Monday, March 31, 2014

Break Out the Tie-Dye and 8-Tracks

I could not resist! There's very little info, but here is a factory-built electric VW Microbus! Enjoy!

Volkswagen Shows Off Its 40-Year History of Electric Cars

May your bus run on electrons and grilled cheese!

¡Gol, Lubbock, Tejas! DIY Tiny Aquaponics

Back on New Year's Eve I set a few goals and posted about them. Over the weekend, one of those goals became a reality - and just under the deadline.

I will post more details later, but I just wanted to get it out there - the next tiny aquaponics project has begun!

May you reach your goals, and may the world be a better place for it.

(Thanks to Swartz for wiring up the shelf!)

The post from 12-31-13

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Simple Morning

I had the luxury of walking to coffee this morning. Four robins, a young mockingbird and some tiny purple flowers. 

May you live in such luxury!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Aquaponics Epiphany

I just figured out how I want to do this. Hopefully, I will have photos for you on Monday.

May everything in your care thrive!

(Few things offer more inspiration than a deadline.)

Lubbock Electric Car Spotting and Duelling EV Commercials (Funny Stuff)

Electric car spotting in Lubbock has been good lately. You may remember the recent post where I found the Ford C-Max Energi parked next to Lucy. On Tuesday I was headed home from work and noticed a silver-haired gentleman in a silver Nissan Leaf hanging out in my mirror. He changed lanes and sped around me. I found myself with a big ol' vicarious EV grin on my face. I see Chevy Volts almost daily now.

This morning I received some texted photos from a co-worker. (Thanks Ben!)

It is a Ford Fusion Energi he spotted on the streets of Lubbock this morning. Woohoo!!!! Let the revolution begin!!!

On a somewhat related note, Ford fired a volley (complete with manure - MANURE!) at GM yesterday by releasing a commercial that responds to the Cadillac ELR ad that aired during the super bowl.  Be sure to watch the Caddy commercial first. Here they are:

The Cadillac ELR

Ford C-Max Energi

May the manure fly and help us into better cars!

Bonus EV Commercial Links for the day:

Nissan Leaf #1

Nissan Leaf #2

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Petroleum-Free Transport - So, you want to build an electric bike...

Buy the swag for this image here

It is spring time. We are getting the rain (pray for more!) and the wind. The trees are budding out. The seasonal birds are arriving. It's a very nice time to be outside. What a great time it would be to have an electric bike to get you around.

My first electric bike was a revelation. It turned my commute to work into a very enjoyable time, a time for creativity and adventure. I had been freed from sitting at lights or racing to fight my way onto the loop. And I found myself taking different paths to work each day. On days when I wanted adventure, I went off-road. On days when I was in a hurry, I would take the faster and straighter roads. I would show up with a smile on my face that would last for hours. And I knew that I could do it all again at the end of the work day. All of this happened on a bike that, by most standards, was a pretty crappy electric bike. It was a 24 volt system with lead-acid batteries, poor brakes, and weak spokes. But it did not matter.

[A sidebar about being middle-aged: (skip this part if it does not apply to you)
The roughest part of being middle-aged is reaching a point where you feel like you are responsible for holding the whole world together. The generations above and below you keep looking to you for guidance and support. Your peers keep going through rough patches. You realize that your physical capabilities are slipping and your mortality becomes a very real thing. It's why we have blood pressure medicine, Prozac, and Viagra. It's why we come to think of golf as a sport. That first electric bike was for me 25 minutes per day when all of that disappeared and all the weight lifted, and I felt free.]

A few days ago, I ran across an article by Spinningmagnets, one of my favorite contributors to the Endless-Sphere electric bike forums. In the article, he outlines some of the more popular and functional kits for converting a standard bike to an electric bike. If you have any interest in owning an electric bike, this article will help you make that transition with a lot less trial and error.

Excellent article about available kits from mild to terrifying
(Now, if I can just figure out how to afford the 750W Bafang crank-drive setup...)

May you know a bit of freedom this spring!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Local Event: Lubbock Preparedness Fair this Weekend

It's not every day that I get to promote a Lubbock event that promotes backyard chickens! 

Just a few of the things you could learn about. (I highlighted a few that we have discussed on MH.)

There are lots of details available on the website, but the overall goes something like this:
Saturday, March 29
70th and Frankford Avenue
It's FREE!

Here's the website:

Tell them the Mesquite Hugger sent you!

May your weekend prepare you for something!

The Response to the Petroleum-Free Dork Post

The guy who responded to the survey

would be seen in a Nissan Leaf,

thinks the Boxx Scooter is the coolest on the list,

thinks the Citicar is the ugliest (Vintage ugly points there!),

would not leave his significant other regardless of which she brought home,


(most importantly)

he included a joke!

What did the electric car say when it was asked if it needed gas?

"No tanks!"

May you have a petroleum-free day.

P.S. Dude who responded - I owe you a beer!

Sincerely Hoping to Eat Crow on This One: Tesla Battery Factory in Lubbock

On March 6, I posted an entry about the phenomenally slim chances of Lubbock being the location selected for Tesla's new battery factory. In case you're curious, that post is linked to the bottom of this page.

I ended that post by saying, "In order to have a good neighbor, one must be a good neighbor."

Well, it seems that the lure of a $5,000,000,000 business with more than a thousand jobs coming to Texas has encouraged Governor Rick Perry to be a little more neighborly.

Governor Rick Perry backs bid for Tesla Stores in Texas

I am a big fan of doing the right thing even if it is for the wrong reason. So I support Rick in this one. I would love to see the chances of having a Tesla battery factory on the South Plains and I would like for Texans to have the opportunity to buy a Tesla without having to sneak it in from another state.

Now, if he would reconsider forcing Texans off their lands and endangering one of North America's largest water supplies so that a Canadian company can sell tar sands oil to China, I might actually try to think of him as a decent human being.

May our opportunities not come at a great cost to others and may we always strive to be good neighbors.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Another Grain Silo Cabin - So cool!

(Could you live in this guy's head?)

Ok, you know I get excited when I find a way to reuse something old and make it into something useful. And, if you can have a tiny house that looks like a robot head from a 1950's sci-fi movie - all the better!

Here's the Treehugger link.

May you find something funky to reuse as a home!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Petroleum-Free Transport: How willing are you to look like a dork? (With survey)

I love things with wheels. I love strange things with wheels. I love electric things with wheels. Ergo, I love strange electric things with wheels.

With one exception (Man, I want a Citicar!!!) all of the vehicles you see in this post can be bought new right now. A few may be hard to get your hands on, but all are available at this time. Please take a little time and ask yourself a simple question: Would I be seen in or on that thing? Then, please fill out the survey below. (Yes, I left the Tesla off on purpose. I also left off the plug-in hybrids and a host of other plug-in cars and scooters.) We'll look at electric bicycles and motorcycles in a later post.



EVT (Ignore the sticker)






May your answers surprise and reward you!

They Struck Again, and Again: Graffiti and Toxins

At 5:30 this morning my wife informed me that the aerosol idiots had struck again. There is some improvement this time. All three words were legibly painted and spelled correctly. Had they added a little punctuation, it could have been a properly formed complete sentence that contained a command form verb, a personal pronoun, and an appositive noun forming a metaphor that compared me to a female dog. (Guess who used to teach English for a living.)

Before I jumped in the shower, I took some penetrating oil and a shop rag an old sock (Reuse!) out to Lucy, my beloved Ford Ranger, and started removing their handiwork. It took about 15 minutes, and life goes on.

Then I showered and dressed. I went in to kiss my wife goodbye. She told me that I smelled like penetrating oil. Even as I type this, I can detect the smell of that handy but fairly toxic petroleum product wafting from my fingers. It has a more pleasant smell than carburetor cleaner or gasoline. Maybe even a little better than WD-40. But the issue here is not the smell - it is the presence of this stuff in my skin. The shower did not wash it away.

There has been a lot of talk lately about the toxins that surround us. In our air, our food, our personal hygiene products and so much more, we are constantly bombarded with some pretty damaging stuff.

One of my office mates is pretty legitimately a health guru. She studies, she learns, she practices, and she preaches that particular gospel. She talks a lot about detoxifying and cleansing. I would listen more, but those talks often disparage the name of one of my favorite health food providers - Little Debbie.

Coincidentally, Treehugger had an article today about a new book on cleansing toxins from one's body. Maybe it's time I give it a read. Steinbeck has once again given me a great tour of America. I guess ToxIn ToxOut is my next read. I will keep you posted.

Self-serving bonus links for the day:

The post about Lucy

The last post about the little huffers in my hood

May they find more creative and productive outlets for their artistry.

A scene from one of my favorite episodes of The Boondocks.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Choose Two / El Escoja Dos

I love those restaurants where they have a little section on the menu that says Choose Two or Manager's Special or Combination Plate. I like it when they let me look at all those delicious items and then make some random choices that I think will work well together. At places without the Choose Two, I often find myself wishing I had ordered that other thing instead.

If you are reading this blog, I can usually make one of three assumptions about you:
1. You love me very much and read this out of a sense of obligation/curiosity. (I love you too!)
2. You have an interest in improving the conditions of the world around you - possibly even West Texas.
3. Dang, you're bored!

Well, if you choose 2, I have an eco-combination plate for you. The menu you have to choose from can be found on this page:

There you can find this and several other mindmaps to help you understand the world a little better and to make some positive changes.

May your two choices lead to a world of difference!

¡Buen provecho!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

One More EV Post for the Day - A Visit to Bloom County

Just because I fantasize about reaching stage 6:

May you also have the opportunity to moon Mr. Cheney with Bill the Cat!

Ask and ye shall...find it on the web - Electric Lamborghini

You long-time readers of MH might remember a post from the past (yesterday) where I mentioned a Lamborghini being the second car to appear on my dream car list. That was somewhere around 1977.

Well, today I learned of an all electric Lamborghini that was produced not in Italy, but in China. And snagit, I give in to my materialistic side on this one - I want it!!!

Here is the full story from Inside EVs.

May your dream car be really green, really tiny, and on the other side of the world.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lubbock Electric Car Spotting - My Dorkdom Conversion is complete!

Woohoo!!! The first one I have seen in person!

So, my first dream car was a 1963 Corvette Coupe. Then I discovered the Italians and the Lamborghini Countach was added to the dream stable. Over the years the dream garage kept getting bigger and bigger, and even odder. Each time I saw a car from the list, my heart leapt.

Well, today it happened again. I went out for lunch and found a Ford C-Max Energi parked next to Lucy. I completely admit it. I have turned into the dad from every dork movie ever made. No fins, no V-12, no auto-sexiness whatsoever. It is a plug-in range-extended Ford that falls into an attainable price range for an average middle-classer. It has the ability to do most of my family's running about on no gasoline whatsoever. It also has the capability to travel long distances without having to stop for charging. And my heart leapt!

Ick. The view from the office next to mine.

On a drier and dirtier note, I am suffering from post-vacation depression. I spent the weekend next to a beautiful lake. There were naturally occurring green plants surrounding me. There were streams with running water. I saw two great blue herons within 100 feet of each other. And there was rain, life-giving glorious rain!

Now I am back home in Lubbock reading articles about surrounding towns that have less than 90 days of water in reserve.

May your skies be blue and clear, and may there be water for us all.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Next Project, and the One After That (And composting!!!!!)

(Just a preview of the linked infographic - MH loves a good IG!)

A big struggle for me lately is that next project.

I have been eyeballing plans for making a compost barrel. Grizz offered me a barrel. I have scavenged the hardware. I think I have the lumber; if I don't, I can find pallet lumber or construction cast-offs. The whole thing should not take more than three hours - five if I have to dis-assemble a few pallets. We could start recycling food scraps, grass clippings and leaves, and some paper goods. It all sounds good - right?

Well, maybe not.

Why not?

Reason 1: No garden. That's it. This garden season, like all others, promises to be a busy spring, summer, and fall. Gardens take time and work.
Reason 2: All the unfinished (and unstarted) projects. The electric bike. The electric pickup. The aquaponics setup. The solar panels. Infinity spiral....

So, maybe this needs to be the summer of finishing or parting with the projects. Maybe sell off half the projects in order to finance the other half. How does one advertise a Mesquite Hugger Half-Finished Project Garage Sale? Keep watching this space. Maybe I will figure it out.

In the meantime, here is a composting infographic and some Instructables in case your project cup does not runneth over.

Mother Nature Network Compost Infographic

Compost Barrel Instructables

May your projects be successfully completed!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Do more of...

I recently had a meal with a friend who is struggling. As we talked, I noticed a young lady, a student, who was working on some type of presentation. She had a re-usable drinking cup emblazoned with this phrase: Do more of what makes you happy.

I kept looking at the cup and looking at my friend. I, by the way, am not a man of immediate action. My brain doesn't react. It ferments. I did not ask my friend what makes him happy. I should have asked him what the simplest and easiest thing is that makes him happy.

The brain has now fermented a bit. Dear Reader, what is the simplest and easiest thing that makes you happy? Is there a way you can do that this week? What does it require?

May you find a way to follow a re-usable cup's advice.

Bonus link: the blog where I found the great photo above.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Roll Out the (Rain) Barrel (Mark Your Calendar)

Happiness is a rain barrel!

A day late and a gallon short, so to speak, I learned that on Tuesday night Brad Lancaster, author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyondgave a talk here in Lubbock. You can click on the title and visit his very informative website that is designed for people who live in areas of  very little rainfall to harvest and conserve our most precious natural resource. Snagit!!! Please check out the site.

While you are there, you can also check out a book on a subject that is near and dear to the Mesquite Hugger heart and stomach: Eat Mesquite.

For another local opportunity for you to learn about rainwater harvesting (and to use tools!), mark your calendar for the Make and Take Rain Barrel Workshop Saturday, April 12, 2014 here in Lubbock. If you want a rain barrel but do not have the tools, skills, or place to make one, this is your chance to work with others and make it happen!

I hope to see you there!

May your barrel runneth over!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Tesla Battery Factory in Lubbock - Fat Chance!

(The photo of the no-longer-in-production Tesla Roadster from the KCBD article)

The buzz around the office today comes from an article on about the possibility that Tesla Motors could locate its massive new battery plant here in the Hub City. If you read it almost closely you will find no concrete info saying that Tesla has shown any interest in Lubbock, and if you do the slightest amount of research you will see that Texas has aggressively worked to keep Tesla from selling its vehicles in Texas.

I would love to see Tesla (or any electric vehicle manufacturer) set up camp in this area, and we definitely have some virtues to entice them, but the Texas Legislature and Texas Auto Dealers Association have been a huge thorn in Tesla's side. Elon Musk, Tesla Motors' CEO, even addressed the Texas legislature on the subject, but his requests fell on deaf ears.

Another fact that the article failed to address is that Tesla is looking at four possible states for the plant, and the other two (Arizona and Nevada) have some of the same advantages that Texas is claiming and both states are located closer to Tesla's production site in California. 

Here is the article from KCBD.

And here is a more realistic article from Forbes about the possibility of Tesla setting up in Texas.

Yes, anything is possible, but this one is a long shot.

To have a good neighbor, one must be a good neighbor.


It did not start with the fire.

It might have started with the break-ins.

It might have started with those seemingly cute Annie Leonard videos.

It started with the crushing debt. The depression. The high blood pressure. The job I hated. It started with an emptiness stuff could not fill.

It started forty years ago with commercials between Saturday morning cartoons. It started in high school - what they had. What we had. What did not compare well.

Maybe it started with Love Among the Cannibals and that car on the side of the road.

Somewhere in all that, a switch flipped.

But let's get back to the fire. In just a few hours, everything my mother and brothers owned turned into ashes. All gone or completely un-usable. All of it destined for a landfill. They are starting over with different stuff now.

My first electric bicycle was stolen a while back. It was a bargain to start, a deeply discounted close-out bike from a Big  Box. I hit a curb too hard and found myself needing a new rear wheel. I ordered one, but a thief fell through a hole in the wall and made off with the bike. I still have the new rear wheel. The bike was noisy, heavy, and fairly slow, but I enjoyed it. I rode it to work and parked it in my office. It freed me from gas pumps and stop lights, and road rage. It was all back streets, alleys, parking lots, short cuts. It was a challenge to better my time, to pedal more, to move, to move more, to move faster, to move faster, to move free-er, quieter, without guilt. And it cost less than three tanks of gas and less than a nickel to charge. It was a freedom that came from a box.

I have been paring down the stuff lately. Each time something leaves, I breathe a little easier. I feel a little lighter.

It started.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Man, A Dog, and a Pickup

I had a rough day yesterday. Around 8 pm I found myself shaking with anger. I went to a basketball game where I had a run-in with a man who explained to me that it was okay to yell obscenities in Spanish at teenage girls because we live in a free country. I am usually pretty easy-going, but modern sports fans and the behaviors that have become the norm at sporting events elevate my blood pressure to say the least.

So, I dealt with my anger by sticking my head in the sand.

The sand, in this case, is another Steinbeck book. Travels with Charley.

I have read it before, but I read it as a much younger man and as a much less environmentally aware man.

I read a few chapters, and my blood pressure went down. I found myself on a road trip with a couple of old friends, and it was a great place to be.

I do not think Steinbeck is the greatest author ever to live. But I have found him to be the most enjoyable writer I have read. It's seldom the broad sweep of his writing that gets me. It's a small passage or a small observation. Travels with Charley was written around 1960 and was published in 1962. I ran across this passage last night, and it gave me pause that it was written more than half a century ago.

Everything we use comes in boxes, cartons, bins, the so-called packaging we love so much. The mountains of things we throw away are much greater than the things we use. In this, if in no other way, we can see the wild and reckless exuberance of our production, and waste seems to be the index. Driving along I thought how in France or Italy every item of these thrown-out things would have been saved and used for something. This is not said in criticism of one system or the other but I do wonder whether there will come a time when we can no longer afford our wastefulness - chemical wastes in the rivers, metal wastes everywhere, and atomic wastes buried deep in the earth or sunk in the sea. When an Indian village became too deep in its own filth, the inhabitants moved. And we have no place to which to move.

May we not become too deep in our own filth.

Bonus link for the day:
Radiation Leak in New Mexico last week

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Getting Shocked by the Bug

So, I watched Rods N' Wheels last night and did get to see the EV West '59 Beetle conversion. There was more drama than detail, but it was still fun to see.

It made me remember the first VW conversion site I ever ran across. I spent hours going back over each page. I am a slow learner and a slow thinker, and it took a lot of looking for my brain to start believing that an electric car could be a real, tangible thing.

If that's where you are, check out Wilderness EV with their multiple kits and completed cars.

Are you that EV enthusiast who thinks, "Well, gee, if one motor is good, but two motors..."? Well, gee, you may want to check out Rebirth Auto and their twin engine kit. (They also sell single-engine kits for those of you who do not think that more is a lot more.)

Were you blown away by the EV West conversion on Rods N' Wheels (or on earlier Mesquite Hugger posts)? You may want to check out their site or some of their great youtube videos.

Or, maybe you feel the need for electric beetle speed. Check out Black Current.

May your beetle be clean and green!

Tiny Aquaponics - Here we go again!

Aquaponics - check
Kickstarter Site - check
Straight out of the Texas capitol - check
Cheaper than I could build it - check
Better looking than the one I am building - check
I wonder if they will take a - check.

Click here if you want to - check - it out!

May fish poop turn your food green! (Sorry!)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Gentlemen (and Ladies), Start Your Tivos!

If you are an EV fan and a Mesquite Hugger reader, you probably already know that the Citicar and Beetle EV conversions are some of our absolute favorite electric vehicles. Reality TV? Generally not so much, but maybe that's been a subject matter thing. Thanks to an article on Green Car Reports today, I just logged into the TiVo and set up a recording for Rods N' Wheels for an episode where they are taking an old Bug over to EV West for a full conversion. I also learned from the article that a recent episode of Counting Cars featured a Vanguard Citicar. I may be a reality TV watcher after all. Maybe I need to call the producers of Lubbock's own car-based reality show, The Car Chasers, and arrange for them to "find" a little German electric car I happen to know about in town. Maybe....

Here is the link to the article:
Electric Cars Drive Silently Into Reality TV Shows

May your 15 minutes of fame make everyone turn a little green!

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

There is a statue on the Texas Tech campus. The statue is of Will Rogers and his horse. I have walked, driven, or bicycled past that statue hundreds of times, but I know little of Will and his country wit. I do, however, often run across quotes that make me like him all the better.

I had a lot of  time over the weekend to hang out with the dogs: Condo, Sasha, and Maya at our house; Quiz, Chance, and Lacy at Keith and Melissa's. In general, I like dogs better than people.

Bonus dog/Heaven quote for the day:
"Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in." Mark Twain

All of that is to say that there was an article about Lubbock Animal Services and their our approach to animal euthanasia. It's not gory or horrific. It is an article filled with facts and some hope, but it is still an article about killing animals because they exist. Below are links to that article and to a short list of animals available for adoption.

Policy-based euthanasia at city of Lubbock animal shelters decreasing; still too many, officials say

Adoptable Animals at Lubbock Animal Services

May you choose your friends by their virtues.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Lubbock Recycling Hero

So, the buckets have been filling up, and I decided it was time to drop off the recycling on Saturday. I parked behind Market Street, and there he was. 

Parked next to the blue dumpsters was a PT Cruiser. The rear seats were folded down and the Cruiser was full. He was a small man. Age had slumped his shoulders. He walked with a cane. He had on a belt that carried a portable oxygen unit. The openings of the taller dumpsters were above his line of sight. He used the handle of his cane to lift the bags over the rim. With a deft twist  he would dump the contents without dropping the bag. Then he would move to the next bag.

I regret that I did not get his name or take a picture to share with you. I regret that I did not thank him for dedication to an extremely important cause.

If he can and  does recycle, the rest of us have no excuses.

May we recognize heroes when we see them.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Feliz Primavera (un poquito temprano)

Walking to coffee a few minutes ago, I saw my first robin of the year. I really like those round little harbingers of spring. Their busy runnings about seeking bugs and sprinklers.

The Spanish word for robin and for spring is primavera. It must be a Latin term because the Italians seem fond of it too.

Spring in English - a season, coiled metal, water rising up from the ground,

The little robin running about made me happy. 

May water rise up from your dry winter ground!