Monday, November 30, 2020

End of November Mast Report


There are still a few apples hanging on. This is a seedling of Keepsake. Seedlings of Keepsake and Golden Delicious tend to hang onto their apples past ripeness. If I were planting grafted apples to attract wildlife I would consider Keepsake, Golden Delicious, Gold Rush, Golden Russet and Kerr.

Kerr apple. Kerr has a goodly dose of crab apple genes in its pedigree. Crab apples depend on birds eating them to spread the seeds. Consequently, many crab apples are very persistent, some selections hanging on to their fruit until the birds return in the spring.


Korean Giant Asian Pear

Shinko Asian Pear

2020 was not a good year for mast.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Deer camp, revolvers, bullet lube and electric fences


Tomorrow is the last day of Michigan's 2020 Firearm deer season. Belladonna informed me that we are going hunting tomorrow. She doesn't have her buck...yet.

She still has late bow season and muzzle-loading season to get a buck. Or, if she wants meat, there is still late doe season.

.38 Special

I shot a few of the loads (158gr lead SWC, 3.3gr Titegroup) I put together for my niece's snub-nose revolver. I think it would benefit from a little bit more pressure. The outsides of the cases were sooty which suggests that there was not enough pressure to expand the case mouths and seal to the inside of the cylinder.

She will be the final judge if "The Recipe" gets any more pepper. Sooty cases are more of a cosmetic issue than a functional issue.

I shot them from a full-sized revolver and the recoil was light. There was enough velocity to cause just a bit of muzzle-flip and the bullets did not key-hole into the target. That is a darned good start.


I bought a bullet mold. I thought I was getting the traditional design with a single groove for lube but I was shipped "Tumble Lube" molds.

I was inclined to send them back but then I went on-line to see if I could use lubes other than Lee's Alox Liquid Lube.

According to the great, misinformation superhighway, Tumble-Lube designs are also very happy when lubed with a mixture of 45% Beeswax, 45% Crisco or Lard and 10% Lanolin to enhance the tackiness of the lube. There are countless versions of this basic recipe including some that use Murphy's Oil Soap when Lanolin is not available. 

The proportions are variable. 45-45-10 is a STARTING point. The proportions vary based on expected temperature. Lubes used in loads that will sit atop the dashboard in Texas during July will have a higher percentage of beeswax than a lube used in Iron County, Michigan in October.

The key is to pan lube with heat and use the tiniest amount of lube necessary to wet the outside of the bullets.

I kept the mold.

Last night on the deer stand

Bella and I were in the Taj. We were serenaded by Hoot Owls, aka Barred Owls. There were at least four individuals based on their voices.

We saw a doe and a fawn. The doe was small so she might have been a fawn last year. Bella declined to take the shot. She wants a buck.

Electric fences

Sprite's bull kept getting out.

Today I looked for the short.

I found two and fixed them. The cut-off switches paid for themselves today.

I left the fence around her back pasture disconnected.

My back was to the cattle when I was talking to Sprite when I heard what sounded like a .22 going off.

Turning, I saw two cows and the bull. The bull was the farthest animal from the fence and all three of them were dancing.

Sprite said "Ha, the bull just learned the fence is hot."

"But he is the farthest from the fence." I said.

"He is NOW" Sprite said. "Look at his mouth."

Indeed, the bull was frantically working over his lips with his tongue as if to massage feeling back into them.

Then, like a dummy, I demonstrated that rubber insulated tool handles are not insulated when they have dried sweat smeared on them. Don't ask for details. Please.

I suspect any virus in my body were carbonized.

Old men caring for trees


At your age isn't long term forest management, particularly on leased land for hunting purposes, a bit ahhhh optimistic ? ---ken

It is what I like to do.

Would you ask a silver-haired gentleman why he owns a Corvette? Or would you chide a mature man whose eyes pause on an exceptionally healthy woman for a half-a-heartbeat longer than necessary?

Long term forest management 

You can ask twenty different people to "imagine" the perfect forest and you could get twenty very different answers.

The timber producer, the gun-stock maker, the pipe carver, the wicker-worker, the ruffed grouse hunter, the deer hunter, the bird watcher, the person who gathers mushrooms, the photographer, the backpacker, the old man warming his toes in front of a blazing hearth...

None of them are wrong even if some of them work at cross-purposes at times. The timber producer wanting to add the last couple of inches to the diameter of tall, straight conifers in a woods with a closed canopy will be at odds with the deer-hunter. That same timber producer will be working in the deer-hunter's favor when he does release cuttings and much later when the light hits the ground after the trees are harvested.


I pray that I have another twenty good years left in me.

Dad was carrying ladders and kicking cinder-blocks out of his way when he was 89. OK, I exaggerate a little bit. He was carrying an extension ladder across a grassy field when his toe encountered a hidden cinder-block and he didn't quite kick it away. In fact, it tripped him and he fell on top of the ladder which put bruises on his arms. Without those bruises I never would have ever known he was still screwing around with ladders at the age of 89.

A release cutting will improve hunting almost immediately. Throw some perennial ryegrass, red clover or turnip seed on the ground where the sun will hit and BAM, next fall you have better hunting.

If the trees are mast producers then it MIGHT take three years for the trees to produce more heavily. Oak, for instance, is an early pollinator. The buds decide if they will be fruiting or vegetative the summer before they bloom. More sunlight through all of the first growing season will result in more flower buds in the second growing season and, for oak of the Red Oak clade the acorns will drop at the end of the third growing season.

Care of plantings

An Asian pear tree like Chojuro, Korean Giant or Shinko will produce nice crops the third year in an orchard. In a planting where they must compete with brush and tree roots from the edge of the opening it can take twice as long.

Persimmons take longer to come into bearing but are arguably better suited to the rough-and-tumble life out in the woods. The trick with persimmons is to get them to survive transplanting.

Some oak trees are precocious. European oaks (Q. robur/petraea), Sawtooth oak (Q. accutissima) and some strains of Bur and Swamp White Oak for example. How precocious? Documented four years between the planting of the seed and the first acorn...but in a nursery setting, not the woods.

Wildlife plantings are the classic "black box". If you put in the care you will get good results. If you don't, or cannot or Mother Nature conspires against you with a drought...well, you get to start over.

Setting an example

Eaton Rapids used to have a less-than-mediocre football team. In 2007 the varsity team scored six touchdowns in one season. That level of scoring rarely wins games.

Then they hired Mike Smith (who I was informed passed away this year) as football coach. Shortly after he was hired he took the team to post-season play.

Belladonna palled around with many of the players on that team so I got to watch those kids play.

One player stands out in my mind: Sheldon Holmes (yes, his real name). He played the line. Every time the QB cocked his arm back to throw the ball Sheldon jumped up and attempted to bat down the ball. EVERY TIME.

Most of the time the QB avoided throwing in Sheldon's direction. Sheldon was 6'2" and a good jumper.

In spite of the low probability of connecting with the ball, Sheldon kept leaping into the air.

He did succeed in getting a piece of two or three passes a game.

Every player on the team played with that kind of intensity. They played like WINNERS and even though the individual contribution may have seemed small, collectively it made all the difference in the world.*

I look at Sheldon as an inspiration. I will manage the hunting lease with Sheldon's intensity because that is the strategy of winners. And the best way to become a winner is to act like one, even if your team only scored 6 TDs the year before.

That is a best legacy to leave with the younger hunters. How to act like a winner.

*Sheldon's two-or-three successes, in isolation, probably did not win a single game but consider the effect it would have on the plays the other team would call and how the QB would execute them. They would run fewer passing plays and far fewer short passes. The effect of Sheldon and the other guys on the line extended far beyond what our eyes saw.

Maybe the owners of the lease will offer me the property when they are ready to sell or maybe the heirs will consider some kind of deal where they hunt bow season and lease it out for firearm season to our party. Those kinds of opportunities are far more likely if I act like a winner.

People love winners.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

A walk in the woods

A panorama. All but the last were taken from one spot.

 It was crowded...if you count trees.

The thoughts of an outdoorsman

  “I fish because I love to. Because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly. Because of all the television commercials, cocktail parties, and assorted social posturing I thus escape. Because in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing what they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion. Because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed, or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility, and endless patience. Because I suspect that men are going this way for the last time and I for one don't want to waste the trip. Because mercifully there are no telephones on trout waters. Because in the woods I can find solitude without loneliness. ... And finally, not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important, but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant and not nearly so much fun.”     - John Voelker 


The same can be said for deer hunting, bird hunting, gardening and a host of other, outdoor pursuits.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Thoughts on improving the deer lease


Belladonna and I were hunting out at the deer lease tonight.

I was eyes-and-ears. Bella was the designated shooter. She saw seven. I saw zero. The seven were too far off for any kind of shot.

I was thinking about something I had recently read:

In different studies separated by nearly the span of the last decade, Dr. Marcus Lashley from UT (2011) and Mark Turner from AU (2020) showed us the value of opening the canopy for beneficial deer forage. They learned that girdling and spraying trees and large shrubs with a mix of herbicides with a goal to reduce the canopy by about 30% can realize more than 500% increase in biomass of deer forage! Both studies included low intensity fire at different intervals.     Source
The lease is about 25% wooded. Much of that is subject to flooding. The primary species is Silver Maple. A sixty-foot tall Silver Maple is not very attractive to deer. The female trees do produce seeds at a time when young wood ducks are foraging...if there are any wood ducks nesting nearby.

Some of those trees are "wolf trees". That is, they have huge crowns and are probably hollow. Basically, widow-makers.

In a perfect world, I would be able to convince the land-owner to cut those trees for firewood and to allow me to plant species in the newly opened up, sunny spots that offered better timber or more wildlife benefits.

One option would be to plant shade tolerant species ahead of time and let nature take its course. Unfortunately, most of the best mast producers are light demanding. Beech and pawpaws are exceptions and some sources claim that persimmon is not light demanding as a young sapling.

Beech nuts are difficult to come by but I have an abundance of persimmon seeds. Persimmon has the additional benefits of dropping fruit during Michigan's firearm deer season and being tolerant of wet feet.

Hope springs eternal.

Fake News Friday: Strike a blow against Racism


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Availability of weapons is not a viable control variable for reducing murder rates

 From the comments:

(Profiling) Only works on people with brains, that plan their actions. In Shytown they act on impulse with no thought to consequences at all. Hard to use logic against it.    Comment by riverrider

This observation cuts close to the heart of the matter.

If Pol-Pot's forces executed hundreds-of-thousands of Cambodians with plastic bags. If chicken leg-bone can be sharpened into a shiv or 15" of fourteen gauge wire and two, 4" pegs into a garrote. If the London Police confiscate screwdrivers and butter-knives as lethal weapons...then it is purely impossible to eliminate murders by eliminating weapons.

People are too resourceful. In the end, even a fist, a boot-stomping or a broken bottle will suffice.

Self-discipline and the ability to consider consequences

Any thinking human can see that the problem is that certain sub-cultures have been given a mulligan on learning the skill of self-discipline. Because, you see, the glorification of self-denial is "White".

Skills are learned through repetition. Given enough repetitions, the most-used skills are the plates that float to the top of the stack. They are the first skill applied and, when it works, the last skill used.

Sabotaged by kindness

I have a neighbor. We discussed "Junior's" lack of ability to defer enjoyment.

I had an idea. "Offer him a dollar on Sunday but tell him you would give him two dollars on Monday if he would trust you. Likewise, on Monday, offer him four on Tuesday if he did not take the two on Monday. Then eight on Wednesday, sixteen on Thursday and thirty on Friday."

I figured my neighbor could stand to get soaked for thirty dollars a week for a few months.

Imagine my surprise when my neighbor told me it wasn't working. The kid tagged out Wednesday with the eight dollars. It happened three weeks running.

Knowing better than to ask the kid, I talked to the kid's older sister.

She was disgusted. Sissy told me that Grandma was sure "Dad" was way too hard on the little nipper. She slipped him $20 on Wednesday, which along the $8 was enough for a week's worth of low-quality weed.

Granny's very low opinion of her grandson...that he could not push a mower, clean gutters or WORK torpedoed the dad's efforts. Granny undoubtedly thought she was being altruistic when, in fact, she was effing up the young man's life.

The sticking point

Progressives would have to admit that some elements associated with "White culture" have value.

Progressives would have to give up the cheap high of false altruism.

Do not hold your breath.

Criminal Minds


"Watson, based on my deductions the killer grew up in a family without his father, is ambidextrous, wears gold-toned jewelry, listens to loud music and has a first name that starts with the letter "D"

There is a TV show called Criminal Minds where a team of detectives use modern methods of Forensic Psychology to identify and bring-to-justice serial killers.

One of the people I share a roof with LOVES this TV show.

Me, being the kill-joy that I am ask "If Forensic Psychology is that effective then why don't they put a team in South Chicago and identify murderers BEFORE they shoot-up business rivals, funerals, street parties?"

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

I might have a new "gig"


There I was, standing on the corner minding my own business when out of nowhere this guy comes up behind me and sez, "Have you ever considered a second career in Facilities Management?"

Then he said "My regular guy isn't as young as he used to be and he could use a break."

 In round numbers it is a total of about 60,000 square-feet under roof and two locations.

 I may have scared the guy off. I asked for time with the senior fellow so I could learn about:


  • Distribution panels and breaker boxes (breakers)
  • Schematics of distribution
  • Outlets
  • Lighting (bulbs/lamps)
  • Critical information technology
  • Uniform Power Supplies


  • “Boilers”
  • AC compressors
  • Air distribution
  • Fans
  • Belts
  • Ducts
  • Filters


  • Distribution
  • Valves
  • Faucets and fixtures
  • Drains
  • Traps
  • Access ports


  • Roofs
  • Drains
  • Doors
  • Locks
  • Windows
  • Floors
  • Trip hazards
  • Walls
  • Crawl-spaces and “confined spaces”
  • Entrance placards
  • Cement work

Kitchen equipment

  • Refrigeration
  • Grease handling
  • Smoke hoods


  • Drives and walks
  • Parking lots
  • Grass
  • Snow removal
  • Outdoor equipment


  • Exterior lighting
  • Fire suppression
  • Alarms
  • Intercom
  • Extinguishers
  • Periodic inspection 
  • Placarding for evacuation
  • Chemicals
  • MSDS for cleaning materials
  • Storage

Maintenance contracts and contacts

  • Electrician (Emergency contacts)
  • Plumber      " "
  • HVAC         " "
  • Insurance company " "
I am sure there is a bunch of stuff I am forgetting or not aware of.

Any suggestions regarding a good, basic Facilities Management handbook will be much appreciated.

Mr B. I am expecting you to chime in here and tell me what I am forgetting.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

My farmer friend sent me this link


Everything about Grain Bins (Farmers are Geniuses) 17 minute run-time


If you only learn one thing....

"I have learned that if you really want to work on a crew, it really helps to do the crap-jobs because once you do that you establish credibility" -about 3:25 mark

Fine Art Tuesday


Dreams of peace and solitude

The topic of today's Fine Art Tuesday is "Art: a tool of healing"

You can go to your favorite search engine and search on Art Grief Therapy or any such combination and turn up a host of articles.

Forever springtime

Today's artist had one of the most stressful jobs of the Twentieth Century.

His art typically shows "timeless" images, often with a path or river as an element of continuity in it.

The trees appear embattled, almost tortured. But in spite of that the soldier on.

The artist did not paint this art to impress anybody. He painted because the process absorbed him and gave him peace. It reminded him of what was important.

Any guesses as to the artist?

Monday, November 23, 2020

Half-time pep talk

First, I want to tell the team that I am very proud of the self-discipline we demonstrated.

We have NOT given the propaganda wing of the Leftist what they crave. We have been the responsible adults in the room and I trust we will remain that way.

We have tools

Believe it or not, large automotive companies have "Color Engineers". They determine if sample parts submit by suppliers meet the color, gloss and pattern specifications.

I asked one of the Color Engineers how he got his job.

He said "I took the test and aced it."

Apparently the interview process involves being given about 120 plaques of slightly varying shades and hues of color and your job is to put them in order.

"That sounds about impossible" I replied.

"No, it wasn't so bad" he informed me. "The interviewer left the room. Before she left she told me to take all the time I needed and to use all of the tools at my disposal."

"Tools?" I asked.

"Yeah, that kind of threw me, too." the engineer said.

"But then when I turned the plaques over I saw they were labeled. All the Reds were A, the Oranges were B and so on. Then they were followed by numbers. 1001, 1002...1101 and so on."

"I arranged them by the labeling on the back. Flipped them over and and they seemed to be in order although some of them were so close together it was impossible to tell."

"I pushed the buzzer to call the interviewer back in" the Color Engineer said. "Not only did I nail the test but I set a new record for speed."


Our doors have locks. Use them.

Our intuition will give us advance warning of danger. Heed those warnings.

Our friends and families have skills and "excess goods" that we can use. Renew those bonds.

Our bodies, minds and souls need maintenance. Take care of yourself.

Some tools have a downside. Radios can be tracked even when you are not transmitting. Public domain knowledge algorithms can locate "Walkie-talkies" within 16 feet. It seems probable that private and military hardware can locate handhelds with at least that precision.

The "other side" is equally vulnerable when they rely excessively on those tools.

Proprietary software for battle-tracking may be vulnerable to hacking or it may be a Trojan horse. 

Situational awareness

Our Number One Tool is situational awareness.

Basic blocking-and-tackling wins games.

Sometimes the best action is to watch and bide our time.

Entropy never sleeps

We will win the entropy game. Rust, rot and depreciation never sleep.

Just as December, January and February are the three greatest generals in Russian history, Rust, Rot, Famine and Depreciation destroy incompetent political systems. Systems will fail. Bridges will fall down. Planes will crash. Roofs will leak. Electronics will short-out.

We can win by being patient...mostly.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The dog kettle


This is where the meat scraps went.

I am re-thinking feeding it to the dogs.

It smells pretty good....maybe if I added a few chili peppers.....

Need brass?

Prices and quantities are from screen-grabs November 22, 2020

Capital Cartridge of Houston, Texas (God Bless Texas) currently has much brass available.

They also buy brass if you have extra.

They have brass for handguns.

They have brass for high-volume rifle chamberings.

They have brass in smaller quantities for rifle chamberings that less frequently seen in semi-auto platforms.   ---Note...mostly wiped out at this time.

Reviews are uniformly positive. Shipping is fast. The only caution is that they do not sort .45 ACP by primer size. You get what you get.

Glass half full

 Mrs ERJ is our designated optimist.

She was reading The Epoch Times and snorted out-loud. "Well, that is mostly good news" she exclaimed.

"What is that?" I asked.

"The divorce rates are down across America" she replied. "Not something I expected with Covid and enforced isolation.

"What is the bad news?" I asked.

"Murder rates are up."

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Rashida Tlaib


Technically, Rashida Tlaib is a Caucasian and is as "White" as Vladimir Putin.

Funny, you never hear her groveling and begging forgiveness for her "White Privilege".

Home-made Pico de Farad


Extreme nerd humor.

My daughter hates me when I do this.

Meat recovery rate from the Michigan Unicorn

37 pounds boned meat, pressure canned

8 pounds back-straps to neighbor

5 pounds heart, liver and kidneys (dog kettle)

5 pounds meat-scraps, blood-shot meat (dog kettle)     Total recovered 55 pounds    

7 pounds meat (approximately) discarded before starting dog kettle

10 pounds Shanks and meat with much connective tissue, between ribs, etc  that was not recovered     Potentially usable but not recovered 17

10 pounds hide

10 pounds head

remainder Skeleton, hooves etc

The 45 pounds that went to human consumption was far below the 65-to-70 pounds I would have expected from taking it to a commercial processor.

One of the big differences is that the commercial processor would have taken many of the scraps that went to the dog kettle and were tossed and used it to make ground meat. The ground meat would have picked up another 4 pounds of suet in the process.

That is, about 35% of the total amount of "recoverable" meat on the carcass.

Good to know if food because as precious as  WWII Britain, the Siege of Leningrad or the Siege of Sarajevo.

Of interest to those who reload .38 Special


At 8:00 EST, Nov 21, 2020 Roze Distribution has 37 boxes of 500, swaged, 158 grain, 0.357 semi-wad cutter, hollow-point bullets for $51 a box. The price includes shipping.

This bullet is nearly identical to the ones used in The FBI Load for the .38 Special.

I cannot vouch for the BNH of the bullets but assume they are fairly soft. That is, that they are intended for the .38 Special and not .357 Magnum pressures and velocities.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Still alive

Still alive and living the dream.

We shifted our Friday "Mom" day a bit. Instead of 8-to-5 we cut back to 1-to-5.

I ran a canner load of venison in the pressure canner in the morning. Then the afternoon at Mom's.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Sighting in the .22 Project Gun


Hitting a wee-bit low at 7 yards

This is belated follow-up on a previous post

The problem was the stock. The rifle now wears a Magpul Hunter X-22 stock and a Simmons .22 Mag scope.

I rough-sighted in the rifle at 15 yards, then Belladonna and I made a trip to a private shooting range and we dialed the rifle in approximately 50 yards.

The first group of five were a solid 3.5 inches high and to the right. 3.5" at fifty is the equivalent of 7" at 100 yards. At 1/4" per click that would be 28 clicks to move the point-of-impact 3.5".

I moved it 14 clicks down and to the left.

As you can see the first adjustment did a fair job centering it but they were still quite high (Second group). That means the point-of-impact moved 1/2" per click for the horizontal and 1/4' per click for the vertical adjustment.

The second adjustment was a bit too much to the left but pretty promising for height (Third group).

I made a minor adjustment to move the group a touch to the right then loaded up  some magazines for Belladonna to burn through. My magazines are Biden/Harris compliant and hold the square-root of 13 (169 rounds).

This was about 15 minutes of range-time.

This is not "Benchrest" quality shooting but it is plenty good enough to put a rabbit into the stew-pot at 50 yards. The thirteen shots measure 3 inches from extreme-to-extreme.

What is very promising is that five of the shots were "head-of-squirrel" shooting. Not only a tight group but very close to the nail we were using for an aim-point.

The take-home

I know people who would be mortified to put less-than-perfect shooting like this where the public could see it. They strive for one-inch groups at a hundred yards...and they can do it consistently. They shoot off of a bench and many of them don't shoot when it is windy. They would be aghast to have their buddies see these kinds of groups.

I think this is a disservice to new shooters.

Pride is expensive. A weapon that is not sighted-in is at best a stage prop and at worst something that will kill and wound targets you don't intend to hit. Don't let pride or fear of being judged stop you from sighting-in a weapon to the best of your ability. If the only day you can make it to the range is windy, then go to the range and sight in your weapon.

As a practical guy I consider this .22 to be adequately sighted in. It is capable of killing animals up to 20 pounds out to seventy yards. In brushy areas or where the grass is tall you are unlikely to SEE animals that far out.

And if you are patient and take only head-shots or if you put a bullet(s) through an animal's thoracic cavity and you let it lie-down and give the target's lungs time to collapse, it can kill animals far larger than 20 pounds.



Just because your 23 year-old daughter cancels a date to help you track a deer and drag it out of the woods does not mean she will be happy after she finds out you used her lint-roller to remove deer hair from the carcass.

The Kid

The Kid's grandmother was diagnosed with Covid. He spent part of the weekend with her. He is under house-arrest until the tests come back.

I suspect it is just a matter of time before one or the other of us has Kung-flu.

Earlier, he expressed a desire to trap possum. If my understanding is correct, he wants to dye their hair vivid, fantastical shades and put collars on them...then release them back to their city environs.

The collars reads "Property of MSU Radiation Lab. DO NOT TOUCH!!! RADIOACTIVE!!! Call 517-335-7858"

Pressure canning

The tougher cuts are going through the pressure canner. I am canning half meat and half carrots to make it stew-base. Carrots always take the longest to cook so it sort of makes sense to pressure can them with the meat.


One of my neighbors got the back-straps. With sixty-degree days this is no time to be stingy.

I take Matt 25:44-45 to heart. Besides, that pressure canner turns connective tissue into flavor.


The neck shot hit the bottom of his cervical vertebrae.

There was no damage lower on the neck so I currently think the wound that shredded his liver hit a stick before hitting him. That is the only way I can visualize the gross damage to his abdomen wall. Well, that or hitting him with the bullet at 3300 fps but the bullet should have been moving about 1900 fps when it hit.

There are some things I will never know.

First impressions: .350 Legend vs. 12 Gauge

Pros for 12 Gauge: 

  • Ammo is everywhere
  • More versatile. Can shoot bunnies and birds on the move with shot
  • The slug makes a huge hole and usually leaves a blood-trail Stevie Wonder can follow 


  • Accuracy of 99% of the "platforms" chambered in 12 Gauge are severely limited in accuracy due to not-so-solid connection of barrel-to-receiver and horrible triggers
  • Recoil is intimidating
  • Reloading is slower
  • Most slugs in 12 Gauge don't penetrate exceptionally well
Pros for .350 Legend
  • Purpose-built platforms totally outclass 12 Gauge platforms for accuracy
  • Scope mounts are far more robust
  • Much less recoil
  • Much flatter trajectory out past 70 yards
  • Some offerings, like the 180gr Power Point, in .350 Legend penetrate exceptionally well and are suitable for hogs.


  • Blood trail is less than 12 gauge
  • Ammo availability can be a problem
  • Single purpose gun...designed to kill deer-sized animals in states that have severe limitations on rifles. There are better choices for rabbits and squirrels and moose and pigeons and for shooting targets out past 200 yards. And in states that are not highly restrictive you would probably be better off with a 7mm-08 or .260 Creedmore or .308 Winchester for deer.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

First blood for the .350 Legend

Looking south-southwest from the Taj


After the shot. I walked back to the cottage and called Belladonna. She cancelled her date and came out to help me drag the deer.

Gore alert.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Hunting update, electrical issues

I saw this marvel of electrical work looking out my window at a local, fast-food restaurant. The beaten path is to the trash dumpster.

The deer are still in the woods and not hanging from my pole.

The hunting lease grew beans this year. The farmer chisel-plowed shortly before opening day.

Corn to the north. Winter wheat to the south. Cover to the east.

A few deer are trickling across the property from the winter wheat to the corn, but most swing east through the heavy cover that is not on the lease.

I saw two yesterday but it was out of the corner of my eye. The one in back was not very large.

I am not adverse to shooting does. I just want them big enough to be worth the cost of the tag.

Cold legs

The temperature dropped quickly yesterday afternoon and my legs got cold.

I went back to the truck and got a sherpa-lined, flannel shirt and draped it over my legs. That made an incredible difference. I never appreciated how much heat I lose out of my legs when I am only wearing jeans.

I bought two pairs of insulated bib overalls. One pair are "work overalls" and the other are "skiing overalls". The work overalls were three times as expensive as the skiing ones and will probably last five times longer. So why by the skiing overalls? Because they pack smaller and are a good "truck" item.

My first trip to the store(s) did not net me usable overalls. The fitting rooms are closed.

The second trip to the store(s) had me swap into different sizes. Mrs ERJ encouraged me to go back and make the exchanges while I still knew why they didn't fit and while I could still find the receipts.

Bathroom fan

I installed a new bathroom vent fan today. The old one squealed like a pig.

There are complications.

The original installation was in 1975ish and the house was wired by Billy-bobs.

The old fan had two 2X+ground, 12 gauge wires going into it. The timer receptacle looks like this.

I dropped the breaker, cut the wires and stripped the insulation from a bit of the ends. Turned the breaker back on and turned on the timer. Then I checked for power and found the hot-leads.

Clearly, I missed something because when I put it all back together the fan kept running regardless of what the timer was set at.

In retrospect, one of the wires on the "hot" bundle was attached to one of the wires on the "dead" bundle and then the other wire in the "dead" bundle was attached to one of the leads in the fan.

The goofy thing is that the space inside the fan-body for attaching wires is not very large. I will need to add another electrical box if I am going to stay compliant with the NEC.

I will attack that in the morning. As Scarlet said, "Tomorrow is another day."

Bonus picture

You can see where the insulation on this wire "crept" away due to being pinched. Depending on which leg the original "electricians" used (hot or neutral/return), this could have caused shorts and blown breakers.

Since I don't want to rip the box out of the wall and re-drywall I will probably use a simple on-off, toggle switch rather than a timer. The on-off switches don't use nearly as much volume as the timer.

Math Illiterate Journalists


Headlines from HERE

The article implies that the THC levels are 14% higher than they were in 1970. Does anybody read those headlines any differently?

Graphic from the research that was referenced in the article.

THC levels bounced around 1% in the 1970s. Now they are around 14%. That is 14 TIMES higher, not 14%. Expressed as a percent, it would be 1300% higher.

And these are the "educated" elites who are telling everybody there was no election fraud.

Fine Art Tuesday


Alexandre Cabanel: Rebecca and Eliezer 1883

Ary Scheffer Marguerite at the Fountain 1852

Léon Augustin Lhermitte At the Fountain

The theme of today's Fine Art Tuesday are women at wells.

Collecting water was generally considered a "domestic" chore and it fell on the women to get water at the well.

It was an unpleasant task. Not only is water heavy, but the containers were too. Water spilling made clothing cold, clingy and heavy. Look at the women in the background of the first image staggering under the weight.

Consequently, as soon as a mother had a daughter old enough to physically handle the work, she sent the daughter to collect the water.

Suppose you were a gentleman who was new in town and wanted to assess the prospects for finding a bride; where would you go? Or, suppose you have a sweetheart whose family keeps a close eye on her; where would you be guaranteed to run into her first thing in the morning?

At the well or fountain where the community collects their water.

In literature, water is often used as a surrogate for "rebirth". 

This meaning certainly pre-dates Christianity. In the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), Naaman is cured of leprosy by plunging into the Jordan at Elisha's direction. To have leprosy in those days was to be one of the walking-dead.

This theme is not exclusive to the Judeo-Christian tradition. Both Hindus and Buddists believe that swimming in the Ganges river results in the remission of sins.

But even before that, as hunter-gatherers, tribes would look across the desert and arid plains and see rain clouds. They would follow the rains because the rain brought the land to life. In the case of the Hindu and Buddists, those religions evolved in a land shaped by monsoons. A missed monsoon season resulted in famine and death.

In summary, young women and young men meeting at the village well has a deep-seated meaning that is not readily apparent to us in our culture.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Views from the deer blind


Specialization is for Insects

This post won't tell you anything you don't already know.

One way that Progressives reward their loyal minions is to create jobs and carve-outs for them.

Those jobs are typically light on actual duties so the minion can act as spear-carriers during elections and break legs afterward.

The minions are hidden by sprinkling them into many different functions and the jobs are justified by giving them veto power or signatory authority.

Seen through the lens of "Robust processes", or "Constraint Theory", this system is the worst of all possible worlds.

Problem One: Selection process

The minion only has expertise in one thing: Making their political masters happy. They rarely have deep understanding of the organization they have been seeded into. That means they have next to zero understanding of the costs they incur or the damage they can do. They do not consider that a problem because they only have loyalty to their masters.

Problem Two: Sprinkle

Sprinkling is an issue because regression-to-the-mean arguments inform us that small departments are more likely to have large swings in percentage of absenteeism. 

Many, small departments are far more likely to have at least one of them incapacitated than fewer, larger departments with the ability to flow people internally.

Problem Three: Veto power

There are two kinds of generic processes. One is "Default-go" and the other is "Default-stop".

Imagine a gate that is sized to let the proper sized boxes pass through but to stop the oversized ones. That is a Default-go process.

Now imagine a gate where the undersized boxes are allowed to pass through and the proper sized boxes are stopped. This is a Default-stop process.

The throughput of the entire warehouse/factory eventually comes crashing to a halt if the operator for the Default-stop process is missing.

The political stooges larded into Progressive organizations and some labor unions are often given Default-stop jobs to justify their authority and importance.

The "sprinkle" means that there are countless gates in every organization where any of these stooges can hamstring the organization.

In old-school Union shops, jobs are splintered into hundreds of non-interchangeable specialties. That makes it impossible to flow people to from areas that are less hammered for absenteeism into areas that are strangled for want of workers.

The good news

Given time, organizations and individuals develop alternative paths to bypass the stooges.

The bad news

If Trump does not prevail in his court challenges, Biden promises to vastly increase regulation which is Default-stop.

Biden promises to be favorable to "Labor" which will promote job splintering.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Pro-tip of the day



While researching lube for cast bullets, I was reminded that the wax rings used to seal toilets to the soil pipe have many uses.

For example, winter is coming and people who are vulnerable to chapped lips often spend big money for chapstick.

The material in toilet bowl rings is virtually the same material and is even more effective and far more cost effective.

Of course, some people insist on using NEW toilet bowl rings for their home-made chapstick. That is both more expensive and less of a deterrent to licking one's lips.

Deer hunting after-action-report

No pictures.

The rain was coming down sideways. Lightening was flashing every 45 seconds. We were wet because the rain was coming through the gun-ports.

If we were hungry, we would have stayed out. We were not hungry.

Belladonna and I threw in the towel at 10 AM. We saw four antlerless deer.

Driving out before sunrise Bella saw 16, including a nice buck bedded down about thirty feet from the road.

Winds predicted to be 15mph tomorrow morning.


One of our hunting party works in healthcare.

He works for one of the large, corporate healthcare providers. He said they are getting hammered with absenteeism. And since the call-ins are Covid they anticipate an average of 14 days before the workers come back. The capacity issues they have/anticipate are related to absenteeism.

In a way, you would expect healthcare workers to be on the front-end of the wave. Sick people go to doctors and hospitals and drugstores. There are lots of virus and germs swimming in hospital air.

Systems resilience

It is hard to run a hospital when any one function gets monkey-hammered by illness. Because of regression-to-the-mean effects, systems are more vulnerable in their smaller departments than their larger ones. Can you run a hospital without food-services? Food-services is not a huge department and it is easy to overlook. There are hosts of small, specialized functions in a hospital.

Robert Heinlein once wrote "Specialization is for insects." Specialization makes systems fragile when people cannot flow into different jobs to meet needs.

About a decade ago Lansing had an ice storm and power was out for a week in several neighborhoods. The Lansing Board of Water and Light's response was reviewed by outside auditors and one of their findings was that internal labor rules hamstrung the response.

One specific "rule" was that LBW&L required TWO spotters for electrical workers. The national standard is ONE spotter when working near a road.

LBW&L established the rule because they had to justify the number of workers on payroll. They had beefed up exactly for emergencies like the one they screwed up. Since they had so many workers, they created rules to "utilize" them.

Then, when the emergency happened, they had qualified electricians directing traffic. If they had the insight and agility, they could have dropped back to the national standards and increased the number of crews by fifty percent.

Food security

I like to eat. My recent foray into farm economics suggests that farmers are likely to keep churning out grain as long as nobody hacks the proprietary software on the equipment.

But there are boatloads of other players in the value-adding-chain between the farmer's field and the moment the consumer slides a forkful of food into their mouths.

Some parts of the chain are agile and will shift smoothly. If the XYZ Cereal Company can make and ship more tons of breakfast food cereal per employee by running just shredded wheat, then they will make more shredded wheat. Consumers will buy it if it is the only cereal on the shelf.

Other parts are more fragile. What happens if/when all of the Federal inspectors in meat packing plants call in sick? The answer is that they will shut down and a price shock will echo through the supply chain.

Opening day

Opening day of Michigan firearm deer season.

It is going to be a wet, windy one. Winds up to 25 by mid-afternoon. Gusts of twice that.

In light of the Covid restrictions on restaurants, Sloppy-Joes will be served on a serve yourself basis, come-when-you-will.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

The joys of reloading



Today was the day we raked Mom's yard.

I learned that one of my nieces has a "Lady Smith" and cannot find ammo.

I had enough odds-and-ends sitting around that I could help her out.

3.3 grains of Titegroup is near the low-end of what Hodgdon recommends. I have seen grown men shooting snubbies with hot loads and it was clearly an unpleasant adventure.

My gut feel is that my niece is best served with a load that she can control and she will practice with. It is better to hit the goblin with 2-or-3 mild loads than to miss him with all five hot loads.

Trapping Red Squirrels


One corner of my lot is near a neighbor who might object to my shooting Red Squirrels. Unfortunately, that corner is filled with Black Walnut and infested with Red Squirrels.

One of my friends suggested a variation on the water-in-bucket trap. In its simplest form, it involves floating unshelled sunflower seeds or peanuts on top of about 8" of water in a smooth-sided, plastic bucket. They go in and cannot jump out.

I am going to run a slight variation on that idea.

The bucket will get plastic packing peanuts and I will run it a few days with bait but no water. I may even place a stick so they can easily climb out.

Then, I put out several of traps with water, packing peanuts and a floating, foam cup partially filled with the oily seeds squirrels love. But no stick.

After-action-report in about a week.