Sunday, July 15, 2018

It's not a normal summer. Errata. Driving the back roads. VA health benefits. M-14 mags. Notes.

  When it's hot and humid, you spend a lot of time forted up inside.

   You can read, or watch television, or you can listen to music.  Then there's always the afternoon nap, which has become quite an item of our standard routine here.

    M likes to sleep on the couch, and her two indoor cats, Boris and Stub, like to nap with her. Of course, they spend most of their time asleep anyway. Rufus used to sleep on the couch , down at the foot, but he's gone now.

   I usually take a nap in the apartment over the shop. I can turn on my satellite radio and let it play smooth jazz, and out there I don't bother anybody. The ferrets are used to it. The apartment is connected to the house via radio, and an intercom. If M needs me she can get me out there without any problem.

We're becoming nocturnal creatures here this summer, because when the sun is out, it's too hot to do much of anything. More rain, more humidity, higher temperatures than any summer I can remember.  Dawn and evening are about the only times it's "nice" outside.

Humidity and Temperatures today:


In my last post, I called the revolvers I was interested in "Liberty" guns when in reality the correct name is "Victory." Too early in the morning that day, I guess.  I appreciate the people who brought it to my attention. When you write a blog, you are never short of editors.

These came in a number of configurations. They were provided to allies, and they were used to arm civilian guards at war production plants, they were issued to people who needed side arms but could do without the M1911,  etc.  I am particularly interested in the model above because if you look at pictures of WW2 naval aviators, you will often see this pistol tucked into a shoulder holster.  I do have some Smith and Wesson Model 10's, which are similar, but it isn't the same as owning one of the original Victory guns.

We've been going out on some of the old back roads here. The air conditioning in the Jeep works fine, so we have been driving up to neighboring counties for lunch, and taking the road less traveled.

Veterans Administration Health Care:

My wife and I both applied for VA health care benefits not long ago.  We did it online, and it wasn't difficult. We were both accepted (I was USMC and she was USN).  We have had our initial appointments, and I was very impressed.  There's a nice new VA clinic not far from us, the first in North Georgia. Every single person we met there on staff was a veteran, including the doctors and nurses. It's clean and modern, and seemed to be very efficient.

The vast majority of people in the waiting room were Vietnam veterans. There were two younger men , probably from the sand people wars, who looked to be early thirties. There was a VA police officer in the waiting room, because sometimes some of the folks who come in have problems with self control. He was a nice guy, a former Army NCO in his mid forties. Seemed like a very tactful person who wasn't out to throw his weight around, just to keep a lid on things before they got out of hand.

Since my wife and I have medicare, and it's administererd through UHC via the State Benefits office (the wife is a retired school teacher), I didn't think we really needed VA health care but M insisted on it, and she's right. Lots of things I have to pay for using Medicare, are free at the VA.

As we get more involved with it, I'll try to post our experiences. It might be that some of you out there, who are vets, think you are not eligible but  perhaps you are.  You can apply on line and find out. My wife was only in for four years before we got married and she left the Navy, but she was eligible. (Note for Marines and Navy: If you served at Camp Lejeune in the 1950's, 60's, 70's, 80's, you are eligible for VA health care. The link below has the details)

The web page for Georgians on VA Benefits. Should be good for anyone.

Branco Cartoons

Magazines and Catalogs:

Not a bad catalog. I bought some LSA for my AR-15's from this issue, and enjoyed just looking through it.  They have done a ragged job of combining the military surplus and shooters catalogs, but at least they are still putting out a paper catalog. For awhile there, I thought they had gone the same route as so many others, and done away with their paper catalogs in favor of the internet.

Almost all about field craft and living in the bush.  Survivor's Edge leans that way.  But there were some great things in the Gear Guide section.


What is out there in the dark?

I've been putting in some more security flood lights.  Three of the four sides of the main building had good security lights, but one side where the forest comes right up to the house, didn't. I've remedied that now, and cut some of the branches and scrub back from that side of the house.

I'm also modifying my procedures at night. Now, when Tuggy goes on a barking spree and gets all bristled up, I am firing six rounds out of the 12 gauge into the tree line.  Not because I know where to put the shot, or even what direction to point it, but because I hope this will discourage whatever has been coming in here and eating my cats.  Earlier this week, there was a tremendous row on the back porch, some of the empty plastic drums I had stacked up there were knocked over, and the next day one of my favorite cats went missing and there were blood splatters on the porch. Enough is enough. I do wake up the wife with the shooting , but maybe it will do some good and she doesn't object to the plan.  Next "adoption day" at the Humane Society, I am going to get two or three puppies. If you go on a non "special" day you have to pay $100.00 per animal to adopt one, but the fee is significantly less on their "adoption days."

I looked at trail cameras in Sportsman's Guide, and they aren't cheap. I can't really say it would help me to have a picture of whatever is causing the havoc, anyway.

You can never have too much ammo or too many magazines.

Got my M-14 magazines from CDNN.  I now have a total of 28 good quality M-14 magazines, for the two M-14's I own.  Part of my reason for stocking a lot of magazines for my weapons is having lived through the 10 years Feinstein/Clinton Gun Ban.  Part of the reason is the way things are sliding down the slope to collapse in this country.  Maybe I won't live long enough to need twenty eight M-14 magazines, but they will surely come in handy in my son's lifetime, if not mine.

Tuning out.

The only other significant changes up here are that I have pretty much stopped listening to the scanners. At first, I was just annoyed by all the weirdness going on up here now, but it's becoming depressing. I don't think I've even turned on the scanners in over a week now. I concentrate more on just my own property. There's nothing I can do about hi jinks in town.

Thought for the Day:

Why can't the Government be fixed?  Because of people like this.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Stay away from the Morlocks. California gives away free money.

This is why the Eloi need to stay out of the Morlocks territory.  I'm going to Banana Land today on a shopping expedition,  but I'm carrying my Kimber Custom II.  It's heavy, and it makes my shoulder ache, but it' s better than having this happen.

California giving away free money.  ISYN!  ( I sh*t you not.)

Wonder who is ponying up more taxes to pay for this?

Just a short post this morning, a M is still asleep and I wanted to get one done before we launch out today.  We are trekking to the land of the Aztecs, formerly known as Hall County, because I need to go to the big gun shop there.  Rumor control has it they got in a shipment of "Liberty Model" WW2 Smith and Wesson Model 10 .38 specials.  I want to plunder around, and M wants to go to Belks, then we will go to the bookstore.  Should be a fun day if we are not set upon by "The Latin Kings."

Something dug up Rufus's grave last night. Something big.  It, or they, was big enough to drag the hunks of granite off the grave. My guess is hogs. They didn't get to him though, as he was buried in a secure container. I have been down this road before , and I learned pretty quickly that if you buried one of your pets in the dirt without taking steps to prevent it, you'd wake up in the morning to find that they'd been dug up and eaten overnight.  First thing I did this morning, even before I had my coffee, was to repair the grave and drag some big chunks of logs over it.  This does show I need to get myself in  gear and get some more dogs up here. Tuggy did the same thing I did, slept right through the event.

I saw this video and liked it.  The man has made several and I need to track them down and listen to them.

Yeah, what he said!

Branco Cartoons:

Thought for the Day:

Sunday, July 8, 2018

I can vouch for that. The passing of Rufus. Reloading. Satellite television. Moon Beams on Guns.

Read an article this morning that says more "refugees" were dumped off on the United States in 2017 than any other country. I can well believe it, given our situation here.

Lucky us.

When all this first started, we could look at Europe and see what was happening.  But we had Barrack Hussein in the White House, and the Snow Flakes and Wing Nuts were all for it.  Now I'm living with the consequences, but I doubt Barrack has any "refugees" in his neighborhood.

Well, no point in wringing my hands about it. I'm not the only one dealing with this issue in North Georgia. All I have to do is turn on the Atlanta news at 0700 in the morning to have that fact reemphasized.

It's relatively cool this morning, 68 at sunrise, and drier with humidity about 80%.  It will warm up as the day goes on, but there's a nice breeze blowing outside and it's pleasant.   

Rufus passed away last night.   He ate a good supper, and had his usual break out in the meadow about nine in the evening. Then , around ten, he was asleep on the couch in the living room and he went peacefully.  He was very old, we think he was over 17, and he had a good life. Most of it, he lived with an old lady in Cincinnati, in an apartment. But he came to live with us a year or so ago, when she went in the nursing home. He was a very lovable little guy, and got to be part of the family in no time. We buried him up on the edge of the meadow that has a good view of the mountains, next to the ferrets. Being the pagans that we are, we put his grave goods in with him. Some costume jewelry and some of his toys.


I have agreed to teach one of the young fellows I met at the "get together" how to reload .  I was mentored by an old guy in his sixties when I learned how in 1986.  He was one of Johnny Rowland's supporters up here, and that's how we met.  He's long dead now, but I appreciated his help back then and I suppose I should pass it on down the line.

His grandfather gave him a mint condition M-1 Carbine, so that's what we will start out on. These days, carbide dies are de rigieur , though I still use a lot of old dies you have to use lubricant on the cases with.  We''ll get him set up with the "Rock Chucker" kit .  I started out with the Lee Reloader basic kit and then expanded over the years .  The plan is to set up a reloading bench in one of the buildings on his farm.  I'm a firm believer that if you are reloading, you need to be completely away from any possible distractions.

In this young man's case, grandpa gave him 4000 rounds of M-1 Carbine ammo , sealed in the original metal cans.  Good news, that means he has 4000 rounds of Boxer primed brass. Bad news, it probably has been "crimped"  so the primer pockets will have to be swagged out.

Removing the crimp from primer pocket on military brass.

Reloading has a lot of positive aspects.
  1. It's peaceful and relaxing, and you can do it when the weather keeps you inside.
  2. You can work up your own loads once you know what you are doing.
  3. You can reload ammo for old guns that commercial ammo isn't available for.
  4. You can get lots of use out of the brass, so it's not wasteful .
  5. You can store vast quantities of components, stretching your ammo if Janet Reno comes back.
  6. It's more cost effective than shooting a round once and buying another one.
  7. It's fun.

What to do today.   We don't have any plans.  In the last few days, we've done a lot of driving. Mostly, shopping for the wife, but we went out to dinner and just did some sight seeing as well.  Today, it might be a good idea to just stay at home. I have things I can work on.

For instance, satellite television equipment.

I started out with satellite tv when we got here in 1986.  There was no over the air television, because of terrain masking, and there still isn't.  I set up a C band system. That's the ancient gear with the huge dish made of steel mesh that you used to see everywhere. It was susceptible to lightning strikes, so much so that you had to keep spare down block converters, which you used to replace the damaged ones, then you sent the damaged ones back to Uniden or whoever to have them repaired.

There wasn't much on the satellite, and what you were watching was actually the feeds from ground up link stations to down link stations. It was not encrypted so you could watch TV from all over the world, for free.

But when programs like The Disney Channel, CNN, and The Weather Channel started coming on line, you had to buy receivers that could decrypt the "pay channels."

C band eventually just phased out in favor of the two satellite television providers who emerged.  That was Dish Network and Direct TV.

I've had both and neither are particulary good. Their technical support is a joke, and they are constantly trying to rook you with "special deals."   They change programming without warning. You buy a "package" that has the channels you want, and then they replace one you like with "the Philippine underwater basket weaving channel" or something equally ridiculous. But, they are all there is.

Now there's another issue.  I called Direct TV yesterday to order a second receiver for one of  the outbuildings. I had satellite tv out there before, so the dish is already there and all I have to do is plug into it.

But I was told that Direct TV doesn't manufacture or sell non- HD equipment.   This came up some time ago when I tried to switch to the HD system , ordered new gear, and the installer came out and told me I couldn't get HD service out here due to terrain masking.

Now they tell me that when the receiver I have now either breaks or is "phased out" they will only offer HD and if I can't get it, I'm SOL.  (Surely out of luck.)

I can't believe they actually intend to lose all the business from people like me, but I can't get in touch with anybody at Direct TV that knows anything. They don't speak English, they read from scripts. You ask a question ,and they just go back and start reading the script again. Direct TV has always been pretty poor at customer relations , but since AT&T bought them out, they are abysmal.  I tried "chat" and had no luck there. They don't let you get an email address for them. I guess I will have to send a certified letter to their "investor relations" department. I don't own any AT&T stock, but they don't know that and I've found that's the best way to get action out of a corporation.

The installer who came out to put my new system in told me that the HD receiver won't work with the "old style" one satellite system I have now.  So, if that's true, I'm pretty much out of luck, I guess. Unless I blow the top off an adjacent mountain, which seems a bit extreme.

These people are making laws? (language warning)


 Thought for the Day:

Video Recap:

Thursday, July 5, 2018

It worked for Rome.

In 122 A.D. the Roman Emperor, Hadrian,  ordered construction of a wall to prevent barbarians north of the Roman province of Britannia from entering the province.  Later, a second wall was constructed  even further North.

While the Antonine Wall proved to be too difficult to support logistically, Hadrian's Wall remained an effective barrier to barbarian intrusion until the Roman Army abandoned the province of Brittania in 410 A.D.

If it worked for them two thousand years ago, why won't the concept work for us today?
(language caution)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Hot everywhere. Centennial Outdoors Backwoods Survival Guide. Other magazines.

Yesterday was M's birthday.  We drove up into North Carolina to do some birthday present shopping. In the parking lot at the store she likes in Murphy,NC the temperature was 96 degrees.  The temperatures are highest in the South and the North East.  Tonight the local weather channel we watch out of Atlanta said it will be hotter here tomorrow, and hotter in the West and SouthWest.

There are forest fires all over the West. Here's a link to a good map for general locations.

U.S. Forest Fires (Google Maps,2018

Below is another useful map about fire locations.

Wild Fire Map

We've been having so much rain that forest fires are not likely here. But I keep an eye on that very closely in summer. That bad fire season we had a few years ago made a believer out of me.

Other Magazines:

I always post the magazines I subscribe to when they come in, or if I find one on the news stands, or on the net.

Centennial Outdoors has been publishing survival oriented magazines for several months now. I didn't buy the first one, because it was just too simplistic.  The second wasn't bad, and the one below, which just came out, is really good.

I'm not usually very interested in magazines about bugging out, or living in the back woods on a minimalist level. This magazine had some articles in it that I really found interesting, though. Things like how to roast coffee beans, grind them up, and make coffee. I have a sack of beans my son left here, and I have a coffee grinder, but I've not used them. I'm going to give it a try now. Some of the articles were written in such a manner that the information was useful whether you are sheltering in place, or bugging out.  Years ago, there was a lady who had a good survival blog, and she put out a little book, paperback, with good basic information. I hadn't heard of her in years, and I thought maybe she passed away, but she's got an article in this issue.  All in all,  the magazine was certainly worth ten dollars.

Survivalism and Homesteading are two different things, but they do  overlap.  I've started buying some of the Mother Earth News special editions, because they deal with things I work on up here. They run ten to fifteen dollars, so I don't buy them all, but if they have an article I want, I pick them up.

If you go to their web page, you can buy some of the issues from past years for as little as a dollar. The information is still useful, if you live in the country, or you want to.

The two magazines above are oriented towards people who want to live on a very basic level.  If you want to go "Mountain Man"style, they're both great. I almost bought a copy of American Frontiersman today because they had some great adds for tomahawks. These things were the real deal, and I was seized with the desire to buy one. But on reflection,I realized I could find the things on line without buying the magazine, and my magazine budget is already somewhat bloated.

Backwoodsman , as I've mentioned before, is a great place to get published. They are friendly to new authors, and if the material is of interest to their readers they'll publish it, though you shouldn't expect to finance a vacation on the proceeds, if any.  My brother has been published in there a couple of times, and if he can do it, you can too.

Modern Pioneer is a really good magazine. Especially if you are an outdoorsman, or you figure on taking to the hills when the Great Unexpected arrives.  I'm forting up here, and I'll either live a pretty good life or something will go wrong and I'll get wiped out.  But I'm not going "On The Road."  If I was considering that, I'd start buying this magazine.

There are a lot of magazines out there on hobby farms, building cabins, and the like. They do have some interesting information but not enough to spend my money on. Same thing with the "primitive living" magazines. I am not particularly interested in how to build a cow crap and mud shelter, or how to make a raw hide breech clout.  There are magazines for the cave man wannabe, though. I just don't buy them.

If anybody knows of a good magazine I should be buying, let me know. I've started subscribing to more of them now that they are disappearing from the news stand.

Fourth of July Cartoons:

Thought for the Day: