My Sky Color

A forty something Dad, Husband, Engineer guy living in Western Oregon. Reflections on all things in life. A few technical things and whatever else comes along.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Experiences
With the odd assortment of critters on the farm. I have had a few new experiences in the last while. When herding the geese into the chicken coop last night I picked one up to help the process. So here I am holding a calm goose, that is almost full size and fully feathered, with its neck and head going over my left shoulder like a baby. That is not something you will not experience every day or even in a lifetime.

About 3 weeks ago while trying to catch Sur, the wilder or the two alpaca, he and I did a full hit the ground and roll over once. That was pretty exciting and unique. I am getting pretty good at alpaca wrestling.

While on safari last week I killed a rattle snake. I cut the head off and buried it. I never thought that it would be so tough to get that head off. By the way, rattle snakes retain their nerve pulses for a long time. When I started skinning it, it was still flinching an hour and a half after losing its head. This was the first time I've ever skinned a snake. FYI - the skin comes off pretty easily except when you get close to the rattles.

I have trimmed pig and alpaca hooves now. I think I have the alpaca figured out. The pig is still a learning experience. The squealing while trying to do it quickly is a little distracting.

While shearing the relatively tame alpaca, Randall, the wiley one laid down about 10 feet away to make sure his friend came through it okay. They make a sympathetic noise to each other as well.

So the farm menagerie is pretty fun and educational. DMP

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I Had a Vacation
The boys and I had a great time! We had cool nights and sunny days that weren't too hot. We busted so many caps that it was starting to become commonplace. We spent one evening and half of a day shooting ground squirrels. We used .22 rifles and the shooting was from 15 to over 50 yards.
Before our trip I got a wild hair to make "shooting pads." I had seen several shooting supply places selling them and thought they might be handy. They can be used for sleeping pads at night then employed for shooting during the day, on this trip at least. I got 1000 denier olive and digital camo nylon material, some olive drab upholstery thread, heavy duty snaps and 3/4" closed cell foam. They are about 28 inches wide and 6 feet long with a large pocket. The pads are the most useful when shooting prone. Sometimes we would use one and all three of us would sit next to each other shooting.
We got to see my old boss from Pierce, Tom, who is now working for Henderson Logging. We had the dogs with us which made for another level of complexity in managing the troops and logistics. The little dog doesn't like the shooting so we had to give him a place to go when the fireworks started. The big dog doesn't care either way.
When we got to Promise where we spent 3 nights and 4 days we set up can and got all comfy. We spent a lot of time shooting bull frog polly wogs. The theory is that the big polly-wogs are eating the fish eggs so the resident brook trout population is declining. We had to contain ourselves a bit due to three pairs of Canadian geese with goslings were around the pond.
We did one or two hikes each day. In the evenings after dinner we would move out of our camp under the pine trees and sit on the edge of a big meadow with a view of a canyon and read John Brown Jr. books. We read about plants and survuval skills relating to the area we were in.
We saw 4 rattle snakes. We killed one and kept his skin and rattle. It was a first for me to skin a snake so that was interesting. One of the snakes we saw was a Grand-daddy. He was about three-and-a-half feet long and had a bout 4 inch rattles. The locals and the lads wanted me to kill them all but we only took one.
On Sunday the rule is no killing. We spent time padlling around the pond in my Father's Day, trail boat. It worked great. We found a floating nest with 8 eggs in it. I think it belongs to the coots we saw around the pond. I did a shooting drill with the boys by setting up a target (rock) and starting shooting at it at 25 yards. After being able to consistently hit it we would move back 5 yards. Their limit is about 50 yards. We worked clear out to 75 yards but that was too far. They were shooting prone with a bi-pod using their 10/22's.
One day we were shooting at the pond and the little dog, Chewie had headed back to camp. After awhile the big dog made a growl toward camp but we couldn't see anything. A few minutes later the big do jumped up and barked. This time here came Chewie with the doe chasing him. The were both trotting along. It was pretty funny. We saw a few deer. We saw three or four bucks. They are growing new antlers so they are just fuzzy stumps.
Where we were camped the whole area was carpeted with wild flowers. It was pretty idyllic. We drove to the metropolis of Troy Oregon one day to get ice cream and see the sights. It is a town of about 30-50 people.
I got my 300 Whisper sighted in while we were there. It is a fun shooter. The youngest and I worked on figuring the elevations at about 100 and 200 yards. It shoots a 200 grain HPBT bullet at less than 1000 FPS. After I found the hold over at approx 100 yards I shot two shots within 3/4 inch of each other.
I took the guys to a place I had run across a den of coyotes once a few years back. There was some digging around it and looked like maybe it was active. No one was home though. We hiked through a gully and sat under a tree on the other side. I spotted something that looked out of place back in the field by the coyote den. I got out the binoculars and it was a half size coyote. I only had my 3" 44 mag. Hey what the heck, why not sling some lead. It was over 100 yards and I haven't shot that gun at longer ranges so I did a little hold over and shot right over him. He didn't move. Obviously a young one. I held right on for elevation and shot right next too him. That got his attention and he skiddadled.
Sunday we went to town visit with our friends and spend the night. Monday morning we ran back out to see if we could get a few more squirrels. It was turning out to be a hot day and the lads wilted. I think it was more from being tired than hot. We got out of town and on the road at noon. We can make the trip in 5 hours with a little lunch stop in there. It was really tough to come back to work. DMP

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Is there a Tunnel and a Light at the End?
If I was on a roller coaster I believe it would be on the down hill slide. Regular unleaded is over 4 bucks now and diesel is pushing 5. Work has been the downer of late. I have been devloping a very economical manual control levers system for the last year and some folks uninvolved with the project have tanked the thing. So now I have to pursue 3 solutions instead on one and get it done in an extremely short amount of time.
The one bright thing on the horizon is the boys and I are heading out on Safari to Eastern Oregon next week. We will be camping, fishing and shooting varmints. What could be better than that?
I have the shop as done as it can be. I have to order a few pieces of metal to finish it up. Electrical is the next major hurdle.
The geese are 2/3 of full grown size now. They are starting to have their voices change. Peep, Peep, Peep, Little honk, Peep, Peep. It is pretty funny. I have a 12 year old that is experiencing the same thing. He does say, "Peep" much though.
Speaking of the 12 year old, he completed and passed his Hunter's Safety course. So that is a milestone for him. The 8 year old wishes it was him instead.
I am going to build a small room in the shop that will become the reloading room. I will make the roof structure real strong so it can be used for storage on top. Now I'll can have a room with male decore. DMP

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