Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dogs are people too, ya know

Sometimes I think the good Lord gave us dogs just to remind us of what unconditional loyalty and love ought to look like.  Stressful day at work... the dogs are happy to see me.  Wife annoyed with me... the dogs are happy to see me.  Angry at life... the dogs are happy to see me.  Come home with terrific news and the gals aren't there... the dogs are happy to see me.  Catch yourself laughing at something when no one else is around... the dogs are happy to see me.

This guy here is Ruger, and yes... I named him after one of my favorite gun brands.  He's almost two years old.  Ruger is a member of the family, just like Sasha our All-American Mutt I'll introduce you to at some other point in time.  He's got Czechoslovakian and German blood lines so he's a bit less American made than the Ruger firearms.  Coming from a breeder that specializes in breeding assistance dogs and family pets... he has a very even, laid-back temperament and gentleness that makes his long, lean 110 pound solid mass of muscle a bit misleading.

Like most German Shepherd Dogs, he's energetic, loyal, a little territorial, talks and chatters quite a bit, and is very alert.  He's just a family pet that also fits into our security plans.  He's quickly learned what does and does not belong around the house, barn, and property then alerts us accordingly.

His physical and visual presence gives the unfamiliar pause and concern which is a good thing, but truthfully he's a gentle giant.  The only problem we've ever had with this is when the UPS man delivered a package and the front door was open with just the glass storm-door separating him from the dog.  Ruger stood up on his hind legs, placed his front paws high on the glass storm-door, looked the UPS man eye-to-eye, and gave out a loud, succinct RRruuFFF!  Well, let's just say it's a good thing the UPS uniform pants are also brown.

Ruger loves his "baby", a stuffed toy that he has chosen to be the "one" that doesn't get shredded.  We play find the "baby" with him and he's got quite an ability to track it down.  He's also been trained to play "find the gals" too.

He's a pretty brave dog, but the funny thing is... he's not scared of gunfire, the tractor, people, or just about anything... except... plastic garbage bags.  We have no idea how this happened and we've tried to break him of it, but he is scared to death whenever we get a white, plastic garbage bag out to replace a full one in the kitchen garbage can.  He'll run into his kennel or the other room... go figure... the gals and I might just need the dog whisperer if he doesn't grow out of it.

Sometimes, like me, he can be a little blunt in his communication style... like when he's out of food. He'll carry his empty, stainless steel food dish into the living room, drop it at your feet and give you one good staccato bark that loosely translated means, "FEED ME NOW!"  I'm even starting to think he has a sense of humor too, as he likes to tease the gals just like I do.  Some friends asked me how I can let such a big dog in the house, but what can I say... our dogs are part of the family and get treated as such.  Dogs are people too, ya know.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Musings... 'cause a storm's a comin'

There's always a storm coming.  It might be family, friends, health, finances, weather, or something else, but one thing is for sure, there are always tough times ahead.  That's not meant as a pessimistic outlook, but a realistic anticipation so you might as well plan for it.  Now some might accuse us of being a little overly planned and prepared, but it's honestly been a long, steady journey and we still have plenty of areas to work on including health and family.

These are precarious and uncertain times we live in.  The gals and I have tried to plan for a basic living needs should the SHTF.  I would encourage you to consider your situation, no matter what it is, and plan... to set just a little bit aside for those tough times that are always ahead at some point.
"Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!  It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.  How long will you lie there, you sluggard?  When will you get up from your sleep?  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man." ~Proverbs 6:6-11
Maybe you start with a small box of canned goods and a twenty-four pack of bottled water.  Maybe you pick up a used gun and a box of ammo.  Maybe you pay a little closer attention to what's happening in and around your home, your neighborhood, your community.  Maybe you introduce yourself to that neighbor you've been noddin' to for the last two years.  Maybe you teach yourself or your kids how to tie a knot, shoot a gun, cook a meal, plant a garden, can vegetables, or sew clothes.  Maybe you set a few dollars aside.  Maybe you reconsider some of the simpler things in life and the good times that go along with them.

Maybe you consider the ant and its ways... 'cause a storm's a comin'.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What defensive ammo are YOU carrying?

A few years back when I worked in law enforcement, our issued duty ammo was Federal Hydra-Shok, first in .357 Magnum and later in .45ACP when we switched over to semi-automatics.  It was a good, reliable round... and pretty standard at the time for LEOs.  We would qualify with our firearms every six months, so we'd shoot our six month old Hydra-Shoks, then finish qualifying with FMJs.  They would issue more Hydra-Shoks until our next qualification or until we had to use them in the line of duty.  Until just recently, the gals and I also carried Federal Hydra-Shoks in all our handguns we use for personal defense.

Well, times and technology have since changed and about two years ago I started looking at all the new defensive cartridges on the market, reading dozens of magazine articles, and probably hundreds of internet reviews.   We bought and tried various offerings from Hornady, Federal, Winchester, Corbon, Remington, and a couple of others which over time was not exactly an inexpensive undertaking.  I think bonded bullet construction has proven it's worth and we decided on the Winchester Supreme Elite Bonded PDX1 for our defensive handgun use.

Now I have some friends that have some pretty strong opinions on carry ammo, but it always amazes me that so many folks I run into are carrying ammunition that they have never actually tried very much or even at all in their handgun.  Folks practice with cheap FMJs, then load their expensive defensive rounds... often without checking feeding, reliability, or point of impact on the target in relation to point of aim, which is a concern with many fixed-sight defensive handguns.

We've put at least 100 rounds of PDX through every gun we have that we're using it in with good results as far as feeding, reliability, and hitting what we're aiming at.  I even used 80 rounds of it as part of a Todd Green inspired 2,000 round torture test of a brand new Ruger SR9 (by the way, the SR9 functioned flawlessly with no cleaning or maintenance until round 3,619 when it had a stove-pipe).  The gals and I are using the PDX ammo in .380ACP, 9mm+P, .38 Special+P, and .45ACP.  We still shoot and replace our "carry" rounds every six months just to keep things fresh in the magazines, cylinders, and speed-loaders.

Now I realize that there are a lot of opinions, ballistic tests, articles, and videos on the various ammunition options for defensive carry, so with that in mind and out of curiosity... What defensive ammo are YOU carrying?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pocket Knives and Political Correctness

Recently over at Og's Neanderpundit Blog, he asked folks in the blogosphere to take out the knife in their pocket, the knife they carry every day, take a picture, and post it.  Well, I actually carry three different knives every day, but before you think I've gone all tactically-corrected mall-ninja on you... let's take a look...

It seems like I've had a knife or two on me everyday since I was eight years old.  The little guy there is a MiniBuck by Buck Knives.  It's hard to tell in the picture, but I've carried that thing for so many years in my pocket that the plastic handle has worn smooth and the "Buck" name is worn down so much you can barely read it.  This little lock-back folder is so light you almost forget you have it in your pocket and while the blade edge has been sharpened a few times over the years, it holds it's edge pretty well.

The second knife there is nothing fancy, just a Cabela's XPG with serrated blade that tends to be clipped in my right pocket or on my Maxpedition Jumbo VersiPack man-bag.  This is my "cheap sunglasses" knife.  Did you ever notice that if you buy expensive sunglasses they tend to get broken, scratched, or lost in a matter of days, but you get those cheap ten-dollar sunglasses and they'll still be hangin' around after the Apocalypse.  That's my Cabela's XPG... a good, inexpensive, every-day-carry, belt-clip knife that doesn't make me kick myself for three days after loosing it like when my $120 Benchmade disappeared in the woods while deer hunting.

A third knife in my pocket is a little Leatherman Style which hangs on my keychain and is probably used just as often each day as my keys are.  I've lost count of the number of times I've opened a package, cut twine, used the tweezers to pull out a splinter, cut thread with the scissors, tightened a screw, cut down and filed a broken thumb-nail after trying to use my thumb-nail as a pry bar.  This diminutive knife and multi-tool owes me nothing and it's as handy as my Ford F-150.

In these progessive days of zero-intelligence... uh... I mean zero-tolerance, my wife carries a purple Buck Transport because purple is less intimidating and it's small enough to be politically correct within the zero-tolerance policies of today's public schools as she is an elementary school teacher.

My daughter has a couple of knives, but she asked for one like dad's a couple of years ago and so I bought her a Buck MiniBuck like mine, except this one has the outline of Idaho on it since the good folks at Buck moved their operations to Idaho from the Republic of Kalifornia to remain competitive with an American-made product that I think Toby Keith would appreciate.  Of course she only carries it when she's not in our politically-corrected school system.

See, I'm old enough to remember when kids could carry knives and I was given my first four-bladed, boy scout knife at eight years-old which rests in the gun safe with the Buck finger-grooved Model 110 Folding Hunter I carried on my belt all through high school and into college.  It's cut just about everything, field-dressed deer, skinned squirrels and rabbits... and never once went homicidal during Algebra II.  I do miss the little two-bladed Schrade pocket knife my uncle had given me, long since lost in the memories of my pre-teen years.

I'd be remiss is I didn't mention our grub knives.  I picked up this BuckLite Max a couple of years ago which has scalpel-like sharpness and a rubberized grip for a steady hold when preparing the wild game the good Lord has blessed us with.

You've probably noticed I have a number of Buck knives.  There are a lot of knives around here we've accumulated over the years and many have been Buck knives.  Buck makes a good knife right here in the good ol' USA which means a lot to us.  Another thing about Buck is they are not afraid of their beliefs and John 3:16 is tucked in with the words on their instruction sheets for each of their knives and as Christian, I can appreciate that.

A couple of other grub cuttin' utensils is this beautiful carving set, hand-crafted by my father-in-law for my wife.  The photograph doesn't do these two justice as Papa Jim, a retired tool and die machinist who could literally make anything, has given these stainless-steel steak stabbers the mirror-like finish of a chrome bumper on a '57 Chevy convertible.  The carefully shaped wood handles have the perfect ergonomics only a true craftsman could produce.  They were a gift to my main gal and will be passed on someday to my little gal, a family heirloom no money could ever buy.

There are a lot of different knives around here, but if you want to know what we keep in our pocket or ready at hand... that about cuts it down to size.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

PACT Club Shot Timer 3

Years ago I'd be riding the motorcycle on a lonely stretch of highway and look down only to realize that the speed limit wasn't keeping up with me.  These days, while cruising the back roads on a lazy afternoon, I'll look down at that tell-tale needle only to see that I'm thumping along at ten miles-per-hour below the speed limit.  Sometimes it is hard to accurately judge your speed.

When it comes to shooting, there are really two quantitative ways to tell if you are improving... the first is where those projectiles are hitting on the intended target and the second is how quickly the shooter can get those projectiles in the right place on the intended target.  Whether you are just trying to improve your own shooting or you are practicing for SASS, IPDA, USPSA, 3-Gun, or some other shooting activity... a good, reliable shot timer is a necessity.

We purchased a PACT Club Shot Timer 3 a couple of years back from MidwayUSA to replace our previous shot timer which took one to many bounces off hard surfaces.  I had researched various shot timers and tried a few different models at 4H, SASS, IDPA, and other events, but I kept coming back to the PACT.  It's very easy to use.  We usually just push the GO button and don't mess with many of the other features and even my little gal has no problem clipping it on her belt to check her shot times.

The PACT Club Shot Timer 3 is an updated version of a classic that seems to be the standard for shot timers around these parts.  It is easy to use and for folks like us the size, shape, and large buttons work well with gloved hands in colder weather.  It uses a single 9-volt battery and automatically powers down after a few minutes when not in use.

There are two timing modes for recording shot times.  The first is INSTANT which starts the timer instantly after you press and release the big, green GO button.  The second is DELAY which provides you a delay after releasing the GO button so you can easily time yourself.  There is a very loud and clear BEEP when the timing starts.

You can easily press the RVW button and review the time for each shot or see the splits by using the ARROW keys below the GO and RVW buttons.  There is also the ability to set a PAR time so if you're trying to get something accomplished in, say, three-seconds... you can have the timer let you know when your time is up.

While some might feel this shot timer is a little bulky, we find it is easy to hold, easy to use, and so far it has been reliable in various weather conditions (although it is not weather-proof).  Also, we haven't had any trouble with it "hearing" .22LR shots at 4H Shooting Sports events like some other shot timers we've used.

So if you're looking to improve and need some way to know if you're getting better without guessing, the gals and I think you will really like the PACT Club Shot Timer 3.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shooting Books

Not long ago, Brigid over at Home on the Range asked, "What's On Your Book Shelf?"  The gals and I are avid readers with a wide variety of books from classics, novels, and biographies to guns and survival. constantly teases me with all kinds of recommendations... forget the FBI, I'm being profiled by an online book store... need to work on the OPSEC.

Each year the university and local libraries have a book sale to clear the shelves of those authors who haven't had enough daily hits on their books to survive the cut.  Sometimes I find a forgotten treasure or two, but mostly I'm measuring and sizing up the books.  When winter rolls around I take a some spare time to hollow out old hard-backs to create a hidden compartment to conceal a handgun or other valuables in plain sight on a friend's book shelf.  They make nice gifts at Christmas.

If I'm lucky, a title appropriate for the intended recipient will pop up.  An old photography book, Shooting Your Way to a $-Million, seemed like a nice title to edit in a couple of .380s.  This year Secrecy and Power: The Life of J. Edgar Hoover will make a nice place to hide a Smith & Wesson J-Frame for a friend of mine... I just have to clear out a few pages, couple of secret files, and some dresses.

Driven Patriot: The Life and Times of James Forrestal was picked up to make a hollowed-out book to hold a Glock 26 for another friend who served in the Navy.  I actually ended up reading this book about Forrestal who was our nation's first Secretary of Defense and now I'm re-thinking the re-purposing of my one-dollar investment.  Maybe his book might make a good gift as is.

So if you're looking for something to read on my book shelf, ignore the titles and just check out the shooting books.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


"Greater love hath no man than this, 
that a man lay down his life for his friends."
~John 15:13

To those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of others...


To those who step forward and put their life on the line for others... 


Enough said... because enough could never be said...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Two-Legged Varmints

A bit of excitement around the place last night.  The dogs went a crazy about midnight, barking and jumping at the back door.  We have a good size fenced area for them behind the house that extends almost to the barn, so I let them out and did a quick visual scan of the area... didn't see anything... and they seemed to settle down once they had checked out their "territory".

About five minutes later the neighbors immediately south of us called and said their alarm had just gone off indicating that one of the overhead doors on their barn had been opened.  The wife and I "geared-up" and headed out.

Maybe a little background is appropriate here before I continue...

In addition to a general increase of burglaries and thefts around here as the economy has declined, there has been a pretty slick burglary group working a five or six county area for about three years now.  They don't hit homes... just out-buildings, barns, and unattached garages or utility trailers and usually stick to ATVs, dirtbikes, generators, construction grade tools, air compressors, etc.  They don't waste their time on junk and they don't spend time on hardened structures or ones with obvious alarm systems.

They typically drop off three to four crooks who go in on foot, set items they want outside, and then come back through quickly with trucks or vans to load up and disappear.  The will often hit six to a dozen places up and down the same road over several miles.  We were hit about two and a half years ago when they took three dirtbikes and a good selection of Dewalt 18-volt power tools from our barn.  They hit our neighbors and several others up and down the road here that same night.  We've since extended the alarm system from the house to the barn and have alarm company stickers on all the barn doors now to make it obvious it is alarmed. 

Now back to last night...

We met the neighbors by their barn with LED "torches" and large caliber "pitch forks" in hand.  They had let the alarm company go ahead and notify the sheriff's department.  Some of our other neighbors showed up pretty quickly.  The area was quickly checked.  We did find some fresh footprints in the dew-covered grass behind their barn that lead back across to our property, behind our barn, then the trail continued to the tall weeds at the edge of our property towards the state nature preserve that borders our field.

The sheriff's deputies showed up about twenty minutes after the alarm had gone off, which is about average... give or take ten minutes or so... in our large, mostly rural county.  The group had gathered near the front of the neighbor's barn at this point and as the first deputy exited his cruiser, he commented, "well, I don't see any dead bodies."  We looked at each other and realized our group of neighbors had enough handguns, shotguns, ARs, Mini-14s, flashlights, ammo, and other gear to equip a platoon.  I guess a country boy CAN survive.

After a second deputy showed up and they confirmed the trail we found, they started patrols in the area looking for anyone on foot or a "pick up" vehicle.  The perpetrator(s) of our disturbance was (were) never located, but with all the farm fields, 300+ acres of nature preserve bordering our property, and woods... there's a lot of territory to hide in, let alone be searched.

Now I know you can't use deadly force in Ohio to defend property, but there's nothing wrong with being prepared for self-defense as these guys who have been doing most of the burglaries are no hillbilly amateurs.  I'm thankful for a rural community, friends, and neighbors that look out for each other as 911 is... well, it is, to some extent, just a phone call around here.

We have terrific law enforcement officers in our sheriff's department, but with budget cuts and hundreds of square miles to cover... folks have to tend to their own sometimes, especially when you're dealing with two-legged varmints.

Corn and Community

The Corn Festival is held at the fairgrounds the first weekend after Labor Day each year.  There are various fall festivals in small towns and rural areas all over this great country of ours.  It's a great time to catch up with friends, meet new folks, and see some of our local heritage.

Many local farmers take time to compare notes, converse about the weather, and think about the upcoming harvest.  Some talk country smack with friendly challenges for the antique tractor pull.

Agriculture is still a big source, maybe the biggest source of income in this county.  Our rural county was previously home to the DHL/Airborne Express Air Park.  DHL purchased Air Borne Express, closed up shop, and shuttered about 15,000 related jobs around here.  This county was in a recession and that was a year before the economy tanked in 2008 and things really went down hill.

So it's good to see things like the local Corn Festival still happening when our unemployment in this county is over twice the national average.  It's good to see old friends and familiar faces smiling, chatting, and enjoying grilled corn on the cob.

The maple syrup smells good as it steams and cooks down.  You'd hardly know around here that about every third house you pass has a "For Sale" sign in front of it or that every Thursday the local paper is half-again larger than usual to list all the foreclosures.  Around the festival there's good eats, kids playing... checking out the petting zoo, and old friends.

You see a lot of patriotism, hear some discussion of tomorrow's significance.  Folks stop and tip their hats, shake a hand in thanks, and kids salute a young man in uniform... home on leave, visiting the folks, and checking out the corn festival's sights, sounds, and aromas.

There are a lot of signs of what makes this the greatest country in the world.  You see the products of years past that show American ingenuity, sweat, pride.  You see folks that know we still have it.  There might be some dirt on the tires and some rust on the metal, but things keep running right along.  Folks around here seem to be resilient in tough times.

Life around here may not look so bright, but it doesn't stop as most folks pull together and help each other out... and as a man gives a grilled ear of corn to a young fellow whose mama just told him they didn't have money for that.  You realize that for a lot of country folks... for a lot of Americans... things look a bit brighter when you're spending the day enjoying a little corn and community.

The gals and I had a terrific day...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Art of the Dynamic Handgun

Part of one of my favorite Bible verses challenges me to be transformed by the renewing of my mind.  As the son of two teachers, the husband of a teacher, and as someone in the education business professionally who is also an NRA and 4H Shooting Sports instructor during the summer and my other off-times... the strive to continually learn and teach is in my DNA. 

I've been to a number of firearm courses over the last thirty years as a former police officer and as a regular citizen.  Good, live instruction in the classroom and on the range is hard to beat, but I've also found a lot of terrific instruction over the years on VHS, DVDs, and even through YouTube.  The first Magpul Dymanics DVD series we purchased was the The Art of the Tactical Carbine (Volume 1) a few years back.  It was well-done, quality instruction, and I had been wanting their series on handguns, so my main gal surprised me last Christmas.

The Art of the Dynamic Handgun DVD series by Magpul Dynamics is a professionally produced, quality, and entertaining set with over seven hours of video.  The first two DVDs focus on handgun fundamentals, progressing into active handgun use in various range and simulated real-life scenarios.  The third DVD covers many aspects of concealed carry handgun operation and selection.  The fourth DVD overviews a variety of topics including holsters, weapon lights, suppressors, ammunition and has previews and out-takes.

Hosted and taught by Chris Costa and Travis Haley, they provided excellent instruction, entertainment, and knowledge from a real course with real people.  They have a mixture of men, women, police, military, and regular folks just like me.  One of the favorite quotes I like is, "Do what works for you 95% of the time".  These two men know their stuff, but they don't dictate that their way or methods are the ONLY way or methods.  They actively help students adapt to their personal abilities and differences to get the most out of their training.

These guys focus on real-world, fundamental, down-to-earth skills.  There's no mall ninja, back-flipping, bullet work... just good, solid fundamentals.  Even Travis Haley's father participates with his wheel-gun.  I've taken a lot away from these DVDs, now having watched them twice all the way through.  I've applied and tried many of the techniques out back on the shootin' porch and range behind the barn.  For fifty-bucks, it's hard to beat the instruction, quality of production, and entertainment of Costa and Haley in The Art of the Dynamic Handgun.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Cordon Bleu'n Cheese

Sometimes you need a manly meal on a rainy day, so rather than grill with fire, we occasionally cook in the oven.  Sam's Meats (no relation to Sam the Butcher on the Brady Bunch) is a local deli, grill, and restaurant that creates some terrific combinations when you need to put a home-cooked meal on the table while keeping preparation to a minimum.

Their version of Chicken Cordon Bleu involves large chicken breasts rolled up with ham, aged cheddar, and Provolone cheese.  The center is packed with cream cheese and chopped chives.  They stand the rolled-up, protein-energy bundle on end and wrap it with large strips of fresh bacon.  If you have the time, they're not hard to make from scratch and you can use some wood skewers to hold everything together.

After placing in an appropriate cooking dish, just add a cup of water to keep the chicken breasts moist, sprinkle on some of Mrs. Dash's Original Blend seasoning, and cover with sliced colby-jack cheese (or cheese of your choice) that will smother the whole entree.  You can always vary the specifics to you're taste.  Just bake at 350 degrees for an hour or so covered and then another fifteen minutes uncovered.

While a vegetable side dish or a salad make for a well-balanced meal, these bundles of delicious, bacon-wrapped chicken are best served with a side of .357 Magnum.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The end of a long, hot summer.

Labor Day weekend usually marks the end of summer for most folks, even though the twenty-first of September is still three weeks away.  The wife, daughter, and I have all been back in school for two weeks which is quite a departure from my childhood when school never started until after Labor Day.

It was already seventy-eight degrees when I headed into town this morning to run some errands.  There was a gray haze over the lake not far from where we live and surprisingly few boats with fishermen trying to catch that last crappie of the season.  I didn't get much fishing done with my gals this past summer.  Dad's failing health and eventual passing preoccupied much of our time.

The small country church a few miles up the road offered some spiritual reflection as I passed by.  The gravel parking lot was empty as it usually is... six days a week.   I've done a lot of reflecting since dad passed in July.   Although we lived a couple of hours apart, it seems our frequent phone calls the last couple of years offered deeper thoughts, sincere conversation, and opportunities for my dad and I to talk more as friends than as father and son.

Everywhere I went today, there seemed to be an almost surreal lack of people.  Maybe it was the heat.  Too hot to work and too hot to play... we all seem inclined to withdraw to our conditioned air on days like these.  Nobody appeared to be in the bank when I first walked in.  A teller finally popped out from around the corner.  I guess she couldn't help herself when she asked the most rhetorical question of the day, "Hot enough for ya?"

Darn, the Drive-Thru Barn was already closed up for the day, I'll have to wait until Tuesday to pick up some more dog food.  Those two dogs seem to eat by the ton, not the pound.  Even Ruger and Sasha would rather hang out in the air-conditioning than bark at the strangers stopping by the neighbor's yard sale across the way.

The fire station seems eerily void of people today.  Maybe they're all in back hoping nothing needs their bravery and assistance... as the protective wear of a firefighter has got to be a step away from hell with heat and humidity like this.

Usually, the local TSC looks like a pick-up truck convention hit town on a Saturday, but just a couple of vehicles are parked outside.  I'm not sure who does the hiring there, but they have the cutest country gals around ringing-up my carriage bolts and reels of welding wire for the old Hobart.

A new project in the barn might be needed since I finished all the new target stands and steel for the shootin' range out back.  I'm not sure what my main gal would say if I brought home another tractor, plus it's not John Deere green and I don't really want to push my luck as she recently gave the "OK" for some firearm purchases.

The crops around here have been looking pretty good compared to many areas where drought conditions have hit pretty hard.  The haze of the humidity that hangs over a neighbor's farm makes me hope this is getting to the end of the heat for the summer.  I wonder what the heat was like in the Philippines when dad was there in WWII.  There's a lot of things I never really got around to asking him.  Even I enjoy my conditioned air these days and I wonder how I don't remember the heat from when I grew up in a house with no air-conditioning.  I don't remember dad complaining much about hot days either. 

Even the Fishing Pole is deserted today.  Usually this place is full-up on a Saturday with folks getting bait, hooks, beer, bread, chips, gas, and whatever else they need for day at the lake or on the deck, cooking out.  I took a few minutes to stop in, have a cold iced-tea (is that redundant?) and chat with Jeff and Karen, the proprietors... good folks who greet you with a smile, know a bit about guns, and are always able to keep you up on the latest news around the township.

Turning on to Baker Road not far from home is always a time to be alert.  You never know what will run across the road in between these woods.  I've seen turkey, fox, racoons, squirrels, deer, dogs, and even an occasional rabbit and groundhog make the suicide dash on this little stretch of country tar and gravel.

The evening has been spent getting ready for some shootin' fun tomorrow after church.  A quick pass by the gun club tomorrow for a round of skeet ought to be relaxing.  After that, the mags are loaded, targets are ready, and steel is waiting on the shootin' range here at home.  I think the gals and I are gonna have some end of summer fun this weekend.