Friday, October 7, 2016
Blogorado, Day 1
The gathering of our clan has officially begun! Miss D. and I arrived early yesterday afternoon in the small Colorado town that's the base for our annual blogger gathering. Old NFO and aepilot_jim followed in our tracks, getting in half-an-hour behind us. Others were arriving from various points of the compass. Most of us booked into our hotels, dumped our luggage in our rooms, then headed for the farm where we'll spend most of our time.
It was a joy to meet Farmdad, Farmmom and Farmgirl, our hosts, once more. This whole shindig started when, at a blogger gathering hosted by the lovely Phlegmmy in Dallas, TX, FarmGirl wistfully asked whether we would attend a similar gathering in the wilds of Colorado's grasslands if she were to host it. The response was overwhelmingly positive. It's remained on an invitation-only basis, which has made this a sort of self-selected tribal get-together. This is the eighth annual gathering, with no sign of anyone or anything slowing down. The reunions were great fun ("Christina, what happened to your hair? It's purple!")
To almost everyone's delight, the FarmFamily's abundant brood of barn cats have produced a few kittens, just in time for our gathering. There were four little and not-so-little bundles of fluff climbing all over everyone within reach, attacking any cord attached to clothing, purring up a storm, demanding to share our food, and climbing into arms, laps and coats for a quick nap. One of them is black, with the tips of his fur on the rear half of his body fading to silver-gray, almost like a silvertip grizzly bear. He's very cute and affectionate. Farmdad is hinting heavily to Miss D. and I that he needs a home, and wouldn't he make wonderful company for our present cat? We'll have to see about that . . . but he did seem to spend an awful lot of time snuggling into our arms and purring loudly. I think he and Farmdad have hatched a plot together.
Farmmom and her helpers served up a delicious beef pot roast for supper, complete with carrots and light, fluffy mashed potatoes. The food is one of the highlights of Blogorado, and this year looks set fair to continue the tradition. A noble beast, Sir Loin, has shuffled off this mortal coil for our gathering this year, and awaits our gustatory pleasure in various forms and dishes, some already cooked, some planned. Meanwhile, his mortal remains are filling the FarmFamily's freezers to overflowing - so much so that Farmmom had to appeal to us all to eat hearty last night, because she had nowhere to put any leftovers! We strove to meat her need . . . you should pardon the (burp!) expression.
Friday morning will be spent setting up the shooting range on part of the farmland. It's been converted into a shooting range with the bulldozing of berms at various distances to provide backstops. It's in rolling country to begin with, so with the aid of the berms, almost any shooting activity can be safely accommodated. There's a handgun range with metal knock-down targets, a hundred-yard rimfire range for .22LR handguns and rifles, a rifle range going out as far as a thousand yards for those who like long-distance shooting, and a shotgun area for those who like to dispatch large quantities of lead in clouds of tiny bits and pieces. Farmdad and several helpers are planning to build new range tables out of scrap steel and wood (of which there's no shortage in the farm barn).
The shooting will get under way later tomorrow afternoon, as the last arrivals roll into town. Things will be in full swing by Saturday, continuing on into early next week to take advantage of the Columbus Day holiday and long weekend. Tamara will have a couple of new toys for us to play with, including one that interests me very much (I own one of the earlier models). I've brought half a dozen handguns to shoot. Others have brought expensive and very accurate ironmongery to try out at longer ranges. (It was amusing to watch aepilot_jim straining under the load of a very thick, very heavy plate of steel as he lugged it into the barn. We offered suitable encouragement, but little assistance! I helped by providing moral support . . . I raised my glass in his general direction. The steel plate will end up as a hanging gong at the 750-yard point on the rifle range, providing audible as well as visual confirmation of a hit.)
I'll continue to post as and when possible. There's no Internet or cellphone signal at all on the range, and only limited cellphone service at the farmhouse, so posting has to wait until I get back to our hotel room in town every day. By the time I do that, I'm usually pretty exhausted, so my output will be limited. Regular blogging will recommence once I get home.