Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How much is enough?

Dave Petzal is talking about ammo, and he recommends that three or four boxes of ammo is enough for the average hunter. He's right. Barring a competition, an average hunter is better off using 3/4ths of his ammo for hunting and 1/4 of it for the field. I once had a 7mm-08 that really liked a particular factory ammo. Liked it so much that I never bothered to reload for that caliber. I'd buy a box of ammo in the spring, use it to shoot the odd crow, practice some and have four or five rounds to hunt with. That was plenty. I never put that rifle on a bench. The closest it ever came to a formal shooting situation was resting on my hat on the hood of my pickup.

But, he also talks about accuracy and factory ammo.
First, don’t set your heart on minute-of-angle groups. You may get them, but you don’t need them. An inch and a half will do fine. I’d say if you don’t find something that will give you this kind of accuracy within three boxes, it’s time for a trip to the gunsmith to see if your rifle is ailing.
He's right again. We've gotten used to seeing rifles shoot into an inch at 100 yards. From the bench. Under controlled conditions. The simple fact of the matter is that the practical accuracy of a rifle/ammo combination can't be known until you get away from the bench and shoot it under field conditions. It takes practice to do that, more than some of us get.

It's springtime, guys. Take your rifles to the range once a month and shoot a half-dozen round from field conditions. Then, come the hunting season, it'll take a lot less time to tune up your shooting.

UPDATE** Misspelling corrected. Thanks, Junior.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday cooking

We've got family over tonight. We normally cook on Tuesday evenings, because the parents have enrolled the kids in karate classes and it's easy for us to cook for them.

Tonight is chicken pot pie. Another fairly easy recipe.

We're cocktailing right now and supper in another hour. I think I"m going to grab the two-year-old and take a boat ride.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday afternoon

It's cold in Central Louisiana this afternoon, with the thermometer hovering around 60 degrees. A heavy shirt or light jacket feels good to me, Milady has broken out the winter wear. Overcast, with a light breeze.

For lunch I made an old favorite, mulligan stew. We had a few grandkids over for lunch, so right after church I got busy and made a mulligan in about an hour. It's an easy meal an the recipe is here. It's a winter favorite, designed for cool evenings and campfires. It works good on a household stove, but it really tastes better when you've got a little wood smoke in the roux.

That's an old photo, but it's the same pot and the same amount of stew. They ate it all, not even enough left for a quick supper-time snack. We'll have to think about the evening meal before long, and I believe Milady wants to fry some bacon and make BLTs. That sounds like a plan I can support.

Sunday Morning Dawg

With the increased level of activity at the school house, the dog is suffering from a lack of playing time. Springtime at a school house is a busy time, with multiple sporting events and extra-curricular activities that tie up faculty and staff.

It's easy to tell when the dog wants to play, he starts carrying his ball with him. This is the sight that greets me most mornings.

I guess it's time to get the ball from him and roll it down the hall. A guy can do worse on a Sunday morning than playing with a dog.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

At the Range

It's been a while since I had any trigger time and my eldest two sons told me that they needed some recoil therapy, so we sneaked off to the range this morning. Some folks play golf, some folks go to the range.

Speer makes a little bullet for the .30-30. It's a 130 grain flat nosed job with a cannelure. I had a bunch of them and over the winter loaded them in the .30-30. I took them along this morning to try them over the chronograph. I loaded one in the Handi rifle and let it fly. Then another, then another. I looked at the chronograph screen and saw that they were averaging 2420 fps. This little bullet is loaded over 33.5 grains of Reloder 15 powder with a Winchester Large Rifle primer. When I looked through the spotting scope I saw a triangle that later measured 1.5 inches. Not bad for an inexpensive Handi-rifle and the .30-30 cartridge. Recoil is very mild. I think that this is the load I'm going to settle on for this rifle. It might need a little tinkering, but not much.

This past year I hunted with my .30-06, Savage 111. I had worked up a load this past summer that featured the 150 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet and 61.0 grains of Reloder 19 powder. WLR primer. I knew that this load was very accurate, but I had never put it over the chronograph to see how it compared with the factory ballistics. The Nosler guide tells me that I should be getting 2900 fps from the load, so after tinkering with the .30-30, I fired three rounds of this particular .30-06 hunting load. I was amazed to see the first shot hit three inches over the bull, as I have this rifle sighted dead on at 100 yards. Then, I remembered the clean barrel, breathed a sigh of relief and bolted another bullet into the chamber. At the end of the string I had one bullet high and the rest clustered, cutting each other in the bullseye. I looked at the chronograph and saw an average 2907 fps. Real close to the published tables.

In late 2008 I bought a used rifle from a pawn shop. An early Ruger Model 77 in .25-06. I settled on the 117 grain Sierra Gameking bullet and Reloder 22 powder. The rifle's got a really crappy scope on it, and I've always been convinced that it would do better with better glass, but like it's set up now it'll put five into an inch at 100 yards. All I did to this rifle is float the barrel, and shortly after I got the load settled, I gave it to my second son. He's a whole lot better shot than I am, but he can still stack five into an inch at 100 yards. We had never put this load over the chrony, so after I was done playing, we set his rifle on the bags and fired a few for velocity. Average was 2921, which is nothing to sneeze at. I wonder how that rifle would shoot with better glass?

Elder son shot his Marlin 336 in .35 Remington and his Remington 760 in .30-06. The Remington displayed the same tendency it's always displayed. The first two shots cut each other, about 2" above the bull. The rest wandered down the page. There's something about this pump rifle that the shots wander down as the barrel heats. Go figure. Still, it's a hunting rifle, plain and simple. The first two cold-barrel shots will cut each other before accuracy starts to degrade. There's not a thing wrong with that, and having a pump rifle is very very cool. The only one on the line. For the record, that rifle likes the 155 grain Hornady SST, with IMR 4895 powder. It shoots the bullet at 2781 fps, a good medium range load in that caliber.

I had a good time this morning.

Oh! There was one shooter at the range with a silenced .308. Seriously. It sounded like a .22 when it fired, and you could hear the bullet hit the paper downrange. Very strange. I asked him about the cost. He told me that the stamp cost $200.00 and the silencer cost twice as much as the rifle, a Remington 700.

You never know what you're going to run into at the range.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Earth Hour?

I was reading SondraK's blog and saw a posting about Earth Hour. Whatthehell is that? So, I started clicking around and found this:
At 8:30 PM on Saturday 26th March 2011, lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour and people will commit to actions that go beyond the hour.
It's a lefty, green, save the Earth site that wants everyone to turn the lights off tomorrow night so that we can save Gaia.

Bwahahahaha. Yeah, that's likely. These fools are going to turn the lights off for an hour and save the Earth. In my case, tomorrow night at 8:30 I'm taking my lady out for a night on the town. We'll be at a concert burning electricity like crazy.

Let me tell you something, Sparky! This old Earth is going to continue spinning around long after Homo Sapiens is but a footnote in the geologic record. Some other species will find our bones and marvel at how advanced our civilization was for such a biological oddity.

Turning your lights off for an hour ain't gonna affect the Earth one way or the other. Nature truly doesn't care whether we're here or not. The Earth is indifferent to us, just like she was indifferent to the dinosaurs.


It's no secret that I work at a high school. I'm not an educator by training or degree, but I watch a lot of what goes on in a high school from a layman's perspective and I've got to tell you; quite frankly, we're off the tracks. We're off the tracks in a way that isn't readily apparent until you start wandering around a school and seeing what actually goes on.

I think that the vast majority of educators want to do the right thing, to educate children, to prepare them for life as adults, but there are certain principles in education as it's practiced today that are at odds with the mission of educating children. Much of this fault I place on the federal bureaucracy that oversees education. Much more of this fault I place on the universities that educate our teachers. The bureau-speak of education.

Lets take just one example of a wrong-headed principle of education as taught to our teachers. Every child has a right to a free public education. Whether or not you agree with this idea, it is a hallmark of our current educational practice. While I don't have a problem with the idea, I have a huge problem with the implementation.

In law enforcement, we have certain principles, as enshrined in our Constitution. You have the right to remain silent. We cops make sure that everyone is told of this right, but we don't insist that they defend it. If they want to talk to us, more the better. It's a right that can be given up, and many people do purely out of self-interest. There are good reasons to maintain that right and there are good reasons to waive it.

Every child has a right to a free public education. The simple truth is that there are a certain percentage of students who don't value education. In a high school, I see it every day. Students who don't intend to go to classes, kids who come to school only to socialize, kids who fail every subject. It's not uncommon, but those students drag down the educational experience for those that went to be in the classroom.

Yet, the bureaucrats insist that those students be there. It seems that funding is based on such things as student counts and dropout rates and the schools who have the most students get the most money. An altogether inefficient way of allocating the scarce resource that tax dollars are becoming. In some school districts, truancy officers track down reluctant scholars and bring them to school whether they want to be there or not. That's throwing good money after bad.

There is a certain sub-culture in our society for which education holds no value. It's not based on race, but on the value that the parents place on education. The main education of any child is achieved in the home and if the home is anti-education then the schools can't hope to achieve success. Oh, there are anecdotal tales of rising from extreme poverty to achieve success, but those tales aren't data. As heart-warming as those stories are, the simple fact of the matter is that we're always going to have the poor and uneducated.

I'm a believer in education. However, I believe that we should expect accountability from the students as well as the faculty. If a student isn't performing to an acceptable level of achievement, then there is no reason to waste tax dollars on him. If a student is causing a disruption in the school environment, then there is no reason to waste tax dollars on him. Place the burden on the parent and the student. We can't afford to squander scarce resources on folks who don't want to be helped.

Don't even get me started on No Child Left Behind.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Afternoon

Got home from church this morning and cranked up the grill. Cooked enough hamburgers and hot dogs to feed seven kids and five adults. PawPaw got into the beer locker and had a Sam Adams Noble Pilsner while I was cooking. Then I washed down a burger with a Heineken.

Fielded a half-dozen questions about the pool. The answer hasn't changed. The pool will open on the last Sunday in April, when we celebrate Quinton's birthday. For those who can't read a calendar, that's April 24th of this year. I'm not sure what the menu might be that day, because the Birthday Boy gets to pick his menu.

Burgers and beer is a good Sunday lunch.

Sunday Morning Dawg

Milady and I decided that the threat of snow was over, so it was time to put the canvas on the gazebo for the summer. The dog, of course, had to superintend.

Then, after a suitable period of supervision, he sat down in a shady spot with a grumpy look on his face.

You can't please some supervisors.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gun Nuts

If you don't read Gun Nuts, over at Field and Stream, you're missing a treat. It's a team blog by Phil Bourjaily and Dave Petzal.

Anyway, they're holding this Ask A Question thing, and Petzal explains the rules:
I will not answer questions on how to summon the Devil. He has just been elected Governor of the State of New York, and is quite busy at the moment.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Beer Locker

We've got a pool house on the far end of the backyard, and inside that I've got a fridge where I store beverages. There is one shelf for kids drinks and the rest of the locker is designated for beer. The bottom shelves are for such things as canned beer that I cook with, and that my redneck buddies like to drink. The middle shelf is kids drinks and the top shelf is good, bottled beer. I try to keep an ecletic sampling there for when buddies drop by.

My son was in town the other day and I realized that I needed to restock the beer locker, what with Spring upon us. He and I went down to the beer store and sampled what they have.

For the record, I can put over 42 bottles of beer on that top shelf before we run out of space. Just in case the Quartermaster needs to know that bit of information.

A year or so ago, I told Old NFO that he had raiding rights on the beer locker. Any other blog buddy should consider himself so endowed. If you're ever in Central Louisiana, give me a call.

Main Office

I had to go to the main office at the Sheriff's Department last night to check a criminal history. I don't often go downtown, preferring to keep my ancient butt out of there. It's been better than a year since I've actually stood in the main office and when I went into the dispatcher's room I saw all manner of computer screens, large HD monitors and interactive maps.

While one of those young bucks was checking his computer for my criminal history, I happened to look at one HD screen and saw a map of our parish, with all the patrol units moving along roads. I mentioned that it looked like the Starship Enterprise in there and one of the dispatchers got cocky.

"Yeah, police work has changed since you started in the 1930s." He handed me a piece of paper with my history on it.

"No," I replied. "Police work hasn't changed, just the technology we use. - - And for the record, I started policing in 1980."

"1980", says he. "That was before I was born."

"One thing has changed" I headed out the door. "We used to be allowed to slap surly dispatchers completely out of their chairs. I think that the Sheriff should re-institute that policy for people with over 30 years of service."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

Today is St. Patrick's Day and I have a wee bit of the Irish in me. Milady, on the other hand, has a large dose of Irish in her. Her Daddy's clan name was O'Ford before it was Americanized to simply Ford.

So, I'll be wearing the green today and working a ball game this afternoon. If you're of a mood for some Irish dance, it's hard to do better than this.

This evening, after work, I may have a small nip of Jameson's before bed.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I cranked the lawnmower for the first time this season. I don't have any grass yet in the yard, just the early-sprouting weeds; dandelions, thistle, that sort of thing. Still, I was tired of looking at it, so I cranked the mower and chopped it down. Then I sprayed about two gallons of Roundup around the pool deck and pavers. That ought to knock them back for a little while.

The lawunower started first pull of the rope, a testimony to my Dad's method of winterizing a lawnmower. Run all the gas out of it, check the oil, and put it under cover. I put fresh gasoline it it, hit the primer button and it cranked on the first pull. That's also a testimony to Briggs and Stratton engines.

So, the back yard is cut around the pool. I haven't tried to start the riding mower yet, but I'm hoping that my winterizing strategy worked as well.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

People of the Gun

Several years ago, Jeff at Alphecca set up a site he called People of the Gun. It was a site set up to support ordinary bloggers and people who write about guns.

They've moved to, and the same bunch of reprobates is still there. They emailed me and asked if I'd like to stay linked and I told them I'd like that.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday napping

Milady and I tried to take a nap this afternoon, but people kept dropping by. That's okay as we love to see family and friends, but the highlight of the afternoon was when the youngest grandson, Lucas, came by for a visit.

Here, he's talking to his grandma and getting ready to be fed. Grandma always feeds people who stop by, and Lucas got his ration through a tiny bottle.

Afterwards, it was still nap time, so PawPaw took the boy to show him how it's done.

That'll do, Luke. That'll do.

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog sleeps in the wash-room. He's got a bed in there, along with his water dish. Every morning when I start coffee, I'll hear him start whining, begging to be let out of the washroom. So, I pick him up and put him in the back yard to do his business. It's a standard routine.

This morning I took the camera with me to get a snapshot of him, and this is what I saw when I opened the door.

He looks like he needs a cup of coffee too.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


No links, because if you haven't heard of the tsunami in Japan, you're living under a rock.

I've never lived through a tsunami, but I've lived through hurricanes and I know the damage and devastation that a natural disaster can bring. If you're not ready for it (and who can ever be truly ready for something like this) it's a life-changing event.

The dead are beyond help, but the injured, the property damage, the loss of property affect people who are still living. Sometimes the most immediate needs of water, food, shelter are not available and won't be available for several days. No one can go through something like that and be unchanged. Even if you're physically okay, the ache in your soul is something that you've got to experience to understand.

Pray for the people of Japan.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Life intrudes

Between baseball, track& field, and softball, I"m really busy at the school-house.

I'll be back Sunday.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Mardi Gras in Mamou

We went to Mardi Gras in Mamou, LA yesterday and while we were walking on Main Street, my son pointed out something that I had stepped over.

Those are deer tracks, in concrete, on the sidewalk in downtown Mamou. We were between Fred's Saloon and the Hotel Cazan on the main drag of town.

What was that deer doing in downtown Mamou?

Update** Junior points out in comments that those look like hog tracks. Maybe so. Still, the question remains: What was that hog doing on Main Street? The simple answer is: Walking in Concrete.

Fast and Furious

If you haven't been following it, the ATF is catching hell for an operation they conducted where the allowed guns to flow into Mexico, hoping to identify top-level trafficers. As they let those guns get into Mexico, they also noted an up-tick in the violent crime rate. What else would they suspect might happen?

Two of those guns were used in the murder of a Border Patrol Agent.

Now, legislators in Mexico are demanding answers.

The ATF is an agency that deserves a severe slapping. The very idea of breaking the law to enforce it is anathema to good law enforcement. Everyone involved should be fired immediately and the US attorney with jurisdiction should proffer indictments.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Les Courir de Mardi Gras

Courir de Mardi Gras is the cajun celebration, the old-time, small town celebration as totally unlike the debauchery in New Orleans as the little towns of Mamou, Moncla, or Eunice is unlike the metropolis on the river.

In the little celebrations, riders gather at daylight and move from house to house. The Capitan of the crew leads the way and asks permission from the homeowners if they can visit the property. They chase chickens, beg rice, dig onions, and generally put on a show while gathering ingredients for a gumbo. Then they move to the next country house and repeat the performance.

In town, while the riders are going through their circuit, the townspeople gather and dance in the streets, listen to music and generally await their return.

As in all things Cajun, there is beer involved. Lot of beer. At the end of the day, the Courirs ride into town in a triumphal parade and gather at a location to make their gumbo.

We're going to Eunice this morning to listen to some good Cajun music and buy jambalaya from the vendors. At noon, we'll head to Mamou, where we'll buy a drink from Fred's saloon, dance in the street and await the Courirs.

This ain't New Orleans, but it sure is Mardi Gras.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Chili Sunday

It's cool outside today, so I'm thinking about a bowl of chili. After church, I don't know how many grandkids I'll be feeding, so it behooves me to have something that is easy, quick, and filling. Plus, this might be the last cool day we'll have for awhile and I might not cook chili again until autumn.

Milady's chili recipe is simplicity itself, like most her recipes. All you need is:

A couple of pounds of ground meat. Hamburger works well, as does venison.
A big can (a quart) of tomato juice
Some chopped bell peppers
Some chopped onions.
Chili Powder.

Today, I'm making a big pot, so we'll start with a pound of venison and a pound or more of ground beef. Add beans if you like. I normally open a couple of cans of red kidney beans, or chili beans, or Ranch-style beans and add to the pot.

Brown your ground meat, then add the onions and bell peppers to sautee in that good animal fat. Drain the fat. Add your tomato juice, add your chili powder to suit your tastes. If you're adding beans, now's the time. Let everything simmer for an hour, you might want to add some salt, you might not. This recipe gives us a bowl of the classic red American chili. Serve with crackers.

Or, if you want something just a little more involved, there's always The Cap'ns Chili Verde. It's a green chili and he starts with a pork roast. It's might fine and easily done on a campfire. I guess you could cook it on a stove as well.

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog and I were sitting on the back deck yesterday and I actually got him to sit still for a photo.

He sure looks a lot better with his new haircut.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Saturday Thunder

It's a rainy Saturday morning in central Louisiana. Rain falling with far-off thunder rolling across the piney woods. All my outdoor plans are on hold and I've got a lazy Saturday in the offing.

The dog is absolutely petrified. As I type this, he's cowering under my feet, scared to death of the thunder. Every time it thunders, he looks at me as if to say, "MY GOD, DID YOU HEAR THAT?" If he weren't so pitiful, it would be funny.

Who am I kidding? It's funny. He's a quivering mass of scared-to-death. I'm trying not to mock him, but it's hard.

Bless his heart.

Friday, March 04, 2011


When we planted the climbing roses over the gate entrance, I also planted some Carolina Jasmine, a climbing vine with wonderful small flowers.

I believe we've still got one cold-snap left, but the jasmine believes that it's springtime in Louisiana.

I won't believe that it's springtime until the pecan trees start budding out. That hasn't happened yet.

Friday afternoon

It's been a heck of a week. As the springtime rolls around, the baseball, softball, track, all sorts of school activities begin to roll around too. Whereas most people think of fall and High School Football, the average high school team only plays ten games, and half of those at home. Basketball is only 20 games, half of those at home. Baseball, softball, they play lots of games and that's where I've been the past several days and where I'll be for the next couple of weeks.

For example, yesterday I worked a tennis match, then went over to the baseball game, then went back to the school to work the annual theater production. I got home at about 10:00 p.m. Got up at 5:00 a.m. to do it all again. I'm home long enough to charge my batteries, drink some iced tea, then it's back to the school house for the second evening of theater.

The production this year is Hello, Dolly!

Along with the extra details, I am still doing the police-work side of the business. I've been working a theft ring for some time, and I think that the investigation is about to come to fruition. I won't be able to talk about it, but it's great fun rousting thieves.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


I went for my yearly checkup last week and the Doc wanted some blood, so I went in this morning and let his lovely assistant stick needles in my arm. The results came in and I learn today that my cholesterol is out of whack. I need diet and exercise and to take some medicine. The nurse was quite emphatic that I repair to the pharmacy, get the drugs and take a dose before bedtime tonight.

So, on the advice of my doctor and Milady, I hied myself down to the pharmacy and got my prescribed dosages. On the way back home, I decided to celebrate and stopped by the local barbeque place. Picked up a couple of rib plates for our supper.

Those ribs ought to give that cholesterol medicine something to work on while I sleep.

Wednesday Dawg

The dog got a trim today. He had been pretty shaggy and it was time for a clipping.

We can contrast and compare. This is the before shot.

To this shot taken today.

That looks a little more comfortable, doesn't it? Now that I think about it, it's time for PawPaw to get a haircut hisself.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

LIbya Today

Moammar's got a tactical problem.
BENGHAZI, LIBYA - Libyan soldiers and paramilitary forces loyal to Moammar Gaddafi attempted Tuesday to retake territory that has been seized by rebels, but neither side appeared to gain ground, according to accounts of the fighting from residents and opposition officials.
Moammar's also got a strategic problem.
WASHINGTON — Obama administration officials held talks on Sunday with European and other allied governments as they readied plans for the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent further killings of civilians by forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
If countries band together to enforce a no-fly zone that denies Moammar his air assets, he loses the battle. As long as the rebels can get logistics, bullets and beans, then the loss of Qadiffi's air force may prove fatal to his regime.

Moammar's also got political problems.
(Reuters) - The staff of Libya's mission to the United Nations declared allegiance to the people of Libya, instead of to its government led by Muammar Gaddafi, a mission spokesman said on Monday.

At this stage of the game, I'm wondering how long it'll be before we find Moammar swinging from a lamp-post, or stood against a wall.