Monday, November 29, 2010

More Game Cam Pictures

After the search for the deer I missed on Saturday, I walked over to the game camera to change cards. I looked at it for the first time, just minutes ago, and the photos that are on the camera are instructive.

If you'll recall the post, I missed that deer at 7:45 a.m., then went looking for him at about 8:15. At about 11:00 a.m., we went back to look, to insure that I hadn't hit and wounded the deer. At the end of the search, I went to the camera and took out the card.

It seems that after I had stumbled around the side of that hill, then left to go get help tracking, more deer came out on the pipeline.

 There's two in that photograph, standing still in broad daylight.  You can click for a bigger photo, but they look like does, to me.

Then, at 11:05, here comes my gypsy caravan to search the woods.

Don't we look a sight?  There's five adults in that Mule and we had to have one fellow sitting in the bed.

Then a half-hour later I walked over to look at the feed block I had put out.  That old geezer coming behind me is the lease treasurer, Bobby.

I love game cameras.  They show what's possible.

Deer Chili

Tonite we made the first pot of chili from the deer I got several weeks ago.

Just like your regular chili, but with venison instead of ground beef. Wonderful.

That's not the reason I hunt, but it is one of the benefits.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Morning Dawg

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we found some time to relax on the back porch. With the cold front moving through, the dog needs his sweater and he sat pleasantly still while I took this snapshot.



He's been well-fed this week. After Christmas, we both should go on a diet.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dang it!

I missed one this morning. At about 7:45 I looked up and saw a deer step out of the woods, to the east of my pipeline. I saw horns, but I couldn't tell you if he was a spike or a 10-point. His nose was down, probably tracking a doe, and he was moving at a steady walk. By the time I got the rifle up, his nose was entering the woods, so I put the crosshair on his shoulder and squeezed one off. He bolted.

I thought I heard the bullet strike, so I poured another cup of coffee, then waited a half-hour. Climbed down from the stand and crossed the creek to where I had last seen him. I expected to see him piled up in the edge of the woods, but no luck. I found the track where he had bolted, and made a thorough search for blood or hair. No luck. I made a big loop through the woods, trying to cut his trail. No luck.

SO, I went to the camp and got help. My sister-in-law had heard the shot from her stand 300 yards away, and she thought that she had heard the bullet strike. Five of us went back and conducted another thorough search, at times on hands and knees. My pocket GPS showed that from the stand to where we found the tracks was 170 yards, give or take five yards, which is still the longest shot I've ever attempted at a deer. The rifle is sighted to be 1" high at 100 yards and down 1" at 200 yards, so I'm not convinced that ballistics caused a problem. After an hour, we called it quits. I'm convinced I didn't hit that deer.

After two thorough searches, no blood, no hair, no indication that I did anything but scare the living hell out of him. He probably didn't stop running until he got to Georgetown, and I've missed a deer for the first time in 10 years.

Just damn!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Out of Coffee

It turns out, we're out of coffee, so I've got to make a trip to the store in a few minutes to rectify that oversight. Milady is a wonderful, kind, loving person until she wakes up and finds that we have no coffee in the house. Hell hath no fury like a woman who can't make coffee... I believe that's the quote.

Also, the temps are diving with the passage of the cold front, and I'm going to be back in the deer stand at daylight. The low is predicted to be 26 by-God degrees. While I'm out, I'm going to pick up another bottle of propane for the heater in the box stand.

I know, I know. I bought a heater for my box stand last month, and it's a hell of a lot easier to stay on a stand if you're warm.

Just for the record, I don't do Black Friday.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Shooting in the pasture.

Today after lunch, as is our tradition, those in the family so disposed retired to the pasture to do a little shooting. We started with rimfire rifles and targets posted at 50 yards.



Here's a rare photo of PawPaw. I'm the fat guy on the right. I'm coaching grandson Quinton, while his Dad observes.

After the rimfires, we took out pistols and let the novices explore. Here, niece Rachel engages a 10 yard target with her mother's snubnose. All told, we blew through several hundred rounds of .22LR, some .38 special, 9mm, .44 special, and .17 HMR. It was quite an afternoon.


In this pic, my nephew, Trey is trying on a lever action Henry in .22LR. Tomorrow morning he and I are going to the lease. We've got a front moving through and I'm hoping that he makes meat. No, he won't be using the .22. He'll be using his Howa 1500, in .270 Win. I"m putting him on a stand that's been producing deer for several years. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Many Thanks

Thanksgiving is a big deal in our family, as it is in many families across the country. The whole family tries to come home for the holiday, and that makes for some huge meals.



Several years ago, Milady and I decided to host a family dinner the night before Thanksgiving. The clan gathers at my mother's house for the traditional meal and sometimes she feeds upwards of forty people. That's a lot of prep work and we thought that we could share the burden just a bit and feed everyone the night before, with non-traditional Thanksgiving food. The gathering has become quite a hit, and last night we fed over 30 people. Thankfully (again, I have much to be thankful for), Milady and I love to entertain and we've spent considerable energy learning how to set the house up for a crowd of folks.



The menu was Turkey and Sausage Gumbo, Crawfish Etouffee, Garlic Bread, Garden Salad, and various desserts. We had people eating in the kitchen, in the living room, the garage, and the back deck. Thankfully (I have much to be thankful for), the weather cooperated.

That pic above is one of my gorgeous, intelligent nieces (I have much to be thankful for) trying to dodge the camera.  You'll notice my tools in the back wall.  Yeah, we were eating in the garage last night.

I fed over 30 folks last night, and there isn't much left over.  (Again, thanks are in order).   In another hour or so, we're heading over to my Mother's to do it all again. 

Y'all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shooting with Matt

My second son and I had planned to do some shooting this morning, so we went out to my Mother's place where we have a 100 yard berm.

Matt's rifle is a Savage 111 in 7mm Remington Magnum. They called it the varmint model when we bought it, and it's got the Accutrigger and a heavy barrel in the old pillar bedded stock. We were trying to decide how many rounds he's got through that barrel and as far as we can recall, that barrel currently has about 400 rounds shot through it. Matt had re-adjusted his scope, to compensate for the eyeglasses he currently wears and needed to make sure that the rifle is still zero'd. That rifle has always shot well with our handload of 64.2 grains of IMR 4831 and a 140 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet. CCI Large Rifle Magnum Primers light it all up.






That's a composite target, created by stapling one target over another. The first three shots hit in the lower left of the group, then he adjusted the scope, stapled another target, and fired for the white diamond. Even with adjusting the scope, all six shots fell into 0.890. Each of the individual 3-shot groups are under 0.500. I'd say that rifle is adjusted for 100 yards.

I took my Savage 10, in .243. From the post yesterday I realized that I hadn't fired that rifle since March, 2009 and wanted to make sure that the scope was still looking where the bullets fall. I like my hunting rifles to be sighted an inch high at 100 yards. With the ballistics of this little bullet, according to my ballistic program, it should be within an inch of the aiming point to 200 yards and down just 8 inches at 300 yards.; The longest shot I can make from my deer stand is about 175 yards, so I should be fine with this load.


Now, it's time to clean up and run some errands. I've got a lot of cooking to do tomorrow and I'll need to get ready. If I don't talk with y'all tomorrow, have a great Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Six years with the .243 Winchester

Sometime shortly after WWII, the Army started toying with a rifle cartridge shorter than the old, venerable .30-06. In 1952, Winchester standardized the new round for sporting cartridges, the .308 Winchester. (The .308 Winchester actually pre-dates the Army cartridge which was standardized as the 7.62X51 T65 cartridge in 1954, but that's a military history story).

A gun writer of the times, Warren Page, started tinkering with the cartridge and necked it down to 6mm, calling it the .240 Page Pooper. The guys at Winchester saw its potential and standardized it in 1955, calling it the .243 Winchester. Page designed the cartridge as a dual-purpose, deer and varmint cartridge. It's been a huge success, although it never took off as a varmint round. Here in the United States, we like to shoot varmints with .22 caliber ammo, either rimfire or centerfire.

In 2004 I was walking through Wal-Mart and saw a rifle in the rack, I happened to glance at the price and it was low enough that I couldn't walk past. I asked to see the rifle and it was a Savage Model 10, in .243. A package rifle, it had a scope mounted, so I took out my checkbook and brought it home. It's got the tupperware stock with a floated, sporter barrel. You can see today's version over at the Savage website. Savage calls it the Model 11 FXP3 and the rifle they sell today is just exactly like the one I have. It's been in the catalog for seven years, so it must be a fairly popular model. Today it lists at $659.00, but I paid about half that much at Wal-Mart on a late season close-out.



I brought the little rifle home and started playing with it, using various powders and bullets. I wrote it up for Castbullet and you can see my article at the link. The little rifle shot alright, but was prone to vertical stringing as the thin barrel heated up. Also, I wasn't impressed with the package scope that came with the rifle. It was a bargain-basement Simmons, and while they're good for some things, I didn't think that it matched the potential of the rifle.

About 2007 I found a scope on sale at Midway USA. It is a Simmons scope, but all the literature I could find on this scope told me that it was an exceptional value at an unbelievable price point. Simmons calls it the Whitetail Classic. It's a 6.5X20X50 scope with an adjustable objective lens, and I bought one at my son's urging. He's got one on his 7mm Magnum heavy rifle and it's stood up well to the rigors of the recoil that rifle can generate. Surprisingly, you can still order one today for about $100.00. It's not a Leupold, nor a Schmidt and Bender, but it's a great scope. The 164 reviews at Midway USA give it a 5-star rating. I think it's a great value on an inexpensive sporting scope. I'm not generally a fan of high-magnification scopes on a hunting rifle, believing that 6X is more than most folks need. Still, I bought the scope and mounted it on the rifle, telling myself that I wanted to wring the very best out of a bone stock rifle I bought on sale. Three years later, that scope is still mounted to that rifle

Even with that scope, the rifle wasn't shooting like I wanted it to. At the end of 2007 I was three years into the caliber and wasn't sure what I wanted to use it for. It's a bone-stock rifle and I upgraded the scope, but really wasn't getting the groups I wanted to get from the rifle. Along about that same time, I found a sale for blemished bullets. They were 6mm caliber, 100 grain, standard lead and gilding metal hunting bullets, but the seller wouldn't identify the manufacturer. Still, I ordered 500 of them and when they came to my door I took out all my catalogs and did an online search. After much research, I believe that the bullets were manufactured by Hornady, but I have no real proof, just an educated guess. Still, they were wonderfully uniform and if anyone can see the blemishes on them, that person has better eyes than I do.

One day in 2008 I was browsing around and found a reference to using Reloder 22 powder with 100 grain bullets in the .243. So, I loaded a batch and took the rifle the next time I went to the range. I fired several and looked through the scope to see a small, tiny group on the paper. Hmmm! The next time I went to the range, I took that rifle again, but I set up the chronograph. I fired a group and looked at the chrony screen and thought I was getting an error, so I reset the machine and shot another group. Damn! I was getting over 3100 fps from that load, with my barrel and rifle. And the groups were tiny. And the SD and ES were small.


Since then, I've shot some tantalizingly small groups with that rifle. Some three shot groups that measured well under 1/2 inch. That target above is fairly representative of what I can do with the rifle on a good day, with five shots well under an inch.

Still, I haven't taken the rifle to the game woods and it is time to see if it will take game. I believe I'll clean the .30-06 and use this rifle for the rest of the season. It should be just perfect for the smallish whitetail deer we see in this part of Louisiana.

Whadd'ya think?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Morning Dawg

Have you ever felt like this?


That's the way I felt all week. I'm glad my wife is out of the hospital.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Venison

I made meat today with my Savage 110. At 8:45 a.m., I saw movement on the hill facing my stand and put the scope on a doe. I couldn't tell if she was facing toward me or away from me, so I watched her for a minute until I figured out that she was feeding in my direction. When she looked up, I put one in at the base of her neck. Bang, flop. I waited ten minutes, then crossed the creek and climbed the hill toward the deer. She tried to get up and I put another into her neck. I should have waited another ten minutes. The frothy blood in her mouth told me that I had made a lung shot and she'd probably have bled our in another few minutes.


She's a two or three year old doe, in good fat, and wasn't in heat yet.  She field dressed about 100 lbs. On autopsy, we learned that the Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet entered the base of her neck, cut the top of the right lung and departed through the tenderloin. She's at the processor's now and I'll pick her up in a few days.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Home again

I got Milady out of the hospital late this afternoon. Her lung has expanded properly and she was told to make an appointment with her primary care physician in a week. When the nurse told us that, I snorted, and the nurse looked at me like I was crazy. We explained that Milady works for her primary care physician and she'll probably talk with him or his wife several times next week.

We're home and all is right with the world.

More TSA stupidity

I was surfing the High Road and was led to Red State, where we learn of another TSA outrage. This time against returning American soldiers. Here's the punch line:
This might be a good time to remind everyone that approximately 233 people re-boarded that plane with assault rifles, pistols, and machine guns–but nothing that could have been used as a weapon.
It seems that this was a military charter out of Bagram AFB and the GIs were returning to the US with rifles, pistols and machine guns. They landed in Indianapolis to let off some National Guard Troops and TSA decided that they couldn't have nail clippers, even with rifles hanging from their shoulders. The soldiers handled it with a lot more grace and dignity than the TSA handled it. Go to the link above and read the whole exchange.

TSA is off the rails and should be de-funded completely.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wondering

The one critter who's really not sure what is going on with Milady is the dog. She's been in the hospital now for 48 hours and he's looking for her everywhere.


I've tried explaining it to him, but I don't think he understands.  He's still looking for her everywhere.

Conversation with my boss

Talking with my principal today, who is a very attractive 30-something woman.

She: "We're flying out on Sunday morning, heading to Arizona to spend Thanksgiving with my brother."

Me: "Cool! You might get to experience those new scanners, or maybe even the new TSA pat-down."

She: "Oh, Gawd, yeah. I've been reading about those. It might get violent."

Me: "Hey, bring me one of those scanner photos, will you?"

She looked at me like I had dog poo on my shoulder and walked into the building. Oh, well, you win some and you lose some.

In other news, I'm here for an hour to let the dog do his business, which seems to consist of sitting at the back door and whining. Thence to the hospital, then back to the high school for a soccer game. Oh, joy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hospitals

If any of you remember my hospital posts, you know that I hate them. Hate them.

Yet, yesterday, the doctor put Milady in the hospital with a collapsed lung. SO, I'm home long enough to wash some uniforms, then I'm heading back to the hospital. No, it's not life-threatening and she's going to be okay, if the hospital doesn't kill her.

Hate them.

For the next couple of days, I'll be distracted, so if y'all get bored, find your Congress critter's website and email them about any-damned-thing. Be outraged. Give 'em hell.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More on the TSA

The outrage and indignation spreads across our country over the new security techniques being used by the TSA.

AP reports that Secretary Napolitano is listening, but her quote indicates the degree of elitism that we all rejected on November 2nd.
"It's all about security," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said. "It's all about everybody recognizing their role."
You bet, Janet. I know my role, and it's to raise hell at you.

It seem that Congress is taking note, too, one of the authors of the original TSA bill is telling airports that they can opt our of TSA screening.
Rep John Mica, one of the authors of the original TSA bill, has recently written to the heads of more than 150 airports nationwide suggesting they opt out of TSA screening. "When the TSA was established, it was never envisioned that it would become a huge, unwieldy bureaucracy which was soon to grow to 67,000 employees," Mica writes. "As TSA has grown larger, more impersonal, and administratively top-heavy, I believe it is important that airports across the country consider utilizing the opt-out provision provided by law."
Ain't that interesting?

As far as the agency telling us that the machines can't store or save the images, it seems that one used by the US Marshall Service can store and save images. Gizmodo has them, about a hundred images that have been leaked to the internet.

And now, of course, TSA is patting-down toddlers. Disgusting.

The TSA should be defunded now. Immediately.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bonus Sunday Dawg

With the cold snap, the dog was shivering, so Milady found his sweater and put it on.



Very stylish, don't you think? Well, maybe he's warmer now.

More on the TSA

I was surfing around this morning and came to this link, which is a blogger who says that she was a screener for the TSA, and offers some telling insights into what the TSA thinks of the flying public. Read the whole thing and get angry.
Requirements can and are set up to ensure that everyone who flies is safe. If you don’t like it, then don’t fly. You may not be as concerned as the next guy about the safety or you may be more concerned. Point is the job of TSA is to ensure the entire traveling public is safe not just you. TSA officers don’t care what you as an individual want, they can’t, it just isn’t possible. You may be ok with lax security but what about the next passenger who wants thorough security?

Your right to privacy isn’t being violated at all. You always have the option to drive a car, take a train, grab the bus or start rowing a boat. You do not have to fly, you just want to fly. The minute you decide you want to fly then you have to accept that security is involved and you are going to have consent and submit to it period the end.
I love that last line. Let's read it again.
The minute you decide you want to fly then you have to accept that security is involved and you are going to have consent and submit to it period the end.
Except that we're The People and we don't have to consent. The Congress just learned about our consent.

The TSA needs to learn about our consent as well. I remember when President Bush formed the Homeland Security department and put it under the leadership of a crony named Tom Ridge. We professionals in law enforcement started calling TSA screeners "Ridge's Retards". Nowadays, under the tender ministrations of Janet Neapolitano, I suggest that we start referring to the screeners as "Janet's Jerk-Offs".

I'm renewing my objection to the TSA in general and calling on my Congressman and Senators to defund the TSA. Completely defund it.

Sunday Morning Dawg

The Dawg is more mutt than most people would imagine.  Milady likes to root plants, by the simple expedient of sticking clippings in a vase full of water.  We've got a couple of vases under the hose bib in the back yard.  The water turns a dull brown, sort of a tea of the clippings and the bacteria that grows in open water in warm Louisiana.

The dog loves it.  He'd rather drink from a vase full of brown water than from his own water bowl. 

He also adores mud puddles, but with the drought we've been through, there are very few mud puddles for the dog to slake a thirst. 

I'm one of those guys who likes a good glass of iced tea, so I'm not one to criticize the dog for his taste in tea.  If he likes it, I'll try to keep the vases full.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hunting weather

If you looked at the weather map this morning, you would have seen a huge front, extending from Minnesota, all the way into east Texas. A huge front that was moving across the United States. Here in central Louisiana at about 9:00, the wind shifted and the temperature started to drop. A light misting rain began to fall.

I was standing in a parking lot, but my mind wandered to an identical day in 1971, when my father insisted that I skip a day of classes and accompany him to our family blinds on Catahoula lake. “It's going to be a good day for duck hunting. How are your classes? Can you afford to miss one day?” I told him that I could probably miss one day of economics and accounting, and we made plans to be on the lake.

I was rather mystified the next morning when he didn't wake me at the normal 4:00 wake-up for a day of duck hunting. It was almost 5:00 when he came into my room. “Get up.” We drank coffee and he told me that the front wasn't due to arrive till mid-morning, so we had plenty of time to be in the lake We arrived at the blind after daylight and watched the water till about 10:00. Off to the west, I could see a line of clouds, high and moving to the east.

When the wind changes, get ready.” Before long, the wind began to shift from the southeast to the northwest, and the ducks arrived. Cresting along the edge of the front, they twisted and turned, having flown all night along the edge of the front. They were tired and looking for a place to rest and feed. One quick feeding call and they'd pitch into the decoys and we'd stand to take them.

Louisiana was under a point system and the ducks moving along the edge of that front were Lesser Scaup. They were a 10-point bird and we could have killed 20 of them. When the flight ended, we had a dozen birds in our bags and on the water. The shooting had lasted just 30 minutes, but it was fast and furious for that half-hour. We left with full game bags and plucked birds all afternoon.

This morning was a day just like that, and I remember that day on the lake nearly 40 years ago.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Morning

This weekend my high school hosts it's annual debate tournament, where brainy students from a dozen high schools will descend on us this afternoon to argue about topics both weighty and trivial.  They'll argue until midnight, then begin again early Saturday morning.  Judges from all over the area will come and listen and annotate score sheets and late Saturday afternoon, someone will be declared a winner in one of a dozen categories.

I"ll be there.  Not because I expect any trouble, but because it's my job to be there.   So, in about fifteen minutes I"ll pull on my boots, strap on my duty gear and go to the school.  Don't expect any blogging until after the event.  I"ll see y'all when it's over.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Mule

I've never owned a 4-wheeler ATV, nor even a 3-wheeler when they were popular.  Several years ago I was looking at the (then) new side-by-side ATVs and I took Milady to look at some I was thinking about.  She immediately opted for the large version with the back seat, on the simple idea that I'd be hauling grandkids and it would be safer for them if they were buckled in to a seat.  That made sense to me, so I bought the big one.

It's a constant companion now when I"m in the woods.  I still get out and take my walks, but it sure is convenient to use the mule when exercise or stealth isn't the objective.  The Mule works great for when I'm hauling things or people and I've learned that it has uses beyond the game woods.  I use it for law-enforcement tasks, like high school football games, or homecoming parades. Anything that calls for a lot of walking, and where it might benefit me to have motorized slow-speed transportation.

That's a picture of PawPaw as seen though the legs of the corn feeder.  I found that this morning when I checked the SD card in the game camera.  This was taken last Saturday, at about noon.


Here's another, of me and my crew as we were passing the camera on the way to the creek bottom early this morning to look for squirrels.  No, we didn't get any squirrels, but I answered a lot of questions about how a creek can fell a tree, and how erosion works, and where do gravel beds come from.  We played with a hand-held GPS and we talked about land navigation, and we had a wonderful time.

All this would be possible without the Mule, but it would be a lot more work.

Haircut for the Dawg

You've all seen pictures of my shaggy mutt. Over the past few months I've been snapping pics for the Sunday Dawg, and the dog has gotten progressively shaggier. You probably remember this pic from last week.

 That's him in all his shaggy glory.  He looks like he should be pan-handling down on the corner.  Or playing lead for ZZ Top.

Today, Milady dropped him off at the groomer and I picked him up a few minutes ago.  The transformation is dramatic.

I'd say that's a little better.  He's still got a beard, but he looks a lot more comfortable.  He also looks like he's lost about 20 pounds.

More Veteran's Day

I notice that our President isn't in the country on Veteran's Day, so he probably won't be laying a wreath at the Tomb today.

He did take time to honor veterans while he was in Indonesia. Indonesian veterans.

Is it that he hates us that much? Or just has disdain for us? Are we so common that he can't identify with us? I'm beginning to feel that the man has no idea what it means to be an American.

Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day, and rather than some maudlin post, I'm going squirrel hunting with my grandsons. No parades, no crowds, just an old man and his grandsons in the woods. It's altogether fitting that I spend the day toting a firearm.

Y'all go have fun and save the drinking for when you're home.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Coyotes

We met some friends for dinner and over the meal the husband told me that he had been noticing more rabbits in his hunting area and less coyotes. He talked to a game biologist about it and the biologist said that local coyote populations are dropping because of heartworms. The yodel dogs are dieing earlier and breeding less because they won't go to the vet and be vaccinated.

Makes sense. I know that coyotes are canine critters and I know that heartworms takes a big toll on the dog population in these parts. Our little mutt gets his monthly heartworm treatment ever time the calendar changes.

More TSA Nonsense

A couple of days ago I posted an entry about how invasive the TSA has become over the searches prior to entering a commercial airliner. I'm not the only one who has noticed.
Without regard for threat potential, airline passengers of all ages can now be forced to make the choice between baring their nakedness before a federal agent, or getting a full-body fingertip groping by another federal agent. The advanced imaging technology (AIT) scanners — AKA strip-search machines — now stand watch in more than 65 airports nationwide, with their numbers set to grow by more than 40 percent at year’s end, thanks to your federal stimulus dollars.
And it seems as if the flight crews themselves are rebelling.
The procedure is so humiliating and so invasive that even flight crews are rebelling. The 11,000-member American Pilots’ Association just received a letter from its leader decrying the humiliation, radiation danger, and ineffectiveness at deterring terrorism of this strip-and-grope regimen.
It's time to de-fund the TSA. They're over-reaching their mandate, and until whatshername brings them into line, Congress should pull the plug on funding them.

Jarheads

On this day in 1775, at a place called Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Samuel Nicholas raised two battalions of naval infantry.

Happy Birthday, Marines.  May you always be around when we need you.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Feed and Seed

I was at the Feed and Seed today, picking up a bag of rice bran. The hunters around here are using rice bran as a deer attractant, and I thought I'd try it. While I was there, the boys were talking about a new deer attractant from Purina. It's called Quickdraw and comes in a 20 lb block. I needed another salt block for my pipeline and decided to try one.

I've been using salt blocks, mineral blocks and molasses blocks since I was in the cattle business. If the animal needs the minerals, they'll use it. If they don't need the minerals, they'll ignore it. I put a salt block on my pipeline last year and, even accounting for weather, it's easy to see that the deer are using it. It's now about the size of a big bar of soap and you can easily see the lick marks all over it.

I'll put the Purina block nearby and see if anything is attracted to it. I went to the Purina site while I was looking for the jpg above, and entered to win ten bags of feed. I'm a sucker for that kind of promotion.

Marriage and the State

I was surfing around today and came upon two articles that deal with marriage. The first dealt with gay marriage, and I have to admit that I don't have a dog in that hunt. I don't care if gay people marry or not. Hell, I'm pretty much oblivious to gay people anyway. As bad as that statement sounds, we have several gay friends, but my gay-dar is so atrophied and defective that I'm unable to tell who's gay and who's not. The conversation normally goes like this. We'll call the gay friend... oh, I don't know.. Russell.

Me: "Hey, it was good to see Russell this afternoon."
Milady: "Yeah, it was."
Me: "I wonder why he never got married. He seems like a nice enough guy."
Milady: "Well, probably because he's gay. Duh!"
Me: "oh"

So, I'm fairly oblivious when it comes to things like that. Not hypocritical, just oblivious. It's stood me in good stead all these years.

The second article was about heterosexual marriage and why the state deems it necessary to have a license to marry. Turns out, it's all about the state's power. That makes sense. Any state, of whatever form we're talking, is about power.
Marriage is not a privilege to be conferred by the State, nor should marriage require the alleged power of the State in order for it to be solemnized.
That's pretty much the way I feel about all marriage.

I believe that marriage is a sacred union between two people. Our state has an amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and while that's hard on the gay folks, that's the law and for the time being we have to live under it. But, I don't have much of a dog in this hunt.

I like marriage. I believe that my natural state is to be married. I'd be lost without my wife, but I don't believe that the state should be in the marriage business at all.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Bill Whittle

Bill Whittle writes at a blog called Eject, Eject, Eject. I've been reading his stuff for years and he provides reasoned arguments for conservative values. He's not a firebrand, but he is convincing. A thinking man's writer. Lately, he's been doing videos for an outfit called Declaration Entertainment. He's done a series of videos on conservative values and his latest, #5, is on gun rights.



It's not terribly long, at 8:21, but it's good.  Take the time to listen to what he has to say, then go to the links above and read more of his stuff.  Bill's a great writer.

Air Travel

I remember when flying on with an airline was fun. Elegant. A wonderful experience. Then came 9/11 and air travel changed forever.

The last time I flew on an airline, I was going to see my newest grandson and flew to St. Augustine, FL in 2008. In one airport I saw a sign cautioning flyers to not spit on the TSA employees. I thought that sign was odd, until after I had been through their tender ministrations. I was amazed that they weren't drowned in spit daily.

Now it seems, they're stepping it up again, prying into places that no one, certainly not free citizens should be pried into.

HAVING been taught by nuns in grade school and later going through military boot camp, I have always disliked uniformed authorities shouting at me. So I was unhappy last week when some security screeners at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago started yelling.
“Opt out! We got an opt out!” one bellowed about me in a tone that people in my desert neighborhood in Tucson usually reserve for declaring, “Rattlesnake!”
 I've got no use for the TSA, and as a result, I refuse to fly commercial.  If I can drive there, I do so. I don't like being herded like a cow in a squeeze chute, and I don't like their overbearing attitude.  This is one agency that our new Republican congress needs to disband entirely.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sunday Morning Dawg

My mutt needs a haircut.  He looks like ... I don't know, he is just way too shaggy and if I wait much longer, then when it gets cold, he'll be distressed.  I'm off for Veterans Day and I think I'm going to call and make him an appointment.

I don't know if he was winking at the camera, or if he can only see from one eye, but this is what I saw when I walked in the door this afternoon.

 

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Saturday Hunting

I was in the stand before daylight and watching my pipeline. At 7:30, the feeder buzzed its morning exercise. At 8:00 I noticed movement in the deep shadows about 125 yards away. That portion of the pipeline is bordered heavily by mature timber and I can see only a width of about 30 yards across the open area. When I saw the movement I sat up in the stand and got my rifle. Through the scope I saw a doe crossing silently, quartering away. I thumbed the safety forward and took up the slack in the trigger. Before the trigger broke, she stepped into the woods on the other side. I finished my exhale and re-applied the safety.

Before I left the woods I checked my trail camera. It seems that the deer are using the feeder late in the afternoon.


So, I missed a deer, but I got to watch her though the scope. Not a bad day at all.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Olbermann suspended

It looks like MSNBC suspended Keith Olbermann. It seems that he donated money to some political campaigns and that's a violation of corporate policy.

I'm all about free speech, and I don't care to whom Keith might donate money, but if it violated corporate policy, then it looks like it violates company policy.

Football, Week 10

This is the 10th week of football under the LSHAA (Louisiana High School Athletic Association) schedule. Next week the schools with the highest power ratings get their schedule for the playoffs and the round of playoffs commence. My school won't be tapped for the playoffs, so tonight is the last home game for the year. Thank God.

We start basketball toward the end of November, and I'll be totally engaged when that happens, but between now and then I have a few weeks to kick back. That's not totally true, because there are other events at the high school that demand my attention.

The weather tonight will be cold by Louisiana standards. We're expecting the temps to be in the upper 40s by game time, with a light north breeze. Everybody in the bleachers will claim that they're frozen and the crowd will be sparse. For myself, I intend to put on my long-woolies because these polyester uniform pants do nothing to block the wind. They're great for hot weather, but for cold weather, not so much.

I'll be in my deer stand at daylight.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Economy

It's amazing that just a couple of days after the thrashing that the administration took, the stock market is up, gold prices are up, oil prices jumped, and the Fed has promised to inject $600 billion dollars into the economy.

The Federal Reserve escalated its efforts to get the U.S. economic recovery back on track Wednesday, again entering the realm of risky and untested policy in response to the worst downturn in generations.

Basic market indicators are that this is a bad idea. The value of stocks didn't jump yesterday. The value of gold never jumps. What changed is the value of the dollar, which is down among bellwethers like gold. Here's something that most folks never grasp. The value of gold never changes. The price of gold changes based on market perceptions of the value of a dollar. If the market perceives that a dollar is worth less than it was yesterday, the price of gold rises in response.

So, on Tuesday, we gave Obama a shellacking, and on Thursday he devalues the dollar with money we don't have. I don't understand what the man is doing, but even the Washington Post says that this is risky and untested policy. I think he's playing payback.

Oleg Volk

If you've never heard of Oleg Volk, he's a photographer and advertsing director for the gun industry.  He also hosts The High Road forum, a place where I hang out a lot, as PawPaw.  Oleg also does posters that promote the 2nd Amendment and previews them at his forum for our comments.  Yesterday he posted this one, and I really like the looks of it.

He did this one for the Appleseed organization, which teaches rifle skills to just about anyone who shows up.  Once you get past the obviously attractive young lady, you might notice that the AR she's holding has wooden furniture.  Damn!  I like that.  I've got an A2 version like the lady is holding and I might have to try to acquire a set in the future.  Oleg posted a link, but it seems to be broken.

If you haven't been over to Oleg's forum, click on the link above, while I surf around, looking for wood stocks for the AR rifle.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Burn Ban

It looks like our burn ban is over, at least the statewide ban.  Louisiana is a wet state and the drought conditions over the past several months motivated the state to impose a state-wide burn ban.  The recent rains put an end to that ban.  I'm heartened that as soon as the rains came, the state promptly lifted the ban.

I'm a fan of burn bans, first encountering them when I was spending time in Texas.  The counties over there would impose local burn bans, and that seemed to me to make a lot of sense.  There are times when outdoor burning is dangerous to neighboring property and at those times a ban makes sense.  Like most liberty-loving Americans, I don't want the government to tell me what I can and cannot do, but I also don't want my idiot neighbors burning my property accidentally. 

I do think that burn bans are best handled by local officials, simply because rain is a local event.  This is a case that local government can handle much more effectively than larger government.  But, in the meantime, our statewide burn ban is over.  More rain expected, along with cooler temperatures.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Potato Soup

I'm making a potato soup tonite, a recipe I adapted from the Weight Watcher's Cookbook. How did I adapt it? Well, Canadian bacon isn't something that cajuns use a lot of, but Tasso is always in our larder. Tasso is a seasoned smoked pork product, much like Canadian bacon, ham, or bacon. We use it a lot in cooking, much like others use chunks of ham, bacon or salt pork.



PawPaw's Potato Chowder

5 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces
8 oz Tasso, cut into small pieces
36 oz commercial chicken broth
2 large carrots, shredded (about a cup)
4 oz half-and-half
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
Shredded cheese. Your choice
Saltine crackers

In a big pot, combine potatoes, tasso, carrots and chicken broth. Add enough water to cover everything. Cook on a medium fire (turn it down after it simmers) until the potatoes are cooked through. Actually, you want the potatoes to start falling apart, so three or four hours isn't too long. About fifteen minutes before you serve it, add the milk products. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with shredded cheese and saltine crackers.

Serves about eight.  You're gonna love this stuff.

New Shooter Report

My son, who blogs over at the Displaced Louisiana Guy, has a new shooter report. He took a co-worker to the range on her lunch hour and they spent it shooting his pistols.

Well done, son. We make our converts one person at a time.

Raining

It's raining, and looks as if it'll continue all day. My hunting plans are on hold, but there's lots to do today and the grandsons and I will be fine.

Reading the prognosticators on the intarwebs, I'm moved to tell the Republicans to not get cocky. The polls are all in your favor, but the only poll that matters won't be counted until tonight. There's no telling what the American voter might do, and we'll be doing it all day long.

My voter registration card says that I'm a Republican, but I've been thinking about changing that. The Republicans left me during the later years of the Bush administration. They pissed me off royally and the current crop of country club Republicans continue to piss me off. The next time I'm at the Courthouse during the business day, I might traipse in to the Registrar of Voters and make my party status "No Party".  That's an option here in Louisiana. And I'm seriously considering it.

I was reading a blog called Simon Jester, and came across this little snippet.
Either act like adults charged with the responsible management of this country, instead of drunken teenagers with mom’s credit card, or we will un-elect you at the first opportunity.
That's my philosophy too. I understand that it costs money to run a government. I understand it's complicated, but I want my elected officials to be frugal with my money. Exceedingly frugal, tight-fistedly frugal. I also want my elected officials to read and understand our Constitution. To voluntarily limit themselves to what the Constitution says they can and cannot do. And don't give me any crap about the commerce clause.

I'm voting against two Republicans today. Neither of them represents my philosophy for good government. They'll both win handily, probably with double-digits, but they won't do it with my vote. I am Simon Jester, and I'm here to watch and cause trouble.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Election Day

Tomorrow is Election Day and school is out, so PawPaw and the grandkids will be together.  In the woods.  We're going to take a .410 shotgun and go harass some squirrels.  It's high time that the kids got to go squirrel hunting and they're exited at the prospect.  As am I.

My .410 is a little H&R Topper and it's perfect for young boys.  They're not quite big enough for the 20 gauge and the .410 won't give them too much recoil.  There are lots of squirrels killed every year with a .410 shogun and when they're ready to step up to the 20 gauge, they'll let me know.

We'll be in the thick woods, a hardwood bottom along a dry creek bed.  Leastwise, it was a dry creek bed this weekend.  It's supposed to rain all night and most of tomorrow, so there's no telling what we'll find when we get to the creek. 

If we can kill a mess of squirrels, Milady will make some game and gravy next week when the boys come over for supper.  That'll suit me just fine.

I'm wondering if I should carry my Winchester 94?  This rain is going to change all the patterns in the woods and ole Mossy Horn might step out on us tomorrow.