If it CAN have KISS on it, it SHOULD have KISS on it." - Gene Simmons

Gotta love him.


Don't count your chicks...

Uh oh. # of eggs laid last night x # of hens x nights / week. 5 x 3 x 7 = 105 eggs / week. We will be eating lots of omelets. Meringue, quiche, french toast , deviled eggs ... fresh eggnog for the holidays!

(don't really expect that many of course, just hope the poor little thing was backed up. Had a scrambled egg sandwich a little bit ago; mmm, mmm good.)


front porch eyebrow & a man and his roof

More rain all last night; another 2 1/4". Water standing everywhere and the pond is so full it just spread out a little more all around, not near the dramatic change of the last floater. Marble Falls and parts northwest of here are searching out gopher wood and tape measures that measure in cubits at Home Depot so they can start building their arks. Posting a new picture of the front porch eyebrow, not deep enough to call it a porch with a clear conscious although folks around here don't seem to bat an eye when they call their 20 acres a "ranch" so dammit; it's a porch. Really, I designed it to provide some added protection from rain and sun over all the eventual glass on the front side. Although the overhang on the west approaches 4' it is at such an angle to shade the clerestory windows at the plateline. The 3d computer models with shadow casting (in Google Sketchup Pro) I did while drawing the plans showed me it would have allowed a little too much late afternoon sun on the front glass doors. The extra modeling seems to have worked: Watching the shadows as we work looks like the glass will at least be half shaded until past 5pm. By then it is cooling down and the trees to the west take over for additional shade while we can still enjoy a sunset view from the kitchen.

The roof we used is a 26 gauge galvalume PBR panel from a local distributor in Bastrop. Inexpensive, it is also simply attractive - even from the bottom - as seen through the exposed framing on the overhangs. Durable with a good warranty. The panels cover 36" wide and designed the roof to be an even 20' long standard length, although most distributors will precut to custom lengths. Installation was straightforward using self-tapping screws with washers and a cordless impact driver. Butyl tape at every seam. Will keep plumbing penetrations to a minimum for less leak opportunities plus the simple shape negates potential problem areas like hips, ridges and valleys.


"Is this end the head?"

And we thought all we had to worry about was getting carried off by the giant vampire mosquitoes that have been thick since all the rain. Got a new camera today to replace the last one that cratered a few weeks back so have been a little lax in the postings. Celebrated the new pix-taking ability by promptly finding a worthy subject - a most unwelcome visitor. The good news is, yes: he is very much headless (but still moving much to Joey's concern) in the photo. A full grown near four footer and bigger around than my wrist with 7 rows of souvenir buttons. No one was hurt - other than a good spooking - and he was about as far away from the house as the property will allow. Jeree saw him first on our evening walk. She took it in stride but promptly left me to deal with him from great distances and to distract the dog. I handled him old school - really old school - caveman style. There was a handy pile of softball size rocks nearby to dispatch him with and an extra long mesquite branch to finish bashing his head flat. We had been gathering rocks and stacking them along the path to pick up later and all of our tree trimming left me with lots of long thick branches to choose from. Never considered that we were stocking an armory. The bad news is with all the rain and sudden burst of growth he may not be the last one to be hiding in the tall grass but since he is the first rattler, or even suspiciously venomous looking, snake we've seen in two years here maybe this will fulfill our quota for a while. Believe the double barreled 20 gauge may be my new "walking stick".

Have built the front porch eyebrow over the front doors on the house that will provide an extra layer of shade late in the day. Finished screwing off the metal roof - truly a thing of beauty to have done - and ready now for a good initial rain test. Still have some counter-flashing to do over the end bay windows and picked up lumber to frame most of the interior walls this coming weekend. Still deciding which direction to slope the gutter and the best spot to place the rainwater collection tank.


fall in a hurry to get here

Fall came on a Friday. When summer is over it's all over, man. We are 3 days shy of the most 100 degree days in a single year. At this rate we will have suffered through the hottest sumer since 1926 and won't even get to brag about surviving the hottest year ever. The insufferable drought is all but a memory too, we have had 6 3/4" since last Saturday. The pond that was bone dry for over a year overfloweth; a good 12' deep. The chickens are growing gills. Ah well, the change is refreshing. Of course we'd had the roofing weekend scheduled for several weeks knowing that it would eventually start raining again someday ... didn't know it would be the very day we picked up the roof. So there it sat, shedding water just like it was supposed to do - only off the bed of the trailer while the house sat nearby getting soaked - again, and again. Doesn't appear to be any water damage now that we have it mostly dried in. We've been putting up sheathing, Tyvek and metal roof in-between showers and now it looks more like a house than ever. Finally it is an opaque, 3 dimensional mass against the trees. We temped in plastic windows and clerestory this morning so work can continue inside. Will finish a few rough roof edges and hang the rain collection gutter as soon as the weather allows.

On an aside: was on the road over labor day weekend and took advantage of a TXDot Safety Rest Area near Hedley on the way home. Have visited most of the facilities and would encourage everyone to stop and see them on their travels and avoid the traditional MickeyDees or DQ pit stop. First rate facilities, regional designs, fine graphics... all around one of the few tax supported programs in the state that is highly visible, truly needed and is accessible to literally everyone.
The stop near Hedley features some sustainable features - as do many of the designs. Graphics outside the restrooms explained the water saving features of the plumbing fixtures and how holding ponds out back convert some of the grey water, runoff and roof collected water to near drinking quality for irrigation with only naturally filtering native plants. Education during your pit stop. How refreshing. Alas; I couldn't help but overhear a young father and his son at an adjacent urinal. "Daddy, it didn't flush." WATERLESS URINAL ALERT - NOTICE THAT THERE IS NO FLUSH VALVE PRESENT! PARENTS PLEASE EXPLAIN TO YOUR KIDS THAT THIS IS A PROGRESSIVE DESIGN THAT ACTUALLY DOES NOT STUPIDLY WASTE A GALLON OF WATER TO FLUSH 2 OUNCES OF YOUR CHILD'S PEE!!!! The father's response? "You're right, it must be broken." Such is the uphill battle faced by the green revolution. Decades of blissful ignorance. Sigh.