Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Yearly camping trip

Here are some pictures from our yearly camping trip to the Ouray, Silverton and Durango area of Colorado. We've never been in the area at this time of year, and it's never been so green in all the years we have been going. Normally the pictures are full of fall colors.

We tried to take all new roads and trails this year, it worked out great and the scenery was.. well you decide. I was able to find a small lake at about 13,000 feet and I just happened to have a towel with me, it's a tradition that only I follow.

My favorite ranch in the world

Heading to the mountains!

Perfect spot to let blind Luke roam around some

We found the sheep herd

Wonder if the Berkey would filter this

Worlds happiest rescue dog. EVER!

Obligatory walking to the water picture for Kymber

Temp was 54 degrees with a breeze. This water was the coldest ever.

zzzz. Worn out after swimming

Survivalist snack!

Survivalist dinner!

Vertical mineshaft gear/wheel house

We stopped for a prepper snack of high altitude raspberries.

Ore cart tram system

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Range time and how to shoot yourself

Since this is my online diary of sorts, this is going , to remind me of how interesting and crazy life can be. It's going to be a great reminder of another possible near death experience... and wonder how many I get. Sort of a long story:

Tuesday night was range night and I didn't have the time to go, we were leaving in the morning for our annual camping trip to the SW part of the state. I don't want to be one to miss a good training session, especially low light fire drills so I banked on a low sleep night and loaded up. 24 hours in a day no matter what.

We started at the pistol range and everyone asked why I had my full military body armor on. I responded that if you never actually use your gear at the range, what good is it. I wanted to know if I had my mag pouches positioned correctly, if I needed to adjust the shoulder straps, etc. I don't need questions or issues at other ranges, so I never wear it at them. I wanted to see how I would do with it in the heat, it was around 90 degrees when I threw it on. Clothes, armor, glasses, ear protection and plenty of ammo.... fun times ahead. Everyone was complaining about bugs biting them but I had long pants and a long shirt on, nothing bit me.

The pistol range was fun, my second round was a dead center hit so I started pistol mag change drills with 3-5 rounds and I even loaded spent cases to simulate misfires/jams. I would load a few mags then mix them up in a bag so I never knew what I was putting into the XDM. One of the other guys in the group was doing this for his wife and I thought it was great.

The whole group moved to the rifle range. I had a cardboard box with a target stapled to it (zombie of course), a rubber 'self healing' gong type target and a flip style target:
This target is designed that when you hit the upright target, it will flip. It also makes a nice metallic ping when you hit it, like any good steel target, so it's great for low light. The bad thing was I apparently got a heavy version so it didn't flip with 5.56

I ran a few magazines through my carbine and the zombie box died, the swing target died and the flip target died with resounding blood curdling pings. My EOTech was on the money, I was on the money and my gear was rocking just like I had hoped. I set my carbine down on a table so it would cool off and threw my armor in the back of the car, glad to be free of it since it was hot. I started to pack up for the night.

Someone asked me about the flip target so I gave a demonstration.
Trigger pull, Ping
Trigger pull, Ping
Trigger pull, Ping
Trigger pull, Ping.... hmm, a bug bit me
Trigger pull, Ping
Trigger pull, Ping
Trigger pull, Ping... carbine on safe, on the table and to the car for my trauma kit. See, that one ping was more than a ping, it was a full on ricochet that sliced my left side above my little love handle. Yup, of all the crazy stunts, risks and stupid things I have done in my life... I could add shooting myself to the list.

It wasn't super bad, one of the teams doctors looked to be sure since everyone was calling me macho for not fussing much about it. Hell, we could have performed surgery in the back of my car if I needed to, I don't mess around with my trauma kit contents.

I tossed that target into the recycle pile once I got home. I bet my .308 would flip it but I'm not willing to take another chance.
 Two valuable lessons learned:
1.  Wear my gear the entire time. I doubt it would have even nicked the ceramic plate had I kept the armor on.
2. Staying calm works wonders for me and everyone around me. Besides, getting worked up makes the blood flow faster.
3. I heal really fast

So, self, learn from your experiences. I've been shot at, stabbed, taken horrible falls and stumbles on cliff edges while trail running, blocked an 80 pound piece of steel with my arm so it didn't crack my skull and kill me, been under a tank when then decided to move it, fallen 30 feet onto rocks, almost drowned in a lake... I'm sure I've forgotten a few others but can add shot myself to this list. Let's not make it any longer, please.

More posts this week with pictures from our trip. Now it's time for bed, driving almost 1200 miles in 36 hours is torture.

Monday, August 19, 2013

More canning and a new freezer

It's a freezer, upright and white. I decided not to bore myself or anyone else by taking a picture of it, but we are very happy to have it finally. It's a purchase we held off and thinking back wish we didn't. There is about 2 weeks worth of food in it right now, mainly all meats, but the fridge freezer has room for once, I could even stuff some ice cream in it.

Like I need ice cream. I had to adjust my body armor to it's max position, if I get any more muscle I will need to spend a lot of money to get a new setup. That's if I can even find one to replace it, this is actual military issue with ceramic plates and all. People say it's a good problem to have, but to me it's still a problem and a big one. I'm doing dumbbell presses with 100 pounds in each hand, dead lifting 350, squatting almost 300... I have a mental deal with ever having to buy XL clothes again so it's time to pick up some more running.

Here are some pictures from the weekend around the kitchen.

I picked a large bowl of beans, the garden is taking over the planet:
Then I picked some cucumbers:
Then I finished off the blueberries we had in the fridge:
Then I picked some more cucumbers, attacked the strawberries in the fridge and the peaches too:
 Strawberry jam reducing, canning supply pile in the background. We decided to put all the supplies in a 5 gallon bucket with a gamma lid, this stuff just doesn't stack well otherwise.

I had to drive to the North end of town to get canning supplies. I know it's prime season but I've never seen my local grocery store run out of regular lids. I have a lot of supplies, but if I know I'll use 10 lids, we replace them right away. Pectin was on sale locally, I'm going to get more of it today at lunch, it's nice to have even if you don't use it for everything. A lot of places were out or low, or just no longer stock canning supplies so it's time to triple up on stuff I hope to never use.

We ended up putting 60 jars up: strawberry jam, blueberry jam, peach jam, bread and butter pickles, dill pickles, green beans. Each time I decided to relax yesterday and read a book or watch TV, I canned instead. We also worked on the camper since we are leaving for our annual SW Colorado area camping trip. We ended up having sushi last night and then went to bed. It felt good to do something to help live a better life in case times get tough or even if they don't.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Another week in the rain

I'm sort of resigned to doing a weekly update in this 'dear diary' kind of blog. It's a lot of fun going back a few months or years and checking in on what we were doing.

This past weekend we did more canning and made our first ever raspberry preserves. I don't like all those damn seeds, but it's not all about me so we made it together. It didn't set well, it's more of a pancake topping, I didn't realize it would be so runny or we would have added more pectin. Lesson learned. More squash and zucchini canning, a lot more blueberry preserves were added to storage. We noticed that it's becoming hard to find canning supplies locally, so we added more tops into the prep supplies.

This weekend was special, we finally purchased a freezer and are awaiting it's delivery. Nothing was in stock unless you wanted frost free (hell no) so special order only was our selection. 15.7 Cubic feet upright, manual defrost. We are both very excited to have more room for frozen meats, baked goods, veggies, etc. The freezer on the side of the fridge will be for more convenience items. The downside to a freezer is filling it costs a lot, but we will hit all the sales we can find and the food sealer will be in overdrive!

Here is a nice picture of the homestead. 14 days in a row of rain and everything is so lush and green. It usually is around our place, I would rather pay the higher water bill and have a nice yard, the rest of the area has no grass only weeds to make my allergies go crazy. The fence on the left of the picture is holding the dogs at bay from peeing on the garden, the end of that metal fence you can see the chives are monsters this year. You can also see the garden box under the lilac tree, water barrel system (haven't needed to use it in a while), and stuff. Our old 1886 barn homestead, we love it and not just because it was built in the year Geronimo was captured, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated or Coca-Cola was invented.

We love it because it's out home and we think it's awesome.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Adventures, canning, group meeting

We had to get out of town again, just for a day trip to see some old mining structures in an area we hadn't visited up close before. We are trying to be a little more random and just turn on different roads, trails and paths.
 This is where we normally stop but never head down. We decided to change plans and go see what's down in the valley.
 A lot of water and some mining structures, sounds like a perfect combination of adventure!
I didn't have my good camera, I just keep forgetting to bring it. Luckily the iPhone works well enough.

I would love to load this into a truck and bring it home. What a treasure from the old days, feeding miners and workers constantly on an awesome stove.
 A random bunch of cable woven into something like a net.

Trash and a lot of it. We only found one can with any kind of stamping on it, most of the cans were opened with an axe so I'm assuming it was either a chemical for the ore processing or oil. There were some broken dishes here as well but all the labeling was weather worn. I would say there were about 10,000 cans around the site, but that's how it was back in the day.

The drive home really sucked, a bushing gave out on a vehicle and the steering got funky. 30 miles per hour was all we could do and after a point even that was too fast and wobbly. I drove home and got the truck and trailer, I think it was a 600 mile day for me. We were prepared in any case and made it home safe, just in time for mother in laws birthday dinner.

Sunday was relax and work on food storage day. We got a lot of canning done and replenished low supplies from Costco.
Zucchini and yellow squash waiting to head into the pressure canner. Our new single burner propane stove worked great and canning outside made the temperature in the house stay comfortable.
Blueberries were on sale, and when you have fruit on sale you get preserves!
I'll make about 2 dozen more before the week is out. I love preserves, it's a weakness (especially when combined with bread and peanut butter) and I'm happy to feed the habit.

It was out monthly group meeting and we decided to have a BBQ as well. It was a nasty rainstorm and wind but we didn't care. What good is being in a prepper group if you can't take a little bit of nature. I snagged us a pavilion at a local park so we had cover from the elements and the cookies wouldn't get all soggy.
The mountain house box was full of preserves that we passed out and traded for other kinds. All the soda, water, and san pellegrino was from our food storage. We keep all kinds of things stored up. I ran the grill for an hour, everyone socialized and ate well. All of the kids (and there are a lot in case you forgot) played in the rain and mud and danced around the lightning bolts. We scheduled another range day and got plans secured for the next meeting.

I also hit a record at the gym with 4 sets of 5 flat bench press using 95 pound dumbbells in each hand. That's zombie tossing strength right there. I hope everyone had as much fun as we did, days off are supposed to be awesome.