Saturday, March 31, 2012

My very own mining engineer

No question about it: Jack is the diggingest dog I have ever lived with. He's fascinated by our prairie pocket gopher. He will stand for an hour over a hole waiting for one to show up. If it seems fresh (and sometimes I'm sure he can hear them down there working away) he will go to work trying to dig them out. So far I don't think he has caught one. If he ever does I am afraid he will be a gopher-dog instead of a bird-dog. I've given up on keeping him from digging altogether. But I do have to watch him because he is very fast. I got distracted for a few minutes and he had the hole in the picture big enough to almost disappear into in about two minutes flat. No gopher out of that one, but he never seems to get discouraged.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

New look for an old friend

Been quite a while since I've had a gun-related entry here. So...

I recently had a facelift done on an old friend. My Colt Gold Cup is one of my most accurate handguns, in addition to being pretty elegant esthetically as well. Her only flaw was that the short extension of the grip safety coupled with the long spur of the hammer caused her to occasionally give me a painful bite on the web of my hand. I like a pretty high hold on a 1911 and this tendency of the Gold Cup was annoying.

Not too many gunsmiths around here, but I finally stumbled on one that is experienced in that sort of work. Plus, he's only a 210 mile round trip away. Anyway, I had him install an Ed Brown beavertail grip safety and a Wilson ultra-light skeletonized hammer. I was happy with the trigger as it was at 3 pounds 12 ounces, but when she came back it was 3 pounds 9 ounces so all is well. Years ago I had the Elliason sights dehorned for carry purposes, so now she is about perfect as an all-around "field and target" pistol. The extraordinary accuracy of this old classic has not been changed, of course.

The 'smith only took a little over a month to do the work and it's good to have her home again. I can't think of a single improvement that could be made to her now.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


We have had little snow this winter, a very unusual non-event that does not bode well for our spring. The red flag warnings have been out for a long time, and we keep hoping for a good does of rain that will encourage the grass. A couple of seasons back we were thinking that maybe the drought had broken. Now we are not so sure. Wells tend not to go dry here, but we need surface moisture to make good grass. There's also the ever-present danger of fire

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jack the Doofus

My boy Jack is almost a year and nine months old now, and still very much a pup at heart. I don't think I've ever had a dog that was as much of a play-boy as he is. He's always looking for something to carry around, toss, chase, or otherwise amuse himself with.

Lately, his favorite toy has been a toss-ring— a kind of frisbee with a hole in the middle. He likes to "wear" it and run around at top speed (every fourth step a leap into the air ) as if looking for a tree to run into. Fortunately he hasn't run into anything yet but he seems to keep trying. He's very proud of this toy and misses no opportunity to show me how good he is at putting it on.

I love a dog with a sense of humor. Jack qualifies.

Signs of Spring

Slowly the prairie begins to come alive again.

It's been a strange winter here on the High Plains. So far— and I say "so far" because it is far too early to be toting up the score— we have had very little snow, and only sporadic periods of intense cold. The last couple of days it has reached the mid-70s, with lovely bright sun and little wind. But as the Ides of March approach I am reminded of the old samurai saying: "In victory, tighten your helmet strings!" Good advice, whether you are a plains-dweller or not.

The light is changing, too. We already have "that certain slant of light" that bespeaks the coming of spring. It's the other side of the coin of fall light that tells us winter is coming. Winter may be starting its departure song, but we still have a ways to go until seeds can go in the ground. As usual, I will use Memorial Day as my garden's inauguration day, however encouraged I am by that certain slant of light.

[And a tangential note— our eyes and brains are so accustomed to a familiar symbology that if you look at the picture above from a slight distance, you will swear that it is upside down!]