Thursday, May 8, 2014

The dogs are jumpy tonight.

Went to bed about eleven and thought I might get a good nights sleep.  It didn't work out that way because about an hour ago the dogs started acting out, and they won't stop.  It's dark out tonight, not much of a moon.  I took the flood light out, but couldn't see anything.   I didn't hear anything either, except the creek.  Given all the whining and barking, I'd say there's a bear in the woods around the house somewhere. They're up and about now, and trying to forage to put back on weight after a long and bitter winter.  The sows with cubs are going to be particularly in need of food once the babies start arriving. That seems to be who shows up here most often. I never harm them. At worst, I've had to have them trapped by the forest service and taken up to Tennessee, to be released in a remote region where people won't hurt them.

Tomorrow early I need to go to a nearby town one county over to buy some shakes. I have a big spot on the roof, at a particularly difficult place to get to, that lost some shakes in that last big storm.   It's so high up that I'll have to tie the ladder to trees on both sides to hold it steady.  One thing I should never have done was go for a multistory design house.  It complicates repairs and maintenance significantly.  The idea at the time was extra living space, because stacking up three levels required a lot less earthmoving and bulldozing on the mountain. In retrospect, it was a bad decision. So was a shake roof instead of metal. Still, metal roofs weren't that common on houses in the mid eighties. Cedar logs have worked out ok though, even all these years later they are still tight and sound.  Lots of work keeping them that way, but it's worth it.

The second issue of Be Ready comes out 26 May.  I'm looking forward to that, particularly for the article on long term ammunition storage. That's always a subject of interest to me.  The very ancient article by "Bird Dog", an Army ammo tech, has always been about the best thing written on the net in that regards.  Still, you never know what new ideas might be out there.

I got a nice email today from an old acquaintance who dates back to my first blog. It's always good to hear from people and find out how they are doing.  Amazing how you make good friends without ever having met them in person.

Here's Bird Dog's article on ammo storage. It has been on the internet for many years, at least 15 that I know of and probably a lot longer.

Long Term Ammunition Storage by Bird Dog.

There has been much debate on what is the best way for long term storage of ammo, and while I can't say it's wrong to place your ammo in a bucket and suck out all the air and replace it with nitrogen I can say it is a waste of valuable resources.

 O.K. if you plan being cryogenically frozen for hundreds of years then maybe. The rest of us just need to know what is the best way to properly store ammo so that it doesn't degrade over a period of time and that it functions as designed when put into use.

 Now I need to give you some background on how and for what condition ammo is built. Military cartridges are designed so that they can withstand storage temperatures from minus 65 degrees F. to 122 F. So as long as you don’t keep them in a oven you're fine. They're made for soldiers to use in battlefield conditions under the most horrible conditions conceivable and still function.

 The manufactures (OLIN, Winchester, Remington Etc.) know this and they also know they will lose a big fat Govt contract if they don’t pass this criteria. Here is one for you, the same folks that make 5.56mm make the exact same cartridge and call it a 223 change the label and sell it civilian. Same with 308 (7.62 NATO). ( I know this is one of those "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" arguments so I just leave his comment alone on that)

 So now you know that there is hardly any difference between civilian and military ammunition manufacturing. Let's get down to storage.

Shelf life refers to how long an item can remain in storage and still be functional. Well, all military small arms ammunition has an indefinite shelf life. This means as long as it is properly stored it will never go bad.

Service life refers to how long a item can remain in a operating configuration and still be functional.

Small arms ammo should be good from anywhere from 6 months to 18 months before you need to consider inspecting it. If the ammo has some corrosion on it take some copper wool or steel wool and take it off, then it's good to go unless it is to the stage of pitting then get rid of it.

 Now most ammo comes in a wooden outer container with metal inner packs that holds the ammo. We store it on at least two inches of dunnage to keep off the floor. In long term storage it is inspected every five years and then only ten percent is checked for defects and then thrown back into storage for another 5 yrs. (if nothing is wrong).

 So now what can you do as a civilian to store your ammo? Your number one enemy is moisture, as long as you have a waterproof container you are fine. I use empty 20mm ammunition containers that you can get from any surplus store although PVC pipe will do. Try and keep the cartridges in the original packing and try and keep away from metal to metal contact. To ensure that the ammo has no moisture I throw in a couple of dehumidifier packages. This is strictly optional as we don’t even do that in the military.

 Whether it's military ammo you got at a gun show or .22 shells from K-mart it's all the same. Before you store it make sure its clean, dry( and wiped off if you touched it) and that’s it!

 Wow, almost too simple. You don’t need to vacuum seal it, and you don’t need to store it at any particular temperature just keep it dry and out of the elements and leave it alone. I have been working with munitions for over 11 years, and this is what they have trained me. I hope this sheds some understanding on storage.

A word about Ragnar, since I know people are interested in how he is doing.  His wound from the surgery has healed up nicely.  He still has not gained his strength back, although I am feeding him special supplements and vitamins. Some days are better than others for him. Today was one of the down days. He hardly came out of his box.  He seems to be almost completely blind now, not uncommon for ferrets his age and not necessarily a big handicap since they are burrowing animals who navigate more by sense of smell. I have to be careful to put him down in some place he can easily identify, like his feeding station or his box now. If he doesn't start perking up, I am going to take him back to the vet.   I am also talking with a ferret rescue in the south of the state about taking on some of their "senior" ferrets. Like people, no one wants senior ferrets because they have medical problems and vet bills, and they tend to pass on about the time you really get to have a close bond with them. But even seniors need a place to live where they have company, shelter and care. I admit, given my age, I may be a bit prejudiced in their favor. ;-)


  1. When I had to go pick up powder I used to make it a point to talk to some of the old ammo storage NCO's and they all said the same thing only getting wet or extreme humidity would make the ammo go bad. BUT. There was a guy who claimed that extreme heat could actually make the powder charge more powerful. I know it would do that with powder charges. It was pretty common for FDC to calculate the charge and then always need to adjust down because we were over shooting. I was so curious about this I checked some dates and it always happened with old powder charges.

    I think you should open an old horse retirement home myself.... But certainly not for any nefarious reasons.

    1. I had horses and ponies when the kids were younger. I could still put some in the meadow, though I'd have to build them a shelter. I actually have thought about taking some donkeys. The government gives them away about every two or three years, but I already have so much to take care of I haven't done it.

      I have heard that about heat making powder more gaseous when the round is turned off, thus more pressure. I don't know to what extent or how often that happens. I have a lot of Turkish 8mm Mauser from the 1940's, and it is a "hot" load, but how can you tell if it was intentionally loaded hot or became that way over time without the original load data? And even then, the powder used wouldn't be in any of the books so how could you do any calculations? I guess it's just one of those things but fortunately it doesn't seem to be common.

  2. Harry,


    In regards to Pioneer Preppy, if you heat ammo up in direct sunlight (cook the ammo) you will get more range out if it. That's been proven in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Note: If anyone reads this and cooks ammo in the oven, please inform us of the catastrophic and disasterous results so we can laugh at your folly. Do not try this at home is an understatement!

    On the bear thing.....

    We get problems with tattooed up, and pierced Cro-Magnon's with bandana's and arrest records coming out in warmer weather. They are looking to mate with any females that are willing to be "baby mama's"
    They forage with EBT (food stamp cards) and they steal more than any ferret or raccoon.
    This Cro-Magnon's communicate with other of their species through "loud car stereo's" and use tattoo's to display how fierce they are and how many battles and prison time they have had.

    Personally, I would rather have a bear problem.....

    I like living on the coast, but the freedom lifestyle of the beach life attracts dirtbags from all walks of life. I have elaborate security systems on two trucks and on a house. I have to sneak my guns (load my rifles or pistols) into one of the trucks while the vehicle is inside the garage so no one notices what I have. I don't dare put an NRA sticker or anything alluding to firearms (or any other stickers) on the back of the trucks as too not to be followed back to my house. Upon leaving the shooting range, I take different routes home every time and check to see if I am being followed. I also try to come home at different times and not keep a regular schedule is possible.
    To say that I live in a high crime area is an understatement. Thanks to welfare, a lack of morality, overloaded prison's, etc, etc. I have to live in a constant state of preparedness to fend off any and all human predators.

    Advice to Harry.....

    Do not move to Florida or any other coastal area. Stay where your at, maybe downsize or pay someone to fix your roof somehow.

    I like living the coastal lifestyle, but it comes with a price. The biggest thing is the opsec nightmare. The second is the taxes and insurance. If it was not for the surfing and the beaches, I would he outta here.

    Example, I watched a guy on the beach last fall have a meltdown on "bath salts" and attempt to fight everyone on the beach including two police officers that had to pepper spray him and hog tie him in handcuffs until the ambulance arrived.

    1. Well, CC, I was thinking somewhere like Palm Coast, or Saint Augustine, where there doesn't seem to be a problem with those kind of people. I'm sure there is theft and such, but I've never seen any of the types you are having to deal with at Palm Coast. I would never want to move to a place where that kind of activity went on because I would certainly shoot someone if they menaced me or my wife, or tried to break in. If that happened, and the person I had to shoot was black or Hispanic, then Holder would see to it they put me under the jailhouse so I don't want to give him the opportunity.

      This thing about heating the ammo. How would you get the dope on your rifle, if you did not use ammo that performed exactly the same way regardless of temperature? I don't doubt what you allude to is true, but it doesn't seem to be a very useful property to me. It would just screw up your long range fire.

    2. hey Captain - don't you owe me an email????

      u no hoo

  3. Glad to hear Ragnar is doing alright. I think it's awesome you're thinking of adopting a senior. We have adopted special needs animals a couple of times for similar reasons. They have always been very sweet and loving. In particular, we had a foxhound that had been a lab dog, and had fallen in the cage and gotten a head injury. He had a significant seizure disorder after that, and had to be on large doses of phenobarbital every day. But he was a lovely dog, and we were happy to give him a loving (and experiment-free!) home for his last couple of years.

    Sorry about the house work. We are restaining our logs right now. It's a lot of work, too. Always something!

    1. The ferret shelter I am working with lists the ferrets as "special needs", "senior" , "young adult" etc so you know before you adopt what the ferret will need. Somehow, to me, the senior ferrets look the most like they need a good home. The rescue takes good care of them, they are in need of nothing physical, but ferrets need a lot of hands on time. They need to be petted and they like to be held. With so many at the rescue I doubt they get all the attention they need for purely available resources reasons. I am thinking three would give me six ferrets, the most I have ever had at one time was seven.

      I am vehemently opposed to using animals in laboratory testing. I have read repeatedly that it's no longer necessary due to advances in technology, but it is "cheaper." In terms of money I am sure it is. Your dog was lucky to escape alive and unmutilated.

      Log homes are like wooden ships. They constantly require attention. I dread going up there in this one particular place, but if I am careful and take every precaution I will be ok.

  4. I am happy to hear Ragnar is doing better. And I am still partial to the name for obvious reasons..

    I hope your bear issue does not turn out to be a "big foot" You do live in a pretty squatchie area. Put up some trail cameras, it would be cool to see what you catch with them...

    1. Have you ever seen that show on television , I think it was Discovery Channel, where these people go around looking for Big Foot? It's pretty hoaky. I did watch one episode filmed very near here, where a Sheriff's Deputy had his dash recorder on and "something" ran across the road in front of him. That was a little odd. I did once, years ago, go up into a thicket near the meadow on a cold , frosty night because the dogs were raising hell at something in the thicket. When I started in, there was a really bad smell and somethings frosty breath came rolling out of the thicket. The dogs ran away, at which point I myself chose to abandon the expedition and go back to the house in some haste. I think it was a big hog from the stink, but who know? I don't because I chickened out.

      My brother uses trail cameras and has gotten all kinds of pictures of local wildlife but no Big Foot. I could get a camera or two from Sportsmans Guide pretty cheap, that's a good idea. Probably I'll just get Mexicans on it but still...

      The Vikings is over for another year. This was a good season. I wasn't sure what went on exactly in the last episode but surely he didn't have all of King Horicks little daughters murdered? It looked like it but that whole sequence was so fast moving I was not sure.

      Ragnar is worrying me but things could be going fine and I am just being paranoid. My wife is not worried, she says he is doing ok.

  5. thanks for ragnar update. praying for him.
    when you fix the roof, have someone with you. do not do it alone.
    even if the second person can do no more than call the ambulance.
    you have a wife and kids and ferrets so you cannot go on the roof without backup. it would be selfish to do so.
    deb h.

    1. Selfish???? Really?

      While I think he'd be better served having someone do this, I'd hardly call him selfish for doing it himself. I don't think that's for you to judge him. He's a Marine and a man. He can do anything he wants to do.

    2. Anonymous - i don't usually engage in internet squabbles but deborah is providing very excellent and sound advice. yes, he is a Marine and a grown man with many incredible skills - but no one - not a 20yr old, 285lb very capable man, nor Harry, should be climbing up on a roof without someone there! that is just plain common sense that deborah is providing and yes, he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants. deborah is not judging him - just reminding him to be cautious as he DOES have his family and his animals relying on him.


    3. Some of us older dudes still clank when we walk. He don't need your rockin' chair.... so are you saying that Harry doesn't have common sense?

      Jeesh back at you, missy


      George Jones
      I don't need your rockin' chair
      Your Geritol or your Medicare
      Well I still got Neon in my veins
      This grey hair don't mean a thing
      I do my rockin' on the stage
      You can't put this possum in a cage
      My body's old but it ain't impaired
      Well I don't need your rockin' chair

    4. D.H.
      I do have family, but for logistics reasons we are often spread out. It's hard not to just go ahead and get a task done when you are all ready to go and get it off your back. I see your point though, since if I go crashing to the ground and wind up disabled it would be a real burden on the rest of the family.

    5. By the way, Kymber has known me for years and she knows sometimes I do not exercise good judgment. I'd be the first to confess it. My wife usually keeps me from my more spectacular errors in judgement, but sometimes she's not around ........

    6. dear anonymous - please don't get lippy and call me "missy" again. i am a trained canadian forces veteran and i don't take kindly to being called that. i feel that my comment back to you was, at the very least, respectful and explained my point of view. i have known and loved Harry and his family for several years...and have always respected his service and his judgement. i was simply trying to state that deborah provided good advice.

      calling me "missy" is an incredible insult, Sir. and not one that i take lightly.

    7. Frankly, Kymber, it seems that Harry had very graciously called for an end to this back and forth.... and you keep going on about it.

      Where I come from, back talking your elders is rude and saying jeesh to them is considered swearing at them. How dare you swear at me and then try and reprimand me.

      You want some respect then show some respect.

    8. Anonymous - where i come from back-talking to anyone is considered rude. and around here "jeesh" is not a swear word. however, you took it as a swear word and that was not how it was intended. for that, i sincerely apologize. and i would very much appreciate that you never insult me by calling me "missy" again. thank you.

    9. Anonymous - after reading all of the comments here, the explanations from various people, and the cultural differences, i offer you, again, my sincere apology. i do not back-talk to anyone and especially not my elders....where i live, elders are a resource to be used for advice, suggestions, guidance and a whole pile of other stuff if you know what i mean. we truly respect our elders...and i try to do that with a wide-open heart. i am sorry that i offended you and hope that you will accept my apology.

  6. Harry - you know that i always have your best interests at heart and i completely agree with deborah. DO NOT CLIMB ON THAT ROOF IF THERE IS NO ONE ELSE AROUND! i know you understand my choice of caps...i also know that you are not foolish enough to do that.

    and i agree with the others who say to hire out. if that is not possible or if the job is too small to bother hiring out, don't work on the roof until your wife is home.

    if you feel like i am telling you what you already know, and if it feels like nagging - it's not. i just care is all.

    i am glad for the update on little Ragnar and i am proud that you are willing to take on some senior ferrets. you can provide them with a loving home for the last years of their life.

    much love to you and yours, always. your friend,

    1. Kymber, couldn't get this function to work last night but it seems to be ok now.
      Just wanted to say that I know I need to stay off the roof. All the women say so , including my wife, so it must be true!

      I just get so antsy sometimes to get a job finished that I let good judgment lapse. I didn't work on it today, I worked on the retaining wall. M will be home tomorrow and I will probably have a go at it on Saturday.

      Or maybe I will go up there and fall off on purpose to get some feminine sympathy! That's in short supply around my house. >:-(

    2. buddy, if you fall off that roof on purpose when M isn't there - can you imagine the hundreds of thousands of dollars that will be spent by all of your female readers making casseroles and homemade breads and flying out to where you are in order to take care of you until M makes it home? you, monsieur will be lapping it up like one of your dogs. and then M will come home and clear out all of your female readers and probably punch you in the mouth - bahahahaahhaha! much love Harry, to you and yours always!

    3. Well, at least part of that sounds good. When wives here don't want their husband to do something they say "if you do that I'll snatch you bald headed." I think if Miriam found out I was going on the roof she'd do that literally. I put the hard part of the job off until tomorrow. She'll be home tonight but she'll be tired so I'll wait til Saturday when she is rested. She can put shakes in my basket and I'll haul them up, then I won't have to clammer up and down the ladder and the frightening part of the job will be over more quickly.

  7. Anon, I appreciate the kind words. Deb didn't mean anything derogatory. She just meant that I could wind up trashed and then everybody would have to take care of me.

  8. I think most bloggers are "type A" personalities. Most of the one's I know are, because they either live in very rural areas, or they are single people trying to get through life alone (I couldn't do it), that kind of thing. So they express their opinions forcefully.

    My wife insists I not do this kind of thing alone. But this is one of the rare instances where I don't always heed her advice. The thing is, I live too far out to hire someone to help me, and even if I didn't, people are so sue crazy these days I'd be afraid to have someone hurt here. My problem is that once I get started on something, I want to finish it and get it behind me. It's really hard to just stop and put it off.

    I appreciate both sides of the conversation and I think my best bet is to try to kind of stay between the two lines of being very cautious and being fool hardy.

    By the way, I never heard that song before and I liked the lyrics.

  9. Wow alot here can happen in one day....

    ok, my take.

    @ Anon.... To use your word from earlier, kymber metaphorically "clanks" when she walks as well. Tread carefully. The folks that comment here "regularly" are mostly a fairly tight bunch. We will circle the wagons at the drop of a hat. You'd probably be better off letting this go......

    @ Harry.... I have to agree with the larger crowd here, but having said that, I've let myself get into such bad shape that I can't do much outside currently. I wish I had the ability to get out and work like you do, even if you have slowed down. If I ever "go out the hard way" I hope it's doing something I want to do and not because I was playing it safe and staying on the porch all the time. I'm not saying that's what you are doing here, just my thoughts from a larger perspective on life.

    @ kymber, on "deb h", I've read a few of her comments elsewhere on blogs, unfortunately she does tend sound overly judgmental to me as well. If Harry doesn't take it that way, that's fine, that's his business. Anon sounds like he might possibly be an older southern gentleman to me and those guys place alot of weight on the words that are used. I personally can see where he took offense at the word "selfish". Hate to disagree but then again I've never been afraid of disagreeing with Harry, or anyone else around here for that matter. I have to call it like I see it.

    I believe in showing big concern for a person, but calling someone "selfish" like that should (in my book) be reserved for family members. Not me or anyone else. It's not up to me to lay that on Harry. I guess it's a mix of culture and how literal minded a person is. Personally, I honestly don't know what she meant if "selfish" doesn't in fact mean "selfish".

    As far as the rest of your issues with anon, you go girl! He apparently doesn't know who he's messing with.

    And, yes, Harry needs to stay off the roof when he's there by himself. 40 feet is a long way to drop. He does need to have someone else there to spot him and call for help if needed.

    @Anon, if you are a southern gentleman, you'll leave kymber with the last word if she desires to make another reply.

    1. I think a lot of the offense taken on both sides was not intended. "Missy" is not a mean word here. I called my daughter "Missy" and I still do in a playful manner when she gets feisty with me. No one can doubt I love my daughter and I wouldn't use that word if it was derogatory. But I can see how Kymber, who is Canadian and hasn't heard it used much I'm sure, might think Anon was being condescending. The same thing is true of the expression "Jeesh." It means different things in different parts of the country. I know Kymber is a great person, I've known her for many years. I'm not sure who Anon is, but he is Southern and he and I have a lot in common I think. I'm really sorry that two good people got off on a bad start and I wish we could put this tiff behind us. No one is at fault but it would be silly to let a misunderstanding over semantics cause long lasting bad feelings.

  10. Harry, I like your plans for a ferret farm. Have you considered setting up a paypal account to allow others to help with some of this. Setting up and maintaining such a place would have to get expensive after awhile. I'm sure with your following that others would be willing to help some.

    I'm like you. I tend to like animals more than people and these little guys in particular seem to get the short end of the stick much of the time.

    1. Matt, I wouldn't be good at asking for contributions. I know there's nothing wrong with it, it just isn't my nature. I can pay for a small building. The biggest thing about ferrets money wise is their medical bills, and I will pay those. I appreciate the thought. It's perfectly viable, I just have some quirks.

    2. Well I understand that part of it as well. But you kinda make these guys community pets as much as you talk about them and show photos, it's only natural that a few might want to voluntarily help with this bigger project. And no one thinks you are begging for dollars like a PBS donation drive. :)

      It's all good.

    3. Matt - please tell your wife that i said i love you. only because you are such a great guy, she will know exactly what i mean. i love you, little bro.

  11. Matt - you can really cut to the heart of a matter and you explain yourself very well. i wish you would get back into blogging, but i at least am able to communicate with my little bro through comments and emails.

    As Anonymous took insult with my "jeesh", then i sincerely apologize. around here we say "jeesh" when we don't understand a person's position on something.

    Harry - i really like Matt's idea. if you do start a ferret rescue, i am sure that there are several of us who would like to help out with that.

    your friend,

    1. Kymber, you haven't got a mean bone in your body and everybody knows that. It was just a cultural thing. I don't think either of you meant to offend anyone and I hope there's no hard feelings on either side.

      I know people would help me with my ferret rescue. Maybe if one of them needed an operation and I needed help paying for it I would ask. But for most of it, I can handle it. I had seven ferrets, three of whom were special needs, and I enjoyed their company, and gave them a good place to live. It cost some money but I was more than repaid by the pleasure it gave me to have them living here. I only have three now, so I was thinking I could take four more. Then I thought, maybe I could have a real ferret rescue, take some of the overload from the outfit South of here. We'll see how it works out but I appreciate the encouragement.

    2. Harry - as Matt already said so eloquently, there's a lot of us that enjoy the ferret antics and if you set up a real ferret rescue...well, i guess you just have to accept that some of us will want to have some part in it. you, of course, would have to provide many ferret pics and ferret stories in order to pay us back - bahahahahah! truly, tho, if you do decide to take on some extra ferrets, be a good friend, set up a donate button and let some of us help. that's what friendship is all about.