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Late Winter Shorts

Me and Tuco the Dog ON DUTY

Me and Tuco the Dog ON DUTY

This past Wednesday was the first official Shorts Day for South Texas.  Think the temp got to about 90 or so. It is not unusual to see 50 degree swings in temperature from night to day this time of year. I got my Carhartt vest and long pants on this morning with temps in the 40s.  We are expecting 70s by late afternoon.  If you are one of those folks who thrive on set routine and sameness of life, South Texas +Gate Guarding is probably not for you.

Being as how the weather was pleasant, we had quite a few piddlin’ chores going on.  Chores long delayed because of inclement weather or winter malaise were dispatched with zest these last few days.  The Princess Palace RV is a  near perfect gate guard HQ as we intended when we picked it out on the lot. The Palace does have two drawbacks in my book. It only has one rooftop AC unit which is a serious handicap in a Puckerbrush Summer.  We ameliorate that shortcoming with a 13.5k BTU portable AC unit.  Our other downfall is we only have 30amp service to the trailer.  It is SO easy to eat up a scant 30amps when you are runnin’ flat out and full tilt so I had to come up with a source of supplemental power.

We are fortunate to have a 20kW light tower/generator with 2 X 30amp and 2 X 50amp RV connectors.  That is about as good as it gets in Gate Guard World.  I run a Progressive Industries PT30C 30 Amp Portable Electrical Management System on the main power supply coming in to the Palace.  I ran a second 30amp power cord into the Palace under the slide out.  I connected it to an old hardwired Progressive 30amp unit that I picked off the carcass of the Old Girl after she was murdered by the big hail.  I modified the hard wire unit with a pig tail on each end and the 30amp power cord plugs into it before it goes to a distribution outlet.  Two things I want you to take special notice of here friends and neighbors.  First off,  I am using a full deal 30amp RV power cord to bring the extra line into the RV  — not some dinky extension cord plugged in to the auxiliary 110 outlet.  Secondly,  the power line is protected by a Progressive Industries EMS unit just like the main power line.  An EMS is one piece of indispensable equipment if you are gonna be a serious RVer.  I don’t care if you are a perpetual traveler or a gate guard, you gotta have a GOOD EMS to protect your electric stuff.  Now I know you noobs are gonna look at that Amazon link for that 30amp Progressive unit (they make 50amp units as well) and say ‘Christ on a cracker!!!  That thing costs over $250!!  Why can’t I just get a $100 surge guard??’   My answer would be  – ‘Go right ahead — but don’t come crying to me when your flat screen, DVR,  coffee pot, AC unit and fridge get fried.’   When you are looking at several grand in equipment replacement cost and the hassle of just gettin’ it done, $250-$300 for an EMS looks pretty good in my book.

See, it goes like this.  Sooner or later you are going to plug in to some dirty power. Might be a bad pedestal at an RV park or a generator that decides to run haywire in the middle of the night.  When that happens, the best surge guard in the world is not gonna help you.  The only, ONLY way to get the protection you need is with a full blown Progressive EMS.  It will save your ass.   They are no substitutes.  When you are gettin’ set to go Full Time or head down south to your first gate guard gig,   the Progressive EMS should be the first thing on your list of things to be gettin’.

Access port -  gas line and 30amp service line going through the baggage door now run through this port

Access port – gas line and 30amp service line going through the baggage door now run through this port

I had initially run the second 30amp line and a gas line for the Buddy Portable Radiant Heater through the baggage door and called it done.  That was a grievous mistake good friends.  Miss K sets in the couch directly above that door in the slideout and the cold air blowed up her butt all winter…… and boy howdy did I hear about it!  I just couldn’t get off dead center and get it done.  Turned out to be one of those jobs that the actual doing was not as dreadful as the thinking about.  Some silicone adhesive caulk, 3 screws and a hole saw and it was done PDQ.  I just know Miss K was gonna say ‘I got this hot wind blowin’ up my butt’  all summer long.  Glad I took care of that; yes I am!

I told y’all last week about the new Danby chest freezer   and how we had plans to fill that rascal up.

Along about last fall I was reading one of the alt-news forums I frequent and those folks were goin’ on and on about this outfit up in the Northwest called Zaycon Foods.  The folks at Zaycon processed fresh wholesome bulk food goods and then brought them to a church house parking lot in your town.  The more I read about it the more I wanted to get in on some of that.  Problem was that most of the events were concentrated up in the Northwest — so I just dismissed Zaycon and went on about my business.  Sometime in January, faithful blog reader David told me he was gettin’ some of those Zaycon goods — in North Carolina.  Wait a  minute now  — North Carolina????  He also told me they had events in Texas!  What?  I musta been eat up with dumbass when I looked at the website first time because, sure enough, Zaycon was bringin’ the show to folks all over Texas.   I bought 40lbs of skinless boneless chicken breasts for delivery on the northwest side of San Antone on February 18th. They do more than just chicken and reportedly it is all premium goods.

You know, I count my blessings that Miss K is my partner.  She handles my often volatile nature and crazy brain with aplomb when most folks wouldn’t get within fifty foot of me.  I told her she was gonna have to saddle up early Tuesday morning and ride that big ass Suburban up to San Antone to pick up 40lbs of chicken.  She never batted an eye.   She reported back that the event was very professional and smooth. The boys in the Zaycon reefer truck had cones set up in the parking lot and you just did a drive by to pick up your goods.  Easy-peasy!

Foodsaver at work

Foodsaver at work

You could say we are layin’ in extra food for the hard times ahead or you could say we are savin’ money by buyin’ in bulk and you would be right on both counts.  We got the chest freezer to expand our larder.  I am a healthy eater and Miss K eats like a little bird.  Just check out the waist line difference if you are an non-believer!  Even at the height of gluttony, we could not eat 40lbs of chicken before it went bad in the fridge or got freezer burned.  The math just won’t work!  Thankfully technology has come to our rescue.  Long term food storage is accomplished by dehydration or vacuum sealing the goods these days. I did my due diligence and research and ended up with a FoodSaver V3240 Vacuum Sealing System. It is not the most expensive FoodSaver and it isn’t the cheapest but reviews on Amazon indicate it is a capable and long lived unit.  The Zaycon chicken is skinless and boneless and comes packed as two halves together  — the whole breast.  I split the breasts and trimmed them and Miss K took care of the vacuum packing of two breasts per package. Mama Cat got the offal.

Miss K saved out a few breasts fresh to use in her signature Chicken Tetrazzini.  She told me the Zaycon chicken was primo restaurant grade and where she normally uses 4 breasts for the Chicken Tet, she only used 2 of the Zaycon breasts because they were just that big.   Normally, chicken in a freezer is going to be gettin’ some freezer burn after a few weeks.  With the FoodSaver, I am looking at 2-3 years of viable storage. Yep, you read that right.  We expect the FoodSaver to get plenty of use. Already, we have broken up a bulk bag of white rice and sealed it away in 2 cup portions. It will hold just fine in dry storage.  We also sealed up some coffee, both fresh ground and K-cups for the Keurig and stored the coffee in the freezer.

Sometimes writing my blog and running the gate guard message forum is tough goin’.   I do my damndest to maintain a level of integrity but sometimes it is not easy — like this past week.  I had a trusted and respected forum member contact me via private messaging to say he had been approached by a brand new gate guard company and liked what he heard.   He is planning to go to work for them as soon as his present contract is fulfilled.  His question to me wanted to know if it would be OK for him to solicit guards for this new company via the forum.   This fella is old school like many of us and I have never had occasion to doubt his veracity; I still don’t.  I messaged him back and asked if his solicitations involved monetary reward from the new company. He replied yes and added that he thought he could secure some recruiting income for me as well if I promoted the new company via the forum. Well, that give me pause.  It is never easy to walk away from found money; especially when you hold the messenger in such high esteem.  But money has a way of subterfuckin’ the best plans and intentions and friendships.  Gate guard companies come and go about as fast as Tote the Note car lots and South Texas Taco Stands. The last thing I want to do is throw my name behind a company that may/may not be the next big thing.  I told my friend that I would not allow solicitations via the forum nor would I promote this new company.  However, I cannot dismiss the fact that this individual has always been true to his word with me and behaved in an exemplary fashion.  I told him to report back once he had some time in with these folks and if he still felt like they were a quality company I would welcome posts in the gate guard forum to that effect.  I declined any monetary gain present and future.  It has to be so  —  If I get to tellin’ you just exactly how the cow eat the cabbage and you gotta stop and ask yourself  ‘Is he gettin’ paid for those words fallin’ out of his mouth?’  it sorta makes the words ring hollow don’t it?  Now, I am not above accepting free goods for review and then writin’ about it but I tell those folks that I am gonna write about it good OR bad; however the chips may fall. It has happened a few times in the past and the product reviews were mostly good.  I have to give a fella creds if he is willing to put his product out there in that fashion.  I like an all-in gambler.

The sun is just comin’ up on another crystal clear mornin’ in the Eagle Ford.  I plan on havin’ a good week and hope all of y’all do too.


End Note: Release Me by Junior Kimbrough from the You Better Run CD.  Low down Highway 61 Mississippi Delta Blues

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2 comments to Late Winter Shorts

  • David

    Hey Andy,

    I meant to click 10. Sometimes on the iPad my aim isn’t so good. Plus I have a rearranged finger print on that one due to a childhood mishap with a Farmall tractor.

    Hope the taste and texture of the chicken was ok. We opted for home pressure canning ours (think I sent some pics) and have eaten it several times already and like it fine. Our next Zacon order comes in March for 20lbs of link sausage which we will also can.

    I have followed (copied?) many of your suggestions so if you guys liked the chicken, it gives me some satisfaction to return the favor just a little bit.

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  • Don

    Thanks for the Zaycon Foods tip. Will have to give them a go.

    We also use Bountiful Baskets for fresh vegetables. $15 gets you way more veggies than you could purchase at the grocer. What’s nice is you don’t have to participate every week;we tend to go twice a month. The downside is you get what you get, but surprisingly it is still quite a selection regardless of the time of year. Might further invigorate Miss K into creating new culinary delights. Still trying to decide what to do with that coconut…

    The link: http://bountifulbaskets.org/


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