject. Hmmm... We got on the road early and fought the wind and fog all the way back to Austin.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Don't Pay the Ransom

I haven't posted much this winter 'cause I've had a lot going on. I try to make it to the bunker once a month or more, and I have, but I didn't do much work so there isn't too much to talk about.
The gates are finished and I have been planning the courtyard walls. As soon as it gets warm enough to work I'll have some sand (20 tons) delivered and begin laying the courtyard blocks. I'm wondering how to do that with my bum knee but I have a plan. I've got an old steel post hole digger that I can modify to pick up a block by the edge and then place it within an eight of an inch of the last block. A slight kick will seat it and make ready for the next one. All of this can be done standing up and will probably save my back too. We'll see.
On the first of March Sul Ross down in Alpine is hosting the Cowboy Poetry Gathering again. If you have never been to one of these gatherings you are missing one of the best times you will ever have. Cowboys (and girls) from all over the country come to tell their lives in verse. It's like strolling through an antique shop when every turn brings back memories you thought were lost. See you there.