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Things in the Road

Piddlin' ouiside the NO Princess Palace

Piddlin’ outside the NO Princess Palace

It is just sorta the way it goes down here in the Puckerbrush. The weather has been admirable; after all it is my favorite time of the year. A few mornings down into the high 40’s and then quick to warm up to 80 or better. Still shorts and sandals weather for sure. And then this morning, frost on the windshield of the Big Ass Suburban.  BAM!; just like that! No easin’ into it or getting acclimated. It just was.  I got a flowback crew that come in yesterday so I was out and about early for a first-hand wakeup.

It had been the talk of the San Antone local news for a week so I was ready.   I remembered where I had stashed my 2 Broan-NuTone Big Heat Heaters and fished them out.  I have talked about these sturdy little bad boys before.  I reckon one of them has got to be six-seven years old and they still provide adequate heat down into the 30’s for the NO Princess Palace.  Gotta note though that I run one of them on a separate 30amp feed comin’ into the Palace.  On low heat they draw 6amps each so two on the same circuit would be loading things up pretty good on a 30amp travel trailer.

Italian copacolla ready to go into a Foodsaver bag after 2 weeks hanging in the cooler. The dark red color is indicative of cured meat products.

Italian copacolla ready to go into a Foodsaver bag after 2 weeks hanging in the cooler. The dark red color is indicative of cured meat products.

Electric heat is fine and dandy as long as you have plenty of electrons flowing into your RV from a source that won’t break the bank.   Since I have the Winter Adventure coming up in about a month and I know I am going to be off grid at least part of the time I had to shape up on Plan B.  If you are thinkin’ the propane furnace is Plan B you would be wrong – that is Plan C.  A typical recreational vehicle furnace is a propane suckin’ devil and the one I am saddled with is no exception.  Plan B is a Mr. Heater MH9BX Buddy Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater.  I finally managed to wear a Little Buddy heater out 2 winters ago after 5 years of use. It spent its’ last days on life support with a pair of vise grips on the propane valve.  Another one is on the way from Amazon and I will connect it to a 12′ hose that snakes out the utility port and connects to an outside 30-Pound Propane Cylinder . BTW, that is a GOOD price on a 30lb tank considerin’ Amazon Prime will deliver it free to your front step for nada mas.

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AT&T Unite Explore hotspot

AT&T Unite Explore hotspot

I have folks pull in here and ask what all the antennas  are for that sprout off the Palace.  A fella gotta have internet, DISH HD and cell phone, right? Way, way back yonder, I had an AT&T Unlimited internet account that was killed by corporate sumbitches and for the last 6 years I have used Millenicom and Verizon for internet and kept AT&T for cell phone  Anybody will tell ya Verizon is not real peachy for rural Texas where AT&T is the undisputed king.  After price increases and frustration with a 1xRTT connection,  I finally had to go back to AT&T for my internet.

Things have changed plenty in 6 years what with smart phones and data plans and the like.  I was able to add an AT&T Unite Explore 815S hotspot and by the time I was done mish moshing the plans, my phone and internet is $5 dollars less a month than before.  On top of that I have a 4G LTE connect here which is about as much different as going from ridin’ a donkey to blastin’ off in the Space Shuttle.  The Unite Explore is all MIL-SPEC too with dust covers and waterproofing so it fits in well with my Panasonic Toughbooks.

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Puckerbrush ring tail

Puckerbrush ring tail

This place here is a decent size ranch (20,000 acres) and I see my share of critters crossin’ the lease road.  Bobcats, ‘yotes, a herd of 15 javelinas daily regular, deer, turkeys,quail, rattlers and such.   Vela Von, Hound of the Puckerbrush, and I were finishing up a walk about dusky dark the other evenin’ when she kept turnin’ around to look where we had just come from. Now, to tell the truth, she can be easily diverted – a puff of dust, flyin’ bugs, a rock that might just fit perfect in her mouth etc etc.  So sometimes I just blow it off unless a)  the hackles go up or b) there is some growling action. If she does both at the same same time, you best clear for action ’cause somethin’ is up.  She got more intense and satisfied a)  above and I turned around to see a buzztail almost done crossing the road.  Put another notch on the blackbrush staff – 4 footer, 9 rattles, unremarkable.

The other week I told you about my ghost sheep in the road and it troubled my mind because I know what I saw and at the same time I was disbelievin’ because how could that possibly be so?   I did not mention it to anybody in person because I figured they would think I was on that Jim Beam or nibblin’ peyote buttons and I don’t need none of that scrutiny.  One of the hunting guides here is pretty discrete and it finally bubbled out of me one evening when he pulled up after scoutin’ deer.  He was puzzled as me and he returned the next night for the Rest of the Story.

My resident aoudad. Ain't he the woolly rascal?

My resident aoudad. Ain’t he the woolly rascal?

I wasn’t crazy – it was an aoudad. Story is he started showin’ up on the other side of the ranch a few days ago.  Nobody knows if he just wandered in or if he was dumped because he had foundered (look at his feet in the pic).  I was tickled as punch to know I was right on the beam and not puckerbrush crazy.  I mentioned it to one of the pumpers the next day and he had seen it as well and caught this pic on his iPhone.

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Ain’t no secret I am a big fan of Texas Music.  Part of this past week was spent squarin’ up the new Toughbook laptop and Zune music player re: all things music.

Texas Music is different.  Americana, Roots;  all kinda names put on it but it is different in a way you sorta soak up if you are a Texan.  Going all the way back to Bob Wills  it has been thataway.  In Texas,  you can get a rabid cult following and never show up at the CMA awards or on a Nashville Top 10 list.  Robert Earl  Keen is like that.  He is two weeks younger than me and has been doin’ Texas Music since the early 80’s so I guess you can say he really shaped this unique form of artistry.  He did the typical musician thing and defected to Trashville and lasted 2 years.  Nashville don’t care nuthin’ about real music – not then; not now and maybe one day these Texas boys will figger it out.  This past week, REK came out with Robert Earl Keen – Live Dinner Reunion which is just about as good as it will ever  get.  In 1996, REK released a live CD recorded at Floore’s Country Store  (been there with BFF Cait on an EPIC road trip!).  Floore’s is  the same level venue as Gruene Hall or Sons of Hermann if you are knowin’ about Texas Music.  This new album is again live at Floore’s and features the likes of Lyle Lovett, Cody Canada, Cory Morrow and Joe Ely.  Like I said – just about as good as it will ever get.

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Been a year now since Tuco the Dog left me and I still get chokey in the back of my throat when I think of that good dog lost.  Vela Von don’t know nuthin’ about that and there never was two dogs more different.  Me and Vela are comin’ up close to a year now that we have never been separated more than a few hours at the time.  I still keep a special little place in my heart where Tuco the Dog will live on.  Vela Von, in her own doggish way, has filled the rest of the massive, lonely void that emptied me out that mornin’ I laid Tuco’s precious blanket wrapped body down in that rocky South Texas dirt.  it t is what it is. don’t make it no easier. not one bit.

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Well sir, it bein’ Sunday, that means the cast iron skillet is heatin’ up this very minute for a big breakfast.  Pancakes this mornin’ I reckon along with bacon an’ sausage and maybe a piece of copacolla.  We don’t do gluten free nor vegan. Period.

End Note: I Gotta Go by Robert Earl Keen from the Live Dinner Reunion cd.

 

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