Happy Birthday America!

The temperatures climbed back down into the mild mid 80’s and we grilled. Tender corn-on-the-cob and a couple of perfectly-done, rare Filet Mignon. This week just seems like one Sunday after another.


Re-Thinking the Bug-Out Bags

Last week my old insurance company that refuses to insure us because of “high fire danger,” sent me a flyer on the The California Earthquake Authority and my potential need for Earthquake Insurance. Hahahahaha! No-thanks. The dynamics of what had once been an exercise in survivalist thinking regarding The Saint Andreas Big One has altered.
Conditions have changed radically now that we are out of the ‘burbs and no longer surrounded by Liberal Maniacs. Up here in Redneck Gun Totin’ Conservative Flyover Country the actual big danger is fire. All these old Gold Country 49er towns have burnt to the ground at least twice in their storied history, most more often than that – and there are ones that burnt down and never came back.
So I went sorting through the bug-out bags to see what needed changing. For one thing they’re too damn heavy, and the contents are all obscured by various packing bags, and half of the overnight-lost-in-the-woods-camping-stuff wound-up in my deer hunting day-pack. What’s with all the glow-sticks anyhow? And multiple fire-starter kits, and water purification systems? Yeh it’s looking a little ramshackle in here.
Meanwhile the little Motorola walkie-talkies (fortunately wrapped in plastic zip-loc bags) had both exploded their batteries and gone to the Big Signal in the Sky, and while the medical-Kits had some good dressings (but of mis-matched sizes), and there were plentiful band-aid stuff including some Quick-Clot for punctures – but one lacked a tourniquet for jugular issues.
Everything is now under review.

Blazing Saddles

A bunch of armed-up old farts in cowboy gear milled around and organized their kit during sign-in.

The range looked like this for the first three stages until we moved to the next shooting bay for Part Two of the Match:

And that’s when I got the surprise hand-off, as Assistant Deputy Probationary Cowboy RSO, I was going to run the time and the match!
Well OK then, let’s go…and so I picked up the timer and shouted “Listen UP!” And read out the first stage description and instructions, the theme of the match being “Blazing Saddles.”
Stage 1 = 10 revolver, 10 rifle, 4+shotgun “Stop the Singin’ and Dancin’”
Stage open and empty shotgun at FP1 and rifle at FP2 with 10 rounds. Start at FP1 with hands out-stretched at shoulder height, palms up. When ready shout, “What in the Wide, Wide World of Sports is A-goin on Here!” At the beep, load shotgun and engage the outer left, outer right, inner left, inner right knockdowns. Knockdowns must go down. Leave open and empty shotgun at FP1. Move to FP2. Pick up rifle & Hangtown Sweep (1-2-3-2-3-4-3-4-5-3) the targets from the left then engage the center diamond. With revolvers engage the cowboys then the circles twice.
First up is Doc… “Cowboy Ready?…Stand by…” BEEP!

The event was not entirely without mis-cues, as I got advice and instruction from several attendees, but gradually I learned to handle the action better, and then it was my turn to shoot and I hurried to load my weapons…
Stage 2 = 10 revolver, 10 rifle 4+ shotgun. “Dinner around the Campfire“
Stage open and empty shotgun and rifle FP1 with 10 rounds. Start at FP2 leaning over with plate of beans.. When ready, RO says “How Bout More Beans.” Shooter replies, “Think I’ve Had Enough!” At the beep, drop the plate, draw revolvers as appropriate, and sweep the targets twice from the same end. Move to FP1. Pick up rifle, sweep targets twice from same end. Pick up shotgun, and sweep the
knockdowns from the left. All knockdowns must go down.
Stage 3 = 10 revolver, 3+ shotgun. “Mongo Arrives in Town”
Stage open and empty shotgun at FP1. Start at FP2 with hands on revolvers. When ready say, “It’s tough being a Vigilante in times like these!” At the beep, draw revolvers as appropriate and Nevada Sweep (1-2-3-2-1) the left three targets. Then Nevada Sweep the right three targets. Move to FP1 and with shotgun engage ANY three knockdowns. All knockdowns must go down.
After Stage-3 I looked at my ammo and noticed I had made a grave miscalculation. At home during prep I had just counted out rifle rounds and not both rifle and pistol (since they are the same, .44-40) and I wouldn’t be able to finish. So instead, as we moved to the second firing setup in the neighboring bay for Part-2 of the Match, I decided all the running back and forth to load and fire and unload and wait and run the timer – I would just concentrate on running the timer and the rest of the Match, which worked out well since I was not distracted, and resulted in fewer criticism of my Match technique…

The Range is Hot

95-Fahrenheit right now today at 2:00PM (UPDATE: 101.4 today at 4:00PM), and tomorrow when we go out to set-up steel targets it will be a bit warmer down there it the box-canyon with no wind…
Sunday it will be 75-degrees at 6:00AM, and about 85 when the Match starts at 8:00AM — and wearing the Cowboy gear you must wear, it should get interesting. No short-sleeve shirts, no shorts, or nuthin’ – plus you got the hat, so pack some cold water in that ice-chest.


The Bridge at Remagen

The Dry Creek Project has produced a crossing that verily is stout and capable of withstanding a Panzer attack, but it’s not beautiful by much means.

Maybe a couple of strategically placed boulders will offset the pedestrian aspect and create a counterpoint — but still there are no handrails or things of that nature so a drunker lawnmower-driver might plunge awkwardly to an ignominious plight.

However the main point of the project was to manage and improve drainage, and that has yet to be tested…

Dry Creek

Dry now because it’s 88-degrees outside. It was 100 yesterday, but we caught a cool breeze or two today – and besides, it’s a dry kinda heat up here…

Anyhow it’s taking shape nicely without much help from me, and the little Kubota tractor is useful to haul the 2-inch rock and also the bigger cobble down from the big pile in the driveway to line it, and the tanbark to edge it.
The twin piles of dirt will become earthen ramps for the bridge so I can drive the mower across from sorta dry land to sorta dry land.

Maybe I’ll stick an umbrella and a beach chair on the tufted-grass island…


Got some guys to help out with the shallow entrenching. The cute little Kubota tractor is no match for the soft ground and mud however and we are using shovels. Then rocks and a bridge…

Turns out the 8-inch pipe that runs underneath the field, from the overflow catch-basin on one side to the fence where my neighbor’s cattle water, has perforations. That would explain the standing water when it’s really wet in the fall-winter-spring, but conceivably should also help the drainage.