Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gunpowder therapy

As I mentioned a few posts back, when I decided on a caliber for a varmint gun, I settled on the good ol' .223, since the ammo was cheap and easy to find.

Well, fast forward to current day, and it's a literal bitch to find anything in any caliber, much less reasonably priced. The reliable American Eagle 50-grain Varmint Tips that shoot well out of both Joe's and my gun are practically impossible to find on the shelves, and the ones we've seen at gun shows have been priced no less than 300% higher than what we were payin' before.

We were both gettin' low, so when a few tray lots of several hundred soft-tipped and varmint-tipped reloads went across the board at the auction a few weeks ago, I jumped on 'em.

Since they were reloads and I ain't sure how they were built, Joe and I decided to get together and shoot 'em and see how they did.

It was a touch windy which kept us under 100 yards, but since it was more or less a performance check and not an official sight in, that was fine. The reloads proved to be relatively accurate, so once the American Eagles are gone, we can dial 'em in and keep whackin' hogs. Either way, it was nice weather after yesterday's snow, and burnin' powder is always good for clearin' the head out.

Methinks I'll be havin' a gun-cleanin' party tonight with the last of my growler of Nugget Nectar...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Another reason to hate groundhogs

This is the view from my kitchen window this mornin'...

Happy frikkin' Spring.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Body Count '13 - #2

Joe's up to three now, and I think he's head-shot at least two of 'em.

Well, I caught two of 'em out when I was comin' up the lane this evenin', and I guess I was feelin' cocky and competitive. Tried to head-shoot the first one and somehow duffed the easy 170-yard shot completely. The second one was foolish enough to stop for half a second on the way back to the hole, so I jacked in another, aimed for the middle and touched it off. Turns out it was probably a good thing that I missed what was likely a big ol' male, because the second one turned out to be a female. I like to knock the females off before they get a chance to make a batch of hole-diggin', destructive little baby whistlepigs.

So that's that. No more deliberately tryin' for headshots. Unless it's a stupidly easy shot, I'll just be goin' for center mass from here on out.

The only good groundhog's a dead groundhog.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Grandpa's Firetruck

To start, let me admit that I'm extremely blessed to still have all four of my grandparents. Alzheimer's has laid her miserable hand upon my maternal grandfather's thoughts, but the other three are all still very sharp of mind, if not the most physically able anymore.

My paternal grandfather's pride and joy, aside from his family, is his 1956 Seagrave firetruck. Although we've watched him go downhill physically in the last few years, ridin' around in that firetruck just wipes the years off of him. Helpin' Grandpa with the truck has allows many of his grandchildren the opportunity to spend some quality time with him that we otherwise wouldn't get. As I've been not workin' full time anywhere, I've been spendin' way too much time drivin' him from one doctor to the other... playin' with the firetruck is a rather pleasant break from that.

Saturday was the annual York Saint Paddy's Day Parade, a day that Grandpa (who's about as Irish as you can get) looks forward from the day after we get back from the previous year's parade. For the second year, the ancient but able firetruck took top honors for the Best Antique Vehicle. We had 15 or so family members ridin' with the truck, with a few more watchin' from the crowd. After the parade, we all convened at my aunt and uncle's house for a fantastic traditional Irish feast.

Polished up, decorated and ready to go.

My cousin Tori, Grandpa, and our local ball team's mascot

Everyone gets ready for step-off.

Grandpa had the seat of honor on the ride back.

My poor girl was cold... She toughed it out though.

The weather wasn't the best, but it sure was a day that I'll cherish as the years go by.

The Growler Diaries, vol. 4

I'm not full-blown Irish, but I'm Irish enough that it made sense to pour what was left of my Nugget Nectar into another glass bottle to make way in my growler for some delicious Guinness Draught for St. Paddy's Day.

Not only that, I had a question that needed answered regardin' the overall magical deliciousness of Lucky Charms when combined with Guinness....

Not too bad, all things considered.


Pour Three
Troegs Nugget Nectar
Troegs Brewing Company

Pour Two
Zack Morgan's Pale Ale
Morgantown Brewing Company

Pour One
Troegs Mad Elf
Troegs Brewing Company

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Body Count '13 begins...

At some point last year, while workin' at Mason Dixon, I got a Dick's Sporting Goods flyer in the mail that had some pretty decent coupons, as well as a fantastic advertised price on Remington's flagship rifle, the Model 700. I had a little bit of money saved up at the time and decided the time had come for a good groundhog gun. It was only their base model, the ADL, with a bull barrel and a cheap scope, but I knew that with a few modifications, I could turn it into somethin' special. I selected the .223 caliber, since (at the time) there was a helluva variety of ammo that was, for the most part, cheap and easily acquired.

This bein' my very first new gun purchase, I felt the need to celebrate, CenTexTim style.

It came with a no-name 4-12x40 scope and some cheap plastic furniture, but I had diabolical plans of replacin' them. In the meantime though, the little brother and I got 'er dialed in one mornin' and found some whistlepigs that afternoon. The gun killed the only two hogs she shot at that day.

A month or so later, once my fun fund was back up to speed, I started scope shoppin'. After lookin' at literally dozens of optics, I went into Sportman's Liquidation and put in my order for a Hawke Eclipse 30 SF, 6-24x50. Perhaps a bit overkill, but it sure is nice bein' able to count the nosehairs on a hog that's 300 yards away. The 30mm tube payed for itself the first time I looked through it at dusk... the 1" tubes don't even come close to bringin' that much light in. I'd also been lookin' at a nice laminated thumbhole stock from Boyd's Gun Stocks, so I got that comin', as well as a Champion bipod to throw under it.

Everythin' finally showed up, so I spend an afternoon puttin' everythin' together. To say I was was pretty damn pleased with the final product was an understatement.

Well, I never did get around to takin' the damn thing huntin' anymore that year, thanks to a bloodsuckin' job. Joe did managed to miss a few turkeys with it in the fall, and I did carry it a few times early this winter after foxes.

I've since ditched the job, so now I have a little time to put the ol' girl to use.

Yesterday afternoon, I got the the farm a little early before the afternoon milkin', so I took the ol' girl for a walk. I snuck up over a little knoll a saw a spot of brown pickin' through some corn rows. A few feet of sneakin' later, and I finally had the first hog with the finished gun.

Thus, the Body Count. It's admittedly not as excitin' as the Body Count contest orchestrated by Jesse's brother-in-law and cousin, who at the time were both single and livin' at Myrtle Beach. However, I expect that Joe and I will be spendin' some quality time pickin' off hogs and we'll be keepin' count. Unless he's kept a few hidden from he, he's at two so far. I don't anticipate bestin' him in this little competition since he's got time and youthful exhuberance, but I'm damn sure gonna do my best to try to keep up.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Honky-Tonk

These windy days give me the blues... ain't nobody better at singin' 'em than ol' Hank.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Growler Diaries, vol. 3

Pour three came today at the suggestion of my girl, who informed me that one of the local restaurants had just put some delicious Troegs Nugget Nectar on tap. As luck would have it, I had a gift card for the place and they've recently started fillin' growlers. With a predicted 6"-12" of snow on the way overnight here in south central PA, I figgered that havin' somethin' delicious to imbibe on would be sorta important.

Scozzaro's has 20 beers on tap and is less than ten minutes from my house... I have a feelin' it might be a semi-regular stop for the Growler Diaries.


Pour Two
Zack Morgan's Pale Ale
Morgantown Brewing Company

Pour One
Troegs Mad Elf
Troegs Brewing Company

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Bulletproof goose recipe

With the comin' of March came the quiet passin' of our goose season here in PA. Dad and Joe managed to make the best of the final day and put a few more birds in the bag. All told, the Murren family decoys accounted for 67 birds this year, which is a pretty decent year for us. My contribution was rather minimal, but I managed to bag ten or so of those birds myself. Joe, with the advantage of time and youthful exuberance, probably did the most damage, but I ain't gonna pad his ego and ask him how many.

Any of y'all that have bit into those greasy bastards knows that goose is an acquired taste. Most of our goose meat makes its way to the dehydrator for jerky for just that reason, but one of Joe's buddies shared a pretty good recipe with us that is worth sharin'. As simple as it is, it makes for some pretty damn good tablefare. I whipped up a batch for Winterfest a few weeks ago, and it seemed to go over pretty well.

Basically, all you do is slice the breast meat into 1/2"-3/4" strips and marinate it awhile in either apple juice or apple cider. When the time comes, throw it all in the crock pot on low for eight-ten hours, then take it out and shred it with a fork. Throw that on a potato roll with some Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, and you got a winner.

That's the simple recipe that's probably pretty damn good in its own right, but I've been known to just start grabbin' shit and throwin' it in, just to see what happens.

Turns out we had a quart of apple juice that had been in the fridge too long, and it was startin' to ferment just a tad. I've heard from numerous sources that citrous helps kill off some of the gamey, greasy taste so I added a cup of lemon juice to the apple juice. I also threw in three tablespoons of brown sugar, three tablespoons of soy sauce, and two teaspoons each of nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. Instead of the SBR's, I used a batch of scratch BBQ sauce that I lifted from a catered lunch at work a few months ago.

I also used 12 breasts (six geese), which my girl discovered was just a bit too much for our crock pot to handle. I threw it in and headed to work, and by the time she crawled outta bed a few hours later, it had apparently cooked over the edge and was all over the kitchen.That said, ten breasts were prolly more than enough for the Winterfest crowd anyway.

Shreddin' it took a good bit of time, but it was definitely worth it. I wound up eatin' a good bit of it before it even made it to Ron's. Pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.

One thing I did notice is that after two straight days set on warm in the crock pot for the Winterfest activities, it started to taste like goose meat again. I wound up mixin' a bottle of BBQ sauce into it, which fixed it up right nice.

Definitely a keeper recipe, and will help us use up some of the excess goose meat we tend to pad our freezer with. Give it a try and let me know what ya think.