That wasn’t the best night ever…

Oh, it got hot yesterday. And humid, even though the rain squalls never came near us for once. I was in a dreadful muck sweat: Just going out for a minute to check waterers was enough to get the sweat pouring, and inside was every inch as hot as outside. Just out of the sun.

(digression)Yesterday was a chicken-intensive day. I offed the #1 Araucana and roasted him in the morning – which did nothing to moderate the temperature inside the Lair for the rest of the day, but the roast came out tolerably well. And I found #7 the PTSD’d Brahma dead in the coop, that was kind of a bummer. Looked for all the world like she just fell off her perch in the middle of the night. The Brahmas were an experiment in ‘dual-use’ birds, and I don’t think they’re a good long-term choice. True they get fat and juicy and make darn good roasters, but if you want eggs you need to leave them alive and as egg-layers they’re pathetic next to Rhode Island Reds. My four little pullets are already out-laying Landlady’s whole flock. It’s true RIRs seem to be…well, closer to their savage roots than the Brahmas and you can’t always tell when they’re gonna go mental. By contrast the Brahmas we have here are very mild-natured birds, taken as a whole, and easy to work with. But I swear they’re also natural-born victims. Victims annoy me.(/digression)

In the evening, after all was done and it should have been about ready to cool off with the regular evening breeze, I went up to Ian’s and availed myself of his excellent shower. But the breeze gave us a miss and it never cooled off. Ten o’clock I gave up and went to bed but not to sleep except in snatches. Around four – I know it was four because circumstance allowed me leisure to take a good look at a clock as I mourned my fate and cursed the gods – it was finally getting cool in the loft and I thought perhaps I could get a solid hour’s sleep. Then #2 Araucana, who seems to be planning to take his promotion seriously, started tuning his pipes and #1 Araucana tapped the inside of my large colon and said, ‘remember me?’

Oy. Well, maybe I can still get back to bed, right? So I went down the ladder, (dogs out) took care of business (dogs in) went back up the ladder, laid down and was actually tuning #2 out rather nicely and might even have caught a Z or two when Ghost went to Defcon One. Oh, he wanted out right frickin’ now and he wasn’t interested in my opinion. LB, by contrast, considered himself off duty or maybe he’s just a bit more sensitive to the Wrath of Dad.
100_4267The garden spot-turned-chicken yard has been a noisy place lately, especially around dawn, and I’ve wondered how enticing it might be to the local ne’er-do-wells. I grumped down the ladder from the loft and opened the door for Ghost, who left a veritable rooster tail of his own as he streaked past the garden toward the wash, and damned if he didn’t flush a couple of coyotes trying to work up their nerve to come say hi. I saw them disappear over a fold in the ridge, and now an hour later with the sun finally making a direct appearance he’s still out there strutting and barking and generally being extremely pleased with himself.

BTW, as it became clear that the Araucanas were not going to be welcome guests and I started making my plans and preparation for them to enter the brief, useful phase of their earthly existence, I got to brooding over what a hassle it was going to be to catch them. The fishing net isn’t the panacea I’d hoped it would be, because all chickens seem to go crazy at the merest glimpse of it. The Araucanas are fast and athletic and I’m not and their yard has lots of little alleys around the planting boxes and the net wasn’t going to work well.

I finally decided, nobody’s keeping score and it’s my game anyway. So why am I not cheating?
As a tool for precise hole placement at a distance, the 22/45 is the best gun investment I ever made in my life. It’s a bitch to clean, but with the addition of some aftermarket sights this is the most precise firearm I own. And I can testify that if you shoot a chicken in the head with it, it behaves pretty much the same way as if you’d chopped its neck with a hatchet – but without all that bother about preliminary negotiations. Just saying.

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No, seriously, somebody wrote this and it got published.

I think maybe Beretta’s latest antics have gotten under somebody’s skin. Not sure why else anybody would write a hit piece as poorly conceived as this one.

Beretta’s New Super Rifle

Gun company Beretta is tone deaf when it comes to calls for restrictions on powerful guns sold in the United States. It must be the chance to make money.

Beretta’s website carried an announcement that the ARX100 is “shipping now.” Beretta markets the rifle as “Italian Design — American Built.” Regardless of its origins, the gun is unusually powerful.

That first paragraph kind of gives the store away for no apparent reason. But what is this ‘unusually powerful’ gun Beretta is so tone-deafly marketing in the pursuit of evil money? It’s this…arx100Meet the ARX100. I had to look it up, I’d never heard of it. Yeah, it’s another 5.56mm shooter, which would make it…not unusually powerful. Or unusual in any way, actually.

After a lengthy quote from a Beretta press release which mentioned ‘tactical shooters,’ the writer helpfully explains…

In common usage, “tactical shooter” is one of the descriptions of video game features.

Oh. I totally did not know that.

So what did Beretta do to deserve being slapped for manufacturing and marketing this apparently run of the mill rifle? Gee, I wonder.


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So if you could go ahead and not wake me up tomorrow at 4:30?


Yeahhh. That would be great. M’kay? Thaaanks.

ETA: 100_4265

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You Never Completely Lose

I’m short on word count, but it seems like all I can think to add to my draft at this point is just bloat. Maybe more amusing stories will emerge, but I’m going into the editing phase in the next few days, after a final read-through.

Anybody want to read a book?

Here’s a chapter… Continue reading

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I can haz ennui

It’s hot. I’m hibernating. Here’s a funny picture.

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In which hell freezes over…

Past few days I’ve been in the Jeep rather more than is good for my fuel budget. My entertainment choices this far out are talk radio, “country” music and a couple of guys yammering about sports celebrities. On the talk radio station, conservative gasbags have been going on and on and on about how ineffective Barack Obama has been concerning that airliner that got shot down. Congressvermin right and left are demanding that he do … something. I gather he just gave a speech this morning and fell short of threatening Russia with thermonuclear war, so that shows what a wimp he is.

And I find myself for perhaps the second time in the course of his administration, in the exceedingly odd and uncomfortable position of almost kinda sorta defending Barack Hussein Obama. Please stop doing this to me, world.

Look, you’ve got some Ukrainian rebels who used a Russian missile to shoot down a Malaysian airliner, probably by oopsie. They’d used the same hardware to shoot down a Ukrainian transport plane in the same area not long ago and nobody said a word. What do people seriously expect Barack Obama to do about any of this? How is it even any of his business? Of all the things Obama ought to be doing and isn’t, or ought not to be doing and is – and it’s a lengthy list – this isn’t even an item.

I like Tam’s take…archduke…because seriously, this is how big wars get going for no apparently logical reason.

Also I notice one thing conspicuously missing from the discussion, at least on the part of the conservatives, is a ship called the USS Vincennes. Pot, meet kettle. Or should the Russians have declared war on America in 1988? They had marginally better cause.

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The best thing about living alone in the boonies…

You can lie in bed at 4:30 in the morning fulminating about the constant noise that’s keeping you awake, saying to yourself “I’m going to kill that bird” – and actually mean that.

If it’s your neighbor’s dog that’s doing it, you can complain but you can’t take positive action without police involvement. I have wanted to shoot my neighbor’s dog. I have dreamed about it, even plotted how I might get away with it. But I knew what I was really going to do was complain some more and otherwise live with the damn dog. Neither the dog nor the neighbor cared what I thought.

But I am, in fact, going to kill that bird.

That one. Right there. He's toast.

That one. Right there. He’s toast.

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What does it say about you…

When you’re transferring speed dial numbers to a new phone, and you realize the only retailers in your phone list are a feed store and a junkyard?

(and btw, is there a drearier chore anywhere than building a new phone list? Fortunately mine is rather small.)

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“This is where Americans come from.”

Claire Wolfe on the calamitous 17th century.

When I’m in a, shall we say, mellow mood with friends, I can occasionally launch into accounts of politics in seventeenth-century England.

This usually results in incredulous stares, followed by, “Oh, so sorry. Fascinating story, I’m sure. But it’s really just hours past my bedtime.”

It’s a shame anybody should feel that way, though. Because even in the hands of a dreary lecturer and deadly bore (um, not saying I am one), the story of seventeenth-century England is one of riotously awful chaos — and the birth of modern freedom.

Sit down. Have another drink. Let’s talk about it.

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Okay, the camera’s definitely not an improvement…


…so I won’t be retiring my low-resolution digital point’n'pray any time soon. On the other hand the small file size may help the whole ‘couldn’t send this pic with the cell phone no matter how badly you want’ thing. Atmo conditions aren’t the best at the moment but the file did send. So…

Anyway, the new qwerty phone is on line and working, and Tracfone didn’t even make me suffer through its usual experience. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to transfer a whole bunch of phone numbers.

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On meeting nice people in dollar stores in small rural towns

Ever since the state where I live dropped the requirement for a license to carry concealed pistols, I’ve started covering mine whenever I go to town. It’s not for any big tactical reason, it’s just that I’m never at my ease with strangers around and try to avoid drawing notice. This area is very gun-friendly compared to other places and open carry has never caused me any trouble worth the word but it’s not so common it doesn’t draw glances. So I’d really rather cover up in public. Nothing elaborate, it doesn’t matter if the gun prints a little or even a lot, but I do throw on a light shirt when I’m going to town.

People familiar with my rig know that a light shirt doesn’t actually conceal very much – I’ve got a stainless big-frame .44 in a sincerely OC holster. But it’s the thought that counts.

Anyway, this afternoon I was in the dollar store buying some canned goods when a nice little old lady needed to get by, right? And she’s got two toy poodles in her cart, and I looked at them and made the appropriate noises and she started talking about how they love to be petted, even by strangers, so to please her I fussed over her damn coyote-bait yappers for a minute (to be fair they were very friendly for poodles but I dislike poodles) and then I got my cart out of her path and we smiled and went our ways.

And about sixteen picoseconds later I realized that my “concealed” pistol was positively highlighted by the fact that the wind had blown my shirt up over the grip, and it was as if I were advertising its presence.

A post or two down, somebody left a comment mentioning that he didn’t know why I would choose to live in a place with so little green. That’s why. :)

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Boy, I just dodged a $30 bullet…

So a friend of the blog sent me a nice nearly-new qwerty phone to replace my old faithful Tracfone whose battery has gone perilously tired. Unfortunately it turned out it wasn’t actually a Tracfone at all but something from Not-Quite-Tracfone or possibly Bizarro-Tracfone and anyway I couldn’t activate it without buying some sort of monthly plan from some other company and I carry prepaid phones for the specific purpose of avoiding monthly charges on credit cards I don’t possess. Oh, well, bummer but that’s life. I’ll see to it that the phone doesn’t go to waste, I’ll pass it down the line sometime.

I’d already spent the $40 budgeted for a new phone on groceries, but it turned out that the glaucoma meds and lumber a neighbor picked up for me cost substantially less than I’d planned so I could go ahead and spend the $40 bux today without stretching too painfully. I went to the dollar store with D&L, bought some groceries and a $40 Tracfone. Grit my teeth as the very nice checkout lady rang up my tab … which came to $29-and-change. I didn’t want her to come out short at the end of her shift – I worked as a bagger in high school and still remember checkers reduced to tears at shift end by the manager because their till was short – and so I said, “How could that be? You just sold me a forty dollar phone.” And she said, “Yeah, but it’s on special for nine dollars, this week only.”

So unnamed person who gifted me the phone I can’t use? By delaying me a week you still saved me thirty bucks. Thought you’d like to know. :)

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Does anybody know what is…

…and whether it’s related in any way to Tracfone?

A reader sent me a nice used cellphone last weekend, which asfaik both of us believed was a tracfone. But when I tried to activate it I was informed that it was a Straight Talk phone instead, and Tracfone refused to have anything more to do with me. I looked up Straight Talk, of course, and it is indeed a cell phone company apparently based out of Wally World but though it says “prepaid cell phones” right on the banner they promptly start trying to sell me a plan.

Anybody familiar with this? Can I get this working with prepaid cards, or am I back to buying a Tracfone at the dollar store?

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Everybody loves me, baby. What’s the matter with you?

A couple of days ago there was a nice big flood that tore up all the wash crossings. Most were back in service within hours, as whoever lived closest with a tractor went out and did his or her thing. But there’s one crossing nobody seems to use but me. 100_4242And I don’t use it often lately, because the sand has been so deep that driving on the wash hasn’t given any advantage in time or mileage. But now of course it’s more firm.
100_4244I needed it today because I was hauling juniper out of D&L’s mud plain, where L plans to build her round pen. There are several dead junipers in there, and now that she has a horse she is suddenly offended by them.

But first I needed to fix this road. Mostly I just bashed over it with the Jeep but when the wash flows you need to pay attention to the detritus of many failed attempts to fence it. This stuff can mess up your tires big time.

That’s also why my always-in-the-Jeep kit contains items yours might not…100_4245
The southern part of D&L’s property is at the edge of a mud plain that goes on many hundred yards and is of no use to man or beast. L plans to level hers and haul in a whole bunch of sand from the wash, and convert it into a place to work her horse. But first I have to do battle with these damn things…100_4246
There are half a dozen she wants gone, and this was not the biggest. This time, instead of just cutting off the dead stuff that’ll burn she wants them flat gone. So after I chainsawed absolutely every bit I could get to and hauled off everything but twigs, she came in with her backhoe and we broke up the stumps and dug them out.

We’re maybe half done. I’m going back tomorrow. This is at a time when I was supposed to be finishing up J’s arsenic caps, but I thought I’d get L’s ‘little chore’ out of the way while it was still relatively cool. It hit a sunny 95 today and I’m feeling very stiff and dehydrated. I yelled quit about 3.

Also, my chainsaw is acting up. I think trying to start it wore me out more than the cutting did, at first. It has gotten me through three winters without major service, but now the carb is acting up and it won’t start after a hot soak.

Every now and then I’ve got to spend some time doing actual work. I’m far luckier in that regard than I deserve to be but this’ll be four straight days away from the Lair when I’m really wanting to get my first draft done on the book.

:) Or at least I suddenly get hot to work on the book when what I really want is not to be slogging away on arsenic caps or trudging through a mud plain hacking at junipers with a balky chainsaw.

When I left D&L’s I was staggering, but still had to empty the Jeep trailer for the last time. A lot of what I hauled is junk that’ll end up in the burn barrels, as is always the case when I cut juniper. But there’s a substantial amount of usable firewood in there.

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Okay, look, it’s just turned into that kind of week.

I Shall Return.

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Sorry. Busy.

Tryna make some money.

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Dogs want out. Dogs want in.

And all the time I was working on arsenic caps this morning I worried about LB flooring the Lair with liquid shit because he didn’t do his chores first thing this morning. He didn’t, thank heaven. And he still didn’t when I first got back. So just a bit ago he wanted out, left a deposit in the yard and wanted right back in. But he got his cable hung up in the porch so I went out and freed him, all the time conversing in a completely adult fashion…

“Did you have a big poop? Yes you did! Yes you did! Look what a good boy had a big poop?”

And I sort of mentally stepped back and facepalmed myself – I’m sixty years old and my days of dealing with baby poop are very far behind me. But LB was eating it up, grinning and headbutting my leg like this was just the best moment we’d ever shared in his whole life*.

So I guess that’s all right.

*And given his memory and attention span, it probably was.

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Never fails. It. Never. Fails.

So I’ve got a paying gig making arsenic caps, which ought to be done Friday or even tomorrow if I push. That’s about $150 in my pocket but it’s already spent because I’m running out of glaucoma goop. So that’s cool, that’s back to zero which is good. But above zero is better, y’know? :)

And then I get a phone call from a neighbor who says a letter for me landed in their P O Box. I go over to get it and it’s what I hope it is, a contract from Backwoods Home promising to send money for an article they accepted. And now I’m right with the world, because that’s pretty much found money. I almost never submit articles for pay.

And I drove home, try to get out of the Jeep, and the latch handle breaks off the inside of the door.

Yeah, pretty much have to have one of those. Shite. Getting it off is a bigger deal than I hoped, it’ll probably cost more to get the tools to do it properly than it will to have the shop in town fix it. Sigh – what do you want to bet it’ll cost roughly what the magazine is sending me?

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The five most dangerous waters in America:

1. Clean Water
2. Dirty Water
3. Salt Water
4. Fresh Water
5. Chlorinated Water

Just piling on.


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Don’t be concerned. It will not harm you.

It’s only me pursuing something I’m … Wait. What did you just say?

So I finished the changes I wanted to make to the enclosure formerly known as my pathetic garden, and then this afternoon at the usual time for chicken-tending I brought the Jeep trailer and loaded up the Araucanas. Drove them home, got them unloaded and was just about to feed them when…

…one of the ‘hens’ started crowing.

I have remarked before that these birds seem rather large, aggressive and flamboyantly combed and feathered for hens, now that they’re near maturity. But I don’t know anything about the breed, so kept it to myself. But Smithers got the hatchet because he started crowing and so outed himself as not a hen. Now I’ve got another, and he’s the smallest of the lot.

I feel betrayed. Hm.

Okay, maybe this trip will harm you after all. I’m not feeding cocks.

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