for the birds

With my rifle arriving any day now I realized I should probably do more to help out the native song bird population than what I have planned. For those wondering what I mean by that. My plan is to blast away as many house sparrows and European starlings as I can. They're destructive non-native birds who have wrought more harm than good since being mistakenly introduced to this continent. Oh and I'm not shooting at them where I live since it's an apartment and I have no backyard whatsoever. The shooting will take place in only in the proper venues. Back to the topic at hand.

So on the way home from work I picked up a bird feeder and seed formulated for song birds. The total cost was about $10. I filled and set it up as soon as I got home where I then watched it sit unused for almost two days. I even nicknamed it "The China Seed Buffet" for fun. Finally, this morning, I heard and saw song birds using it. So far it's only been a pair of carolina chickadees and baby cardinals tufted black-crested titmouse (lol) but hope to see more in the future. To be honest I didn't know what chickadees even looked like until I found a matching picture of them on google. I never thought I would get into this but I have to say that it was a real treat to see them partake. I would've posted pictures but because I shot them from inside they came out back-lit and washed out. I'll have pictures next time.  Right as I posted this I heard singing outside again. When I looked I saw this guy standing on the hand rail and snapped a picture that came out a little better.

Angry Happy Bird

bridgette's lump

It's been over a month since we first discovered and later had it aspirated at the vet's office. I'm happy to report that it is shrinking just like they said it would. At least it started to shrink after last weeks follow up visit for additional booster shots. I almost shelled out another $160 for this visit but was talked into purchasing a health plan at the last minute for her. After reviewing everything, I came to the conclusion that it made sense since she officially turned the corner into senior citizenship last year. Normally these things aren't very cost effective unless your pet is a walking calamity of one sort or another. The plan includes unltd office visits, 2 comprehensive exams/tests, blood work, and teeth cleaning (which she's long overdue for). The overall cost of the plan versus an itemized cost of what they give you is a steal! I went ahead and had them perform the first comprehensive exam and she's in perfect health.

I haz a health plan!



Shortly after beginning this blog I'd put together a list of items needed to get my trailer Boondock ready in work in progress. At that time I didn't have the funds to get the big ticket items and went for the essentials instead. That was over a year ago and I've since saved/earmarked the funds for those items. Last September I was about to purchase them to begin upgrading the trailer until someone had stolen the propane tank off my rig (well this sucks). I decided then to postpone those purchases until at which time I hit the road. No sense giving thieves more to steal. This had the unintended consequence of learning what I really needed, and saving me a little money too. 

I replaced the stolen tank with one of those cool new see-thru ones. It's about $70 more than your std steel tanks, but the payoff is I can see when I'm running out. I realize a gauge costs less and tells me the same thing, but this weighs much less than a steel one. Less weight means less gas used to haul my trailer. I got to break in the tank last year and learned how much propane I'll actually use. I used a little over a half gallon in 6 days, and that was with me purposely wasting it too. I didn't need the 2nd tank or new holder any longer which saved me $120.

I purchased the Vortex fan last year, but haven't installed it yet. I'm waiting to get the Fan-tastic Vent fan and have them both professionally put in. I could do it, but won't. I had a very bad experience working with electricity when I was younger and now avoid it. Although in retrospect I think I wasted the $50 on it because I don't like how it doesn't let in as much light as the Fan-tastic Vent does. I think I'll give it away later.

Here's a list of what I still need to buy, and what it would cost me today versus a year ago. What isn't on the list but still may be needed is a power inverter. I do have money set aside to cover it but am waiting until I get everything else installed. I'll find out if I really need it then since it's not a hard thing to install.

Assorted Items
$132. Fantastic Vent 4000R (down from $140)
$199. 10x LED Light Bulbs (up from $180)

Solar Power
$210. 2x Trojan T-105 6v Batteries
$398. 2x AM OM100 Solar Panels (down from $850)
$319. Blue Sky Solar Boost 3024iL Charge Control System (down from $340)
$168. Blue Sky IPNPRO-S Battery Monitoring System (down from $240)

Gas Power
$1000. Honda EU2000i Portable Generator (down from $1300)


ma·raud'er n.

v.intr.To rove and raid in search of plunder.
v.tr.To raid or pillage for spoils.

[French marauder, from maraudtomcat, vagabond.]

Friday morning while drinking coffee and browsing the net, I noticed that Crosman had finally restocked my rifle. The level of excitement and nervousness as I tried to place the order was like, well it was a lot like the too soon grab for the breast on a first date move. I dropped the credit card (twice) and fudged everything I typed. I finally managed to calm myself down and get the order placed. It will be mine, Yarr! Oh and I stopped grabbing for breasts on first dates when I was in high school. In case you're wondering. I've roughly a two week wait for it to ship. In the meantime I'll be placing another order for most of the usual accessories (scope, ammo, case, magazine, cleaning supplies) so that I can use it.

The one thing I'm still struggling with is whether to get a tank or hand pump to fill it with. Each has benefits and detriments making it harder on me to pick. I hope that I don't wind up owning both because combined they're costly.

A tank allows for multiple refills (to a point) where ever I may be, but I have to rely on someone with a 3000 psi air compressor to refill it. This, I'm learning, isn't as easy to find as I first thought. Dive shops carry them usually but I won't always be near one. The additional difficulty is that not all shops do refills for air gunners. The more inexpensive tank option available are the aluminum scuba tanks, but they require inspections and certifications every so often. Once I'm out of air in the field, I'm out.

With the hand pump I can refill anywhere at any time. The down side is that it's time consuming and takes a bit of physical work. The physical part isn't really that much of a problem but doing repetitious tasks like it gets old very fast with me. The other downside is that these pumps are specialized and require maintenance as  parts on them fail (O rings) somewhat regularly I've learned. This can be a pain if it breaks where I can't repair it. As long as it's working I can always refill anywhere.

Whatever the case I'll figure it out soon enough.

debt status update

I paid the last of the April bills today and here's where I'm at. The interest and/or finance charges are included in the current totals. Next month I pay off overdraft protection with the trailer following about 4 months after.

1074 Overdraft Protection
3973 Travel Trailer
9100 Credit Card

14147 Total

Soon, soon I'll be able to resume my hookers and blow habit!


unnatural selection

I spent last weekend and part of this week reading and watching air rifle video reviews. I'm glad I did this because I learned a few things that wound up changing my mind (again). Although this time the change was to get  a .25 caliber version instead of a .22. The larger pellet will put down a target in a more authoritative way. It's not that the death twitch bothers me, but with less twitch there's less lactic acid in the muscles at time of death. This helps reduce some of that gamey taste. The other thing is with a smaller caliber comes the need for a more precisely placed shot. I'm a little rusty and not that good, not yet at least. Picking out the right scope and pellets wasn't hard since most of the reviewers all gravitated towards the same ones for the model rifle I am getting. That was it, I was done researching and ready to buy.

Benjamin Marauder .25 Caliber Air Rifle

Wednesday night after work was the day/time I had set to make the purchase. So I get home then (couldn't get there fast enough), go to the website, and there in big black letters (beside the add to cart button) were the words "out of stock". This was the manufacturers website no less. First thought was that I could have killed something right then and there. The joke wasn't lost on me since I was technically unarmed. Anyways I learned everyone is out of stock after a few phone calls. We're all gonna be waiting a few weeks now.

Since I had time on my hands again I threw myself into doing more research. This time it was on state hunting laws, licenses, game, and field dressing. I concentrated on learning the mid to northwestern states since I already know that it's open season year round on rabbits in the 4 southern border states. The laws and seasons are fairly similar between the states with a few minor differences. Now that that's covered the next thing was learning how to field dress game. When I was a kid (7 years old) I helped slaughter a meal here and there while visiting my grandfathers farm in Peru. This was under the direction of my uncle, and not me recreating a scene from "night of the living dead" with chickens. Since I'd done this before I didn't expect to be grossed out while watching some of the how to videos. I don't know why this surprised me when it didn't bother me, but I then escalated animals. Next I watched a field dressing of boar, then a deer, then a moose, nope still nothing. All I kept thinking was what recipes best to use with each kind of meat and I should probably stop watching those videos. There's no way in hell the beagle and I could devour more than two rabbits in one sitting. These subjects were covered now and no need to go on. 

Target practice was last up. Shooting ranges are a plenty here, but I never was a fan. Shooting stationary targets is not hard to begin with and paying to do that is a huge waste of money to me. Moving targets is what I need to work on. Unfortunately there isn't something alive that I can practice killing guilt free. I was wrong I learned shortly after. Turns out the Starling and (common house) Sparrow are not only unprotected throughout the entire US, but neither is a native species of this continent. They're both from Europe and were disastrously introduced here by a bunch of morons in the mid to late 1800's. They've both proven to be deathly invasive to many native bird species, destructive to farm operations, spread diseases, and have prolific populations. You can google or bing the info on just how destructive they've been if you don't take my word for it. I can get and stay in practice while helping out the native birds.

Farmers happily welcome hunters because they help control the pest populations for them. Once the rifle arrives the beagle and I will be spending our weekends in the country harvesting bunnies for food and/or eliminating farm pests. I don't think this could have worked out any better for me.


like seaweed pho tornados

About two weeks ago TwoKnivesKatie private messaged me "Are you still in Texas?" (in cheaprvlivingforum.com). After a few more messages we learned that not only was she in town, but my office was one exit away from where she was staying. We exchanged numbers, I made a call, and a lunch date was set. In case anyone is wondering we had pho for lunch. Getting to meet Katie was a real treat, and she's every bit as awesome in person as she is online. If you've ever been one to be nervous when it comes to meeting someone for the first time I can tell you now that you shouldn't be with her. First thing she did was give me a big friendly hug. My kind of people! Then I got a tour of her digs and finally got to meet Mutt. Such a good doggie too. I can honestly say that that was one of the best conversations I've had in a long time and can't believe we managed to cover so many topics in an hour. I really wished we could've hung out again before she left but time just wasn't on our side. 

I got a bit of a scare when she texted me that she was .02 miles from the tornado. She and Mutt found safe harbor from it for any of you who don't read her blog or saw her post in the forum about it. After I found out she was ok she told me about some seaweed she got on sale at an Asian market I told her about at lunch the other day. You gotta love that spirit of hers! She gets the scare of her life but still finds time to tell me about a bargain on ethnic food. My kinda people!

I hope that we'll get a chance hang at RTR III next year.


a change of plans

For the last two months I've been pushing a loosely planned vacation back 1-2 weeks at a time. The reason being personal life and/or work related stuff kept on coming up. The time finally arrived where I could take it (next week) but escaping the city wasn't really feasible any longer. It's getting hot in Texas and the rising of cost of gas are big detractors. I'm also not feeling the burning desire to escape the city any more. Had I gone earlier as planned I would have spent under budget on the trip, but now it'd cost way over budget. This is due to the heat and how it affects gas consumption. Yes, I'm that strict about budgets. --> Asian <--

What are you gonna do with that money now? Glad you asked! Remember that .22 rimfire rifle I talked about getting a few months back. Well that kind of changed too. I decided to get a .22 air rifle first. Unfortunately it costs a bit more than the rimfire, but the upside is that I'm able to use it in more places. The total cost is temporary too since I'll start to hunt rabbit and save on the cost on meat. Just for fun I shopped around for whole rabbit meat and found a place that charges about $6 per pound. The average weight/cost for a large rabbit is 3 pounds/$19. Jackrabbit is also on the menu but I wasn't able to find prices on them. They weigh about 9 pds average so figure about half to two thirds that weight after field dressing them. Game birds also figure into this equation depending on season and hunting license costs.

Ok so how does this tie in with full time living Steve? Budgeting is self explanatory. Vacations are also a null issue because work and free time are measured differently then. However travel costs and seasons are still an issue. Were I out there right now, I'd have already moved northward or into higher elevation to escape the heat. Most likely I'll either be workamping for a few months or making short bunny hops every two weeks from camp to camp. As for hunting, that depends on location and what's in season there. Rabbits are open season year round in the southwestern states, but I'm not sure about up north. I still doing research in this area. Worst case scenario I make my diet vegetarian during the summer months. Farmers markets are everywhere so I expect I'll be eating even better than I do now.

I can't wait until I the day I win my freedom but for now I'll keep working, paying off debt, and saving.