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It’s not me…it’s Maybelle.  Yesterday she caught (and ate) a snack.  We have always wondered why she is not so hungry on some days…now we know why.

Can you say Snack?

Some months ago Tori and I watched Temple Grandin  and recently I’ve been listening to one of her books called “Animals make us Human”  in it she talks about the origin of domestic dogs and their base in “wolf” stock.  It’s neat to see Miss Maybelle natural instincts being exercised.  Getting an organic free range snack is bonus.  She routinely plays with some of the neighbor dogs and has a very active “seeking” component for a healthy lifestyle.

The Wildness in action

Before our snow came a few months ago Miss Maybelle had one of her famous “wild animal barks”  She was a bit excited and was eagerly looking out the dinning room window.  I took a look outside and did not see anything.  She then followed me to the front door and I let her out.  Just as I finished up opening the door I caught a glimpse of movement out beyond our propane tank.   Well camouflaged against the tawny grasses was a Coyote…Maybelle sprinted out the door and gave a vigorous pursuit.  Ol’ coyote took off running at a full sprint, She chased him out of the yard across the road and up the side of the mountain.  A few minutes later Maybelle came trotting down our drive with a big  grin.  My fears that Coyotes would threaten her or the other dogs faded into the back of my mind.

This last shot is one Tori got with her new Iphone.

Iphone action

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Well the visit started first..they arrived late on Wednesday. On Thursday My dad and I went out for a bit of shooting. He came bearing gifts…no gifted guns on this visit but he brought 300 rounds of .45 colt ammo…what a cool dad eh?.

We started out with the .22 Double Nine on the 6″ steel…we set up a paper target off to the right for the “extra” rounds as this revolver holds 9.  After a few sessions with that dad brought out his CZ 85 ( Czechoslovakian 9mm automatic) I shot one of my buddies Beretta’s a few weeks ago so this was only my second real session with an auto.  It was a smooth straight shooting piece. ( there may an Auto in my future)  I was pretty much hitting 4 to 6 of the targets each round.

Me with the CZ holstered in my 1851 leather...not the best fit

After a bit of the CZ we pulled out his S & W  9mm auto…this was a striker fire weapon with a much heavier trigger pull.  The first few loads I was not hitting at all.  Slowing way down and concentrating on a slow steady pull had me hitting steel after about 25 rounds or so.

After plunking through about 100  9 mm’s we whipped out my Vaqueros…We traded back and forth a bit and put close to a hundred rounds down range.  Before we put the Vaqueros away I pulled out some Goex Black Powder Cartridges.  These have a bit more punch than the “cowboy” loads we had been shooting.   I was feeling a bit  “Butch and Sundance” and loaded up both for a taste of  “dual Duelist”.   This is one gun in each hand cocking with the same shooting side thumb.  I only hit one steel plate…One handed is a lot different with these bigger loads and seeing through all of that smoke does add to the challenge.  I’m really looking forward to more one hand shooting…I think I’ll start with just the right and work my way back up to dual duelist.  I’m pretty good with two hands but that single work will take a bit of practice.

In the two plate videos I can get 6 shots off in about 10 sec with 4 to 5 hits…dad was bit slower at about 18-20 sec  but with 5-6 on most runs.  Not bad for a guy who hits 75 this month. I’ll get the plate vids up later…these are uploading slow tonight.

This first plate video was some warm up work with the double 9 .22 revolver.  9 shots for 6 plates…a couple of misses and some put into the paper target off screen.

This plate video was with the Vaquero…notice how the plate get knocked a bit further back…in both of these were were shooting at 25 to 30 feet.  The plates are 6″ dia.

We finished up the day with the Winchester 1873 lever-action on the steel…but moved out to 30 yards or so instead of the 25 to 30 feet we were using for the pistols.  Here dad had a little more trouble with the Winchesters weight. After all 24″ of octagonal barrel is up over 8 pounds.

First Snow at the house...

Saturday morning we woke to some snow…the first of the season ( at the house) the divide got hit a couple of weeks ago.  Home made scones for breakfast and a nice pot roast for dinner..yum yum

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We had an overnight low of 29.7 Friday night…I feed the humming birds in the morning and the deck was quite chilly on my bare footies.   The trailer parking project is complete…well at least enough for this season. I  brought in a load of the Grey crusher fines, like I used for the drive last year to top it off.

almost done

After getting the stone leveled and packed I hosed it down with the hope of letting it set up like the drive did.  Eager to get some progress done I went ahead and moved the trailer Friday as well.  The gravel was still a bit loose so the trick of walking it in by hand was not to successful.  To add some complications the top course of timbers were a bit to narrow…just about an inch on each side… the gradual taper came back to bite me.  When I started I had 8 feet of width, near the top it fell just inside the wheel base.  About 30 minutes later I had repositioned the top course of the sides and got the trailer in place.

Saturday I cleaned out the trailer and did a bit of re-organizing, It had been about a year since I emptied out the trailer. With this cleaning I set the shelf back up inside.  I had it down for the last couple of years after bringing back the Pinon from the ranch.  With the shelf back up its a lot easier to store things and still retrieve them without to much digging.

Organizing before the snow flies

Friday before I ran down the hill to get the stone I ran into my neighbor Micheal Bane at the post office.  He is pretty famous on the Outdoor channel and hosts  a number of shooting programs.  When I picked up my cowboy gun last year I had no clue that he also participated in this action sport.  A few months ago I stopped by the Boulder range to get a peek at my first cowboy action shooting event.  At that time I had just one 6 gun and my new 1873 rifle.  Micheal lent me one of his 6 guns and also the Mrs’s shotgun to “shoot” a round between groups.  I was a total hoot and led me to continue acquiring some more “man toys”.  I picked up my second Vaquero a while after that shoot.

One of my next purchases will need to be some leather.  The leather I have been using is sized for the black powder guns.  Later on Sunday I stopped by the neighbors to look at their leather and holster rigs.   Being a bit stoked after watching the second season of “Top Shot” I took some of my brand new ammo and the newer Vaquero out  to test it against the steel targets I picked up this summer.

To get in some more shooting time I also brought along the 9 shot .22 revolver and the 1858 Remington muzzle loader.  When I was out with the girls a couple of weeks ago I did not get much shooting time in…This time it was just me and it was a great to knock down the steel.  I lightly dipped into the .45 cal stocks as these run 25 to 30 bucks a box.

6" steel target and a couple flattened .44 cal round balls

The paint “chip” pattern varies by each gun.  The 45 colt leaves a small dent due to the higher power and flat nose.  The round .44 cal balls leave an equally large mark but have no big dent.  The .22 leaves the little marks and on a few shots actually spun the targets around rather than knock them over.  Today I repainted the targets for the next shooting session.

The last few times out shooting It has just been the .22 and .45 as the black powder guns stayed home.  Shooting the powder again  reminds me I need to do that nearly ever time out…despite the added clean up time. The slower pace of the reloads prolongs the experience, consider it a bit of foreplay before the boom.

Back home I lined them up for cleaning, and finished off the day.

Top = 1858 Remington Black Powder, Middle = Vaquero in .45 colt, Bottom = .22 with Ivory grips

Today I moved the old deck wood from a recent client’s  decking project into my woodshed.  Two full truck loads.  Then off to the store to pick up a pizza for a late lunch / early diner.

Load two....maybe One more to go

With the SASS newspaper I got from Micheal Sunday I started my research into my wish list for the cowboy rig.  I’m thinking about one from Fitzpatrick Leather…the Long Hunter 09.

http://www.kirkpatrickleather.com/double-rigs/long-hunter-09-rig-162

I just need to scrounge up another $450 bucks for more toys.

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Sunday morning I did some of my internet work from the couch.  We had the dining room door open and the weather was near perfect.  The winds began to pick up mid day, which to me said we had some weather moving in. We did get a storm through, and Tori told us she lost power for about 3 hours after we left. This weekend was the last of the girls’ summer vacation, as school starts tomorrow  (Thursday).  Having school start in August just doesn’t seem right…but that could be a whole new blog post.

We went to see Harry Potter at our local community theater on Saturday night so our camping fling was scheduled for Sunday night. This is one of the fringe benefits of being self employed, plus we knew we would miss  the crowds that regular weekends bring to the wilderness.

A couple of years ago Tasha and I did a one night camp up near James peak and the mammoth basin area.  Its cool there because it is so close to home, unlike a 6 hour haul to the cabin,  we can be on the jeep road at tree line in a bit over 30 minutes from the house…we ditch the pavement about 5 minutes from home and the road being rough makes up the extra 25.

Where we had camped before was right along a ridge top at the treeline interface.  As we left Ned on Sunday a thunderstorm had just hit town.  Setting up the tent in a windy exposed area was not high on my list so we continued through to an older homestead type site down off the ridge.  A “back-country” site with a “not too trashy fire ring” , a good tent site and trees for wind protection.  We got the tent set up and a fire started, and the girls picked a spot for the PETT  (camp potty).  I was feeling a bit like a hack as it took me three matches to get the fire going.   I blame it on wet wood and soggy kindling. We had evidence of rain there within the hour or so, and we got hit off and on during the night.

In the Morning I rekindled the fire with zero matches and got the coffee started. It was partly cloudy with some fast moving clouds zipping by above the trees.  Before the fire became active It kicked out a bit of smoke, the early morning sun and the gaps in the canopy provided a great shot.

Morning light and smoke in the trees

With this being the first “camping” of the season it was refreshing to enjoy a bit of peace outdoors.  Camping at the cabin…is easy and not really camping, with electric lights, a comfy bed etc.  I left the “cowboy coffee pot” at the cabin so the coffee water was heated in one of my basic billies.

Fresh brewed, fire brewed.

For breakfast we had sausage and hash browns.  After breaking camp I talked the girls into a little shooting…it cost me a few bucks but it was worth it, they have begun to see the benefits to cash.  Had I gone camping with sons …they might end up paying me instead.  At first Sierra was very reluctant,  but seemed to get into after a bit.  Its odd because she did great with it over spring break at the cabin.  I’m pretty sure a lot of this anti-gun attitude is being fostered by the EX.  We plinked some clay pigeons we found as well as my steel 6″ knock downs.  The interactive nature of these provide far more excitement than paper circles.

I brought both the .22 rifle with the scope and the 9 shot .22 revolver.  I am currently out of 45 long colt ammo so the 1873 lever action and the vaqueros stayed home.  I did a little with both and talk Tasha in to giving the revolver a whirl.  (She seems to take some pride in her skills and the fact that she is learning on the very same gun I started with as a child.

hitting the knock downs with ease.

Tasha packin some heat.

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Washing rugs

The kids have been away with the EX on a little trip so it has just been Tori and me at the house for a week or so.  When the kids are here they are kids (two girls 12 and 11) and can trash a room pretty quick.  Tori had the brilliant idea of moving our primary TV up into the master bedroom. We ditched our satellite service back In Jan. and have not missed it.  A few DVD’s now and then or a streamed movie from Netflix via a Roku box. Her Idea…with the TV out of a “kid zone” then the living room will stay picked up, clean and neat.

The actual process.

#1 Remove some stuff off my dresser to accommodate the TV in bedroom…done
#2  Unwire home theater and components for TV ( bye-bye Bose Surround sound)…done
#3 Haul TV up stairs…done
#4 Hook up Roku and DVD player upstairs (no surround sound)…done

She says…. now that the TV is gone can we get rid of that ugly TV stand.

#5 Remove books from 1 shelf to accept relocated receiver (which means finding other space + cleaning)…done
# 6 Clear out old TV stand and move receiver to shelf….done
#7  Shelf is too narrow to hold receiver…What to do?
#8 Fabricate riser blocks from some scrap wood in shop to support receiver on top of Sub-Woofer and shelf…done
# 9 Detach outside speaker wires from receiver (too short to reach new location)…done
#10 Install receiver on shelf using new blocks…done
#11 make plans to buy more wire and rework outside speaker configuration ….On the list

She says ….Now that that Ugly TV stand is gone can you finish installing that baseboard trim?

#12 Install all the Baseboard trim in the living room…done

She says…. that this space seems empty…we should bring that furniture down from the library.

#13 Library love seat and chair brought down….done
#14 Living room chair brought upstairs….done.

She says…..we should clean that rug from the library…it had dog pee on it.
#15 power washer dragged up from storage in lower outdoor shed…done
#16 Power wash Library rug…..done.
# 17 Add other rugs from kitchen, dinning room, laundry, and one from storage. Power wash those too…..done
#17.5 Take power washer back down the hill and store in the shed….done
#18 Complete more baseboard trim in hallway to stairs…done.
#19 Scrub + clean cold air returns, they look bad next to new trim…done

Note: trim required hauling in chop saw, compressor, nail guns, other tools…then putting them all back after the trim was up.

#20 next day when rugs are dry , swap some out re-install….done

She says… with this new rug in here and the library furniture here the old couch doesn’t look right., and that end table and coffee table is not right.

#21  Commit to build new coffee table before annual parents visit in a month or so (walnut slab like a recent desk I built) …On the list.
#21 en route to pick up kids…pick out new leather couch to replace the old (futon couch I built ages ago) …. Also pick out two new end tables, call Tori to approve?….done
#22 Buy new couch and end tables…bring tables home…done
#23 For Monday completely empty out my work trailer to take to furniture store to pick up new couch….on the list

#24 place craigs list ad to get rid of old couch, coffee table and end table….on the list

What I wanted to do.

#1 add some more dirt to the retaining wall project…then have a beer….

The things we do for LOVE.

Another step forward in the grown up room

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Home vs. Bear for the year

Last night we woke to the bang that I have been expecting for a few weeks now.  Months ago I set up a “bear deterrent” using a trip wire and some black powder.  You can see the video and read about it in this previous post.

Last night at about 3:45 Yogi came for a snack but got something a bit more exciting, after this little surprise he left in a big hurry. I got up and looked outside just after the bang, there was no sign of him anywhere.  I was also surprised to not find a pile of bear shit in the drive this morning, as if this would have happened to a human or some lesser creature it would have scared the crap out of them.

The unit performed perfectly…the can’ s lid was not even disturbed, but he noise maker fired, and loudly. This morning we proceeded with our normal routine and  did not have to pick up any mess.  Yogi has learned his first lesson here on Doe Trail… you don’t mess with OUR trash can.  Sunday nights are the most common for Yogi visits as most people have Monday morning trash pick up.

The image above reflects the score as it stands this year.  Months ago he got into our trash and the idea dawned on me as how I might prevent this in the future.  The black powder / electrically ignited noise maker device was born.  The test firing worked perfectly, then a few weeks later we had some late snow that caused the string to sag and cause a misfire.  I  repaired that and re-set the device with a little more slack.  It was a few weeks after that that he ravaged our can for the second time this year.  I was bummed that the unit did not fire.  With a careful examination I discovered a minor problem. Despite my caulking of the wires and lid assembly water had cascaded down the power cable and got my powder wet.  So in the moment of need the old pioneer adage “Keep your powder dry” hit home dearly.  That morning I had a big mess to clean up and vowed to persevere.

Bear deterrent 2.0 had me invert the bottle with a loop of ignition wire below.  Any rain (and we have had a lot these last few weeks) would never enter the powder packet or noise maker chamber.  Lasts nights BOOM proved this nicely.   I will reset a new noise maker device and repeat my upside down placement.   The next boom should even the score at 2 to 2 and then I can reset and try for the season win.  If this is indeed the same bear…I think he may finally wise up and look for more natural foods, or more likely, the neighbors can.

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Earlier in the week we had a bit of cold snap.  The forecast called for an Arctic blast that would drop below zero…how far was anyone’s guess. Tuesday night I went to bed a bit after 10 pm. At that time it was -34 and dropping.  About 2 am I woke to add some wood to the fire, check the plumbing etc.  I grabbed the Digital IR temperature gun and took a reading…I was surprised to see -40.8.  I hit the Hold button on the temp gun just to be sure.

Cold Snap at 40 below Zero

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