Kirby: Don’t fire until you see the whites in the clothes dryer
By Robert Kirby
Tribune ColumnistFirst published Jun 24 2014 01:01AM
Tavaputs Ranch •
While our families celebrated Father’s Day without us, Sonny and I took to the mountains for the semi-annual Major Appliance Hunt. I’m pleased to report that we bagged a really nice Kenmore.
It wasn’t easy. Appliances can be elusive. But after two days of meticulous stalking, we spotted a beautiful electric dryer on a little knoll no less than 19 yards away.
The late afternoon sun was with us. We gauged the wind and range, debated in whispers the size of the load, then dropped it painlessly with a clean shot.
OK, it was a loud and messy shot. Four ounces of cannon-grade black powder puts out a lot of smoke. Also, pretty much anything will drop painlessly when struck by a 500 mph bowling ball.
You don’t need a really heavy caliber gun to take major appliances. This is especially true if you’re trophy hunting and only want some of the parts left over. For that a smaller caliber cannon is required.
Sonny and I have taken appliances with golf-ball guns, a billiard-ball cannon, and even a beautiful full-metal jacket 60 mm cement plug.
Hunting appliances is harder than you might think. You have to know what you’re doing or you could get hurt.
Most appliances already belong to someone else, and by this I mean they’re in a kitchen, garage or laundry room. People, including really stupid ones, will notice a bowling ball cannon going off near or even inside their home.
But even appliances in the wild — those found in dumps, salvage yards and along curbs — technically could be spoken for.
Last week, Sonny and I had our eye on a small herd of appliances near Tavaputs Ranch. These were free range major appliances. As near as we could tell, they hadn’t moved an inch in years. Perfect.
We asked ranch owner Butch Jensen if it was OK to take care of the appliances for him. He gave us the OK.
We were elated. These were the old-style washing appliances with the dangerous wringer rollers on top. I wanted a set for the wall of my den. Sonny planned to make a necklace or a hat out of his.
Fortunately we also thought to inquire of Butch’s wife Jeanie and his daughter Jennie. That’s when we learned that the appliances we spotted were not wild but in fact longtime family pets called "heirlooms."
The most feared creature on a ranch is a woman. With two of them threatening to kill us for destroying heirlooms, Sonny and I stuck to hunting only approved major appliances.
Sonny was the first to spot the one we finally bagged. Lost from the herd or pack, it was alone and confused. It sensed us as we argued over the amount of powder necessary to bring it down.
Just as the dryer was prepared to charge, we fired. The bowling ball went through the appliance, up a hill and whacked a tree. The appliance itself went to pieces.
We didn’t get a trophy this time, but it was a good hunt. We’re going again. We tried to scout the area for other appliances, but we weren’t so lucky this time.
Sonny notched out a bowling ball into which he fitted a Go-Pro camera. If we could get it high enough to video a wide area, we would know where to go hunting next.
We fired the Go-Pro into the stratosphere and … never found it. A search party combed the area for an hour and came up with nothing. It’s still out there somewhere, capturing important footage of sagebrush growing.
On the bright side, we have something else to hunt for the next time we go.