Midian Ranch Blog

This is the web log for Midian Ranch, an isolated homestead in rural Nevada. It is owned by Jason and Tina Walters, whom are also its regular posters. This blog is exclusively for the enlightenment and edification of our friends, family, and colleagues.

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Location: Gerlach, Nevada, United States

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Profiles in Playa Dust: Chris Karma  Posted by Hello

Chris Karma is one of Midian Ranch's most frequent guests. A rabid gun-nut with a side interest in firearms, he is currently planning an invasion of Berkeley using an army of mutated desert lizards armed with homemade Martini-action shotguns. When he isn't out at my place trying to figure out which jack rabbits look like Air America listeners (or dinner), he gauds tourists at San Francisco's Powell Street cable car turn around. There, don't you feel safer?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

To be honest complaining is what I do best.

this is an audio post - click to play

Me on my trusty 1947 Ford 8N; the Fred Ziffel of the 21st Century. Posted by Hello

Painting The Ranch House (continued)

After we screwed around with the tractor for a while, Chris and I went of to Black Rock Station. Metric, who had stopped by earlier in the day, had offered to give me some wood out of the massive Burning Man scrap woodpile that he and his work crew are going to incinerate in a few days. Frankly, the woodpile was a goldmine (to me anyhow) of much needed 4 by 4's. We loaded up the bed of the pickup truck with them then poked around the Station's soon-to-be-demolished boneyard, which was filled with many very, very strange things. My favorite was an old dirt-bike that some backyard Frankenstein had welded a "Bodeccia" style iron chariot onto the side of. He'd then welded a spotlight, a Mossberg pump-action shotgun, and a .22 rifle onto a series of pivots which the passenger could operate while standing. I figure it was for varment hunting at night. Unfortunately the thing is so smashed up and rusted that none of it is useable at this point.

Still, it gives a young gun-nut ideas.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Hard Living in Black Rock Posted by Hello

Painting the Ranch House

This weekend Chris Karma and I loaded up the pickup truck then headed out to Midian. The weather was lovely; sunny but not overly hot with a smattering of light, fluffy clouds drifting across the sky like lily pads on a pond. The only traffic we encountered on our way out were hordes of ageing San Francisco bikers on their way out to this year's Street Thunder festival in Reno. Which, while sounds like a lot of sleazy fun, includes large crowds of people.... exactly what the two of us were trying to get away from. So we passed over this proverbial garden of Harley Davidson delights, taking a nearly deserted 447 through various small towns and past the dozen or so inevitable roadside crosses until we found ourselves stretching in the dust by the Ranch's front gate.

Everything was fine at the ranch. The buildings were secure, the water supply topped off, and my never-ending attempts at field mouse genocide in the ranch house have been playing off to the extent that droppings were few and far between. The only problems were a) a persistent infestation of wasps the size of obese humming birds and b) the battery bank hadn't charged up all of the way. The wasps we valiantly (if reluctantly) combated with rolled-up newspapers but the charging problem is one I'm going to have to address in the near future. I think that another pair of 60 or 80 watt solar panels would really help a lot, but so would a couple more of those two hundred pound 6-volt deep cycle batteries that West Marine sells.

After unpacking we set to painting the house almost immediately. Tina selected a marvelous reddish-brown shade called "fireweed" (which gives the place a subdued "country" look) that went on thick but fast. The previous weekend T accidentally snapped the antenna on the ranch house's big Grundig radio; now it only picks up the country station out of Susanville. Although I was initially unhappy about this it was extremely educational. Before this weekend I never really understood how deeply, deeply depressing modern country music can be. The characters in new country songs invariably seem to be suffering through some sort of All-American Dark Night of the Soul which can only be cured by alcohol, death, or a combination of alcohol with death. By the end of the weekend I was reconsidering my previously (and erroniously) low opinion of country music recorded after 1980.

After a hard day's work we made a simple dinner before settling down to watch The Black Gestapo, a wildly violent blaxploitation film from the 70's which couldn't decide whether or not it wanted to be a porno. Let's just say it had enough almost sex to be an almost porno. It was amusing but so disturbing that it gave Chris Karma nightmares. He woke up screaming and started desperately feeling around for his gun at around 3AM, but fortunately nobody (namely me) was hurt. The following morning we wrapped up our work on the house then went "downtown" to the workshop to toil on the ranch's 1947 Ford 8N tractor. Because of the sheer level of desert grime on its primitive, ah, "electronic" components we had trouble getting it started, but a good scrubbing of the ignition when combined with a new battery helped to get the old girl functioning. Soon we were bouncing across the salt brush using the Ford as a sort of massive ATV, sending lizards and field mice scattering in every direction as we went. Nothing seems to be mechanically wrong with it; I think with a little bit of attention and a whole lot of Engine Bright I can get the old thing tip-top in a few days.