Saturday, October 21, 2017

Go Git Wood, Everybody; We're About To Be Snowbound!


Well, Susan didn't want to wait for the weather; she went to our infallible source so we could see if the coming winter will be tolerable or not.  Today she brought in a persimmon and cut open a seed.  SPOON!  That means we will be shoveling snow.


Not content with one seed, she split open three more, and the sign is unmistakable.  Polish up your snow shovels with a little cooking oil so you can pitch snow, stack extra wood closeby, and have tarps handy to cover your wood before snowstorms.  Lay in extra coffee, and plenty of beans and cornmeal.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Weekend Steam: A Review of Old Threshers, 2017

This video has only 13 views, but it is pretty good.  It shows familiar engines and sights around the show grounds at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. 


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Three New Fosters Posted On Midwest Schipperke Rescue!

Tuesday of this week we took Little Bear to the Vet for his heartworm check; he is free of the nasty parasites now!  With that good news we contacted Midwest Schipperke Rescue with all of our information so the dogs can be posted for adoption.  


 Titan is a young high energy Schipperke. He loves to rip and requires room to run. He is  quick to pick up on obedience commands. He loves to play on the backyard agility equipment.  A good chain-link fence is imperative as he is a high escape risk. After exercising he can become a lap dog and begs to have your attention. He gets along well with most of our dogs but would challenge another alpha. He is  food aggressive. We have had no accidents but due to his high energy level, he stays in a large exercise pen which he respects in the house. We give him numerous exercise periods outside, and he comes to the door when we call. He gets along with men and women, but would not be a good match with small children. He has no known health issues. A strong, firm but gentle Schipperke parent that is willing to work with a high energy dog  will be a great match for Titan.


Bear is a sweet "cuddlebug". Bear loves to sit on your lap and relax, but outside he can be very playful.  He has a very strong ratting tendency and does NOT accept cats. He may have had a scrap with a cat or other animal in the past as he has a small scar on his nose.  He has had no accidents in the house but he is closely supervised and let outside on a very regular basis. He walks on a leash nicely.  Our best guess on age is around 5 - 8 years old. He gets along great with men and women but has not been around young children.He gets along with other dogs in the house, but does like to be the center of attention. He has undergone heartworm treatment and now confirmed negative.  He will  need  dental but that is the only known health concern. He will make a great little buddy.


Koda is a beautiful chocolate schipperke. Do not let his striking color fool you. He is all schipperke.  He loves to play with toys and can rip around a yard at the speed of ...well faster than you can run. He is a shy dog at first.  He is apprehensive of new situations. We are not sure of his age but 8 is a guess. You will need to go slow with him and if you have other pets introduce him slowly.  He does get along with the other Schipperkes that he is presently living with but, can be protective of his space. He knows his name but does not always have a reliable recall.  He walks on lead without pulling.  He is very loving once he gets to know you.  He has not been exposed to children, but I would not place him with small children due to his shy nature. There have been no incidents of nipping or biting while at his foster home. He is not a cat lover and should not be placed in a home with cats.  He does love older people and seeks them out for affection.  Although not a lap dog.  He will sit on your lap and enjoys being brushed. He has not had any accidents in the house, but is taken out frequently and supervised while loose in the house.  He does not appear to have any health concerns. He has had a recent dental and lost most of his back teeth. He eats a kibble softened slightly. He gets along with both men and women. He will make an outstanding loyal companion when he has built a solid relationship with you.

Interested parties must fill out the Midwest Schipperke Rescue application and submit it to Mary Cox. LINK  Mary's email address is at the bottom of the application. Schipperkes are a big flight risk, and a fenced dog yard is highly recommended.  Midwest will look at applications critically and try to fit these dogs into the best homes possible. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I Can Hardly Wait For Skipper To Wake Me Up In The Morning!


This was yesterday.  This morning there was just the thinnest of crescent moons, just about 15° ahead of the sun. The camera in the phone could not capture it.  Tomorrow is the New Moon.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Wounded Warriors Outdoors


Ruger is offering a New Model Single Six Convertible in .22 LR and .22 Magnum.  It was manufactured in 1977 and has been stored in the Ruger vault for forty years.  The 4 5/8" barrel length is perfect for packing when you will be getting in and out of a utility vehicle or pickup truck.  It will sell mid-day, Wednesday, October 18, 2017.  Click Here to read all about it and to place your bid.  Holy Cow!  $1276!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Tuesday Torque: Miami Sideshaft Engine

One of these Miami engines was featured in Gas Engine Magazine recently.  A fellow found one that had been butchered by having the end of the cylinder cut off, a wedge installed on the piston; and then it was used as a wood splitter.  The parts were all there, but the cylinder was worthless.  The dedicated hobbyist made a pattern and associated cores for casting, and had a new cylinder made.  It was not easy to find a foundry capable of making the intricate casting, but he succeeded. He then had the machining done and built his partly new Miami engine.  It's an intricate piece of machinery, and it could be called a work of art; at least in my book.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Looks Like Old Times!



Back To The Old Grind! (I am staying retired this time. Working up wood, doing yard work, fixing the old truck. I don't have time for a job!)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fall Colors


No frost yet, and the extended dry spell hurt the display.  Hickories and ash are showing yellow for a few days, and then turning brown and falling.  Persimmon is all turning a brilliant yellow and giving good hang-time.  This is sassafras, and you have to get up close to appreciate it.  It is mostly muted this Fall.


Sumacs are steady performers, and provide color when other trees are drab.


Here is one of our persimmons, coming through again with color to brighten our day.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Weekend Steam: Fall Steam/Gas Shows

Check the Show Directory under the Stoke Up label and navigate to your state or to October.  This weekend is the Boonville, Indiana show, and next weekend (Oct 20-22) is the Pinckneyville, Illinois show.  Here are a couple of videos we shot at previous Pinckneyville shows.




Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ever Hear Of A Sugar Baby?

That's what Caterpillar called these skid-steer D-6s.  They were used to haul wagon trains of sugar cane from the field, and were built in the 1950's and 1960's.  I saw my first one the other day, and it was a surprise. 





Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Boonville, IN Show, October 13, 14, 15! Be There!



The Boonville Antique Steam and Gas Engine Club's fall show is happening this weekend; October 13, 14, and 15, 2017.  Boonville is just a short drive from the Boonville, Lynnville exit on I-64 in southwestern Indiana. There will be a fascinating assortment of tractors, gas engines, steam engines, and other machinery, plus a great flea market. There is food available on the grounds, and the fall weather is usually perfect for enjoying a full day of activities. This is one of the best little shows in the country, so load up the family and go!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Wounded Warriors Outdoors


Ruger is offering a Service Six in .357 Magnum, made in 1983.  It was returned to the factory by a distributor, and is marked with a U for Used.  This fine revolver will sell mid-day, Wednesday, October 11, 2017.  CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place your bid. $675

Monday, October 9, 2017

Tuesday Torque: 9 HP Economy Restoration Is Done!

Regular visitors will recognize this engine.  It's the big Economy engine that we found on Buck's Branch (of Beaver Creek), just above Martin Kentucky, back in the 1970's.  Gary has completed the drop-center cart, sanded for a couple days, painted, striped, and added decals.  It is ready for show.


Video by Gary Bahre

How Quick Are You?

This is a good video by Colin Flaherty, looking at how dangerous it is today, and the crookedness of the news and the justice system.  Something that I want to make sure you see is right after the 5:40 mark.  It's a mugging, and from the time the victim passes the perp until he runs with the goods, it is less than ten seconds.  You must be alert all the time when you are out in public; and at home, too.  Stuff happens fast.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Morning Dog Walks


It's worth getting up early to walk dogs so you can see the sunrise.  We had a little weather activity today that was dramatic, and even got a little sun pillar action.


It's been dry, and the trees aren't coloring up like they usually do.  Ash will turn yellow for a couple days and then drop.  Walnut has been pretty good, and so has persimmon. Here we have some shining sumac that always puts on a good show along the driveway.


A squall line ran through this evening and dropped a little rain.  The fire danger should drop a bit, and maybe some of the trees can show off a little color now as we lead up to frost.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Thrills In The Mailbox



I bought the Buck 110 Folder in 1971 and carried it for many, many years.  The lock began to slip, and I stashed it away, figuring I would send it off to Buck one day to be repaired.  The big CRKT knife was new in '06, and it saw a lot of use until about a year ago when I noted that the liner-lock had worn, and was in danger of slipping off the back end of the blade.  I sent both knives off to their respective parents for repair recently.  I opened the mailbox a few days ago, and there were two packages!  Buck repaired the 110 Folder.  It has a stiff new spring and a new latch; they also touched up the blade and polished the wood and brass.  CRKT sent me an entirely new knife!  No charges; not even shipping!  You can't beat service like that!  I highly recommend both of these companies if you are shopping for a knife.

The Final Forty

The second crop soybeans are done.  Dusty!  My eyes got scratchy when the combine turned around.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Wounded Warrior Outdoors


Ruger is offering another of their ever popular .44 Magnum Carbines this week.  This one was rollmarked in 1982, and it is one of the 25th anniversary Carbines.  It will sell mid-day, October 4, 2017. CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place your bid.  $1825

Tuesday Torque: Road King Continues On His Maytag



Saturday, September 30, 2017

Who Keeps Whom Hopping?


We have three fosters right now in addition to our own dogs, and we stay busy putting them in the dog yard, doing leash walks, and playing with them on their new exercise equipment.  This is Titan jumping through the hoop.  There are also lots of trips to the Vet.  In the last week we have had two of the fosters and our little Skipper to the Dr, and also took the two barn cats in for vaccinations.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Weekend Steam: The Modern Steam Locomotive, 1942

Great Film!  We even get to watch one being built!  Thanks to Merle for spotting this one!


Olney FFA Does It Again!

Jamie VanDyke's FFA team will be making their third trip to the FFA National Convention in October after winning the state FFA Forestry Contest at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.


Jamie's team took top honors at the sectional contest that was held at Sam Dale Lake State Park on September 11.  Jamie and his team stayed after the contest for a tutoring/review session and they have been working hard so they might go to the national contest again.  In 2016 the Olney team placed third in the nation; a remarkable achievement for kids from corn and bean country.

Tree ID

This year the contest consists of a written general knowledge test, tree identification, timber measurement, equipment identification, map interpretation, tree disorders, and chainsaw troubleshooting and knowledge.  Contestants at the national contest are also individually interviewed by judges.


Sycamore; An Easy One!

Team Photo Credit, Jamie VanDyke, Richland County Schools

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Buck's Branch Economy Is Getting All Dressed Up!


The 9 HP Sears Economy Engine that we collected in Eastern Kentucky nearly forty years ago is now sitting on a proper drop-center cart!  During its working life, the engine was bolted down on timbers in its mill shed, but a cart makes an engine much easier to move and to show.  Gary Bahre put the Sears on  cart he built with Case separator wheels and wooden timbers, but it stood too tall, and was hard to crank.  A high center of gravity also made the Sears worrisome when it was being trailered. Gary can breathe much easier now when he takes it to shows.


Mr. Mahnke of Mahnke Motorsports is the artist who stitched this all together.  He is also the builder of the rod for Gary's 8 HP Bessemer.




Stay tuned for updates.  Gary is planning to have this rig painted before cold weather arrives, and then it will be ready to show.

Photo Credit:  Gary Bahre

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Win A Hi-Point Carbine!


No Kidding, this is a chance to win a free pistol-caliber-carbine from Hi-Point, and all you have to do is enter Right Here.  This is too good to pass up, and the Hi-Point Carbines are fine guns for recreation, home defense, and varmint control around your compound.

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Wounded Warrior Project


Ruger is offering one of the best looking firearms they produce this week.  It is a 5 1/2" Super Blackhawk with a fluted cylinder, in .44 Magnum.  I have one of these, and it is a joy to shoot.  This revolver was sent to a distributor in 1989 and was returned to the factory for unknown reasons.  This fine shooting iron will sell mid-day Wednesday, September 27, 2017.  CLICK HERE to read the full description and to place your bid. $721

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Ground Hard


I worry about little stuff.  If crops weren't being picked now, everybody would be talking about the drought.  The ground cannot be dug easily right now, and there are critters who will soon need to dig in and disappear for the winter.  Turtles are patient and persistent, but when you see them digging in dry soil to lay eggs or to overwinter, it pulls at your heart a bit.  We might get rain next week...

Friday, September 22, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I Never Picked Cotton!


I saw on the 'net that some angry, offended gal got all bent out of shape because she saw a display featuring cotton plants and bolls in a store.  She got offended because it reminded her of slavery; at least that's what she said.  There's a darn good chance that it didn't remind her of work, because I don't think she has ever worked a real job.  Her profile picture on a popular Internet page shows her reading some poetry by Maya Angelou, so she is probably more about feelings than producing.


I can look at reminders of  work and not get angry.  I've  cleaned old appliances, moved big old chest freezers out of farmhouse basements, helped change crossties and pack ballast, taken care of quadraplegic college students, fought fires,  changed driveshafts and clutches on the side of the road, and worked behind a pulling unit on 95 degree days, and I don't get all pissed-off when I see reminders of the hard work. I am glad that I was able to be a wage earner for more than fifty years, and I don't have much patience for freeloaders.

My folks were sharecroppers in the Fifties and Sixties.  That was hard, and I am glad they broke out of it.  If you want to know hardship, be a young couple without the money to pay bills and have your milk cow drop over dead.  The Cotton Boll Gal doesn't know crap about hardship, or hard work. Here's a good song, just to remind us all that privilege, no matter your color, can be advanced by hard work.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Wounded Warriors


Ruger is offering a pair of P95's from 2001 with consecutive serial numbers!  These are manual safety pistols in 9mm, and the proceeds of this auction will go to benefit Wounded Warriors Outdoors.  This is a rare opportunity for Ruger fans, and this pair will sell mid-day, September 20, 2017.  Click Here to read all about it and to place your bid. $1275

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Banging My Head Against A Tree


For many years I have been cutting difficult trees on state sites, and making each one a lesson for the site staff.  I have explained many times the steps to cutting a tree; why we do it the way we do, and how to cut one without being hurt or killed.  So, Monday I was at one of those sites, and this is what I found.  These are classic "Cut the tree on an angle so the stump can push the tree over!" stumps.  I have yet to see a stump reach up and push on the bottom of a tree.  What stumps like this do is either cause the tree to barberchair, putting that tree up in the air so it can drop on you, or letting the tree slide off the stump, when it will decide where it is going to fall, based on how the weight is distributed after it hits the ground.  I have seen people smashed by both scenarios.  Shoulda saved my breath, I guess.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

You Get Two Guesses...

I just retired for the second time this year.  My contract work was more intense than I thought it would be, but it was very satisfying.  The new District Forester at Fairfield is up and running.  I think she will do great things in the years ahead.  Mel Gerardo was the first DF at Fairfield.  He was a Marine vet, and he fought at the Chosin Resorvoir.  I have eternal respect for him.  He left Fairfield to run the state nursery at Anna-Jonesboro, and he was superb in that job.  Rick Moore was the second DF; then Gary Stratton, who was my boss while I worked at Fairfield.  Jenny Lesko is the new District Forester, and she has a solid foundation with her education at Notre Dame and Purdue.  I think she will do great things in District 19, Fairfield, Illinois.

Anyhow, which of these do you think fits my mood tonight?





Yep, I feel good! Bobby's song is a downer, and it is great to be permanently unemployed!

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation


Ruger is offering a 22/45 Competition model from 2000 this week. The 22/45's are lighter than the metal framed Mk series pistols, and we seem to shoot our 22/45's more than we do our all metal Rugers.  This particular pistol has a damaged rear sight blade, and Ruger will replace it before shipping to the winner of this auction.  It will sell at mid-day, September 13, 2017, so Click Here to read the entire description and place your winning bid.  $456.22

Monday, September 11, 2017

Tuesday Torque: 20 HP Fairbanks From 1906

The most interesting part of this video for me is seeing the operator hit the 'Match Starter.' which was used on some of the early big gas engines.  The writeup says they are using caps, and that would probably be more dependable than Ohio Blue Tips matches.  What a great save!


Many thanks to Merle for spotting this great vid!

Where Were You?


I was on my way to this little patch of timber to do a TSI marking for the landowner.  I would make a pass and come back to the truck and listen to the news.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Final Monday For This Old Boy!

Our good engine friend Gary Bahre visited Old Threshers at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa this year, and brought back a couple of good grinder photos for us!  These grinders used to be on every farm and were used for sharpening mower sections.  A cow's gotta eat!



Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Gary and Debbie Stratton, Illinois Tree Farmers Of The Year, 2017!


Gary and Debbie Stratton of Dahlgren are the recipients of the 2017 Illinois Outstanding Tree Farmer of the year.  This award presented by the Illinois Tree Farm Committee is sponsored by the American Forest Foundation and recognizes private landowners for their achievements in managing and modeling sustainable forest management.  Their goals, like many Tree Farmers, are to enhance wildlife by maintaining a healthy forest and utilize forest products to supplement their income.  Tree Farms across the nation are annually recognized for their efforts promoting sustainable forestry.

The Stratton's tree farm consists of 197 acres and has been in a forest management program for over 35 years.  Timber has been professionally marked for harvest on 3 separate occasions, thinning and crop tree release practices have occurred throughout.  A cabin was built using harvested lumber.  This property is a mix of forest and non-forest habitats with 3 wildlife watering ponds, six 1/2 acre wildlife openings planted with annual/perennial food plots and nesting/brood rearing habitat.  In addition, over 2 miles of hiking/access trails and several miles of temporary firebreaks necessary for controlled burning of invasive plant species are being utilized.  This multiple use concept makes it possible to manage and maintain a sustainable forest with the added benefits of hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife/bird watching and mushroom hunting.

Photo and text courtesy of the Illinois Tree Farm Committee; used with permission.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Weekend Steam: Really Big Engines

Merle is doing great work finding and previewing steam videos.  This one shows the largest operating triple expansion engines in the world.  There are two of these babies, and each one pumped 19 million gallons of water per day from the Thames.  They are close to the size of engine that was used in the Titanic.


Thanks, Merle!

Gonna Miss This Good Old Boy

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Winding Down


I'm down to the last few days of my post-retirement job, and much of it has been revisiting old cases.  The Tree Farm people would turn white as a sheet if they saw how their sign is being displayed, but this is one of my favorite landowners.  He started working with timber in my district in 1956, and passed away just two years ago.  He planted a bunch of trees over the years on several different properties.  He was a tanker in Europe in WWII, but he never told me anything about it, other than he went to reunions every year. His daughter is selling off the properties one-by-one, and there will be many happy new landowners because of his work over the decades.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Here's a special one this week; an engraved Ruger New Vaquero in .357 Magnum caliber, made in 2007.  Click on the pic to enlarge and take a good look at this beauty.  It sells mid-day, September 6, 2017.  They don't come much nicer than this!  CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place that winning bid. $1312



Tuesday Torque: Back To 805 Road King's Maytag Project

Last time we looked at parts 1-5, so we will continue at 6.










Sunday, September 3, 2017

My Last Labor Day!

I became a wage slave in September, 1965, and in the years since have been unemployed a total of two weeks.  I retired at the end of February this year, but it didn't last long.  My boss called up and asked me to come back on contract to do some work that had to be done before they could get a new hire in; so I did.  I wound that up last week, and will spend the next few days showing the new District Forester around the Fairfield and Olney forestry districts.  Anyhow, here are a few good work songs to celebrate.















Saturday, September 2, 2017

Aw Shucks!

I got behind a farm truck the other day as the corn harvest in Southern Illinois began.  He was raining an impressive bunch of corn shucks as he sped down the highway.  I am guessing this was a load of ensilage.  Does anybody have a better idea?


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Crime Wave Going Around The Country

I know Colin Flaherty is promoting his books, but he sure does a great service to all of us by documenting the crime wave that we are suffering, and that the national news hacks are careful to dance around.  Here is a stack of videos that are cherry-picked from Colin's work over the last week.  St. Louis is just down the road a bit for us, and we go there regularly.  People get cold-cocked right on Gravois, just a hop, skip, and a jump from Susan's sister's home where we hang out up there.  Iowa City/Cedar Rapids is also a great spot to have your head beaten in.  This crap is everywhere!















And this is what our court systems do for us...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation


Ruger has a beautiful M77 Express Rifle on the auction block this week.  French Walnut, Express Sights, and 7mm Magnum, together make an irresistable package!  It is New In Box in Ruger's vault, just waiting to be shipped to the winner's FFL.  This fine rifle sells mid-day, August 30, 2017.  Click Here to read the full description and to place your winning bid.  $1375