Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Few Days Late

I always keep an eye out for oyster mushrooms growing on trees.  This batch is on a sugar maple that had been struck by lightning, with bark blown off and wood exposed.  Lightning strikes provide great opportunities for oysters to grow.

These are beauties, and there are a lot of them.  Unfortunately, They had been out a bit too long, and were dried up, hard, and just a bit funky smelling.

Be on the lookout for these mushrooms as we head into spring.  They like to pop out after a rain, and they will be good for a few days if the weather is cool.  We have picked them during summer, but you have to be quick then, because there are beetles that like to eat them.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Farmer's Gonna Farm

That little section of wooded stream is on my morning commute, and it has been home to skunks, possums, coons, rabbits, squirrels, and foxes for all the years I have driven by it.  The field was tiled recently, and after tiling was done the track-hoes and a bulldozer remained.

I sure don't mind if a farmer tiles a field.  This field is an A slope, (0 to 5%) and very clayey.  It stays wet and is hard to farm in the spring, so crops go in late.  Then they have to deal with summer drought and heat after a late start.  This week the farmer cleared the streambanks.  It measured out less than two acres, but it was a nice little section of wildlife habitat that also protected the streambank and field from erosion.

What most people do not see is that landowners both up and downstream from this little project will see increased erosion now.  Floodwaters will move through here more easily, effectively changing the gradient of this section.  The effect can be far-reaching; in this case it will affect the upstream landowners more, because it is located at the upper end of a glacial lakebed where the gradient becomes small.  If I hadn't been watching fox-kits every spring as I go by, this would not bother me so much, I guess.  When you see farmers lighting off brush piles with their used tires you can realize that they probably don't give two hoots about the World we live in, in spite of what outfits like Farm Bureau and the USDA want you to believe.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Massachusetts Shooters Foundation

If you like single-action revolvers, this one's for you.  Ruger is offering a .357 Blackhawk made in 1977 with a 6 1/2" barrel.  It is marked Used, but was only used as a display gun at a distributor show.  Click Here to place your bid on this great stainless revolver, perfect for carrying around your ranch, compound, or as a house gun.  It sells mid-day, Wednesday, February 15, 2017. $875

Valentine Song Festival! One More Good One!

Valentine Song Festival! Eighteen Wheels And A Dozen Roses, Kathy Mattea

No Winnebago for us...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Tuesday Torque: Transferable Knowledge

If you learn how to tune and run a small engine you can pretty much tune any engine.  Model airplane engines will smack the back of your fingers to great effect.  There is no shame in using a chicken stick to prop your engine.

Valentine Song Festival! I Get A Kick Out Of You! Frank Sinatra

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Valentine Song Festival! These Foolish Things, Rudy Vallee

Plenty Of History Being Written This Month

It's A Good Look At An Old Mill...

...even if someone said "What does the chimney do?"  We could have put this in Weekend Steam, but nothing is running, so a Grinder it is!

Back To The Old Grind!

One Year Anniversary, And We Are Still Nervous!

February 11, 2016 was the date when Eric Hall of Carmi jolted us out of our security complacency.  The house repairs are long completed and adjustments have been made to our routines.  We still get a little thrill every time we open the door where all that started.  It's a good reminder that even though our personal perpetrator is locked up (for nine more years), the world still has plenty of bad people out there who are perfectly willing to screw up your life.  Relive our little nightmare.

Valentine Song Festival! Only The Lonely, Roy Orbison

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Valentine Song Festival: Brand New Key, Melanie

Walnuts From Seed


Here is one of my old cases that has never quit.  My friend Bob, from Carmi, planted walnut seeds he gathered in a little field that was too small to farm with today's equipment.  He also planted Shumard oak acorns as a companion crop, and it has worked out well.

This is the project in the fall of 2016.  The walnut trees Bob planted are running 10 to 11 inches, and there are so many good ones that thinning is complicated by difficult decisions.

The Shumards are performing very well as trainers, lagging behind the walnuts and shading off the lower branches so pruning is not needed.  The Shumards would make good crop trees, too, but they are not as fast growing as the walnuts.

Over 11 inches diameter from seed in 24 years!

Some of the thinning decisions are easy.  When you start a project like this it is a good idea to flag your best trees first, and them come through and give them room.  A forked tree like this one is a tree you can girdle without regrets.  Bob has been gone for many years, and his son is now tending the family farm and forest. He is doing as fine a job as his father did.

Valentine Song Festival! You'd Be Surprised, Madeline Kahn