Saturday, April 4, 2020

The Eyes Still Have It!


Heading over to the farm this morning I was going down the gravel, parallelling the creek, and spotted a raccoon up the pin oak just right of center.  I don't know why I saw it, but I sure did, and stopped to shoot a couple photos.


That sure looks like an uncomfortable place to take a nap.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Don't Bring Lulu!

                                                                     Click Pic To Enlarge.

Schipperkes have come and gone, and a couple more have come in.  We still have four foster Schips and it looks like we will have them for another month.  This pretty blonde girl is Lulu, an adult who raised pups in her previous life before her owner transferred the dogs to Midwest Schipperke Rescue.  We are handling Lulu regularly to socialize her because she is somewhat fearful of people.  She has a home waiting for her in another state, and she is going to stay with us until the lockdown is over. Illinois' rules appear to allow transferring foster dogs, but we don't want to take chances catching Covid, and we sure don't want to be stopped in another state and possibly lose a dog.  Lulu's fur in her ruff is much softer than black Schips. Giving her shoulder massages feels as good to us as it does for her.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Great Outdoors: Bad Branch Angles and Included Bark


Narrow angles in a tree are weaker than wide angles, and joints with no ridge have bark included between the branches.  The included bark not only keeps the two sides from growing together, as the tree grows the branches push against one another and eventually will push the tree apart.


This problem is quite common in shade trees, partly because of tree species choices and partly because shade trees usually don't have enough competition for sunlight, and they spread rather than growing up straight.

They may break up in storms, or on a dead calm day, like this Bradford pear tree.


The wounds caused by these breakups are huge, and the tree really needs to be taken down before rot makes it even more dangerous.


Ignore the warning signs and you probably will be going out in a storm to open up your driveway.  When pruning for timber production, the first pruning done is to make young trees merchantable when they mature.  It may just be a nip or two to make a young junk tree into a valuable tree.  Shade trees are similar.  That early pruning can make a tree a good, safe neighbor for you.  Failing to do those cuts can cause damage and inconvenience in the future for you.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Scholastic Action Shooting Program

                                                                           $2525
Here's a neat one from Ruger!  It is a straight pull bolt action Mini-14, made in 2000 for sale in the UK. It is brand new and has never left the factory.  It is stainless, with a Zytel stock, rubber butt pad, bayonet mount, flash suppressor, and one 5 round magazine. You are not going to find one of these at the local gun shop, so CLICK HERE, read all about it, and place your bid.  This fine little rifle will sell mid-day, Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Tuesday Torque: Novo Engines With Water Pump Are Rare!

We sold our 8 HP Novo to our friend Gary many years ago, and he put it back in running order pretty quickly in spite of some challenging problems.  It came with a two cylinder, single acting water pump that is still frozen up tight, so Gary has not put it back with the engine.  I looked around on YouTube and I can't find another like it, though I did find this 6 HP model with a similar pump arrangement.


Farm engines often survived because they were stashed away in a shed or barn, but industrial engines were parked out in the weeds or sold for scrap when their useful days were done.  Maybe some day Gary can figure out how to make that iron move again without breaking.  It's a challenge, that's for sure!


                                                         That's Snaggle, a fine little cat.

New Gun Owner? Watch This Before You Unbox It!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Be Sharp!


We have a bunch of cleanup to do in the yard, and wood to cut for next winter.  File away those bright spots.  They don't cut, they eat power, and they make the chain wear. A good edge is invisible. Back To The Old Grind!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Weather Has Been A Good Show This Week.


The temps have been coming up and tonight we are letting the basement stove go out.  We have burned nearly all our firewood, so tomorrow I need to get out and cut a hickory log and bring it to the splitter.

The fog yesterday had visibility down to 100 yards, and it is good to be retired on mornings like this.  Today we had a hot little cell come at us from Mt. Vernon, and we got some pea-size hail.  It lasted a bit over a minute and ended suddenly.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

We Totally Missed National Puppy Day! Better Late Than Never!

National Puppy Day was on Monday and here it is Wednesday already.  We will catch up with a little post about Pete the Pup from Don Marquis in The Lives And Times Of Archie and Mehitabel.

pete at the seashore

i ran along the yellow sand
and made the sea gulls fly
i chased them down the waters edge
i chased them up the sky

i ran so hard i ran so fast
i left the spray behind
i chased the flying flecks of foam
and i outran the wind

an airplane sailing overhead
climbed when it heard me bark
i yelped and leapt right at the sun
until the sky grew dark

some little children on the beach
threw sticks and ran with me
o master let us go again
and play beside the sea
                                       pete the pup

The Great Outdoors: Gun Itch Flareup


We stopped in Larry's Gun Shop, McLeansboro, IL before the lockdown to see what was good, and drop a little coin to show our support. As usual, we checked all the trade-ins for interesting guns.  This Ruger Flattop Blackhawk is a .44 Special made in 2014, and it looks absolutely new.  There is not even a drag mark from the cylinder being turned!  The price is quite reasonable, especially considering that single-action fans all crave a .44 Special. These are no longer in production, and I think this one is calling me!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Scholastic Action Shooting Program

                                                                             $1375, Wowsers!
Ruger is offering a New Old Stock GP 100 this week.  It was built in 2002 and has been residing in Ruger's vault ever since. Click Here to read all about it and to place your bid.  This fine revolver will sell mid-day, Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Tuesday Torque: Pioneer Prairie Tractor


I first saw a Pioneer Prairie Tractor in the Iron Men Album, back around 1965.  They are a fascinating old tractor with a four cylinder opposed engine that lies horizontally on the frame.


 This one was at Pinckneyville in 2015 and that was the first time that I was ever encountered one in the flesh.


Believe it or not, a new one is being built! Someone needed some major parts and that project has evolved into building the entire tractor. One of the obstacles has been finding a foundary with the talent and knowledge necessary to make intricate castings needed for century-old technology.


Here is a look at one being started that I pulled off of YouTube.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Staying Out Of The Office?


That shouldn't be a problem for many foresters.  The office became a time eater for me, and I moved most of my office activities into my work truck.  I equipped myself with my own computer, a scanner/printer, a phone that could be used as a modem, and for many years I went into the office only outside of working hours.  My accomplishments went way up without the distractions of walk-ins who would sit and visit when I was trying to write. At a Division meeting in 2010 the State Forester had me explain how I worked to all the other foresters.  There had been some murmuring about how I was getting trees ahead of other foresters for my CRP cases, and it was because I could check my emails from the truck, complete orders as inventory was posted, and email the scanned order minutes after the trees became available.  Look at out-of-office work as an opportunity to increase your effectiveness, and Back To The Old Grind!

The Great Outdoors! Snakes Alive!

Here's a little gift from Merle.  I'm not a snake handler, so even harmless ones give me the heebie-jeebies. 


Friday, March 20, 2020

Weekend Steam: Argentina Is A Nice Destination For A Train Ride

I wonder when it will be safe to travel again.  We know a couple who went to Argentina for a 14 day cruise, and the plan was to fly home from Chile.  As the neared the end of the cruise, no ports would allow the cruise ship with healthy Americans to land, so the cruise is past Day 30 now, and they are still about three days out from landing in the U.S.  Thanks to Merle, we don't have troubles like that! I continue to be amazed at the steamers that are still being used around this world.  Thank You, Merle!


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Scholastic Action Shooting Program

                                                                   $780
Ruger has another great one for us.  It is a P94 in 9mm, made in 1995 and returned to the factory in early 1996 for unknown reasons.  The laser currently does not work, but Ruger is including new batteries, and that may make it light up.  It comes with two 15 round magazines.  This fine pistol will sell mid-day, Wednesday, March 18, 2020.  Click Here to read all about it and to place that winning bid.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Tuesday Torque: Super Slingshots

The Slingshot Channel is always fun to watch.  These big slingshots are powered up with a windlass, and that takes torque, so here you go!


Saturday, March 14, 2020

Difficult Wedging Is No Fun; Revisiting An Old Post


If you have to use more than the thickness of two wedgers to make a tree go over, you are not having a good time.  Figure everything right and you will win, but projects like this wind me. This post is from March, 2013, when I was cutting dead trees at the Region V IL DNR office at Benton, IL.

Here is a common problem if you have to cut pines in a stand of trees. Pines are taller and thinner than hardwoods, and they are not as heavy, so they have more of a tendency to hang in the branches of the trees around them when you are dropping them. This tree was dead, and the only direction to drop it wasn't open; it was only less blocked than any other direction. The first wedging started it over, and it promptly stopped when it was snagged at about sixty feet up. I cut a shim out of the face cut wood and had a second go with a wedge, and pushed it a bit further, then made a thicker pine shim, and pushed it further still, but it still wouldn't drop. The second shim crumbled under the pressure, so I cut a thick shim from a honeylocust that I had just dropped and wedged for a third time.  That one pushed the top through the overhead crowns and the pine broke through and crashed. If you have to drop trees during your woodcutting activities, you need to practice cutting tapered shims before you have to use them. Shim grain should stand in the same direction as the tree you are pushing over, and you can cut your shims out of nearby stumps so the wood holds still for you. I like to do a bore cut on the stump, angling the bar upward to create a bit of taper, then cut downward to make the sides; then punch down at the inner end to turn it loose. Keep the good ones you create in your woodcutting kit; you never know when you will need it again.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Scholastic Action Shooting Program

Ruger's latest auction item is a stainless .45 Colt Vaquero built in 2000.  This revolver has never left the factory, being used as a demonstrator at Newport, NH.  CLICK HERE to read the full description and to place your bid.  This beautiful revolver will sell mid-day, Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

                                                                                $830

Monday, March 9, 2020

Tuesday Torque: A Few After Action Photos From The Crankup


Gary's office in his barn sports a few special items, one of them is this advertising banner from the Gas Engine Magazine, with the 5 HP Falk featured.



Remember the paintless Hercules; a before picture is at the end of this post.  Most engine guys would not have even bothered taking it apart for the parts, but Gary made it work very well.


A Stover.  These are common enough that a person new to the hobby could find one, and parts, plus lots of advice from other engine hobbyists.


This Armstrong is a rare bird.  The push rod for the exhaust rocker goes through the mixer; mighty odd!


Here is the before picture of that Hercules.  Gary bought this off a pile in a junkyard.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

"Pretty Hard Matter To Keep Corn..." Morgan Sexton

Here is a fascinating look at a vanishing (Vanished?) way of life in Folkstream's film by Anne Lewis.  The video is not shareable by embedding, so click the screenshot for the link.  Corn footage starts shortly after the 6 minute mark.


                                                           Back To The Old Grind!

Gary Bahre's Crankup, 2020

The weather was perfect for friends to gather outside and to enjoy watching Gary's engines run. Gary and Peggy put on a great feed for the crowd, and it was wonderful to visit with engine friends again.  Thank You, Gary and Peggy!

                                                              Click the photo to enlarge.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Weekend Steam: Cumbres And Toltec Plowing Snow!

Spring is fast approaching, so we are going to finish out Winter in style.  Merle knows how to pick them.  Next week we are going to continue on our Around The World Tour with steam in faraway places.  Thank You, Merle!


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Happy Pups

The Schipperke pups were pretty scared and wild when they came into our lives, but they are feeling much better now.  They are even staying clean and dry overnight, and Susan can get them out the door first thing in the morning. They are light sleepers, and if Big Jack needs out during the night, we get a howlout in the basement.  The pups like to play with toys, with the other pups, or just do a zoomie to entertain themselves.



Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Your Words Will Reveal You!

Decades ago, I was at a small gathering, and the host brought out a bottle of good wine.  He poured everyone a bit and one of those gathered (a fellow forestry student) remarked enthusiastically, "Boy, that hangs in your mouth!"  A country boy has a hard time hiding that!

Recently I heard a commentator on an entertainment show pull a similar stunt.  They were looking at a video of a flooded gymnasium in a prison, with the inmates splashing about and having a good time.  The young lady remarked, "Apparently the drain be plugged!"  At least it didn't happen during her interview, but she should remember that every show is an audition.

The best comes last.  Our friend Michele is a Schipperke breeder, and she is the driving force behind Midwest Schipperke Rescue.  There was a specialty and an all-breed show in St. Louis this last weekend and Michele ordered a cake to welcome the Schip people.  The cake decorator obviously is not a dog person, but now Michele has to come up with a funny cake idea for the next show. The bar is high! Here it is, with Michele's permission to share her photo.


Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Scholastic Action Shooting Program

                                                                                $1325
This Ruger Mini-14 Law Enforcement Only Carbine has some neat history.  It was shipped to the Secretary of Defense in Mexico in 1998 and returned to the factory in 2004.  It appears new in the photos, but it is marked with a U; designating it a used firearm. The LE Only expired 9-19-1994, so bidders need only to stay within the lines of your state and local regulations.  This fine little rifle will sell mid-day, Wednesday, March 4, 2020.  CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place your bid.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Done Dancing?



                                                            Back To The Old Grind!

Almost Like Old Times


I opened the garage Friday morning to take big Jack outside, and there was Tom, our contractor with his trailer up on a jack and one wheel off.  His right side spring broke about two miles before he got here, and luckily, the wheel did not quite rub the fender.  I volunteered to tear it down so he wouldn't lose a day working on our projects, and went to the farm to grab a few tools.  Tom called the trailer place in Mt. Vernon and they had parts in stock, so I got a new spring, shackle bolts, and had it back together for him with no sweat.  Take a good look at the breaks; this trailer was running on one leaf for some time.  The shackle bolts had significant wear, so Tom is going to rebuild the other side as preventative maintenance.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Weekend Steam: Eritrean Railways

Merle keeps finding remarkable videos.  I had no clue at all about this steam railroad, and this video was shot just last year. Those boxcars look to be like the 40 and 8s of a century ago.  Thank You Merle!


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Preoccupied A Bit!


We have several foster Schips in-house right now, so posting and comment moderation are taking a back seat to these young dogs.  They came from a breeder who quit the business, and  we got the puppies.  The adult dogs are with other foster homes. The pups are through their quarantine period now, and we had one neutered this week.  Two will be going out to their new homes in the next few days, just as we are getting them well socialized.   It's a joy!


We haven't had puppies for forty years, but we remember how busy you are when you have pups in-house. I gotta say that the senior dogs we foster are usually a bit easier to keep, but the puppies are a hoot.  All of them like to do Zoomies when we put them in the outdoor pen.