weather and yard work ... and firearms

Let us get this out of the way right off the bat. While I haven't written anything about the Tucson shootings, it's not because I wasn't aware, or didn't care, but because there was already so much in the blogs and other media about it. I paid attention to the details of the events of that day and the tremendous hubbub that exploded afterward. Eventually I had to come up with something to say and it has taken me this long to get the stream-of-consciousness state collected and ready for release.

I love firearms: shotguns, rifles, handguns. I wish I still owned one. Target shooting is one hell of a lot of fun. I stopped hunting nearly 20 years ago, but will still gladly eat game if it is offered. Target shooting is a good way to relax; you have to relax to shoot accurately and consistently.

Back on topic - I'm very liberal but I firmly believe in the right of the average citizen to own and use firearms, bows, crossbows etc. for whatever purpose they choose, providing that they comply with local and state laws such as no-firearms zones in populated areas, restrictions on convicted criminals ability to legally obtain such weapons, and magazine size restriction. When I was a child, my father hunted a lot. His shotgun held five shells. If he wanted to go duck hunting, he had to insert a special wooden spacer into the magazine to reduce the maximum number of shells to three. This was required by law, as a nature conservation measure. No problems with that here. But I'm not here to talk about hunting.

The biggest problem on the ground in the Tucson event (except of course Loughner's insanity) was his enormous magazine. In my opinion, there is no reasonable excuse for a clip holding more than two dozen rounds, so capacious that it protrudes from a handgun's grip, to be available to the general public. Not for handguns, and probably not for rifles either. Remember: we are Americans. If there is another revolution, it will very likely be dominated by guerrilla attacks. It worked in the first Revolution.

Personal protection, hunting and target shooting do not require magazines like that. There is a saying: "one shot, one kill." That applies to hunting as well as warfare. (I'm looking at you, Sarah "Sixgun" Palin.) Another maxim, "choose your shot," means the same thing but has a less violent feeling to it.

Handguns are a hoot to shoot (sorry, couldn't help it) but are a poor choice of offensive weapon except in a personal protection or guerrilla attack situation. You can definitely hunt with them, and many do. You can put a scope on them just like you can on long guns. The accurate range of a handgun, on the other hand, is significantly less than that of a long gun.

OK. That stream-of-consciousness has petered out. Let's talk about what is affecting us on a more local scale.

Our raccoon has moved on. He had a really sweet pad in there, but a ground-level daysleeper in a dog's territory would understandably find it difficult to get enough restful sleep. It reminds me of homelessness. I understand and appreciate the need to find a "cool place to crash" and feel a spiritual connection with wildlife that is so much greater than it was before my years on the street. You see, those years were pretty bad, but I learned so much from the experience that I can't regret it. "We will not regret our past ..."

A couple of days ago I put the ladder seventeen feet up into one of our trees and removed three long limbs that had been hanging over the pool enclosure. It's a little tricky clearing limbs there. I cut them off in pieces to minimize the mass imposed on the screen and let gravity do the work, cutting slowly with a bow saw until the limb begins to crack. Cut a bit more until there is more cracking. Rinse and repeat until the limb settles gently. Trim smaller limbs off where possible to reduce weight, and eventually get the limb itself off the cage without damage. Fun! (I'm not being sarcastic - I really enjoyed myself.)

Yesterday we received about three inches of rain, judging by the levels of the big pool and the doggy pool. It cleaned all that blue bird crap off of everything, thank God.

Regarding the blue crap, there was something like 100 pounds of dark blue berries on the limbs I took down. Our brush pile looks like an abundant berry patch.

And so, in conclusion, let me say that today is a beautiful day. Sunny, warm (70's) and humid from yesterday's drenching. O the joy!

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