There are billions of stars in space, and there is no way that we can go over all the different constellations in one post, or even a series of posts. Therefore we are going to go over some of the more common constellations. For this post we will look at some beginner constellations.
“If only the people who worry about their liabilities would think about the riches they do possess, they would stop worrying. Would you sell both your eyes for a million dollars. or your legs. or your hands. or your hearing? Add up what you do have, and you’ll find that you won’t sell them for all the gold in the world. The best things in life are yours, if you can appreciate yourself.” – Dale Carnegie [Read more…]
The other day my wife and I took a trip to shoot some trap. It was her first time trap shooting and the day couldn’t have been better. There was no moisture, only a light wind, and a very cloudy sky. I grabbed my 12 gauge and she grabbed a 20 gauge and we headed north…to the the shooting range.
Prior to the trip we went over the basics of the gun, safety, loading, firing, sighting, etc. She knew her stuff and I was able to brush off the cobwebs with the review I had with my wife. She is such a quick and easy learner; it is always fun to do new activities with her!
The range we went to was Blackwing Shooting Center, and there was hardly a soul shooting. However there were plenty of employees milling around. At first I thought this would be great, and a good chance to take our time and enjoy this fun outing at our own pace. Too bad that wasn’t the case, but I will get to that later.
The real point of this post is to explain some basics of trap shooting and offer two important pointers!
First, what is trap shooting and where did if come from?
In the late 18th century trapshooting was introduced by releasing pigeons from traps for target practice. The sport caught on and by the early 19th century it was in the USA and most notably in Cincinnati, OH and New York. The sport went well until in the 1870s a shortage of pigeons occurred. The simple solution that emerged was to replace the pigeons with clay platters – which is what is used today.
In current competition the trap (where the clay target is launched) is located 16 yds in front of the shooter. The shooter must then hit the target with one shot.
Second, some safety considerations.
There are some simple safety considerations in trap shooting:
- Keep the gun pointed down range.
- Only load 2 shells max for a shot if shooting doubles, one shell is shooting single trap.
- Always treat a gun as if it is loaded.
- Don’t move between stations with a loaded gun.
Finally, two pointers that will help you always hit.
- Keep your cheek against the guns stock. Your eye is the rear sight on a shotgun. Keep the bead of the shotgun on your target and your cheek on the stock.
- Aim at the bottom of the target. If you aim small, you will miss small. You are more often to shoot over a target then under it, so aim for the bottom edge of the target – it is easier to see anyway.
Where to buy clays if you don’t have a range close by.
Let’s say you are located in an area that doesn’t have a shooting range with trap or any form of skeet. What do you do? You out fit yourself. You will need the usual eye and ear protection, but you will also need two other items that you can pick up at a local sporting goods store or on Amazon.com.
- Some Clay – Amazon has Midwest Target Company OD90PK Orange Clay Targets – 90 Count for $32
- A way to hurl the clay. Below are three options:
- Self Propelled – Amazon has MTM Clay Target Thrower with Pivotal Arm Swing
for $8.43. This is an easy, cheap way to get started if you are going out with a friend.
- Mechanical One Trap – Amazon has the Trius One Step Trap for $97.49.
- Mechanical Two Trap – Amazon has the Trius 2 Birdshooter Trap for $44.39. Which is actually a great price.
- Mechanical Auto Trap – IF you are looking for something that can really get the job done, then your go to will be the Automatic Trap Launcher. Amazon has the Do-All Outdoors White Wing Automatic Trap
- Self Propelled – Amazon has MTM Clay Target Thrower with Pivotal Arm Swing
One more thing:
I eluded to it earlier, but will now hit my target about our experience at Blackwing Shooting Center. While we were there we had the range master, who seemed to have nothing else to do, come out and accuse my wife and I of swinging our guns around wildly, placing our barrels in the ground, and also scold us for picking up our spent ammunition as we went along. I can assure you that none of this was going on (except picking up the spent shells). When he approached and spoke to us, we offered him the respect that I was taught to offer a range master, but sadly he was not willing to show any respect to us. This is especially true in his dealings with my wife, and this was her first time shooting. She and I both walked out of the range after shooting our two sets feeling like we were not welcome there – a feeling my wife got when we walked through the door. Needless to say, this will be the last time that we shoot at Blackwing because of the treatment we received.
Even ignoring the frustration of false allegations by the range master, the larger problem is how many other people were treated this way. I face a challenge everyday of trying to get people excited about the outdoors and activities outside of their 9-5 world. Moreover, there are certain skills that need to practiced and learned responsibly in safe places. If these safe places that are entrusted with teaching beginners and new comers the skills necessary to succeed are closed off, judgmental and hateful then there is little hope for there to be a future for outdoor activities and self-sufficiency as we know it.
I know that I am going on a bit of a tirade, but it is deserved. I am a firm believer that we should treat others as we want to be treated and I also believe in being inclusive to people who genuinely want to learn and partake. It is often our very own fear and judgmental attitudes that are causing people to not want to embrace the simple joys of life – and that has to stop!
All that aside – happy shooting!
You are in the wilds, and you just happen to be wanting a hot baked concoction! What do you do???
Simple! Build an oven, start a fire, wait, then enjoy (after cooling period).
After I look at the above equation I think that one of the steps might need some explaining, namely build an oven. Building an oven in the wilderness can seem intimidating, but with a little knowledge you might be surprised how easy it is!
Step 1: Gather Stone Oven Materials
You will need some stone for this oven. If possible get nice flat stones like flint, schist, or the like. Stay away from sandstone, round river rocks and most rocks found in/on water – those will have a tendency to explode when you heat them. The last thing you want when trying to improve your survival situation is the get yourself blown up – definitely not cool!
You should be looking for some stones that are flat and longer, these will act as a shelf or cooking rack to place your food on.
Once you have the materials, find some good level ground to start building.
Step 2: Build the Structure
When building the stone oven, you want to start with a flat area to build a fire on top of. You will be laying stones in a circle around the fire building area with an opening in the front (you will later be able to roll a stone over the opening to help keep air in.
You will want to start building the walls of the oven up. When you get about 6″ to 12″ in height, you will want to lay your long stone across the structure. This will act as a shelf for the food you are cooking to be placed upon. Once the shelf is laid, continue to build the oven up, and stagger the next row of stones toward the center about 4″ to 6″ (depending on the size of the stones you are using). The staggering of stones will slowly create a domed top to the oven. Be mindful of this point to leave a larger hole in the back toward the top of the structure to allow for the smoke to exhaust from the oven. The more aggressive the stagger of stacked stones the quicker you will be able to seal off the over, but the less stable the oven will be too.
Once you have placed a top stone on the oven you will want to find a stone that can be rolled over the remaining mouth or opening to seal in the heat. IF you can find a rock with a small hole in the bottom or a missing corner you will be gaining a great advantage to keep your fire properly oxygenated.
Step 3: Build the Fire and Cook
You are now ready to build a fire in the oven, and get form a strong bed of coals in the oven. Ideally, you will have enough coals to allow feeding of the fire periodically with a split log. Once this is accomplished you are ready to cook. Depending on how far your shelf is from the bed of coals, your oven will be between 300F and 500F temperature. Most items will be cooked satisfactorily at this temperature in 10-30 minutes. However, since each oven setup and fire is different results will vary.
If this is the first use of your oven, I would recommend checking in 5-10 minute intervals on the progress. While you wait, it would be advantageous to build some tools for future food retrieval from the hot oven. A slimly forked stick can serve many a purpose, and a particular eager person could even carve a full peel.
Regardless, be sure to have fun and stay safe!
If you like fishing then you might already know that eating freshly caught fish is amazing! However, cleaning, descaling and cooking the fish can prove to be a little difficult in the field, until you learn this trick: Cook Fish with Foil on the coals of your fire.
Step 1: Catch a Fish
This is an important step. I could go into great depth on how to catch a fish during various seasons (and will in the future). But for today let’s just leave this step as it sits – catch a fish. Try to make sure the fish is at least as big as your hand. Otherwise there will not be much good meat to eat!
Step 2: Prepare the Fish for Cooking
Once you have caught the fish you need to gut it. Then you might choice to cut the head off, but I prefer to leave it on to later eat the eyes (they are delicious). The next step is where things get real easy – it has to do with scaling the fish.
That is a great step. No longer do you need to worry about the messy process of scaling your fish. Simply place your gutted and cleaned fish in a square of aluminum foil. You want the foil to be long enough to fully wrap the fish.
If you so please, you can add some herbs and other flavoring, however it is not necessary to butter or spray oil on the fish. It is really simple!
Step 3: Place the Fish on some Coals
Once you have the fish wrapped up and ready there are two options on how to use coals to cook the fish.
Option #1: Place the fish on top of coals for 5 minutes. Then flip the fish and let it sit for 5 more minutes. You will then want to check the fish and make sure that it is white and flaky (indicating properly cooked fish).
Option #2: Place the fish on coals and cover the fish with coals. Let is sit for 5-7 minutes and then check to see if it is cooked.
Once you have cooked the fish (using either option above), then it is time to open the fish up. When you are opening you will notice that the scales and skin want to stick to the foil – this is good; let it happen! The goal is that the foil does stick to the scales and skin. The result will be that the scales and skin are removed (and often the bones when you pull out the spine) with the foil. This leaves only some really delicious meat and some potential remaining bones. Be careful of those bones or else you will be spent on a coughing fit that would rival the hardest workout of your life!
If, the foil doesn’t pull the skin and scales off don’t worry! At this point the skin and meat will separate very easily. It will take a little more work, but will still prove much easier than scaling and skinning the fish prior to cooking.
Fish is delicious, especially fresh caught fish. Hopefully this little tip will encourage you to get out and fish more. After you catch your fish you could be enjoying some delicious meat in 20 minutes or less.
Do you have some tips or tricks you would like to add? If so please be sure to comment away!
Recently, videos have surfaced about Planned Parenthood selling parts of babies.
(See the videos here: http://www.centerformedicalprogress.org/cmp/investigative-footage/ BEWARE. THEY ARE GRAPHIC)
This is a practice that Planned Parenthood is confirming; however they are holding to the statement that they are not making profit off of the sale of these parts.
I can’t help but speak out against this practice! There are three points that I need to state as to why I am against this.. Along with standing up against this act, I’m asking anyone who reads this to also stand and demand that the just and right thing shall be done.
You can sign a petition here for Congress to investigate this.
- We are killing people… and let’s not forget that “All Lives Matter!”
To watch the videos and see the little hands, feet, lungs and eyes of these people is heart wrenching! This is one of the main reasons as to why I disapprove of Planned Parenthood. These are people that are being obliterated and then profited from.
I do not know of a people group or culture that could see this as a just action, and I certainly don’t think that the “City upon a Hill” could ever be complacent with such activities.
- We are wiping out great minds, great ideas, outstanding cures, and so much more!
There are many great people throughout history that were almost aborted, but were not. You can Google around and be amazed at the people. Here is a short list:
- Pope John Paul II
- Steve Jobs
- Celine Dion
- Maya Angelou’s son, Clyde
- And many more
How many great minds are we wiping from history? How many advancements could have been made? We have no authority in whether people who have never made one action on Earth are to be terminated, yet we exercise the job of the judge and executioner with little societal regret!
- We have chosen to believe that life should be convenient and free of pain and are causing those without a voice to suffer!
There is a rumor floating around. It is a rumor that your computer should always run perfectly, that traffic should always bow to your schedule and that your life should be the easiest! We were never promised convenience, ease, or a lack of suffering in our lives. As a matter of fact, those who have had the most pain and suffering often come out richer, stronger, and more resilient as a result of it!
If you want some character studies, please look at:
- Teddy Roosevelt
- Winston Churchill
- George Washington
- Dale Carnegie
- Henry Ford
- Nikola Tesla
- Guglielmo Marconi
- Albert Einstein
- Bill Gates
- Ben Franklin
- Viktor Frankl
- And many, many more
The fact that our lives could be inconvenienced by an unplanned pregnancy is unfortunate – however, convenience should never trump our obligation to live righteous and just lives! We should love our neighbors as we love ourselves – and we should especially love our children!
Call to action
If you agree with me that life is precious and that we should not be profiting off of the termination of infants then please take action with me.
Please take the time to share your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and/or your blog. We need to not be afraid to stand for life. We should not apologize for wanting other people to experience life. We should make our opinion and voices known to the world.
I am certain there will be backlash. I would encourage you to think on these words from Rabbi Weinburg, “Until you know what you are willing to die for, you have not yet begun to live.”
Please stand up for life!
- It is uplifting – In today’s modern film, it is not typical anymore to show a film that revolves around a group of people helping one another. Well for this film, it presents its viewers on how to encourage other people and how to support others until they succeed.
- The host knows his stuff – The Host, Creek Stewart, was a Boy Scout who turned into the MacGyver of the survival world. His Survival School, Willow Haven, has become a popular place to learn great skills in Indiana.
- The supporting cast changes weekly – Every week there would be three new people who would on a journey into the woods along with Creek. The situation may differ every week since the three people might know each other or they may not. But the picture to look out for on that journey is when these people help out each other and slowly bring out their true character.
- The information is varied – The show covers typical survival materials like how to build a fire, how to build a shelter or find water. But rather than stick with one way on starting a fire you get to see a new way each week. It is never boring.
- The show is fun – Even the show is about survival and not dying, the show is still uplifting and fun!
If you haven’t seen it yet, then be sure to turn in to the Weather Channel on Sunday night at 10PM. You are sure to enjoy it and learn some great tips in the process!
Hawk Perched on Feeder Hook
This morning, while the family was gathered around the breakfast table, we had the privilege of seeing a Cooper’s Hawk stalk some prey. This hawk is a regular in the area, but as fall rolls in it has been making more frequent stops in our area.
I thought I would share some of the few good shots I got. The hawk flew in and out so quickly that I was barely able to get the camera adjusted correctly and photos taken before it was gone!
Hawk Flying Off – pretty shakey
With any luck, it will be back again soon and I can grab some more photos.
Nothing makes us feel like it was a great day when were productive all day long! The tasks needed to be done were finished, you have spent your time wisely on balancing your life and work, you don’t feel that exhausted at all and you feel satisfied at the end of the day. Below are unusual ways to boost productivity:
- Go for a Walk – Research shows that walking is amazingly beneficial for our bodies (check out this article for the nitty gritty). So lace up those shoes and get to walking. We should all be pushing to get 10,000 steps a day anyway. To help with keeping track of your progress, I would recommend getting a great activity tracker, my favorite is the VivoSmart by Garmin.
- Momentarily Shutdown (Nap) – A nap of 15 minutes is probably one of the most overlooked action to boost productivity. There are already studies that have backed up this claim. You can find out why by reading this article.
- Talk with a co-worker – NO GOSSIP; ONLY POSITIVE TOPICS! Connecting and being positive with someone at work not only improves workplace morale, but it also adds to your positive outlook of the day. Life is about the quality of our connections – so make some great ones today!
- Do your A1 – I’m not talking about the steak sauce. I’m talking about the most important thing on your To Do list. Make it the highest priority of your work day to accomplish the most important item for you at work. If you aren’t sure what that is, then you will want to make sure that you are taking the first 15 minutes of your day to write out the items you need To Do and then rank and prioritize them. This activity alone will greatly increase your productivity!
- Connect with friends/family for 10 minutes – Call a good friend and catch up (just 10 minutes). This little respite will remind you that you are important to people outside of work and that there are people and activities to look forward as soon as your work is done. This can push you to be more diligent about the tasks at hand.
- Workout at your desk or at gym – Making a habit to go to the gym before going to work or starting your day, can actually really boost your productivity. How? Because with exercise it gets the blood flowing. The increased blood and endorphin flow to the brain will bathe your brain with oxygen and happy chemicals to help kick your day to the next level. Often the effects far outperform the effects of a cup of coffee, but you can always team coffee and a workout together to really get a boost! So go and get a resistance band set to keep at your desk. Then the next 5 minute break or conference call you are on you can rip out some squats, curls, kickbacks and more. My favorite band set is $30 and has lasted me 3 years! You can get it here: Resistance Band Set
- Go out to lunch (don’t take work and silence your cell phone) – Stepping away from the office can really help your attitude. The reminder of a life outside the office has a positive effect on your attitude about being at the office. Taking the time to be thankful for the time and money to have lunch out is a powerful reminder that solving problems at work has intrinsic and extrinsic benefits!
These are some tips that can help you find a second wind and increased focus while you are work. They are to be used with discretion and periodically throughout the day. You obviously still need to work, but one of these small breaks once or twice in your day could greatly increase your productivity. So get out there and boost productivity!