Monday, October 31, 2011

Calling Rick.

Like a lot of us, I had all of Rick Crawford's numbers on my cell. The other day I happened to notice his name in the contact list and hit the call button. It rang through to his voicemail and said he was "presently unavailable". Seems fair.

But he's called back twice. Maybe I should text him.

He probably called to congratulate Justin and I on going Double Distinguished.

Dressing up the Remington 700.

I'll post a photo soon. The Remington got lower scope mounts, sling swivels, some DIFFERENT sling swivels, a higher cheekpiece and a camo shotgun sock cut down to fit. Now I have to re-zero with the new scope rings. Have some Sierra bullets on hand and plenty of brass but no .308 dies. Just going to zero with USGI M852. Just need three rounds to hunt through the season. Will probably use my Ruger #1 and some 100 and 60 year old rifles.

Cousin Wallace and his 30-30.

An email from Cousin Wallace:

Finally got a bit of spare time yesterday to go to the range & check zeros on several rifles and revolvers. Fine tuned the Rem M700 in calibre .270 and my designated short range wild boar smashing Ruger .44 Magnum carbine. The M700 in .30-06 had already been zeroed & was a stellar performer.

I finally shot up all the handloads I had prepared for my Marlin 336 using the old Hercules Re 11 and, believe it or not, decided I'd just shoot factory Winchester 150gr Power-Points this year as I had a couple of boxes and didnt have the time to work up a batch of handloads using a different powder. I havent used factory ammo to hunt with in about 40 years! ... at least it is loaded w/my prefered .30-30 bullet that I use in handloads anyhow.

Some young whipper-snappers may chuckle when I mention using a lowly .30-30 to hunt with. I understand. I remember thinking the same thing in my younger days. Why in the world would someone want to use something so ancient, so mild, so short range, so unimpressive looking as a .30-30? Well, there just so happens to be quite a bit of appeal in it ... at least for me. My late father used to hunt with one just like it. It has that "classic" deer rifle look to it. Mine is very accurate. It is pleasant to shoot. Lots of nostalgia. It's a handy size with it's 20" barrel. It has enough range for most shots around here. It has reliable penetration. It doesn't bloodshot meat as bad as hi-vel rifles. Placed in the right spot, it kills very effectively. I've killed my 2 best bucks with it and dropped my biggest wild boar with it as well. It has fast repeat shots if you get into a heard of wild hawgs. Lots of positive points to the old deer slayer if you get to counting.

Now, it wouldnt be my all around choice if I could only own a single rifle. I only use it if walking around or sitting in a stand where my shots will be a max of 150 yards and more likely, 75 yards or so. I have another old classic, a K-4 Weaver scope mounted which is just perfect for it, looks good & does what it needs to do. David Guthery made an excellent point the other night whilst we were visiting over the phone. The old experienced guy sitting on one side of a pasture with his .30-30 will probably kill his deer just as dead, and have just as much fun as the guy with his .300 Weatherby Mag and 4X18X56mm scope sitting in a blind watching his feeder 100 yards away....the guy with the expensive Weatherby may have a higher "cool factor" and be able to impress his buddies more but is it really more enjoyable ruining your eardrums and bruising your shoulder just to be "cool?" To each his own.

I still enjoy hunting with my cherished .270 & .30-06. No doubt they are better all around performers & I'd feel confident hunting anything I'll ever have the chance to hunt. Many critters have been laid low with these over the years. To each his own. If you have grandpaw's old thutty-thutty dont be embarrased to get it out and give it a try, you might be surprised. It's worth it for nostalgia reasons alone....

As always, comments welcome!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Daily Deercam

Doe digging in a fresh scrape on the new cam.

Little buck on the same scrape.

Deer dancing.

Not a shootable buck in this whole stack of photos. 1 1/2 year olds.


See the deer legs way back in the background?


Youngster wondering what in the heck is fixing to happen!

Everything checks the scrapes. Here's a bunny. Camera and flash picking and freezing a moment.

Getting close to the final countdown. New cam running. Scrapes scattered all over. Buck poop in several. (It's scattered, loose and the pellets are deformed.) Stands are all sittable. Got to walk one board out and cut the arm off a plastic Walmart chair. No big bucks. Many little ones and does bopping around.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rifle and pistol sorting.

Loading a few rounds of .45 match, though I can't think of why. I took 115 round to Terrell and loaned or shot every single round. Mitchell Hogg and Dan Pate shot my pistol and ammo plus I loaned some out. By "loaned" I mean gave. Good for folks to shoot the match. Came back absolutely empty.

When I was loading and practicing the last few weeks, I remember looking at the couple of boxes of 100-count 230 grain Sierra FMJ MatchMasters and thinking I ought to be Distinguished before I shot it all up. Have about 75 FMJs left in a green Sierra box.

Using a scale, trickler and Harrel turrent press. Slow, but what else do you have to do? I run the ammo factory making one load or another all the time.

I didn't pick up any brass in the pistol match. It had been loaded a few times and was done. All Federal or Winchester range pickups. One round didn't have any powder and the primer drove the FMJ into the edge of the rifling of the barrel during the 50 yard slow-fire. (The symptom was that the bullet didn't seem to fire and then the next round wouldn't go into battery.) I punched away at it with a wooden dowel until someone handed me a brass rod and I beat it out with my stapler. The slug was still in the pistol box and the brass in the bullet box. I just resized, reprimed and reloaded it.

M1 Carbine back together. Might stay that way. Five rifles need cleaning.

Raining, reloading and watching the 6th game of the series. Thursday night in Tyler. Gun show this weekend.

Doe with birthmark.

Some sort of mark right behind this doe's eye. I've seen it several times on cam. May get to see her in person. Nobody shoots does in this county so no telling how old some of them get.

Getting Ink.

Justin and I got a mention in the Tyler Paper.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Arming up for Bambi.

Ruger with a nice buck from 2009. I'll be in a big Oak right above this very spot.

Cousin Wallace made a list of the hardware he's going to pack in the naem of chicken-fried backstrap. I was impressed with the power and the historical arc of his shooting irons.

I'm going to pack the Ruger #1 7X57 for bucks here in Smith County, maybe pack the new Rem 700 for does up in Red River county and lug around a few historical bolt guns while guiding.

Anyone else got any ideas? Email a photo to Blackfork6@aol and I will post your hardware here.

Kragged doetag.

Springfield 1903A3, my Camp Perry and TSRA target rifle.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Daily Deercam

Three little bucks.

Fresh worked scrapes popping up all over.

No big bucks on the cams, but I have half the cams this year.

Coyote eating corn. That's kind of a new one. Had a coyote hunting mice in the big pasture at about 6:15. Sunlight on him. Katie and I were in the 4-runner and watched him through binocs.

Doe alerts for several frames like this....

Then greets a yearling fawn.

Notes from the TSRA Garand/Springfield?M1Carbine/Vintage weekend.

Some Swiss guy's rifle at Terrell.

1. The Terrell club was a great host. Alan Wilson, Dave Wilson, Karl Schultz, Roy Plumlee and others put on a wonderful set of matches.

2. Ammo Issue: We got CMP ammo issued in 30-06. The first day was mostly HXP 77. The second day I got WRA 56, St Louis Arsenal 54, HXP 63, HXP 68, HXP 70, HXP 72, HXP 77. Quite a range. I didn't get to fire Springfield so I brought some home. I took some back after sorting and got ten rounds of HXP 77, though now I kind of wish I had that WRA 56 and the SL 54 back. There was some grumbling about the inconsistant ammo.

3. Used a little suction-cup peepsite thingy on my shooting glasses with the K31 in Vintage. It's one more thing to manage but it does sharpen up the sight picture with the ladder sight.

4. Had a squib in the slow-fire portion of the 50 yard Pistol LEG. Had to drive the bullet out of the barrel and then get back into the shooting. Used a wooden dowel with stapler as a hammer. Took me a moment to figure it out. Primer just drove the 230 Sierra MatchMaster out of the chamber. Have to talk to my loader.

5. Plenty of time in all the rapids with pistol, bolt action rifle, et. 5 shots in 10 seconds with pistol. No problems. Started next trigger squeeze at the top of the recoil from previous shot.

6. Moving from 50 yards to 25 yards in the pistol I didn't reset my sights for the 25 yard timed fire. Group was high in the ten ring and nine ring. Kept me from winning outright.

7. Justin and I ought to have consecutive Pistol Badge numbers. I shot a 261 and he shot a 250. He sucks.

8. 5th win in the Texas Vintage Championship. My rifle has actually won it six times, as I loaned it to Clay Hefner in 2009 and he beat me with it. Maybe it IS the rifle.

9. No problem with recoil. Cheekbone a little sore from riding the back of my thumb but nothing else. Tried to make sure I was squared away.

10. Crazy M1 Carbine match. Handguard jumped off twice and the zero went from 10 ring to way high or way low. Back recoil lug bolt wasn't tight. (I didn't check it because it always tight, you know?) Unknown what is going on yet. When I pulled the rifle out back home the forearm fell off again. Shot 334 or so. 347 won. Ron Leraas.

11. Never got my Springfield uncased. Just no time when you only shoot one day. That means I didn't get a combined score for the Garand/Springfield/Vintage. That's an important match at Camp Perry. Hate to have missed it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Double Distinguished.

Utley and I with our .45s.

Vintage K31.

Doc Range showed up. Cool under pressure for 90 years.

If there is anything a guy wants to be known for it is being "cool under pressure." Take away the "cool under pressure" genre and you have very few movies left, hardly any fiction, the BS in bars drops to talk about the weather and folks quit fishing completely. Women take note: If you want to make a significant positive impact in ANY relationship with a man, just mention in front of a bunch of people at a party, sunday school, Thanksgiving dinner or crowded elevator that one of the biggest reasons you noticed your current squeeze is that he is "cool under pressure." Your relationship will ramp up noticeably. Don't get pregnant.

I know, I know. I hear women's eyes rolling as I click away. You want someone sensitive. Someone you can connect with. Some good reliable and predictable man. Guys fake every bit of that to get cute dates. All they REALLY want is to be known as being "cool under pressure."

I promise that this background software runs in the operating system of almost any man out there. Period.

Of course, people are NOT "cool under pressure." They crack, flake out, wilt, crumble, leave, make excuses, break their equipment, run out of gas, start "helping" instead of leading, or some other calamity. Folks end up being "cool under pressure" because they brain-locked and hurtled forward on random momentum.

LEG matches, both rifle and pistol are built to test the "cool under pressure" quotient of the shooters. There aren't any sighters. Every shot counts. You KNOW it counts. The stories are legendary about good shooters melting down at 600 yards, saving rounds in a pistol rapid fire, crossfiring onto the wrong target and so on in these matches. There's just no help. Humans spin up and stroke out under pressure. Rarely are they cool.

Justin Utley and I both finished our Distinguished Pistol Badges yesterday at Terrell. It's a 30 point match at 50 and 25 yards. Just takes a few minutes to shoot. I was second and he was third. We both have the Rifle badge from 2003 or so. The badges are numbered and I think we will be in the 1480s. They have been awarding this badge since 1891. Not many people have won it. Less folks have won both the rifle and pistol, so if it seems like I'm bragging....there you have it.

Folks, I gotta tell you, that Justin Utley kid is cool under pressure. And myself? I'll at least show up and fire all my rounds. Even under pressure.

My mental approach was just to pretend I was already Distinguished. It was inevitable. I could shoot plenty good enough to win. If I didn't win this match I would win the next or the next. It was certain to happen. Nothing to it. Forget about the drama and stress and just shoot the match like it was practice. I was already distinguished, they just hadn't given me the badge yet. Your mileage may vary.

Didn't win the Garand and the forearm jumped off my M1 Carbine twice during that match making for some radical zero changes. I shot Vintage with my little Swiss K31 and beat my National Match score by a point. 5th State Vintage Match win.

Distinguished pistol is shot with a .45 Service Pistol or the 9mm Service pistol. I shot my Les Baer and some handloads.

Having a very cool Monday morning, being double Distinguished and all.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

TSRA Garand, Springfield, M1 Carbine, Vintage Pistol LEG match weekend.

Half the weekend match already gone. They shot today in Terrell. I was fortunate enough to have a nice photo shoot but it cut the weekend in half for me. I won't be able to defend my current Texas Championships in Garand, Springfield 1903 and Vintage. Going to have to pick one or two. I'm most interested in the LEG match for pistol Distinguished points. After that, whatever is left. Got all four rifles prepped and sitting by the door.
The recently Distinguished Clay Hefner shot a nice 287 today with Garand. He's going to be back tomorrow along with Justin Utley. Utley and I have both won the National Vintage Rifle Championship at Camp Perry.
Shooting is never a sure thing. Could come home with nothing more than a sack of dusty brass. Going to be an interesting day at Terrell.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

First Days of Fall.

Out the door to walk Lucie up to Katie's studio this morning and nearly turned around and headed back in for a fleece jacket. (Fleece jackets buried in the back of the closet still.) We had a little rain go through the other night. Nice, but the county is still 19 inches behind. Very serious times.

First scrapes are officially open. Little footprints. Going to make a cam run tomorrow and see what I can see. Hope camera #2 is back on. I'd like to start seeing some big bucks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Daily Deercam

No deer on the cam. Just too many raccoons.

There are actually new scrapes opened up. The rut has started. I've had a few days of work but been trying to finish a tree stand and keep an eye on the woods. The weather was in the 40s this morning. First time. I guess the long horrible strange summer is over. It started off a little dry but with the hope of a mild season. Then Rick passed, the drought set in, the heat settled and a Hadley Cell sat on top of us from June to late September. We struggled with the loss of Rick but carried on through the worst economy and the worst weather of anyone's lifetime. It was an awful passage. Now I've lived long enough to almost see deer season again. Could be hunting now, with a bow or shooting doe tags with a rifle up North if I had a seconds time.

Armadillos chasing each other in the bottom. They were hopping and running circles all over the place. I guess the Armadillo rut is on. They have their litters in March or so.

Came across the powerline and saw movement on the far hilltop. The fence crossing the top was full of vultures. Must be a deer down up there or dead cow. Long hike across rough ground to find out.

Put one of the balky Moultries back out. It worked perfectly sitting beside the computer. The symptoms were: it wasn't loading photos to the card. I've heard complaints about that.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Daily Deercam

Red Fox. Hadn't seen one in a bit. Never seen one on this cam. Many coyotes this go-round as well.


Two little bucks. They always come and go from the same direction: Up the hill. Not shootable but fun to see.

Dam is being rebuilt at the lake. Two years ago they were burning brushpiles on opening day. Last year they were driving heavy equipment up and down the road beside where I hunt. Always something.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Range day.

A cute rifle that chanced by at a great price. Probably never fired. It's a divorce spin-off. Probably need some low scope rings rather than the mediums that are on it. Scope came over from my 10/22. Always wanted one but need to sell something I'm not so crazy about anymore to cover it. Anyone want a Colt .32 acp 1903 pocketmodel that's quite functional but kind of beat?

Box of pistols. Les Baer .45 in front. Ruger MkI ,22 that my Dad bought me last century in the middle and a Tam-inspired gunbroker replacement for Dad's stolen K22 Smith and Wesson revolver on the far end. You just never outgrow a good pistol, I guess.

Night rifle. Just took it out in the side yard in the dark and can see the crosshairs just fine. I guess I will have to zero it at night. At least I won't make a big racket doing it.

Out to 31 West Range this afternoon. It's getting a lot of maintenance work now that Bob Dodgen the old owner is gone. The front fenceline is clear. Tree guys were busy chipping wood from cut branches. I set up a little Remington 700 that chanced by as a good deal, boresighted and got it zeroed at 100 in four rounds of precious M852. Last 168gr MatchKing was at a silhouette some guys were shooting at. I picked out a little labeling about the size of a quarter up in the corner and shot a hole through the nine oclock edge of it. Put on one more quarter minute right and cased it.

Worked on zeroing a night vision scope but had trouble seeing the reticle. Nervous with that scope in daylight anyway.

Fired my Les Baer at 50 yards and 25 yards. If I shot these scores I would win almost any match. Just keeping the timing down. The home ammo factory has been cranking out .45 acp match lately.

Occurred to me that I really am an OK shot with most rifles and pistols. Things usually go about where I put them.

Daily Deercam.

Little 2 1/2 old. Related to one I shot last year.

In a couple of years he will be a monster.

Good looking little buck. Hope he makes it through the year. Right on the edge of legal width- antlers have to be as wide as the ears or 13 inches inside.

Here's a smart and experienced doe. No telling how old she is.

I don't think the deer and the raccoons get along.

The little 2 1/2 year old in the top three photos is related to this 3 1/2 old that I shot last year. Same overall antler makeup.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Utley in Tyler Paper.

We had to call several folks and bring a little pressure to get Justin off so he could come down to Swift and defend his title. I'm tempted to call those same folks up and ask them what the heck they thought they were doing. Letting a rookie patrolman OFF??? Did they think we were serious about getting him loose to come down and kick all our asses for the third time in a row? How about giving someone ELSE a chance?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TSRA LEG Match at Camp Swift, October, 2011.

There is already an awards video up- this is the actual match video. Fun to watch. Big match with a lot of LEGs given. Eight. Only a few matches nationally give this many EIC Points toward folks Distinguished Rifleman Badges.

At 200 sitting rapid a kid shoots....he's so young that he is barely as tall as his rifle. And he's shooting an M4 Carbine! Texas. Gotta love it.

Rick Crawford gets to lead it off. I'm sure no one will object to seeing his smiling face.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fire 'em and forget 'em.

Not talking people here, (though I could do quite a post on getting fired and losing your work family). Talking projects and most exactly: Youtube videos. I've got 160+ videos up. Creedmoor Sports asked for submissions to link shooting videos and I sent them a few, including some pre-caption productions. (Distinguished Rifleman: Billy Atkins, 675 views.) Interesting to look back and see what I've learned and what I quit worrying about when making a video. The latest video, with Ron Leraas face leading it off, has had 41 views as of tonight. It's now out there with a life of it's own. Creedmoor picked up a video of Rick shooting my K31 in the vintage match at Camp Perry in 2010 today, 1400+ views). Now folks will see it over there.
They are like unguided missiles. Fire 'em and forget 'em.

Panola Club Championship.

Some blasts from the past showing up. Not just John Dunaway and Ron Chatelain but Richard Schultz showed. I blew a chance to win the championship when I decided to clear a jam in 200 rapid and ended up saving a couple of rounds. 20 points in the two shots. If I had shot two eights I would have won walking away.
Shot the Match rifle OK at 600 with a 195X10 and never touched my windage knob. Funny how you can struggle with some slight disharmony in position and then get it sorted out and really get shooting. Took about six shots of the 22 shot string before I felt like I was handling the fundamentals, then it was a walk in the park. A little bit of wind was miraging down the range running right-to-left, left-to-right and then going crystal clear.
I've started having my scorer do my shot plotting. Makes it less distracting for me and gets them involved.
Lunch was catered after the event. Had some new folks on my point and finally just started coaching and teaching to get them up to speed. One of those juniors who doesn't want to look through his scope at 600....and what's the fun in that?
Shot Berger 82 grainers at 600. I keep edging the powder charge up. No pressure signs and they are really flying. Going to edge it a couple more tenths.

Friday, October 7, 2011

TSRA State Championship LEG Match award video up.

26 hits by lunch. I forwarded it to Creedmoor Sports. They are asking for videos. Sent them about ten. I hope they run them.

Nice video of the folks who got the LEGs and the awards ceremony, but brief as I could make it.

We take hatpins off the hats and pass them down the line of Distinguished Riflemen to the new folks. I don't know anywhere else that does this. We'll see these guys on stage at Camp Perry.

Congrats to Clay Hefner and Jason Michelli. It's a really big deal.

Daily Deercam


Mom and the two kids.

1 1/2 year old.

Same little bucks bopping around, plus a doe with an almost grown pair of twins, a doe and a buck. Cute. This cam is back in the brush and they are there in the middle of the day.

Texas Embassy in London.

Texas embassy in London. A little bit of history.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Daily Deercam

Two coons crunching corn.

One little nubbin buck early this morning. I poured out some Acorn Rage at this cam, so we will see some Whitetail temper tantrums.

It feels ritualistic- the annual buying of the hunting license. I don't fish or shoot birds so it's the basic Whitetail tags for me. Twenty five bucks. No little plastic covers for the second year. They want to IMPRESS upon us how broke they are at the state, I guess. There are more deer than ever in Texas right now. They could easily be relisted as non-game animals. Never happen of course. Too many state ricebowls would be threatened. The biologist at Clarksville is insistent that we reduce the herd as quick as possible because of the drought. I think the state boys have heard the long-term forcast.

So I'm down the trial with some Walmart deercorn, (The cheapest. Gotta shop for price because of the ethanol corn spike.) Some screw in climbing rungs and a coffee cup full of Acorn Rage. Acorn Rage is supposed to make the big bucks rage. At acorns, I guess. I think it IS ground up acorns and sugar.

Two armadillos on the trail, one missing about 1/3 of his tail. Hungry Coyote. I actually spooked a coyote who loped off with his ears turned backwards to listen for pursuit. He didn't think I saw him, but I did.

One little scrape starting under a now-dead branch over in the edge of a pasture. It's going to take a rain and a cold front to get them going in the rut. Usually the rain resets all the tracks every couple of weeks but when you go months between storms you just get trails full of powder and dust. No sign to be read. This is a very serious drought. They say Friday, maybe. Friday would be nice. Or anytime.

Nailed up a board and cut another in an obscure oak. A childhood education of tree fort building isn't going to waste. If we had these screw-in rungs no treetop would have been safe.

Corn still under one feeder. Very strange. One little nubbin buck on cam. Corn gone the other two cameraless camera positions. I was going to buy a Moultrie at Walmart but they didn't have the model I like. Several friends are bow hunting but it's still too warm and dry and the rut is a week off.

FEMA at Bastrop


Here is a message sent to my wife by one of her fellow choir members who lives in the Magnolia community. It is a bit long, but interesting. My comment to friends about it was that FEMA wants (needs?) everyone to be "Grasshoppers" not ants. (Recall the Aesop’s fable) That gives them power.

Here are some stories about the Tricounty fire in Montgomery, Grimes, and Waller County, Labor Day week, 2011.

My neighbor across the road has a sister named Kenna. Labor Day, when she saw the huge column of smoke over our homes, she left a birthday party at my neighbor’s house to meet with her friend Tara at the Baseball complex in Magnolia. She called the owner of the complex and got permission to use the warehouse there as a staging area for donations for the fire fighting effort.

They put a notice out on facebook that they were going to be taking donations on their facebook pages. That night as they were setting up tables and organizing, News2 Houston came by and saw the activity, investigated and left with the phone numbers and a list of suggested donations.

The facebook notice propagated faster than the fire. By dawn they had 20 volunteers, bins, forklifts, and donations were pouring in. I stopped by with my pitiful little bags of nasal wash and eye wash, and was amazed. There must have been 20 trucks in the lot, offloading cases of water, pallets of Gatorade, and people lined up out the door with sacks of beef jerky, baby wipes, underwear, socks, and you name it. School buses and trailers from many counties around were there offloading supplies, students forming living chains to pass stuff into the bins for transport to the command center and staging areas. If the firefighters had requested it, it was there. What do you give the guy out there fighting the fire that might engulf your home? Anything he or she wants. Including chewing tobacco and cigarettes.

Kenna moved on to the Unified Command Post at Magnolia West High school. She looked at what the fire fighters needed, and she made calls and set it up.

Mattress Mac donated 150 beds. Two class rooms turned into barracks kept quiet and dark for rest. The CEO of HEB donated 2 semi trailers full of supplies, and sent a mobile commercial kitchen at no charge to feed all the workers, but especially our firefighters, 3 hot meals a day. An impromptu commissary was set up, anything the firefighters had requested available at no charge.

As exhausted firefighters (most of them from local VFDs with no training or experience battling wildfires) and workers came into the school after long hours of hard labor, dehydrated, hungry, covered with soot and ash, they got what they needed. They were directed through the commissary, where they got soap, eye wash and nasal spray, candy, clean socks and underwear, and then were sent off to the school locker rooms for a shower. HEB then fed them a hot meal and they got 8 hours sleep in a barracks, then another hot meal, another pass through the commissary for supplies to carry with them out to the lines, including gloves, safety glasses, dust masks and snacks, and back they went.

One of the imported crews from California came into Unified Command and asked where the FEMA Powerbars and water were. He was escorted to the commissary and started through the system. He was flabbergasted. He said FEMA never did it like this. Kenna replied, ”Well, this is the way we do it in Texas.”

Fire fighting equipment needed repair? The auto shop at the High School ran 24/7 with local mechanics volunteering, students, and the firefighters fixing the equipment.

Down one side of the school, the water tankers lined up at the fire hydrants and filled with water. Down the other side there was a steady parade of gasoline tankers filling trucks, dozers, tankers, cans, chain saws, and vehicles.

Mind you, all of this was set up by 2 Moms, Kenna and Tara, with a staff of 20 simple volunteers, most of them women who had sons, daughters, husbands, and friends on the fire lines. Someone always knew someone who could get what they needed – beds, mechanics, food, space. Local people using local connections to mobilize local resources made this happen. No government aid. No Trained Expert.

At one point the fire was less than a mile from the school, and everyone but hose volunteers were evacuated. The fire was turned.

The Red Cross came in, looked at what they were doing, and quietly went away to set up a fire victim relief center nearby. They said they couldn’t do it any better.

FEMA came in and told those volunteers and Kenna that they had to leave, FEMA was here now. Kenna told them she worked for the firefighters, not them. They were obnoxious, bossy, got in the way, and criticized everything. The volunteers refused to back down and kept doing their job, and doing it well. Next FEMA said the HEB supplies and kitchen had to go, that was blatant commercialism. Kenna said they stayed. They stayed.

FEMA threw a wall-eyed fit about chewing tobacco and cigarettes being available in the commissary area. Kenna told them the firefighters had requested it, and it was staying. It stayed. FEMA got very nasty and kept asking what organization these volunteers belonged to – and all the volunteers told them “Our community”. FEMA didn’t like that and demanded they make up a name for themselves. One mother remarked “They got me at my boiling point!” and suddenly the group was “212 Degrees”. FEMA’s contribution? They came in the next day with red shirts embroidered with “212 Degrees,” insisting the volunteers had to be identified, never realizing it was a slap in their face. Your tax dollars at work – labeling volunteers with useless shirts and getting in the way.

The upshot? A fire that the experts from California (for whom we are so grateful there are no words) said would take 2-3 weeks to get under control was 100% contained in 8 days. There was so much equipment and supplies donated, 3 container trucks are loaded with the excess to go and set up a similar relief center for the fire fighters in Bastrop. The local relief agencies have asked people to stop bringing in donations of clothing, food, household items, and pretty much everything else because they only have 60 displaced households to care for, and there is enough to supply hundreds. Again, excess is going to be shipped to Bastrop, where there are 1500 displaced households. Wish we could send Kenna, too, but she has to go back to her regular job.

John Pennell

Michelli and Hefner

Distinguished Riflemen on hand during the awards ceremony. Jason and Clay down front.

Jason Michelli and Clay Hefner legged out this weekend. Congrats to both. It's a really big deal. Jason, who flies for a living, said LEG matches were more stressful than any aircraft simulator he had ever been trained in.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Weather and light changes.

Every season is different but seems like the light and the temperature have really taken a turn for the better the last month. The Photographers Equinox- when tap water runs 68 degrees, must be getting close.

Ordered a big old view camera box. Hard sided. Of Ebay today for next to nothing. Even cashed in some Ebay bucks to make it cheaper. I'm using a box older than I am for my 5X7 Deardorff now. This one older than that. Probably use it for 8X10 lenses and film holders.

Update: Box came in: solid and really terrific. Going to fill it up with lenses and holders.

Daily Deercam

Little buck hanging around.

Day and night.

Nubbing buck. Just out of spots.

That's his mom. He'll be frantic when the rut is on and she is running all over the place.

Little buck hanging out on the upper cam. Thick brush in there. The corn is bringing him in. It's my last working cam for a bit, so I'm glad to have him. Way too little to shoot but maybe his grandfather is around. Couple of does as well, plus some little nubbin bucks. Coons, jays, squirrels. I've got a chair up in the tree.

Lucie jumped a big armadillo on the trail over and it ran into a hole it couldn't get into. She got to sniff it up close and get it to buck and grunt. Looked like a big male. I'm sure she will check that hole from now on.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Photos from TSRA Service Rifle Championship.

Hefner tells a Junior IT team everything he a little more, during the Infantry Trophy Match on Friday.

Misty Skelton heads downrange during IT.

Clayton Rogers heads back.

Utley puts on another click of concentration during offhand.

Nez Rongero doesn't bother.

Karl Schultz's AR15.

Karl Schultz brings his rifle up in offhand during the championship. Karl came off the LEG match with another six points in his pocket.

Kim Fairchild keeps a close eye on the shooting by her husband and daughter.

Chris Chesley with his pack of pirates, cut-throats and ninjas. Plus the Rogers,the Hoggs and Robert Davis.

Match Director Ken Gaby ran the match with smooth precision.

Bailey Fairchild, on her way to Distinguished with 6 points.

Chris Chesley.

Justin Burns shoots offhand.

Bransom holds the end of the line.

Bransomness during the LEG match on Sunday.

The prettiest head in Texas.