Monday, October 16, 2017

Making Drawings, Getting Permits

I have poured a few slabs in my day.  I've got a picture around here somewhere, my grandfather is coaching me on footings.  I have the shovel, he's supervising.  Twelve inches deep into undisturbed sol.

I helped my Dad pour slabs and build pole-barns.  If anyone had told the old man (either my granpaw or my dad) that they needed a permit to build a shop, or a bran, they'd have shorted and looked at you like you'd lost your mind.   What a man does on his own property is really not the business of government, and if you do something stupid and have your foundation crack, that's not the government's problem.

Several years ago, I put in a swimming pool in the back yard.  Didn't need a permit.  No one asked.  But, when I put in a pool house and told them I was putting a toilet, I had to have a permit.    The permit cost me $35.00  No drawings or nothing.  The whole permitting process went like this.

Me: "They tell me I need a permit to put in a bath house."
Gov't lady:  "It's $35.00.  What's your address?"

Not so much these days.  We have a bureaucratic regulatory infrastructure that bleeds a man dry, oversees every aspect of his life and oversees his every move.

SO, for a project that 50 years ago would have been done properly by family with no government involvement at all, now we're having to ask the government for permission to build a structure on my land.  I consider that an utter confiscation, and I'm going to have to pay a tax (permit fees) based on the square footage of the building.

I am outraged, but I'll channel my frustration until the permits are obtained, the building is complete, then I'm going to start writing hate mail to my elected representatives.  The Founding Fathers would be apoplectic.  The very idea that a confiscatory government can tell a property owner what he can do with his own property is anathema to freedom loving people.

Hillary Opens Her Pie Hole on Sexual Abuse

Hillary can't keep her mouth shut.  She weighed in on the Weinstein scandal.
We Just Elected A President Who Admitted To Sexual Assault, You Know
Yeah, she actually went there.  As if we don't know that Hillary is married to a serial sexual predator who, among other things, abused young interns in the Oval Office.  His sexual exploits as governor of Arkansas are legendary, and Hillary actively assisted in his defense.  If Hillary had any pride, any sense of self-worth, any character at all, she would have left Bill the first time he humiliated her. 

Hillary has none of those traits.  She's simply a conniving Harpy who saw political potential and decided that she would suffer an humiliation as long as she could ride the wave of political power.  Her statements on sexual abuse run the gamut from protecting Bill to accusing other people of misconduct. 

That trait, more than an other prove that she is unfit for political office.  Thank God she wasn't elected to our highest office.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Broken Ground

When Belle and I bought this place, back in 2004, one of the appealing pints was a big open area next to the house.  We've used that open space for everything.  It's a great place for kids to play, it's a great space to run and tumble.  As the grandkids got older, the open space changed several times, but there have been a lot of frisbees and footballs thrown on that open, empty lot.

But, in the back of my mind, I wanted a shop.  A large, enclosed area to enooy.  Sometimes I considered it a pip-dream.  Recently, though, I was able to realize a windfall, and started talking to contractors.  It appears that my shop will become a reality.  I'm applying for permits and doing it right, but this project is moving forward.

My son and I broke ground on Friday.  Just scraping the grass off, and starting to try to see the contour of the land.  I bought a transit, and we'll be getting accurate elevations soon and as soon as we can complete the pad, I have a trusted concrete firm to come in an lay the slab.

It's going to be a metal building, 40' X 50' (2000 sq ft), all metal construction, with 10 ft eaves.   It will have a 3-on-12 gable roof, with one 12' roll-up and one man door.  I have money in the budget for spray-on closed cell foam insulation and two huge wall-mounted air conditioning units.

We're excited about this, and can't wait to see it move along.

Pot Roast

Pot roast always a Sunday staple at both of my grandparents houses.  My maternal grandmother used a method that I never really nailed.  Her gravy had a corn starch thickener, and although I stood over her shoulder as she worked her magic, I never was able to duplicate her efforts. 

But, my paternal grandfather, who lived two miles away, also cooked a pot roast as a Sunday staple.  One Saturday I asked him "PawPaw, teach me to make a pot roast."  He took the Sunday roast out of the fridge and he walked me through, step by step until it went into the oven.  It's really pretty simple.

It's been a year or so since I cooked one, and yesterday I went over to the local butcher shop and found a nice 8 lb roast.  This one is bottom round, but any will do.  Chuck, shoulder, rump, it really doesn't matter.  Basically, all we're doing is searing a piece of beef, then cooking it in gravy.



Large roast to fit your pot. 
Vegetable Oil
Large peeled onion
Celery stalk


In a large Dutch Oven, heat a little oil, enough to cover the bottom.  Sear your roast on all sides to a medium brown.  Remove from oil.

Make a roux with your flour and the oil in the bottom of the pot.   If you don't know how to make a roux, click on the link.  When the roux is the proper color (I like mine a medium brown, but some like it darker), add water to make a gravy.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Put the seared roast into the gravy, preheat the oven to 350 Peel the onion and drop it whole into the pot.  Likewise that stalk of celery.  Put the lid on the dutch oven and slide the whole thing into that hot oven.  Let it cook at 350 for four hours.

We'll serve this one for lunch today, with mashed potatoes, English peas, and Belle's good yeast rolls.

Bon apetie!

Friday, October 13, 2017


Variable power scopes, that is.

There is a lot to like in a fixed power scope.  One of my favorites was a Weaver K6 that I had for a while, mounted on my old Savage 110 in .30-06.  A good fixed power scope is a joy, but unless you're searching online, you just don't see them.  I was in the box store yesterday browsing scopes, and I don't believe I saw a classic fixed-power at all on the racks.  I don't know if folks seem to buy variables, so the stores stock them, or if folks buy variables because that's all the stores stock, but the box stores seem to stock a bunch of variables. 

I have an old Burris 2.5X fixed scope on my Marlin 336 in .35 Remington.  It's been on that rifle since about 1980 and it has accounted for its share of venison.

I have a nice little Nikon 4X scope on my .22 rifle.  It's a joy to shoot, never a lick of problem.  And, that Weaver K6 is a real good scope.  But, the fact is that there are a lot more variable scopes on the market than there are fixed scopes, so we've got to learn to live with them.

Anonymous asks in Comments:
What power do you normally keep it set at ? I have a 2.5-8x on my .308 but keep it set at 5x nearly all the time. 
That's a good question.  And, the answer is; it depends.    If I'm still-hunting through the woods, slipping from tree to tree, that scope will be set low.   If I'm in a box stand somewhere, I might set it a little higher for the best view of wherever I expect the game to cross.   If I'm shooting paper or steel on the range, I might crank it all the way up to best see the target.

Back in the day,  a shooter might experience a change of impact while switching the power on a variable.  That was pretty common.  But, things have gotten better lately, and if the POI changes, it's often not enough to matter when your game is minute-of-deer.  The simple fact is that optics are a lot better now than they were when I stated paying attention to them way back in the last century.

The Silent Service

I've never been a sailor-man, instead choosing to serve in the Army, but I have a great deal of respect for the folks who cruise the undersea world.

My stepson, JimBob was an enlisted submariner during his service.  He claims that he toured the world, but saw very little of it.  He mostly lived in a steel tube.  Sometimes, on a dark, still night, the boat would surface and the skipper would allow them some time on the deck, but otherwise he was mostly inside the steel tube.

We all know they're out there, but we don't talk about them much.   Unless we want to send a message.  And, it looks like the Navy is sending a message.
The guided missile submarine USS Michigan will visit the port of Busan this weekend for the second time this year, in what is a clear warning to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
I hope that Fat Boy Kim is paying attention.  The Navy wants him to know that he has guided-missile subs just off the coast. 

And, it will be good for the sailors.  Let them get a little kimchi, some of that good Korean beer, and wander about for a bit before getting back in that steel tube and go silent again.

They're out there, Kim, all the time.  A whole lot closer than you think.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Leupold VX-1

Some of you may remember the Remington 700ADL that I picked up back in 2011.  Fine little rifle, bought off a pawn shop shelf. 

I really liked that rifle, and part of the appeal was the Leupold VX-1 scope that was on it when I bought it.  Those old VX-1s didn't have click-adjustment turrets, but it stayed zeroed, shot well, and eventually it went home with a grandkid.  So be it, that's what PawPaws do.

But, I liked that Leupold well enough that I remembered it.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a Ruger American in .308.  Of course it didn't come with a scope.  So, today on my lunch hour I was looking around in Academy and came upon what looked like a pretty good deal.  A Leupold VX-1 on sale.  So, I picked one up.

Later, as I unboxed it, I got a nice surprise.  These turrets are click adjustable, with nice, tactile clicks.  This scope is the standard, 3X9X40, ubiquitous on deer rifles all over the country.    It has a matte finish and the Leupold gold ring around the objective.

Nothing fancy, just a nice little workaday scope.  It should fit very nicely on that Ruger American.  And, for an out-the-door price under $200, I don't think I did bad at all.   It was right at the Amazon price, and I walked out with it.

Now, if I can just remember where I put that set of low rings.

Who is Harvey Weinstein?

If you've been following the news at all this week, you've heard of Harvey Weinstein.    He's a big-shot Hollywood producer who contributed greatly to the political elite, the Democrats.

He's also a serial abuser of young talent.  It turns out that the old story about the "casting room couch" is not simply a Hollywood punch line.  Oh, the stories are everywhere.  It turns out, Harey's predilection for abusing young lovelies was an open secret.    Everyone in the industry knew!  But, Harvey was rich, powerful and gave a lot of money to the Democrats.  Particularly Bill and Hill, so the open secret got swept under the rug.

NBC even killed a story about it.  And now, the DAs in the jurisdictions where Harvey plied his trade are stumbling around the fact that even they covered for him.

It's a huge scandal, and one that affects Democrats.  It's such a huge story that even Ben Affleck wants a piece of the action.

These guys should be smarter than this, but power corrupts.  When you combine power, entertainment, money, politics and the Democrats with bylines (the press), it's easy to see how this story could be swept under the rug.    This entire scandal speaks to the hypocrisy of powerful Democrats.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pore ol' Tom

Tom Brokaw, that is.  Yeah, that Tom Brokaw, who pens a piece at the NBC website about guns.  He tries first to establish his bona-fides.
I am a gun owner and have been since I was 12, growing up in South Dakota. I still have an assortment of shotguns and rifles, all used for sporting purposes.
Good for you, Tom, I didn't realize that.  You own guns and hunt.  Good for you. 

But he really doesn't like "military" guns.  And misunderstand the law.
But the Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to bear any arms you please. Fully automatic weapons have long been illegal to buy, as have bazookas and artillery pieces our troops take to war.
That's interesting, Tom.  I don't know any prohibition on buying either rocket launchers or artillery.  Or tanks.  I know of several folks (and a quick Google search would reveal more) who own those very things.  It's an expensive hobby, like your ranch in Montana, but it's not illegal.

Then he brings up the First Amendment canard.
I am a journalist, protected by the First Amendment. “Congress shall make no law,” it says, except that all journalists know they cannot, among other acts, deliberately libel a person or falsely shout fire in a crowded theater without legal consequences.
You're absolutely right Tom, and it's still against the law to murder people.  I'm sure that if I shoot someone there might be consequences.  Just like if you libel someone there might be consequences.  So what's your point?

I would think that a "respected" journalist like Tom Brokaw could come up with a better argument than this, but he printed it, didn't he?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tuesday Two-Fer

CNN: White People Aren't Allowed to Criticize the NFL Kneeling

Sure we are, and we're allowed to boycott advertisers and criticize anyone we we want to criticize.  We're especially allowed to criticize racist CNN commentators who separate people by race. 

Commissioner to NFL teams: Stand for the anthem

It looks like the boycott is working.  I know that the Commish didn't come to this conclusion out of a burst of patriotic pride, or he would have hammered Kapernick a year ago.


I can't tell you the last time I watched ESPN.  I may have been in a room where a game was playing, but with all the political hoopla that follows sports these days, my interest has pretty much waned.

Conservatives are tired of their ever-lefty controversy coverage, so we've tuned out, and now it seems that the left is outraged over their treatment of someone I've never heard of.

ESPN should be known as the Embattled Sports Politics Network.  I don't watch them, and actually had to look on my channel guide to see if they were listed on my cable package.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Fifty-One Years Later

On October 8, 1967, two companies of Bolivian Rangers engaged in a firefight with a small contingent of Communist guerrillas and found that they had captured the famed Che Guevara.  As Time magazine reports.
The Quebrada del Yuro, deep in the stifling Bolivian jungle 75 miles north of Camiri, is a steep and narrow ravine that is covered with dense foliage. There, early last week, two companies of Bolivian Rangers totaling more than 180 men split into two columns and quietly stalked a handful of guerrillas. Shortly after noon, the troops spotted their men, and both sides opened up with their rifles and automatic weapons at a withering, point-blank range of 150 feet. After a lengthy fight, four Rangers and three guerrillas lay dead, and four other guerrillas had been captured.
One of the prisoners was no ordinary guerrilla. He was Ernesto (" Che ") Guevara, 39, the elusive Marxist firebrand, guerrilla expert and former second in command to Fidel Castro whose name had be come a legend after his disappearance from Cuba 2 1/2 years ago. Since that time, much of the world had thought Che dead (perhaps even at Castro's hands) until his presence in Bolivia was dramatically confirmed a short time ago...
Dressed in a dusty fatigue shirt, faded green trousers and lightweight, high-top sandals, Che caught a bullet in his left thigh as he advanced toward the government troops; another bullet knocked his M-l semiautomatic carbine right out of his hands. In Che 's rucksack, the Rangers found a book entitled Essays on Contemporary Capitalism, several codes, two war diaries, some messages of support from "Ariel"—apparently Castro—and a personal notebook. "It seems," read one recent notebook entry in Che 's tight, crisp handwriting, "that this is reaching the end."
Which reminds me of a story.  Along about the fall of 1975 I had been commissioned, but had not yet entered active duty.  I was given an opportunity to go on a canoeing trip in northwest Arkansas with a group of soldiers, the cadre of the ROTC detachment that had commissioned me.  These were battle-hardened men, each with at least two tours in Vietnam, and they took the responsibility of training soldiers very seriously.

One of these guys was a slight, wizened, NCO named.... well, let's call him Bill. (I would never have dared to use his first name, even if Bill were it, but that will do for our purposes.)  Bill was a very senior E-8, a Master Sergeant in Army parlance, and while he had done several tours in the 'Nam, his first love was South America.

Bill was a Special Forces NCO, a Green Beret, and while he came from the Midwest, he spoke fluent Spanish, smoked Marlboro cigarettes, and had a legendary affection for El Producto cigars and Falstaff beer.  When drunk, Bill would lapse into Spanish.  He hinted often of clandestine operations in South American countries and professed a love for the country and the people.  He professed that the jungles of Vietnam had nothing on the jungles of Bolivia.

We were on that trip, and setting over the campfire as men are apt to do, and some of the old warriors started telling war stories.  During a lull in the conversation, Bill took a long pull on a Falstaff and said to no one in particular. "Don't believe anything you read about the death of Che."

We all looked at Bill like he had sprouted wings.  This was going to be a great story.

He went on to tell us that his Special Forces team had been tracking Che for several weeks, and pretty much had him pinned down.  Bill described Che as a "murderous little bastard" who thought that he was the savior of Bolivia, but that he was easy to follow, just follow the trail of bodies.

On that afternoon, they had a pretty good idea of where Che was holed-up, but they sent out patrols to try to pin down the exact location.  As it turned out, Che was moving his camp that day and the two parties of moving men stumbled into one another near a heavily tangled ravine in the Bolivian jungle.  A firefight ensued and Che was wounded in the fight.

Bill told us that the official reports said that Che was killed later by Bolivian forces, but that it didn't happen quite that way.  But, the CIA was in charge of the operation, so they got to write the reports.  

It was a long time ago.

DiFi: The Mask Slips

In an interesting article, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) talks about guns, and the mask slips.
Anti-Second Amendment crusader Senator Dianne Feinstein admitted on a Sunday spin show that no law could have stopped the maniac who massacred 58 people and injured almost 500 in Las Vegas last week.
That's what we've been saying for years.  The only law he broke is the law against murder, 

But then she tells us what she's really thinking.
 “America is a gun-happy country. And I think there are many of us in growing numbers that don’t want a gun-happy country,” said DiFi.
There is the crux of it.  She doesn't want a gun-happy country.  She wants to change the entire culture.  Remember, gun control isn't about guns at all.  It's about control.  They want to control us.


Talking about Saturday's post, I mentioned that it is entirely possible to miss a 24 inch plate at 6 feet.  Judy asked the question in comments:
What do you figure was the problem that caused y'all to miss the plate?
The simple answer is Speed.  Ours is a game of milliseconds.  The goal is to draw the revolver and hit the target before your opponent hits the target.   The targets are outfitted with electronics to tell us who hits fastest, and an average shooter will hit the plate in just a shade over half of a second.   Sounds simple, right?

But, we're using guns that replicate the equipment available in the 1880s.  Single action revolvers.  So, to be successful, you have to draw the revolver, cock it with your thumb, level it, find the trigger and fire the revolver, all in the space of about half a second.    If you do the math, you'll find that the muzzle of the gun has to be within a 5-degree cone at our match distances of 21 feet.

Target distance, 21 feet
This is instinctive shooting.  No one uses the sights.  In fact, if you look at the rules, the front sight is optional. We don't care if you have a front sight on your gun at all.    It's like pointing your finger at something and letting fly.  Sounds simple, right?

Not really.  This is a game we can't perfect.  But, we've come up with drills that help us.  One of those is to drop the target down to belt level and get close.  Go as fast as you possibly can and hit the target.  It gets you out of your comfort zone and lets you see where your natural point of aim is located.   After just a little while, you'll start to see a pattern on your target, a place where your bullets cluster.  That's your natural point of aim.  Then, when you've found that "sweet spot", translate it back to the match distance of 21 feet.

Target distance 6 feet.  Belle's going fast.
Most of my misses were to the left of the target.  Most of Belle's misses were low.  She was getting on the trigger before the gun was level, and that translated into low misses.  This is useful information that will help us in the future.    It's a drill that we'll do once in a while to help us build muscle memory, to push ourselves a little, and to have fun.  It's like drag-racing with revolvers.