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Archive for April, 2010

My Career as a Varminter Begins

Friday, April 30th, 2010

I Can Hit Very Fat Prairie Dogs up to 20 Feet Away

I feel like I have been oil-wrestling leopards all day.

My DPMS .308 rifle arrived yesterday. I was not all that excited when I ordered it, but when it arrived, I got a little spastic, and I could not wait to shoot it. Today I took it to the range, with a 6-14x40mm scope borrowed from my .17 HMR rifle. I used Radway Green .308 surplus ammo, which is British and supposedly very good. I have two cans of this stuff. Classic Arms sells it.

The hours at the range are always a matter of mystery and conjecture. They change them all the time, and you never know if the sign is correct. Today I got there 45 minutes before the place opened, thinking it had been open for three hours. To kill time I drove to a nearby truck stop to see if they sold towels.

It could happen.

I wanted a towel because I had left mine at home. Ford Prefect would sneer at my foolishness. When I shoot big-bore rifles, the recoil tears up my right elbow, so I wanted something to put under it. They did not have towels, but they did have really nice carpeted mats for ten bucks. For FOUR.

How can you turn that down? Everyone can use four carpeted mats. Even if you don’t know it, you have uses for them. I bought them. They also advertised smoked alligator, but I didn’t see any, so I didn’t buy any.

They had a whole bunch of dried alligator heads. That was comforting, in an odd way. It reminded me of traveling with my family when I was a kid. We used to stop at horrible tourist restaurant/gift shops called Horne’s and Stuckey’s. They always had lots of dried alligators for sale. They probably sold live ones, too. I can’t remember. This was back in the time when you could buy dynamite at 7-11.

Eventually, I got into the range. And I opened my ammo can of surplus .308, and I tried taking a round out of one of the little four-round clumps that were chained together…and I could not do it. I knew this ammunition came chained up, but I figured you could just slip the rounds out. Oh, no. You have to suffer. Luckily I had a Victorinox multi-tool in my shooting box. I had to remove every round from the others with pliers. And they were covered with some kind of lube. By the end of the day, my hands felt like they had been chewed on by angry pigs.

On the advice of a DPMS guy, I picked up some jags and a proper cleaning kit, but I could not get the jag to work at the range. You’re not allowed to point a gun upward or downward at the range, so it can be hard, cleaning one. I finally decided to do this: wire brush with Break-Free, followed by the Boresnake. That’s the best I could do. It nearly killed me, doing that about thirty times today. If the gun explodes from improper breaking in, so be it. There is a limit to what a human being can do.

I put some Hoppe’s in it from time to time, but I don’t know if I achieved anything by doing that.

Here are the results. The first target is funny, which is why I’m posting it. I shot the first 25 rounds at 25 yards. You know how it is when you’re zeroing a scope. You don’t want to start too far away. As you can see, the bullets crept inward as I adjusted the scope, and they finally settled in a nice satisfying hole southwest of the center of the target.

I enjoyed that.

I moved the scope forward, because I still do not understand eye relief very well, and I moved to 100 yards. Here is the first target. I had to do the zeroing stuff all over again. Part of the error is due to me moving the scope knobs in my typical fearless fashion.

The results are not great. I still have a hard time finding the right place to put my eye, and as soon as I start to squeeze the trigger, the image of the target disappears. I’m getting better, but I think the scope is still too far back. I also had problems with my elbow. It got sore after the first 25 rounds, and it was really annoying. I started to anticipate the pain, and that was not good for my concentration.

I started doing better when I remembered that this gun had a pistol grip. When pistol shooting, I get better results when I squeeze hard with my fourth and fifth fingers. I tried that with the LR-308, and things improved a lot. There is a hole in the target which, I suspect, is where all the bullets would go if I were consistent. Maybe I’m expecting too much of this surplus ammunition, but I think most of the error is me, not the gun or ammunition.

The gun grouped better in the second 100-yard target, but a high percentage of the rounds in this photo are in the center ring, and I think that reflects my increased confidence in my shooting, which was the result of improving my grip. Maybe I’m wrong. It’s impossible to count the rounds accurately now.

The gun’s trigger is a horror straight from hell. It felt okay at first, but later, I almost found myself yanking on it to make it fire. Exasperating. It’s just like the trigger on my Desert Eagle, and that is a tremendous insult. If anyone wants to recommend a drop-in, I am all ears. And credit card. I can’t put up with this.

The other day I was amazed to see how nice the trigger on my Vz 58 was. It’s a dream come true. Even though I didn’t shoot the gun all that well, and I did not apply myself, the target shows that the bullet hits are related to each other. I sort of wandered around in a four-inch circle. I didn’t shoot random flyers I could not explain. Maybe the sweet trigger is the reason. I never have to vary the pull, and the gun always goes off exactly when I expect it to. With the LR-308, I can’t tell when I’m going to fire, and the pull is extremely inconsistent.

Things got better on the last target. By that time, I was fed up with separating surplus from sheet metal chain link things, and I was ready to leave.

Wild Cream Cheese Pie Crust

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Easier Than Regular Pie Crust

Try this pie crust. It’s from a few years back. For some reason, I abandoned it.


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/2 packages (12 oz.) cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream

Make sure the dairy stuff is cold. Cut the cheese and butter in pieces (1/4″ slices of butter, cheese package cut in quarters). Dump everything in a food processor with a regular blade. Process until it forms a glob. Make sure it’s blended pretty well, and then stop. Roll on a floured counter (1/4″ thick). Make a pie with it! I’m doing 400 degrees, and it seems right.

This stuff is the flakiest pie crust I’ve ever seen. Super easy to handle, too. It’s like leather when it’s cold.

You could make cookies from this stuff. Put a glob of fruit in the middle and scatter turbinado sugar on the dough. Then bake. Should probably sweeten the dough, too.

May need more salt.


This recipe originally had one other ingredient: 3/4 cup of lard. I forgot to put it in today, and it seems like the crust is better than it used to be.

Here is the pie. I have to wait for it to cool:


This pie is incredible. Easier to make than a conventional crust, flakier, tastier, and it even slices better. Look!

I know what it needs. More sugar and a wash. Other than that, it’s ready for prime time.

Who Stole the Engine Out From Under my VW Beetle’s Hood?

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

It’s Almost Like a Blonde Joke

Here’s a funny story. There was this guy who bought an AR10 rifle over the Internet. It was his first AR-type rifle. When it arrived, he looked for charging handle and couldn’t find it. He was very disturbed, and he called the manufacturer to find out if it was normal to ship AR-type rifles without charging handles. Maybe it was a customizing thing, so people could buy their own handles.

The employee who answered the phone was distressed and said this was like selling a Chevy truck with no windshield. They did not sell guns without charging handles. He asked for the dealer’s name and asked the buyer to call back if he couldn’t clear it up.

The buyer left a voicemail for the seller, asking if he knew what had happened to the charging handle. Then he went to look at the gun again, and he pulled on a thing at the back of the gun, and the chamber opened. Suddenly he realized the charging handle on this kind of rifle was in the back. And he felt pretty stupid, and he left another voicemail for the dealer, explaining that the first voicemail was some moron who sounded just like him and liked to play really bad practical jokes.

I’m sure glad I’m not that guy.

Yes, sir.


He Hates These Cans!

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Die, Gas Pumper!

I guess I’m stupid, because I somehow had the idea that April 29th was tomorrow. In fact, it is TODAY, as many of you may already be aware.

What does this mean? It means MY NEW AR10 IS AT THE GUN SHOP. I checked the tracking site to make sure the gun would be in the shop tomorrow, and it’s already there!

Do you KNOW what this MEANS?


Small problem: I have no scope for it. But I can steal the scope from my Savage. I think 14x will suffice for 100 yards [sarcasm alert]. Or I could take the scope off my K31. It needs to be redone anyway. I think it’s a 9x, but I forget.

This is spectacular. I’m more excited about this gun than I have been about any gun I’ve bought in a long time. I wasn’t all that eager to get it. I felt like something was pushing me, and that’s the reason I bought it. Nonetheless, now I can’t wait to shoot it.

In my collection, this will be the closest thing to a serious high-end rifle. I guess the K31 would count if it were new, since it was made to extraordinarily high standards. But it’s old, and I paid something like $200 for it. The Savage is super-accurate, but it was really cheap, and it’s not fancy. Besides, how worked up can you get about a sub-MOA rifle in the same caliber as a BB?

Today I read that some people kill coyotes with .17 HMR. That surprised me. It’s such a tiny cartridge.

I’m going to change my sheets so I can sleep next to the new gun. Hopefully I’ll dream of Navin Johnson, trying to elude me in a car with no tires.

Oops. Was that racist?

Stork on the Way

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Get me Some Camo Jammies

Depending on the breaks, I may be able to take my new .308 rifle to the range tomorrow. Then I begin the unbelievable process of breaking in the barrel. The manufacturer recommends cleaning the barrel after every round for the first 25 shots. Then you have to clean it after every 10 rounds until you get to a hundred. That wouldn’t be so bad if they recommended a Boresnake, but they don’t. They recommend a cleaning rod, a jag, and patches.

Here is what one of their people says on their forum:

For “break in” cleaning – you will need to use several patches of copper solvent, not just oil, to properly remove the copper fouling. Then use your regular gun oil, fire, and repeat. I do single rounds for a while, then go to 3 round group, clean, 3 round group, clean…until I am happy.

I’m not even sure I own a rifle-length cleaning rod. I think I have one in the garage. And I didn’t know what a jag was until five minutes ago. Time to visit Bass Pro, I guess.

He doesn’t say anything about a brush. How can you remove copper without a brush? Is that even possible?

I didn’t do this with my Savage. I wonder if I was supposed to. I don’t know if a normal rod will fit in a .17-caliber barrel.

Patches don’t impress me much. I know they worked great for George Washington’s army, but this is 2010. They don’t provide much friction, they hold very little stuff, and they leave junk in the barrel unless you use a pile of them. I would think a well-aimed can of Breakfree or Bore Scrubber would be much better, since it would carry the crap out of the gun instead of just smearing it around. I would be inclined to use a Boresnake, follow it with spray, and then use patches just to see if the barrel was clean. But I am no expert.

For the guns I own now, I use the following stuff: Hornady One Shot, Powder Blast, a Sonicare toothbrush, Q-tips, paper towels, and a Boresnake. Sometimes I use brake part cleaner, taking care to keep it off plastic, wood, and paint. I think I’m getting good results. I never see anything in the barrels when I sight down them.

I really like the bipod I used yesterday. It’s a Rock Mount something or other, I think. I should look at the package. The legs are nice and long, so you don’t have to be a yoga instructor to get behind the scope. I can’t understand why anyone makes rests or bipods that don’t hold the gun up where you can sight through the scope. I’m sure there is a reason, but I am not familiar with it.

I’ll want a bipod for the .308, but I don’t know what kind to get. FAB makes one that collapses into a foregrip, but a foregrip on a 10-pound rifle unsuited for close-quarters work seems silly. The bipod I have is great, but it will not attach to a rail.

Hold it. I won’t have a rail on the bottom of my new gun. I just checked. It’s a swivel. That will work.

I have a Caldwell rest, but I don’t like it. It’s very low, and it weighs a ton, and it takes up half of my shooting box. It has occurred to me that I have the technology to make a new screw for it. The big screw that supports the bag. If it were longer, the rest would be useful. But I prefer bipods. I can’t get used to the idea of shooting from a ridiculous sled type of thing; it seems like it’s one step away from clamping the rifle in a vise and walking away and firing the gun with a remote.

A bipod requires some amount of skill, and unlike a rest, it’s something you would actually find useful in the field. I know people like heavy rests for zeroing rifles, but it appears that I should be able to get sub-MOA performance with a decent bipod, and that’s good enough for me. That’s all I ever wanted. Besides, wouldn’t a giant Frankenrest move the zero anyway? I’d have to re-zero it with the bipod later.

Yesterday I noticed that the guy next to me was also shooting .17 HMR, and he was using what appeared to be a Savage in a target stock, and he had a giant sled thing that must have weighed fifty pounds. I am surprised it didn’t have a built-in seat and an end table for his beer. He was shooting about 9 MOA. Again, I am no gun expert, but here is what common sense tells me: if you shoot that badly with a rest doing all the work, you need to dump the rest, learn to shoot without it, and then try again. He is clearly doing something wrong, and the rest is probably discouraging him from trying to learn what the problem is.

Maybe he has a medical problem that makes a sled necessary to reduce recoil. I wonder.

I hope I am not going to make sled fans angry by writing this. I know there are people who shoot from those things every time they go to the range. I know a guy who shoots a .45 ACP carbine from one, so the reason is not always related to sighting in the gun. I’m sure these guys like the results, and they are not anxious to admit the machinery is doing most of the work, or that they can’t shoot without them. But these things were never intended to be crutches. Were they? Surely not. Far as I know, you’re only supposed to use them to get your rifle and scope acquainted.

From the results I got yesterday, I think I should be able to do something like .75-MOA, shooting the Savage from a bipod. I believe I should be able to put most of a 50-shot box into a group that big at 100 yards. I have to get my scope moved forward, and I have to work on my grip and my trigger pull and my breath control, but I think this is where I’m going to end up. God willing, of course. If that’s true, a complicated rest seems pointless.

It’s very satisfying, seeing it come together. I don’t get much of a thrill out of shooting all over the target, unless I’m playing around with iron sights. I love having a gun that will do exactly what I tell it to do, when I do everything right. This takes the gun out of the equation and allows me to see my own problems more clearly, and that means I learn more and shoot better. This is why I wanted the .308. If a gun will put 50 rounds into a hole the size of a quarter, it will tell me every time I make a mistake. An inaccurate gun will always make me guess. In a situation like that, I may guess wrong and make “corrections” that actually make me shoot worse.

I have one other complaint about the Savage. The cheek weld is pretty much nonexistent. Hard to believe, from a $10 plastic stock. Maybe moving the scope will fix this. If not, I think I should look for a solution. Given the cheapness of the gun and the fantastic as-is accuracy, I am not highly motivated to get a new stock. Maybe there is a product I can screw onto it.

Sub-MOA is Within my Reach

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Eye Relief Fix Should do It

Took my dad to the gun range today. Things went very well, for the most part.

Started off with my Vz 58. I intended to test the laser at 50 feet, but they have a new setup out there, and the closest distance is 25 yards. At that distance, the laser wasn’t on the paper, and I could not fix it. I decided to shoot with iron sights and no rest, just to recall how the gun shot and felt. I shot from a seated position with my elbows on the bench. This starts to hurt after not too many rounds, because the recoil pushes the skin of your elbows along the wood.

I love this gun. It must be as fine a home defense weapon as there is. The trigger is magnificent. You always know exactly when the gun will fire, and there is no staging, and it never hangs or drags. It’s like a squirt gun for bullets. I couldn’t see that well, and I wasn’t trying all that hard, but the gun still shot beautifully.

I’ll fix the laser mount and go back. The dot is clearly visible at 25 yards in bright sunlight.

I got out my Savage bolt-action rifle in .17 HMR. I have a 14x scope on it. I moved to 100 yards. I had a problem getting my bipod mounted; I got it months ago and never bothered attaching it. I tried to shoot from my tiny Caldwell rest, and it worked when I raised it all the way and put the gun on the very top of the bag, instead of in the notch. Not stable, but good enough. No rear bag. Look at this target. That’s my first ten rounds. As you can see, this gun is unquestionably capable of consistent sub-MOA shooting at 100 yards.

I had real problems with my scope. The eye relief is way off. I need to move it a good inch or more forward. It drove me nuts; the target kept floating away right when I started squeezing the trigger. It must have ruined my concentration, because the next target was horrible.

Of course, “horrible” is a relative term. This is 4-MOA shooting, which is acceptable if you’re trying to kill something within 100 yards. But it was horrible compared to the first shots I fired.

I can’t wait to move the scope and try again. Incidentally, I don’t like the Savage Accu-trigger nearly as much as the Czech trigger on the Vz 58. I don’t think I could ever enjoy an AK-47’s dunnage-grade furniture and sheet metal parts as much as I enjoy the Vz 58.

I went and joined my dad on the pistol side, and I got rid of a box of dubious .357 reloads I made. A long time ago, I put a lighter spring in my S&W 27-2, and I went shooting, and I had problems with squibs. It occurred to me that hard primers and a weak spring might be causing the failures, so today I took my S&W 686+. It fired every round, although some were extremely wimpy. I guess the recipe I used was off, but the spring was also at fault, if my experience is any guide.

Anyway, it did not shoot badly. The bigger groups were shot with the pistol uncocked. The one at lower left is the result of cocking the pistol. The one at the lower right is my SW1911, firing my sweet reloads.

Trail Glades has a rule that you can’t put more than one bullseye on a pistol target. As you can see, I have come up with a borderline-snotty response to their policy. They don’t mind, however. I think their rule is aimed at people who shoot so badly they destroy frames.

I highly recommend the Vz 58 for home defense. I don’t know how much my recommendation is worth, but the recoil is low, the magazines are big, and it’s very easy to shoot. And the stopping power sure beats a pistol. I think the Saiga-12 is even better than a Vz 58, but you have to rebuild a Saiga from the ground up before you have a weapon you can use.

Dad enjoyed shooting his Glock, although the trigger seems very stiff. I am wondering if it gets looser with wear. If not, it needs work.

Another day of freedom, here in America. I am enjoying it while it lasts.

Poo Find

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

The Internet Rocks

I found free horse manure on Craigslist! Am I wrong to be happy about this?

This has to be the ultimate win/win transaction.

Middle Wall Keeps Crumbling

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Dough Keeps Rising

I wish I could blog everything that happened on Saturday. I can’t reveal everything, but I will tell what I can.

For weeks I’ve been working to get my prayer group to go visit Ayts Chayim Messianic Synagogue, in Boca. We finally made it on Saturday. Only five of us showed up, but it was a good start.

We were under the impression that sabbath worship would be preceded by an adult class concerning information provided by Sam Solomon, a former Muslim and professor of sharia law. He appeared at Ayts Chayim the week before and told the congregation and the rabbi a lot of disturbing things about Islamist infiltration in our government and our military.

It turned out the class was actually a discussion of people’s reactions to Mr. Solomon. You might assume people raised their hands and talked about their fear of Islamists and the need to crack down on them, but most of the comments concerned the difficulty of communicating with Muslim acquaintances the congregants wanted to introduce to Yeshua. These people were concerned less about their own security than they were with the welfare of unbelievers they knew.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Polls taken in Muslim countries show that a high percentage of Muslims admit hating Jews, yet polls taken in Israel do not reflect much Jewish hate for Muslims.

When we headed into the sanctuary for worship, volunteers offered my friends yarmulkes and prayer shawls. I turned them down. I’ve seen how I look in a yarmulke. Some of my friends accepted the headgear, and one even went for the shawl.

The service was excellent. This synagogue encourages demonstrative worship, much like any charismatic church, and the people were very involved. A group of women danced at the front of the room, and people were raising their hands and praising God. The music was very good. Less noisy than what we get at my church.

This day featured a double portion of the Torah. When they brought the scroll out, people touched it and showed reverence for it, and a man carried it around the sanctuary while people danced behind it. A friend asked what was going on, and I said Jews revered the Torah scroll more than we do our Bibles. I pointed out that they had had to work to preserve the Torah; for thousands of years people had been banning and burning it. I said what we were seeing was a bit like The Book of Eli. God’s word was to be preserved and revered.

When the Torah portions were read, I could not see the person doing the reading. Then someone pointed him out. I couldn’t see him because he was sitting down. He was in the front row, using a Braille Torah. The man was blind. I hadn’t known that when I mentioned The Book of Eli to my friend.

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll understand.

Rabbi Brawer taught about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He went through Old and New Testament passages demonstrating that the power of the Holy Spirit had been with us since the beginning. In fact, he is mentioned in Genesis, before the passages about the creation of man.

My friend were overwhelmed by the warmth of the congregation, and so was I. And it was very moving, seeing so many Jewish believers, assembled to honor Yeshua in spite of the hatred and rejection it brought them from their own people.

I met an older gentleman–about my dad’s age–and talked to him about life as a Messianic. I told him there were three kinds of people I loved meeting. Conservative Jews, armed Jews, and Jews who believed in Yeshua. He told me he was all three. He’s an NRA member, and he carries! I love it.

One of my friends is the leader of all the volunteers at my church. The lady who introduced us to Ayts Chayim is a field worker for the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. He hit it off with both of them, and hopefully, he will develop relationships with them and help Ayts Chayim and my church bond a little. He has my pastor’s ear every day.

My father tried to make it to the class, but he got lost. That’s okay. My friend from the IFCJ showed us a disk containing Mr. Solomon’s lecture. We are planning to meet with her so we can hear it. That will give my father another excuse to join us.

We can’t get a copy. The material is not for public consumption. I’m thinking we should ask to be allowed to use my church’s cafe. That way, more of us could hear it, my dad would not have to drive so far, I would be able to cook, and my dad and my friend would get to visit my church.

That’s part of the story. I can’t get into the rest. Other things are breaking loose in my life, but this is not the time to disclose them.

On Saturday, I helped the cafe people make food for a weekly event called “Rhythms Lounge.” It’s mostly kids. People from church perform. They play music and recite poetry and so on. It’s very good. They asked if I could show up and teach people to make pizza. No problem!

When I got there, I found my three new assistants waiting. They’re all chefs! They’re graduates from Le Cordon Bleu, and they work in the big hotels on the Beach. Can you believe that? I learned how to cook, standing in front of a $300 stove in my housecoat, and I was showing these highly trained women what to do. Talk about favor.

It was pretty funny. The way I make dough is very unorthodox, and if you believe the pizza nerds on the Internet, it shouldn’t work. But the chefs wanted to see how I did it, and they were very impressed with the food. As I noted earlier, they said it was as good as Brooklyn’s best. That felt great.

I used to sweat and slave in the cafe, but more and more, I’m managing. I stand behind people and give tips as they work. It’s fantastic.

Of course, in the future, these women will be contributing their own material. That will be a huge blessing. And they know how to do institutional cooking. They volunteered to organize the kitchen. I can’t wait to see that.

They gave me a couple of useful tips. From now on, when I make cheesecake, I plan to line my springform pans with crust, from top to bottom, to hold the berry mess in. And they showed me I could keep pans from sliding around when I roll out dough, by putting damp paper towels under them. They also suggested I refrigerate unused dough. It works okay, but the rolls aren’t quite as good as fresh ones. Worth doing, anyway.

I’m planning to do a cobbler as soon as I can. Cobbler and vanilla ice cream. If we can figure out a way to handle ice cream. I suppose we could carve out portions and put them in the freezer and bring them out and add cobbler as people place orders. I also want to do hot cinnamon rolls with ice cream.

As volunteers, we are told to “reproduce ourselves.” That makes sense. Christianity is the same way. You accept Jesus, you make progress, and then you help others accept him. I haven’t been able to do much to reproduce myself as a cook, but God has handed me six helpers, so it worked out anyway.

In other news, I ordered a scope for my LR-308. On advice from reader Blindshooter and fellow blogger Jim from Smoke on the Water, I went with the Leupold VX-3 in 6.5-20x50mm. It may be ten years before I try 20x, but it will be there when I’m ready. One of my church buddies wants to shoot it with me.

Now you are all caught up on my life. I’ll be back if anything new happens.


Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Chin-Deep in It

I had three trained chefs assisting me tonight! Unbelievable! Two are from New York, and they know good pizza. They couldn’t believe the weird way I made my rolls and pizza, but they said the food was as good as Brooklyn’s best! What a night! They’re going to start working culinary miracles for Trinity Church, and I plan to be right there beside them.

Foie Gras

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Hook me Up to the Battery Charger

I am pooped.

I worked late making croissants to bring with me today for my prayer group’s field trip to Ayts Chayim Messianic Synagogue, and then I got up at 6:00 and hit the road. At 9:00 a.m. we found ourselves at a discussion of the Islamist threat, and then there was a very long worship service, and then it took me an hour to drive home.

The croissants failed QC inspection, by the way. I just destroyed some of the evidence. You really need two days to make croissants, if you plan to have any type of life during those days. I didn’t give them enough time to rest or rise, so while they are extremely tasty, I am not going to let anyone else see them.

The service was phenomenal. I am too tired to go into it, but it was like being God’s pate goose. Sit there, open wide, and wait for the funnel. God comes along with the bucket of holy goose feed, and then everything goes crazy.

Now I have been asked to help get pizza going for my church’s Saturday night project, known as Rhythms Lounge. I agreed, but it means I have to get my butt back in the truck shortly, so right now I am having a Coke and trying to regain my bearings. Marv and Maynard are behind me, grunting and whining, respectively. I have to take the out and pound them before I can go anywhere.

I would say it was an amazing day, but that would be so weak, it would not come close to describing what happened. I feel like I’m swimming in God’s favor like a fly trapped in a bowl of soup.

Maybe I’ll explain tomorrow. Right now I have birds to wrestle.

I met an old Jew who carries, votes conservative, and believes in Jesus! This must be how birdwatchers feel when they spot a pileated woodpecker. Or whatever that rare kind of woodpecker is.

We’re hoping we can get him and his friends to go to the range with us.

Startling News

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Lightning Hazard

Here is some incredible news. I told my dad about the terrorism lecture I’m going to see tomorrow at the Messianic synagogue, and he says he wants to go! Of course, he wants no part of the worship service. That’s what he says right now, anyway!

It’s amazing how God is putting this outing together. What else can happen before tomorrow?

Flour Explosion

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Snow Shovel Required

One nice thing about making croissants is that it makes me realize how easy and simple it is to make other baked goods.

I just slapped a batch of dough together. It left a crust of dough bits all over the stove top (my rolling surface), and of course, I made some mistakes and got flour into places where it should not have gone. But I managed to get the dough made and folded and stored in the fridge in foil, and the cleanup wasn’t all that bad.

I’d say it takes about half an hour of work to get croissant dough to the point where it’s ready for it’s pre-baking rest. But that’s only if you have butter frozen and flour chilled. You have to use cold flour and frozen butter. I make it worse by burning some of the butter and refreezing it, for flavor.

It seems to pay off. I ate some of the dough (for the children, mind you, not just wanton gluttony), and if the croissants are anything like as good as the dough, I am in for some fine eating.

I’m going to work on cinnamon rolls after lunch. I had the most hideous idea, I’m almost afraid to share it. What if I make cinnamon rolls using CROISSANT DOUGH? It should be illegal to do that. It’s terrifying. Imagine how good that must be. Then you dump a hot croissant in a bowl with some vanilla ice cream and extra cinnamon sauce. Oh, man! You know that has to be good.

I may buy a dozen bagels for insurance. I haven’t made croissants in four years, so I don’t know what’s going to happen. I give myself credit: I know how to write a recipe so an idiot can follow it. I think I’ll be okay.

I’m using GFS Primo Gusto flour. I assume there is some kind of official Vichy-approved croissant flour out there somewhere, but I Googled around, and it seemed like bread flour was the norm. I have gotten wonderful results with Primo Gusto, so I figured I’d give it a shot. And I just happened to have several bags in the freezer, which gave me a head start.

It’s incredible how things have turned out today. Originally, it looked like four guys from my church would show up at the Messianic synagogue, more or less to pay our respects. Then I got a call from my contact. She said that last week, Islamic scholar Sam Solomon spoke there. Mind-blowing information about terrorism and Islamist infiltration. He used to be a Muslim, but he’s a Christian now, and he is helping Westerners wake up and prepare. There will be a class before the service tomorrow, and it will be based on information provided by Mr. Solomon. And we’re invited to the class.

Now it looks like we may have six or eight guys, including some armorbearers. The security angle makes it a natural fit. Should be fascinating. And we can help the folks at the synagogue with their questions on firearms and security. This is wild. Any time you help Jews provide for their self-defense, you have accomplished something worthwhile.

Thanks to political correctness, Muslim nutcases have infiltrated our military; they have already murdered a number of our troops. From what I gather from today’s conversation, the situation is much worse than we know. Unfortunately, I may not be able to pass all the new information on via this blog.

Are tea partiers and conservative Christians crazy to be stocking up on guns and ammunition? Maybe it’s an overreaction, but depending on what the Islamists have prepared for us and how badly our defenses have been compromised, maybe gun nuts are on the right track.

Hope not. I hope that in my case it turns out to be a harmless hobby I can enjoy until I drop dead at 95 from eating too many croissants.

France Redeems Itself

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Breakfast Choice

I have a tough decision to make today.

Tomorrow morning, I will be visiting a Messianic synagogue with my prayer group. Before that, we’ll be having breakfast at the home of the lady who invited us. I asked if I could bring anything, and she suggested bagels.

That would be a good idea. BUT…why not make pain au chocolat and strawberry croissants with cheesecake filling instead?

It would be a lot of aggravation, but man, they’re good. The big risk is that something will go wrong, and then I’ll end up at her house with a dozen Krispy Kremes in a box.

I think I should go for it. How often do you get to make croissants?

Here’s a photo of the items in question. They’re not really croissants, since they’re not crescent-shaped, but I don’t know what else to call them. The real name for the chocolate jobs is pain au chocolat, but I have no idea what to call the other ones. Pain aux fraises et fromage?

If I’m going to make these things, I’ll have to hit the store pretty early. I need milk, butter, strawberries, and cream cheese.


On a more important note, reader Steve in CA says:

I have a request, my oldest daughter is pregnant and her water broke at 22 weeks. I am asking that she gets the strength and the baby the blessings need to reach viability for delivery. She has had a miscarriage before and I am frightened.

New Request

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Dad Still has Troubles

Reader Blindshooter says:

My Dad had a bad day today with a blocked catheter, I won’t go into details but he is better now. The Docs can’t get the bleeding to stop without fear of a blood clot from a metal heart valve. Any prayers are much appreciated.

Grub for the Godly

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Free Cheese!

I am making strawberry goop.

Strawberries are extremely cheap, and they are at the peak of their flavor. I bought a load of them the other day, and today I realized I had to render them down into cheesecake-topping goop or let them grow mold and throw them out.

I have about 2 1/2 quarts of berries on the stove, heating with water and sugar. I think I’ll just get rid of the pulp, make two 15-ounce portions of goop, and freeze them. Without the starch. Best to add that when I make the cheesecakes.

Day after tomorrow, my prayer group is going to visit a Messianic worship service. I offered to bring something. I could bring bagels, but I am tempted to make strawberry croissants with cheesecake filling, plus pain au chocolat. This would mean putting in a lot of work tomorrow, however. Bagels might be the way to go.

I look forward to getting this stuff frozen. I already froze a bunch of Costco steaks, and I am eager to move on to something other than food.

Oh, man! The Grande cheese rep just dropped a couple of pounds of 50/50 blend off! Did I say I didn’t want to fool with food? Scratch that nonsense!