One of my side projects has been to teach a fellow who attends the same church I do to reload ammo.
Between his schedule and my schedule we meet about once a week. My reloading rig is mounted to a 2X10" plank for transportability. It has been clamped to his work bench for the last three weeks.
Today we primed up his .270 Needlenose Deer-ionizer brass and dropped the starting load of Winchester StaBALL 6.5 powder into one.
He has a short shooting range outside his garage. He teed-up and dropped the hammer. Yup. The round cycled fine and the recoil was well within his tolerance level.
The brass and the primer looked fine.
"Want to add a little pepper to the load?" I asked.
"I didn't get a .270 Needlenose Deerionizer to shoot slow loads" he informed me.
We added a little bit of powder but were still well below the max load. He teed-up and the rifle went "CLICK". CLICK can be the loudest sound in the world.
There was a good firing pin mark in the primer. I told my buddy we had to pull the primers from the other 98 cases and I had to find a different lot of primers.
"Really? Can't we just load them up?" he asked.
"Would you be comfortable taking them out-West on a $1500 hunting trip if you knew that they had a more-than-1% failure rate?" I asked.
"Well, no" he said.
"Then we change them out. Even if you just shoot your reloads at the shooting range" I said. " 'cause you never know when a reload might sneak into your hunting ammo"....not to mention self-defense ammo.
I was moping and Mrs ERJ asked me what happened. I explained about the dud primer. She said it could been worse and brought up the "trophy of a lifetime" scenario.
"Yeah...it could have been worse" I agreed. I did not mention the 700 rounds of ammo I had already reloaded with that lot of primers. The upside is that I now have a great reason to shoot those 700 rounds, if only to empty the brass and refill with components I have more confidence in.
The survival rate of fruit trees planted at the deer lease has not been stellar.
We had 10-of-60 croak in one planting. I replanted those today. We had a piss-poor 13-of-28 croak in another planting. I am still thinking on that one.
The 13-of-28 is in the middle of the property. The other plantings are on a corner of the lease and deer can skip in and skip out without presenting any of our hunters with a shot. I will be scrounging around my property looking for trees to plug into the 13 "blank" spots.
Mrs ERJ is our designated optimist. She pointed out that 15 fruit trees is a darned sight better than zero fruit trees. I have to agree with her on this. Fifteen apple and pear trees dropping fruit during deer season is going to pull far more deer in front of our shooters than zero fruit trees.
Other stuff in the ground
One of my readers, Lucas Machias, hails from Nova Scotia. He seems to have an incredible number of resources.
|This tree was carried back to Michigan as a seedling in a coffee can in 1949. My math suggests that it has survived 70 Michigan winters.|
Lucas pointed out to me that there are Giant Sequoia growing in Manistee, Michigan. This is not a tiny tree!
Well, I just had to try some in Eaton Rapids so I bought 5 seedlings. Obviously it would have been better if I could have scored some seedlings (or rooted cuttings) from trees on the northern end of their range but I got what I could find.
I also planted some Cornelian Cherries which are actually a kind of dogwood and a couple of Douglas Hawthorn which has a highly discontinuous range. Most Douglas Hawthorn grow in Oregon and Washington state with a small population in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Hope springs eternal.