An Open Letter to Stephen King

Dear Steve,

Can I call you ‘Steve’? Great. Thanks. It has recently been brought to my attention that you have a nice little op-ed floating around, in which you appeal to gun owners to ban certain types of guns, as though guns in my safe have ever been guilty of crimes committed. I have particularly enjoyed your The Dark Tower series of books as well as some of your other works of fiction. However, you are overstepping here. You see, you are not a role model nor a leader. You are, in fact, no more than an entertainer. When we want your opinion, we’ll give it to you. Beyond that, keep producing the entertaining material that amuses us and don’t otherwise open your trap. It’s tiresome when Bono does it, and it’s not even cute when Scarlett Johansson does it, and it’s sure as heck not cute when you do it either. Or as it has been immortalized on the internet by my lovely wife; DANCE, MONKEY! What little of your diatribe that I have managed to read illustrates to me that you know very little about gun culture, defensive gun use, gun mechanics, freedom, or the law. How dare you attempt to dictate to me or anyone else for that matter what tools are appropriate for defense, as though you were an expert in such things instead of a fiction author? If I could read your entire 25-page essay without making the contribution I would, if for no other reason than to gauge exactly how much I will boycott your work in the future. However, with such a blatant display of self-righteous arrogance, I fear that I will be unable to reconcile putting money in your pockets with fully hearing you out. To quote words that you wrote:

“I do not aim with my hand; he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
I aim with my eye.

I do not shoot with my hand; he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
I shoot with my mind.

I do not kill with my gun; he who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father.
I kill with my heart.”

So you do understand that the tool is not to blame then? Indeed, a gun alone is not violent nor dangerous, but inert and inanimate. Evil hearts and minds are dangerous regardless of whatever tool is or is not available. The murderers that the anti-gun faction has been taking advantage of recently to justify further infringement of our Second Amendment were committed by bad people. They did not kill with the gun, but with the heart. And you sir, have forgotten the face of your father. With all due respect,

Evyl Robot Michael

Glow Ball Warmening?

The weather has been weird this year. We have had our cold spells, and we even got a little snow on the ground. But, it’s been warm enough for the last few days that a coat hasn’t been necessary. That’s weird for January in Oklahoma. Although for a few years we had an odd neighbor who wore shorts all year, even in the snow. I didn’t think he even owned any long pants until he got all dressed up in his khakis and button down one day. Anyway, I don’t know that there’s any truth to global warming, but why should that keep us from doing our part to help save the planet? In the last year, we’ve made some ecologically smart changes in our life. Jennifer started using this special climate control shampoo.

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And then, she stepped it up a notch and recycled her hair.

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I’ve been trying renewable shaving with limited success.

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I switched to zero-emission hunting and we’ve been eating as much free range meat as we can.

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Please note my naturally cooling unbifurcated garment. We once posed in an electric car.

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And we’ve been using organic heaters.

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And, we even set Jay G on fire!

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Alright, so that last one didn’t really help the environment so much – it was mostly just for fun. Besides that, he made this face at me:

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Tell me you wouldn’t have set him on fire yourself! Yeah, that might have not really happened. Nerd beer was involved and the details get a little fuzzy.

At any rate, we were under a tornado watch this morning. That just doesn’t happen in January. We didn’t get blown away, but we did get a lot of much-needed rain. And, now you can see how hard we’ve been working to combat climate change. So, what are you doing to make the world a better place?

*No bloggers were actually harmed or set on fire in the composition of this post. We here at evylrobot.com do not condone violence against gun bloggers. Any likenesses to any characters, real or imaginary, might or might not be a weird coincidence. Also, squirrels are tasty.

Need Some Help With Guns?

This probably doesn’t apply to most of my readers, but this graphical offer is running around the blogosphere. I picked it up from Teke, and I agree wholeheartedly.

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I have before and I will again help friends and acquaintances learn to understand guns and gun safety in a useful and meaningful way. More than likely, we’ll have a lot of fun with it too!

Glock Ugliness – Are They Anti?

I’d be shocked if any of my readers didn’t know that I make holsters at this point. One of the many questions that I get asked on a regular basis is how I mold the leather to each individual gun. Most people don’t really care what the mechanics of the process are so much as wondering how I have an example of so many different types of guns. When I first started this as a hobby on the side, I usually either borrowed a gun for the process or used my own gun if it happened to match. That is no longer feasible and I now use dummy guns. I have a lot of dummy guns. Just to give an example, I have something like four different 1911 variants, i.e. Colt safeties, extended safeties, railed frame, and a Coonan. I actually have three different Glocks, and I have more pocket pistols than anything else.

The guns that I use for patterning and forming are either cast solid aluminum, or Blueguns, manufactured by Rings. This is pretty standard for holster makers. Some of us prefer the aluminum guns for their durability and dimensional accuracy, and others prefer the Blueguns for their crisp detail. I generally prefer aluminum, but don’t have any problem with their plastic brethren if that’s what’s available at the time. In searching for additional dummy guns that I need to fulfill orders last week, I wandered onto the Blueguns website and saw this note on the front page:

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Which reads*:

NOTICE
GLOCKS ARE BACK!
Glock has recently issued a New Contract with Ring’s Manufacturing Inc. (BLUEGUNS) to manufacture Glock Blueguns as we have been doing for the past 10 years. This new contract states that Glock restricts the sale of Glock Blueguns to the Public. We are restricted to selling Glock Blueguns to the Police, Military, Trainers, Police Distributors, or Holster Manufacturers. We ask that our customers abide by these rules and refrain from offering Glock Blueguns to the Public on the Internet, Publications or General Catalogs. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your support.

Wait a minute. So basically, Glock made Rings agree to only sell their training replicas to “only ones”? In this case, that includes me, but I don’t need any more Glocks right now, and I don’t like classist attitude from any entity, especially a gun manufacturer. It’s no secret that they have classified their G25 and G28 as “Law enforcement only”, which is irksome but very few if any have complained about the absence of .380-caliber Glocks available to the public. I know that wouldn’t be my first choice in a chambering. Anyway, if Glock is taking an anti-rights stand, people need to know about it. So, I hopped on their website and sent them the following message:

Good morning,

I am a custom leather holster maker. Recently on a visit to blueguns.com, to research dummy guns for my production, I saw a note on the front page that reads:

“Glock has recently issued a New Contract with Ring’s Manufacturing Inc. (BLUEGUNS) to manufacture Glock Blueguns as we have been doing for the past 10 years. This new contract states that Glock restricts the sale of Glock Blueguns to the Public. We are restricted to selling Glock Blueguns to the Police, Military, Trainers, Police Distributors, or Holster Manufacturers. We ask that our customers abide by these rules and refrain from offering Glock Blueguns to the Public on the Internet, Publications or General Catalogs. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your support.”

Currently, I have several Glock Blueguns that I employ in the design and production of custom leather holsters, and I anticipate that I will eventually need more. Many of my customers and colleagues desire to have a Bluegun training replica as a copy of their daily carry gun for draw practice, retention training, and other forms of training and practice, as a measure of safety above using a genuine handgun for such practices. These people are not necessarily law enforcement, trainers, or holster makers. Is it true that Glock has contractually forbidden Ring’s from selling training replicas to ordinary citizens? If so, why? Thanks in advance,

–Michael

Maybe they’ve got a really good explanation or maybe it’s just a big misunderstanding. Whether that’s the case, or if their response is, “because you suck and we hate you,” I’ll be sure to let you know either way. We live in interesting times, my friends. I think that a Glock is a fine pistol, but I’m not lining the pockets of anyone who wants to deprive me of my rights – especially not in the current climate.

Ten People Revisited

Some people like to accuse gun owners of not caring about victims of violent crime. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only do we want to live long and happy lives free from violence, we want everyone else to as well. Heck, we even want those we disagree with to live long and happy lives free from violence. Unfortunately, some people want to bring violence to you, and they can only be stopped by force. And so, the most effective means is for someone with good intent to meet them with violence whether that’s a police officer, or some other good guy. We are that violence that lays dormant against the day that evil attacks. The overwhelming majority of us never seek to do anyone any harm, and would put our lives on the line to save the life of an innocent.

In my Ten People in a Room analogy, I conclude that if all ten people are armed and one of them has evil intent, he will be a lot less likely to act on his evil intentions. If however, of those nine people, three of them were carrying concealed handguns, three of them didn’t think much at all about guns, either positively or negatively, and the remaining three were highly opposed to guns, the one with evil intent would still have reason to not cause trouble, especially if he didn’t know which people were armed and which weren’t! Therefore, even those who are radically opposed to guns are still benefiting from their presence, despite their fears to the contrary.

Many antis act as though the very presence of a gun poses a threat, hence gun-free zones in schools and government buildings, as though a law-abiding gun owner in good faith will somehow ‘snap’ when they cross the threshold into certain predefined places. This is demonstrably false on so many different levels. What does constitute a threat is the presence of evil without opposition. Since the law says that I must leave my gun unloaded in my car, parked off school campus before I can go into the school, that’s what I do. I go into the school without my gun to meet with the teacher or accompany my kid to the lost-and-found, complicit with the laws and regulations. When the psycho wants to be famous, like all those other mass-murderers he’s seen on TV, he goes to the school so he can be the tenth guy in a room full of sheep. He knows that his murder spree will reap far more carnage if he’s the only one armed. And, the laws have disarmed me – someone who not only carries a gun, but has trained and practiced, and who has multiple background checks to prove my history as one of the good guys. Checkmate.

Ever notice how mass murders never happen in gun ranges, or police stations? Ever notice how the truly awful ones happen where guns aren’t allowed? Considering this, does anyone want to work up the numbers on how many deaths are due to gun regulations versus the lack of them? One could almost say that gun control in and of itself cause violence and crime. What if more people like me, trained and practiced in the use of arms, were allowed to carry in government buildings? What about on airplanes? I suspect we would deter or stop far more crimes than some silly regulation or law. Why? Because it would hit those who don’t abide by the laws where it hurts.

Dear antis: Just because you don’t like guns doesn’t make gun owners your enemy. You don’t have to like guns, and we won’t force you to have them. We are your friends and we want the world to be a safer place just as much as you do. But, the genie is out of the bottle now – you can’t make guns go away. Even if you could vaporize all of them, people would make them at home, smuggle them in from elsewhere, or simply use something else. No amount of legislation can save you, but we can. Give us a chance.

The Second Amendment – Another Perspective

Imagine two-hundred some odd years ago, the country is brand new. When the king tried to disarm us and tax us despite anything we had to say about it, and generally treated us as if we were no more than property, we fought. And, we won. And, it was now time for a small group of men to codify the basic laws of the new country. These men knew that they would eventually die for what they had done, it was only a matter of when the king’s men showed up to extract his revenge on them. Just as the king had become oppressive, they understood that any government could eventually become oppressive and tyrannical. Therefore, they wrote the Bill of Rights, to sign into law what the government was not allowed to do to the people. This was not about giving people rights so much as defining them in a way so that the government couldn’t infringe upon those rights.

They didn’t know if the British would try to come back and take us with a second go, or if some other country would want to claim this land to take advantage of its resources. Obviously, this new nation would need a powerful military to protect itself. But, what if we faced a foe that was more powerful than our military? Or, what if a corrupted federal government ever turned the military against the people? We would need to be able to mobilize and arm the people. These would be regular folks who knew their way around a gun. And, they’d have to provide their own gun and ammunition, since there wouldn’t be a centralized armory for them to be supplied from. They wouldn’t be a military so much as a militia.

Heaven forbid we should ever again have to violently fight out an oppressive government, but if mobilization of armed citizens was ever necessary, such motions would need to be organized and swift, or one might even say well-regulated. And, the people would need weapons fit for a fight against a professional military; they would need access to all the same weapons that soldiers had. Otherwise, they would not stand a chance in such an altercation. And therefore, they made it illegal for the government to keep us from arming ourselves with whatever means we might ever need to defend ourselves as individuals or as a community.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

If I’m right about all that, the fact that I can’t buy a new machine gun – does that infringe upon my rights as an emergent member of a hypothetical militia that would be fighting against men with machine guns? What about the fact that I have to go through a state-approved test and pay fees to the government to carry a gun wherever I go? Does it infringe upon my rights that taking a gun into a school or Post Office is a felony offence? What about the fact that it is illegal for me to carry a handgun in excess of .45-caliber? I’m kind of thinking these are infringements, from that perspective.

A lot of people say that the Second Amendment is outdated and unnecessary at this point and should be violated or abolished on that justification. They say our government is not oppressive or tyrannical, so we should just give up our guns for the greater good. But, can you think of a corrupt politician? It’s a laughably stupid question, isn’t it? How about this – can you think of a politician who is not corrupt? I can think of a few, but it’s a far shorter list than the other one. Do you think that enough corrupt politicians put together could become oppressive or tyrannical? If the government comes to take over your neighborhood and lead you to a detainment camp, what will you do? If men with guns come to take your life, do you have means to defend yourself? Don’t think it could happen? Neither did so many Jews, Chinese, Russians, or any other people who have been oppressed throughout history.

Domes as Homes II

If you’ve been following my blog, you probably read my musings about building a geodesic dome as a house. If you read the comments section, you know that there’s been some discussion going on. Inventive told me that he grew up living in a dome house that his dad built. I asked for pics and description, and he posted a blog entry of his own with current pictures of his parents’ home. It looks pretty good, especially after the remodel. My favorite is the last picture, where you can see the new furniture on the new floor, with freshly painted triangle panels in the wall behind, with the script “When you can’t see God’s hand, trust His heart” painted on the wall. Words to live by! Please do go check out his pics and commentary.

I think this cockamamie scheme of ours might actually be doable! I showed my scribbles of brainstormed floor plans to my parents on Saturday and they seemed pretty excited about it. We discussed location, and we’re pretty sure where we’re going to build it – for now anyway. There’s still plenty of time to change our minds. With the kit that we’re looking at and the floor plan we’re thinking towards, we’ll have lots of space for house guests. That will be a first for us, and we’re pretty excited about the prospect! Of course, I’ll publish more when I have more to report.

Nikon AW100 Review

Digital photography is one of those things that was weird to see the consumer inception of, especially given the ubiquitousness of it now. Indeed, for the first years of our marriage, we didn’t have so much as an internet connection or computer in the household, so a digital camera would have been utterly useless. We had a couple of 35mms and a little Polaroid, and somewhere we have boxes and boxes of prints and negatives, like many other established households. Once when we upgraded our mobile phones, the neew hawtness was this nifty little flip with color screens and a built in camera of all things! For months, onlookers were shocked to see me taking pictures (however rudimentary, grainy, and low-res) with my phone, especially quaint and hilarious considering how often you can catch people mistakenly using the words ‘camera’ and ‘phone’ interchangeably at this point. I remember when my dad dropped his 35mm SLR while on vacation, and I thought he was going to be sick. When he was told that the camera couldn’t be fixed, he saved up his money and bought a new Cannon Rebel DSLR. I was fascinated. By that point in time, I believe we had an HP desktop we purchased from a Wal Mart Slaughterhouse Black Friday sale, and a couple/few Linux boxes. I’m nearly certain I was running my Hydra, a home-brewed, triple-display, ‘nix-powered affront of technology that was pieced together with the cannibalized remains of dead computers, and ran visual effects in the GUI that still wouldn’t be seen in the world of Windows for several years yet. But I digress…

Jennifer decided that she’d like to have a digital camera. On her blog, she has briefly mentioned her old Olympus Stylus 600. We had a lot of good times with that little all-weather camera and its massive, 1-GB XD card. In fact, a few weeks ago, we discovered that the card was still loaded up with a bunch of old pictures. When it came time for a replacement, we found a LNIB Nikon P80 for a fantastic price at the local pawn shop. After running that one until she outgrew it, we purchased a new Nikon D3100 for her last year after Christmas. That was around the time that I purchased my bow. Of course, phones were upgraded over the years. Now, the camera built into my Galaxy Epic 4G takes pics to compete with the old Olympus for image quality, and at a higher resolution to boot. Even so, I started to feel the need for a dedicated point and shoot, something that would take better images than my phone, and preferably something that would take good video, and that would go everywhere with me, no matter the weather or circumstances. Having spent quite a bit of time myself with Jennifer’s P80 and then D3100, I turned a biased eye towards Nikon and their AW100.

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Of course, I considered several other options while shopping, not to miss out on a better fit because of said bias. I checked out Cannon’s Powershot D20 and Olympus’ TG series cameras, and I even took a look at the GoPro Hero 2 and the Contour Roam, just to broaden my scope. The latter two really weren’t in the product family that I was looking for, although I’ll probably wind up with such toys before I die. I honestly didn’t know what GoPro was before I ran into a Hero display at Target one day – that probably catalyzed me wanting a waterproof/shockproof camera. Anyway, after considering all the options, I decided that I did like the Nikon the best. The combination of controls, capabilities, size & shape, local support, and product familiarity influenced me to go home with an AW100. Nikon was running a special at the time, so I got a package that included a little carry case and a three-year extended warranty. Since that day, my AW100 goes just about everywhere with me. What came in the box (short of the camera and batter, which were employed for the picture):

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The carry case (upper right) turned out to be entirely too bulky to be useful, so it now lives in the box with the other unused items. Under it, you can see a stack of paperwork and CDs. It also came with a lens filter adapter (upper left), a USB cable, a useless A/V cable, and a useless neck strap that I tried using until I replaced it with a wrist strap that I stole off another camera that was laying around, nearly forgotten in its obsolescence. Oh yeah, and the battery charger – it only takes a couple of hours for the battery to reach full charge, and that will support quite a bit of time for my purposes. I usually wind up charging it once a week or so, but it depletes at the worst possible times. On Saturday, I was trying to get some good pics of a red tail hawk that was circling low overhead when the battery tanked on me.

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A word of advice – if you get a camera like this, get a couple extra batteries. You can find the Nikon-branded batteries on Amazon for around $20, and third-party replacements for a quarter of that. As you can imagine, the battery only dies when you are using the camera, which is by definition, the least convenient time for it to happen. As to the storage card, I’m running an HP-branded 32GB Class 10 SDHD. I may replace this with one of the wi-fi cards from Transcend or Eye-Fi so I can access pics and videos wirelessly from my Android or laptop. It would be nice to not break the water seal as often as I do for file transfers. Here’s a self-portrait:

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I boldly chose the orange variation over blue or black. This little camera boasts a 16MP CMOS sensor, full 1080p video with stereo sound, GPS, compass, 5x optical zoom Nikor lens, and it is waterproof to 33-feet and shockproof from a 5-foot drop. I have dragged this thing through the woods, swimming pools, and like I said – about everywhere I go.

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Despite my inadvertent and sometimes deliberate rough treatment of the camera, the bright orange case is not even showing any wear. At lower resolution, it will capture video at 240fps, for smooth, slow-motion playback, as seen in this video of Firehand:

Of course, the video is not going to surpass a dedicated camcorder, but I would say that the video quality more-or-less hangs with JayG’s Sony. That is to say that the disparity from the two sources is hardly noticeable in this, now world-famous video:

I flushed the camera in the toilet while recording video, but it turned out pretty boring. Washing the camera after the fact came out pretty interesting, by comarison!

At first, I found the menus to be slightly confusing, and I still haven’t figured out how to work everything it will do. Facial recognition and geotagging are nifty features that I probably wouldn’t have thought about building into a camera. I do wish that there were more manual options like on Jennifer’s D3100 or even her old P80, but this is a minor complaint in the long run. It’s not a DSLR, and can’t be expected to do the job of one – it will happily go places you wouldn’t dare drag your DSLR! Although you’ll get better video quality from a camcorder, this one stands in quite nicely for the same purpose. The GoPro and Roam cameras are far tougher and more waterproof, but they are purpose built and don’t stand in very well for a point-and-shoot. the high-speed video settings are cool, but it won’t catch bullets in the air at high resolution like a Phantom, but it doesn’t command a fraction of the price tag either. It’s more compact than a lot of its competitors and has a mind-blowing feature set crammed into the little package. What I was after was a rugged point-and-shoot that had extended features for other uses. I feel like I got that in spades. Basically, what it comes down to is if you need a camera for a specialized purpose, you can probably spend your money better. If however, you want a compact camera that can do almost anything pretty well, indoors or outdoors, in rough conditions, or even under water, I would highly recommend Nikon’s AW100.

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Domes As Homes?

When you write poems? I’ll give you a minute to finish groaning and rolling your eyes.

Back yet? Good. A couple weeks ago, I posted an entry in which I mused about building a geodesic dome greenhouse. As nifty as that would be, as I took a closer look at the postage stamp that is our back yard, I couldn’t find a spot that we could realistically plant an eleven-foot diameter dome. In this corner it wouldn’t fit between the deck and the fence. In that corner, it would obstruct my archery range. In this other corner we’d have to move the smoker. And the peach tree. And it would block our view of the roses. And it would be directly over the sewer line. Nope. The dome greenhouse is out. A couple of commenters (thanks Ruth and HTRN) suggested clear plastic film over a PVC frame, and this is likely the direction we’ll go. It’s cheap to build, reasonably effective, and we can pitch the whole thing in the garbage if we get sick of it. As soon as my brother gets done fixing Grandpa’s old tiller* we’ll use it to turn up most of the yard and I imagine that will be a good time to erect a PVC greenhouse.

So, I’ve put the domes behind me, right? Well, not entirely. You see, we have been dreaming for years of building a big house in the country. When we bought our house, it was intended to be our starter home; our five-year house, if you will. That was fourteen years ago. As our baby grew into a teenager, the place got smaller and smaller. Now that I’m running a business from it, it feels like living in a closet. Suffice it to say, we’re overdue. Over a decade ago, laying in bed, Jennifer and I would talk about different features we wanted our house to have. It was clear even back then that our current house wasn’t our permanent home. I always kind of envisioned a roundish structure, but never once even thought of a geodesic dome until poking around on the internet for dome information regarding the greenhouse concept. One of the websites I linked to on that post was domekits.info.

This is a neat website for any aspiring dome owner. It tells you what angles you should cut the ends of your boards for a proper wood-to-wood fit in a dome, or it provides information on hiring a company to build your dome on sight, and everything in between. I am particularly fascinated by this page, which offers several different dome kit options, ranging from a twenty-four foot entry model to a behemoth sixty foot diameter structure. It appears that these are largely all-inclusive, pre-cut materials and plans for a do-it-yourselfer to build the structure on their own. The forty foot wooden model that they offer would evenly replace the 1,100 square feet we currently live in, not counting the 1,200 square foot lower level which I suspect could make a garage and a leather shop. That kit is listed at $13,500, even with the optional 5/8″ external plywood. Moving up the scale, ultimately we see their palatial sixty foot dome which boasts a combined 5,500 square feet of floor space, made from 8″ steel i-beam and finished in 3/4″ plywood for a price tag of $47,000. I understand that the price doesn’t include a foundation, doors and windows, plumbing and wiring, but these prices just seem cheap to me for the amount of space you get.

On the website, they do claim that they give you the least expensive structural option for the space available, and I’m prone to believe it if their pricing schedule is accurate. Even if it cost that again to finish it out, it’s still cheap. We have been planning to make a move for a while now, and we’re within a couple years of a realistic time for that. I wonder what it would cost to pour a round, concrete garage/basement under that big one. I may have to email them and get some more information on these kits. I’d like to see where they orient floors and exactly what comes with the kit. Besides that, it could make for some great blog fodder! And who knows? Maybe this will lead to a good old fashioned… …dome?… …raising. Anyway, I’ll probably be doing some homework to try to figure out soft price ranges of what I can expect to pay for everything else. Even if it came down to living in a project for a while as we worked on it, I think I could live with that.

*That thing is a monster! When it is running again, it shouldn’t take us very long at all to till up the yard.

Deer Season Wrap Up

At the end of the year, my hunting license expired, as did my unfilled deer tags. I went ahead and purchased my 2013 hunting license as well as one more deer tag, since I had another two weeks to hunt. I figured if I shot a deer, it counts towards 2012, and if not, I’d have it in the fall. Things were slow going for the last two weeks, with many excuses to not get out to the farm including weather and other engagements. Well, we went out on Tuesday afternoon, as it was the last day of the season.

The drive out was pleasant and uneventful. When we made our way into the hollow, we spotted three does. They were very familiar to us as we have seen this trio countless times in pictures and in real life. This was the same doe and her two yearlings that we spotted when we took Teen Bot out for Youth Deer Gun in October. Indeed, this was the very same doe that he passed up the shot on for multiple moral dilemmas. Good kid.

Those two yearlings have grown a lot in the last few months. Now they are nearly as big as their mother. Before I could get within one hundred yards of them, they spotted me and walked into the woods to watch me from there. I stopped and waited quietly to see what would happen. The slightly larger offspring walked back out from the treeline and watched me. With her ears erect and her nose pointed at me, she laid down in the grass and waited as I waited. I pulled out my camera and snapped a picture of her, at the full 5x optical zoom that my Nikon affords me. I didn’t bother posting the picture. You can see the doe if you know where to look, but I felt like it would be useless here.

So, there we sat in a man versus nature game of chicken; me not daring to move for fear of spooking them, the deer not daring to move for fear of me. The slightly smaller yearling tentatively walked from the treeline and stood beside her sister. With fifteen minutes left of the season, we waited, staring at each other. Neither one of them was in a position for an ethical kill and they were out of bow range anyway. Then suddenly, the three of them made an about face and bounded off to their left, up the trail that they’d carved through the woods toward the car path.

I swapped out the SD card in the camera in the hollow. With ten minutes to spare, we headed back up the trail, swapping out the card in the other camera along the way. I hoped to cross paths with them again at the top of the property with minutes to spare before the end of shooting hours. When we made it back to the gate, the deer were nowhere to be seen and it was time to call it quits. Oh well. Although there was no harvest, the hunt was good. I learned a lot and feel like I have skills that I can put to work in the fall.

As we drove back towards the city, we mused together about the combined deer seasons, and what we had learned. We even laughed about the fact that this particular doe had so narrowly escaped on so many occasions. I was about to take the turn from the property road onto the main road when something came out of nowhere and struck the front of the car in a flash of gray and a startling thud.

“What the!?!?!” I exclaimed as I put full pressure to the Brembo brake calipers. The Italian brakes stopped the car as abruptly as they should and I threw on the hand brake and the hazard lights.

“What was that?” Jennifer asked.

“I don’t know,” I said as I climbed out of the car, “some kind of animal.”

As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I saw a crumpled mass on the edge of the road. I shined my flashlight to see a relatively large feathered form. I squinted and looked for movement or blood. Suddenly, the creature popped to its feet, wings hanging to its sides.

“Stay back!” Jennifer said, to either Teen Bot, or me, or the bird, I can’t be sure

It stumbled side to side. Standing about two feet tall, its flat beak and horn-like crests gave it away. I reached for my camera about the time the owl shook its head as if to shake off the disorientation. Before I had the camera powered on, the creature shook its head again, spread its broad wings and confidently flapped them several times to propel itself into the air, circling to the nearby treeline.

“Well,” Jennifer mused, “I guess it’s okay.”

“Clearly,” I said, “Those were not the movements of an injured animal.”

Returning to the car, we inspected the front driver’s corner where it had hit. There were brush-like marks in the dust on the front fender near the headlight. We had not hit it, it had hit us. That explained why it was only dazed and not broken. We got back in the car and headed home. It was a good trip overall, and the three and a half months of deer archery were enriching even if they didn’t put meat in the freezer.

Today, I did a little maintenance to my bow and resorted my arrows. I am on the look out for a feeder which I will attempt to maintain year round. We will continue to scout and watch the deer, and we will more than likely sit in the blind with cameras instead of guns and archery equipment at one time or another. The rabbits, squirrels, and quail have been prevalent, and we’ll continue to pursue them. By the time Deer Archery opens in October, we will be far more prepared than we were this year, and I’m sure we’ll have more stories to share!