A common source of enjoyment in Russia and Ukraine: family outings to pick mushrooms. In the United States it’s not uncommon for families to head into the woods and hills to pick berries of various types. As a child growing up in the wilds of northern Wisconsin, I picked blueberries, raspberries, wild strawberries, blackberries, pin cherries and choke cherries. A friend sent me these pictures of a recent family outing . . .
In the spring, after the snow has melted, the local range offered opportunities for gathering brass that had accumulated over the winter. The children found picking brass to be much more fun than picking mushrooms or berries. You can see that their hands are full of .223, .40 S&W, and the occasional .45.
Springtime in Wisconsin is cool and pleasant. The mosquitoes, deer flies, horse flies and ticks have not yet hatched/emerged to mar the outdoor experience. You can see the range berms in the background. It looks as though there are a few spots where the snow is not completely melted. The little girls are wearing rubber boots, a good choice for a Wisconsin spring.
The final harvest reveals how the gun culture recycles valuable artifacts, saves energy, and has a good time while doing so.
The grandparents of the children live in Ukraine. One of the girls said she wished they could send the brass to grandma, so that they could defend themselves.
The father assured me that since the invasion of Ukraine, many former pacifists have decided that they should have weapons. But firearms are tightly controlled in the legal market. If you have money, they are available from the endemic organized crime figures.
The East Block-type ammo is mostly steel-cased and Berdan primed. It’s much harder to reload than the brass cases common in the United States. Reloading supplies are almost impossible to come by.
I suspect that brass picking is a uniquely American experience. More’s the pity.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.