Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha

Crazy Years

Some of my readers have read Heinlein at least a bit.   Those that haven’t, well the title is from some of his works.   I believe it was in Stranger that each chapter began with some “tabloid headlines of the day”.   Glancing over the Drudge Report I feel like I am about to start in on another chapter of Stranger.   They just get weirder and weirder as time passes
Part of me wants to believe that everything that is coming down the pike at us was/is avoidable, but then I throw in the human aspect of the equation and realize that none of this is avoidable, and the longer it takes to pan out, the more painful it is going to be.   But enough of the obvious and onto something that may interest you.  
I picked up a recurve back in September.
Hadn’t touched one since I was a kid and just felt this urge to splurge, so to speak.  Actually, I didn’t spend all that much on the bow, I have spent far more for arrows and points than I did on the bow.  
Here is the kicker.   It has improved my rifle shooting quite a bit.   First off, I always had an issue holding both eyes open and using my dominant eye for sighting.   NOW, I can do it with Irons and Scope and not lose sight of that front post, and have a much fuller view of the entire area, not just what is exposed by that ring in front of my dominant eye.   Second, My upper body strength has improved and I am far more stable in the standing position without support.   I wouldn’t want to use that position for long range, but out to 200m, yeah, that’ll work.(not to say I wouldn’t use supports if available, hell, I would want them for cover if possible and using them to firm up a firing position works too.)
Now, there is no reason to go out and get a recurve if you have no intention of using one for hunting.  It does make a fine sport at targets and is fun to boot.  But there is a serious learning curve involved.    I chose to go traditional in my endeavors as I felt that all the sights and stabilizers and the let off of a compound was more like shooting a gun.   Yes, they give an advantage to the hunter/target shooter, but I felt that if I needed to make a bow for a survival situation or some-such, I would have to be shooting off the shelf anyways, why not start there.    It really is just like tossing a ball around.  You don’t have a set of sights and a peep when you are chucking a ball to a friend, and yet, you can do it.  It is a learned skill, and one that took some time to learn, but once learned, stays with you, even if you have to pull it out and polish it up from time to time.
Just for shits and giggles, I am making a couple of arrows from native materials.   Sadly, the fletching is from a crow, not a hawk like I wanted, but this crow was an unfortunate idjit, and stuck by his meal when a car came by.    He can’t use his feathers, but I can.   I will post pics of the arrows when done.   Right now, I haven’t made a point for them and I am deciding on steel or bone.   Not enough flint in this area, and when found can be pretty nasty with inclusions.  (another option is glass but I am not really up to knapping that.)   I know that none of this is worth squat unless things get REALLY bad off over the next decade, but since I started it, I have been learning more and more about some new skills that really have no financial input needed (my frugal desires) as I can find the materials for everything pretty much anywhere, and I find the mental state I get into when doing these things is quite calming.   Even just firing off a dozen shafts into a target from different ranges  (I am out to 60 yards) and improving those shots over time and practice, almost brings on a Zen state of mind.  I also have been using it while taking Voo out for his evening walks.  I have three shafts set up with brush busters to keep them from getting lost, and while Voo chases imaginary squirrels, I stalk the elusive and dangerous tree stump.  So far, I have only broken about a dozen arrows, some of which were salvageable, and only lost 2 shafts into tall grass.  (modern shafts are camouflaged, WTF?)   Even the broken ones are becoming farther and farther apart as my accuracy improves.    Voo has finally figured out that they move far too fast for him to catch one, thank the dog gods for small miracles.   But it was interesting at first with him barking encouragement from the sidelines of the target range to suddenly rush out and try to catch the shaft I just shot.   For a dog, his sight is wicked good.  (He even spots high flying hawks that look like small dots that I have to squint to see.)  As for his hearing, I think he chose selective hearing as sometimes I hear things that he (seemingly) does not.   And my hearing is pretty much shot after years in front of concert P.A.’s
But I digress.   I would imagine that some of you are wondering what’s going on with the house/shop build.   It’s winter time and I don’t trust the weather to stay stable long enough to get concrete or mortar time to set up correctly.  Temperature swings around here can drive a man nuts with planning, so I figure I will wait until mid-spring to start mortaring the stones together for the foundation of the house.    I am holding off on pouring a pad until after I purchase a pickup truck as “The SUV formerly called Lexi, now called Lazarus” is on short notice in my world; one too many scares with breakdowns and I have much more need of a truck with a bed.   Mortar is cheap in small amounts, 6 yards of concrete is not.    Truck first.  Luckily for me, there is an old deep mine up the hill from my place and 5 or 6 slag piles radiating from its mouth(since the mine was abandoned in the 50’s, trees and scrub hide them and its hard to tell just how many there are.) .   The old mine is flooded now, but I can still get to the good rock that was cut out of it, and that is good stone for building foundation and other pieces for the house (like a chimney).   A pickup would make getting that from there to here much easier as well.  (been using a garden wagon and that wears a body out FAST!  and the amount of stone I need means many many such trips with that little wagon.)
Another point to note.   Water.  What I thought was a spring is not, and has moved further down hill from the original location.   I am still on the hunt for a water source, but that is one of the things that I do while taking the slave drivin’ Voodoo for his nightly walkies.   (he at least earns his keep by sounding alarm when the coyotes are about.  Can’t convince him that the rabbits in the garden are pests though.   ‘why bother them dad?, they don’t want my food!”)  If I haven’t found a source by the time I start raising walls on the house, I am going to come up with a catchment system and work from there.    Water is critical and I really don’t want to be hauling water all the time;  there is enough to do as it is without having to haul water every day. 
“But Dio, you said that old mine was flooded,  why not use it?”   Good question and an even better answer.  Sulfur!   The pond in front of the mine is loaded with sulfur from the coal deep inside.   The dogs get in there for cooling off and come up as yellow as flowers in spring, and stinking of rotten eggs.   It does good at keeping scratches and stuff from festering on them, but damn do they stink afterwards.   I have no intention of piping that trash into my house.
Well, I think I have annoyed you with my trivial life long enough today.   Nothing really new to add about the saw or any of the other projects.  Many of them are on hold until the shop is built anyway (the saw has to wait until warm weather same as the concrete and mortar.)   I haven’t forgotten them, and am slightly annoyed at how long some of this is taking, but I weather that frustration in the knowledge that once I am settled, my future will open up no matter how goofy things can get.(and maybe I am being a little Pollyanna-ish there, but to hell with it, a man needs goals!)

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4 responses

  1. Spud

    Man who is thinking ahead ! The bow is by far the best long term survival tool, and like you say, the arrows and all parts can be made at hand.
    I have used a bow ( compounds) exclusively for many years to do my hunting. Though I do own three recurves also. As you stated ,rifle marksmanship is greatly improved by using the bow. One of the best tips I can give is to learn the surprise release using only the back muscles to cause the release. Once you achieve this result, it frees the mind to concentrate solely on aiming. This same technic transfers well over to the rifle as well. The subconscious will pull off the shot, freeing the mind to concentrate on aiming only.
    I could go on and on about archery, as the wife and I have shot competitions for a long time.

    On the water thing….have you considered an aeration tank to remove the sulfur ? Given a large tank for holding with a diffuser type bubbler . The sulfur should boil off.

    Nice to have you back Dio, you’re always doing something that I gotta give my two cents worth about lol

    February 4, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    • About the water thing, Though about it, but there are enough ways of getting water around here without adding another layer of complexity.
      I was actually expecting a certain amount of ridicule about the bow stuff. It is a bit more primitive than most people are willing to go but I think it is a viable tool no matter what level of tech we are at. That surprise release you mentioned was the way I was taught soit took me minute to grasp what you were talking about; I haven’t thought about my releaseat all since picking it back up.

      February 5, 2015 at 9:33 am

  2. Bet it would cost a small fortune to drill a well up there! Better get moving on the homestead though. We don’t have forever, you know? Get with it just as soon as the weather permits. No delays. I’ll let you know if one of those PU’s comes available for bid soon. Also, I will PM you on a local site where you might find something affordable. I know the guy personally and may be able to help.

    February 5, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    • Believe me, I know our time is short, that is why I am working on the stuff that requires financial input first. As for a well, this area has multiple water tables thanks to the varied strata down below. I could hit water in 40-50′ or it could be several hundred; it’s a crap shoot and not one I am looking at playing. Drill rigs are pretty plentiful around here though, so cost may not be as bad as you would think.
      Thanks for the offers of help finding a P/U, but as for the guy you know prrsonally, are you talking here or at your locale? Confuzzed, I is LOL

      February 5, 2015 at 8:39 pm

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