Category Archives: Country Life

Cheating the landfills

Computer karma

Hi readers:

Thanks for coming by for a read.

My life’s blessed at the moment having my bud, Eddie, available to kick around finding fixes for the unfixable. In this instance, all that broken plumbing and wastewater damage blowing the tires did on the RV. That stuff’s made of a material monikered, ABS, which was never intended to be repaired. Plastics, nylon, nothing much easily available attaches to it and the hardware stores don’t carry anything much in the plumbing department made of ABS.

But ABS does attach nicely to other ABS if a person can find some.

Eddie did some web searches to find out what products might be made of ABS to be ravaged for the purposes of converting them to RV wastewater heaven. One turned out to be old computer monitors.  So he dug around until he found one.

Yesterday we examined the old monitor to make certain the flat area on the side would be large enough to make a patch to cover the hole broken in the greywater tank on the RV.  Then we took a waste piece of RV broken plumbing pipe, scarified it, scarified the potential monitor, and doctored both with purple ABS goo cement.

Voila!   Yes.  You heard me right.  Voila.

That flat surface on the side of that monitor’s going to RV wastewater heaven, holding back the forces of darkness, undergoing reincarnation, likely providing a whole new US cottage industry in the future.

Damned monitors all over the US now have something to aspire to.

Old Jules

Eddie’s amazing Rocket Heater

The Cantina area of Eddie's and Val's home is just under 1000 square feet, uninsulated mostly.  The wooden doors open to a patio and you can see daylight through them.

The Cantina area of Eddie’s and Val’s home is just under 1000 square feet, uninsulated mostly. The wooden doors open to a patio and you can see daylight through them.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Last year when I visited here Eddie and Val were heating The Cantina with a fireplace and a propane heater kicking in when things became uncomfortably cool.  He was troubling himself about the price of having Mesquite firewood hauled here.

http://sofarfromheaven.com/2012/12/21/la-cantina/

This year it’s an entirely different matter.  During the summer months Eddie researched the rocket stoves being utilized in 3rd world countries, turning out an amazing amount of heat on a few twigs.  Finally, he altered the designs somewhat and built one from a scrap pressure tank for his well, mortar-mix Vermiculite for the heat concentration, and a small firebox constructed from stovepipe.

The fuel?  Free pallets from the local businesses.

Total firewood requirement to keep the Cantina warm for the coldest week thus far in 2013?  Three pallets.

Total firewood requirement to keep the Cantina warm for the coldest week thus far in 2013? Three pallets.

This past week was the test.  Temperatures below freezing for a week.  The Cantina was toasty all week, and all week long they awoke to comparative warmth in the Cantina despite the fire having been out for hours.

That perpendicular piece of stovepipe is the firebox.  Eddie's redesigning it somewhat to make for easier cleaning.

That perpendicular piece of stovepipe is the firebox. Eddie’s redesigning it somewhat to make for easier cleaning.

The exterior appears fairly commonplace.  It’s inside where the Secrets of fuel economy reside.

rocket heater under construction2

What appears to be concrete is a hardened mixture of mortar mix, vermiculite, and stovepipe ….. wood ash mixed with the mortar/vermiculite to provide stability when the pipe melts or rots from the center.

Old Jules

Running from the law: The Great Cockfight Bust, or The Great C*ckfight Bust

El Palenque2

Hi readers.   Thanks for coming by for a read.  Those of you who have any morals and are offended by the alternative name for the male chicken will be soothed to see I’ve name this twice to avoid criticism.

Must have been 1996, 1997, I was living in Socorro, NM, and I got wind there was a major cock [c*ck] fight going to happen Saturday night.  They happened a few times a month in that area, and though official NM law allowed it as a local option at the time, murmurings in the State House rumored it was going to be prohibited soon.  They’d raided a couple of them in counties where the local option had people thinking it was legal.

Anyway, Saturday night I was at loose ends so I headed out to put hero roosters into my body of life experience.  The place was a mile beyond a gate and down a dirt road into the Rio Grande bosque.  The salt cedars opened up to a large cleared area of several acres with a large metal building toward the back.  Room to park 200 vehicles or more.

I got there early to look things over, still some daylight.  Maybe 20-30 cars and pickups in the lot, guys hanging around talking and smoking outside.  Moseyed into the barn, looked over the seating arrangements, looked a lot like an auction barn for livestock.  But with a cage blocked off in the center for the fighters and their handlers.

Nobody was in a hurry to go inside because it was hot in that barn.  I decided it would be hotter when the place filled up, so I staked a standing-up claim against the support for a tall sliding metal door at the back. 

When the place filled it was noisy, it was hot, and things were happening fast.  Bets, chickens, arms waving and yelling, every reason to be enamored of my place at the door.

But toward the shank of the evening a horn honked out in the parking lot and someone yelled, “Raid!  Cops!”  Sirens blaring, suddenly everyone inside stampeding for the doors.  I ran to the corner of the building and saw the parking lot was filled with flashing lightbars, half-dozen, maybe a dozen police cars.  Sheeze.  This is bullshit!  Guys running out toward their cars getting snagged by the cops.

So I ran like hell out into the bosque dodging salt cedars, rattlers, just put as much distance between myself and that barn as I could manage.  When I went knee deep in mud I knew I wasn’t going any further.  The Rio Grande was right in here somewhere close.

I tucked myself in next to a dead tree in a thicket of salt cedar and watched the lights through the trees, listened to the angry yells of men being arrested, watched the lights threading through the cedars chasing people trying to get away too late.  Waited, waited, felt ticks crawling all over me, found myself wondering about the rattlers, waited, more ticks, waited.

Gradually things calmed down, engines started, gradually the sirens stopped.  Things got really quiet.  But no way I was about to be fooled by that crap.  Full dark, I waited, listened.  Ticks by the hundreds crawling around on me.  Waited, caught myself dozing, jerked myself awake and waited some more.

Finally Old Sol began crawling in, me praying him up.  Still quiet except for the sounds of the morning birds and water rustling down the channel.  I carefully, carefully began working my way through the salt cedars toward the parking area.

I squatted and watched peeking out there as light filled the parking area.  There it was.  My old Mitzubishi Montero and a scattering of other vehicles.  Sitting there trying to lure me to jail.  I scratched and watched.

Finally a guy came creeping out of the bosque maybe 50 yards away, creeping toward a pickup the other side of the Montero.   Heeheehee.  Bait.  Now we’ll see where the law’s hiding.  Glad it ain’t me!

He seemed surprised.  Got into his truck, started it, no sign of the fuzz.  Spun around and vanished in a trail of dust back toward the pavement.

Hmmmm.  Hokay.  I stood up straight, Tried to act like I was just a normal guy coming out of those salt cedars.  Wandered over to the Montero and watched a dozen other guys coming out of the trees.  Cranked up the Mitzubishi and tooled home free as a bird.

The paper was full of it, the Socorro Chieftain, the Albuquerque Journal.  Printed the names of all those guys who got busted.

Served them right, too, going out there watching c*ckfights.

If people don’t have ethics and morals enough to stay away from places like that they need to be in jail.

Old Jules

Hermits, misers and short-term memory

Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Last night I found myself with my two wallets out, the one where I keep $100s and $50s, counting them carefully, and the one where I keep $20s, $10s, $5s and $1s, adding them all up.  [I keep them in two different wallets so’s I can’t accidentally hand a store clerk a large bill thinking it’s a small one, can’t lose the big bill wallet and hit rock bottom between two breaths].

After carefully counting it all out, got the map, the calculator, re-figured the gas mileage averages per gallon I’ve been getting on the RV, the distances between places I might drive to, and the cost in fuel if nothing else goes wrong.

After I’d figured and re-figured all that a few times I went in to the cabin and began unloading boxes of books I’d packed to carry into town to donate to thrift stores, opening each one and fanning the pages.  Just to make sure.  [A few weeks ago I’d found a $100 in one I must have stashed in there sometime when I had an extra and wanted to put it aside for a rainy day.]

Found a couple of books I want to read again before disposing of them, but not one $100 bill.  So I went around looking at things and other hidey holes where I might have stashed bills so’s I wouldn’t spend them, then forgot.  Checking the pockets of blue jeans, coats and jackets, taking the lids off button jars and pill bottles looking inside, moving the buttons pills etc, in case I’d shoved a bill down inside out of sight.

Got me thinking how damned sick this whole money thing is.  I remembered for the first time in 40-50 years a book, My Brother’s Keeper, I read as a youngster and was impressed enough to have it stamped on my memory.  About some old guy must have been a lot like me.  And remembering all the fictional misers stereotyped in books I’ve read over the decades.

Guys who died and people disposing of their belongings coming across pillows, mattresses, loose floor boards, with gobs of money.  While the guy half-starved.  Hell, maybe they forgot they had it.

Got me wondering if maybe I’ve got a stash around here full of $100s and ain’t remembering I’ve got it. 

Maybe it’s time I went out into the meadow and dug some holes, crawled down underneath the cabin to check out the floor joists, the piers and beams for money I hid.  I doubt I’d have done that, though.  After the packrats shredded all my retirement money I had hidden under a floor joist in the Y2K cabin, I like to think I learned a lesson.

So where the hell DID I put all the money I must have stashed around here over the past few years and forgot?

Sicksicksick. 

Old Jules

Afterthought: It’s no damned wonder so many people who are actually rich are so preoccupied with getting richer.  They’re probably forgotting they’re already rich.  Or can’t remember where their money is.

Tequila sunrise

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Old Ms. Niaid managed to off Brother Rattler without any consequences evidently, so she’s going to have to find something else to flesh out her life experience, I reckons. Her long hair’s growing back from the sheep shearing when the hot weather hit, and it’s filling up with beggar’s lice and grass burrs, which might serve to fend off whatever’s around here dangerous to aging bachelorette felines.

Ms. Tabby, on the other hand, has a nose and front-of-her-face of the usual Tabby-summertime variety. Can’t keep her nose out of cactus, or out of the business of something capable of adding color and romance to an otherwise nondescript Tabby face. I’m thinking when we get out of here she might turn out to be a regular-looking cat.

I decided yesterday I’m going to add mothballs to that storage building to get those rattlers out where they can enjoy life instead of bickering and snarling inside that dark storage building. Can’t tell when someone’s going to want something else out of there and the anxiety level trying to find it ain’t worth not stepping on a snake some night going from the RV to the cabin to check my email.

Today I’m going to nurse the Escape Route V 2.51 into Kerrville on three tires on back and have the two blown ones replace with respectable 10 ply exceptions to the rule. Provided the spare on the ground right-rear doesn’t decide to blow the plan. I’ll try to take back roads and get the roadwork done early before the pavement gets too hot.

Keith emailed me a while back he’s planning to be in New Mexico late August or September, and I’m going to tentatively plan on getting out to visit while he’s in the area. Hopefully by then everything will be settled out here and I’ll be able to think of out-there as home for a while.

Maybe get me a nice little piece of ocean-side ground on the east, or west coast of New Mexico, once all the damned ice goes away and raises sea-level to a reasonable altitude. 4000′ mean sea level might be about right. Maybe the cats and I will open a little bait shop on the west coast near where Arizona used to be. Or maybe rig a surfboard and hang ten mornings after we pray the sun up.

I figure the west coast will probably be less jam packed with Arizonians than the east coast will be with Texans because those Texans already all go to New Mexico deliberately to ski and gamble at Ruidoso and Angel Fire. Arizonians and Californians never go to New Mexico deliberately unless they’re just going through it to get somewhere else.

By the time they wake up and discover they’re living in a salt-water swimming hole I’ll have things nailed down on all the corners, wave to them as they swim to shore, or ride in on their bass boats. Sell them some bait, maybe.

Big plans for the future here.

Old Jules

Pore old Brother Rattler

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

Gale had a hip replaced recently, and he’s doing the recovery routines. Called me a few days ago asking me to search around in one of the storage buildings for a wheel chair and walkers stored in there somewhere. I used to store chicken feed in there and hadn’t looked inside much after I got rid of the flock.

So I opened the door and began clearing away all manner of things before the first rattler announced himself, followed by another somewhere on the other side of the path I was creating. I moved something else and a third, maybe a fourth kicked in to the orchestra.

I tippee-toed around and carefully got the wheel chair and walkers out without anything attaching itself to my leg, called him to let him know it’s all down here where it can be picked up. We discussed the plethora of rattlers, how to get them out of there. And whether I actually wanted to get them out of there before I’m ready to hit the pavement.

On reflection, I like them a good bit better in there than outdoors where they can get underfoot. My thought is I’ll leave them to themselves for a while if they’re happy there. When the time comes he can run them out with mothballs or ammonia. He’s thinking he’d like to try forcing them out the hole they came in and have people standing around to shoot them as they emerge. Which I want no part of. I mostly have no argument with pore old Brother Rattler. If he’ll leave me along I’m content leaving him alone, tending his own affairs.

However, half-hour ago I was inside the RV when Niaid announced she’d come on prey, or caught something. I looked out the screen door and watched her leap on something in the weeds. Quicker than I can tell it she had a 3 foot rattler in her mouth dragging it toward the RV, meowing out the sides of her mouth as she came.

Brother Rattler was still trying to grasp the fact he was dead, his head and neck squashed. Squirming and wiggling between her forelegs as she brought him to show off.

I’m keeping a close eye on her. No way of telling yet whether she was bitten, but she seems okay. Not favoring any body parts.

Life in the big city, I reckons.

Old Jules

Return of the Native

Hi readers.  Those of you still out there with a desire to read what I write, hello and howdy.  I hope you are aware you’re reading the words of one of the most ignorant human beings in the western hemisphere.  I’ve spent the past six months having it proved to me.

Mostly I’ve spent the last six months finding out all the things can go wrong with a 1983 Toyota RV when a person buys one without knowing what he’s doing.  And trying to figure out what I’m going to do to replace it with something I can depend on not setting me and the cats dead in the water somewhere beside the road in some pest hole the Coincidence Coordinators chose instead of me doing it.

That, and hoarding pennies and nickles so’s I can afford to do whatever I decide needs doing.

If I can’t keep myself from doing it, I’ll probably be posting here again on and off for a while.  I’ve had a nice sabbatical, give or take the fact I’m here, right where I was when I went on my walkabout to nowhere.

Thanks for coming by.