Water tower! Bears! ‘n stuff…

Water Tower

I told myself that I’d reward myself with a pizza and internet if I finished my water tower, and I did, so here I am, on the internets (the pizza’s already in my belly).

I decided to build essentially a free-standing platform to perch the water container on. The platform measures 4ft by 30 inches, but the legs have cross pieces to make the base effectively 4ft by 6ft for additional stability. I did most of the work in the shade, under a nice leafy oak grove next to my hut, but since the final product would be too heavy for me to move, I built it in components, which I then assembled at the final site. The tower isn’t quite square, and the ground isn’t quite level, so it’s leaning a bit, but the center of gravity is well within the expanded base, so I’m not terribly worried. I also used 2x4s for the legs, instead of 4x4s, since the water container I ended up using only has a 50 gallon capacity, and would only weigh up to 400lb. Tomorrow I’ll be hooking up all the hoses, so tonight should be the last time I have to water my garden out of a watering can…

The temperature’s finally cooled down this week, after last week’s 100F+ days (hottest day was Friday, when it was 99F in the shade). It’s been cool enough in the shade, that I’ve been able to finally do some shooting on my 100 yard range. I’ve always wanted to be able to shoot my match rifle on my own property, and now I have. Whereas in the city, I’d have to load all my gear into my car, then drive 30-45 minutes to get to the range, here, I just have to pick up my rifle and walk less than 10 minutes. It’s pretty sweet. Of course, now I don’t have much of an excuse for not shooting more and improving my scores…

The other exciting discovery this week has been bear tracks on the dirt road going through my camp. The prints measure about 9 inches heel to toe, and are about 5 inches across at its widest point. The prints start about 40 yards west of my hut, go past my hut, and ends about a 120 yards down the road. They go over tire marks I left when I headed out for town on Monday, but are under where I parked that night, so the bear passed through while I was away. I think the bears around here are black bears, which I hear are pretty shy, unless they’ve been spoiled by human foods (which, I don’t think the bears around here have). So, I don’t think it’s entirely an accident that he/she paid a visit while I was gone.

4 thoughts on “Water tower! Bears! ‘n stuff…

  1. Is you match rifle an AR? I see one there in the photo and was just curious is that was also your match rifle.

    On the topic of bears… have you been following Lily? http://www.facebook.com/lily.the.black.bear?ref=ts

    I suspect unless you are sleeping with your food you’re probably perfectly safe from your black bear neighbor. I’m no bear expert but used to backpack a bit and we always tied our food up to keep away from bears and other critters.

  2. Yep, it’s an AR-15. The vast majority of people who shoot NRA Highpower or Service Rifle matches shoot ARs, though heavily modified for accuracy (for instance, mine has a heavy stainless steel barrel with a faster twist rate, a hidden “float tube” so the sling mount and hand guards don’t touch the barrel, and a lead weight in the butt stock). The California Junior’s team made history last year at the National Matches, when they became the first civilian team to win the National Trophy Infantry Team Match, shooting AR’s (http://accurateshooter.wordpress.com/2009/08/28/california-juniors-win-infantryteam-trophy/). For “Service Rifle” matches, the rifles have to look like as-issued US military rifles, but for “Highpower” matches there’s no such restriction, so people get pretty crazy. The AR is a great platform because it can be customized very easily, usually without much special equipment or training.

  3. Looking good. I’m very curious to see your watering solutions progress. Thanks for sharing them as I’m pondering using gravity to supply some water for some of my needs.

    Bears are “good medicine.” Even though they are plentiful in my area I don’t see them as much as I see Deer, Moose and Bobcats, but they do leave me a lot of sign of their presence. Last month nearly every stump and rotten log on my property was torn up in their quest of ant/termite larva. Later this month or next I’ll start finding scat that is full of Kinnikinnick seeds. They seem to focus on one food source until depleted or discover something more plentiful or easier to obtain. They are like couch potatoes, watching them feed in the middle of a food source they recline while devouring everything in sight. They’ll even nap right there and then resume upon wakening. Very cool to watch.

    Their focus is on most calories with minimal energy expended so if you don’t provide them with a food source (food, garbage, barbecue grills…) they’re unlikely to be a problem. If you start seeing scat with twinkie wrappers in it I’d recommend having something in .308 caliber or better nearby and be extra vigilant on food and garbage including what goes inside your car. The upside to that is forest bears are mighty good eating.

  4. Pingback: I planted a cherry tree! « Laptop and a Rifle

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