Tuesday, August 26, 2008


On Saturday we went to the local Gun Show. One because well, I'm in America. How could I not not go?
Also wanted to check out any blackpowder. I still want my Flintlock. There was one, a 68 Caliber (i think), it was a bloody elephant gunne. It was huge, I think I'll start with something that doesn't make my arms ache after holding it for 20 seconds.
We met friends there who know their guns to help us ease our way into this new culture.
It wasn't all gunnes though. You could buy, knifes, coins, postcards, saddles and jewelry.

I didn't take many photos cause I wasn't sure if it would annoy people. And if there are people you don't want to annoy its folks at a gun show. I did ask a couple of times and it wasn't a problem.
Most of the dealers were older folk, I think a lot of them were Vietnam vets, just judging from the conversations and old tattoos.

It was interesting but still strange to my Aussie eyes. The rifles seemed 'normal' but the handguns and big machine gun looking thingys were a bit confronting. I wonder what a gun show in Oz sells?
I don't know much about guns but I do know that after Port Arthur and the whole semi automatic recall that happened in Oz in '96. The NRA here did a huge if mostly skewed propaganda campaign.
' Oh Noes, look what teh Australian Gov is doing to thier people. Taking away thier rights. Don't let it happen here!!'

Because of that, once people find out I'm Australian I usually get into a chat about the restrictions.
I just shrug and say
"Well, you know I don't think that many people cared. We don't have a culture of hand guns and not many people have semi autos. Can't take away what you don't have in the first place."
They are always polite and I think it takes the wind out of their sails a bit, when I don't get all fired up about it.
I know people did care when the bans were put into place, I seem to remember Little Johnny in a bullet proof vest at a rally. But for the majority of people I don't think it was a big deal.
Thats just my take on it. Even though there are many guns in Oz there does not seem to be the entrenched mindset over them that there is here.
People really do believe in their inalienable rights to bear arms, in case the Government gets uppity of course. My response that a 'bloody and violent coup to restore order and harmony, what a great plan. What could possibly go wrong?' doesn't generally win me many friends.

It is sort of amusing, thats one thing people know about us, because it was used in the States as political and money making stunt.
At the door to the show, If I joined the NRA I would have gotten free entry.

The little black powder pistol was pretty cool, and I'm sure I lost many rep points cooing over the Derringer about 'how cute' it was. So tiny and shiny.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Got home last night from two days in Kingman on the mobile. Never so glad to see the Peaks as I am from coming home from that direction. Kingman is two hours away on I-40.
It's a if a had a soul destroying drive. Flat, hot, arid, coma inducing and you lose radio reception half way there.
It seems to never end, though at least this time of year its daylight for the drive.

Last year we went there in Winter so there is a whole lot of dark. I was driving the Mobile, as the other tech didn't have a license. I'm not a superstitous person at all, but there was a point there as I struggled to stay awake totally convinced that the sun was never, ever going to rise again.
If someone at that point whispered in my ear about surrendering and repenting, I'd still be posting on the Rapture Ready Forums on the evils of Harry Potter, wishing for Jeebus to take me away and worrying about what my heathen family, friends and pets will do in the Time of Doom
The sun came up.
No conversion was necessary.

Happy to be back in sunny, treey, hilly Flagstaff.

Last weekend we were scheduled to go back to Havasupai for work. For various reasons it was cancelled, which was pretty lucky really as they had a dam break and massive flash floods. The town is on higher ground and was ok, but the campgrounds below the waterfall were trashed and the had to evacuate 100's of people. The only way in and out is a 8 mile hike or Helicopter.

This is a photo I took of Havasu Falls in June and the next one is the same falls last weekend.

Tourism is pretty much the lifeblood of the community, so this is devastating in many ways.

We have a case of Hummingbirds. I bought two feeders and set them up with sugar water. One is hung where Rob works out on the deck. So he gets buzzed on a regular basis.

I have been practising my wildlife photographer poses. Sitting or standing very still while trying to remove the puppy latched onto my ankle and keep the feeder in focus waiting for the birds.

I'm managed to get a few ok shots. Search for 'hummingbirds' in Flickr for amazing pics.

The Coconino County Fair is on next weekend and I entered a photo. I got some pictures framed and hung them in the loungeroom. A friend came over and suggested I enter it.
Its one I took in Belves, France. Its framed with sage green mat and black frame and does look pretty good.

So wish me luck. Next year I may get more organised and do more. If you enter 5 or more things you get free entry.

We still have Flora. Fat and cheeky beast she is.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Here is Flora, a 6 week old Border Collie and our new foster. Her two siblings were being taken home by a other worker and she would have been left allllll by herself...what can ya do in such circumstances?

She is sleeping on my feet now, and thats because she didn't sleep at all last night and cried the whole time. How do I know this? Because we didn't sleep either.

Hopefully she will get over the whole separation thang and settles down at night. The mountain side is sure looking tempting about now.

Monday, August 11, 2008


I may have discovered a new hobby, of course its not cheap. So I have to think about how keen I am about it.
There's a part of me that like to fire guns. I haven't done it very often but when I have its a bit of a thrill. And lets face it, I am in America now. I looked at target pistol shooting but the closest place is in Pheonix and driving for two hours to shoot something seems a bit much. I'm interested but not that interested.
We know some folk in town that does SCA and French Indian War re-enactments. They use black powder weapons and Bill asked us if we wanted to come out to one of the target shoots, and have a bit of a go. The musket group from Phx comes up to Flagstaff during the summer to shoot. Its much cooler and they camp out and do thier thing.

1830's Percussion cap

We went yesterday and watched. Mostly percussion caps and a few Flintlocks. It was a informal bunch and seemed pretty nice. The metal targets and set up around a quarry with a hill behind so the shot doesn't go astray to far.
After the shoot and they headed to camp for lunch Bill got out his Snaphaunce which he built up from parts and hadn't fired yet. Its a early type of Flintlock (1550's), which has a open pan which is less effective than the later versions which had closed pans and more effective strikers. I like the fact that it has all this tooled metal and wood work and parts but what makes the spark to fire is a piece of rock.

Snaphaunce Flintlock

He shot it first then let me have a go. First the gun powder down the barrel, then a round piece of linen (which is made damp by placing in your mouth for a bit) is placed over the barrel and the lead ball in placed on that. Using the ram rod it is tamped down to the bottom of the barrel.
More powder is added to the pan, the striker and flint cocked and its ready to shoot.
It misfired a couple of times and got the classic 'flash in the pan' reaction. Bill fiddled with it, knapped the flint and cleaned the striker.
Finally it went boom....and I hit the target. It has a bit of a kick and with flintlocks you have to hold it in place for longer after you pull the trigger, cause there is a delay in firing due to the powder sparking.

'Deadeye' Coz hits the target first shot with the Snaphaunce Flintlock

I think i could get into this. Especially with the whole historical part that goes with it. Would have to get a nifty uniform and you can call me Bob.
This is Arizona so you don't need a gun permit and can go out into the woods and set up target practice.

After the shoot we went to Highland War, a SCA event just down the road near Morman Lake. It's a camping event much like Rowany. Rob and I got into our Lemming Landsknecht and wandered about. It rained a lot turning everything to thick mud, then the sun came out for a glorious afternoon.
It was very similar to Rowany, we kept thinking we knew people just cause the SCA look is sooooo universal. Though there was no central Tavern, cars were on site and quite a lot of mundys, which I'm glad Rowany has avoided.
Bill and Jan know everyone so we met some good folk and spent the arvo sitting around and chatting, so not much change there.

All in all a good day.
Off to google gunnes.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


Panda was neutered and microchipped last night. I didn't think it would get done just because of the sheer amount of backlog and work being done. Lucky I know a awesome vet who fit him in. We all left late to finish up.
I only shed a few tears when I put his wobbly, crying still under the influence of anaesethia little body in concrete cell (not as bad as it sounds, very state of the art and comfy concrete cells).

By 3pm today he was adopted. I went out to say goodbye and tell the very nice couple ( if they weren't I was taking him back) how he loves walks (only have to carry him every so often) and eating plants.

Only miss him a very very small amount...hardy at all, barely notice he is gone....