Friday, June 22, 2018

Weekend Steam: It's Gritty, It's Real: Sandaoling Coal Mine Engines

Merle keeps finding 'em, and we keep posting them!  Thanks, Merle!  This is not exactly a tourist destination, but it should be.

One Of Our Special Treats

We made a trip back to Eastern Kentucky in the Fall of '84 and brought back some tiny sourwood seedlings from a strip mine bench. They give us a good show every June with their flowers, and again in the fall when the leaves turn red.

It's a joy and a reminder of our former lives.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Site Indicator: Blackjack Oak, Quercus marilandica

Blackjack oak tells you that you are on a dry, hot site where growing high value timber is difficult.

Blackjack leaves tend toward a spatula shape with shallow lobes at the outer end.  It is in the red oak group, so there is a whisker at the end of each lobe.  The buds are not as large and well shaped as black oak, but they do the typical bud cluster at the end of the twig like all oaks.

Foresters have historically tried to wipe out blackjacks during timber stand improvement cuts, but you need to realize that if blackjack is growing there, that may be as good as it gets in that particular spot.  I find them on 13A and 13B Bluford high spots, which dry out quickly, and on southwest facing hillsides of 340C3 Zanesville.  Those are not great sites for producing high value timber, but the soil still needs to be protected, and blackjack makes acorns to feed the turkey, deer, and squirrels.  I figure you should accept this tree for what it is and don't waste effort trying to make a site do what it cannot. 

Blackjack bark is a bit darker, with tighter blocks than black oak, and the fissures have a bit of orange showing, much like black oak.

These trees are limby, and the firewood they make is good, but it is a bit hard to split by hand due to the limbiness.  Working amid the dense limbs with a chainsaw can be frustrating, and possibly dangerous when you are making wood.

Move a bit to another site on the hillside and you probably will find the site changes so you can grow your high value tree.  Move toward a draw, or down the slope where you have water movement in the soil, and the site often changes suddenly. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger is offering a P95 Double Action Only (DAO) from 2001 to bidders this week.  This New In Box pistol is in 9mm x 19 caliber, with stainless slide and grip frame of urethane and long strand fiberglass.  It has a spurless hammer, no full cock hammer position, no external safety, and no decocking lever.  It is a new firearm and it comes with two ten-round magazines.  It sells mid-day, June 20, 2018.  CLICK HERE to read the entire description and to place your bid.  You may get a real bargain with this one!  $465

Monday, June 18, 2018

Tuesday Torque: Gary's Armstrong Engine

This Armstrong engine is a rare one, and it has a few unusual features.  The pushrod goes through the mixing valve on its way to the exhaust rocker, and the governor works backward from what most hit-and-miss engines do.  It is a pretty nice, original-looking engine.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Rough, But Ready

Elgin National Coffee Mill.  A little TLC and this old girl could go to work.

Back To The Old Grind!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

It'll Put Your Eye Out, Kid!

How do you check the condition/temp of your hot tube ignition?  Look down that chimney and you will lose an eye.  DON'T DO IT! You will see a mirror hanging on some of these old engines, and this is why it hangs there.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger is offering a nice one this week.  It is a Single Six in .17 HMR, made in 2003, and it wears the NRA logo on the grips, for Friends of the NRA events.  Take a look at the photos and you will see this is a new gun, showing no shop wear at all. This nice little revolver sells mid-day, June 13, 2018.  CLICK HERE to place your bid.  $530

Monday, June 11, 2018

Tuesday Torque Two-Fer At The Evansville Engine Show

Southern Indiana Antique Machinery Show, 2018, Evansville, Indiana. A beautiful restoration of an Evans oilfield engine by Tony Sage, plus a bonus! The guys next to Tony were firing up a Thermoil Diesel engine with a homemade electric starter. Fuel was shooting up in a geyser, but they got it under control and made it run.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

SIAM Show, 2018, Evansville

Gary Bahre and I went over to the Southern Indiana Antique Machinery show today and had a good time.  Big Old Oilfield engines were the feature this time, and every one was a beauty.  Tony Sage always has a nice display.  He brought an engine he rescued and restored, and it would knock your eyes out.  There were a bunch of yellow-dog lanterns burning, and many of the photos look like the camera has light leaks because of the oil smoke from those lanterns.  Some photos and video will follow as I look at them and process them.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Weekend Steam: Let's Hop Across The Pond!

At least part of Britain is still there.  I doubt any of this will survive when the takeover is complete.

Thanks, Merle!

Pattie Will Soon Be 94!

Wheat Harvest is a special time for us. Susan's mother was born in 1924 when the threshers were at the farm. Back then, the wheat was harvested with a binder, the bundles of wheat were put into shocks, and then the bundles were brought to the threshing machine when the threshers came to the farm. Pattie always gets excited because of the connection of the wheat harvest to her birthday, and we do, too. Nowadays, our renter harvests 40 acres in part of an afternoon, and then goes on to other work around the fields that he farms. It is amazing to watch.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Chainsaw Rules Update

My friend Clint, who just had his skull fractured by a tree a couple weeks ago has posted a picture of the tree that did it.  He made some mistakes, and he told me about it.  He was being pushed because of having a couple of interns to watch as he was cutting trees in a timber stand improvement project.  He did not evaluate the lean on a ten inch diameter maple, and he did not make a hinge cut.  He cut one side, then the other, to make a match cut, which severs the tree, leaving nothing to control the direction of the fall. The crown jammed up on one side, creating torque, his saw was jammed and he stayed at the stump trying to pull it loose instead of escaping from the stump.  The butt end of the tree broke loose, and nailed him around his left eye as it made a swing to ten feet away from the stump.

I get negative comments on my chainsaw videos, and accident prevention is why I persist.  There is a short list of steps in falling a tree, and a long list of safety rules.  If you cut by those lists you may never see an accident while you have a saw in your hands.  The rules for chainsaws are not like the rules for firearms.  You have to violate two firearm rules to have an accident.  Violating one chainsaw rule can be fatal.  Check the list on the left side.  I should have thought of Rule 25 a long time ago, but it's there now.  You could add 24 and 25 to the Firearm Rules, too!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

They All Had Fun But One... the Carmi Rifle Club NRA  Day, Saturday, June 2. Scroll through the photos from this great day and see if you can pick out the only one who did not want to participate.

Sight alignment lesson.

.22 pistols at the indoor range.


I think Lucas tried everything.  He liked the 1911 .45, but the M1 was a bit much for his small frame.

The lever action Henry was popular.

There was a good variety of centerfire pistols and revolvers; something for everyone.

The 10/22 was hot!  You could not hold your hand on the barrel.  When it had all the clay pigeons broken on the 100 yard berm, folks were popping the fragments.

The Steel Challenge plates rang the entire afternoon.

Our volunteers and guests.

One lonely little guy who stayed off by himself.  Many thanks to Dawn W for running my camera while I stuffed magazines!

Click on photos to enlarge.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

This week Ruger is offering a P89 Decocker in 9 mm.  It has an aluminum frame and a blued steel slide, with a 15 round magazine.  This is a new gun from the Ruger vault, and it is well worth bidding.  CLICK HERE to place that winning bid.  This fine pistol will sell mid-day, Wednesday, June 6, 2018.  $710

Monday, June 4, 2018

Tuesday Torque: Evansville, June 8-10, Be There!

There are always good tractors, engines, and cars to see at Evansville.  There is plenty of shade in the gas engine area, so you can really take your time and enjoy the show.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Kids Are The Best!

The Carmi Rifle Club hosted Brownell's NRA Day on June 2, and everyone had a good time, learning firearm safety and shooting a large variety of rifles, pistols, and shotguns.

We had Dum-Dum suckers set up at 50 feet, and the kids were busting those for a great time. They would then move out to a 3" x 4" plate at 75 yards. They kept this challenging target swinging.

Kids were also busting clay pigeons at the 100 yard berm. After they had the holdover figured out they could hit fragments of the clay pigeons.  Their parents had a good time watching the kids hit targets like pros. Parents and grandparents shot too, but working with kids and all of the enthusiasm they bring is an extra joy.

The paint got knocked off the Appleseed target in short order! 

Video by Chris Lueke on Facebook.  This little guy could shoot!

Assignment: Working In The Garden

Back To The Old Grind!  Sharpen Your hoe!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Educating, One At A Time

Retired Illinois State Cop running one of the pistol stages at the Carmi Rifle Club NRA Sports Day.  "Would you like to try this .44 Magnum?"  Skunk Eye response.  "These are .44 Special loads, perfect for a home defense load."  Shoots; Smiles!  This was a good day.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Weekend Steam: New Zealand Steam!

Merle is spotting good ones; Thank You, Merle!

Best Zero Distance For .22 LR?

I've been re-zeroing a couple of our .22s.  We have an event at the Carmi Rifle Club this week and one of the targets we have for new shooters is a line of lollipops at 50 feet. All of our .22s were zeroed at 25 yards, so I made the adjustments to ensure success for the participants.   When you zero at 25 yards, high-velocity .22 LR lands 4 to 5 inches low at 100 yards.  What I found when I zeroed at 50 feet was  the 100 yard groups were falling only 2 to 3 inches low.  That makes it much easier for a kid to hit a clay pigeon on the 100 yard berm.  The other thing I found is that at 75 yards the group falls only 1/2" low instead of a solid inch.  Zeroing at 50 feet gives you the ability to shoot with no correction to just beyond 80 yards with varmints around the compound. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Memories This Week

This is always a special week.  We clean the family stones and reminisce.  This year we had no flowers, but the visit was good for Pattie.

We spent some time visiting with neighbors who were there.  Someday we will get back to St. Jo for Memorial day and visit Lloyd's grave.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Here you go!  Everybody wants a Ruger .44 Carbine.  This one is new, from 1981, and has only a couple of little chigger bites on the stock as shop wear.  These are dandy little rifles in the woods for deer and hog hunting.  This fine little carbine sells mid-day, May 30, 2018.  CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place your bid. $1325; Now you know what these Carbines are worth!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Tuesday Torque: Minneapolis Restoration

This video was posted just a year ago, so I be the cleats barely have the paint rubbed off.  It is a thrill seeing one of these monsters come back to life.  Four cylinders of Pocketa-Pocketa goodness!

Memories Passed On

Growing up in the Sixties, with a job in an appliance store, I was in a lot of homes helping with deliveries and service calls.  That was just twenty years after the end of World War II, and many of those homes had war souvenirs such as ash trays made from artillery shells. You would also see service photos of soldiers, sailors and Marines.  The guy I worked under was middle-aged and he would always ask about those photos, and invariably it was a son that did not come home from the war. 

After I was out on my own I saw a lot of veterans in my work.  I remember visiting with a  World War I vet near Louisa, Kentucky who had a book full of photos and history where he served in France.  He would have talked all day if I had been able to stay and listen.  I have heard many stories over the years, and that is one of the things I will miss during my retirement years.

The one that sticks with me most, and it always comes back to me on Memorial Day, is from a World War II Navy veteran.  He saw Kamikaze attacks, and the ship he was on came alongside a ship that had been hit, and damaged badly.  As they came next to the damaged ship he was directly across from a gun mount that was on fire.  A blonde kid was in the mount, heaving ammunition overboard.   He said the kid could not have been over seventeen, and as he was throwing ammo, it all exploded. That man was in tears while he told me about that, and his memory stays with me.  I am sure my old friend is gone now, because he would be way up into his nineties.  I hope that you all will remember that boy, too, and appreciate the sacrifice that our fighting men and women make for us.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

As You Grow Older, Find Ways To Use Ladders Less...

Is There A Big Race Coming Up?

I saw this live performance by Doodles Weaver from 1957 and noted that he mentioned Sam Hanks. That didn't ring a bell for me, but it should have. I looked it up and Sam Hanks won the Indy 500 in 1957, after trying twelve times before. He announced his retirement from racing before he climbed out of his winning car. You can read all about it at This Link.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Weekend Steam: Norfolk and Western 611

It is well worth planning a trip to the eastern U.S. just to ride behind this engine.  If you have spent your life seeing traction engines and narrow-gauge logging locomotives, be prepared to get strange sensations when you are up close to an engine like this one.  Thank You, Merle!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Plan For Every Tree You Cut

An old friend spent a few days in the hospital this week. He is a forester and has worked around and with chainsaws for twenty five years. He was cutting a small maple straight through without doing a match cut or hinge cut. The tree pinched his saw and then split. The butt kicked up hit and him around his left eye, breaking bone and splitting skin. He will look rough for several weeks, but will recover.

We get negative comments about the videos we have demonstrating the cutting of small trees. Little trees may not squash you, but they can sure kick up and break your face. I think it is time to make a few more chainsaw videos. In the meantime, review those chainsaw safety rules on the left side of this page before you fire up your saw.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Lovely, Dark, and Deep

I had to go to town the other day for a little errand, and after taking care of that I made a little side trip to see a tree planting project I was thinking about.

Going there I went by five other projects, all six in less than a mile. They all look good.

One of them was the only project where someone was injured during planting.  The landowner was driving the tractor with a planter behind, and two guys riding the planter. You have to pump the planting foot out of the ground at the end of every pass before you turn around.

The old boy driving the tractor had a bottle of booze in his back pocket, and he wasn't allowing time for his helpers to raise the foot before he turned.  He rolled the planter up on its side, dumping off his workers, and one of them broke a finger.  Whiskey and machinery do not mix well.

Another one of the landowners bought a hoedad and planted his entire project by hand, all by himself.

The other four were planted by contractors with tree planting machines.  Tree planting projects always catch my eye, and many of them are a surprise when I see them, because of the years that have passed since I saw the trees go into the ground.