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

Monday, August 22, 2005

August 12th, 13th, and 14th

This weekend went a lot smoother than the last one. I flew from San Francisco to Reno late Friday afternoon, caught a cab to Arrow Transmission, and quietly finished reading Ben Bova’s novel The Precipice (which is quite good) in their lobby while I waited for them to finish repairing the van. The damage? $1,400: double yippee. There goes the repairs to my Concourse. Anyhow, the van is driving well. I stopped in at The Flag Store on Glendale Ave. in Sparks where I bought a truly wonderful 20' telescoping flag pole and a Nevada “Battle Born” state flag for Midian (I already had a stars and stripes). I put it up as soon as I got out to the ranch and it looks mighty sweet indeed. I feel like a real Nevada man at last.

I spend Saturday working out at Dog Ranch with Ron, which was pretty fun. Ron’s a good guy with an interesting life story that I’m not going to relate out of respect for his privacy. We seem to be birds of a feather in some odd way I can’t quite put my finger on. To our mutual amazement we got Kevin B’s old Frankenstein’s monster of a trencher (its two trenchers held together with wood, bailing wire, chewing gum, and prayers) running fairly well. We even dug a trench across one of Dog Ranch’s roads so that he could run a pipe to the field that he’s planning on keeping horses in.

Back at Midian Ranch I pulled a couple of parts that need replacing out of the Jeep and the Dodge, got the KLR 650 running properly, and stripped a very, very dead battery out of the welding trailer. I also began work on fixing the interior ceiling of the ranch house and replaced the old messed up swamp cooler with a skylight. I have a pretty good idea of how I am going to make the ranch house’s ceiling look nice again but right now it’s all a great big “ify” experiment. I’ll post more on that when I have some pictures

August 5th, 6th, 7,th, and 8th

Make no mistake: this was four days of living hell. First the van’s transmission blew out while Tina and I were driving over the Sierras. I had it towed into the tiny town of Donner Summit, where we checked into a hotel and had dinner. Let me be a bit more specific: we dropped off the van to the same mechanic, at the same restaurant, and checked into the same hotel that I have checked into five times over the last five years: once for a break down, three times for snowstorms, and once because of a forest fire. When I die I half expect to get stuck in Donner Summit betwixt this life and the next, eating ghostly pancakes and getting screwed by ghostly hotel managers while I wait for some angelic (or perhaps demonic) CHP officer to reopen the River Styx.

So, anyhow, the next morning the mechanic told us what we already knew (the transmission was blown) just like we already knew he would. So we had the van towed to Arrow Transmission in Reno, rented a car, and drove out to Midian. Total cost of tow #1 + mechanic + hotel + food + tow #2 + rental, about a grand. Yippee! So much for repairing my Moto Guzzi. Anyhow, we got out to the Ranch about a day later and a lot poorer than we expected. To be honest things went pretty well once we got out there. Tina and I cleared some undergrowth away from the sides of the buildings out to a distance of about five feet as a fire control measure; not a lot of fun, but it needed to be done. Ron, the new owner of the Dog Ranch, felt bad when he heard our tale and gave us (no joke) a running 1975 Dodge Ram! It’s in pretty good shape mechanically, and it’s my firm belief that with a little TLC and a lot of paperwork I can make it into my “Big Truck” for the desert. I have also worked out a deal with Ron to trade labor for some shelving and a huge supply of deep cycle batteries, possibly enough to set me up for the next decade!

The girls (Jasmine and Laura) showed up on Sunday. They brought about fifty dogs with them (ok, three) including a Chihuahua puppy that Jasmine carries around in one of those baby papooses (brand name: Pupoose). It was kind of cute, it was kind of strange, and we were all kind of horrified when Snap decided to bite the little thing in the face, nearly blinding it. A great deal of yipping, scolding, cursing, bleeding, and defecation ensued, putting a damper on the hike we were on. Later Ron came over and we did a lot of shooting, which cheered everybody up.... except the dogs, who hid in the house.