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Sick Fish


Lonely House

Lonely House

I am 70+ days into this solo gate guard situation.  Not exactly somethin’ I would recommend as being the thing to do.  The problem is filling the hours between one sunrise to the next.   Some of you astute folks are gonna say “Well, dude, what happened to your blog post this past  Sunday since you got all this time on your hands?  You oughta be bloggin’ every other day at least!”  I agree completely with that line of questioning;  I would think it my own self were I the one on the outside lookin’ in.  Maybe so, maybe so;  that is if I was in a good place where everything was on an even kilter.   I am dog ass tired from the rigors of the gate and that don’t help.  I am a solo guard in a gate guard world that is soon to be overflowing with Winter Texans.  God Bless ‘em but I don’t need the competition for the gates.  I am sorting out the dust-up  with Little Blondie still yet and that don’t help.  All this weighs heavy on my mind.

This mind of mine has been in  the rough country where the mean dogs bark all night these last two weeks and it ain’t good.  I got things need to be done but I just don’t have the give-a-damn to get up off of dead center and do ‘em.  Little Blondie asked me  to keep Tuco the Dog  again and I studied on it for days until I finally decided it was the only thing I could do.  The divorce is not final as yet and I still have obligations and responsibilities to that sacred union.  Spun me off as close to the Big Pity Party as is possible without eatin’ a bullet but life ain’t about being fair.  Wife #3 left all of a sudden because she found a new fella and couldn’t wait to shuck her panties to the floor for that man that wore the ring of another.  I waited the 60 days or so until that divorce was final and the vow I had made to that marriage was released before I even thought about another woman.  That little escapade cut to the quick for a long time because I don’t take the violation of trust lightly.  If you live your life Old School,  you can’t do it in any other fashion and stay true to yourself.

So we fast forward more than a decade and here I am with #4 and I get to re-visit that way-down-deep hurt.  Some folks tell anybody who will give them a good listen that they are Old School in every way.   Truth of the fact is their tiniest baby toe ain’t even Old School; and might not ever be.  Well, you know what they say friends and neighbors:  Life ain’t fair.  The truth hurts.  Time heals all wounds.  I know those statements to be true and I am tougher than I look so life will go on.  No dirt nap for me just yet, God willin’.  I just gotta give up the part about being worked over time and again like a rented mule by more than one past vindictive female. Yeah buddy,  I got me some ghosts that rattle their chains in *my* closet.

Little Blondie and me still talk many times each week.  Part of it is related to the nuts and bolts of dissolving a shared life and part of it has to do with putting two lives back together; but separate.  For some odd reason this morning, I found myself going through the address book on my Motorola Razr  and deleting contacts that I had no want to hear from ever again. Call it part of The Purge or whatev.   All said and done, I ended up with 12 folks in there; friends and family mostly but just 12.  I did not find that low number to be unsettling.  Little Blondie’s info is in there and it is gonna stay too.  When she blew outta here, she said she needed time to ‘center’ herself.  I don’t know ‘zactly what that means but it sounds like something she picked up watching Dr. Phil.  I do know she is trying extry damned hard to kill the demons that live on the backside of her brain and amend some actions and habits that drove me bat shit crazy and was just general bad juju.  She asked I tone down future personal diatribes and criticism when it involves the two of us and I have to say I see her side.  I am gonna back off future talk about the dust up and help her learn better how to do the Old School walk.   That’s all I have to say about that Forrest.


Breakfast goodness!  Sausage in a Lodge cast iron skillet

Breakfast goodness! Sausage in a Lodge cast iron skillet

Lethal Biscuits

Little Blondie had a thing about canned biscuits.  She flat could not keep ‘em out of her basket at the HEB and it was a puzzlement to me because she very rarely cooked them.  Go figger.  One of the things I had been putting off was cleaning out the two fridges in the No Princess Palace because I always had more manly tasks  to do.  The day came when the Dometic RV fridge started to take on a stink that was not tolerable and I let it ride a full week more until it could no longer be ignored.  I threw away  items long out of date that were unopened.  I threw away exotic things like fish sauce that I knew had been an ingredient in something mighty tasty at some point but I had not a clue as to what it might be for.   I threw things away out of the freezer covered so completely with hoar frost they were unidentifiable.   Shelves out and washed with Pine Sol, insides swabbed down and anything suspect tossed.

After about 4 hours, I ended up with two refrigerators that smelled spring time fresh and an orderly arrangement of goods that suited me and no one else.  I did save one can of Grand biscuits  that expired January 2013.  Breakfast has always been my favorite meal and I had some eggs, sausage and dehydrated hash browns that were just begging to be eaten ‘fore they went south.  The biscuits would be a tasty addition with some real butter and raspberry jam to my way of thinking.  I mean, for real, how can canned biscuits go bad, right?  I followed the instructions, got the cookie sheet ready, heated up the oven to 350 and started to peel the corner of that biscuit can back.  I peeled it back maybe 1/10th of 1 inch and all hell broke loose!  Those biscuits exploded with a mighty WHUMP! right in my hands hard enough to numb my fingers!  I had biscuits stringing off the ceiling, I had a biscuit stuck right square of Bill Hemmer’s FOX News head on the flat screen 12 feet away.  It was biscuit cataclysm in the trailer house and about that time the bell rang for a truck coming in the gate.  One of my regulars with a load of fuel for the rig it was and he has a funny look on his face as I was signing him in.   ‘Uh, you got something there on your shoulder boss.’   Biscuits!  Damn biscuits!


Runnin' buddy

Runnin’ buddy

Sick Fish

The last time I had any truck with doctors and hospitals was back in ’02 or maybe ’03.  Pancreatitis.   And before you start to whisper among yourselves….. No, it wasn’t from drinkin’ too much whiskey.  Something got stopped up and the next thing I know I was doubled over, hurting like a mofo and getting rushed to ICU.  They give me ungodly powerful drugs and I reckon you coulda cut both my legs off with me watching and it wouldn’t of phased me atall.  The first time I surfaced BFF Cait had pulled her chair up against the bed and was asleep with her head on the mattress inches from my shoulder.  One of the reasons she is my BFF ya know.  There is a mighty river of love that flows between the two of us.  The next time I come up to check on the world, My Bro and BFF Cait was there.  The lights went right back off and I drifted away to drugland easy in my mind.  Wasn’t no reason not to with those two folks lookin’ after me.

I run the traps on some internet forums where they talk mostly about what would happen if the world was to turn all inside out.  Coupla weeks ago, the subject of fish antibiotics came up.  Now, I am in the know that fish meds are just about identical to the human ones and most likely come from the same manufacturer as the ones at your local Pharmacia.  You ain’t gotta have a prescription for the fish meds,  OK?  You get it?  We had stocked on fish meds back before the dust up and part of them went south with Little Blondie as should be the case.   I was shopping for more to re-stock and it come to light on the forums that our GOV, in their infinitely wise way, had figured out these fish meds were not being regulated properly and might even be used in a fashion other than what was intended.  They had begun to shut down online sources for the meds and I figured it was time to place my order so I did that exact thing right here.  I ordered up some amoxicillin, penicillin and ciprofloxacin to go along with the cephalexin and doxycycline already on hand.  I ain’t saying you should order the same ones or even buy fish meds to start with because I ain’t do doctor but I am just sayin’ …………  <<< They call that a disclaimer.


This lived as a yellowed piece of newsclip on the side of my computer monitor back in the day before it was all laptop, iPad, digital media sorcery.  I memorized the words and meter well and it falls into my consciousness unbidden and often.  The short piece has been recognized in the past on these pages but today seems to be a good time to trot it out once more.  I transcribe from ingrained memory……….

My Symphony

To live content with small means,
To seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion.

To be worthy, not respectable,
And wealthy, not rich,

To study hard, think quietly,
Talk gently, act frankly,
to listen to stars, birds, babes,
and sages with open heart,
to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely,
await occasions, hurry never.

In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common.

This is to be my symphony.

William Ellery Channing




End Note:  Nothin’ I Love by John Hiatt from Terms of My Surrender

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I Cook At Night

Back in the Day - BFF Cait

Back in the Day – BFF Cait

I was watching the DISH a week or so back and a trailer for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles  movie came on.  For some reason a synapse fired off back in the dusty part of my brain and I remembered on of my fave warm fuzzies. It musta been 1990-1991 maybe and my BFF Cait woulda been 4 years old or thereabouts.   Like all little ‘uns back then she was caught up in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Some way or another, we ended up at the movie theater to watch the latest release.  It must of been way past the initial release date because there were only 2 other folks in that big place.  Back then, movie theaters seated a buncha folks and I seem to recall it was a week day as well.  I couldn’t tell ya why I wasn’t at work or why it was just me and her.  So we walked down that long aisle and set down right in the middle maybe 3 rows from the very front.  When you are 4 you get into just being swallowed up by the whole deal.

We watched the whole thing and it must have met her approval because I don’t think she breathed but about a dozen times in 90 minutes.  The final credits started to roll and they were playing the theme song which was fairly catchy when we stepped out into the aisle.  The other two folks was long gone.   I don’t know what got into me because I am generally pretty shy out in public but I started to do a little dance to the music up that aisle.  You never had to encourage BFF Cait in any fashion when it came to showing out.  She joined right in and we danced all the way up that dimly lit aisle and it was just ………  GOOD, ya know?

Nowadays, she is in her prime and her light shines bright.   My light gets a skoosh dimmer each day degree by inexorable degree but that is as it should be.  The race to the fore has always belonged to all the Young Lions while the Elders in most tribes are elevated to Sage Counselor for any who bother to listen.  It is the way of the Human Race and well proven.


You don’t tug on Superman’s cape and other things I have learned

Cheap ass propane smoker in action

Cheap ass propane smoker in action

Noobs who end up down here in the South Texas Puckerbrush during the High Summer think they know what they are getting into but trust me, friends and neighbors,  they are clueless.  Nothing can prepare you for days on end of 100+ temps, wind that will burn your skin and UV levels that turn you crispy in a mere 30 minutes.  On a good day,  I can hold the No Princess Palace temps below 90 degrees with the 2 ACs going along with 2 floor fans.  All that and every window that is not necessary for viewing my traffic covered with InfraStop White Double Bubble Reflective Foil Insulation . I even have my big picture window covered half way down.

One of the things I ended up with when the smoke cleared after the dust up was the Masterbuilt Propane Smoker. Don’t even ask me how that happened as Little Blondie made off with most things kitchen/cooking related. Majority of it was hers anyway.   We started out with the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker which is the Cadillac of smokers in my book. Even if you half-ass it, your goods will turn out tasty.  But the Puckerbrush takes its’ toll on equipment especially when electronics are involved.  We decided to let the Electric Smoker live at Home Base where it was out of the elements.  We replaced it with the much cheaper and simpler propane smoker.  When I first unpacked the propane smoker I thought ‘Look at this POS!  Christ on a cracker, this will never do!’  It is cheap stamped sheet metal with no insulation.  Everything looked marginal at best; just enough to get by.  Well, I was wrong.  I reckon I have smoked five hunnert pounds of meat or better on that rascal and it is Model T cheap to my way of thinking now.  No frills, no bells, no whistles but by God it just keeps going.

South Carolina style smoked chicken goodness

South Carolina style smoked chicken goodness

Being as how I haven’t been through the drive-thru at McD’s in months now and the last breakfast burrito was leftover salesmen’s swag he give me as an afterthought when he was leaving,  I got to make do best as I can.   Having a deep pantry full of canned and jarred goods is all well and good but sometimes I just crave that fresh cooked.  I had picked up 2 family paks of  chicken thighs @ $0.97/lb on sale at Lowe’s Market via a Little Blondie supply run (thank you baby) the week previous and it was time to fire those bad boys up.  When it is nuclear hot outside you do NOT cook inside the RV.  Never, it heats up the inside like a sumbitch. Hell, I don’t even run the microwave unless I have to but that is a double whammy deal.  I have to turn off the AC to run  the microwave so the heat factor is like 10X.   It is also ummm, uncomfortable to cook outside in the sun when the heat index is 109 degrees and rising.  Since my schedule is now 24 hours ON, I didn’t even start smoking until the sun was well down around 830pm or so.  This load of chicken took about 3 hours low and slow at 225 degrees.  Work smarter, not harder.

I had 16 thighs and two sassy-fat boneless breasts from Zaycon Foods that had been put in FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System bags AKA Suck Bags back in February. They came out looking just as good as they did when I put ‘em away in the Danby Chest Freezer six months ago. Just a quick word on that Zaycon….. They are some sort of food co-op out of the Northwest and they schedule what they call ‘Events’ all over the country.  All of my purchases from them have been extraordinarily fresh and well priced.  I think the boneless chicken breasts were $1.89/lb.  The next event in my area is in September and the offerings are Frozen Wild Sockeye Salmon Fillets (25lbs) and Rotisserie Seasoned Turkey Breast Roast (20lbs).  Might wanna check them out  — I am most definitely a fan!  Zaycon Link

When you fire up a smoker, it is just plain silly to have an itty bitty piece of one-meat in there.  Fill that bad boy up and let ‘er rip!  The additional effort is not that much more.  I had the racks full when I touched off that smoker and of course, there is no way I can eat 12 pounds o’ chicken before it goes bad!   I saved out about 2 meals worth and put the rest in FoodSaver bags for a rainy day.

Regular readers know we have always favored Memphis style BBQ around this house – that was Little Blondie’s doing.  I grew up 80 miles north of Memphis so that style was home cooking ambrosia to me.  But, you know, I have traveled this whole country and I can dig that South Carolina style BBQ as well. They like those mustard/vinegar sauces over that way and that is the style I did up for this bait of yard bird and it was right tasty if I do say so.  I have included the recipe at the end of this….  You gotta brine the bird if you are going to smoke it.  Otherwise, it will come out as dry as a powderhouse. The recipe is for cooking on the grill. If you choose the smoker,  smoke it up 225 degrees for around 3 hours or until internal temp is 170 degrees.  Make sure your water pan does not run dry!


There has been a discussion about skanky water over on the Gate Guard forum this week and I know this matter is relevant to many folks who read the blog.  Simply put,  you have to add chlorine to your water down here in the summer or risk contaminating your onboard water tanks and fresh water feed lines.  I have seen my gate guard service guy nonchalantly toss a chlorine tab in the water tank but you really should not do this indiscriminately.  Add to it the fact that free chlorine levels change greatly depending on outside ambient temps.  You simply do not need as much during the cooler months.

I use the Kem-Tek Chlorinating Tablets 1-Inch and much prefer them over the 3″ tabs you have to break in half or thirds. I generally add 2-3 tabs to my 275 gallon tote with each fill up in the summer. But I MEASURE MY CHLORINE LEVELS!

The test strips I use are the Sensafe Free Chlorine Water Check Test Strips – EPA Approved. I add the chlorine when the tank is filled and test the next day.  I am always conservative so I can add more if needed. I shoot for a concentration of 2-3ppm chlorine.

Now, this may seem like I am overly cautious but what if I was forced due to unfortunate events to draw water from say a lake or stock pond and I had no idea how safe it was.  Would I just chunk 7-8 tabs in there I hope it was OK when I run it out in a glass to drink??????  Yeah, I thought so.


Little Arizona Blondie horseback - Age 9 or so

Little Arizona Blondie horseback – Age 9 or so

Lots o’ links in this weeks post and that is by design.  Everything I tout here is in use by me, personally, and it works!  If you click on the links and buy something, Amazon shares a few cents of that revenue with me and it doesn’t add a penny to your price.  The Amazon income keeps the lights on around here and over at the Forum and sometimes I just need to remind y’all how the cow eat the cabbage. Click the links dammitt!  :)


Seein’ as how all the paperwork has been signed off and the lawyers satisfied, the legal end to me and Little Blondie has arrived.  I have had occasion to remain friends with EXes and this may just be the happenstance with her.  Truth be known,  several past dalliances would have been more fruitful had we remained friends and nothing more.  Damn sure would have been cheaper……. but then again that is not the nature of men.

If you are interested in how me and Little Blondie came to be,   I wrote a two parter about it back in 2012.  You can read the first one here —- Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride



Colonel Cooper says:

On the subject of mendacity, I recently overheard a most illuminating anecdote concerning a visit of a Mafioso to a client. He is quoted as saying,

“The reason I do not like businessmen is that they lie. In my brotherhood we do not lie.”

I think I prefer an honest bandit to a dishonorable entrepreneur.



South Carolina Style BBQ Chicken

1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (2 to 2 1/4 pounds)
Vegetable oil, for brushing
1 large tomato, sliced
Prepared macaroni salad, for serving (optional)


Preheat a grill to medium. Whisk the yellow mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard powder, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl. Whisk in the butter.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then toss with about one-third of the mustard sauce in a large bowl until coated. Let sit at room temperature, 10 minutes.

Brush the grill grates generously with vegetable oil. Put about 1/4 cup of the remaining mustard sauce in a small bowl for basting and reserve the rest for topping. Grill the chicken, covered, basting occasionally with the sauce, until well marked and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 170 degrees F, 10 to 12 minutes per side.

Serve the chicken with the reserved mustard sauce, sliced tomato and macaroni salad, if desired.


 End Note:  Leave me Alone by Cross Canadian Ragweed from Soul Gravy.  It is a Red Dirt kinda morning.

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They call me MISTER Buzz Cut dammit!

The hair cuttin’ was something else all together. Little Blondie steadfastly refused to cut my hair and with good reason I reckon. She knew I would be a whiny little bitch if she messed it up but this long hair curling over my collar was driving me bat shit crazy not to mention it being hotter than 5 kinds of hell these days. Somethin’ just had to

Continue reading Tough it out? Not so much…..

I got a dog

People our age with a loved pet know when I say a dog is almost like a child to us. Especially a fine dog that spends every waking minute with you as a companion, never relegated to a back yard or neglected on the end of a tie out chain. They become a part of your life just as intrinsically as your young children did decades previous.

Continue reading I got a dog

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