A blog about living, hunting, and whatever else I want.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

10 chicks hatched, at least 1 more to go

10 total are out of their eggs. At least 1 more egg has a hole in it where the little critter is trying to get out.

7 were out when I took the pics. Numbers 8, 9, and 10 got out while I was downloading so there are only the first 7 in these pics.

Here they are in the incubator.

More chicks hatched

Now there are three completely out of their eggs and walking around and a 4th has broken out the side of it's egg but hasn't crawled out yet.

It will be interesting to see how they turn out when they grow up.

Conversation with a liberal

I was talking with a woman who immigrated here from China (legally, no less) and became a US citizen. She supports socialized medicine and other big government wealth transfers. At least she admits that coming from China she is used to big government. She says "I just want guaranteed health care when I retire."

I tried to explain to her that providing her own health care is an obligation she has. I also told her that when she says "I want _____________." what she is really saying is "I want the government to force someone else to pay for __________________."

I don't think I convinced her. The idea of personal responsibility seemed strange to her. The thought that she should be ultimately responsible for her own life, health, safety, education, and retirement was beyond her.

I did learn that some people actually think the government can manage things better than the free market. That's amazing to me.

Rabbit update

I have all the cages finished, but not the stands to hold them, so the cages are still sitting on the porch. It works for now providing shade and protection from the rain. My better half made a little pen in the yard our of 24" high welded wire. When we got them we could set the cages in the pen and open the doors and let the bunnies roam around and eat and play. Now they are mature enough that the bucks will chase the does and if we let just the does out together they start fighting among themselves. I suspect that welded wire will end up as part of a chicken cage, or maybe a cage for the little bunnies while we fatten them up for the table.

First chick hatched!!!

Sorry, no pics yet, but the first chick hatched this morning. My oldest wants to name it "Pecker". I guess that's ok. The kids got to watch, but unfortunately I was at work so I missed it. It was one of the eggs that had the crack this morning. My better half tells me the chick is black. I hope there are more.

Chicks about to hatch

We've got 30 eggs in the incubator. They came from a friend that keeps hens and cocks from a variety of breeds together. Some of the eggs are brown, some are white, and some are green. The green ones look like the pic.

Here is a link if you want to buy some. I believe the colored egg laying comes from the Araucana breed.

Today is supposed to be the day based on how long they've been in the incubator. For the last two days we've been hearing occasional peeps. Looking through the cloudy window in the top of the incubator last night I saw one egg that looked like it had a chip in it. This morning I found another that looked like it had a similar chip and one that looked like it had a new crack.

I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, but based on the peeping we'll probably get at least one chick out of this.

We still haven't heard from the hatchery about our Black Australorp chicks. Since I've got a bunch of chicks not quite grown that are still in the chick container it's probably a good thing if they don't ship for another week or two.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Game Warden

James, a family friend told me this story, and his stories usually have at least a grain of truth in them. James told this story at least 10 years ago and I don't know how much earlier it is supposed to have happened. You'd have to know James to appreciate his slow and carefully considered responses.

One day during dove season James was driving around with his gun and vest looking over the various properties he had permission to hunt on. He was checking them out to see if any had enough doves to justify stopping and getting out when a game warden stopped him. He said the guy was young and probably new at this sort of thing.

After exchanging greetings and documents the conversation went something like this:

GW: So, have you been hunting today?
J: I guess you could say that.
GW: Do you mind if I look in your trunk?
J: Oh, I guess that would be alright.

James opened the trunk to reveal a hunting vest, a couple of full boxes of shotgun shells, and a gun in a soft case. The case was the kind that only zipped around the butt end of the gun.

GW: Do you have a plug in your gun?
J: (Pause) You know, I don't think I do.
GW: (getting excited and displaying a sort or rubber ruler) I need to put this in your gun to see if it has a plug in it.
J: Well, I guess that would be ok.

The game warden unzipped the case and started to pull the gun out. When he got it out far enough to see that it was a side-by-side he stopped, pushed it back into the case, zipped it up, turned, walked back to his truck, and drove off without another word.

The moral of the story is: Make sure you ask the right question.

The President is such a great teleprompter reader

Must be that fantastically high IQ of his that got him ahead of the teleprompter.

This makes him look almost as intelligent as a rock, but he does recover nicely. That must come with lot's of practice.

U.S. set to issue travel warning to Mexico

So the US State Department is going to issue a warning to American's to avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico. If things are dangerous enough to issue a travel warning, should we consider closing the border?

Here is your link.

U.S. set to issue travel warning to Mexico

Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:53am EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department plans to issue a travel warning later on Monday urging Americans to avoid all "nonessential" travel to Mexico because of an outbreak of swine flu, a U.S. official said.

Swine flu has killed 103 people in Mexico and has spread to the United States. Spain has reported one case of the virus, the first to be confirmed in Europe.

"There will be a travel warning urging Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico because of the swine flu," said a U.S. official, who spoke on condition he not be named as the warning has not yet been announced.

(Reporting by Sue Pleming; Editing by Will Dunham)

Border Patrol given protective clothing?

The article from http://www.timesonline.co.uk doesn't explain what they mean by "protetive clothing". I suspect they mean masks, but I guess it's not unimaginable that the border patrol agents would be issued bunny suits while keeping the border open.

Here is your link.

"Last night the US authorities were still allowing people to cross the border from Mexico, where it is thought that the swine flu emerged. But customs officials at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa crossings were given protective clothing. "

Government response to the flu

As far as pandemics go, they are like economic recessions and depressions - I am far more worried about what the government will do in response than I am about the problem itself.

Food when you are sick

I'm not referring to food that will build up your immune system or help you avoid the flu or stuff that will be easy on your stomach. I'm referring to stuff that requires little time and effort to prepare.

You may not like stuff like Poptarts, frozen waffles, canned biscuits, crackers, or frozen microwave dinners, but if you and your spouse are both sick at the same time and neither of you feel like getting out of bed to put some calories into your system then those items may be something to consider. Frozen dishes of leftovers that you can heat in the microwave are another option that is probably tastier, healthier, and cheaper.

I had pneumonia a few years ago and it knocked me out. Sitting up in bed was an effort and walking to the bathroom seemed like a 20 mile run. Even after the medicine cleared everything up I was so weak I could hardly get out of bed. If I'd been alone or my better half had been in the same shape then getting food to regain my strength would have been difficult if everything had to be made from scratch. Having something that you can eat with little or no prep time is a blessing in that situation.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Update on Swine Flu

Here is the link.

"Mexico health minister confirms 16 deaths from swine flu

Sixteen people have died from swine flu and authorities are probing 50 more possible deaths from the virus, Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said Friday. "


New Swine Flu

Here is the link.

From the article:

"WASHINGTON, April 23 (Reuters) - Seven people have been diagnosed with a new kind of swine flu in California and Texas, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday. All seven people have recovered but the virus itself is a never-before-seen mixture of viruses typical among pigs, birds and humans, the CDC said. "We are likely to find more cases," the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat told a telephone briefing. "We don't think this is time for major concern around the country." Only one of the seven cases was sick enough to be hospitalized and all have recovered, Schuchat said. CDC officials are unsure whether the cases are related to an unusually late and severe flu season in Mexico in which 20 people have died."

"In the United States, the CDC reported the new strain of swine flu on Tuesday in a boy and a girl from California's two southernmost counties. Now, five more cases have been found via normal surveillance for seasonal influenza. None of the patients, whose symptoms closely resembled seasonal flu, had any direct contact with pigs."

""We believe at this point that human-to-human spread is occurring," Schuchat said. "That's unusual. We don't know yet how widely it is spreading ... We are also working with international partners to understand what is occurring in other parts of the world." The CDC's Dr. Nancy Cox said virus samples from the seven appear to carry genes from swine flu, avian flu and human flu viruses from North America, Europe and Asia. "We haven't seen this strain before, but we hadn't been looking as intensively as we have," Schuchat said. "It's very possible that this is something new that hasn't been happening before.""

I just thought you'd like to know.

Keeping government officials on the straight and narrow

I think every government official should go to his job every day with the fear that today he may be tarred and feathered and ridden out of the country on a rail.


Among other things in the orchard we have a Moonglow pear tree that we put out last year. This year it is covered with pears to the point that we will probably have to take some off to prevent damage from the limbs being overloaded and breaking. Sorry, no pictures, yet, but maybe this weekend.

My wife was at walmart yesterday and they were having a clearance sale on their trees. Fruit trees for $11, shade trees for $9. She picked up two more Moonglow pears to add to our little orchard.

These won't put much food on the table short term, but they are a great long term investment.

Call your local walmart and see if they have their trees on clearance!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Snake Boots and Chaps

It's starting to get warm enough here that our little legless friends are out and about. I like snakes in general, but I don't really care for the venomous ones and I don't like getting out in the heavy brush and high grass in the summer unless I have some protection.

I've been wearing a pair of Redhead Bayou zip-up snake boots for the last couple of years. I caught them on sale and it seems like I had a coupon of some kind so I didn't have to pay the retail price shown on their website, but I think they would be worth the asking price.

I have found them to be very comfortable even for long periods of time. They are also the first pair of zip-ups I've had. I love them. They go on and come off quick, which is important to me when I'm hunting or working outside. No more lacing up boots for me, thank you very much. That task gets worse and worse as the boots get taller.

If I'm going to be working or hunting in really heavy brush or in steep terrain where I might come across a rattlesnake up high enough for it to bit over my boots I wear snake chaps as well. I don't have a link for the one's I use, but you can go to Cabela's or Bass Pro and find a set. They cover me up to my crotch on the inside of my legs and nearly to my belt on the outside. They are heavy and stiff and hot, but I don't have to worry so much about an unscheduled trip to the emergency room. That is especially important when you are an hour and a half or more from the nearest emergency room.

Here is nice venomous snake my #2 son found at the farm on Dec. 28, so remember that snakes can and will come out any time it is warm enough for long enough. They don't truly hibernate, but rather do something called brumating, which is basically staying dormant when it is cold, but able to get up and hunt for food if it warms up for a day or two, then go back to a dormant state if the temperature drops again.

We had been hunting, then went back to the house to let him shoot the .22 a little bit. We would set up some cans and plastic bottles and he would shoot them and make them jump until they fell off the edge of the driveway where it drops into the field. We'd been at it maybe 20 minutes and we walked out to pick up the cans when he saw the snake sitting out in the short grass by the drive way, 10 feet from where the bullets were hitting. I thought the bullets hitting the ground would have scared him away, but I guess not. That was a good reminder that snakes don't just hang out in high grass.

Here is another little nasty that I found out in the field. I thought it was a stick when I first saw it. I guess the camo pattern works.

You can see the pit between the eye and the nostril.

You can see the "diamond" shape of the head in this picture.

Here is the business end of the little fellow.

Another tip is to keep a hoe or shovel within reach. Those are often your best tools to use against snakes. Use them to move objects before you pick them up. A fringe benefit of this policy is that you can also find out if there is a wasp nest in that pile of junk before you pick it up.

Keep your eyes open out there.

More Americans than not think the country is headed the right direction!?

Are you kidding me?

Here is your link.

The right direction, even though "Nearly 80 percent believe that the rising federal debt will hurt future generations"?

My next question is: What is wrong with the other ~20%? Do they really think the unimaginably huge debt is a non-issue?

Of course nearly half the people in the country pay no income tax, so I guess they think it can't hurt them. Maybe they'll get the picture when the checks stop flowing from uncle sugar.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Old Poll

Why do people keep sending me a link to a USA Today poll on personal disarmament from 2007?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Thomas Sowell hits one out of the park

Yes, he's a little late weighing in on this issue, but still a good read. He must be one of those right wing extremists. Probably a racist, too.

I need to add a hunting story

My dad told me about a quail hunt he was on once. There was a railroad right-of-way that was near one of my grandfather's farms and back in those days you could hunt on it. My dad, my grandpa, and another man were walking along the right-of-way when a lone quail got up on their left and was crossing in front of them. The guy on the left fired and missed. The guy in the middle fired and missed. The guy on the right fired and missed. The quail was so panicked that it flew into the top wire of a barbed wire fence and killed itself.

I don't know how you decide who get's to carry that one back.

Now that I got that out of my system here are a few updates

My wife told me we needed a little more room to plant the rest of the garden. The work in plowing a garden is mostly in putting the various implements on the tractor and taking them off again. Making an 8' wide strip is not really any easier than making a 38' wide strip so I more or less double the size of the garden. If we get that all planted I may make another garden plot.

When I plowed the first half of the garden the soil had the ideal amount of moisture for plowing and when I ran the turning plow through it everything just crumbled to a fine texture with no clods. There was a little more moisture in the soil this time so I actually had to use the disc on it.

I finished the last of the rabbit cages last weekend. I still need to build stands for them and a roof, but I have a plan for that. I'm replacing the porch columns on my house and the old columns and the railing will make nice raw material for the stands. Cheap, too.

I got the dog houses (future chicken houses) out of my truck and got one mostly repaired. It had a couple of rotten places that I fixed with scraps of lumber I had. It needs some caulk and paint. The smaller one is in a little worse shape. The bottom fell off when I put it in the truck because it hadn't been painted either and the bottom of the walls had rotted out. Surprisingly the plywood floor is still in good shape. It's a fairly big dog house so I think I'll use my sawzall to chop the bottom 6 inches off all the walls, then put the bottom back on it. It has a few loose shingles, but I've got some roof tar so I can fix that as well.

It's a good thing I'm almost done with that because we have over two dozen chicks that are almost big enough to move out of the cage and into a place of their own.

We've been candling some of the fertilized eggs we got, and have found at least one that we've seen a chick moving inside of. Unfortunately, we haven't been marking them so we don't know which is which. We have never hatched eggs before and don't really know what we are looking for when candling eggs so we haven't thrown any out. Hopefully we'll get at least one out of the 30 eggs.

Hussein to sign "National Service" bill

What a winner we have in this one. Here is a link to one story about this nonsense. Here is a link to the text of the bill, soon to be law.

To quote from the news article: " . . . Obama is scheduled to sign Tuesday to foster and fulfill people's desire to make a difference, such as by mentoring children, cleaning up parks or building and weatherizing homes for the poor." Wow. Just think of all those people who wanted to help clean up parks and weatherize homes for the poor, but didn't realize they could. I can see them now in the park, wanting to pick up that old beer can but not realizing that it would be allowed. Now, thanks to Hussein, they know they can pick up that beer can without being thrown in jail and it will only cost us $5.7 billion. We know it will really cost much more than that, but why mention it?

Here is another good bit from the article: "Bolstering voluntary public service programs has been a priority of Obama, who credits his work as a community organizer in his early 20s for giving him direction in life." I don't even know what to say to that, except that if Hussein being a "community organizer" led the nation to where we are now I think we could do with a fewer community organizers. Maybe he should have gotten a job instead.

Let's go on: "It outlines five broad categories where people can direct their service: helping the poor, improving education, encouraging energy efficiency, strengthening access to health care and assisting veterans." I guess until this bill is signed it would be against the law to help the poor (whatever that means), or encourage energy efficiency or assist vets. I think the price of energy is a pretty good encouragement towards energy efficiency. My dad and I once helped a disabled vet who was having trouble getting his wheelchair up a hill to the entrance of a gun show. Seems all the guns he was taking into the show weighed more than he thought they would and the additional weight made for some tough going. Was that illegal then? It must have made us right wing extremists.

Then we get to this mess: "

The bill also ties volunteer work to money for college.

People 55 and older could also earn $1,000 education awards by getting involved in public service. Those awards can be transferred to a child, grandchild or even someone they mentored.

Students from sixth grade through senior year of high school could earn a $500 education award for helping in their neighborhoods during a new summer program." I'll bet most people 55 and older could find a way to earn more money in less time if they thought about it. I guess I don't know the details - maybe you can get the $1000 for spending 15 minutes protesting outside a company that refuses to take bailout money from the government.

My favorite part: "The bill is named for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass." It should have been called the "I'm a wealthy drunk and think it's ok to leave someone to drown in my car while I go back to the party" bill. I wonder if leaving Mary Jo Kopechne to drown was helping the poor, improving education, encouraging energy efficiency, or strengthening access to health care? I'm leaning towards "improving education" because I'll bet she learned something that night.

This bill is passed with all it's flowery language about helping people while the President wants to reduce the deductions for charitable giving? It doesn't sound to me like he cares about people. It seems to me that he wants to increase the size and power of the government. If you reduce the deductions on charity then you can create a "crisis" which the government will be happy to solve.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tolerance on the left

Wow. I have to say that I'm not sure what this so-called actress has played a part in. I've never heard of her, but then I don't watch much in the way of TV and I don't read magazines devoted to Hollywood types. She does seem to fit the classic profile of a lefty - a chip on her shoulder and a dislike for everyone that isn't rich enough to buy their way into her circle. Based on her comments I will hazard a guess that she has more personal knowledge of hate than anyone that participated in any of the tea parties and she sounds like she needs to make another appointment to go back and see her therapist again. I wonder what she thinks the Boston Tea Party was about, but asking a question like that might "tax" her abilities.

One thing to think about - when was the last time you heard lefties protest anything where nobody was arrested and nothing was burned or vandalized?

Here is the link to a tolerant leftist.

Liberal actress says tea parties were racist

Liberal actress and political activist Janeane Garofalo, in all seriousness, said activists who attended tea parties are racists with dysfunctional brains in a recent prime-time television appearance.

"Let's be very honest about what this is about. This is not about bashing Democrats. It's not about taxes. They have no idea what the Boston Tea party was about. They don't know their history at all. It's about hating a black man in the White House," she said on MSNBC's "The Countdown" with Keith Olbermann Thursday evening. "This is racism straight up and is nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks. There is no way around that."

Olbermann did not once try to challenge her on those assertions.

The actress went on to describe the brain size of typical "right-winger, Republican or conservative or your average white power activist."

"Their synapses are misfiring. ... It is a neurological problem we are dealing with," she said. This isn't the first time she's offered this analysis, either. Ms. Garofalo said similar things about Alaskan GOP Governor Sarah Palin's brain last February in an interview with an environmental blog.

The actress went on to bash the GOP on MSNBC Thursday because it had "crystallized into the white power movement" as well as Fox News, which she said has captured the "Klan demo[graphic]."

"Who else is Fox talking to? Urban older white guys and their girlfriends who suffer from Stockholm Syndrome," she said.

Ironically, Ms. Garofalo is currently playing a role on the drama 24, which is aired by the Fox Broadcasting Company and is popular among conservative circles.

If I said things like that I'd be called a right wing extremist.

Survival Woes

The icemaker in my freezer went out. How will I make it until the new one arrives? This is roughing it!!!

Ice is civilization!!

That is from The Mosquito Coast if you remember that movie. Harrison Ford plays the part of a guy that moves his family to live with primitive people in South America and forgets that people who beat their swords into icemakers usually end up making ice for those who don't.

"Safety" features on firearms

I read a blog this morning and the author had just bought a new Springfield XD and was going on about it. They are fine handguns from what I've seen and heard. Then the author got around to listing the "features" on this handgun. Among many fine attributes were 1. a "loaded chamber indicator", 2. a "cocking indicator" and 3. a "grip safety". Oh boy.

I understand that manufacturers have lawyers on staff that tell them to add all sorts of things to their products to reduce the companies liability. Great. We all suffer.

I'll attack these things in order.

A "loaded chamber indicator" is one of the worst things I can think of to add to any firearm. Have the people at Springfield forgotten about the Four Rules? How about Rule Number One: All firearms are always loaded. Let me repeat that for the liability lawyers:

ALL firearms are ALWAYS loaded.

Am I supposed to start being stupid because a little bump of metal on the side of a handgun told me that the gun isn't loaded?

Would you really pick up an XD, feel to see if the little bump is sticking out, and if it isn't then point the handgun at your spouse or child and press the trigger? Do you trust a mechanical device that much? I don't.

Is a chamber check that hard to perform? If you don't have the strength in your hands and arms to do a chamber check then maybe you should find a good training class and learn a different method of performing the check, or maybe you should carry a different kind of handgun that you can check.

I realize that the "loaded chamber indicator" is just a little bump of metal on the extractor that is painted red and supposed to stick out when a cartridge (or empty case) is in the chamber and supposed to not stick out when the chamber is empty. That strikes me as particularly dangerous to inexperienced and untrained/inadequately trained shooters. Well trained and experienced users will ignore it, but the inexperienced may think it is proof that the handgun is safe.

Far better would be a bump of metal painted red and permanently attached to the gun so it always sticks out indicating that the handgun is always loaded.


A "cocking indicator" is just silly. What purpose does it serve? Really, what does it do? If you believe that all firearms are always loaded then it really doesn't matter what the little button on the back tells you and it really doesn't matter if it is cocked or not. Would you pick up a firearm, check that the cocking indicator shows it isn't cocked, and then think it is ok to point it at your foot and press the trigger? I wouldn't.

My understanding is that on this particular handgun the indicator is a hole in the back of the slide that is supposed to let the back of the striker stick out when it is cocked. Seems to me a good place for dirt and sand and crud to get in and tie up the striker. That would be a bad thing.

I don't like having extra holes in my stuff that can let crud in. I took a Series 80 Colt to a class once and found out about that sort of thing. The Series 80 Colt has a cocking indicator in the form of an exposed hammer, but my problem was with the firing pin blocking thing built into the slide. It has two little levers that are driven off the trigger mechanism and the upper lever pushes up a plunger in the slide that blocks the firing pin. It is often criticized because all the extra linkages add drag and make the factory triggers on those handguns worse than they would be without the mechanism. My problem was that some fouling, sand, dirt, dust, or all of the above got in between the plunger and the slide and brought everything to a complete stop. The plunger was stuck in the down position and the gun could not be fired. Not the best thing to have on a device that you might have to bet your life on. I took it off the line and with the proper application of a Leatherman tool and some oil I got it going again. I don't like extra holes in stuff.

The real purpose for a firing pin blocker is to try and prevent an unintentional discharge if the firearm is dropped. Ok, but I'd rather just keep the a fresh firing pin spring in mine. I won't give you the "just don't drop it" line. If you haven't dropped a gun then you haven't used and handled them enough. There are two kinds of shooters in the world, those who have dropped a gun and those who will.


The grip safety is not needed any more than the other "safety features". I know the M1911 has one, but as I recall it was not on the original design. It was added later at the requist of the US Army. I remember reading that it was actually requested for the cavalry. Not the mechanised troops we think of today but the kind that rode horses. Someone got the bright idea that men on horseback needed a grip safety and that's why we have it today. I don't know if that is true, but I do know that the P-35 "Hi-Power" doesn't have a grip safety. (A side note on the P-35: most of them have an even sillier "safety" in the form of a magazine disconnector, which I'll get to in a momment.)

So far I've never missed pressing the grip safety on a M1911, which proves nothing. Surely nobody has ever been in a fight and gotten a poor grip on their handgun!!! Say it ain't so! I prefer not having one. If you follow the Four Rules then you really don't need ANY safety.

Safety is between your ears, not between your hands.

Show me a tool that is foolproof and I'll show you a tool that only a fool would want. I'll also give you good odds that the "features" that make it "foolproof" will mess up when you most need it and it won't work.


Just to show that I'm not picking on SA or the XD in particular I'll add a couple of other "safety features" that should never be put on any firearm.

A magazine disconnector is one of the worst things in the world.

Why would I want to fire a gun without the magazine in it? Well, maybe I lost all my magazines and a single shot is better than no shot at all. Maybe I thought the fight was over and I was in the middle of recharging my firearm when the bad guy gets back up and starts to attack again (that happened to me in a training class and could happen on the street). Maybe when I drew my handgun I accidentally hit the mag release and that lovely scraping sound is my mag moving down the sidewalk (that happened to an LEO I met and he was suddenly trying to arrest a felon with a single shot handgun. Good thing for him he didn't have a magazine disconnector). I was in another training class and when I was moving through a tight doorway I banged into the frame with my hand and the impact pushed my finger from it's normal position to a new spot on the mag release, which worked as intended. At that point the bad guy made his appearance. I hit him with the round in the chamber, then reloaded. The sound of a loaded mag clunking on the floor is scary.

Built in key locks should be banned. There is no excuse for allowing that sort of thing to be built into any firearm. In the best case they do no harm. In the worst case they can tie up a tool that you need to work and you may not be able to fix it in the time you have. Google up "keylock failure" or some variation of that and you will start to get examples. Not a high proportion of the total firearms out there with built in locks, but if you are going to live by probability then you don't even need to carry a handgun because it is statistically unlikely you will ever need it.

Crossbolt and tang safeties on lever action rifles. Some idiot came up with this idea. Or maybe it was a guy with a bunch of leverguns and he wanted to increase the value of them by making newer leverguns less desireable. Sure it is a little dangerous lowering the hammer from full cock to half cock. That's why you follow Rule Number Two. If it is pointed in a safe direction it won't hurt anyone if the hammer slips out from under your thumb.

There is a difference between an unintentional discharge and a negligent discharge and it usually has to do with where the firearm is pointing.

I don't really have a problem with the little cable locks that are not actually part of the firearm. If you have several firearms that you are not going to use for a while, especially ones that you wouldn't normally use for emergencies, like target guns and skeet shooting guns, then I don't have a problem with them. If you lose the key then you will have time to go get a bolt cutter and remove the offending thing.

I want my tools to work. The one's like my lawn mower, that are not for use in emergencies, I don't care so much about the silly "safety" things added to them. If they fail I can probably fix them and if it takes 15 minutes or 2 hours then probably nobody will die because of it. However, I don't want to be messing around with my defensive tools for 15 minutes if I need one.

What about children at home? Well, for one thing, if your handgun is on your belt then it won't be where kids can play with it, right? There are two problems with having your defensive firearm on the nightstand or in a drawer. 1. Your kids can find it and if they don't follow your training there will be trouble and 2. You have to go and get it if you need it. The advantage to handguns is that they are handy and you can carry them around. If you have to go get it then it isn't handy. If I have to go get a firearm then I will get a rifle. The handgun is for when I don't have time to go get a rifle.

Another thing: all children should be well aquainted with firearms and firearm safety. As a parent you can best judge when yours are mature enough to go shooting and you should take them as soon as they are ready. You should be willing to show them your firearms and let them handle them under your watchful eye. That will take the mystery away and it gives you a chance to teach and reinforce the safety rules. One extra rule for kids should be "You can look at and handle firearms when Mom or Dad is there to help, but you cannot look at or handle firearms when Mom or Dad is not there." You also ought to have some type of locking cabinet.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Brown Recluse

I hear a lot about the Brown Recluse. I don't know if most people know what one looks like. I suspect that some see any old brown spider and say it was a Brown Recluse just to make conversation.

These are pics I took of a Brown Recluse. The spiders are fairly small and generally don't sit still very long. On some the rear portion of the body is much lighter in color than the example in these pics.

Watch out for these little critters. I like spiders in general, but I show these no mercy.

Looking forward to winter

I woke up this morning and my nose was stopped up, my throat was scratchy, my eyes burned, and my head hurt. Ah, the joys of spring. It made me long for winter so I thought I'd post a few pics from early 2008.

Tea Party vs. Tea Bag

My wife was looking at a blog that a friend of hers has. I looked for about 1 second and said "So she's a left wing loony?"

Her post from yesterday was a quote from some silly story about "tea bagging" protests. Since I have never heard of a Taxed Enough Already protest called a "tea bagging" party I suspected lunacy.

This morning I saw Ann Coulter's article and realized I missed the boat. To quote Ann:

". . . they're not called "tea-bagging parties." (That, of course, refers to the cocktail hour at Barney Frank's condo in Georgetown.)

You know what else would be hilarious? It would be hilarious if Hillary Clinton's name were "Ima Douche." Unfortunately, it's not. "
Count on her to make me spray coffee on the keyboard.

A Great Day

Texas Governor Rick Perry and Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (who is planning to challenge Perry in the next election) are trying to outdo each other. Both question the federal power grab and pork pies that are coming out of Washington, D.C. It's nice when the argument is over who wants to restrict the federal government the most. I don't think it will last, but I will enjoy it while it does.

Link to the story in the Dallas Morning Snooze.

Some of the things Rick Perry said will definitely get him on the "right wing extremist/terrorist" watch list at the DHS.

If this Tea Party movement keeps growing then you can bet Perry will be thinking about the U.S. Presidency. He has signed improvements to the Texas concealed carry laws, so he probably can't be marked off the list for a stance in favor of personal disarmament. Love him or hate him he has gotten in on this on the ground floor.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I wonder if I can pick up one of these at Cabela's?

Seems the Mexican police confiscated an M2 Browning from the Mexcian drug lords. They announced that it was a US made machine gun. Whoooo-Hoooooo. Does anyone doubt that it was "lost" by the Mexican military?

Even Mike Vigil, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s former chief of international operations, was able to figure this one out. According to the article "Vigil suspected the weapon belonged to the Mexican military, but was obtained by corrupting military officers." Do you think, Mike?

Also from the article "Mexican government officials have said repeatedly that if the U.S. government wants them to curb the northward flow of drugs, America will have to curb the southward flow of weapons." Easy solution to that - we stop selling and giving military weapons to the Mexican police and miltary.

"The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as Texas firearms dealers, say the big gun could have taken many paths to the drug traffickers, including having been bought on the military black market." COULD have been bought on the black market!? Are you kidding? Does anyone, even Nancy Polosi, actually think people buy real M2s at Cabela's and Dick's? This must be some version of the so-called "gunshow loophole" that I haven't discovered yet.

"The gun could be used to shoot down an aircraft if mounted correctly." So could a slingshot. Honestly, how can one idiot reporter pack so much nonsense into one article? Did he go to a journalism school (sic) that offered a minor in stupidity? I'm surprised the parrot of a "reporter" didn't repeat the one about using the M2 to shoot down satellites from orbit.

I actually saw a pic in the news the other day of an "arsenal" that was confiscated in Mexico that might have come from somewhere in the US besides the transfer of military weapons from our government to the Mexican government. This "arsenal" was three over/under shotguns. My guess would be that they were stolen in the US, probably by illegals, and made their way to Mexico when some coyotes went home.

I'll say it again for the slow people out there: You cannot buy a real M2 in a gun store in the USA. When you can find a legal NFA registered M2 for sale you can expect to fork over about $24,000 for one, give or take, depending on the exact model, accessories, etc.

I'm sure that some guy went to an NFA dealer, did all the BATF paperwork to legally buy that M2, paid the big bucks for it, then stuck it in his trunk and drove it into Mexico to sell it to some drug runners. If you believe that then you need to put down the crack pipe.

Here is the link so you can read it yourself. Be sure you have a trashcan handy for when you puke.

LWM stupidity continues.

New Dog Houses

I picked up the free ex-dog houses/soon to be chicken coops yesterday. They are big. I have a 1/2 ton short bed pickup with a toolbox so I don't have a huge space in the back and I had to leave the tailgate down and strap them in.

One rule of pickups and trailers: ALWAYS keep plenty of tie-downs in the truck. I've got several ratchet tie-downs, a bunch of bungee cords, several ropes, and a bunch of steel wire, as well as several pieces of cardboard, cloth, and old carpet for padding.

The houses are still sitting in the back of the truck and I don't know when I'll get time to get them out. I need to hurry because they both needed a little bit of work before they are ready. One was made of unpainted siding. While the frame and roof was perfect one side was about half rotted out and needs to be replaced. I've got enough scraps of lumber around to fix it up. It doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to work.

I have so many projects around here I can't even get caught up enough to be behind. Do you have to start something to be behind schedule?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Turkey videos

These were from last fall. I haven't had a chance to go this spring, so this will have to do for me right now. I've got a little while, yet, so maybe I'll get lucky.

The videos aren't the best quality, but I never get tired of the sound. In the first video might be able to see the turkey that came off the roost in front of us and landed in the tree over our heads. In the second video that turkey takes off and joins the rest of them. I always get a charge out of that.

What do you think of the new template? I don't think I like it as well overall but it lets me put bigger pics and videos up. Does anyone know of a template more like the old one that will allow me to post wider videos without them being chopped off?

Kids, tools, and responsibility

I saw this over at Scoutinlife's and thought I'd borrow that idea for my own use.

Kids need to learn to work and need to learn how to use tools and need to learn responsibility. The very first jobs I remember having were as a young kid working for my grandparents. One grandfather gave me a coffee can with a couple of inches of gasoline in it and told me to go down the row of potato plants in his garden and put all the stink bugs and potato bugs I could catch in the can and he would pay me something like a penny per bug. I filled that can up with bugs and took it to him. I was amazed at how fast he could count. He looked in that can for about 3 or 4 seconds and then gave me a $5 bill. The other grandfather once handed me a hoe and showed me the plants in my grandmother's flower bed that he wanted and told me to get rid of everything else. What seemed like a long time and a few blisters later I had $10 in my pocket and a new and better understanding of how a hoe works and what labor really is. Not bad for a kid who was 7 or 8 years old. Later, around 10 or 12, I mowed yards in the neighborhood. I had about 12 regular customers and several others that would hire me once in a while when they went on vacation. I worked almost every day. This was obviously back before lawn care companies were common. I learned a lot about work and scheduling my time and about doing the job right the first time so the boss/customer didn't have to call me back to fix something.

The most difficult part of having the kids help is patience. You really have to forget about the amount of time you scheduled to finish the task and just concentrate on the kids learning and having fun. I've had mine helping since they were about 3. In some ways that is easier because when they are that age they can "help" drill a hole or drive a screw by resting their hand on the drill while you do the work. When they get older and want to do it themselves then it can take longer. Make sure you have plenty of drill bits on hand. Breaking one yourself while they are helping might be a good investment.

Don't forget to have them wear eye protection. When they start using loud tools like chop saws make sure they use ear protection as well. A lot of guys don't use eye and ear protection because they don't think it looks manly or something, but being blind or deaf is not so hot either. My dad has several friends that wouldn't wear ear or eye protection while shooting and hunting. Now one of them is so deaf he bought some electronic muffs but can't hear even with the volume cranked all the way up. Start your kids off with the habit of proper safety gear.

My kids started helping out when I was building a wooden train playset for them in the back yard. They drilled holes, drove screws, carried tools, and helped hold boards in place for me.

My oldest, age 9, has been mowing for a couple of years, and number 2, age 7, started last year. I like to keep 3 to 5 acres mowed short around the house, orchard, and garden, to help keep the critters away and reduce the danger of fire in the summer. The kids help a lot and I pay them according to how much they do and how well they do. If they miss spots they have to go back and fix them or they don't get paid. They use a reasonable sized riding mower and mostly they do the open areas that don't have many obstacles. They wear ear and eye protection when they mow. In fact, they are so in the habit of using that gear that they won't mow without it.

I started them whittling last year with a pocket knife. Scary. I remember getting my first pocket knife. I was about 6. It was an old scout knife that my grandpa found in some junk while cleaning out his garage. My dad said I could have it and warned me "Don't cut yourself and don't tell your mother." Of course I cut myself while whittling that same afternoon. Of course my mom found out about the knife, but I got to keep it. I still have it. Sometimes getting cut is part of growing up and part of using tools. Telling someone when you are hurt so you can get medical attention if needed is part of growing up and using tools, too.

The kids also help with feeding and watering the chickens and rabbits and dogs. Responsibility has many fronts and kids need to have some responsibility. Taking care of the needs of animals is a great learning experience for kids.

Kids helping out can be a learning experience for them on many different levels. They learn to use the tools, they learn to use the safety gear, and they learn the responsibility of taking on a job, doing it right, and finishing it correctly. I understand from people with older teenagers that fast food and other entry level, low skill jobs are hard for kids to find due to the jobs going to illegals, and now the number of people losing their jobs to the economy is making it worse. Helping you out on projects around the house is one way for them to learn to work.

My kids have also learned the lesson of credit. All of them have asked for something at the store when they didn't have enough money for it and my wife has bought it for them, then made them pay back the "loan" while keeping a written record of it. Honestly, she is the toughest and most heartless banker in the world. Having to work while the money goes to pay off a loan instead of going into their bank has helped them out. They don't ask for loans any more.

My parents taught me the same lesson when I was in high school. I wanted a car like any other guy my age. They told me they would match whatever I saved, up to a certain amount. I saved up to that amount and we went shopping. Pretty soon it was apparent they had underestimated the cost of a reliable car by quite a bit. They agreed to co-sign a loan for me. The loan was big to me, but small enough that they could easily pay it off without any worries. The deal they made was that I would make the payments and pay the insurance, and if I missed one payment they would pay off the car and sell it and I could kiss the money I had in it goodbye. My folks are hard nosed and I have no doubt they would have done it without thinking twice. I think the load was for 30 or 36 months. After about 4 or 5 months I was so sick of that payment I couldn't stand it. I paid it off more than a year early just so I didn't have that debt hanging over my head. I have hated being in debt ever since. Thank you for the lesson Mom and Dad. I will try to pass that on to my kids.

Teach your kids to work and do the job right. Teach them responsibility.

My wife and hunting

My wife has little interest in hunting. She likes the meat in the freezer and is glad I enjoy it and that the kids enjoy it, but she doesn't really care to do it herself. That is kind of strange to me because she loves to hike, and climb trees and rocks, and get muddy, and fall in a creek, and all the outdoor kind of stuff like that. She loves to cook and eat animals, but would rather let someone else do the killing. BTW I don't mind cooking, but she is much better at it than I am. I can cook any ONE item and not do too badly, but when it comes to cooking two or more items at once and trying to get them all on the table at the same time I fail. Usually with smoke.

My wife's first hunting day is coming. My oldest is 9 and has taken 4 deer and 5 turkey in his short career. Number two is 7 and has taken his first deer and 3 turkey. So far, so good. I accompany one and my dad accompanies the other. Number three is going to go this fall (he may go turkey hunting this spring if I can get the time) and where does that leave us? It will be a few years before the oldest can hunt by himself.

One possibility is that I'll accompany two and my dad can take one. The other possibility is if my mom is up to taking care of number four, which means my better half could accompany one.

Option number two means getting my wife up to speed on recognizing the difference between whitetail deer and mule deer. Not a big deal during mule deer season - if it has antlers you can put it in the bag while ignoring antlerless deer - but during most of the season you have to make sure you shoot the right one. Twice last season I saw a whitetail doe with a herd of mule deer.

Maybe she can accompany the oldest because he's pretty good at sorting out the differences.

US to go along with Iran enriching uraniaum

Now this really makes me feel comfortable, how about you?


The Obama administration and its European allies are preparing proposals that would shift strategy toward Iran by dropping a longstanding American insistence that Tehran rapidly shut down nuclear facilities during the early phases of negotiations over its atomic program, according to officials involved in the discussions.

The proposals, exchanged in confidential strategy sessions with European allies, would press Tehran to open up its nuclear program gradually to wide-ranging inspection. But the proposals would also allow Iran to continue enriching uranium for some period during the talks.

Wow. I'm sure the inspections would be open and honest.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Eye stuff to have with you

I made a comment on someone's blog (I don't know which one) about this and thought I'd post it here.

I usually wear contacts. I carry a spare set of glasses with me. I keep them in a hinged clam-shell type hard plastic case to protect them from being broken or mashed out of adjustment. I also carry an empty contact lens case and several sealed tubes of Refresh Tears in the glasses case.

As far as glasses go, I recommend getting ASNI spec prescription glasses. They have heavy duty frames and thicker polycarb lenses to protect your eyes. They tend to stand up to use and abuse better than non-rated frames.

You can also find the really inexpensive frames and lenses and get several pairs of them. If you really need corrective lenses then you can't have too many pairs. Both the ASNI rated glasses and the very inexpensive glasses are available online and from your local store.

Save your old glasses for spares. You might even see if you can drop off a pair at a close friend or relative's house that lives nearby. I also keep a spare pair of glasses in each of my family vehicles, and one at work. Hopefully, if I ever need them at least one set will be available.

Freebie from craigslist

I'm going by to pick up a couple of free dog houses this afternoon. They will make nice shelters for the up and coming chicks.

I keep an eye on the free section of craigslist. You never know what you will find. Sometimes firewood, fence panels, fence wire, rolls of chain link, old shelves and dressers, you name it.

More chickens

My better half increased our chicken count again. She picked up 6 Rhode Island Reds out of the straight run bin at the farm store. She also picked up 6 bantams out of the straight run bin at the same place.

I wondered what bantams are good for. I suspect that their eggs are kind of small and they don't seem like they would have a lot of meat per bird. My parents were both raised in the country and lived on and around farms so they have some insight. According to both of them bantams are good for two things. One is for getting rid of bugs, especially fleas, which can be a problem when you have dogs. The other is for hatching and raising chicks from other breeds that don't like to sit on the nest or raise their young. According to my folks people would take fertilized eggs from White Leghorns and put them in the nest box of bantams and let them take care of hatching and rearing the little egg layers. I may give this a try.

Meanwhile, we have 30 fertilized eggs in the incubator. We've been turning them a couple of times each day. I'll be happy if I get any out of this bunch. Trying to turn over 30 eggs as quickly as possible so we can get the top back on the incubator is kind of like juggling.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Economy Causing People to Commit Murder? I Don't Buy It

Here is a link to the story in the Washington Post.

"The factor underlying the violence, some experts think, is the dismal state of the nation's economy. Criminologists theorize that the epidemic of layoffs, the meltdown of storied American corporations and the uncertainty of recovery have stoked fear, anxiety and desperation across society and unnerved its most vulnerable and dangerous."
I'm not buying the idea that being layed off from work will turn an ordinary person into a mass murderer. There is something wrong with these people to begin with. These people may feel entitled to things they are not really entitled to and believe that violence will get them what they want, but that is not caused by the economy. That is a lack of values and judgment.

Personal Disarmament poll and laws

It's something in liberals' DNA: They think they can pass a law eliminating guns and nuclear weapons, but teenagers having sex is completely beyond our control.

From Ann Coulter's column.

I wonder why we don't just outlaw murder and be done with it. That would solve so many problems. While we're at it, why don't we outlaw volcanic eruptions and meteors crashing into the earth?

On the brighter side I saw this Gallup poll. Here is a graph of the results over the last 50 years.

I guess that shows that a fairly large majority of Americans aren't as stupid as the President, the left-wing leaders in Congress, and the LWM would have us believe.

Further down in the article I see that women and people 18-34 want more restrictive disarmament laws. I don't really understand that as far as women are concerned. Seems to me that women would have the most to gain from changing the law to make it easier to protect themselves. I guess they've been told so often by the LWM, government officials, and other idiots, that they are incapable of taking care of themselves so they don't need to own or carry a firearm. I prefer having a woman with a gun by my side. I suspect that the 18-34 year olds are influenced by government schools and colleges that preach a lot of left-wing stuff including the idea that helplessness and depending on the government to keep you safe is correct.

It's not a surprise to me that people in the east and midwest are more likely to support restrictive laws that people in the south. As for their numbers on the west I suspect they are heavily tilted by the state of CA and by Portland and Seattle. It's also no surprise that democrats are more likely to support restrictive laws than republicans.

I don't really see where the opinion of the population at large has anything to do with the government not recognizing our rights. The Constitution does NOT say " . . . the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed unless a majority of people want it to be."

We are supposed to be a nation of laws based on the Constitution. If you want to quit recognizing people's rights, then start by amending the Constitution.

Even if you repeal an amendment to the Constitution remember this - the Constitution doesn't give us rights. It only recognizes pre-existing rights. The rights still exist even if the government refuses to recognize them.

Chickens, chickens, chickens . . . and seeds

My wife picked up some more chicks yesterday. The manager of the farm store told us that the "Easter Chicks" they sell that are died different colors are White Leghorns and we wanted some more of those. They had six different colors and there are six of us so she got one for everybody.

Of course the kids wanted to name them. I got the yellow one and called it Big Bird. The fact that none of the kids understood that must say something about homeschooling. One child named his "Peep" so my wife named hers the "Purple Peeple Eater". I'll be glad when they lose the colors and start laying. For that matter I hope they are female - I haven't checked.

My better half also got 30 fertilized eggs from a friend who also loaned us an incubator. She told us that she got 4 to hatch out of 25 eggs on her first try. Recently she has been getting 25 out of 30. Maybe we'll get lucky.

We ordered a bunch of heirloom seeds. We looked at the seed packs and we priced them against just buying the seeds and decided to order just what we want instead of a prepackaged set. I think we saved money. We also tried a few things we haven't planted before like spinach and turnips.

Heirloom Organics raised the price of their seed packs way up and that made some difference. The "Family" package for $149 suddenly became the "Homestead" package for $249. Quite a difference.

While we were shopping around we found several places online selling seed packages that included heirloom flower seeds, so check out what is included. Also, when they claim the package has "seed count 165,000+" be careful. One ounce of carrot or radish seeds may have 25,000 seeds in it or some outrageous number like that. Not that you aren't getting the total number of seeds, but how many carrots and radishes are you going to plant?

Some places have seed packs that tell you what varieties they have but don't tell you how many of each you are getting. Nothing like getting a seed package that has a total of 25 kernels of corn and 25,000 radish seeds.

I'm not knocking the seed packs or any particular vendor. I'm just telling you to read the fine print and check the details so you will know exactly what you are getting. If they don't show the details then ask before you buy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Waiting

I knew these guys. I wish they were still making music as a career. Embedding was disabled but here are the links:

Staring at a Bird

Never Dim

Calm down a little

A component vendor called me today to let me know my backorder was in and to see if I still wanted it. Yes, I do.

He said that people have been paying $70 per 1000 primers!!!

I don't know what to say to that except:


Maybe the discomfort you feel now will inspire you to plan ahead a little better and to take a bigger part in the political process. It's going to be a long four years, so get used to it.

Let me use your . . .

I hate it when someone that was too lazy or too careless or too cheap to have their own stuff wants to borrow mine. This applies to any tools, but especially knives and flashlights.

My rule is NEVER loan a knife to anyone. The kind of people that don't carry a knife with them daily don't know how to use one or how to take care of it. If you load your knife to one of these people expect the blade to need a lot of work when you get it back.

My wife loaned her Spyderco Delica to a guy at work once and I think he tried to use it cut a hole in the concrete parking lot. The gouges in the blade were so deep I never could get them all out. I ended up sharpening around them and leaving them.

My wife's stepfather once wanted to use my Cold Steel Voyager to cut up some cardboard boxes. He even got angry that I wouldn't let him use it.

Back when I used to belong to a private gun range another member asked if I had a screwdriver he could use to tighten up some screw on his gun. I handed him my Midway screwdriver set and didn't think anything of it. I didn't think about it again until the next time I needed a screwdriver to work on a gun. The jerk had used the smallest screwdriver tip (the one that I use to adjust rear sights on revolvers) and tightened something with it up to about 100 ft-lbs. The tip was twisted about 45 degrees. After he ruined the tip he just put it back in the box and gave it back to me like nothing was wrong.

I keep a few utility flashlights at my desk at work and I loaned one to someone. I had to ask several times to get it back and when I did the batteries were dead. Apparently the guy left it on and ran them down completely.

Don't loan out things that you can't do without.

Spies in Our Electricity Grid

This makes me feel wonderful.


Here is some of the text:

Cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, according to current and former national-security officials.

The spies came from China, Russia and other countries, these officials said, and were believed to be on a mission to navigate the U.S. electrical system and its controls. The intruders haven't sought to damage the power grid or other key infrastructure, but officials warned they could try during a crisis or war.

"The Chinese have attempted to map our infrastructure, such as the electrical grid," said a senior intelligence official. "So have the Russians."

I guess I knew, or at least suspected this was going on. Seeing it confirmed does not make me jump for joy.

Monday, April 6, 2009


I don't fear a recession or depression nearly as much as I fear the government's response to it.

Progress over the weekend and pics of stuff

We picked up some Californian White rabbits this weekend. Two bucks and three does. I'm still working on cages for them. They are supposed to be about 11-12 weeks old. The breeder told me they might be ok together in one cage for another week. This morning we found out we don't have a week to sort the cages out. I'll have to get busy.

We have a couple of these cages.

Here is one I built this weekend.

I need to build a couple more of these and build a stand with a roof over it so I can get them off the porch. The stand will have hangers for a tray to catch the droppings so it will be easier to use as fertilizer.

The kids think we bought them as pets. I don't mind that because we can use it as a responsibility training exercise for the kids.

My wife stopped by a farm store to pick up some J-clips for use in building the cages and they were sold out. The guy there said that a lot more people than normal are building rabbit hutches and chicken pens this year. That's good news as far as I'm concerned because it's either a sign that more people are doing things to look out for themselves, or that more people are getting their kids into 4-H, FFA, etc. Both are good news.

I met a guy that manages a different feed store and he said they were having trouble getting chickens in and that they sold out as soon as they came in. If that means people are looking out for themselves then it is good news, but it could be a problem for me trying to add to my little flock of chickens.


Here is the chicken cage.

You can see that it isn't pretty, but it was inexpensive. I think I bought 2 pressure treated 2x4s to build it. The rest was stuff I had leftover from other projects or things people had given me. The reebar around the bottom is to keep critters from pushing under to get at the birds. With my dogs around I don't have much trouble with critters of any kind. The dogs finally figured out how to catch cottontails. We were almost overrun with them but the pups killed two that we know of last week. I don't mind having wild game around, but I wish it would stay away from my garden and my trees.

The chickens are White Leghorns. Good egglayers. The six of them put out about five eggs per day in the spring, summer, and early fall. They drop off to about two or three eggs per day through the winter. I could puts lights out there in the winter to keep up the production, but after a summer of eating lots of eggs I like a change so I don't mind them not producing so much. These seem to be easy to care for. They are supposed to be a little high strung but we haven't had any trouble. All of the fruit and vegatable scraps and peels go into the chicken pen. Last year we accidentally spilled some of their scratch grains in a place I'd tilled up to plant strawberries and we had a nice little crop of milo and other grains to feed the chickens with. I may have to try to do that on purpose this year.

We just ordered 15 Black Australorps, 10 pullets and 5 cockerels. I plan to keep the hens and the two best looking cocks and put the other cocks in the soup pot when they are still fairly young. These are supposed to be dual use birds, laying lots of eggs and having more meat on them than the Leghorns. I don't know when the new birds will arrive. Hopefully soon!!

Also on the chicken front a friend has a bunch of fertilized eggs and she said we can have some. They have a lot of different breeds together so you never know what you will get from them. We plan on letting the kids pick one egg for everyone in the family, so we'll have six more birds of unknown origin. We'll see what happens with them.

I want to get some Rhode Island Reds, too. I like a little variety. Maybe later this year.

Pics of the garden plot. The rows are from the turning plow. I got it at just the right time with respect to moisture and it had hardly any clods in it. Normally I will hit it with the disc after this and then use a lister to make rows, but my wife looked at it and said it was fine and to leave it.

Off to the right in this pic is an open place. I plan on building some chicken tractors and keeping them in that area this year to help keep insects out of the garden and to fertilize that area for the garden expansion next year.

Have you got your garden started?

Pics of raised beds. There are blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. They are so tall to help keep the cottontails away. The bottom six inches or so is filled with thredded tree trimmings that the power company gave us - a guy from the power company came by and asked if we wanted any mulch and the answer was an easy yes, so they came in a dump truck and left us a huge pile. The soil is from a friend's manure pile. It is a mixture of chicken, horse, goat, and cow, and has been sitting in the pile for three or four years. I will we had time to get get more.
As you can tell we are trying to get our food production squared away.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A successful hunt

It was cold, at least for me, with the temperature around 20F. It was dark with no moon. Only the stars were out. I was sitting under a big Chinese Elm tree. The trunk is so big around that two men couldn't reach around it and touch hands. There were a bunch of little elm trees in a ring about six feet out from the trunk of the big elm and I had piled a bunch of brush up against the outside of them to help break up my outline. I was sitting on a 5 gallon bucket painted grey and black and I had the pad from an old kitchen chair so the top of the bucket wouldn't cut into my backside while I sat there trying to be still and quiet, waiting for a deer. My glasses kept wanting to fog up because my turtle hood was closed around my face to keep warm. I had my right hand in my pocket with a hand warmer so my fingers wouldn't get numb with cold.

At times like this electronic ear muffs are a big help. They amplify every sound you make so you tend to be more still and quiet, or it least it works that way for me.

I'd been sitting there for more than an hour and the sky was starting to get gray in the east. A bobcat walked by 20 feet away and apparently never knew I was there.

A turkey gobbled from the roost just behind me. Tentatively at first, then louder. Soon joined by another, then another. More joined until it sounded like sports fans doing a wave.

The turkeys started coming off the roost and landing around me. I was facing north, sitting under an isolated tree in the middle of a meadow that measured about 50 yards north and south by about 300 yards east and west with big trees in front of me and behind me. More turkey landings. An almost unbelievable number of turkeys. The whole meadow was literally filled with more coming in to land and landing on top of or crashing into the turkeys already on the ground. There were toms and hens within ten feet of me on every side. 300 was probably a very conservative guess.

They started the wave again. The screeching and gobbling would start at one end of the field and move towards the other end, then return. It was so loud I couldn't hear anything else. I lifted my muffs to hear with my own ears and it was like a physical force hitting me as I sat there. At least I didn't have to worry about the deer hearing me or seeing me move.

After 15 or 20 minutes of continuous noise and movement the birds started to break up into groups of 25 or so and move off in various directions. By a little after 9:00am they were almost all gone. Just a few small groups still in sight. I was thinking that maybe I should have shot some of them so I wouldn't go home empty handed.

At one point I saw a buck looking at me through a hole in the brush about 100 yards away. I couldn't see his body, only his head and he moved away before I could have fired even if he'd been visible. I hoped he would come back and visit me.

I was looking to the east, on my right, watching a group of turkeys wandering around and checking to make sure a deer didn't try to slip across that 50 yard stretch in that direction.

I gradually turned back to the north and started to look to my left and I almost jumped. There was a mule deer buck about 10 yards away on my left. I didn't even count the points, I just noted that he was a big deer. Right behind him was a doe. They came around from my left and started crossing in front of me.

I started working on getting my rifle up. About half way to my shoulder the buck must have seen some movement because he looked at me. I froze and held my breath. He put his head back down and slowly wandered along, now less than 10 yards in front of me, crossing from my left to right.

I was perfectly calm. As I got my rifle up I realized the buck was so close that I couldn't focus on him through the scope. I had a bolt action with a Leupold M8 fixed 4x scope, so it wasn't that I had a moon scope set on 12x or something like that. He was just too close.

Not really a problem if you normally shoot with both eyes open. I could see the reticule with my right eye and I could see the buck with my left eye and my brain put the two together correctly.


The buck jumped at the shot and ran like his tail was on fire into the trees about 50 yards away. I noted carefull where he went in, then turned to look at where the doe went.

I almost jumped again when I saw her standing exactly where she had been and looking at me. I looked at her and waited, figuring I should give the buck a little time to bed down and die.

After the doe had looked me over a little she turned her head to look at where the buck had been standing a few seconds before. She did kind of jump when she saw he wasn't there. She turned her head as far around to the left, then back as far as she could to the right, looking all around for that buck. Finally, she sort of flicked her ears and her tail, put her head down and started nibbling the grass as she slowly walked off. I guess at the sound of the shot she looked at where the sound came from and didn't notice the buck running away. I enjoyed her company for 10 or 15 minutes, maybe longer. I wasn't really looking at my watch at that point.

Finally, I got up and went to find the buck. I could follow his trail through the grass where he had knocked it down and brushed off the frost. He followed a trail down into the trees. I found him about 100 yards from where he was hit. It looked like he had fallen straight forward down a slight incline and bled out there. I squated down and lifted his head by his rack to admire him. He was a 3x5 and the rack was a little small for all those points. I didn't care. I was thrilled. I set his head down and stood up to see which way was the quickest back to the truck, or the way with the fewest grass burrs, which was more important.

As I looked around considering my options I saw a whitetail buck about 40 yards away, straight in front of me, staring at me. I think he was the same buck I'd seen earlier looking at me. He had a beautiful, symetric 4x4 rack. Not the biggest rack in the world, but the classic whitetail 8 point rack. I had never seen anything so perfect.

I was standing in the open. I had just been moving without worrying about how much noise I made. I was standing over a mule deer buck laying in a pool of blood. I was sure the buck would run away.

I was shocked when he started moving towards me. He would stop every few feet and sniff me, then come closer.

At this point I came down with my first and so far only case of buck fever. My knees were litteraly shaking so bad that they were knocking together and I had to clamp my jaws shut to keep my teeth from chattering. He came closer and closer. I squinted my eyelids down to tiny slits so he wouldn't see me staring at him and I told myself "Stand still and he'll think you are a tree."

He came up to maybe 12 yards of me and sniffed me over thoroughly. Satisfied with that he started angling slightly away to go past me.

At this point the case of nerves left me. I started raising the rifle slowly. He caught some sound or movement because he stopped and jerked his head around to look at me and sniff again. I froze. I guess the mule deer at my feet fooled him because he turned his head and started walking again.

I started raising the rifle again and again he looked at me, then moved on. This cycle repeated several more times until he was around 20 yeards away, walking slowly, quartering away from me. At that point I had my rifle up, put the reticule towards the back of his rib cage and pressed.

At the shot he flinched, looked around and started walking slowly the same way he had been heading before. When the rifle came down from the recoil I saw the "ropes of blood" that Elmer Keith mentioned.

Later I looked at his trail and found a contiuous trail of dark blood on his left side and intermittant spots where bright blood had sprayed out on his right side. Apparently, I hit a large vein near the entrance wound and a large artery near the exit wound.

He walked slowly for a few yards, then fell on his face.

Two nice deer down within 25 yards and 30 minutes of each other.

When I got back to the truck my dad was already there and he asked "Did you see any?"

Here is the mule deer.

Here is the whitetail.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a pic showing both where they fell in one shot. I'll know better if there is a next time.

They were both delicious.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Some very slight progress

I've been too busy with family things to catch up on my chores much.

I did get out last night and pick up some wire mesh for rabbit cages. My better half is supposed to pick up a buck and a doe Californian White today. This weekend we are supposed to pick up another buck and three more does. I've got to get busy with the cages.

I also picked up some wood to start building the new chicken cage/tractor. My plan is to have a cage 8' x 8' with wheels on it so I can move it around like a big chicken tractor. We'll see how that works out. I'd like to have three or four of them and put them on each side of the garden to try and reduce the insects a little. I think we have enough coyotes to make free range chickens a losing proposition.

If I ever get these things built I will post pics.


I finally got most of my once fired 7.62x51 brass sized and the primer pockets decrimped. I used an RCBS primer pocket swager. One of the little hand deburring tools will work, but the problem with them is the little curls of brass that come off when you do that. I'm currently set up in the spare bedroom so I don't want to make a mess.

Now, on to trimming. Most of these seemed to have been fired in something with a very sloppy chamber, and when I sized them the case length grew a lot. Max length is 2.015", and these were around 2.045". When you are just trimming a few a hand trimmer works fine, but if you are trimming a bunch you really need a power trimmer. I've got the RCBS Trim Pro and it seems to work well. Since this operation produces a lot of little brass shavings I'll be doing it in the garage.

Reloading is therapy for me. Most of it is fairly simple, repetative tasks that in the end produce a useful product. You can also see yourself making progress.


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