Month: May 2020

Thur. May 21, 2020 – older daughter’s birthday today

Hot and humid, chance of rain. Yuck.

SUPER hot yesterday. 107F in the driveway, in the sun. Humid as a greenhouse too. I stayed inside most of the day.

I spent much longer than I wanted to or expected to getting the video out of my NVR and in a form that my neighbors and the Constable’s deputies can use. There was more than one victim on our street, and we’re not the only street these guys hit. Since there was a firearm stolen, they want these guys. Felony charges, minor in possession to start with, are worth going after. They lifted some prints, and collected a handkerchief with DNA on it. I’ve got the guy on video with the rag… HPD might not be chasing crooks, but our Constable is. That is why we pay him after all.

I changed some settings on cameras, so I hope I do better at capturing the events I want to capture. I need to get working on knocking down my list and get the other new camera up. It would have given me good coverage of the breakin. FWIW, my plan to have the cams record with high sensitivity on internal SD card, and highest resolution, while the NVR has slightly less aggressive settings worked pretty well. It’s easier to scrub through the video on the NVR, and I have much more stored time, but the higher rez of the camera and the shorter time balance out. It also means I’ve got two chances to catch a transient event. Someone running across your lawn at 4am is a pretty transient event.

Older daughter’s birthday is today. We’ll be opening presents and having special meals. No party or get together with friends is a bummer, but we’re trying to make it a special and fun day anyway. She’s a good kid and I like spending time with her. Decorations went up last night, and presents were wrapped. The forearm guards didn’t arrive yet, but the arrows did. Of course the first thing I did was hit my arm with the string… I’m giving her all three bows as a set, so she can share with her sister when it’s time to shoot.

The School District thing I started doing before all this happened it going to try to have a Zoom meeting tonight. Topic is the special response (academically) to COVID-19 and the abrupt shift to online learning. I’ve got some observations about that, and an interest in what they’ve got to say, so I’ll try to attend, even though it’s in the middle of dinner time.

Dinner was homemade hamburgers, on fresh buns. Since I was doing a store order, I got buns, hun… sides were canned baked beans, and the rest of the corn relish my wife made. I really like ‘backyard burgers’. There is something different about the taste that just says ‘summer’ to me.

I woke up yesterday before my alarm and was awake enough to get up. The lethargy I’ve been feeling seems to be going away, finally. I’m gonna blame depression rather than wuflu, since I didn’t get a fever at any point. Maybe I’ll start getting more done in the day, like I used to.

Keep stacking,


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Wed. May 20, 2020 – got some stuff to do

Hot again, rain possible. STORMS possible. We’ll see…

Yesterday was danged hot. 101F in the driveway. Hot in the garage. Hot in the yard.

Spent most of the day inside. Woke before my alarm, and was feeling awake and good, so I got up. Wasn’t completely over the neck thing. Had to be careful not to re-trigger it all day and night, but it is improving. This was the first day I woke up ready to go and early in a month or more. I’m hoping for more of the same going forward.

Cut my hair for the third time since the isolation began. I’m getting better at it. The clipper set has officially paid for itself now. Next cut will be free, but I intend to go back to my barber as soon as I can (without feeling squeamish.) He’s faster than me, better at it, and a friend in meatspace. All good reasons to get back to normal.

Speaking of normal, having disasters while you are in the middle of one is normal. People in Michigan, Tennessee, and even Chicago all found that out this week. Wuflu does complicate normal disaster response though. Don’t let your normal guard down just because we’re already in a slow motion disaster. Hurricane season is coming, to name just one hazard.

Child 1’s birthday is tomorrow. Presents are already here but will need wrapping, cake and dinner will need to be made, and some decorations will have to go up later tonight. Both girls have adapted to our current circumstances very well and I’m very proud of them. It’s been hard on them to have school just sort of taper off, and to not see any of their friends daily. We should be gearing up for swim team and other summer activities, as well as getting ready to transition to middle school. That’s gonna be weird for Oldest- her friends and classmates will all be going different directions next year,and they won’t have had a real chance to say goodbye and transition their friendships to different levels. The possibility that this disruption will be ongoing at the start of the new school year hardly bears thinking about, and yet, I don’t see a clear path to restarting school, so I’m thinking about it. That’s our job, isn’t it? Think about the future, make some choices, act on them.

Dinner was cheap prime steak from HEB, via Instacart… cheaper than stew meat for Pete’s sake. Delicious too. I will be watching the prices on prime meat. If it is in the counter too long, they appear to be marking it down dramatically. They’re not listing it as markdown or short time, but it was clear from the oxidation on some of the steaks that they were ready to be sold… If people can’t afford the good stuff, it sits around longer, then needs to be marked down. Hooray for me- I’ve made room in the freezer. It’ll be worth checking up on it online daily to score some more. The rest of the meal was some fresh but very low quality asparagus, leftover scalloped potatoes, and my wife made a corn relish/salad. Very tasty and refreshing. Dessert for me was a Klondike bar. Danged peculiar disaster when you can get fresh food and icecream delivered to your door.

Keep stacking, keep backfilling any gaps, and stay safe,


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Tues. May 19, 2020 – just hot

Hot today.

Hot yesterday. REAL hot in the later half of the day. 106F in my driveway in the sun. I was pretty sweaty in the garage.

I’m making slow progress on a couple of areas in the garage. Too hot to work in the driveway yesterday.

Kids are interested in some mods to their play structure. They’re both getting older and I took down the spiral slide last year. Never replaced the slide. I am thinking about a climbing wall, maybe a crack machine. I picked up a bucket of climbing holds at some point, so I just need to figure out structure and how to make it work with what’s already there. Wife is talking about setting up my apocalypse water collector (ie. kiddie pool) and taking down the play structure completely. I think it’s a bit too early to do that. The pool, on the other hand, might need to kill some grass in the shade of the tree. Grass looks so nice I hesitate… we did get word from our swim team and Rec association pool. No swim meets this year, some training for team, while maintaining distancing. Not sure how that’ll work. Pool will open next week with cleaning and distancing rules in place. Sounds sketchy to me. So a wading pool might be necessary, or just wanted. As an aside, the mom’s club FB pages are full of people trying to get an above ground, or fiberglas in ground pool put in pronto. They aren’t gonna be swapping spit at the local rec association pool…

So that’s a long term effect. It might kill some neighborhood pools that were struggling with membership issues or damage from Harvey.

I really don’t see what the endgame and way out of this is, unless it dies out naturally, there is immunity and a reliable test, or a vaccine.

And Hey! Hurricane season is coming! I really need to find my motivation and get busy. I’ve got lots to do still.

And I bet you can think of some stuff to do too.

So get busy, learning, stacking, sorting, and figuring out how to get ahead in this new world.


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Mon. May 18, 2020 – another week, home school, home work, home sweet home

Nice, sunny and cool.

Yesterday was cool to start, without much sun, then got hot and sunny, but turned into a picture postcard evening. Comfortable and a pretty pink sunset, with breezes for cooling. Nice.

I got a couple of things done moving toward having a work area in the back corner of the garage. Moved some stuff out of the way (20+ coleman lanterns of all fuels and vintages), and added some plywood to the back of a shelf. The plywood will be a tool board eventually. It’s all a bit fussy and low criticality, but that’s about all I’m feeling up to at the moment.

I did cut the grass, and was soaked through when finished. Looked at the gardens a bit, but don’t have the weekly report until tomorrow.

Breakfast was instant hash browns with a BB date in 2016, seasoned and served under fried eggs… yum. Also chocolate chip muffins from mix. Dinner was one of the ready to eat main courses from Costco. We eat a lot of the lamb shanks, but this time it was mexican grilled chicken thighs. Added half a can of corn, a can of beans, and some tortillas for a nice and low effort dinner. I freeze the main courses so it takes a bit longer than 7 minutes in the microwave, but they last much longer that way.

The news that several sailors tested positive for Covid-19 after having previously tested negative more than once, and returning to duty, is alarming to say the least. We’ve had other reports of similar cases, but there was always a way to deny it. They are arm-waving that the tests may not be good, etc. but it looks like pretty strong evidence you CAN get this a second time, or that it doesn’t go away but just goes dormant for a while. This is very bad if that is the case. Think about what will happen if it becomes undeniable that we WON’T get immunity, and that the second time can be worse (as we see in Korea and China). Pretty much everyone’s plan for getting back to normal involves immunity in one form or another. We don’t currently have a lot of time with the people who have recovered to see what long term or even medium term consequences might be. We might be in for some more unpleasant surprises in the coming months.

Which means, keep prepping. Lots more bad stuff can be coming down the pike. This is a pretty good rehearsal and test of our systems. While the trucks are still rolling, and the system is still mostly intact, restock, stock up, and keep stacking.


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Sun. May 17, 2020 – well that was a bust

Cooler and dreary. Maybe some rain? [71F and grey at 9am]

Yesterday was quite cool at around 70F and generally dreary all day.

I had quite a bit of pain and limited range of motion, so I was moving slow and doing very little. Took more tylenol yesterday than in the last 6 months. About the only thing I got done was to clean the oven and bake some cast iron at the same time. The oven really needed the self clean cycle, and I had some cast that was in the garage that needed a touchup. Two birds, one stone.

Another blogger calls it ‘piddlefarting around’. That’s what I did. Bunch of little things of no real consequence that ate the day. My wife even made the dinner. I did do a couple of pieces of shipping, one ebay sale to Canadia and some masks to my sibling. Yeah, not the one that said I was ‘killing first responders’ by ‘hoarding’ masks, that was a couple of weeks ago. This is the sibling that basically did all of the things I suggested before this hit, but secretly and without telling or thanking me, ‘cuz I’m a paranoid prepper. Grrrr. If they weren’t individually wrapped I was going to take a sharpie and write on each one, “you were right”. But I didn’t because the important thing is that my loved ones are safe and better prepared than they were. It does occasionally stick in one’s craw…

Worked on a puzzle with the wife. Ate, watched Pippi Longstocking -1973 made in Sweden version. Kids laughed and enjoyed it. I don’t think it was the version I remember from my childhood, but we’ll see on the next book’s film. It’s dubbed in english, which is effective, but there is just something half a bubble off about the timing or something that makes it seem very strange to me. The ‘character’ accents they chose for the dubbing are very strange.

Today I’ll either bite the bullet and go to the chiropractor, or I’ll feel better. I know which one I’d prefer…

Dinner was marinaded and baked chicken from the last delivery, baked acorn squash (one of my favorites to have in the cabinet as they last forever and are easy to cook), and steamed rice from storage. More Easter candy for dessert.

If it weren’t for a totally rational desire to avoid infection, I’d have gone to the chiropractor days ago, and been back to normal by now. That sucks. I’m also thankful that I can make a choice and that it isn’t life or death.

Keep stacking, keep learning, keep prepping.


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Sat. 5/16, 2020 – more than a quarter, less than a half

Cooler, with rain later?

Yesterday was hot and muggy until the thunderstorms, then it cooled off. Not sure how much rain we got at home. I was at my secondary location cleaning and organizing. We got hammered there so bad it shook dust from the ceiling. There was a LOT of water in the bayous I drove past on the way home.

Home looked pretty wet too.

So I did get some cleaning and organizing done, just not much. I also picked up a couple of auction items. I let a lot more go, that I probably would have bid more aggressively if it weren’t for the CV issues- like no one has money for cr@p on ebay.

I’ve been spending money on ebay. Amazon too. I’m possessed with the urge to buy some small things, but they add up. In the last week I’ve bought some leather working tools. I’ve been collecting leather working and cobbler stuff for a year or more. I didn’t have any of the hand stitching stuff that you need for heavier things. You can also use the heavier needles and holders for stitching web gear, or similar things. I hope to do craft projects, not shoe repair for the foreseeable future. But that’s the problem isn’t it? It isn’t really foreseeable, and what I can see doesn’t look good.

I also bought a bunch of machine and hand sewing needles. I’ve got a couple of sewing machines, including a serger and an embroidery machine. I have had some training in the fabric arts, including making my own trenchcoat from scratch as my Costume Shop practicum while at university. It’s been a while, and I don’t have much experience with making patterns, but I can run the tools.

I don’t knit, crochet, cross stitch, or weave, but the kids are interested in all those. I might have to learn. In the mean time, I bought 6 new pairs of merino wool socks. I wear thin wool socks exclusively and it makes a real difference in foot health and comfort. I have worn my heals and Achilles tendon area threadbare on most of my current pairs. I like the Kirkland Hikers but have to buy them on ebay when they aren’t in the Costco, or if I don’t really want to go into the plague factory… Fortunately, I’m not the only one who likes to buy this seasonal item out of season, and there are a lot of retail arbitrageurs to make it easy for us. (yea interwebs and ebay)

It’s all part of my desire to have repair stuff at hand for all the sorts of things I might want to repair. Oh, I’m going to use the embroidery machine to work with the kids on computer skills, robots, etc. and the sewing machines for realizing their paper designs into physical clothes for their dolls, but I have them to fix things. (and so that my personal makerspace – mad scientist workshop – would be complete.)

Speaking of fixing things, I finally thought of a useful item to print on my filament printer- the cover caps for my lawn sprinklers. They are mostly flat and round, but have enough detail in them with reliefs, holes, and a beveled edge, that printing makes more sense than reductive machining. It also makes sense to create the missing pieces because the $40 heads will last longer with the covers in place. Whether I ever get to actually making them, that’s up for grabs, but it probably won’t be soon.

Today should be more cleaning and organizing, with a few tiny projects thrown in. Forecast calls for more T-storms in the area. That will keep me inside. My freaking neck and shoulders are keeping me in too. I’m moving at half speed because of the pain, which is better than a day ago, but still not recovered. FFS, I’m taking tylenol, and I almost never add anything to my normal daily regimen. I stocked pain meds and OTC snivel meds DEEP. Because pain control is one of the modern marvels.

Dinner was frozen battered tilapia. Yeah, I know it’s the pool skimmer for the catfish tanks. Wife likes it, I like it, kids will eat it if they scrape off the seasoned batter. Canned corn, and leftover mac n cheese rounded out the meal (with sliced avocado for green color) and fresh from the oven frozen cookie dough chocolate chips were dessert. Not many of those bad boys left on the cooling rack before bedtime…

If you’re prepped up, fill in some gaps. If you aren’t, fill in some shelves. Keep stacking.


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Fri. May 15, 2020 – another week zipped by

Warm to hot, sunny and damp.

Yesterday got pretty dang hot, 103F in the driveway. Sunny for most of the day too, when it wasn’t threatening and overcast.

My neck and shoulders were really stiff and sore, so I was moving kinda slow.

Did math with Kid2. She was so frustrated by 3 digit long multiplication, mainly because she wasn’t keeping the columns straight. She thinks long division is easy, but multiplication gets her. Other daughter had trouble with columns running off to the side too, despite gridded paper. Once we got some precision in her writing, it got better. Kid2 does a weird thing, she makes all her numbers moving the pencil backwards. She starts at the end and bottom, and draws the number upwards. They look ok, and she’s FAST, but it’s weird.

Got almost all the medical resupply I ordered. I’m good on bandaids and bandages for a while now. Still waiting for wound wash. Bandaids, tape, and vet wrap will all age out. The adhesive or non-adhesive parts will change and they’ll become much less useful than they were. I can’t recommend stocking cases under normal expectations, because you’ll just never use it. Aesop reminded me that ACE bandages can be washed and reused many times and might be a better choice than Kerlix and tape. Of course, I’ve got some ACE bandages too. The kerlix sure is more comfortable in our climate though.

Did more work in the garage. It’s like playing one of those sliding number games with 15 filled squares out of 16, and to move a number around you have to slide all the other numbers around too. I can see progress, I just can’t quite see the end. I keep finding useful things, so that’s a plus. I’m not pulling much OUT but I’m stacking it and restacking it and at least I have a fresh idea about what’s there. So much stuff that needs to get sold. One long delayed project got done. I’ve been meaning to put together a simple and basic tool kit for each vehicle, not a ‘fix it on the side of the road’ kit, but a couple of tools so you aren’t stuck with nothing if you need to turn a bolt, take the legs off something you bought, or similar. I’ve been collecting the bits, just never put them together. I built two today. A tall tin can with a lid, had Japanese bar mix snacks in it (it’s an inch or so taller than a soda can, and very sturdy tin). 6 in 1 screwdriver, basic wire strippers, small vice grip pliers, disposable knife with the ‘snap off’ blade, small adjustable wrench. Small box of strike anywhere matches, one trash bag-rolled, and six feet of duct tape wrapped around the can. Surprisingly there is still room in the can for a Powerbar or another tool, but I can’t think of much that would be good but not overkill. A small Channelok plier would be nice, but the vise grip should be sufficient. In any case, I don’t have a small Channelok to add to the cans so they’re done for now.

Dinner was frozen pork chops, fresh zucchini saute’d in butter with Parmesan cheese, and stuffing mix from a bag. Meat was from 2019, zukes from the store several weeks ago, and the stuffing was either Thanksgiving or possibly Christmas. Not much from the ‘prepper’ pantry, but you can’t eat out of rusted cans and old cartons every day…

Today I’ll be doing more of the same, and heading over to my secondary with some stuff that I CAN get out of the house and garage. I note that TX has a small uptick in cases about 2 weeks since the first easing of restrictions. I’ll be wearing PPEs if I have to interact with anyone, count on that.

Latin America is starting to show a lot of cases. Can India and Africa be far behind?

Keep working on skills and stacking. Join the other 300M of us going through closets, kids rooms, and garages… you never know what you put away and forgot about.


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Thur. May 14, 2020 – same same same, same old fools….

Damp, overcast, sunny, and hot. [somewhat sunny, somewhat damp, def hot]

Yesterday was nice for a while, overcast, then gentle light rain, then nice again. High 80s, possibly into the low 90s.

Possible depression forming off the East coast next week, first of the season if so…

Spent the morning online, and shopping. Spent the afternoon cleaning, organizing, and finding stuff I’d put away literal years ago in the garage. I’m getting to the bottom layers of the stacks. At some point I tweaked something in my neck and shoulders. I’m still sore today.

Kid 1 had a “science” unit today that was all about changes to the environment. And while they kept saying that not all changes were bad, the only examples given were in fact bad. Then they used Silent Spring to justify the banning of DDT, with NO discussion of malaria, or WHY we were spraying DDT, or what the effect was on countries that still have malaria… and a whole page on acid rain. Again, no indication where the acid rain came from or why. No indication of the current conditions. Freaking old hippies with the same old chants, Silent Spring, DDT, Acid rain, draining wetlands…. and a section about deer. How they became a nuisance species- without any note that the ban on hunting contributed, or that HUNTING is how we control the population currently. Add in the poor grammar, and I’m pretty sure the science is sloppy, the editorial slant is most of the way to horizontal, and the worksheets are BS. At least with the sheet in front of me, I could go through it with the kid and talk about the parts they left out. What does the rest of the curriculum look like, I wonder?

Eventually, even a drip of water will wear away stone. The left has been all wet for decades, but they’ve managed to ooze into every nook and cranny of the world.

Dinner was sirloin steak from the last Costco instacart delivery, with boxed scalloped potatoes, and a can of Butter Beans. Scalloped potatoes were almost in date, only a month over. Most of my older ones rotted in the black crate that got damp. Easter candy for dessert.

More of the same today as yesterday…

Keep working, stacking, improving, and prepping.


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Wed. May 13, 2020 – Friday the 13th falls on a Wednesday this month

Rainy and wet. [so wrong, 76F and sun is out]

Yesterday was nice, but humid. Really humid compared to the last couple of days. We got actual rain too, after dinner and sporadically all night.

I did get some stuff done, but no where near what I would have liked. I’ll keep chipping away at it though.

I did receive checks from my auction of the full face PAPR respirators. Made decent money on them. They went at slightly more than my low estimate. Also got paid for some items I couldn’t ebay. It wasn’t a ton of money, but it was money.

Dinner was elk roast. Details in last night’s comments. The central part of the roast was very similar to an eye round beef roast. The cooking, texture, and taste were very similar. Sides were the heat and eat shelf stable bread, and the root veg from the roasting pan. Dessert was Easter candy. I found a half bag of chocolate candy left over from Easter. Hooray!

I mention it in comments yesterday, but I’ll repeat it here. Wound care uses a LOT of supplies… even something as simple as a badly scraped knee. I restocked my medicine cabinet with wound wash, and kerlix from the deeper stores, but then went online to buy more. Some of what I wanted was out of stock everywhere but the arbitrageurs on ebay, and they were short. There were substitutes, but I’m taking it as a sign that things are tight. Supply chains are still disrupted, and demand might be higher than normal.

Check your stock of normal things that aren’t food. Do you have bandaids? Razor blades? Cosmetics and soaps? Gauze, nonstick pads, wrap, tape? Wound cleaning liquids? How about sewing supplies? Got needles and thread? Fusible liner? You might need to repair your high speed low drag web gear if the zombies beat you up. Is there something you usually just order when you need it? Time to check and see if it’s available.

Do you have some repair supplies in general? Crazy glue in different viscosities? Shoe Goo? 5 minute epoxy? Wood glue? Duct tape? Cellotape? Electrical tape? If we really are headed into a big downturn, repair and reuse is going to be important. How about expendables for your vehicles/mowers/garden tools like wipers, belts, air/oil/gas filters, a replacement pull rope? Oil, additives, Sta-bil?

Flints for lighters, butane, lighter fluid? Baling wire? Twine?

Further down the list but important, this home isolation looks like it will be continuing for a while yet, even if things don’t go to sh!t. Do you have playing cards, board games, dice? How about a Hoyle’s book of card games? Pens, pencils, paper? Art supplies? Software to replace something you play online? (My dad loved to play spyder solitaire on the pc, but win10 made it online only. I had to figure out how to install the games pack from win7 so he could play what he was familiar with.) Wife got out the watercolors and did some painting with the girls today for ‘art class”. We love puzzles, so I buy them at Goodwill if they are unopened. The mom’s club in the neighborhood has a puzzle swap going on for those who were not prepared. I find puzzles to be very soothing.

There’s a million things our grandparents or even parents would have kept on hand, just to save a trip to the store, if for no other reason. Think about your tool box or junk drawer, or anything you’d like to do if you had some extra time on your hands. Might want to get that stuff now, if you have the time and funds, and your “sustain life” stuff is all in order.

I’ve got to stop slacken and get back to stackin’…


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Tues. May 12, 2020 – just not feeling it….

Another beautiful day? Cool and sunny? One can only hope.

Yesterday was a beautiful day. This spring has been fantastic weather. I can’t believe how long the nice weather has been lasting. Just awesome.

Drove around a bit, had some stuff to pick up, and some stuff to do at my secondary location. Traffic was medium light. Traditional freeway backups were still there, but for only a minute or two, and slowed instead of stopped. Very strange to see the mall parking lot mostly empty. Even with the reduced traffic, people were still getting flats and getting into fender benders.

Had a chat with my neighbor at my secondary location. He’s not making any money and is thinking about doing some practical metalworking (burglar bars) instead of the metal fab he usually does. If the security situation degrades, it sure seems like there’d be a market. Worth thinking about how you can leverage your skills, tools, or contacts to bring in money if your situation changes.

I’ll be home today, working on getting the little things done to finish all some of my open projects around the house. I’ve got all the shelves I can get here now, so no more excuses.

I have to say, I’ve been unmotivated and droopy the last couple of days. Not at all perky. Shirking. Slack. Not feeling 100% physically either. Just ‘blah’. Time to suck it up.

Dinner was not elk roast. Dinner was canned beef tamales (not bad, just kinda bland despite the red sauce), and chicken tacos (from kirkland canned chicken, and Lawry’s Chicken Taco pouch seasoning). Tortillas from the fridge. Everyone ate heartily, and I’m glad I used two cans of chicken. Even the mediocre tamales got eaten.

Number 1 daughter’s 11th year on the earth comes in a week or two, so I’ve been getting presents together. I scored 3 youth bows in this auction, two compound, one traditional. I had archery targets from one of the last auctions. I’ve got hunting arrows, but no youth or practice arrow, so off to Amazon… Freaking arrows cost more than the bows. I threw in a couple of arm guards while I was there. Both girls did an archery unit at GS camp, but anyone have a book or youtube they’d recommend for additional good instruction? It’s been since junior high for me…and I don’t think I’d know bad instruction from good, given that compound bows weren’t even a thing when I last shot an arrow?

And with that, I’m off-

Stay safe, keep stacking.


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