Key Smart

This Key Smart is part of my EDC.

About two years ago (maybe a bit more) I tired of the jangle of keys in my pocket, their weight, and from being poked when I sat or moved such that they snagged me through my pocket. After reading about a number of alternative modes for carrying keys (which we all must carry), I purchased an original Key Smart from Amazon.

The Key Smart is not the most expensive tool for carrying keys. It is adjustable and can carry more keys than I do (about a half-dozen). Care is required to get the tension right on the screws or you might strip the female end or leave them unsecured, which means you might have a “key explosion.” I read a few reviews that included horror stories of lost keys, which were accompanied by negative reviews and “star” ratings. I believe these are undeserved as they represent user error (or SUE, AKA “Stupid User Error”) and a lack of care and attention to one’s carry kit. I have had no problem with the carrier after making some adjustments to the tension on the retaining screws.

After two years of EDC, the anodizing is holding up well. There is a bit of brassing at high-contact points, though.
I noticed a few follow-up questions on Amazon a few weeks ago. There was some concern that the “paint” might wear off. As far as I can tell, my Key Smart is anodized aluminum and has held up quite well. There is some brassing along the edges, which is to be expected for an EDC piece of kit. I don’t think this detracts from the appearance; I think it shows that an item is used and loved.

To carry my Key Smart, I purchased an S-Biner (Nitecore, I believe and actually I purchased a multi-unit kit). I hung the unit from a belt loop for awhile, but decided I didn’t like that. It didn’t feel secure. It was “floppy” and banged around a bit when I was active or in a confined space. Therefore, I fashioned a loop from some Coyote Brown paracord, with the loop about eight- or ten-inches in length. I use a larks head knot over my belt and clip the Key Smart’s S-Biner to the loop, which then hangs in my pocket without touching the bottom of my pocket.

The weight is carried on my belt (which is beginning to look like a Bat Belt), there is no wear-and-tear on my pocket, and my keys don’t touch the bottom of my pocket or any of the contents of my pocket.

This works for me. I carry all my regular-use keys in the Key Smart with the exception of my 4Runner key. That lives in my second-level EDC kit.

I’ll make a photograph of a pocket dump one of these days and post the contents. I might do the second-level EDC kit then, as well as the third-level and my pack kit at some time.

Nevada State School

This is one of the structures along the perimeter of the quadrangle area. The structures are used only for storage now. At one time this was a thriving community of teachers and orphans.

I started carrying my Fuji X-T1 a few days ago on our daily walkies. I decided that enough time passed that I should be carrying a real camera again, with good glass. Mornings are one of my favorite times to make images, especially early when the sun is low.

The Girl and I have walked this area many times (almost every day since returning to Carson). It was once an orphanage and school run by the State of Nevada. Now it’s only a collection of structures used by the state for storage. Sometimes the structures are used by Carson City Sheriff’s deputies to work K-9 units. Most of the time the area is populated (sparsely) by canines and their handlers.

We love the green, the large trees, and the fact that off-leash work is permitted. Most of the others who visit are friendly, or at least polite. The Girl loves to romp in the grass and there are plenty of California ground squirrels to chase. They are cagey, though, and she has yet to catch one of them in this area. (Some others have not been quite so fortunate, though.)

On this particular morning we walked on the capitol grounds. I was hoping for something interesting to present itself for a photograph. There was no joy, however. But this capture was one that pleased me. So I thought I would share it.

Carson Lumberyard and Flume

The site of the historic Carson City lumberyard and flume, with a very happy dog.

It’s difficult to imagine, but a century-and-a-half ago this site was covered with logs from the Sierra Nevada waiting to be processed into timber for mining and other applications. A large flume was used to convey the harvested logs to this site, where they were staged for milling.

Now it’s a linear parkway and a favorite place for dogs and handlers to play. When we do morning walkies in town, it is one of our favorite routes. The Girl loves the fact that ground squirrels populate the area and provide prey to chase. Then she loves the cool, moist grass (obviously) for a nice romp and roll after hunting rodents. I like the cool that emanates from the grass and the shade of the large trees surrounding the site. Plus there is a sense of history that hangs here. I know that men worked this area to make a living. Their energy still lives here. It is nearly tangible.

The Girl’s vet called me a couple of days ago. The mass he was concerned about was a hemagiopericytoma, which is an old term for a soft tissue sarcoma. The pathologist called it Grade 1, which means that there is a 15-percent probability that it will return or metastasize. The margins were clear so he got all of the dangerous tissue. It is the best we can do and I’m not going to worry about it.

But I still f*ing hate cancer. I remind myself regularly that there is only here, there is only now.

Schrade SCHF15 EDC Blade

The Schrade SCHF15 is a fine EDC blade.

Some time ago (can’t remember anymore) I bought this Schrade SCHF15 blade. Although Schrade has a rather mixed reputation, some of their knives are quite good. I like this blade quite a lot. It is a full-tang fixed blade with a useable 3.5-inch (more or less) Tanto point blade. The weight is about right for a fixed-blade EDC, the G10 scales are nicely sculpted, and the finger choil and jimping work for me.

I like Tanto blades for their penetrating power. The hollow grind lightens the blade and provides very good cutting power. The sheath that accompanies the blade is decent and is adjustable. I’m going to put a lanyard on the sheath, remove the belt loop, and make it an IWB draw that will draw when the lanyard is stretched. That will make appendix carry straightforward and I won’t have the blade digging into my side or blocking access to my sidearm.

The honed/stropped edge of my Schrade SCHF15 EDC blade.
I noticed that the edge needed some attention, so I put the Schrade in my KME sharpener and rebeveled the edge and get it nice and sharp. The bevel angle was a little flat at 27 degrees (I prefer about 25 degrees for edge strength) and the factory bevel was a little uneven. But it cleaned up well and only took me about a half-hour to finish the job.

I stropped the edge on my Stropman strop (wonderful product) and it has nearly a mirror edge. It is razor sharp as well.

I think this will be my EDC fixed blade for quite some time. I like the design, the heft, the balance, and the scales. I think this one is a keeper.

Frankenstein’s Monster

The Girl came through her surgery fine, with the exception that she now looks like Frankenstein’s Monster. I didn’t photograph the hip incision/sutures… they are the worst and will take longest to heal.
Although I haven’t written in quite a while, it isn’t that I haven’t thought about it. I suppose I was in something of a slump, not making photographs and not doing much writing. Travel was hard and there is quite a lot of work at the moment.

In May it was time for The Girl’s annual. I had questions about some lumps and bumps that I felt on/under her skin. As Doc worked through her regular review, he decided to biopsy a couple of her lumps. The one on her left hip was particularly concerning to him.

He put the sample on a slide and checked it under the microscope. He called it a “Round Cell Tumor” and indicated that is is malignant, although the opinion of a pathologist would be required to confirm that diagnosis. So she was scheduled for a bit more than her usual skin treatment. The work was done yesterday.

She was whiny and clingy last night (can’t really blame her) but is back to herself today. We have not played rowdy because she’s on restricted duty until her wounds knit. A pathology report will be provided next week after the laboratory has time to process the tumor. Hopefully, the margins will be clear and she will be fine.

I f*ing hate cancer.

Deer Stand

Brother-in-law’s deer stand on their place near Vienna, Missouri.
Last weekend we drove from my in-laws’ place north to Vienna, Missouri to visit their youngest daughter and her family and to celebrate grandfather’s and grandson’s birthdays. It was a beautiful day and much too nice to be inside sitting around watching television. (I remembered why I don’t care much for television programming as well. The sports were OK; but the remainder — not so much.)

The field their place overlooks was clear and I thought a walk would be good for both the Girl and me. So I asked permission to walk down to the end of the field and look around. Permission received, the Girl and I headed off to the chagrin of the other dogs in their pen.

I puttered around the deer stand a few minutes, the Girl making happy sounds behind me. I wanted an image of the stand and of their place before we headed back for supper and celebration. As I finished my last capture, I discovered why the Girl was making happy sounds… she found something to roll in. She trotted over to me, looking quite proud of her self, grinning and laughing.

“What have you gotten into????”

She looked at me, still grinning.

“#$%%@!!!@ Ki? You stink!”

She was no longer grinning. But I couldn’t hold the anger long and her joy was contagious.

“Alright then… you get a bath and you’re not going to like it.” And with that we headed back to the house. I acquired soap, a towel, and the help of my nephew. He held her collar while I wet her down and washed her. She started to shake a couple of times.

“If you control her head, she can’t shake,” I told nephew.

Clean but wet, I toweled her off a couple of times so she wouldn’t get cold. Her collar went into the trash. I had intended to replace it anyway.

Supper and celebration were fun and appropriate. The Girl smelled pretty good as well. FiL and I stopped at Wally-World on the way home to buy a couple of cheap collars, one to wear and a spare in case the first failed.

Roadtrip

A random selfie when the sun was on me one morning…
After a couple months of absence from my space, I decided to post something. I was away from home last month and am still traveling. But I’ll be home soon. It will be a good thing.

Travel took me to the east coast for a project meeting. The meeting went well enough, I think. There was a lot of intrigue, or so it seems, in the project panel. There were definitely undercurrents I did not understand. I think I still do not understand them.

But, the meeting was completed. I spent some time with Daughter and her family. I worked on two proposals and one statement of qualifications. I have paying work to do.

Now I’ll go see Wife’s family for a couple of days. Then I’ll head home through Denver to see Older Son and DiL. That will be good, too.

Then I’ll be home for a bit. I’m ready for that.

Napping

There is not much better than napping with the Girl on a sunny winter afternoon.

One of the things I like about my current life is that there is generally no reason why I cannot have a nap in the afternoon. On these sunny winter afternoons, the sun shines through the bedroom window onto the bed. The Girl loves to sun herself. After a long walk this morning (and a short night last night), I decided a nap would be good.

So, we snuggled for an hour or so, the warm sun on us both. The simple comforts of the warm sun and my best friend are so rich.

Restored (Re-sacked) Estie

My restored Esterbrook J-Series fountain pen is now back in service and back in rotation.

I posted an in-process image on my Instagram account yesterday. That image is of the section of the Estie with a new ink sack attached with some fountain pen shellac and drying.

The backstory (such as it is) is that I pulled my favorite old Esterbrook J-Series fountain pen from storage. I think it was my very first vintage Esterbrook. The cap and the body are slightly mis-matched. That is, the cap color is slightly different than the body color. My expectation is that someone down the line either mixed caps or a restorer pulled a matched up a set to make a whole pen from part-pens.

Regardless, when I received the pen, I renewed the ink sack (my very first Esterbrook restore) and added a brand-new 9556 Master Series nib unit. It’s classified as a fine-firm nib. In my experience, all of the Esterbrook nibs are nails. (Heh…)

When I decided to ink the pen yesterday, I dropped the nib into my bottle of Noodler’s Zhivago, a green-black ink that is bulletproof. The fill lever would not activate. So, I knew the pen needed service. I wicked the ink from the nib and set it aside.

After lunch I pulled out my tools and parts kit and started sorting through those items. It’s been nearly two years since I sorted through my pen kit. That was a kind of trip of itself. I mentally inventoried the parts and tools and found what I needed — a fresh Size 16 ink sack, my X-Acto knife (and blades), and the sack shellac.

I pulled the section from the body, with a little heat to loosen things up. The old sack broke apart in my fingers — ossified. It was, indeed, time for a new ink sack.

Back at my worktable, I removed the remaining parts of the old sack that clung to the section, scraping a little with a fingernail and my X-Acto knife. That done, I fitted and trimmed the new sack, shellaced the section, and attached the new sack. The assembly was then set aside to cure.

After an hour of puttering with other things, the shellac was dry enough to reassemble the pen. I dipped the fresh ink sack into pure talcum powder to lubricate it during operation of the fill mechanism. I lined up the nib unit and fill lever and pressed the section back into the body of the pen.

A function check followed and then the thumbs-up that all was well. I filled the renewed fountain pen with Zhivago and did some test writing. For an inexpensive pen (they cost a couple bucks new with the better nib units — now they’re about twenty bucks on ebay) it writes very well. The nib is wet and smooth.

I remembered why this inexpensive little vintage pen is one of my favorites. Like me, it’s a bit of a mashup of bits and pieces. But it’s functional and reliable.

Winter

On walkies yesterday morning, I captured this image over at the old State Children’s Home. We had a lot of precipitation over the last week or so and everything is wet.
So I noticed this morning that I have not written in a couple of weeks. That happens when I get busy with other things.

The weather is poor. This morning it is snowing. I think there is almost six inches of new snow on the ground. It rained, spit snow, and showed a little sun yesterday. There was enough sun to encourage me to get out for a bit and walk. But everything is so wet. The ground is saturated and any new rain will be runoff with little abstraction.

I thought the Carson River might make flood stage. I think it came in just a little less, with a peak discharge of about 9,000 cfs on Monday. I have photographs of the river near River Park and near Mexican Dam. I think I will post them and post-date them to their proper dates.

It is the new year. Happy New Year, friends. I pray your celebrations were safe and enjoyable. I know that I saw the new year in via my normal fashion… snoozing with my dog. Heh…

Life is good. I have more to write and more photographs to make and share.