Friday, June 14, 2019

Every Day is Flag Day

Display it. Respect it.

Studies have shown that seeing the American flag improves brain function.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Patrick Henry On Liberty

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.... The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun."
-- Patrick Henry, Speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 5, 1778

Fair enough.

The racist governor of Virginia should take note.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Now on Instagram

A few months ago, I succumbed and opened an Instagram account. My motivation for adding another social media account was to follow some cigar-related accounts. As such, most of my Instagram activity will be focused on cigars. I'll include some shooting, beer, and whiskey posts on occasion too. After all, they do go hand in hand at times.

Click the logo above to see the content. And follow if it interests you.

For those interested, I'm also active on Twitter.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Never Too Hot For A Fire

Or a bourbon. Or a cigar.

After shooting the Cavalier IDPA match in the morning, followed by moving furniture around in the afternoon, I was sitting on the deck, on the verge of nodding off. We had discussed using the fire pit in the evening, but the temperature was still well above 80º and it would have been easy to forgo the fire.

But we had an old Swedish Fire log that needed to be burned before it rotted. And there was the bottle of Henry McKenna Single Barrel which had yet to be opened. This bourbon won Best in Show Whiskey at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. So we lit the log and opened the bourbon. Of course, that called for a cigar, in this case La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Reserva Maximo.

We just had to sit a ways back from the fire.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Weekend Cavalier IDPA

On Saturday morning over the Memorial Day weekend I headed off to the monthly Cavalier IDPA match. It had been three weeks to the day since I had last shot, or even touched the gun; not even to dry fire, or to clean it. It happens when life gets busy.

The first stage we shot, called "Cookout Prep," began by pushing a lawn mower forward, activating a swinging target behind us. After engaging the swinger, we worked our way around some walls to find more targets. I was pleased to shoot the stage just one point down, from a low shot on the swinger, but I did also earn a 3 point Procedural Error for forgetting a target at the second shooting position. Fortunately the target was visible to be shot at the last position so I didn't also get the associated misses.

"Cleaning House" was a -1 stage for me. Starting facing a wall, we turned to engage two nearby targets, one a head-only threat. After moving to engage a falling steel popper, the rest of the stage presented both open targets, and ones partially obscured by non-threats.

Next up was "Last Stand & Deliver." We stood at a table on which we had placed our gun and magazines. Targets were set in three sections of priority; two paper, three falling steel, and a single far "tuxedo" target. Our gun was downloaded to three rounds at the start, and all paper required three hits. Unfortunately I shot a little sloppy on this one, forcing extra shots on the steel, and had two misses on the last partial target.

"Roundabout" presented a meandering path through the course of fire. There were nine targets to be engaged from seven shooting positions. At six of those shooting positions we engaged a lone target, with three targets found at the last. Our path had us winding back and forth and around walls. I saw more than one shooter miss engaging a target by skipping a shooting position. I had one miss on this stage, adding to my total of 7 points down.

We ended on "Morning Commute." This two-string stage started with us seated at a table for both. For the first string we shot targets on both sides of the table, then finished with a two target array behind a non-threat. All shots were taken through a narrow, and slightly low, port through the walls. On the second string we again started out seated, but moved to find four targets to be shot from two or three points of cover, depending on shooter preference. I nipped the wall on the second string, saw the missed shot at the end, with a round left in my gun, but my mind never reacted to "Shoot it again."  I blame the heat. :-)

This was a fun match. The morning was very warm, but we finished all five stages in about 3½ hours. I had some disappointing stages, though I still enjoyed the shooting very much. The courses of fire were interesting and seeing friends is always fun. I may not be as competitive as I was in the past, but I am still having as much fun as I always have.

Memorial Day

As we begin the unofficial start of Summer, I hope everyone will take a moment to pray for those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms. Celebrate the holiday as you wish, with food and drink, enjoying fun with friends and family, but do it remembering the reason behind Memorial Day. Without our fallen heroes this great country, and indeed the world, would be a much different and lesser place. We owe them, and their families, a debt that can never be repaid.

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." -- John 15:13

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Eastern Divide Brewing

Activity on these Musings has been light of late, but that doesn't mean we haven't been busy around here. A lot has been going on, not the least of which was the celebration of our son's graduation from college. Over our four-day celebration, we made a visit to Eastern Divide Brewing in Blacksburg, VA.

We arrived at the brewery just before their noon opening time on a Saturday. In the next 10 or so minutes more and more cars arrived in the parking lot. The brewery has only been open a few weeks, but seemed to be attracting many visitors. The doors were opened a few minutes late and we streamed in. The visit started off with a laugh as the employee opening the doors locked himself, and us, outside. We all walked around to the side and entered through the large deck overlooking the surrounding fields and mountains.

Ten beers, two sodas, and a cold-brewed coffee were on tap. After a few minutes I settled on the  Black('sburg) Pale Lager. This is their take on a Black IPA. The beer has a roasted coffee flavor with an accent of pine and citrus hops. Quite tasty.

Other members of our group ordered Up-Nod Belgian Quad and Eastern Divide Pils. Stealing a few sips from their glasses, I found those beers to also be enjoyable.

Besides trying the beers, lunch was also on our agenda. Feast & Company is the onsite food service. We ordered a variety of meat pies, frites, and chicken wings to enjoy with our beers. While the food was tasty, getting it was somewhat of a trial. The catering service has apparently been established for a few years, but their service at the brewery is not yet settled in. A number of folks were lined up to order food by about 12:30, but no Feast & Company staff was yet taking orders. There were a large number of people working in the kitchen, however no one acknowledged the waiting patrons. I heard one person ask the bartender when the food service opened, and the reply was, "In theory, at noon." Finally about 40 minutes late, someone appeared to take orders.

When our beeper went off and we went to pick up our food, I was handed a cheese plate, even though we hadn't ordered one. I gave that back to the server who then went to find our proper orders. As we started walking away with our food, we realized we were missing an item, so we went back to the window and the server then found that item. Once back at our table, it was noticed that one of the wings orders was missing the sauce, I went back to the pickup window again to retrieve that. In the end, we enjoyed the fresh and flavorful food. Hopefully, the Feast & Company folks will get their system down soon.

With my meal, I opted for the River Valley Red Ale. This is a well-done Amber Ale with notes of caramel and nut. Another solid beer from this new brewery.

The tasting room at Eastern Divide is large and spacious. There is plenty of room between tables, so even as more visitors arrived it didn't feel crowded. In a nice touch, two self-serve cold water stations, with actual glasses, were also available. That is a very appreciated detail.

I suspect Eastern Divide will be a popular beer attraction in the New River Valley. The beers are well done and there is plenty of room, inside and out, for folks to enjoy the beers. I am confident we will return during future visits to the area.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Saturday Beer and Cigar

We headed over to 1781 Brewing on Saturday with the hope getting in a few beers, and a smoke, before the rain. We knew we had just a couple hours before the predicted weekend of precipitation began. I grabbed a "glass" of König Fruhling Doppelbock, and a Dunkelweizen for Colleen. Aware of the clouds rolling in, I lit up my RoMa Craft CroMagnon Aquitaine Blockhead LE. right away.

The Doppelbock had lightly toasted malt and caramel flavors, and well as a moderate 8.4% ABV. The Dunkelweizen was a lower 4.7% ABV and featured a bready yeast behind the malt. Both were quite enjoyable.

The RomaCraft cigar is one of my favorites. It's a full bodied cigar with earthy and espresso notes, touched with a hint of spice. While I started out enjoying it with the Dopplebock, I knew it would pair just as well with the Dunkelweizen. But, just to be sure, I grabbed a pint of that beer as well. (I was right.)

As we finished the beers and the smoke was down to the nub, the rain started falling. It was a short but pleasant afternoon break.