Friday, April 29, 2011

New Kids on the Farm

Meet Peaches and Fern.  We purchased them Wednesday morning and haven't had a moments rest since.

Fern is a 7 week old Toggenburg/Saanen cross.
Note Bear in the background.

Peaches is a 2 week old Boer/Saanen cross.

Fern thinks the world is hers to rule and acts the spoiled Princess role.
She is very smart and inquisitive.  She also loves to eat paper and plastic and has eyesight to rival an eagle.

Peaches is the traumatized baby, she had been de-budded the night
before we bought her, and had her last meal from mom that morning. 

We cannot get her to feed from a bottle.  We have tried everything
we can think of and have seeked help from the internet.  She eats hay
well enough and nibbles on Goat Chow and grass, but we know she 
needs goat milk too.  Any suggestions? 

For now we are raising them in the Pallet Palace, today we transferred the rabbits to our garage storage area.  Fern pointedly ignores us when we enter this door, but cries pittiously when we leave.  It really is heartwrenching and she carries on for up to 20 minutes. This troubles poor old Bear who thinks he is their mother (much to the goats dismay) and tries to get in to them.  But the goats don't trust my big black male dog yet.   Neither does my wife !!!  

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Garage in a Box

Last fall we purchased a 12' x 20' x 8' plastc canvas garage from TSC to store our lawn and garden equipment in. 

It was hurridly constructed just before the first snowfall on a somewhat level piece of ground and anchored down in sand so I was worried that it wouldn't survive the winter and spring winds.

As winter starrted I was worried about the buildup of snow on the roof but I needed to remove it only a couple of times over the winter.  The slick plastic and wind took care of most of it and the sun on the dark color took care of the rest.  Only a couple of ice storms caused me to worry enough to bother cleaning it off with a broom from the inside, a couple of taps to loosen it up and it slid right off.  The white interior made it plenty light enough inside and I was surprised at how warm it was inside out of the elements.  The tubular steel frame gave enough to withstand the 60-70 mph winds and somehow the four 30" tie down auger/spikes held it all down in  the sand.. 
The ratchet down straps were nice too.

What really surprised me was that the plastic zippers for the doors on each end held up to all of that abuse.  My neighbor has had one of these up for the last 8 years and the only thing he has done to it was to add a vent kit to it.  He says they retain dampness inside if you don't.  They make a few different models of these Garage-In-A-Box  things and one even has windows.  We are planing on moving ours this summer and setting it on a foudation.  So all in all I think it was well worth the $250 sale price.

My old Assistant Cub Scout  Leader and lifelong friend commented on it the other day and said it was a shame we didn't have one of these when we were camping.  It sure would have been nice.  It would make a nice hunting camp too.  You could erect bunks and a stove inside and still have all kinds of room.

We were even considering making pens inside for small animals like goats. This thing has a lot of potential.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Reloading with the Lee Loader

This is all I need to reload 100 rounds of .303 British rifle ammunition.  I am really impressed with my Lee Loader, it came with very good instructions and a load chart that made getting into reloading easy. I think they must have invented the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) because this loading system works. Another thing I like about it is that it is very portable, you could take it to the field with you and reload anywhere. The initial cost (Bullets, Powder, Primers, Loader and accessories) is about the same as buying 5  twenty round boxes of commerial ammunition, but it has a plus.  The rest of the 100 round batches you make will only cost you about what you would pay for 2 boxes.
The first thing you need is the Lee Classic Loader in your rifle caliber. 
Here are a few interesting sites:

If you order it through
it will cost you about $24.99.

Now the advertisement says "everything you need but a hammer" but I soon realised that I would also need the following to trim the cases before loading. You see in the act if firing the cases tend to expand and if they expand too much it can cause dangerous pressures to build.  So just go ahead and order the following also.

Lee Case Length Gage and Shellholder in your caliber $4.49   This is used in combination with this:

Lee case trimmer cutter and locking stud $5.99

  Lee Chamfer and Deburring Tool $2.79


Lee Primer Pocket Cleaner $2.09  


Lee Powder Funnel 22 to 45 Caliber  $3.29

The funnel may not be necessary but it sure makes it easier to add the powder, especially since it is made to fit into the top of the tool.  And it is nice to have something to store all of your reloading supplies in such as  Military Surplus Ammo Cans.   I own several in different sizes and use them to store all sorts of stuff.  I like them because they are usually air tight and will keep moisture out of the powder and primers. I usually pick them up at flea markets or Army Surplus stores but they are getting harder to find and more expensive all of the time.

Surplus Ammunition Can 50 Caliber 11" x 5-1/2" x 7" - $11.99

You can also order bullets, powder and primers from this same site but I normally get them from local stores such as Gander Mountain, also you need the loader first to find out what type of these items you need.  You will also need a mallet or non metalic hammer to load with.  Oh and I almost forgot, you need a bunch of used brass shell cases to reload.  Clean them up (minor corrosion can be buffed away with a little 0000 steel wool and make sure the cases are empty inside too), sort out any corroded, dented or cracked cases and dispose of them.

I am sorry for the poor quality of the following photos but I shake too much to get very many good ones.

From the left a case with the primer removed, the depriming base, a Berdan primed case (usually only found on military rounds, sometimes having a colored primer, and cannot be reloaded), and the depriming rod.  To deprime the case you stand it up in the base, insert the rod and tap it with a mallet.

clean out the primer pocket

Put the case into the shell holder and tighten the locking stud.

Screw the case length gage into the cutter/trimmer and insert it into the case.

give it a couple turns with gentle downwards pressure

Deburr the inside of the case wit a gentle turn or two.

and chamfer the ouside edge the same way.

insert the shell into the resizing chamber 

it will only fit part way, stand the tool up and tap the case in flush with a mallet

put a new primer (cup side up) into the priming base

Stand the tool into the base

insert the priming rod and tap it with the mallet until the case frees and the primer seats

a perfect seated primer
stand the primed case in the depriming base

slide the tool over the top

insert the funnel

pour some powder into a non plastic container it need to be big enough to drag the measre through and deep enough to fill the measure. tap to level

pour into then remove funnel

drop in a bullet

insert the bullet seater and tap with mallet until flush

remove the tool
a perfectly seated bullet

to crimp the shell to the bullet stand it in the top of the tool place the depriming chamber over it and tap with a mallet

And there you have it a perfect round to rival any factory load. Total loading time, about 2 minutes

Ok, so I did leave out the instructions for adjusting the tool to the proper bullet seating depth, but it is well covered in the loader instructions, as is most of what I showed here.  
Also I suppose I had better add that reloading can be dangerous and should only be done with proper adult supervision. Make sure to follow all saftey precausions when handling or storing gun powder or primers and loaded ammunition.
And remember: Treat all guns and their owners as if they are loaded.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hunter vs. Sportsmen

If you need this many shots....Go Home and practice.

Saturday was such a beautiful spring day here that after some yardwork Wifey and I had to go for a ride on our golf cart.  We headed around the mile to see some of the wonders of spring, mainly the chirping of frogs that we heard all day. 
Near the center of this picture is a woodland frog.  There are thousands of them in the low lying areas that are now flooded from snowmelt, calling for mates to start the life cycle before these swamps dry up.
These spring wetlands also provide breeding grounds for our State Bird...The Mosquito.


I am blessed to live in an agricultural area that is surrounded by State Game Areas and have access to miles of woodlots.  I have hunted these areas all of my life.  And I am appauled by what has become of them. 
All the comforts of home.

When I as a teenager most of the deer hunting in this area was done by locals who either couldn't afford or didn't have the time to go "Up North" to the prime deer hunting areas because the local deer population was tiny.  Now that our local deer population is so heavy that it has become "The Prime" area to hunt we are innundated with "Sportsmen" and "City Hunters".  Now I need to make a little clarification here, "City Hunters" and "Locals" can be Sportsmen too. I can now understand what the people of Michigan's Upper Peninsula have gone through for centuries and why they refer to all non-locals as "Foriegners".  The local economy gets a boost but is the price really worth it?  This area used to have miles of State Game Trails that rivaled the road system, making for easy access all State Game lands.  You could literally drive through the woods in your car and hunt or picnic with your family secluded from anyone else.  Now the trails are blocked off and parking lots take their place.  Making for miniuriture camp grounds during deer season.

Now that I have set the background, let me tell you what I consider the difference between Hunters and Sportsmen.
A Hunter is a person who takes pride for his actions while in the fair persuit of game.  Who obeys the laws and is respectful of others and the property on which he hunts.  A person who wants the careful  management of game and game lands to better both.  One who respects nature.  And for all of you anti-huters out there, we don't just want to KILL something.  Hunters enjoy the preperation, the search for and the decision of what animal they harvest.  The kill is anti-climatic, the reward of a skillful hunt.  The animal is dispatched in a skillful manner causing as minimal pain possible.  The animal is then taken home and shared with family and friends.  We care about the animals we hunt the way a farmer cares for his herd or flock. Hunting is NOT a sport.
Now for the Sportsman.  This character doesn't care about anything but what he wants.  He has little, if any respect for nature or the game he is going to kill and is only concerned about putting a trophy on the wall or bragging rights to his friends.  He will shoot at anything and everything, without a care as to weather he wounds it to die later, or if it is a doe or fawn.  And he usually leaves a mess.
I know I am in trouble the minute I make this comparrison and I really do NOT like what I am about to say.  Responsible sport fans please excuse me here, I am not referring to you. The same as responsible hunters do not deserve to be classified with the rest when bad press is given out.

Have you ever seen the aftermath of a sporting event?  If you have ever gone to a game, race or whatever and stayed to see what was left behind?  That is a Sportsman.  If you have ever cleaned up after a large party or wedding you will understand what I am talking about.  I was going to title this post "Deer Season Aftermath" but considered it unfair to fellow Hunters.  And heaven only knows that Anti-hunters don't need anymore fuel to add to the fire, but here I go:
Sportsmen tend to group with like minded individuals and hunt en-mass. And my Pappy always told me never to argue with an idiot with a gun, especially if he is or has been drinking.  So how do you confront a Sportsman and tell him of his errors.  I hope the following pictures reveal my sorrow and help change the ways of at least one Sportsman.



Let's cover it up.

Too many years of lazyness.

Target Practice.

Locals no doubt.

Such a pretty view.

Oh look, more!


An idiot with a chain saw.

A little too much campfire wood.

And the reason we have so many Coyotes and other scavengers like this Buzzard.

Antlers removed rest of carcas intact except for scavengers eating.

I have over 20 more photos like this.

The legs and head were nearby.

And another.

And a probable local drop off of the remains of butchering.  7 more of these.

I have many more photos of garbage, litter, destruction, carcases + 1 dog and 1 goat.
And now for the crying shame of it all.... 
This was all from an area of about 1/4 square mile.

I will return to clean up the litter.