Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Technology Triumph

As the house nears construction completion we've been spending more time living and working there, which often includes lots of cell communications and Internet usage. But one problem with our home being very remote and quiet is that cellular and Internet serve are poor at best. So after some Internet research (in Houston of course) I found the ultimate solution, in 3 parts:

1- Exterior antennas for each of those signals. With Ann's help in orienting them toward the best signal we now have at least three bars of service inside the house.

2- Internet service via mobile 3G hot spots from our droid phones and air cards.

3- Distribution of the signals throughout the interior of the house through a wireless transmitter hooked to the antenna cable.

Yes, it sounds like a lot of effort for what is a basic service in the big city... but to me it's worth it to have the best of both worlds- technology and nature.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving time in Wimberley. The weather has contributed to the autumn feel of the place, dropping to about 25 degrees tonight. And we just got the fireplace working for the first time; nothing like enjoying the toasty glow of a fire while a cold wind howls outside.

Ginny brought Scott for his first visit, and Ernie and Mary Ann joined us all for a belly-filling afternoon meal on Thanksgiving day.
Today brought round two, with Alex coming down from Dallas with the Congroves (Gregg , Stacey, and Kara). And just in time for the round two dinner the furniture truck brought us a new dining table & chairs, big enough to hold more of our growing family.
Thankful? You bet.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

More Floor

Ann pointed out that I've posted no action photos lately. So here I am installing the beautiful but hard-as-nails flooring upstairs. So hard that each shot required a huge force behind the nailer or the staple would just curl up in a little ball instead of going through the flooring. My wrists may never be the same after all that pounding.

Needless to say I'm glad all the nailing is done, and the finished loft is shown in the second photo. Finished except for the trim work, which will have to wait until I tackle the more urgent mission: the upstairs shower. Ugh.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tanked Again

Considerably less challenging than my first tank episode (the 5,000 rainwater storage tank in October 2006), this propane tank is nonetheless a welcome and long overdue addition to our home. Just in time for the cold weather, it's single mission for several years will be just to fuel the living room fireplace. Eventually it will also fire up the gas clothes dryer, a convenience we can definitely do without for awhile.

This four-wheeled contraption is a combination ditch digger and mini-bulldozer. The big round disc dug the trench for a 70' poly gas line from the house to the new tank, and the blade expedited the backfill operation.

I designed the tank setup years ago so that the tank itself would be invisible from the road and entry drive. No great foresight on my part; there are enough hideously propane tanks in the front yards of some very nice homes in the area, so that was an obvious mistake to avoid. It sits down beind the driveway's limestone retaining wall, so the filler truck can still access it easily. I'm gonna further dress it up a bit by painting that silly red cap brown, and maybe throw some camo net over the whole thing. Some code says the tank must be reflective colored, but it does not say I can't hide it!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Backyard Magic

What do you get when you purchase a bunch of seeds from the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center...

and add a bunch more from Ernie Chambers' magic bucket-o-seeds grown in his backyard,

and mix them all in some fancy-smancy topsoil hauled into our backyard limestone retaining wall/erosion control device?

Well, stay tuned to this blog next April and find out. Ann has started her annual wildflower seed planting effort and we are going all-out this year. Enough blooms to start our very own wildflower center, if the weather cooperates.