Savage Mark II .22 cal lr.

I have been thinking of picking one of these up for a couple of years now. I was playing around with the accu-trigger at a local gun shop and really liked it. Well, I am not disappointed.

Here it is dressed with a BSA Sweet .22 scope, and an extra magazine.

I’m not going to go through all the specs of the rifle, you can find that all over the internet. My intention is to let you know that for an “average” shooter this gun and scope combo is indeed Sweet.

One thing that I want to caution you of is the fact that this rifle does NOT come with scope mounts. Maybe it’s just me but that was surprising. It wasn’t a big deal because I bought the rifle and scope at the same shop and noticed the lack of mounts right away.

Here is what you get in the scope box. A glass cleaner, the wrench for the trigger adjustment, 3 turrets (one is on the gun), aluminum scope covers (which I will upgrade with flip ups). The scope mount package is there as well. It’s the #16 weaver package and you will need two of them.

The gun was actually purchased several months ago and since it is winter here in Wisconsin I have not shot it a lot. I don’t have access to a range so I shoot in the backyard. We did a sight-in and was very satisfied considering it was windy and quite cold. Here is my last 7 shot group at 50 yards. We had shot about 300 rounds through the gun without cleaning it at this point.

If you haven’t tried the accu-trigger rifle’s from Savage, you should. They are very nice guns right out of the box.

I’m really looking forward to shooting this gun in the spring. Once the scope gets dialed in and I get more comfortable with it any squirrel within sight better worry. Let me know if you have this gun and what you think of it.


Lettuce Grow! (update)

We have had such a long drawn out, yet mild winter it seems like spring should be here any day! A couple of weeks ago I planted 6 different varieties of lettuce. You can find that here.  Today I’ll add some pictures of what I have now and you can see that some are doing better than others. Some seedlings were lost because I had my lights adjusted wrong. But I was able to replant and am still in the lettuce business!

First up is the Simpson Elite. If you remember the last post I had the planted in 6 cell pots. Because my lights were not at the right height the plants grew way to fast and got very spindly. So I replanted them (losing a couple) in the larger 4 cell pots.


Next is the Black Seeded Simpson.


This is Red Fire.


Parris Island.


And Royal Red.

I am hopeful that by the end of this week we can have the Hoop House completed and move these all outside!


Hoop House Update

This is a continuation from here.

1st thing I did order the plastic as I mentioned yesterday.

2nd thing is I built and installed the arches! Here is what I did, and how it looks. Feel free to critique it.

The first picture shows the pvc and how I connected the two 10′ sections. I felt that using a regular 1″ coupler was not going to be strong enough. So, I cut a 12″ piece of 1 1/4 pvc to made a new coupler. The 1 1/4 slides over the 1″ perfectly. The top two pieces will slide together and form a single 20′ arch. You can see that I already drilled and put in a bolt. Next the piece under it will be slid in and then drilled for another nut and bolt. The bottom piece is complete. I used 1/4″ x 2 1/2″ bolts. I could have used a 2″ bolt instead. I also put washers on each end. When they get installed I have to make sure that the exposed end of the bolt is facing down so it doesn’t contact the plastic.

I made up 9 of these arches. With a span of 3′ that gives me a total length of 24′.

These arches slide over the 1/2″ conduit that is already pounded in the ground.

I am facing to the east as I took this picture. My regular garden is directly south , or on the right side of the hoop house.

Here I am looking to the south. You can see that with just the conduit they are pretty stable. I don’t know if I mentioned it earlier, but when I pounded in the conduit I put it at about a 30 degree angle to the piece directly across from it. That makes it a little easier to slide on. I think it will also put less stress on the lower section of pvc.

Ok. This is looking back to the west.

Here is a close up of how the bolts need to face down so the exposed bolt doesn’t contact the plastic.

If you see anything that you think or know will be a problem…PLEASE TELL ME! I will certainly appreciate it.

Also, I added the wooden boards. 2 x 6 x 12 treated pine laid vertically on the inside of the arches. The end boards are the same size but they are laid horizontal (flat on the ground). I also cut out a slot so the two pieces would fit together nicely.

Here the boys are screwing the pvc brackets to the board.

I also framed one end for the door. Just plain 2 x 4 studs. I don’t have pictures of that yet. And it snowed so I will not be working on the hoop house for a couple of days. And to top if off, my plastic was delivered today! UGH!

The next update can be found here.

Here is a link to great zip code specific planting guide. It is from the Old Farmers Almanac. Let me know what you think of it.


While you are on their site, look around the gardening section. They have a lot of information there.

Backyard Birds

If you follow my blog don’t expect consistency! I can bounce from project to project in an hours time. This morning I am stepping aside from the woodworking and gardening projects to start a backyard bird blog.

Like the other posts I have, this one will be updated as new birds show up and I get better pictures of the regulars. Let me start out with some geography.

I live in southeastern Wisconsin, about 10 miles from Lake Michigan. I live on a dead end road with an 800 foot driveway. I cannot see my neighbors and they can’t see me! I am basically surrounded by farm fields and a 20 acre woodlot is the backyard. I don’t own all of it, or even most of it…just enough of it.

My family and I are not total expert bird watchers, so don’t send me pictures of birds asking for ID help. I’ll probably be asking for your help in that department. I’m also far from a great photographer. Again, this is for fun and relaxation.

I have two “stations” that we offer feed for the birds. The one in the backyard (woods) is just a suet feeder that attracts woodpeckers and nuthatches. It also attracts the chickens who feed on the suet that the birds drop. Nothing is wasted in nature.

The station in the front yard is another suet feeder and some sock feeders filled will Niger Thistle seed. We usually see a lot of finches at the socks.

That’s the basic info. What else do we see? We will also see Robins, Cardinals, Chickadees, Sparrows, and a bunch of birds that I haven’t ID’ed yet.

Birds that we see sometimes as they pass through our area are Evening Grosbeaks (I really like them), Baltimore Orioles, and Wood ducks will nest in the woods if we get enough rain/snow melt to fill up the low spot.

Let’s see, oh and the best…Blue Birds. We put up some simple houses on a couple of the goat pasture fences and the bluebirds will use them to raise a brood each year.

We get our share of the birds of prey as well. A Great Horned Owl
sat in a tree in the front yard a couple of weeks ago. Something must have disturbed it since it was about 10:00 a.m. We also see some hawks, red tailed I think.

Because of our close proximity to Lake Michigan and several large marshes we have lots of ducks and geese around as well. Hopefully in fall I can show some harvest pictures. Speaking of hunting, I almost forgot the Mourning Doves and Turkeys! They taste great!
So enough of that, I’ll add some pictures and try to keep it organized. Maybe. I don’t enough about WordPress to know if you can post pictures if you leave a comment, but If you can please do!

Another bird that I forgot is the Bald Eagle. Actually we don’t see them often at all around home. Where we go camping and fishing up north we see them. Here is one that was about a mile from the house and we were pretty far away from it, but you can tell what it is.

Mourning Dove

I believe this is a White Crowned Sparrow

Gold Finch

Baltimore Oriole

Not the best picture, but we do also see some humming birds. I think they are the ruby throated variety.

If anyone can ID this one I would appreciate it. It is an insect eater. I watched it hover and swoop down on something several times. Only saw it one time.


Eastern Bluebird

A pair of them.

A goose family picture. Or would it be a picture of geese?

I like Bluebirds.

I think this is some kind of heron. Farmers despise them! I don’t know if they eat the freshly planted seeds but the farmers think they do. Either way, they are protected and everywhere in Spring.

Barn Swallows

Evening Grosbeak

Wow, this is a big project! I’ll come back and add more later.

Here are some resident Woodpeckers.

A red headed one.


I think this is a male downy

One more time…

Lettuce Diary

This blog will be an ongoing diary of my lettuce plantings this spring. I always start off the gardening season with a notebook and the intention to document everything I do in the garden. The intentions fade quickly though and eventually nothing gets recorded. I’m hoping that by using this blog I will stick with it longer.

So here starts the lettuce diary!

2-8-2012 Me and the kids started 6 varieties of lettuce. These seeds are leftovers from last year. I don’t know how viable they are and since it is just lettuce I am not going to worry about doing a germination test or anything like that.

The six varieties are Simpson Elite, Royal Red, Parris Island, Salad Bowl, and Red Fire. They are planted in Burpee brand  seed starting pellets and coconut fiber. The flat was placed on an east facing windowsill and we had some germination in a couple of days.

A side note is that after we planted the lettuce I decided to build a light stand and heat mat. Once that was complete the lettuce was moved to a the light stand, but no heating mat. I believe that was done on the 16th of February.

2-18-2012 Pictures of lettuce today. I discarded the Salad Bowl tray because there was no sign of life.

Back Left = Black Seeded Simpson, Front Left = Simpson Elite, Back Right = Red Fire, Front Right = Salad Bowl (Discarded)

Back Right = Parris Island, Front left = Royal Red

The lettuce seedlings had some white furry stuff on the stalk. It seems like they grow out of it??? I say that because the taller it gets, the less of the white stuff there is. Does anyone know what it is? The soil is a little wetter than I would like and I am currently working on getting it dried out some. I think that is the problem.

2-20-2012 The white stuff appears to be gone. But for some reason two seedlings fell over. They didn’t shrivel up …yet so I’ll wait to pull them. I’m wondering if I have too much light for them. I turn the lights on for about 12 hours each day. I’ll have to research that and find out what the optimal light time is.

The picture below is the Parris Island that did not germinate. Remember this is last years seed. I restarted a new tray with this years seed for Parris Island.

Below is the new tray of Parris Island, a Romaine type.

Instead of continuing this post any new updates will have their own post. Here is the next update.

I decided to take the plunge and try to start seeds inside again. This is easier said than done since I live in Wisconsin. We have had a very mild winter and the gardening bug has bitten bad! After doing some research online I decided to build a pvc frame for a fluorescent light. Actually I decided to make a double hanger so I can put four trays of seeds under my lights.

I also made a heat mat out of a strand of rope lights. If I can find the link to the original source I will add it in here.

Again, the pictures can tell the story better than I can. But I will say that I am quite impressed with the heat mat. The stand is in our rec room downstairs which stays about 62 degrees. Most evenings there will be a fire in the fireplace that will raise the temp to about 75. It’s really only for a few hours so I don’t think it makes much of a difference to the plant stand. Anyways, the rope lights have been on for about 16 hours and this morning the soil temp was just under 80 degrees! Room temp is 62.

Let me know if you have any questions and please leave a comment!

The tray and 8-pack in front are lettuce. So they don’t get any heat.

The two trays in the back are on the heat mat. tomatoes, Peppers, etc.

That’s the rope lights.

I pulled one of the trays off the heat mat so you could see it better.

The height can be adjusted either by moving the chain links on the lights, or by lifting up the sides of the frame itself.

I wanted to add a couple of pictures to this post now that it is a day old. 1st of all, I am totally impressed with the rope lights as a heat source. Below you will see the thermometer that is inside the tray on the heat mat. About 82 degrees! And the room temp is a stable 62.

Next pic is some lettuce that was planted on the 8th of February. It took two days to start to germinate and now has 12 hours of light. I am expecting big things from this!

Here are some pictures that Kelly sent to me showing how she made hers! I like it.

Kelly…”That rope light mat is crazy..my marigolds, lupines and moss rose plants germinated in 2 days! ”

Kelly's Grow light and Heat Mat

Kelly's Grow light and Heat Mat