Friday, December 28, 2012

On Target

Quite a few months ago, my youngest, Brandi, said she wanted to go to a shooting range and shoot a handgun.  I pretty much committed right then and there.  I want my girls to not be afraid of guns.  To be able to competently and safely handle and shoot them and to be good at it. 

So, finally we both had some time to head over to the local indoor shooting range and a lot of other people had the same idea.

We stood in line and signed up for a range position, filled out our little form and handed over our driver licenses.  It wasn't too long before our names were called.  We asked for a 22 auto, but there were none available.  I oped for the 380.  (I think it was a Ruger, but IDK), and we headed to our shooting position.

We had a good time shooting 50 rounds into a target at 25 feet. 

Both of us enjoyed ourselves immensely for about fifty bucks and I really can't wait until the next time she wants to go.

Here is our target...   She needs to steady herself some, but she did pretty good.  I need to bring my groups up a bit.  (my targets are the three lower ones)

It was a pretty fun time.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


I have said it many times, that my superpower is that I cook by instinct.  I feel my way through a recipe, tasting and smelling as I concoct my meals.  Sometimes doing justice to the foodstuffs I handle, sometimes coming short.  I use the shortcomings as a lesson to improve.  I revel in the successes and enjoy the meal with those I love.

Today we make the Christmas dinner.  I wanted to do a turkey again.  Thanksgiving's turkey was haphazard and unruly.  It tasted good in the end and was quite juicy, but I felt there were too many cooks in the kitchen for that bird.  We had a few fits and starts that called for some adjustment, but in the end, we had good fowl.

I realized as I read the instructions that come with the bird that I also cook with tradition.  I do the things my Mother did and I carry on her legacy.  The instructions say no water in the pan, but that is what I make the gravy from.  I baste every so often and I always cook a stuffed bird.  There is more that I do based on what my Mother did and I never have gone wrong following her lead.

Tonight's dinner is looking to be as tasty as ever.  I can't wait to dig in...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Simple Woodcraft - A Sense of Calm

Simple Woodcraft
By Joe Harold
Let's take a little hike:

As I enter the woods, a sense of calm washes over me.  My breathing slows.  My senses become more acute.  I can smell the leaves of the forest floor, the pitch of the neaby pine.  Any bit of movement is caught by my eye, be it a falling leaf, the swish of a grey squirrel's tail or the flash of a crows shiny black wings as it alights from its perch.  I can feel the breeze as it races across the field and filters into the woods.  Every chirp and song of the residents of these woods registers in my mind.  Robin, Blue Jay, Hawk.  I am a visitor here, but I am truly at home when I enter my woods.

I live in suburbia.  The woods I hang out in are a very small tract with houses and roads all around.  It is the remnant of a large farm that covered hundreds of acres back at the beginning of the last century.  The family that settled this farm have grown old and their children and grand children have all moved away.  Most of the acreage has been developed.  Large houses now stand where prize cantaloupes and Gladiolas were once grown.  These woods and a few fallow fields are all that remain of that once proud farm.  The woods at one time had been field so the trees are not very old.  A mixture of oak, pine, hickory, tulip poplar, holly and sassafras now grow here.  At the edge of the woods, where some older houses are, stand large oak trees that once marked the boundary.  They now beacon me into their depths.

I enter happily.

Ginger, my Golder Doodle is my constant companion in these woods.  She loves these woods and the freedom she is given to roam here.  We walk the trails for a bit and head to my personal space.  I'll make a fire while she chews on a deer bone she found along one of the paths.  She always faces down the trail, hoping to see her friends Prince and Hawk so she can play for a while.  Her favorite game is stick keep-away.  The field and the trails and all  in between are her playground. 

I consider myself the Steward of this small piece of woods.  I pick up the trash the careless bike riders leave behind and take care of the trails.  My sense of calm keeps me happy.

Feeling "at home" in the woods, no matter how large the tract stretches is key to having the proper state of mind.  If you are constantly fearful of the nasties, complaining about the weather, running from the bugs, starting at every sound in the dark, your survivability is suspect.  Try to not be that "visitor".  Try to accept all that you find there.  Make it work for you.  Try to find that Sense of Calm.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Back to the Steeler Bar

Today the game isn't on tv so we are heading to the local bar to watch. It's just like walking into a bar in the Burgh.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Annual Tradition

Today we headed out to Tridelphia Reservoir where there is a Christmas tree farm that we have been finding our tree for quite a few years now.  It was actually very pleasant out there, with temperatures in the 60s.

We crossed the road and headed up the hillside and before log we found a nice Douglas Fir.  We cut it down and headed back to the main sales area.

We always get a few hot dogs and when it is cold, some hot chocolate.  Ginger seems to have a great time.

Driving home I always had to check my shadow to the side to make sure we didn't lose the tree like we did one time when we first moved to the area.  Now I have a special purpose rooftop tree monitor window.

On the way home the tradition continues that we have to turn the radio to the all Christmas carol station and we watch Shauni work herself up into her Holiday mood.  It has always been a pretty good time.

The tree needed a little shortening once we got it home, but it smells great and looks pretty good.

I started the morning off with putting up the outside lights and tomorrow I will put the lights on the tree.  The rest of the decorating is up to the girls.

It's sometimes hard for me to work myself up into the Christmas mood, but I usually get there after a while.  With my mother passing around this time last year, it will now be a melancholy time for me I'm betting.

The final product.

Happy Yule

Friday, December 7, 2012

Washington Monument Day Hike

Note: I started this entry back on Aug 26th as a place holder for a nice little day hike that Lisa, Ginger and I went on along the AT.  I was checking my post list and saw it and thought I better write it up before it fades much more than it has.

On August 24th Lisa, Ginger and I headed down Rt 70 to the AT Trail head where the trail crosses the highway.  It is a quick and pleasant hour and ten minute drive to the parking lot and the closes point for me to reach my obsession.  We had small packs with water, lunch and rain gear.

The day was rather pleasant.  Not too hot with a mostly overcast sky and a threat of rain later in the day.  We headed down the blue blazed trail towards the AT and started our hike.  We quickly crossed Rt 70 and headed through a small neighborhood.

The trail soon headed up into the woods and climbed up the ridge.  This is a really pleasant hike.  About 3 miles to the Washington Monument (our basic destination for the day) and is easy for children and pets to do.  We saw a few other hikers as we traveled along and had short chats or hellos with each.  

Before too long we reached the monument and took a few pictures.  It was still pretty nice, but you could see the clouds building from the south.  We ate a snack and walked down to the parking lot and refilled our water at a convenient pump near the trail.  

This is a view from in front of the monument.  It looks towards the NW towards Hagerstown and into PA.  

As we hiked back, the sky grew dark and before long we were in the middle of a down pour.  We tried to keep pushing to get to the car but as the chill of this late summer rain storm started working its way into my bones I stopped and dug out my poncho and urged Lisa to do the same.  Ginger just looked at us in her sopping coat and continued on.  It wasn't very long before we were back to the car.  We peeled off our wet shirts and dried Ginger as best we could with a towel we had.  She enjoyed a nice nap as we headed home after a nice hike on the Appalachian Trail; my obsession...

Monday, December 3, 2012

25 Days of WANT

I have started my countdown to Christmas by wishing for a new thing each day and posting it on my Face Book wall along with a convenient link to some site that sells it. 

I don't think I will get any of these things, except one or two, but a guy can wish. 

So far I have asked for a Camo Terrible Towel, a Samsung Galaxy Tablet and a ultralight down jacket.  I have plenty more to wish for before the guy in the red suit comes to town.

This is my selfish way to counter all the "Thankful" posts I had to read all last month.  Fun.