Bullets and Rails 2018

The Plum Creek Shooting Society hosted the Battle of Plum Creek – Bullets and Rails 2018 this weekend at the Comanche Country Ranch owned by landowners Lyman and Nancy who have kept it running as an outstanding cowboy range facility.

This year the shoot is based on famous train scenes in western movies with even a silent movie start in the Livery.

After much rain in previous weeks, it appears the range has been mostly spared and the ground is soft under foot but not boggy.

Day 1 was Wild Bunch and side matches which went off in fine sunny weather.

Day 2 rolls around with a clear cool start and more sunshine expected to continue. The mornings proceedings start with welcomes, pledge of allegiance, pledge to Texas, prayers and 'Patience'. Patience is a cannon but I couldn't tell you the details of her magnificence but if you asked her caretaker, Artiman, I bet you he could tell you more than a story or two.

 

Under the intricate instruction of Artimans artillery commands he and his fellow cowboys, come recruits get Patience ready for action. (You have to go to the Facebook page to see her in action). Now ready for firing, me holding iPad to video, I realise I don't have earplugs and only the capability to plug one ear hole, well….you can see by the video, that I still was not expecting the result! My ears were ringing for a good while!

 

We all moved off to our respective start stages for Day 1 of the Main Match and commenced stages 2-7 with our posse of Texas Ghost, Lady Ghost, Oklahoma Dee, Kansas City Sneed, Lefty Wheeler, Krazy Legs Kay, Texas Drifter, Chisos, Red River Raider (and the ever spectacularly dressed Petticoat Parker), G W Ketchum (thanks Suzie for keeping score all weekend), Six Goin South, Kickshot, Jack and myself.

Last night was the banquet and I assisted Six Goin South and Lorilei Longshot with a costume contest in the Parlour House Reception whilst men gathered in the Saloon next door. Congratulations to all who attended and placed.

 

Side match awards were given. A neat train whistle, theme appropriate for the shoot. I walked away with 4 so I may share with Jack if he wants to play trains! Haa haa haa!

 

Thanks Lyman for putting together your band and playing too. Music was great!!

Day 2 of the Main Match and we are set to finish stages 8, 9, 10 and 1. We had thunderstorms last night and the range has seen a massive downpour that has created better environments for pigs! Lol!

It is boggy as but the match officials are hurriedly running around clearing water and laying bags of sawdust as best they can, After a delay, we started at 9.15am to finish the match.

Lunch was on – fajitas – and might I just say the lunches and dinner the crew put on the whole weekend was outstanding especially lunch today. Awesome job and it was very much appreciated.

Awards got under way and the prizes were railroad spikes. Not just any old railway spikes I might add, these are the real deal. Actual 1800's railway spikes from Texas railroads.

 

Joe Darter gave a little trivia behind them before they started the awards. He 'acquired' these from somebody he knew that had connections. All the spikes are uniquely marked and highly collectible. The makers of the spikes would mark their initials or other carvings into them. If you were injured during other railway work back then, you usually ended up with one of these jobs also. All these spikes are marked, engraved with the shoot name and some with Champion on them.

Special awards made by Two Spurs and in keeping with the railway theme were given to our, shall we say, more mature cowboy and cowgirl at the match. Cherokee Clay and Lady Ghost received these awards for 'Most Train Rides'. Such a neat idea.

 

Jack with a jam in his rifle today finished 3rd in Elder Statesman. Congratulations 1st Skyhawk Hans, 2nd Wildcat Bob, 4th Dusty Mines, 5th Lefty Wheeler, 6th Little Bowley, 7th Ranger Tay.

 

Congratulations to my fellow Lady Wrangler shooter in 2nd place, Krazy Kat.

 

There were 16 clean match winners from 203 shooters for the match. I had a clean match!

Congratulations to Oklahoma Dee 1st man overall and I won ladies overall AND finished 2nd place in the match right behind him!

 

Thanks to all the crew at Plum Creek Shooting Society once again for a great match.

Kat xo

 

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Battle of Plum Creek Day 1

Battle of Plum Creek Bullets and Rails 2018 kicked off today with clear cool skies after the much rain Texas has had over the past month and a half.

Thankfully the grounds are not too boggy and suitable for carts today.

The resident Longhorns mayyyyy want to move their butts though before we start shooting!

 

This is a great range and would recommend it for anyone trying to get to a shoot in Texas. Comanche Country Ranch, Lockhart has brilliant buildings for you to shoot out of. I can't really call them facades because they are so much more than that.

 

Although Jack and I didn't shoot Wild Bunch we hung out with them for the 3 stages, picked brass, pulled targets etc.

Good fun had with Alamo Andy, Badlands Buddy, Dragon Hill Dave, Big Iron Patnode, I Reckon, You Bet, Shotgun Jim, Skinny, Skyhawk Hans, Wymore Wrangler, Yuma Jack. Artie Fly, Taos O, Joe Darter and Cowboy Small. Oh and Belle Kaye doing the scoring!

 

After Wild Bunch and some lunch it was time for side match speed events. We helped out some with Speed Pistol, shot it, speed rifle, shotgun and 'call your time'. Everything is running fine and ready for tomorrow.

We packed up and headed out to meet up with Artie Fly, Sadie and son Matt at the Caracara Brewing Company in Lockhart. Artie being a beer aficionado – a man after our own hearts! – suggested we try it with them. Great idea!

When we parked at the Caldwell County Courthouse the Day Of The Dead celebrations were about to get underway and I asked if I could take a photo. After the lady said I could, I got one and headed out of the way.

 

Off to Caracara and we had a beer flight to try out their four brews made in house right there. Lockertoberfest, Le Peche French Saison, On The Square IPA, and Plum Creek Porter. Very good indeed, oh and we tried 'Dingleberry' which was a mix of another local St Michael's Blackberry Mead with the Plum Creek Porter. Yum!

We had barbecue from Blacks Barbecue. The oldest major barbecue restaurant in Texas continuously owned by the same family. Oh my gosh, the brisket just fell apart and melted in your mouth. The sausage links were awesome and the beans, green beans and sauce were amazing.

 

Thank you Artie and Sadie (and Matt) for coming back from Austin to take in this experience with us. Good times!

 

Caracara also sell growlers unlike the glass one we bought in Amarillo it's a 32oz can, they fill it and seal it right there. Jack did a video of it and wanted to know if he could adapt his press! Lol! Brilliant!

Anyway, an early night as its Main Match tomorrow. Six stages ahead then banquet tomorrow evening. Followed by 4 more stages and awards on Sunday.

Have a great weekend no matter where you may be, shooting or not, just live!

Kat xo

 

Casey Jones

Casey Jones, climbed in the cabin,

Casey Jones, orders in his hand

Casey Jones, leanin' out the window

Takin' a trip to the Promised Land

Now you've got that stuck in your head, haven't you?! I did the whole way through the Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum.

 

Mind you that is the chorus from Johnny Cash's version of 'Casey Jones'. The original 'Ballad of Casey Jones' was written by Wallace Saunders, a friend of Casey Jones.

Come, all you rounders, if you want to hear

The story told of a brave engineer;

Casey Jones was the rounder's name

A high right-wheeler of mighty fame.

It is long and tells of brave Casey Jones riding the trains and saving his passengers on his last fateful ride.

 

He was born John Luther Jones in Southeast Missouri on March 14, 1863, the eldest of 5 children. He and his siblings grew up in Cayce, Kentucky. He fell in love with all things railroad. During his railroad work when asked where he was from, with Cayce being the answer he was soon known and referred to as 'Casey Jones'.

Casey started work with the Mobile & Ohio Railroad as a telegrapher at age 15. While boarding with a family in Jackson, TN he met and fell in love with the proprietors daughter, Janie Brady. He and Janie were married in 1886 and had 3 children of their own. He was a devoted father and husband.

 

Having become a proficient telegrapher, Casey then moved up to the position of fireman. Eventually earning his ultimate role as an engineer, Casey was one of the best.

 

During his employ with Illinois Central Railroad, Casey was making a run from Memphis, TN to Canton, MS on April 30, 1900. At 3.52am he was killed in a train wreck.

The mainline was supposed to be clear for the mail and passenger run but Casey didn't know that ahead, a train had stalled on a siding due to a broken air hose, leaving 3 of its carriages still sticking out on the main line.

 

Casey had almost no warning but managed to slow his engine from 70mph to 35mph, telling his fireman Sim Webb to 'jump!' just moments before the impact. With one hand on the whistle and the other on the brake, Casey's engine collided with the other train and he was killed in the crash. He had managed to slow the train enough that all his passenger cars stayed on the track and all passengers survived. He was just 37 years old.

 

If my memory serves me correctly from the short introductory video, compensation payouts totalled around $29, with the highest being $5 for bruising to the fireman.

Through personal appearances by Sim Webb at events honouring Casey Jones, the ballad written by Wallace Saunders and his wife, Casey became famous around the world.

The museum houses many railroad artefacts, a model display of Casey's crash, news articles, photos, and much more. Through the museum and out on the platform is Engine 382 where you can ring the bell of the engine.

 

After hearing the railway sounds on the platform you can walk around to go through and view his original 1870's home that was relocated to the current site in 1980. It was originally located at 211 West Chester Street in downtown Jackson.

 

Also located here is a number of small shops in the Casey Jones Village. The Brooks Shaw & Son Old Country Store, is a step back in time! From the moment you enter there are the original post boxes, counters filled with old antiques, exquisitely ornate timber shelving, the antique original soda fountain and 1890's ice cream parlor.

 

The Old Country Store offers buffet style meals, three times a day or you can get take out or eat in the Dixie Cafe on the other side within the store.

The food choices were many and everything was very fresh. There is also another area with some old homes, chapel, bakery, mini golf and farm that we didn't visit.

If you ever get into Jackson, TN this is all worth a visit!!

Kat xo

Click on the link below for more info.

Casey Jones Village

 

Greeley Stampede

Monday afternoon we headed off with Wild Horse John and Saginaw Sue to the Greeley Stampede in Colorado. The grounds were jumping with carnival rides, vendors and bars. John had organised great seats with a good view to the arena, the chutes and the bull riding when they made the arena shorter.

 

It was a well organised smaller rodeo with some great action throughout the course of the evening with events like Bareback Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding! Steer Wrestling, Tie Down Roping, Team Roping, Barrel Racing, Bull Riding and I think the highlight was the little kids doing the Mutton Bustin'. Hilarious! They would bring in a sheep, bucking and carrying on, grab a kid (rodeo riders in the making), get the kid situated on the sheets back and have hem hold on for dear life for as log as they could. One little cowboy in his lime green chaps rode the sheep just about the full length of the arena and of course won.

 

The rodeo announcer interviewed him after and as they say, kids have no filter when they are little and just tell it like it is.

Announcer: 'where did you get those chaps from?' Mini 5yr old cowboy in the sweetest voice: 'online'. The announcer was a little lost for words and then 'would you like to win a new pair of boots?' Mini cowboy: 'yes'. Announcer: 'would you give Miss Rodeo Colorado a kiss for a new pair of boots?' Mini cowboy: 'no!'

Haa haa haa, priceless, needless to say the boots were his prize for winning so he still got them and I think Miss Rodeo Colorado was just a little heartbroken lol!

 

The 5th generation of Beutler's (3rd, 4th and 5th generations to be precise) Bennie, Rhett and 11 yr old Jake rode the arena and Jake helped out rounding up stray steer's throughout the steer roping and the finale with the bronc's. The family from Elk City, OK are stock contractors and provide the horses and bulls for rodeos across the nation.

 

Had a blast, thanks very much John!

Kat xo

 

Tennessee

Moonshine, whiskey, cowboy boots and more.(cue singing)'…..rocky top, you'll always be, home sweet home to me….good Ol' rocky top, rocky top Tennessee….'

Through Sevierville we had to stop at Dolly Parton's statue, this was her home town and as we had decided to forego the Dollywood theme park, I just had to have a picture with Dolly! (Singing with Dolly).'..in my coat of many colours, my mama made for me…'

 

We got into Pigeon Forge yesterday, acquired some boots, went to the Christmas Place!…..wow, think this one beats the Leavenworth one, even the Denny's diner next door is Christmasfied! Yes I just made up that word, well it is!…(with eyes wide and sing)'….jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock….'

 

Found the same decorations as last year, now we can update one with Miss Chelsea on it and what the heck, got one done up with the grandkids names on it, in the order they came! Lol!

 

…..found a place to stay and headed down to 'The Island'.

(Singing again)'….wasting away again in Margaritaville, searching for my lost shaker of salt…..' oh yeah! Well actually before we got to Margaritaville we went to the Ole Smokey Moonshine distillery and marvelled at all the different flavours before doing some taste testing. Lucky they only give it to you in small thimble sized cups.

 

We were started off with the Blue Flame 128 proof! Woah, doesn't that catch in your throat! Wash it away with the Margarita moonshine and continue with all sorts of delectable flavours!

 

Now to Margaritaville for dinner and beer, talked with some people from here and Memphis. One on a work trip to Sydney later this year.

 

From there we headed to the Smoky Mountain Wheel and took a ride to see the light show from above.

 

Today we headed down to Gatlinburg, walked around the street and little shops, took the Sky Lift up the hill to check out the view.

 

Into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, winding our way through 17 miles of gorgeous trees and running streams. Didn't get to see any bears though.

 

Soon Mother Nature will wave her wand and all of this will be a spectacular winter wonderland.

Kicking back West towards Tullahoma.

Kat xo

Annnnd I've still got Rocky Top stuck in my head!

 

Kentucky Gold!

After we finished in Dayton yesterday, we headed South and took a slight diversion through Carrollton and onto an intersection on the highway at Clermont and Bardstown, Kentucky.

Heading East to Bardstown (totally not knowing where we were going at the time) we happened into Bardstown only to realise we were destined to be in this spot!!!

Bardstown, after all, is the heart of Bourbon country, we are right in the midst of the Bourbon trail, including Jim Beam, Four Roses, Barton 1792, Heaven Hill, Willett and Makers Mark distilleries. With other famous ones further away.

Staying at the Bardstown Parkview Motel for the night, caught up on the blog from the past few days, worked out adjustments for patterns for a certain town suit (Crossdraw Jac), pinned some corsets ready for stitching and started writing a couple of articles.

This morning we headed 'downtown' to the Visitors Centre, seeing some amazing old buildings, this area has been here since 1780!

 

We first went up to the Civil War Museum, a beautifully displayed collection according to civil war eras. They have so many fantastic prices from this period it is incredible. This rivals the one we saw in Baxter Springs a couple of years ago.

 

The Bardstown Village, a recreation using original buildings from the surrounding area is amazing, just didn't get to see in all the buildings as it was raining!!

 

Back up the hill to see the 'Women of the Civil War' Museum and War Memorial Museum, both with much interest and artefacts as well.

 

From here it was back down through town (we had walked about 2 blocks and usually a block is a mile), heading to the car and to the tavern. Well it was lunchtime!?!

The Old Talbott Tavern is amazing! 125 varieties of bourbon is there claim to fame, however this beautiful old building and the tavern have been in existence since 1797.

 

We tried the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale which is spectacular at 8.2%abv and coupled with their signature BBQ pulled pork sandwich is divine. Christie was amazing, sharing some history with us.

 

The Jesse James bourbon was only named and brought to the tavern because Jesse James once stayed here. There are also bullet holes in the walls upstairs where he fired off his gun.

Some bourbons may have catchy names but really only for naming and if less than two years are not actually a bourbon anyways.

We took a quick trip up the stairs of the tavern and there it was, bullet holes from Jesse James gun after a loss or feud during cards into the now, very charred murals.

 

We hit the road and headed out to the Four Roses distillery. Why did we pick this one you may ask? Well, as far as we knew, it wasn't that commercialised, we liked the look of the bottles and….we just had to try something different. For $5 each for the tour, it was very interesting and well worth the stop.

Our tour guide was Debbie, last run for the day, so really we had a personalised tour with only the two of us on it.

The Four Roses brand came about in the 1880's (or some time thereafter) so named after the southern belle he married when she turned up to a ball with four roses on her corsage. (That's the story in a nutshell, there's more too it and more romantic than my account)

 

Apparently around 1958 it was purchased by an overseas company, however in 2003 and later years it was repurchased. Now all labels are made and bottled in the US again.

The distillery is in Lawrenceburg, the distillate is sent here for barreling and bottling. Before its trucked out, the sampling there is confirmed with the original before sent here, sampled again here to confirm. It is barrelled at 120 proof. Barrel aging occurs for 5 years. The white oak barrels are used once only.

 

The nozzles are where the distillate is put into the barrel. It takes 45 secs to fill and a poplar wood bung put in. Poplar, provides no weight or colour to the bourbon. It is then stencilled with barrel head information. Ie: their brand name, tax number, county number etc. Two tankers, 280 barrels a day. Then out into the rick houses for ageing.

The charred inside of the barrels are from a 1 to 4 level. Once used, some barrels get shipped off overseas for whiskey to be aged in. The barrels are made in Lebanon, Kentucky and Missouri.

Chill filtering occurs for the yellow label and single barrel where the fatty acids are filtered out. 66% of flavour will come from barrel and 100% of the colour will come out but you will lose colour when filtered, so to avoid losing too much colour they soak the filters in bourbon and ash also! Smells bloody divine.

Bottling now is mostly automated but the single barrel bottles are still finely labeled (by hand) with the 'mapping your barrel' markings. Like a latitude and longitude marking of where the barrel was stored in the rick house.

As the Japanese market is still number one, different labelling is provided for the 80 and 86 proof that is shipped out to them.

 

They try and bottle out, same as quantity in. Approx 200 bottles from ea barrel, 280 barrels a day!!

There are 20 rick houses, 4 new ones coming, hold 24,000 barrels, each sits on 1 acre of land. The moats are so if one was to catch fire and roll out, it will only go into the moat, same reason for having buildings set so far apart. Single level 6-7 degree difference in natural or ambient temperature, if taller than they can get a 37 degree difference. Mother Nature is the only thing governing the barrel control on ageing.

Ahhhhhh, the smell as you walk into the rick house! Look down the walkway, yes it's a walkway! 69 barrels in length.

 

Yes, the barrel handler guys, actually walk this narrow walkway down the rick and make sure they are bung side up.

 

We had 3 samples of bourbon at the end of the tour, you get to keep the glass and of course we bought a couple different bottles and souvenirs.

 

From here we did a quick trip to the Jim Beam factory, took some pics and I know his would be a sensational tour too but we've done the Jack Daniels one and really wanted to do something different. No offence, as we do drink it often.

 

Here's cheers! With whatever you're drinking!

Kat xo

 

 

http://fourrosesbourbon.com

Http://jimbeam.com

 

St Louis, Missouri

The Anheuser-Busch Brewery, in other words Budweiser! Amongst other brands they produce or own.

What a way to finish off the afternoon, arriving into St Louis, Missouri and taking the 4.10pm tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, in the historic Soulard area.

We booked the Day Fresh Tour that takes you on the 'Seed to Sip' with other bits in between. Visiting the Clydesdale paddock and stables, the beechwood aging cellar, the historic Brewhouse and the packaging facility.

 

Upon arrival, where would we be without a visit to the Biergarten while waiting for the tour to start?! I chose to sample the Blue Point, Toasted Lager and Jack the Hoegaarden (the lighter coloured one)

 

The Budweiser horse team consists of 70 Clydesdales, 50 of which are located here at St. Louis. Grants Farm, just a short distance away, is where the Clydesdales are raised. They eat around 20-25 quarts of grain feed a day but I think he's had a bit too much beer today!

 

Into the stables we go, an old building trimmed in red and green against the beautiful red brick exterior with its stained glass windows.

It takes about 5 hours to prepare the hitch for parades etc. and they first performed in 1933.

 

The Dalmatians were introduced in the 1950's to protect the deliveries on the hitches.

 

The beautiful chandelier, all 600 pounds of brass was installed after being acquired at the 1904 World Fair.

The smaller stalls are original to the beautiful 1885 building. I am blown away and we are only on the first stop of the tour.

Next we headed to the aging cellars. A pleasant to cool 50F/ all year round.

Beechwood chips are procured from the local areas, cooked up to remove any other flavours and then used 3 times over before removing, washing and mulching.

These aging tanks, if you drink a beer every 24 hrs would take you 137years to drink one tank. 1.2 billion 12oz beers per tank!

 

On to the process – Barley, rice, hops, water and yeast. Your 5 main ingredients to making a bud!

The rice gives the beer the crisp clear colour we see in our first sample for the tour.

The recipe today is the same as it was in 1867, in particular the yeast recipe, guarded with only 5 individuals having knowledge of its full potential.

To give you an idea of beer strengths, Bud Light stays in the mashing process for about 4 hours where normal Bud is only in for 2 hours. This is the process of breaking down the carbs and sugars, more calories in the short, less in the longer process obviously.

Next was up to the third floor of the brew house. Oh my god, the chandeliers, tiled artwork and architecture in here are exquisite! The 3 storey chandelier is all hops flowers.

 

During the prohibition era, the 'elephant' atop the pillar, was actually the logo for their yeast product on the back there was a warning about what not to use it with and how not to brew beer. Lol! During the prohibition time, to keep the company running they produced everything from barley malt syrup, bakers yeast, soda to ice cream! In fact 20 different products kept their company running during that time.

 

Opposite the brewery was an elementary school building until they decided that perhaps it wasn't a good idea to have a school opposite the brewery. It was their headquarters office until they outgrew it.

 

'Bevo' the fox featured on all 4 corners of the packaging warehouse is based on the fox from Grimms fairytale, who always knew where to find good food and drink at all times!

 

Up to the 3rd floor of the packaging warehouse. After rinsing and sterilising, the bottles are filled within 1/10th of a second to ensure purity and crispness to each.

750 bottles per minute!

At 24 beers per case, all cases are sent down to Mississippi River for storage. Housing half a million cases at any one time, say production was stopped and STILL, it would only take the whole Mid West to drink the whole warehouse dry in a mere 18hrs!

 

At the conclusion of the tour we received the freshest bottle of beer you'll ever get, bottled this morning around 3am! Room temp at moment so needs to go in the fridge.

Two free beers on tour plus a free ticket for a 16oz beer in the beirgarten after.

 

Luke and Allie were our tour guides. On their summer break this was their first year of tours, rotating between the different tours and the gift shop. If you're over 21 they can work the bar as well. They were sensational! What a job, 4 days a week, I think I could handle that easily! Although you wouldnt get any samples!

$10 bucks, holy hell, was so worth it! If you are ever in St.Louis, you really must do this tour!

Ahhh, life is good, cheers!

Kat xo

http://www.budweisertours.com