Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I know it's coming...

Life sure does go by fast. I can't believe it's been almost three weeks since the last post. Went for a very short, overnight camping trip with my son last week. Had to come back for a department meeting at work and then I just had to have a nap. After the nap, my daughter showed me her guniea pig whose head was listing hard to starborad and was acting rather limp and sick. So, the trip was canceled and off to the vet. we went the next morning.

The next week was fun with a new chainsaw attachement from Baileys, the logging outfitters. The new tool is a 'chainsaw buddy' that allows you to pick up and cut very small limbs without burying the chain in the dirt. I'll review that in the next post.

What I got to thinking about over the last week was 'I know it's coming' and it's time to get busy! What's coming? Winter! How do I know winter is coming on a beautiful day with temps in the 90's? Well, lots of ways:

I've lived for almost 50 years on this earth, and I know that summer eases into fall, and then winter comes around followed again by spring. I know this because I've experienced it.

I know it because I can see the shadows lengthening on the ground. The angle of the suns' rays change during the year, and as fall/winter draws on, the shadows lengthen.

I work nights, and in June, dawn would break at 5 a.m., but now in August, dawn doesn't break until about 6:30. The long nights of winter are drawing closer.

The squirrels are shifting their nut gathering activities into high gear. The pine seeds are ripening. The little scamps are chewing up cones and hiding the seeds right and left.

And me? I just placed a call to find another cord of soft, pinewood to go with my Pinyon pine firewood for the winter. I've got to get more wood in, as this may be a very cold winter. There's been almost no sunspot activity and historical records show that when that happens, the winter is cold and long.

I also need to lay in about 5 gallons of Kerosene for the portable heaters and to fuel the lanterns. I'm buying a couple of the Petromax lanterns this year, as I'm tired of paying so much out in electricity. The word is that fuel costs are going to be much higher this winter. I've also locked in a set rate for my propane heating fuel.

I can see that the financial hard times are far from over. There's lots of toxic debt out there owned by the banks, and I have some myself. Pay this debt off, and keep from going further into debt. Lay in a bit of a food reserve, just in case the income isn't there or just in case of an emergency.

I know that winters' coming, just as I know that hard times might not be far away...and I know from experience and watching the signs around me. Are you watching what's going on around you?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

So this is Swine Flu?

Yep, I caught the dreaded bug that is certain to kill half the known world in record time....if you believe the drivel coming from the major news networks. I'm a health care provider and was exposed to a child who was very sick from this flu. Five days later, I'm starting to feel achy and my lungs are rattling junk around in them, so I head over to Occ.Med. to get tested. Sure enough, the rapid test comes back 'Influenzae A', and two days later the slow test comes back H1N1.

So, how does this flu make you feel? About like any other flu. You ache, you might have a temp.; you feel like crud for about five days; some people might develop pneumonia from this flu, as the kid did that I was exposed too. Like most flu, the folks most likely to get dangerously sick are the very old, the very young and those with a chronic medical conditions.

As for the rest of us, this is a pretty easy bug to catch. The numbers of cases is rapidly increasing in my area, and this in spite of 100 degree temps, when the rest of the flu viruses have gone dormant until the fall. Anyway, if you catch this bug, go home and hibernate for a week. Rest, drink lots of fluids, and take Tamiflu if the docs. catch the infection in the early stages.

What bothers me about this flu is the hoopla being given to it. For three years now, the press, the World Health Orgainization and the CDC/FDA have done their living best to scare the hell out of everybody worldwide about a flu pandemic. First, there was the Avian Flu, and the slaughtering of millions of birds to prevent a resevoir that could allow the flu to mutate and jump into the general population. That didn't happen.

Now you have the Swine Flu, and it's once again 'the end of the world as we know it'. This, in spite of the very low death rate of approx. 700 worldwide. The regular flu varities kill approx. 36,000 every year. So why all of the fuss?

Simple, money and control. The vaccine makers are making a fortune off these vaccines, especially if the governments force people to take the vaccines. Control is the second reason as declaring a 'Public Health Emergency' allows our government to do all sorts of things to you. They can quarantine you; they can force you to take vaccinations; they can declare curfews to try to curb the spread of the vaccine....to name just a few options. You can call this 'tin foil hat' thinking, but the Obama administration is all about control over all aspects of our lives. If I had to guess, I would guess that we are going to see lots of emergency measures and fear mongering this fall when the infection rate from this flu continues to climb.

Just remember, it's the flu and it's not as bad as some of the regular varities that hit us every year! It's not the time to panic.

So this is Swine Flu?

So this is Swine Flu?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A bittersweet anniversary

Forty years ago today we Americans heard over our radios and T.V.'s 'The Eagle Has Landed!'. It was an incredible moment in an incredible time of our history. Walter Cronkite, who died this last week, along with David Brinkley and Chet Huntley were the news anchors for what passed for T.V. channels in those days. In under eight years, America had put together NASA, built the Saturn 5 rockets and had gone to the moon.

I remember that day, even though I was only nine. My family was in a campground in Oregon on a summer trip. We had a 15 foot camptrailer, one of the old fashioned kind with a real ice box that you kept cool by buying blocks of ice. The interior lights were gas with a mantle that shone brightly when lit. But there was no electricity in the trailer and no T.V. along, no CD's, no DVD's. When it was time for the landing, I remember my dad and I were down by the restrooms which had a couple of electrical outlets on each side. A number of guys had gathered, and there was a small, electric black and white T.V. The men convinced a guy who was shaving with an electric razor to defer shaving and plug in the T.V. instead. There was a window that opened towards the outside with a shelf even with the window. The T.V. was placed on that shelf, facing out of the restroom and a crowd gathered outside of that bathroom. And that's where I watched the Eagle land on the moon.

America seemed so full of promise that day. Sure, there was an unpopular war going on in Vietnam. But we Americans had done something that no other nation, no other humans, had ever done. We had gone into outer space, to the moon, and had landed. The lunar missions were closely followed. There were products being marketed that were exactly like the astronaughts. Remember Tang? I think that's still being made. How about space stix, or space food bars? They came wrapped individually in a box, in several flavors like chocalate and peanut butter. They were an early version of an energy bar that the astronaughts used.

Remember '2001, A Space Odyssey'? That film came out towards the end of the lunar missions and yet, it seemed plausible---at least the space ship did. Look at how far we had come, how much we had done, in such a short time! We were going to switch over and build the shuttle, put a station in orbit and go back to the moon to stay.

Twenty eight years after the first shuttle flight, we still haven't been back to the moon. We have a tiny 'international' space station that we have to keep rescuing because of breakdowns in the equipment. Rescue is getting to be more and more iffy, as we've already lost two shuttles along with their entire crews. We don't have a replacement for the shuttle, that will be years away. What we once could do in eight years, we now can't seem to do in twenty-eight.

Strange how other things change. Remember the news anchors, along with most of mission control in Houston smoking while being filmed? Anybody doing that today would be out of a job and crucified by the media. So much for personal freedom. Remember those hippies and radicals, railing against 'the Establishment and the Man'? At the house of one of those radicals, many years later, a Presidential campaign was begun. And that campaign, and the administration are following the play book written for a takeover of the Establishment. Quite frankly, I think I liked the old 'establishment' better than the new 'socialist' regime!

Remember the 'back to the land' movement and the homesteading movement that started about that time? Now we have an 'Animal I.D.' act that requires every animal on a working farm to have a paid for I.D.---which is putting quite a financial burden on many little farms. The big corporate farms, those with money and influence, only have to have one I.D. for all of their livestock.

Remember all of the things that used to be made here in America? We invented and built pretty much everything that went into the lunar missions. Now, it seems like we exist in a sea of products from just about everywhere but America.

And so, it's a bittersweet anniversary for me. I can look back at what was, and what could have been. I can see what might yet be, if enough Americans wake up to the trouble this country is in. But they had better wake up fast, as time is running out to restore this republic to what it was designed to be. I hope, I truly do, that I will live to see the day when we will hear, from an orbitor around a red planet named Mars, that an American spacecraft has once again landed. And that I will see the flag of the greatest republic on Earth planted on that dusty red world. It never hurts to dream...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Feeling a bit down this July 4th. I like fireworks, which are completely illegal here in Nevada. But it wasn't always that way! I remember in the 70's coming up to visit a cousin in Truckee, and then heading for the fireworks stands around Reno/Sparks. I'd head back on I-80, ducking off the freeway onto the main drag to miss the 'bug station' and any possible inspections. Sometime in the 80's, I guess, fireworks were made illegal here in Nevada. So, too, have so many other things changed in our once great country. There's a blogger with a snarky viewpoint on this whole 4th of July thing that pretty much sums up where I'm at this year.

Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 3, 2009

The quail without a topknot

In the little desert valley I live there are scads of Gambel quail. Their topknots wave proudly in the breeze as they make suicidal dashes across the road in front of cars. My daughter wanted to know what the quail are that don't have a topknot? That would be a Bobwhite, I replied, but they only live back east in places like Ohio, where we once lived. Now, at nineteen, this daughter is not a kid and she was determined to show her daddy just what it was she was talking about. The above picture was snapped early one morning just outside our walkout basement. A Chukar! Who would have guessed it?

Chukars live in Nevada, no doubt about it, but the little grey ghosts prefer the rockiest, most-hard-to-get-around in country you could imagine. They sail up and down rocky canyons and run helterskelter through dry washes faster than you can keep up. Our little desert vally is more or less open country, with only a couple of rocky outcroppings way up high. There shouldn't be Chukars here with the quail all around either as they compete for the same food and shelter. But, a picture doesn't lie, and so now I know what the 'quail without a topknot' is!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Heller Anniversary shoot

Today is the one year anniversary of the SCOTUS decision in Heller that proclaims that the 2nd Amendment is a personal right to keep and bear arms. In celebration of that, I headed to the range this morning with my new-to-me Sig P6; my 03-A3 with a new limb saver recoil pad and my first 9mm reloads.

I've reloaded a bit over the past few months, but always 38/.357's or rifle cartridges, which are vastly different in size from the tiny 9mm's. Loading in 4.2 gr. of Unique doesn't leave much room for seating a bullet. So, going by about three loading manuals, including Speers #13, I loaded up 8 rounds to a OAL that seemed reasonable. I was using 125gr. lead bullets with cannulure and a round nose. Nowhere in these darn manuals are there pictures showing just how deep to seat certain bullets. This bullet, past the cannelure, flares out at the beginning of the working portion of the bullet---which seemed a good place to seat the bullet.

So, off to the range. The Limbsaver sure is a great recoil pad! I'm firing 180gr. round nose bullets with some 49grains of 4098, so there's a good deal of 'umph' going down range.

Then, switch to the little P6 that hasn't failed to feed anything yet. Hollowpoints, jacketed, lead or whatever, it hasn't choked. On the second reload the gun not only choked, it locked up entirely! The slide just wouldn't move and although the trigger/hammer could cycle, the live round in the chamber wouldn't go off. Darn it! Don't you just love it when a plan comes together? So, my gunsmith is about two miles from the range and off I go with the little P6.

The gunsmith examines the reloads and then tells me the little details that the reloading manuals forget to mention. A 9mm is really supposed to have about a .10 taper from the case head to the case mouth. Mine had about .05 and were a bit fat. The bullet needed to be seated all the way in to where the rim above the cannelure was inside the case. Having deciphered the problem, my gunsmith took a small mallet and gave the recoil spring guide a sound whack, allowing the slide to open and the offending round to pop out. Sure enough, the bullet had jammed on that little lip above the cannelure which should have been inside the case.

why didn't any editor think to put these little tidbits into a reloading manual? Don't bother answering that as I'm sure it was something I was supposed to know by osmosis. Happy Heller Anniversary and I hope everyone had some time for trigger therapy somewhere.