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Playing with baby skunks, (and dealing with the aftermath)

If you have never had the pleasure of holding or playing with a tiny baby skunk, then my heart goes out to you because you have really missed out on something. This is because skunks are adorable, especially baby ones.

I remember seeing a group of baby skunks once on the college campus I was working on with my old buddy Jaybird Young.

“I’d love to hold one of those” I gushed as the little line of furballs marched past, following their seemingly serious-minded mom.

Jaybird thought quietly for a moment, one hand resting on his chin as he contemplated. “You know”, he finally replied, “they can’t spray when they’re young like that I’ve heard”.

“You sure?” I asked suspiciously, “I never heard that before.”

“Positive!” he said.

That was the day that I discovered Jaybird Young to be a liar and a fool; or maybe I was the fool. In any event, one thing you need to know is that little skunks can spray just as well as big skunks can. And let me tell you that there is a reason that skunks only have one natural predator known of, (great horned owls), can you guess why?

Here’s a little biological information regarding skunks. First of all, the chemical that they secrete to make that smell is called mercaptons and they are the same exact substances that are found in tubers such as wild onion and garlic. This is why sometimes the aroma given off from a skunk spray is often enticing in a strange way, and sweet smelling. That is, when they are experienced from a distance, the experience is quite different when experienced up close.

If your experience with baby skunks somehow goes south, here’s a no nonsense recipe for knocking the edge off of the assaultive odor, (there is no “cure” and I really can’t be bothered with that “tomato juice” nonsense). Here’s the winning recipe:

Measure out 1/4 cup of baking soda and mix it thoroughly with about a quart of hydrogen peroxide. Add a couple of tablespoons of your favorite smelling dishsoap, (preferably something that goes well with garlic). And then wash well the contaminated areas.

 

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USMC: 7 new boots that are on the list

Do you remember the good old days when you were issued one pair of uniform boots of the same exact style as everyone else in your branch of the service? Well, those days are over, at least as far as it goes for the United States Marine Corps. In a recent article written for Military.com, the Marine Corps has, in an effort to continually improve the equipment and clothing of the branch, approved 7 new brands of combat service boots. “”

According to the article, “Marines can now choose from 16 different combat, rugged all-terrain or optional boots. The list of approved styles was released in a service-wide administrative message last week, which was signed by Lt. Gen. David Berger, the head of Marine Corps Combat Development Command.”.

The article, written by journalist Gina Hawkins goes on to give a brief description of the merits of the new approved footwear, as well as a detailed listing of them and their manufacturer.
“These are the boots that were added to the list of officially approved footwear:

Combat:

  • Bates style No. E30502 (hot weather)

RAT:

  • Bates style No. 29502 (hot weather)
  • Wellco style No. E114 (temperate weather)

Optional:

  • Danner Reckoning boot style No. 53221
  • Bates lightweight style No. E50501 for men and E57501 for women
  • Danner’s Marine Expeditionary Boot style No. 53111 (temperate weather)
  • Danner’s MEB style No. 53110 (hot weather)

The Marine Corps first authorized Danner’s Reckoning hot-weather boot last year. Even though it wasn’t formally publicized, word spread quickly when the service started selling the boots in the exchanges, Hamby said.

The last time the list of authorized boots had been formally updated was in March 2016″.
What this means for the civilian military surplus community is that these same boots will at some point in time be made available as surplus. Because, even though the individual soldier will often purchase the footwear of his or her choice directly from the manufacturer, the military will still buy mass quanities of same for research, testing, deployment, etc…

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Making a legacy: How military surplus carries on tradition

It was with mixed emotions that I drove the boy to the Armed Forces Career Center for the final time.

He is, as I write this, in the process of becoming a United States Marine. I couldn’t be more proud of him and I was assaulted with a plethora of memories during that long final drive as I tried to offer him my advice on how to survive boot camp, forgetting for the time being that if he is at all like me, he wasn’t paying a bit more attention to what I was saying than the man in the moon. That’s because he is the type that wants to sort things out for himself, and he also knows that the boot camp I experienced in 1992 is not the same boot camp that he will experience on Parris Island in 2018.

However, we did have a great opportunity to relive some exciting moments that we shared together over the last 22 years.

His first deer for instance. This was a three day deer camp that culminated in his shooting the biggest doe I have ever seen straight through the heart with his brand new Mossburg 20 gauge shotgun that he had gotten for Christmas that year. I had just watched him allow a much smaller doe to creep past us, right underneath the deer stand we were sitting in. He had simply watched her go by, unable to move fast enough to click the safety off and fire the shot that would have made meat for the family for the winter. I was quietly chewing his ass, when he suddenly snapped off the safety, threw the shotgun to his shoulder, and blasted past my ear without a word of explanation. I was a little pissed, thinking that he had simply done that for dramatic effect in response to my chastisement, and then I saw the blood spatter in the snow. A spatter which ended in a steaming pile of nearly a hundred and fifty pounds of fresh venison. That was a great day for me, because being squeamish,  I offered him the chance to clean all the guns when we shoot in exchange for my dressing the game that we shoot. He soon discovered that we shot much more than we hit.

 

And so I look forward to the times that we can spend in his deer camp, telling his war stories to his sons as we sit in his grandfathers old military surplus army tent. This is what memories are made of.

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A trip to the car dealership: 3 things you must always do to get the most for your money

As I sit here at the Subaru dealership where I purchase all of my family vehicles, I am reminded that those of us who use and purchase military surplus tents and equipment do so for one reason and one reason only; because we want the best value that our money can bring us.

There’s nothing wrong with being thrifty, that is simply being a good steward of the money that you have been entrusted with, and I am always looking for ways to make my money go further and last longer.

I know from experience that almost any trip to the car dealership is going to cost me $300, and having just spoken to the service technician, (here because of a “check engine” light activation), I learned that today is no exception because the sensor that I need replaced is $260.00 plus tax…

But that’s ok, because as I look around the showroom, I’m finding ways to even out the expenditure. One of the things that I notice immediately is that there is a Coleman tent in the showroom that has the Subaru label emblazoned across the top. The fact of the matter is that I am in the market for a new tent anyway and have been looking for one, (not that I can afford it now after buying a $260 sensor), however, I know that I’m also going to need to buy a new car in the next two years…

So, here then are three things you must do to always try to get the most bang for your buck:

  1. Try to get some freebies added on. Whenever I buy a car, I always look for some freebies to get thrown in to “seal the deal” if you will. The aforementioned tent is a good example. I don’t know of any car dealer who is going to let a $24,000 car deal go down the tubes over a $70 tent. I, on the other hand, will walk right out the door over a $70 tent, or a $250 set of roof racks, ($49.95 at Wal-Mart).
  2. Don’t do the trade-in thing. There is only one reason that dealerships, whatever type they are, take trade-ins. That’s because they are profitable. Why let the dealership get the most out of your valuables? Sell them yourself and get the full dollar amount out of them. It’s not that much trouble and you work too hard for your money to give it to someone else.
  3. Always consider buying use items. I’m not a big fan of buying used cars, just because I like to start off fresh with a factory warranty and know exactly how that thing was maintained all of it’s life. But for everything else I buy used. My cameras, guns, electronics, etc… are always bought used or surplus just because for the most part there are no hidden variables to worry about. What you see is what you get and wear and tear isn’t likely an issue.

 

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Happy 4th of July from RDDUSA

As you celebrate this wonderful day with your grilled hotdogs and flame broiled burgers, please remember that this wonderful freedom that you enjoying in the form of celebration with friends and family isn’t free; it was bought with a price.

That price comes in many forms. Most notably is the blood and lives of those Americans who have fought and died to protect your right to lie poolside on such a glorious day and celebrate the happiness of living your life away from the tyranny and usury that is so prevalent in other societies under other government rules.

And so, I ask ,as you go camping this holiday season, or even if you’re just pitching the old military surplus tent in the back yard for your grandkids to play in… do so with a silent prayer on your lips and in your heart for those men and women who have taken up arms in just such an environment. In such an environment as this to live and sometimes die so that collectively we might all enjoy the right to enjoy the free capital lifestyle that has made America the greatest nation on the planet and many other nations much greater than they would otherwise have been.

I write this with the knowledge that as we progress forward that many lives must be placed in jeopardy, much more blood must be spilled, and more must be given from each and every one of us to maintain that which we have. Our sons and daughters will serve and fight and protect us all in these coming, uncertain days. My very own son, my first born, leaves for service in the Marine Corps in October of this year. He does so with gladness and anticipation; eager to defend the rights and liberties of this great Constitution. And with that in mind, we wish you all a very happy 4th of July.

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Renewable resources: 2 ways that military surplus is circumventing the energy crisis

On a recent trip through Indiana I happened to come across a field of high density turbines which are used to harness wind for a renewable energy source in the form of windmill farming.

One scene in particular struck me as epic and I had to stop and snap a picture. In the background of the photograph one sees a high density turbine, in the forefront there are power lines. In between is a decrepit old barn with the advertisement for “Mail Pouch” still barely visible on it, the testimony of days gone by. Back in the middle of the century there were no billboards you see, and companies would advertise their products by paying to paint their logos on barns by the side of the road. I interpreted this scene as “The old and the new” while in between, the rotting wooden hulk represents their effect on the nation’s culture.

The fact of the matter is that our culture is influenced now by the need for sustainable energy. Gone are the days of the high horsepower engines and the seemingly endless pools of fossil fuels. Today we need to focus on the possibility that the population is going to increase while the resources decrease. Luckily the U.S. Military is working on several different methods of doing just that. Here are 2:

  1. Solar panelled tents. With todays technology, electricity is a must for the different weapons systems that are being utilized by the military. It is for this reason that research and development is being done to create a tent that will reduce and eventually eradicate the need for fuel powered generators.
  2. Motion generated electricity. There is a personally worn body brace that creates electricity from the movement of a soldiers body. While this brace will not produce enough electricity to be able to power a laptop, it will generate enough power to recharge a cellphone or a pad of some sort, which are now powerful enough to do everything from communications to operating personal drone devices for surveillance.
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Re-appropriation: 3 ways you should gather supplies beyond buying them

First of all, I want to stress that by “re-appropriation”, I do not mean “theft”. There is no need to steal, not in America, not in this day and time.  There is too much abundance and wealth spread out throughout the entire nation.

We are a great nation of prosperity and with that prosperity comes great waste. My old buddy The Wildman, once decided that he had done all of the work that he ever planned to do and went about trying to live off of doing what he loves, hunting and fishing. The problem was that he lived in the city; however, there was an advantage that he enjoyed… a river ran through it. Therefore he was able to live pretty comfortably by re-appropriation. Here are three methods of re-appropriation.

  1. Craigslist style ads. There’s lots of free stuff out there, so don’t be shy about looking for it. There are many generous people in the nation who have so much that they are not above sharing with those less fortunate than they. Some of the Free Items on social media sites are valuable too. Take advantage of other’s generosity.
  2. Roadside trash. I have seen many items of great value set along the side of the road, discarded property waiting for the trash-man. Some have said that this is an illegal activity; however, the Supreme Court has ruled, (in California vs Greenwood), that when a person discards an item then it becomes public domain, so… enjoy!
  3. Dumpster Diving. As stated before, discarded items become public domain according to case law. That being said, there are a few things you should consider. One is that trespassing is still illegal, so if the dumpster is on private property, you might find yourself crossways with the law. Another thing to consider is trash pickup time. You don’t want to get caught up in the trash when it gets dumped in the compacter.
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Military surplus news: 2018’s MRE change

Photo courtesy of the US Army

I’m so excited by the newest addition to the military MRE selection for 2018 that I nearly can’t stand myself.

In a move reminiscent of the daily lunch option at Preble Shawnee Consolidated High School in rural Gratis, Ohio, the military is now offering  an opportunity to have pizza for lunch out in the field as a MRE option.

In a recent news article in KITUP magazine the cat was let out of the bag:

 

The pepperoni pizza entrée has been added to the 2018 Meals, Ready to Eat menu and should be on its way to the field soon.

The pizza MRE will include cheddar and jalapeno cheese spread, Italian breadsticks, cookies, cherry-blueberry cobbler and a chocolate protein drink powder.

“You know, for a pizza that has to last for at least three years … it’s pretty stinking good,” said Jeremy Whitsitt, deputy director of the Defense Department’s Combat Feeding Directorate.

“Whenever we have sampled it with people, the primary comment that comes back is, ‘Hey, it tastes like the pizza I had last night that I put in the fridge,’ he said.

“I think that is a great compliment when you think about bread, sauce, cheese and meat — all have to survive in the same pouch together for three years without going bad, or getting stale or moldy,” Whitsitt added.

The pizza is made with a high-heat-tolerant mozzarella cheese and a process that controls moisture levels, pH and oxygen levels to ensure a three-year shelf life, he said.

However, it’s difficult to predict when units will see the new pizza MRE, he said.

“I can’t tell you when troops will see it because that’s all dependent on what their stock is and how quickly they eat though their older stock” of MREs, Whitsitt said.

Defense Logistics Agency officials said it will be available to most troops in about 18 months, according to a May 25 Army press release.”

The good news for us is that these babies will be hitting the surplus line soon enough and we can enjoy our youthful dietary measures all over again.

 
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The CMP; 3 things you must know about the 1911 surplus program

If you’re like me and are a big fan of the Colt 1911 frame .45 handgun, then you are probably fairly excited about the prospect of the Federal Government opening up the coffers and offering the surplus Colt 1911 military grade sidearms that they have been hoarding away for over 100 years.

According to an article recently posted on Apple News, there is going to be a brief window to purchase these things, and there are going to be some pretty harsh restrictions concerning them.  As with the old M1 Garand rifles, these 1911s are going to be offered through the Civilian Marksmanship Program, and they are going to be offered at a fairly steep price based on grade. So, basically it seems that these old workhorses will be offered as a commemorative item as opposed to a utilitarian item… a keepsake if you will.

Here are three highlights that you should know about the program:

  1. Order form packets will be posted on the CMP website June 4. The CMP makes it quite clear that it does not want to be contacted with questions before June 4, nor will it take any orders before Sept. 4. “PLEASE DO NOT CALL, LEAVE MESSAGES OR EMAIL THE CMP 1911 CUSTOMER SERVICE/SALES DEPARTMENT (which will be functional 4 June 2018),” the site states.
  2. The CMP site also lists the prices for the 1911s based on their condition.

    — Service Grade pistols will cost $1,050. These pistols “may exhibit minor pitting and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips are complete with no cracks. Pistol is in issuable condition.”

    — Field Grade pistols will cost $950. These pistols “may exhibit minor rust, pitting, and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips are complete with no cracks. Pistol is in issuable condition.”

    — Rack Grade pistols will cost $850. These pistols “will exhibit rust, pitting, and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips may be incomplete and exhibit cracks. Pistol requires minor work to return to issuable condition.”

    There is also an Auction Grade, the price of which will be driven by the auction, and the pistol’s condition will be described when posted for sale, the CMP site states. It was not clear when the auction will be held.

  3. Customer names from complete order form packets will be fed into a computerized random number generator on Oct. 5. It will provide a list of names in sequential order through the random selection process, the site states. Customers will be contacted in the sequence provided by number generator.

    Customers will have the opportunity to select their grade of pistol — Service, Field or Rack — from available inventory at the time of order notification, the site states.

    The CMP will perform a NICS background check to ensure the customer is eligible to purchase prior to shipment to a “storefront” federal firearms licensed dealer, according to the website. The customer must receive a “proceed” from NICS prior to shipment of the pistol to the dealer.

    For more information, please go to CMP’s 1911 Information webpage.

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Military tent camping product review: The Hanging Cupboard

Whenever I go military tent Camping, I always seem to end up with my stuff piled on top of itself, pell-mell in a backpack. Getting what I need out of it can be a horrendous chore, and what normally happens is that I end up with an empty pack and my stuff scattered hither and yon all over the campsite to find what I need at the moment.

The good news is that for your next military tent camping adventure, you can have a nice portable hanging cupboard that will double as a backpack. According to the guys at Cabela’s you can:

Keep your campsite’s cook shack organized and clean with this weatherproof, collapsible cupboard. Extends to 30″, yet collapses to less than 2″ high for easy packing. Lightweight, water-resistant 400-denier nylon shell features three 22″L x 10″D shelves for food, camp equipment or other gear. Six divided outer pockets provide quick access to utensils or other necessities. Hangs from a tent frame, tree, R.V. or anywhere you need a portable pantry. Straps also make for easy rigging to a rope, so it can be pulled high in the trees at night, safe from marauding woodland critters. (http://reviews.cabelas.com/8815/516773/creek-company-hanging-camp-cupboard-reviews/reviews.htm)

This cupboard is perfect for a military tent because the hanging strap can be used off of the inner frame of your tent and is therefore off of the ground, easily accessible, and neat and tidy.

If you’ve never camped in bear country then I can’t stress enough the importance of having your gear, especially anything edible and/or tasty, up off of the ground. The reason for this is that bears are like raccoons in the fact that they will get into everything, number one, and number two, they believe that everything belongs to them. The best way to combat this issue is to get your gear up off of the ground.

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