Thursday, November 16, 2023

Random observations

I parked near an old foundation when I was hunting yesterday. The owner started building and then contacted the county for a permit. The county took a dim view of the liberties he took (no perkable land for a drainfield, for instance) and refused to issue the permit until he presented documentation that he had permission to pump his septic to a perkable site or had installed a suitable mound above grade-level.

The builder abandoned the site.

Next to the abandoned, three-hole, 8" cinderblock foundation is a Bitternut Hickory tree, Carya cordifomis. It looks like it was a banner year for production.

I saw three red squirrels playing on the foundation. It got me to thinking that the perforations in the cinderblocks might have been acceptable to the squirrels for cacheing mast. That is something to think about. Concrete blocks are not that expensive and are easy to find.


Hope is the antidote to fear.

While I was in the deer blind I noticed that I had left a Bible in it. The year had not been kind to it. Paper, moisture, time....

I asked Belladonna if there was such a thing as "weatherproof Bibles"?

Funny thing, if you ask the right questions, you get interesting answers.

Waterproof Bibles, printed on polymer pages. Sorted by Customer Reviews.

They aren't cheap unless you amortize them by the number of minutes of counseling $60 can buy.

Battered and beaten (and then deep-fat fried with hush-puppies)

Between the dead-lifting program, isometrics in the deer-blind to forestall hypothermia and life in general, I feel battered and beaten.

MTV, one of my high-school friends, informed me that you have to lean into the soreness. Most people stop and wait for the soreness to go away. Bad decision.

It never will. If you are not sore from working out then you will be sore from not-working-out.

You can either be sore due to reasons you can identify and have the solace of imagining that the shoulders of your shirts are getting tight. Or you can roll over and die with a whimper-and-whine before your time.

I tried to do some lifting during Quicksilver's outdoor time. I was able to get four reps in before she disappeared from sight. Once I got in six reps but I was going too fast to have good form.

I don't know how many reps/sets I got in but I was able to squeeze in two honest sets of ten reps later in the day. 

And this too will pass.


Handsome Hombre's work trip was extended and his return has been delayed until early next week.

Mrs ERJ is still on track to return late this weekend but due to the timing of the flights she will be jet-lagged and need time to recover.

And this too will pass.


I installed a sensor at the end of our driveway to inform me of when HH pulled in to drop off QS.

It went off multiple times in quick succession in the wee-hours and I was curious as to what manner of beast or spirit was traversing our driveway. So I purchased a cheap ($40) trail-cam.

It is a cat with a tail striped like a raccoon.

Who could have guessed?


I have a brother who used to be a fire-fighter. At some point in his career he was assigned a specialty. Every fire-fighter wants to specialize in extrication because it is the glamor specialty. Unfortunately, my brother drew one of the short straws and got Toxic Spills.

He informed me that at least nine-times-out-of-ten the correct decision is to tell residents to shelter-in-place. Usually, they will be told to seal their windows-and-doors to the best of their abilities and to relocate to the highest floor in their domiciles. He also said they will be told to turn off their clothes drier (which actively pulls in outside-air) and switch off their furnace.

It is a very hard pill for most Americans to swallow, to hunker down and let ventilation, sunshine and biological agents to detoxify the environment. We are conditioned to DO SOMETHING, to DO ANYTHING!!!

Sheltering in place is pretty much the order of the day for nuclear fallout. Stuff plastic grocery bags into air-leaks around your windows (butter knives and pizza cutters work a treat on this job), fill all of your empty containers with water (you are likely to lose pressure) and depending on the nature of the detonation, either camp-out on the second floor of your house or in your basement with as much concrete between you and the ambient environment as you can manage.

People in high-rises are actually in pretty good shape (as long as their city was not the target). Particulate and water-soluble radio-active isotopes will be mostly at ground level. The danger will be in people going nuts and the urge to evacuate and thereby expose one's self to said dangerous people.

If you are one of "those" people who likes to be prepared, then have a plan to hermetically seal your house (duct tape, plastic and so-on) AND landscape the area +6' from your foundations to aggressively kick any rain run-off away from your house. Many of the elements that a designer of a dirty-bomb might salt the device with produce to produce biologically active, radio-active compounds  are water soluble (sulfur and phosphorous and iodine). 

Storm-tracks are moderately predictable at certain times of the year. From one perspective it makes sense to use that tracking information to deliver the fallout. For example, tropical storms tend to track up the eastern US coast in September and October. If this were a game of Clue, I would bet on dirty-bomb in Del-Mar-Va or No-Fulk, Va in October in a hollowed-out pallet of gypsum-board in a CONEX container from Algeria.

Slug Guns

My nephew has a very fine, 20 gauge shotgun with rifled barrel. It is his primary deer hunting gun.

With the recent changes in Michigan firearm hunting regulations, it is a dinosaur. He had a hard time finding ammo.

I COULD help him reload a life-time supply of ammo. Or, since it is an NEF single-shot, help him find a 45-70 barrel for it.

The 45-70 case is too long to qualify under Michigan regulations but the brass can be trimmed back to 1.75" and to qualify. If push came to shove, the .45-70 could be reloaded with home-made blackpowder, slugs cast from sinkers and wheel-weights and lubricated with lard.

For a little bit more money, he can purchase a Savage Axis or Mossberg Patriot in .450 Bushmaster or .350 Legend.

For a bit less money he can buy an insert and change his 20 gauge into a .44 Rem or .357 Magnum.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.


  1. In a post nuclear situation inhabiting the second floor of a house is a BAD idea. It puts you closer to the roof where radioactive fallout can settle. And a most fallout emits gamma radiation which can sail through the roof like it wasn't there and into you. The best place is as far as possible from the roof and exterior walls as you can get. Dirt and concrete are your best protection but distance also helps. The inverse square law applies. Double the distance from the source and quarter the dose. Basements are ideal when possible. Filtering out dust from outside is recommended also to keep from contamination and inhalation/ingestion of fallout. NOW is the time to prepare, acquire the needed supplies and educate yourself. Once the mushrooms sprout you won't have the time.

    1. True story with regard to gamma rays.

      Many homes have "stealth" air-leaks. Placing a small radio by a wall and then going outside is a decent way to detect them. In addition to the drier vent, some homes have outlets for a central-vac system. And then there is the chimney and the air intake for your high-efficiency furnace.

    2. Gamma rays are EMF. They penetrate solid material and maintain enough energy to cause cell damage. Fall out is dust and other particulate matter. It can be a carrier of alpha, beta or gamma emitters . The dangerous part is inhaling and ingesting fallout. Alpha and beta radiation is essentially harmless outside the body. Ingesting or inhaling it however makes it very lethal.

  2. My last three deer (two Van Buren county, one Montmorency county MI) were taken with an H&R single in .357.
    Its chamber is .357 maximum, but I used .357 mag 158 grain semi jacketed flat nose (my preferred defensive handgun load).
    125 lb buck at 50 yds. Both 100 (field dressed) does at 100/110 yds.
    All dropped immediately.
    Ammo is reasonably easy to find, easy to reload, and plenty accurate and powerful.
    It is my first choice for lower MI.

    1. Those counties are notorious for big-bodied deer.

  3. Get the Savage or Mossy and be done with it.

  4. 20 gauge slugs are available, but aren't cheap. I've got a similar item and recently got more Hornady sabor slugs for it - they aren't cheap but he won't need many and they reach out further than regular lead slugs.

  5. Boy, I feel useful today!
    Used to work in the print-biz, that plastic paper ain't cheap.... but yes, weather and tear proof, good stuff.
    Live near Oak Ridge, TN, looked into buying a house on dogwood valley road a number of years ago, 1 story with walk-out basement. 2 of the basement walls were 24" thick poured concrete, custom job by the guy who built the house. He used to work at the lab in Oak Ridge. Guess which sides of the house those 2 walls were on?!
    I recently scored a cache of 20ga slugs at Rural King. Worth looking around and loading up. Commercial ammo is being produced, just not filtering down to your friend.

  6. I agree with MTV. I give it about 24 hours after soreness shows up before I give it a slow stretch, than a walk over a mile, then a light work out. Doesn't remove soreness entirely, but it does remove quite a bit of it.

    Between 45/70 Govt - .44 Magnum - .357 Magnum cartridges, I believe the last one is the most versatile and easy to find for less $$$. I would probably hold me longest shots to 75 yards until extensive test shooting with the insert barrel is proven.

    I have an 18" Ace Dube (MCA Sports) insert for my Savage 24C in 30/30 Winchester. I haven't killed anything with it yet but the insert barrel w/ factory irons and Remington green yellow 150 grain SP produces coffee cup sized groups at that mentioned 75 yard range. Should work fine.

    That Savage serves as my 'back-up' deer rifle, in case I forget my ammunition for my primary deer rifle or other reason.


  7. A Marlin 1894C in .357 mag was my go to hunting rifle in the hills of VT. Buffalo Bore makes some fine ammunition for hunting, and the .38 special/ .357 capability makes the rifle very versatile.

  8. ERJ, the soreness thing is exactly as your friend expressed it. Joint soreness is one thing and may indicate potential damage; muscle soreness is the training doing its thing.

  9. "It is a very hard pill for most Americans to swallow, to hunker down and let ventilation, sunshine and biological agents to detoxify the environment."

    What you are really doing is allowing 'dilution is the solution to pollution' to take place. It takes years or decades for sunlight and oxygen or bacteria to breakdown most organic toxic pollutants. However, most such toxics are high vapor pressure and will evaporate and drift away in an ever diminishing concentrated cloud. Or with enough rainfall will go into solution and flow away. Eventually, sunlight, oxygen, and bacteria will do their thing when the stuff is dilute and dispersed enough.

  10. A few more solutions--

  11. I do have a "plan" for using my basement as a fall out shelter. The effectiveness will depend on a ground strike or an airburst.......

    1. If memory serves, you are an hour by interstate upwind of Chicago. I am four hours by interstate in the downwind direction.

      I think you will be OK.

    2. I'm actually about 40 miles west of Chicago.
      Worst case scenario that I'm toast with either an airburst or ground strike with Tsar Bomba 100mt. (probably not too many of those around today though)
      Best case, China's Dong 5, I'm pretty safe if there was only a strike on Chicago.
      Illinois and the midwest have a number of possible targets that could lead to lots of fallout......
      All depends on who does what and when...........

    3. The big targets in Chicago are the Class I rail switching yards. I believe there are three of them.

      In your case, the possible inaccuracy of the devices may be a player. If I were Russia, I would mail ten of them hoping one would hit where I wanted it to.

      Sucks to be collateral damages.

  12. is your friend. There are plenty of 20 slugs out there. and both have them and are reputable outfits that I've done lots of business with.

  13. most barrel inserts won't hold a decen tzero.

    1. Epoxy can be your friend.

      That said, the last firearm that will be "legal" if the gun-grabbers have their way will be single-shot, shotguns. It might be worth hanging onto as a go-to-hell insurance plan.

    2. You can improve that zero with a consistent position of your barrel insert. Scratch a small mark on face of chamber, then fire a pair of shots. Remove insert, rotate 1/4 turn and push back in. Fire two shots. Remove - rotate - push in. Fire for effect.

      You will probably notice a position which demonstrates better accuracy. Mark insert with scratch pointing 12 o' clock. Now your insert is tuned in. Should have better accuracy.



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