Saturday, October 20, 2018

Tree Farm Field Day!

You could not have asked for a better October day than we had in Wayne County Illinois today for Gary and Debbie Stratton's Tree Farm Field Day.  Gary and Debbie were the Tree Farmers of the year in 2017 for Illinois, and today they hosted a party at their Tree Farm for all who are interested in growing trees.  Activities included a portable sawmill, invasive species identification and control, prescribed burning benefits, timber marketing, a fishing derby for kids, chainsaw maintenance, chainsaw use in falling trees, campfire, coffee, and free donuts!

                Gary and Debbie Stratton with Jay Hayek, University of Illinois Extension Forester.

                                    Tree Farmers who have been active in forestry for 25 years.

                                          Susan won a Smokey Bear poster as a door prize!

                     Believe it or not, the chainsaw instructor won the raffle for a Stihl chainsaw!

The Fairfield Forestry District has always been a busy place, with very low turnover in foresters.  Mel Gerardo opened the office during the 1950's.  Mel was a Marine vet, and was one of the Chosin Frozens.  He ran the Anna-Jonesboro nursery when he left the Fairfield office.  Rick Moore was the next District Forester; he was a Vietnam vet.  Gary Stratton followed Rick, and I was the D.F. from 1988 to 2017.  Jenny Lesko has been there for a year now, and she is really getting into the job.  I hope she is there for many years. The Fairfield district has had several Illinois Tree Farmers of the Year.  Bernard and Mike Podolsky, Jack and Beth Riley, Terry Wheeler, and the Strattons were the award winners during my years at Fairfield.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Weekend Steam #2: Poor Kid...

...will grow up thinking everybody plays with steam engines.  He will be cast a weirdo about the time he hits junior high.  It's worth it, though!

Weekend Steam #1: A Bit Of Speed

Merle is keeping us buried in choices for steam videos.  This one will give everyone a thrill.  Thank You, Merle!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Another Part Completed!

Sheridan Concrete of Mt. Vernon, Illinois came to close up the jackhammered areas, and they did a great job.

We are dry, and that was a good deal, allowing the cement truck to get close.

                                                           The first wheelbarrow load.

They worked the cement for hours to make it smooth and pretty. We still have a way to go in the basement, but having the plumbing finished and covered up again feels pretty good.

Stratton's Tree Farm Field Day

Gary and Debbie Stratton are hosting a party Saturday, October 20 at their Tree Farm east of Fairfield, Illinois. There will be lots of activities, and you can learn a bit about timber management.  Gary will be discussing Timber Stand Improvement, Prescribed Burning, Invasive Species Control, and more.  There will be a safety trainer from the University of Illinois teaching you the things you need to know if you operate chainsaws.

                                                                  Click To Enlarge.

I have the saws prepped and we have picked out a big storm-damaged white oak to drop.  Come and see if it falls the way I want it to! 

All of those annoying little bright spots have been filed away, so there should be chips and no dust. See you Saturday!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Problem Is Found

The blower started snorting, missing, losing power, and acting really bad the other day.  I thought it had a batch of bad fuel and the piston was sticking.  I was going to take it to the shop where we bought it, but pulled the plug so I could roll the motor over and check it for a scored piston.  The sparkplug told it all.  I cleaned this baby and the motor runs like new.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Honored American Veterans Afield

Ruger is offering a special Redhawk this week.  It is New-Old-Stock from 1980, when the Redhawk line was first being produced. I have shot one of these and I can tell you that they shoot like a rifle.  It is good for Moose or Squirrel!  CLICK HERE and read all about it and then place your bid for a special revolver. This gun sells mid-day, Wednesday, October 17, 2018.  $2984.59

Monday, October 15, 2018

Tuesday Torque: Fascinating Magneto Drive

We saw this neat machine over at Evansville a year or two back.  I evidently did not take a photo of the builder's tag, so I don't know the make of this engine.  Someone on YouTube will tell us, I bet.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Another Dog Has Come And Gone

Groovy is a Schip-Mix that landed on us nine weeks ago.  Just long enough for us to get really attached to the little guy.  He took a trip today and is now residing somewhere in Chicagoland with his new Mama.  They made up right away when they met, and it appears that he will like his new home. It's an odd feeling of separation when a dog leaves to get on with his life.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Sewer-Septic Saga Continues...

The good news is we can take a shower again!  I have lost track of the number of days the plumbers have been working here, so I guess that's the bad news.  We had the septic tank sucked today, so it should be good for the next decade.  The new sewer line is in place and needs only a floor drain and a cleanout added before it can be filled in and new cement is poured. All of this started because we are going to put new flooring down in the basement.  Mission-Creep is a term that we use daily now.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Now THAT'S a Happy Birthday!

If you don't understand the thrill of such things, you just haven't lived long enough yet!

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Honored American Veterans Afield

Ruger is offering a very special Mini-14, built in 1979.  This one has the marking for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, a model that was built for that organization.  1300 were built and marked with O.H.P on the rear of the receiver, and an additional 300 were made without that mark.  This rifle does have the O.H.P. mark.  It has been residing in Ruger's vault for nearly forty years, and now it can be yours!  CLICK HERE to read the full description and to place your bid.  $1834.99

Sunday, October 7, 2018

On Some Jobs You Must Gum Up The Works!

Back To The Old Grind!  (This man is too much of an artist to use a grinder, but that is most of us would do today.)  (Gumming a saw increases the depth of the gullet to match the reduction at the top of the tooth.  If you don't do both, the gullet will fill with cuttings.) Recycled from five years ago. This is valuable information that bears repeating.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Weekend Steam: NKP 765

This one (Courtesy of Merle's video spotting) will put you right back into the early 1950's.  Thank You, Merle!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Mike Gallion's .22 Pistol Compensator

Our friend Mike Gallion posted recently that he is ready to ship .22 pistol and rifle compensators.  Mike is one of the fastest shooters ever with his  High Standard pistols that he uses for Steel Challenge shooting.  He is also a great mechanic and machinist.  This compensator is his own design, based on years of experience in shooting at the professional competitive level.  I ordered one on Tuesday (from Whidbey Island) and it arrived Thursday morning in our mailbox.  Susan tried it out tonight, and it really works.  Here is a  bit of video showing the smoke and fire that blows upward, helping you keep that muzzle under control.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Will Old Ammo Work When You Need It?

This question comes out regularly, and I think it comes down to whether or not you take care of your ammo.  Don't store it where it is hot.  Don't subject it to wild temperature variations.  Keep it dry.  Unexploded ordnance in the soil of the Western Front still is exploding a century after it fell to Earth, so if water doesn't get to it, it probably will still go Bang. Keep Your Powder Dry is still good advice.

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Honored American Veterans Afield

Ruger made a run of Flattop Blacktops in 2005 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Blacktop line.  These were the same size as the original Blackhawks with the flat top of the frame that soon disappeared when the frame size was increased. This Blackhawk is engraved, a feature that was not put into the Ruger catalog.  This fine revolver has been residing in Ruger's vault ever since it was built and engraved in 2005.  CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place that winning bid.  $695

Monday, October 1, 2018

Tuesday Torque: Two Nice IHC Engines

Here are a couple of nice engines that look pretty similar. Engine aficionados will note that the one with the new paint fob is a hit and miss model, and is the older engine.  It has a thermosyphon cooling tank, which was soon phased out to a tray cooling system, and later, to a screen cooler over a tank.  The thermosyphon used a lot more water asn was heavier to move around.  The newer, original finish engine is throttle governed.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Boonville Engine Show, October 12-14

Fall engine shows are coming right up!  Boonville, Indiana is in two weeks and Pinckneyville will be the weekend of October 20.  Back To The Old Grind!  (Faultless Engine powering this grinder.)

Saturday, September 29, 2018

We're Goin' Downhill Now!...

...has become one of our favorite expressions; mostly about anything to do with being (way) past 35.  The sun is south of the centerline now when it rises, so we are into Dark Time now.  It will be a long time before the days are longer than the night.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Nightmare In The Laundry Room

We did some de-constructing tonight in preparation for a plumbing project.  The box had shaved the insulation off of a wire at a time in the past; either forty some years ago or recently during another part of our basement renovation project.  The house has not burned down and nobody has been electrocuted, so we feel good. The breaker is taped down and this will be properly repaired tomorrow.  It's always something.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Dramatic Weather

Three inches of rain in the early morning!  It started yesterday about the time the dogs were waking up, and it continued through their second walk after they had been fed.  Sheesh!  I drove through about a mile of water up to the rims because we don't have good ditches.  Fed Big Jack, walked him, and drove back through the mile of water.  The rain was mostly gone the rest of the day, but at sunset a few showers were dancing around to make the sky interesting.

Today was dry, except for some light showers in the early morning as a front passed through.  We saw a few farmers shelling corn today, so yesterday's rain was intense enough that it ran off rather than soaking in. 

The District Forester toured the timber today while re-inspecting us as Tree Farmers.  I handed her the new stick so the right side was showing and told her to flip it over.  You should have seen the smile on her face!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Honored American Veterans Afield

Ruger's offering this week should make your heart skip a beat.  If it does not excite you, you might want to go in for a checkup.  This is a M77 Ruger Hawkeye African in .223 Remington with a 23 inch barrel.  It was built in 2013, and this is a rifle to die for.  The price is not out of line as we post this, so CLICK HERE, read all about it and place that winning bid!  $1361.01

Monday, September 24, 2018

Tuesday Torque: A Forty Year Project

Through the magic of the Internet we can try to go back and revisit our memories.  I spotted a flywheel through a hole in the side of a shed when I was going up Buck's branch forty years ago, and then went there after work to check it out.  The 9 HP Sears and a bur mill were in the shed, which had been recently damaged by a back hoe.  The gas line markers in this photo were behind the shed, and the engine ran on gas supplied by that gas line.  Both the engine shed and the miller's home are long gone.  (Google Earth image)

The man who lived here was the son of the miller, and he was glad to see a collector get his artifacts so there would be hope for them.  We moved to Illinois a couple years later and brought the engine and mill with us.  Gary Bahre took the engine under his wing a couple years ago and has made it look factory-new.  The new underslung cart with the Case threshing machine wheels really makes it a beautiful showpiece.  Gary has just finished installing the original ignitor with a Webster magneto that he rehabbed so the Sears looks like it did when it left the Evansville factory in 1920.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

I See Paint Specks In My Future...

Back To The Old Grind!  (This is WAY better than painting with a roller!)

Make A Better Biltmore Stick

Way back in time, our Forest Measurements professor at Mizzou handed out blank sticks and had us do the math in class to make Biltmore sticks that fit.  My stick is long gone, but it worked better than a store bought stick because it was made for my reach distance.  A homemade hickory Biltmore is a much better companion on a woods walk than a maple stick.  You can use it as a walking stick if you need it, and you can fend off a vicious dog should the need arise.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Model T: 110 Year Anniversary

The Model T was introduced by Ford on October 1, 1908. They made more than 15,000,000 by the time production ended in 1927. This video shows some of the engineering that went into the T, and a bit about driving it. Model Ts are fun cars to play with, but the two wheel brakes, slow highway speed, and splash oil system make them a poor choice for highway touring in today's high speed, congested world. Restoring one will hone your mechanical skills, and they make a good family project.

Ten years ago we posted Dyke's Ford Supplement on this blog in celebration of the centennial of the Model T. The link is provided below. You can click on each image and then save it for reference, just in case a vintage Ford is in your plans.

TrueBlueSam Dyke's Ford Supplement

Weekend Steam: Big Boy Restoration Update!

This project is slated to be operational in May, 2019!  Merle spotted this video, and it has lots of good information and pictures.  Thank You, Merle!