“Limb Loss Awareness Month?” You’re just selling stuff.

Seriously. I found this email in my box this morning…


Yeah, I bought a bunch of stump socks over several months last year and now they won’t leave me alone. I’m glad they’re there – for over 40 years I had always bought kit like that at the brick-and-mortar stores of the big national sort-of monopoly until they decided to make it impossible. That made no sense to me, and I give thanks to the Gods of the Copybook Headings that others were willing to swoop in and take advantage of the opportunity. I love that amputee supplies are available online and I wish them success and much profit. Truly.

But c’mon. There’s no such thing as “Limb Loss Awareness Month,” nor does it make any sense that there should be. I assure you that I’m aware of limb loss, as is every single other amputee on the planet. There’s really no point in bothering anybody else with it. They’re just trying to sell stuff – and it’s stuff I’m already perfectly happy to buy from them if I happen to need it so what’s with this bullshit? What’s next? Baldness Awareness Month? Crooked Teeth Awareness Month? Irascible Hermit Awareness Month?

It’s all of a piece with the “X Awareness Month” practice of raising awareness of certain identity groups who think you’re not paying them enough attention (read, money and power.) And in this case, while I otherwise have nothing whatsoever against the Amputee Store, it’s certainly annoying and even kind of offensive.

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The show begins, and I need more sugar.

Last Monday the dollar store was completely out of it.

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Prediction: I will soon be up to my ass in somebody else’s cattle.

Not unexpected – it was a quite wet winter by our standards, and soon there should be grass. Unlike last year, when the cattleman who holds the lease released cattle but then had to round them all up and take them elsewhere because it was super-dry and there was no forage.

But a couple of days ago I saw tracks around the cattleman’s water pump, and I suspected that he’d turned it on for the season…


This morning I went to the watering station to collect my game camera, and found that I had been correct. The tank is now full and overflowing into the original shallow well. Which it will do all season long, unfortunately.

There would have been no reason for him to do that if he didn’t plan to drive in a bunch of stupid freaking cattle to shit all over my yard and break my stuff.

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See, this is where Lenin made his big mistake…

Ah, it’s election season. And unlike last time, when the early field of hopeless hopefuls consisted mostly of stodgy undistinguished and indistinguishable repubs, this time we have a herd of whacky commies trying to out 5-year-plan one another. There’s amusement to be found, if you can choke back your gag reflex*…

Robert ‘Beto’ O’Rourke to Farmers: Give ‘Fair Share’ of Crops for Climate Change

If we allow farmers to earn a profit in what they grow, if we allow them to contribute their fair share in combatting Climate Change by growing cover crops, allowing the technologies that invest in precision tilling and farming, capturing more of that carbon out of the air is another way in which they can make a profit.

Today’s would-be totalitarians know what Lenin’s generation did not: Orwell was a prophet. Reality is whatever you say it is, and is easily adjusted through control of the language. See, when Lenin wanted to starve the Kulaks out he just marched in troops and confiscated all the food they produced. This caused him lots of trouble in the form of rioting Kulaks and bad headlines.

“Beto” O’Rourke (and is he really going with the “Beto” thing still? Because he’s arguably less hispanic than I am – I’ve at least met a hispanic person or two) does not propose to steal anything from anybody. No! Instead, under his kinder, gentler form of totalitarianism farmers will be ‘allow(ed) to contribute their fair share in combatting Climate Change!’ Isn’t that nice of him to include them?

And with the addition of just one box in the flowchart, contents TBD, profit! See? It’s all so simple!

Until the inevitable election fatigue sets in, this might be entertaining.


*And much reflection upon it is good for the national economy, since it does wonders for ammunition sales…

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Just saw my first hummingbird!

Just this minute, out the front window. The feeder is open for business. I’d take a picture, but the phone’s connected to the laptop.

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Is this is the sort of internal dialogue most retired guys indulge in?

Torso Boy and I didn’t roll out until after six, so I started the morning behind the curve and trying to catch up. Got halfway coffied up, then cooked breakfast for me and the boy which meant that halfway through straightening the place up and dressing he suddenly decided a walkie was non-negotiable.

We got back and I was making the bed, and in the background the phone was playing a video of these two faux-drunken gasbags going on about the Shazam movie. And there popped into my head a question – not for the first time, I believe, but the last would have been when I actually read comic books which would put it late teens or shamefaced early twenties – what kind of conversations would occur in a world up to its hips in superheroes?

(Superman lands with a crash): “Stand back, citizen! I’ve got this.”

Shazam: “Stop bumping my elbow. Don’t you have a city to wreck or something?”

(Superman angrily kicks a rock into orbit) “You wreck one city and nobody will let it go. Churchill bombed every city in Europe flat and he’s a hero.”

Shazam: “Those weren’t his cities.”

Yeah, I’d never make it in standup. I’m off to feed chickens and fill water bottles…

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A milestone! I should note this in the journal…

I was going to take the day off entirely – in fact I considered spending the afternoon in bed – because I raised some pressure sores on my stump from all the walking I’ve been doing and they need to heal or they’ll get chronic. But it was such a lovely day.


I ended up spending a couple of hours crawling around under the cabin working on insulation. That’s not as incongruous as it sounds because I have a bunch of scrounged insulation piled in my powershed, which is only 8X8, and I need to get it out of there. Best way to do that is to use it for the purpose I saved it to serve.

Anyway, crawling around under the cabin means I’m gritty and filthy and need a bath bad. That means heating a couple of pots of water and getting naked in front of the sink, and the difference between winter and not-winter is whether I can do that without heating the room first. But this afternoon I found I was doing it with the windows open. And that’s a first for the year.

In two months I’ll be taking baths out in the yard with the garden hose and it’ll seem like nothing. But I’ve been cooped up for what seems like a two-year winter, and this is a milestone worth noting.

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Our boarder whips her apartment into shape…


Ever since the suggestion was made I’ve been kicking myself for not thinking of bolting a wider shelf up there. Never really occurred to me that she’d come back to that spot, to be honest. Too late now, but I guess if she thought it was too narrow she wouldn’t have come back.

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PNO is right about the Phoebe.

🙂 Just saw her. She’s working on a nest in the same spot as last year. I’ll post a picture when I can.

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You can just barely see the rainbow…


…if you zoom in and squint, it’s right above Ian’s solar panels. Yeah, it was pretty faint and I didn’t have a lot of hope for the photo. We had some very light rain yesterday and the clouds seem to be moving off to the west – or maybe those are incoming, I don’t know.

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Haven’t seen any hummingbirds but the bees are certainly busy…

And this is the prettiest I’ve ever seen the pear tree…


It’s five years old, planted in deeply amended soil from back when the backhoe worked. I pruned it back a bit a couple of days ago. It grows a little (a very little) every year, never looks actively unhealthy, but this is by far the most enthusiastically it ever flowered. And the newly unhibernated bees certainly find it interesting.

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“It’s a bird! A tiny little bird!”

I spent much of the morning up in the pantry loft doing something I’ve been putting off for weeks now: Sorting out canned goods. Because I know how to have fun, and also I suspect “best by” dates on cans of meat might turn out not to be completely meaningless.


Yeah – I need to scrounge another shelf.

Anyway, I came down and was making lunch when Torso Boy apparently lost his mind in the other room. He was in the bedroom barking and snarling like Steven King had repeatedly threatened to tell him a bedtime story. I hurried in there to find him fixated on the window facing the driveway, still carrying on. And what was the awful existential threat he was trying to drive away by hurling his unconquerable doggy will at it?

This…


He has pulled this before. For some reason any living thing that he can see approaching his house, no matter how obviously inoffensive, must be threatened with horrible bloody death.

Also he really does seem to have something against small birds in particular.

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Maybe the site admin had a sense of humor?

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Not the least bit surprised…

Betcha can’t guess where the trailer tire was leaking.


Yeah, of course you can. Same thing: The valve stem is rotten.

Who mounts a tire, replacing an obviously years-in-the-sun bald tire, and doesn’t at least check the valve stem?

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The Bearkiller gap

There’s something I frequently forget/neglect to do when cleaning the Tracker…


The Tracker is chambered for .44 Magnum but it’s a lightweight gun more intended for a lot of carrying than for a lot of shooting so believe me you need a really good reason to feed it a solid diet of Magnums. .44 Special is more than enough for the average varmint, but deafening with that muzzle brake. Magnums are just plain unpleasant.

But Special brass is .10 inch shorter than Magnum brass, which leaves a tiny little gap in the cylinder that can, if you don’t scrub it out from time to time, get filled with powder residue not normally removed with a bore snake.


It can get so bad that you can’t even get a .44 Magnum cartridge in there. That would be fine with me, except…


You think I’m kidding? We really got a couple of bears around here several years ago when there was a big forest fire south of here. And you know what? When a bear gets scared and hungry, it goes looking for people stuff to take. One actually broke into a guy’s house. While he was in the house. He chased it away with a 9mm but the little pistol could just as easily have pissed it off, right? And that’s the same bear that was the reason I found myself crawling under a house with a .45 and a spotlight, wishing I was much smarter and/or had something much bigger – like a tactical nuke.

And that’s why I keep these Bearkiller rounds that a Friend of the Blog sent me when I got the Tracker. Just in case I find myself stuck in that situation again. 300 grain hard cast bullets at 1250 FPS ought to keep a bear interested while you run for your life and call for satchel charges and an artillery strike, right?

I was disappointed with myself that those Bearkillers would barely get into the cylinders because it had been quite a while since I had applied the solvent and brass brush. But we’re okay again now…

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Why am I not surprised?

In early winter I replaced both trailer tires – the shop that mounted them failed to replace the valve stems which were long since rotted from the sun, and one of the new tires promptly went flat. I haven’t used the trailer since maybe January – but I needed it this morning and really wasn’t all that surprised to find the other tire flat…


Fortunately I didn’t need the trailer very badly. I pulled the tire off this afternoon and brought it back to the Lair but didn’t bother airing it up to diagnose the leak – I’ll do it mañana. It either picked up a nail at the county dump (very possible) or the valve stem failed…

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And now it is officially Spring.

The first hummingbird has been sighted. Not here at the Lair, but nearby. So I rummaged around under the kitchen counter and set up the feeder.


And it is now officially Spring. 🙂

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What a lovely day!

A perfect day for the range! Nobody around at all, light breeze, mid-sixties, not too much sun. I can blaze away to my heart’s content with nobody to be annoyed with me…


Except for .22lr I didn’t even lose any brass in the sand! That’s got to be a first. I have range stakes out at 25, 100, 200, 300 and 400 yards but I’d be lying if I claimed to ever do more than check to see if those last two are still present. The scoped AK can get hits at 200 and monotonously at 100 but I’m hopeless at any range farther than that. Can’t hit what I can’t see, but that’s okay; in 12 years I’ve never even tried a shot in anger at more than 100 yards and varmints don’t shoot back. I’m much more concerned with fast at close range than precise at distance. Which is why I like these ugly guns my betters keep telling me I don’t “need.” They’re made for that. As for the Tracker: I’m sorry to report that the timing issue has deteriorated to the point where the pistol can no longer be called reliable in double action. I had one firing pin strike that actually missed the primer. Shoots just fine in single action and it’s very easy to get 25-30 yard hits with it – but it has not proven to be anybody’s notion of a high quality gun. If Ian reads this he’ll shake his head and say, “I told him so.” I’ll be examining the gun during cleanup to see if it’s shaving bullets – which it probably is. But thumb the hammer back and it works fine.

Junk on the bunk or it didn’t happen, I guess…

Now lunch, then to D&L’s to feed horses – and then I have a lot of cleaning up to do.

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I hate spending ammo…

I’m a poor man and ammo costs money. The sight of a case of rifle ammo makes me positively Scroogelike – If I fire one round, I no longer possess a whole case of ammo.


There’s also the small matter of neighbors, of which the Gulch has acquired a few over the years. When I make noise at Ian’s perfectly good shooting range, I hear about it. Sometimes I hear about it in complaining tones. That has sort of become an excuse not to spend ammo in practice – but one really must practice.

Yesterday I got word that my two closest neighbors are both going to be away this morning. So we’ll be spending some time and ammo at the range today, and my inner Scrooge can stuff it.

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Flowers in the Desert

We had a very little frost last night and I worried for the fruit tree since it’s flowering so nice…


But it seems fine. Honestly I don’t ever recall this thing flowering as prodigiously as it is doing this Spring. Maybe because the winter was so wet? Maybe because March was unusually mild – I don’t know.

Not that it’s actually going to fruit, let’s not get crazy…

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