Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July 4th Weekend 2014

I’m trying to get into the habit of posting more.  I’m also trying to keep my posts interesting and relevant, and yes, sometimes I feel like those two things are in conflict with one another. In spite of that, here is a DC Rainmaker inspired, 5 random things I did this holiday weekend post, for your reading pleasure.

Friday was the 4th of July and Cath and I spent the entire weekend at the cabin.  Last year everyone was in town and we built a play set for Gemma and Artie, but before we could start building, we had to cut down a large tree that was in the way.

The tree came down pretty easy but then the focus shifted to building the play set, so the most of the wood was left uncut.  Friday seemed like a good day to cut and split wood, so that’s what I did! Once I finished cutting everything to length, there were about 50 round logs ranging in diameter from six inches up to about two feet.   I split and stacked most of the 50 and I cleaned up and consolidate the remaining rounds near the fire pit.  It’s been a while since I split wood, so at the end of the day, my hands, shoulders and hamstrings were pretty sore. No workout today but a lot of work nonetheless.

Saturday started with more of the same… I restarted the fire from Friday night and then I split and stacked more wood.  Around noon my sister started work on a key lime pie and I fired up the slow cooker to start dinner (more on that in a minute!).  While dinner cooked, I had time for a brief trail run. My legs and back were pretty sore from splitting wood, so I figured a nice easy jog would help to loosen things up.  Cath wanted to come along too, so we worked out a plan: she dropped me at the Maple Summit parking lot on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail and I started running north on the trail.  She then drove to the Rt. 653 parking lot and started hiking south.  We agreed that I would run north until I met her hiking south, at which point she would turn around and I would switch up to her pace.  My best guess was that we would meet up somewhere around my one-hour mark and that’s exactly what happened.  I met her at 1:01:30, just short of five mils into my run.  She turned around and we walked/jogged our way back to the Rt. 653 parking lot. You can see my path here (link to Connect).  Overall I covered a little more than seven miles and felt pretty good.

Saturday dinner was slow cooked, BBQ, pulled chicken sandwiches with coleslaw, fruit salad, potato salad and key lime pie. We are big fans of the slow cooker and pulled chicken sandwiches are really good and really easy.  I used Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce as the base and then I added orange mango preserves, crushed red pepper flakes, Worchester sauce, and a mix of chicken breasts and thighs. Four hours on high (in my slow cooker) and everything was ready to be pulled.  I removed the skin and bones from the thighs and I pulled the meat into shreds. Next I removed some of the excess fat from the top of the sauce. Finally, I tasted the sauce before adding back the pulled chicken. We served the chicken on hamburger buns with a dollop of coleslaw on top. Yum! There are dozens of similar recipes on the Internet, pick one that sounds good to you and mix up some BBQ!

Sunday was the real relaxation day of the weekend and I got to shoot sporting clays with my brother-in-law at Seven Springs (link to seven springs sporting clays).  If you’re not familiar, sporting clays are often describes as golf with guns: you move between shooting stations with each station setup to throw clay targets in a different direction and pattern. Seven Springs has three distinct courses.  Each course has 15+ shooting stations and each station has several different throwing patterns.  They also have an outdoor 5-stand and an indoor, heated 5-stand.  The facilities and the trappers are first class.  An accomplished shooter will hit north of 85% of their targets. I am not an accomplished shooter!  That said, I managed to hit 61 out of 100 targets, so I was really happy with the effort.  I was especially happy with the number of fast crossing targets that I managed to hit. I was not at all happy with the number of rising targets that I managed to miss. I was pulling the trigger right at the apex but for some reason I just kept missing. Ugh.

This is a picture of my lovely bruise. Clearly I don't get to shoot often enough because this should not be happening.  Oh well, something else to work on!

One other funny thing: as I was packing up to go shoot, I was trying to figure out a workable way to mount the GoPro to get some pics and video footage. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and I wasn't able to come up with a solution.  Thus, my surprise today, when I received an email from GoPro focused on their new Sportsman Mount (link to GoPro). Briefly, the mount allows you to hang your GoPro from the barrel of a rifle/shotgun and get footage aiming out at the target, back at the shooter or both (if you have two cameras). I don't shoot enough to make this a must have item, but the footage on their site is pretty cool and it makes me wish I would have planned a little further in advance for Sunday.

The other thing that Seven Springs has done right is the outdoor pool with bar and food service.  The pool is great, the food is great and if the weather is great, you can easily drift off to the tropics and forget that you're still in Western PA!

I don’t know if I’ll turn this into a regular feature but I really enjoyed the weekend, so I figured I would share.  Hopefully you all had an enjoyable and safe holiday weekend.

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