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Snake School

New Dometic Brisk Air II 15kbtu unit

New Dometic Brisk Air II 15k btu unit

I have been at this location north of Fowlerton, TX for 168 days.  A fair amount of time but not a record…  That would be 236 days spent just a few miles from here.

You can’t live in a tin box in South Texas when the weather starts to warm up unless you have air conditioning. As a matter of fact I always recommend 2 rooftop AC units in your recreational vehicle if you want to live with some comfort during July and August down here.  So when the rooftop AC went out on the NO Princess Palace, I had little choice but to get after it and solve the problem.  First thing was to get the window shaker in place to get a least a little cool air flowing and second task was to get a new rooftop unit in place ASAP.    I decided to get a New Dometic Brisk Air II to replace the aged, abused and discontinued Dometic unit that went bad on me.  The tech at PPL Motor Homes assured me this newer unit would hook up properly to my older control box and thermostat.  I took him at his word and took a chance even though I could have bought it cheaper off of Amazon by a good little bit.  R&L Carriers showed up at the gate Tuesday and with the aid of a pallet jack and lift gate, the driver soon had it sitting on the ground outside the NO Princess Palace. Alrighty then, one step done.

The unit is about the size of a fat suitcase and weighs around 100lbs. I managed to get it out of the shipping carton, looking for installation instructions. Well, there weren’t any so I used up some Google Fu and found some instructions on the interwebz. Not exactly for this particular unit and inside cover but maybe close enough.  I stripped down the inside stuff and unbolted the old unit from the roof.  It was simple enough to unplug some wires, the freeze sensor, the control box and then remove a long bolt at each corner that actually bolted the unit down.  Now all I had to do was wait for the ranch guy to show up with the front loader tractor to make the roof swap.

The mess of the old AC

The mess of the old AC

The same guy who dug Tuco the Dog’s grave showed up the next morning which makes perfect sense because  I figured the front bucket on the backhoe was our best bet on transplanting the units.  He walked over to the new unit and hefted an edge of it and said “I’ll be right back.”  Few minutes later he came wheeling in the gate in his pickup again – no backhoe – and got an extension ladder out of the back.  He set the ladder against the side of the RV and announced he was going to carry the units down/up the ladder!  What??  Are you sure?? “Yep” he said.  “I do stuff like this every day.”  He ran right up that ladder and popped the old unit loose, balanced it on his shoulder and came right back down!  He didn’t even pause for a deep breath before he grabbed the new unit and had it on the roof before I could make another comment. I bet my mouth was hangin’ open! He was one more stout sumbitch!

I will tell you right now the easy AC installation stories you read on the internet are mostly true.   If you don’t have to mess with changing the control box or wiring it really is a pretty straightforward process.   I probably had everything hooked up and going within 20 minutes. Having AC back in the Palace was welcome relief!

VV watchin' out for boogers while I drink my mornin' coffee

VV watchin’ out for boogers while I drink my mornin’ coffee

I mentioned in an earlier blog  that I was going to commence e-collar training on Vela Von and we have been at it for 10 days now.   I guess I am getting old or something because it seems most of my goods I use have been discontinued.   I am training Vela Von with Tri Tronics Sports Basic G3 collar and it seems Garmin has bought them out and the collar is now a Garmin Delta Sport XC. When you start researchin’ this e-collar business,  you find  folks who swear by ’em and others that say they are the work of the Devil.  I decided to try it on Vela Von based on the good luck BFF Cait  had with her GSD and the collar.  The reason this collar is so old is because it was bought for Tuco the Dog and its’ onliest purpose was aversion training with her.  She would get to ranging out too far on our walks and the collar was used to make her stay in closer.  She was terrified of it and knew exactly what the skinny was when you strapped it on her.  Hell, most of the time, all I had to do was get it out and put it on the counter to charge up and she would square up immediately.   Knowing what I know now, I can tell you an e-collar can ruin a good dog quick!  It is best used at a low level and then only to help the dog decide the best action or behavior in a given situation.  I am keeping it low key with VV and moving at a measured pace. I do think a high drive dog like her benefits from an e-collar when it is used effectively and prudently.  I did use it for aversion training in a specific instance…

This spring has been a banner time for snakes down here.  Maybe it was the warm, wet winter; I don’t know.  Hardly a day goes by that somebody doesn’t show me an iPhone pic of a buzztail they killed or point out a dead snake in a 5 gallon bucket in the back of their truck. It has gotten to the point if the snake is not better than 4 foot, it is hardly worth mentioning.  Some of you PETA folks may take exception with my attitude towards rattlesnakes so let me tell you this.  I have been on beaucoup ranches in the past 10 years and some of them were right at the forefront of animal management practices.   Every single one of them had the same rule:  Kill every rattlesnake you see.

Mr. Tim is one of the guagers here and I see him most every day.  He has been a fan of Vela Von since the day I brought her home.   He also seems to kill alot of ringtail vipers because some people just see snakes better than other folks do.  The other day, I asked him to save me a 2 footer or so if he happened to kill one and please bring it by while it was still moving.  These dang snakes will coil around for an hour or more after you cut their head off.   Hell, I read somewhere the severed head can bite you for up to twenty minutes after you whack it off!  He showed up about 4pm with the perfect snake for some aversion training with Vela Von.

Checkin' out a rattler

Checkin’ out a rattler

My Plan was to allow her to investigate the snake and increase the e-collar stimulation until she left it be.  I set the collar at the lowest level and she immediately went toward the snake and when she got her nose right down on it, I give her a little jolt.   She backed off and circled and I turned it up another notch before she went in for another good sniff.   Every time I hit her with the collar, it would take longer for her to go back toward the snake and about the time I got to the max setting,  she decided she had enough.  She would go nowhere near that snake so maybe I did some good.

Many times when a dog is bit by a rattlesnake down here it is around the head area because they are goin’ after the snake.  That is about the worse place to get a bite.   Very seldom will a dog be unaware of a snake that bites him.   Humans are just about the opposite.  We don’t notice the snake until we feel something hit our leg.  For those of you that haven’t every heard a big rattler buzzin’ , it sounds sorta like little rocks shaking around inside a dry gourd.   When you  hear it once, you will have no problem rememberin’ exactly what it sounds like.

 

End Note:  Too Long in the Wasteland by James McMurtry from the Live in Aught-Three cd.

 

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4 comments to Snake School

  • Vince Emery

    Morn’n Andy,
    Yup, if it’s a buzztail or a moccasin kill the sumbitch and bury its head.
    Was looking at Fowlerton on goggle earth. Interesting patterns plowed into the dirt. What the hey is that all about?

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    • Andy

      Hi Vince

      What do the patterns look like?

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      • Vince Emery

        Pull up Google Earth over Fowlerton. Zoom out to about 30,000 feet and look just a little West.
        Look around 28.484060 -98.894674.
        Very interesting patterns.

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        • Andy

          Might be oilfield lease locations or sod farms.

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