Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
After a fun morning of shooting Saturday, I retired to the back deck for some long-awaited treats before dinner. I'd recently picked up a new cigar from Black Label Trading Company, and had an interesting bottle of bourbon waiting in the wings.
Monday, September 28, 2020
It was raining lightly but steadily during my drive to the Cavalier Range for Saturday's monthly IDPA match. Despite the weather prognosticators indicating the rain would have stopped by the time I left the house, I was hopeful I'd be shooting in clear skies shortly. The mist was still falling as we gathered, and everyone lamented the sight of plastic bag covered targets. However, the match directors opted to delay the start for 30 minutes or so to let the rain pass. Success! We'd be shooting at un-bagged targets!
The first stage our squad shot had the longest shots of the match; quite the warm up. Three groups of targets were engaged in priority, near to far. All arrays featured a non-threat centered on the group. Two arrays of three had a target hidden being the non-threat, the furthest group was just two partial targets.
|Luckily the bags came off for shooting|
The amount of movement needed along the fault line depended on the shooter's confidence level with tight shots near the non-threats. Technically, I think you could "see" all the targets from just two positions, although every shooter I watched took a few more steps back and forth. To my surprise, this was my best stage. Despite shooting it down 5, it was a stage win in my division and a 3rd overall finish.
The next course of fire had us starting with just six rounds in the gun. Beginning the run facing a wall, there was an open target, and two targets engaged from cover. Successfully making all six of those shots meant you could reload on the move to the last point of cover to find the last two targets. I was -3 for the run.
The next stage also featured a downloaded start, this time with just one round loaded in the gun. We started with the muzzle of the gun pointed at a spot on a non-threat in front of us. At the signal we were required to fire the one round at our choice of two open targets before retreating to cover and reloading. We then engaged those two open targets from cover. The rest of the targets on the stage were visible from two further points of cover. All targets required three hits each. This was a -0 stage for me.
Next up was the "go fast" stage. We started centered on a wall, with an open target to our right which was shot first. There were five more targets arranged behind the wall, and it was the shooters choice from which side to shoot from first. Target priority meant there were three targets to be engaged from whichever side you started on, and two from the other.
Even though each target required just two shots minimum, I think most shooters fired extra rounds, really fast, to enable reloading while in transition. I was -1 for the stage despite extra shots.
The last stage was a long field course with seven targets, some with non-threat cover. We started touching one end of a wall. The first shots were at two targets at opposite sides of the course, but shot from the same point of cover. We then worked our way down a "hallway" engaging targets from different nooks and angles. It was a good "running" course and I was -4 for the stage.
The weather turned out great, but there was still a fairly small turnout. The possible inclement weather, and ammo shortages, are likely contributing factors. There was also a competing VCDL special event at a nearby range that attracted some of the regulars.
It was a good day of shooting. I was moderately pleased with how I shot, even though I was 13 points down total. That had me finishing 9th of 32 overall, and 4th of 17 in SSP. Not bad for a slow, old guy. I'm not going to win any major awards, but it's nice to be somewhat competitive, despite bad knees and old eyes. :-) Now if I only had the range and the ammunition to put in some practice.
|Pasting targets was a challenge at times|
Saturday, September 26, 2020
After dinner Friday I was in the mood for a nice IPA. I was also in the mood for a good cigar. IPA's aren't always the best companions for cigars, so I had to give my selection some thought. I originally had my eyes on some new cigars I'd not yet tried, but opted for the known.
I had a few bottles of Lagunitas IPA in the fridge, left from a friend's visit recently. That part of my choice was easy. Now for the cigar. After a few scans of the humidor I settled on a Black Label Trading Company Last Rites.
Lagunitas IPA pours a golden amber with a frothy white head. The aroma is citrus and pine. The flavor profile has robust citrus and pine hop notes, with a caramel malt backbone. The sweet malt and bitter hop aspects are in good balance. There's a lingering bitterness in the oily finish. This is a not a palate killer, but still highly flavorful.
I felt confident about the cigar choice, having enjoyed many Last Rites previously. The 6" x 60 Toro features a slightly oily Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, over a Honduran binder with Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers. The full body smoke has notes of creamy chocolate, coffee, and cedar throughout.
The bold, mildly spicy cigar cuts through the piney bitterness of the beer very well. At the same time the bold hop flavor of the beer isn't lost in the smoke either. I was very pleased with my selections for this flavorful pairing.
Friday, September 25, 2020
It was an early start to the weekend Thursday when I headed over to 1781 Brewing after dinner for a beer and smoke at the cigar lounge. After a week of very cool weather, one that actually had me turning on the heater for a smoke on the deck earlier in the week, it was nice to sit outside comfortably as the sun set. As usual, the first stop was to fill my mug with a tasty beer. Also as usual, I opted for the Washington's Hare Porter. The mildly sweet caramel and toffee notes, with just a touch of bitterness, go quite well with most cigars I smoke. And the low 5.5% ABV makes it easier to have a refill, should I desire.
In perusing the lounge's humidor, I saw it held a box of Black Label Trading Company Bishops Blend, in the Corona Larga vitola. I have been enjoying the Robusto size sticks I grabbed last July at the shop, but had never tried the slightly larger size.
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Continuing the fire pit and power outage story…
After rebuilding the fire, I headed inside to grab another smoke and a beer. The second cigar choice for the early evening was the Liga Undercrown Maduro from Drew Estate. This cigar has been mentioned before in these Musings and is a long-standing favorite.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Monday, September 21, 2020
It was a cool morning as I headed to Charlottesville to shoot the monthly IDPA match at the Rivanna range. It's been a while since we've had a cool weather match, and I had mixed feelings about being reminded (again) about the impending months of lower temps. Nonetheless I was looking forward to shooting the match and visiting with friends.
All four stages this month involved little movement, other than some leaning to see around obstacles. Although I prefer movement stages, the stages were both fun and challenging. The first stage had us facing three tiers of target groups, each with three threat and two non-threat targets in a line. The groups were shot near to far.
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Friday, September 18, 2020
The Celebration is a medium-bodied smoke that surprised me with a bit more flavor than its appearance indicated. The flavors off the bat were creamy and earthy with some light bitter chocolate and cedar. As the smoke progressed toward the middle, the flavors mellowed a bit, and I was thinking I was in for a boring smoke the second half. However, as the last third approached both the spice and sweetness ramped up a bit and kept things interesting. The hour plus smoke was enough for a couple cups of rich, black coffee.
Soon the cows had moved on to other pastures and the household was stirring. It was time for breakfast and whatever the day's activities had in store. I do long for more mornings like that though.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
To start a long weekend recently, I grabbed one of the CAO Flathead 660 sticks and the remains of a bottle of Henry McKenna 10 Year Bottled-in-Bond. It was a great, though bittersweet, pairing.
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Friday, September 11, 2020
It's been nineteen years. Memories fade. There's a whole generation that didn't experience the reality of that day. Some never learned history. Some have forgotten history. The events of September 11, 2001 brought horrors to our shores that the world should never be permitted to forget. Today our days are filled with the effects of the Chinese virus, racial tension both real and fabricated, and the Marxist violence in our cities. Yet, none of this compares with the horrors inflicted upon our country by our enemies on that September day.
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
On this festive day, faithful Catholics all over the world take their priests out for a beer and get to know them better. It’s a beautiful Catholic tradition that goes back to the time of St. Hopswald of Aleyard, the first man to take his priest out for a beer.
Okay, St. Hopswald wasn’t real, but your priest is real. Priests are people too, and they enjoy socializing over good food and drink as much as anyone. They also have a thankless and difficult job, a job that we couldn’t get to heaven without. Priests are the lifeblood of the Church, and they deserve some appreciation.
So with that in mind, I would challenge you to do something concrete to show appreciation to your priest on September 9th. Yes, it could be taking him out for a beer, or it could be inviting him over to share dinner with your family. Be creative if you want, but give back to your priest somehow, and let him know that his ministry is making a difference.
Even if you can't do it today, most of the priests I know would appreciate the gesture of a beer any day.
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
After a delightful four day weekend of good beer, whiskey, cigars, and simple relaxation, Monday afternoon provided one last bit of down time before resuming "normal" life. This delightful comb helped smooth the way.
Monday, September 7, 2020
Saturday, September 5, 2020
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
CAO Flathead Carb 660 is a cigar that I haven't smoked in a couple years. Again, simply because there are so many other cigars to explore. The nearly black, Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper covers an Ecuadorian Connecticut binder and Nicaraguan fillers. The smoke produces rich, semi-sweet chocolate, and espresso flavors. It's a full bodied smoke that packs a bit of strength too. The large cigar offers a good two hour smoke. The stick is very sharply box-pressed, with a very flat head. Box pressed cigars sometimes exhibit an uneven burn requiring touch ups along the way. The combination of the large ring gauge and extreme box shape of the Flathead 660 always, for me, produces a burn will require some maintenance along the way. It's also somewhat of an unnatural shape to dry to draw through. Despite the drawbacks, and it's a very enjoyable smoke and one that consistently gets high reviews.
I recently picked up a 10 pack of the Flathead, and although there's very little of the Jefferson's left, there are plenty of other bottles hiding in my cabinet with which to pair the bold cigar.