Archive for the ‘TX Rio Grande Valley’ Category

Beware The Refrigerator Recall

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Click for Weslaco, Texas Forecast

Many of us in RV’s were faced with a recall of our Dometic Refrigerators a couple of years ago.  Well, the cure can be worse than the disease.   The recall resulted in replacement of the cooling unit of the refrigerator.  It turns out that there is a technique to replacing the unit without damaging the inside wall of the refrigerator.  In our case, and others we’ve encountered, the inside wall was damaged just below the cooling fins.  This allowed the condensation to drip between the inside wall and the outer case.  After 3 years of this,  the plywood floor decking started to give underfoot.

damaged-floor.jpg

The problem lies in the fact that the floor is on the slide out.  The carpet, refrigerator and associated cabinet had to be removed.

damaged-floor2.jpg

The plan was to replace the damaged section of the floor with a patch of 5/8 inch plywood.

floor-patch.jpg

And then we added another layer of 5/8 inch plywood on top and fused the two layers together with glue and anchor screws.  The inside edge is tapered at about a 30 degree angle to facilitate the blending of the carpet once it is reinstalled.

new-slide-floor.jpg

The refrigerator cabinet had to be modified to allow for the extra layer of floor.   Then it is a matter of replacing the carpet.

carpet-re-installed.jpg

Well, as long as we were at it, we decided to replace the carpet that was covering part of the kitchen, and the linoleum that covered the rest, with hardwood flooring.   After the carpet was removed, a thin padding covered the floor. (Notice that the refrigerator cabinet has been put back in place in the upper left corner.)

padding-down.jpg

Lay the wood down, add a little trip and BINGO, there you go. (Click on photo to enlarge)

finished-floor-480.jpg

The key to the entire project was repairing the leaking frig.  The crack was sealed with caulking and the condensation now flows to the outside via the drain hose.

Before you get really impressed, another key to this repair was finding someone with limitless talents and the proper tools.  We did with Jerry Dietrick.  Two tools that came in handy were Jerry’s multi-tool for critical sawing and my pneumatic brad/staple gun.  A table saw was used to remove 5/8 inch from the refrigerator cabinet sections.

jerry-card.JPG

Not only did Jerry make most of the repairs and modifications, but he and his wife washed and waxed the entire rig, taped the slide-out edges, and applied UV protection to the roof.  We were lucky to have them available.  They left to return to Iowa just after they finished our project.

If you have had a refrigerator cooling system replaced, be sure to check the back wall of the frig to be sure that it is not leaking.   If it is, get it fixed before you have a major project.

The Birds Are Coming!!!!

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

This time of year we feel that we may have been transported into an Alfred Hitchcock flick.  Well,  maybe not that bad.

We seem to be overwhelmed by grackles of various types.  It isn’t really as bad as it looks.  They seem to stay on the power lines and don’t interfere with much else.  During the day, they spend their time in the newly planted fields picking seeds.  It’s a mystery where they are during the rest of the year.

We used to see flocks of these birds at the San Antonio River Walk, but they seem to have been reduced by some means or another.

Click on the picture below to see an interesting video of their behavior and the incredible noise that they make. The format is for Real Player.  If you need that viewer, go to http://www.real.com/realplayer.

 edinburg-snap.jpg

Sour Grapes

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Click for Weslaco, Texas Forecast

It may seem like sour grapes to everyone that has suffered a miserable winter so far.  But we, in extreme South Texas, have been really blessed with some of the best weather in the country this winter with high temperatures in the mid 70’s to upper 80’s until just recently.

That is until the past two weeks.  Here’s where the sour grapes come in.  In the past 10 days, we’ve had three nights where the temperature actually dropped below freezing.  One night we actually hit 26 degrees.  Most of the winters here only drop below freezing one or 2 times. and for a short period of time during the night.

We have resorted to covering our hibiscus and other tender plants. When you drive in all the neighborhoods everyone has covered all their tropical plants. (Click on picture to enlarge.)

plants-480.jpg

What we call extreme temperatures in this area are truly a problem for many of the local residents in South Texas and Northern Mexico.  Many of the residents homes aren’t equipped with proper heating and there isn’t a wide abundance of winter clothing.  One of the main industries is farming such as all the oranges and grapefruit, vegetables you eat and sugar cane  Thankfully, these cold snaps don’t last too long.  If South Texas has a cold winter (or a few days below freezing) you, the readers, pay for it by higher prices at the grocery stores.

It looks like we’ll be back in the 70’s and 80’s within the next couple of days.  We now hope to see a lot more crops being planted and growing.

Tall Cotton and Other Crops

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Click for Weslaco, Texas Forecast

When you live in the Rio Grande Valley  (RGV) you never know what will be planted next.  They rotate crops around here like magicians.  Except for the citrus crops, oranges and grapefruit, which remain the same, the other fields are a flurry of activity.  The area, which consists of 4 Texas counties and the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, is irrigated by the Rio Grande River (I know that is redundant.)  In Mexico, the river is known as the Rio Bravo del Norte.

Most of the crops are vegetables.  Large areas are devoted to various types of melons, carrots, potatoes, 1015 onions, cabbage, lettuce, sugar cane, etc.  More than 40 different crops are grown here.  You name it, they grow it.

We’re not normally here in August, but this year we were, and were surprised to see large areas of cotton growth.  We’re used to seeing cotton in west Texas, where we’ve seen the harvest take place in December and January.   Seeing the harvest take place in August seemed quite unusual.

cotton1.jpg

Picking sure isn’t like in the old days where Tinka’s father brought in migrants to pick his crops by hand.  Today a combine takes the place of the pickers.

cotton2.jpg

They bring the whole cotton harvesting and baling operation  into the field.

cotton4.jpg

Then the apparatus spits out the huge bales that will be delivered to the gin later. (Click photo to enlarge)

cotton3-480.jpg

When the Winter Texans appear in the valley between October and the end of the year,  evidence of the cotton crop has been replaced by carrots, onions, or some other crop.

Benefit Roping

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Click for Falfurrias, Texas Forecast

For years, working in the oilfield equipment manufacturing business, Rick worked with our friend, Becky Casanova.  She had a knack for even being able to complete Rick’s sentences.   Becky’s husband, Roley, is an accomplished cowboy and competes in Team Roping events. Team roping is depicted in this beautiful drawing by Wyanne Chase.

rodeo-wyannechase.jpg

A few months ago, Roley was severely injured in a horseback riding accident.  Residents of the  Falfurrias, Texas and Premont, where Roley grew up and where many family members live, decided to have a team roping benefit in his honor.  The object is to raise funds to help offset medical bills.

Since it is only 60 miles away, we wanted to go to the event and see Becky and Roley.  When we arrived, the kids were getting their ring side positions.

rodeo-kids.jpg

Roley’s daughter, Mia, mounted up to assist.

rodeo-mia.jpg

Judging from the size of this “cowboy”, apparently there is no limit to when you start riding.  It is at least 18 inches between his feet and the stirrups.

rodeo-small-kid.jpg

It started to get dark when the  competition began.  The cowboys waited for their turn.

rodeo-cowboys.jpg

It was great to see Becky, Roley and Mia since it has been more than a year.

becky-photo-480.jpg

We were happy to see Roley take his first steps away from his wheelchair since his accident.  We are hopeful that the recovery continues without incident.