Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday Report

PT is progressing but I had more swelling than last time so there is more pain. Most of the swelling has gone down by today (Sat) and the pain is mostly discomfort. I told the therapist on his first visit that I wanted to be walking around the block by Saturday and he suggested that we do it right away. Did and have done ever since. The distance is 1/4 mile but looks longer from behind a cane.
The holiday kind of messed up the schedule but I've been working on my own and everything is starting to fall into place. The one Bad thing is wearing these support-hose. Now I know why women are so mean. I look like an elf in white tights.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Looks like he owns the place

One of the neighbors down the mountain says he sees a cougar up at my place in the late evenings. Mostly the eyes glowing (the cougar that is) but I've not seen any tracks or a den. There may be a bobcat that comes around once in a while or it could be a large feral tabby. Either way when the sun goes down they tend to grow larger. I'm a U of H Cougar myself, class of '68, and I seem to remember growing a lot when I prowled at night.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Deed is Did

Monday, about 10:00AM, an army of medical personnel rolled me into the operating room. We had a difficult time with the spinal block but the second anesthetist was successful. Two hours later I'm in the recovery room and wide awake. Matter of fact I was just in "twilight" sleep during the entire procedure. Couldn't see anything though, they had me draped with rags and towels and the drugs were good so I didn't care what happened.
I'm home today, Wednesday, and the physical therapy begins tomorrow.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Time for the "last" surgery

Well, fall is here and I can hardly walk so it must be time for the left knee joint to be replaced. I was scheduled for the replacement in April but the blood problem got in the way. I have been on oxygen all year and have to be bled every week or so and that has kept me from letting the knee surgeon take the skill/saw to my bones. No kidding, after they break the knee joint they cut the top off the femur and the tibia and replace the knee with the metal and plastic joint. Sounds bloody and nasty but I'll be in dreamland and it won't bother me a bit. I know what to expect now and I'm looking forward to it. The pain is gone when I wake up and the only thing that hurts is the muscles and tenons that had to be moved to do the job. It takes some work to keep the joint flexible but I know that if I don't it will cause me a lot of grief later. I have almost as much flex on the right side as a man my age should have and much more than most joint replacement patients. I have worked out and ridden a bicycle many a mile to make sure it don't stiffen up. So Monday is the day and I plan to be home on Wednesday and walking around to block by Saturday. I'll blog us an update next week.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mitre Peak

As we left this morning Mitre Peak was shrouded in cloud. Pretty neat, huh?

Quick Trip to Knock Down the Weeds

Made a trip to the bunker this week end just to get away from the Austin heat. There has been so much rain this year that the mountains are still green and the yard is 3 feet deep in weeds that we have never seen before. 'In fact I found two patches of ground cherries growing wild. The XO and I mowed and chopped all but the cherries. Not enough for a pie but they may make a nice short cake and cream for lunch.
The people that bought Mr. Williams place up the mountain happened to be in town. Very nice couple, Mike and Barbara from Odessa. They have done a ton of work on the place already and it will be grand when finished (are we ever finished?). I'm sure that they will be happy when they move down. I need to see if some of Barbara's eye for design could rub off on the XO and me.
All in all a good trip and even with the work it was very relaxing. We took the long way home (1 mile further) and stopped in Llano for BBQ at Coopers.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Dang, we got through July here in Austin but already in August we've had two or three 100 degree days and every day has been 95 plus. The temp at the Bunker has been in the 80's and 60's at night. I think the XO and I will run out there for a few days. I need to do some measuring and marking for the next phase of construction. I need to move the trailers around and probe for the septic line. I have 24 trusses that are just sitting on one of trailers getting drier by the month (been sitting for three years). Been working on my body all this time and now that I have all the parts working it's time to do something. I still have one surgery to schedule but I'm holding off till fall besides this blood thing has yet to be resolved. It has been a rough couple of years and at times I was ready to throw in the towel. In fact we even discussed selling the place but figured it would have to go to a really "specific"(read: crazy)type of buyer. It is livable but I have grand ideas and most of the material on hand so finished it's not.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Back one more time

After the bad trip we had a few weeks ago the XO and I tried it again this weekend. We had not intended to do anything that even looked like work so to insure a low impact day we drove down to the Big Bend. On our way down we dropped in to see John Wells at the Field Lab. He left upstate New York for the sunny Southwest about four years ago and has lived a self sustaining life as a recluse (with many, many friends). He was baking a loaf of bread when we showed up and we had a nice chat. While we were talking his longhorn, Benita, showed up to mooch some feed and see who was there. She is as close to tame as a longhorn could be and even allowed the XO to scratch her side. John turned down our offer of lunch at the Grub Shack (waiting for the bread to finish) so we bid him ado and headed back to the hi way and on South to Study Butte and up the river to Terlingua and Lajitas. For those who have never been up the river road from Terlingua to Persidio you have missed the best 70 miles of West Texas. The only problem is the "getting there". For a really nice vacation try the Lajitas Resort or the Big Bend State Park. Look 'em up.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

A Bell for the Bunker

The trip was not a total failure last week. I have searched for a suitable bell for the gate post for several years. Why isn't there a bells are us. I found one in Taos NM last year but the weight of that much brass and the cost of shipping put it out of the question. This one came through a lucky chance and I had to run all over the hill country to get my hands on it. For the last few months I haven't been able to pick it up let alone hang it. So on a chance I took it along, just in case. I intended to do no work at all but I picked up the wind turbine to bring back for sale and thought I had enough strength for one try at hanging the bell. It worked.. Yea..

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fort Stuckton

If you travel through West Texas, 350 miles West of Austin be sure you:
1 have good tires
2 A good spare
3 It's not after two o'clock on a Saturday

The XO and I headed for the bunker this week end just to drop off a few things and generally check up on the place. I still am not able to work so we were just going to do an up-and-back. No need for the bug out bag, right? Bad idea.
About five years ago we were making the same trip and 6 miles West of Fort Stockton we had a flat. Right front, tread separation, donut spare and about forty thousand miles on the set. But it was Saturday morning so we just drove slowly back to town and bought a complete set of tries.
Fast forward five years to almost the exact spot. Blam! Same tire. I lean my crutches against the open trunk lid and unload the "stuff". A really nice guy from San Angelo (Thanks Mr. Wincowski) appeared out of nowhere and helped me (he did most of the work). When I dropped the jack the car just kept going down. Flat Spare. Soo.. I tried to limp, very slowly back to town. After crossing the median and crossing four lanes (80+ speed limit) of traffic I SLOWLY headed back. Half way I came upon a trooper making a two car stop and he didn't have the time or inclination to help me so I eased around him and kept on truckin'. Note, he did catch up with me just as I pulled into the Shell station, blinked his lights and continued on. I pulled up to the air pump, close enough to read the Out of Order sign on it. Drat.. I went inside with my fingers crossed that the pump was only unable to accept quarters, not so but the attendant told me that there was a free hose back at the diesel pumps. I pumped the spare up to where I could read the side of the tire that said 60lbs so I changed position, protecting my important parts and pumped her up. Now to find a tire.
Not a chance. Now I know why Fort Stockton has so many motels. Now the lack of bag comes out to bite us. Not even a tooth brush. So we spend some quality time and wait for the tire store to open Monday morning. Golly at 8AM there were six of us intrepid travelers waiting for the tire guy. One over-priced replacement later we are on our way. Everything else went smoothly and we are back in Austin .

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Another Trip

Just now getting around to posting this. The XO and I flew into Chicago and drove to Northeastern Iowa to see my brother and his extended family. Don't know why he wants to live in Iowa I guess it's his problem. I lived there about fifty years ago too but I escaped. Strange, nothing has changed. I'm used to living in dynamic places that grow and change with thousands of families moving in every month. Even now with the stagnant economy the city of Austin is growing like a weed.
I was on crutches and my brother was pushing a walker, we looked like characters out of a horror movie. His kids and grandkids are scattered all over town so we gathered up those that were available and had a dinner shown in the pictures above. The XO is the top picture and brother Lyle is down to the right. Daughter Diana and granddaughter to the left. Bob, his son and Jim, Dianas husband are down right.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Another trip to the coast

Had to run down to Galveston this weekend to pick up a few things to make the bunker a little more self-sufficient. As long as we have electricity we will have water but in the event of an extended outage we need to have some safe storage. I have plans to store run-off water for gray water purposes but I needed a potable source so now I have a system that will provide 200 gallons and a method to purify the rain water if needed.
Of course we had to make a mini-vacation out of it. Galveston is one of those cities that has character. It was almost wiped out by hurricane Ike but from what I saw it has recovered about 80%. The major destruction was to the beach homes and they are gone. Many are not being rebuilt. The city itself was mostly roofs and trees and have been repaired and life goes on. The picture above says it all without saying a word. Many of the motels and restaurants along the seawall were damaged beyond repair. Some are just slow in rebuilding, the big Flagship Hotel was severely damaged but I was told that they plan to rebuild and even make a mall and amusement park out of it. Lemonade anyone?
I did take the XO for a cruise though, (two actually) so she should stay happy for a while. We rode the Bolivar ferry over to the penisula and back. It's part of the hiway department and is one of the few free trips one can take. About a twenty minute ride across the harbor and the sights are terrific.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Gates

Time and the weather did bad things to the original gates. The glue dried out, the stiles split and some of the screws fell out. They looked good but just didn't work.
To combat the sagging problem I made the frames out of 2" steel tube and covered them with sheet metal. With my handy-dandy plasma cutter I free handed a design on them. It could be better but Rustic is what I was going for. Not bad If I do say so myself.
The XO and I loaded them up here in Austin and took advantage of the weather and spent two days installing them. We need to start
spending more time on the mountain.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Break

Had to make a pre-Spring Break run to the valley just to find some warm weather. That five foot gator above shows how South Texas differs from West Texas in a big way.
The XO and I spent the day driving down the coast to Corpus Christi. Corpus is one of the little known jewels of Texas. Blue water, white boats and palm trees. What's not to like. Port Isabel is similar but has none of the charm. The second day drive to Port Isabel was enjoyable and warm (92 degrees) and interestingly total miles from Austin was almost the same as running out to the bunker.
409 to the coast and 437 to the bunker.
The picture of the bunker above was taken from the highway with my new camera. That shot is about a three quarters of a mile.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cowboy Poets

Desperadoes waiting for ....

It was cold down in Alpine Saturday morning. The cowboy breakfast brought out the real hard core. I was there with my new camera and was looking for just the right shot to portray the cowboy poet gathering. This one just about says it all. There was nearly 200 years of cold mornings and hot coffee just sitting together remembering how it used to be and for these guys how it would be tomorrow.
There were about forty poets and musical groups in attendance and we didn't get to see all of them but those that we did see were terrific. One group of Celtic, Scottish/Irish/Welsh and English players from Canada blew away the audiences with old folk tunes that were the basis for a lot of cowboy music. Their rendition of the Streets of Laredo was spectacular and the addition of the Harp really set their music apart from any I have ever heard.
The cowboys that recited poems and stories were great too. The XO and I didn't see all that we wanted but there is always next year.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fired up the smoker

Now that the weather has started to warm up I thought I would try the old smoker. The XO picked up some country ribs just because they looked so good.
While they smoked I built some gates to replace the doors at he bunker. They didn't weather too well and began to sag.
But back to the ribs. They were pre-sliced and I was a little afraid they would dry out because they were exposed on all sides. Solution, cranberry juice sprayed a couple tmes an hour. I was using the 3-2-1 method. 3 hours at 225 degrees, 2 hours at 225 wrapped in foil with extra juice to keep them moist, then 1 hour open, still at 225. They were great. The picture was taked just before they were served.
Oh, by the way. Next week end (the 26,7,8,) the Cowboy Poetry gathering happens at Sul Ross University down in Alpine. I don't know how many entrants will show up but it is really a great time. Since the 1st of March is my birthday I always figure they are there to celabrate with me. Visit their web site

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Back on my feet and taking another run at the bunker. Things haven't been conducive for a road trip but now I'm blogging from the bunker. This is what the XO and I call an up and back. Not going to do any work this trip "just because".
I need to make some plans for the place. I've got the trusses for the roof of the addition and until I get the roof up I won't have any place to install the solar panels. When the solar panels go up I have four solar water panels to install with them. These will provide domestic hot water and winter heat. I just hope my body will hold together for all the work that needs to be done.
I'm sorry I haven't kept the blog up but the way things were going I didn't have anything to say. I avoid politics and religion because those are sort of personal. That said, how about the senatorial election last night.