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Showing posts from 2003

End of the Year Reflection

Here is a photo of my new server erowyn.zaramyth.net (she was the only female to actually use a sword in Lord of the Rings)


The two IP addresses of the server are 65.89.129.7 and 8

These Cobalt Raq servers recently went into end of life from Sun. They are nice and have a cool web interface. You can pick them up real cheap nowadays. The WISP that I just signed an agreement to work for is letting me use one of his old ones to learn how to run a hosting system. There is nothing there yet as I'm currently setting it up.

Real Rain

Well today is the first real rain storm that I have seen in Texas.. It has been raining on an off since early this morning. I feel like I'm back in Portland again. A few of the ranchers that I have talket ot have been worried that the winter has been too dry, well this rain should help wet things a bit.

AOL Man

Seasons Greetings from AOL man. Phyllis Thomas gave me this nice crushed cotton AOL shirt which is so cool!

Dead Battery in Elgin

12/18/2003 8:17 PM

I will never get used to being stranded because of car problems. My Toyota pick-up truck left my possession with 220,000 miles and was reliable up to the end and I never had so much as a flat with it. I did leave my lights on a few times in a McDonalds parking lot near my work but that was it. Being here in Texas I still feel like a stranger sometimes.

Windy Winter Morning

In the morning when I wake
And see the beauty God can make
I know it can’t get better than this

When I can see five miles
It makes me smile
To live in this heavenly bliss

The brisk winter wind
Makes the oak branches bend
And can make your eye tear

But as I stand and turn around
Listening to the rushing wind sound
I marvel at the Texas sky so clear

Corpus Christi

I took my first trip to the Texas coast on Sunday. I was the guest of my friend Phyllis Thomas. She grew up in Corpus Christi and wanted to show me the property that she owned.

Full Power

Well I finally took a hot shower on the ranch! Bluebonnet came out yesterday and completed the meter installation and connectet the power to electrical panel on the pole behind the house. I got home around 12:30 AM and started turning on all the breakers for the furnace and water heater. I pulled all the packing out of the refrigerator and turned it on. I emptied my ice hest nd put all my food in the refrigerator. The ultimate test of full power however came was this morning when I could take a hot shower and not have to deal with running outside to turn on the back-up generator and pump.

Now with heat and warm water I can start to clean all the construction dirt from the house and put n shelf paper. I can also get my phone and computer completely charged at night.

One Week on the Ranch

I have spent my first week living on the Lone Worm Ranch. It has been a week full of discovery and challenges. Taking cold showers and going to bed with the chickens and waking up 4 hours before sunrise are just a few of the moments that have made this week interesting.

Today Dan Nettles showed up and so did a few loads of the gravel that will provide a firm surface to drive from Wormley Lane to the house.

One Week on the Ranch

12/8/2003 8:58 PM

I have spent my first week living on the Lone Worm Ranch. It has been a week full of discovery and challenges. Taking cold showers and going to bed with the chickens and waking up 4 hours before sunrise are just a few of the moments that have made this week interesting.

Good Morning Bambi

Window pane 1

Window pane 2

Window pane 3



Thick clouds at night gave way to a beautiful morning full of sunshine and clear skis. I was sitting in the kitchen drinking my smoothie and making phone calls to start my day. As I was talking to the road contractor I noticed four animals that were not cows moving in the pasture across Wormley Lane. I watched them jump a fence and I realized that they were white tailed deer. There were three does and one large buck that had a huge rack on his head.

Wake on no LAN

Well my second night at the Lone Worm Ranch proves that 6 hours of sleep is not enough outlast my worrying. I woke up at four and could not go back to sleep. I am debating between driving to Austin and checking my email and waiting to go there after the electrician comes later today to check out the generator. I am not much of a country bumpkin, as I cannot survive without an Internet connection.

Starry Night, cold morning shower

I slept on the Lone Worm Ranch for the first time last night (11/30/2003) and it was one of the most peaceful rest periods that I have had in a long time. I have been under a lot of stress over the past six months, as my job hunt seems to have taken a turn for the worst. Being here in Texas away from my family has been an extra burden as I worry about how they are getting along without my help. I rarely get more than 4 hours of solid sleep on my good nights so sleeping for a solid seven hours was a treat.

Stormy Sunday

Sitting here on the ranch in the kitchen looking out the window as the wind blows from the north I feel safe and protected for the first time. On other occasions when I was out here and a rain shower showed up I just roughed it out with just my raincoat. Today after my meeting with a contractor who is going to bid on the driveway work I decided to go into the house, sit in the kitchen, and write while I watched the rain. Besides the wind the only sounds to be heard are cows mooing, the horn of a distant train and the occasional clank of an end of the strap that secures the house to the concrete runners.

I parked my Toyota Camry in front of the house. The house sets about 350 feet from Wormley Lane. If it rains really hard I will have to move it closer to the lane because I do not want toe possibility of getting it stuck in the sand. The real chances of this happening are slim. The soil in this pasture drains very well and it is only a few spots near the old gate where you can ge…

Off the grid

There has to be something said about being completely off grid. By this I mean having a house that is not connected to any power company or city water or sewer. To a lot or rural residents this is a way of life, but for me it is a first time thing. The Lone Worm Ranch will get on the Bluebonnet electrical grid soon, but for now it is being powered by a generator.

Raining Music in Central Texas

I worked all day Monday November 17 in off and on rain showers out on the ranch. There was a tornado watch in the area until 1 PM. I found out later by watching the news from my motel room that Houston (120 miles away from ranch) had tornado touch downs and a lot of flodding. On the ranch the danced and warm rain showers moved across the sky in an infinate color scheme of grays whites and blacks.

As I worked on planning fence work I played a Stevie Ray Vaughn and Dixie chick sound track in my head. The power of some of my favorite musicians really comes through when I listen or imagine their songs here in Texas.

Texas Style Off Road Mountain Bike Ranch

Well I had a chance to ride with some of the local bikers on a mountain bike trail on a cattle ranch. It was quite the challenge on a number of levels. first I was riding with four expert riders that were younger than me by at least 10 years. Second I'm not in the best of bike cycling shape as I have been riding less since I have been un-employed. Third I have more experience road riding and have to un-learn road technics when riding off-road. Finally the fourth challenge is that this trail is not a hiking trail but was designed to give a biker a challenge.

Self-Motivation and cycle therapy

What does the term Self Motivation mean? This question has been kicking around in my head more than usual the last few days. I read the term a lot as I review job descriptions. Employers are always looking for self motivated applicants for their open positions. What do they really mean?

Communication Breakdown

Under the Radar

After spending 10 days in a burning southern California I returned to central Texas and it is starting to feel like home. As I drove out to the ranch on Highway 71 I felt calm and happy to as I drove past the pine trees. I grew up in southern California and have fond memories of living there, but this last visit was very traumatic for me. Seeing the news on TV and watching the forest burn in the Crestline area of the San Bernardino Mountains really hurt. As I drove though the pine trees in Texas I felt a feeling that I had not felt since I lived in Crestline. It was living and working at Camp Mozumdar that I got my first taste of living in a rural environment and I have always missed that lifestyle.

So why did I wind up here in Texas at this point in my life. There are more reasons than I would want to share publicly on this page, but one that I will share is a recent camping trip on a friend’s 5-acre ranch in Bend, Oregon. Every time I have visited Bend with my family I have …

City of Lost Angels

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Flying into Ontario Airport and looking down at the fires burning in the night made my heart ach for the LA Woman. Looking out the window of the jet as we approached the airport I watched the flames dancing in the hills as they fed huge clouds of billowing smoke. This view of a fire was more horrific for me than the distant view of the fire that I had in Bend Oregon earlier in the summer. The fire that I view near Sisters, Oregon appeared as an act of nature and had large white smoke clouds that rose to the air like thunder clouds. This fire in LA looked like a demon devouring the city. The fire licking the bottom of the black smoke could have been a volcano.

When I got off the plane the smoke and soot were so bad that I could hardly open my eyes when I got outside the terminal. The police directing traffic had on dust masks. The shock of going from the clean fresh air of Texas to the extremely smoky air of the San Gabriel Valley was 10 times worse than the last time I was here…

Well Drilling

The Richter Well Drilling company is on site today starting to drill the well on the Lone Worm Ranch. After spending several days pondering where to tell them to drill the well they are finally here drilling the well about 20 feet from the existing hand dug well. I am amazed at how the soil differs at this location from the soil 200 feet away at the septic pit test holes. The soil here is dark brown and has humus and the soil at the septic test holes is sandy and full of rocks and clay. My dad said that his father had problems growing crops in the field in front of the new house. As I look at the difference in the soil from the well site I can see why.

Saturday Night Photography

My interest is night photography was rekindled by a woman that I met on the Sift to Bikes Mystery Night Rides in Portland Oregon. Ayleen uses a film camera and takes pictures of the group when the mystery ride reaches its destination. I first started taking pictures at night with my long gone AE-1 when I had a paper route for the LA Times in the 1980s. I used ISO 64 slide film and took pictures during short breaks in the early morning.

Moving Day, Shake Rattle and Roll

The house is on the ranch now and I can give a sigh of relief. I was worried that the house would not make it down the narrow Wormley Lane, but it did. I stood in the middle of the lane as I watched the truck towing the house move very slowly towards me towing one half of the 16 foot wide by 48 foot long home. The home is a Palm Harbor model PHT348A1 - Pecos and is 1488 square feet with 3 bedrooms and two baths.

Camera Upgrade

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I am on my third Canon camera and this one is my first digital. My new camera is a Canon EOS 10D and it is just what I wanted. Canon makes one camera above the 10D and it is the 1D so this is their low-end professional camera

How humid is it?

Well today was the first day that I got sweaty just sitting in my car. Tonight at 10 PM it was 72 degrees, 92% humidity and there was a slight fog in the air from the evaporating rain that had just fallen. The woman announcing the local NBC news commented that it was so humid that all the women in the newsroom including her just had to let their hair go limp.

Creativity, like a fine wine?

When I am walking on the ranch or riding my bike down the country roads I am getting a strong urge to paint again on real canvas. I have never dared to think like this in over 30 years, but the artist buried inside has never died.

Happy Hour Bike Ride

Today was a day that I spent inside my hotel room pouring over job descriptions and trying to learn all I could about wells. I had little incentive to leave because the mechanics had my car for repairs and there were plenty of phone calls that I could make from the room. I would go bonkers without my laptop and a bike to get me away from it for a while.

PHP Web Store

Well finally I have made progress on one of my goals. I have been working on learning PHP and have created my first eCommerce web store. If you want to check it out it is located here. I am going to add artwork to this store and I hope to generate some income from it. One thing for sure is that I'm learning how to create dynamic web pages using PHP and a MySQL database.

Neil Young "Citified Country"

I have not listened to Neil Young for a while. I'm learning how to create dynamic web pages using PHP and I'm playing my MP3 collection. After listening to the country radio station KASE then hearing Neil I now know why Lynard Skinard says that the South does not need him anyway. Neil seems to struggle through trying to sound country. It is almost like he is reading the music instead of feeling it.

Don't get me wrong, I really like Neil Young and he has a unique style of music. I just have a new pair of ears when listening to him after hearing real country for a few weeks. Moving away from the west coast to central Texas changes your perspective on more than just music.

Country music, Huh?

So like country music is sort of thought provoking in addition to being entertaining. The lyrics go from tear jerking songs about growing up and marrying your childhood sweet heart to drinking in a bar because your wife has thrown you out of the house for adultery. I have been listening to KASE 101 a radio station in Austin which plays alternative country. Now I must say that country roads and country music o hand in hand.

The Blues feel it for the first time all over again.

I really like the blues. I am watching an excellent series on PBS about the blues. A different director does each of the seven installments.

Bastrop bike rides

My hotel room is right across the street from Bastrop State Park. Bastrop is 31 miles from Austin Texas and 15 miles from the Lone Worm Ranch.

Getting the blog working

Well this is my first attempt at getting a blog going.

Sitting in the rain

It is raining and it is humid