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Survival Solutions

Lodge Dutch Oven simmering away on a Volcano Stove.  Large fat hen, potatos, carrots.  Add no liquid.  Cook 90 minutes

Lodge Dutch Oven simmering away on a Volcano Stove. Large fat hen, potatos, carrots. Add no liquid. Cook 90 minutes

My world changed on July 5, 2014 for myriad reasons.  Little Blondie and former running buddy Tuco the Dog vanished in a cloud of indifferent and uncaring caliche dust.

True love abides but trust shattered is never regained.   I said that.

Three immediate survival issues were paramount to just get by the first week.  Two of them directly related to the dust up.

I was forced to adjust from a couple running a 24/7 South Texas oilfield security gate to just one tired old man doing the same-same.  For the first two weeks when 3pm rolled around, I always thought ‘If this was the old times, I would be coming off shift about now.’   Never crosses my mind now; those days are dead and buried deep. I manage a cat nap now on the couch during the wee hours most nights.  Not deep total restful sleep because I have to be ever vigilant for traffic at the gate.  The oil field never sleeps ya know.  I would not be able to properly maintain the vigil without the new Dakota Alert Break Beam Driveway Alarm. Yeah, pricey, but you get what you pay for. This unit is now my recommended driveway alarm for all the wannabes. It does NOT miss and the volume on the alert can be adjusted to even rouse a mostly deaf curmudgeon like me.  Bonus!  It catches the sneakers who think they can park out on the CR at 3am and walk up to the NO Princess Palace just ’cause I got 5 acres lit up. The 20 hour plus days have now become de rigueur. Amazing to me how resilient and adaptable the human species can be.  Even old farts like me are not exempt.   It is doable.

I went 30 days after Little Blondie deserted her post without a supply run to Cotulla, Pearsall or the Post Office.  Full credit to advance preparations that I never thought would be needed for a domestic crisis event.  Just goes to show ya never know. The pantries were chock full, the freezer and extra residential fridge were stocked well.  I was able to survive withdrawal symptoms from my daily pre-dawn dose of Code Red soda X2.  I no longer buy them.  Stocking trips to town are logistically complex now.  The supply list is a perpetual companion next to the computer of late and I add, revise and delete items with the attention of an OCD fiend.  I make the 120 mile round trip trek to the HEB in Pearsall in lieu of the Lowes in Cotulla.  HEB kicks Lowes ass.  Always will.   I have to schedule a reputable and conscientious fill in to sit the gate during my absence and inform the Ranch Manager I will be gone.  5 hours is what I figure it takes.  First trip off the reservation, it required every bit of those 5 hours.  I had to refill propane bottles at the Ace in Cotulla.  The Postmaster told me I best back the Big Ass Suburban up to the loading dock when I appeared to retrieve my mail.  They brought it out on a two wheel dolly.

Panda  Compact Washing Machine  - the real deal

Panda Compact Washing Machine – the real deal

I am striving to limit the town trips to once a month but laundry was problematic.  Laundry had become a once monthly chore before the change in marital status.  Typical trip duration was always around 5 hours and cost about $25 in washer/dryer fees at the laundromat in Dilley.   If I factor in a fill in guard ($50) and an additional trip off the res every month, the $75 cost and pure hassle would upset any true recluse.  Something had to give.  Remember, Amazon is the friend of every gate guard.  🙂

I found this counter top Panda Portable Compact Washing Machine on Amazon. For $77, I decided to give it a try even though it is Made in China and some of the reviews were less than stellar. Seems like getting a good one was strictly luck of the draw; much like my experience with women. When in doubt, roll the dice and go for it. I musta got a good one because it has been in daily use now for awhile and we be washing dirty duds like bandits.  Operation is pretty straight forward.  It has a cheesey hose you connect to the sink faucet to fill it.  Another half -ass hose is hung up on the side for the drain.  Best to put a cork or stopper of some sort in that drain hose or it will slosh soapy water all over your clean floor.  I put a tablespoon of liquid detergent in it along with a goodly amount of water and agitate for a minute to mix the soap up good.  Add the clothes and let it wash away for 5 minutes and then let the rascal sit over night or from morning till evening.  I be having some nasty clothes most times so I gotta do that.  YMMV.  After the dirt soak, I set the timer for 15 minutes and wash away.

IKEA Octopus clothes dryer

IKEA Octopus clothes dryer

If the scuzzy water running out the drain is indication, this little unit does wash pretty danged good.  After the fifteen minute wash and scuzzy water removal,  I refill with cool fresh water and rinse for another 15 minutes.  Then the drippy clothes go on this IKEA Octopus dealio. If the caliche dust is not fogging too bad, I hang it out on the awning support. If it is like a Sahara Haboob outside, the Octopus goes in the shower stall. With summer temps and low humidity, a pair of shorts and a shirt will dry in an hour even if they are sopping when you first hang ’em up. I don’t wring out jack.

What about capacity?  I am not an expert clothes washer man and I figure the more the dirty duds agitate, the cleaner they will end up.  I have successfully washed 2 pairs of shorts, 2 shirts or a pair of shorts and a shirt.  I reckon you could increase those numbers by at least one unit and still be OK.   One thing I have noticed is this washer likes to twist things into a ball  –anything with loose, long material.  Like a long sleeve shirt for instance.  That is why I hit on the shorts/shirt combo.  Two long sleeve shirts together get in some sorta awful tangle. A slow process to be sure but here of late I seem to have a premium of time.  Go figure.  I recouped my initial investment already.

017The third part of the survival trifecta involves neither squirrely women nor loyal dogs.  It deals only with surviving the reality.brutality.finality of the High Summer in the South Texas Pucker Brush living in a tin can of an RV as an oil field gate guard.

One of the first pieces of advice I give gate guard wannabes is to not even fall off down this way in the summer UNLESS your RV has two functional air conditioning units.  Don’t even think it!  It is not doable!

In my infinite wisdom, what do I do when I have to replace the Old Girl when she got murdered by the Big Hails? I bought an RV with one rooftop AC.   Worse still yet,  it doesn’t even have a roof vent in the bedroom where a handy fella could add in that second necessary AC unit.  So did I lose my sanity when I bought the NO Princess Palace?  Yes, I violated a cardinal rule I myself put in place.  OR  No, not so much.   We I have a LG 115-volt 14000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner that is going on its’ 4th summer of duty. It is a large and capable unit and served to keep the Sleep Cave at meat locker temps regardless of the outside temp.  All things mechanical lay down on ya at some point and it seemed the Summer of 2014 was going to be the beatdown of the LG unit.  The hotter it got outside, the less it worked.  By about 3pm every day, it might only work 5 minutes of every hour.

Nasty ass LG portable AC

Nasty ass LG portable AC

I was sitting here Friday at about 3pm with an outside temp of 104 and the inside temp was steadily going up. At 92 degrees inside I finally had enough by damn.  I had seen 3 weeks of many consecutive 100 degree days and next weeks forecast showed us to be heading right into the belly of the beast.  Either that LG unit was going to pay back the amps it was sucking down and reward me with some refrigerated air or it was gonna take its’ slacker ass out the door in pieces.

Let it be said I have done nothing more than push the controls and clean the filter on the LG Unit.  I found taking it apart involved removing 20 itty bitty screws; all located in premium cuss-and-sweat locations.  Once done, the whole thing came apart like a clam shell.  I knew it was gonna be dirty but even I didn’t think it would be horribly nasty dirty!  The condensor and evaporator were all covered with a thick mat of dog hair, blonde hair and caliche dirt.  The LG Unit didn’t have a mechanical malfunction; it was suffocating ever day! I should not have been so naive after the copious amounts of abandoned stray hair I have been vacuuming up for the last 5 weeks.  I spent the next 3 hours out on the mud porch with the LG Unit and my most used and appreciated Palace Accessory, the 2-Gallon Mini Twin-Stack Air Compressor .  Even at that I didn’t get it all blowed out — maybe 80% to the betterment. It was a miserable hot job in the furnace of the late afternoon.

Buttoned everything back up and fired that baby and it has been running for the last 24 hours straight.  I do not think The Palace has ever been more comfortable.  Shoulda got up off my dead ass 2 months ago and done it. Would have alleviated some of Little Blondie’s suffering from the heat.  She never did well in the heat and I regret subjecting her to that hardship when there was a solution at hand.  So sorry babe.

 

Last item of note:  I have received lots of advice from you and much of it involved leaving the women alone and getting a good dog instead. ….. and the preponderance of advice seemed to come from women.   Put that in your pipe and smoke it, friends and neighbors.  Now I an avowed lover of good looking women so I do not know if I can act on such advice but I am willing to give it a shot.  If any of y’all know any top shelf  breeders of the following dogs, please drop me a note

Gordon Setter

Blue Lacy Dog

German Shorthair Pointer

That is all.  🙂

 

Colonel Cooper says

The following anecdote about the Texas Rangers,

It seems that on 10 May 1920 Ranger “Kiowa” Jones filled out his scout report. The form called for various things, such as number of miles traveled, arrests made, names and so on. And one of the blanks called for “disposition of prisoner.” Jones wrote in long-hand, “Damn bad I had to kill him in a gunfight.”

 

End Note: Wind Don’t Have to Hurry by John Hiatt from the new Terms of My Surrender cd

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14 comments to Survival Solutions

  • Bryan

    This should get you started in the right direction for a Blue Lacy Dog. even if it is red.

    http://lacydog.org/puppies-for-sale/

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  • Nancy Klune

    Maybe next time go for quality not shiny. 😉
    It is possible to get both in the package but don’t let the shiny be more important than the quailty.

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  • Nancy Klune

    Andrew, If I were I’d be firing up the HD and packing all my uh ….. bowling equipment and heading for the patch. 😉
    I got a good ‘en so I guess I’ll stay here. It did take a while as he’s #5. Longest lasted 7 years until I met him. It’s now almost 18 years. I’ve never gone from one directly to another with no lag time.

    I just hate it that you got hurt. I hate to see anyone get hurt like this. I know it takes two but still……….

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  • Ken

    Dang, I hit tab and the other post went away. As it happens, I looked at the list of Lacy Dogs, and the first one on the list is 30 miles East of me. I could go over and check them out if you wish FWIW.
    We have an Australian Cattle Dog, (Blue Heeler) that is not typical of the breed. she is the most laid back working dog you ever saw. Super obedient and totally house broken. Only thing she protects is the house, even then not aggressivly, just lets you know she is aware of something.
    Lemme know

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    • Andrew

      Appreciate it Ken. I emailed several breeders. Let’s see what they say

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  • Nancy Klune

    Andrew, why not check and see if the breed of dog you want has a rescue group?

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    • Andrew

      I have Nancy. The dogs I am interested in are not overly common and do not show up much in the shelters.

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  • Jim

    While you messing with the AC’s clean what you can on the inside of the roof top unit. With our shedding lab, and a cat we keep, I vacuum hair out of the inside parts and pieces every other week.
    Stay cool my friend…

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  • Nancy Klune

    There’s one in Lampasses http://lacydog.org/rescue/

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  • Nancy Klune

    Texas Lacy Dog Facebook page

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Blue-Lacy/35371587122

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    • Andrew

      Nancy

      No Facebook for me for almost 3 years now. I don’t need it

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  • Nancy Klune

    You want a Lacy, they’ve got a Lacy. 😉

    I just Googled “Lacy Resuce” and got a few hits. If you are wanting to start with a puppy you probably won’t find anything there but if you want an adult dog you might. Looks like a dog with a bunch of personality and maybe a bit of a challange. LOL

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  • Winter everywhere else is now forecast to be colder than it was last time. So you should be having a cool one way down there where you are from up here (Austin) where I am. Hopefully without a renewal of the hail.

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