Chapter 30

August 20th, 2010

Not Enough Shade

The week's retail sales were amazingly brisk, but Saturday was a slow day for retail sales, so I decided to go up to The Cabin right after work, get a shower, and some clean clothes, and get away from it all on Sunday. I have two more Sundays off before I begin working 7 days a week in September and October, and I plan to enjoy them.

We closed at 4:30pm on Saturday, and I arrived at The Cabin's 1,000ft driveway in a short time after using some back roads and shortcuts to avoid two large traffic accidents, one of which a HAZMAT Team was doing laborious clean-up. Pulling up to the circle turn around at the spacious front deck, I disarmed the building, grabbed my duffel bag and went inside. Jenny was happy to see me, and I refilled her dry, wet and water bowls in short order. I set the AC to 74°F to reduce the humidity, although The Cabin is shaded by some 100-125ft trees,l it still gets humid in there. I unpacked the duffel bag into the dresser and closet, brought several firearms — my 1911 Kimber .45cal ACP "Eclipse Target II" sidearm (of course it's always with me in a Galco Fed Paddle Holster) the Remy 11-87 Auto-Loader 12ga, the Henry "Big Boy" lever-action Repeater, chambered in .357 Magnum; and the Beowulf .50cal — and I have plenty of ammo and mags there for all of my 8 calibers. I was going to do some target practice and zero-in the sight and scopes, as I had 100+ targets at The Cabin, and plenty of trees to be felled to pin them to.

I noticed that Bill Knaub & Co had felled 9 more trees and carted them away, leaving only the 14" stumps. They'd also split my wood into 18" and 3ft logs for the massive hearth, and neatly piled the kindling and stacked it in the Firewood Storage Shed in the Backyard, 10 yards behind The Cabin. The place looked like the 9-11 aftermath, with all the destruction, but that would soon be taken care of, as I'd bought 20 "Princeton" American Elms to replace them, just after frost and leafdrop, later in October. I might even bring another 10-15 smaller Elms along to disperse amongst the other big trees, which would have to come down with a year or two. That way, they'd have some time to grow and replace the cooling canopy. Since I'm one of the East Coast's Authorized Distributors, the trees are inexpensive, and with a 4-6ft growth rate per year, will easily fill the voids left by all the trees being taken down in a few weeks.

I have a local contractor lined-up to pull the stumps with a very large John Deere Backhoe, backfill the holes with unscreened farm soil, and burn the stumps on-site, after I obtain a "controlled burn" permit ($10) from City Hall, but that project is a long ways down the road. Much to do before that point-in-time. I called Bill and asked if he'd had any more run-ins with the Holtzapples or their "friends", and he said all were still in the county prison, unable to make bail. They'd been arraigned on many charges and some of the would be doing some long time. Good deal.

I'd stopped along the way and picked-up 13 ears of "Ambrosia" (white & yellow kernels) Sweet Corn, made my own Chicken Cordon Bleu the night before, ready to now heat-and-eat, and had some fresh-picked peaches as dessert. Nothing fancy for dinner, except the 50-yr old Cognac. So time to get cheffing. But first, a Bathroom and some clean, dry clothes.

I felt great after the shower and the meal, so I settled into my large, over-stuffed leather chair, and Jenny curled-up on her Kodiak bearskin rug. I poured a ¼ of a snifter of Cognac, lit a Cuban Cigar (don't ask), and just enjoyed the AC cooling the place down, set to 74°F. I didn't feel like reading; I was too tired-out from the heat and humidity over the past few weeks, so I just dozed-off for a few hours. The lights inside went on automatically at 7:15pm, thanks to some timers I'd installed, and the outside spots, front and back, would go on at 7:45pm, thanks to Choice One Security. Life is good.

I guess that I shouldn't have taken that Ambien CR sleeping pill, as I slept until 2:15pm on Sunday, wasting most of the day. But it was the best sleep I've had in many months. I went into town and got the few items I needed — AC/Furnace filters, dog food, bottled water etc — and was back within an hour or so. I felt groggy from the sleeping pill, and sorry that I didn't get around to all the places I wanted to go. But I'll correct that next weekend, my final Sunday off before starting the 7-day-a-week Fall Sale regimen. Yuk. I washed and dried laundry, put clean bed linens on the Master Master Bedroom's bed, and vacuumed the oriental rugs and Kodiak Bearskin.

With so many large trees down, and the shade canopy interrupted, The Cabin's massive front deck and picnic table are now in full sunlight, for most of the day. So, setting-up a "shooting hide" on the extra large picnic table isn't as pleasant as it used to be; nevertheless I did it, and used my Henry .357Magnum "Big Boy" Repeater, to shoot targets at 100 yards, through simple, stock peep sights. I'd stapled a human-sized target to one of the other trees to be felled, paced the distance off, and consistently hit 8-ring and 9-ring, with 2 in the 10-ring. I was pleased.

Next, I put-up a new target at 150 yards, and used the Beowulf® .50cal with a newly-fitted Trijicon® TA648-50 6x48 ACOG Scope, and 10 extra 11-round mags for .50cal 335gr rounds (causing massive damage to whatever they hit inside of 200yds), hitting only the 7-rings and 8-rings, but nothing higher, using a simple EoTech Red Dot Sight, with no magnification and a .335-grain round. A .50 cal at that distance reaches terminal velocity quicker than a .357 Magnum fired point-blank range, which means it would have blown a hole the size of a basketball through the backside of a human target. I was also pleased.

Finally, it was time to use the Remy® 11-87 Semi-Automatic 12ga Shotgun with devastating Federal® 12ga .00 Buck (9 pellets) "FliteControl®" Shells, and EoTech® Red Dot Scope, at 50 yards. I stapled a new target, and hit everything from the 7-ring to 10-ring on the human-sized target. Again, I was pleased. Next trip, I'll bring along some of my Class III AR-10 Sniper Rifles and AR-15s, to see how they do. I would build a new shooting range here, and this is what it would look like.

Just as I was cleaning-up the empty casings, Corporal Clay Atler, the Chief's son-in-law (three tours in Iraq with MEF (Marine Expeditionary Force), drove-up the 1,000ft drive in his squad car, with another deputy. They'd heard all the shooting and wondered if I was under siege again. I simply told them that I was testing some new weapons on the 43-acre property, and that next week, I'd be bringing-up some unusual Class III weapons, which I invited them to partake of. They were ecstatic about that opportunity. I'd told then to wear light-colored clothes and a straw hat, as I was wearing, since the tree shade canopy had been severely disrupted and it was now very *hot* on the deck, during the day. As soon as I get those 20-30 "Princeton" American Elms placed and planted, things will change rapidly with 2-4 seasons of growth.

I packed-up everything, re-loaded Jenny's food & water bowls, armed The Cabin and headed back to York (PA), for work on Monday.

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