We hardly dare comment about the cold weather here since we know that however cold it is here, it's much worse further north. Since we Winter Texans are mostly from the midwest, we aren't happy when it is cold, but we certainly don't let it stop us from doing what we can. We disconnect the water hoses from our rigs, put on the hats, coats and mittens we came down here with and carry on. We even saw one guy on the golf course today. The temperatures haven't gotten below freezing yet, although they may tonight, but when you watch the local news you get the feeling the end of the world is nigh. Even though we have had absolutely no precipitation, school officials were under pressure to close and in some cases the school openings were delayed a few hours. Local hardware stores have totally run out of water pipe insulation materials and space heaters. Many of the folks around here are poor and their homes are not insulated at all. Where we live in the north heating centers open for vagrants and homeless when it gets below freezing, but here entire families have moved into heating centers because they cannot get their homes habitably warm. Some people have forgotten about their pets and there were stories about some which froze to death last night. Since experience has taught us that it also can be cold and snowy in Mexico, we are a bit surprised by the panic and angst.
The citrus farmers have good reason to be worried. A hard freeze lower than 28º for more than four hours will cause all the fruit on the trees to freeze and become unusable. If the freeze lasts a few hours longer, the trees will be damaged and may have to be destroyed. It would take years for new plants to be as productive as the mature orchards here now. Pickers have scrambled to remove as much fruit as possible and sprinklers are turned on. Ironically, coating a plant with ice helps to hold the heat. During the last very cold winter, many growers left the area altogether. This would be a real tragedy for the poor migrant workers around here.
We spent an enjoyable afternoon with John and Anne, new friends who live less than thirty miles from us at home and less than thirty miles from us here. They tracked us down as a result of listening to our RV podcast at rvnavigator.com. We went to the McAllen international travel show. When we go to this show at home we get information about the Seychelles and Machu Picchu. Here the international refers to Mexico and there were many vendors from exciting spots like Kansas and Oklahoma. Nevertheless we picked up two pounds of brochures for interesting spots to visit when the weather improves and we are ready to move out of the Rio Grande Valley. For now we'll turn up the furnace and hunker down, knowing that we are fortunate indeed to be here where it is 36º.