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The larder is gettin' thin

Flood watch in My Small World

Flood watch in My Small World

I was mentally prepared for the South Texas August Heat Blast.  I really was.  What choice was there since there is no snivelin’ in the Oil Patch?  August rolled up and sure ’nuff the temps were a hunnert degrees every day.  Along about the middle of the month there was a week in there that it topped 105 every day.  But then something happened…………

That same storm system that drowned Louisiana stopped off here first and we got about 3″ of rain out of the deal.  Something about those low pressure systems spinnin’ done from up North with cool air and they hit this warm heavy wet air outta the Gulf and BAM! – monsoon time.  So it has been raining and much cooler on and off for the last 2 weeks.  Matter of fact we have had 5″ of rain in the last 24 hrs and the overnight low temp was in the 70’s.   More like early October than mid August but I am not about to complain.

With the temps being tolerable outside,  it gave me the want-to to get some piddlin’ crap done that had been hangin’ over my head all summer.

Melted electricals

Melted electricals

30 amp RVs are pretty common animals and that is all I have ever had.  They seem to be extry hard on the power cord connectors.  I do not know how many I have replaced over the years that just burnt up and melted.  Bad thing being  they always burn up on a cold Saturday about dark or at midnight in a pouring rain.  I know why the get hot and melt – it is called resistance.  Resistance is caused by a loose connection or a corroded plug and there was a time I thought I could beat this problem.  I bought the best plugs a man could buy and religiously used a little steel wool on the prongs to keep ’em bright and brassy.  Didn’t do no good – they still melted.  These days I just lay a hand on ’em to see how warm they are and when they start runnin’ hot I know a replacement is not far off.   I just keep a supply of the cheap Chinese Camco Replacement Plugs on hand and swap ’em out like I would changin’ dirty socks. The last swap out was a 50-30 amp adapter pig. One tool that makes this job lots easier is a set of cable cutters. I bought a set of Chinese Channellock Cable Cutters 3 years back and they have worked fine. If I was to do it over again I would get the SK Made In the USA Cable Cutter because Made in the USA.

The other thing goin’ on was a leaky slideout.  It started leaking right down the outside corner back in May or something but when it don’t rain, why worry?  The problem come to a head when that first little drab of rain came and washed 2 months of caliche dust off the roof of the NO Princess Palace into the rain gutters.  It was just a trace of rain and then the sun came back out hard. That caliche set up like concrete in the gutters making the rain comin’ off the roof just go helter skelter every which way.  The leak just got worser with that.

What is wrong with this pic?? Grass is NOT green in the Puckerbrush in mid August!

What is wrong with this pic?? Grass is NOT green in the Puckerbrush in mid August!

With two reasons to get up on the roof, I had to swallow my pride and ask one of the ranch boys to borrow a step-ladder.  Told him it was not urgent but true to fashion, he was back in about an hour with a ladder in the back of his Dodge.  These are truly good people here and it is a blessing for me.  I use the awning hook to clean out gutters and it was easy peasy once I got up and equal with ’em.

I inspected the bad corner of the slideout and as expected there was no glaringly obvious hole where the water was gettin’ in.  The RV builders caulk all the joints on an RV with good intention but years of South Texas UV is goin’ to mess with that in a bad, bad way.   Eternabond tape is the answer.   Funny thing –  I see posts pretty regular on the RV Forums about needful things you should pack with ya when you set out to full time on the road.  I have yet to see anybody mention Eternabond tape.  Let me tell ya – the eternabond is a Top 5 on MY list; right up there with the Alabama Chrome and a good multi-meter.   I put eternabond tape on the end caps of the Old Girl and it was still doin’ the job 5 years later.  After the Big Hails, the eternabond saved my ass as far as continuing to live in the battered hulk until the insurance settled up and I could get a replacement onsite.  I fished out the tape and put a strip along the edge of the slideout about 2′ and then another strip down the edge.  It had one hot day to bake and set up good and then we got 5″ of rain overnight which I reckon is as good a test as you could have.  The dinette is dry as a powderhouse today.  Do yourself a favor and spend a few bucks for a goodly roll of the stuff – this EternaBond 4″wide 50′ roll RoofSeal Tape  is what I keep on hand.  Just sayin’………

I still haven’t made a supply run. Vela Von food is coming in via Amazon Prime because a good dog gotta eat.  I am fishin’ the last bit of chicken and ground beef out of the bottom of the chest freezer.  Pretty soon it will be empty and I reckon I will defrost it for the first time ever. Some of those frozen goods was put in FoodSaver bags back in 2013 and it is eatin’ just fine!  The Foodsaver folks say chicken and such is good for 3 years – I just proved that up for ’em. I am eating mac and cheese with 2015 expiry and it is tasty.  I have been using OvaEasy Powdered Whole Egg #10 Cans) and condensed milk to cook for the last two weeks and the substitutions work just fine.  Down to ’bout enough flour for one more loaf of bread and I ate the last of the bacon and sausage yesterday.  It is good to rotate out my old goods and it has been a grand experiment to live off what I had on hand. Ain’t gonna be much longer until I am forced to make a supply run as it has been 87 days since I ventured offsite.  Looks like 90 days is a good test don’t it? I have learned plenty during the ordeal for sure!

 

South Texas UV eatin' my awning. A gustanado is gonna come by one of these days and turn it into plastic dust. All's left will be the metal arms.

South Texas UV eatin’ my awning. A gustanado is gonna come by one of these days and turn it into plastic dust. All’s left will be the metal arms.

A GATE GUARD HINT – Had a wannabe gate guard email me a few weeks back and ask for advice…….  This time of year I tell ’em all the same.  Folks with no experience and no license in hand are at a disadvantage competin’ against the Winter Texans who have been down here and done that.  I told him he needed to be in proximity somewhere along the I-10 and ready to work by Labor Day.  He informed me boldly that time frame did not even work for him and he had plans to be down here around Thanksgiving. Good luck with that fella.   I figger he will still be waitin’ on a gate when 2017 rolls around. Get serious or go home.  This ain’t no pic-a-nic; I don’t care what those internet commandos spout on the internet forums.

As an example –  My buddy Greg over at Our RV Adventures does it right because they know!  Greg and his bride like to set a gate during the South Texas winter.  They got their papers and they have experience.

The gate guard business is way leaner and meaner than it was in 2014.  Gone are the $200/day gates and the waitin’ yards where you could suck off the tit of the GG company while you waited on a gate.  Greg got in position last week, wrapped his business up so he was clear to work and put out the calls to the gate guard companies.  He told ’em he was in the area and he was ready to go to work.  Word from his blog is they got a gate starting tomorrow in an area they prefer.  Sure, he is gonna have a few more weeks of summer heat and dust to deal with but he has his foot in the door workin’ before most of the Winter Texans head this way.  If you are dead serious about working an oilfield gate in South Texas, that is the way you do it.  There ain’t no fat nor slackers left down here these days. Heaven help those good intentioned folks who figger they are gonna roll in here late November and get to work.  I hope you got a pocket full of jingle to live off of while you wait!

End Note:  After All These Years by Ray Wylie Hubbard from the Eternal and Lowdown cd.

One memory stuck in my brain is the first time BFF Cait saw RWH Live.  We were standin’ down pretty close to the stage and she was diggin’ the set and bein’ all cool and stuff like 16 year olds be.  He started “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mothers” and well it was – ummm –  uplifting for her. She had never heard this Anthem -ever- and when the large crowd spontaneously started singin’ out loud every single lyric because that is just what you do when Ray Wylie sings this song; she looked at me with the damnedest “WTF????????”  look on her face ever.   I just sorta smiled and kept singin’.

 

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Just a Hiatus

“To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It ain’t no secret that I avoid the rat race as much as possible. Not because I think I am better than your every day rat; not at all. I just don’t care for all the material trappin’s and mind-f*ck thought process that goes hand in hand with being a good rat.

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” – Lily Tomlin

journey-quoteBack in the day, there might have really been an American Dream. You know that; you most likely remember it plain if you are around my age –  Get an education, work hard, make a better life than your parents had etc etc. My brain is kind fuzzy on the recollection of how it was because at some point it went away.  Controverted by ourselves and the GOV it was; we just let it slip-slip away mostly unremarked.  Which brings us up to date with Pokemons, apps-for-everything, cars that drive themselves and a GOV that keeps watch on you and me 24/7 for no other reason than they know what is best for us better than we do our own selves.   Be careful what you ask for I reckon.

Sometimes and some days, folks will talk straight at me and say things in an attempt to thwart my stolid viewpoint. Like ………

The GOV is good, look at all our roads and infrastructure and civil society.

Granted.  I paid for my part of that.  Taxes, law abiding, not a drain on society;  I played my role – still am if you come right down to it.  These days it is just approached with a healthy dose of distrust.

The United States of America has seen tough times before and we came out OK on the other side.

Yep, two World Wars, the Great Depression, the Sixties.  All trying times to be sure.  This time is different good neighbor.  Don’t try to tell me otherwise.   I said this a few weeks back……….

“I am not obligated to participate in bullshit.”

That statement was not well received. Obviously, folks thought my proper conditioning had run off the rails somewhere along the way. Most likely that happened when I gave up Shiny Shoe World and quit the life of a Cubicle Dweller. Like most things, it happened for a reason and if I had been left to my own devices, most likely I would not have had the personal constitution to make a real go of separating the fly shit from the pepper. The Baloney Years were not easy,  The 2008 crash was not a pleasant event.  I gained The Clarity somewhere around 2011 and chronicled it in this fashion:

” My purpose in being here in the first place was still as it always had been – duty to family and integrity of deeds done are timeless and span all centuries of Man.  The rules are changing  – that’s all.

001

How Vela Von spends a lazy Sunday

Honestly, I  thought along about then my group responsibilities were on the wane.   Kids were mostly growed and well on the way to carving out a  life on their own with good success.  I was thinkin’ the all important stuff in my life concerned a good outside sittin’ chair,  ample supply of right tasty whiskey, some fine tobacco leaf to put the match to, a loyal dog and maybe/maybe not/entirely optional was a supple woman to pat on the ass. It was the NOMAD way and I was gettin’ good at it.  Then reality hit me right in the crease.

My duty to prepare the next generation for the world at large was not fully discharged.  Through no fault of their own, these Millennials are mostly clueless when it comes to living a life of freedom and knowin’ the old ways.  Things in general were better 5 years ago and I daresay life in general is going to be the worse for wear 5 years hence. You cant have free phones, free wifi and free college because somebody has gotta pay for that shit Bucky. Looks to me like the bill is coming due.  I helped to drive that donkey in the ditch so responsibility just falls back on my shoulders yet again now don’t it?  I just can’t sit back sippin’ whiskey while the world spirals down the toilet.

2 years back I was right on the cusp of getting my HAM radio license.  I had bought a goodly amount of equipment and had actually scheduled the date to go up to San Antone and take the test to satisfy the FCC fellas.   Then Little Blondie decided me and the Puckerbrush and life in general was treating her just damned poor and she blew outta here headed down south.  Because of that, most of my plans were put on hold  – HAM radio included.

Well sir, we are back from hiatus.  This past week I unpacked all the HAM equipment and that plan is moving forward along with some rather ambitious future plans.  I have long thought I had one more great adventure left in me and I know what it is now.  New partners, new goals, a new Clarity; all slowly being realized.  It is measuring up to be a bang up ride – let me tell ya.  I invite all of y’all to hold on and ride along.    Lord willing I will have the years and the grit left to see the dream through.

““Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

End Note: Everybody’s Talking at Me by Stephen Stills from the Live CD. Best I can tell the youtube is from 2014. Stills acoustic and solo and 69 years old; the Old Man still rocks.

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Add me to the list - another scary man

More-er PC?  Just not the same; hardly

More-er PC? Just not the same; hardly

You know my worst problem so far today? Fighting a recalcitrant pipe that doesn’t want to stay lit. Yep, that is about it.  Oh sure, I am keeping up with All Things Worrisome but not because I think I can make any difference when it comes to radical Islamic terrorists invading Germany, whether Hillary lies all the time or just most of the time or whether The Donald is truly insane or just playing a part in the Ultimate TV Reality Show.  None of that crap keeps me up at night.  Mainest reason

Continue reading Add me to the list – another scary man



Stubborn curmudgeon - I ain't budgin'

Machine bread

This is not to brag just so’s ya know but the last time I was out of here for any reason was 66 days ago -5/27/2016.  No trips to the HEB, the corner cold beer store or the post office.  Nada.  Mind you, nothing has prevented me from going except my own want-to.

Homemade bread -pictures don’t lie; I really cook!

A normal supply run means beaucoup money spent.  Groceries, fuel, some jingle for my pocket and paying my relief guard adds up. Funny thing is whether it has been 15 or 30 or 60 days, the list is just about

Continue reading Stubborn curmudgeon – I ain’t budgin’

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