Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Have I somehow missed some thank yous?

Sad panda
I'm a sad panda

I had a new follower today.  At least that is what my counter told me.  I had to dig through to find them and discovered something horrifying.  I believe I missed thanking someone else.  I'm not sure which the newest one is, but I'm thinking it is sradddha54.  Thanks so much for hitting the button.  If you have a blog, please let me know (I can't tell from the follower icon) and I'd love to check it out.

The one I think I missed is donovan_dion_oldsb.  For that I'm sorry.  A belated thank you and as I said to sraddha54, I do not see a blog, so please let me know if there is one I can check out.

I promise to do my best to always respond to comments and I encourage them so please don't be shy.  To all of my other followers, thanks again for checking in.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Meat Miscellany

So, first of all...

The bacon is done!  Well, most of it was done before, but the pieces I wanted to smoke were done yesterday. I didn't have a "bacon hanger" (yes, there is such a thing) nor the desire to get one.  So, I used what we had.  Since we make a lot of sausage, we have a lot of twine.  So, here you go...

Hey, how's it hangin?
The pepper cure is in front and brown sugar in back.  I didn't want a lot of heat under it, so I started a separate fire and put the coals in a pan.  Those were topped with wet wood chips and sawdust.  The wood chips were a mixture of oak and mesquite.  There was also a little pecan in there since that was part of the coals from the fire.  After 2 1/2 hours of waiting...

Beer:  Shortening wait times since 5,000 B.C.
this is the result:

I know it doesn't look much different, but you can just see the color change.  It took on a perfect amount of smoke.  One of the suggestions which I'm glad I paid attention to, was to make sure the surface of the meat is completely dry.  I let it sit, uncovered, in the refrigerator to ensure dryness and it paid off.  The droplets of water collect smoke particles and can cause almost a bitter, smudgy surface.  So, after this I cut it all into nice thick, uniform pieces and vacuum packed them in Ziploc bags.  FYI, if you want a good tip put a few boxes (or more) of Ziploc vacuum bags and a hand pump in your "go" kit.  The possibilities are endless and no batteries or electricity required.  I did a little test before packaging and must say the smoke was the perfect final touch.  Of course, now I wish I would have smoked all of it.

And now, on to more curing.  I mentioned the peameal bacon and it started tonight.

I cleaned up two large back loins (back-straps for you hunters) today and cut the center section of each out for this project.  I'm excited about this because I fell in love with it while visiting Canada and you can't get it down here.  I'm sure this is the item from which the misnomer "Canadian Bacon" was coined.  So, this is step one, curing for 5 days.  More to come.

P.S. I chose the title so kymber would not try to avoid the post.  :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

In Memoriam

I'm sure that everyone that follows this blog or reads here does not need to be told what Memorial Day is truly about.  Little 45er and I had a very frank and serious conversation on the way home from a local ceremony this week and I didn't hold back.  I tend not to hold back when she asks questions.  It's a difficult thing to truly understand but she put her best effort into it.  Every year a local bank puts on a very serious Memorial Day event.  It is truly in the spirit of the day.  It is a community event complete with a flyover, food, honor guard and ceremony.  I'm truly thrilled things like this take place.  I smile when I see the veterans young and old sitting in their reserved section replete in their full regalia.  The older veterans are a true sight to see.  The timing of the flyover couldn't have been more perfect.  Those flyboys sure seem to have a thing about being on time.  :)  They do it every year.

here and gone
For the last few years, they have had F-16s do the flyover and there is nothing quite like being that close to something that serious.  This year there were apparently some issues with the local base's runway and they shut it down.  These were a pair of T45 Goshawks (Navy planes at that) from the next closest base.  I'm sure few noticed the difference.  It was still fantastic.

table ceremony
The table ceremony is always an amazing thing.  I've heard it called the POW/MIA table ceremony or missing man ceremony.  It's truly an honor to see.

Little 45er 
The 21 gun salute was, well startling.  The local VFW always does that and they do with what they have.  No M1s here, they use shotguns.  One appeared to be a fully outfitted home-defense model.  Again, few people notice these things.  Little 45er even got a little prize.

Apparently, they use Fiocchi 12 gauge blanks.

After the ceremony, free hot dogs and drinks.  Then, at the end of the night...

In all, a wonderful evening.  Most of all, the service members really seem to understand how much we all appreciate them.   My hat's off to all of you out there doing the actual hard work.  My head bows to those that gave all.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bippity Boppity BACON

To start off, I will show you an amazing piece of discussion regarding bacon.  It's everything I believe on the subject:

Heh.  Of course, you know I ripped the title of the post straight from the video.  Now, on to the meat of the matter.  The curing is complete and...

Table for Yum, please
So far, so good.  The color is right.  So, after taking it out of the fridge, I thoroughly rinsed and then soaked each slab in cold water for 30 minutes.  After draining and drying with paper towels, we're ready to do some testing.  At this point I was a bit concerned that maybe I let it cure for a bit long and it might be too salty.  Turns out that was all just nonsense.

Oh, yes!  Yes!  Yes!
Top left - chipotle; top right - brown sugar; bottom - black pepper.

Also, this is where I give HUGE kudos to Old NFO for mentioning black pepper curing.  This was oh so fantastic and was my favorite.  It had a wonderful black pepper flavor throughout the whole piece of bacon.  Mrs. 45er preferred the brown sugar cure.  It had a nice sweet/salty flavor going on.  The chipotle was very nice, but I'm afraid I didn't give it much of a chance.  It had a nice cure and wasn't overpowering in flavor, but had just a nice hint of heat in the back of the throat.  Unfortunately, I used the worst cut of meat for that cure since I thought it might not be that great.  Turns out it was just fine.  Oh well, we'll have more soon.

Results?  Well, after the few test batches...  need more BACON.

So I slice a bunch more of the black pepper cured stuff and filled up the pan.  I was discovering now that this stuff is rather lean and you don't get much fat in the pan.  I started with a touch of olive oil in the pan until some of the fat rendered out.  Normally, I would add bacon fat to start things off but I didn't want to alter the flavor with commercial bacon fat.  Also, it was hard to cut it real thin but I did ok.  I started the heat medium low until the meat was close to cooked and rendered some fat, then cranked it up just over medium to put the crisp on it.

Cue angels singing
Just some observations:  What we have come to know as "bacon" has its own distinct flavor and smell.  It is  truly a great thing, but the commercial bacon has a different smell and flavor.  It's a funny thing, what you become used to becomes your point of reference.  It's like eating canned green beans all of your life, then trying fresh ones.  You may not think you like it, but not because it isn't better only because you aren't used to it.  This is kind of like that.  However, I don't know how you couldn't think this was good in a different way.  We loved it.

So now the meat is ready for some smoke.  I cut the slab of pepper cure in half to keep some normal and smoke some.  Same with the brown sugar.  We will see how that turns out after tomorrow.  I'm so happy with the results, I can't wait to do some more curing.  Next up, cured back loin (peameal bacon).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Store owner comes out on top with some bullets

Well, good for him I say.  I'm sure being absolutely terrorized by two armed thugs is not any kind of fun.  Especially when they are waving guns and beating on you.  So, kudos for the clerk.  Downside:  apparently it wasn't on his person.  That gun under the counter isn't going to do you much good when you're stocking groceries or in the bathroom when the bad happens.  It also doesn't do a lot of good when you're getting monkey-stomped on the ground.  I'm hoping the clerk is re-considering his choice of firearm placement.  I know if I worked a convenience store I'd look like I had Batman's utility belt on under my shirt and for some reason I would be carrying, like 3 "wallets."  All-in-all, good outcome.  Lessons to learn.  Also, I'd love to see if there is store video released soon.

A little more in this story.

Also, notice that firearms aren't about "stopping power" on an assailant, they are about the power of stopping the assailant.  Neither of these thugs dropped immediately to the floor, but they both stopped what they were doing to try and exit post-haste and that's what matters most.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gunnie Reuse, Recycle

I was thinking of doing a post on this, but I was lazy and it was really That Guy's idea anyways.  If you have cardboard (you always have cardboard) and a partial can of spray paint you can save a bunch of money and have cool targets.  You can see them in my header photo.  We use them a lot and they take a lot of abuse before you have to replace them.  Honestly, I've just taped another piece of cardboard over the vital area and kept on trucking after chewing out the center.  Then, after they're all shot up, take them down to the recycling center.  The looks you will get will make even that task fun.  :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Makin' Bacon

This starts a new label on the blog called "charcuterie."  That is, essentially the smoking and curing of meats.  We will be making venison sausage soon, as we do every year and I've been trying to expand what we can do with what we have access to, which I must say is a lot and we are blessed for it.

Well, not having a ton of time to get this going, I asked Mrs. 45er to get some straight curing salt when she did the groceries.  All they had was this:

It is a pre-mixed cure, so my ability to play around was limited.  I want to try the High Mountain stuff that dakota mentioned because I've heard good things, but I would have to order that and wait.  The good news is that we have 2 more pigs to go, so there will be plenty of bellies.  I did a quick look on-line and saw some recipes that gave me a basic idea of how to use the product and decided to play anyways.  It's just in my nature.  So, the basic recipe seemed to be about one oz per pound of meat.  I started with that as a base and added other things.  For the nice, big cut I decided to take NFO's advice.  I do love pepper...

So, this one is going into the bag just like this.  It is essentially:

1 oz/pound of Morton's Quick Cure (2/3 on the meat side, 1/3 on the fat side)
1 cup cracked black pepper

Most of the recommendations for bags to use are 2 gallon Ziploc bags.  I'm going to get some of those for trying smaller sections, but for a monster like this I used some brining bags I got from Sur la Table.  These worked wonderfully.  I got them to brine the turkey for Thanksgiving (a must, trust me) but I will get more before then.

Goodness in a bag
So, I zipped it up, folded it over and put it in the beer fridge.  Yes, you heard me.

Now, on to the other experiments.

Yes, that is a beer from the fridge.  I had to make room for the bacon.  :)  The Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout  goes well with bacon makin'.  

On the bottom, I added some brown sugar to the cure, so:

1 oz/pound of meat of Tender Quick Cure and
1 Tbsp of dark brown sugar

On the top, well that is going to be chipotle bacon.  I'm real interested to see out this one turns out.

1 oz/pound of meat of Tender Quick Cure and
1/2 Tbsp of ground chipotle chile pepper

And this is the ground chipotle I used:

Yum in a bottle
So now, we are at the "we shall see" stage.  I have learned a few things since this process started about harvesting the belly from the pig and what is considered "belly."  Pork belly being belly is about as much a misnomer as the pork butt is from the butt.  Also, these pigs were fabulously built but rather lean so you don't see the classic 3 to 4-inch-thick pork belly. I'm not too worried.  There is plenty and if this turns out, we'll be rolling in bacon, which is kind of a fantasy of mine.  ;)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Goin' Whole Hog

We had planned ahead for today.  My dad had inquired around and found four pigs for the low, low price of free.  After the kids in 4H show their pigs and the season is over, there are usually a lot of extra pigs that both the kids and the breeders have left over.  You can usually get them cheap, but this is the cheapest I've seen.  :)  I think the guy (a breeder) was just tired of feeding.  Also, these were some of the best looking pigs I've ever seen.  Also, for my more fair-hearted readers (I'm thinking of you, kymber), there are pictures here that you might not want to see.  However, I should also say that if you're serious about preparation and independence, you should school yourself on the art of butchering an animal.  Every year after deer season, we have all of the trimmings that we have saved and we make at least 200 rings of sausage.  This year, instead of buying all the pork in the store that is necessary to make good venison sausage, we got some pigs on the hoof.  So, down one went.

We washed and skinned it and...

Time to start the real work.

I was very interested in trying to make my own bacon with the belly from this one and That Guy had mentioned a dish of smoked jowls, so I pulled one of those off as well.  I ended up with a couple of  beautiful slabs of belly for bacon.

The downside of pulling off the pork belly for bacon is that you take off the majority of the meat from the lower part of the ribs.  However, that isn't going to stop me from trying...

Rib Slab
I don't usually cut the ribs up into the individual sections.  I just smoke the whole rack.  So now I'm off to research some cure recipes for the bacon.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ticked off 'gator

Oh, holy crap.

You know, animals don't know you're trying to help so you should treat them all as if they will snap off your head and excrete you without thinking.  Because they will.  All I can say is that this guy is EXTREMELY lucky.

QOTD: "Community"

"Community" is a show on NBC.  If you haven't seen it, it is funny.  However, the humor is of a certain type that isn't for some.  Watching tonight I was laughing as my jaw hit the floor at this line:

"Not a lot of people get a second chance.  Just you...  and probably Obama."


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Standing on the shoulders of actual presidents

I'm doing a follow-up post to this post for three reasons.  A. I'm not a fan of dead links, so I didn't want to just change the title and leave that in your reader list,  B. I did some more reading and had more to say, and C.  Because Daddy Gun Blog Black List said so.  :)

So, as was said before our current president can't be more obviously narcissistic.  However, from just reading the original article I had no idea how much so.  I learned two things from the biography section at the White House website.  #1, I'm a bit of a history nut and that section is a time vampire for you history nerds out there and #2 Obama is probably the most self-absorbed person imaginable.  Here is the link and some examples:

I will start your tour with Calvin Coolidge.  At the bottom of this biography is the first of the self-absorption.  It continues for every president going forward to current.  My favorite one has to be here:
President John F. Kennedy famously suggested the American people: "Ask what you can do for your country." In 1961, the Peace Corps was created, facilitating service among citizens working toward peace in developing countries.  In 2011, President Obama celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps with a Presidential Proclamation.
Seriously.  Look at me.  I did...   nothing.

As you read through these you should begin to notice a pattern.  Obama didn't actually do anything to warrant any kind of "look at me" credit.  These are all other presidents' accomplishments to which he is hooking his cart.  Way to define your presidency.  Actually, I think that does a darn good job of doing just that.

It's all about ME

I would love to see some different takes on this through photoshop.  Fox News has a pretty good one on their home page right now.  My vision is Obama "helping" previous presidents with their greatest achievements.  I'll have to mess with this when I get home.

Ridiculous gun policies and attitudes: a recipe for stupidity

A Wayne County Department of Public Service groundskeeper (Detroit - which should say a lot for this story) is fired with just 2 years left until retirement.  Why, do you ask?  Did he steal something?  Did he commit a horrible atrocity? 


He found a loaded snub-nosed revolver in the bushes while he was mowing.  He secured the handgun and called the police and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Now, if you haven't heard the Detroit PD isn't exactly snappy on response times.  If you're getting assaulted with a deadly weapon and you're lucky they'll show up the next day to take a report.  If you're actually shot, they might show up later that day.  Not wanting to leave something like a loaded handgun laying around in a public park, he took the firearm to the police station near where he lived and turned it in. 

The gun ended up being reported as stolen.  The police said he did the right thing.  Of course they did.  It means they will not have to make a trip out there the next day to look around.

But here is where it gets stupid.  This guy did the right thing.  I wouldn't want to touch a found gun and if I had to I would take it straight to a local station, but what do you do when the police never show up?  You have to understand the mindset of people that have probably not even seen a gun and really do not understand anything about them or how to handle them.  So, of course, happy ending, gun of the street with no one injured and the county fired him.

Wait, what?  You got it.  The county fired him.  Policy violation for not reporting it, you say?  Nope.  Sleeping on the job while waiting for the police?  Nope.

Get this:  the county says employees aren't allowed to possess weapons on work property.  The very act of taking a dangerous firearm and securing it so that some random child playing in the park will not shoot themselves just isn't ok with Wayne County.  Touching guns = bad.  Period.  Stupid attitudes breed stupid decisions.  I wonder if the supervisor that made this decision is the product of a "zero tolerance policy" public school?  I hope the employee has any kind of attorney (doesn't even need a good one) because he's going to mop up the Wayne County Department of Public Service.

Go to court, get a judge that has kids and say one thing:  "So, your child is playing in the park..."
Ruling: Plaintiff - for whatever he wants.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mickey's failed conceal carry

Huh.  There is more to this story.  I would love to hear it.

Plus, IF that picture actually portrays what they found inside, that isn't your standard criminal handgun.  Now I'm all curious.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Robberies with kids

What do you do?  Well, if I ever heard of a reason to carry a firearm, it is this topic.  You have children with you.  I'm not going to let the thugs have what they want, because it may BE the children.  I can't run away like this lady did.  The answer is to have a plan with your children and act on it against the threat.  I usually don't post on things like this story because I hate to read the stories about what some parents do with their kids.  Trust me, I'm not unaware of what goes on in the world.  I just don't want to read about it because it really, really angers me when I read the news stories.  (It was bad enough having to read the headlines when I tried to search for this story).  The thing about this story is that she may not be a bad parent, she just didn't have a plan.  Therefore, the only thing she could do was run around and leave her kid to the whim of a thug.  Have a plan with your kids.  If it doesn't involve a firearm, it should.  I mean a plan, not just "carrying one."  When I train at the range, it is rather concerning all of the scenarios I think of that might happen if I had kids with me.  Do you always carry a young child with your weak hand?  If you have to draw, do you train to turn and shield the child with your body?  Do you train to shoot one-handed?  I have actually trained with a bag in one hand resting on my hip.  It probably looks silly, but I've done it before I am actually forced to.

If you can't carry for legal reasons, it's a good idea to come up with another plan.  Ultimately, think this out before it actually happens.  If you haven't already considered this and it is a topic that you are concerned about, go to Agirl's place and read up.  She's been an incredible resource on this topic both personally and situationally.

I appear to be soapboxing.  I apologize, but this is touching on a topic on which I am very serious.  Maybe Agirl can get some training classes going in her area for parents with kids.  :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cool stuff in the news

What's cool about this?  Probably not that there is another $150 pair of pants on the market with eleventy-million pockets.  Actually, that's cool but not my speed for carry.  Anyways, what I was pretty happy with was that this has been a news story for the last few days like it's no big deal.  Well, it isn't, you're right.  Don't look at me like that.  I was just happy to see it as just another news story.  Who knows, I may ask for some of those shorts for a gift-giving event.  White, pasty legs, check.  Hawaiian shirt, check.  50 pounds of gear in my shorts, check.

Atlas is shrugging in France

The mob decides they want more money from their government.

They elect the Socialist candidate and expect that all of the money he wants to tax will actually stick around to be taxed.

Meanwhile, the "rich" don't want to play anymore.  They are taking their ball and leaving.  This is what the "tax the rich" attitude leads to.  Less entrepeneurs.  Less jobs.  Smaller tax base.  Socialism really only works along with a militaristic dictatorship to hold the producers hostage.  I wonder when that will happen now that the "rich" are looking to run.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Honey Whiskey Bacon Walnut Brownies, insanely inspirational

So, back when I first started blogging, I posted about some whiskey brownies.  Now, these were pretty darn spectacular.  However, this last weekend That Guy and family were in town and Mrs. 45er and I brought over some bacon brownies from a local restaurant.  They were inspiring and I wondered how I could make it even better.  Then I remembered these brownies.  Thoughts started hatching and now we have this to deal with at the house:

The final product and...

the final result

So, from the original link you have the recipe.  A little twist was added by using Bushmill's Irish Honey Whiskey.  Now, the big addition is properly cooked bacon.  Slowly cooked until it is nice and crispy so you can crumble it up.  As far as the amount of bacon to use for the recipe, I would say as much as you can get away with.  It is also best to keep the cooked bacon separate until ready to serve.  If you top the whole thing, the moisture from the brownies may make the bacon soggy and/or chewy.  Mrs. 45er and I just had to try a test piece and I can tell you that you have to try and make this.

Even if you don't go this crazy with the brownies, you should try the brownie recipe.  These are a really simple, scratch-made brownie that I was pretty happy with.  However, the whiskey sure does soak in and soften up those harder edges of the brownie.


Doughnut Shop Robbery - Being Prepared

It can happen in a flash.  Sometimes, all of that situational awareness that is preached just isn't what is going to save you.  At times, you will be in a reactionary mode.  A lot of things happen in this video.

You can see there are plenty of customers in the store and the older gentleman just reacted and was pretty severely punished for it.  If you have the time to react by grabbing someone, you have the time to react by stepping off of center, drawing and firing.  The stomp on the neck was bad enough.  The kick to the head as the jerk left is a perfect example of why you use lethal force to defend yourself.  Let's talk about "unarmed" aggressors.  In the video we can see a handgun being used, but that doesn't really matter does it?  I once heard someone say that until they stopped hearing "blunt force trauma" as a cause of death in homicides, then they would continue to consider an unarmed aggressor as extremely dangerous.

Something else to keep in mind:  train to scan on the range when you are practicing.  At the end of the video at the top, I want you to watch that set of feet follow the jerk out of the door.  I'm guessing that is an accomplice by the timing and not just a customer running away.  Move off of center, draw, fire, assess.  Keep your threat covered, but keep your eyes open.

Kitchen Madness

in progress

stay tuned.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Gunsafe Light

When I first got my safe, I played around with options for lighting and then pretty much gave up.  I just used little touch lights that never would stay stuck to the right place inside and I always carry a light in my pocket so it wasn't a big deal.  Well, today we were shopping and I saw some lights that caught my attention.  One of them was a "puck-light."  Just a round light that was activated by touch or could be switched to a photo-sensor.  Oh, very cool, so I thought.  Then I saw another light that interested me, but it was motion activated.  Hmmm, which one to get?  Mrs. 45er pointed out that it might actually be, I don't know, DARK when I really need to access my safe and grab something, so maybe a motion detector would be better.  Right there, that's the kind of thing I'm supposed to think of.  I call it a tactical brain-fart.  Thank goodness Mrs. 45er has spent entirely too much time (don't click here) hearing me go on and on about such things.

So, this is the one I decided on:

It was tough to find without the part number, so here is a link:

and this is what it looks like inside:

Of course, as I left the store with the light, I wondered how the (don't click) motion sensor would actually work.  I've had bad luck with such things in the past.  It turns out, this works really well.  You can set the light to stay on for 30 or 60 seconds after the last motion is sensed.  The part I really like is the swivel on the light, which lets me direct the light down through the rifle (don't click here) slots.  This is important, since my AR is usually kept in the lower part and isn't long enough to fit up through the slots.

Viewed from the lower part of the safe through a gun rest
I can see them perfectly when it is set up this way.  I think I will go get another one to mount on the other side of the safe.  I'm pretty pleased for less than $10.  And, to be clear for the FTC, I bought this.

More stupid Blogger

I'm not usually one to complain about things like Blogger.  I usually roll with the punches and adapt to changes in technology pretty well.  However, the last move I consider pretty bone-headed on their part.  I noticed in the last post I did that randomly linked words began showing up which were for advertisements.  Now, all of those links in your post that you want there have to be filtered through by the reader.  I've already sent feedback to blogger and looked everywhere for a way to turn this kind of thing off, which I doubt exists.  I've seen many fleeing to Wordpress lately.  I guess if this keeps up much longer, I may be in that crowd.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Shoot the Moon

So, tomorrow is the day of the "Supermoon" as they are calling it in the news.  I don't know if I'm going to go out tomorrow night and see a big "S" on it or not.

Anyways, I've always wanted to take a cool picture of the moon, but honestly never taken the time to figure it out.  Tonight I did a test run to get my settings ready for tomorrow and really play with the camera.  I live in the "green zone" on the camera for the most part.  All auto.  I know I could be good if I just dedicated the time, but who has any of that?  So, here is my first attempt to get off of auto-pilot.

There was quite a bit of haze in the sky and I had to adjust for that.  The haze caused a bit of a halo, but I didn't like the lack of clarity at the slower shutter speed.  I hope it's clear tomorrow night.  We shall see.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Do yourself a favor

If you haven't watched Firefly, click there and check it out.  Word of warning, it sorts the episodes by Air Date, so you'll have to pay attention to the episode numbers.  For those of you for whom the pain is still fresh, sorry about that but if you go there note the order.  For those of you who are unaware, that out-of-order air date killed this incredible show.  It is almost humorous in its stupidity.

I aim to misbehave