Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


Could use a few more references open...

At the end of last week, the 2013 Big Game hunting regulations hit the street.  We now have until May 22nd to get all of our special hunt applications submitted.  Trying to decide which hunts to apply for always leaves me feeling a little like I'm planning the invation of the 2nd Front, and a little like a lawyer, I've got so many things open in front of my.

First, there are the regs themselves, and the different hunt categories: Quality Deer, Buck, anterless, and 2nd Deer tags(which are all in addition to the General Modern/archery and muzzle loader seasons), and also Quality elk, Bull Elk, and antlerless elk(in additions to all of their general seasons also).  Don't forget mountain goats, big horns, and moose...those are only once in a lifetime draws, but it's never too soon to start building points towards those drawings.

Then, there are the maps.  The GMU(game managment unit) maps are pretty basic, so to make those work, I need to have my road atlas out, so I can really see what 'beggining at the intersection of US forest service road 40 and the elk drift fence on the Umatilla National Forest's northern boundary, E along the elk drift fence to it's end, dueS from end of drift fence to Charley Creek, E down Charley Creek to Asotin Creek' REALLY means.  Plus, it's nice to have the Washington 'Go Hunt' online map open, because it has several farms preidentified as either Feel Free to Hunt, or Written Permission Required, or Registration Required(or new this year, Reservations Required). It also doesn't hurt to have a topographical map open, or the results from 2011/2012 hunting season

Finally, I have my calender open. The worst(other than getting drawn and coming up empty) would be getting drawn for a cow tage and a big bull tag the same week, but having the GMU's 120 miles away from each other.  Part of not breaking the rules is not setting your self up to be tempted.


There is a first time for everything.

I've never camped out in front of a move theater before, although I did see Jurassic Park twice the day it opened, and 4 times in the first week.  While I am looking forward to seeing several movies this summer(Iron Man 3, Thor 2, The Wolverine and Man of Steel to name a few), this trailer for Pacific Rim has me closer to camping out in front of a movie theater than any other movie ever has. 


Looks can be deceiving.

I like making pancakes for my kids.  Oh, who am I kidding...I like making pancakes for me, and there is just no polite way to make them for myself without giving some to the kids also. 

As for the kids, they are happy with any old type of pancakes, and so usually, I just use Krusteaz mix, and add things like craisens, or chocolate chips, or peanut butter to jazz them up. 

Occasionally though, I'll get motivated/bored enough to try something...fancy.  Earlier in the week, I had opened a can of cherries that my wife put away last summer, and looking to do something with them, I hunted down a chocolate pancake recipe.  To that recipe I added most of a pint of bing cherries, and a half cup or so of dark chocolate chips.

As you can tell, the after picture looks a bit better than the before, which is good, because I was horrified when I put the first batch on the skillet. 
Following the advise at the blog I stole this from, I skipped the syrup, but did do a bit of butter before dusting them with powdered sugar.  Syrup would have been too much.  As it was, my younger daughter, who calls herself The Pancake Queen, pulled up lame half-way through her second one, although she forced down another few bites after she said she was done.  

Dark Thirty O'clock.

Historically, I haven't had a problem falling asleep.  I think it's something I got pretty good at in the Navy...you didn't wait up for scheduled drills, you just closed your eyes and went to sleep.  If you got half-an-hour, cool...one hour, better.  It was also funny how your brain learned to filter noises and keep you asleep...the first few underways, every announcement or alarm woke me up.  After about 6 months, I started being able to sleep through routine announcements or things like the diving alarm.

My problem is that once I am awake, I am awake.  Certain body process get rolling, and I know that no matter how much tossing and turning I do, my bladder is NOT going to let me fall back to sleep.  Then once I'm up for that, my back usually tightens up, and my cats try tripping me if I don't feed them, and...then I might as well start a load of laundry, and...yeah.  Basically, once I am awake, I can count on being awake for at least an hour before my body will let me fall back to sleep.

So...yeah, I hope that when they catch the bastard who 'allegedly' has kidnapped his one year old son in Kalispell, Montana, that they string him up from the newest flagpole.  I'm awake right now because they think they might be headed for Washington, and the Amber Alert that got sent to my caused me to think that the world might be ending, meaning I am well and truly awake before 4AM on Sunday.  Luckily, I might be back asleep by 5...and now I have that time to figure out what I am going to get my mom for her 60th Birthday next weekend...


It's almost like a record of things that have happened!

Once upon a time, I started this blog with the hopes that it would help me take over the world.  If not, than I hoped I would become popular enough that companies would bury me in neat things to test and review. 

Baring any of those, there was also the part of it that was for ME.  Getting things out instead of choking on them, and recording things that a teenage girl might have put into their diary.  Exciting things like recipes that I like, and day trips with my girls...and the time that my corn snake stopped eating for 5-6 weeks

When it first happened a year ago, I was somewhat worried about it.  Eventually though, she ate again, and everything was better.  Now, she's doing it again, and I don't need to worry as much about it, because thanks to my blog, I know that last time she stopped eating in April too...and that tells me it is just something to do with her potential breeding cycle, and it's a load off my mind.

Which is nice, because I guarantee you, without this blog, I might remember that she had previously stopped eating, but there isn't a chance in hell I would have remembered it was exactly one year ago. 

A legend.

Word is out that George Jones passed away today.  No matter that I thought he had passed a way a few years ago, or that he tried to drink and drug himself to death decades ago...the world of country and western music is a little smaller now. 

Why, that almost makes sense!

With wine becoming a fairly HUGE industry in Washington, the lawmakers in Olympia threw the wine industry a bone yesterday, with Governor Inslee signing a bill that will allow 18-20 year old students to taste small amounts of alcohol as part of wine, beer or culinary education programs. 

The bill previously passed both chambers of the Legislature with flying colors(Senate 42-7, House 89-4), and now passes into law.  Theoretically, the new law is so that students going to school looking to work in the wine, beer, spirits or culinary industry can now legally do what one can assume they have always done...taste the beverage they are supposed to be learning how to make/serve.  Can you imagine someone going to several years of school the learn the chemistry behind wine making, just to find out later they can't stand the taste of wine?

Anyway...the new law is cute, because it does specify  that the wine is to be tasted, and not consumed.  So see...President Clinton was just ahead of the curve we he tasted, but did not inhale that marijuana. 


Pot Update!

No, not that kind of pot, even if it is legal now.  Way back in the middle of February, when I got tired of waiting for spring, I planted a few pots of seeds.  Lacking a true green house, I moved them into the garage on cold nights(although, I'm not sure they stayed much warmer in there).  Now at about the 8 week point, I figure it's time for an update.

From top to bottom, there is a 'lettuce variety', kale, and spinach.  I also have a pot of Swiss chard, but, well...the one problem I have with my Droid 4 is the camera is not always the best.  It looks like fuzzy Swiss chard, which means right now it looks like the spinach with some red streaks on it.
I put A LOT of seeds in each pot.  I have done a few rounds of thinning already, and I will probably need to do at least one more, especially in the lettuce.  But...now things are at the point where I can 'thin' the lettuce and put it on a sandwich. 
 I'll admit, it has taken a bit longer to get to this point than I thought, but the spring has been a little more grey than usual in Eastern Washington.  That is changing now though.  We are expecting sunny and 78-82 the next few days.  I expect these greens are just about getting ready to explode. 
The good thing with pots, is once the full heat of summer is here, I can try to move the to a shady area to keep them from bolting.  I also intended to turn right around and use the same pots to get a fall crop of greens also.  


People are strange

And by 'people' I include myself, because sometimes you actually want need to listen to a song that brings tears to your eyes...even if it's the 200th time you have listened to it.

Ignorance is bliss.

The human body is a wonderful creation.  I never imagined that as I was moving from my mid-30's into my late 30's, I would still be learning new things about my body. 

There I was, minding my own business, brushing my teeth, making strange faces in the mirror, when I saw it.  My tongue had a HUGE crevice running down the middle of it.  I even looked twice, and a third time.  Yeah...my tongue was split down the middle...and it kind of freaked me out. 

I quickly walked into the kitchen, where I had one of those conversations that only happen between married couples.  I told my wife I didn't want to alarm her...but would she please stick out her tongue.  She humored me...but her tongue looked perfect...like I always pictured a tongue should look.  To make sure I wasn't seeing things, I then showed my wife the LPN my tongue.  When a nurse flinches, it isn't a good thing.

She confirmed that I wasn't seeing things...but she also said she had noted the crack in my tongue before, although it did look bigger.  Since it was late at night, and I didn't really want to go to the doctors with a freaky looking tongue, we made for the internet. 

It turns out I have what is known as a fissured tongue, and chances are I have had it for a while.  There was just something about seeing it in the mirror, with my tongue at a weird angle while brushing my teeth that made it look HORRIFYING.  With my tongue politely in my mouth, you can barely notice it...it looks more like a shady spot in the middle of my tongue than a crevice.

But...I know it's there now...and it scares me.  It gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.  I'm scared to sing along with the radio now, because I'm worried it might split and get worse.  I'm not creepy enough to take a picture of it myself, but there are a few pictures at the link above...and yeah.  Freaky.

I just want my innocence back!


They are growing up so fast!

One of the most surprising things to me about these chicks we have(along with how enjoyable they are) is how dang fast they change.  Once the feathers start coming in, they look more and more like chickens(well, duh) every day.

Talk about the evil eye...

Anyway...as the chicks grow, so does our experience.  For instance, we started out with one big box for the chicks, and using aspen shavings as the substrate.  Now, we have expanded them to a two room suite, and we are using easily siftable sand as substrate.

Look at how green I am, recycling like that.  I suspect that at some point, I will probably move that blue cooler over, and add a third room for them before they are ready to move into their outdoor home.  Sometime in the next week or so, I'm also going to need to figure out something to punch something through the walls that can act as roost for the chicks, because they don't always like sleeping on the floor.


Almost there...

Pretty much have the raised beds ready to receive vegetables.

They are all filled with dirt, and after having a big mildew problem on my zucchini and squash last year, I decided I would splurge for soaker/sprinkler hoses, and that it would be easier to lay them out while the beds were empty.  Now I can just plant in the spaces between the loops.  The only real problem with that idea so far is that the dirt is still too loose to allow me to stake the loops into place. 

The only real decision left is if I'm going to buy tomato cages or try to jimmy up some kind of tomato cage.  Kind of looking for something I can do cheaper...so far these raised beds have not been cheap.  Between my garden and the wife's chickens, we could have eaten a lot of prime rib in pursuit of freshness and self-reliance. 

A collaborative effort.

Earlier this week, my wife had a few friends over for a craft night.  It wasn't a big party, but it was the first real time we have a group of folks over...the first sign that we are getting happy with the way the house is coming together.  Since my wife has nice friends, they brought over some housewarming gifts...among them some sourdough banana bread. 

With it being the weekend, and us still having a loaf and a half of the banana bread left, I decided it would be a shame to let it go to waste, so I used it to whip up some Sourdough Banana Bread French Toast. 

Yummy!  That's an okay way to start a Sunday.  


I DO like it better...

A few weeks ago, in what might have been a throw away type post for her, Tamara posted a comment that 'If it'll fit in your trouser pockets, I'd climb over a pile of mini-380s to get to a six-shot .32 H&R/.327 Mag J-frame'.

That thought has kind of been rattling around my brain pan since I read it.  I own a mini .380(Kel-Tec P3AT) and while I don't own an honest to gosh J-Frame, I do own a Taurus 731UL in .32 H&R Magnum, which is close enough for this discussion.  Because of the ease with which the Kel-Tec goes into a pocket.  Meanwhile, the Taurus sits and sits in the safe, gathering dust.

Yeah...at one point I was so enamored with this gun that I told my wife I wanted the hammer bobbed for a birthday gift.  Then it went away, to the shelf of forgotten guns because it doesn't fit in a pocket as easily as the Kel-Tec. 

Anyway, because of Tamara's post, when I went to the range with my wife earlier this week, I decided to bring the Taurus along. 

Damn...Tamara was sooooo right...from a shooting standpoint(which is kind of the point of carrying a gun), the revolver is the winner.

Let's see...accuracy: Taurus.  Trigger Pull: Taurus.  Reliability: Taurus.  Caliber: Taurus(85gr .32 H&R loads have about 20% more energy than 90gr .380 loads).  Capacity: Kel-tec...7 vs. 6(with one in the pipe).  With a reload, this becomes 13 vs. 12...not a HUGE difference.  Concealeabilty:  Kel-Tec.  In an Uncle Mike's Pocket Holster, I can stick the Kel-tec in ANY pocket, and it works.  Not so with the Taurus.

So yeah...the old saw: A gun should be comforting, not comfortable.  I know that...I also know that because of where I work, I never get used to carrying.  Whenever I try carrying anything bigger than the Kel-tec, I just feel very...conspicuous.  Now...that is with the caveat that I have never spent the required money for a NICE holster/belt. 

Now that I see that I really do like the revolver better, the time has come for some grown up leather. 


But they look so nice!

One of the things we REALLY liked about our new house when we did the walk-throughs were the wood floors.  They looked really nice, and hey...sweeping instead of vacuuming. 

What we didn't notice(or just plain ignored/blamed on the house being empty) was the amount of NOISE that hardwood floors make.  Squeak, Squeak, Squeak.

All I'm going to say is that the Tooth Fairy's job is vastly more complicated with hardwood floors.  Twice deliveries have been aborted in favor of 'I was just coming in to give you a kiss!' visits. 


I know nothing....

When I was a kid, I used to watch some serious amounts of Hogan's Heroes reruns on my babysitter's black and white TV.  The two things that stick out in my head are Sergeant Shultz's famous line, and the fact that Colonel Hogan was always trying to find a way to get Colonel Klink to give him a furlough. 

Those are both fresh on my mind, because I have said nothing about the Boston Marathon event due to the fact that much like Sergeant Shulz(and the Fed's) I Know Nothing, and...today I had the first day of my own sequester related furlough.

While not a direct federal employee, the contractor I work for had our contract funding cut by 10% when the sequester went into effect.  One of the ways we are absorbing that funding cut is by furloughing our exempt staff.  Our craft, as union employees, don't have anything about furloughs in their contract, so we simply laid a number of them off to realize the same percentage savings. 

The company went through a few different plans for the furlough, and did the math a few different times before arriving at the final plan they implemented, tying the amount of time you need to take off to the amount of vacation time you earn, because you see, you can take the time off with pay, because the money to pay vacation time comes out of a different pot than the money to that you get paid for actually working.

End result...I need to take 11 days off between now and the end of September, and today was the first of them.  Because of some work shops that my kids go to, Wednesday is a good day to take off, since it meant I had my wife all to myself for a few hours in the middle of the day, which we used to go to the gun range! 

After action report to follow!


Play the role of alarmist much?

OMG...the headline reads: Poison found in letter to U.S. senator

The horror!  Except, the article goes out of it's way, through many quotes of it's main source, to point out that there were two positive tests and two negative tests.  He says 'I’d be shocked if it were ricin' because 'this facility is famous for false postives'. 

So...really...after what happened in Boston, some of our newspapers feel the need to over-sensationalize headlines?  Not enough drama out there to play it straight right now? 

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2013/04/16/2359173/poison-found-in-letter-to-us-senator.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2013/04/16/2359173/poison-found-in-letter-to-us-senator.html#storylink=cpy


Curse you, motivation!

For the last two weeks, now that we are officially in asparagus season around here, I'm kind of been playing a game of chicken with the price of it...is the current price really as low as it will go?  That's kind of risky though, because the asparagus harvest season moves pretty quick, and once the price decides to go back up, it goes back up quickly, and all of the sudden $1.50 a pound is $3.00 a pound.

Saturday, I decided I had waited long enough, and I hit one of the local farm stands to pick up about 20 pounds worth. 
Sunday was spent preserving...mostly pickling, although there was some left over to blanch a few pounds and throw it in the freezer for later.

As always with something like pickles, now the waiting begins.  
When my wife whips a batch of her jam, there is usually some amount that isn't worth canning, and so we get to try some right away.  With pickles, we need to wait at least a couple of weeks. 

Almost ready

Completed the next big step on the raised garden beds yesterday, getting them all laid out.  Somewhere along the line, my wife said 'You know what would be nice...gravel paths in between each bed, so we don't need to worry about keeping the grass short in between.'

It was a good observation...and she was right, that would be nice.

Somewhere along the line, it turns out my math skills were lacking.  I initially calculated that it would take about 6 cubic feet of gravel for the walkway's...it's ended up take about 10...and I would still like to add some more if I get a chance.

Now, to fill the beds.  I'm not sure if moles are a big problem in the Tri-Cities area, but I might line each bed with chicken wire just in case.  Then, I will place paper bags/cardboard in each bed to smother the grass, and then cover it with dirt...well, dirt and compost.  And fresh chicken poop. 

I'm hoping to have it ready to receive by next weekend. 


At least it's not a cat picture!

Since the internet machine is already filled to capacity with pictures of cats doing cute things(or at least things their owners think is cute), I will spare you that.

It's time for cute chick pictures instead!

Got them eating out of the palm of my hand. 

Truthfully...they don't do much more than peck, and poop.  ALL THE TIME.  They seem to exist just to make a holy mess out of their brooder box...the water needs to get replaced 4-5 times a day, because they seem to enjoy pooping in it.

Yet...despite that level of work, they are pretty neat.  Sitting back and watching them seems to have the same calming/enjoyment factor that some people get out of looking at a fish tank. 


Sorry...had some spoiling to do.

Today was my wife's birthday, so most of my day has been spent making her day better and special.  It started with Challah French Toast in bed, and will end with us watching some House of Cards and sipping wine in a bit.

In between, I made the ultimate sacrifice, riding herd over the girls so she could spend some of the day out and about...alone.  While I had to run errands..with the girls.  By myself!  But hey...I did pick her up this tasty Raspberry Cheesecake that she wanted.

The candle tickled her fancy...and I think it fits her. She is at the point where she really doesn't like putting a true number of years to her age...but, I'm not just fishing for compliments when I say that I don't think she is even close to looking her age.  She posted a picture of herself today on facebook, saying she feels like a typical suburban mom, but I tried to tell her she looks much more like Community College Student than suburban mom.

May have to re-read the book.

Yesterday, cruising around the internet with time to kill, I came across the movie trailer for the new version of The Great Gatsby coming out this summer.  Now...The Great Gatsby is not normally the kind of movie I would pay to see in the theaters.  I try to save that money from movies that REALLY benefit from the big screen/loud speakers treatment...classics like the last three Transformers movies, for instance. 

The Great Gatsby I was forced to read in Junior High didn't feel like it would make that kind of movie...but it's possible that my teacher had us read the wrong version of the book.

Like I said...that's a little different than I remembered the book. 

Now...as you can tell by the BIG lettering if you actually watched the trailer, this movie is directed by the same guy that did Moulin Rouge, which was not exactly every one's cup of tea, although my wife and I quite enjoyed it.  It's very possible that the flash and style and pomp will work.  That is a good bunch of actors, and so the leads are not going to be the weak spot. 

I'm just not sure I will spend movie theater money to see this one instead of The Wolverine, or Iron Man 3, or Pacific Rim, or even World War Z.  If I really want to see a remake of a movie based on book, a pretty kick-ass version of Carrie is coming out in October. 


Good on you, PTR, except...

Earlier this week, PTR Industries, most well known for the fairly highly regarded PTR-91 G3 clone, announced they are leaving Bristol, Ct, for parts still unknown, due to an inability to work with the new gun laws passed by the State of Connecticut.

Just like that, the State of Connecticut lost 40 folks worth of income tax, and however much sales tax they were making off of PTR. 

So...I applaud the bold move by PTR Industries, even if it was for selfish, and not political reasons...and some quotes in the article make that clear.  The owner, Josh Fiorini pretty much says that they couldn't figure out how to still manufacture the guns and magazines while following the new law, and then he DOES say and unkind word or two about the hastiness and lack of foresight used in writing/passing the new laws...so good for him.

Not so good is this quote from Mr. Fiorini.

"Had there been sufficient exemption for manufacturing, for us to do business in a way that we were comfortable, would not put our business and our personnel at risk of criminal convictions, we would not have made this decision so quickly," Fiorini said.

So, the way I'm reading that is 'if they had left a loop hole for me to keep making them, I wouldn't have made the decision to move...so, potentially it could have been hooray for me, to hell with the lawful gun owners in Connecticut.' 

Hey...I understand...not everyone can afford to be a martyr. 

Also...the article says: 'The owner said he's actually OK with some of the regulations and even universal background checks.'  But...lacking any direct quotes from him on this one, I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. 

Anyway...I'm glad to see folks starting to vote with their wallet...it's really the only way some of these states are going to figure it out. 

A few more mouths to feed.

Well, after picking up the chicken coop/tractor last week, it was only a matter of time before chickens showed up around the house...or more correctly, chicks.

Since most online poultry retailers have a minimum order size, and a waiting list this time of year, we were going to be somewhat limited as to what chicken varieties were locally available.  As such, rather than selecting the 1 BEST breed, we made a list which ones were acceptable, and which ones we didn't want.

After visiting a few places, we came to the conclusion that our best chance to get our hands on some chicks was for my wife to be at Ranch and Home Wednesday morning, and so she was.  And so, we got our hands on some chicks...

If you can count, you will notice there are 5 chicks there...2 Golden Sex-Link Hybrids, and 3 Barred Plymouth Rocks. 
Variety is fine...and I totally approve of these two breeds that my wife got.  The only problem is, our tractor/coop can't handle 5 birds.  Three easy, and 4 is probable, but will bear watching...but 5 ain't gonna happen.  So why did my wife get 5?  Well...we had talked getting 4 so we had an installed spare in case we lost a chick...but, it appears that when my wife was at Ranch and Home, the young lady working was not 100% sure the chicks had been sexed...so, my wife was concerned if she bought 4, two might be roosters we had to eat for dinner.  Her hope was with 5 chicks, at least three ladies would make it into the coop. 

Sure.  Worst case, we have an extra bird.  If some are roosters, we try to find a home outside city limits for them, or we eat them.  If all 5 are ladies, we try to find another home for it, or we eat it.  From some research, the two Golden's appear to be female(the whole point behind sex-link hybrids is that you can tell the sex based of the coloring of the chick). 

Either way, they are cute, and fluffy.  My wife is already worried that she may never be able to eat chicken again.  I told her in that case, I'm never getting her a baby pig, cow or deer. 


I love that woman.

A few weeks ago, as Passover was approaching Safeway had a pretty good deal on Matzos.  Normally $3.50 Or so a box, I found some bulk packaged and on sale for $6 for 5 boxes.  Score...so I bought some.

Now, for those who are thinking matzos ball sound, Matzos itself is used differently.  Essentially a big, dry cracker I have always used it to make Fried Matzo(or Matzo Brei if you want to get all ethnic about it.  Looked simply, it's Jewish French Toast.  You run the matzo  under some water to get it a bit damp, then crumble it in a bowl.  Add about one egg per matzo, and mix it all up good.  Then you cook it in a buttered skillet, salt it, and put some honey on it.

It's about 16,000 times better than gefilte fish, and every bit as much comfort food as matzo ball soup.

Yesterday, my wife calls me and says: If you stop at Safeway on the way home, pick up more matzo.  She said they had the 5 packs I was excited to get for $5.99 on clearance for $1.99.  She had bought all 4 they had on display, but thought it might be worth swinging in and checking if more had been put out to buy.

That is the sweetest thing she has done this week...

These are the ones that hurt.

Sad story out of New Jersey where is appears a 4 year old got his hands on a .22 rifle from inside his house, and used it shoot a 6-year old friend in the head while the playing 'pretend shooting'.  The story initially broke last night, and has been updated overnight with the sad news that the 6-year old died from the injury.

The story is still lacking details as to how the 4 year old was able to get his hands on the rifle, and make it all the way outside to play with it, while his parents were home(again, that is just according to the initial stories).

Folks...it doesn't matter how...what matters is it happened. 

23 is a bigger number than 1...but stories like this make me much more depressed than school shooting by psychopaths do.  Mass school shootings are an act of evil/crazy people, and it is my opinion you can never prevent that...only respond quickly enough to minimize.  Cases like this though...this is preventable, and shouldn't have happened.

I'm not preaching laws that say you need to lock up your guns, or keep your ammo store separately.  I'm preaching personal responsibility.  In this case, some one(Not knowing the home life I would start by saying not just one, but BOTH parents) lacked the personal responsibility to own this gun(even if it was 'just this once').  They either didn't store it correctly, OR didn't train their 4 year old correctly(at 4, both my girls knew not to touch a gun, and to come and get mom/dad/any adult before touching a gun) or some combination of those two.

The article ends by saying the authorities are still trying to decide if they are going to press charges.

The answer to that NEEDS to be yes...and us in the gun owning community should be pushing that.  I KNOW these parents are going to feel guilty that the 6-year old is dead.  That's not enough.  Their negligence and lack of responsibility lead to this death...and we need to use this as a case to show how we can punish the person responsible, not all gun owners. 


Sometimes, one bullet does solve the problem.

Somehow, I missed this story out of Spokane late last week.

Widowed grandmother detains intruder at gunpoint

It's pretty much a happy story all around.  The police point this out as an ideal home defense case, pointing out how the bad guy was 'at least half her age and twice her size'.  The lady has defended her castle AND potentially helped the Spokane Police Department solve a few other crimes, as they think this guy made a few other B&E's that night.  And she did it all without having a death on her conscience, even if society may have been better off without this guy.

The only question unanswered(and unaddressed in this article) is...did she mean not to hit him?  I mean...was this a 'warning shot' situation, or did she just flat out miss?

Either way, the bad guy took it seriously enough that he waited on the couch for the police to show up. 

Good Job, Sandra Mize.  Somewhere, your husband is very proud of you. 


Maybe he was wrong.

Once upon a time, my seldom spoke of ex-step-dad(he was a really good guy up to the point where he cheated on my mom) told me, 'Greg...there are two kinds of beer in the world...Cold, and Free'.

I used to be a bit of a beer snob, and he told me this after I came home on leave once and was making fun of him for drinking MGD. 

His point was valid, and many is the time I have run his words through my head when I have been at a cookout or party and found myself forced to drink a less than premium brew, because, well...it was free, AND cold.

It doesn't always work though, and over the weekend I was reminded of that.  Friday, on the way home from work, I took a flyer and picked up a 6-pack of Shock Top's Honeycrisp Apple Wheat Beer.

I was unimpressed.  I like hard ciders....and I like wheat beers, like Shock Top, and Blue Moon...I just didn't like the way it tasted together in this beer.  In fact, I liked it so little, that I have decided it's not worth the calories. 

I didn't throw it out through...I moved it to the bottom shelf of the fridge, and I will still use the remainging bottles for something like cooking brats in. 


Gobble, Gobble.

I know...it's not Thanksgiving, but back when it was Thanksgiving and turkey was cheap, we bought a couple of extras to go in the freezer for 'later.  With a cold front scheduled to pass through this weekend keeping temperatures in the low 60's, my wife asked me if this would be the ideal 'later' weekend instead of waiting until the temperature is in the 90's. 

Smart girl.

It was much nicer firing up the oven today than it would have been two months from now.  I was a little worried about the turkey, because I didn't brine it, but it still came out okay.  Other than the lack of brine, I follow Alton Brown's recipe...stuff the cavity with onion and apple and sage, then blast it at 500 for a half an hour, and finish it at 350. 

Other than open face turkey sandwich's, the rest of it went into the freezer to be used later.  Out of curiosity, I weighed everything out before putting it in the freezer(something I rarely have time to do when trying to get an actual Holiday meal on the table.)  From a 12.5 pound bird, I got about 4.5 pounds of meat.  I think I left a little behind, and if I had just pressure cooked the bird until it fell apart, I might have been able to get an extra half a pound or so...but it wouldn't have tasted as good as roasted. 

I want!

Now, I don't have a real use for a gadget like this right now...but when my daughters start dating, I am totally thinking of installing one on the front walkway.

Frustrated by loitering crowds, building owners turn to technology

$1300?  To keep some young punk from pawing at my daughter in front of my house?

It might be cheaper to just sit behind the bushes with the garden hose...but time is money too...


Got the easy part done.

Last year, we moved into our rental house in the spring, and I rushed, rushed, rushed to get a garden area set up.  Because of the time crunch, and some corners I had to cut, I had a major weed/grass issue in the garden. 

This year, rather than mess with that, problem, I have decided to start with raised beds, hoping the fresh dirt reduces the weed problem.  Today, I started AND finished building the garden bed frames.

I wish I could take credit for them, but while I did put them together, the fact is, it was a kit I bought from Home Depot...and it was truthfully the easiest home assembly I've ever done.  The only tool required is a drill/screw driver, and that is just to attach the little square caps on each corner piece. 

Now comes the hard part.  Some math shows me that filling all 4 beds will take roughly 1.5 cubic yards of dirt/soil/compost and I will need another 7 or so cubic feet of gravel to make nice walkways in between the beds.  The walkways were added by my wife since the beds went together 'so easily'. 

I should have drug the assembly out a little longer. 


The disappoinment of reality.

One of the neat things about moving into a house over the winter is the excitement of getting to see what type of things are going to show up in your yard the first spring. 

Case in point is this cute little 'Fairy Ring' that showed up in our backyard in February.

After two months of anticipation, reality has set in, and that 'Cute Fairy Ring(my wife's terminology), has turned into the World's Saddest Tulips.
After however many years of being relatively uncared for, and something eating the holy heck out of them this spring, my wife want out and looked at the 4 blooming flowers and told me I can mow them down whenever I want to.  

Kind of has me hoping that the vine we hope is wisteria on our back porch turns out to be wisteria.   



Earlier this afternoon, I had some time to kill, so I swung into Ranch and Home to look at chicken supplies.  While I was there, I decided I would take a look at .243 ammo since I bought my daughter Santa brought my daughter that Rossi Trifecta for Christmas, and I don't currently own any .243 ammo. 

I haven't bought ammo for a while.  I'm not saying I had a bottomless supply, but I do have enough .22, 9mm, .38/357, .223, 7.62 X 39 and, yes, even .35 Whelen, that I haven't had to think about buying ammo for close on a year.  I have heard horror stories about $40 a box .22, but I haven't seen it, because I haven't been looking. 

Well...I saw it today, not the $40 a box .22, because they didn't have any of that...BUT, I was stunned to see that they only had 2 boxes of .243...and both of them were in the $38-$40 a box price range.

Good Gosh...last time I was shopping for ammo, I could get some premium 7mm Rem Mag ammo for that price...and still have enough left over for a box of .22. 

Guess my daughter is going to get some more practice with the .22 and 20ga barrels before she gets to try the .243. 

The things some people collect.

At some point in the last few months, we(my wife mostly) decided we were going to start a new collection...lard cans!

Like most things, it started with one...in this case the big 100 pound Vream can my wife got to start storing her yarn in.  I can't really remember which one was 2nd, but after that, I deserve at least part of the blame.  When you know your wife wants to collect something, it makes gift shopping real easy.

Making my life easier is the fact that we are an inclusive family...in the interest of harmony, shortening is the same thing as lard...and as my wife sit here and watch Hoarders: Buried Alive, we have already agreed that the can collection is limited to the top of the hutch.  When it starts spreading, we kill it. 


A moment of weakness.

In our attempt to embrace the urban homestead/increased self-sufficiency lifestyle, I planted to plum trees in the yard, and got several containers of greens going good and early.  Soon we(my back doing the work) will put in a few raised beds for real veggies. 

Now, after two weeks of being constantly beset upon by my wife and kids, we made a purchase today which will lead to more work:

Yup...our very own 'chicken tractor'.  Next step would be getting the chickens.  I guess that might be kind of backwards, but we found this on craigslist for a very fair price.  So fair that we decided if we were going to do this anytime in the next 6 months, that we should get the coop/tractor now. 

However, now that we actually have the place to put the chickens, I'm sure the chicks will be here shortly.

As soon as we figure out what kind we want...


Thank you, drive through.

Sorry...only allowed one distraction a night, and tonights distraction is Turbo-Tax.  When all my stuff came in back at the end of January, I did some quick crunching and found out we owe again this year, so, I decided it could wait until April.

Well, April is hear, and I'm running out of days to stall...especially when I'm only 75% certain where I put everything when we moved. 

Might need to call my buddies ENRON to help me out this year...


Okay, I'm ready for winter.

Today was, by all accounts, a beautiful spring day.  Temperature about 76 degrees, with a nice 5-10 mph breeze all day.  Pretty close to perfect, just like yesterday was.  This amazing spring weather encouraged one of my plum trees to pop into bloom this last weekend, and the other is close behind. 

As nice as it was today though, I'm already sick of it....because I realize that here in the Tri-Cities, 76 degrees on April 1st means we are only 6-8 weeks away from it being 95 degrees. 
Ick, Ick, Ick.  I really need to get my garden going...stat.