About two weeks ago the site got hacked. I’ve been spending all my time making sure everything (posts, picures, etc) were secure and was finally able to get back online today. I’ll get caught up on my 365 photo project over the next few days. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Peace out,

Goodbye to 2020

Time to say goodbye to 2020. It was easily the strangest year of my life, but it was actually a pretty good year from me. I didn’t lose any family or friends to the virus. We got our house paid off. I went to Washingto DC with some friends for a Stop the Steal rally. I had cataract surgery so my distance vision is back to 20/20 in both eyes. Even better, my near vision is good enough that I can see my handgun sights without reading glasses. My employer has told me that because of budget cuts, my contract that expires at the end of June won’t be renewed. I’ve been looking for an excuse to “retire” so I consider that a positive. The best thing  about 2020 was making some new friends. For a loner like me, that’s a big deal.

Early in the year we decided to experiment with indoor gardening. It actually worked pretty good. My wife saved the roots from some green onions and planted them. We set them inside a sunny window and watched them grow. Kind of surprising how fast they grew. We got about 3 cuttings before my wife decided she wanted the counter space back. Too busy with other things to try it again in the fall, but next year I want to do more.

Welcome to socialism in Amerika… Lines outside Costco caused by arbitrary limits on store access and people panic-buying toilet paper, dissinfectant wipes, etc. This was about 2 weeks after the government mandated shutdown. It would get better about a month later, but this kind of crap should be unnacceptable in a free Republic.

Went for a walk one day and came across this Great Blue Heron. Even during a pandemic there are things to find joy in. This guy was hanging out at the golf course about a half mile from my home. He let me get pretty close before he decided to leave.

Open Nevada Rally in Carson City. This was in early May, about a month after the state mandated shutdown started. Lots of families peacefully protesting for their freedom – to work, provide for their families, go to school, and worship.

For some reason, our esteemed governor thought it was too dangerous to go to church, so churches were closed by state decree. Meanwhile, liquor stores and whore houses were deemed essential so they got to stay open with some restrictions. You read that correctly – churches were shut down by government mandate while whore houses were allowed to remain open.

One last shot from the Open Nevada rally. Notice the attack dog. Notice the deputies armed with fully automatic weapons. Because you know, peaceful citizens exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble make our governor feel scared.

More wildlife close to home. Found this garter snake on a walking trail near my home. I didn’t bother him, we were just crossing paths.

My son’s first time shooting an AR-15. Yes, I know we need to work on his shooting stance, lol… He actually did pretty good. We’ve since built him his own AR. It’s nicer than mine.

I got bored with the walking trails close to my house so I started looking for different routes. This is south of my home, at about the midpoint of a 5 mile loop. I like walking loops better than just walking out and back – a lot less boring.

My Chinese wife explaining to a Chinese news crew (out of San Francisco) why socialism and communism completely suck, why free markets are better, and what a tragedy it is that “Sniff” Biden and Heels-up Harris “won” the election.

Me and some friends with a group of very nice Vietnamese immigrants. These people had to live under communism, and came here to get away from communism. I also met people from mainland China and Taiwan who came here to get AWAY from communism – and the democrat party is working overtime to impose as much communism as they can on our Republic. OK, enough politics…

I closed out the year by going shooting with some friends. It was a place I haven’t been to before, and a lot closer to my house than my usual spot. We went pretty late in the afternoon, so we were still there as the sun was going down. It’s already behind the hill, but here is the last sunset of 2020. So beautiful and peaceful – especially after such a hectic year. Happy New Year, and may 2021 be a blessed year for you and yours.

Peace out,

Wuhan Virus – It’s Too Late!!!

wuhan (corona) virus If you wait for a crisis to prepare for a crisis, it’s too late. Here’s an example: Last Thursday (March 5), the county I live in announced the first presumptive case of Wuhan virus (a.k.a. coronavirus). ONE person out of about 460,000. My wife called me from Costco the next morning (she shops then because usually they’re slow then). The parking lot and store were jam packed. They were completely out of toilet paper. Bottled water, disinfectant wipes, and some other items were limited to 2 per customer. This was half an hour after they opened. I stopped by that afternoon on my way home from work. Bottled water, toilet paper, paper towels and rice were sold out. All because 0.00022% of my county’s population was presumably infected with coronavirus.

Wuhan Virus – It’s Too Late!!!

I know it’s going to spread. About 3-400,000 fly into our airport every month. We also get lots of tour buses and lots of people drive here from California. About 30,000,000 people get the flu every year. The measure used to determine how easily a virus spreads is known as the “basic reproduction number,” or R0 (pronounced R-nought). This is an estimate of the average number of people who catch the virus from a single infected person. The R0 for flu is 1.3 or so. The R0 for coronavirus is between 2 and 3. In other words, it’s around twice as infectious as the flu. So yes, it’s going to spread no matter what. So what am I doing? What can you do?

To be honest, I’m not really doing much. Obviously the best way to not get infected is to not be around people who are already infected. So I am social distancing. That’s easy for me since I’m not much of a people person anyway. I also make sure my kids wash their hands often, and especially before they eat – teenagers ya know… We’re also trying to limit our time in public places – shopping, eating out, etc. That’s pretty much it.

But what about food? Water? Toilet paper? Well, I already have that pretty well covered. I have about 3 months worth of food in the pantry. If I could talk my wife into it, we’d have more but a 3 month supply is a whole lot better than nothing. For water, I have 100 gallons in the garage and we have a Berkey that we use to filter all our water anyway. We don’t keep a lot of TP on hand but that can be worked around (hint: get The Humanure Handbook: Shit in a Nut Shell).

OK, what else?

Everything I mentioned so far is just common sense. Hopefully it’s something you’ve been doing too Besides keeping a food and water stock on hand, I work on building my immunity. Not just now, all the time. I take a multi vitamin every day, along with an extra vitamin C supplement and a few others that are related to specific health issues I have. I exercise daily – 3 days upper body, 3 days legs core and cardio, and 1 day (Sunday) off. Not because of the Wuhan virus, but because it makes me feel a lot better physically. I highly recommend it.

Instead of panicking over coronavirus, use it as an opportunity to take stock. Are your food and water supplies up to speed? Have you been slacking on your PT? The first round of public panic buying seems to be fading, but I have a feeling the next wave will be 10 times as bad. Use the lull to stock up on things you’re missing. Start exercising if you’re not doing it already. Keep your truck (car) full of gas and your powder dry. DON’T panic and don’t over react. Until next time…

Peace out,

Related link(s):
Mountain Guerrilla on coronavirus

Solitude and eye surgery

solitudeI’d forgotten how quiet it down here. Especially at night but pretty much all the time. I’m five days into a nine day Wilderness First Responder course and I’m loving it. The classes end between 5:00 and 5:30 so the sun is already behind the mountains when we get out for the day. Friday night we had an evening session so we didn’t get out until 9:00, so they gave us a dinner break from 5:00 to 6:15. Instead of driving into town to eat, I took dinner with me and walked out into the desert to eat and gaze at the stars.

Solitude at last…

I thought I’d found solitude close to home a few months ago, but I was wrong. Compared to here, that solitude at home was like comparing an original painting to a cereal box. Or something like that. It’s not just the desert at night that’s quiet. My motel is on the main highway through town. There is less traffic on that highway in the morning – a LOT less – than the little connecting road that runs through the neighborhood where I live.

Even neighborhood traffic is less. I live on a cul de sac with 15 houses on it. Seems like every 5 minutes there’s a car going in or out. All day, every day. In Bishop, my mom owns a property on a street with 40 homes. I spent a couple hours there today doing some cleanup work (we at a day off from class). ONE car the entire two hours. Amazing.

Eye surgery?

Which brings me to… eye surgery. I had Lasik about 17 years ago. It was great at first but about 5 years ago my vision started getting worse. I’m at the point now where I can’t see the sights on a handgun without my reading glasses. That makes it kind of hard to see the target. Besides needing reading glasses out to 5 or 6 feet, my distance vision also wasn’t as clear as it had been.

Went to the eye doctor and he explained that’s normal. I guess you’re eyes are changing throughout your life even if they’re healthy. Silly me, I always thought they stopped changing when you’re around 40, which is about when I got the Lasik. So… he tested my eyes for a glasses prescription. With the prescription my distance vision is once again 20/20 (actually a little better). Even better, I can see my thumb clearly at arm’s length with the “distance” lenses. No reading glasses for shooting – yipee.

So, the bad news is I need glasses again. The good news is I’ve got cataracts just barely starting, but that I’d probably be better off with glasses for now. BUT, and it’s a biggie, he told me if I wanted he’d refer me to an eye surgeon for a second opinion. At first I decided to just go with glasses and skip the second opinion. I’m only 56, and my eyes might keep changing so I could end up needing glasses in the future even with the lens replacement surgery. I’d rather wear the glasses now and finish my life not needing them, than have a reprieve now and have to wear them when I’m old.

“So what” you ask…

Well, the “so what” is the solitude down here. I’m still young enough to camp and go on treks. It’s a total pain in the a$$ to worry about glasses when you’re camping or traipsing through the wilderness. I want to learn how to swim and glasses are a pain in the a$$ for swimming, too. So now I’m thinking I’d rather have good vision without glasses while I’m still young enough to enjoy the outdoors. When I get old and have to settle down, glasses won’t be as much of a hassle because I won’t be doing as much. Well gotta go now. Almost 9:00 and I want to get up at 4:30 am to study. Until next time…

Peace out,

Solitude in the city?

Solitude in the cityI stay pretty busy at work and my side jobs, so it’s hard to find time to get out of the city. Last Saturday my church hosted a youth hike at a local park, so I decided to check it out with my son. Is it possible to find solitude in the city? I was kind of disappointed when we got there. The small parking lot was full and there were lots of families in the picnic area. It turned out to be a good day anyway. Once we got away from the picnic area there weren’t many people.

The good…

The park is a small picnic area and a big “nature study area.” It’s a city park, but the study area is maintained by the state Division of Wildlife. There’s a trail loop that runs about a mile, with the first part of the loop running along the river. The river is running high and the sound of the rushing water was very relaxing. After veering away from the river, the trail winds through trees (cottonwood and Russian olive), through a small meadow, and past a small wetlands.

According to signs along the trail, the area is home to herons, hawks, mink, beaver, mule deer, coyotes, rainbow trout, and more. We didn’t see any of those, but there were lots of quail and blue jays. I didn’t see any “no fishing” signs so later in the year when the river goes down I’ll check out that trout claim.

Walking slow, it took us about 45 minutes to walk the loop. We only saw a few other people on the trail, so yes we had solitude. It’s a city park, so no camping activities, fire making, etc. In other words, no practicing backwoods skills, but still a good place to see some wildlife and enjoy some peace and quiet.

The not so good…

Lots of the trail signs were sprayed with graffiti. Considering the people I saw using the picnic area, it wasn’t surprising. Still disappointing though. Also, in spite of the signs forbidding camping, there were a few spots that were obviously being used for camping by homeless people. I felt safe (I’m a guy, I was with a group, and I CCW). I don’t think I’d feel good about my wife walking there alone or with our kid though.

All in all…

All in all though I had a good time. I still haven’t found my perfect place but I’ll keep looking. There are some places closer to the back yard I’m checking out, hopefully a little more “interactive” if you know what I mean. Until next time…

Peace out,

A Bushcrafter, a Survivalist, and a Prepper walk into a bar…

Haven’t had much time to write lately. Went through some life crises but all is well now so hear I am. Anyway, a Bushcrafter, a Survivalist, and a Prepper walk into a bar. The bar tender looks up and says “Are you guys identical triplets?” I know it’s lame. If you’re reading this blog you already know what a bushcrafter is, but what’s the difference between a survivalist and a prepper? It’s something I wonder about and it seems to be a pretty common question. Last week at my monthly prepper group someone asked and for the first time I heard an answer that was simple and made sense.

The guy who runs our group is who gave the answer. He describes himself as a former survivalist who’s now more of a prepper (when I use those terms, it’s without some of the connotations the media likes to ascribe to them). His answer was short and sweet:

They both prepare. A survivalist prepares to do without. A prepper prepares so he doesn’t have to do without.

If you think about it, it makes sense. Take knives for example. A survivalist will want to know how to make his own. After all, ancient people did so why not? Find a suitable rock, figure out how to put a sharp edge on it, find a stick, figure out a way to attach the “blade” to the “handle” and viola! A knife. A prepper just goes out and buys a couple (or a couple dozen) knives.

Same with fire. A survivalist will know a half dozen ways to make a fire using nothing they can’t find in the wilderness. A prepper will have a couple ferro rods, several types of matches, a few butane lighters, and maybe a flame thrower.

I could go on, but that should be enough to understand the idea. A survivalist hopes to really mostly or entirely on skills. A prepper relies a lot (some say too much) on gear. Both have some valid points to support their views. A survivalist will say you can have all the gear in the world, but if you don’t know how to use it, or it gets lost or stolen, you’re still dead. A prepper will point out that sometimes you need gear know matter how much skill you have. For example, the world’s best skydiver falling out of an airplane without a parachute…

So what about the Backyardsman?

Where does this leave the Backyardsman? Is he (or she) a prepper or a survivalist? I think both. I tend to the prepper side. What can I say? I’m a gear junky. At the same time, I know my gear won’t do me or my family any good if I don’t know how to use it. I also know I need to provide even if I lose my gear. I know I don’t spend enough time learning skills.

What it comes down to for me is balance. If you’re just doing it for fun then do what is fun. If you’re concerned with the way things are going though, and want to “prepare” for bad times, keep it balanced. If you’re strong on skills but light on gear, look to see if there is at least some gear that can fill in on areas where skill might not be enough. If you’re heavy on gear but lacking skills, hide the credit card, get out in your back yard, and learn some skills.

See? Simple, short, and sweet. Peace out,

Finally bought a sewing machine

Singer 328 sewing machineI never really learned how to sew. When I was a kid, my mom had a sewing machine that I used a little, but not enough to get good at it. When my Dad passed away in 2014, my Mom decided to downsize and gave the sewing machine to my sister. I’ve always been a little interested in learning how to sew, so I wish I’d have asked for it. Oh well… A few months ago I asked my mom for advice on a sewing machine and got the standard lecture I always seem to get when telling ANY woman I want something… WHY??? You can’t afford it. You don’t have room for it. It’s cheaper and easier to just buy what you want instead of trying to make it yourself. You’ll regret it. I made the even bigger mistake of asking in front of my wife, so it was a pile-on. Well, whatever. I did some looking around, and last week I finally bought a sewing machine. I don’t care if buying things already made is cheaper and easier, I want to learn how to sew. So risking the wrath of my wife, I bought a sewing machine…

My “vintage” sewing machine…

My mom was party correct. New sewing machines that I can afford are pretty much crap. The Singers of today aren’t your mom’s Singer. The minimum price for a “good” sewing machine is about $900 – $1000 and I don’t like them because they have “digital control” – if the CPU board goes out you have a very expensive door stop. In one way, my mom and wife were right – if I was going to try this with a new sewing machine it would probably be a waste. Well screw that, there must be better options and there are…

On a Hi-Point forum I found a post from someone who’d just made their first nylon holster. Looked pretty good so I PM’d him to ask what kind of sewing machine he had. He replied that it was a 60’s vintage Singer 328. After a little looking around I found these can be had for around $150 so I bought one on eBay…

My new mini tent…

For the past few weeks I’ve been experimenting with sleeping outside. My sleep system is pretty simple:

  • 9 x 12 foot heavy canvas paint drop cloth (folded in half) from local hardware store (base, helps keep the bivy bag clean)
  • USGI Thermarest sleep pad (since I’m too fragile to sleep directly on concrete)
  • Rolled up foam pad (used as pillow)
  • Hunka XL bivvy bag (used as light weight sleeping bag)
  • Wool blanket (in case it gets to chilly)

It’s been working pretty good, but I wake up with insect bites. Strange since we don’t have mosquitoes, maybe noseeums? Anyway, the bites itch like crazy so I decided I need a tent. I wanted something small that would work without stakes. After all, it’s pretty hard to drive tent stakes through a concrete patio… What I found was a USGI surplus bivvy bag. A bivvy bag is usually just a bag, but this acts like a mini tent to keep insects and other critters off me while I sleep.

It comes with a little carry bag and sets up easily. It seems a little flimsy so I’m not going to recommend it until I try it long enough to test its durability. The top is just netting so it won’t protect you from rain or snow, just bugs. I tried it the first time last night. Not a lot of room to move around once you’re inside so I didn’t use the Hunka XL. Just but the sleeping pad inside and covered up with the wool blanket. It worked fine. Slept sound and woke up with no new insect bites. This little mini tent is worth checking out if a full size tent is a little too much and a traditional bivvy bag isn’t quite enough.

Peace out,

Taking a week off

I’m taking a week off and hoping to get a lot of things done around the house and yard. This weekend I spent putting baseboard in our rental house and pulling weeds. I’m really starting to hate foxtails 🙂 I don’t like weed killer so I’m pulling them. After about 8 hours of pulling I’ve barely made a dent. It might be time to invest in a Weed Eater…

My wife’s sister and brother in law are moving here from China next month. We applied for them in 2003. Finally after 15 years they get to come here. That’s the good news on the family side. The bad news is my sister is still a “progressive” and getting angrier and more irrational by the day it seems. Her husband is even worse. Yesterday my mom told me she doesn’t know if she’ll ever see my sister again. Broke my heart to hear her say that. My mom and dad gave us everything they could and would do anything for us. My sister repays that by going against every value she was taught. I feel sorry for my mom, but I’m where I don’t care if I never see my sister again. In fact I’d almost prefer not to. OK, enough about that…

On a happy note, the local rabbits have been breeding like rabbits. We have at least 3 baby bunnies running around our back yard. They’re so cute … and when they grow up they’ll be so tasty 🙂

My taking a week off to do list:

  • Finish getting our rental house ready for fall semester
  • Get our house ready for my wife’s sister and brother in law
  • Lots of gardening work done
  • Clean out the garage
  • Sell enough stuff to pay for a Savotta LJK Modular rucksack

So a lot of it doesn’t have anything to do with being a Backwoodsman or Backyardsman. I need to get it done though.

Peace out,