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This, That and This Again

Pork loin brinin' in the RV fridge

Pork loin brinin’ in the RV fridge

I’m gonna start off by shootin’ out a reminder that it is my firm conviction everything you know can’t be learned on Google or youtubes.   If you got in mind to learn some new mad skilz you need to be doin’ it now while there are ample resources  to replace what you break and all info is still readily available when you need to re-group.

The cured pork loin / pea meal bacon project ended this past week.  Divided into three 3lb or so chunks, the loin spent 10 days in brine in the RV fridge.  I gotta say that brine smelled damn good with the cloves, allspice, brown sugar and juniper berries!  Made my mouth just water every time I messed with it.  The three chunks came out of the brine Thursday and after I give ’em a good rinsing off, it was just about what I expected.  They were sort of gray in cooler and they had firmed up nicely.  Firmed up ’cause curing removes water from the tissue.

Thursday brunch

Thursday brunch

I rolled one of the chunks in corn meal and sliced it quarter inch thick while the bacon drippin’s were heating up in the  Lodge 12″ Skillet .  Fried it up good and then added in a coupla eggs to round out the plate.

It was a fail folks.  The loin was near too salty to eat and the salt flavor was overwhelming.  No delicate notes of juniper berry or clove to be found .  Just salt; damned salt.  I did choke it down because there are children starving in Africa and all but it was not a gastronomic pleasure to be sure. So bad I wouldn’t even let Vela Von lick the plate as is normal routine.  To say I was disappointed is an understatement.  Only thing to do was sit back and think through where I missed the mark.

First off, I know better than to fry cured pork in a skillet.  I learned that in another life.  The proper way to cook country ham is in a  cast iron skillet; sure.   But what you do is lay your sliced meat down in that hot skillet and then cover it just barely with water.  That is the way I shoulda done it before I brain farted and blew it like a roookie. The other thought that crossed my mind was perhaps cutting that loin into 3’s and then brining it turbo’d  the curing process.  That theory will take some more studying.

Vela Von claims the sleeping couch

Vela Von claims the sleeping couch

Well, I had 7 lbs of cured pork I still needed to do something with and peameal bacon was not a best option.  Since I don’t have the facility to cold smoke anything,  the Cameron Stovetop Smoker seemed to be the only option available to me. I fished it out, primed it with double the normal amount of hickory sawdust and laid those two chunks of cured loin down.   I fiddled with the stove until I had just enough heat to make some smoke and then I let her run until the meat temp was almost 200 degrees.  It took almost 2 1/2 hours but low and slow plus high meat temp = smoky tenderness.  End result on this technique was a solid win.  A smoky cured flavor that you can only get one way that I know of; it really is unique and pleasant.  Still missing were any sign of spices other than salt.  I gotta work on that part for sure but like I said starting out — new skills require practice.


RV dinette surgery

RV dinette surgery

The Command Center of the NO Princess Palace is the dinette.  Mainly because it it the only place to sit.   If I try to fold up the sleeping couch during the day, Vela Von gives me the near-fatal dog stinkeye and I have to back off.  Here lately, the dinette table had gotten worser than trying to sit at a teeter-totter.  It is the cheapo one with the two legs that you take out to turn the dinette into a bed and I waited far too long to replace those wobbly legs. Plus the corner of the table had been modified by VV back when she was a canine juvenile delinquent.  I just figured I would turn that chewed up corner to the backside and call it good.

eBay has just about any flavor or type of dinette hardware you could need.   I just searched “rv dinette legs” and hit a goldmine of options.   Matter of fact, when they came in, the new ones had the same stampings as the OEM originals.  It was short work to swap ’em out.


Clapped out Wilson Trucker's Antenna

Clapped out Wilson Trucker’s antenna

Stayin’ with the same theme of summer time procrastination it was high time to do something about my internet connection.   The Wilson Trucker’s Antenna on top of the Wooster 8-16 feet Extension Pole was about the second or third one to live there over the last 7 years and they had all pretty much died the same death.  The wind would blow them down or I would rough knock ’em during a move and they suffered. The little radials got broke off, the antenna wire got bent.   Hey, life in the puckerbrush is real, what can I say.

I am stuck with Verizon service for wifi and this location is right out on the edge of the world marginal fringe for minimal reception.  The big, honkin’ Wilson amp is a necessity here. Hell,  I don’t think Wilson even makes this amp anymore because the FCC set some new rules and it pushes too much juice now.  Besides, Wilson changed their name to millennial aesthetic weBoost or somesuch so I don’t even know if I will ever buy any of their new products ever again.  The new stuff looks to be all plastic with mucho useless bells and whistles.  Gimme somethin’ that looks like it could jump start a Peterbilt every time.

Wilson 311203 omnidirectional antenna

Wilson 311203 omnidirectional antenna

This go ’round I decided to order a little different antenna and went with the WILSON Omnidirectional Antenna which is a building mount fiberglass antenna.  It looked to be step up and I was even able to mount it to the Wooster pole without any hose clamps or zip ties.





My problem with the old antenna was it was erratic. Sometimes the signal would be tolerable (barely) and then it would just drop out.  I chalked that up to how boogered up the antenna was. I was hoping the replacement would get a teeny better signal and be steadier.  Looks like I got what I was hoping for and it does look better than the old one did.

Grabbin' me some internetz

Grabbin’ me some internetz


I broke down yesterday and did something I have never ever done before.  This is the snakiest damn place I have ever worked and it seems the buzztails come out in force when the weather changes or we get a little rain.  Both of those things is s’posed to happen later today.   I cut me a blackbrush walking stick about shoulder high – enough is enough you know!  The fat end is cut sorta slanty like and I figure it will work pretty good on rattler control. The new rule is “Don’t go walkin’ without it!”



End Note: Wheel Inside the Wheel by Mary Gauthier from the Mercy Now cd.

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Good to Go

Danby chest freezer defrosted and empty

Danby chest freezer defrosted and empty

I was sittin’ around last Tuesday evening when I got a text from Marciegirl.   “I am off tomorrow.  Do you still need me to fill in while you go to town?”   Pshaw!!  Is a 50lb baby fat?!?

In reality, I had given up on a supply run for the week and when you are running close to the edge like I was; you best double down.  That very day she texted me I had just received two full Amazon Prime Pantry boxes.  Prime Pantry is a great way to go for dry goods and non-perishable items. Most of the goods they offer are bagged, boxed, canned or plastic bottled and there is a reason for that.  If you order up 6 cans of vienna sausage, 9 cans of Wolfe Brand Chile, 7 cans of Spam and a box of Strawberry Pop Tarts it is gonna go like this here.  They are just gonna toss every thing in that box with mebbe 2-3 of those airbags and send it out.  By the time it gets way off down here in the Puckerbrush a good half these cans are dented up and that box ‘o’ Pop Tarts looks like somebody been throwing a baseball at it.  Just the way it is I reckon since I never recall receiving one single Prime Pantry box that somethin’ wasn’t boogered up.  It is curious that my regular UPS type stuff including normal Amazon Prime orders don’t end up at my door lookin’ like the UPS Mafia has had a go at ’em.  I finally figured out these boxes are always heavy, says it right on a big red sticker on the box itself.   So maybe it pisses off those UPS Mafia monkeys and they throw the boxes around extry.  I know one thing –  if Amazon plans on delivering Pantry boxes via drone they best have the C-130 drone equivalent.

King Arthur Kontamination

King Arthur Kontamination

One of my Pantry boxes came in with the typical damage but the other one was hemorrhaging King Arthur flour.   I had ordered 3 bags of flour hoping the law of averages would give me two good ‘uns – which is ‘zactly the way it worked out.   Mostly on the Prime Pantry stuff, I let the damage go unless it is totally heinous.  This box was packed with such malfeasance I fired a note off to Amazon and told them if they couldn’t do any better than this they should just quit selling the shit.  I guess the worst part of the deal was flour all over everything but when you think about it, ain’t that much different than that fine caliche dust now is it?

Amazon may package their stuff for ass but their Customer Service is generally stellar when you complain.  Wasn’t long till I got back an email that I assumed was from a red dot Indian somewhere overseas because the ass kissin’  was just a little over the top and sorta weird.  End result was they refunded the $$ on the entire box and I didn’t have to return anything.  $92 folks; I can live with a little flour dust floatin’ around for almost a hunnert bucks.

So the next day after that fracas, Marciegirl shows up right on time and I am on my way to the SUPER HEB in Lytle  with a grocery list long as my leg. 2 hours later, I wheeled out of there with an overflowing cart that set me back $355 – that on top of the $200 in Amazon Prime Pantry that came in the previous day. Stuff like 10lbs of chicken leg quarters, a whole chicken, 10lbs of tilapia, some shrimps, potatoes white and sweet both, greek yogurt, chuck roast, whole pork loin, 3 dozen eggs, mucho cheese and more of the same.  I am betting $250 of the total bucks was perishable stuff – and it was hot.  Knowin’ what I know, I had cooled the Yeti Tundra 50 cooler down the night before. Fact is I coulda filled 3 Yetis and still had cold goods left over.

10lb pork loin - Future peameal bacon

10lb pork loin – Future peameal bacon

Now listen up, you just don’t go 111 days without going to the store and not  learn  somethin’ about long term food storage and what works and what don’t.  A key element is  my workhorse Danby Chest Freezer which hasn’t missed a lick in over 3 years now.  It also plays nice with the solar panels when I am off grid at the Secret Hideout – the Vissani residential fridge not so much.  But when I am sucking free electrons off a gate guard generator the two work out just fine.  One of the requirements I have found for freezing stuff long term is a Foodsaver machine.  So much so that I just picked up a spare FoodSaver Automatic Vacuum Sealing System with Starter Kit to hold in reserve. It IS  that important and not some late night infomercial gimmick.  I ate chicken and ground beef recently that was put away back in 2013.  I ate a tasty smoked brisket from last summer and it was all damned good!  Now, if I had the space and the equipment I would probably pressure can some goods but so far I have not been able to figure out a good way to work that onboard the NO Princess Palace.

It seems like I been sayin’ forever you just don’t buy somethin and set it in the corner unused or figure if push comes to shove you can get your how-to off the internets.  Sure appears to me like we have seen some better days and there damned sure ain’t no more Walter Cronkite’s that you can depend on to give you the straight skinny.   After all,   if the cat has kittens in the oven, you don’t call ’em biscuits!  Have we forgot that?  Do we now believe anything and everything those MSM talkin’ heads are programmed to tell us?  The world ain’t all ’bout gettin’ the latest iPhone or chasin’ Pokemons!  No sir!  There is stuff being lost to the generations every single day just because them that has the know how are passin’ on.  These skills are close to being lost completely at a personal level.

My custom smoker sittin' at its' birthin' place in Gonzales,TX

My custom smoker sittin’ at its’ birthin’ place in Gonzales,TX

I am talkin’ stuff like HAM radio, bread makin’,  pressure canning, putting in a garden and preserving food by smokin’ and curin’ it.  Food doesn’t magically appear on the shelf at HEB or Sprouts for you to be havin’. Somebody, somewhere produced that food and I ain’t real sure anymore they produced it in the healthiest way possible.

Country folks smoked and cured meat back in the day out of necessity.  There was no way a family could eat up a fat hog before it went bad so they had to come up with a way to preserve the meat sans refrigeration.  It was either that or starve. I am a fair hand at smokin’ meat and it has taken a lifetime to learn all I know.  I have always wanted a custom smoker built to my specs and early this year I set out to make that happen.  It is done now and will end up at the Secret Hideout long before I get up there in maybe late winter to burn it in and throw some meat on the cookin’ grate.  Made out of sturdy oilfield pipe I figure it will pass on to BFF Cait when I leave this earth.

Old school smoker goodness

Old school smoker goodness

Hand in hand with smokin’ or barbecue is curing meat in old school fashion.  I actually took a year of college level meat science back in the 70’s and I can tell you the processed meat products you buy in the store these days have been injected and massaged with all sorts of artificial hoodoo technique before it is packed up for you to eat.  Hell, even the ‘fresh’ products are injected with water and chemicals to make ’em look purtier and last longer on the shelf.  It ain’t right and it ain’t natural in my book. Chances are those chemicals don’t do your body any good either.



I am takin’ my own best advice and gettin’ back to old school means much as I am able.  There is a pork loin sittin’ in prague powder and sugar brine in my fridge right this minute.  Hopefully in 10 days or so, I am going to have some tasty peameal bacon.  You learn by doin’ folks.  Always been thataway and it ain’t gonna change. If ya even care, I expect these subjects will be the meat (LOL)  for many future blog posts. Stay tuned!


End Note: Canned Heat by Rory Block from the Women in (E)motion CD. Betcha never heard of this gal -EVER. Worth some listenin’ if you dig the Blues

“Tommy Johnson’s blues song, “Canned Heat” from Rory Block’s “The Early Tapes 1975-1976” released in 1989. The 60’s rock/experimental group took their name from this song to honor Johnson. The canned heat is sterno. Apparently Johnson liked alcohol and would use whatever was available at the time. It sounds like he wasn’t happy with his addiction from the lyrics of this song.

Rory has won five W.C. Handy Awards (now called Blues Music Awards). She has won Traditional Blues Female Artist two times, and three times for Acoustic Blues Album Of The Year.”


Holy Cats!  Check out the guitar work!

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Policy - revisited

Professional artist rendering of me at work.

ed. note: This originally was posted sometime late spring of 2012. I can’t say my viewpoints have softened one iota. If anything, the curmudgeon factor has increased. If nothing else, some of my ideals have been mightily compromised by factors and agencies I do not control.


“Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.” – Mark Twain

Shut the front door!!   Let’s get after it………..


This literary masterpiece was submitted as a blog comment a few days back and I

Continue reading Policy – revisited

The scenery hasn't changed

Mountain House Pro-Pak

The pertinent chronology out of the way first:

101 days since I have left the property and been on a supply run.

315 days  since arrival at this location;  also corresponds with my last day off.

Vela Von at 11 months –

I had best intentions to go get groceries last week; honest.  My fill-in girl was otherwise engaged working out of a 12hr shack at two different locations. She is like me – you work as hard as you can when there is work to be had.  According to her, the coming week may be just

Continue reading The scenery hasn’t changed

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