Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Pleasant Note To End The Year

Gary Bahre has completed his finishing touches for the 8 HP vertical Bessemer, and he fired it up today.



It's been a long time coming! 1976...


1992; A yard ornament...


2014; The hard part begins!


Parts... (Gary Bahre photos)



Sleeved! (Gary Bahre photo)


New Rod! (Gary Bahre photo)


Almost Done, Pinckneyville, October 2015


Found on a farm in Lawrence County Kentucky in 1976, brought to Illinois in 1980, this engine held a mailbox by the side of the road from 1992 until 2014. Gary Bahre took it on as a project and has made a basket case run again. During this engine's working years it powered a sorghum press at Martha, Kentucky. It had water in it during a freeze, and the water jacket was broken. When we bought it there was a big, ugly brazing job holding the water jacket together. Gary Bahre cleaned that up so it hardly shows now. The farmer continued to use this engine until the rod broke; we guess sometime during the 1920's. It sat outside and rusted until I saw it in 1976 as I was going to a timber marking job at Martha. My wife and I went there after work, bought it from the son of the man who originally purchased and ran it, and we loaded it in the back of our AMC Rebel station wagon.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

With No Help From Me


After my little surprise yesterday it is a good time to remind myself that some trees are more ready to come down than others.  I saw this one last February, and it collapsed all by itself.  Stick a saw into one this rotten, and it may come down around your ears.  A sounding axe is a valuable accessory when cutting snags and high risk trees. I promise to thump a little more than I have been doing lately.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hinge Failure; Know Where You Will Move In Advance!

If you cut snags you will sooner or later have a hinge failure, and the  tree will go early, or go backwards.  It should not try to go to either side because you set up your hinge so there is no side lean, didn't you?  That makes unwanted hinge failures easy to deal with most of the time. Here's what it looks like, up close.  Pay attention when the saw goes out the back and you can hear the fibers in the hinge pull when the tree sits back on the stump.


Loading And Firing A Civil War Mortar

Merry Christmas From Mike Rowe

"He went for his gun but I pulled mine first."

It is generally better to stay behind walls rather than go out to confront bad guys, but this homeowner did OK; as long as prosecutors see it his way.



The homeowner will not be charged!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Marlene Dietrich, December 27, 1901

She made something like 500 appearances for Allied troops during World War II.


Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation


Here's a chance to buy a nearly new (It is marked Used.) Ruger Standard Model pistol, made in 1979.  This gun has been residing in Ruger's vault for many years, and now it can be yours!  Click Here to read all about it and to place your bid.  This rare find will be auctioned off mid-day, Wednesday, December 28, 2016.  100% of the proceeds of this sale will go to benefit the Light Foundation. $755

Rifle or Pistol, Pull The Trigger Without Moving

Monday, December 26, 2016

Tuesday Torque: Bessemer Update


Gary Bahre has been fine-tuning the 8 HP upright Bessemer this winter.  The magneto drive gears were just a bit loose on their shafts, so a flywheel was removed, the gears came off, and had new bushings installed.

This view allows you to see the manual cut-in lock for the early 20th Century impulse mechanism on the magneto drive, and the ramps that are part of the governor actuating system. The rest of the governor mechanism is mounted on the flywheel.


The magneto on this engine has its own impulse for starting, so this impulse mechanism has been locked in the "run" position. The old spring doesn't have much snap left, anyhow.


Gary also took off the side plates and adjusted the rod shims now that the babbit rod bearing is broken in.  This  engine will run like a champ now, and it should start easier, too, with this magneto setup.  Gary is letting the gasket compound solidify this week, and he plans to fire it up on New Year's Day.

Photo Credit: Gary Bahre

John Denver and the Muppets: The Twelve Days Of Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

12 Pounder and Cannister Shot!

This is a fascinating look at smoothbore artillery used during the Civil War.  If you have been to a re-enactment with artillery you have been cheated just a bit.  The brass cannons firing powder only make a nice boom, but you are missing something.   The brass tubes ring like a bell when a projectile goes rattling down the bore.  You get to hear plenty of it in this video, so enjoy this rare treat.


Old Toy Trains, Roger Miller

Monday, December 19, 2016

Tuesday Torque: 2016 Engine Shows Come To A Close

Our friend Gary Bahre shot a few videos at the last engine gathering in our area.  Bob Gill of Paducah hosts a private crankup every year in the late fall, and there is always a good turnout.  It was 16° and there was frost on the engines, but they all fired up.  Here is a very nice IHC Famous engine that belongs to Bob.


I Saw Three Ships, Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Necessary Facebook Page For Dog Lovers

We belong to and follow the Facebook page, I Love My Schipperkes.  It is just one of several Schipperke pages we follow, but the greatest joy on that page is seeing Eric Janssen's dog Saartje in natural Schipperke habitat; a boat on the waterways of the Netherlands.



Saartje seems to be leading an idyllic life on Eric's boat, and we look every day to keep up with her latest adventures.  It is a page worth watching. CLICK HERE.  Photo Credit: Eric Janssen, on his Facebook page.   Eric also publishes under his own name in addition to I Love My Schipperkes.

Once In David's Royal City, King's College Cambridge

Choir and Congregation

World War II Stories; John McCreary

Imagine being tangled in barbed wire in enemy territory, taking your boots and clothes off to get out of the wire, and then being captured. This is a great interview with John Mc Creary, who passed away in 2009. You will wish you had met him after you listen to him.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Muzzleloading Artillery!

It's all kinds of fun if nobody is shooting at you, and if you have time to swab before loading.  Get in a hurry, and the rammer will remove your hand when a spark ignites the powder you are ramming.


It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation


Ruger has a rare one this week; a distributor sample of the Mk II series Competition model.  This firearm was shipped to Lipsey's, and after inspection it was returned to Ruger, where it has resided in the vault.  This fine, rare pistol will sell mid-day, Wednesday, December 13, 2016.  100% of the proceeds of this sale will go to benefit the Light Foundation. Click To Read And To Bid.  $813.88

Monday, December 12, 2016

Still, Still, Still, The Piano Guys

Tuesday Torque: Big Changes In The 1940's

The changeover to rubber tires was a huge topic in farm magazines 70 years ago.  Look at old magazines in flea markets and estate sales and  you will see that it was as big as the switch from steam to  gasoline.


Friday, December 9, 2016

Blue Christmas, Elvis Presley


That makes me think of this one:

Steam Engine Parts Stores: Building One The Hard Way!

Fifty years ago an old boy told me that steam shows wouldn't last because the engines were too expensive to maintain. He thought people would give up their old toys in the near future, way back in the 1960's. I am glad his pessimism has been proven wrong. These videos are from Herb Crosby, showing part of the work needed to preserve steam powered Lombard Log Haulers that were used in
the North Woods. Visit the Maine Forest and Logging Museum website HERE.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

It's Been A Great Fall

But it's all over now.  The weathermen are calling for So. Illinois to go down to 15° F tonight.  We have both stoves fired up, and extra wood is on the hearths so we don't have to step out in the night. Here are a few highlights from Autumn this year.




Christmas Time's A Comin', Bill Monroe

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, The Piano Guys

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation


Ruger is offering another 25th Anniversary .44 Magnum Carbine this week, and if you want one you might as well bid.  They don't seem to get any cheaper.  As I post this on Tuesday night the bid is up above $1500, but it is for a good cause.  Click Here to read all about it and to place that winning bid.  This fine little rifle will sell mid-day, Wednesday, December 7, 2016.  $1650

Frosty The Snowman, Jimmy Durante

Monday, December 5, 2016

Jingle Bell Rock, Bobby Helms

Tuesday Torque: Steamboat Arabia Artifact

I've been fascinated by steamboats since I was a little kid, but there aren't very many around to study.  There have been a few dug up by adventurers who did research and then went looking. Digging up a steamboat wreck is a tough job, because even though the boat may be under farm land now, it is still in the river valley, and the river also flows through the alluvium.  Digging out a boat is a real engineering feat, and you must have good pumps  to keep the hole dry, because the river will fill it right up from the bottom.

The Arabia is an exhibit  in Kansas City, and it is a must-see museum if you are in the vicinity.  Here is a necessary little steam engine from the boat that is little known today.  Boilers need to be fed, and water must be pumped from the hull to keep the boat afloat.  It looks like this engine performed both tasks.  It is a real piece of history.  Video by our friend Gary Bahre.


Friday, December 2, 2016

Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree, Brenda Lee

Weekend Steam: A Whole Lotta Iron!


It's hard to believe that big engines like this are still being found and saved. These videos are from '09 and 10, so I will have to look for more information and see if the engines have been reassembled.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays, Perry Como

Visiting Old Places

Most of my time during the last year was spent looking at tree plantings done over the last 25 years and writing new plans for them.  I haven't been back to many of these fields since I checked them after planting, and it is satisfying seeing a good looking young timber replacing a farm field that doesn't fit today's agriculture.


These pines and oaks are a project that repaired a worn out, eroded field in Wayne County, Illinois.  The fellow that planted these trees also planted a couple fields on his parent's farm, a few miles away.  I wrote up over a hundred projects like these over the last year, and more are showing up to do every week. I don't know how many trees I have helped people put in the ground, but one file drawer is nearly full of tree orders  from the last 28 years.


Getting back to this project; the man who planted these trees never got to enjoy them, and he comes to mind every time I go near this project.  He died in a house fire shortly after he planted them and that has always weighed on my mind.  He was just an average country boy who grew up on a farm and held down a job in addition to farming a bit. I called on his mother a few years back, and she was dressed up as if she was going to church.  She had fallen and actually broken a leg the night before.  She showered and dressed up, and she had me get her car out so she could drive herself to the hospital.  She wouldn't hear of me giving her a ride; she said she wasn't hurt that bad.  People's Good.