Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last day of 2014

So ends another year on the mountain.  This is an air photo of my place. The dark spot in the middle of the picture is my meadow, originally cut out of the woods for horses and goats, but now confined to attracting the attention of the "pot chopper" about once a year. The little silver dot is solar panels from my defunct 1999 massive solar power project. The only thing left of that still working is the generator.  Under the trees are my house, my parking pads, my shop, barn, and apartment. Those trees keep the place shady. Between the shade and the air conditioning, the buildings are habitable in summer.

2014 wasn't all that great, in retrospect. I am hoping things will be more sedate in 2015.

Went to Walmart yesterday and haunted the aisles of post holiday season discounts. I got 32 of those big candles they sell, usually for $6.97.  I got them for $1.48 each.  Now, it's true I have a generator, and I have LED lanterns, and I've got many kerosene lamps with 25 gallons of kerosene tucked away in the tool shed. But still, I think it's wise to have lots of candles stored away.  Every time my daughter comes down she and my son haul off a lot of things from the store rooms and last time they pretty well cleaned out my stash of big candles. Now I have replenished it.

The kids didn't get to come home for the holidays. They work for a company that lets you accrue vacation time, but you have the option of just taking it in cash instead of time off from work.  With my blessings, that's what they did this year. I would really have liked to see them, but these are tough times for a lot of people and very uncertain. It would have been unwise to pass on the extra money. I hope they salted it away.  I keep telling them you have to build an iron reserve of money, which you never touch except in the direst of emergencies. Six months of income is the conventional wisdom, but even three would be a start.

They both lead pretty frugal lives and are not infected with the common malady of their generation, to wit the desire for fancy clothes, fancy cars, etc.  My kids are very down to earth and I'm lucky to have them. I'm proud that they work hard, and have never been involved with the police or any of the other things their generation gets mired in. I guess they have seen too many of their friends go down the drain on drugs and the like.

My daughter the animal rescue activist called me and she is shipping down some "Silkie" chickens that she rescued. They are to have a hutch in my tool shed, and that means it will have to be heated in winter and air conditioned in summer. I already have way more chickens than I need, but at least those lay eggs. These are purely ornamental birds.  I told my wife I was not in need of more animals to take care of (the ferrets don't count, there is always room for more of them), and my wife said I should be grateful it was just three little chickens and not a hippopotamus. That's no joke, my daughter rescued a horse, and I am sure Seamus the horse will eventually wind up here in my meadow if she moves to Florida as she is talking about doing.  My wife and daughter both mock me when I say we can't afford any more animals, because they know what we spent on ferret medical expenses last year and it was a small fortune. I would have given the gold out of my teeth if it would have saved Ragnar/Jiggles.

 This knowledge negatively impacts my arguments that more weird animals are going to exceed our capacity to pay for their medical care, but our family books are on the computer and open to any family member. This is not always convenient but that's how it goes.

It's cold all the time here now.  Some days the sun comes out, but it's been awhile since we have seen it .  Tonight and tomorrow we are expecting freezing rain and snow.  Snow I can handle, but I hate freezing rain. It brings down the power lines and litters the roads with downed trees and broken limbs. Everybody sets out for wherever they are going with a chain saw in the back of their truck, because they know they will have to clear the secondary roads (which is about all we have here) on their own.

We are staying in tonight. Nothing will be open in town, but there still may be some drunks out driving around and I'd as soon just not be out there.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Low clouds, slow rain.

Low clouds this morning, so on the mountain top there's no visibility. We have had a steady drizzle of cold rain since yesterday afternoon.  It's supposed to get heavier as the day goes on, with another winter storm passing through this evening. Then snow on Tuesday night.  I can tell this is low clouds, and not fog, because there's a forest service web cam on a mountain top near here that has a 360 degree view of the mountains, including the one I live on.  By looking at that camera field, I can see that below a certain level it's clear.

Other than a supply run to North Carolina, we haven't gone anywhere or done anything note worthy. Christmas was quiet. Since we are not big on "New Years" the holidays are over. Two month, maybe two and a half months, of winter left. The coldest months.

I read One Second After again this weekend.   I think this is the fifth time I read the book.  It has a number of interesting facets, not least of which is that it takes place about two hours north of where I am located, near Ashville, N.C.

When this book came out, it attracted a lot of attention because it was one of the first to deal with the effects of an Electromagnetic pulse attack.  Although the science is sound, a lot of people really disliked the novel and you could be sure just mentioning it would draw scathing attacks, though the critics weren't very specific. They just didn't like the book.

I think the main reason is that it deals, in detail, with questions about how society would break down in the aftermath of an EMP attack.  Most of the conclusions it drew were not very pleasant for the self sufficient audience.

Among the questions it addressed were these:

  • In the event of a collapse, is local government justified in confiscating private property, including food supplies, weapons, tools, equipment, clothing, and other essentials.
  • Does local government have the right to conscript people for forced labor.
  • Does local government have the right to prevent non-residents from entering their domain, be it county, city, town, etc.
  • What do you do with criminals when you have no facilities for confining them.
  • Can local government make and enforce laws that impact on how individuals live, such as "you can't keep your dogs because we want to eat them."
  • Are "Survivalists" a legimate source of resources through the confiscation of their property and preparations.
The book essentially answers these questions affirmatively, not something that is calculated to please the kind of people who would have originally bought the book.

My personal thoughts on those issues are not generally in concurrence with the author.  Private property means just that. If it's mine, if I paid for it with money I earned, then it stays mine.  If some people choose to buy new cars and take cruises, that's their choice. If I choose to spend my money on improving my situation up here on this mountain, that's my choice.  I'm not responsible for covering the lack of foresight and profligacy of others. I might, under some circumstances, help people in distress but it wouldn't be because a bunch of local politicians set themselves up as tin pot dictators during a void in governmental structure.

If I work, it's going to be on my place, or on some project from which I derive some personal benefit. You can bet that if something happened up here along the story line of the book, the corvee would be used to have people slaving away improving the lot of our own little power structure in this county. They take care of themselves first now, and they would certainly be more inclined to do so in the absence of any legal restraints.

As for trying to keep "outsiders" from coming into the county and exhausting on hand resources, that has been done before, most notably during the Great Influenza of 1918.  I might be inclined to support that.

What to do with the criminals incarcerated in the county, I know what would be practical.  Maintaining large numbers of "bocas inutil" , consuming valuable resources, in times like those would not be practical.  Releasing a swarm of criminals on the local populace would not be practical. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I don't remember who said that but I concur with their logic.

I'm not inclined to change my life style in order to comply with laws predicated to force me to do so.

Looking at me as a cornucopia of "good things" and planning on harvesting those resources would be an error in judgment.  I don't give a whole lot of thought to the public weal, especially concerning sheeple, and I'm not inclined to change that point of view.

Even though I don't agree with the scenario as it plays out in the book, it's a good read. Sometimes you have to accept that things may not go according to your plan, and look at alternative situations.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Field Expedient with a Vengeance.

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 the United States had sizable forces deployed in the Philippine Islands.  General MacArthur  had just over 16,000 U.S. Army troops as well as some  Army Air Corps and U.S.N. units.

U.S. Forces Philippine Islands 1941

Unfortunately, they had little in the way of modern equipment. The infantry was still using the American Enfield and the Springfield 03 as the primary shoulder weapon, and MacAurther's requests for modern tanks and artillery were turned down as current production was already committed to lend lease in Europe.

Consequently, the Japanese offensive quickly backed the American and Filipino troops into the Bataan Peninsula. When resistance was no longer practical, McArthur had already left the Philippines, and General Wainwright was forced to surrender the U.S. forces remaining.  A lot of Americans decided they didn't want to be guests of the Emperor and headed for the bush. Technically, this made them deserters from the U.S. standpoint, and the Japanese declared them bandits.

Some of the them were bandits. Some just hid out and took it easy as much as possible. Some got away to Australia in all sorts of unlikely watercraft.  Some set up guerrilla organizations and resisted the Japanese occupation.

One of the latter was a Navy Lieutenant named David Richardson.  He was a PT boat sailor, his boat was sunk by Japanese aircraft, and he eventually wound up with a guerrilla outfit run by another American. He wrote his memoirs after the war, entitled American Guerrilla in the Philippines.

It was a big seller, and was made into a movie starring Tyrone Power.

I remember seeing it a long time ago.  There is some "poetic license" in the movie. He did have a girl friend, but as soon as he could get out of the Philippines, which was 1944 as I recall, he abandoned her.

Although Tyrone Power brandishes a machete on the movie poster, Lieutenant Richardson was primarily in charge of communications equipment in his group. His war was not that up close and personal most of the time. When he did engage the Japanese, he did it in classic guerrilla fashion, sneaking up on them, shooting a few rounds off, and then running like hell.  But you know how Hollywood works, and I guess it was the same back after World War II.

I got my copy of this book on 13 December, 1980 at Camp Butler, Okinawa. I have no idea what I was doing at Camp Butler that day, since that's where the infantry was garrisoned (the Huns from the North). I was with the more gentile crowd at Camp Foster and MCAS Futema, that is to say, the  III Marine Air Wing, in the Southern part of Okinawa.

At any rate, so much for nostalgia. I was reading the book again, and I came across Richardson's description of how they made ammo for their American Enfields and Springfields.  After mid 1942 they sometimes got ammo from U.S. submarines that snuck in at night to deliver supplies. Prior to that, they had to make their own since Japanese Arisaka rifles did not use 30-06, so captured ammo was no good to them.

I had to type this out of the book and the print is tiny, so if there are any mistakes, let me know and I'll fix them.  Here are the two rifles in question:

1903 Springfield

American Enfield, P-17

"After the battle of Baybay our army's first problem - more immediate even than establishing a civil government and getting paid, was ammunition. They had shot off almost everything they had. Besides, they had been using battery separators and battery terminal lead as well as other soft metals for their bullets. With soft metal like that, you fire a few times and the rifling of the barrel fills up. Then you get a recoil that throws you ten feet.

The whole ordnance problem became my baby. I had made a deal with Colonel McLish, before leaving him, for four thousand empty 30-caliber cartridges. (Note: Richardson moved from group to group.He argued with everybody and was not overly popular with the leaders so he didn't stay with any one group long for the first part of his guerrilla "career.") We'd load them and give him back 1000 loaded cartridges in exchange.  I found a kid named Kuizon to organize an ordnance factory for us. We scrounged around and got a hand forge, some hacksaws, and a file. That was the small arms factory.

This boy Kuizon did all the experimenting. He wa about 21, the son of a pharmacist from Bato. He had never been in the Army before, but I made him a Third Lieutenant because he was so ingenious and willing.

We foraged in schoolhouses for the bullets to fill the shells. The brass curtain rods there were made of good hard metal just a little bit thicker than a .30 caliber bullet. We cut the rod up into appropriate lengths, then filed the end down to point it. There was a broken down old Springfield rifle there, and they'd stick the bullet in this, take a rod and try to ram it through. If it went, it fit. If it didn't, they'd file some more.

For the primer, we used sulfur mixed with coconut shell carbon. Later we were able to get hold of some antimony and add it to the mixture. Then it worked 80 to 90% efficiently. Our main source of powder was from Japanese sea mines that we would dismantle. We'd mix in pulverized wood to retard the burning because mine powder is too violent a propellant for rifles. It took us blowing up about five rifles - blowing off the firing pins, the extractors, and the bolts- to find that out.

All measuring was done rudely, by thumb and by guess and by God. You'd pour the powder into the cartridge with a little homemade funnel sort of thing until you thought you had enough. Then you'd put the piece off the brass curtain rod into the cartridge and crimp the cartridge round it with a pair of pliers. Presto, you had a loaded round!  Each bullet had to be tested for fit because all our cartridges had been fired once or twice or four times before. We'd load and extract each round. If the shoulder was too big, we'd crimp it down. If it was small, we would say that was fine.

Getting the right measure for the mixture was Kuizon's business. It was all trial and error. When there was an error, the cartridge would rupture in the gun. Hot gases would flash past the bolt and burn his hands. One morning he broke three rifles in succession, burning his hands three times and jolting his shoulder so badly his toes ached.

"Sir, I do not like this work, sir." he admitted finally.  " I will put the rifle on the table, sir, and test by long distance, sir."

Finally we managed to dragoon an apothecary's scales and after a few more tests "by long distance" no more rifles blew up. Using this ammunition was hard on our guns, but it worked and killed Japanese like hell.  The boys liked them because the mine powders gave the bullets so much power they never had to figure windage.

Our ordnance factory never filled more than a one room house, about twenty feet by ten. But we expanded it to make extractors, and firing pins out of such steel as we could find- usually spring steel. These weren't very successful, but they worked fine for about a dozen rounds. I put sixty soldiers to work in the ordnance plant, but the filing of the brass curtain rods to fit took so long that our production never got better than an average of 160 bullets a day."

How's that for some load data? 

Sunday, December 21, 2014


  I went to town today and found this magazine on the news stand. I haven't seen it before.   Apparently it's a special, put out by American Survival Guide.

It's an interesting magazine, primarily oriented towards potential causes of disaster, both on a local and an international scale. Cost $9.00 so it isn't cheap, but what is anymore.

There were a lot of new "primitive living" magazines out on the rack. They all seem to focus on the period of the Mountain Men,  1822-1846 roughly although everybody sets their own dates for that. I didn't buy any. I don't plan to be making buckskin clothing, or hunting with a black powder muzzle loader so it doesn't seem like a good investment for my money.

A lot of people must disagree with that analysis, though because that genre is really increasing rapidly.  I counted three magazines on the rack specifically oriented towards mountain man style living, and we have a very limited selection of magazines in this town even if don't consider the subject matter.

Hodgdon's 15 Annual Reloading Manual is out. I always buy them, because they keep me up to speed about new loads and powders in a way my trusty hard back load manuals from the major producers of bullets and powders don't.

They make a nice reference library, and I keep them in my reloading section of the shop with my other references.

I got into reloading many years ago because I had to make my own ammo for some of the older guns I had. There wasn't any surplus or commercial out there. Then I just branched out until the only weapon (other than shotguns) I have I can't reload my own ammo for is the Nagant pistol. One, I have enough surplus ammo for that, two, the brass costs too much for Boxer primed, and three I am not fooling around with bullets recessed into the case. I haven't shot my Nagant pistols in years anyway, I don't see me being reduced to holding off the barbarian hordes with one of them.

My wife has come down sick, doubtless with some hideous malady she got at school.  But when we went to the medical supply locker for Robitussin DM, the cupboard was bare!  My spreadsheet said we should have four bottles. But it transpires that the wife, for reasons best known unto herself, has been ignoring a cardinal rule, and not writing down on the clipboard what she takes out of the cupboard. So, though it is cold, dark and foggy tonight, I had to drive into town to buy a bottle. This does not happen to me.  But when she is sick is no time to discuss the need for adhering to our ironclad procedures which we have used for thirty years. I'm at a loss, though.  I wonder if old age is catching up with us and this is a manifestation of it in her? It's not like her to ignore the procedures, she knows why we have them. She's always been good about it.  If there had been snow or ice, and I couldn't get out of here, she'd just have to make do with something else. We have NyQuil Day and NyQuil Night, but for some reason she doesn't like those.

At any rate, while I was in town I bought two packs of hog jowls for the dogs, so they made out for supper tonight. I also bought little bottles of "real" coke and sprite, so my wife can keep hydrated without wasting the soda, as she certainly would if it were in cans.  I bought Gatorade, which neither of us like but, like chicken soup, the culture here says you must have if you are sick. I can't drive all the way to town and back (about 28 miles) just to buy one bottle of medicine. I went to the grocery store, since I didn't feel like driving all the way out to Walmart, which is perched by itself on the big road near the county line. Tomorrow I'll go to Walmart and make a big buy after I re-inventory the medical supplies and see what else is not there.

By the way, one of the blogs I follow is that of a family who sails around and lives on a boat. I enjoy the guy's log,  and he is a good writer. Unfortunately, his last post details a ship wreck and I guess that's the end of his sailing log for awhile!

Ship Wreck post

  • Ship Wreck!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cold and cloudy.

It's chilly here in the mountains this morning. I expect I'll spend most of the day inside, other than when I have to be out taking care of the animals.  Everything is utterly still in the woods, no sounds at all despite the fact that in winter, sound carries a long way here.

There's a new book in the "World Made By Hand" series coming out shortly.  The first book was "World Made By Hand", while the second was "The Witch of Hebron."  I thought they were both good novels, though the first was better than the second.  The author is a social scientist who has appeared in specials on the History Channel and Discovery Channel.  His name is Kunstler. He's a dyed in the wool Northern leftist with a particular dislike of Southern people. Even so, both his practical works like "The Long Emergency" and his novels are well worth reading. Much of what he says makes sense, and many of his predictions, written several years ago, have been accurate to an uncanny degree.

I'm not sure when " A History of the Future" will be out but usually Amazon puts out prepublication order information a couple of months before the first printing.  If you haven't read "The Long Emergency" you might want to invest in a copy. It's worth the money.

The new Backwoods Home is out:

No point in commenting extensively about events in Pakistan.  I just wonder why it hasn't happened here yet.  Obama has intentionally made the Southern border porous to aid in the influx of new Democrats. Wouldn't be hard for five or six guys to smuggle across arms and explosives. For that matter, Islamic terrorists wouldn't even have to do it. They could just pay the drug smugglers to do it for them. Our schools are completely unprotected for the most part. 

Lately Obama and Kerry have been strongly condemning the rising tide of Islamic terror events. That'll show those thugs. I'm sure they are quivering in their sandals right this minute.

The pundits are gloating about the economic situation in Russia, taking credit for the fall of the ruble and saying it was the ridiculous sanctions imposed on Russia during the Crimean problems. It's actually due to the fall in the price of oil, which was Russia's one good foreign export product.

Russia has been a stand up partner in the fight against Islamic terrorism. They let us use their railways, airspace, and even some of their bases to support our war in Afghanistan. But too many people in D.C. weren't able to understand that the cold war was over, and they just had to have an "enemy" that required big ships and aircraft so the pork could keep flowing to their home districts. So now, our relations with a natural ally in this new war are damaged and weakened. I'm sure the Chechins , those great people who brought us the Beslan massacre and the Moscow theater murders, are very grateful to the U.S. and the Europeans for that.  Doubtless other Islamic fanatics are chortling gleefully as well. 

For no particular reason, here are some good photo's of the Ishapore 7.62X51 Enfield.  When they came into the country many years ago, they had no collector value and were very cheap. Now they are much sought after as a fine bolt gun chambered for a common American cartridge. I have found my guns to be top flight and am very happy with them.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Concealed carry. If you can legally do it, it makes good sense.

  Given events in the United States, Canada, and now Australia it's pretty evident that the individual citizen doesn't just have the run of the mill criminal to worry about.

We also have the Islamo-fascists going full bore, and that aspect of the threat to Joe and Jane Citizen is going to ratchet up.

The folks in the chocolate shop in Sydney were easy prey for the terrorist who took them hostage. If you are in a place where one of the Jihadi show up, it's up to you to get yourself and others out of harms way.  Much easier to do that if you armed, than if you aren't.

 ISIS is being very clever in their efforts to inspire disgruntled individuals to join their cause. Every time one does, it motivates others to emulate them. That puts citizens at risk. Think of it as walking through a mine field the size of a baseball diamond. If there's only one mine out there, your chances of avoiding it are pretty good. But as the number of mines increases, so do your chances of stepping on one.

If you go to malls, sports events, public buildings, churches, or any place people gather, you're at greater risk than someone who avoids those places. It would be a positive development if you had some means of self defense, since the police can't be there every second. Remember the mall in Kenya, or the attack on Bombay, or the lady beheaded at work by the newly hatched Islamist, or the young man shot at a stop sign by another recent convert to Islam, or the Canadian parliament building, and on and on. That's going to continue and to increase in scope. Especially since the current regime has no clue how to deal with it, nor any inclination to do so. They're too busy running "Operation Choke Point' or "The Truthy Project" to worry about mundane things like terrorism anyway.

If you have a clean criminal record, it's not hard to get a concealed carry permit in the Southern states. Here, the right to self defense it recognized and provided for by law. If you live in some of the states like California, New Jersey, Connecticut, et al you have to be a politician or a member of the ruling elite to get a permit.

It's worth looking into.  My state has a reciprocity agreement with most of the states that issue concealed carry permits, so I can travel and retain my ability to influence negative events that may occur. I've been carrying for thirty years. In all that time, I've had to present my pistol exactly twice. On both occasions, that brought a potentially deadly situation to a screeching halt and that was the end of it. However, had I not had the pistol both of those events would almost certainly have ended disastrously for me. I'd say it was worth it.  Now, more  than ever before, people need to recognize that "it" can happen to anyone.  Having a concealed weapon can save the situation.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Rope Yarn Sunday

I've spent today fixing things.  We recently bought our kids new smart phones. They mailed us their old phones, which were significantly better than the one's we use.  I switched the SIM cards, but after a call to AT&T discovered that the cards are not compatible with the phones the kids sent. So AT&T is sending new cards by mail and that project will have to wait until their arrival.

Got a few other things done around the place, and this afternoon my wife is watching the first two parts of The Hobbit trilogy in order to get motivated for the last movie, which starts this week. Those are her favorite shows, and we plan on going to see the movie sometime before the weekend.

Last week we went to see Intersteller which was about an hour too long, but not bad other than that.

It's been down in the low teens here at night. You get up before dawn and the lights are sparkling off the frost on the vehicles.  Great nights for viewing the sky, as clear as could be.  The moon has been cooperative and put on some good displays this week, pity I don't have a decent camera that would let me photograph the night sky.

In keeping with my desire to avoid current events as a topic, I haven't said anything about burgeoning anarchy, the stupidity of the Di Fi report on "torture",  or the Republican capitulation on Emperor Obama and his diktat empowering 500, 000 illegals. What's the point?  Most people who come by here are as well informed on current events as I am, so it doesn't serve much purpose to hash it over again.

I've noticed, however, that MSN has stopped talking about Ebola, and I wonder why? All the same concerns are there that existed when it was "news." I suspect they figure they've worn out the interest factor and have more interesting topics to distort now. But Ebola is still out there, and still a threat. This issue of Survivalist is largely dedicated to the Ebola issue.  One thing I do like about this magazine is that they tend to focus a specific issue on one specific topic. Makes it a good "go to" source for information you may want to go back and reread later.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Rain, wind and cold.

It was sleeting this morning before dawn.  Once the sun came up, it changed over to rain.  Never got above 40 here but at least it didn't snow.  Cold tonight but it's snug enough in the house. I went into town and got a new fuel filter gasket installed on the filter post, seems to have stopped the leak but I'll have to drive the truck awhile before I know for sure.  Next thing is a new brake booster cylinder. That'll cost about $300.00.  Then there are some largely cosmetic things I want to get fixed on the truck . It gives me something to do.

I picked up the latest edition of American Survival Guide in town while I was there. I really haven't had a chance to look at it yet, but that's how I plan to spend part of the evening.  The magazine has beeen doing extremely well since it came back into publication. I suppose that's a sign of the times.

Right now, there are more survival magazines than I've ever seen before. I either subscribe to them and get a paper copy in the mail, or get the digital edition but I am collecting them all. The digital ones I save on one of my Kindles. I'll be able to access them as long as I have power, since they are stored on internal memory. I get some flak from people about using anything digital, since it would seem to be susceptible to being lost in the event of a long term grid outage. However, if it's stored on the device, and not "in the cloud" and if you have the means to recharge the device ( and I do) I don't see an issue with it.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

 This is a depressing book.  The man who wrote it is dead now. He died in the mid 2000's, and I don't remember exactly which year.  It's an interesting book, because he flew Spitfires and Hurricanes during the Battle of Britain, and then on through til the end of the war.

What's not so good is that the experience twisted him. He was eventually shot down, the aircraft burned, and he was disfigured. Essentially that experience and the aftermath in which he went through some forty operations transformed him into a homicidal maniac utterly devoid of any compunction about the things he did.

Some memoirs are informative and inspiring, and some are so dark you are better off not reading them. I first read this book in 1971and I don't remember it being this way at all. That was a long time ago though.

On the other hand, there are people who go through extraordinarily traumatic experiences and still manage to maintain some modicum of humanity. This fellow worked with the ARVN and thought well of them.  I knew many Vietnam veterans in the USMC and I can't recall a single one who had a good word for the ARVN.  I suppose it was a matter of perspective.  I 've never seen much on that aspect of the war so it was interesting.  I 've owned my copy of this book since 1991 so I know I've read it before, but strangely I didn't recall any of it.  1991 must be one of those years where we had a lot going on here, and I don't remember much that went on then.

Especially when my wife was going through the brain tumor and recovery from that, things tend to get hazy. She was in a hospital in Atlanta for a long time. The kids were little so that complicated things. After we got her home she was ill for a long time. I really don't remember many details from all of it, and the one's I do remember are inconsequential, like the color of the furniture in her room at the hospital.  Sometimes,you just get overloaded, and events and details get lost. I suppose everyone experiences something similar at some point in their lives.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mitchell's Mausers says no more rifle imports from Russia.

Mitchell's Mausers deals in high end surplus guns, things like hard to find sniper rifles or excellent condition stock surplus rifles.  They are now running an add saying that imports of Russian surplus rifles were banned in the latest round of sanctions against Russia.  If that's true, and there's no reason to suppose it isn't, then that's the end of the last source of relatively cheap rifles.  In discussing the Mosin Nagant rifles with a friend via email, it transpired that he was paying twice what I paid for mine in the past.  Scarcity creates a rise in prices.  If you have been thinking of buying a Mosin Nagant rifle, now would probably be the time.  The same holds true of surplus "eastern block" ammo by the can and case, though I haven't seen anything specifically addressing banning that.

Sportsmans Guide and AIM surplus are good places to shop for the long term storage ammo.

Sportsman's Guide

AIM Surplus

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Leisurely Thursday

Leisurely is the right word for it.  I've just been working on this and that, catching up on things. It's very heavily overcast outside right now, but also very warm with a current temperature at around 65 degrees.  Not bad at all.

  With the leaves off the trees, I have a good view of the mountains from the front porch.  You can see a long way out there.  Since I live on the border of the national forest, I'm blessed with views that do not include other peoples houses or lights off in the distance.

The stream down from the porch is running full tilt, we had plenty of rain this summer so it's up fairly high. At night I enjoy sitting on the porch swing and listening to it running down the mountain.

There's never a moment in anyone's lives when they aren't dealing with some kind of problem. Where you place in the socio-economic strata "don't signify" as they say up here. Top or bottom or in between, everybody has to deal with life. Everybody is a survivalist, if not in the sense of preparing for the future then certainly in that aspect of life that requires you to constantly be fielding problems. It's easier to deal with those problems up here in the quiet and solitude. I've been here a long time and experienced pretty much the whole gamut of what life can throw at you.  I think if I'd been living in an apartment in a city, I might not have come through all that as fortunately as I did. Your environment does make a big difference in your resiliency.

This is a new magazine. It's put out by the same people who publish the new "American Survival Guide."

When they say "Military Surplus" that's what they mean. I has some good articles on the old guns, but they are not the specific focus of the publication. There's also a lot on just plain old military surplus gear, who sells it, where they get it, etc. I thought that was interesting and recognized some of the names like Major Surplus and Survival.

It has an article on current military handguns that was well written and interesting, although I don't see exactly how it fits into a surplus magazine. I paid $8.00 for the magazine at the grocery store in town, and got my money's worth. If it shows up near you it isn't a bad read for the price.

  The new CDNN catalog was in the mailbox yesterday.  As always, it's full of good shooting accessories and firearms. I don't see how they can publish a slick catalog like this four times a year and give it out for free, but they do.

I've bought a lot of magazines and the like from them and gotten good service. They tend to have items nobody else is offering , like Korean manufacture Glock mags back during the William the Bastards gun ban.

You can download the catalog from their web page , or ask for the paper catalog, or do both.

I keep these catalogs as a price indexing reference, to help me quantify what items cost at different time periods.  The price fluctuations are amazing over time.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Today is our 32 anniversary. 3 December 1982- 3 December 2014

We were both stationed in Naples, Italy at the Armed Forces South headquarters there. My wife was on the staff of AirSouth, the NATO branch of the U.S. Tactical Air Forces in the Southern NATO region. I was at Comstrikforsouth, the NATO branch of the U.S. Sixth Fleet.

We didn't get married in Italy because we were not catholic, and the Italian government made it very difficult to get the necessary permits if you were not catholic.  I had a conference at the Naval Amphib base at Little Creek, Va every year in the last week of November, so we took a few days leave and got married in the base chapel there after the conference ended.

I had it set up for the base chaplain to marry us, and didn't plan on anyone being there but my wife and I. Instead, a whole bunch of family members showed up, which complicated things enormously and made it a lot more stressful than it should have been.

My wife's family insisted on having a wedding dinner the night before the wedding. We went to some restaurant in town. I suppose it's traditional but I could have done without it and my wife felt the same way.

You can't control everything all the time though, no matter how hard you try.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's relatively warm now, but another cold blast is coming.

Outside this morning it's forty two degrees.  We've had several days of warm weather, up into the 60's by afternoon.  December is usually a cold month though, and some more chilly weather is expected by this weekend.  The picture above was taken at a waterfall near our place just before Christmas in 2008.

This is a short cut through the national forest. I use it if I am going over the mountains and heading South. It saves some miles, though not a lot of time.  When the snow and sleet is coming down, at least it's pretty out in the woods. This is one of two streams you have to ford.

When it gets cold here, the water draining off the mountains over the rock faces of the road cuts makes icicles.  Some of them get to be over six feet long, if somebody like me doesn't come along and break them off.

If it stays cold long enough, the lakes and ponds freeze over.  Not to the point where someone my size can walk on them, but the little lake where I walk sometimes gets two or three inches of ice all the way across it. People think the South is always warm, but not so in the mountains.

I have several fire pits at different places around my land.  When the weather warms up to shirt sleeve temperatures, I like to sit out there and smoke my pipe, drink a little coffee, and listen to the radio.

Those brief interludes of warmth are rare.  Most of the winter here, this is a more representative picture.

Keeping the trail down the mountain open in winter is a challenge. If we get wet snow and wind, I can be sure that I'll be clearing the trail of blow downs.  It was relatively easy when my son was home, but now it's harder since it's just me. My wife will come down to lend moral support but I don't want her anywhere near the chain saw so that's about all she can do to help.

We used to take out a lot of these storm downed trees with a cross cut saw , just to learn how to use the thing. There's a skill set you need to use the old cross cut saws. It's not just like using a hand saw. Now that my son isn't here the cross cut saw stays up on a peg in the tool shed, it's not a one man show.

When my very old ferrets were still living, they had their own kerosene heater to snuggle by. Especially at night, when I put their blanket down by the heater, you might find all 7 tucked in there enjoying the heat. Ferrets are not really winter lovers. They like warm weather better.

This picture was taken around Christmas, in 2012.   We get some big snows by late December, but that seems appropriate. This is a cove a couple of miles from my house. The dogs and I go down there so they can run around and get out of the forest for a bit.