Friday, July 29, 2011

Heat Wave

I love the heat!  I really do.  Just this heat has lasted a long time (27 consecutive days over 100 in Dallas) and now that at 7:00pm in Texas it is still 100 degrees makes it hard to accomplish anything.  Last weekend my wife, son, and I had a long weekend planned of hanging out at our land in east Texas.  I was planning on working on my trails and doing some fence work and my wife was planning on lots of art and painting while us boys were outdoors all day.  Look at this poor lizard above, he is skin and bones.  He would even let us play with him because of the heat.

That plan did not go so well because I decided to get a little allergy cold and my energy was way down.  So my son and I did alot of watching my wife paint, hanging out with the dogs, and playing lots of games on my phone.  We did get a little work done and my wife did take our son out to the back forty to teach him how to drive and taught him how not to hit the deer hiding in the trees for shade.  Look at poor Archie all lonesome looking.

This is the jaw bone of a hog.  The hog was whole about 2 weeks ago.  This thing was picked clean in no time.  So when my wife offered for us to head out to the land this week I said something that is rare for me to say.  I told her we should just stay home and work around the house this weekend.  Now that is a sad day when I turn down being out in the country to stay in the city and work around the house (when I say work around the house usually means me watching tv).  Just this heat has taken its toll on me and I can't fight it.  A typical 100 degrees day, it normally cools off at night to a good 75 degrees and when the 7:00pm hour hits you can go outdoors and get work done but, with this intense heat there is no break.

My friend Mike would tell me that I am just whinning and get over it and move on but, I am now looking forward to the fall.  The fall is not a bad time, it is great.  Kids go back to school, camping season starts up, and football is on tv.  Sometimes you just have to wait it out.  On tv I saw hurricane Don on its way and maybe the heat wave will be over and I can get back out and camp.

To recap: I am a whiner, it is hot, and diabetes sucks.  The moral of the post is when it is too hot, do what you can do and enjoy life.  Diabetes is all about knowing your limits and when not to tempt fate and this heat is an accident waiting to happen.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What's in a Skillet?

A Cast Iron Skillet Should Not Be Your Only Camping Skillet

I was so upset reading the above article the other day that it actually kept me up at night.  I allowed myself at first to agree with him on having an extra skillet around.  You know like if you are backpacking and plan on frying up some fish you don't want to backpack a 5 lbs cast iron skillet when a light weight aluminum one is available.  Then yes there is the "seasoning" of the skillet (everyone has a different opinion on what seasoning is), so if it is new then you do have to break in the cast iron first.  His last point of a cast iron skillet is not non-stick like a non-stick skillet is, and that you have to be a rare camp cook that can make eggs over easy in cast iron was my over the edge point of reading.

Vintage Small Dark Silver Cast Iron frying pan

Above is a fresh, non-seasoned cast iron skillet

The skillet above is bare metal seasoned.

Now the art of using cast iron in the woods or even at home is being lost.  Just look on the web for cast iron and all sorts of "vintage" and "old timer" tag lines come up when shopping online for them.  So you start to get the feeling that cast iron cooking is starting to be like the tube TV or the typewriter, and it is which is a shame.  I think the article was meant well for novice campers and weekend drinking parties but, there is no substitute for a cast iron skillet or any piece of cast iron in that fact when cooking. 

I want to explain why cast iron is the best and do some comparisons.  First is the titles vintage, and old timer.  These are used because most cast iron is handed down from generation to generation  and it lasts forever.  When something like that happens it is because of quality build or has no better substitute.  Cooking pans have changed over the years and yes there are products out there that are better than cast iron just not at the cost of cast iron.  You can buy a lodge number 12 skillet new for 25 dollars.  A comparable number 12 non cast iron skillet of quality starts at 40 dollars and easily gets to 100 dollars before you actually get to the items you would hand down to your grand children.

Here is a nice rusty cast iron skillet.

The worst part of cast iron is the smallest amount of neglect turns to rust.  Now you can always cure the rust it just takes time and elbow grease.  Then there is the iron part which if you have any issues with iron then cast iron is not for you. 

Cast iron is one of the best metals for its efficient use of heat.  A cast iron skillet heats up evenly so if you are cooking crapes it gives them that golden brown all across.  Not just on one side or uneven like many other lesser skillets.  So lets say you own a real nice car, maybe a Cadillac.  You love your Cadillac because it is high quality, leather, fast, comfy all sorts of others stuff.  Then one day someone says to you "know what, you should think of getting another car because your Cadillac is big and it takes you 20 extra seconds to park it."  So you listen to this persons advice and get a real small car, lets say a KIA Rio because it is small and now look at how efficient you are at parking.  Then 3 years down the road your Cadillac still is real nice and holds up but your efficient parker Rio is now starting to wear down.  The engine has a knock, the door handles are loose and the seats have stains.  With this example lets look at how much better you were off with the second car?  Not much, and so goes with the bringing an extra skillet on a camping event because you are lazy and don't want to spend the 5 extra minutes to properly clean out your cast iron.  It is just a waste of space and money.  Now if that is the case they do sell enameled cast iron which is for those that hate cleaning cast iron but love the quality of cooking with cast iron.  Go figure, someone already made cast iron for wusses.

Above is enameled cast iron

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Head gear

I was getting things out and making sure they all work properly for the camping season coming up. With the short days and cool weather on the way I came across one of my many lights I keep scattered across my camping equipment and our house.  Now I picked this 3 led, 2 AAA  light at Lowes with 2 others and it also came with 6, 8 led compact flashlights.  This was the black friday special 2 years ago that ran for something like 10 bucks.  I also picked up like 100 AA batteries for 5 bucks as well and am still using them today.  Money well spent.

These headlamps are a must have for diabetics doing any sort of outdoor activity at night or just to have in the car.  The reason is simple, with your light on your head you can use both hands to prick your finger for BG tests or change out a pump site.

Now you can get the clip on the bill lights that does about the same thing.  I have tried these and no they are not the same.  The reason they are different is that a headlamp tilts to look down where you place it and the clip on the bill light you have to move your head up and down and all around to get the light where you want it and that will drive you insane and if you are in the tent getting changed you don't want to have to put on your hat to test your BG's.  I do have lots of friends that swear by the clip on the bill light but we are talking about diabetics.  They do make a green led clip on the bill light that will illuminate any animals eyes, and when I say any animal I mean from spiders to wolves it shows them all.

OK so the negatives of the headlight are having a light strapped to your head gets annoying if worn for any length of time.  You also still have to turn your head to move the light from side to side and with that there are constant adjustments if people come talk to you there is the turn the light out of thier eyes and adjusting the light to your pace when walking the trail.  That is why I usually wear clothes with pockets so I have my handheld flashlight in my pocket and when it comes to testing time or pumping I can bust out my headlamp.  This model I am showing is considered a 3 led lamp but one is red and how often do you want to hang out at night with the red light district going off on your head.  So you only really use the 2 led mode.  I do have a couple other headlamps that are higher on the Lumins scale.  Friends of mine really like the ones with the center "mohawk" strap as well.

I keep several lights on me when camping.  First there is the small tent lantern, then the hand held flashlight, and the zipper light, and then theres the headlight.  The most important one for my diabetes is the headlight.  I can survive without any one of these lights and when backpacking I reduce it to only my hand held light but, I always miss my headlight.  I would recomend to any diabetic to get a headlamp for the great outdoors.  Even in your car you never know when you will need a light and both hands.  Oh wait a minute with diabetes you always need a light and 2 hands in the dark.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pump life support

So Kerri at Six Until Me had officially jinxed me.  Her July 18th blog post was about her pump dying.  Once I read the post I thought to myself the last time my pump had died and it was along time ago.  Then, I was changing my battery in my Animas IR 1200 today when I try to put the battery cover back on but it kept popping back off.  I then try and try again but nothing.  Then I took a look at the cap and noticed all the threads had come off.

I knew I had another cap that I had lost the center spring off of so I get it out and pulled the spring off of the cap that had no threads and put it on the "good cap."  this is where I think my quick thinking from surviving in the outdoors with diabetes comes in hand.  First of all not only do I keep emergency supplies on hand but I also keep my multi-tool, small spare pump parts, and random light weight items that might come handy one day.

Here is one of those Items I keep just because it might be handy one day.  Some old site tape that is plyable and very sticky.  Back to the spare cap, after I put the spring on and started twisting it on the pump it also popped right off.  Yes, the pump stripped the other caps threads as well.  I then take the old site tape cut some strips off and wrap it around the cap to give it something to stick in the threads of the pump.

Wow, what a blurry picture.  Everyone at work was starting to think what was going on with all the beeping from the diabetic cube.

Here are my favorite set of multi-tools, the Gerber suspension.  I have done everything with these suckers from working on my pump, to cutting barb wire, even fixing automatic staplers at work.  Never do I leave the house without these guys.

The final fix is complete and I put some tape over the cap just in case it wants to come off.  I got on the Animas website and ordered another 12 dollar rip off cap plus 5 dollars shipping.  This goes to show camping smarts equals city smarts.  Having had wierd things happen in the outdoors and then having to solve them without running to the store gets you ready for any situation.  The right tools, plus the right supplies, plus the know how and you can get out of any jam.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Time to stock up

A buddy at work was wanting to head to Harbor Freight during lunch this week to pick up a sander and some screw drivers.  He bought a house about 3 months ago and is doing the usual fixing, repairing, and remodeling.

I love going to Harbor Freight to pick up items that are pretty much the same no matter where you get them from or the price.  Sockets, screw drivers, gloves, and hammers are gennerally the same.  Lets say you get a 16oz hammer from Sears or from Home Depot.  It is still a hammer and it will still hurt when you hit your thumb just the Harbor freight one cost 3 dollars and the other ones cost more.

I was not excited about going but love to check prices on items I have my eyes on.  Then last night I get the email that set me off.  The dollar days super sale!  This is the best time to stock up on all those items you lose over the years, or just need more of.

When it comes to camping and diabetes you need your survival kit well stocked and ready to use.  My favorite item to have with my compass is a magnesium fire starter which runs normally at Harbor Freight for 2.99 and during dollar days it is 2.00.  That is the deal of the century even at 2.99.  You can get magnessium fire starters from 4.99 all the way up to 12.99 at other stores.  Now you are saying to me, What the heck is a magnesium fire starter and why do I need it?

Harbor Freight Manesium Fire Starter

Once I have demonstrated how they work or they see the video avoe people say at this time, wow that is a neat fire starter but wouldn't just having matches or a lighter be easier to keep in my car, purse, diabetes bag, or backpack?  I do agree that matches and lighters are much easier to use and that is why they are more dangerous.  If you have small kids or any size kid, the first thing they want to do when the see a match or ligher is play with it.  This either runs your ligher out of gas or you have no matches to burn when you need them.  Next kids and playing with fire is never good.  I had two buddies in jr. high that were flicking matches at each other while walking on campus during a newspaper field trip to Oklahoma University.  Just having fun right, the next thing they do is turn around and see the field behind them on fire.  They wound up paying a fine and being on juvy probation for 6 months.

Magnesium fire starters work when they are wet, they are safe to cary in the heat and don't run out of gas.  The real safety is if a small child gets a hold of it they just think it is a piece of metal rather than a fire starter and either just throw it away or put it in their mouth and try to teeth on it. Teenagers are easily discouraged from playing with it since you have to shave the metal off and then use the striker side.  This requires them to find a spot to put the shavings and then start the fire.  Of course you should educate everyone how to use it safely and practice.  If you have a Harbor freight near you, I would reccomend spending 2 dollars for each car, your house, and a diabetes survival bag.

Here are a few examples to show.  Some seem less expensive but don't forget shipping costs.

Monday, July 18, 2011

sense of direction

So I was thinking about a tragic story that was in the news a few months ago about a couple that were traveling to Vegas from British Columbia and they only had a GPS unit with them in their van for directions.

Now I tell people a little trip preparation and survival skills go along way no matter who you are or where you are going.  I think diabetics know this best because we are always planning for lows, highs, meter issues, pump issues, site issues, and all sorts.  People always tell me, oh we just travel with our GPS or smartphone and that will get us to where we are going.  If it doesn't then we can stop at a gas station and get directions.  How far from the truth this is.

I always keep a compass on me.  The above picture is of me holding the compass I keep in my briefcase.  This was the compass my father gave me when I was 11 and it still shows me directions.  I have a compass on my backpack zipper, in the center console of our cars, and I yes do have a compass app on my phone.

The couple in the above link for some reason turned down a loggers road (I am thinking GPS directions), got stuck and for 3 days they waited for help.  When help did not show up the husband decided to go out and get help.  That was the last time he was ever seen.  This is a tragedy that should not have been.  No one ever plans on getting lost or stuck in the outdoors but it happens too often.  The only times we hear about this is when tragedy strikes.

The next time your child gets a free compass from school or a kiddie meal from sonic and they think it is dumb and they want a transformer or something instead.  Put that compass in your glove box, or diabetes kit.  This might save your life one day.  There is no better backup for a GPS unit on the fritz or cell phone not working than a simple compass.

I would also recomend you learn how a compass works (red is north and white is south) and actually go out and try it because just having it is good but knowing how to use it is better.  Think of Tom Hanks trying to start a fire on Castaway.  He did it but with hours and hours of trying and getting hurt.  In all survival situations it is better to practice them in a non life threatning practice than when you actually need it.  We had an opportunity to do just this exact thing when on a campout.  We had a group of boys go out and hike up a hill.  We could see the boys but could not yell loud enough to let them know to come back.  Plus you don't want to be yelling in the wilderness just to communicate.  Someone mentioned to use a signal mirror and get their attention.  Great idea, just that alot of us carry signal mirrors but have never actually used one besides to shave or check out our teeth.  So one of our assistant scoutmasters actually knew and he taught us all how to signal and got really proficient at it and since we used 5 different models we learned which one worked best (there is a big difference in signal mirrors).  The boys saw the light and came back.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Three weeks alone

My wife has been out of town for the past three weeks.  She is a teacher and the first week she had a class to attend near Fort Worth so she stayed with her sister.  Then the next two weeks she has been on a 4,500 mile road trip with our son and her parents.  Being home alone with diabetes you always have to check in with your spouse to first let them know you are OK and second to let them know what you are doing, and last is just to talk.  I took the above picture coming home from Oklahoma on the 4th of July.  Back to my "Car Fishing" it is the first new Fiat 500 I have seen so I had to get it.

Here is me at work.  I sent this to my wife after she tells me what part of the country they are at and what they are doing with all the excitment they are having.  So I sent her a picture of what I was doing, work.

I did some Aldi shopping.  Not exactly healthy but I get nervous with the wife gone and it affects my BG's alot so I convert to alot of carbs and easy to cook items.  I try to hit the rec center alot as well so time is of the essence.

Mmmmm, buffalo "style" chicken strips.  Let me just say, not so good.  The package makes them look glazed in a buffalo sauce but it is all the breading.

During the week I have scouts on monday, then tuesday I run, and wednesday I rest.  After having our fence rebuilt I kept some panels to turn into rustic picture frames and other assorted rotten wood items.  This is my attempt at making a gun rack for our cabin.  My son does not have a designated place for his guns so they are always either propped on the wall or just put in a corner (always unloaded of course) so I wanted to make a wall rack so he can keep them out of the way.

I go stir crazy without the rest of the family so Princess Riley Puff-n-Stuff (that is her actual registered name) laid on the kitchen floor in deep thoughts.

Once the other dogs saw how much fun laying on the kitchen floor was Archie and MoMo had to join us.
Baby Pan-Pan (named after the Little Ceasers personal pan pizza) is going crazy without my wife to harass.  I like to pull her hair and chase her around the house so I am not her favorite.  She is sleeping on my wifes side of the bed every night just meowing at me for her to come home.  She is starting to get hair knaps on her back because she is stressed and thinks it will just be a life with me around.  She also sits next to the door looking like it is almost time to run away.

More car fishing.  I got this photo of a Lamborghini, when I was leaving work one day.  This would be one that got away because the picture is not clear of the vehicle by my standards.  It does pay to work down the street from a ferrari/masserati dealership and an Audi/Porsche dealership that services Labo's

Ah, the harvest of the grapes.  We have a small vinyard in the back yard and are having a great season this year.  Here are some of our goldens I picked because they are right for eating.  I go out each day after work and pick the ripe grapes.  This helps keep me occupied and not stressing on my family or being home alone.

My way home I see this fire in the exact direction of our house.  I could only think to myself what had I left on at the house to burn it down?  Also wouldn't my neighbor (He is a T1 as well) call me and let me know my house is on fire?

Was I relieved to see that the fire was not my house.  It was in a mobile home park down the way.  Probably some kids with leftover fireworks playing around and it got out of control.

The family will be home this saturday and I am so excited.  I want to hear all the great stories, see the pictures, and maybe they have gifts for me.  Having diabetes and being alone for anytime means you have to do things differently and that is my point of this posting.  My family and I have done this for several years since she is a teacher, he is a student and I work, but I want to let the rest of you know out there that it is not time as usuall.  Make sure you adjust everything with your testing and also in contact with someone regularly.  I stressed my wife out a couple of times when I did not respond to her texts or phone calls, but I would respond as soon as I could.  I ate more carbs to deal with the stress and had "to do" items so that I was busy.  Take care and I hope the rest of you T1's understand what is at stake when home alone for anytime.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Water Bottles

We all hear the commercials and see the ads and hear it on the radio and TV that we all need to slow down on our bottled water consumption and switch to a personal water bottle and refill it so we can save our landfills.  I personally love tap water so not using bottled water and keeping a water bottle on hand is easy.  The hard part is finding the right bottle. 

The above is the newer item in water bottle technology.  This is an old sig type bottle that used to be used for backpacking white gas safely in the back country.  They now have turned the bottles into decorative bottles and now the extreme fear of BPA in plastics makes an aluminum water bottle an easy take over from the polypropylene bottles.  Of course I bought this fancy bottle for my wife as a gift and it was never used so it currently is my personal bottle.  I had a scout see me filling it up and said to me: "hey Mr. Hennesey, nice water bottle" then he giggled.  I told him pink butterflies are real tuff.  Likes about the metal bottle are they keep water and drinks cool and they clean real easy.  Dislikes about metal bottles are the lids are more like corks with a half twist on or off, the mouths are smaller for ice to fit in, and the diameter of the bottles make them toss and turn in cup holders.

Here is an example of a polypropylene bottle.  They are the ones that are considered indestructible if the walls are thick enough.  The look is usually a colored but see through thick plastic feel.  They are often of larger size in capacity and usually come with a wide mouth opening.  I like the wide mouth for ice but, when driving I always spill out the sides of my mouth with these.  Sometimes you can get them with a nipple type system in the lid to help with the spilling but, the nipples almost always leak, break, or just are awkward to drink from.  The bad part about polypropylene is that it usually contains BPA, it can often pick up odors of former fluids it had before, and it always get scratches on the bottle so it looks tired and old after one camping season.

Here is one of the worst bottles ever to get.  This is a copolyester bottle which its advantage is that it does not contain BPA.  These are the bottles that are often give as gifts at 5k runs or grocery stores for a couple of bucks.  They are easily printed on so logos are cheap and easy for this material.  Issues are these have very thin walls which crack easily and the lids are flimsy and leak or break.  They last me about half a camping season or so with light use.  I really recommend diabetic campers to spend a few extra bucks and get a quality bottle and it will save you money in the long run.  I use the above bottle just to take a small amount of milk out camping with the family

Hydration reservoirs are a thorn in my side.  I love them because you can put them in any style of backpack may it be a day pack, back pack or a hydration pack.  You can run the tube out a zipper and have water at your mouth all the time.  There are all sorts of brands, nipple systems, and tubes.  The issue is first they mildew almost the minute you put water in them, then if you do go by the instructions and never keep water in them you still have to clean them and that is impossible.  They do sell a device to clean them but that is more money and time.  Last issue is they tear all the time.  I have had tears in the tubes, the nipples, and even the bag.  With the tears and leaks I always carry a back up water bottle which takes up needed space.  Do you see my dilemma?

Wow, the above bottle is the classic polyethylene, just covered in an old school cloth, metal band and a strap.  Polyethylene is probably the best on the list or a tie with the hydration bag.  The material does not pick up odors (it does stain from iodine tablets), it does not pick up odors, and the material is good looking and does not scratch and I have never torn or broke one of these (I have lost a couple).  The above bottle sits in my office filled with iodine water from lake Texoma where I have wanted to do the great challenge of "Guess the water" which would be three cups, each numbered and in each one has a different type of water.  I was planning on bottled water in one, tap water in another, and fresh iodine lake water in another and see if my co-workers can guess which is which.

I am still on that hunt for my perfect water bottle.  If you have any suggestions for me to try please drop me a line and let me know what you like about it.  For all of us diabetics out there it is important for us to be properly hydrated and having the right bottle makes all the difference.  This post is more of an introduction and the market is flooded with every style and type for any occasion or activity.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The good, the bad, and the ugly

The bad, I often shop at WalMart for camping supplies.  They carry alot of your basic needs at a fraction of the cost.  Also if you keep an eye out they will mark equipment down just before the season change.  They carry the same backpacking meas as REI and they cost much less.  A year and a half ago I purchased a hatchet from WalMart for my son to use for splitting wood and working around the ranch.
My wife tells me that sometimes being a penny smart can turn out to be a pound foolish.  This hatchet from Walmart is a clear example of that.  The head is made of low carbon count steel so it losses its sharpness quickly and also the metal is very plyable.  We would need to sharpen the blade before each use and a couple of times while using it.  Also when we were splitting logs, basically using the head of the hatchet as a wedge and hitting on the hindside with a hammer the low quality really made itself clear.

We would miss hitting the head sometimes with the hammer and the neck of the hatchet was of a alluminum material that bends real easy.  So for the price of 7 bucks and some change wich seems like a good price it turned out to be bad because it made slow work and often much downtime sharpening and once the neck bent we were done using it as a hatchet and just as a wedge.  So on a diabetic scale of 1 to five syringes I would give the camp hatchet from WalMart 1 syringe.  Save your money and get quality.

Now for the good, I purchased a Kershaw hatchet to replace unfaithful WalMart.  This hatchet runs online from 23 dollars up to 40 dollars.  I picked it up at a local Richardson, Texas distributor for 25. 

What a difference this hatchet is from the first one.  First it has a slimmer head, higher carbon count, and it is a full one piece of metal with the kryton handle.  I sharpen this guy once in every 3 to 5 times and it really doesn't need it that often unless I am really working it hard.  

A downside to this hatchet is the steel can rust on you.  To prevent this just put a little oil on it after use and it is good to go.  It also comes with a handy sheath for the head protection that also doubles as a hip holster which is nice if you are out and about with a couple of tools.  You can put this one on your waist and have it handy when needed.

I would give the Kershaw hatchet 3 syringes out of 5.  The look, feel, and quality are great but, the donwside of oiling the head and it has some obvious seams where it was pressed seems like they could have taken a little time to buff off and made it look real nice.

The ugly, this guy is the Gerber extra large axe.  Now I have always had my doubts about Gerber products until I received the Gerber Suspension multi-tool as a gift one christmas.  Now I love Gerber products and an really starting to try and buy all Gerber stuff for the outdoors. 

All of their axes look the same just the length of the handle is shorter.  It has a very modern look with the shape of the blade on the head to the polyamid hollow handle made me very iffy of the quality and having the handle molded around the head made me a bit quezzy as well.  I thought for sure this guy could not be a major contendor in the full size axe world.  How wrong I was.

I have put this sucker to as many tests as I can and nothing has come loose nor does the handle have any issues.  I keep the Kershaw and this guy in my truck and I can't tell you how many times I have pulled it out to use while just driving around town.  I paid 40 for the Gerber and online you can find it from around 45 to 60 dollars.  You have options when buying an axe of how long you want the handle but, it only costs about 5 dollars extra to go from a half sized to a 3/4 size, and another 5 dollars to go from 3/4 to full size.  I always recomend to people to always get the full size axe and also a hatchet.  This is the perfect match anywhere.  The others might seem easier to handle and travel with but trust me you sacrifice usefullness with smaller axes and a good hatchet makes up for the small work and the leverage of the full size axe is unprecedented.  If you ever get the chance just compare different length axes against each other and you will instantly know what I am talking about.  If the full size intimidates you that means you just need to get familiar with the product and it will be comfortable in no time.

I sometimes just stand in my front yard walking around with the Gerber keeping the neighbors and local kids in check (I don't carry it over my shoulder, this was for dramatic photage).  If you camp, own a house, bike, run, or drive a car I would recommend you get these guys and even keep them in your car.  Another example was a guy was backing out in our parking lot at work at the same time I was.  Our cars barely brushed each others.  I got into my back seat and moved these guys around to get my phone out to take pictures, he saw them.  Nothing was wrong with either car but, the guy was very appologetic and wanted no part of starting anything with me.  This is self defense by assumed danger (I couldn't hurt a fly if I had too).  People do not want to mess with anyone that can handle an axe and hatchet propperly expecially if the know how to use it enough to keep it on hand in their car.  Presumed danger, and you don't get in trouble having them in your car like other weapons and like I said earlier the benefit of helping friends make short work of bradford pear trees that lose limbs in wind storms or my mother that has saplings behind her fence that are annoying her.  I just bust these guys out and I am a hero.

I would give the Gerber large axe 4 out of 5 syringes.  The reason I did not give it the 5th syringe is that I wish there was a little bit more roundness to the blade for splitting wood, it does not come with a very useful handle, and I want to see how the coating on the head works out in the long run.  I will do a follow up after the winter months and lots of oak hits the fire.