Saturday, March 28, 2015


I wanted to do a little scoutin' for turkeys around the farm, so I made a few detours on the way home after the mornin' milkin' yesterday.

Lo and behold, I seen one struttin' his stuff just a mile from the farm, as the crow flies. He was about 400 yards off the road and had stopped struttin' by the time I got my phone's camera lined up with the binoculars to snap a picture.

Sure was nice to see one out and about. Made my mornin' right pleasant.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Beer and Hoppe's

I'm still recoverin' from a brutal stretch of work this weekend, so I slept in this mornin' and have laid low most of the afternoon. I have a pile of guns that need a good scrubbin', so I'm workin' my way through them.

A few weeks ago, I found a case of Wolaver's Coffee Porter on the clearance rack at a local suds shop. I gotta say, that was $20 well spent, as this stuff is much better than what the price tag implied. I gave half the case to a friend that was helpin' me with some electrickery stuff around the house, and I've been slowly makin' my way through the rest of it.

With a few nips of this stuff in my system, the ol' Hoppe's oil and solvent smell even better...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Poor birds

If one was to spend any length of time in our humble abode, chances are they'd hear a rather stout "thump!" every now and again, sometimes a couple of 'em in an hour's time.

You guessed it. The local tweety-birds spend a ridiculous amount of time tryin' to take the shortcut through our window-heavy home. Seems like it's a bit worse with snow on the ground, which has been most of the last four months 'round these parts.

We've only had a few casualties that I've noticed, so it's more entertainin' than anything else, especially the tufts of feathers left on the windows and the mini snow-angels they leave in the drifts below the windows.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Body Count '15 - #2

We have a candidate for the Dumbest Groundhog of the Year.

I took the .223 and a few other guns to the range this mornin' for some trigger therapy. I'd just established my zero at 100 yards when this dipshit wandered out between the 100 and 200 yard targets.

I'm pretty sure there's somethin' in the bylaws at that range about whackin' critters from the bench, but I have my limits. Figgered I'd better stop this'n before she reproduced.

Four years running

Pappy's ancient, but able, 1956 Seagrave again took top honors in the Antique Vehicle catagory at the York St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday.

It was a dreary day, but the rain stopped prior to step-off and held off, for the most part.

That truck was Pappy's pride and joy, and I hope we did him proud.

I really miss that man.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Body Count '15 - #1

I got off to an early start this year. This ol' boy made the mistake of lettin' my girl see him peekin' out from under the shed yesterday, and she promptly alerted me as I was walkin' in the door from work.

Can't say I was real bummed about givin' him a rude awakenin' from his winter hibernation.

45 Ultimate tips for men

Again, this list is another one of these things that I don't normally waste time on. For some reason I did, and there's some good nuggets of wisdom in there. Some of these my ol' man told me, and some of them I wish he had. #29 may be my favorite, as I love nothin' more than to have a good story to share.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Give me BBQ, or give me death

I don't normally read stories from sites like this, as I find most of them to be a waste of time. When I stumbled upon this headline though, I had to bite, and I'm glad I did. I needed a good laugh that day.

I'm surprised CenTexTim didn't beat me to the punch with this one...

* * *

Student’s BBQ Grill Is Taken By Community Management, He Cements Replacement Grill To Ground In Protest, Hilarity Ensues

NEW BBQ GRILL POLICY: All grills must be removed immediately. Grills left out as of Monday will be removed from your patio or balcony.
The above notice was sent out via email by community management at a complex occupied mostly by students of Texas State University. No BBQ grills? Just like that? I’m sorry, I thought this was America, and so did one patriotic student, Hunter, who decided he wasn’t going to let this faceless, oppressive regime strip him of his right to grill the fuck out of meat.

Grill Pic 1

Nobody was going to tell him when, where or how he could barbecue, so he chained his grill to the damn porch in protest, and proudly displayed a flag challenging his attackers. Impressive victory, right? Not quite. Hunter returned home from a long day of classes to find that the bolt had been cut, and the grill had been taken.

Grill Pic 2

Those commie sons of bitches used bolt cutters and took his sweet meat melter. But, in Hunter the hero’s own words, “Did the Texians give up after the fall of the Alamo? No! And neither would I.” He scored another grill from a buddy, went to Lowe’s, bought 240-pounds of concrete, dug a nice hole, and got to pouring.

Grill Pic 3

Your move, fascist management. The theft of his original grill might’ve been Pearl Harbor, but cementing a backup grill to the ground? That shit right there was Grilloshima, or Grillasaki, or whatever.
“The battle had been lost, but I had won the war,” said Hunter, now widely known as Martin Luther Grilling. “I thought this would be the end of it. I expected an angry email or something, but I figured the grill was here to stay for a while. I was wrong.”

Grill Pic 5

The grill gestapo showed up within hours of him laying the concrete, apparently intent on taking it. Thankfully, Hunter heard them drive up, and informed them, I assume in a very polite manner, that they would not be taking the grill.

Grill Pic 6

While amused by Hunter’s steadfast resistance to oppression, the grill gestapo called the supervisor and general manager of the community, then explained to Hunter that this entire grill battle was caused by an insurance inspector who was there to evaluate the complex, causing the sudden rule change. Understandably, the general manager was less amused than the maintenance workers.

“I explained that I responded so boldly to the email because it was an all-or-nothing ultimatum, and they had threatened to seize my personal property,” said Hunter.

The general manager explained that while the email said, “residents cannot keep grills inside, in a closet, in a vehicle, or anywhere on the property,” that shit was all just a quasi-legal formality, and agreed to return Hunter’s original grill if he kept it inside when it wasn’t being used, and, of course, if he removed the second grill from the ground. Finding this to be a reasonable compromise, Hunter agreed.

Grill Pic 7

Luckily, the concrete was still wet, so removal wasn’t terribly difficult. Hunter was reunited with his original grill, and management explained that they never intended to dispose of anyone’s personal property.

As a result of Hunter’s steadfast refusal to give up his American right to cook and eat dead animals, management went around knocking on doors, asking residents to move their grills inside and only collecting the grills of residents who weren’t home (so they could pass the insurance inspection), but leaving them a notice telling them to come pick up their grill from the office and move it inside their home.

The original grill and infamous flag now have a new home inside and will serve as a shrine to The Battle Of Grillysburg forever.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Chris Kyle's favorite rifles

With the Hollyweird flick American Sniper blowin' up the charts, I found this link to be of particular interest to me, as I also have a buddin' desire to put together a long-range rig.

You can find the in-depth blog post here. Give it a read... it was pretty neat to take a look at the tools used by one of our finest service members. It goes into tremendous detail regardin' the guns that Kyle used both overseas and stateside.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Thursday's snow

I had nowhere to be on Thursday, and was quite thankful for it after gettin' around a foot of snow at the estate. I shoveled a path to the woodshop, grabbed a jug of tea, and that was purty much my day.

I love me a good snow day.

I did take the opportunity to snap a few pictures while I was out and about...

An old Winchester

Old news to most of you, but worth sharin' again.

One mornin' many years ago, when I was a young hunter still totin' Dad's Remington 760 .30-06, I stopped about halfway up the mountain one mornin' to take care of some "paperwork". The ol' man let me get about 30 yards further up the hill before remindin' me that his gun was still leanin' against a tree near my temporary throne. I never did like climbin' mountains, so havin' to retrace my steps down, then back up the hill was enough to drive that lesson home.

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132-year-old Winchester rifle found propped against national park tree

January 14

Archaeologists conducting surveys in Nevada’s Great Basin National Park came upon a gun frozen in time:  a .44-40 Winchester rifle manufactured in 1882. It was propped up against a juniper tree.

“They just happened to notice the rifle under the tree,” said Nichole Andler, Basin National Park’s chief of interpretation. The public will get a chance to view the rifle over the weekend.

Although staff have no idea how the rifle ended up there, “it looked like someone propped it up there, sat down to have their lunch and got up to walk off without it,” Andler said.

It’s remarkable that anyone was able to spot the gun back in November, as it had blended in so well with its surroundings. The unloaded gun appears to have been left undisturbed for more than 100 years; its wooden base had turned gray and was partially buried, and the barrel had rusted.

Though not in very good shape, the rifle is certainly salvageable, Andler said, and it will be preserved so it remains in its current state.

While the rifle’s back story remains a mystery, the history of the place offers some clues: Great Basin was primarily a mining site at the time, but could have also been home to grazing cattle and sheep. The gun may have also been the relic of game hunting in the area.

This particular model of Winchester rifle was quite popular at the time, so it wasn’t necessarily a rare and precious item for a person to leave behind. The year this particular rifle was made, 25,000 others were also manufactured. In fact, the prevalence of the gun may have contributed to a massive price drop, from costing $50 in 1873 to $25 in 1882. Here is a close-up of the rifle:
“It was one of those things, sort of the everyman’s rifle,” Andler said. The gun is often referred to “as the gun that won the West,” she added.

Park staff are now combing through old newspaper articles and records to try and unearth any information as to how the rifle ended up against that tree.

“It probably has a very good and interesting story,” Andler said, “but it probably is a story that could have happened to almost anyone living this sort of extraordinary existence out here in the Great Basin Desert.”

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A beautiful PA buck with a beautiful rifle

It's poundin' snow outside, yet again. For once, I've got nowhere to be today, so it can snow all damn day for all I care. I'll take the opportunity to play catch-up on some things, and hopefully get some progress made in the woodshop.

In the meantime, I've got a pile full of links that I've been wantin' to share with y'all, goin' all the way back to deer season. I'm gonna try to thin that list down over the next few days.

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Here's one of my favorite stories to come out of the PA deer season...
Gap Woman Shoots Trophy Buck with Homemade Rifle

Margaret allison -1.jpg
By P.J. REILLY | Staff Writer
For many hunters, getting game isn't anywhere near as important as how they get it.
Or what they get it with.
The deer hunter who hits the woods toting a stick and string during gun season doesn't view his bow as a handicap.

The small gamer, who carries the double-barreled, blackpowder shotgun his grandfather gave him isn't thinking about bag limits as he works through the grape tangles.

Margaret Allison of Gap could have taken a scoped, semiautomatic shotgun with a rifled barrel when she went deer hunting Dec. 12 in Chester County.

Instead, the 71-year-old slinked through a skiff of snow with her hands firmly gripping the .50-caliber flintlock rifle with buckhorn sights her husband of 50 years, Paul, had built for her in 1986.
"I love that rifle," Margaret said. "It makes me a better hunter, because I have to think about what I'm doing so much more when I go to shoot."

On this chilly next-to-last day of the 2014 firearms season, Margaret was a good enough hunter with her trusty flintlock to take her biggest buck ever — an 11-pointer — with a single shot at 85 yards.

"I'm usually pretty calm when it comes time to shoot, but I have to admit, I was shaking on this shot," she said. "I knew it was a nice buck."

Old school rifle

It's actually not all that surprising that Margaret Allison would choose to carry a flintlock into the deer woods, when she could legally carry a more modern firearm.

Her husband, Paul, is the owner of Federal Gun Shoppe in Gap, and has been building custom flintlocks for decades.

Also, the husband and wife are long-time members of Lancaster Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, where Margaret serves as secretary.

The Allisons shoot regularly, which Margaret says is key to being proficient with a flintlock.
"The more you shoot these rifles, the more familiar you become with how they function," she said. "They're all different."

Paul recalls a time when a man asked his wife "why she would want to take out one of those unreliable guns that don't always go off.

"She looked him right in the eye and said, 'Sir, my rifle has never misfired.' "

And it has never misfired on a deer. Not since the day she started shooting it.

Retired from the insurance business, Margaret didn't seriously take up deer hunting until Paul built her .50-caliber flintlock in the 1980s.

Since then, she has taken 16 deer with that rifle.

Six of those — including this year's monster — have been bucks.

She's got notches in the rifle's stock for each deer — big notches for bucks, smaller ones for does.

The hunt

On Dec. 12, the Allisons headed to a piece of private property where they have permission to hunt.
Their plan was to sit in the truck until daylight, then slip through the woods to their favorite hunting spots, looking for deer along the way.

"In this woods, you might see deer anywhere," she said.

Within seconds after she left the truck, Margaret bumped some deer.

"I am impatient," she said. "I like to get to my stand and then wait for deer to come to me."

Bumping those deer reminded Margaret of advice her husband had given her about walking slowly, with light feet, and scanning the woods for deer.

So that's what she did the rest of the way.

She figures it took her an hour and 45 minutes to get to her stand.

"And I really didn't go that far away from the truck," she said.

As she approached her spot, she saw several deer ahead of her.

It was the five she had spooked earlier.

"Apparently, I didn't scare them too bad, because they were just feeding along," she said. "They never left the woods."

One of the deer was noticeably larger than the others.

That's the one Margaret focused on.
And within short order, she noticed it had antlers.

Big ones.

"I didn't know how big it was, but I knew it was big," she said. "That's when I started shaking."

Margaret was shaking so much, she thought she might have trouble shooting.

"I remembered what Paul told me about finding a tree to use to steady myself, and I really took my time to think about what I needed to do to shoot," she said.

Even with that laser focus, Margaret admits she still was shaking.

But when she squeezed the trigger and became engulfed in a cloud of white smoke, she felt good about the shot.

She didn't see where the buck went, but she could tell by listening that he ran away from her, before circling back and crashing barely 40 yards away.

"It was a big crash," she said. "I knew he was down."

Ground shrinkage? Not

When Margaret walked up on her buck, she couldn't believe her eyes.

The long, sweeping main beams had good mass to support the 11 points, and about an 18-inch spread.

"He was even bigger than I thought," she said. "He had a big rack and he was a big-bodied deer."

The property manager heard Margaret's shot, as did her husband, and the two rushed over to find her. Both shared in Margaret's delight.

The property manager fetched his tractor and hauled the buck back to the Allison's truck in the bucket.

"That made things a lot easier on us, I can tell you," Margaret said.

This was the biggest buck Margaret ever shot, but he's not going to the taxidermist.

"His antlers were broken in a couple places," she said. "I'm happy just to remember him with the rack."

And with another notch in her rifle stock.