Thursday, October 20, 2016

Any E-ZPass Clairvoyants Out There?

So I got the new car on Friday and went upstate for a drive of over 500 miles (or maybe it was 600) during the course of the few days from Saturday through yesterday. I was lucky enough to remember, before leaving home, that I would need my E-ZPass or at least that having it would make passing through the toll booths much swifter than paying cash. I looked for mine for hours, could not find it. I borrowed the one from my son's car.

I have a vague recollection, that on the night my prior car was totaled, back on September 3rd, just before leaving the scene of the accident with the state trooper who was nice enough to drive me to my brother-in-law's house, I remembered to grab my E-ZPass. As  I said though it is merely a vague recollection. Anyway, this weekend I got in touch with my insurance company and the other guy's insurance company and they both got in touch with the lot where the wrecked Corolla is being held and asked the staff there to look for it. I also called, only because my insurance company (as well as the other driver's insurer) asked the folks at the lot to mail it to me. I wanted to pick it up so I made arrangements since I was in that neck of the woods. That did not matter much because they said they looked for it and could not find it.

I just checked my E-ZPass account and saw that the missing tag has not been used since September 3rd, the day of the accident. What that means is that someone did not swipe it and start using it and that is good. That also means I probably grabbed it just as my little gray cells foggily remembered. It means one other thing, I need to look for it again. There are not many places I have not looked but I guess there are one or three. I will look through them first and if I do not find it then I will start all over again.

Those mischievous beings - that hide the things we look for once, look for twice, maybe even look for three times - are little rotten bastards because sure as shit they wind up putting missing items right back where you already looked for them at least a few times. Don't even try to tell me you have never searched for something repeatedly over and over again and again in the same places only to find the item that was missing in one of those places later when you really weren't looking for it any longer. Well, even if that has not happened to you, it sure has happened to me all too frequently. I swear it has to be due to gricnhes or gnomes or those little guys who climbed up out of the well in Superman And the Mole-Men (I bet my buddy Charlie K knows who I mean). 

Anyway, I have no time or patience to deal with grinches, gnomes or Mole-Men so I am seeking clairvoyants. If anyone out there can tell me specifically where is my missing E-ZPass, and tell me so before I find it on my own or report it missing to get a new one (hurry because that will likely be tomorrow or the next day) I will send you a decent thank you gift. First person to get it right and let me know in a comment to this post will be the winner. The gift will be a $10 scratch off NY State lottery ticket of my choosing and I will mail it to the person who accomplishes the mind boggling feat just mentioned (bearing in mind it must be before I either find it myself or report it lost and I will wait to do that until at least 3PM tomorrow, so you have at least until then). You must be 18 or older and the prize (a lottery ticket) must be legal for you to receive at your residence address.

By the way, when I say you must tell me specifically where is the E-ZPass tag, I do not mean that you tell me things like the following:

1. In my house.

2. In NY.

3. In my basement.

I mean you must be very specific, such as answers like:

1. It is in your range bag.

2. It is in the gun case you had the night of the accident.

3. It is in your brown jacket pocket and don't simply say in a jacket pocket, I have too many for that to be specific).

Anyway, I checked all those places twice already and it was not there but you never know with those friggin grinches on the loose.

If nobody guesses right within the limits mentioned above, or if nobody even tries, then I will buy myself the scratch off ticket.

All the best,
Glenn B


Home From Hunting, At Least For Now

I arrived home last night from my road / hunting trip with the new Toyota Corolla. I remain deerless and also without the brace of squirrels I had shot over the weekend. I shot one on Saturday and another one on Sunday. That second one was taken very close to the spot where I got the  first one on Saturday in a small grove of oak trees. I gutted and cleaned each immediately and washed out the body cavities. Amazingly, the second one's stomach, a male, was about the size of a small lime. I took it out of its body cavity when gutting the squirrel and separated it from the rest of the innards to take a picture of it. It burst as soon as I placed it on a fallen log for a photograph. It was chock full nuts (pun intended for those in the know) or at least full of acorn meal and overfilled at that. Darned little critter sure ate a lot and certainly chewed its food well enough as it was a fine mash.

The first of only two squirrels I shot. I got
this one on Saturday, it was a plump female.

Squirrel number two, taken on Sunday from an oak tree within 20 yards
or so of where I got the one on Saturday. This one was a male. My
guess is that they probably were a mated pair.

Sadly, those two squirrel turned bad while in the cooler. Lesson learned, next time freeze them as soon as possible or cook them hat day. Having them in a sealed Ziploc bag did not prevent water from the melted ice getting into the freezer-bag and ruining them. So, next time, I will use something like these Glad Freezerware containers until I get them to the freezer and will get them frozen as soon as possible (or cook them fresh).

While hunting for those squirrels seen in the photos, I heard what I figured were at least two more squirrels close by in oak trees. Actually what I mostly heard were acorns and the remains of acorns falling from the trees as the squirrels foraged for them. So I moved, after getting that second one, to a spot on the ground close to the oak where I heard another one of them. I waited even longer than the half hour or so that I had waited to get squirrel number 2 but did not see the little booger and I can hear, from the sound of acorns falling, that it had moved further away. The other one still seemed close by so I moved toward that tree. As I scanned the new tree, all I could see that stood out was what looked like a bole on a limb. As I scanned more of the tree, the bells and whistles in my head went off and I looked back at that bole. I had to do a triple take to assure myself that what I thought I was seeing was right and it was no bole. There out on a limb, pretty far out on one of the limbs branches, a relatively narrow one at that, was a porcupine.

As a rule, I normally do not shoot animals merely for sport or for trophies. This porcupine though was about to become one of the rare exceptions to that rule. It was about 30-35 yards from me, pretty much broadside with its head angled pointing to the distance over my right shoulder from where it sat. I gave it a little thought and figured that this fat little vermin would make a nice mount and would be a bit of revenge for our mutt Mimi who had gotten a snout full of quills not too long ago. So I blasted it. It fell from the tree, after my single shot, like a ton of bricks. It marveled at it as it fell because it looked more like a small bear when falling than a porcupine.

Mimi's Revenge!
 Not bad shooting - a head shot with #4 lead shot out of my Remington 870 with 28" barrel at about 30-35 yards and 20-25 yards up on a tree limb. Now some may think I should have kept it to eat it since I shot it but I have heard they taste pretty much like turpentine and that is not my idea of a tasty morsel. I left it belly up for a scavenger to feast upon. At least now it cannot terrorize and badly injure any of the local dogs and the state land is bordered by several homes most of which have dogs. Porcupines also do great damage to homes and hardwood trees and thus some of the reasons they are completely unprotected in NY State.

Luckily I had my pair of Hatch Resistor, Kevlar
lined, gloves. So, I picked it up for a close up
examination. Not only are the quills formidable
but so are a porcupine's claws, both front and rear.
Upon closer examination of it, I discovered a couple of things. First off, that it was a female. Secondly, by my guess after hefting it, that it weighed about 12 to 15 pounds (probably close to the average weight for a female).  I also saw that it was not worth having mounted because my shot, as I said already, was true. The thing is it was all too much so and I blew of part of the top jaw and almost all of the bottom one on the left side of its head. Sometimes I can be an idiot, I don't know why I aimed at the head since I wanted to have it mounted. I did learn though that my oldest Remington 870, 12 gauge, with the 28" barrel and with whatever choke I have in it now, would pattern well for turkey because at least two to a few pellets must have hit it to do that much damage.

After seeing that damage I was dismayed and kicked myself in the arse
for having taken a head shot. I left it there, belly up for the scavengers.
There was one other thing I noticed about this porcupine and I guess all of them in North America. Not only did it have an excellent built in defensive system in the form of those quills but it had another set of potential weapons often not thought about when discussing porcupines. Those other potential weapons were its claws. They were a decent size and I am sure could put a hurting on the snout of any predator that might be agile and adept enough to flip a porcupine to exposes its quill lacking underside. Normally, a North American porcupine spends most of its time in the trees as opposed to its ground loving cousins in Africa. Those claws can only be a great help in climbing trees and maybe ripping apart a bobcat's or bear's snout.
One of the rear claws. The front ones were bout 3/4 the size of the rear ones.
 As far as deer hunting went, I hunted on my brother-in-laws 10 acre plot. I saw very little sign, only three piles of pellets (deer shit for the uninitiated), no rubs or scrapes, no deer trails and only two sets of tracks. I may have to plant a small patch of soy beans and another of corn for next year. There are no nearby farms and very - very few mast trees on his property so there is very little there to attract them. Then again, I saw little sign of deer on the state land I hunted the first two days of my getaway on the tract of state land where I shot the squirrels and where I got revenge for the snout full of porcupine quills that Mimi suffered not too long ago. Of course, I was not looking all that hard while there, thinking I would hunt at Hans' place for deer this year but that may change.

What I did get to see a good deal of was the spectacular show that Mother nature puts on for us here in the northeast every Fall. It is one of my favorite seasons and October probably at least tied for my favorite month all in good part because of that spectacular and colorful presentation of Nature's palette and besides that there is good hard cider and excellent Oktoberfest bier waiting to be imbibed.

It gets even more spectacular than that during the peak of the color change.

I also got to see some wonderful things when looking own for
deer sign, this mushroom being one of them. That is a 2 3/4"
12 gauge shotshell for size comparison.
Oh yeah, did I just say something about good cider and excellent Oktoberfest bier. Well, on my way up to the sate forest, in which I hunted for those squirrels, I stopped by Roscoe, NY. I was looking for a place to eat and also stopped in The Little Store, a sort of hunting, fishing general store combo. Surprisingly their stock of guns and ammo was minimal this year and that had me scratching my head but I did not bother asking why as the women at the front counter was busy. Anyway, while in town, I spotted what promised to be Paradise for that day for me, a brewery outlet.

My heart sank when I read the sign in the door, Closed For The Season!

As my luck had it, the darned place was closed for the season! I guess it is dependent on the trout fishermen (Roscoe is in the middle of some fine trout fishing) and tourists in the warmer months but the owners seem on the daft side to me as they apparently have forgotten all about the hunters who would flock to such an establishment every Fall.  Next store to that was a store that may have been the reason that The Little Store had so few guns and ammo for sale. Just a few doors down and across the street from The Little Store was a fairly recent addition to the town's businesses - Big Dog Guns & Ammo. It was a nice enough shop, the guy behind the counter was friendly and courteous but their prices seemed somewhat a tad on the high side to me, at least those I could see on ammo and accessories. Then again, they are a small mom and pop type gun shop and that seems to be the norm for those types of shops. I did not even bother to ask about their firearms' prices because I needed no temptation to buy a new gun especially after having just taken cash out of the bank to buy our new car last Friday that left us only 16% of our former savings. Yes the insurance company is going to give us something but that wils amount to slightly above another 16% of what we had in the bank. I will have a long way to go to get the amount back up to what it had been and am fairly certain that unless I do some gun selling, there will be few if any new guns bought by me for quite the while. 

I would rather shop at The Little Store but if they do not resupply ammo
and firearms, I may have to consider this place in the future. Heck, if they
have a decent sale on ammo I need for a hunting trip I will shop there!
Over all, it was an excellent trip. The new Toyota Corolla L ran just fine and got 36.5 mpg on my first drive with it. I had a good first night at an economy motel in Binghamton and then I had an enjoyable few days at my brother-in-law's place. Even though I did not see a deer, my two squirrels went bad in the cooler, and I blew off too much of the head of the porcupine to have it mounted, I had an excellent time out in the woods and fields. I hope to get another chance for a getaway in the very near future and you can safely bet that if I get any more squirrels they will either be cooked that day or the next or will go into a freezer as soon as possible. As for the porcupines, one was probably enough for Mimi's revenge and if I ever decide to shoot another for a trophy, it will not be a head shot.

All the best,
Glenn B