Monday, December 31, 2012

Staying Up Late Tonight?

And More Is On The Way

We had 5 to 6 inches of snow last week before Jason could move the last of his logs out.  He bladed off the landing with his skidder so the ground could freeze, then we had another 5 inches.  Oh Well, or words to that effect.  Forecasters say we have more snow coming on New Year's Eve, and I bet Jason is out early in the morning to see what he can do.  The truck with the knuckleboom on it has big ag tires, and they can move logs to the road to load a semi-trailer.  Most of the wood has already been moved, but our loggers would like to get this job finished so they don't have to come back next spring.  They have already moved the Timbco to their next job, and they need to move the rest of their equipment. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Have Pity, O Lord, In Misery I Languish...


...in other words...Back To The Old Grind! 

Photo Credit:  Page 463, Samson Et Dalila, Metropolitian Opera, New York, 1915, with Caruso, Matzenauer and Amato.   The Victor Book of the Opera, Victor Talking Machine Company,1929; RCA Manufacturing Company, 1936.  Photo by White

Revisiting The Sotz Monster Maul



We had a comment on our YouTube video showing how to use a Sotz Monster Maul, and it was a pleasant surprise.  Ed in Detroit bought the unsold stock from the Sotz corporation, and he is selling it all via Craigslist.

The Sotz Monster Maul was a well-thought-out design which solved inherent problems of wood splitting mauls.   Most mauls sold in the pre-Sotz era had wooden handles, which broke with annoying regularity when splitting wood.  Sotz fixed that by making the handles out of steel, with a reinforcing collar just above the head.  Most splitting mauls are only six to eight pounds, and you swing them like an axe to deliver sufficient energy for splitting.  That's great if you are young and athletic, but big swings don't work well for middle aged and older folks.  Sotz's solution was to make the head a big slow bullet; 16 pounds heavy.  You don't swing it; you raise it, and then bring it down, using the handle as a lever to deliver a bit of speed.  We were able to split any species of hardwood with our Sotz mauls, even elm, though we never did enjoy busting elm wood.

The other problem with splitting mauls and axes is that they stick in the wood you are trying to split.  The wide angle of the Sotz head eliminates sticking almost 100%.  I finally gave up using a maul and bought a hydraulic wood splitter a few years ago because of a bad elbow, but that was caused by using a hoedad for tree planting many years ago.  If you use a Monster Maul correctly, it won't cause tennis elbow.

I looked around on the internet a bit, and Monster Maul knockoffs are not as heavy as the original product.  Northern Tool has a Monster Maul wannabe that has a 12 pound head, and that is typical.  If you want the original, check the Craigslit page and order one.  Ed does ship, so anyone in the country can still buy one of these useful artifacts from the 1970's energy crisis.

Ed also has some Sotz fireplace tools, which were designed to use with their barrel stove kits.  He is asking $40 for these, and that looks like a very fair price for useful American made product.  When these are gone, there won't be any more, so visit these pages and have a look.

Sotz Product List

Sotz Monster Maul

Sotz Fireplace Tools


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Not My Victrola




Lucius1958 shares a beautiful George M. Cohan show tune, played on his Edison machine.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

It Was A Long Good-Bye


"What's going on out here? You talking to Joe again??


"Oh No...I can't watch this."

Marvin Cat started showing up for meals many years ago, and soon became part of the family. This photo was taken in 1995.

This photo was taken in 2008, after we had learned that Marvin had melanoma. We figured he was a short-timer, but his cancer advanced slowly. He has been losing hair for a couple years; and a year ago his lungs began to wheeze, but he didn't show many signs of being ill.

He went off his feed Christmas Eve, and retreated to a little cat hut where he could curl up and stay warm.  Yesterday he was sitting in front of the water bowl, unable to drink.  We had a couple of long sessions with an eye dropper to give him water and a molasses mix.  When I greeted him this morning he cried instead of purring, and I called the vet.

The vet gave him a muscle relaxer in his hip and I held him in my lap; Marvin purred until he went limp. They took him away to administer the IV to finish the job, and then I brought him home and buried him next to HeyJoe. Jack figured out that this was serious business. He was with Joe when he died, and watched me wrap him up and bury him. This was a tough way to end the holiday season, but on the positive side, this year Susan and I managed to to bring our mothers through some serious medical crises, and that is a real blessing...and we have more pets, thanks to our brother-in-law who gave us SEVEN feral cats that he caught and had neutered and vaccinated. We aren't about to run out of cats, and they have mostly tamed down so I can pick up most of them.

Weekend Steam: Antique Entertainment

I can remember asking my Grandmother if she had seen silent movies, and of course, she had.  She laughed about it and told me that movies were very different when she was a girl.  She told me that more than fifty years ago.  (I also asked her if she knew how to dance the Charleston...she was a Covenanter, (I didn't know that back then.) so that was sort of a dumb question.   Anyhow, here is a great example of a silent film from 1915, with Helen Holmes saving the day, and Thomas Edison Studios promoting cigarettes.  Posted on YouTube by sfo1164.



Friday, December 28, 2012

Crankin' It Up


The Van Eps Trio performs Hill and Dale, a "Syncopated Fox Trot."  Brat Cat helps out a bit.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Timber Cutter Tricks

The loggers working in our woods put on a real push in the days leading up to Christmas.  They completed cutting, and then dragged logs like crazy the last couple days.  I was up on the landing at sunset on Christmas Eve when Jason dragged in the last logs.  This was really important with a major snow in the forecast, because once you have snow on the skid trails this time of year, they are done for until things dry out next spring.  The logs can all be loaded out and sent to various mills now, and the loggers can make their money back on their time and effort in a timely fashion.

Here is a little demonstration of a neat cutting technique for trees that need to be pushed over.  The key to this trick is to leave the release cut uncompleted, so that the fibers will hold the tree steady until it is pushed over.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Make A Christmas Donation To Project Valour-IT...

...and win a nice Ruger for yourself! The Ruger being sold this week to help wounded soldiers is a 1969 production, Ruger 10/22 International Rifle. It has a solid walnut Mannlicher stock, hand cut checkering, sling swivels, and a black grip cap. Click Ruger's photo for the full description, and to Place Your Bid!
 The hammer falls at 12:30 PM Eastern Time, December 26, 2012.  Set up your bids right away so you don't forget with the Christmas activities.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mk 5 Jungle Carbine

Hickok45 posted a video a few days ago that shows off an Enfield Jungle Carbine he recently acquired.  I was lucky enough to pick up one of these classics a decade ago when Southern Ohio Gun had some in stock, and it is a handy little rifle.  If you read about them, one of the things you will see is that they kick more than the full size Mk 4 Enfield rifles.  That's true enough, but the .303 round isn't hard to handle, and the carbine is a handy little gun to pack around.

 My Mk 5 shows quite a bit of honest wear, and some oil staining on the stock.

 The rear sight can be left down for quick shots, or flipped up for fine sighting.  I mounted a scope on this rifle, but it ruined the rugged good looks, and it made loading difficult, so I re-installed the original rear sight.

You have to love the flash hider on the end of the short barrel.  The wear on the bayonet lug leads me to believe that this rifle may have seen some real use, and didn't just sit in a rack.

I took mine along on my recent trip to see Mom so I could check the sights, which I hadn't done in a while.  We just about froze out before I got  around to shooting my rifle, so I fired a fouling shot, then fired three rounds at a target at twenty five yards.  That was enough to see that the sights are still right on, and we loaded up so we could get in out of the cold.  (The 150 gr refers to the bullet weight, NOT the weight of the charge of 748; not that you could even get close to cramming that much powder into a .303 case)

Here is Mr. Hickok45 sharing his new baby with us.   It's always fun to watch Hickok blasting the two liters.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Buy A Special Ruger; Help A Wounded Soldier






Don't let Ruger's Project Valour-IT auction pass you by this week.  This particular 20 gauge Red Label was manufactured in 1988, and the model was made through 1991.  This fine shotgun has been residing in the Ruger vaults since it was made in May of '88, and New In Box Red Label shotguns just aren't out there anymore.  Ruger ceased shotgun production last year, so this may be your only chance to buy this masterpiece of gun manufacturing.

100% of the proceeds of this auction will be donated to Soldiers' Angels Project Valour-IT, to provide voice activated laptop computers to wounded soldiers.  Visit the auction site, and Dig Deep.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Visiting Moman'em


True Blue Sam is up in Iowa, visiting Mom (Bea to all of you blog followers), and we had some serious business to tend to.  I have been shooting a Ruger Mk III for many months now, and getting along with it just fine.  It even does brain shots on possums at 25 yards, which is not an easy shot to make.  I decided to buy a new Mk III for Mrs. True Blue Sam, and told my FFL friend to find a Competition model.  He called me a few days later, and had only sad news.  I told him then to find a stainless Mk III Target model, because I wanted the Mrs. to have a better gun than mine.  Well, no dice.  Jack called and said that stainless Mk III's were unavailable, too; but he had found some blue Mk III target models like mine, and bought them all, so I had one for the Mrs.   I put a good red dot on top and sighted it in easily, but the trigger pull seemed a bit stiff, even for a new Ruger.   I checked the weight of the pull, and her new gun needed six pounds, eleven ounces to pop a primer.

I brought Susan's new gun with me on the trip to Iowa, and on Monday, Mom and I took a tour up to Montezuma and picked up a Volquartsen Accurizing Kit at Brownells.  We tore into Susan's pistol after lunch and soon had a very nice, light, crisp, trigger in her Ruger.  Range time is scheduled for Tuesday, and I have to scoot home Wednesday ahead of the Bliz-Zard that is scheduled for Wednesday night and Thursday.

If you have a Ruger Mk I, II, or III, you know that the manual tells you not to mess around in the guts of the frame.  That is good advice if you are not mechanically adventurous, but through the magic of the internet we all can see how to tear the Rugers down to the bare frame and put them back together again.  Below are two Ruger videos, which show how to do the basic teardown and reassmbly, and the middle one is from Brownell's showing how to do a deep disassembly and reassembly, to install the Volquartsen kit.  The safety removal and reinstallation is something that you must pay close attention to.  The detent on the safety has a spring behind it, and it can fly if you are not careful.  Hold the safety up against the frame as you take it out and put it back, and rotate it carefully to relieve the spring tension behind the detent as you remove the part, and to trap the detent as you reinstall it.  The only problem I had was seeing clearly with my old eyes as I was putting things back together.  DO have some small needle-noses as the gunsmith in Brownells video advises.  If you don't have punches for lining things up during reassembly, use drill bit shanks.




 Mom and I will be hitting the range on Tuesday for some much needed trigger time before winter really settles in. We will be doing function testing on Susan's gun to make sure it works the way we want it to. We don't have a scale to check the trigger pull weight here, but it is safe to say that it is now less than half what it was.

Skipper came along with me on this trip, and he likes Mom.  He met Bear, a Schipperke that lives around the block from Mom, and we will probably visit him again before I head south.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sometimes I Think Too Much

I get requests from heirs to property with timber every so often, usually from sons and daughters of recently deceased parents. They always want to know how much money the timber is worth on the property, and they usually sell the trees and the property quickly. Occasionally I get one of these. The fellow who called for me to check out this old farm is the nephew of an aunt who died recently, and he inherited her farm. He needed an opinion on the timber, and that was easy enough to do for him.  The history nut in me always makes me look around old farmsteads, and it helps me figure out some of the timeline on the current timber stands.  His aunt's old house looks tough now, but she had electricity, and good tarpaper siding, so it was a cozy little house.

The home had a tin roof, and that is probably why there is still a good pile of remains to see today. I looked in, and there is an old pair of trousers in the bedroom.  They probably belonged to her husband.

You have to wonder how many meals were prepared on her old cookstove.  There isn't much left of it, and the younger generations wouldn't even know what they are looking at.

The home was humble, but this is a first class cistern.  The remains of an old well bucket can be seen at the bottom.


An old broken coffee mug...was it the favorite mug of the lady who just died?


Here's the mystery; an extra room added on to the little home, with a set of bedsprings.  Was this a bedroom for a son or daughter, or maybe a parent that had to be cared for?


Well, maybe it's better we don't know.  The couple who made their living on this farm had no descendants to pass it to, and it was handed down to a nephew.  He seems like a good sort, and is very appreciative of the gift from his aunt.  That is some encouragement, but places like this look like a shipwreck of hopes and dreams.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Weekend Steam



 The Stradbally Woodland Express operating at the Stradbally Steam Railway, Co.Laois, Ireland. By Eiretrains

Crankin' It Up Rewind

We posted A Wee Deoch an' Doris four years ago, and during this holiday season, it's a good one to listen to again.  Harry recorded this classic more than a century ago, and it's a safe bet that he was walking hame after the last refreshments of the nicht.  Use your better judgment while you party.  It's a braw bricht moonlicht nicht.  Yup, I'm alricht.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

How Do You Become A Logger In Illinois?

It's not easy to learn how to be a logger in Illinois. Workman's Comp rates run over 100% of the wages, so logging is a family business. I haven't run into any loggers in my end of the state who worked for a company; they are all self employed. If you aren't born into it, you probably will never make it trying to learn it on your own. Jason, the fellow who is logging our woods had his little boy with him in the skidder cab, and I bet he'll be dragging out logs long before he has a driver's license. Watch the cab door as the skidder goes by. Here's another skidder drive-by.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More Logging Videos From Our Woods

We have been having a good time watching the loggers work in our woods. We had rain on Sunday, so they have taken a few days off to run logs through their mill while the ground firms up. The hard part of videoing this type of work is getting in close enough to see what is happening without getting smashed by a tree or run over by the skidder. Once a trail is established for the skidder it is a bit easier. I parked Susan's mother in the Kubota right at a turn so she could get the full effect of having the skidder bear down on her just before it turned. She liked that. If you watch closely, you might see Jason's little boy in the cab helping his papa.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

WOW! Check Out Ruger's Project Valour-IT Auctions!

We have been highlighting the auctions of special firearms from the Ruger Vaults for many weeks now, and it is exciting to see the serious cash being donated by Ruger to Project Valour-IT. Last week the hammer fell on a special 10/22, and the selling price was $4400! Expect to see some serious money again this week when a Ruger No. 1 rifle sells that was made during Ruger's fiftieth year.  This rifle is engraved, and decorated with 24 karat gold inlay, and is chambered in .45-70.  This is a very special rifle that could be used for hunting the largest animals on this continent, but it will probably be locked away in a safe as part of a collection.  As of Monday night, the bid was up to $2225, and it will probably make significant jumps on Wednesday morning.  The hammer falls at 12:30 PM, Wednesday, December 12.  If you can afford it, make a bid!  All of the funds from these sales go to Project Valour-IT, to purchase voice activated computers for wounded service personnel.

If you can't afford to jump in on Ruger's auctions, you can still help our wounded soldiers by going to Project Valour-IT's website and making a donation.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Farmer?

The Happy Farmer tractor is a pretty collector item, but you have to wonder just how happy the customers were who bought these old-timers. I have heard it said that farmers found real happiness when they traded them off. That isn't really a fair criticism, given that most of the farm machines from ninety years ago were high maintenance. They are a lot of fun to watch now that we don't have to depend on them.

Beats Pounding Wedges

A black oak needed a push in the right direction, and the John Deere grapple skidder is sure easier than driving wedges.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Is Multi-Tasking Really A Good Idea?




Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola


Don't Advertise Your Man-Rosa Henderson 1924 by bigband78 Rosa Henderson is well liked by YouTubers, and one of them reminded me to put "The Great" in front of her name when I posted Friday's record. Here is another GREAT Rosa Henderson song that is over on DailyMotion.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Weekend Steam



 The Christmas is upon us, whether we are ready or not. Here's a little joy for you.

Friday, December 7, 2012

...Lives In Infamy...

Pearl Harbor Day affects you whether or not you acknowledge it. Susan's Father and his friends went to a Marine recruiter soon after Pearl Harbor, and O.T. went to war. He saw New Zealand, Guadalcanal, and other islands in the Pacific, and fought on Bouganville, Guam, and Iwo Jima. He strung phone lines, and was always in front of the front, relying on his .45 and Kabar more than his M1 to survive. His brothers also served. Maurice was a SeaBee, Donny served on a seaplane tender, and his little brother Lloyd served on a gun crew on the USS Colorado. When the Colorado was scrapped, some of its guns were placed on the USS Olympia. We just learned this recently, and now we have to wonder, did Lloyd ever touch this gun that his niece, Susan touched in Philadelphia.


O.T., Donny, and Maurice all came home, but Lloyd died from the wounds he suffered during the bombardment of Tinian.  Lloyd left a widow, but no children, so Pearl Harbor Day is a sad day for us as we remember him.


Crankin' It Up

Rosa Henderson recorded this great blues number on May 24, 1923. Victor disc 19084-B. Played, as usual on the old Brunswick.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Excitement On Bea's Daily Walk

This week there was an armed robbery at a restaurant that Mom walks past every day, and then there was a meth lab bust on the Washington, Iowa square (CLICK). The local cops set up a privacy tarp around the busted ones and decontaminated them with a fire hose. It was 40 degrees, and then they had to sit on park benches in the cold temps while the police finished processing the crime scene. I do feel bad about the dogs, who also had to be washed down, and now have had their world turned upside down by these druggies. It doesn't matter how good your neighborhood is, the people who do bad things are mobile and can turn up anywhere. If you live in a concealed carry state, get your permit, and carry your gun. If you follow the gun blogs you know that folks never get tired of arguing the important points to consider for the perfect carry gun. There are a lot of right answers, and right now, I have a couple of firearms ready to go if they are necessary, and I know that Mom has three at her disposal. Look at your situation, do the necessary research, and figure out what you need for your personal protection.

Orient Buckboard at Pinckneyville

This beautifully restored horseless carriage was on display at Pinckneyville last summer. The Waltham Manufacturing company made cars in Massachusetts from 1902 'til 1908. In 1905 they started making cars with a four cylinder engine. These are a pretty rare vehicle, but I did find one on YouTube putting around.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Visit To The Log Landing

The Mrs., her mother and I took a tour of the logging job and looked over some of the logs at the landing today.
This timber was cut hard in 1940 when a sawmill was set up here. This pit was under the headsaw, and the steam engine that powered the operation sat just to the west (right). We thinned out the hickories in the mid-80's and the black oaks turned on the diameter growth.
Pat is able to climb in and out of the utility vehicle on her own, which is amazing progress in her stroke recovery. Life is good.

November e-Postal Scores, and e-Postal Appeal For Hosts



Rimfire Pistol
Iron Sights
Distance
Score
Billll
Ruger Mk I
20’
45
McAllister
Ruger Mk II
20’
50




Rimfire Pistol
Red Dot Sight


Mr. Completely
High Standard/OKO
20’
33
Engineering Johnson
Ruger Mk III
20’
45
True Blue Sam
Ruger Mk III
20’
50
Mrs. True Blue Sam
Ruger Mk III
20’
77




Rimfire Pistol
Scope


Mr. Completely
High Standard/Leupold
20’
29


November is usually short on e-Postal entries because of weather and holiday activities, but a few of us diehards managed to find the time to pop some primers for some online shooting fellowship.  Billll, of Bill's Idle Mind showed us how to do it with iron sights, and his friend McAllister also did a fine job.  Mr. Completely shot a couple of very impressive targets with his High Standard pistols.  I threw this target together quickly, and should have tried it before posting, because it is a bit too difficult.  The Mrs. and I were laughing at our misses before we cleared our targets.

This is a closeup of a target by Mr. Completely.  We should all be shooting for his skill level.
The big news for bloggers and blog followers is that Mr. Completely and I have a few spots to fill in the host list for the 2013 e-Postal contests.  Here is a list of the hosts so far:

March:  Mr. Completely
June: Phil at RNS (unconfirmed)
August:  Up For Grabs
September: True Blue Sam
October:  Up For Grabs
November: Up For Grabs

Prospective and confirmed hosts should all go to Mr. Completely's post about contest design to see what goes into a good target and contest.  These contests are for everyone, not just bloggers, and are great for that much needed practice at the range every month.  

If you want to be a host next year, contact True Blue Sam at: truebluetravelinman (at) gmail (dot) com.  Mention e-Postal in the subject line so I don't lose you.

Click Here to go back and read about the November 2012 contest if you missed it.  

Big News From Ruger's Project Valour-IT Auctions


Ruger's Green Beret 10/22 will sell at 12:30 PM, Wednesday, December 5. This is the fifth out of six consecutively numbered rifles made in 1973, possibly as prototype commemorative rifles. This rifle has stirred up plenty of interest, and you will be amazed and gratified when you click over and see the level of support that bidders are showing for Project Valour-IT. I've said it before, and I'll say it again; go to Ruger's website or Facebook page and thank the CEO for Ruger's generous support of our wounded heroes.

The auction item that will sell next week is a real eye-opener. From Ruger's Facebook post, it's a "50th Anniversary engraved No. 1 S rifle chambered in the historic 45-70 cartridge. These limited edition anniversary rifles were only available during Ruger’s anniversary year - 1999. 100% of the proceeds will be going to Soldiers' Angels Project Valour-IT."  CLICK HERE to go to the auction page, and to bid.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Are Four Rules Too Many To Remember?

Iowa had five wounded in the shotgun deer season last weekend.  Three were folks who shot themselves in the foot, and two were victims of other hunters who did not observe where their shots would go.  Go read all about it, and pass it on to the young shooters in your family.

You can review Jeff Cooper's Four Rules on many sites, including this one; here is a good one to start with.

"I Turned Around Every Time...

...to see if I smashed you."  That's what the operator told me after I videoed his machine cutting trees.  I was hugged up against a tree all the time when he was cutting, but it was too close.  The warning on the machine says 250 feet, and I was under 50 feet when he had to let go of a black oak.  Running wasn't a good idea, so I got really familiar with the tree I was using for an umbrella, and had twigs raining down on my hard hat.  I hope to have a little time to watch the loggers this week and maybe we can get some more good video.


Monday, December 3, 2012

A Milestone Of Sorts



The True Blue Sam team has been blogging and YouTubing for five years, and while TBS is not an exciting blog (between 100 and 200 page loads per day), our You Tube channel where we post our own videos now has well over three million views.  Our first video, Splitting a White Oak Log With Black Powder has over 100,000 views, and is still getting 500 hits per month.  It's too long, and looks pretty amateurish, but folks like the ending, even if we shot it with a cheap camera.

This video is the 600th we have uploaded to our channel, and it is a special event.  The Mrs. and I have been watching this red oak tree for over twenty-five years; it's the prettiest tree in our woods.  The black oaks have been dying off for several years, and it looks like they have done about all they can do on our site, so we are having them harvested.  Our favorite red oak shows signs of root-rot attacking it, and a 4" limb died at a little over two logs height, so it is declining, too.  The logger we have is a nice man, and he let me cut down our favorite tree.  Mrs. True Blue Sam did the honors on the camera, and her mother came out to the woods to watch, too.  The logger moved his skidder well out of striking distance, but that's just being prudent. 

Update:  A viewer on YouTube wants to see the face cut, so here is the stump with the root swells and the face cut set back in place.  The red oak had a flat side facing the direction it wanted to go, so the face cut is very thin, and was totally in the slab.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Hit It Three Times As Hard This Week


Back To The Old Grind!



Crankin' It Up: Herding Cats Edition



Rosa Henderson recorded this great blues number on May 24, 1923.  Victor disc 19084-A.  Played, as usual on the old Brunswick.  Bart and Brat cat assisted, and sang along on the first couple takes, and I was in doubt whether I would ever get this one in the can for you.  This is a record we picked up at an estate auction many years ago, and it has been residing in a filing cabinet until today.  Next week, the flip side, Good Woman's Blues.

Not A Victrola


Published on May 11, 2012 by
Blues (My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me) (Swanstone, McCarron & Morgan)
From Capitol Roll A-1638

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weekend Steam: Let's Go To Iowa


"Uploaded by supereightmovie on Jul 26, 2010 Video starts Friday July 23. First clip is leaving Newton, then runbys at Colfax, Mitchelville,Booneville and Desoto. Then arriving at Earlham. The next day its running beside it along old Hyw 6 out of Dexter, by the old Stuart Hotel, under Hyw 6 outside of Casey and finally by the Jesse James train robbery site outside Adair."

Friday, November 30, 2012

"A Dog...

...rests all over when he lies down."*  Skips seem to like sleeping with their feet in the air.  They are cute when they dream about chasing rabbits.

* Stonewall Jackson said this about men.  He liked to see his men lie down when they broke for a rest.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sattley Engine, Sold by Montgomery Ward


Everyone who is interested in gas engines is familiar with the Economy line that was sold by Sears. Less common are Sattley engines which were sold by Montgomery Ward. This is very well restored throttle-governed engine, but I wish the owner wouldn't add gas while it is running. The fellow in the background isn't having much luck starting his baby.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hard Candy


Hickory presents a real paradox for wood aficianados.  It is one of the hardest and heaviest woods, but when the tree dies, a multitude of wood eating insects attack it, and turn it into sawdust in short order.  A dead hickory is a downed hickory.  Turn it into firewood immediately, or forget it.


Once you put a live hickory on the ground, you are on a timeline.  Cut it, split it, stack it in the barn to dry, and burn it the next winter.   Wait two years to burn it, and you have dust.  I have seen joists and studs made from hickory a few times over the years.  It's a bad idea.  Powder post beetles move into hickory as soon as the wood is dry, and the wood quickly disappears.

Many hardwoods, but especially hickory, attract powder post beetles in the spring, who lay eggs in open pores.  Larvae hatch, tunnel in, and turn strong wood into dust.  The solution for hardwoods is to kiln dry, turn it into a product quickly, and apply a wood finish that seals the pores of the wood so insects can't break in.  Way back in the pre-EPA good old days when you could buy effective insecticides, you could mix up some chlordane and kerosene, treat your hickory, and it was safe for decades.  I once turned down a FREE fifty gallon drum of Chlordane because I had no way to move it at the time.  Dang.  I wish I could find a few gallons now to fight termites around the barn.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ruger's Project Valour-IT Auction For December 5


Ruger announced another gun auction to benefit Project Valour-IT on November 21.  This is the fifth of six consecutively numbered Green Beret 10/22's made by Ruger in 1973.

 Ruger's writeup from the GunBroker auction page:  "There are only two of these rifles left! This is the fifth of six consecutive serial-numbered “Green Beret” 10/22 Carbine rifles Ruger is auctioning off. The serial number of this rifle is 110-63737 and the rollmark date is May 31, 1973. The Green Beret is worn only by qualifying United States Army Special Forces soldiers. These soldiers played a significant role during the Vietnam conflict, and because these rifles were rollmarked in 1973, it is possible they were prototype samples of Vietnam-era commemorative rifles. The barrel, receiver, trigger, trigger guard, barrel band, and butt plate are Teflon-coated olive drab green. “RUGER GREEN BERET” is stamped on the left side of the receiver. The Sturm, Ruger address is stamped on the top of the barrel, and there is no manual warning on this gun. Other features include: an American walnut stock; 18-1/2” barrel; folding-leaf rear sight (adjustable for windage and elevation); and gold bead front sight. The frame is drilled and tapped for scope mounts. It will be shipped with a 10-round rotary magazine."

This auction will end December 5 at 12:30 PM Eastern Time.  Click Here to view the auction page.

Not Just Tough, It's Evil

Take a pistol with a red-dot sight zeroed at 25 yards, shoot a tiny target at 20 feet, and you not only have to squeeze off a good shot, you have to do it while guessing in the right amount of holdover. Zeke shot this target and completed it in 45 shots. Billll made the same score with iron sights on his Ruger, and I didn't threaten either one of them with my score.  Click Here to read the rules and print your target.  Send the scans of your targets to truebluetravelinman (at) gmail (dot) com, and I will post the results early in December.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Handgun Hunting Information From Ruger


Tom Kelly continues his series with RugerFirearms for the benefit of those who are interested in handgun hunting. In these two video presentations we learn about ammunition and accessories. Longtime readers of gun publications already know that many gun writers advocate large bore, hard cast bullets for taking big game. Mr. Kelly reinforces that idea when he cautions against using hollow points designed for self defense. That's something I haven't really pondered much, because of my personal hunting experiences. Going out behind one barn or another and taking deer at less than 25 yards, bullet choice is not terribly critical for me. One deer that I took with a .50 caliber roundball ran 50 yards with a disconnected heart, but the bullet did not exit because the soft lead expanded just like you would expect soft lead to do. If I hadn't nailed the heart, the lack of an exit wound might have made tracking the deer difficult.  Another deer season, I shot a little buck with a .58 caliber Minie ball at very short range, and that bullet made a very impressive exit wound; the deer still ran 50 yards.
 
 I've grown to prefer jacketed bullets over hard cast bullets, because they just seem to shoot better for me, and I don't shoot enough to make the extra cost a problem.  I wouldn't be afraid to shoot a deer with a jacketed hollow point at our place, given that my shots tend to be at very short range.  I think that my handloads would punch all the way through a whitetail just fine at 25 yards, but I take Tom Kelly's advice very seriously because he has hunted more game than I have, in many more situations.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Weekend Steam: Over There In France

Uploaded by wdtvlive42 on Jun 28, 2011 "During World War One the allies needed to construct railways throughout France to help move men and supplies. The quickest method available was to construct a network of two foot (60cm) narrow gauge lines. First we see Army personel laying the sleepers and track, ballasting work, loading and laying of pre-built trackwork. Next we take a ride on the train and see scenes of the railway in action as the little trains trundle along country lanes and through the town streets. The film ends with scenes of the train taking soldiers towards the front lines. After the war the lines were abandoned and most of the locomotives and rollingstock simply left where they were last used. "

Thursday, November 22, 2012

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation

"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789." G. Washington

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ruger's Project Valour-IT Auctions: You All Missed A Deal Last Week


 Some VERY lucky soul bought the Ruger M77 Mk II Police Rifle in .308 Win last week for a bargain price: $965.  There isn't a rifle like this in Ruger's catalog this year, but just for comparison, the current Ruger Tactical Rifle lists for $1199.  The current model has a 20" barrel, which is more convenient for packing, but will give you a lot more muzzle blast than the 26" barrel of the Police Rifle.  The current model has a molded stock instead of the laminate wooden stock of the Police Rifle, and it also has two forward studs, but does not include a Harris bipod. 


You really need to be paying attention to these auctions every week in case Ruger offers something that you would like.  The current item, which will sell on Wednesday, November 21 is this One-Of-A-Kind .44 Magnum Vaquero with the state of Arizona stamped on the left side.  This gun is perfect for home defense, the trail, or for your collection Click Here to follow the auction, and remember that it goes Wednesday, November 21, Mid-Day.  Your bidding helps wounded heroes, so please be generous!

Tougher Than It Looks; The November e-Postal...

...But a challenge can be a lot of fun. This weekend while the family is together, set up to have everybody try their hand at shooting the Mr. Completely e-Postal match.

Billll, of Bill's idle mind has submitted his target, shot with a Ruger Mk I, with iron sights. The smallest soda bottle and the gong are harder to hit than I thought they would be, and the score to beat with an iron sighted .22 pistol is 45. I am going to give it a go with the Mk III using a red-dot sight on top, and if I don't embarrass myself too badly, I may try it with the Single-Six. Click Here to get the target and study the rules. Use a sling if you shoot this contest with a rifle.  Keep your elbow under the stock, and don't drag wood.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Brownells Range Wagon


 One of the instructors at the Montrose, Iowa Appleseed shoot this fall used this neat little gadget to move his range supplies.  If you have several guns, ammo, cleaning supplies, targets, and etc. to move from the car to the shooting range, you need one of these.   It would also make a great gift for that shooter that already has everything.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Little Good News About The Drought


 Back during the summer I checked several tree planting projects, and it didn't look pretty.  I was seeing 90 % dead trees in projects; but hardwoods are pretty tough, and they have a few tricks up their sleeve.
 The pines we planted last spring are gone for good, but many of the hardwood shut down and kept their roots alive.  The rains we had around Labor Day revived them and they are much better than I had hoped.
 The hard part is finding them; the trick:  look for the leaves, not the stem.  The leaves really stand out in Fall Panicum and other annual weeds.

 Spot the leaves, and then you can see the tree.


Easy.  And it sure is encouraging.