St. John Colony

A recent article in Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine talked about St. John Colony and other freed slave communities in Texas.

Finally got some agave in the ground via a want ad on Craigslist for a variety of cheap or free plant material. May have some free bamboo spotted this weekend too. More framing on the screen porch done last weekend. Probably will be our favorite room in the house. Have always wanted a good screened room with a view, shade, a hammock, a ceiling fan, maybe a bird cage. Sipping an adult beverage, some Hank Williams from an old radio, a good Travis McGee book.... ahhhh.

Have been working on the bottle window in the bathroom, Jeree has the technique down after some experimenting and is mass producing beer bottle bricks.


A visit to the Decommissioned Harris County nuclear reactor

Was able to garner unrestricted access to the decommissioned Harris County nuclear reactor last week and managed to sneak this shot down the very throat of the central core. The control rods are plainly visible after slowly draining off all the coolant into the downtown tunnel system. Rad levels are tolerable and at street level near the intersection of Preston and San Jacinto hardly registered above exposure from a few chest xrays. I had to harness off of a rusty but otherwise stable relief vent louver near the top of the containment dome and lean pretty far out to get a clear view but it was worth it to get this close up look at a rarely seen or even known about chapter in the state's energy past. Few Texans realized it existed peacefully downtown for decades quietly churning out the megawatts to light the likes of the Astrodome and kept the computers humming at the stealthy ICBM installation buried within the truncated black glass towers of nearby Pennzoil Place.

close enough to 4/1/10


finally a little progress

It's been too long since my last confession. Forgive me father blogg for I have strayed. Our schedule, the economy, the holidays and most of all the weather has taken a real toll on the house progress. It has rained an entire year's worth since October. The pond is in constant floodgate stage and the draw below it runs like a mountain stream; albeit a muddy one. Thankfully we were able to get the roof in and Tyvek on before all this started so the house has been able to sit unattended, but dry, for awhile. This past weekend we had all the exterior sliding doors and windows delivered and have the sliders in the holes, shimmed, leveled and all but sealed up. The underdog New Orleans Saints won the Superbowl last night. That's the extent of the good news for the weekend. The Penske delivery truck made it down to the house site and promptly sunk up to the rims. A frustrating time was had by all for the next three or four hours and but for the help of good neighbors with a new John Deere the delivery van would still be entombed in the mud. The end result is that our picturesque little two lane gravel packed road is a complete disaster for its entire length. We are parked at the gate and packing in supplies through the muck for the foreseeable future with more rain forecast this week. RC and his tractor had to drag the truck backwards to the gate. It was all but unsteerable and the pitiful excuse of an overweight and underpowered dually truck plowed ruts so deep on both sides of the road that I even had to fetch a chainsaw to remove several mesquite trees we had planned to save. The waterline was exposed in several places and snapped a connection in the process so plumbing repair and shovel mucking was on the agenda as well. We'll be forced to have a "real" road built now; no hand distributed gravel will fix this mess. Sigh. Heavy sigh.

Will install the rest of the windows next. With glass in place I can get started on exterior siding, and can finish framing the screened back porch. We recessed an area of floor for a brick pad under a wood stove using handmade brick from the 1870 era Hubbard / Hill Cemetery and will continue to gather the quartz stone and petrified wood from the place to use for the wall under a timber mantle. The majority of the salvaged lumber from the house has been cleaned and stacked under cover to dry to use for interior walls, ceiling and trim. Certainly no shortage of projects for the foreseeable future.