Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Please Mr. Custer, I don't wanna go.........

If anyone is interested, on this date 132 years ago, Lt. Col. G.A. Custer and 262 men of the U.S. 7th Cav. were killed in action in an engagement against hostile Sioux and Cheyenne Indians near the Little Big Horn river in the Montana Territory.

It was once said that Lt. Col. Custer made the statement that with the 7th he could ride through the entire Sioux nation. Well he was half right, he made it half way through.............

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's Summertime......

Well, the official start of summer is here and as normal it sorta got here when I wasn't looking. I have been doing work on the range all week and have got all that just about knocked out. All I need to do is get myself qualified with my off-duty weapon and all will be good.

I have started packing for the road trip/vacation I have coming up. I will be spending the next two weeks in Virginia. One week with "Uncle" Chuck Walker and one week with the Randalls, with Under the Redcoat in the middle. I plan on taking several projects with me since no matter where I am, I need to be working on something all the time. Ideal hands and all that. Sometime in those two weeks, I hope to be able to go to the N.R.A. museum as well as the Naval Academy museum. Guns and history, a unbeatable pair.

Nice thing about my trips like this, The mood strikes me and I just do what I feel like without any preplanning. I stop and see what I want, follow roads less traveled and just drift along. I recommend it highly, since it is a very relaxing way to spend your time.

As far as projects go, I have started back on leather working. Since I now have a few cap and ball revolvers, I am making up some "Slim Jim" holsters for them. This is a old style of holster which came out of the California gold fields of the
1850's. I am working them up to be cross draw style and we will see what they look like when I am finished with them. I have the tools and instructions on leather carving, but I don't know that I want to start that yet. I might try my hand at it someday.

Well, back to packing....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Smoke on The Water, Fire in The Sky.............

For those of you that don't know or haven't heard, North Carolina now has the biggest wildfire burning in the entire United States. A few weeks back a lighting hit in the swamps in the eastern part of the state started the peat burning. The forest service now says that until there is a heck of a lot of rain, it may burn for the next two months. As you can well guess, where there is fire, there is smoke so the air quality around here is not as good as it was. It seems that on certain days a haze, or light fog of this smoke sets in and reduces visibility to a couple of miles or less.

"O.K. Williams," you might be saying, "What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?" Well not much, but I have always said that smoke follows beauty so I thought that I would share that indeed it does, since it sorta followed me around all weekend.

I got a very late start on the road to Williamsburg friday night, I just couldn't get my ducks in a row, so I ended up leaving the house around 6:30 P.M. The smoke wasn't so bad around the house but the further north that I got, the thicker it got. By the time I got up around the Virginia line, the sun was blood red as it was setting and the visibility was about 2 miles. The way I go to Williamsburg is a bit different than what map quest recommends. I cut across country via state road 40 so I can catch the ferry across that James river. The route goes through woods and swamp on a two lane road. It is a pretty trip in day light but changes just a bit at night. I have never seen as many deer, raccoons, opossums, and every thing else that could walk, crawl and fly in the road after dark as I saw that night. I guess the smoke sorta flushed them out and got them moving. It was not a relaxing drive.

I figured that my troubles were over when I got to the ferry, since I saw it coming in when I arrived. But of course, I was wrong. The ferry discharged the vehicles on board, then shut down. It turns out that they go to a trip every 30 minutes after midnight so I had to set there for a additional half hour twiddling my thumbs. They also have security at the ferry slips these days and these "Mall Ninjas" (They dress all in black with jump boots, pistols and attitude) were eyeballing me as I was taking my snuff and just had to "check me out" I offered them some, (Being the polite person that I am) but for some reason, they didn't take me up on my offer.

The ferry ride was almost worth the wait, since I was parked beside someone on the boat who felt the overwhelming need to play a Frankie Goes to Hollywood CD the whole trip over. "Relax" my big ol' white butt. I just HATE that song. Another delight was that when we arrived on the far shore I discovered that the ferry was piloted by a person no doubt possessed by the spirit of Prince Henry the Navigator since it took him three attempts to get into the slip.

I spent the weekend up around the Williamsburg area, so I could take part in a 1812 event at Endview Plantation with my shipmates from the Dragon crew. 1812 is a bit funny in that they have a lot of one day events, which makes you wonder how they expect people to drive any length of time or distance with today's gas prices just for one day. It was a very small event less that 30 participants and less than 30 spectators, so we spent a great deal of time just shooting the breeze in the shade or as the period sailors put it, "yarning" Of course, I was in my environment, and got to run my mouth quite a bit. Doing the sailor thing sorta always leads to us serving on the big guns, so we worked out on Charlie Phillips 3 Pdr. gun, which he has named "Retribution" It is a nice weapon, and Charlie knows what he is doing, so we had a pretty good time burning powder. We shut down abut 4 PM and called it a day. Even with just being there one day it was great to see the Boss, Doc, Jan and Bob my shipmates. Each time we get together, I get to like them all more and more. A damn fine bunch.

Rather than head back that night, I spent the night at "Uncle" Chuck Walker's home in Williamsburg. "Uncle" Chuck is a prince of a fellow, even more of a Renaissance man than I am. He has taught me a lot and I hope he will teach me a lot more in the future. He wasn't there since he is volunteering as a crew member on the sailing ships out of Jamestowne settlement and they were off in the Chesapeake, somewhere on a trip.

The trip home, thank goodness was rather uneventful and it was good to get back to Carolina.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

It's Hot Tonight, Too Hot For Talking, It's Hot Tonight.....

There seems to be a bit of a southern tradition in that every where I go, every person I meet starts out the conversation with, "Hot enough for you?"

Hell yes! It is MUCH too hot for me.

I fully understand that when it gets to be summer here in North Carolina, it becomes hot and humid. I like to think of it as the price one pays for living in a wonderful place like N.C. But really, being close to 100 degrees three days in a row is a just a little over the top don't ya think? I prefer winter since I can always put on enough clothing to stay warm but I can't take off enough to stay cool. (Without shocking and upsetting my friends and neighbors.)

Another bad thing about the heat is it leads me into putting things off, such as finishing up a bunch of stuff that I will need for this coming weekend's trip up to Hampton VA for a 1812 event with my shipmates of the Dragon. Somehow I will push myself to "get 'er done" and get it all knocked out by Friday. I have never been to this event, so I am looking forward to seeing someplace new and of course, being with my shipmates.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

In Memory Of This Day, 64 Years Ago.......

Order Of The Day

June 6th 1944

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force:

You are about to embark on the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.

Your task will not be a easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipt and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944!.....The tide has turned. The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!

General Dwight D. Eisenhower

General Eisenhower also had written this note which he kept in his pocket, in case of failure.

Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air forces and Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If there is any blame or fault attached to the attempt, it is mine alone.

The surest sign of a great leader is that he will accept blame for failure as well as take credit for success.

Too Much Time On My Hands, It's Ticking Away With My Sanity.....

This blog will be just a bit disjointed, because that's how my life (and brain) has been these days. First and most important, my lap top is in the shop (again) and I am having to do what ever computer work that I need to do on a very old desk top that is hooked up on dial-up which is, how shall we say, "Very Deliberate" So my on line time is very limited. Thus, I am having to find other things to spend my time on.

I did my post-op trip to my Doc, he said that the knee was looking pretty good, he suggested that I start water walking (Not in the biblical sense, mind you) to build up the muscles in my legs to support both the knees as well as to aid in the much needed weight loss, so I start that this week. I am still in pain, but nothing too overwhelming.

I finished up the Spiller and Burr reproduction yesterday. It didn't come out looking TOO bad. I could have done a bit more on the polish, but I figure it's good enough for who it's for. I will try to take it out in the next few weeks and see how it shoots. I have a Queen Anne flintlock pistol that I got from my dear friend Kate Johnson that I got shooting, but again, I need to put my little touches on it so it is now waiting in a box for my tender loving care. Maybe in the next week or so I will start polishing it and stripping the stock.

Been keeping a eye on the news lately? It seems that the Gitmo monkey show is underway. I think the powers that be should have just whacked the people that they are now putting on trial. Otherwise all we are doing is just giving them a "bully pulpit" to spew their hate filled messages. But I AM somewhat of a hard-ass. We will see.

Speaking of which, did anyone notice the photos of "Mr. Big", Khalid Sheikh Muhammad when he was first taken in custody? He looked for all the world like Ron Jeremy the porn star. (It scared me when I first saw him) Today they are showing new artist sketches of him from the courtroom. Now with his beard, glasses and hair, he looks like cousin IT from the Addams family. I don't personally think it's much of a improvement.

I am still gathering my gear for my new persona, the Civil War sailor. My shipmates as doing some great events and I am chomping at the bit to go, but not until I get the gear together. I have been checking out various suttlers on line, and after spending so much time in the Rev War period it is stunning how much stuff you can find for the civil war. I firmly believe that a person can (with a big enough checking account) go to a A.C.W. event, go to a suttler, get kitted out and participate on the very same day. I just wish that we had those types of resources for earlier time periods.

I start going back to the pistol range next week. My old department has some new policies in place for it's officers to carry concealed firearms off duty so I am currently writing policy and procedure for that as well as working out a lesson plan. I will be busy with that for a few weeks, but it helps with my "porkchop" money.

I also am looking forward to U.T.R. (Under the Redcoat) at Williamsburg at the end of the month. I am going to tie a vacation into both sides of that weekend, so it gives me a little down time. That is going to make it well worth the wait.