Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fall Color Report

I am seeing pretty colors everywhere I go, but I think most people don't notice as much as I do.  I am happy when I see one bright tree among the ocean of green oak leaves on the forest edge.  That may be because I recognize species that I wouldn't notice when everything is green.

The yellow-green in this picture is pawpaw.

The red/orange tones here are sassafras leaves..

...up close.  Get out and enjoy the colors now.  One good frost and the leaves will be dropping fast.

Our Choices, Explained By Pat Condell

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

You have an opportunity for a brand-new-never-used antique this week.  Ruger is offering a Standard Pistol made in 1972 (Ten years before the Mk II).  It was returned to the factory for unknown reasons by a distributor, and it has been resting in Ruger's vault ever since.

This is a classic, and the bidding shows it.  Click Here to read all about it and to place your winning bid.  This fine pistol will sell mid-day, Wednesday October 26, 2016. 100% of the proceeds of this auction will go to benefit the Light Foundation.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tuesday Torque: 6 Cylinder Fairbanks 32D

If the information in the comments is correct, this engine is 14" by 17", with 2517 cubic inches of displacement per cylinder.  These engines were used for powering generators and boats.  The description on YouTube states that these were used in submarines, but a search on the net did not substantiate that.  There were Fairbanks diesels used in subs, but evidently not the 32D model.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Crankin' It Up: A Repeat, and an Explanation

We have taken a long break from doing our old 78s and putting them on YouTube.   We have recorded a good number of our old records for YouTube and I have not made a list as I should have.  I need to do that before I do any more, because it is a bother to do a record with my cat, get online, and discover that I already have it on YouTube.  I also was sick for several months this year.  I had a bad case of bronchitis, and coughed continually for a very long time.  I couldn't do a record with my cats without coughing and wrecking it, and I got out of the habit.  Anyhow, after I make a list of the records we have online I will probably get back on the old Brunswick with Bart and Brat.  The old 78s do not get many views, but I do enjoy the music, and watching them on YouTube is easier than changing needles.

Here are Bart and Brat with Moran and Mack, way back in B.B.  Before Bronchitis.

Not My Victrola: Time For Rudy Vallee

From EdmundusRex.

Full Throttle Bach

We have featured this video before, more than four years ago, I think.  It is Nigel Kennedy and the Irish Chamber Orchestra performing Bach's A Minor Violin Concerto.  Good music to keep you awake when writing on a quiet afternoon.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Weekend Steam: Locomotive 844

There was a special treat this week for train lovers in Southern Illinois.  Union Pacific Locomotive 844 traveled through on its way to Memphis.  I couldn't get away to see it, but WSILTV 3 had a good report with video and stack talk.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Evil Of Balled And Burlapped Trees

I got a call from a homeowner that said his pines were all dying of a blight.  He had taken out six already, and a seventh had just died.

This tree is newly dead and the upper needles had not turned brown.  I parked by it and I could see the ground moving around it as the wind pushed the tree around.  It was not well-rooted.  The movement would be obvious to anyone who works with trees.

 It is sincerely dead; no coming back.  The man has one more live white pine tree.

Here is the problem.  It was a balled and burlapped tree; the kind people plant when they want instant trees and immediate gratification.  We don't know how long they sat in a nursery bed with chopped roots that circled new growth in the burlap wrap, but these trees looked good when they were planted.  The circling roots do not straighten and extend radially.  They are stuck in the shape that was forced on them, and soon the trees are starved and strangled.  I see this  problem over and over, and I don't make many friends in the nursery industry.  I tell people to stay away from balled and burlapped trees, and to plant seedlings or potted trees with good root systems.  Landowner will argue that they want a big tree right away and buy the big one.  They will be replacing it in a few years, and they sometimes call me and ask for my blessing.  I tell them they screwed up and are screwing up again if they do another balled and burlapped tree.

Meanwhile, Susan and I have great trees all around the homestead because we plant small trees with good root systems.  I just stuck a swamp chestnut oak in the ground last week that is only 8" tall, and I am 65 years old now.  If I don't screw up and do something stupid I may get to enjoy shade from that tree in a few years.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Quick Dry Your Small Wood For Winter

Trees around the yard have to be totally cleaned up when we cut them, so it's waste not, want not, and the small wood comes to the house for the firewood stack.  We want the pieces to dry fast, so we use this technique to accomplish that.  Unless it's elm.  Haul the elm out in the woods and let it molder away!

We cut firewood year-round it seems.  We have a big pile of split wood downstairs, and a humongous pile of wood in the barn. We have been cutting black locusts lately in the oak patch we planted in 1993.  Locust dries fast if you split it, and it is hot firewood, so we are stacking it under the eave to burn during the upcoming winter.  It will burn well in four or six weeks.  We also have some dead pin oaks and black oaks spotted, so we will be busy until Christmas making wood.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Oh, Groundhog!

I got lucky again today.  I like groundhogs, and this one is a beauty!

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

You can't go wrong with this week's offer by Ruger if you are looking for a shooter.  This is a P85 Decocker made in 1990, and these usually don't go terribly high.  This fine pistol will sell mid-day, October 19, 2016.  100% of the proceeds of this sale will go to benefit the Light Foundation. Click Here for the description and to place your bid.  $630.01

Monday, October 17, 2016

Tuesday Torque: We've Come A Long Way

What a difference a century makes.  This is a 20 HP IHC Titan tractor that is basically a stationary hit-and-miss engine dropped onto a primitive tractor chassis.  It's a wonder tractors ever caught on, considering that farmers were expected to replace a steam engine with this barely-able outfit.  Tractor technology advanced rapidly, and it must have been painful to the purchasers to see how quickly their machines became obsolete.  Fun to watch, though!

Video by Gary Bahre at Pinckneyville this past weekend.

Pick And Prep Those Walnuts Now!

Here are a couple of easy methods for de-hulling your freshly dropped walnuts.  Wear your rubber gloves, or you will have stained hands for a long time.  Wash, dry, (Onion bags are good for storage.) crack and pick as Thanksgiving approaches.  We will get out the rack-and-pinion cracker and have a look inside our treasures after they have had a little time to mature.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Hunt, Gather, Grind

Food doesn't fix itself.  Walnuts are a lot of work, but are well worth the effort.

Back To The Old Grind!

 Watch for more of this video later.  It's going to be a long upload.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Boonville and Pinckneyville: Two Great Shows This Weekend!

If you live near Southern Illinois or Southern Indiana this weekend promises to be a great time.  Two of our favorite shows are going on this weekend, and the weather is going to be beautiful.

Here is a little gas engine action at Boonville a few years back.

At Boonville you can rest your bones on a bench and watch the sawmill operate for as long as you want.

Pinckneyville will have many similar sights, but the show is not under trees for the most part, and there is a totally different feel to this fine show.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Are They Waiting For It To Cry Out In Pain?

They must be, because there are clues aplenty being ignored.

This blue spruce is 95% dead from Rhizosphaera Needle Cast.  They will call me when it is totally bare and tell me they don't want to lose this tree.

This maple was broken or topped, and the resulting top is attached weakly, with rot in the middle.  One fork has fallen.  The remaining tops are going to fall on the mobile home on the left, and the carport on the right.  There is also a car parked just out of the picture.

A Glimpse Of Our Future

This is a list of statistics from Israel for 2015.  Study it and learn.  Go to Google Earth and look at all the mosques in this country.  Pay attention; be prepared.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Slow But Improving Fall Colors

The fall colors in Southern Illinois are coming on very slowly this year, but I think there will be a great weekend or two.  Right now you have to know your species and be happy with little bits of beauty.  The red maple has improved in the last week, and it should have a great week when it peaks.

This sugar maple in Wayne City is pretty, but muted.  I will keep an eye on it and see if it brightens.

Sumac bushes are still the money shot if you need to see bright colors.  They are on edges and in fence rows.  The I-64 corridor has quite a bit of this, and...

...sassafras, which always colors up for us.  It may be red, yellow, or orange.

Black gum should be showing lots of deep scarlet in the next week.  Once it changes, it hangs onto its leaves for a short time, so be on the lookout for this species every time you go out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger is offering an exciting revolver this week, and you just might pick up a good deal while doing a good deed.  This is a .44 Magnum Bisley Vaquero Engraved Sample from 1998, and it was engraved in 1999.  It has resided in Ruger's safe ever since.  Click Here to read the full description and to place your winning bid.  100% of the proceeds of this sale will go to benefit the Light Foundation.  This fine firearm will sell mid-day, Wednesday, October 12, 2016.  $903

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tuesday Torque: Model Rumely Oil Pull At Rollag

Gary Bahre shot this video over the Labor Day weekend.  This model was built during the 1970's, and it is absolutely correct in every detail.  The old boy that built it was accused of having a salesman's sample from Rumely, but there is no such thing.  This is not a cobhoused lookalike, it is made just like the real thing.

Thinning, A Firewood Bonus

We planted this little patch of mixed oaks back in '93, and then added black locust the next year to add nitrogen to the soil. It worked, and the oaks shot up.  The place is too crowded now, and the locusts are up over the oaks, so we are working on them.  They make good firewood, and black locust dries fast as long as you split it.  The big trouble you have with pole timber is that nearly every tree will hang in another one when you cut them.  You get good at disassembling them without getting smashed.