Saturday, August 27, 2016

Not My Victrola: Vaughn DeLeath on Edison

National Epidemic

As cops back away from enforcement, honest citizens are forced into taking care of business themselves.  It's important to note that criminals take it personally, and will seek revenge when their victims call police.  The criminals will enforce their will so people will accept being their victims.



Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Thrill Is Gone....

...Well almost.  I still look, but the nature of farm junk piles has changed.  I pity future collectors.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bessemer 8 HP Vertical On Display At Pinckneyville

This one is too good to hold until next Tuesday.  Gary Bahre brought the Bessemer to the American Thresherman Show for all the World to see last week.  I think it is safe to say that it was the only  8 HP Vertical Bessemer being shown in the country, because there aren't very many of these around.  As far as we have been able to tell there are three others in existence, and this one is the most complete.  Very Nice Restoration, Gary!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation


Ruger is offering a .308 M77 Mk II this week that was made in 1994 for the engineering manager at Ruger's Newport, NH factory.  This is a very fine, New In Box rifle, and you will want to read all about it HERE, and place the winning bid.  This fine rifle will sell mid-day, Wednesday, August 24, 2016. 100% of the proceeds of this sale will go to benefit the Light Foundation. $1001.09

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bird's Head Vaquero Progress



Fixed-sight guns are a bit different to shoot than ones with fully adjustable sights. I have grown accustomed to making a load that I want, and then adjusting the sights to that load.  The Vaquero got some minor surgery.  I shortened the front sight a bit to raise the point of impact, and I have widened the rear sight to the right with a diamond hone.  It needs a bit more, but it is very close, and I am calling it good enough.  Last week I made some loads with 200 grain cast bullets and a charge of Blue Dot that was a warm .44 Special load.  It shot just a bit lower than I wanted, so I made some more loads with 240 grain cast bullets, and experimented with a couple different amounts of Herco.  This is the one I have settled on.  It is a slightly warm .44 Special load, right in the power range I want for packing around the farm; not for big game hunting.  That's a one inch square, shot with the front sight just a bit above the frame.  The three on the left are with the front sight centered, and the three on the right are with the front sight slightly off center in the groove.  This is at ten yards, with my elbows on the shooting bench.  .44s are good.

Tuesday Torque: Oil Pull Mania

The Rumely Expo was at the American Thresherman Show, and boy-oh-boy did they have the Oil Pulls.  I think there were 29, plus lots of Allis Chalmers tractors, and many rare machines from a century ago.



We missed seeing an event that may never be repeated.  There were four Oil Pulls hooked up turning Baker Fans at the same time.  Imagine this, under load, at operating speed, times four.  I am told it sounded like an eight cylinder Oil Pull.  I hope someone posts it on YouTube.  It shakes you to stand next to one of these beasts when it is idling.



Here we go! Gary Bahre managed to be in the right place at the right time and shot a video with his pocket camera. This is four Rumely Oil Pulls hooked up to one Baker Fan. Whomever figured out how to do this is a genius.

Landmark Battles Of 1916

This year marks the centennial of the most horrific battles of the Great War.  Verdun began in February, and ran most of the year.  Germany meant to bleed France to death, and nearly accomplished that.  The French army went on strike in 1917 because of Verdun, and it affects the French and their attitude toward war to this day.  You should do a search for images of Verdun, and prepare to be amazed at the scale of death and destruction.  There are about 70,000 unrecovered corpses in the battlefield yet today.  Walk the trenches in the Red Zone and you will see bones.  I can't find many poems about the battle; how many poets survived it?  Here is one, by Benjamin Peret.  Maybe his leg resides in the Douaumont Ossuary.

Little Song of the Maimed

Lend me your arm
to replace my leg
The rats ate it for me
at Verdun
at Verdun
I ate lots of rats
but they didn't give me back my leg
and that's why I was given the CROIX DE GUERRE
and a wooden leg
and a wooden leg                 Translated by David Gascoyne.

Read the numbers and look at the pictures, and you may think that Benjamin was a lucky man to be able to mourn his leg.

The Somme came along in the summer of 1916.  The Brits had little help from the French, because the French were up to their necks at Verdun.  The numbers at the Somme were staggering, too, and British families still mourn the men who died there.  Wilfred Owen surely had the Somme and Passchendale weighing on him when he wrote this in 1917.

Anthem for Doomed Youth

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
--Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.

No Mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,--
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.   Wilfred  Owen

And, today marks 100 years since the beginning of Passchendale. Rain poured down for nearly a month as the Brits struggled in a swamp to fight the Germans who held the high ground. It was Hell on Earth, and I have yet to see an explanation of why this battle was fought where it was.  Did this Wilfred Owen poem come out of Passchendale?  It's a good possibility.  He began The Sentry in 1917 while he was hospitalized, and completed it in 1918 shortly before he was killed in action.

The Sentry

We'd found an old Boche dug out, and he knew,
And gave us hell; for shell on frantic shell
Lit full on top, but never quite burst through.
Rain, guttering down in waterfalls of slime,
Kept slush waist-high and rising hour by hour,
And choked the steps too thick with clay to climb.
What murk of air remained stank old, and sour
With fumes from whizbangs, and the smell of men
Who'd lived there years, and left their curse in the den,
If not their corpses...
                                   There we herded from the blast
Of whizbangs; but one found our door at last,--
Buffeting eyes and breath, snuffing the candles,
And thud! down the steep steps thumping
And sploshing in the flood, deluging muck,
The sentry's body; then his rifle, handles
Of old Boche bombs, and mud in ruck on ruck.
We dredged it up, for dead, until he whined
'O sir - my eyes, - I'm blind, - I'm blind,  I'm blind.'
Coaxing, I held a flame against his lids
And said if he could see the least blurred light
He was not blind; in time they'd get all right.
'I can't' he sobbed.'  Eyeballs, huge-bulged like squids
Watch my dreams still, -- yet I forgot him there
In posting Next for duty, and sending a scout
To beg a stretcher somewhere, and floundring about
To other posts under the shrieking air.

Those other wretches, how they bled and spewed,
And one who would have drowned himself for good,
I try not to remember these things now.
Let Dread hark back for one word only: how,
Half-listening to that sentry's moans and jumps,
And the wild chattering of his shivered teeth,
Renewed most horribly whenever crumps
Pummelled the roof and slogged the air beneath,
Through the dense din, I say, we heard him shout
'I see your light!' But ours had long gone out.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Makes Me Think Of Biscuits For Breakfast

Here is a mighty fine stone bur mill making flour at Pinckneyville.  Taking pictures was difficult; it is a popular display.


Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Is This Heaven?

Well, it's Pinckneyville, and it is pretty close for a couple weekends a year.

 There were something like 29 Rumely Oil Pull tractors there for the Rumely Expo.  The big 30-60 Oil Pulls really thunder.



I suddenly realized that I was surrounded by 30-60  Aultman Taylors!  I thought I should build a shrine, and then realized I was standing in one.

The operator forgot to turn on the gas to the carburetor when he primed up, so we got lucky and got to watch him start twice.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Weekend Steam: Veneer Mill At Pinckneyville

Golly, I shot this video at Pinckneyville in 2009.  Seems like yesterday.  I wish I had shot more of this, but the crowd was thick around this old beast and I had a hard time getting this much.  This will be one of the machines on display through the weekend, and it will probably have a steamer belted up to it.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Shirts Right Off Their Backs

Susan and I love the Carmi Rifle Club.  It is a great bunch of people, and the fellowship at Pistol League is rare in our modern, fast-paced world.  Tonight guns were being shared with new shooters and those who are shopping for something new.  One of the new members brought these books for me because he had seen this blog, and knew that I liked steam.  Wow!  Thank You, Mr. L!


 The sun is setting earlier every day now, and we left at 8:15.  It was T-Totally dark except for a little light at the horizon by 8:30.  Fall is coming.  Pattie is happy as a lark after shooting three rounds, and doing several clean runs. I think she will sleep well tonight.  Activities and fellowship do Pattie a world of good.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


I drive by this old Ford at least a few times per week.  Why hasn't someone given it a good home?

Downed Power Line Survival Strategies

I had always heard to use little hops with your feet together to get out of the hot zone.  Just don't separate your feet very far if you have to escape this situation.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation


Well, it's bargain time again this week!  Ruger is offering a P85 Decocker 9mm Pistol made in 1990, and it is New In Box.  These fine pistols never attract the collector prices that other Rugers bring, so this is an excellent opportunity for plain folks to do a good deed and to get a fine pistol for home or the car.  CLICK HERE to place your bid, and this P85 will sell mid-day, August 17, 2016.  100% of the proceeds of this sale will go to benefit the Light Foundation. $592

Pinckneyville Steam and Gas Show, Coming Right Up!

The annual American Thresherman Show begins Thursday, August 18, and goes through Sunday.  The weather forecast is not good.  They are calling for 80% chances of T-storms on both Saturday and Sunday, so Thursday and Friday look like the best days to be there.  The rains we have had are slowing down the setup, but exhibitors should start rolling in on Wednesday.  I always figure on going in spite of the forecast because the weathermen tend to exaggerate what's coming after a stormy spell.  Check your road map and get some cash for your pocket and be ready to go.


Be Right Back: Mike Rowe

Slide over to 1:40.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Tuesday Torque: Atkinson Cycle

We saw an Atkinson Cycle engine on display at the Henry Ford Museum many years ago, and I think we have seen a model running at an engine show.  Here is a video that shows how it works.  The piston makes four strokes for each revolution of the flywheel.  The Atkinson Cycle is used in the Honda hybrid cars, and this type of engine is weak on torque at low speed, but very efficient when running at operating speed.


Here's one running...

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Crackin' Corn

I ran across an unexpected question last week.  Younger generations don't know what is meant by "Jimmy Crack Corn," and there has been plenty of speculation about it on the internet.  I also ran across some interesting cultural sensitivity that was much earlier than you would expect.  The answer to cracking corn is obvious to historically minded rural folks, and to those who are well read.  Corn was, and is a staple item that is used for animal feed, human food, and for making whiskey.  Pigs, horses, and cows can eat shelled corn, but chickens need cracked corn, and humans need corn ground into meal.  Corn was also used to make whiskey for income, trade, and personal consumption, and malted corn had to be cracked in order to make mash for whiskey production.  Here is  a brief passage from Fred Gipson's book, Old Yeller, which was published in 1959, and is about Texas in the post-Civil War era.
"we had plenty of grass, wood, and water. We had wild game for the
killing, fertile ground for growing bread corn"  That's from page 1, and bread in most of the South still means cornbread.  

So, what does Jimmy Crack Corn really mean?  The person telling the story is a house slave, tending to Master's needs.  Master dies, and now the story teller is cracking corn; so that tells me he is no longer in the big house, but is out on the farm doing other work, including cracking corn for the household, the chickens, and maybe for a distilling operation.  It was probably better work than being in the house where a slave was under constant scrutiny.  Anyhow, here is Burl Ives performing this song in 1964.


Now, what is interesting about this live performance is that he refers to the master as Master. In vinyl recordings from the 1950's Mr. Ives uses the word Boss throughout,and in the 1946 movie, Smoky, he also sings Boss instead of Master. It's all very interesting, and I wish we could hear the conversations about how this song was to be recorded for posterity in 1946. This was before Truman integrated the armed forces, but the process had been started, with recruits being introduced to the idea in 1945.  "Getting Along" started way before Rodney King made his famous plea for everyone to behave as ladies and gentlemen, and it seems in the last few years the entire process has just gone completely to pieces.

Please pass the cornbread, and get Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dialing In Non-Adjustable Guns

In this brief video we take a look at a Ruger Shopkeeper, and do a little comparison with the Birdshead Vaquero.  I have taken a bit off the front sight to raise the point of impact, and I am working on load combinations.  The load today is 9 grains of Blue Dot behind a 200 grain cast bullet, which is not a magnum load.  It shoots very close to the proper elevation.  I can go to a 240 grain cast bullet and speed it up a bit and that should work, too.  I have been gradually working out the rear sight groove to the right, a thousandth at a time, and it is having the proper effect.

The little Bearcat also shoots left a bit, so I will eventually be taking a diamond hone to that gun.  Mini-Mags shoot a little bit low at 50 feet, so minor surgery will need to be done on the front sight.


Not My Victrola: A Little Kiss Each Morning, Rudy Vallee, 1930

Friday, August 12, 2016

Weekend Steam: Portersville Steam Show Spring Gas-Up

It's mostly gas, but there is a steamer at 2:20, so it's legal.  Be sure to note the International freezer ad and the linotype machine.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Have You Ever Seen These Bullets?

McCook's Mr. Bill is a prolific YouTuber, and I get to watching him some nights instead of thinking of something to put here.  Well, it's time for bed and I've been watching Mr. Bill again instead of blogging.   Mr. Bill's dad was a World War II vet, and he brought back a few of these bullets.  I had never seen these, and I thought that flechettes were not used in WWII.  If you listen to Mr. Bill you will learn something new every day.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Jeep Heap


I don't know anything about this pile of rust, but the folks who have it are working on other cars, so it probably will be made into usable parts, at least.