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Archive for December, 2010

Last week after picking up our Christmas house guests, we swung by the Denver Botanic Gardens for the light show.  Tori and I had stopped there a couple of years ago.  At that time there was a very large tree that was completely covered in small blue lights, and to us it gained tremendous favor as ” The Blue Tree” and we have fashioned our personal indoor Christmas trees in its style.  Last year we upcycled the blue LED lights on our tree for under the bed,  That can be seen at this post.

Those lights are still in service as a “nightlight”.

This year the great blue tree was decked out in green and red…impressive but not to the level of the original.

 

The Great Blue Tree is now Red and Green

Denver Botanic Gardens

Japanese Gardens with the Creek in the foreground

The Big Pool

Main Walkway near the Entrance

All of these shots were done with my Nikon D90 and a basic tripod, this year it was WAY warmer than the original “Blue Tree” year…but still cold enough for the ponds to have a bit of ice in them.

 

 

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Ruger Vaquero In .45 Colt

 

I took the plunge yesterday and picked up my first cartridge gun. Those that have been following along here know I started shooting black powder earlier this year with my Colt 1851 in .44  and my Remington 1858 also in .44, both by Pietta.  This Ruger is my first step further in to the world of cowboy shooting. I must admit I miss the smoke and smell of the black powder, but  BOY HOWDY are these cartridge guns quick and easy to load.  No wonder the wild wild west was won with these guys forefathers’.  This Ruger is based on the original Colt peacemaker, Colt re-introduced the SAA (Singl Action Army) a while back with the popularity of Cowboy action shooting and a number of other manufacturers have jumped in.  The new Colts list in the $1200 range…a bunch of the others are way more reasonable.

At first I was thinking about an Uberti 1873 cattleman with case hardened frame, blued barrel,  brass backstrap and trigger guard. I have to say it is still one of the most attractive looking single actions out there.  I also was thinking about getting it in .44-40 as this was the orginal caliber of the Winchester 1873 rifle. Which, hands down, is still the coolest rifle ever.  The Uberti version of the Winchester 1873, in their sporting model with the 24″ octagonal  barrel is what is at the top of my wish list (in case there are any philanthropic persons out there looking to buy one for me).  I picked up my Vaquero at a shop in Boulder and they have a few of the Uberti 1873 rifles in .45 colt in both the 20″ and 24″ models. I can provide details if you need them.

Research into the robustness of the Uberti pistols and the all arround shortage of ammo in .44-40.  Led me to decide to go with the Vaquero in .45 Colt, its still VERY cowboy, and I got a good deal on this used one in Stainless steel. So today, less than 24 hours after I took it home, I got out to test fire it.  Granted, the weather was for shit with cold wind and blowing snow but with the speed of reloads (compared to the cap and  ball muzzle loaders) it was not too bad really.  The “sight picture” is a little different than the others but I think it is something I could get used to.  After about 3 rounds of reloading I was into the “black” at about 30 feet or so.  The kick of the .45 cowboy loads was bigger than I had anticipated so I think it will continue to be as much fun as the black powder. Down the road a bit, with its stainless construction when I start shooting black powder cartridges now and then it should clean up easily.

 

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Actually it is Momma moose and her 2 kids.  OK… before you bash me for a crappy pic of a moose butt…let me fill you in.  While heading back home after a gig near Rollinsville today,  I spied a number of cars parked along the Peak to Peak Highway about half way between Ned and Rollinsville, not only were there a handful of cars, there were about 10 people along the side of the road, a good handful of them with cameras.  Lucky for me I had my camera in the truck, as I drove by the center of the group I could see some critters off in the brush.  At first I thought…..Elk?  ..then why so many people? we see Elk all the time…after walking up to the group I could see that they were Moose.

As I approached the human group, the Moose group headed off into the thicker brush before I could get a good pic…the loud rumbling truck that went by must have spooked them somewhat.  They headed along the road through some thick willows before heading deeper into the forest.  Since tracking a moose…and especially a Mother Moose with kids is high on the list of dumb things to do with very large game, especially un-armed… as my .44 is  on the shelf back home.  I considered my moose butt pic satisfactory.

The Moose is Loose

This is fifth moose sighting I have had in the last few years. Tori and I spied one while hiking in the west Magnolia area a couple years ago. I also saw one about then when heading to get the girls from school.  the other two were in Rocky….Our all time best Moose views however were from a couple years ago up in the Park near Sprague Lake.  Still looking for Bullwinkle with his impressive spread…these cows and kids are utterly “rackless”.

Rocky Moose 2008

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On Wednesday I filled up both propane bottles for the shop heaters before heading down the hill.  During the curvy drive into Boulder, one  of the bottles had a “too close” encounter with the driver side fixed window in the back of the truck.  I noticed the bottles moving as they often due…but I did not hear the CRASH of broken glass.  After getting my errands out of the way, I swung by Slade glass to set about getting a piece of Plexi for a replacement, I have dealt with these guys before and have been happy with their work. On Wednesday however they seemed too busy to cut a piece for me while I waited.  Then after awhile of this and that, they said that they did not have it in stock.  I stopped by McGuckins and had a piece cut..I decided to try a thicker 1/4″  piece of plexi…The original window was 1/8″ tinted safety glass…now in 10 million pieces…It took about 2 minutes for the guy to cut it and hand it over…$12.37….Slade glass was quoting $28 for tinted 1/8″…I dont think tinting adds THAT much.

Thursday I spent a few hours getting it cut and shaped only to find that the thicker piece is less than ideal, the frame that holds the window in holds the whole window in …the glass was held in by a bit of caulk and a shaped gasket.  So I rigged what I had and will need to get a thin piece of plexi next.

 

1/4" plexi in place for now

 

After getting this 1/4″ piece in place…workable but not perfect I tried to track down an OEM piece…first issue …that my truck capper “raven”  which is/ was made by glasstite does not have any Web presence worth a shit…I finally called Suburban Toppers in Denver…as this the outfit that Wendy and I used to buy the capper on the original Tacoma 17 ish years ago. I got my blue capper from a place in Longmont that is not in business anymore when I got my truck 13 years ago…  The nice guy at Suburban looked it up, and quoted me $250 for the complete window assembly…seemed reasonable…then he said shipping would be $160…WTF.

So with this new insight…my Maxgyver fix plexi seems to be the best option…I jut need to pick up a thinner piece and some clear caulk…I used a dab of white as that is what I had on hand Thursday.

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Well…it had been way too long to be away.  The last time we were there was over the 4th of July weekend.  We left Ned with temps  in the 20’s and had some very cold conditions through Leadville..single digits …as it is now back in Ned. When we got to the cabin, the days passive solar had it warmed up to “comfortable with a light jacket”.  Before we left here I made a “Fire Bag” to speed the warm up at the cabin. A “fire bag” is a brown paper sack loaded with some split kindling and a little newspaper.  Stick it in the stove and light the bottom….paper and kindling ready to go.  We had a roaring fire in no time.  It was getting “comfortable with out a jacket” by the time we got some of the truck unloaded..working in the dark is always a pain…working in the cold dark worse.  The PV system is performing well…and the flick of a switch had the LED’s glowing nicely.

The truck was heavily loaded with about 700 pounds of cement backer board and another 500-600 pounds of tile.  Any guess on what I had planned for the weekend?  Tori insisted that I move the T&G from just inside the door before starting any new tile work…so instead of just moving  it I put it up on the West wall.  Walls are a gazillion times easier that ceilings.

west cabin wall

Once that was done I set to work on some tile below the cabinet so we could get them back in place.

cabinets back in place

I got a good start on the floor tile and even put in some of the “behind the wood stove” tile.  As a side project since we had to pull the stove out to set the tile..we re-painted the wood stove and got to put in the real stove pipe and damper section.  So the maxgyver wood blocks and wire tied pipe are just a memory.

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