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Whatcha Gonna Do?

When it is bad out, I cook.   I never run out of bacon-ever.

When it is bad out, I cook. I never run out of bacon-ever.

Seems like just last week I was dealing with 110 degree heat and choking clouds of caliche dust.  ‘Just wait’  I said all through that hell that is the High Summer in South Texas.  Just wait until Fall when the days cool and the dust lays down. Just wait until then to get all those piddling projects done that are on the back burner.  So what happened to those perfect Fall days?  Hell if I know!  Rain today, 40 something for the high, been that way all week.  A 34′ foot trailer gets mighty small when the winter dreary is upon me.  My only outlet is the 5 miles I walk every evening; the only thing that prevents the activity is pelting rain.  Tuco the Dog is my faithful companion during these walks, sniffing out the various critters that crossed our path the previous night.  I walk and walk; lost in mindless reflection.  It is the Church of the Puckerbrush for me.

Cold weather means the heaters gotta come out from where they been hiding all summer.   UPS Charlie brings me the new Broan Big Heat Heater and the majority of the winter heating chores will fall to this little heater that puts out a mountain of heat.  Its’

Broan Heater

Broan Heater

older brother sits in the kitchen floor for back up on those sure nuff cold evenings. That Broan heater is the penultimate electric heater for a recreational vehicle in my opinion and I got 5 years of experience to base that statement on.    For those that not be knowing, this part of the country is pure old hell on men and equipment. The searing heat,  piercing UV and unrelenting dust will take its’ toll and there is not a whole lot a man can do to prevent it.  On top of that, all your electricals and electronics are powered 24/7 by a generator.  That is not the steadiest and most opportune electric supply for sensitive equipment.  Case in point,  the propane furnace on the No Princess Palace  is a noisy propane hog and reserved for use on only the coldest days or when a quick warm up is necessary.  I decided to run it up the other day and it came on and then died out 10 seconds later.  No heat – no bueno,  Crap, it worked last winter.  The way a propane furnace works is dependent on what they call a sail switch.  If there is not enough air flow across the sail switch, it will not fire.   It is a safety deal.  I made sure all the floor ducts were clear and still no good. Hmmm, what now?

When in doubt, blow it out.  This caliche dust that gets everywhere screws stuff up  -pure and simple.  One of the tools that gets used often and for which there is no substitute is my big Air Compressor.  I have the little 12v job in the Big Ass Suburban to inflate tires but you also need a big rascal to get by out here.  I started out by blowing out the outside exhaust ducts.  No joy.  Then to the inside where I blew out the intake air duct for the furnace. I blew enough dust out of there to choke a mule.  That did the trick and we have big heat now!

"Customized" Buddy Heater

“Customized” Buddy Heater

The other back up to the Broan electric heaters is my Mr. Heater Portable Radiant Heater…. and yeah, that IS a pair of vise grips on it. It went down like this.  I fuel the Buddy Heater with a 30# propane tank that sets outside the Palace.  Run a 12′ hose through my access hatch and I am good to go.  I blew out the Buddy Heater with the compressor earlier and it fires right up.  I crank the knob over to the high side and go set down for a bit. It don’t take long to get toasty with that bad boy running and satisfied all is well, I go over to shut it down.  The plastic temp control know breaks off in my hand.  WTF!!! and it is getting HOT and I got no way to turn it off.  I think  ‘Just go shut the propane tank off’ but that don’t really solve the problem.  Out come the vise grips, crack the shell open and problem solved sorta kinda.  This heater has got to be 7 years old at least.  It dates back to the earliest days of the Old Girl it does so Lord Knows I have got my good out of it.  The Mr Heater is a necessary piece of equipment on my list so I reckon UPS Charlie will be bringing me a new one shortly.

Camerons Stovetop Smoker

Camerons Stovetop Smoker

What else?  What else…..  Oh, one of my resolutions this year was to learn how to cook decent using a variety of different methods and I feel like I am getting along reasonably well in that respect.  The departure of Little Blondie made the cooking deal that much more important.  I used to get by on processed junk foods.  Lean Cuisines, Hungry Man’s that sorta thing — basically anything you could pop in a microwave and then eat.  I cook these days and I mean really cook with pots and pans and a stove several times a week now.   I added a Lodge 12-Inch Skillet to the cooking tools this week. The same lid that fits my Lodge dutch oven fits this skillet as well. The other thing I miss when the weather goes to hell is cooking outside. I picked up an interesting little piece of equipment last summer – a Camerons Stainless Steel Stovetop Smoker . This smoker will work over any heat source and I generally use it inside on the stove.  The exhaust fan easily takes care of the teeny bit of smoke that escapes.  This past week I marinated some center cut pork chops overnight in homemade teriyaki sauce and smoked them for 12 minutes on medium heat.  Served them up with some turnip greens I sauteed with onions and salt pork.  Odd combo huh?   I can do shit like that just because it pleases me.  LOL!   Wait, did he say salt pork??

Slab O' Bacon

Slab O’ Bacon

Yep I did.  I ordered a slab of bacon from Scott Hams in Kentucky several months ago.  Now folks, this is old school bacon like back in the day.  Salty and a hell of a rind on it from the curing.  It is the real deal.  I think I remember the Grands calling it streakedy lean.  It is NOT the bacon you buy in the store and I found I did not care for it as bacon per se.  I cut the 8lb slab into smaller portions and sealed them up in the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System and then off to the freezer.  I keep a portion in the fridge at all times and I am amazed at how often I use it for a little flavoring.  I cook it up and add it to soups, stews and a growing variety of items.  It adds some old time smokey goodness to anything.  I am fixin’ to order another slab and maybe even a country ham for the holidays.  I have had a taste for some good country ham, red eye gravy and cat head biscuits lately.

Vortex Diamondback 12x50 binoculars

Vortex Diamondback 12×50 binoculars

I told you last week I ordered a pair of Vortex Optics Diamondback 12×50 Binoculars to replace some I lost in the dust up.  I was concerned about two things.  One being their size, I was afraid at 12×50 magnification, they would be ungainly large.  The second being, at such a high power, they may present a problem by being too hard to hold still.  Well, not to worry on either concern, They are MUCH more compact than I imagined and the first time I put them to my eyes I thought to myself ‘There is some magic shit going on here!’ Honeslty, they are nothing but incredible!  Clear, crisp and they have the heft of quality.   I love ‘em!


One last thing and I almost hesitate to bring it up.  You folks who think CBS/NBC/ABC are giving you the reaaaaaaal skinny on the world news need to get a firmer grip.  Last week, when the alt-media was all afire with this asshat Gruber gloating about how the American public bought the travesty that is Obamacare hook, line and sinker (We is stoopid!) only one of the main stream news organizations bothered to mention it when it was breaking.  There is bad stuff happening all over the world and the general public is mostly oblivious.  Everybody needs to wise up now I am tellin’ ya!   Try these:  Drudge Report or Zero Hedge.

Colonel Cooper says:

We Americans are a nation of cowards and shirkers, observing that we have surrendered our streets – as well as our dignity – to the goblins. Concerned with street crime, we choose to throw money at it rather than to fight. Money is not the answer. More cops cannot help. They can’t be everywhere at once. More prisons cannot help. Modern prisons don’t scare the bad guy. The only thing that can help is will – the will to fight back. If we have truly lost that, there is little hope for our civilization.



End Note: Natural High (for Merle Haggard) by Stoney Larue from the Aviator album.   I like Red Dirt music second behind my Texas Americana.   Give it a listen.


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A Mouse A Day

Cooking Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Cooking Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

It rained here in the South Texas Puckerbrush for two days straight.  2.9 inches of slow steady rain meant very little runoff and saturated ground.  The caliche county road had water all the way across it for much of the 5 miles between here and the hardtop.  Those folks unfamiliar with where the big holes are located found themselves in water deep enough to cover the bumper on the Big Ass Suburban.  Not that I was out driving in that soupy mess,  hell no!!  The Suburban has not turned a wheel in 3 weeks now.

UPS Charlie texted me on the second day of rain and wanted to know if he could make it out here for a delivery.  I told him to stay away because the Brown truck don’t mud for shit.  Matter of fact, I told him I had stuff coming in from Amazon the first three days of this week as well.  Just wait until Wednesday and deliver it all with one trip.   Part of the goods inbound are pieces for the  Yamaha EF200is extended run fuel tank.  I am using mostly marine fuel fittings simply because gas squirting here and there indiscriminately is always no bueno.  I screwed up the first go around BIG time.   I was ordering quick connect fittings that are designed for marine fuel tanks and it was all good.  You know how on Amazon when you are looking at an item and it has the little dealio that shows items Frequently Bought Together?   I had selected the female part of the fitting and the Frequently Bought Together showed the male part of the fitting as well.  I mean lookie here, why spend my time hunting and looking when somebody else had already figgered that stuff out that makes my brain hurt?   Well sir, when I hooked her all up and the fuel started running, those fittings leaked worse than the Old Girl’s roof after the Big Hails. It was an embarrassingly sophomoric effort on my part let me tell ya.

The male/female quick disconnect FUBAR

The male/female quick disconnect FUBAR

I pulled the blister packs for the expensive fittings out of the trash and right there on the side it said  ‘pair with part number 123xyz‘.  Of course, me as the ignorant mariner, had paired it with part number ‘youhaven’tgotadamnclue’.  So back to the Amazon and it turns out there are about eleventy hundred different possible pairings for these fittings.   Some which fit Evinrude, Johnson,Yamaha,Honda –enough to make your head spin.  More choices than women’s nail paint.  I figured it out-maybe.  UPS Charlie has the goods on board for delivery mid-week so we will see if I made the cut.

I made mention a few weeks back about Tuco the Dog being on Mouse Patrol.  While she was with Little Blondie off down south for two weeks sniffing crotches – the dog; not Little Blondie (I don’t think) , I continued to catch mice on a regular basis.  A trap on each rear leaf spring of the Big Ass Suburban baited with the mouse crack which is just peanut butter to us humans resulted in a mouse nearly every other day.   Tuco the Dog is back from Crotch Patrol on the Southern Border and is again alerting on the Big Ass Suburban.  Christ on a Cracker!  11 dead mouse bodies so far!  How many mice can congregate in one vehicle?  It seems to be approaching infestation levels.  Maybe I should have taken the truck out for a spin when the water was over the top of the tires?  Drown every one of those little furry wretches! This keeps up I am going to have to buy more traps and more peanut butter.  I fret over the mice getting in the bottom of the No Princess Palace. It is all sealed on the bottom side with that plastic cloth stuff.  Fighting those bastards in that environment would be a tough go.  So far Tuco the Dog has shown little interest in the underneath parts.  I hope it continues as such.

Panda guts

Panda guts

I killed the Panda.   Murdered it actually.  The autopsy results indicate death by drowning.  The Panda Portable Compact Washing Machine that is.  I bought this little Chinaman washer back the first part of August and it is one of the reasons I can hermit out in the Puckerbrush for months on end.  A couple of shirts, a tablespoon of detergent and turn her loose. It had worked exactly as it should several times each week.  With the arrival of a 600 gallon water tank, I was washing willy nilly with little regard for water conservation.  The Panda has two Cons.  One, it uses about 5 gallons of water for a wash and rinse.  Two, you can’t load it up too heavy or it starts to labor pretty hard.  I pulled it apart after the drowning and confirmed it is driven by plastic gears.   One pair of Wranglers loads it to the max; a large bath towel damn near does.

I know I have lost a step here and there; 59 years old next month after all.  Hair grows where it shouldn’t and doesn’t where it should.  The heat of a South Texas Summer lays me lower than before and my knees hurt.   I don’t hear for shit any more but I secretly sort of like that part.  I got an excuse to tune those folks out that chatter mindlessly.  Sometimes I think I am getting more forgetful and sometimes I just think I might be just be more easily distracted.  One the the reason’s y’all didn’t get a Sunday blog entry was the Panda Incident.

I loaded that rascal up with some tea towels and socks with it sittin’ on the counter next to the sink.  Hooked the water hose up to the spigot and turned her loose.   I sat down at the dinette –not 4 foot away– and got all caught up in something on the internet.  Next thing I knew,  I had water 2″ deep in the kitchen!  Holy Cats!  What a frickin’ mess!  The Chinaman Engineer that drew up the plans for the Panda decided all the water proofing necessary was to put all the electrical connectors in a plastic bag and zip tie it closed.  Now if you think this through on a higher level, you will realize as I did that the wires have to exit the bag.  Makes about as much sense to me as a screen door on a submarine.   I have to confess I had gotten the Panda wet before in the same same scenario though not close to the point of flooding the kitchen.  It would dry out in a few hours and I could get back to the clothes washing.   Not this time it appears.   I am going to chalk it up as an Old Age debit and order up another one.

The no bueno Bushnells

The no bueno Bushnells

Two things got gone when Little Blondie motor scooted south that I miss. She was perfectly within her rights to take the goods and I bear her no malice atall.   She did leave me some of the good stuff as well. She took one of a pair of our Broan-NuTone Big Heat Heaters.   Let me tell you friends and neighbors,  if you are tired of those flimsy ass electric heaters from Wal-Mart that do good to last one season, you need to grab one of these Broans.  They are tiny. They are TOUGH.  They put out beaucoup heat for their size.  The one I have left is going into Winter #5.  I ordered a new one this week.  The other item that went South was a fairly new pair of Leupold BX-1 Yosemite Porro Prism Binoculars 6 x 30mm leaving me with a ratty pair of Bushnell 7×35’s that I can’t even tell you where I got.

If you care to listen, I will impart some Old Fella wisdom.   There are certain things I do NOT skrimp on.  Buy Once Cry Once.  The short list?

  • Bowling Equipment
  • Boots
  • Hand tools
  • Glass, as in binoculars and scopes for bowling balls

It may sound odd but I find I  use a pair of binoculars several times each week to check the goings on here.  UPS Charlie has a pair of Vortex Optics Diamondback 12×50 Binoculars on the Brown Truck coming to me.  I found the 6×30 Leupolds to be a little light for the work here.  They were crystal clear with a good field of vision but lacking in magnification.  This pair of bad boy Vortex’s should solve that problem nicely.



 Tomorrow, November 11. 2014 is Veteran’s Day.  None us us should so much as consider dismissing it unremarked or leaving it unobserved.

End NoteSouth Side of Heaven By Ryan Bingham from the Mescalito album


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Extended run fuel tank for Yamaha EF2000IS generator

NATO Jerry Cans in the back of the Big Ass Suburban.  10l in front, 2x20 liter behind

No Princess Palace on station. 11/01/2014

I guess quite a few folks who visit here prefer my DIY posts over the ones where I explain the meaning of  life, solve all the problems of the world or tell you how to be the world’s greatest lover.  Go figure!  So for those of you who like tales of living in the South Texas puckerbrush as an oilfield gate guard;  this are one.  These prove tedious to me what with all the links and such.  Many of the links track back to Amazon (you know what to do) as it is a

Continue reading Extended run fuel tank for Yamaha EF2000IS generator

State of Affairs


Back in the 60’s and 70’s,  if the sticker on an item said it was Made In Japan that meant it was junk.  Most likely.  Now adays, if it says Made in China; same same.  Most likely.   The problem present day is we don’t make anything in America any more.  If other countries didn’t pick up the slack and make what we need we would do without.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

You all know I think a Progressive Industries EMS is a must have piece of equipment if you own a recreational vehicle.  Some of you folks

Continue reading State of Affairs

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