Sunday, March 29, 2009

Weekend Thoughts

My weekend started out on a good note, when I received word that my new AR Lower from Tactical Machining is in! For a mere 140 bucks (shipped) via GlockTalk, plus a $20 transfer fee, the centerpiece of my battle rifle (Clare's favorite topic) is here, shown above.

Tactical Machining is a new AR start up out of Florida by serious enthusiasts who recently purchased a new forge to produce top quality products. From all accounts they are great guys. My customer service experience was excellent and to get a lower from anyone, let alone one with a custom touch, is exceptional. Two thumbs up to Tactical Machining! I highly recommend them.

On a similar note, my transfer experience with Virginia Arms went very well, too. Their transfer fee was by far the least expensive and their customer service was excellent. The shop was packed. I couldn't believe how many people were in there, as well as the number of employees for a relatively small gun shop. But it is clear that they do the business. What was also very nice is that every employee was over-the-top polite. Just another example of how an armed society is a polite society.

Yesterday, as Clare details in her blog, we took an impromptu trip to the city. The mist and light rain coupled with seasonable temperatures made for a cool walk through the zoo. We went to the Basillica for mass and stopped by Teaism on the way out. Their apricot tea cakes, along with the tea, being the main attraction.

As I write, it's mid-morning, and the sun is playing peek-a-aboo. It's hard to believe that its less than two weeks to the Triduum and this thing called Lent is over. It seems like it only just began. I hope it's been a spiritually strengthening time for you all. This is one of the few times I can really say I was looking forward to Lent, to going under the microscope of more intense self-examination and really trying to improve my wanton ways.

On that note, I hope you have a splendid week. Peace out, yo's.


Pics as promised...

Still juiced from last weekend... New post forthcoming.
Over and Out,

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend Adventures

This past weekend I adventured into close and distant lands.

Saturday after noon saw me at Passage Creek in George Washington National Forest with our incredible rock-climbing husky, Leia. She did well and seemed to relish the opportunity to be out in the wild, until her paws were so wet it was difficult for her to be stable on the many, many rocks.

The sweet thing about this area is that it's less than ten minutes from my house. Before I know it, I am surrounded by nature at it's best out here--mountains, rocks, gorges, streams and trees--and the cares of the world fall into nothingness. Heading out to GW gave me a lot of peace this weekend. I see this becoming a ritual, a regular part of my weekends. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries stocks the creek with Trout, as with many other inland Virginia waters, and is an angler's paridise.

I am really pleased with how familiar I am becoming with our area. It's starting to feel like home. Just this week I learned that our road continues to loop around down to the Shenandoah River where it meets the same Passage Creek mentioned above and heads back out to the main road. I had initially thought this area was private property, because like every tree is posted, but alas, it is not. There is also a local gunsmith on the road, whose services may come in handy if the SHTF really, really bad.

On Sunday, we took a jaunt after Mass in Winchester to Berkeley Springs. It was a fun ride, and while the town is scenic and the State Park in the middle of town is really cool and has a great feel to it, the rest of the experience in terms of the town was a bit of a let down. Berkeley Springs is an odd mix of New Agers and WV rednecks who cater to the D.C. elite class who travel there for a spa experience. It's just bizarre.

The finale to this whole experience came just as we were leaving. We were parked in front of the New Age store, Portals, and this dude was out there meditating and carrying on a conversation with another seeker on the sidewalk. He was sitting inside a copper atom. Yes, an atom. Picture copper tubing in the shape of helixes welded together and this hilariously goofy bearded guy sitting on an undersized black pillow, with a blissful smile on his face. My wife made the mistake of looking at him too long while walking by to check out a shop before we left, and he responded, "You can sit down, if you like." LOL. This was so great. She was laughing, and politely responded, "No thank you" while I continued to put the kiddos in the car. I don't think I will ever think of Berkeley Springs in the same way again.

After we left, and continued to laugh about our friend in the atom, I decided to take the scenic route back home, which was the best idea I had all day. We took 127 (from 522) to 50, and then 29 South down to 55 and then back East over to Strasburg. West Virginia gets a lot of flack for being hill-billy, but the drive was incredibly breathtaking, some of the most beautiful country I've seen in a long, long time. 127 takes you up into the mountains, through hollers and river glades punctuated by old stone farm houses and stunning vistas. The trek down 29 follows North River through a scenic valley for miles. It is nearly entirely unpopulated except for farm houses here and there, and you just keep going.

Finally, you meet up with Lost River, another anglers' paradise, situated at the base of tall, winding mountains. The effect is just boss. Before we entered Wardensville, I got out at the summit of one mountain to snap a few photos, which will be forthcoming, and you just feel powerful out there with both feet on the ground.

Just as we crossed the state line in VA, Clare spotted a water bottle filling operation at a natural spring at the top of the mountains. We doubled back and this hilarious older Asian couple were filling at least 30 5-gallon jugs at the spring. They were happy to help me fill our water bottles and were entirely amused when I bowed and said thank you in Chinese. They thought that was cool and let me know they were Korean.

We got back home and there was still plenty of light on this perfect Spring day. Through the trees at the rear of our property the tall sillouhette of Signal Knob and Fort Valley can be clearly seen with the sun setting over them. It is such a blessing to be living out here. Thank you God for that grace. We all were outside walking around and just enjoying the beautiful cool weather. I can't imagine any other life than this one, as it is so satisfying to be our here in nature's glen.

So that's about it for now. Another week begins tomorrow. If it goes as fast as last week did, it will be Saturday before you know it.

Thanks for reading. Peace out, yo's.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Marlin 336 & Other Things

Well, it's Monday, but perhaps you've noticed I've been on a posting spree this past week, talking about guns.
I could talk ad nauseum about firearms, but due to time constraints my posts are often times far and few between. At least weekly, most of the time.
Now that I have my tax returns all filed, I am capable of analyzing my situation for what it is and considering my future purchases. On the docket are 3 considerations:
New used Marlin 336 lever-action for the property, chambered in 30-30. The idea of owning a lever action hit me after reading several reviews of this American icon. It didn't help that I just re-watched what is probably my favorite classic western, The Magnificent Seven. No one demonstrates total bad-ass quite like Yul Brenner. Anyway, with the Marlin I can basically safely hit anything that belongs to me from my porch, and even things that don't. Aften inspecting a few Marlins, I can basically say I got the bug.
New AR lower from Tactical Machining. For those of you not fluent in assualt rifle parlance, this is the piece upon which an assualt rifle is built, and it has the serial number for the government to track the firearm. The AR-15 is a versatile firearm and can be built in a multitude of different ways, piece by piece, but the lower is what the government tracks. In the short run, this piece is inexpensive, but after the gun is built, it would pricy. The main thing is having the lower would allow me build the firearm at my leisure as time and money allows, and as mentioned earlier, one never knows just when Obama might start to feel a new Assault Weapons Ban would help stimulate the economy, or the growth of the state.
New CZ 75 SP-01 "Phantom,"... for Clare. This, too, would also be effected by a ban because the magazine holds an excess of 10 rounds or whatever their arbitrary number is. A fine firearm, you've seen my thoughts on it in a previous post. Clare is a bit warm to this idea because it salutes her loyalist Czech ancenstry. One of her great forbearers owned an armory and made ammunition for the king. I am sure he would he be most glad to know that his great, great American Son-in-law owned and carried a premium Czech Firearm to protect his descendants.
Alright, so that's it for now. I know some of you are NOT gun junkies. I apologize if my blog is a bit dark for you. I will mix it up again in time, but as for now years of firearm deprivation fires my newfound enthusiam.
Over and Out.

Monday, March 09, 2009


Martin, you asked a good question: AR or new semi-auto pistol?

Getting an Assault Rifle would be great, but in order for me to make it affordable, I'd have to buy it in parts. The thing is, parts are scarce right now and pricy, mostly, and will continue to be so as Chairman Obama continues to swing the country leftward. A build would cost about a grand or so, and the CZ has me wondering if I really want to spend that money on an assualt weapon when I could be investing in other preps, like a pistol, a new bug out bag and other fun stuff.

At this point, I would only be spending a little less on an AR purchasing it in parts than I would be if I bought an entire kit or purchased it assembled.

Also, with ammo prices being so high, another caliber, even if only .223, would be an additional cost to stock appropiately. So this has me thinking that maybe it would be best to just get another 9mm for carry or for when SHTF. The CZ is at the top of my list.

That being said, I am pissed that Obama's press corps, the liberal media, is spewing doom and gloom prophecies again about a global recession. I remember when this whole thing started back in the fall of '07 and they were using the same scare tactic, perpetually asking, "Are we in a recession?"It was constant. Now we're back to that again.

Thank you Chairman Obama for sucking so completely.

Over and Out,


Saturday, March 07, 2009

CZ SP-01 Phantom, taking a Gander at Gander

Nothing says kick ass like a black gun, especially one from CZ.
I had the distinct pleasure this morning visiting Gander Mountain in what was ostensibly a quest for ammo. Having seen this particular model on their shelf last week, I couldn't resist the temptation to hold, inspect and aim this black beauty.
Saturday morning is the time to go to our local Gander. Local patrons at that hour tend to be codgers searching for a deal. It's a nice atmosphere. I prefer Gander because there is so much less pressure from the sales folk to purchase a gun than from the specialty stores in this area. At least that has been my experience. Still, they want you to buy, but I had enough self-control to limit myself to a "research expedition" only.
My fascination with CZ's SP-01 first began several years ago after reading a glowing pistol review in an issue of Guns & Ammo that I just happened to pick up at a redneck gas stop. Not that I have anything against rednecks, it's just that most fast-mart type places don't have their gun magazines front and center. But this one did and I was easily enticed. So that day I got a little something extra along with my purchase of gasoline.
Since then, it's been on my mind to give this gun a look. Chambered for 9MM, it fit my large hands well. My grip was very comfortable and high on the pistol, which is pleasantly light and well-appointed, and pleasant to grip. The slide, overly slicked by some Gander employee, oozing so much CLP that the embarrased employee had to wipe it off, came back with relative ease. The trigger pull felt a bit long but nice nevertheless. The gun felt natural to aim and hold. Simply put, I could tell I was in the presence of a fine weapon of superior craftsmanship and thought.
It put me in awe of this gun. Suddenly, I was thinking, "I could buy this thing," and I knew I had to step away from the counter and check out. I came to buy ammo, not another gun. Had the price been lower, I might have rethought my options and put it on layaway, but alas it was not to be.
At least not today, anyway.
In the final analysis, the next 9mm I buy, barring an act of government, will be the CZ Phantom. When I pull the trigger, I'll let you know.
Over and Out,

Friday, March 06, 2009

Be sure

To check out Martin S's cool new blog! It sure doesn't seem "off-topic" to me. :)

Right on, brother. Right on.

Over & Out,


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sunday Morning Thoughts

It's a typical weekend morning here at the homestead. I'm up early, the tea is brewing, the wood stove is burning, and I am surfing. After our brief dalliance with 60 degree weather, I am definitely ready for Spring to come. Instead, for March 1st, we have about an inch of snow. I guess I just didn't wish hard enough.

We are embarking on a few new projects. We are replacing our dated, non-matching white kitchen handles with iron twigs. I am buying a couple every 2 weeks to keep the cost of the investment painless. Two are up already, and they are making a big difference. In general, the kitchen's style is that of the wood elf, which is what I like, really. And I am happy to say we are moving more in that direction with the new hardware.

Some might be tempted to call our kitchen "Hobbitish." If they mean, "as in from the book," I would agree, but it is not so lavish as to be compared with Bag-End.

We are making preparations for a "victory garden." I mean, an organic, heirloom garden. We will also work on cultivating our fruit bearing trees and plant a few new ones, as well as rescue our honeysuckle-attacked raspberry and blackberry bushes. This last is a daunting task, as the previous garden has been nearly overtaken.

The other side of our yard work, is to add some new landscaping. I am thinking crepe myrtles and pampas grass near our house for starters. Our cottage is a mix of so many styles, the outside being that of a mountain beach house. I am taking my inspiration from the landscaping prominently seen at Virginia Beach.

The wood stove has succeeded valiantly to date. We have numerous fallen and dead trees at work that need to be sliced and diced and removed from the property. I often spend 30 minutes or so after work cutting up prime burning wood. I have had good luck with dry silver maple, but while it burns nice and hot, aged oak is still the clear winner in terms of the best wood to burn. It's clean and lasts a long time. In some ways, though the stove is appropriate for our home's size, I wish it were larger so I could stack enough wood in it for it to burn all night.

That said, I have co-opted the foundation of an old out-building here to use for stacking wood. I hope to have several cords, split, stacked, and ready for the next heating season. It will be a lot better than having to worry about wood in the middle of winter, although that is in some ways the best time to find seasoned hardwood, at least to cut it and drag it out of the woods anyway.

After some thought and fantasizing about the project, I am looking into purchasing a stripped lower receiver to begin building myself an assault rifle. Now that the Obama regime has stated its desire to reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban, it's now or never to make said purchase. The difference between this ban and the last one is that a new one would likely have no expiration date.

It's actually surprisingly easy to build an AR, and you can build one that's pretty kick ass for about $700-$800. As for myself, I just think it would be really cool to build my own Assault Rifle, a customized weapon. This means the purchase of the Zeiss Scope I want goes on hold and I put my energies in a different direction. I have also thought about purchasing a re-furbished Glock 37 as well, simply because the ban would effect that weapon, too.

Too many guns. So little time.

I walked our property once again yesterday, something I do from time to time. It amazes me how big this place really is. There's a veritable ton to do. I wish I was home full time to "tend my own garden" so to speak, but I guess I will just have to be content with being a weekend yard warrior for now.

Ok, that's it for the present. Hope you all are well.

Over and Out,