Tuesday, October 15, 2013


It  was wet, but at least the risk of fire was just about non-existent.
Dr. Mike showed up Thursday. JayG, Brad and Mike W. all showed up Friday night. There was hot buttered rum and Dr. Mike’s homemade enchiladas for the latecomers. Saturday dawned … wet. Stretch, Keads, Greg (a reader of Tam’s), Andy (of the Hoplorati hats) and a former coworker of mine I hadn’t seen in 14 years and two of her kids showed up Saturday morning. We trekked over to Geodkyt’s where we set up and got a safety briefing and a history lesson.

Real men don't use fuses. They use primer and slow match.
We started out with JayG’s  hand gonne. And we told him what we thought of his fuses. After that, Dr. Mike went through the basic evolution and progression of firelocks and let us shoot them.

Dr. Mike in full sailor/pirate kit, returning the rammer on ... something.

I lost track of them all. There was a cut down Brown Bess, and a Jaeger, and a blunderbuss, and something with a 47-lb trigger pull. Then there were pistols. And, yes. There is something strangely poetic about using IDPA targets with flintlocks

See how Dr. Mike has his hand out to help this young lady with the recoil? We neglected to tell him she's on a rifle team.*

 This is her brother. Apparently he found both the history lesson and the guns interesting. This was a first.
 Sweet Daughter wanted to try the blunderbuss. She got smacked a bit by the recoil, even with me holding the thing. She sucked it up, though, and asked if she could shoot Stretch's .22s.

That is one well-ventilated target. And it turns out she preferred the iron sights to the red dot. Thanks, Stretch, for the lesson!
Due to rain slowing things down, we didn't really get to the competition part. Nobody seemed to mind much, and the prize table (Hoplorati hats! Bacon!) was distributed by drawing names. There was lots of good food, even better company, and a definite desire to do this again. Dr. Mike already has plans to do this with cap and ball weapons.

Somebody gave their hoplorati hat to Sweet Daughter, who is beyond thrilled. She wears it to the bus stop every morning.

Thanks to all who made the trek in spite of the rain, especially Dr. Mike who supplied the weapons, ball and powder. I can't wait to do it again -- hopefully without the rain.

*Stretch - that might also be why she shot the hell out of your .22.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Flintlock 3-gun Update

Well, it’s raining. And that’s good from a fire safety standpoint, right? The current weather report is calling for the rain to stop around 9;00 tomorrow morning, and then leave us with some drizzle. JayG is bringing a canopy to help keep the guns dry. I know there are people already en route to this shindig, so it’s not getting called off.

Best case? We shoot when we can, and have a good time. (If you’re coming, you may want to bring something modern, and less finicky to shoot in case it does keep raining.)

Worst case? We have an all-day blog breakfast/lunch/dinner. I can think of worse ways to spend a weekend.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Flintlock 3-Gun NEXT WEEK!

If all goes as planned (HAHAHAHAHAHAH), we are on track to host an introduction to flintlocks, followed up by some manner of competition using pistols, muskets and a scattergun. This will take place next Saturday, October 12, starting around 10:00 or so. Dr. Mike ("Cutler to the Stars!") has been hoarding black powder, and casting lead ball all summer and is volunteering to provide all the materials needed.

If you were at the KidShoot in June, you know the location. If you weren't, we're located about 30 miles east of Fredericksburg, VA.

The plan is to start around 10:00 with an introduction to flintlocks and let everybody get a feel for them. After a lunch break, we'll get going with the "competition". I understand Broken Andy is bringing some Hoplorati hats for the prize table. JayG is also making an appearance and will be dressed as a Pirate Wench at some point during the weekend to fulfill his KTKC obligation.

Why pirate wench you ask? Well, because we've been calling this PIRATEHAWK! amongst ourselves. We may even have a prize for best pirate costume.

Anyhow ... after all is said and done and guns are clean, we're heading to the local Italian place we went to in June for dinner, then back to my house for rum punch around the firepit. For those staying in town, there will be a brunch here Sunday morning if you want to hang out and visit before hitting the road. Also, I have unearthed the 36-cup coffee maker.

The current weather forecast is calling for mid 70s and sunny, so if you're interested, drop me an email at dethosp AT gmail etc. and I'll get you the details.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Well, I forgot the cupcakes ….

Saturday morning, I woke up at 4:00 and couldn’t get back to sleep. This, and an a couple extra distractions left me behind the curve on my way out the door to WV on Saturday.

I’d printed out directions for the range, but neglected to put in the actual street and address. My Garmin didn’t recognize the name of the town I needed and so I just headed in the general direction of WV and decided to figure it out later.
I got to Fredericksburg before I realized I’d left both the promised cupcakes and my coffee on the kitchen counter.

There was a lot of cussing during the next 45 miles or so.
I found the range, no problem, then had the always enjoyable conversation of telling a stranger I was looking for people I didn’t know except from the internet. For some reason, that always makes me feels a little … odd.

I met Murphy’s Law, and had Proud Hillbilly and Stretch pointed out to me.
Stretch made me feel ... petite.
Saw some familiar faces and, considering how my morning was going … just hung out for a while. I got the hackbut going, and the first shot gave me no problems. The balls were a little bit snug, and the second got stuck, as did about every 5th round. That got frustrating, and so I went and watched the guys on the 200 yard rifle range. And I got to shoot a Swedish Mauser. And a lever action something of Andrew’s (sorry … I don’t remember what it was) and an M1.
And then the call went out “There’s a guy here with a Barrett (M82A1).50 and he’s letting people shoot it!”

I went and watched. When that thing fired, it was like being passed by a car on the highway. The hair blew back, and pantslegs flapped in the passing wind. I got to shoot it. Twice. On a 400-yard range. (I was too chicken to ask if I actually hit the target.) There was a happy dance. There is video somewhere, but hopefully not of the happy dance. I’m here to tell you that the adrenaline rush of that thing lasted a solid 5 hours. No back pain at all on the drive home. It also gave me a case of lead-foot, but that’s what cruise-control is for.

Afterwards, Murphy’s Law said, “Did you bring any 9 with you? Bring it here.” And I got to fire this.

And my first target looked like this.

Beginner's Luck
Then I got to shoot some lovely pistols. Murphy complimented me on my not flinching.

“Yeah. You’re not anticipating recoil.”

“I just shot a Barrett .50. What recoil??”
I got to watch Keads shoot … and then, when I thought the day couldn’t hold any more awesome, out came the M-60. There is something hypnotic about that thing. That was, without a doubt, the best range day I have ever had.

Thanks to all who made it happen!

 More reports here and here.


Friday, September 13, 2013

DC area blog shoot ... Saturday

Y'all need to come to this event.

Which has been relocated here.

Because, besides all the great people and cool guns? I'm bringing this:

Last night, Sweet Daughter helped me make 50 of these:

To my knowledge, this piece has never been fired. And I made the most redneck lindstock EVER. Come watch me set my hair on fire, or something. And just in case it turns out to be a giant ball of suck and fail due to my incompetence, I made chocolate cupcakes.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I must be doing *something* right …

Sweet Daughter was in the shower the other night and I heard something go “thud” in another part of the house. Being in the midst of some major house cleaning, I wasn’t wearing my pistol, but grabbed the first implement of destruction I saw which happened to be an 18th century style cutlass.

I figured out that some relocated plastic stacking drawers had tipped over and told SD that I kind of liked having a blade in the hall. It was handy. I joked that I should mount it and the boarding axe there at the top of the stairs.

SD’s face lit up and she said “REALLY? Can we do it like the Palace?”
Photo courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg.

“Oh, Sweetie. Don’t I wish!”

Monday, September 2, 2013

West Virginia Blog Shoot!

So, I was talking to this guy on Face Book who convinced me that I really need to head to West-by-God Virginia on Saturday, the 14th of September to participate in this fundraising shoot. So, if you’ve a mind to, come out and join the fun and watch me do my best to not act like the horribly introverted n00b that I am.

It close to the DC Metro area, it's for a great cause, we'll have the range to ourselves, and I might even bring the hackbut. I'm looking foward to meeting some new people (and maybe even a dog) -- what's not to like?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Good news: We got to go shooting on Sunday! Sweet Daughter loves using a scope. 10 out of 10 balloons.

Bad news: I need a LOT of pistol work.
Good news: Second time shooting skeet and I average 2 hits for each miss.
Bad news: My shoulder felt it today.
Good news: It looks like SD does not have chicken pox as day care suggested today.

Bad news: It looks like SD has chigger bites.

Good news: Chigger bites means she can still go to 2 dental appointments, school orientation, an eye appointment, get a hair cut, out to lunch on Thursday, and start school next Tuesday.

Bad news: It looks like SD has chigger bites.

Good news: Another new school dress.

Bad news? Can't think of a thing.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Flintlock 3-Gun

There was some talk bandied around at the Kidshoot about a flint-lock 3-gun "competition" this fall.

Dr. Mike has been busy squirreling away black power and casting lead ball this summer.

So, is there any interest? We're planning on Columbus Day Weekend (October 12). Dr. Mike will supply the guns, the powder and the ball.

And I have the timer!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Field Trip

Today was the second-to-last day at Y Camp for Sweet Daughter, and they planned a cook-out at George Washington’s Birthplace. That only meant 40 miles out of my way, round trip, but what the heck. I showed up a little after 4:00 and the grill was going. They were cooking hot dogs over a third of an 8 lb. bag of charcoal and … hadn’t thought to bring any implements. They did have Matchlight charcoal AND lighter fluid (two is one!), so maybe that made up for it. Then I noticed the director trying to move hot dogs around with … a plastic picnic knife.

I told her I had a small multi-tool in my purse with pliers on it if she wanted to use it. She looked at me funny, for some reason. So I offered her my pocket knife.  Then I just offered to take over the grilling if she’d like. I also pulled two deep tin dishes out of my car to hold the cooked hot dogs.  Just so you know, I do not usually grill. I’m never making that much food at once, or feeding that many people. Adding more charcoal when you can’t remove the grill was interesting. As was the fact that it was impregnated with go-juice.

I got some interesting reactions. Some shrank away – one kid in particular said “is that a POCKET KNIFE?!!11??” while skimming past the hot grill. And another stood at the prescribed safe distance and said “Hey! Is that a Gerber?” (It was.) “My first knife was a Gerber! Got any SOGs? Those are my favorite!” (I do.)

Sixty hotdogs later, my very hot knife was returned to my pocket. Thank goodness for the plastic on the handle.

After that, kids who had permission to go wading with their shoes on got to go fishing. I found that one way of hushing the loud adults who were countermanding the instructions of the park ranger was to inform them that they may be standing in poison ivy. That distracted them for a bit.

And the view over the creek was lovely.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to school shopping

I hadn’t really planned on doing much back to school with Sweet Daughter … she had plenty of summer clothes to get her started, but she decided she wanted a dress for the first day of school. So off we went. First stop … she saw jeans she liked. IN HER SIZE. Several pair that actually fit. For half off, AND I had a 30% off coupon. I jumped on those. SCORE.

And it all went to hell from there. 3 ½ hours later, and having hit every store that had girls clothes in the mall at least once, we had nothing. What wasn’t inappropriate was just plain ugly. Most were both. SD finally looked up at me with a mixture of disappointment and hope in her eyes and said “Mama … will you make me a dress?”

So, off to the fabric store we went. She found a cotton print she really liked. And then she started describing in great detail, what she wanted it to look like. So, we sat down with the pattern books and started flipping through the pages until we found one that was very close.

“Mama? Can you add a ruffle?”

“Yes, Kitten.”

“Can you take that ribbon off, but add one here, and a ribbon sash?”

“Yes, Kitty Cat.”

(I *did* have to veto the ribbon color that neither matched nor coordinated nor contrasted with her fabric. When the dress was done, she agreed that her second choice was the right way to go.)

So we got home and I altered and tweaked the pattern while prewashing the fabric and ribbon.

And this is how it turned out. Not what I would have picked, but I’m not the one wearing it. SD designed this herself and she’s thrilled with it, and it’s appropriate … and I’m very proud of what she came up with.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Island Creamery

Sweet Daughter loves ice cream. It's her favorite thing to eat, so when she earns a "good behavior" report card*, we go out for ice cream.

Last school year, she saved up every single trip for when we went to Chincoteague, specifically for Island Creamery.

The first night she tried their Oreo ice cream. It was a hit. I had Snickers Cheesecake.

Day two: SD went with the tried and true Oreo. I went with Java Jolt sundae with hot fudge in a waffle bowl. This was "ice cream for dinner" night. Don't ask, it wasn't my idea.
Day three: They were out of Oreo! (HORRORS!) So SD went with vanilla and rainbow sprinkles. I went with Pony Tracks (fudge and peanut butter, and mini peanut butter cups).
Day four: Still out of Oreo, so again with the vanilla/sprinkles combo for SD, and I had Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream.
Last day? Oreo was back! YAY! And I had Iced Nirvana. I believe this is espresso ice cream with fudge and chocolate chips.
Yes. Four report cards and five trips. If we'd been there six days, there would have been six trips. You have your traditions, we have ours.
*As I've told SD, this is not a "bribe" or extortion payment. I expect her to behave well at school. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the effort, and we can't go out and recognize the fact that she's a pretty darn good kid.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I can’t believe school has only been out for a month. Sweet Daughter and I had the opportunity to join my sister, most of her grandchildren (and a daughter-in-law!) in Chincoteague at the end of June. This is getting to be an annual event, and is probably the thing we look forward to most. SD just told me she enjoys it more than Christmas.

Check-in was on a Sunday afternoon, so we hied ourselves out the door with cooler, provisions and beach gear as early as we could so we could hit the beach before we went back to the house. I think we were on the road shortly after 7:00, and we didn’t forget the stuffed cats this year. It did, however, rain.
And rain. Most of the way, in fact.

Fortune smiled upon us as we got closer to the island and it cleared up.

We grabbed a bite to eat, and went to the beach. The weather at this point was stunning. SD got out the kite she’s been saving for the beach, and off it went. Literally. After about 10 or 15 minutes, it slipped right out of her hands. (Read: she was squirreling around because it wasn’t as exciting as she’d imagined.)
I must say, that kite was very well designed. It stayed airborne and moved downwind faster than I could run, and let me tell you, with an anguished SD begging me to save her kite, I managed a fairly tidy turn of speed.  I hoofed it across the sand, over the mini-dunes, and across the oyster shell parking lot, only to be thwarted by the marsh. (To the idiot in the parking lot that just stared as the reel of string danced past you while I yelled, thanks for nothing.)
Her cousins showed up the next day, and much fun was during the rest of our trip - even if the boys were up between 6:00 and 6:30 every morning. SD mastered the boogie board in heavy surf.
Sand castles were made (complete with sand crab corpses as guards at the gate).
Souvenirs were purchased.
Sight-seeing was done.
Least favorite part? Sitting on this.
And my favorite part? Going back to the beach at sunset.

Can't wait for next year!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Let me 'splain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

A week or so before Kidshoot, my computer did this:

The files are still there, but it's not worth fixing the computer.

Then, the week before Kidshoot, I looked at my kitchen floor. It is a temporary floor (I was falling through the 1970 vinyl-covered linoleum plywood) until I can afford to do a proper kitchen remodel. It looked like this:

Not good for mopping up spills. So I decided to do this:

It lacked ... something. So I did this:
Pro-tip: Make sure your square is really 90 degrees. Luckily I figured out it was off on the first square.

Then is was time to get ready for Kidshoot! And my thermostat stopped working. To make a very long, boring story slightly less so, it turns out there was water pouring from the front of my AC air handler under the house. It turns out it was wastewater from the kitchen sink. Since I wasn't sure what else might be draining through there, I had to ask my company to please only use the outside hose for washing. Geodkyt (AKA Shorter Half) graciously allowed us the use of his plumbing, because nothing says "Welcome to the South!" like telling your company they have to pee in your yard.
Some of us went out to dinner.
After dinner, we came back to the house. The guys played "show and tell" and took turns troubleshooting the plumbing problem. Bubblehead Les sat under the house with me at length and discussed possible options. Because, you see, the plumber I called wanted $750 to snake the drain from the septic field to the house if we dug up the cover for him. Oh, and don't forget to add the $100 emergency fee.
I woke up at 4:30 the next morning, mulling over the plumbing problem, and let me tell you, my blogfather is a prince of a fellow. As soon as I heard him stir, I made him get up and run all the taps in the house and flush toilets while I sat under the house watching for more water coming out of the air handler unit. Apparently it was only the kitchen sink -- and that meant we had working toilets! And then I let Jay make his coffee.
Kidshoot, by all accounts, was a rousing success.
From my Blogfather
Old NFO and more Old NFO 
(Please let me know if I missed anybody.)
And I want to give a special shout-out to AGirl's TSM for manning the grill with no advanced warning while most of the guys were busy packing up guns and cleaning up the range. It was very much appreciated.
Early in the week, my contractor came out and snaked my drain, for much less money. And then on Friday, I saw some "junk" at work. An old desk and a credenza.
So, on Saturday, I looked at my freshly painted wall ...

And I did this.

That was the end of Day 1. To this day, I do not know how I got that heavy desk top in my car, and lifted into place by myself.
Day 2. I move another Very Heavy Thing, the solid wood credenza. And got it primed.

I still have to frame in the opening somehow, and finish painting the credenza/cabinet. And find 4 1/2" on center handles for the two drawers.

My IT guy at work donated a light fixture from Goodwill to the cause. I rigged it up with a toggle switch and it's now doing it's thing ...

This was all done so that I could make sure I liked the layout before actually, you know, paying a lot of money to have a remodel done that I hate. So far, we both love the layout.

So, no computer, but my plumbing is fixed. I put a hole in my wall, but I have a counter top and much more usable space. Now, I just have to finish the painting so I can put everything away again. And thank Sweet Daughter for letting me borrow her computer tonight.