Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Utterly Improbable - Simply Tragic

This incident blows my mind. (go read & come back, I'll wait)

The girl's death was fairly improbable to begin with but it would have been impossible if he had followed 4 simple rules.  Also, what part of gun cleaning requires firing off a round?  Have I been missing an important step all these years or is that only a step for muzzle loaders?  Even if he was just plinking, how is 'up' ever a good direction to shoot?  So many questions, so few good answers.

While I'm with Weer'd on the 'gun death' metric, this is probably one of the few legitimate additions.  Mind you, it wouldn't be any less horrible if she & the buggy were smashed to kindling by an inattentive motorist; this just seems like a more honest entry than a thug getting shot over crack, ya know?  One minute the kid's driving home from a Christmas party, next thing she's dead due to someone's inability to grasp "know your target and what's beyond it" or "what goes up, must come down and remember, trajectory arcs are a bitch".  What a shame.

Now here's the kicker for the antis: not one proposed gun law would've prevented this since it was a muzzle loader.   There are no magazines, shoulder thingys that go up, high capacity anythings, etc.  A law wouldn't have prevented this from happening, only the use of the gray matter between the shooter's ears.  Remember folks, follow the four rules - they are not like guidelines.

*Did anyone else catch that the horse must have continued going home since they followed a blood trail for close to 1/2 a mile?*

Monday, November 28, 2011


Alright, for Thanksgiving, instead of pouring pumpkin out of a can to make a pie, I make one out of butternut squash.  It's just like pumpkin, but smoother and *bonus* I can get the butternut fresh from the garden.  
Recipe (1 pie):

1 lg butternut squash pie (1 1/2 cups)
1 c brown sugar (firmly packed)
3 lg eggs (slightly beaten)
3/4 c evaporated milk or half & half (recommend the latter)
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t ginger

1/4 t cloves
1/4 t salt
2 T flour
1 T melted butter
1 t vanilla

Side notes on ingredients: You can play with the spices quite a bit, I use less cinnamon, more nutmeg and a little less ginger and cloves.  All spices are ground.  Also, more vanilla never hurt anyone :)


Cooking squash: remove step, slice lengthwise, scoop out seeds.  Place cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with foil and brushed with oil.  Bake at 400 for 45 min - 1 hr (easily pierced with a fork)

Remove the tray from the oven, reduce heat to 350 and allow the squash to cool.  Put the cooked squash through a food mill.  Combine it with the remaining ingredients in the order listed using an electric mixer (or really resilient arms).


Fill the uncooked pie crust & bake for at least 45 min, should be firm in the center when done.  Use foil or a pie shield to keep the crust from burning.  


 Use whatever pie crust recipe you like, use pre-made if you want.  But if you're looking for a good, flaky crust, try using lard instead of butter or Crisco.  If you're going to eat something fattening, you may as well go full out.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Lessons

1. I am not super woman
2. Next year, I will remember to butcher our turkeys before they reach 45lbs dressed out. Even halved, it's still a damn 22lb bird!
3. Starting cooking at 1pm is a bad idea.
4. There are always more dishes.
5. Even at 10pm, Thanksgiving dinner, with all the fixings, is delicious*

 * No one was waiting on dinner - I was making extra for leftovers.

Friday, November 18, 2011

On to better pastures

Last night we said good-bye to Shotgun, the old man of the barn.  Farewell my old friend, may you find greener pastures, ease and comfort wherever you are. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Great Pop-Up Camper Adventure

Alright, this story is from last fall, but it's a good 'un!

Ok, so after one camping trip, my theory of pop-up campers is that they're Murphy's Law magnets created by engineers who hate the great outdoors in general and campers in specific. 

Last fall my dearest husband and I set out on a cross country drive that, at final tally, took us through 12 states.  We thought it would be a savings to buy a pop-up camper instead of staying at hotels along the way (can't reuse hotels on other vacations).  So an older Scamper comes home with us and we proceed to spend copious amounts of time cleaning, repairing and organizing it.  It was cute and everything worked but we made some braces for the risers, ya know, just in case!

The trip starts out well, 2 nights in a hotel while attending the Ren Faire in Minnesota.  We agreed trying to find camping, etc near the Faire was more bother than we were interested in.  Fun was had by all and the camper still followed faithfully behind the truck.

Night 3 - drove until we got to the outskirts of the Bad Lands ... pitch black, cold and windy.  Motel 3 Camper 0

Night 4 - Got to Sheridan, WY ... freak snow storm!  Motel 4 Camper 0  (why are we towing this thing again?)

Fast forward a little bit, we're coming into Cody, WY outside of Yellowstone.  *POP* there goes a camper tire (but we haven't even *used* it yet!).  Heath successfully changed the tire on the side of the road but we still stop in Cody to get another spare.  Ended up replacing both tires and keeping 1 old for a spare.  Cute town, really loved staying there... in their newest hotel (off season, great rates!) Motel 5 Camper 0

Night 6 - spent somewhere south of the Tetons in a hotel.  See snow, bitter cold and dark, utter.  Motel 6 Camper... you get the idea!

Spent some time in Utah and were driving to Arches National Park to, you know... camp!  Suddenly, *CLUNK* *Watch as the new camper tire (& rim!) sail off over the majestic mountain side*.  Had we been able to pack everything in the camper into the truck, the cursed thing would still be sitting on that hilltop.  2 hours of screwing around later, Heath managed to jack up the camper, clean out all the mud (moving to the side of the road turned wheel-less axle into a plow) and put the spare on with 2 lug nuts from the other tire.  Another 2 hours got us back to where we were 20 minutes before the tire made its break for freedom.  Thank God for GPS - we found a local tire shop that took pity on us and repacked the bearings and put on another new tire. 

We got to Moab, UT at o'dark thirty and got one of the last hotel rooms in town (big bike race weekend apparently) and had one of the best dinners I've ever had at The Sunset Grill.

The next day we headed out to Arches and actually set up camp!!!  Only to find that when the tire committed suicide it took the raising mechanism with it.  Crank = useless.  But wait!  We have the braces for the risers so this could still work.  Ever manually lift a pop-up camper?  Amazingly, we both still have ten fingers.  Had a beautiful, if cool, night for camping.  Cooked steaks, looked at the stars and slept in the camper. 

After bumming around Arches we decided we had enough fun and were ready to be home.  We stayed one night in Colorado and drove straight home from about Glenwood Springs on to Ohio (yep, 23 hrs - we were ready to be home). 

Once we got home we hefted the camper up again, emptied the contents and gave it away to some older gentleman who completely refurbished it and loves it.  From this point on, I'm either camping in a tent or in a full bodied camper.  Pop-up?  Never again.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


 I'm not sure what previous generations have done to make meatloaf instill fear and loathing in the general populous, but it's a damn shame.  If you want something filling, easy and delicious, meatloaf fits the bill.  It is something that has to be cooked by feel / taste so the first turn out might not be perfect but I've yet to have a bad turn out with these basics.

Basic ingredients:
ground beef
Italian bread crumbs
salt, pepper, garlic, tarragon & marjoram.

Start with 2lbs ground beef (substitute 1/4 lb with ground sausage for a spicier turnout), 2 - 3 med eggs, 1 med onion, ~ 1 1/2 c bread crumbs, ~ 1 c oatmeal (uncooked) & then add spices to taste.  When combined, it should be tacky without being soupy and hold its shape.

Shape it however you want but I'd recommend keeping it relatively short / squat.  I have no idea why folks like to used bread pans for meatloaf, it just doesn't end well.  I use a standard oval corningware dish and bake it covered until the thermometer reads med-well for beef then uncover and let the top brown until it reads well done.  You can cook it at 350F or 375F seems to come out well either way.

If you've ended up with more than 4 tbsp of fat / grease try adding more oatmeal or bread crumbs next time.  If there's no grease, well geez just how much oatmeal did you add?!

For the top sauce you can use my husband's method - random bbq sauce & done - or my method:

Mustard (any kind will do, but I'm spoiled with Grandpa's Cheese Barn's Roasted Garlic)
Brown Sugar
Lemon Juice

This is strictly to taste!  Just mix the above together until you've got something nice & tangy (yeah, I know, that's not helpful).  For 2 lbs of meat you'll need to start with over a cup of Ketchup to get the volume.  So ~1 c Ketchup, ~3 tbsp Mustard, < 1/4 c Brown Sugar, ~ 2 tsp Lemon Juice and go easy with the Worcestershire since there's no good way to 'undo'.  Don't cook it with the sauce on - put it on after it's done.

Normally, I'd include pictures but it's gone so it'll have to wait for next time :-D

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gear Bleg

My last trail ride gave me a pointed reminded that I need a new carry belt, my old one just isn't up to snuff.  I made a brief sortie onto Google for said item and backed away slowly, lest the avalanche of options bury me alive.  So, any thoughts, guidelines, or recommendations for a solid, every-day gun belt?  I usually carry OWB (pistol pouch or holster) as I've yet to find IWB comfortable; maybe I need new ccw-friendly pants, too.  I'm sure somewhere there's a forum thread dedicated to carry belts, but posing the question here might actually garner some comments! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Solo Trail Ride

This seems like a silly milestone for someone who's been riding for 16 years, but today I managed my first completely solo trail ride.  I've ridden alone on the farm dozens of times, been on more trails that I can recall and even ridden alone off our property, but I've never hitched up, drove out, rode, and come back without someone else along for at least one part of the journey.  The Beast has finally fulfilled its purpose; I'm no longer dependent on anyone to go out for a ride.  Damn does that make me happy! 

Now, I just have to work on timing.  The first beautiful day at the end of October at a Metropark is a bad time to try and log miles.  They have a tendency to put on Halloween-themed carnivals with all sorts of horse-eating monsters.  This lead to several impromptu desensitizing lessons, yay for learning experiences!  Even with all the spooky things, it was a really good ride.  Freedom's gaiting was dead on today, there was no jarring trot and he had good, ground-covering strides with a wonderful head bob; I think he really enjoyed himself, I know I did.  Thank you, Weather Gods, for at least one nice day this Fall; I will sacrifice a pumpkin in your honor!    

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Great Saddle Search of 2011

This year, I've felt a little like Goldilocks when it comes to saddles.  My dressage saddle was a tight fit in college (read: it was cheap and I made it work) & not suited for a gaited horse, my all purpose was under-padded for long trails and the western I had was heavy, bulky & made my knees ache.  So this spring I had a rack full of saddles and none that really fit me & Freedom... bugger.  So I went to the trusty internet to find something that met the following criteria:

1. Light - under 25lbs
2. Under $2,000 (preferably under $1,500)
3. Built for a gaited horse
4. Deep seated, no horn, English stirrup placement & no extemporaneous leather 
5. Somewhat customizable
6. Reputable Company

I looked at: treeless saddles (all different varieties), Trail Masters, Tuckers, Crest Ridge Saddles, Sycamore Creek Saddlery, and many more.  I put hours into comparing, reading reviews and investigating the options available with each company.  

I tossed treeless out after a few weeks of reading - they're Murphy's Law magnets. Being moderately to completely adjustable, there are too many integral components to fiddle with to get the saddle to fit.  IMHO that's the saddle maker's job, not mine & I'm not about to make a muck of it!  Also, if the saddle was reasonably priced, it had lukewarm reviews and warnings regarding poor distribution of weight - or - if the price was sky-high, it had rave reviews but similar warnings regarding back protection.  If I have to buy a +$200 pad to ensure my saddle will stay on and not harm my horse, then the technology just doesn't support the theory yet. (YMMV)  

Trail Masters... I yearn for one of their saddles but the >$2,000 price tag is simply unobtainable.  I like their rigging style with the cord running the perimeter of the tree creating equal tension on the entire saddle.  The styles are appealing and the thought of a saddle made with a woman's structure in mind was extremely tempting.  I couldn't find any egregious reviews and most folks were thrilled with their saddles.  So, I've filed them away amongst my "WANT!" bookmarks for better days. 

Tuckers... pass.  I just couldn't get into the hype about Tucker saddles.  They're moderately customizable, pricey - for a mass produced product - and just didn't do anything for me when I tried them at tack stores.

Crest Ridge Saddlery... almost had me, but just didn't pan out.  They offer a nice variety of saddles within the $900 - $2,000+ range that are customizable.  They have consistently good feedback and are American made.  What's not to like, right?  Well, I had the opportunity to check out the saddles at Equine Affaire this spring and my original top pick fell a little flat.  The saddles were as nice as advertised & the staff was courteous.  However, I wasn't 100% comfortable in the saddle I could afford and I didn't relish settling on the 1/2 cordura version.  So, I spent a bit of time talking with them about options and such.  Then they asked me who else I was looking at... the owner wasn't overly couth regarding her opinion of her competition.  She was dismissive and fairly condescending when I asked her to explain how her saddles' were better.  It was truly disappointing.  I firmly believe that if you say your product is superior to a competitor's then you should be able to defend your position.  The rest of her staff did a nice job of damage control but it just put me off, so I tabled them to second choice.

Sycamore Creek Saddlery ... I cannot say enough good things about this company.  Their saddles are light, comfortable, utterly customizable (i.e. I sketched the saddle I wanted & now I've got it) and affordable.  Tony was wonderful to work with and made sure I got what I wanted.  Heck, the hardest part was the waiting - which you'll have with any custom saddle, so that really isn't a complaint.  The saddles are made in Columbia but the quality and workmanship are excellent; I've already put 40ish miles on the saddle and I can't find any faults.  It fits Freedom extremely well and I no longer have the grinding knee pain I had when riding in my western.  I've even used it on Gambler and it fits well - so custom doesn't mean "one horse only".  Final price?  ~$700.00  for the saddle, breast collar, girth, crupper & shipping.  Yes, I was skeptical regarding the quality with that price tag, but it really is a nice saddle.  Regarding the comparison to Crest Ridge: I could buy 2 complete rigs from Sycamore for the price of 1 saddle (no accessories) of similar style by Crest Ridge - I just couldn't ignore that side of the equation.*  Plus, Tony's attitude & return policy / satisfaction principles made the choice easy.  So, I'm tickled pink with my saddle but pissed as hell that the weather won't cooperate so I can get on trail! 

Just right!

  *For the gunnies reading this that may equate this to buying a really cheap holster vs one of Dennis' really nice custom ones ... it's more like having Dennis' twin set up shop outside the US and making holsters with the advantage of cheaper overhead.  

** Again for any .gov out there - I paid for my gorram saddle - so bugger off!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Trail Season Begins

Most folks have the mistaken impression that trail season starts the first nice day of spring, I've got two words for that ... yep, those are the words.  I have no interest in fighting the bugs, the mud, and every cabin-fevered idjit who owns a pair of hiking boots for a bit of trail space.  I'll snag a few miles in spring and summer, but Ohio isn't exactly comfortable during those months when you're sitting on a 1000 lb heat machine & biting insect attractor.  Give me fall with its glorious cool days, low humidity and bugs dying by the tonne.  From September 1st through the end of November, I put as many miles in as I can.  Hell, I've been known to load up & ride in December and January - mosquitoes really hate snow.

So, after months of not riding, I went on 4 trail rides in the past week - roughly 10 miles each ride.  They certainly weren't taxing rides, mostly walking & slow gaiting; I didn't want to abuse the boys after they languished in the pasture all summer.  Both Freedom & Gambler were confused at the whole, 'get in the trailer' thing but got back into the groove once we struck out on trail.  Our local trail systems are nice, there are several parks with an hour's drive to keep things interesting.  The parks are fairly horse-tolerant on their multi-use trails; while they don't provide horse-only trails around here, riders are given right of way in most encounters and aren't completely barred from many parks.  While I enjoy the hustle & bustle of riding on the more manicured trails, what with their strollers, bikes, and folks on roller blades, I prefer the single-file dirt paths through the woods - I'm going for a ride to avoid humanity, not to be surrounded by it. 

So, Huzzah for the start of trail season!  If you need me, you'll find me with Freedom on the furthest trail we can find.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Riding Armed

I started to respond to this post by Haiku Farms in comments but decided it would be better to make it into a whole post.  I agree with her self-defense post up to a point.  A person who decides to get a gun and never shoots, just gained an expensive & odd looking paperweight; so she's right - if you don't intend to practice, there's no point in getting a gun.  However, I don't agree that you have to be a hunter or a soldier to shoot well; heck, you don't even need constant access to a range.  You can practice grip, target acquisition, posture, etc with snap caps while watching TV.  A gun is a tool, you don't have to make a hobby out of it, just learn to use it.

The entire premise of the post is having to defending yourself, not making an escape, not barricading until help arrives (these options were covered in previous posts) so why not have & learn to use the best defense weapon out there?  I, at 5'6" and 145lbs, am not going to pit my strength against a goblin intent on doing harm - no matter what size skillet I may have access to.  Intent is everything in these scenarios; the goblin has already planned on causing harm.  You have to decide what your own intentions are when someone threatens you (and I agree with Newbius's post on what a life is worth).  Defending yourself is the final option, you've decided that you cannot escape and your life is in danger.

In regards to being able to hit a target at close range (< 25yrds), I have up to 16 tries to neutralize the threat - I doubt I'd have that many tries to stab them with a pitchfork or beat them with a frying pan before being overpowered.  I also don't see someone advancing into gun fire, even if I am missing.  I can see a goblin risking a whack or two with a pan to subdue his victim.  A gun is the greatest equalizer and if I've made the decision to fight, I want as many factors in my favor as possible.  Shooting, of course, would be the last resort in any goblin scenario; if I can avoid, flee or diffuse a dangerous situation I will.  However, if I'm afraid enough to draw a gun I'm shooting to kill, not to wound and certainly not to frighten.

Of course, adding a 1000 lb creature into the mix makes things more difficult.  As mentioned in Haiku Farm's post, unless you've desensitized your horse to gunfire you're asking to be dumped firing from its back.  That said, if I'm contemplating shooting while mounted, things have gone so far beyond pear shaped that being dumped is the least of my concerns.  The only (human) situation I'm not running away from is a goblin with a deadly weapon; anything else, run-pony-run.  If someone's threatening me I'm shooting mounted and taking the associated risks.  

I do advocate desensitizing your horse to gunfire regardless of your choice of self-defense.  How will you know if someone else on trail isn't armed or someone isn't hunting nearby or that a goblin won't light off a few rounds just so you're thrown.  You desensitize them to a host of other sights and sounds, why not one that could save your life?  I'd recommend Cowboy action shooting as a place to start for information.  It's a large and healthy organization and they're one of the friendlier groups of horse people I've ever met.  Find a forum or a local group to help you with the basics.

Any non-mounted horse scenario is comparable to being jumped going out of the grocery store - the horse is an external element.  If you're in camp and it freaks & runs away, you can look for it later.    Overall, I can't see the justification for obstaining from guns if you truly endeavor to defend yourself,  especially if you're out in the wilderness alone or in a small group.  This goes double if you're female;  goblins just don't come in our size and they don't fight fair.  Best to stay aware, use your head and have the greatest advantage possible. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

NC Blogshoot II

Well, we had quite a turn out this year for the NC Blogshoot!  Thank you, everyone, who came and shared your toys, stories and food.  Heath and I enjoyed hosting, y'all were great company and we're looking forward to doing it again next year.  Hell, we have to do it again, I still have Tannerite!

Speaking of which... Many thanks to Dan over at Tannerite; without his services we wouldn't have had any exploding goodness for the weekend.  I called him up on Tuesday to see if we could get a couple cases of targets by the weekend.  With a few phone calls / e-mails they were shipped that afternoon and at my door Wednesday night.  No hassle, no outrageous charges - just excellent customer service.  If you enjoyed the reactive targets at the shoot, drop by his site and let him know! 

I hope everyone had as much fun as I did this weekend.  Getting to try out everybody's toys (Thanks Old NFO, Mad St. Jack, ThotPolice, Sean & apologies if I missed someone) was a blast and reminded me that I haven't been shooting near enough this summer.  Nothing like decimating water jugs, stuffed animals, computer components and a car to make a weekend feel worth while!

All the food was terrific; I over stuffed myself trying to taste it all.  Newbius's pizzas were delectable, I mourn the return of my fridge space :-(   Breda's chicken & her mom's stuffed cabbage made it impossible to not go back for seconds (who am I kidding - thirds!).

So, it looks like everyone else remembered to shoot their cameras as well as their guns; I, however, forgot.  So, I'll have to leave the photographic evidence of the merry-making to everyone who came.  Again, thank you for the absolutely enjoyable weekend, I hope to see you all again next year.

And for all of you who loved on our dogs... they miss you and have made their displeasure regarding the decrease in belly rubs and head pats known!

*Note for anyone who concerned about the review:  I paid for the gorram Tannerite - so bugger off.*

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BMV = Exasperating Time Suck

Finally, the time came to get The Beast properly papered and tagged for Ohio.  What a merry expedition!  In our little corner of Ohio, even under the best of circumstances, you have to go to 3 separate places over 4 unique visits to get an out of state vehicle vetted, approved and licensed.  In the past 2 days, I stopped at 5 different government offices, 7 separate times and got to pay for the privilege of having my life wasted by petty bureaucrats. 

In the lovely state of Ohio, you have to get an out of state vehicle "inspected" at a license bureau ($3.50) before they'll issue a new title.  Basically, they take down the VIN, make and model on a special form (only good for 30 days - since after 30 days your Taurus may have morphed into a Charger and you have to get it checked again, just to be sure).  Then you have to go to a title office to get the title changed and pay any taxes due - not just on what you paid for the vehicle, but on any admin fees / stocking fees that the dealer may have charged.  The rant about the double dipping created by taxing the sale of a used vehicle must wait for another day.  Then, you have to go get an E-check (emissions).  Finally, you take the title & passed e-check form back the the license bureau and get your plates and tags.

Now the fun begins:
There isn't a office that has both titling and licensing abilities in our county.  Of the  four title offices, the first two are closed on Mondays, open 8:30 - 4:30 T-F, 9-1 Sat. and the other two are open 8:15 - 4:30 M-F.  The closest office is of the first variety & isn't even listed on the website.  Also, their phone # doesn't have a message machine so I had to stop by on Monday to see what their hours were.  Then, when I stopped back on Tuesday, I was told that their computers had been down for the past 4 days and hadn't been repaired yet!

There are 4 licensing offices, all of which have normal business hours - no qualms there.  You just have to go there twice to get through the process (bring a book - maybe two) and it's not like they're right next to the title office, either.

E-check - some green initiative bullshit only required in a handful of Ohio's counties and only has 2 testing stations in our county.  Guess who's awesomely huge truck is over the weight class limit for a free check and has to pay every 2 yrs for the privilege of the eco-nonsense?  Or, I can get an appointment & drive to one of the 2 EPA field offices over an hour away (open M-F 8-5), have them say, "yep, it's a big diesel" and get a permanent exemption. 

Not like it's shocking, but for all the information they have on their website, there's not a clearly defined set of requirements for going through the whole title -> license plate process.  Instead, it's scattered amongst lists of links that make the whole process incoherent.  A simple list would solve a lot of issues.  Somehow, I think that'd be too simple.  The other novel thought would have been to not raze the only dual title-license office in the county!  Or, instead of opening a title-only location afterwards, put the title office into one of the existing license bureaus

Overall, I'm just glad it's done.  If I was of stronger constitution, I would go and demand to know what in the hell "misc fees" ($10.00) refers to but at this point - I just don't care.

Happier posts on the way -- Blog shoot this weekend!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Fried zucchini is one of my favorite summer foods, as it's easy to make, has little mess & effectively uses up garden surplus.  I start by putting flour and crumbed club crackers into separate ziplocs and beating together egg, buttermilk & S&P (1 part milk to 2 parts egg).  How much of each ingredient depends on how much zucchini you have; a cup of flour, a sleeve of crackers and an egg is enough to do 1 moderate size zuch.
 Slice up the zucchini, toss it in the flour ziploc & shake until they're completely coated - knock off excess flour.  Then, flop the slices into the egg mixture & let them rest in there for a little while.  They should come out without any flour spots.  Scoop them out with a fork (no stabbing!) or something else that's scoop-like & put them in the cracker ziploc.  Bounce the slices about until they're coated & set aside until you've finished.

Heat up a large skillet and use your preferred frying liquid.  I use butter, lots and lots of butter :-)  Put the slices in once the pan's hot enough for them to sizzle right off and keep the heat around medium.  Don't bother'em, just let'em cook.  Once they're brown on one side, flip and repeat.  Should take about 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the slices. Plate & serve.  Be careful with larger zuchs, the larger seeds seem to store heat & can really burn.

Mine are simple, I'm sure you could add Tabasco sauce, chili powder, paprika, etc to liven up the taste.  Consider this as a good starting point for a summer classic & enjoy. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Renaissance Faire Fun

Heath and I traveled to the Great Lakes Medieval Faire this weekend to partake in some 13th century distractions.  There were jousts, falconry and dirty limericks a plenty.  Unfortunately, this year there was no abundance of Mead or other adult beverages - the city council gave the event coordinators too much hassle to allow alcohol to be sold.  All other aspects of the Faire were nice - the atmosphere was congenial and there was quite the selection of performances, exhibits and vendors.  For being a small RenFaire, they do a credible job and it's well worth the $20.00 entry fee for several hours of entertainment.  I, of course, dress the part while Heath... umm, he wore a fancy hat; I just can't seem to get him into those fancy pants and floppy shirts. :-D

I must commend Dennis over at Dragon Leatherworks for his addition to our outfits.  His pistol pouches blended in perfectly - keeping us safe, unencumbered and in character.  I'd recommend it to anyone who plans on carrying while becoming a lord, lady, fop or wench for a day.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

There oughta be a law...

Or at least Cleveland City Council figures there should be another.  In light of the use of social media to create flash mobs they want to make it a misdemeanor to use twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc to create a disruptive flash mob.  Mind you, they don't want to stop the 'good' flash mobs, just those naughty ones.

         "We want to keep the singing in the malls, we want to keep all the flash mobbing that is dancing or whatever you do that's positive but the negative use of it with the intent to disrupt and cause some injury or some type of damage that we're going to speak to," he said.

 Trying to separate a good disruption from a bad one is such a nebulous proposal that I doubt any charge would be upheld in court.  It's ridiculous that they cannot use a current law to control the undesirable behavior; what ever happened to disorderly conduct?  The manner of communication shouldn't have any bearing on the end result they're trying to control.  Saying, "it's okay to meet in a large group due to a phone tree, but not a group text" or "mailed invitations are fine, but e-mails are right out," seems downright silly.  Seriously, how pathetic.  Workers organized strikes before AIM, people marched on Washington before Facebook and riots broke out before Twitter.  People will gather in groups to promote a cause regardless of the source of invitation, punishing them due to their choice of communication is shortsighted and myopic.  Technology doesn't control or create the behavior, it just gives people a new way of accomplishing their intentions.  New facets of wonder and horror are exposed with each technological leap into the future.  It's how we apply our country's founding principles and laws that temper the resulting knowledge and abilities.  Destructive people will find a way to pervert the loftiest advancement and they should be punished due to their intent, not their methodology. 

In this case, it seems like the city council is looking for a new source of revenue more-so than a way to keep the public safe and unharried.  The fines for this new crime would start at $100.00 and climb to $500.00 for repeat offenders.  Hrmm... common sources of communication + large group of undesirable people + sizable fine = $$$$$   I'm starting to see the council's logic!  Hopefully this suggested law dies an ignoble death and the council members move on to playing tiddly-winks, which would be a far more productive pursuit than they've attempted thus far. 

Faust earned his bacon

Otherwise titled "coons arriving at room temperature."  Last night Faust, our German Shepherd, went from a peaceful, sleeping ball at my feet to a barking mass of enraged fur desperately trying to get out the back door.   Turns out we had 2 raccoons trying to annihilate our small flock of chickens.  The dogs "treed" them in the coop & I woke Heath to dispatch the rotten bastards.  Yep, I'm sexist* - as long as he's around - he gets to go explore in the dark and shoot any lurking critters.  So I'm pretty pleased with my pup (and Heath); with the distance to the coop & all the fans going in the house, there's no way I would have heard the chickens' distress.   Surprisingly, all 5 chickens survived the encounter and are happily clucking about the yard again.  Also worth noting - no johnny law.  You'd figure several shots of 9mm at o'dark-thirty would have rousted the interest of our neighbors, but nope *shrug*  Have to figure with A/C on and coming out of a dead sleep it'd be difficult for someone to echo-locate where shots were coming from & it would be easy to reason the sounds away in exchange for peaceful sleep.  Scary thought.  So I'll leave you with a picture of the proud pup - maybe he'll get the last bit of bacon in the fridge!

*Not really, but I'm sure someone out there will argue that I should have taken care of it myself instead of running to a man.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Arming Ohio EMTs

While I agree with the sentiment of House Bill #288, I have 3 words for the creators of this bill, "WAY WRONG ANSWER!"  My understanding of this bill is that when medical personnel are present at a SWAT scene they may have guns distributed to them for their safety... You've got to be kidding me.

 Guns are not teddy bears, you can't just hand them out to make people feel safer.  People who normally don't carry guns won't automatically gain the skills and mindset necessary to use them simply because the situation may be dangerous.

 While I'm glad they're not forcing EMT's to carry guns (+.001 for not being utterly stupid) I don't see why they're limiting carrying guns to SWAT encounters.  If they're going to allow medics to carry guns at all, why limit the scope?  Seems like it would be more appropriate for medics to have guns when SWAT wasn't around.  Also, if the effing SWAT team can't keep them safe, why are they (both SWAT & EMTs) there? 

Another concern is that the bill continually uses the phrase "tactical emergency medical technician" (TEMT?) and the connotation seems to temporarily elevate medics to members of a SWAT team.  Because what our government really needs is more tactical employees!  It also grants EMTs the same protections as a police officer, which doesn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy given it doesn't mention any training / oversight. 

Here's a crazy thought: Why not allow EMTs with CCW permits to carry while on shift?  That would allow inclined EMTs to protect themselves while guaranteeing basic training and personal responsibility.  I can understand an employer's reticence to change policy given the over-abundance of lawyers; however, if a medic has to shoot someone, who (s)he works for is no longer pertinent - they had to defend their life.  No one should hold a liquor store responsible if the cashier has to ventilate a cretin due to personal threat, so why should someone hold an ambulance company responsible if their medic does the same thing? 

Of course there would have to be legal tweaking for them to carry in school zones, no-weapons zones, etc.  But wouldn't that be a perfect opportunity to push for all CCW holders to be allowed to carry in school zones and the like?  (ready the trebuchet and the pig - we'll make it fly)

So, the bill's a nice thought but a non-solution to the problem of EMTs entering dangerous areas to render aid.  Please try again Rep. Combs, etc.; I'd really like to see more people be allowed to protect themselves - just not in the way you're proposing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

All Hail the Free Market

In perusing the internet, I came across an article about a restaurant in Pittsburgh that's instituted a ban on children under the age of 6 and another article discussing pediatricians turning away parents who refuse to immunize their children.  I'll put up the caveat that I do not have children, so take this as you like:  Good for them!

I'd gladly patronize a restaurant that kiboshes the presence of wee beasties* if I'm in need of a nice, quiet evening out. And, barring any egregiously unsettling revelations regarding vaccinations in the next 3-5 years, I'd feel comfortable using a pediatrician that required child immunizations.

  I'm sure there are folks that vehemently disagree with both establishments and their respective restrictions and they're free to choose a different source of food service and medical care.  That's the beauty of the free market - you don't have to agree with an establishment and you don't have to patronize them.  There are other restaurant and other physicians who will take your money and align with your personal views.  There are some cries about discrimination regarding the restaurant - give me a break - if the ACLU can't find a basis for discrimination when there are children involved, it's a lost cause.  I'd actually like to see something similar done with smoking in restaurants - make it the customer's choice.  I don't smoke and I don't like to eat in a smokey atmosphere so I'd simply pass on the smoking restaurant.  The restaurant's going to have to take that chance, the government shouldn't be telling them they can't take the risk.**

With the pediatrician, it's a little more touchy considering our misguided health insurance system.  However, the offices mentioned in the article do refer non-compliant patients to other physicians who will comply with their wishes.  In this circumstance, the pediatricians have to look out for their clients as a whole and should have the right to do so.  Just as the parents have to decide what's best for their child and be allowed to go elsewhere.

Overall, I'm glad to see businesses going against the conventional, "the customer's always right" attitude and sticking to their personal convictions.

*Actually, I do like children  - but occasionally, 'wee beasties' is a far more appropriate term for them.
** Don't even get me started on "but they waitstaff don't have a choice & you're killing them with 2nd hand smoke!!"  They know the risks just as much as anyone else who's not been living under a rock for the last 20 years.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Netflix, you syphiclic whore of movie rentals,

you were so close to having it right; then, in a move that rivals a kid going for a 4th piece of cake, you decided to hike your prices.  Starting Sept 1st, the plan that allows unlimited streaming and 1 DVD out at a time will be $16.00 per month instead of $10.00.  Yeah, I'll pass on the 60% price increase - I simply don't believe your contract negotiations are going that poorly.  I cancelled my basic cable over the same kind of shenanigans. Hollywood just isn't worth it.   

I would have accepted a $2 - $3 increase with an explanation of "The cost of this bundle has gone up due to the increased cost of our media contracts."  But you had to pull some cheerful, 'we're doing this to better serve you,' ray of effing sunshine bullshit.  You were serving me just fine and all of the plans were offered before - you've just increased your prices and highlighted an underdeveloped service offering.  Judging by the comments tipping the 3,000 mark on your price increase post and your customer service lines being shut down due to call volume, I'm not the only one who believes your price increases were the brainchild of an illiterate snot sodding off in a dark closet to the sound of a money counter.

Blockbuster is sniggering at you from its death bed and Amazon, Hulu & Redbox are readying the carving knives to slice away your customer base.  Hope you know what you're doing.

Monday, July 4, 2011

New Wheels

After several months of shopping, I have my dream truck (squee!)  Say hello to my monster:

She's an '06 F350 diesel 4x4 with a full bed - and I love every inch of her.  Yes, that is an airbrushed picture of an aircraft carrier and fighter jets on the tailgate. 

We bought the truck on Thursday afternoon from a little dealer in Alvin, TX called Motor Trends.  I can't say they were the best dealership or that I'd recommend all my friends and family to go there, but they weren't sleaze balls.  We had initially contacted the original owner, but he'd just set up a trade with the dealership & hadn't had time to remove his ad *sigh*.  Unfortunately, once Motor Trends knew the deal in the bag, they made no further effort to really 'sell' us the truck, which I can kind of understand.  However, you'd think they would still clean the truck 100%!  We found crumbs & nasties in the 2nd row seating & soda / coffee stains on the ceiling.  Maybe it's petty, but I was disappointed with the experience.

Anyhow!  After leaving the dealer, we took a meandering drive across 10 states to arrive back home last night.  Thursday evening we had a nice visit with some of my family living in Texas.  On Friday, we had a wonderful lunch with AD & KatyBeth, where we were introduced to craw-fish and etouffee.  It was a fun to talk with KatyBeth & be drawn into her imagination, I wish that I had been as out going as a kid as she is. 

The rest of the trip we scooted through New Orleans (mental note, downtown N.O. during a jazz festival is a BAD idea), Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio.  All together, we put nearly 2,000 miles on the truck and we're so glad to be home.

So, what should I name my new set of wheels? 

Flying the friendly skies

Heath and I had to fly from Ohio to Texas this past Thursday.  We flew out of the Akron-Canton airport instead of Cleveland Hopkins and we will strongly prefer it in the future.  Surprisingly, the whole experience was fast, smooth and (relatively) non-invasive.  We arrived a scant hour before our flight and still managed to check our guns and get through security with time to spare.  The guns were a non-issue, we didn't even need to reopen the case for TSA.  All of the security personnel were polite and kept lines moving.  No porno-scanners!  Overall, there was an effort made by the employees to counter the TSA stereotype.

We snagged a decently priced, 1-stop flight through Delta; they were timely & uneventful flights with a short layover in Atlanta.  In the world of fees and cost cutting, they still serve free drinks on all flights (no peanuts).  I did have to claim the gun case from their baggage office once we arrived in Houston.  I'm not sure if that's a Delta thing or a flying-in-general thing, but I am glad they make sure it's the owner walking off with a case full of guns.  However, it still freaked me out a little when the carousel stopped & our case hadn't arrived.

As for why we flew one-way to Texas ..... momma's got a new set of wheels!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Idiots with Power

I wish that I was surprised when something like this happens - but I've lost my shocked face.  A woman, Jean Weber, takes her aged and ill mother through TSA screening and it comes down to this:

Someone help me out here, what the hell kind of search were they doing?!  The only sideways logic I can scratch up is that the poor old woman was odoriferous or they didn't want to touch a soiled diaper.  I'd like to say that I would've told the fine employees of the TSA that if they were that concerned, they should remove it themselves.  Adding that I have no knowledge of fecal bombs and it was their job to assess the perceived security threat.  Maybe I wouldn't be able to blithely create that kind of escalation, but I sure hope that I would have the constitution to stand up to idiotic ass-hattery.   

Not to surprise anyone: TSA's responses listed in the article are trite and rote.  When will uncommon sense prevail and let us regain pre-flight dignity?  Citing the use of children and the elderly for suicide missions doesn't suddenly make draconian rules and degradation okay.  Somehow, reason and intelligence need to be interjected into airport security.  (Ok, stop laughing!)

The only thing that makes me wonder about the daughter is that she only had one pair of adult diapers (the ones the mom had on).  I understand being upset and disgusted by the TSA's demand but I don't understand being mad about being unable to replace the removed Depends.  That's about the only thing in this sordid affair that isn't the TSA's fault.  "Two is one, one is none" applies to everything in life.  All things considered, I hope she sets the AARP loose on their  ass.  

Edit:  Turns out this may be a case of moronicus-interceptus.  In a follow up story done by CNN it turns out that the daughter admitted to suggesting the removal of the Depends and letting her mom go commando.  They were going to allow her to get a fresh pair out but the daughter wasn't sure how long it would take to get their checked luggage.  Of course this was after TSA couldn't identify a lump in their pat down & wouldn't let the mother board until the diaper was searched.  Ridiculous of them to insist on finding out exactly what that lump was; what else would it be - C4?  Seems like there was stupidity on both sides. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How did you become a Gun Nut?

I've seen this question bouncing around the gun blog-o-sphere (originating here) and figured I'd add my own gunny story. 

My immediate family has always been gun-neutral to hoplophobic.  Dad's neutral, sis was hoplophobic but has slowly become receptive to guns and Pro-2A thinking (still can't get her butt to the range!) and mom... well she's the kind of hoplophobe that you think you're getting somewhere with in a logical debate - then it takes a sudden downward spiral into Illogical Land and you just have to walk away.  Lucky for me, my extended family has gun enthusiasts to balance everything out; my uncle and cousin have always been into guns & shooting.  I can clearly remember, as a kid, an argument between my mother and uncle / cousin about gun control.  It wasn't pretty and we left a holiday dinner early - in a huff.  I wasn't out of middle school at the time but already figured out mom was on the wrong side of the argument. 

The first time I shot a gun was at the age of 12.  I traipsed after the guys when they went shooting & they let me try a shotgun.... the only thing I managed to hit was my ass on the ground.  Not the smartest thing to hand a kid, but I think it was the gentlest thing they had out and I REALLY wanted to shoot.  I still don't like shotguns.

From then until college, guns and shooting were basically abandoned.  My uncle and I went shooting a few times as I got older, but it was discouraged by my mom so I didn't pursue it.  Out of default, I inherited my grandpa's break-action .223 in high school but I wasn't allowed to get ammo for it.  My mind still says, "WTF!?" thinking about it sitting in the corner of my room with not one round of ammo in the whole house... I had a very nice club.

Then Heath and I started dating ---> gun nut ---> the end.  

I was going to say that I was exaggerating, but the more I think about it, nope, that's about how it happened.  It was like the anemic gun enthusiast I had been suddenly had a source of support and approval.  He refreshed the safety lessons my uncle taught me and helped me shed the nonsensical ideas I acquired over several years of listening to my mom, liberal media and college (shudder).  We walked the farm with .22's, set up reactive targets and had a blast.  I learned the glee of making pop cans dance and of shredding paper targets with anything I felt like shooting (still no shotguns).  Then, like I said in my previous post, he encouraged me to get my CCW and now I carry everywhere I can.  It still irks mom - I just smile.  She can't believe Heath and I both carried on our wedding day.  Yeah, there still aren't many 'safe' topics for holiday dinners. 

So that's how I became a 'Gun Nut'.  I've always been one, I just didn't know it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I've had my concealed carry permit for 3 years now (Thank you Darling Husband!).  Prior to getting my permit, I was mainly interested in rifles and rarely picked up a handgun.  After being around Heath (force of nature that he is) and reading several gun blogs (mainly Jay, Breda, Tam, Marko, LawDog and the Cornered Cat) outlining the reasons and realities of self defense, I decided it was time to protect myself.  So, Heath took me to the local gun show and let me loose to walk around and try out all the various handguns until I found one that felt right.  He was flummoxed when I walked the entire gun show (several buildings & a mass of humanity) and end up with this:
A beat-up .38 Colt Army Special.  That day, I found that I had an initial aversion to anything with a magazine or that was remotely small, go figure.  Obviously, this did not turn out to be a carry gun.  It is, however, the first gun I've ever purchased and I still love it.  It took several gun shows, a lot of borrowing and shooting to get me to warm up to anything concealable.

The first gun I started carrying with any consistency was a S&W Model 638 Heath brought home for himself.  He was showing off his new purchase and I promptly confiscated it - he didn't see it again for months.  Finally, he strongly requested the return of his airweight and it was back to the gun show to find its twin or something similar for me to carry.  We stumbled into my main carry gun, a S&W Model 37 airweight.
Our gunsmith friend had it for sale and it called to me.  I bought it before you could say, 'Oooh, Shiny!'  Now it spends most if its time in my purse (please form a line to chastise me about purse carry, no pushing or shoving and one admonishment per commenter).  My goal is to stop using purse carry, but until I can settle on a comfortable alternative, it's better than not carrying at all.

My other carry gun is the Walther PPK (Heath also brought this home for himself and it was promptly requisitioned into my armory - he's given up on getting it back).  It's the first auto that I felt comfortable with and liked shooting.

 It's carried in none other than the Pistol Pouch by Dragon Leather Works.  I absolutely love this carry option for trail rides and for Renaissance Faires.  On the trail, it looks like a binocular case or an upscale alternative to a fanny pack and it allows me to carry without melting under a cover shirt.  At the Renaissance Faire it fits well with period costumes by looking at home next to a leather mug on a ring belt or carry strap and it keeps me from digging through yards of fabric trying to get to my gun. 

Maybe I'll try OC one of these days; right now I'm happy keeping concealed.  Though, if Dennis starts making wheel gun holsters, I'll be forced to throw money at him for a holster for the Model 37 & OC wherever I dare!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunny Afternoon

As promised, pictures of the boys:

My horse: "Chasing Freedom"
5yr old Tennessee Walker

Heath's Horse: "Ebony's Country Gambler"
9 yr old Tennessee Walker

Our resident retiree: "Shotgun" 36+ yr old Quarter Horse

All my boys together

Saturday, June 11, 2011


 Well, tried the side saddle on Freedom. Unfortunately, it looks like this:

The seam should be a straight line just behind the shoulder blade and it should set level across the back (the red lines are correct).  Meaning... it's too narrow over the withers.  Fortunately, I think the tree gullet is wide enough, it's just that the lady who sold it "Bubba'd" the hell out of the flocking (padding) and a few other things.  Just like an old rifle, someone took this antique saddle and 'fixed' it to suit their purpose without any regard to how it should have been repaired (I even found duct tape!).  She said that the professional she took it to wanted $500.00 to repair it so she let her friend, "Bear" do it. *facepalm* Looks like it'll be going to the saddlery for the love & repair it should have gotten to begin with.  Luckily, it fits me like a glove - so a little reworking and TLC should see me riding aside.


On the right-hand side of the screen is a deceptively long list of bloggers I've met; from the look of it you'd think I'd have been blogging longer!  If I was remiss in adding your blog to the roll, please let me know and I'll add you asap.  I'm lucky that Heath's so out going and connected with the gun blogger community - I couldn't imagine associating with a better group of people.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Learning to ride aside

Otherwise titled, "way #3697 I'm going to try and break my neck"

As an early birthday gift, my Darling Husband has given me an honest-to-goodness side saddle (squee!).  I've always wanted to learn how to ride aside but never got around to it.  So now, Freedom (my Tennessee Walker) and I are going to foray into the antiquated riding style.  This'll be interesting, considering there are - to my knowledge and furious googling - no local instructors, clinics or groups.  Luckily, I have the interwebs and an excellent guide in Mrs. Alice M. Hayes

This weekend I'll be trying the saddle on Freedom - checking for fit and function.  With luck, it'll be a close enough fit for him, and for me, to give it a go.   

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A new source of free ice cream

Welcome to my newly renovated corner of the blog-o-sphere!  Here you'll find posts on concealed carry from a woman's point of view, trail riding (CC while trail riding) and baking recipes that could kill a diabetic from across the room.  I'm the other half to Heath and must pay homage to my Blog Father JayG.  I'm not the fancy wordsmith either of them are, but I hope you'll stick around for the musings.