Monday, December 24, 2007

Recommended Products and Services Across The Fruited Plain

For my vast national and international audience:

Airtran: Cheap and on-time. I have flown with them exclusively to and from drill for all of this year (and part of the last). They are on-time pretty much as SOP, and early departures aren't unknown. They board and deplane quickly and efficiently, too, which can't be said for other airlines. Online gun shopping. Need we say more?

Smith & Wesson: Although I've by no means put my M&P-15T through an exhaustive test, so far I'm fine with it. It could use a few minor product improvements, but I think the company has hit on a good thing. And their customer service seems to be right on the mark.

Cabela's Ammunition Sales: Online ammo shopping! Delivered right to your doorstep. Ain't this a great country?

Recommended Products and Services in Northern VA

As the year draws to a close, let me highlight some of the good people and quality gear I've run across here in Northern Virginia. (Another, more national post will follow.)

White Hat Chimney Sweep: Call Jay at 703.761.4333. He has more than taken care of us for a couple years now, since I installed the wood-burning insert.

Loudoun Guns: Good old local manly gunstore. If they ain't got it, they'll get it.

Blue Ridge Arsenal: Good old local indoor range. If it wasn't there, I don't know where I'd be shooting.

FPF Training: John Murphy's high-speed one-man-band operation. His courses would be a bargain at twice the price. Highly recommended.

Old Dominion Brewery: Directions are on the website, but the only sign to the place is on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, at about milepost 25.5. Great beer, good chow.

Partlow's BBQ: Outstanding barbecue joint, right on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, at milepost 27.5. Make it a day and hit ODB and then Partlow's. And then ODB again.

Healthy Kids Pediatric Center: Dr Davis, our pediatrician. If I had three hands I'd give her three thumbs up.

Blood On The Hunting Knife!

I went out to some private land this past saturday afternoon, as the guest of someone who is a member of the club that leases the hunting rights there. It's near Warrenton, VA. I didn't see a thing, deer-wise, but my hunting buddy, Steve O. (VMI '87) nailed a doe with his 7mm Magnum. I asked him if I could do the gutting, since I'd never done it before and needed to know how. Plus, I really wanted to share in the success.

So, the hunting knife which had been bloodless since 2000 saw its first action. I did OK, I must say. I'm not sure I scored over a C-, but I felt good about it. We'll have the meat in about three weeks.

Other items of note from that day: Despite seeing no deer, I did have a delightful afternoon. About 200-300 meters from my stand was a large beaver pond, and from it flew the largest flock (skein?) of ducks I have ever seen. Normally I see them around here in pairs and threes, and if I see ten or tweleve I think that's a lot. Here, there were at least 60, probably more. What a sight. And a good education too-- I got to hear all of the calls and sounds they make, the quacks and the chuckles. Good stuff.

And it made me think again how important it is to conserve the existing wild lands even in suburban and semi-suburban counties. No wild lands, no wild life-- no beavers, no beaver ponds; no ponds, no ducks. Hunters are the best conservationists around. We need to be more vocal.

(And I *will* be getting one of these.)