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Family Weekend, Mule Team Demise & Field Trip

I’m still in recovery mode from last weekend.  That was our annual family get together and fortunately, we won the ‘weather’ lottery.  Rain prediction was 80% for Saturday and it turned out sunny and warm the whole weekend.  Thank you weather gods.  There were around 14 of us and having three boys that are like lit sticks of dynamite tearing through the house all weekend was an intimidating possibility.

Yeah, my great uncle is an incredible guide…..

The only one happier then him is me!

The big guy is my nephew that used to spend summers with us when he was a youngster.  The little guy is his nephew,  my great nephew.

Time for a little recovery and regrouping.

I didn’t have the camera handy but I passed out pocket knives Sunday before everyone went home and they all left with smiling faces.  The whole weekend is a lot of work but worth every minute.  Nothing I hate worse then seeing these kids grow up.

And a caveat to all who don’t spend much time in a boat around ropes.  Do NOT put your foot on a pile of rope when on board.  Even letting the rope out dragging an empty tube can result in a broken ankle bone.

Major Rope Burn and broken ankle bone

A couple weeks ago I got a message from our old friend Dave down in Arizona that Spyderco was discontinuing their Mule Team Project.  What a disappointment.  I quickly jumped onto the Spyderco site and picked up one more blade in the PMA 11 steel.  I’ve got the Maxamet, CPM 4V and one or two others.

Spyderco Mule Team CPM 4V With a Dave Taylor Custom Sheath

From Spyderco’s website:  “By definition, a “mule” is a sample knife used for in-house performance testing. “  Dave tipped me off about the program a few years ago and I really appreciate the heads up.  The blades Spyderco offered were a huge factor influencing my love affair with the ‘high tech’ steels.  I slid away from 1095 and 440C and have never looked back.

Whether discontinuing the program was financially motivated, fewer steels to experiment with or just a lack of customer participation, it’s sad to see it end.  Spyderco deserves a ton of credit for making some fantastic steels available for steel geeks like Dave and I to sample at a really reasonable cost.

I had an invoice come through from GEC for the Bone Northfields so I anticipate seeing them arrive around the first of the week.  As soon as I have them in hand, invoices will go out to all of you that place an early order.  I ask for payment within 3 days or risk losing your deposit.  The second warning is next weekend I head out on my annual field testing trip and I want to ship your reserved knives ASAP.  Yahoo!!!!

This annual trip is the high point (one of many) every summer for me.  I have a number of new items I carry in the store that need field testing and this is the opportunity to do it!  One item in particular is the Hess Bird & Trout.  While it’s not a ‘new’ item per se, I’ve carried them for years but have never taken the time to put one to the test in the field.

Hess Bird & Trout

And there’s the Fenix U35 V2.0 and the “Baddest Bee” fire fuses.  I’ve used both items but never in real field conditions.

Fenix UC35 V2.0 and Baddest Bee Fire Fuse

So for now, back to trying to get more of the new knives listed I picked up.  It’s been a slow process with everything that’s going on but I’ll try to stay it!


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Annual Get Together is Another Success!

We’re still recovering, but last weekend was our annual family get together and a good time was had by all!  Every year we host a family reunion and have anywhere from 15-20 attendees.  Lotsa food, fireworks, boating, fishing, skiing, volleyball, treasure hunt, you name it!

We start planning and getting everything together about 3 months ahead of time.  Then we spend an intense week getting food ready, boats fueled, tents setup, etc before everyone shows up.  AND we keep our fingers crossed it won’t rain!!!  With temps in the low to mid 80’s during the day it’s was absolutely beautiful and we spent a lot, and I mean a lot of time on the water.  That translates into around 30 gallons of gas in the watercraft for the weekend.


The new water toy this year was “Big Mable”.  We had riders all the way from 3 to 74 years old.  (no fatalities or injuries).  Plus one 5 months pregnant mother to be.


We also had new skiers this year!  Sure would be nice to be young again.


I really wish I would have gotten some photo’s of the loons hanging around.  We’ve had a pair of adults and a young loon in our ‘front yard’ again this year and we were treated every nite to the loons calling back and forth after activities on the lake settled down.

And did I mention fishing?  This was an early morning shot of a few of the ‘dedicated’ fisherman hitting the dock before the ski’s and tube came out.


The dock was occupied by fisherman from Friday thru Sunday afternoon and I was informed that the fishing was ‘incredible’!  If you don’t think my little buddy had a good time, you don’t know kids very well.  Give ’em a fishing pole, some worms, water and a few sunfish and life is gooooood.


When things got warm and everyone just wanted to chill out and do some swimming.  We loaded up the pontoon and headed for deep water to do some diving and paddling around away from the fisherman.  The lake we live on is incredibly clean and we have water clarity down to around 13 feet so it’s great swimming.


Oh ya, and we did eat.  I had 15# of ribs in the smoker and lots and lots of fried chicken.  NO one went home hungry.  Seems like all of our family gatherings tend to focus on food.  We’ve kinda got it down to an art.  The eating as well as the cooking.


And by Sunday afternoon…. everyone was ready to give up and crash.


It takes time and a ton of effort to pull it off but it’s worth every bit of it.  Before everyone pulled out on Sunday, they’d done the laundry, picked up everything out of the yard, moved picnic tables and chairs back to where they belonged and left the place looking like no one was even here.  Great group!

As much as we dread that week or so before it happens, I’m already making plans in my head for next year.  I just wish the kids would quit growing up.