Perhaps the cavemen felt this way when they discovered the wheel . Suddenly life became easier . Possibilities opened . It was a life changer .
That ’ s how I felt when Charlie and I advanced to electric refrigeration in the desert . Possibilities opened . Our apple juice was cold . It ’ s been a life changer .
Our path to electric refrigeration was long . It began with an ice chest on our first camping trip in Big Bend National Park 35 years ago .
Ice chests certainly have their place . During the many times we camped in Big Bend before years later moving here permanently , our ice chest was the foundation for being able to camp way off by ourselves . From a Styrofoam cooler we graduated quickly to a more rugged plastic cooler . We didn ’ t even mind driving the 16 miles roundtrip on rough rocky road every third day to get ice ; we just appreciated the ice chest and the ice , the cold drinks and food that it allowed us to have .
Several years of camping in this way led us to eventually upgrade . We bought our tiny strawbale casita which was a crude little cabin with a dirt floor , a wood stove , no electricity and one little rain barrel for water . It was a place we could camp out for a few weeks at a time .
One ice chest became two ice chests , which was perfect . More cold drinks , more food . It worked for us , and it was only a 10-mile roundtrip of bumpy dirt road to go get ice .
We were about a year and several camping trips into using the casita when , miracle of miracles , one day in Alpine we wandered through Wool and Mohair , an old feed store that sold whatever strange and wonderful things people brought in . We came across a 1940s Servel propane refrigerator . We were totally unfamiliar with propane refrigeration — how could heat create cold ? But it was small and very cute and fifty dollars didn ’ t seem like much of a gamble .
What do you know . . . the Servel worked , actually created cooling . True , the thermostat didn ’ t exactly function precisely--it sometimes cooled , sometimes froze what we put into it , but with a watchful eye , it kept us in cold drinks and foods here on the desert as we began to build our house , incorporating the strawbale casita .
Being four miles from any electric lines made solar power the only choice in our new house . This was 1994 , pre-internet in our area , and we knew no one else on solar power out here . So we read books and we guessed . Our system would
10 Cenizo Summer 2022