Octane and Missionaries

One of the problems our overseas extended “family” had while in-Country, was dealing with a culture of people who were not well-versed in the production of high-octane comestibles. That inexperience with Western Culture’s vices meant that primitive production methods could veer-off horribly wrong, with the difference between methanol and ethanol meaning being drunk or dead.
In our particular back-woods locality in “Appalachia-India,” we also had among the highest population-percentage of Aboriginal peoples. The folks were mostly non-Caste and lived in the jungle, spoke a language all of their own other than Bengali or Hindi, and practiced very different life-ways than the local standard “Hindu-ized” Indians in the villages. Their appetite for jungle-juice combined with distillery-inexperience meant that entire wedding parties were sometimes found out in the woods dead, the lucky survivors only blinded. With no kind of social or Governmental safety-net whatsoever, blind people simply add to the beggar population.
What all this get’s around-to is another facet of Missionary work: Western Technology and Manufacturing. The original predecessor to our family’s job, was an earlier family that established the big house and was a few “generations” removed from us, who in-fact became the first Ford dealer in West Bengal under “the Raj” and prior to India’s Independence. After raising a family of seven (with five survivors) they ultimately left the Mission Compound, and in their unique capacity drove-off cross-country and back to The West via Tashkent in an early Ford touring car. Somewhere there is a book with some very exciting stories of their travels.
At any rate when we were there our Mission Vehicle was an old (1957?) Willy’s Wagon, into which we all piled whenever we had somewhere to go that the Train couldn’t take us – which was a lot of places. I remember Dad almost always had to lift the folding hood and smack the carburetor a few times with a heavy screwdriver before the engine would maintain a running pace.
Lousy low octane and horribly expensive fuel by Govt. ration, meant that we didn’t often just hop in the buggy and hit the road. Also the roads were 90% un-paved, so the 4×4 was useful in a pinch.
One of the Mission Stories often heard around the campfires was about, “Those old Fords” that would run on just about anything, and any mix of anything – enough to drive over to the beach 9-miles away. My recollection from somewhere deep and hidden in the recesses of my mind is of a conversation about how Henry Ford originally (pre-Prohibition and pre Gasoline-reliability) had designed the vehicles to run on whatever a farmer could rake-up and mix-up in a barn-still, from hay-field clippings and vegetable rubbish. Not something you would ever mistake for a beverage, but the ATF and Prohibition put an end to that practice…

Ditch Water

You can thank favorite commenter Brighid for the input about, “bourbon & branch.” Gold miners had a big influence up in these parts, diverting water established much of that which grew to be “infrastructure,” but that’s a word nobody would have used back then.
Still the snow-melt water coming out of the springs of the Sierras after crossing miles of high-alpine granite-gravel filtration is some of the best in the world, and for a Californian living close to the source it is like a resident of Pilzen living next to the “ur-quell.” Wineries all around up here like the water too, so there’s gotta be something to that, and we get it BEFORE the hippies divert water for the stupid baitfish in the delta. The “drought” we are experiencing is political not environmental.
I don’t know from Whiskey but I had a sample-sip of this a month or so ago at a favorite restaurant and it didn’t suck like JD in college, it was almost as good as a fine rum.
So I tried some with ditch water. Not too bad. I’m really not a hard liquor kinda guy since it catches up with you so fast, wine and beer is more my slow-speed chase and the general consequences are less brutal, but I need to have a bar stocked with stuff for all comers and visitors. Hope it’s ok.IMG_0026x600800
And yeh, I need a utility sink…

Paint where there aint supposed to be paint

IMG_1173_x800With all due respect to my crew of guys and Eric Church, there really isn’t much “paint where there aint supposed to be paint.” And I’m moving ahead putting stuff back – like the laundry equipment. Also Jason the master electrician fixed a couple issues with the panel and all the circuits in the garage (except the laundry equipment) are now GFI. Plus deeper inside the house we now have working dimmers on the “stadium lights.” IMG_1168_x800IMG_1172_x800

Local Color, Local Heroes

Fall is in the air and last week we had a bit of local event-stuff at our Neighbor’s ranch. Out by the pond there’s a Bunkhouse and a Saloon built by Ed from local-cut timber, and we were invited for a Veteran’s Celebration pot-luck, which was a nice way to meet folks since we’re the newbies.
There were a variety of dishes including ground-elk cabbage rolls and our coleslaw.
Before dinner we had a Pledge of Allegiance, and after dinner Ed had a brief talk about his friend Buck who was a firearms instructor, and much-much more – who had passed away recently. As a half-Cherokee they held a ceremony for Buck atop a mountain overlooking the back-country of Lake Tahoe where his ashes were spread. There were a couple remembrances and stories told about him.
Basically the whole night was given over to veterans telling stories of their experiences, and it started with this: Ed’s first story revolved around the deceased’s participation as a US adviser training troops in a southern nation to the south in the mid-1980’s. Apparently a group of advisers he was leading on a bus was stopped by a group of “banditos”… Apparently they set up an ambush and flanked each side of the bus. Big mistake. After an attempt to communicate and resolve the issue (whatever it was) failed, the order was given and the guys inside the bus rolled out each side and took out the ambush. None of the “banditos” survived.
A petite female vet who must have been in her late 60’s (remember, never ask a woman’s age) recounted her time in Germany after Desert Storm when she had re-upped, where she met a German Chaplain with a German Shepard who went on marathon runs together with her unit, and who she ran into again in Georgia on runs when she was stationed there.
She also knew Ed and Buck from attending the one-room schoolhouse down in Pleasant Valley, while he went to the fancy there-room one further up the road, and her school beating them in Baseball. She was part Native American too and Buck used-to call her, “His Little Comanche.” Annie Oakley would have gotten a run for her money from her!
A third guy talked a bunch about being a Tunnel-Rat in Vietnam, the various equipment they used and later things…
Another Vietnam Vet brought his 94-year old father-in-law who had been a Marine artilleryman in the Pacific WWII, fighting from Peleliu to Iwo Jima – and who watched the flag(s) go up on Mount Suribachi, on Iwo Jima. He didn’t want to talk about that much and said he only survived because he was in the artillery. I got the distinct feeling he still was frustrated at the conditions and difficulties of supporting his forward Marines, against the Japanese redoubts and coral caves, but he was as fit and spry today as any 70-yr old – and more than most 60+yr old corporate-cubicle rats. Amazing.
I’m sorry I didn’t get to talk to the crew-member from the USS Pueblo and congratulate him on his survival and sacrifice, but I hope I will get-to at another event. People these days just don’t seem to understand that Service IS Sacrifice, and how far it goes.

Pinned & Recessed

IMGP2310_x800IMGP2313x800The 6″ 1970 Model 19-3 is a sweet chunk of shootin’ iron.
There’s a bit of muzzle wear from the old clam-shell holster (too bad it didn’t come with it), so I even have a holster already to add s’more, an older (naturally) but good condition Bianchi 5BH.
Now I’m looking for ammo, which is plentiful.

UPDATE: Plentiful but plenty expensive. Found some 158gr Hydrashoks and a bunch of JSP’s – looking for heqavy-weight bullets not 110gr. flyweights that go high – I want the gun to shoot to point-of-aim and not have to re-regulate it for flyswatter loads. I want Practice to be spent on trigger-work and cylinder manupulations, not chasing a zero…

Meanwhile it’s 98° outside, and to stave off potential Malaria I am back inside experimenting with Hendrick’s gin and some $pecialty “Premium India Tonic Water.” Love the quinine…

Four Miles

So… After yesterday plunking a chunk down on the ’70 Smith Model-19 and buying some WallyWorld .357 loads (and a plastic Plano “can” of its own), I awoke and went on-line, and saw on the Gun-Club Calendar that there was a “Tea Party Shoot!” 9:00AM – 12:00PM – and FINALLY got my sh*t together.
Being a revolver-happy guy at the moment, I packed the ammo for the two big revolvers – each in its own can of .45 Colt, and .44-40 WCF – and drove out to the range. Just eight minutes and four miles from garage-to-gate. Seriously I’ve never had it this good.
The folks were very pleasant and the atmosphere casual and firm but not overbearing. As long as you exhibit proper procedure and protocol, and ESPECIALLY MUZZLE DISCIPLINE, everything is smooth – BUT people with too much attitude and too-casual regard for safety get moved on real quick.
I shot the Colt M1909 for familiarity first. Not knowing what to expect of the Ruger .44-40 I wanted a baseline. And so I shot low and to the left and a couple flyers off the black – Doh! Another cylinder rectified that, then the Colt and its ammo went away, and .44-40 came out — and after shooting .45Colt loads (and not Cowboy loads) it was like shooting a slightly hot .38 Special. What a fun gun! Except for unloading. The SAA ejector rod that pushes-out cases is uncomfortable close to the muzzle and that was just weird. Also the loading process feels a bit stilted and formal – but I suppose that’s a good thing. So I went trading back and forth every couple cylinders – only one caliber at a time on-station – and had some fun. The SAA is a trip, but thumbing back the hammer with the support hand is very fast. Woot!

Seductive Scents of Summer

Coppertone. Burnt firecrackers. Watermelon. Blendzall two-stroke castor-oil.
Anybody else?
PLUS: The lovely smell of the exhaust from a Holley-carbed, high-compression, high-overlap cammed American muscle car!
AND: Gunsmoke 🙂
MORE: Charcoal-fired kettle barbeque’s, grilling meats in the evening hours. That and freshly cut grass.
UPDATE: Alox bullet lube along with said gun smoke.

And Breeze off a mountain lake…

…thank-you all

Four-Eyes h8te speech

Wearing spectacles is a pain, especially when you’re sweaty and they slide off and hit the dirt, or drop into the bucket of paint – but I’ve never be able to actually and intentionally stick something like a contact-lens into my eye – the flinch would toss it in the dirt every time. Besides they are effective (and constant) eye-pro in my thick RX, and protect from wind-blast, and shooters ready on the right and left.
Anyhow at this age now I wear bi-focals, and bi- or tri-focal…contacts? I suppose it’s been done by somebody, but for me just never-mind.
My pair of glasses (Smiths) snapped a flimsy post, and now we have to go back to Kaiser for repair-work. I was hoping that with this nice weather (only in the low 90’s) I’d be able to take the Gentleman’s Express out for a comfortable romp on the back roads.