Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blowin' Chunks

I drove back to Southern Illinois yesterday, and was present at the birth of a road alligator. A MoDot truck was passing me a few miles north of Hannibal, and just as his rear axle was beside me, the inside dual blew. Old True Blue actually said a bad word when the explosion occurred. Truck tires are pretty darn loud, and there was a lot of rubber in the air. I got on the brakes, but so did the truck driver, so our Ford Explorer was stuck in a cloud of rubber flak, but miraculously escaped with no damage. I stopped and checked on the truck driver, and he was OK, but I think he had said a bad word, too. He was able to roll on into Hannibal on the outer dual. This was a good reminder to move past trucks quickly out on the road. This was my second close call with an exploding truck tire; the first one was several years ago near Springfield, IL, when a tire and split rim let go just as I pulled ahead of a semi. I was glad to see that in my rear view mirror and not right next to me.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

One For Fun

Bea needed a different pistol to practice her target acquisition and trigger skills, so she traded off her P22 and bought a 22/45 Ruger MkIII. EJ surprised her with a Volquartsen trigger, sear, and hammer, and she is really chewing up paper now. The TruGlo red dot sight makes it easy to shoot while wearing tri-focals, so Mom is getting lots of high quality trigger time. The scope pops off and on very easily to allow for practicing with iron sights, too. There isn't any reason that serious practice shouldn't be fun.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Painful Progress

The evolution of farm tractor design must have been a painful process for engineers who were competing for farm customers. There is a bewildering variety of designs for us to admire at engine shows, and there were many designs so unsuccessful that none survived for us to see in modern times. Hart Parr began with behemoth tractors which were rugged, successful machines for big farms, sawmills, threshing, etc., but they soon came out with tractors which were more suited for replacing horses in row crop agriculture on small farms.
This four cylinder, cross motor design was designed to be maintained easily by the farmer, with all of the working parts accesible for maintenance. You should note that there is no oil sump under the crankcase. This engine has a mechanical oiler that pumps clean oil to all of the lubrication points. You never change the oil in this engine, but you do have to fill the lubricator regularly.
Only one man is needed to operate a tractor like this one, a big departure from earlier tractors which more resemble a steam traction engine than a farm tractor.

Click the photo to enlarge. This photo illustrates just how difficult evolving machine design can be. The valve covers tell the farmer to watch his valve clearance, which is good advice; and valve adjustment is a basic skill that every mechanic needs, but the engineers who put this together still had not grasped the necessity for clean air to feed the engine. The dirt that these engines inhaled wore the valve guides, the valve faces, the valve seats, and the pistons, rings, and cylinders. A simple air cleaner would have drastically reduced the frequency of needed valve adjustments, and for valve and ring jobs. It seems simple to us now, but someone had to figure out this problem 100 years ago.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Monday's Just A Few Hours Away...

Back To The Old Grind!

73 Days And Counting Down...

KeeWee, Molly, and Mr. C Show How It's Done!
...until the Gun Blogger Rendezvous in Reno. Click over to Mr. Completely's GBR site to get all the details and to register. You do not have to be a blogger to attend! If you enjoy shooting, and visiting with other folks who like to shoot, you need to go.

Not My Victrola

posted this lively little dance number. Open another tab for your web-surfing so you can listen a few times; it's a toe-tapper.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Crankin' It Up

"Some Sweet Someone" was recorded by The High Hatters on September 19, 1928, and is on the flip side of last week's Crank Up, "I Wanna Be Loved By You." The vocal refrain is by Sam Coslow, and there is quite a bit of information on Mr. Coslow on the internet. He was a prolific songwriter, and it made my day to learn that he penned "My Old Flame," and "Cocktails For Two." Makes me want to get out some of my old Spike Jones records.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Always Something

I've always heard that if you need something to do, get an old truck. An old barn can sure beat a truck to keep you busy. If something is difficult to fix, you can't send it off to a shop to have it worked on. You have to do it yourself, or let the barn fall apart. Last year we put in two new timbers to the left of the door, plus did a bunch of mending where those timbers tied into the rest of the structure. We rehung the siding in the center section, and now we are moving to the next things that need to be fixed.

Some timbers in the loft are off of the uprights, and in order to rig jacks to pick them up we had to start on the ground to jack up and reinforce things.

We jacked up the floor in this spot until it was straight (A relative term) and installed a timber under it so we have a good base to work from up above.

Things kind of fall apart after 100 plus years. Gravity has been pulling parts down little by little, and they do not go up again easily.

Jacks are holding up the roof as we maneuver the horizontal timber back into place.

We use a pretty good variety of jacks, levers, chains, come-alongs, and of course, hammers.

Bolting things together.

Forcing the next one back into place. There is a jack pushing the roof up from down below, a High-Lift jack pulling the timber over, and a temporary timber between the uprights to keep things from moving that we don't want moved. As soon as this spot is bolted into place we will be ready to start hanging siding again...Then more timber work.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It's A Dandy!

This little beauty was at the recent show in Evansville. It hurts just a little to see machines a decade younger than me fit right into an antique engine show, but what the heck, it is photogenic.
The exhibitors made quit a trek to show off their treasure.

The homebuilt hydraulic system really sets this little tractor up to be a useful machine. Pretty nice.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gratuitous Hazard Tree Evaluation

I tagged along with Mrs. TBS Monday evening to her Garden Club meeting, and while the ladies were looking at flowers, I checked out the host's shade trees. This 40" diameter pin oak caught my eye right away because of the mis-shapen area on its west side. Before I walked over to it, I noted that it is leaning slightly to the east, and the crown is heavy to the east.

That swollen area is not good news. I didn't have anything with me to thump the stem, but the problem is easily visible when viewed from the west side.

Wounds on the west side have left an opening, and the tree has rotted so the stem is hollow about eight feet above the ground.

Looking into the opening at an angle, you can see that the west side is supported only by a thin shell of wood. This is a massive tree, over ninety feet tall, and forty inches diameter at 4 1/2' above the ground. There is a lot of weight riding on that shell.

This tree also has its crown weighted south, so if it was cut loose it would fall right where the camera is pointing. The homeowner's bedroom is on the far right of the photo, so if the tree is knocked over during a storm blowing out of the northwest while she is asleep, she would probably survive. Her kitchen, family room, and dining room would be smashed, so survival in a storm depends a lot on timing.
A tree service with a bucket truck, or climbers could drop part of the crown on the far side to make this tree easy to drop to the west. (Right onto the camera in this shot.) If this tree was next to my house I would be taking it down ASAP. I will be checking back to see what the homeowner decides now that she has been told about the risks.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Is Icumen In

The Chestnuts and basswood are finished blooming now, and every day we have new lilies to admire. Click to have a good look at the smiling bug. The basswood provides a feeding frenzy every year.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Don't Start Monday Without It!

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola; Poor Papa

I hope your father is doing a little better than Poor Papa. EdmundusRex posted this amusing recording by Whispering Jack Smith from 1926.

Get Out And Shoot Today!

You have the rest of this weekend and next weekend to shoot two June e-Postal contests; Mr. Completely's and the Nashville Online Handgun Postal Match. Click those links to read the rules of the month, and to download your targets. Since this is Fathers' Day, you have a good excuse for a family outing to the range so the entire clan can get in that needed trigger time. You all will have fun, and come home a better shooter.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Weekend Steam

Bidone1967's comments: Im Mai fand das 125 jährige Dampfbahn Jubiläum der Döllnitzbahn statt.Zu dieser tollen Veranstaltung kam auch die I K 54 und fuhr im Pendelverkahr zwischen Mügeln un Glossen.Hier der erste Teil meines Filmes über die IK 54.

Parts 1 and 2 of videos about the I K 54 narrow gauge steam locomotive, by Bidone1967.

Im Mai fand das 125 jährige Dampfbahn Jubiläum der Döllnitzbahn statt.Zu dieser tollen Veranstaltung kam auch die I K 54 und fuhr im Pendelverkahr zwischen Mügeln un Glossen.Hier der zweite Teil meines Filmes über die IK 54.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Crankin' It Up

This Victor Orthophonic record was cut on September 19,1928 by the High Hatters, with the vocal refrain by Sam Coslow. It is a lively little Fox-Trot, so you all can get a little exercise as you listen to this one. This song is best known as performed by Helen Kane (The Boop,Boop,A-Doop Girl), so I selected it just because it is unusual to hear a man singing it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How It's Done

People are always asking, "How do you get all of those wonderful photos and videos of neat old machinery, Mr. True Blue Sam?" Well, not really, but I hope thay are thinking something like that. You have to spend time visiting with exhibitors at the shows. Most collectors love to talk about the engines they are showing, and they are usually glad to start up an engine if you want video of it running. Gary B was showing a D T Bohon engine at SIAM this year. It is a rare brand of engine sold out of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, but manufactured by other companies under contract. We will put up some video of it running in a post one of these days.

I like to shoot engines from several different angles to show the intricacies of the machinery, and I use a monopod with a ball-head on top to steady the camera. The monopod keeps the YouTube viewers from getting seasick and it helps you frame your shots.

You have to go where the engines are. Mrs. TBS caught this Model T racer parked in the shade, and it is much more photogenic here than it would have been in the car barn. When you go to an engine show you have to keep your camera with you, and have extra batteries and SD cards handy so you don't lose the good shots when you see them.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Eighty Four Days and Counting....

Derek and Millisecond Mollie with their quick-draw coach.

...until the Gun Blogger Rendezvous in Reno. Click over to Mr. Completely's GBR site to get all the details, and to register. You do not have to be a blogger to attend! If you enjoy shooting, and visiting with other folks who enjoy firearm related topics and activities, you need to go!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sentimental Journey Visits Mt. Vernon, IL

Mt. Vernon had an important visitor last week, and Mrs. TBS and I stopped by the airport to admire her. The Commemorative Air Force visits about sixty cities every year with this beautifly restored B-17G, and it is well worth your time to go take a look, go inside the plane for a tour, or even go up for a flight.

The Sentimental Journey is maintained by the Arizona Wing of the CAF, and you can visit them online at to learn more about this historic airplane and others that they exhibit.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Wonderful Things!

We had a great time at the Southern Indiana Antique Machinery (SIAM) show at Evansville, Saturday. We knew it would be a hot afternoon, so we looked fast, visited some friends, took our pictures, and headed home. I headed for the speedsters before they left the barn, and there were some new-to-me cars.

This 1915 Ford was a real beauty. Later in the day the owner took it out on the dirt track, and after one round he quit, evidently changing his mind when he saw how much dust his flivver would have to eat.

Two speed rear end, and a speedometer!

Model A's have more power that the T's, and four wheel brakes. I always have liked the way a Model A cackles at low RPM.

The fellow showing this Model A said that he had just acquired it. It's a real beauty!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Not Monday Again!!!

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

BSGS 98 has posted another delightful song performed by Aileen Stanley, and it has a very nice slide show to go with it. "All By Myself" was composed by Irving Berlin, and Miss Stanley recorded it on the Victor label on May 16, 1921.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Prepare To Be Inspired!

Cheaper Than Dirt has posted a very good interview with Millisecond Molly, the 13 year old girl on Smith and Wesson's shooting team. Go over there to read the interview, and be sure to visit Molly's blog occasionally to see how her shooting adventures are going.

Weekend Steam: Places To Go

The Mrs. and I are making a quick trip over to the Southern Indiana Antique Machinery show on Saturday to look at cars, tractors, gas engines, fleas, and Andy Glines' Huber return flue engine. Find a show in your neighborhood by looking at the show directory on the left side of this page.

Here are some good possibilites for this weekend:

Blue Ridge Antique Power Assn. 23rd Annual Tractor and Gas Engine Show
Show runs from 06/09/10 to 06/12/10 Weyers Cave, VA

19th Annual Antique Farm Power Club Antique Tractor and Engine Show
Show runs from 06/10/10 to 06/12/10Fruitport, MI

Blue River Valley Antique Power Assn. 27th Anniversary Celebration
Show runs from 06/11/10 to 06/12/10Shelbyville, IN

Southern Indiana's Antique and Machinery Club Classic Iron Show
Show runs from 06/11/10 to 06/13/10Evansville, IN

Rough and Tumble Engineers Historical Assn. Blacksmith Days
Show runs from 06/11/10 to 06/12/10Kinzers, PA

Marshall-Putnam Antique Assn. 23rd Annual Antique Tractor and Engine Show
Show runs from 06/12/10 to 06/13/10Lacon, IL

27th Annual Black Swamp Steam and Gas Show
Show runs from 06/13/10 to 06/14/10Defiance, OH

Friday, June 11, 2010

Crankin' It Up

Here is the flip side of last week's Crank Up; Arnold Johnson and his Orchestra perform 'Kiss Me' on Brunswick disc 2411-A, recorded on February 27, 1923.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sweet John Deere Music

This John Deere G served as one of the transports at a forestry field day event last fall in Pope County, Illinois. Hearing the G pull the hill with a load was a real treat. One of the little known dangers of sitting on bales is a little critter known as the straw mite. I picked up a load of them at a similar event a few years ago, and the bales on these wagons created more than a little worry in my mind, so I sprayed down with plenty of Deet before I took a seat. Thank goodness I didn't pick up any mites on this trip. The danger is greater with old bales that have been in storage for a few years, and if straw mites ever get you once you will never think of hay rides in a positive way again.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Time On Your Hands?

This beat-up, barely-there Bronco is guaranteed to use up your spare time, and most of your spare change. I am posting it here as a public service just in case someone really wants an old Bronco, and can't find something better to do. It's in Mill Shoals, IL; area code 618.

A Wee Bit of Canada

I always enjoy stumbling upon boulders like this one. Southern Illinois was glaciated during the Illinoian glacial period, about 310,000 to 128,000 years ago. The Illinoian glacier extended south to the Shawnee Hills, and the change in landscape there is quite dramatic. The more recent Wisconsin glacier occurred between 24,000 and 11,000 years ago, and its southern reach is approximately around Effingham. The soils in Southern Illinois are a mix of Illinoian glacial till, with loess overlying that, mostly from the Wisconsin glacier. There are also big areas of glacial lakebed filled with fine sediments from glacial outwash. Granite boulders like the one above were left here at least 128,000 years ago, and they come in all sizes. Once I found a beautiful quartzite boulder that I would have liked to carry home, but it was at least a couple hundred pounds, and it was about a mile from my truck. Oh Well. I guess if they have been resting comfortably for 128,000 years I should just leave them be.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More Shooting Tips From Ruger Firearms

Do basic instructions really work? We had a first time shooter visit recently, and I spent quite a bit of time prepping him before he shot my .22 Ruger Single Six. He shot the May e-Postal contest with us and beat me with my own gun. I better watch this one a couple times.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Yesterday On Blogger....

Blogger was unavailble for posting last night, so I hope all of you survived OK without your Monday Morning Grinder. I tried, but it kind of went like the video.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Not My Victrola Twofer

One of my all time favorite songs, presented on an Edison Diamond Disc, and a player piano.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Weekend Steam: Show Time!

Steam and gas engine shows have started up now, and collectors all over the country are wiping off the cobwebs and dust so they can show off their old iron this summer. All you have to do to find a show in your neighborhood is go to the 'Stoke Up!' list on the left side of this page and click on Farm Collector Show Directory. You can search by month or state, and you probably have more shows around you than you imagined possible. Start clicking and planning!