Pete's random thoughts

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I'm in the middle of packing up an order for Gordon F. and one of the things going into it is a 1756 pattern British Sea Service pistol. How it works is that the guns lay on the shelf unvented and untuned until they are needed, unless there is nothing better to do and we have the time to go through the unsold ones and prep them.

As the order is processed, I (or Jeff, or somebody similar) will get the gun from the "gun room" and take it over to the "tool room" to vent, inspect, adust and tune. The deal is that before it leaves here, the lock must work consistently, with decent sparks and snapping the frizzen all the way open, ten times in a row.

Gordon's Sea Service pistol has some pretty beefy springs in it and in checking the lock out, it threw such big hot sparks that I was worried about starting a fire. The sparks were just sitting on the concrete floor, sizzling away for probably 15 seconds. Pretty cool!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Gone fishing...

I felt inspired yesterday, so I knocked off at round 3 in the afternoon and went fishing. It's pretty messed up that this was only the third time I've been fishing in the past seven years. I need to make an effort to get out more often.

Of those three times, this is the first time I've caught anything. I came home with a bag of panfish. Seven bluegills, a perch and a small bass. Yes, you can eat bluegills. Remove the head, pull out the guts, peel off the skin, pull out the fins and rinse, then coat with cornmeal or flour, a bit of salt and pepper, and fry. They aren't hornpout, but are still good to eat.

I was kind of annoyed by the trash that was there. I had gone to a state owned fishing/boating area across the bridge from #4. Sometime trash just happens, and you just pick it up. Things blow out of car windows, stuff gets lost over the sides of a boat and washes up on shore, etc. etc. The trash that bothered me was an assortment of empty worm containers. You know, the white plastic kind that you get 2 dozen worms in at the corner store. The only way they end up at fishing places is by being left there by slob fishermen. I picked up a few, next time I'll bring a trash bag and pick up more.

Wendy and Caleigh caught some fish too. It was much less messy since they caught them all wrapped up in a plastic bag at the supermarket. We sat down to dinner around 10, quite a fish feast!

After dinner I made a tub of butter from storebought cream by shaking it in a glass jar. Since it actually worked, I think I'll seek out a source of raw milk to make some "real" butter. I've got leads on two Jersey milk farms that will sell raw milk at the gate.

As soon as the new moon is over, we'll be planting our garden with various heirloom vegetables. In colonial days right up through the first part of the 20th century, planting was done by the moon. Things that grew underground would be planted as the moon shrunk, and things that grew above ground would be planted as the moon grew. I haven't thought much about the science behind this, just the traditions. The moon governed nearly everything that was done on the old farms.

OK, back to work. Gotta get caught up if I ever want to go fishing again!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

A flint cut? Come on now...

With school group season starting again down at the fort, I've basically lost my help here. It's apparantly more fun to go and "work" at the fort than it is to actually perform labor here. haven't seen Chester in quite some time. Steven had claimed he would work two days a week once school groups started back up.

So yesterday, Steven calls in sick - well, sort of. He was calling from the fort, which means he was able to go "work" there. His illness that kept him from coming to work here? A flint cut. I kid you not, a flint cut as an excuse to not come to work. Even 4 year old Caleigh doesn't let a little boo-boo keep her from doing stuff.

I have to come up with a new plan to get some reliable help that really wants to learn gunsmithing and not just hang out and play in the off season for the fort.

Charlie A. - WE MISS YOU!!!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Stupid rooster

The rooster I wrote about on April 27th is still making more noise than he is welcome to. Over the weekend, we managed to catch him and stick him back in the coop, but he was out again the next day. Houdini chicken...

I wouldn't mind so much that he is out of the pen and running with the guineas, but several times he has been aggressive towards Caleigh. That is simply not allowed. I'm defrosting our last rooster from the last butchering day, and the freezer beckons to him! There are actually a few roosters that will be headed there.

Somehow or other, we ended up with too many roos, and they are overmating the hens. Sure, this makes for fertile eggs and therefore more chickens, but certain "favorite" hens are looking pretty ragged, with naked backs, upper wings and the back of their heads. Chickens mating is a violent thing to see.

One of the roos got nasty with Wendy, she had to "whack him upside the head" with a stick to get him to back off. I find him guilty as charged and sentence him to the crock pot.

The tricky part will be catching the Houdini rooster. He's quick, and doesn't want to be caught. Instead of chasing him all over the place and making a fool of myself, I think I'll do my Sgt. York imitation and take his head off with a rifle. Sort of like a siloutte match, only instead of using a pistol to shoot steel targets shaped like farm animals, I'll use a scoped AR-15 and the real thing.

He's a "white-faced Spanish" rooster, somewhat of a rare breed in America. Trying to spur Caleigh will only make it rarer!

Monday, May 01, 2006

A winning weekend

Saturday we packed up the Suburban and headed south back to Massachusetts to attend a "Spring Fling" field day and spaghetti supper at my gun club.

There was an archery event, a "lucky target" black powder shoot, kid's games, trap & skeet, and a smallbore shoot, all capped off with a spaghetti supper.

We had brought Caleigh's preschooler sized shooting glasses and earmuffs, s well as her fishing gear, but once we got there and she spotted some kids to play ball with, that was it for her! Wendy spent the afternoon having fun in the kitchen with Sue, making salad for the dinner. I spent most of the afternoon catching up with old friends. Later in the day, however, I wandered over tot he smallbore shoot to see how it was set up in case I could convince Caleigh to break away from playing ball and give it a try. It turns out that there were two classes, one for kids (lucky target) and an open class. The open class was 10 shots fired offhand at a B-3 target at 50 feet.

After watching some of the scores, I decided to enter. To make it sporting, I decided to use the little kid's rifle that was available. It is one of those little "cricket" .22 bolt rifles. The barrel is just long enough to be legal and the stock is so teeny that it is funny to see a grown man hold it. I shot a 90-2x. JAD had been hanging out watching as well. After seeing me shoot the little rifle, he had to try, so he entered. He shot an 89-2x.

We entered again, only this time we would use the adult sized rifle. It was a single shot bolt gun with a scope. The trigger was quite stiff, and the scope was mounted so far forward that you had to lean into it at an awkward angle to get a sight picture. Those flaws were handy because they are ready made excuses for bad shots. I shot a 98-6x with the "big boy" rifle. JAD got his turn to fire, and shot a 97-7x. If he had tied me, he would have won because the x ring shots are the deciding factor.

I won a cap and a CD-ROM fishing game, but the real prize was being able to tease JAD for the rest of the day. We used to be on a pistol team together and he is an exceptional shot.

At the spaghetti supper, there were raffle prizes as well. We won a garden hose (can never have too many) and a box of duck decoys.

We got home after midnight.

I really miss my old club, and was glad to have an event like this to go to so everybody would be there at the same time.

Sunday was spent doing yard work, cleaning up winter debris for our little camping trip with Caleigh. We set up a big dome tent, made a fire pit, and after dark roasted planked salmon by the fire, then toasted marshmallows. Caleigh want to have another campfire tonight, but I'm not sure the weather will co-operate.

After the pole shed is done, plans are afoot to set up a permanent campsite over by the pond so there will be less work involved in sleeping out in the future.