Sunday, June 29, 2014

Florida State Parks: Politically Correcting Our History One Event at a Time

I had occasion to visit a couple of State Parks this past weekend, one of which was the Dudley Farm between Gainesville and Newberry.

The Dudley Farm is an old farm that dates back to at least the 1850s and has been largely unchanged since the 1940s.  By unchanged I mean the kitchen is still a separate building from the rest of the house, there's no kitchen sink, no indoor plumbing, no heat or A/C, no insulation etc.  There's a three hole privy with a stack of corn cobs in the back yard.   The family that owned it never saw a need to update to any of that new-fangled stuff and finally donated it to the State in the 1980s.

Its a really neat place to go see how people lived and worked in 18th and early 19th century Florida.  I like the Dudley Farm.  I like the people that work there.  I constantly encourage people to go there.  I constantly encourage people with kids to take them there.

The Farm holds events every few months like "Plow Days" when they have an antique car and tractor show and people plow the fields with their horses, mules and antique tractors. 

A couple of months ago, they had a reenactment of what it would have been like to muster troops into the Confederate Service after the Northern invasion of Virginia.  From what I have been told by other people who have visited the place, they have done that every year for several years.

In talking with some of the Park personnel, I learned that there is to be no muster reenactment next year.  Nope.  The historic farm is replacing the historic reenactment of something that actually happened all over the State with a celebration of Lenin's birthday.  They call it "Earth Day."

I asked if the Dudleys had ever heard of Earth Day and the Park employee said he doubted it.

Of course, there is one historic reenactment that isn't going to be cancelled.  It seems they have  been doing a "Reconstruction reenactment" the past few years too.  It is set in 1868 and has "Buffalo Soldiers" (there weren't a whole heap of buffaloes in Florida in 1868 but whatever), yankee school teachers to explain how every white man in the South owned slaves or profited from exploitation of slaves, how only people of color were ever enslaved and to generally celebrate the subjugation of the South.

Funny how that worked out.

We picked up a brochure on the way out and it said that ALL Florida State Parks will be celebrating "Earth Day" next year.  Makes me glad I didn't buy that Florida State Parks tag to put on my Jeep.

BTW:  I still encourage people of all ages to visit the Dudley Farm.  There is still a lot of history there.  The people in Tallahassee haven't erased all of it by any means yet.   Take a look at their Facebook page too.  Lots more images and info there.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Gotta Burn My Boots. They Touched Yankee Soil.

Paige Anderson & The Fearless Kin

They have a new video out.

Like a lot of things that have expanded my cultural horizons, I first heard of them reading a post on Free North Carolina.

Bread Pit

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Of Lemonaide and Kydex

When life gives you lemons, you are supposed to make lemonade.  When making lemonade, it helps considerably if you have water and sugar on hand.

Lemons:   Three or four weeks ago, I came down with some kind of sinus affliction that my doctor swears is just allergies.  I felt like crap for two weeks, coughed up guacamole for several days and still have a nagging, dry hack when I try to go to sleep.

Water, Sugar... Lemonade:   I lost six or seven pounds those first two weeks  and was about to poke another hole in my belt when I thought of a holster that I bought a couple of years ago.  It was a White Hat Holsters Max Tuck.  Being an inside the waist band type of holster, it would take up the excess length in my belt and empty out my right front pocket where I normally carry a Kahr PM40.    It seemed like a good time to give it a try

You know the general design.  A big, heavy slab of leather with a couple of steel clips to hold it in place and vacu-formed piece of Kydex fastened to it that matches the contour of your specific handgun.  There are several similar designs out there.  I don't know or care who was first.   The Max Tuck was recommended to me by someone I respect and that's what I got.

(Not my video)

One reason I had never used the holster was I never really figured out where I wanted to position it.   The guy that recommended it to me said that he had his behind his hip but I couldn't see how that would be all that "concealed."  It just seemed like it would really print so  just kept carrying my Kahr in a pocket holster.

This morning, we were getting ready to meet my brother for breakfast and I decided to give the Max Tuck a try.  Three things about the Max Tuck that are worth mentioning are that it has five holes on each side for the clips that hold it to your waist band so the carry height is adjustable, the Kydex part is made especially tight so you can adjust how tightly it grips the gun and you tuck your shirt in between the gun and your waistband.   You "adjust" the Kydex by heating it with a hair dryer until it softens and loosens its hold a little.  If its still too tight, you adjust it a little more until its just like you want it.  I adjusted mine to be pretty loose when the holster was laying flat because it would be slightly curved and have pressure from my belt on it when actually being worn.

The Lovely Bride helped me get it where I wanted it and made sure the clips were over the belt.   The little Kahr went in it easily.  In drawing  the Kahr, it came free readily in a smooth motion making a "snap" sound as the Kydex flexed to let the gun out.

With the gun holstered and my belt snugged up, I quickly lost all sensation that anything was there.  My friend had said his was comfortable but this was unreal.  If I thought about it, I could feel something putting pressure where there wasn't pressure before but it had really almost disappeared.   TLB said there was no "print" at all.   On the drive to town, there was no problem with the car seat pushing on it.  It was just a non-issue.  Breakfast went fine and I kept checking my pocket because I could tell there was no gun there. The feeling of no gun in my pocket was actually more noticeable than the feeling of the gun in the holster.  

As is our Sunday Morning ritual, we stopped by the local Gooseberg to browse so I decided to check what the "print" looked like in the men's room mirror.  TLB was right.  As long as I don't walk around stooped over like an ape, the only indication that anything is there is the two metal clips.    

The test run went so well that I took the holster apart and put a Kydex piece for a 1911 on it as soon as I got home. Seriously, the Kahr PM40 is my pocket gun.  If I'm going to wear an IWB holster, its gonna have a gun that needs an IWB holster in it.  I adjusted the 1911 Kydex piece with the hair dryer and got a nice, smooth presentation with a snap similar to what the Kahr's Kydex made.

I am now testing the 1911.  The particular one that I have for carry purposes has slimline grips so its only a tad fatter than the Kahr.   The safety is covered by the leather back piece and the Kydex holds the gun against the leather securely so I don't expect any problems with the safety disengaging.  I'll watch for that but I don't expect it.  The Kydex piece for the 1911 isn't specific to barrel or frame length so I will be able to try out Commander and The Way John Browning Intended sized 1911s without shelling out any more money.  Heck, if I find that I can conceal a full sized 1911, why not a Gen 4 Glock 21? 

Did I really just say "1911" and "Glock" in the same sentence?  Foul spirit of blasphemy be gone in the name of Jesus!

All things considered, I needed to lose the weight and I am so amazed by the holster that I don't feel so bad about getting sick.  Lemonade is nice.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Dang Right!

Bacon Strikes Back

Reminds me of my first day at the Gore's Landing Hunt Club probably fifteen years ago.

I missed the opening morning of muzzle loader season because I felt like crap.  I was moping around the house mad because I missed opening morning and still feeling like crap when The Lovely Bride suggested that I could feel like crap twenty feet in the air in a nice tripod stand just as easily as I could on the couch at home.  So I piled all my crap into Ruth, the old Jeep, and drove the hour to the new-to-me lease.

 I had my Mossberg 500 with a fifty caliber muzzle loader barrel on it and I had my Colt Walker replica stuck in my waistband.  Since I was sick, TLB thought I ought to take plenty of fluids with me so I was also toting a soft sided cooler full of bottled water.  I had my Thermacell and the crap to reload the Mossberg  too.

I only knew where one stand was and it was so crappy that nobody ever hunted it.  The stand was nice but nobody ever saw anything out of it so it wasn't taken.   It was a big, galvanized steel tripod with about a six foot by six foot box on top.   It had a roof and it had windows in each side.  It even had a boat seat.  Oh yes.  I will take a nap and call it hunting.

The ladder to get into the stand was a series of metal prongs on either side of one of the legs.   I threw all the stuff I could carry over my shoulders and started up.  About half way up, the cooler slid off my shoulder and impaled itself on one of the ladder prongs.   It started bleeding a foul-smelling blue slime and I had to climb back down to get it so it wouldn't stink up the whole woods.

By the time I actually got into the stand, I was tired, sick and seriously pissed!

I got all my crap stowed where it wouldn't be in the way and the instant my butt hit the seat, I saw a whole bunch of feral pigs feeding in the shooting lane right in front of me.  Right in front of the stand where nobody ever saw anything.   Why they weren't spooked by me climbing the ladder or by the accompaning narration still eludes me but there they were.

I took careful aim with the Mossberg and clobbered one of the pigs closest to the stand.   He's on his side kicking and I figure all I have to do is go down there and administer the coup de grace with the Walker, pile everything back in the Jeep and head home.  It was a heck of a plan except that the pig wasn't there when I got to the ground. 

I was weak and tired from being sick and I didn't want to climb back into the stand to get the Mossberg so I decided to just proceed with the tracking armed with the Walker.  The Mossberg would be useless in the palmettos anyway so the new plan had its merits.

I followed the blood trail about thirty to forty yards when I noticed movement ahead.  Lots of movement.  Not just ahead either.  To my right and between me and the stand.  A herd of maybe two dozen feral pigs was walking out of the palmettos right where I was tracking their cousin.  I was smack dab in the middle of 'em.

When the pigs saw me they all started circling around stiff-legged and giving me the evil eye.   I'm standing there feeling like I'm gonna die from whatever has me sick,  tracking a wounded feral pig,  surrounded by a herd of his unhappy relatives and all I have for protection is a replica of a Colt Walker that tends to shed all of its caps whenever I pull the trigger.   This is why the call it hunting instead of shopping.

After several minutes of me giving back as evil an eye as they were giving me, the herd decided to move on and I decided to let it.  I figure they thought I was one tough character because I showed no fear.   How were they to know that I was just too tired to be scared?  When I resumed tracking, the blood trail took a left turn into thick palmettos.   I got maybe ten feet  before I had to get down on my hands and knees.

So I'm on my hands and knees,  crawling around under a palmetto thicket, feeling like I'm going to pass out or die from being sick, armed with a revolver that will shed all its caps as soon as I fire one shot and I'm thinking that I have snake boots on and they won't do me a bit of good if I run into a snake because I have them on my feet, not my hands.  I'm old fashioned that way.

I stop to rest and listen.  Directly, I hear a combination thud and crunch.  I put two and two together and decide that it was my wounded pig collapsing in the palmettos.  The sound was maybe twenty yards in front of me.  I know I'm pretty close to the edge of the palmettos and decide that it will be a lot easier and safer to back out of the palmettos, go down the shooting lane and reenter the palmettos from the side close to where the sound originated.

I get out to the shooting lane and quickly find out the sound wasn't exactly my pig.  At least it wasn't just my pig.  It was a bear.  We were both tracking my pig and he's between me and the stand.

So now, I'm feeling like I'm going to pass out because I'm sick, I'm exhausted, somewhat dizzy, I'm looking at a bear that wants to dispute my claim on our pig and all I have to defend myself is a replica Colt Walker that will dump all its caps the first time I pull the trigger.

I decided to stand on a stump, wave my arms over my head and shout to make myself look bigger like they tell you to do in all those TV shows about people that get eaten by bears.  The funny thing is that it worked.  The bear loped off into the woods.  Of course, he loped off toward his pig so the plan wasn't perfect but it did get me back into the stand without injury and the pig didn't go to waste.

I sat in the boat seat, rested, drank bottled water and looked for the bear until almost dark when I decided that the benefits of further rest were about to be outweighed by the hazards of walking out of the woods after dark with a hungry bear in the area even if he would be busy guarding his pig.

I got all my crap together and made it out of the woods without further incident.   When I told TLB and all my friends, everybody thought I made the story up.  I didn't.   I was sick as a dog so maybe the whole thing was a hallucination.   Might explain how I avoided getting the crap beat out of me by the herd of pigs but I didn't make it up.

Where Will it End?

Found at Theo Spark

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Well, what the heck do you expect.  It ain't Monday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014

Transition and Tradition

I came here because I want to be alone.  Its a good place for it.   The cretin with the shovel that ran me off the last time I was here is probably retired.   That was, what, fifteen years ago?  He may even be dead like everybody else here.  Everybody else here but me.  I'm mostly still alive.

I don't come here often.  I think I've been here just three or four times in the twenty seven years my brother has been here.

I don't really know what to look for.  I don't know what it looks like anymore.  I remember the single granite headstone with a double next to it for my Parents when they finally need it  but I don't remember much else.   My Dad used to put American Flags all over it.   Trying to tell the world that his middle son really was the soldier that he imagined, not just a kid that joined the Army to get away.   Dad doesn't even remember him anymore so there are no flags to guide me in.  My sister used to put Mickey Mouse figurines on the grave because my brother liked him when he was a kid.  People always stole them so she stopped.  Not even a mouse to help me.

All I know is that the last time I was here, I wanted to grieve.  I was the one that had to be strong when my brother killed himself.  No one else could so it fell to me.  I never got to grieve so that's what I wanted to do the last time I was here.

I remember crying that day.  I remember talking to the grave as if it could give me answers.   As if it could tell me why.  I remember looking up from my anguish and seeing a City Parks Department worker leaning on a shovel at the maintenance shed watching me.  It must have been a good show.   Like today, I had been there to be alone.  I left because of that ill-mannered cretin.  I've not come back until today.

So I know that the grave is fairly close to the street and in sight of the maintenance shed.  Because of the trees and because of a rise in the ground, that narrows it down considerably.  It has to be in this small corner of the cemetery because that's the only place in the whole graveyard where you can see, and be seen from, the maintenance shed.

I start walking.  Its hot.  Its muggy because its Florida and its summer so it just rained.  That's OK.  It won't take long to find my brother's grave.  Its right around here somewhere.   Maybe then I can finish that talk that I started way back when.

Truth be told, I want to talk about something else.  I'm here to grieve but not about something that happened half my lifetime ago.  My brother's grave is just a place where I think I can go to do that.  No one goes there anymore.  I can be alone.

I'm having no luck.  I check all the places that look right.  Nobody with my last name there.  I expand to the next block of graves, and then the next and the next.  Still no luck.

I decide to search smarter.  I go to the top of the little rise because I know it can't be behind it.   If it was, I couldn't have seen the maintenance shed and  shovel-leaning cretin.   My shirt is drenched.  Sweat burns my eyes.  My sleeves are too wet to dry them anymore so I use my fingers to sling most of the sweat away.   I keep walking.  Its right here someplace.  It has to be.

I notice coonties growing at several plots just as they are at the old family plots farther North in the Suwannee Valley cemeteries where four or five generations of my Grandparents, Great Grandparents, Mary Ann and my Great Uncle and Great Aunt rest.  I have coonties at home that I grew from seeds that I took from those cemeteries.  I decide that I will find the grave, do what I need to do and come back tomorrow to plant those coonties.   It is a good idea.

I keep walking.    I think about my brother.  How the people that tried to help him were the last people on earth that could have helped.  How everything they did just pushed him closer to the edge.  

I still can't find what I'm looking for.  How many times have I seen this grave or that one over there?  Five, six?   I can't see the maintenance shed from any other part of the cemetery so it has to be here but where?  How do you misplace a grave?

I ask God to show me where it is.  I imagine that He smiles just a little because he knows better than I do that I'm not there to find the grave.  I get the idea that He is about to show me what I'm really there to find.  I decide I'll make it easier on both of us and let Him.

I pray as I walk.  I ask God to help the friend that is weighing so heavily on my heart.  I tell Him that I don't care about the friendship.  I just want Him to deliver the friend.  I tell Him that I know I have nothing to offer Him in exchange.  Nothing with which I can bargain.  I just ask for mercy and promise that I won't get in the way.

And it hits me.  Like my Parents trying to help my brother, I may be the last person on earth that can help my friend.  The preacher said it wasn't in my power but I still want to.   Half my friends say I can't help.   The other half say my friend isn't worth worrying about but I still want to do something; to find the magic words that will deliver my friend from the demons.  Why else do people have friends?

I keep walking.  I keep looking for the grave but I've found what I came here to find.  This makes it different.  I realize that its not just that I can't help.  Its that I would get in the way.  What I can do is ask God and have Faith that He will work His will in my  friend's life.    That He will deliver my friend.  I will stay out of the way.

I haven't found the grave but I can't stay any longer.  They are already closing the gates in the back.  Its OK.   I didn't get to be alone but I found what I was looking for.  

If work is slow tomorrow, I will come back and find the grave so I can plant the coonties.  Some things change.  Some don't.  It is still a good idea. 

Nature is Going to be Nature

Whether the tree huggers get it or not.

GPS Reveals Big Cat Spent 9 Hours Watching Downtown Mountain View Pedestrians


MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) – A massive mountain lion cornered at an apartment complex in Mountain View on May 6th reveals a long, winding journey around the residential South Bay, according to just-released tracking device data.

The cat, known by researchers as 46m, wandered out of the Santa Cruz Mountains and went trapseing aroung Egan Junior High in Los Altos before checking in on countless backyards. He then swung by Target on Showers Dr. before finally ending up at the corner of California and Rengstorff Avenues in Mountain View.

The GPS device, placed on the cat by the group Santa Cruz Pumas, recorded the mountain lion hanging out under a bush for 9.5 hours, watching people, cars and bikes pass by.

Here's the link to the whole article:

Why can't the tree huggers accept the fact that there was a reason people hunted the large predators down to such small numbers they didn't pose a threat to humans?

Friday, June 13, 2014


When I have started a sum the wrong way, the sooner I admit this and go back and start again , the faster I shall get on. There is nothing progressive about being pig headed and refusing to admit a mistake. And I think if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.

Lewis, C. S. (2009-05-28). Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) (p. 29). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Tales of Two Doggies

Tale #1:   Brigid has a nice progress report on Abbey.

Tale #2:    Bullet.

Bullet has always had issues with separation anxiety but they have gotten worse over the past few months.  Don't know if its the thunderstorms or what.  We got the pet barrier gizmo to keep him off the couch and he decided to tear up stuff in the bathroom.  That door doesn't close right because of a slight sinkhole issue and I haven't had time to take it down and rehang it.  He can punch it with his nose and walk right in.

We moved the barrier into the bathroom and left a fake one on the couch this morning so he destroyed the kitchen, the breakfast nook and the hall.

The stuff that looks like sand is grout for the new tile kitchen backsplash.  Its everywhere.  Its so fine you can't sweep it up.  There's always some left and some swirling around waiting to settle as soon as your back is turned.

He was on the table, the counters and who knows what else.   Fig Newtons, HoHos, the air conditioning filter, every can of bug spray, bottle of vinegar, box of dog treats, paper towels etc etc etc all over the kitchen floor.  I'm not even going to show a picture of it.  It looks like Berlin in the summer of 1945.

The dog needs help.  I think he's possessed.

I reinstalled the door on his crate this afternoon.   

Anybody got Cesar Milan's cell Number?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Phantom Setter

I just finished reading The Phantom Setter for about the eleventeenth time.  Its a short story by Robert Murphy.   I found it in a collection of hunting dog stories called For the Love of a Dog by Wilderness Adventure Press. 

I've not come across a better story that shows why people like me that like wood and blued steel (or color case hardened!) hunt.  The dog also reminds me of a woman I knew once.  No, I don't mean in the looks department either.

Google it, buy whatever book you can find that  includes it and read it.  You'll understand.    



Sunday, June 1, 2014