Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blog Meet - Shooty Weekend

The morning dawned clear and a bit cold but perfect for some fun before breakfast. The LEO range at Iggy Creek was open early, and open to the public after 9 a.m.  I was there very early, and got a chance to visit with Partner in Grime  (who brought something in .45) and set up before anyone else arrived..

Friends, shooty fun AND a blog meet, all in one weekend.  What's not to like?

There was an assortment of fun things to play with.

I do OK, able to properly perforate a piece of paper or defend against  a one eyed, one legged armed pirate (assuming Polly doesn't have a laser sight) or a zombie.

Tam ?  Now Tam is just lethal. 

The hand and arm were getting a bit tired  after a box or two of .45 but I tried a few magazines in the new Karh .40.  This is the target. The first five shots (it's a five round magazine) were all in a line through bullseye.  The rest, not so good. as my hand was hurting at this point.  This is not a "let's go plinking!" gun but those first shots from rapid, low ready would definately stop an assailant.  The rest would at least get his attention.

A great morning, but soon there's a blogmeet, so it was time for a couple of Mr. Squishies and a drive past  my pad to fetch something.

For I'm transporting a little surprise for Roberta X.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Barkley - Wine Sommelier

I am not allowed to lay on the couch.  Notice, I am NOT laying on the couch.

Mom is busy entertaining prior to a shoot em up at the gun range tomorrow.

So I will be your host this evening.

Dinner is in full assembly mode, something with roasted turkey bits with mushrooms and wine sauce served on caramelized onion/sage stuffing with vegetables roasted in walnut oil and a drizzle of cinnamon pear balsamic vinegar.  And there's some cheesecake thing (provided no one explodes).

Mom is having fun, though I think we need to cut her off the wine as when some bikers drove down the road past the front window she starting singing "Oh Harley Boy, Your Pipes, Your Pipes are Calling." I think it's an Irish thing.

Dinner smells really good.

Hey! I got a bowl of nasty dry crap.

They probably won't let me have an Irish Moon Shot before bed either.

But Mom will be reporting back later with a recap of the shooting, some photos of gear and later in the week, a recipe or two.

 - Barkley

Friday, September 28, 2012

Be Still My Beating Heart - Revolvers, Adrenalin and Cheesecake

1999 Colt Magnum Carry.

A 357 powerhouse

Adrenalin Junkie Cheesecake

A chocolate covered espresso bean/cookie crust, filled with  cheescake made of two kinds of dark chocolate with a dollop of espresso and a bare hint of  Madagascar vanilla.  Topped  with a deep chocolate ganache and served with whipped cream and espresso sugar.


If you can find it, the Sharferbergs chocolate for the filling and ganache is worth it.  It's very complex, Figs and red wine, honey and spice with just a hint of coffee. I'm not sure as to the spice, there's a bite that lingers on the tongue that stems off the natural bitterness of dark cocoa.  Cheaper chocolates will load up a bar with sugar to dull that taste,  Not this one.  It makes for a glorious cheesecake.

Go on make a batch, everyone has room for one last bite.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Concealed Cupcake

It may not be legal in Illinois unless inside your own home. 

Cupcakes  with Vanilla Bourbon Frosting.

Your favorite dark chocolate cupcake recipe
3 sticks plus 2 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
3 cups plus 2 Tablespoons confectioners sugar sifted
3 Tablespoons whole milk
2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon quality bourbon (I use Knob Creek)
3/4  teaspoon Mexican or Madagascar Vanilla
1 vanilla bean scraped (you're using just the pulp)
a pinch of kosher salt

With a paddle attachment, whip just the butter on medium for 8-9 minutes.  NO less.  Add remaining ingredients and mix for six minutes until light and fluffy, adding in a pinch of salt in the last minute or two.

Serve on  your favorite cupcake (and this is SO going in my pumpkin rolls this year).

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fighting Irish - a Review of the Kahr PM 40

There are few times I don't carry (I'll take my chances in the shower, I could always clobber them with the Irish Spring if the CIA knife doesn't cut it ). But then again, some might say a part polymer gun belongs in the shower.  Gun on a Rope?

But I carry most anywhere else. Certainly there are weapons I carry when where I'm going warrants some heavy iron, and then there are the "back up gun" days. Days I'm comfortable with something smaller, lighter, that will conceal a little easier. A gun that's reliable, accurate and will preferably chamber a duty-caliber round. I love my Sig and Smith and Wessons but I was wanting something a little bigger in caliber than the .380, while still remaining decently concealable. Something for the "Fighting Irish" in me that's also made in the USA.

Enter the Kahr PM40. It's ultra-compact without being wimpy, double action only (DAO), chambered in .40 S&W. For a long time my BUG was a S&W J Frame, (Speer GDHP 135gr +p) but when one of my range buddies brought one to the conservation club,  I had to try it, and liked it well enough to add to the "want to buy" list, though the S & W will always have first place in my heart. At the Gun Show this weekend I saw one for sale at an excellent price and picked it up.

When the first Kahr pistols appeared on the market in 1994 they were constructed entirely of carbon steel. The Kahr models such as the K9 were praised as being well-made and solidly constructed, but criticized for their excessive weight. Excess weight is a disadvantage in any weapon intended for concealed carry. Kahr took this in mind in refining the line, introducing pistols which were physically smaller, as well as a line of polymer framed models. The PM series combined both these approaches, introducing polymer framed pistols that were also the smallest Kahr models ever produced

They come finished in a blackened matte that almost borders on satin like the one above, (my buddy's piece) or like the one  I bought,  stainless and black polymer. Both are guns that aren't going to show up in an "ugly gun" blog post nor will you have to shoot them from a brown paper bag out of embarrassment.  With the many stainless components corrosion or pitting on warm, sweaty days won't be too much of a problem. It does sport a somewhat heavy spring so when you rack the slide you will need to grip it and rip it.

With an empty magazine it's only about 17 ounces and is less than an inch thick. It shoots a lot like a Glock 27 but it’s even smaller and thinner. I put a S&W 642 on top for a size comparison and the PM40 is smaller than the J frame, (and thinner when you take the cylinder and grips on the J frame into consideration).

Caliber? It’s a 40 S&W! Of course, there will be lots of debate as to what is the best ammo for it, though the Federal HST in .40 is quite the potent round, solid in a compact gun.

Is this a fun gun to shoot? Well, it put holes where I wanted. That in and of itself is fun anytime, but I'd have to say it's not for use all afternoon long  as a target gun. Give me my Sig or the 1911 or some plinking fun with the Mark III for that, but it's fun enough to keep proficient  for "just in case".

There is no external safety, the gun relying rather on that long trigger pull (think revolver). In an adrenalin situation, like defense shooting or dating, the fine motor skills are the first thing to go. Simplified controls are a positive attribute in my opinion and contribute to a desirable package for concealment use.

The trigger pull, though long, is buttery smooth without being insubstantially light, but that's what you want in a DAO "No Safety" firearm. What about recoil?  A little more than I imagined but quite manageable, if you're not going to shoot 100 rounds at a time through it. It's a light pistol with a high pressure cartridge, you're going to have recoil.

But the Kahr ergonomics are excellent and it's quite controllable. I'd say it was closest to the .38 special J-frame with heavy +P loads. If you're going to fire off a whole box of ammo, the web of your hand is going to smart. But that's not why I have it. It's lightweight, it's powerful, and it's small. It is also a gun you will want to practice with. Like the .45 caliber variant it can have some gun handling challenges in rapid fire due to the heavier recoil and resulting muzzle rise, the same as about any small and light large bore pistol. Not an issue for an experienced shooter who practices.

Size Matters. About 5 and a half inches long and 4 inches high, it will fit under most of my shirts without obvious bulk. Kahr has done a bang up job in making a weapon that will fit perfectly in my delicate but "large for a female" hand. If you've got really large hands, this might not work, but this is for concealed right? Small concealed. If you have Shrek sized hands and want something that fits it perfectly you'd best look at a full-framed pistol. It's solid, and if you need to point it at someone, the look of it alone will get their attention more than that slim little Kel Tec.

The compact size of this piece makes it an excellent choice for carrying. It comes with two stainless magazines, one 5 rounder that is flush with the mag well (pictured above)and one 6 rounder that sticks out below the mag well with a place for your pinky to grip (the last picture on this post).

But if you try it and the grip just isn't going to work, even considering why you are carrying it, you might look elsewhere. This is not a gun you can mess around with your grip with. "Firm and relaxed" need not apply. You need to grip this gun like a snake with PMS. Hold On. After your first shot, when you realize that the recoil you expect is much more pleasant than something light weight in the .44 Magnum category (ow, ow ow) you might be inclined to smile and relax just a little. Don't. Hold on tight. You'll be surprised how well you can shoot right off the bat with a firm grip. It's also quite accurate, with a firm hand.

The first one I shot straight out of the box was the piece one of the guys at the club had. The target below was my first time with it, and my very first magazine at about 30 feet. I bent my support hand a little more on the next round, but I was pleased. My buddies didn't snicker at me either.

The only problem encountered was shooting one that was brand new. When a loaded mag was placed in the weapon and the slide was pulled manually back and let go, it did not go all the way into battery. The fix?  Go from slide locked back position and use the thumb release to chamber a round, and there you go. This may have been a one time, being new thing, as after a few rounds through it it worked great, no misfeeds, misfires or jams. The manufacturer states that the gun is not to be considered to be reliable (aka broken in) until at least 250 rounds have been run through it.  I'd likely agree.

The sights? Bar-dot like my Sig. Easier to pick up than 3 dot in my opinion.

My only complaint is that slide release. The pistol is so small, and the release so sharp, I ended up away with painful gouges on my shooting hand thumb until I adjusted my grip a bit away from the frame. I don't know if it's enough that I'd want to take a file to those edges though. There's no getting around it, the slide release lever is SHARP from the factory.  It would be nice if they came out with one that was dehorned, but apparently in keeping the cost down, that item was left as is.

As for price, well they are a tad expensive compared to some firearms in .380 and even .40, but still reasonable compared to other pieces of the same quality. They run between $660 and $700 for the full stainless one depending on where you get it and around $580 for the stainless/polymere one.That's a lot of cash in today's economy for a back up gun.  But you are paying for life long quality and although quite a few have been sold in the local gun stores you don't see them often among used guns.. I picked up this one at the gun show from someone Mr. B. knew well from the gun show circuit and it was a very fair price.

All in all, it's a super small, light, high quality, big caliber pistol that you can depend on. There are other guns out there in that category but this is one that I like. An excellent piece. . . . to keep up the good fight..

Monday, September 24, 2012

For Kiri

In memory of Kiri and his people friend La, one of the wonderful volunteers up at Wolfpark research and wildlife center of Indiana and to Eclipse, the wolf that I sponsor. (Photos from Wolfpark)

The Wolf Is In My Soul

The wolf is in my soul,
strong life force, intuitive and loyal .
Take me not from my wild nature,
 it is essential to me.

For that wild nature carries what I need,
dreams, words, songs.
All I really need to be,
all I really need  to know.

Seeing through the eyes,
of woman's intuition.
Like a starry night,
I gaze into the night, through a thousand eyes.

In my pack, I find integrity,
in my tribe, I find peace .
I speak and act on my own behalf,
open, but never tamed.

My heart is of the wolf,
bearing battle scars of time .
Writing my secrets on walls,
refusing to be ashamed of my free spirit.

You can find me wild,
in open air and  pristine woods.
In forests of solitude, so quietly,
whispering words from instinctual need.

Does my pack heed my words,
as I stop to see if you catch up?
For I have many things to show you,
an enduring spirit to share.

Join me and run those last hard miles,
howl at that weathered door.
Stand sentry at the window of your dreams,
unleash your wild heart.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

GunShow, Fair Food and FacePalm Skeletons - Weekend Adventures Part II

I've arrived home from gun show/ fall fest weekend with my new purchase in tow.  It's a Kahr in .40, a little firearm to tuck in my coat pocket on those days there is a little chill in the air and mayhem lurking in the shadows. I'll have a range report up in a few days.

Yesterday  afternoon was the Scarecrow Fest in Wanatah, Indiana. I took just my tiny little pocket camera to save on toting things so the pictures aren't great, but you get the general idea.

You can say all you want about funnel cakes, deep fried candy bars, and other fair food, including a giant eclair the size of my torso (even splitting it we couldn't finish it).

But after breakfast and a pastry have worn off and you've walked all over looking at crafts and canned goods and quilts, art and antiques, nothing is as good as a ear of fresh steamed Indiana corn, dipped into a crockpot full of fresh dairy butter and sprinkled with garlic salt as you head back to the car.

After the fest we headed into shop at some of the quaint little stores in nearby towns.  At one little store that has gifts, nice kitchen ware and novelties for adults and kids alike, I  found an abbelskiver pan, and at the same store, a little skeleton Halloween decoration,  his head in his heads Face Palm Style.  I laughed, and put him in my basket.

I passed on the Electronic Yodeling Pickle though I'm sure there were some shoppers, sick and tired of trying to convince a jar of pickles to yodel using sheer force of will, that may have purchased one.   I don't think it's going to replace the IPod.

Purchases in hand, we headed through the country, to home.

As we neared home, Midwest Chick and I noticed that the creepy house up the road, had finally sold, the one that looked like the movie house where people go to and never return from.  She and I had referred to as the "Fritter House" (referencing an old horror movie). Someone bought it and was totally renovating it and a new subdivision was going in across the street. The garage sale before the sale  was something we'd joked about though -   "Is that blood on that fillet knife" and "I didn't know they made yard gnomes with pointed teeth".  But it was nice to see it being  fixed up for a new family, even if, as we drove past she said, "takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent's Fritters" and we busted up while Mr. B. looked at us funny.

It is really a pretty area though, and I'm looking for land north and northeast of here to build in a couple of years.  This is the home I'm having the architect draw up plans for.  A two bedroom, one bath bungalow, with good sized kitchen, a place to write a book and a big shop.The driveway will be a little wider and further out from the house for offloading things, and the garage in back will be a large shop but this is the dream home I plan on.


Once home, it was time to bake.  Two loaves and some hamburger buns.  Midwest Chick thought she'd make some "slider sized buns". They turned out to be a LITTLE bigger than planned.

"OMG, it's bunzilla!

"Uh, Mr. B. you're going to need to make the patties a little bigger, Midwest Chick's Slider buns are plate sized!"

The burgers, grilled outdoors with just a pinch of ancho, pepper and cumin were perfect on the buns, with just a little smokey cheddar and a few condiments.. The beef was 4-H raised beef, of which the freezer is full.  Even without "toppings" on for the photo, they were the size of a Buick (but much more tasty). The bread was delicious, making light, flaky buns, another hit recipe from Midwest Chick's kitchen.

Full of burgers and a glass of wine, we listended to old jazz til we got sleepy, Barkley snuggled up to everyone on the big couch.

Soon it was morning.

Where's Barkley?  Oh uh. Someone got wrapped around the tree chasing Mr. Squirrel.  His zip line, which runs on a high line from the deck to the back, takes him deep in the yard, with a bungee on either end so a quick stop won't hurt him.  He knows the path, which parallels a dirt road the tractor uses, but apparently he got sidetracked and is now stuck, his lead wrapped around a tree.

Mom!!!  It's Stuck!

Barkley rescued, it was time for breakfast.  Mr. B. made us corn pancakes with a dab of molasses and vanilla in the batter with Amish bacon and fried eggs.  I've a cooler of Amish bacon from Beef Mart to take back with me, to share with some friends and a couple colleagues.

It was time to load up! The old farmers around here say that the amount of nuts on the ground is indicative of how hard the winter is going to be.   This is the driveway.  There's actually gravel there somewhere under all the nuts, more so than even the hordes of squirrels could haul off.

Oh, you guys are SOOOOO toast this winter.

After I waved goodbye and headed out, I gave Og a call on the bluetooth.  He'd been squirrel hunting and wasn't able to join us with his family.

Private Og bat phone - ring ring

Me (cheesy Russian accent):  "I told you to keel moose and squirrel.. . . . "

I'd already heard that they'd seen no squirrels, just animals OUT of season, such as  a "whitetail that had a rack big enough to put a grand piano in".  He even tried our favorite trick, pretending to be whitetail hunting so the squirrels come in by bus to loudly  harass everyone.  It didn't work.

But it was good to catch up with him and I hope he gets a smile out of these posts, as do some of you who know us.

When I got home and put Mr. Skeleton on the bookshelf, I realized how lucky I was, not to just live in a land where we have the ability to spend such weekends with those we love.  But our ability to live where our hard work keeps the freezer full without outside help, where neighbors help neighbors but pull their own weight and where we can gather at night, snug in our homes, sharing the fellowship of freedom and fun.

Thanks for sharing.
Brigid and Barkley

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Gun Shows, Beef Mart and How I Ended Up Being a Booth Bunny - Weekend Adventures Part I

I'm up at Midwest Chick  and Mr. B.'s for some weekend gun show and Scarecrow Fest up near Amish Country

It's a warm and cozy home out in the country. I have a big comfy, antique bed to sleep in.  There is a fridge in the garage full of Yeungling. Barkley will be sleeping with 4 cats. Pandemonium may ensue.

I  had to work a long day yesterday but when I rolled in there was this incredible smell in the house, homemade beef in peppered gravy with vegetables that had been simmering in a stoneware dutch oven with 2115 secret herbs and spices. Mr. B. is a great cook and I knew it would be good after a long day, especially with the cheddar garlic biscuits Midwest Chick made.

Some dinner, some conversation, a little lab therapy with Barkley who like us, missed Schmoo the lab greatly.  With a small sip of whiskey and a long hot bubble bath, I was off to sleep.

We started out early with a big breakfast at Viking Chili Bowl (best breakfast and fastest service in Valpo).

Then it was off to the Dunes Rifle and Pistol Club Gun and Knife Show at the Porter County Fairgrounds. The gun show was busy, but not as packed at entry last year when we got there right when it opened.  Last year it was unexpectedly cold and Midwest Chick and I didn't have warm coats.  Mr. B. offered warmth and we snuggled up, one under each arm as we waited in line a half hour.  There was this older gent behind us who said "I can't get my wife to go to one of these things and he gets TWO women".

I came home with a new firearm, of course, this one here with Barkley a little Kahr in .40, perfect for the pocket when I didn't want to have a .45 strapped on while just puttering around the yard and made in the USA.  There were all kinds of things to look at. There was antique and modern firearms, military relics swords, knives, ammo.  Mr. B. found a Remington model 788 in .308 and needed to remove the scope, which he didn't purchase.  He went to another booth and borrowed some Allen wrenches.  Another fellow said "they just gave those to you to use and didn't know you?  Wow, everyone is so nice here!"  Mr. B. said, "we're all armed".

Everyone we met was informative and friendly and several sales were made, but not to the guy who was quite polite but tried tried to sell me a gun with "I sell lots of these (pointing to a tiny little .380) to women."

At another booth, I got a handcrafted knife with a handle made out of a railroad tie for Partner in Grime.   He's across the planet somewhere dealing with something cantankerous, so  I wanted him to have a little souvenir from the show.  Midwest Chick, as well,  got a couple of really cool knives.

Where I somehow I ended up as a booth bunny.

Jim Shulls knife booth. His knives were modern and primitive at once, with detailed and caring workmanship. Midwest Chick bought one.  We'd been walking for a while and my knee was starting to really  hurt. As Midwest Chick was finishing the transation, they both saw I was hurting and he offered me a chair next to him.  When I sat down,  Midwest Chick laughed and said "adjust your jacket', indicating I needed to show a little more cleavage.  We laughed, and I said "I'm a booth bunny?" and we all laughed but within a few minutes his booth had new customers  "Where'd she come from?'  two gentlemen said, as they stopped to look at his knives.  Jim laughed, winked at Midwest Chick who was looking at some things across the aisle and said "I think someone traded her for a knife, how am I going to explain this to my wife?

I said. "I said the magic words, you have a chair and I have beer!"  (OK, I didn't have beer but they chuckled).  Jim made some more sales and Midwest Chick and I wandered off with a wave, my knee ready for round two of the days adventures.  Thanks Jim, I'd never been a 'booth bunny"  before and it was really fun, even for 15 minutes!  His knives are really cool folks,  so check out his website.

After the show we went over to the Scarecrow fest, crafts, games, and food, lots of food and then it was time to drive home to check on Barkley and unload the stuff we all bought.

There will be more fun tomorrow!  Right now there are homemade hamburger buns to make, and meat to grill.

Because it's never a trip to Midwest Chick and Mr. B.'s without a visit to . .