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Trump got played by the PA GOPe this week

Pennsylvania Primary Election Day Tuesday this week was not an especially exciting time, as voting days can go, because few names and positions were on the ballot, anywhere.

Somewhere up north Mabel’s cow got more votes than the local township highway manager, which caused a brief fuss. A tie-breaker of sorts was held and the road master challenged the cow to mow the grass along the road margin faster and better than he could. The cow did eat along at a pretty good clip, but the three voters agreed that the fresh cow patties left behind were a detriment. Some Amish happened along, ate the cow, and that settled it.

One bright spot here in Central Pennsylvania is where Senator Rich Alloway retired, kind of abruptly, if you ask me, and a special election was held between a hard-bitten retired Army colonel and long time entrepreneur, and a young, sweeeet, gentle as the morning breeze airhead of a Millennial Democrat who just wants to play Santa Claus with your money, goshdarnit her intentions are just so good.

The Army colonel won.

Three cheers for Central Pennsylvania.

One truly sad aspect of the day was the outcome of the most watched and only state-wide election for Pennsylvania Superior Court judge. With three beautiful and practically identical looking Republican women running for two open seats, a lot more interest was garnered.

Of the three primary contestants, former Montour County District Attorney Rebecca Warren is the most qualified for that seat. Articulate, forceful, experienced, principled, poised even with a kid on her hip, Warren has a well-deserved strong state-wide following. She was no shoo-in for one of the two seats, but it appeared she had a very good chance.

Too good of a chance for the Pennsylvania GOP, which is made of people who dislike conservatives even more than Democrats. So the PA GOPe ran a team of two candidates, Ms. Peck and Miss King, against the lone conservative, Warren.

As a plausible candidate for even township road master, let alone the very high court she aimed for, Miss Meghan King is only slightly more believable than the airhead who ran against the Army colonel in Alloway’s former district, and is probably less knowledgable than the cow up north. Seriously, the highly inexperienced, young, and dumb-of-tongue King was not up to the task of running for much of any public seat, and yet here she is, buoyed up by the good ol’ boys of the PA GOPe. It’s a lot of horsepower behind a newspaper sailboat, which is intriguing almost as much as why Alloway abruptly flew the cuckoo’s nest.

Serious forces are at work here, folks, “a dark and terrible magic,” to quote my favorite magician.

Peck stands on her own merits, and I’d be proud to have her on the Superior Court. But King? For real?! She sounds and looks like a child, and her public speaking is hesitant, halting, uncertain, because, goshdarnit, she was hand-picked to be a puppet or a parrot for the good ol’ boys, and she has not one clue about what it is she is saying or doing up at the podium. King is going to get check-mated by some kookus mongus leftwing Democrat in November. It won’t take much.

So Tuesday’s election came down to the amazing Rebecca Warren vs. the GOP good ol’ boys’ puppet, Miss King, and at the last minute, President Trump was duped by the GOPe guys into tweeting his support for Miss King after his wonderful rally in Montour County, here in central PA. And sure as shootin’, next thing ya know, Miss King obtained more votes than either of the other two candidates, and the cow to boot. Sure, Warren came very close to winning a seat, but King did not earn what she got through both the party establishment support and from the president’s tweet.

What bothers people like me about this election outcome is we work for years to find and get behind solid, conservative, independent-minded, constitutionally-based grass roots candidates like Rebecca Warren, and then the GOPe comes along and snatches away the victory and replaces it with a dishrag of a human being. It’s why the Republican Party, nationwide, is full of so many lame human beings, with no gumption, no vision; they just have a desire for power and to do what they are told by party bosses. They connive their way through all of these elections.

If President Trump actually knew how much damage he just did by supporting Miss King, and how badly he was duped by the PA GOPe, he would swear off primary endorsements forever. He did the same thing in Alabama two years ago and got stung. Winning primary elections by conniving simply places unqualified losers in positions of power, which works great only for those pulling the puppet strings.  We don’t get great people, like Trump. When will Trump learn that he would never get the PA GOPe endorsement, not even for township road master, if he were in King’s shoes. The PA GOPe strongly opposes strong, independent – minded candidates.

Those of us who admire President Trump are hopeful that he will learn to ignore the same GOPe guys who have screwed him over since 2015 and who will continue to interfere with his agenda until 2025 (unless there is five bucks to be made; then they will come flocking). Otherwise he is simply shooting himself in the foot by helping zeros like King get elected over people who admire him, who share his values, and who want to fully implement his agenda, like Warren.

Dear PA GOPe: We know you guys care only about holding power, but you should know that with every stolen election like this where a grass roots Rebecca Warren loses, you chip away at the base’s commitment to the GOP and you make us dislike you ever more.

A naturally close race was artificially influenced by a well-intended tweet from our President. Under normal circumstances, in rural Tioga County Warren should have received 50% of the votes cast.

Vote for Rebecca Warren for Superior Court

Rebecca Warren is the most qualified candidate for Superior Court of three candidates for two open seats, and she deserves our vote. In fact, she is the only candidate you should vote for, which ensures she will take her position on the court.

Herself a former District Attorney (and a mom, wife, and community volunteer), Rebecca is a classic high quality, highly educated, highly professionally experienced (27 years), independent-minded grass roots candidate, up against a corrupt political machine whose members want puppets and parrots in political positions so party bosses can pull their strings and make them say and do things the party bosses want, as opposed to doing the things that We, The People need and deserve.

What does it say about the Pennsylvania Republican Party when it takes sides with the politically extreme, anti-conservative Pennsylvania Bar Association? In this race, both the Pennsylvania GOP and the PBA are supporting a grossly unqualified young woman who has almost no professional experience, never held elected office, and who has publicly spoken against our sacred Second Amendment rights, Miss Megan King.

Rebecca Warren has been endorsed and recommended by Firearms Owners Against Crime, the only pro-Second Amendment organization in Pennsylvania we can rely upon for honest analysis of our political candidates. She is also endorsed by the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association.

Rebecca is no one’s parrot puppet. She is too smart for that, and she cares about you, me, the Us that comprises the other 99.99% of Pennsylvanians who are not in the hidden back rooms of the PAGOP or the PBA, who support candidates like Megan King because they will make the two organizations more wealthy and powerful.

Next Tuesday, May 21st, vote only for Rebecca Warren for Superior Court, vote for no other candidate. Vote this way because she is and has been endorsed by actual voters, not by 50 political boss guys in those hidden back rooms who you have never heard of and who never want to hear from you.

Rebecca Warren for Superior Court! Rebecca Warren for you, me, the citizens of Pennsylvania.

Re: Disaster Named Harrisburg, Kudos to Judge John McNally

Dauphin County Judge John McNally made me feel so proud the other day, because he held the City of Harrisburg liable for all the major bullhooey it has poured onto mere citizen Mike Brenner. Brenner has literally been fighting City Hall because City Hall brought the fight to him.

Brenner made the mistake of leasing his property to the Harrisburg City Public Works Department, where men and machines are stored. After the city stopped paying rent to him for the use of his property, but nonetheless occupied the premises and allowed it to fall into disrepair like the rest of Harrisburg has, Brenner went to court.

Who wouldn’t go to court in these circumstances? The law is the law is the law, and no one is supposed to be above the law. The law is supposed to apply to everyone equally, and especially to government agencies and entities.

Well…the temerity of this citizen! Who is he to expect just compensation from the City of Harrisburg?! Who is he to expect the city to live up to its legal obligations?

So instead of being a standup guy and paying Brenner what he has been long owed, Mayor Eric Papenfuse decided that the city would not only renege on its signed lease with Brenner, but then commence eminent domain proceedings against him to take the property by force.

So here we have a county judge who recognizes corruption and evil when we and he sees it, as personified by the sweaty faced lump of Jello that is Eric Papenfuse, and he issues a decision that the city must actually live up to its lease terms and pay Brenner what the city owes him. Never mind that what the city is doing, what Eric Papenfuse is doing, is downright evil and the very definition of abuse of official power.

Does anyone wonder why Harrisburg has fallen to pieces over the past four decades, with most taxpayers fleeing to better locales? All my life I have either visited my family here, or lived here, and it just keeps getting worse and worse.

Thanks only to Judge John McNally, Harrisburg City’s mayor is getting the comeuppance he has long been due to receive. Now let’s see the citizens of Harrisburg wake the hell up and begin voting for better human beings to make our city’s official decisions for us. We cannot afford losers like Papenfuse to continue to bankrupt Pennsylvania’s capital city with petty coercion and minor league control games.

p.s. When first elected as mayor, Papenfuse swore that people would go to jail for the fraudulent incinerator debacle that bankrupted the city. Several years later he has swept it all under the rug. Eric, you are an incompetent, lying sack of sh*t, and you cannot go back to running your used bookstore soon enough. Then let the federal charges begin to rain down on his sweaty, greasy head.

p.p.s. I am a plaintiff in an ongoing lawsuit against my beloved city over its patently illegal anti-gun ordinances it passed several years ago. Papenfuse has also engaged in a lot of virtue signalling with that unnecessary lawsuit, while costing us taxpayers yet more money. The guy is a disaster.

The Prayer Heard ‘Round the World

About a week ago, a Pennsylvania state representative dared to make a Christian prayer in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, a building filled with beautiful religious symbols and statements from the Bible writ large upon the walls and the ceilings.

The world then exploded around her, condemnations filling the empty spaces at every corner of her life and space. Her prayer was labeled “Intolerance” by the fake news PennLive/Patriot News (which published a viciously anti-Christian article and then deleted every online pro-Christian comment afterwards, which is going to be our next essay here).

What is strange about all this anti religion sentiment is that mere minutes before Rep. Stephanie Borowicz made her public prayer, in the official time and place allotted to her, a fellow Muslim representative was sworn in. By an Imam using the Koran. No boos or hisses followed that religious event. The negativity only resulted from and surrounded a Christian speaking as a Christian in a building built by Christians in a state founded by Christians in a nation – the world’s freest and most successful- founded by Christians, and based on the Hebrew Torah and the Christian Testament, together or separately otherwise known as the Bible.

Everything about America, from our concept of law and order to our stop signs and street lights to our universal education and safety net for the destitute to free speech and tolerant free religion, are based on the orderly rules laid out in the Bible by God. Simple as that. Without Christianity, there is no America, no freedom, no big opportunity, no tolerance. Yes, Christianity started out as an offshoot of Judaism, but it is its own religion. It is the repository of all of America’s basic, founding principles and values. America has always been about shared values, shared goals, despite different theologies among its citizens.

If you take away Christianity, you no longer have America. No doubt, that anti-America goal is behind most of the negativity surrounding Borowicz etc et al. People complaining about Christianity are essentially declaring war on America. They no longer share values, goals, or a common vision of what it means to be an American.

Today, in the establishment media and its one political party, God is out, the US Constitution is out, the First Amendment freedoms are especially out, Christians are very, very out, and fake victims and even fakier minorities are forced in and falsely elevated and valued above everyone else (how can a group of people 1.3 billion strong be considered a minority anywhere on our planet?). This situation is not right, but it is the fight we find ourselves at this time and place. Freedom is never free, world-wide it is uncommon, and every generation has had to fight to hold onto it. America is still a majority Christian country, and if those Americans wake up, there is still time to save the nation from the physical and cultural onslaught exemplified by the negative response to Rep. Borowicz’s simple prayer.

Whether Christian theology speaks to you, or not, and whether or not a person believes that Christianity will save your soul, or not, is a matter of a particular faith.  One thing here is absolutely certain, and that is only Christians and Christianity can save America. Whether America’s Christians are up to the task is the question before us. Our nation’s armed rebellion against British tyranny started quietly in a church pulpit. Rep. Borowicz made a prayer heard ’round the world; pray that it resonates further.

Still the chief of Celtic music: The Chieftains at 57

Local York Scots Bagpipers Brigade joined local York Chorale members and then audience members with The Chieftains and the Piltazke Brothers in a long snake dance that ended the performance

The local York, PA, bagpipers all dressed up in their Scottish tartans, participating with The Chieftains in a typical sharing of Celtic culture and music, to the audience’s delight

Last night the Princess of Patience and I ventured not too far down the road to the Appell-Strand Theater in York, Pennsylvania. It is a venue we have visited over the years for a variety of music types for the adults, and high-end children’s entertainment for the kids. It is a clean, pretty, historic place right in historic downtown York, easy to access, lots of free parking, and when you are done, it is easy to leave. Fellow patrons are easy, chatty, friendly, happy, and the lady I sat next to, a Lori Sims of Hanover, PA, cheerily shared gardening tips with me and disclosed her yearning for Spring to finally arrive so her garden could get under way. Then again, no wonder: she has a TWO-ACRE GARDEN.

What we witnessed last night is one of those rare moments where, if you have been lacking in faith in humanity for whatever reason, it would be restored immediately. We watched The Chieftains do what they do best: Play sweet Celtic music combined with amazing Irish dance, and incorporating local talent in a pub-like atmosphere of fellow music chums just kind of jamming along with each other in the spirit of the moment. It would be the best of what you would find at the Temple Bar today.

So here is Chieftains founding father, Paddy Moloney, who must easily be in his 80s, alternately playing both the chipper and then humorously gruff oldster commenter, as well as his own penny whistle and Irish pipes: “Oh sure, ya show-offs,” as the Pilatzke Brothers perform amazing amazing amazing Irish tap dance routines that leave the audience exhausted from the intensity and skill. Serious world-class talent.

Now in 2019, The Chieftains are celebrating their 57th anniversary. Think about that. Fifty-seven years as inspiring performers of not just music, per se, but keepers of traditional culture, Gaelic language, ancient musical instruments, and the music and the rural, undeveloped, natural Irish landscape that binds all that together. It is quite a gift to all of us that they provide. At 57 years of live musical-cultural performances, The Chieftains are an institution, a world heritage institution.

Despite having a stack of Chieftains CDs, I can never really get enough of them, and last night my mind drifted back to one evening in the summer of 1992, during the Celtic Festival at Wolf Trap, in Virginia. The Princess of Patience and I were about to be engaged to be married, and our long-time friend Lori encouraged us to join her at Wolf Trap for that evening. The weather was perfect, the music was perfect, the musicians and performers were perfect, our snacks and wine were perfect, the audience was rapt and enthusiastic. It was all quite perfect. And there they were, now 27 years ago, The Chieftains up on stage, looking a hell of a lot younger than now, and probably having a few more teeth then than now. But still flawlessly performing the same beautiful, inspiring music.

That was the same evening I heard the best-ever joke about the bagpipes, and it is a surprisingly unknown quip, because whenever I pass it along, people respond with great mirth, as if they have never heard it before. I will disclose it here, because I know the three people who read this blog have zero interest in Celtic anything and they will immediately forget this secret to being the star at any dinner party attended by Irish or Scots.

This joke arose as an Irish pipes player dueled with a bagpipes player on stage that evening at Wolf Trap. When played correctly, the Irish pipes are of course the most heart-tugging sound the human ear will encounter. Squared off against the blaring, loud, military-oriented bagpipes, the Irish pipes are like a gentle, sweet whisper versus an aggressive, loud shout.

So after their duel on stage, during which he had played the most mournful, beautiful, inspiring sounds, the Irish pipes player said to his Scotsman counterpart: “You do know, the Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scots. And the Scots never got the joke.”

Cue uproarious audience response and a big grin from the Scotsman. Audience participation in Celtic music is expected, and it is given, as is good-natured banter among the performers.

So, on that same beautiful summer eve 27 years ago, into this good-natured banter with Celtic music and culture stepped The Chieftains, playing with humble passion on the stage at Wolf Trap. And literally over twice as many years later, The Chieftains are still chief, tops among Celtic bands. Thank you for a wonderful night of happy moment after happy moment, guys. Cheers to you, Paddy Moloney, may you see a hundred years, ’cause God knows, why not, you about look it already.

 

Rendering bear grease, Round II

Last year was a first try at something that has beckoned for a long time, and that was making bear grease out of bear fat. If you search here in the blog you will see the kind of double boiler approach that effort started with, and you will see that it took too long, though it did provide a good product.

Why would someone want to make bear grease from rendered bear fat? Fair question.

To begin with, in the natural world, fat is a major and valuable commodity. It is important to survival and is hard to come by; under normal natural conditions, it is a sign of high health. Only in modern, materially successful, over-consumptive Western countries has high human fat become a liability, a health problem. Just a couple hundred years ago, heck even a hundred years ago, most Americans could not eat enough to make up for the energy they spent during their daily lives. Today we Americans are overfed and sedentary, eating ourselves into early health problems. We do not move enough. So we look at fat and think fat is “bad.”

But bear fat is especially good. Because they hibernate from late November through March, bears usually pack on a tremendous amount of fat starting in July and August. The fat reserves they build up will feed their sleeping bodies over the long cold winter in a specialized and not totally understood way. Bear fat is very different from any other kind of fat you will ever see, and some people have said it most closely resembles whale blubber. While whales do not hibernate, they are warm-blooded mammals that occupy freezing cold oceans and dive to unbelievable depths for food. Such a hostile surrounding requires a wall of natural fat that both protects and feeds the whale’s body. So bear fat is supposedly a lot like whale fat, which means it is unique and performs unique tasks that most other animals do not require.

[Sidebar here: Think about the Canada Toad, which survives in frozen tundra by having its body freeze solid over the winter, while a special hormone keeps its blood thinned, liquid, unfrozen, and moving slowly throughout its body to keep its organs alive. Some of these adaptive traits are things we humans can benefit from for medical purposes, if we but care about the animals’ habitats so that they are around when we get around to wanting to study them]

Think about Inuit and Inupiak (“Eskimos”) in the Arctic Circle and North Pole region. Even today, many of them will sit down and eat raw seal and whale blubber as a snack, usually warm right off the carcass. Clearly this is not a bad thing, as these impressive and hardy humans have thrived on this natural food for at least 15,000 years in the most brutal conditions. So again, bear fat is closely related to these other sources of needed fat and thus it is a good fat. If you were to consume mostly bear fat in your daily diet, your body would probably function a lot better. I am willing to bet that bear fat is far easier for human stomachs to break down and for human bodies to metabolize than dairy butter, deadly chemical margarines, and beef and pork tallow.

So why would I make bear grease from bear fat? Because I want to, that’s why. I am drawn to natural living and natural things, and getting back to basics is what a healthy life is all about. While I myself will not eat bear fat or grease (or whale or seal blubber for that matter), there are many people who I care about who can and will eat it. Plus there are other uses for it, which I have experimented with and found it to be amazing. Those uses are as a leather preservative, and bear grease is AMAZING at this, far better than anything you can buy. And then there is the lubricating function on a patched round ball rammed down the barrel of one of our flintlock rifles. So far I have seen bear grease provide a longer lasting, better lubricating film on the metal than any other bullet lube I have used. And I use all the best commercially available bullet and patch lubes on the market. Finally, I have begun experimenting with bear grease as a rust preventative on steel, like shop tools and machine parts. I am in the middle stage of this experiment, so right now I have nothing to report back with. But if it is anything like the patch lube effect on our rifle barrels, it will be excellent.

And again, yes, if you want to bake pastries with bear grease, you can. People say it is absolutely delicious and the best of all oils for that use. Some of the recipients of the bear grease I have created will probably do that. If I hear from them, I will report back here.

So this time around, I used an antique cauldron. A big one, on a tripod, over a propane burner. The fat came from a 611-pound male black bear killed by Travis Dietrich here in Dauphin County, on ground I manage. Travis was able to get about 40 pounds of bear fat into a cooler, and it has sat in a freezer or outside in the frozen cold, since Travis dropped it off at my home a month ago. The cauldron could have held a lot more bear fat, probably a few hundred pounds of it, but we puny humans could only remove and store that one big hunk this time, and so that is what we had to work with. Last year I had about five pounds to work with, from a young, tender bear killed by Kenny Youtz, actually very close to where this year’s bear was taken.

Maybe the next time a bear is killed, we will just move the cauldron and burner to the bear and start tossing the fat right into the pot. That way we can get all of it used, at its freshest, and waste nothing.

Learning from last year’s experiment, the double boiler method was just too damned long. So this time four gallons of well water were poured into the cauldron and heated to a boil, and then chunks of trimmed and cleaned bear fat were tossed in. Remember last year: Include zero meat, and I mean none, not even a tiny sliver, if you want a smell-free grease to result. Even the tiniest pieces of meat impart a pleasant but very meaty aroma to your leather preservative.

Fat chunk sizes ranged from fist to finger, and one of the lessons learned in this trial is that size matters. Actually, smaller is better when it comes to rendering bear fat. Most of the people who do this regularly use a meat grinder to get the bear fat broken down into strands that really truly cook down, quickly, and give up as much of the fat content as can be had.

And let us take note: Bear fat itself is kind of…a meaty consistency. It is not like any fat you have handled before, unless you work on a Japanese or Russian whaling ship, or you are a whale or sea mammal biologist (studying cetaceans). So cutting up the fat with a knife takes time. Use a clean cutting board and be prepared to resharpen your knife along the way.

What was learned this time is that the initial boiling water does buffer the process. It starts gently melting the bear fat and creating a pool of rendered liquid that will itself become the direct rendering agent for the bulk of the fat chunks after the water has steamed off in a great billowing mass. And when the water has boiled off, which you can tell because the steam is reduced and is becoming replaced with light smoke, turn down the heat, or the grease will quickly scald and burn, and then you have just about ruined it. The pool of grease that has been rendered so far will then get to work on rendering the rest of the fat remaining in the pot. It is like deep frying fat chunks.

The resulting chittlins (or cracklings as some people call them) are supposed to be really tasty, and I saved mine for friends to eat and for my own trap bait. Yes, some people will eat trap bait. Or, some people will use gourmet cuisine as trap bait. Strange world we live in. Take your pick.

This has been a lengthy post and I am about out of time and words. Here were my takeaways this time:

  1. Render your bear fat as fast as you can. The longer it sits, the more you will get some faint rancidity on the surface that must be trimmed off.
  2. Cut your bear fat chunks as small as possible, using a meat grinder if possible.
  3. Do not over heat or overcook the bear fat. This year it was on the slightly over-cooked side, because I was operating in the dark and did not notice just how deeply brown the chittliins had become. A slight brown shows they are cooked. A deep brown shows they have been completely deep fried and the oil has become super heated. The oil/ grease will then become brown from the high heat. We are aiming for a creamy white grease that solidifies easily when refrigerated or frozen.
  4. You can strain your bear grease through a cloth or coffee filter, but I did not. As I am not eating it, I just left the cauldron outside overnight in the 25-degree cold, which caused the grease to congeal. In the early morning I scooped up the best fat first, which is easily identifiable as the hard white tallow. Below the surface was the slightly brownish grease with a slightly grainy texture, and then below that were the fine particles that were not scooped out with the strainer. I took everything, each with its own use and purpose. The bottom of the barrel, so to speak, was taken for my friends’ dogs, which will probably enjoy the tasty treat and get a super glossy coat of hair. The creamy white, hard tallow is best for leather preservative. The brownish, unfiltered grease will harden up and is best for greasing ball patches and preserving steel surfaces.

Pictures and captions below should help, and I do hope this helps. Last year’s bear grease post was right up there in the top two or three on all the search engines, so people are really reading up on this neat process.

NOTE: WordPress has recently been “improved,” and it is now much less user-friendly, very hard to use. Especially with posting photos. When I went to the WordPress online forum today, a lot of other users are complaining. I have already spent a lot of time on this essay and lost half of what I put in. The new editor is terrible, and simply deletes a great deal of text. I apologize for the poor photo formatting, but I am not yet used to whatever “improvements” were made to the software. Believe me, I am trying to edit these, but the straight forward commands that WordPress had before are now gone. Like so many things digital today, “improvements” are made that eliminate the simplicity and ease of use of prior generations. Maybe this is a job guarantee for coders. Please bear with our technical difficulties…

These bags of bear grease are not all of the final result, but account for about 90%. About two quarts were bottled for friends and are set aside outside of this photo.
The water is boiling off in a billowing cloud of steam. The white fat chunks are visible

 

The bear fat chunks are now really starting to cook down in the rendered oil. They are being deep fried. I should have stopped it at this point, but instead allowed the process to go on another 25 minutes.
In the dark of night, using only an overhead porch light, the chittlins looked fully cooked at this color. Fact is, they had indeed become fully cooked, but the grease around them was overcooked.
Literally the bottom of the barrel. Not a whole lot of grease was rendered from that forty pounds of fat. The different layers and different qualities of resulting grease can be seen, with that creamy white, pure, hard grease at the very top, and the brownest bottom material held the fines and smallest chittlin bits. Had I cared to strain all of the grease through a cloth, I am sure it would have been cleaner and whiter as a result. But for my needs, this was good enough.

Chittlins. I saved these as trap bait and for friends who like wild game cuisine. The newspaper underneath is the Patriot News, and this is the highest and best use for that partisan propaganda Fake News publication.

Great American Outdoor Show is here!

The Great American Outdoor Show is here all this week, and you owe it to yourself to see it.

Unlike “gun shows” and related flea markets full of rusty junk and Mabel’s old kitchen odds n’ ends, the Great American Outdoor Show is 100% pure beef sprawling across acres and acres of Pennsylvania Farm Show Building. It is a completely unadulterated gear-queer’s heaven-on-earth, with everything from classy side-by-side British shotguns to endless arrays and permutations of tactical gear and “Black Rifle” accoutrements.

Trop Gun Shop usually has some sort of modern “urban assault vehicle” parked there; several years ago it was a 1960s VW van re-designed to look like a Bat Mobile replete with a mini-Vulcan automatic belt-fed rotary cannon on top. Super cool stuff.

Just about every major gun manufacturer is here, except for Kimber, I think, which is sad, because Kimber makes top quality handguns and hunting rifles. The public would benefit from being able to fondle, errr, become acquainted with their fine creations. For example, a friend of mine took a 140-inch whitetail buck this past winter in the Adirondacks wilderness, miles from any roads. His rifle was….a Kimber Adirondack in .308, with which he gets quarter-inch groups at 100 yards. Now that is an accurate gun.

And so with all these gun manufacturers on location, you can pick up and handle just about any handgun made in America today, as well as the Italian revolvers used by Cowboy Action Shooting folks. Concealed carry is a big deal these days, and every serious concealed carry handgun is available to test out. Except the Kimbers.

There are custom knives, mass-produced knives, a Persian guy selling low-cost Damascus blades made in Pakistan and China with God-knows-what-metals in them, duck boats, bass boats, ultra-deluxe fishing kayaks by Hobie, the Portable Winch, animal calls of every sort, specialty ammunition, a gazillion hunting and fishing outfitters from around the world, and everything else you could possibly imagine or want.

Well, JRJ Knives is not there this year, as he has missed the past two years. John has more demand than he can keep up with, and I guess he don’t need no stinkin’ show. But his presence is always enjoyed, and I miss seeing him here.

My appearance at the GAOS is always closely tied to the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen & Conservationists, at whose booth I am an annual volunteer, holding down the fort with the likes of Grouchy Dennis, Happy Phil, Over-Mother Melody and many others who volunteer their time to help PFSC help sportsmen. And there is no other organization in Pennsylvania that helps sportsmen like the PFSC. In fact, right now the NRA does not have a representative working in Pennsylvania, and it is the PFSC lobbyist who is carrying the NRA’s load these days in the legislature.

Of course there is FOAC, and they do amazing work, but when it comes to conservation, science-based wildlife management, AND firearms rights, PFSC is it.

And so for me the GAOS is all about the PFSC, and serving the sportsmen.

The show goes on through Saturday, and you should see it to believe it. It is truly incredible.

 

Hunters Sharing the Harvest sets the Holiday Season tone

Pennsylvania is a long time big time hunting state, with such a great and famously known outdoors sports tradition that the iconic red and black “buffalo check plaid” wool coat made by Woolrich, Filson, and other long established wool clothing manufacturers was dubbed the “Pennsylvania Tuxedo” back in the 1920s.

Today our clothing may have improved since then, or may not have improved, depending upon whether you like your hunting pants to be flammable, or not, and I do not (which means I prefer wool in all outdoor clothing), but one thing remains steady: Pennsylvanians rightly love to hunt.

And just as much as we love to hunt, we are also generous with the fruits of our time afield. We have a long tradition of sharing the fruits of our hunting labors.

Well do I recall as a kid waking up in late November or early December to find some fresh venison left on our doorstep by one or two of our neighbors, all of whom had big farms and all of whom were big time hunters.

Back then in that area, kids brought fresh venison jerky to school to share and trade with other kids during and right after deer season; everyone had their own proprietary jerky recipe that they liked and were proud of. Sharing venison is a real longstanding Pennsylvania tradition.

Back in 1991, local hunter John Plowman had a vision to harness that generous spirit among Pennsylvania hunters and use it to provide for the needy. He started Hunters Sharing the Harvest, which today annually supplies well over a hundred thousand of pounds of fresh, free range, wholesome, lean, natural, organic meat to Pennsylvanians in need. That translates into about 667,000 annual “meals” for individuals and families in need.

Yesterday my son “harvested” his first Pennsylvania deer (see photo below), a young spike buck that junior hunters are allowed to take, as the rest of us are limited to bucks with at least three points to a side of the antler rack. As we had incredible good fortune yesterday, and took other deer, my son decided to donate his deer to Hunters Sharing the Harvest. My boy is enjoying the act of charity and contributing towards the basic welfare of his community.

Both Deimler (Cumberland County) and Sensenig (Dauphin County) are deer processors close by our home, so either one would be the logical place to drop off the young buck.  But Deimler has the advantage of being right down the road from Johnson’s Furs, where we have our furs tanned and where we buy our trapping supplies, so that is where the critter has been dropped off.  Mutli-tasking, ya know?

And that is the neatest thing about this Hunters Sharing the Harvest option: We get to share our cake, and eat it, too, in the charitable spirit of the Holiday Season.

 

 

Sen. Bob Casey’s record vs. his YouTube ads

If you are a registered Pennsylvania voter getting on to YouTube, you will probably be presented with several advertisements for and about US senator Bob Casey, Jr., who is running for re-re-re-re-election.

In these ads everyday people are happily, even cheerfully talking to the camera about how bi-partisan Bob Casey is. How helpful he is. He sits down with them and smiles into the camera, and says “We can work together!”

Contrast this sunny image with Casey’s do-nothing, radical left-wing record. Do-nothing in the sense that Harrisburg City officials cannot get Casey to even write a letter of support for basic project funding. Go ahead and call one of his offices yourself; see if you get a human being on the phone. Typically no one answers the phone, and no one answers your letters. This is a man who has completely checked out and simply occupies a space.

Radical in the sense that Casey has sided with the crazed, violent, obstructionist mob in Congress and in the streets of America over and over and over, publicly vowing to oppose every single Trump nominee, every single Republican – passed law.

This is not bipartisan behavior. It is the opposite of positive can-do attitude for American citizens. This is Casey being as starkly partisan and as difficult as he possibly can be.

And most important, what this means is that he is not representing the interests of the citizens he was elected to serve. Rather, Casey is just another Nancy Pelosi radical, serving some weird anti-America agenda that leaves behind every loyal, taxpaying citizen in favor of some law-breaking, border-jumping, illegal foreigner. All for his party’s quest for absolute power through registering illegal aliens as new voters.

Vote Casey out.

Send him a message that we want to be represented in Washington, DC. If he wants to represent the illegal aliens of other nations, then he can go move there, to those countries, and help them right there, where they live. Those of us who keep writing his paychecks are tired of Casey’s lies.

A few local signs that the economy is smokin’ hot

Me: “Hi. I would like to have Cleon make me log arch, one that I can hook to my ATV, that is stronger than the Chinese junk being sold everywhere, and that is less expensive than the crazy-priced LogRite arches.”

Lynette: “Josh, what is your time frame?”

Me: “Well, I can use it in a week, but two or three weeks is no problem.”

Lynette: “Here’s the thing about timing. Back in June, we were about to lay off one of the welders, but we put out bids on ten jobs, any one or two of which would have carried us through the year. And between last week and this Monday we heard back that we won every single one of them. So we will not only be retaining that junior welder, but we are now looking for about five more to help us meet our commitments. We might not be able to get to your log arch for a while, but one of the men will call you back later today.”

And then one of the men did call me back, with terms and a price that more or less said “If we are going to make this for you, then you are going to pay big for taking us away from our real work.”

Another sign that our local and regional economy is smokin’ hot: The log trucks, the pallet trucks, the lumber trucks on the roads EVERYWHERE and at all times of day.

Never before have I seen so much activity in just one business sector, as I am seeing now in the timber industry, except maybe in 2008 when the Marcellus Shale boom was indeed booming across Pennsylvania.

Log trucks are especially visible. How can you miss a log truck? It dwarfs every other vehicle around it, and looks incredibly incongruous. Log trucks have these huge wide open bays or bunks to hold the logs, and a boom arm with a claw for lifting up 6,000 to 10,000-pound logs. A log truck has about 5,000 board feet or more of medium to high grade logs of all types on it, heading from someone’s private forest to someone else’s mill. From there the logs will be carefully analyzed for grade, and either sold-on or sawn up on site. Hardwood lumber is used in flooring, cabinetry, and furniture, all of which when active indicate a strong consumer and home building economy. Even tulip poplar, once sold for pennies per board foot, is now used for couch frames and cabinetry frames.

At every timber job there are expensive machines at work, with drivers who earn enough money to support a family. And the loggers, guys born with a chainsaw in one hand and a rifle in the other, they cut down a dangerous tree every ten minutes, then lop it and move on to the next before choking up the logs and skidding them to a landing.

Then there is the landowner, who gets good money for something they did absolutely nothing to create.

The sawmills, whether small Amish mills or huge international mills selling hundreds of thousands of board feet per week, are beehives of activity. Every person working there is earning money, and spending money, and contributing toward the larger economic activity around them.

Say nothing of the new homes and kitchen cabinets being built, or of the beautiful hardwood flooring and furniture being made for those new homes. All from someone’s private forest.

The point is, these are just two small examples of how the economy is exploding, and how after many years of stagnation we finally get to do more than scratch out a living, but actually do well and pay for our kids’ questionable college “education,” buy new cars, take nice vacations, and set something aside for our later years, when we are no longer able to work so hard.

It really is a new day in America, and boy does it feel good. One gets the impression that this good feeling is widespread across America, with the sad exception of places in North Carolina and Florida, recently hit hard by hurricanes, and our hearts go out to the victims there. The one thing they can rest assured about is that the materials needed to rebuild their lives are on their way as I write these words, and they are America-made, and America-grown.