Yesterday was the last day…

My dad passed away a year ago today, so yesterday was the one year anniversary of the last day I got to talk with him. I remember it well. Last year the 19th was on a Sunday, and even though Monday was a holiday I was going to have to work. My parents were planning on picking up my son and having him spend the day with them. I called them in the evening to finalize the plans, which were for them to pick him up around 11:30, then when I got off work I’d go to their house and we’d all have a visit.

I don’t usually remember casual conversations, but this one really stuck in my mind because my dad sounded really agitated about the NFL playoff game he was watching. His team was losing, a combination of poor playing and bad refereeing (according to him). My dad was an avid football fan, but it was the first time I’d ever hear him sound so irritated about his favorite team losing a game. I jokingly told him that if he didn’t calm down I’d have mom ban him from watching football… then I changed the subject and we talked a little more and hung up. Something just didn’t feel right. If I’d known it was the last day I’d ever talk to my dad I would have gone to their house that night to visit. It turns out it’s good I didn’t though because they wouldn’t have been there anyway.

Day at the Range

There aren’t a lot of good places to go shooting around here, so today I went to the range. It’s been a long time since I’ve been shooting, so it was nice to finally have a day at the range. It was also a good learning experience. Range shooting isn’t like other shooting – a lot of things are better, other things, not so much. So here are some things I learned from today at the range…

1. I need practice. I was disappointed with my groups, but seriously what can you expect if you never go shooting? Today was my first time in about a year… but even with only 100 rounds put down range the groups at the end of the day were a lot better than the first groups of the day.

2. Only take one or two guns. I came fully loaded for… what? My AR with a spare upper, my Marlin 60, Glock 19, and an RIA 1911. I was there for 3 hours and only had time for the AR and a few test shots with the Marlin. Not a big deal, just wasted effort lugging around the ones that didn’t get fired.

3. Take a friend. Shooting can tend to be a solitary sport and usually it is for me. Today though I asked a friend to come with me (always a good idea when testing a new rifle) and it was nice. So nice in fact I don’t think I’ll go alone to the range again unless I have to…

4. I love 22 LR. I was shooting 5.56 at the range and probably had the smallest chambering of everyone there. Some of the other guns being fired were ‘jolting’ (lobw) even with hearing protection. On the way home I stopped at a spot I know to get a few rounds of 22 off – no hearing protection yet oh so pleasant. Just on that alone I think a 22 rifle is a way better survival gun than an AR-15…

5. Ammo is important. With the AR, ammo it like grouped almost half as small as ammo it didn’t like. With the 22, one certain brand of ammo was so bad I couldn’t even get it on paper. Another brand and I was suddenly ON paper with no changes to the scope. Not naming names, but…

6. I need a better trigger for my AR. This one was put together as cheap as possible but I’m thinking I shouldn’t have cheaped out on the trigger. I’m not a great shot but even _I_ could tell what shots were going to be pulls as soon as the gun went off. I think with a better trigger I could have shrunk my groups by at least 25%…

7. The trigger on a Marlin 60 is surprisingly good. Not match grade but a heck of a lot better than a ‘mil spec’ AR trigger. I think I can learn to shoot pretty good with the 60…

All that from just one day at the range. Can’t wait to go back and learn some more 🙂

Things to do this year…

I’m not big on resolutions because I never keep them, but planning is a different thing… some would even say that failing to have a plan is akin to intentionally planning to fail. I won’t go that far but planning things does help me keep organized and since the last year had some major changes, I need something to get more focused/better organized/whatever… Anyway, here are 12 things I hope to do this year:

1. Get in shape. In 2013 I was doing great. I joined a gym, cut way back on my drinking, started eating healthy, etc. Then in January of last year my dad passed away and all that went out the window. I dropped out of the gym, started drinking, uhmmm… NOT moderately, and eating, well… which is all stupid. My energy level has gone through the floor, and if I want to get anything done I need to get back in shape – so of all the things to do this year, this is the most important.

2. Homestead the house. In most states, ‘homesteading’ your house gives you a LOT of protection against law suits, creditors, etc.

3. Set up a trust. Another great way to protect assets is to put most of them in a trust, with the trust (not you) owning the assets. If YOU don’t own them, they can’t be taken away, say, as the result of losing a lawsuit…

4. Grow a garden. I’ve already started this actually, with 3 raised beds planted with garlic. I plan a lot more though, with emphasis on stuff I actually like to eat.

5. Raise some animals. I’m going to start with rabbits, and if that works out I’d like to get 3 or 4 laying hens.

6. De-clutter. It’s really hard to get anything done when you’re constantly tripping over junk, and we have a serious junk problem at our house – time to get rid of it.

7. Spend more time hunting and fishing, along with other legal methods of getting wild (natural) food – catching crayfish, gathering edible plants, etc.

8. Learn how to cook and can. I know some basic cooking, but not more complex things like baking bread. Canning will also be great for preserving the stuff I grow in the garden, which leads to…

9. Set up a food store. If the SHTF, it would be nice to know I’ll be able to feed my family, at least for awhile.

10. Spend some time camping and learning outdoor skills.

11. Get my CCW.

12. Start going to church again and regularly studying the Bible. “Man does not live by bread alone…”

There you go, 12 things. I hope they’ll keep me busy and out of trouble…

Today is the first day of the rest of your life

Welcome to 2015:) I don’t put too much stock in New Years Day… January 1st is just another day… except…

It gives us a chance to reflect on the past and plan ahead.

2014 wasn’t a great year for me. My dad passed away in January (hard to believe it’s been almost a year) and I still miss him. My mom, who seemingly handled it well at first, seems to be… well I don’t want to say she’s losing her mind, but in some ways…

My 9 year old continues to be rebellious (9 going on 19, I swear…), I have gout or some other crap going on in my left leg, and try as I might I’m having a hard time trying to re-forge family ties with my sister. I mean… does politics have to be injected into EVERY thing???

On the plus side, our front yard no longer looks like a disaster zone. We have 3 raised beds in the back yard planted with garlic and all (well most) of the brush has been cleaned up. My mom got a new house a lot closer to ours. I visited with my sister 3 times in 2014 – more than in the previous 10 years – and when she shuts up about her politics she’s actually a nice person.

Looking forward to 2015, I’m going to build a rabbit hutch and get 2 bucks and 4 does. Also want to get a ringneck pheasant rooster (have a friend of a friend who breeds them in Bishop) and maybe a few chickens. We already have garlic planted, in the spring we’ll be getting 6 more raised beds (one for Salsify) and maybe plant a grape vine.

Last but not least I’m pretty sure we’ll find a way that my wife can quit her day job, and also get my dad’s (now mine) old truck to Sparks so I can get it running.

Hope everyone reading this has a blessed year in 2015…