January 5, 2022: Here We Go Again
The start of a new year...and hunting seasons are over, it's too effing cold to fish (15-20 F° this morning, worse to come). Well, at least in 10 days Governor Blackface will be G-O-N-E and Governor Youngkin will get to strut his stuff. That's something to be thankful for. Plus, our new Assembly is firing up with a new Republican majority who have already started to introduce bills to nullify Governor Blackface's "initiatives," including a repeal of the authority for local and county governments to regulate guns, and returning all responsibility for that to the Commonwealth.
Furthermore, there's a bill to repeal the ban on Sunday hunting on public land. Until a few years ago you couldn't hunt on Sunday at all, but now you can, on private property. This makes no sense, and in Ohio—a Bible Belt state if ever there was one—it was done the other way around. First the Sunday ban was repealed on public land, then the next year on private land. If Ohio can do it so can Virginia. Sunday hunting bans are the last of the bad old Blue Laws, along with forcible closing of stores on The Sabbath. For decades the various church ministers kept the ban in place but it may well go away for good this year. One can always hope.
Things could be worse. Mrs Outdoorsman and I, along with our elderly Border Collie Lucy (age 12), visited friends in Nashville over New Years' weekend. We arrived on the 30th and left on the 2nd. Lucy was a perfect visitor the whole time. For years we had more than one dog, which more or less dictated we get a dog sitter or use a kennel (something I will never do again); but with only the one it's much easier to travel. Lucy has traveled more than any of our previous dogs ever did. She seems to like it, too.
January 7, 2022: Coldest Day Of The Year, So Far
At the moment it's something like 15° F and there's an inch of snow—yes, SNOW! SNOW !—on the ground, which is cause for gibbering panic because WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE FROM THE SNOW if the Talking Heads on TV can be believed. For God's sake, it's January, and while Virginia is The South, it isn't that far South. Nevertheless, if the word SNOW is spoken any time between October 1st and May 30th we're assured that the entire world is about to end; moreover, that it's due to—are you ready?—"climate change."
Funny how that works: if we have an exceptionally hot Summer, that's proof of "global warming," but if we have an exceptionally cold Winter, that isn't proof that "global warming" isn't happening. No, no, it's more proof of "global warming" when automobile batteries freeze solid and birds drop dead in the air.
One consequence of this bad weather is that the new TV we were supposed to get today isn't coming. Best Buy begged off the delivery because "...the driveway for the truck is a sheet of ice..." and they promise to deliver it tomorrow. We'll see. I say "TV" but the damned thing is really a junior-league Jumbotron, a 55" monster that will take up one end of our sitting room. Top-of-the-line, too, at least until the next Electronics Show brings out something even snazzier and more expensive. If it were up to me—it isn't—not only would I not have it, I'd make television illegal. It is the cause and the exacerbation of every single social ill from which the world suffers.
The very first TV set I can remember—indeed, one of the very first TV sets available—is the 1949 vintage RCA 256 shown here. My father bought it when I was still in diapers. In today's dollars, the $235.31 he paid then is equivalent to $2747.25!
It had a 6-inch screen (black and white, of course) with two knobs: one for "horizontal hold" and one for "vertical hold" to keep the picture from skipping and wiggling; plus an on/off knob and a manual channel selector. No remote controls here! It weighed nearly 100 pounds and of course was powered by vacuum tubes that had to be "warmed up" before anything happened. What we're getting is A super-duper Samsung "QLED Neo 90A" that sings, tap dances, reads minds, and does my taxes. It will make our lives perfect, after it takes our lives over.
Thank You, President Buffoon
Yesterday I went to take my truck in for its annual oil change. In the past this has cost about $30. I was told by "Jiffy Lube" that the price is now...$62!! Took it to my local mechanic shop, who have done my work for 35 years, and they wanted $70!!!
So thanks to Biden-inflation I can foresee annual increases until I die; I have visions of paying $800,000 for a loaf of bread. Can we please stop pumping dollars with nothing behind them into the economy? Does anyone remember Weimar Germany? As a kid I had a stamp collection that included postage stamps from that period, overprinted from a few cents to TWO MILLION MARKS to mail a letter! Bend over, here it comes. He hasn't even got his "Build Back Better" bullshit passed yet; God help the USA if he does. It really should be called "Build Back Broke"
January 9, 2022: The Junior Jumbotron
Well, it's here. Two guys from Best Buy's "Geek Squad" arrived yesterday afternoon and spent a couple of hours setting up our brand-new, hot-shit, super-duper Samsung QLED Neo N90 55" TV set. It's nearly the size of those things they hang over hockey arenas. It dominates the end of our sitting room, and needless to say it will dominate our lives for the years to come. It is the latest technology, at least until next year's Electronics Show introduces something that will make the Junior Jumbotron hopelessly obsolete.
We visited my cousin over Thanksgiving and Mrs Outdoorsman was seized with TV Lust when she saw his set (an earlier model, nowhere near so advanced as ours, ha, ha, ha!). Upon our return we ordered this thing. It does handstands, it sings, it dances, it does my taxes and for all I know it can tie my shoes. Now our lives are perfect. I think. How could we have lived without it for so long?
January 13, 2022: Nocturnal Visitors
Last Monday (the 10th) I had let Lucy out for her "final" pee of the night before going to bed. She went into our yard, did what needed to be done, and returned up the hill to the end of our deck. On arrival she "alerted" and stared up at the deck from below; then ran up the stairs to the bird feeder, where she encountered three—count 'em—three raccoons inside the bird feeder.
Lucy had never seen raccoons before and didn't know what they were, but she knew damned well they were not supposed to be in our bird feeder. She started to bark at them, and hesitatingly lunged. The 'coons weren't having any of that. They snarled and snapped their teeth at her as she in turn snarled and snapped her teeth at them.
Raccoons are tough guys. If they were humans they'd be biker thugs. Luckily these were young ones, and I suppose they in turn had never encountered a dog before, certainly not an elderly, crabby, pissed-off Border Collie. But they stood their ground. I wasn't keen on a fight and a possible trip to the Doggie Emergency Room to get her sewed up, so I shouted to make her stop; simultaneously Mrs Outdoorsman opened the deck door and called her in. Reluctantly she obeyed, a great relief.
Two of the raccoons had decided they should leave for healthier climes, but one fellow stayed behind, lured by the birdseed and suet cake. I went down to the basement and got a low-powered BB pistol, bouncing a few of the BB's off the feeder to scare him away. No dice, he wasn't the least bit bothered. So I retrieved a 6-foot alpenstock and poked him with it. This elicited more snarls, but he decided it was time to leave, climbing down the yew tree next to the deck and vanishing into the darkness.
Virginia law would have allowed me to kill those raccoons with my .22 caliber air rifle; but I'm not in the raccoon-killing business. They were, after all, only doing what they needed to do on a very cold night to survive. They left and haven't been back, so far.
January16, 2021: A Snowy Sunday
Mrs Outdoorsman is off on a trip with her sister to Pensacola Beach, Florida, and I am happily "batching it" with Lucy for the next few days. It started snowing this morning about 7:30 and so far we've had about 3 inches. No big deal. I have nowhere to go, plenty of bachelor food, nothing to do but work on this blog, and am quite content.
While today's weather is cold yesterday was a great day: the end of the Northam administration and the swearing in of our new Governor, Glenn Youngkin. In my nearly three-quarters of a century on this planet I've come to distrust all politicians, but even so I have hopes that Youngkin will effect real and much needed change by ending the madness that Northam and his blighted crew foisted on us. For one thing, he isn't a politician in the traditional mold. He is a venture capitalist and a businessman who'd become rich outside the political system; maybe he'll be immune to the corrupting influence of "free money" siphoned off from the taxpayers. We'll see.
Another reason is that he brought in with him a complete sweep of the three state-level offices: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General. And a slim but real majority in the House of Delegates. Not the Senate: that election isn't until 2023, but there is reason to hope that in that year it too will turn over from a Democrat majority to a Republican one. Plus, Lieutenant Governor Sears has the deciding vote in case of a tie, so perhaps the worst excesses of the Leftist zanies can be staved off.
It's worth pointing out that though the Left is fond of screaming "RACISM!" when anyone disagrees with their policies, even they can't accuse Youngkin of being a racist. Lieutenant Governor Sears is a black woman, born in Jamaica; she came to the USA as an immigrant at age six, and served in the US Marines. She's the second woman and the first black one to hold the office of Lieutenant Governor. Attorney General Miyares is a first-generation American, born here of Cuban parents; he is the first "Hispanic American" (if you have to hyphenate him) to hold that office.
Northam is gone, and good riddance to him. Now the Assembly should start dismantling his agenda.
January 22, 2022: Batching It With The Dog
It's bitterly cold today and has been for the past week. The temperature outside was 11°F at 7:30 AM; it's warmed up a bit but not much. We had seven inches of snow a few days ago, but it has yet to melt off, thanks to the bone-freezing weather. I don't know how animals survive in this, but obviously they do. Thirty or forty years ago this weather wouldn't have bothered me: in my 30's I could sit on a rock in the woods at 11°F all day waiting for a deer to come by, but no more.
Mrs Outdoorsman is in sunny (or at least relatively warm) Florida. Her sister and brother-in-law took a notion to go to Pensacola Beach. I don't know why they chose Pensacola but I suspect it was because they found an "Air B&B" place there. In any event she's been gone for a bit over a week, will return home tomorrow.
I'm batching it at home with Lucy. Fine with me. I have nowhere to go, nothing to do, and plenty of Bachelor Food in the house, so all is well. Lucy's a bit confused but she's been getting her daily walks around the block so she's satisfied.
The cold and the snow did put the kibosh on a range session I'd planned. I need to check sights on a little combination gun and to shoot some black powder. But there's time for that when things warm up now that the hunting season is finished.
January 28, 2022: A New Piece Of Hunting Gear
Mrs Outdoorsman got back from her sojourn to Florida last Sunday and we're back to the routine. While she was away we had 7" of snow—a quantity that wouldn't cause anyone to blink in the Northeast, but is regarded as THE END OF THE WORLD here in Blacksburg—and I barely left the house at all. Not because I couldn't have done, but because I had no reason to. Now we're "threatened" as the so-called "news" has it, with another snowfall, maybe 3" worth; and predictably the hysteria has set in again.
I hunt a DMAP (Deer Management Assistance Program) property. DMAP is a program of the Department of Wildlife Resources that is supposed to be managed along "QDM" principles. On DMAP properties the landowner gets extra tags for antlerless deer; deer taken on a DMAP tag don't count against the basic license. My landowner gets 10-15 such tags every year and he's happy to have me shoot as many does as I see, which so far I've been pretty good at doing.
Since DWR is a government agency they're mad for statistics. When I fill out the DMAP forms I have to list the "live weight" and "dressed weight" for the deer I've killed. Well, this is easier said than done: estimating the weight by eye when the deer is on the ground is—ahem—imprecise at best.
For a long time I've wanted to be able to weigh the deer in the field, but until recently have not been able to figure out how to do so. I've tried to think of a design for a sort of crane for the back of my truck, to which I could attach a scale (I have the scale) and the deer, so as to get a reasonably accurate figure. Such a design isn't easy to come up with lacking any way to make it from steel, but lo, Cabela's has come to my rescue.
Three days ago I ordered a "Hitch Hoist," shown at right. It has one arm that inserts into the hitch receiver of the truck, and an "L" shaped arm with a pulley and gambrel to attach to the deer. There's a winch to haul the beast up. It also has a foot to rest on the ground to take the weight. It's supposedly suited for up to 500 pounds. It's pretty much exactly what I was looking for.
Best part is I had a bunch of accumulated "points" on my Cabela's Card account so that it cost me less than half the nominal price directly out of pocket; plus the shipping was free.
Now I have to set it up to see how it works; then I have to shoot a deer. That latter won't come for a while unless I get put on a kill permit (unlikely) but Fall will be here soon enough!