Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall planting season

Stranded's Tree Farm


We've transplanted some of our hard maple starts this past weekend. These came from our two maples at the homestead that were planted through a cooperative agreement with our electric company about 15 years ago. From a humble 8 feet, they're now +/-30 ft and very nicely shaped. (The homestead trees, not the transplants.)

I planted them as taught by my dad: fill the hole with water and let it soak away, then plant the tree and strip all but a few leaves off. I surrounded the trees with a cage in an attempt to keep deer out. We'll see how well my efforts play out down the road.

I also planted a couple of hackberry volunteers that came from my neighbor's tree. Not a favorite for homeowners, but my dad made a few pieces from it's lumber and they turned out well. In the spring, I pulled one out of the ground and planted it and it's doing well in it's new environment, so a couple more should do okay.

I've got several more transplants that I could take down, but I don't have the area cleared off and ready.

Running out of steam...

Monday, September 26, 2011

ATF agent threatens to sic a private investigator on Grassley

To dig up some dirt apparently.

For all of my disagreements with the Senator, I would never think he had any dirt on him. (Harkin, on the other hand...) I believe Senator Grassley to be an honorable man despite his occupation as a US Senator.

Gun dealer Andre Howard recorded conversations with ATF agent Hope McAllister and they reveal the extend the ATF agent would go if she had the means to do so.
EXCERPT 3

Agent: That's kind of what my suggestion but nobody thought that was funny like if I were a P.I. I'd put him on Grassley, I'm sure there's a lot would go away. Actually my one suggestion was just tell him in a registered Republican. I'm sure if he knew that everything would be fine, they didn't like that either.
Grassley may have some skeletons in the closet like this photo:


But I highly doubt he has anything that would rival the Clintons or any of the Kennedys. I don't they fully know many of the members of the Senate, although they pegged Leahy pretty well.

They have a good understanding of the situation in the Senate. Since the Republicans are in the minority, Grassley is powerless to do any real investigations. He can't call for hearings and is limited on any subpena power.

Simon Conway of WHO radio interviewed Senator Grassley last week on this very subject. (Start at 9:09) I apologize but the embed doesn't want to work for me.

It would seem that Chuck isn't going to let "Fast and Furious"\"Gunwalker" go away.

ATF is in the gun smuggling business??

And here I thought they were supposed to be preventing crime or something like that. Mike Vanderboegh reports:
Official ATF documents and sources in both Arizona and Washington D.C. confirm that in at least two instances in 2010, agents of the United States government purchased Kalashnikov-pattern semi-automatic pistols directly from licensed federal firearms dealers with taxpayer money and delivered those weapons directly into the hands of cartel smugglers.
I guess I was wrong.

So there is evidence that those in our government facilitated the smuggling of guns into a criminal gang and now what are they going to do about it?

My guess is continue to circle the wagons.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Van Buren County Tea Party

I've been catching up on emails instead of working today and read one from Randy from Southeast Iowa. He's involved in county and local politics and I found several interviews of the local school board candidates that was posted on his blog, Van Buren County Tea Party.

From his email
We have started a local Tea Party group with the intent of taking on our local governments and their foolish use of our money.
Here's a shout of encouragement, Randy and I apologize for not getting to this sooner.

*Of note: My brother taught elementary school at Douds in the early 80's.

Sunday (not so) funnies, 9/25/11


The original from Getty Images:

(Click for source)

From Pajama Media:
Unless this is some kind of hoax of unparalleled proportions, the gaffe-tastic photo of Obama idiotically waving his hand in a group shot of world leaders, blocking the face of one of them (Tsakhia Elbegdorj, the president of Mongolia, as far as I can tell), really is an authentic photo, and is worthy of Internet infamy.
Another bloke has the idea of issuing an apology on Obama's behalf (since the administration has not issued one as yet).

Sorry, I won't go that far...

From this lack of respect for a foreign leader and his earlier bowing to monarchs who behead their own citizens for converting from Islam, I wonder where his instructors are regarding foreign policy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CR man defends his home

A Cedar Rapids man defends himself and his family when an armed intruder attempts to break into his home. Shots were exchanged and no one was hurt.

Gunshots Exchanged During Cedar Rapids Break-in Attempt

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Camp Stranded Discoveries

On each work time to Camp Stranded, we make the time to cut brush, weeds or general cleanup. This is outside of my goals for what we want to accomplish there, although part of my overall plan. Because of the lack of a good brush mower (still in the works) we've had to rely on good old fashioned sweat, blood and toil. (After cutting a knuckle, the bleeding looked like I lost a finger last weekend.)

Using a corn knife I starting cutting back the mulberry trees, horse weeds and ragweed from around a 5 foot pine and discovered a few foot tall maples. A little later and after plenty of hacking, I found another foot tall pine and a couple of 3 foot walnut trees. Another pine was found hiding close to a 6 foot tall maple and after clearing several hundred square feet of weeds and tall grass, we had a nice collection of 10 pines, ranging from about a foot to about 6 feet tall. None of these I expected to have.

Sure, it's not like winning the lottery as it maybe is closer to finding change in the couch cushions, but this is a positive for the place. I thought we only had one pine and each discovery motivated me to keep hacking away to find another one. I'm not 100% sure of the species but they ain't ditch cedars.*

If I had pulled a brush mower over this spot, as I intended to do, I would have mowed them over and lost them and I would have tangled up the wire cages in the blades. In order to preserve some of these smaller trees, I'm going to have to swing a sickle. The wire cages will be used for the next plantings of sugar maples that I started from seed.

I won't mind the work if we find hidden treasures like these.

* I call them ditch cedars because these little cedar trees are growing throughout rural southeast Iowa's ditches. I've got quite a few growing among my other trees and I'd like to keep them for songbird habitat, although snakes are known to climb up to get at the nests. My brother encouraged me to get rid of them, but I'm not in a hurry.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Simple gestures mean the most...

After another day among several of banging my head in frustration, imagine coming home to a thank you card from Sam's Mom, Bea. She had been recuperating after major surgery and the Stranded household sent their get well wishes and sent a set of DVDs after Sam mentioned her preference for old westerns.

It brightened up my week to receive a note of appreciation and I wanted to publicly acknowledge her kindness back to me.

And yes, my wife picked out the card because I'm not good at those sort of things and she does enjoy Guideposts.

It warms my curmudgeon heart.

Thank you and we're still pulling for your speedy recovery.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Seventy times seven

In Mathew 18:21-23, Peter asks Jesus how many times must he forgive someone who sins against him, the reply being, "Seventy times seven," depending on your version of the Bible.

Today, I received an email asking that we forgive those who trespassed against us 10 years ago. Being the contrarian that I am, I had to question this thought. Why must we forgive?

I'm not questioning the teachings of Christ but the application for this instance. At no time did He suggest that the restitution laws proscribed in the Old Testament were abandoned, nor is there any indication that earthly judgement was ignored.

As the email sender happened to be a spiritual leader of sorts, my first thought was that of a shepherd tending his flock. One night when he wasn't on a diligent watch, wolves crept in and stole several of the sheep. In retrospect, the shepherd forgave the wolves for they were hungry and needed to feed their young.

The following week, a few more sheep were taken by the wolves and the shepherd forgave them that night as well. A few nights later, more sheep were taken and the shepherd again forgave the wolves.

This went on for weeks and the numbers of the wolves grew. They were feeding very well on the shepherd's flock and their litters of wolf cubs were quite large. Other wolves in neighboring hills came down and joined the first pack. By now, more and more sheep were eaten until all were gone.

The shepherd, now without sheep, could not rightly be called a shepherd now that his flock was gone but he could rest because he had given the wolves all the forgiveness that he could. He had no hard feelings because they had a right to eat, didn't they?

This passage on forgiveness and "turn the other cheek" are used by peacenik apologists and I don't think they understand their meanings. If some dirtbag broke in your house, raped your spouse, and then shot your kids, you're supposed to just let it happen, turn the other cheek by offering up the neighbors and then forgive the guy?

Really?

Under Old Testament Jewish law, if a man did not protect his family, it was considered a sin. If a king did not prepare his country to repel invaders, judgment was upon him.

Our political leaders are delegated with the power to form our armed forces, who are sheep dogs among us. And God bless every one of them. The shepherds would be the politicians and when all they are interested in is fleecing the flock, there are plenty of wolves waiting to take advantage of that.

If I remember correctly, Jesus' indignation was towards the Pharisees, or the shepherds of the time, and not towards the sheep. I think our leadership will be judged and found wanting as they ignored the signs, we were not prepared, they've placed our armed forces in an impossible position, and in the end we, as a people, have paid with our freedoms.

All because our shepherds lacked the diligence to tend the flock.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Trial date set for Jeffrey McAdam's accused murderer

October 18th, in Iowa County.

The judge has already thrown out damaging statements from Peter Riggs, the man accused of murdering Jeffrey McAdam at an Iowa County rest stop last year. It's possible the discovery of the murder weapon could be thrown out as well since the deputy searched Riggs' car without permission.
The court also heard arguments regarding the defense’s motion to suppress the weapon police believe was used in the killing because it was illegally seized. Baumgartner said she would take the arguments under advisement and rule later.

Peter Persaud, Riggs’ attorney, argued deputies who arrested Riggs in Johnson County after the shooting didn’t have probable cause to search his vehicle, where they found two .9 mm pistols, a stun gun and a double bladed martial arts knife.
Because of this testimony from Johnson County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Quiles:
Persaud asked Quiles if he asked Riggs if he had a permit to carry a concealed weapon or if they asked for consent to search his car.

Quiles said no.
Without consent...

Because the judge threw out previous statements by Riggs to the Johnson County deputies, the defense attorney is arguing other statements should be dismissed as well:
Persaud also argued any statements made by Riggs during his transport from Johnson County to Iowa County for the McAdam slaying should also be suppressed because Riggs earlier invoked his rights to remain silent with Johnson County authorities. A few hours later an Iowa County deputy read Riggs his miranda[sic] rights and continued questioning him.
I don't claim to know the details from these hearings and I wasn't present during the 30 minute car ride that took place, but it doesn't look good for a conviction if statements or the murder weapon can't be admitted into evidence.

If they turn him loose though, I don't think he'd make it out of the county.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday's (not so) funnies, 9/7/11

Yesterday's Beetle Bailey comics:


Number One Son pointed this out from the CR Gazette.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Reprise

As I so often do on Labor Day, I celebrate by working. This year was spent on Camp Stranded as we finished the roof on the shed.

I understand this begs the question of, "What the hell have you been wasting your time on?" And, "You should have been finished with that by now, you lazy bum."

Both valid comments and with spending the last several weeks catching up on work, fighting with getting the right materials from a "local" big box store (since the closure of our home-town lumber yard) and saving my wife's dog from the vet, I've been interrupted a few times.

Oh, and then the adventure that started out with replacing a wax ring on the toilet that turned into replumbing my upstairs bathroom. Next is a new floor...

But now I have a roof over the newly acquired Farmall H:

Camp Stranded Shelter #1 (built without union labor)

Since my mower deal fell through as I was looking for a tractor (kind of a cart-before-the-horse kind of thing, which to get first), I sat on upon my new metal roof and looked upon an impressive field of horse weeds, burdock and foxtails and questioned my purchase of 20 acres of work.

But I also contemplated upon a family with each member contributing effort during our first construction of an amateur shelter. Yeah, it took longer than I wanted, but the next one will be better and built with experienced team effort. And I watched my wife take her first tour of the treeline without me but with her faithful dog at her side. The same dog we nearly put down because the vet gave up on him a few weeks ago.

As we were screwing the roof down, the turkey buzzards glided just 80-100 feet overhead and later hummingbirds came to visit as we took a break. The hummingbirds were a welcomed surprise and we will definitely encourage their return. Blue herons stopped at the pond for a brief rest before flying southeast of us as they spread their wings just above the mature trees in the corner. All this reminds me of the variety of nature in Iowa as we paused to watch the menagerie.

As the last screw on the last metal sheet was turned only half-way, my battery died on the drill. Perhaps a metaphor of the life of a short balding fellow from Iowa (he just never quite gets the job done). But a ratchet wrench works in a pitch, as I was taught to be prepared, bring a backup and always cover your ass.

And there were others at work yesterday as David Codrea reported of another ATF gunrunning fiasco, this time in Indiana. It makes me wonder why we even have the NICS check at all. If it wasn't for David and Mike Vanderboegh I wonder if we would have heard about the gunwalking into Mexico by the ATF.

To little Jimmy Hoffa Junior and to Joe Biden who opened their mouths yesterday, there are more of us than there are of you... This country was built by hard-working Americans, free and unionized, and not by loud-mouthed freeloaders who grabbed power for their own benefit. I'd bet that neither of these two bums ever worked a day in their lives. Calluses are for regular folk.

So Jimmy and Joe, shut the $%@#$% up. This SOB has to get back to work.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

And now for something different...

I missed my two-year blogiversary and thought I'd go for change. I don't know if I'll keep it, but I think it adds a little more balance to the page.

And my world must balance.

I think I'll invite myself over...

This whole kerfunkle over Obama's speech to Congress about jobs or something is similar to if I invited myself over to Sam's house for dinner. Now Sam's a polite guy and offers up a day that's works out better for him, after all, it is his house. But I object because my son has a band concert that evening and I like a big dinner. It could be that I run out of time to finish the peach cobbler for desert and I'd miss the first stanza. My buddies at the local gossip page at the paper run a story about the dust-up and everyone takes sides. Both of us are accused of being unreasonable although the paper never seems to take Sam's side.

The above scenario didn't happen because I'm not quite that big of an ass. But really, is it any different?

Just because a president demands an audience with Congress, it's still their house and why would they be under any obligation to accommodate any president and not pick fights with the ones I disagree with.

President Tee-Time could have done the polite thing and ask to address Congress and he and Boehner could have worked something out between rounds.

Besides, is anybody really going to care whether the fresh-from-vacation president speaks from the Oval Office or from the podium while blocking Biden from reading from the teleprompter?

Not that Biden can read all the big words anyway...

Gun show billboards taken down

Because we don't want anyone to have the means to protect themselves, do we?

In a crime-filled neighborhood, a couple of billboards went up advertising an upcoming gun show. Of course someone gets their panties in a twist and the company caves.
"This urban core where citizens go to sleep hearing gunshots -- we do not need to have that image in these neighborhoods," Clark said.[James Clark of Better Family Life]
So now, locals may not know that a gun show in the area is a place where one might purchase a firearm for protection in that same crime-filled neighborhood.

Seeing how juveniles and felons can't purchase a firearm legally, what's the big deal?

And the gun show promoter is RK Shows out of Manchester, IA. Not "Arcade Shows" as the article reports.

Journalists...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Iowa gun shows for Sept, 2011

A slow summer and I missed Boone, IA in August(sorry). Here's the ones for September:
Sept 9-11 Cedar Rapids, Hawkeye Downs

Sept 17-18, Westphalia, Vol. Fire Dept.

Sept 23-25 Des Moines, Iowa State Fairgrounds
*** I get this list from the link below and other searches and I can't guarantee the accuracy of the list. If anyone notices a show that needs to be corrected or added, please let me know in the comments.

For more details go to Iowa Gun Shows

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mourning Dove season begins today

And a copious amount of lead shot (now that it is allowed) will be saturating the fields and pastures of Iowa.

Fire for effect, boys. Make Sarah Brady cry.


An undated view of the battleship USS Iowa (BB-61) firing its Mark 7 16-inch/50-caliber guns off the starboard side during a fire power demonstration. Official U.S. Navy Photo (PH1Hilton)