Thursday, April 29, 2010

Break Up

Hi.  Didja miss me? 

I got home from work on Tuesday, and spent the day doing all that "coming home stuff" like grocery shopping, bringing the dogs over from the boarding kennel, and so forth.  Yesterday I had a dental appointment, an order of black powder to deliver, and I did some shopping in search of a new used four-wheeler.  My teeth are fine, the customer has his powder, and there isn't a suitable used machine to be found in this valley (sigh).

There are signs of spring all over the place, though.  I see greenery popping up through last year's dead grass and forest duff.  I've seen hordes of giant "snow mosquitoes", the big, dumb blood suckers that are always first to appear and lull us into a false sense of confidence that we can swat anything that flies.  I've even seen some motorhomes, a sure sign of spring. 

Unfortunately, I missed my bet on break-up.  The ice on the Tanana River at Nenana went out at 9:06 this morning, four hours before my closest guest.  I was close, but not close enough. 

Today has been a busy one here at the house.  I started with the morning dog chores, then moved to the truck.  I had to clear the old bedding out of the dog box and dispose of it.  If I were to leave it in the truck it would trap moisture against the floor, causing the floor to rot out.  Once that was done my next task was to repair some wiring.  Last fall one of the yearlings was 'dropped' next to the rear bumper, and managed to chew up the wiring to the tail light, turn signal, and reverse light.  I put off the repair all winter because I wasn't real interested in lying on my back in the snow for hours.  Instead, I was on my back on rocks, sticks and mud for a couple of hours.  I got the job done, and the truck is back in legal condition. 

I made an appointment to swap out the studded snow tires on the truck for it's summer tires, hauled a load of garbage to the dumpster station, checked my mail and filled the tank of my small car with fuel, picked up the shafts for my Sacco cart from another musher who had borrowed them, got my little utility trailer ready to work, and cut down a bunch of alder saplings that were trying to grow next to the house and in the dog yard. 

Not only did I get all that stuff done, I got it done before it started raining - well, mostly.

I did have to feed and scoop in the rain, but I didn't melt and neither did the dogs.

To one and to all, I bid "Happy Break-Up"!


  1. Yeah, we missed you! Thanks for posting the story about the GSD to the rescue! Hope you find that used ATV! I forwarded your handler ad to a person that might fill the bill! Saw a CVA 50cal Bushwacker percussion rifle for sale locally for $125. Do you think it is worth it? What would you look for in checking it out to buy? Dave in NC

  2. Regarding the bushwhacker, I'm a traditional ML shooter and the bushwhacker is clearly not an historically authentic design. That doesn't make it a bad rifle, though.

    First, run the ramrod down the bore and mark the location of the muzzle (or just pinch it between two fingers). No lay the rod against the barrel and make sure the end goes all the way down to the nipple. If it is short the gun may be loaded.

    It's a pretty simple, sidelock muzzleloader. Once you are sure it's unloaded, shine a bright light down the bore and look down the muzzle. (Again, make sure the darned thing is EMPTY before doing that.) Make sure the barrel is mirror clean with no rust pits. Remove the lock to inspect the innards, just looking to be sure there is no rust. You don't need to take the lock apart, just remove it from the stock and take a look.

    Replace the lock in the stock, pull the cock to half-cock and put some pressure against the back of it to be sure it holds. If it flies forward it means the half-cock notch on the tumbler is worn, and it is unsafe. Repeat that process at full cock and then ease the cock back down onto the nipple.

    Make sure the sights are solid in their dovetails, especially that adjustable rear site. Check all the hardware to make sure none of the screws are loose.

    Finally, pull the cock to half-cock and place a percussion cap on the nipple. Aim the muzzle about an inch or so above a leaf or very thin bit of paper. Cock the gun and "fire" the cap. That should create enough pressure to move the leaf or paper, proving that the nipple and drum are clear of debris.

    If everything is tight and rust free and the cap moves the leaf or paper the gun should shoot as well as the day it was released from the factory.

  3. Thanks for that detailed description of the inspection process! When I get back to the NC mountains next week I will see if it is still available and examine it closer!