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, May 31, 2006

A New Look for an Old Wall Posted by Picasa

May 20th through 25th (for Tina)!

This trip wasn’t so much a question of what we did do as a question of what we didn’t do. Fresh from a massive shopping trip to Ikea, Tina and I installed entire wall’s worth of shelving, worked on remodeling the bathroom, built CD and DVD racks, and organized books. We finished the birch wood ceiling in the living room. When I had to leave on Tuesday I took the opportunity to travel along the eastern, rather than western, side of Pyramid Lake. A hundred miles of well-maintained dirt a gravel roads separate Gerlach from Sparks; ideal conditions for riding a 750cc dirt bike at 55 to 75 mph (which I did). I also had a chance to stop off at the Wolfs Lodge Ranch to visit with Blackfish – not to mention the small tribe of Siberian monsters that live there with him. This was extremely enjoyable, as I hadn’t had a chance to visit with the international man of mystery since he’d gotten back from doing anti-piracy work in the Straights of Malacca. As is usual he was extremely tightlipped about what took place down there, the bonus being that I can dream up a far more romantic picture of what the man does (killing pirate scum with a cutlass) that the actual reality undoubtedly merits (training Tai soldiers to use sonar properly).

Unfortunately, due to factors beyond our control it took several days longer than normal for the next Hero book (Ultimate Speedster) to reach the warehouse. Tina had to stay out two days after I left. Fortunately, she had Snap with her for company and a Marlin rifle for protection. We kept in constant contact through MSN Messenger, so she wasn’t too lonely. Plus the weather out in the Black Rock Desert has been nothing short of wonderful. I doubt it was as terrible as all that.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

In the immortal words of Iggy Pop: "No fun, my friend, no fun." Posted by Picasa

Before to the right, after to the left. Posted by Picasa

May 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th

The 2006 General Motors V-6 cargo van is a marvelous vehicle. It’s as wide as a house, tall as a steeple, and has enough bed space to park a Hondo Civic in. It’s also capable of hauling 1500-pounds over Donner Pass without dropping down into second - the engine has a powerful lot of horsepower where it counts. Tina and I filled it absolutely to the brim with boxes of HERO books, but it’s gearbox didn’t so much a murmur a complaint when we popped over the top of the Sierras doing 85 mph. I only wish it wasn’t a rental.

During this trip we continued with our "early American shack" ceiling project. To be honest it’s going a quite a bit better than my mocking nickname implies. Although I seriously doubt that the Midian ranch house will be making the pages of better homes and gardens anytime soon, the new birch wood paneling is an enormous improvement. I am hoping to at least finish the living room and dining room next trip.

The trees are all doing marvelously well. The new ones have sprouted leaves, and the apple has blossomed already. I’ve also spent considerable amount of time re-plumbing the drip feed system to distribute water more efficiently. Hopefully we can avoid the clogging problems that occurred in the lines last year.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

April 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 26th

I’ve finally discovered the nastiest thing an enterprising desert rat can possibly due with his or her time: tear out a bathroom in an old doublewide. In the great index of experiences I have had in my life, I would put the removal of the ranch house’s guest bathroom tentatively above county jail and the hospital but firmly below everything else. This includes several motorcycle wrecks and an IRS audit. I had safety glasses, a breathing mask, and a jumpsuit on but it still wasn’t enough to protect me from the clouds of dust, rotten wood, old insulation, and pounds (yes, pounds) of mouse feces. You just can’t get clean after something like that. I took a long, soothing soak in the Fly Geyser but still didn’t feel right. I may never feel right.

Of course, the payoff has been tremendous. The rotten boards are gone, replaced with fresh plywood. The old, nasty wall material has been torn out and will soon be replaced with whatever nice, new stuff Tina wants to put in. The house smells better too. We’re in the process of replacing the bathroom’s plumbing as well. It will probably be a few months before we finish the project, but it’s good to have finally gotten it under way. In the same vein, we’ve begun our big experiment with covering the existing ceiling. As those of you that have visited undoubtedly remember, the old and (supposedly) white ceiling panels in the house are sagging, water stained, and basically nasty. There’s no way to remove them, either. When doublewides are constructed the ceiling panels are put in place before the roof is lowered into place; they are there permanently, no matter how ghetto looking they get.

Our solution has been to cover the damned things with a nice, new layer of birch plywood that is held in place by thin wooden ribs. The effect is half “inside of a wooden crate” and half “early American shack;” either of which is a vast improvement over the ceiling’s current condition. The look we are working toward is, of course, “rustic ranch house,” but my carpentry skills just aren’t quite there yet. In any case, it looks a lot better.

Worlds Of Empire arrived on Monday. Tina kicked massive buttocks, turning the entire pallet around within a couple of hours so that the UPS guy could get the title off to the distributors. I’m particularly proud of this particular HERO product, partially because I wrote 25% or so of it but mainly because it’s a fantastic book. The cover is subtly powerful, the interior artwork is good, and the layout is excellent. The writing is terrific as well, but nobody expects or gets anything else from a HERO product. We also set up another set of shelving in her office to hold loose books for smaller, individual orders. As I’ve mentioned before, the HERO Games Black Rock Desert office is coming along quite nicely. So nicely, in fact, that I am posting this entry from her office right now.