Monday, April 28, 2008
Falling a tree near houses is always risky, but this one cannot be felled conventionally because of the high risk caused by rot and a hollow stem. It will have to be taken down from the top, in pieces, with the aid of a bucket truck. The bright side of this case is that the lightning strike is going to trigger the removal of a dangerous tree before anyone is hurt.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Notes from Otterhouse: "This is a record by the Delft pianist Gert-Jan Koolen. No biographical info except what is readable on the sleeve. Pupil of theo van der Pas (known from the Willem Mengelberg live recordings) This version of Handel's harmonious blacksmith was recorded 1965."
Mr. den Otter has recently spoken to the the artist, and he is still living in the Netherlands! That is very good news.
Friday, April 25, 2008
The featured steam engine this week is from the pages of the March-April 1957 issue of the Iron-Men Album Magazine. Early traction engines have mostly disappeared because they quickly became old technology at the end of the nineteenth century, and they were discarded when they were replaced by larger, more powerful engines. The scrap drives of two world wars recycled these old oddities. This little Lane & Dyer (sic) engine has an unusual valve gear arrangement that you do not see on more modern engines. It is a Stephenson gear, but the eccentrics are mounted outside the crank disc, rather than on the crankshaft. I have seen this arrangement on one other engine, a Harrison that escaped the scrap drives by being buried in an old river channel. It is on display at Midwest Old Threshers every year at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and last fall it was actually fired up and operated.
The little engine in the black and white photo is an Owens, Lane & Dyer Co. engine. This firm built its first engine in 1873. There is a brief writeup about this company in the Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction Engines by Jack Norbeck, and you can also find information about this company on Google.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
The most famous train wreck in American history happened at the end of April, 1900 at Vaughan, Mississippi. The song "Casey Jones" has been a favorite since it was published in 1909, even though there is no such thing as a six-eight wheeler, and Mrs. Jones did NOT have another papa on the Salt Lake Line. This is one of the first songs I learned, and our son was singing it when he was five years old.
Ernie Pyle interviewed Casey's fireman, Sim Webb in the 1930's, and if you can find a copy of Home Country, the interview begins on the bottom of page 95. Sim went back to work on the Illinois Central after the wreck, and was in another train wreck in 1918. That time he went down with the engine into a river when a trestle collapsed. He miraculously survived that wreck, and his family convinced him to quit the railroad to become a bricklayer. A wall collapsed on him in his new job, breaking a leg and putting him in the hospital for two months. I guess the moral here would be "Don't Be What You Ain't".
You will notice that this record has extreme wear. Every copy of Casey Jones that I have seen has been worn out. Everybody loves this song.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Each generation takes the earth as trustees. We ought to bequeath to posterity as many forests and orchards as we have exhausted and consumed.- J. Sterling Morton
Monday, April 21, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Of course you've heard of the Nancy Lee, and how she sailed away
But the time was nigh to homeward hie, when, imagine our despair!
Oh, the days were slow and packed with woe, till I thought they would never end;
At last, at last! Oh, I clutched it fast, and I gazed on it with pride;
Oh, the Prince was glad, I could soon see that, and the Princess she was too;
"She must be here," said his Noble Nibbs, so we hunted all around;
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Rolf den Otter is one of our You Tube acquaintances we listen to regularly. He has much better equipment, and considerably more skill in recording old records than the staff in the True Blue recording studio. This selection is the final movement of the Brahms Violin Concerto performed by Berl Senofsky, in 1956. Be sure to check out Rolf's You Tube channel: otterhouse.
Friday, April 18, 2008
I have often wondered about the photographers who take the pictures we see every day, and here is a rare look. Leo took the above photo at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa in 1968 or 1969, and I was lucky enough to get into this shot. The photo below, from the November-December 1969 issue of Engineers and Engines, is a shot of Leo on his first trip as an engineer on the T P & W in August 1921. Leo took good notes, and we know that the picture was taken with a 2A Brownie box camera.
For a very good article about Leo, go here: * for a selection from the Iron Men Album archives.
We have tulips blooming right outside our door, so this weekend's selection is a natural. This record is an Orthophonic recording, which it means that it is recorded with a microphone instead of a megaphone. The Orthophonic Victrolas have a much longer internal horn than earlier machines, and they have a much better sound than earlier Victrolas. They also use an electric motor instead of a wind-up. If you have a chance to buy one of these rarities, you should jump on it.
Tip-Toe Thru the Tulips was one of the hits from the Movie Gold Diggers of Broadway, and I found a clip from the movie with Nick Lucas performing over on Virtual Victrola. Gold Diggers was the second talkie, and was filmed in Technicolor. Sadly, it is one of the lost movies. I hope you enjoy the record and the clip from the movie.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
I did a search and found this site: http://antiquegasstoves.com/. Antique Gas Stoves restores high quality stoves, and also sells replacement parts. I noticed that their prices are not posted on their stoves, which are restored to factory new condition. I am afraid that if you have to ask, you probably can't afford it. Take a look, especially if you are contemplating remodeling your kitchen.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
In deep prairie soils, a seedling with 8" or 10" inches of root doesn't have a chance against deeply rooted grasses during a dry summer. Annual weeds and briars may look bad, but trees seem to thrive amongst them. I have also had good luck with Timothy and red top grasses on poor soils.
Be sure to talk to a forester who knows your area when you begin planning for a tree planting project. Knowledge of local conditions and soil types is critical for success.