Thursday, October 30, 2014

I drove this bad boy. Then I found out it's worth about as much as my house, and I immediately got very nervous.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I got to check out one of those crazy windmills up close, and it was enormous.

Like seemingly everything in the windy plains of North-central Oregon, the windmills are huge too.  I have had a strange fascination with these since they started popping up in Eastern Washington. Having a sense that they were pretty big but without being able to get appreciably close to them from the road, I wasn't able to truly grasp their enormity, kind of like a glacier from a cruise ship.  When our friend invited us to his parents' farm, I didn't know that they had many windmills situated within reach!  But when we were invited to go on the "farm tour," I jumped at the opportunity to get up close and personal with one of those behemoths.

Now I haven't been able to get any specific and verifiable information on the exact windmill that I got to check out, but what I heard from our friend's dad is that the windmill body and stand is 300 feet tall, and each of the blades is 100 feet long, so at their tallest, the windmills run about 400 feet high.  The blades are computer controlled and when there is too much power output in the area, not enough need among consumers, or the winds are too high, the blades can be rotated 90 degrees so that they don't catch the wind and turn the generator.

Now for some scale - the nose cones are apparently tall enough for someone to stand inside.

Oh, and they're freaking everywhere.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Shooting out in the windy plains of northern Oregon

A friend of ours' parents have a large farm near the town of Arlington, OR.  It's a rural area with an annual rainfall of around 12 inches.  The enormity of the rolling windswept hills really doesn't translate in photos, but the landscape is pretty breathtaking.  He invited us out there for the weekend to do some shooting, and we enthusiastically accepted.

plains of Arlington, OR

rifle gear set up

shooting from a tripod

We conned my father in law into staying at our house to keep the dogs and cat alive while we were gone, so we left the house at 3am, and started the 4-5 hour drive down there.   After a brief stop in Yakima for some McDonald's breakfast and shotgun shells at WalMart (I am aware how white-trash that sounds), we made it down to Arlington by 8am.  We got some targets set up in a valley, and after a quick round of getting scopes on new rifles zeroed, we got set up.  A couple hours later, another friend made it over from Portland, and we got down to it.

We did a little pistol shooting at this super cool little "jack" shaped target that tumbles when you hit it, did some shooting out to about 1000 yards with mixed success (strange winds seem to be running through that valley) and then decided to take a break for some trap shooting (that is shooting at a moving clay pigeon with a shotgun).

shooting trap

Trap shooting was followed by a pistol "walkback" drill, where you start up close to a target, everyone takes a shot at it, and those that hit it get to continue.  Everyone walks back a little bit, and then another round is started.  Things slowly devolved from there.  Our buddy let us shoot his short barreled and suppressed AR15, and we had some real laughs when trying to operate this disaster of an Enfield conversion that our buddy got for super cheap.

There was some additional monkeying around with "long range" pistol shots, .22 plinking at a few hundred yards, a rainbow, and a ridiculous photo of a friend and I looking like we are about to sumo wrestle(we weren't).

shooting a pistol supported


sumo wrestling

After shooting, we did a farm tour. Those photos will come later this week.

Monday, October 27, 2014

We went to go shooting with our friend, and his dad let me drive a huge rubber-tracked tractor

I am still trying to get back to the "real world" today, but I will leave you with this little gem.

I also got to stand at the base of a 400 foot tall windmill, and used a welder and plasma cutter for the first time.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Well the fancy pumpkins were a bust.

I have cut open 3 of the fancy Galeux D'Eysines pumpkins.  Something has gone horribly wrong, and I do not know what it is.  Either way, I have no desire to eat them.

Galeux D'Eysines pumpkin

This is what I found when I cut it open.

Inside Galeux D'Eysines pumpkin

Inside Galeux D'Eysines pumpkin

The weirdest part is it is not moldy or soft.  That texture is crystalline and hard. My best descriptor: Creepy as fuck.  I can't handle it.

Inside Galeux D'Eysines pumpkin

Smaller pumpkin was similar.  It's more than I can handle.  Took me 3 trips to the compost pile to get them out of my kitchen too.  What a bummer!