Getting back on the keyboard with the imagination

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Okay, kidney stone passed. Pain receding, so I take my longbow and launch a few pointy sticks out of the house (I remembered to open the glass door, even) at the dangling bottle cap 30 paces away.

Sooooo… Frustration, anger, disappointment in myself at being¬†taken to my knees by¬†a grain of sand, I gave myself a little accomplishment and put the arrow into the suspended cap from a milk jug.

You all may have seen something similar on this page before, so it if it is a bit of a re-run, sorry.

But this shot is new. Mrs. D calls it a lucky shot.

Perhaps. Ponder. So I ask you, how many times do I hit it before it is no longer lucky? I am averaging about a hit on a cap once ever 8-12 arrows. Most times it bounces and flips away- but held by a string, I get another go at it. Which I like. The swing of three dimensions adds a challenge, too.

And with that bit of texture. The latest fun shot. I really should keep shooting. But I worry about hitting the other arrow. Small target, a good chance of destroying an expensive piece of equipment, strip off the fletching at a minimum. So I will go out and free the target from being pinned.

Pinned by arrow

Free swinging cap on string. Pinned by arrow.

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ArcheryTalk of the Night

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Now, over the months, I’m¬†shooting at ever smaller targets- ¬†bottle caps (The Cheap Archer here.) ¬†With depression that sneaks in, on a few really low days, the arrows and focusing on the targets 30 paces away help.

For you folks with the telescopic optical sights, stabilizers, balance beams, pulleys and such, I appreciate your ability to shoot. But I keep it to the difficult, organic side.

10,000 years if archery history, I shoot with a longbow- my newest friend.  It sits next to me along with the vintage recurve I purchased for US$7.50 (Sans string, I had to buy that separately for US$3.50).

Now, that said: The targets.

A 30 mm cap from a milk jug, made of low density polyethylene. Very light, and more durable than the previous, larger bottle caps I used.

To make matters more difficult. I punched a small hole in two of the said LDPE caps. Hung them by a kite string on a small stick of bamboo that swings and rotates slowly (sometimes fastly) in the wind. I have hit it all week in oblique hits as it spins and swings in the air. The slightest breeze moves the cap. it is a challenge.

Tonight, however, was something different.  That was a an impressive (to me) shot. It was breezy, and you have to track the target and anticipate where it might be when the arrow gets there.  But I still buried the bottle cap into the target backstop.

That made my night.  Depressed? yeah, still. But I feel a little accomplished. Plus I have gotten the writing more focused today.

Come shoot with me. ūüėÄ I’ll supply the bow and the arrows. ¬†We can scour the area for targets. Leaves, bottles, caps, even an odd shoe I see on the side of the road now and again… and recycle them at the same time.

Stuck Target into the backstop

Small target buried into target backstop. Note string. 

Archery and the challenge

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Okay, raise your hand if you find archery relaxing. ¬†Anyone? Any… Okay, just me.

Yes, I write, and I have been told I write in a chaotic way (The story began with the word “Chaos” so I was jumping around with different points of view to begin with,¬†in an attempt to give the impression of fear and chaos.) and in the times where my mind has to take a breath, the need to do something to focus is real.

So, I pick up my longbow and shoot. My targets are generally on the cheap, my income does not yet match that of Stephen King or William Patterson or JK Rowling, bottle caps are my preferred targets, and lately I have improved. I am destroying bottle caps faster than the family can drink their drinks.

So I need to make the challenge more, well, challenging.

I have taken a bit of scrap wood, sharpened one end and stuck it into the target back, hung bottle caps and one 2 liter bottle by kite string so they swing in the wind.

this has increased the difficulty by orders of magnitude. Once you loose the arrow, all you can do is watch it head to the point you (hopefully) selected. Well, the bottle moves, caps move.  Now it is all about predicting where it will be.

Some luck is inherent to this effort, so you can call it a lucky shot, if you like, but when do they stop being lucky? After the third hit out of five arrows loosed?  Four of five? Four of six?

Ah but I digress.  Onto the frustration of the day.

I missed shooting on Monday, I headed out when I got uncomfortable with a computer on my lap, even when balanced on a lap-desk. The insulation of the three fingers thick plastic body of the surface still gets warm.  And we are hitting the highs of our summer now.

I stood up and stepped outside to shoot and let the lap have a break, the mind refocus.

Well, until I hit outside on Monday.  First thing is the scalp on my head yelled for a hat.

Second thing: My feet in the sandals started yelling to get out of the sun, this was a bit too intense to be shooting under.

So Monday was skipped.

Tuesday, early, lawn cut, area picked up, slight cloud cover. Wind is blowing strong enough to move things around.  Swinging gloriously, the bottle caps and the foam filled 2 liter bottle was a tempting target.

First shot, I hit the bottle, the urethane foam keeps the arrow from going all the way through and pin the bottle to the target back.  It keeps swinging.

Well, but now, it is off-balance and swinging oddly in the freshening wind, and like a cat, I can’t give up on that challenge.

I go for the black bottle cap, it is swinging behind the bottle, making it a challenge to hit and not hit the bottle.

Heh, no sight window other than my fingers touching my cheek with the #55 pound bow, I launch another arrow at the swinging targets, trying to sneak the arrow past the bottle into the bottle cap.

I missed, not by much! ¬†but I missed…and the arrow that was stuck in the bottle? fell to the ground.

I stood there for a minute, trying to decide to continue to shoot two dozen set of arrows or go figure out what happened.

Well, I chose to go investigate, why did the arrow not even stuck in the target backstop, fell to the ground when the other arrow stuck into the backstop, not even hit the bottle, missed the cap, too. I was close in all measurements, but still a miss as everything was swinging.

I walk up, the black arrow lay on the grass, the tip still protruding from the bottle.

What happened?  I stood there and puzzled it, a broken arrow, but how?

Then pulling out the part that was stuck in the bottle, I had to pull it out forward, as it was broken off flush to the bottle.

Well, I hit the arrow with the second arrow- transverse hit! I hit it right where it went into the bottle.

The arrowhead fits perfectly in the torn-through dimple the field point made on its way through to the so-close bottle cap.

Snapped that booger right off. *sigh* not just broke it, amputated it, if you were to take your arrow (assuming you have one.) put the tip on the tip of your middle finger and then the break maybe to the second fold in your wrist, that is how much arrow I lost.

The diameter is quite small, if you think about it. ¬†They are Easton GameMaster 500’s at the longest cut I can get. About half the diameter of my pinky fingers (I have fat fingers) from 30 paces away. Second shot, in a random swing pattern.

Sheesh, it was a perfect arrow, too. ¬†I have a number of them that are bent, twisted and one I affectionately call “Corkscrew” ¬†for how it looks and how it flies. But now it is a third shorter, I’ll donate the aluminum arrow to the children’s coach that took over from my daughter the archer last year after I repair it to take a field tip again.

In the last ten days I have damaged or destroyed three arrows by hitting them with followup shots. But at least my rate if hitting the bottle caps has fallen back down to ten-percent.

 

Two arrows, separate bottlecaps

Arrows above the scarecrow

The scarecrow was removed from target status, it became the thing to shoot around, but after it retired as a target and became the obstacle to avoid, the dogs chose that it was the perfect tug-0-war toy and destroyed it.

Ray B. Scarecrow will be missed.