Cenizo Journal Summer 2022 | Page 11

be enough to support some lights and a couple of ceiling fans , but no possibility of an electric refrigerator . By then we had some experience with our 50-year-old Servel . A Lehman ’ s catalogue , used by the Amish who do not use electricity , led us to a brand-new Servel propane refrigerator .
This refrigerator was small and mostly reliable , but it required “ burping ” from time to time , when a gas bubble blocked propane flow and cooling was interrupted . We would have to lean the refrigerator at a 45-degree angle and tap the pipes at the back gently with a rubber mallet , helping the gas bubble to rise and escape by some magic . Cooling usually would resume . The first 15 years of this refrigerator ’ s life , we had to do this with some frequency , and occasionally lost some food due to unexpected loss of cooling . Tech support from the Servel people was great . There I ’ d be on my hands and knees with the phone at my ear , taking apart the igniter or some other part as the technician instructed and guided me . Eventually , Charlie was able to diagnose and repair the problem and we basically continued this way for many years .
. . . And then 2020 happened .
What I have neglected to mention is that , not having any air conditioning , we never stayed on the desert through the summer . In about May each year we would turn off the refrigerator and empty it , leaving it propped open so it would not mold , and we headed to the coast of Washington state . In October we would return and the Servel would light right up and return to cooling .
But in 2020 , we were hired to help with the Census in our remote area of Terlingua . We were scheduled to begin in March and would be done by the end of April so we would be able to leave for the Northwest . But the onset of Covid delayed the Census work until June , which now would have us staying into July . May was hot . June was really hot . We had enlarged our 25- year-old solar system the year before , but not enough to have air conditioning . In our sweltering house , our little Servel propane refrigerator just could not keep up with cooling .
Amazingly , we encountered another miracle of miracles . A neighbor had a small electric refrigerator for sale for fifty dollars . Although we weren ’ t certain that our solar system could run an electric refrigerator efficiently , we were desperate and figured once again that fifty dollars was a small gamble .
Well , this little refrigerator , made by Crosley , a Canadian Company , changed our world . Apple juice was cold . Meat didn ’ t spoil . Butter didn ’ t melt . We could keep a bag of ice in the freezer . We made it through the Census work and into July , when we unplugged the Crosley and headed off to Washington state for the rest of the summer .
Even though that Crosley worked well , it was small and its design made it difficult to organize and find things . And most importantly , Charlie , now 81 , had trouble stooping down to find and get things from the refrigerator .
Which brings us to 2022 . My hiking buddy Bonnie , with a solar system the same size as ours , had purchased a larger electric refrigerator with two doors and a bottom freezer . It was Energy Star rated and had not fried her solar system . Our turn ! With a bit of research on the internet , we were able to find an Energy Star LG refrigerator with the same design as Bonnie ’ s that would fit in our rather small kitchen . It was delivered from Odessa by a trucking company with two young drivers who almost turned around and went home when they encountered the first hill on our five miles of dirt road . But with some encouragement , they made it to our house , unloaded the monolith , moved the Crosley out of the way , and set up the LG giant .
This is where we are now , about six weeks into this refrigerator . We love the refrigerator compartment being at eye level . Thus far our solar is continuing to work well , though time will tell .
So , like the cavemen whose wheel led to wagons and migration , our refrigeration has led us to bigger and better and more . And yet the funny thing is that each year , when we migrate between Texas and Washington state , we pull a 50-year-old 14-foot Shasta travel trailer that has , of all things , an ice box for refrigeration . Indeed , after all that evolution , when we travel we ’ re back to using a block of ice to keep our food and drinks cold ! Go figure . �

Cenizo Summer 202211