Don't forget to have fun.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
The Smithsonian has a nice article and I went to the site to read more. There are several in Texas but none very close. Austin is a big center. The last time I can remember being photographed in a photobooth was on a date in Austin. The real chemical photobooths are on the way out. Digital photobooths probably will preserve the tradition for a while, but with less magic.
If you haven't read Iowahawk then gird up your loins and your ox and your ass and click the link to the right. Just make sure there isn't anything ye could snort upon ye keyboard as ye chant ye way through ye Idiossey.
Evidently there isn't much to do in Iowa while the corn is growing except grind up the humor, very fine.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Besides Bigfoots pooch there were the does and their fawns. Camera across the creek running and had a doe and fawn on it, but like Moultries do sometimes, it burned up most of the exposures.
Woods are ragged and spider filled. Just awful with mosquitos trailing along just downwind. Sandy and indistinct sign that can't be untangled. Ugh. Don't go in there.
Or a freaking nursing werewolf. Drive you nuts about deercams when you get a big deer butt, shining eyes in the distance or (like this) unidentified animal part. Whatever it is, I showed it to the Redhead and had to take a blood oath on the Flag and Bible to not go down there unarmed no more, no how.
Tyler Junior College Apache Belles with some girls who wanted to pose.
TJC Soccer Women against Bossier Junior College.
TJC Belles with the new Mayor of Tyler and a City Proclamation celebrating Women's Soccer.
TJC Men's Football guys who were helping out with the festivities.
My job is funner than your job, but it's not for the weak minded. One of my major clients, Tyler Junior College, opened a nursing school in Jacksonville, Texas and got Trinity Mother Frances Hospital and East Texas Medical Center to co-operate along with Jacksonville Economic Development Foundation. This is about like having the Jews and the Arabs agree to something while the Tibetans officiate. Dr Metke, the new TJC president didn't know this kind of stuff couldn't be done and everyone was too polite to say hell NO to a newcomer...and they DID it! Quite a feather in TJCs hat. I photographed the ribbon cutting, (all three excellent organizations being clients), rubbed important elbows and then watched the TJC Women's Soccer team play it's first home game.
I'm not an event photographer or a sports photographer so I accessed my mad rock-stacking skilz to work the Nikon 300 and managed to get a few files.
Though I skip the paper and scissors and just use my inate arty-ness and real rocks to build a cairn at the head of Morgan Bay, Maine.
Video up. Rare on camera appearance by me, since no one else would eat a lobster and talk about it. Perry Long owns a pier used by Maine lobstermen to dock and sell their catch. Vera Long was in charge and cooked me a Maine lobster after we talked biology and business for a bit.
This video should cement my status as a Renaissance man, not merely a redneck. If you will notice I put up a business video, a tribute to girlfriend video, a biology and gourmet eating video with an art video waiting in the editor. No gun videos but I already have that genre covered.
That's what they are called in the Texas Legislature. Congressmen who have to be walked around, stacked in the corner occasionally, who are useless blowhards or dullards but represent a district so they have to be endured.
That's who Biden is. One of those guys who doesn't listen unless he's talking. He isn't hope and change. He's 20 year old deadwood.
So I like Palin a lot. She took on her states US Senators- (an act which will get a common citizen on the FBI or NO-Fly list). She didn't worry about them being fellow Republicans. Young and Stevens are two Senators who are part of the PROBLEM , not the solution. Gutsy woman.
She's a competitor, not furniture like Biden. Every dollar paid to Biden by the taxpayers was and is a waste. You couldn't pay enough for what Palin does.
Her lack of experience? Well, she's DONE things with her time in office, unlike Obama, so there she gets another nod.
Plus it looks like she gets the Gun thing.
I've been sending scathing notes to the Republicans when they ask for money. Now I'm going to send a check.
Update: Mark Steyn points out that instead of working some phoney-baloney job like "Community Organizer" Palen actually worked.
Update II: Friend and guru Alan points out sending money to Republicans may be different than sending money to McCain directly. Good point.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
We spotted Mackerel by watching sardine schools on the surface of the water. They are voracious predators, who are eaten by bigger predators a step up the food chain. Including the pesky human. Very handsome 9 inch fish.
I'm trying to think of something, besides pecans, that I walk around eating right off the landscape. Lots of deer, of course, but that requires a little doing. In Maine we munched beach grass, clams, lobsters, and Mackeral with minimal processing and effort. Very direct and we hardly scratched the surface.
Eyed a lot of colorful mushrooms on the trail. I know zip about mushrooms, but I ought to.
Sergi somehow parked us- (after years of experience in Morgan Bay) on top of a swirling ball of Mackerel. Even in the late afternoon light you could see flashing silver fish under the boat. The Redhead, myself and Mark started pulling them up two and five at a time on the multi-hooked rigs. Beautiful fish. Sergi and the Redhead gutted them at the edge of the tide and we grilled them up. Didn't take much. They arch as they cook. Beautiful fish. I think Mark offered up the appropriate zen prayer.
It was standing when we left. There is a steady stream of hikers along that rocky beach and they had started leaving small pebbles under and around the structure. Methodists, probably.
Update: What they DON'T know is that this is a relic of an East Texas Redneck Deer-hunting Cargo Cult whose chief object of veneration is the pre-1990 Toyota Land Cruiser.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Starting the extraction from vacationland and your Maine. Long trip. Many disses by the TSA and travel police to endure, but we expect to be back in the Lone Star and our own bed tonight.
As Crockett eulocated before traveling to be kilt by the Mexican hordes: You folks can go to hell. I'm going to Texas.
Real vacation up here. Amazing country. Fabulous folks all around. Perfect host and host dog. Leaving with many wistful thoughts while glad to be getting back into our lives.
Update: First you eat breakfast with Mainers but in the parking lot there is one guy from Tennesee asking about the lobster traps loaded on the back of a pickup.
Then you drive to L.L.Bean, full of folks from all over.
At Logan, its Bostoneers mixed with the world, less Mainers. At your gate, its some internationals and the few Texans going home to Dallas.
At DFW, people look familiar. Soldiers. Black folks. Texans. Mexicans. At the waiting area for Tyler there are actual people from home.
Then you fly home and its all Tylerites, plus your own cat. The world has sorted itself back to being home.
And glad to be there.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
We drove the back way into Surry along Maine Hwy 1. Playhouse and opera palaces abound. There's a big business in the summer in theatre and music performances to confound and amaze the locals and the tourist trade.
As near as I can tell, Mainers see a brother about once a month. Mexicans are spotted about as often as Zebras, which is not very damn often.
I can get back down to Taco Wacko and chat up Arial and Martha and put together a singing and dancing group, featuring Los Hombres y Hermanos de Los Musica Maxima and come up here to make the circuit next summer. Mainers have never seen rapping, much less sagging and I think los musica de los Atalazan singing about La Vida Triste, El Norte, Los Primos de Noche and getting vajo con las Gente would be a big draw. Touring in low riders and pickups we'd knock em dead. At the end of every run we could add a little performance art in these unlocked designer mansions and haul away expensive outerwear, designer cookware and assorted electronics and make a killing. Those low riders would be scraping on the way back to los Tejas with all the loot and cash on board.
Update: Even in the summer if we come up here sagging our Northface 2-Season Ski & Swim accessory trunks it will Blow. Their. Minds.
Update: Make a list of words for rap songs. Lob-stah. Mob-stah.
UpdateII: On the other hand, you can't swing a lobster up there without hitting a Russian.
If you have one rock cairn on a rocky point along a nature reserve conservancy district do-not-leave-the-trail-no-hunting-no-trash-tread-lightly area then its ART. If you have five or six you have a local compulsive rock nut tourist on the loose.
I took down two early cairns.
We took the road less travelled, or trail at least, off into a wee slice in the underbrush on our beach walk today. The trails are only for humans of appropriate height and weight. Basically a slot through the underbrush. If you had a beachball along, you couldn't wedge it in. Yesterday we had to butt up in the brush to let some folks through- nice folks, though they didn't understand my perfectly delivered line: "If we aren't back in 30 minutes, take the rest of the men and report to Col Bowie." Oh well.
Small trees inside and much brush and ferns, but delightful (cutesey-wootsey), with the threat of Moose. I did find a tree felled by the demon saw and counted rings. One foot in diameter=56-62 years old. Interpolating, with some error thrown in, that means a two foot diameter tree runs 80-100 years. Winter here must not be fooling around. There were a FEW three and four foot diameter trees, left by the loggers a generation ago because they were a twisty mess. They are still twisty messes, but that's seen as character. Lucky thing nobody has made massive wind chimes or walking sticks out of them. Nothing straight up and old. Lots of new stuff under 6 years. Also: mushrooms, ferns, grasses. We've been eating some salty grass found at the top of the tide line that looks like Cedar and tastes like salty romaine.
Gulls working the tide pools (OUT). I watched one drop a mussel on the rocks to break it and then saw the same behaviour half a dozen times. Smashed clam is a big seller on the menu. Went prone by a tide pool to get a nose-up look at the locals. Hoping for a hermit carb but no luck.
Or: Another perfectly good Theory, Shot to Hell.
Turns out the CHIPmunk doesn't care for chips at all. We salted the mat with Doritos and I dropped a sample down the hole. Zippo. We rebaited with apricots and the Redhead got to see him twice and myself once. He comes up, surveys the situation, appropriates the 'cot, eats his way around it like a cabdriver doing donuts to the left and leaves with the center. (Chipmunks in the Southern Hemisphere presumably to the right)
Doritos will get trodden down into the mattage, cut up and hauled off by the Maine equivalent of the fire ant which is probably some kind of carnivorous whelk.
I could have won a bar bet on non-chipping chipmunks. Dang.
Update: Redhead says he scored two more apricots as soon as I came in to blog about chips. Damn these munks!
Every day could have a novel written about it, so I've left lots out while hitting the blog in a desultory fashion. For instance, I haven't mentioned Mark's dog.
Molly is some kind of Portuguese hound. Hair, not fur, fairly ugly, like a blond big sister of Toto. She's standoffish and feisty- likes to bark out the front window at walkers on the road. When we first got here she walked around you like you were furniture, without a look. She rides a box on his motorcycle the couple miles to work, goes everywhere and is included in all activities though often she goes upstairs and sleeps without being in on the people stuff just fine.
But she's quite the personality, just very private and dignified. I like watching dogs and being around them, so I kept working her- back of the hand to sniff, saying her name, stepping out of her way and with a little fingertip scratching in all the good places as she would allow. Finally last night she jumped in my lap. Mark says that's a first for anyone but him because she's a one-man dog.
When we camped on the beach a couple days back she was along, with Celeste, Sergi's Beagle. She and Celeste tolerate each other, with a little display now and then to maintain personal space. She was still giving the Redhead and I sceptical looks when she would look our way at all. After midnight sometime I got up to pee and flip the ends of the campfire back on themselves. When I flipped the first log I heard a low growl from Marks tent ten yards away. Molly. Guarding the fort.
We loaded up in the high tide off a rock near the house. Active people and crowded trail with the four of us holding the boat, loading the gear, getting off the land as quick as possible. Molly held up at the trailhead on the edge of the road to stay free of the ruckus. She's committed to Mark, but the rest of the mob are to be ignored. Mark was calling her down and she balked at the trail full of flashing strangers feet, gear, activity. I reached down to pick her up and she mouthed me-closing her teeth on my hand but not biting down. Just the proper response for a dog that wouldn't be mauled by fools. I didn't startle but I didn't pick her up either, releasing and stepping back. Mark called her down and she loaded into the boat.
Fun to be around a dignified dog. Adds a lot to the home life. We did a couple of errands at his business and she followed us downstairs as we left. She's warmed up, but as I said I like dogs. I'm sure she can tell.
Monday, August 25, 2008
The munk under the mat took a dried apricot earlier today, then another with a twig run through it to make it a harder process.
Now the mission is to see exactly how MANY apricots can disappear down one chipmunk hole. I've got a big can.
Update: Apricot on a string=no string a few minutes later.
Update II: Apricot with a big rock on most of it. Gone in an hour.
I wrote a little piece that mentioned that folks don't lock their homes, cars, businesses, et, et up in these parts. We dropped by Sergi and Catarina's new house in East Blue Hill this afternoon on the ride back from Stoneington.
They have a hell of a house- not ala carte- it's designed, sited. Quite the stunning place. They weren't home and I left a business card on their door....and noticed....not only is it not locked...the door doesn't HAVE a lock. They don't just NOT lock it, they CAN'T lock it.
I'm floored. This must be the Shire where everybody knows everybody.
Update: Castle Doctrine doesn't have a chance here. If you can't LOCK your front door you won't be shooting strangers that walk in.
Maine roads feature a sign announcing a potter or a photographer every 300 yards. Odd notice: Hypnotists abound. What or who they are hypnotizing is not indicated. Maybe everyone has quit smoking.
Driveways are simply marked "ART" along the roadway. It's a creative bunch.
The Redhead says "cutsey-wootsey" every time a new vista opens or a town hall, (established 1782) looms up. It is cute, but must have taken some tough old hides to settle this rocky winter-blistered landscape. Zero pilgrims. Bring your inner Viking. Whoever freezes first loses.
Forest in terrible shape. Even accounting for slow growth, its a twiggy, impassable maze inside the woodline. One tree per yard, youngish, lots of deadfall. probably not a 40 year tree in the bunch. In the winter, it won't burn. In the summer it's leafy/wet. Good thing. Any ignition is going to be very serious. They cut the old stuff long ago. The roads tunnel through it without much margin for error. One swerve and you are in the spruce. Haven't seen a deer though they say there are plenty. Kind of a funny thing- usually anywhere in the country I see a spot I think I could rattle out a good buck during the rut. Haven't seen that place here which means I don't have a real eye for the landscape yet.
Drove to Stonington today. Best part, besides the cutesey-wootseyness of it all was getting my hands on an actual lobster trap and then watching a couple of guys unload the catch cooler on a lobster boat. Working people.
Damn fine country.
In Your Smith County, Texas, we have the lack of the rocks. There's a little iron ore and some flint chips left over from hunting mammoths 35,000 years ago, but not much else. Bricks. Asphalt. No native stone.
But in your Maine, they got your rocks. Basalt, granite and shales from grain size to house boulders. They build with the stuff. The water rounds and pounds it. Quite wonderful stuff, since you don't have to mow around it. Ayuh.My response, as a civilized, educated, unarmed visiting artist is to make rock cairns on top of boulders along the rocky shore. As a Texan I just see stacks of rocks but Mainers HATE this kind of stuff. It's territorial, non-environmental and degrades women and minorities. Visiting artists by LAW are restricted to watercolor and biodegradeable acrylics, though you can play the dulcimer, I hear.
If they get a GPS co-ordinate on me I am going upstate for some big time.
Photos and maybe a video when I get back. Lotta rocks to stack as the tide goes in and out.
Update: Built another big cairn in a better place with bigger rocks. Careful selection, heft at the edge of my lift ability. It IS a hate crime. I'm arting in a Nature Conservancy Preservation Ecological Zone. No guns, so I'll have to resist arrest with art-fu and harsh language. Doomed.
Hope Maine supermax has an art criminal wing. Hope the Natural Rock Cairners are up the food chain from the bad potters and hypnotists.
We are staying in the guest quarters over a big shop on the property. I say "property" like it's a huge estate when it's five acres on the end of a long Maine Bay. Nice though. Jewel-like. Regular people except for the rampant political hate you see displayed. (I think that's understandable: Who DOESN'T hate Bush at this point?)
Working generous smart folks. The neighbor came over this morning to borrow Mark's car......to go to Boston for a few days with a sick kid. Five hours to Boston? A few days? No problem. Key in it.
I'm surprised Maine cars even HAVE keys. Ought to be an on-off switch.
The quarters has a biggish staircase wrapped around the back. I was coming down making the final turn with my foot in the air when a chipmunk- a sure-enough Chip-and-Dale-striped job runs under my foot, under the mat at the stair bottom. My foot is going to CRUSH this animal under the rubber-interwoven mat! I'm at the point of face-fall, having committed to my step but frantically trying to redirect my foot when he disappears into an unseen hole under the mat. When I'm down, and looking, its a tunnel and hole under the mat. Unnoticeable normally.
Chipmunks. Maine. Mark says he's funneled gravel and jammed rocks down chipmunk holes all over the property. They just bulldoze them back out.
It's not like they don't make a big thing about it, heck, they POST the times the tides going to be in, go out, turn around, et, et. They just don't LEGISLATE about it. I can't believe they haven't made it illegal and brought it to a stop, or at least taxed it. They dang sure would in Texas, first thing. The legislature would never stand for it. Acres and acres and miles of millions of gallons of water being run in, then pulled out. 11 feet of tide, when its a biggish one.
Why even CONSIDER solar or wind when you could build a dam or a pipe system and generate the heck out of your electricity with a little, (or a hell of a lot in this case), falling water going one way or the other. Crazy stuff. Seems like tide hydro would be a big deal up here, but it's not done at all.
If we swapped the government of Texas with the government of Maine, it would be hell to pay in both places. The Mainers would seal Texas border and dispose of anyone who wasn't white, trust-funded, or seafaring with a volvo and the Texans would declare a tide war.
Upside: Our host fired a pistol into the salt creek this morning as an alarm clock. Great folks up here in Maine.
We're in Maine and back in Texas we have people watching the house and the studios. Armed people. People with phones, flashlights, keys, guns, backup, et, et. The mail is going into a locked box.
Up here, in your Maine, or at least in your Surry, backwoods, Blue Hill kind of Maine, these people don't even have a key for their front door. NOTHING is locked. Sailboats, houses, cars, businesses, garages....nothing locked up. We spent the night on a beach in a campground where the tents are set up in May and taken down in September, left full of chairs, bedding, pads, cooking gear, got into an expensive boat and motored over to the anchorage at East Blue Hill, left the boat tied to a float, got in an unlocked Toyota truck and went to a handbuilt unlocked mansion full of top-end stuff. No crime, no thought of crime. They just don't worry about it.
The redhead and I had a sit down and discussed how much the fear and perception of criminals altered our behavior back in Texas. Maybe I am reacting to shadows and phantoms. Maybe I could have come to Maine for a week and left the door unlocked, not safeted the guns, alerted the neighbors, battened down the business. Maybe.
Or maybe I would return to a gun-free house and a business stripped down to the bare floor.
This crime thing, it costs. I don't mind the money half as much as the worry about it.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
For background, and to satisfy the cravings of my sweet naturalists tooth I've been reading "The Secret Life of Lobsters" while up here in Surry, Maine. I cruised through it and picked up "Freakonomincs". I'll be smarter when I get home.
Meanwhile we slept a night on the beach listening to Saw-whets and loons and spotted the seals, caught Mackarel to eat over the fire, chucked at the dogs, fed the fire and watched the light.
Then the stars. Quite the celestial show with the Milky Way strewn across the bay and Jupiter shining. The Big Dipper was so plain that you could point it out to the blind. The Redhead says this is the best vacation ever.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
TSA made sure no pocketknives made the trip. Maine doesn't have reciprocity with Tejas so I'm out of luck on carrying a roscoe around, not that there is anyone worth shooting up here.
You can't believe how few Black folks we've seen, must be a huge Klan presence in every village. (Bush lied: No Sagging) And Mexicans? Forget about it. We were standing outside the North Face store across from LL Bean in Freeport and a dumptruck made the corner....driven by a little gringo woman with perfect hair and makeup. 52 yards of fill dirt: No illegals. I think I even saw nail polish. They must be cooking and eating them. "Maine Guide to Cannibalism, Maine Guide to Inferior Races, Maine Guide to Securing the Border" not in evidence at the bookstores, but maybe those aren't the bookstores the REAL local folks go to.
I've got the feeling that all those Subaru-driving educated locals are speaking in a secret code. Ayh.
Maybe they are doing something with illegals in the winter when its dark and cold and everyone has gone home.
It's the damndest thing.
Weather good for unarmed folks with zero civil rights walking around. I'm assuming they recognize my Drivers License so I have allowed myself a rent car.
Miss all my brothers and primos. And arms. Tide UP!
The last fling of summer, (Camp Perry counting as flung, I guess). We braved the debasement of the TSA and flew to Maine to get a heat break and burn off some AAdvantage Miles. Few into Logan where the 9/11 guys boarded and drove North.
Hard for Texan to get used to water that doesn't stay put. Tides can't seem to make up it's mind. In, out, in out. Just crazy. Like a construction site that can't get settled. Can't anything be DONE about this?
Stayed the first night at an expensive B&B in the heart of Maine tourist country. Beautiful beach. I realized, looking out of the parking lot, that we were on location of the opening scene of Stephen Kings "The Stand." That Mainer enough for you?
Going walking today. Bugs, birds, mud. And that tide thing going on. Scoring heavily on Lobsters, including a meal at Perry Longs Lobster pier in Surry, Maine where we are staying. It wasn't any of my business but I had Vera Perry show me the difference between the males and females. Reading: "Secrets of the Lobster" just to satisfy my naturalist appetite.
Back next week when the money runs out.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
205 photos. Dog down to an articulated skeleton. Stink plume noticeably reduced. Nice job by the Black Vultures. Seems like there is one doe with one fawn and one doe with two fawns. Zero Raccoons. Maybe the war is over.
Managed to get across the creek and swap cards out of the newer deercam that replaces the stolen deercam. Nothing on it. Snake photos from the big Cottonmouth. Here he is. One foot equals one foot. Dang thing is bigger than it looks.
Not a trace of a body today. My nose was processing big time when I came over the creek. Not a molecule of snake anywhere to be olfactoried.
Nothing on Cam II except my snake photos and some set-up shots. Wet corn. They will find it. Jumped two deer on the way over as I came off the low Indian Village. Put a few fragments of trail-marking tape up. Probably need to string a brand new trail 90 degrees off a couple hundred yards to nowhere, so if they follow it cutting the markers they will find...more creekbottom.
Overcast, wonderful late light from the West in the bottom today.
Another great bunch in Ye Merrie Olde England, or where it used to be. Via Clayton Cramer. Nominees for the "Hell, I was There!" Award.
Just gets crazy. Folks who want to be left alone get disarmed by their government, hell-to-pay follows. They end up on a terrorist list for protesting about it.
If we can't have Bigfoot, maybe at least we can get a bear or two.
Pretty good story on a bear trying to eat a kid that smelled like fried chicken. Wonder if it was Churchs or KFC? I'm thinking KFC in Kentucky, though it could be any local brand. Maybe even Carls?
Probably not funny at the time but shows how hostile and aggressive the genus homo can become if properly motivated. Remember the chimps that tore the penis off their former owner when he showed up to wave at them through the bars? There's a lesson for you.
Forget "Do you Want to Be a Millionaire".....how about, "Bear? Or no Bear?" Davy used to grin them down out of a tree. This guy ran out of his shoes and then had to use a little bear-fu to get his kid loose. Wonder if the guy was a big Ultimate Fighting fan or just TV Wrestling?
Either way, this guy ought to be on Survivor or at least sing the Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl. Wearing the shoes.
The word from the Texas parks and Wildlife, who oversee all the doetag shooting that's going to commence in October up in Clarksville, Texas is that we are going to see bears very soon. They are moving into the ecosystem. A small black bear got run over by a truck on Interstate 30 a couple years back. That's south of the farm.
Sounds like goodbye to some deer feeders. If I'm having coon problems, just ramp it up to a 10X coon that can disassemble a feeder, eat the Moultrie and forage around for warm shoes.
Update: I nominate this guy to receive a copy of "Hell, I Was There!"
Update II: On his way to the bear, if you offered the guy a choice of:
1. One month marriage to Pamela Anderson.
2. 10,000 dollars in small bills.
3. Free gas for one year.
4. An illegal, unregistered fully-automatic firearm with a full magazine, the possession of which will land you in Federal Prison for ten years.
Wonder which one he would choose?
Moral: Even if you are in a hurry, choose wisely.
Monday, August 18, 2008
My post on Jury Nullification got me to thinking about Outlaws, which was a good thing- one of the women who works at a store we frequent wanted me to see her pistol. I only wanted to buy a vitamin pill or two but she hauled me into the back room and dumped her purse on the counter. She had a long-barreled .38 Colt Police Positive (Mk1) in there...PLUS a single action Colt .45 revolver. An OLD woman. (68) Two BIG pistols. Both loaded. One little purse. I believe this woman wouldn't hesitate in a second in shooting an offensive person in the face. No CHL. Big Outlaw.
She told me she doesn't wear a seatbelt either, which will get you in REAL trouble these days. Forget the pistols.
Of course, the county tolerates about 25,000 Mexican citizens who have footwalked walked up here from Quernovachetaha, no papers, no taxes, no insurance, no inspections, no nothing, cash only, so maybe a 68 year-old broad with two pistols and a brand-new unused seat belt in her 1993 Buick is the wave of the future.
Speaking of outlaws we have a County Constable who is on trial for sexual harassment, illegal records, stealing, et, et. ( Another constable shop was stealing anything good out of the evidence locker, a third constable, voted out, stole everything when he left, guns, cars, radios, records.) His security company (the first constable) was in charge of security at a big horse racing event that had over 600 people attending. Some guy got shot deader than a hammer but nobody saw anything or spoke any english so they all got in their uninsured unlicensed cars and left. No legal horse racing in Smith County either.
Maybe I am taking this seat-belt thing too seriously. Big outlaws everywhere.
Update: She probably had a copy of "Hell, I Was There!" in that purse.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
The 62nd video on Youtube: Sgt. Kris Friend, Distinguished Rifle and winner of the 2007 Presidents 100.
I have three famous shooters coming up, along with three not-so famous folks in my Distinguished Rifleman series. Got a lot of video at Camp Perry. Still working on it.
Billy Atkins, John Wilder, Ernest Shew, Ken Stracener, Ray Diaz, Nez Rongero up as I get the editing done.
They ran the Olympic Marathon on China yesterday. The women had good weather after the rain cleared the air. The Chinese have polluted the bejingus out of their part of the planet so it was a rare moment to get clear air in Bejing. 73 degrees. Could have been cooler for the runners.
Running is not a stick-and-ball or team sport. It's an individual sport like shooting. Lots of concentration and time spent in your own head. You have to be comfortable there and able to process and adjust on the move. I never broke 3 hours in a marathon but flirted with it several times. Yesterdays winner ran in the 2:20s. That's moving along.
The Marathon is a specific race. 26.2 miles. Think of something 26 miles away and consider running there in a pair of nylon shorts, singlet and shoes. You didn't quite make it- there is still .2 miles to go.
It's a hell of a race.
Harder to scare or intimidate someone who has run a marathon or done extreme sports. I think it changes the way you think about yourself and expands your concept of what you can do.
Hope the men get a day of good weather as well. Being on foot in the streets of a major city with the police actually keeping the road open for you is a sweet experience.
Update: Tam doesn't quite get it, but she would if she gave it a try, being an individualist kind of gal.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
I'm an even-tempered kind of guy. Grown, empathetic, sympathetic, all that. I'm still irritated today.
Kids at the lake ride four-trackers all over the bottom. Sounds fun to me, but they decided last year to tear down all my trail markers. I tie a little piece of surveyors tape here and there so that I can get across the always-changing creek bottom and use the same trail. Using the same trail means there IS a trail, it's quick you don't get off course, you know where to look, where to step, et. Take down the markers and you are five or ten feet one side or the other in some pretty thick brush where going around a non-descript tree on the left instead of the right means you're lost as hell. I put them back up, they tear them down. Irritating.
Then they stole the deercam across the creek. Like I say: Kids. But it's not THEIR damn deercam and I want it left where I put it. My two cams monitor two separate populations of deer just 500 yards apart. Some deer cross over, a lot don't. And it's my cam.
So I put the word out. No cam back yet. They ride around and shoot 12, 20 and 410 shotguns. Gotta be the kids across the lake. Sooner or later I will bump into them on the lake road. I'll be calmer by then.
Alan loaned me another Moultrie cam. I want it close to the same spot- originally a big scrape. I added a cam and corn every couple of days and started photographing deer like mad. Some nice bucks.
Today, after servicing cam one, I took cam two and went off the indian village, past all the downed little bits of orange tape, crossed the creek looking for a place just ten or fifteen yards away on the other side of a tree that can't be seen by a 4-tracking kid from the old abandoned road the stolen cam was on.
The creek was scoured from the 5 1/2 inches of rain we had. Just me, a gallon of corn, the cam, pair of rubber boots, T-shirt, cap, jeans. Carried a pair of hand shears to cut vines with.
In the middle of the powerline I ran into a cottonmouth.
A few months ago, before the cam was swiped, I smelled this guy at the creek crossing. It spooked me, because I couldn't see him, just smelled the sour stench. He was right there somewhere very close. Big snake. Smelled big.
In person, he was even bigger. 24 incher. Thick body with a tiny end of tail for the last four inches. Square head, like the front end of an aircraft carrier, up surfing through the grass. Matte brown. Four inches in diameter. A very impressive animal.
If I had been 45 seconds one way or the other I would have never seen him. I'd been screwing around looking at the black vultures eating dead dog, making two trips to the cam when I forgot the flashcard, zigging through the brush trying to find a shed antler. Picking up sticks in the yard. Amazing to match up. It's like seeing a big buck: you only get 4-7 seconds of target exposure. Look the wrong way and never see him at all.
I was a little torn, because he was a Boone & Crockett sized snake, and it was his creek crossing, but I did what any grown, self-supporting, unarmed Methodist would do. I walked around him to the treeline, put down my stuff, found a fallen pine branch and went back and beat his ass.
Snakes are fragile, like birds. Just a whack or two breaks ribs, backbone, ruptures internal organs. Didn't take much to do him in though he showed some fang and did what he could. Like the coons the local population will shift and cover this ecological niche. This particular monster isn't going to be smelling up my creek crossing any more though.
Shot a photo with the handheld option of the cam I was carrying. Will post if the kids don't steal it. Only had the card in the cam.
No coons on cam one, just doe and fawn. Stopped and talked to the local rancher. He saw a couple of bucks in his North pasture still in velvet recently. That's late velvet. The FBI guy across the road killed 11 coyotes by suspending bait on big fish hooks up in the air- the coyotes had to leap to get the chicken legs.....then were hooked and hung until they died. Makes me feel better about the havahart and .22lr .
Nine vultures eating the dog. All Blacks. Stinks.
Update: Still shaking my head over that snake. Hell of a Cottonmouth.
The judges keep telling you you can't do it, they vet jurors to get the dumbest most compliant folks they can, yet it still rises it's ugly head. Jury Nullification. It's not just for sissies.
The couple of times I've mentioned it in a jury room you could HEAR the marbles start rolling around in folks heads. They can't BELIEVE the jury CAN do anything except what they think the judge wants. They assume that Jurors can be punished!
So I end up hanging juries. 450.00 for an improper turn is TOO MUCH. Period.
And I look like the perfect juror, every time. Coat. Tie. Haircut. A little chit-chat because I know a lot of folks but not too much. If they ask me about following instructions I'm all for it. And I am.
But Drug laws? Pffft. Gun Laws? Even Bigfoot is covered by the 2nd Amendment...before it was written -if you ask me. Traffic laws? Get lost. They are only after the money. If someone confesses to shooting the pope and still has the smoking gun in his hand in court....maybe.
I'm just one of those heretics who actually READ the Founding Fathers and thinks that Human Beings actually DO have Rights. Just being a responsible citizen of the Republic here, folks. I love a good bureacracy as much as anyone....but let's have a little justice now and then.
Right now we have a sensational trial of some folks who taught children to have sex on stage. Day after day of lurid testimony by a cavalcade of state experts and witnesses. But I just noticed a little something......it's from the next county over and the DA up there wouldn't bring charges. And they didn't ask us to, nor was this a change of venue.
I'm sceptical, partly because the Smith County Courts have lost credence for justice and rule of law.
So, Jury Nullification. The revolution has to start somewhere and that somewhere needs to have suits, ties and central air conditioning.
Friday, August 15, 2008
I can't imagine anything better than Bigfoot. Gimme a Yeti, an Abominable Snowman, the Fouke Monster, any big ape-like creature who can't invent fire and hangs around in the deep woods or remote mountains
I've been tempted to buy a gorilla suit and stroll around some deercams with an unlit sheroot clamped in my teeth but this IS Texas and you'ld get shot and then ridiculed. Obama is running. Impersonating Bigfoot is probably a race crime.
Just when I think that nobody goes outside anymore: Bigfoot.
I used to run a newsletter for the Tyler Rose Runners. It was full of false stories, outlandish claims and inside jokes. One thing it did excel in was clip art of apes. Lotta apes. Apes along evey headline and lurking in every corner. You just can't use too many apes if you are in Graphic Design. People would ask me- "what's with all the damn apes in the newsletter?" and I would just give them the cryptoid look and say: "You just can't have too many monkeys." When I threatened to publish the full series of Dogs Playing Poker they backed off.
So it's probably improbable. My guess is that Bigfoot has shaved and moved into the big city, strolling around with a laptop and a chewed-up cigar butt. False papers just like the Mexicans.
If DNA research gets to the point where we can clone dogs, Marilyn and bring back T-Rex I hope they MAKE a Bigfoot and turn him loose. If Aliens show up in a saucer I hope they LOOK like Bigfoot instead of those asexual spoon-headed aqua folks who look like they would attract smallbore slugs. If Bigfoot pokes his head out of a spaceship, do you think anyone is going to shoot first? I don't think so. Every hunter who has seen one from a deerstand doesn't even flip the safety off his 30-06.
If, or let's say WHEN we humans perfect intergallactic travel we would be well served to give up those pure white spacesuits that make us look like interplanetary beekeepers and adapt them to look like big gorilla suits. We are talking instant respect here.
I can't imagine anything better than finding Bigfoot. Can you imagine one strolling up the the Mars Lander? I hope the guys in Georgia are right, but I'm going to be sad that its dead.
Gotta be a heaven for Bigfoot.
The mail today included a Bronze Medal from the Hearst Doubles Match at Camp Perry. Last year Justin Utley and I were 10th. This year we were 15th. I shot worse, Utley shot better. I couldn't remember getting a medal last year, but we did.
I put all my medals, pins, and name tags on an old canvas shooting coat. I put the score and date on the back. Photo above. There are two Hearst Doubles medals in there, a gold from last year and a bronze from this year.
The Hearst Doubles match hadn't been shot in years and years. The CMP fired it up again so they could have some match to shoot during Whistler Boy, an all-juniors match. NRA owns WB. CMP wasn't going to let all those shooters just hang around and guzzle free gatorade on Commercial Row. We were shooting on Viale while the Juniors were on Rodreigez.
Maybe I ought to wear my coat somewhere. Are the Russians having a reception?
Folks like this make everyone suffer. Fed-Ex and UPS won't ship handguns anymore except by the most expensive overnight shipping, because overnight has slightly better security or there is less time to steal them. These guys stole 146 handguns and nobody did anything or even seemed to notice until the neighborhood where they were actually selling the guns on the street complained. The answer will be: make it MORE expensive to ship guns or cut out shipping them at all.
That's 146 claims with paperwork. 146 packages missing out the gate. 146 people on the other end having to sort out what the heck happened. It's computerized. You could sit at a laptop and compile the stats. Two guys are doing it.
I had a Les Baer match .45 go from Champions Choice to the Louisville UPS hub last year....and vanish. Seems like the BATFE could solve these cases quickly. The guns are logged in and out. Packages tracked every moment. You know who is working. There are video cams everywhere. Hello? If that didn't work you could run a sting in the facility without much problem.
Some gangbanger in Cinncinnatti probably bought my Les Baer at a bargain price. I'd love to know where it is right now. It's illegal, by the way, to steal guns, steal guns in transit, sell stolen guns or possess stolen guns in a city where handguns are prohibited. Some of those are State law and some federal laws.
They will probably let these guys go after a harsh talking to.
Update: Gungeek, who has better reading comprehension and a cooler head than I pointed out in comments that it was one gun, then two shipments containing the rest, not 146 individual packages. He's right. I'm still mad about my Les Baer though.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
The usual. We shoot, talk, wave old guns around. All on Viale range down in the little numbers near the tree line on the 200 yard berm. Five sighters and then ten shots slow fire prone, ten shots rapid fire in 80 seconds prone, 10 shots offhand standing in ten minutes.
Rick Crawford shoots a 1903 left handed, Justin Utley shoots a 1903A3 in a green jacket. Gregg Foster scores. All TSRA National Match Team Members.
We just started shooting the CMP matches after the State Matches finished up. Lots of fun. We shot Springfield, Garand, Vintage and a couple of folks shot M1 Carbine.
Rick got Gold I think. I got a Silver. Gregg got a Silver. Utley got a T-shirt.
Image: fawn watching raccoon in trap.
Standing down after two adult females, two adult males and two adolescent Raccoons KIA. Trap shut. Deer cam on. Corn out. Today when I drove up to the lakehouse I could hear dogs barking in the distance and knew immediately, (though it has never happened before), that dogs were attacking a raccoon in the trap.
Standing down after two adult females, two adult males and two adolescent Raccoons KIA. Trap shut. Deer cam on. Corn out. Today when I drove up to the lakehouse I could hear dogs barking in the distance and knew immediately, (though it has never happened before), that dogs were attacking a raccoon in the trap.
The lake is a magnet for dumped dogs. Their fate is usually smallbore death while begging at one of the permanent resident houses around the lake. We've had a pack as big as 19 ranging the countryside. It is a constant problem with a consistent solution. The county won't come do anything about stray dogs unless you trap them first and their solution is to euthanize them. We cut out the middleman.
Funny story: My mom, (another librarian), used to HATE us shooting dogs when we first bought the lakehouse in the 60s. By the 70s she would open the glovebox and pass you the pistol, then start shaking more .22LRs out of the box.
I got to the bluff over the trap as quick as I could, dropped equipment, charged and unsafetyed the Ruger Mk I. Wolf Match Target ammo is a reliable feed in this pistol but I only had the one mag. I approached the pack of four dogs who were busy dragging the havahart trap around with pistol up. They were concentrating on the coon and never saw me. I shot the biggest dog behind the leg, low and the rest took off through the brush. I probably had another quick shot but didn't bother. The shot dog went down after a ten yard stagger, flopped a couple of times and was gone. Entry wound, no exit. Big dog, 60-70 lbs. Pit Bull mix. Rough looking.
I dragged the body up into the tall field grass in the pasture so the vultures could easily see it, sacked up the young female coon, reset the cam and headed back to town.
No knife on me. Not very tactical. If I could have opened the body up it would have been gone in 24 hours under a gaggle of happy black vultures.
Effective immediatly combat operations will cease North of Butler Creek, East of 13-Club Lake and West of Dean Church Road. Monitoring will begin to assess situation in this zone. Hostile actions are now on stand-by status. Cease fire will NOT be suspended without notification.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
The good news is that they are using all my photographs. The bad news is that the bayonet photo didn't make the cut. (so to speak) They pulled some over from previous years.
As long as it's a good calendar and we didn't have to spend any money on photos, I'm happy.
Couple of old Colt Pocket Models above. One is a Breda-packing .380 and the other is a .32. Bogart dropped a lot of bad guys with a 03 Colt pocketmodel, but that was just in the movies. In real life, folks would probably jump around and yell.
Lotta fun to shoot. Word is they want more action photos for next year than still life. Fine by me.
If you haven't scrolled WAY back to some early posts, you oughtta. I'm a photo genius!
Update: TSRA Calendars available HERE, when they get off the press.
A little worry. Doe only has brought in one fawn the last couple of days. Plenty of Coyotes out there, and Bobcats. Plus cars, drowning, bad luck. All the usual. Or it could just be off cam a bit. The fawn ON cam is eating corn. Still in spots but growing like mad. They look to be getting to big and fast for coyotes, but the coyotes can always get lucky.
Young female in the trap. Two raccoons on cam. Going to cease fire after I check the cam tomorrow and monitor the situation. They should have been too smart to get in the trap today but they might still be hungry from the disruption of the storm. Can't hear the creek today so the water has dropped.
Update: A doe found dead at lakeside early spring- her fawn showed up with this doe and her twins, then dissapeared...that's two fawns missing. Haven't been to the creek crossing because the cam across the creek was swiped- the creek crossing is where I saw a Cougar/mountain Lion track in Feb. Haven't seen enough different deer this year to see deer beat up by lion attacks- the one time there was on in the area last summer their were some grievious injuries on deer- many of which looked like close escapes from a pursuing big cat.
Story today on womens sports injuries in cheerleading reveals a startling rate of injuries, both catastrophic, permanant and fatal, with most injuries at the College level. The injury and death rate is higher for cheerleading than football. Baseball, lacrosse, swimming, tennis and golf also very risky.
16,ooo injuries a year to women in cheerleading. No, I did NOT put too many zeros on that.
The rate for collegiate competitive shooting? Zero. What do you think the injury rate for shooting pistols with Breda is? It's in NEGATIVE numbers.
That's as in: none. Null. Less than .000%
For heavens sake get your kid into a Junior State Rifle team program pronto! Or at least 4-H! Any kid with an assault rifle, a smallbore pistol and several hundred rounds of ammo is safer than some girl with braces and pom-poms! Give them sunblock and some hi-cap mags. Forget those tennis raquets and softball gloves!
Remember the Kid? First time TSRA Junior shooter at Camp Perry. 10 days with a couple thousand heavily armed people around him. Came home without a scuff and learned to run his own firing point and target. He was safer than he was at home riding around the neighborhood on a skateboard. That's the ticket, right there.
Got a nice mention on the NRABlog. They noticed my Camp Perry coverage.
You run into those discussions now and rthen on THR or AR15.com where folks are complaining about the NRA because they aren't activist enough they send too much junk mail or they secretly are an anti-gun conspiracy. NRABlog is one of the things they are doing very well.
My opinion is that you put your money where your heart is. I'm an NRA Life Member.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Good job in Ten Meter Air rifle for the first Olympic Gold for an Indian since 1980. And the delightful thing is: We could talk, gun nut to gun nut. It's a world-wide culture.
Congrats and best wishes.
Update: Yeah, baby!
We watched the opening salvos from the porch of the Olive Garden. Got to the car during a break and listened to the downpour on the metal roof most of the night. 5.3 inches.
You could see it on the drive out to the lake to run the Coon War. Washouts. Downed limbs. On Dean Road there was a car-killed Water Mocassin. 20 incher. Reddish. Another hundred yards a Red-Eared Slider (turtle) was crossing. Two riparian reptiles. What that means is the rain flooded them out or scoured their environment so that they were moving, trying to reorient themselves. All the landmarks gone. All the scent markers dissolved.
Same scene in the woods. Dead limbs and leaves down. Tracking areas completely reset and blank. I could hear Butler Creek roaring from up on the bluff. Nothing in the trap. The (Raccoons probably stayed in a hollow log all night. They will be very hungry this evening.) Catfood and corn washed away. I rebaited and reset the deercam. Nothing on the card.
A big storm like this disrupts the environment. It was needed- the storms break the summer heat and dryness but also flood the burrows and blow out the washes and drainage. Nobody eats so everyone is hungry this morning and foraging late. Lots of displacement. I'd hate to ride it out without shelter.
Would love to know where the doe and her two fawns spent the night.
Wind is still drifting out of the North. I could see the ripples on the lake reversed from the usual this time of year.
I worked my way down through the brush to the creek and found it out of the banks, 100 yards wide. A line of frogs jumped in from the new waterline-far from their usual posts. Fish are out of the channel and eating drowned worms. Even the red harvester ants are digging out their meter-wide burrow.
It doesn't seem like much to us in town- just pick up some twigs and sweep the sidewalk. We don't have to water, but this is the storm of the summer. Five inches of rain is MILLIONS of gallons of water over everything from the treetops to the bottom of the deepest molehole. It's a Katrina-sized event if you are an Armadillo, Red Ant, frog, snake, fish or deer.
When I was doing archeology- you could SEE a rain in the deep sand- its a several inch wet layer working its way down through the soil.
Coming out I got bit by a fly who normally NEVER bites. Everyone is reorienting.
Fascinating to observe.
Monday, August 11, 2008
These Black Vultures were on the roadside when I drove to the lake today. I couldn't see what they were eating but they were there coming and going.
Turkey vultures seem more common. They have naked red heads, fly with a "V" silhouette and are bigger. Black Vultures look like the sport model with shorter squared-off tails, a flatter flight profile and black skinned heads. I think they flap more and soar less as well.
Sixteen in this photo and more in the trees. My impression is that both species are getting more common. Cell phone towers always seem to have a couple sitting on them. Those towers are just about the right height for a rest between patrols and they are higher than songbirds will fly so they aren't mobbed by Mockingbirds. Brand new artifact and event in the history of soaring birds, having rest stops all over the country.
I've seen both variants in town, on the street, eating mashed squirrels. New day for everyone, though I get the feeling that I am the only person who goes outside anymore.
Both birds Federally Protected and have strict interpretation of their Civil Rights. They can't be hassled coming or going, can't be disturbed, their homes can't be invaded, they don't carry any ID, can't be taxed, counted or regulated. They eat whatever they want and can do as they please. Harm or kill one and it's a heavy Federal fine and/or jail term.
Pretty neat deal...for them.
Update: Sixteen on the ground in this shot and another half dozen in the trees. I looked carefully this morning and there was one very trampled Armadillo flattened in the ditch. Armadillo must be pretty good, rancid. Four in attendance. All Black Vultures again. They WALKED away when I stopped the truck.
The pastures and woods are dry and the vegetation has switched over from the ferns and grasses of spring to the heat-resistant and dry weeds and grasses. Half the standing grasses are dead, some withered and dead.
The circle of life stuff is cutting close for the Raccoons. First a big healthy adult, suckered in by catfood, then a big boar who followed his nose early, then when the adults start thinking the kits rush in.
It's a disgusting process. Three days of killing and I'm sick of it. Ready to turn it off and quit, but if I quit too soon I just have to fire it up again when the deer are moving into rut. Better to push through to the end.
But it's not a "price war" or a "flame war." It's a real war with real victims. It's not a feat of arms. It's work to accomplish a distinct end.
A caution to those who fantasize about shooting-them-in-the-head-and-rolling-the-bodies-into-a-shallow-grave.
I'm not sure I could shoot prairie dogs.
Next I expect an empty sprung trap with the catfood dug out from the sides. We'll see.
Update: No doubt the social arrangement is in disarray after losing a big male, a big female and two kits. Raccoons have a herd pecking order and some divisions between males and female groups this time of year. I bet they wonder where folks have gone and are trying to adjust.
Update II: It's raining and 9:30 Central time. I'm sure the trap is spring. Pistol by the door in a sack.
Update: This is Part IV of the Coon War. Down below are the other parts.
I'm linking him. Stolen off Instapundit. It's rare I have to admit that someone is funnier than me, an authentic Gemini, but Iowahawk might be the man. If he's a man. I'm suspicious that IowaHawk might be a Jack Russell Terrier with web access.
This recovery was launched back in the early Spring and just lasted a few days- enough to recover most of the artifacts from 4000 feet about 200 miles off the Louisiana Coast. I'm fascinated with this kind of stuff. The wreck was found by an oil company ROV surveying a pipeline route on the bottom of the gulf.
There was quite a chest of weapons and they have dated the cannon. Eventually they will be able to name the ship I expect. Some maker marks may be found on the small arms.
Every year when I start photographing for the Texas State Rifle Association calendar I think about going to Collge Station and Texas A&M to get some photographs from their historical collections.
Can't have too many cannons.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Hard to get everyone in one pile and we are missing a few guys, but here is the team at Camp Perry.
Sitting, L-R: David Guthrie, Dick Curry, David Keys.
Standing: Justin Utley, Ken Gaby, Nez Rongero, Keith Stephens, Rick Crawford, Karl Schultz, Robert Langham. Blake Bailey, Roger and Robyn Lankford and Jeff Lin are MIA.
Six shooters to a team. Eight targets. Targets are exposed 50 seconds at 600, 500, 300, and 200 yards. 384 rounds per team. 64 rounds per shooter.
At least two shooters are shooting two targets each. Usually it's the shooters on either end shooting "the swing".
Four points a hit at 600, three points a hit at 500, two points a hit at 300 and one point per hit at 200.
Each silhouette with at least six hits get squared: hit three targets at least six times and you get nine bonus points (3X3=9) Hit all eight and you get 8X8=64. You have to hit and square all the targets.
No sighter shots. The windage is called by the coach at the line. You can't miss. Everyone must have good zeros. No alibis for guns jamming or quitting.
The line caller says: "Team Capitans, move your teams to the line" then you hear "load and be ready". Then the targets come up and away you go. You advance from yardline to yardline dressed to a flag carried down the middle of the range.
Nez Rongero and Katie Foster handle the explanation.
A big angry boar coon. Not much to be happy about. He snarled and clicked his teeth as soon as he heard a leaf crunch on the trail above the trap. A cloud of mosquitos attending who were still hungry. Remains to the family across the creek. Much heavier than the adult female from yesterday, must have been one of the older males. Wolf Match Target and Ruger Mk1 that my dad bought me in the 60s, a lifetime ago.
He was the only coon on the cam. They might be learning.
Update: This is part III. Parts I and II are down below!
She didn't bring her fawns but she did stop by for a bite...in the middle of the day. The other frames show her looking back often to where she had stashed the fawns. Smell of catfood in the trap may have put her on caution, or the raccoon blood.
I wear cheap rubber boots in the woods around the lakehouse. Good protection from nearly everything at ground level, plus they cut the scent way back. Nothing worse for scent than an old pair of worn, sweat-soaked boots. When I'm rattling I spray my rubber boots with deer scent going in and have had bucks follow me to my blind, sniffing every footfall.
They are also soft enough to feel the ground beneath your feet. Not as good as mocassines but better than a harder boot.
Alan loaned me another Moultrie to put across the creek. Slightly different bunch of deer over there.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Here's a nice photo by that devil Dick Curry, taken at Camp Perry after the Whistler Boy Match. WB is a match for two-person Junior Teams fired on Rodreigez Range.
Rick Crawford, Coach, firing members Conner Powers and Katie Foster. Foster shot a personal best 480 in the CMP/EIC match the day before to get her first 10 or 30 required points toward her Distinguished Riflemans Badge. Katie's dad Gregg also got his first ten LEG points at Camp Perry this year. Rick is Distinguished from way back.
Tyler Harvey Hall Gunshow this weekend- the good one. (The Shriner show sucks.) Big crowd, maybe bigger than I have ever seen. I unloaded some ammo and then ran into Gary Shannon and Richard Schultz, two old time TSRA National Match Shooters, State Champs, et, et. I was giving them the standard hard time about not going to Camp Perry with us this year when suddenly I remembered two CMP pens I had brought to give Alan. So: first two pens of the year to Schultz and Shannon.
Crime pays. You get a free pen.
Rain this morning, spotty but eventually covering everything. We've had a little to break the grip of the heat and give the land some moisture. This is the little more we need to make the deal stick.
I drove to the lakehouse loaded up with the things I needed. War takes extra equipment: .22MkI Ruger, ziplock with catfood to replenish the trap. Trashbag for the bodies, corn for the deer. Card for the camera. Extra camera for the War Correspondent.
When I skirted the uncut pasture I saw movement in the far corner. There is a crown in the pasture that I have used to mask my movement from deer over the years. A couple of good bucks have died because of that crown. It was the doe with the two fawns. First time I have had a good long look at them in person. She'd seen me, from her high head position but couldn't get the wind and I wouldn't move, no matter how much she flicked her tail, stomped or bobbed. I must have been shining like neon in a grey T-shirt and LaRue Tactical hat carrying a plastic trash bag full of gear. Deervision sees farther over into the infra-red spectrum. Those flourescent brighteners in our laundry detergent were probably glowing. But I wouldn't move. The fawns skipped back and forth and she actually trotted at me, though not closing any real distance from 150 yards. Finally she turned into the woodline. She's raising those fawns right here.
At the camera the trap held the inevitable coon. A large male. I reset the cam, shot him in the head with a 40 grain Wolf Match Target .22LR and shook him out of the Havaheart, (guess not) while he was still twitching, convulsing and blowing blood bubbles out his nose.
It's an ego war- I've got the power and have decided deer coming in is more important than lotor at this location. My MkI will make a dent in the population. The doe won't bring her fawns into a crowd of coons who are busy vacuuming up the corn. I've seen constant whitetail/raccon conflict in the photos over the years. It's not the coons fault. I respect coon consciousness and empathize on many levels. But I also have decided that this is going to be done. Killing off the clan will be random- I might get a key member in the trap or just knock off excess males or kits for a stretch, but eventually I will get enough of them that the survivors will move or quit coming. I used to carry the trap up on the hill and shoot them there to avoid contaminating the camera site with blood but have decided it's just more trouble. Last years bodies were cut open for the vultures and left at the pasture edge. They didn't last 24 hours. Many coon bones up on the bluff. This years coons are going to one of the neighbors who says he wants them. He lives with his 90 year old mom across the creek. He gets a bounty for the right hand and might be eating the rest. I check by often at the house to see if anyone has seen any deer or hogs. I give him about five of Alan's does a year, so I'm a welcome sight. They've got multiple broken down cars and fifty cats at the house on the hilltop.
Shot lots of deer over the years to eat. This is different just making war on the coons. Simple murder, really. A cautionary tale to anyone who thinks shooting any living thing, especially people, even baby raping or cannibalistic folks would be easy or trouble free.
As Robert Capa would say: "Es una cosa muy seriosa." (This is a very serious business.)
Update: No deer on the card cam, just lots of coons. Might be the trap spooked them off, though that hasn't always been the case in previous wars.
Update: This is Part II of the Coon War. Begins down below.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Be it here acknowledged and resolved that a State of War exists in the Butler Creek watershed between Homo Sapiens (Humans) and the Procyon lotor (Raccoon) inhabiting this area. This document formally announces combat operations commencing North of Butler Creek, West of Dean Church Road and East of 13 Club Lake. This area is to be considered a free fire zone and any and all hostiles shall be immediately engaged with lethal force without further announcement or warning.
Update: This is Part I of the Coon War.
So, there I am, photographing an event, the opening of the new Ornelas Dorm building at Tyler Junior College, neck deep in current and former Apache Belles, hearing wonderful stories, engaging in fine dining, all that, when in walks another Texas curmudgeon, Congressman Fred Head, from Athens, Texas, who is married to an ex- Apache Belle, (still gorgeous after all those years with Fred.) Fred hands me a card with that JESUS graphic on the back that you have to stare at the negative space to read and then starts telling me about how formative his years and the people at TJC were. (Like duh. You married a BELLE Fred!) He goes on to tell me about the founder of the famous Drill teaming Belles, Margaret Stringer who had a devoted white poodle named Gavroosh. When I transited from the dorm to the associated luncheon I went through Lindsey Lane to change batteries and googled up "Gavroosh" on the mac. Turns out its "Gavroche", via Wiki, a child character in Les Miserables who is a singing fool. White poodle. Named for a French Child singer. Makes sense.
I report to Fred at the luncheon. Jesus saves.
Gotta love the web. Gotta love life in Tyler.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Texas Team Members going to the Civilian Marksmanship Program North Store at Camp Perry, Ohio during the National Matches to buy a Garand and some ammo. August 2008. We checked the muzzle wear on the Garands and then looked over the best ones. Found a couple of nice Garands in the Rack Grades. We bought two- one for a club raffle and one of the guys bought one.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
The woods are tinder dry and the yard burnt at the lakehouse. It's suffering, though it had a little kiss of a shower sometime today. Need more. God drinks, I think. Otherwise the weather would make more sense.
The spiderwebs are gone from the trails. Those black and white spiders that look more like crabs than spiders have cycled and the big red fat ones are next. I wave a twig as I go down the trail. Right now, it was clear for the 200 yards through the woods.
Twigs, leaves, shifts...the forest is very dynamic. I have to readjust my trail in a major way when a treetop comes down. Happens more often than you would think. I cross water twice on this trail. All dry. Plenty of open water in the creek for deer, though I would hate to drink it. People used to though, this whole bluff is a Caddoan Culture village site.
The Moultrie took my photo when I walked up. It's been 12 days on a rechargeable lantern battery. Big card. Good cam. Wouldn't the Caddoan Witch Doctor have loved this?
148 incidents and nearly 300 jpegs. Eight coons. Does. The two fawns. Zero bucks. They ought to be out of velvet by now. Haven't seen a one for the first time in four years of monitoring. Usually I have them all identified by now. Don't know what this means.
The neighbors aren't seeing any deer. They are here. I see hoofprints cutting through moleruns in the pasture.
This is a big, mature 4 -6 year old doe. You can see just a hint of ribs showing, though her backbone is still flush. She's experienced and able, developed chest and hindquarters, long face, grey and nearly rubbed bald along the top of her nose. She's not putting on winter coat yet. She's nursing two fawns with spots. The rut starts in about 90 days.
It's been really dry. Came home to Texas and the lawns are dusty and leaves hanging limp. This morning we got a trace of rain from the tropical storm that blew in on the Texas coast. I was driving to my studio and a squirrel was out in the street hunched over apparently....smelling the bricks.
We are in the Tyler Azalea District and the streets are paved with real ceramic brick laid down in the 30s. They've worn and developed a little concave feature that was holding a few drops of water. You can't even see it unless it rains. The squirrel was going from brick to brick drinking these little pools of water.
I thought about where the nearest open water is from the studio. It's about four hundred yards or a little less down to the rock lined creek. Probably beyond this squirrels territorial range.
I've seen them wire walk and climb brick buildings but I had never seen this before.
Earlier we were watching a squirrel across from the coffeeshop that is notable because of his tail, broken and hanging limp in the last 1/3.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Last year, at the National Matches and the Texas State Rifle Association Garand Championship we shot HXP Greek 30-06 that seemed pretty good. Not so at Camp Perry this time.
When you go through in-processing and pick up your packet and scorecards the CMP issues ammunition for any Garand, Springfield, M1 Carbine or Vintage matches you are in. You get two boxes of 20 rounds for every match. The M1 Carbine folks get one box of 50, (Lake City). Even if you are shooting a Swede or a K98 in the Vintage match they give you two boxes of 30-06.
We shot Lot-2043-HXP-77. I didn't hear anyone have much good to say about it. I couldn't get it to group with my Springfield 1903A3 or Ricks Garand. Both are pretty good rifles. Justin Utley couldn't get a score out of it with his Garand or his Springfield when we shot on the same firing point either. I saw a tracer out of one of his rounds.
All of us are NRA High Masters and Distinguished Rifles. When I switched to my K31 in Vintage Rifle that afternoon on the next range over I shot a 100X4 to get started on that match using Swiss GP 11 ammo. With HXP I think I shot a couple of Xs the whole match.
Bottom line: This lot isn't much good.