Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crack... Bonk

As referenced yesterday, today I had the astounding good fortune to be the guest of one of the members of the Turtle Lake Club in Michigan, my grandmother's cousin (who for convenience sake I shall call my uncle). The day started out with a truly spectacular sunrise, with nice low cirrus clouds to give it some real fire. Packed up the Mosins and my fishing gear into my uncle's car, and drove for an hour twenty to get to the lodge.

Toast is one of those weird things that can be bad, but never seems to have the other side of the bell curve. Yet, somehow, the toast at breakfast was far tastier than any other toast I have ever had, and a fair sight better than most french toasts. Despite the absolute jaw-dropping nature of the club, I still noticed the toast.

The club is, in the most literal, true sense of the word, awesome. I had, throughout the entire day, a feeling of awe. The club has between 24000 and 26000 acres, depending on who you ask, and those acres are the most beautiful, healthy forests i may have ever seen. For all that it is a hunting club, the deer and other wildlife are visible, healthy, and plentiful. I was impressed.

Once dad and I managed to pluck our jaws out of our shoes, we took a looong drive out to the thousand yard range. Dad and I started on the Mosins at 100 yards. My uncle decided that iron sight accuracy was simply insufficient, and so brought out his Sako .308 with Nightforce Scope and proceeded to show that it is indeed worth its $7500 price tag. Dad and I took turns with the rifle, ringing plates at 300, 400, 500, 700, and finally, 1000 yards. Both dad and I managed to put shots onto a 2'x2' plate at over half a mile, which I found satisfactory. And exhilarating.

After the shooting finished, I got a chance to see just how far these shots were. I had to go out and paint the plates out to the 700. (The thousand was inaccessible due to a marsh.) Walking out there, I couldn't avoid stepping in deer tracks. I also came across two sets of bear tracks and what looked like bobcat. Passing the 400 mark, the thousand target still seemed rather farther away than was reasonable. By the time I got to the 700, I couldn't understand a word my dad said as he was trying to talk to me.

Having policed the range and gotten everything back together, we drove around the property for a while before coming to the short range, which only goes out to 300 yards. (Only being a very relative thing.) My uncle fetched out his crossbow, which provided an entertaining few minutes, before Dad and I started running a few pistol drills. Turns out we both are relatively good at it.

Having a few minutes before lunch, we headed out on the lake, with the understanding that we would only have about 20 minutes of fishing. Despite the time strangulation, I managed to catch three decent bass. In a typically irritating moment, my first cast resulted in a beautiful birds nest (I'm still getting used to my baitcast,) which was complicated slightly by a bass on the end of the line. Both dad and I caught bass on the first cast. Back in the boathouse I caught a mess of panfish just dipping my lure in the water, as well as a nice rock bass.

Lunch was quite tasty, though I was impatient to get back on the lake.

Heading back out, I caught another four bass, including a 16-17 inch smallmouth. Dad caught the biggest fish of the day, an almost 18 inch largemouth. At the end of the day, we had 4 15"+ fish in the live well for my uncle's upcoming game dinner. We only fished for a grand total of about an hour and a half.

It was actually very useful for me to be able to catch fish like that. I rarely get the chance to fish on good lakes, so I have never been sure what lures, presentations, and styles are most effective. I got the chance there to experiment with different retrieves and lures, and really nail down a better technique. Case in point, this morning (now two days after I started writing this post) I managed to get a fairly vigorous strike on Burt Lake where I am staying, which is highly unusual, as it has been fished too heavily. I also managed to catch two monsters, being probably the two largest crawdads I have ever seen.

I need to find more places I can fish like that. I need to find a good range. I need a nice, accurate rifle.


While I'm at it, can I have a unicorn too?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


1000 yard range, Mosin Nagants and a Sako. Followed by fishing on a stocked sport lake. I am unbelievably psyched. Tomorrow is likely to be good. Pictures and things may come after, but life tends to be full up here. Posting still to be intermittent.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vacation Hiatus

I am out of town for a couple weeks. Posting will be light if existent.

Friday, July 22, 2011

4th thoughts... Finally.

I knew I'd get around to this eventually. I had a bit of an outbreak of life I had to attend to.
This past 4th of July I had a few thoughts rattling around in my head. In no particular order,

1 Independence day is a Right-Wing holiday now? If the left doesn't want it, fine, but it makes me think we ought to just do away with them. The only problem is that I don't want to secede, I want all of them to.

2 The manner in which we celebrate the 4th seems to fit a victory. Explosions, barbecues, and booze are what you do after the war is over. The 4th is certainly worthy of celebration, but I always see it as something more of a somber holiday, more in line with memorial day. This country hasn't come free. To me, the celebration should include a dose of seriousness commensurate with what the holiday really means

3 Go read the Declaration of Independence. I'll wait.

4 Done? How many of the grievances strike a chord with modern US Government? My first read through, this jumped out at me "He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance." Sound familiar?

5 For all its failings, this country is still good. I have faith, while not in the US Government, but in the American People. The obvious and loud assail that faith with remarkable tenacity, but at its core i think this country can still be great.

6 That greatness will not come from the Federal Government

It is all too easy today to lose faith in this country. I keep doing it accidentally. I keep getting it back somehow.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Busy weeks

I've been meaning to post more about 4th of July stuff, which will come in due course, but real life caught up with me for a while. Today was my Eagle Scout Court of Honor, and there were enough last minute tasks to put a damper on posting. Thoughts on the 4th, AAR for the range time, and thoughts on Scouting will all appear soon.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The 4th

Happy Birthday, USA. 235 years and still ticking. Few thoughts to go up later. For now, I feel like doing something American.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Celebrating the 4th

Tomorrow, (or today rather, is that really the time?) the choice of activities seems to be two freedom loving, capitalistic activities befitting the holiday weekend. On the one hand, we can go to a U-Pick blueberry farm in Michigan and lay in enough blueberries to feed Colp, IL* for a month. Supporting private growers and spending a day outdoors picking tasty things seems appropriate. The chance to see an old friend helps that plan too.

The other is finally getting to a rifle range to complete my laundry list of wants with my rifles. I need to shoot my Mosin, sight in my Savage, and maybe get some pistol time in too. This appeals well to me, but has the downsides of regrettably being an activity for dad and I without the rest of the fam. Oddly enough, this also means leaving the state, as the only range in a reasonable radius that would allow what we need is in Wisconsin.**

At this point, we will most likely be blueberry picking, but should that fall through, the range calls. I'll put up an AAR in either event.

*Colp is probably the smallest town I have ever been in, at least that I was aware of being in, with a population of 512. Quite literally while passing through once I sneezed and missed it.

** Of course, to me, having two options both of which mean leaving the state is entirely satisfactory.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Code Monkey!

I went into this blog's HTML today to add a Google+ button to posts. (Look down and left... it's the +1 button.) Being a good coder, (heh, I made a funny) I copied the original HTML to a separate document first in case I managed to screw it up too badly.

What this then showed me was exactly how much I appreciate Blogger. I can type WYSIWYG and drag and drop, and everything works fine. To do everything I can do with the Blogger interface with pure HTML, I would need hundreds of lines of code I do not know to get my random mumblings out into the world.

Quite simply, the interface makes this worth my while. Coding is frustrating to me. If I had to hand code all of this, I wouldn't bother. I get the feeling a great many other bloggers wouldn't be doing this either if it weren't for things like Blogger, WordPress, Dreamweaver, etc. that make it possible to do these things simply.

It's good to live in the future.

PS If you are of the social media type, Google+ actually seems pretty good. If you can snag an invite, it has my tentative recommendation. I haven't messed with it long enough to really decide if I like it, but first impressions are good.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pics as promised.

I think I can actually figure out how to upload pictures now. Ok, let's give this a shot.

This is the tank in a full view. I try to go for a natural look where possible, and would have all natural plants if I could afford it. As is, there are several live plants in.

This is Clyde, the male. He stands still for pictures well

This is Bonnie, the female. She stands still well, but only at the back of the tank where I cannot well photograph her. She is significantly prettier than this picture suggests.

On a related note, photographing fish is remarkably difficult. The environment is frequently dim, but the fish frequently move very quickly. As such, it is very difficult to get a non-blurred photo of a fish. For context, this is what my camera can do under the same circumstances with a stable target:
This is Roomba, my albino mystery snail. Being a snail means he isn't constantly twitching about, so a good, stable picture is possible. Fish are just uncooperative.

Everyone still seems to be in decent shape for the move/move-in. Hopefully things will stay good.