Sunday, April 30, 2017

When You See A Turtle Forty Feet Up In A Tree...

...somebody has a problem!


 How'd that guy get up there?!


 He just climbed up out of the pond!


We heard and felt the big pin oak go down last night around 11 P.  It shook the house, and at first I thought it was thunder, but then realized it wasn't thunder.  I checked the porch with a flashlight, thinking a varmint had knocked something down, but the porch was all clear.



Sheba says: Somebody wants to bury an awfully big bone!"


Most of the crown is stuck in the bottom of the pond.  We will have to hire a Cat with a winch to pull this sucker out of there.


That's a lot of wood to pull out, isn't it?!

We had a pin oak prediction pool with one entrant:


Merle is the winner, since he was the only one who stuck his neck out! We will think of something for a prize....

Saturday, April 29, 2017

On Target: We All Need The Practice!

We sure did enjoy hosting the Mr. Completely e-Postal contests, but participation dropped off to the point where we had to cut it off.  Since then I have noted that we are not shooting as often as we should.  That monthly contest kept us all tuned up and we practiced at least one day a month.

We will see if we can remedy this problem.  Here is a new target for improving your skills.  A link for the pdf file will be on the left side of the blog so you can print it whenever.  Shoot it with whatever you wish, and whatever range you wish.  I recommend 50 to 75 feet for rifle or 15 to 25 feet for pistol. The way I am shooting it is 3 shots left, 3 shots right, and then one shot for each quadrant of the center.  Make up your own rules and have a good time!


Friday, April 28, 2017

Arbor Day: Let's Plant A Tree!

We moved a basswood volunteer today and broke out the video camera to share it with you.  Hand planting seedlings is easy once you learn the moves.  It works best before middle-age-spread sets in, though.


Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms Sell Out Illinois Gun Shops and Owners!

From Valinda Rowe, of Illinois Carry: Springfield Armory's commemorative model to memorialize selling out their customer base, IL gun shops and gun owners this week by giving up the fight against SB1657 Dealer Licensing bill. Only cost 30 pieces of silver (votes).

If you are attending the NRA Annual Meeting, drop by the booths of these two Illinois companies and drop a dime for them.  Let them know that you know!



SB1657 passed out of the Senate yesterday with 30 votes - after Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms withdrew their opposition, in exchange they were exempted from being affected by the bill. Valinda Rowe.

Weekend Steam: U.P Mainline Steam!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Eleven Shot In St. Louis Last Weekend...

...and several of them dead. Click  It scares me to go into St. Louis nowadays.  About forty years ago I drove through St. Louis on my way to East Kentucky, and it was late at night. Going over the Mississippi, a car got on my tail and I could see when we passed lights that there were three big Afro haircuts in that car.  They followed me well into Illinois, and it gave me an educational scare. I did learn from this that I can load a single action revolver in the dark while I am driving 55 MPH, with someone on my tail.  They finally backed off and I keep my head on a swivel to this day.  Be alert, be prepared, stay alive. Here are a couple of Colin Flaherty's latest videos.

Routine Activity Theory

Aberrant Behavior?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Ash: A Clear Sign


Emerald Ash Borer has been on the march for many years, and now the trees at our place are obviously infested.  This is classic.  The tips are dead, the leave coming out are the normal green color. (Not yellow, as trees with Ash Yellow Disease.) There are lots of epicormic sprouts, similar to the response to Ash Yellow.


Ash is prolific, and when you see the amount of reproduction ash trees produce, you would expect it to dominate. It usually is poorly represented in mature stands of timber, and I blame Ash Yellow for that.  Now we have the borer, and it attacks trees of all ages.  I don't know the future for ash in future eastern hardwood forests, but it looks as though it will be an extremely rare commodity.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Tuesday Torque: Hit and Miss Briggs and Stratton Engine

805 RoadKing is a great YouTuber, making lots of videos of cool engine projects.  This video is the final one of a series where the Road King turns a 1951 Briggs into a nifty hit-and-miss engine with a beautiful governor assembly.



Road King's current project is building a water-cooled Briggs engine, and it is equally as cool as this project.  Here is the play list if you want to see the process that this engine went through: LINK

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Gooses and Geeslings!



I don't know how they are avoiding all the snappers, coons, and coyotes, but there are still ten goslings, and they are growing!

The Easy Winners, Scott Joplin, Performed by Joshua Rifkin

Joshua Rifkin channels Scott Joplin.  I've never heard anyone who could play these songs better.  I first heard these renditions forty-five years ago, and they are still my favorites.  We feel like winners today.  It's been a beautiful Sunday, and I had a great nature walk around the pond.  No alarm for Monday!  Winner!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

If You Want Oak, Plant Pine


That's a line that foresters learn from other foresters, and from experience.  Our little pine stand is shortleaf that was planted sixty some years ago, and we enjoy watching the sun set behind them in the evenings.  There is a problem, though.  The pines have been dying at an alarming rate, and oaks; mostly white oaks, are filling the gaps.  We now officially have an oak-pine stand, something that you will see in the Ozarks where there is an occasional fire.  It is a timber type that requires fire for long term maintenance.  It's a good thing I am now retired.


This spring and summer I will be doing chainsaw work to move heavy fuel away from trees that I do not want to be harmed, and then I hope to get the first burn in this fall.  What is happening is this; oaks have seeded in with the help of mottled sunlight coming through the pine stand, and the pines have not been reseeding themselves because the need a fire to create a seedbed.  I should have been working on this for the last five years, but you know the cobbler's kids never have good shoes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Farming Is Much Faster Now...

...than it was when I was a kid. Our renter tilled this 40 in the morning and planted it in the afternoon.  Boy have things changed!  I remember my parents reading in the newspaper when I was a kid that John Deere was discontinuing the 2-cylinder engines and was going to inline engines like the other manufacturers were building.  I thought the World was coming to an end!  I have loved that sound all my life, so here's a little bit of that, just for fun.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Chainsaw Fail Video: This Poor Guy...

...needs to take a class.  Here are the basics for looking at lean/weight on a tree and figuring out if you can handle it, or need to call a guy with a bucket truck. (If a tree has a chance for hitting an improvement, you don't take chances! You call the guy with the truck!)

Lean Limit Basics

There is an easy set of guidelines for limits of lean you can handle on a tree you need to fall. Measure the distance from the back of the hinge to the back of the stump. Say it's 1 foot. That will be your segment length. Measure the height of the tree. If it is 50 feet tall you have a 50 segment tree. On 50 segment trees the limit on back lean you can handle with wedges is about 10 feet. (Not Fun!) That is true if the wood is solid and has good fiber strength. Eastern hemlock will be much less than that. Old black oak may be much less. Every tree has its own secrets. If it's taller by 10 feet, that's a  60 segment tree. Now the limit is about 8 feet.  If it's shorter by 10 feet to 40 segments,  the limit is about 12 feet. Tipping trees near the limit is hard, and the hinge may fail, making the tree go over backwards. A 1" wedge will move the top of a 50 segment tree 50 inches; two stacked 1" wedges can move the top 100 inches. Figure your height and number of segments on all trees that need wedging over and you will know if you can get it with the thickness of one wedge. Use parallel wedges to increase your lift.  Three side-by-side wedges will push three times as much weight as one wedge.

Your most important application of this skill is to know your limits on side lean, so you don't have the hinge fail. If 10 feet is the limit for back lean on a tree, the limit for side lean is less than 1/2 of that! That is because back lean is pulling equally across the hinge, but side lean is pulling hard on 1/2, and compressing the other half. Going too far on side lean will cause the hinge to fail, so don't push that at all. Watch some videos where people have side lean and do not pull against it. The tree will go where it wants! Look at all your trees from two vantage points to make a quadrant for weight and lean. You will then know within 90° where that tree will go if it is severed. You need to know that in case the hinge should fail you; then you will know where to step to avoid being crushed.


How do you determine the amount of lean? Step way back from the tree, at 90° from the fall line. Put your hands up in front of you and surround the crown. Bring your eye to the middle, and bring a line straight down. Note that spot, go to it and pace in to the stump (or measure).


PS: It looks like about 8 feet of back lean on this tree, and he probably could have wedged it over, but he used only one wedge.  You cannot pound one wedge against that much weight.  Instead, he cut the hinge thinner from the front, with predictable results.  If only he had watched a few of my videos he could proudly say, "I'm a logger!"

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Massachusetts Shooters Foundation


Ruger's offering this week is a Blackhawk Convertible made for Buckeye Firearms in .32-20/ .32 H & R Magnum in 1989.  It is up over $1000 already as I post this; who would have guessed that a rollmarked buckeye leaf would be such a hot item?  CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place that winning bid.  This fine revolver will sell mid-day April 19, 2017. (Patriots' Day + 242 years!)

$1026.11

Tuesday Torque: Let's Go Pump Some Arsenic!

I used to run across old orchard sprayers like these on my walks, but haven't seen any lately.  They have been sucked up by high scrap prices, I guess.  I saw a good one almost thirty years ago in deep Southern Illinois that had a restorable Fairbanks Dishpan engine, but the owner did not want to sell.  You will see a pretty good variety of engine makes on orchard sprayers, and believe it or not, the USGS has maps made showing the orchard locations from the Twenties to the Sixties because of possible soil contamination from arsenic, lead, and copper.  You have to wonder how farmers survived when they were spraying arsenic insecticide and getting it all over themselves.  Anyway, here are a few old sprayers with different engines for your viewing pleasure.






Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Strenuous Life, by Scott Joplin, Performed by Cory Hall...

...at a pace for seniors.  Back when this was written, Teddy Roosevelt was still a force in the world, and he promoted "The Strenuous Life".  Lived it, too.  Cory's rendition is a bit sedate for me, but heck, I'm 65 now, and I'm not setting my alarm in the morning!


Carmi Rifle Club to Host NRA Women On Target Shooting Clinic

The Carmi Rifle Club in Carmi, IL will be hosting its annual NRA Women On Target instructional shooting clinic for women on Saturday, May 6, 2017. The day will begin with registration at 8:30 A.M., followed with firearm safety orientation and instructional sessions for shotgun, .22 caliber handgun in the morning, and rifles and centerfire handguns in the afternoon.  Participants will be treated to a picnic lunch.  The purpose of the clinic is to provide training in the safe handling of shotguns, rifles and pistols in a relaxing, non-competitive, and fun filled environment. The clinic will conclude at approximately 3 P.M. Firearms, ammunition, targets and lunch will be provided by the club. The event is made possible in part by the Friends of the NRA Foundation.

The event will be supervised by NRA certified instructors and range safety officers as well as experienced club members. The club is located north of Carmi on County Road 1250 E, just off Illinois Highway 1.

Registration for the clinic costs $30 per participant. Pre-registration is required. To register, contact Valinda Rowe at Six One Eight-Nine Six Three-Two Seven Eight Eight, or send an email to VRowe (at) mvrowe (dot) com.



Women On Target, 2016

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Life Is A Risky Business


Last year our resident geese were not successful.  We never saw the first gosling.  We have coons, possums, skunks, and coyotes all competing for eggs and baby geese to eat.  We knew that the geese were setting, because we have been seeing only one at a time.  Today the babies appeared, and they sure are cute.  Now, if they can avoid snapping turtles, they might have a chance to grow up.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Enjoying Life To The Fullest...

...and also dead critters!


I see this behaviour frequently.  Evidently they enjoy the Sun's warmth as much as humans do.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Nature Lover Eye Candy


                                                                      Bluebells


                                                             Emerging Hickory Leaves


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Have You Watched Hickok45 Today?

I don't miss a day.  He seems a bit off his game in this video, though.


Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Massachusetts Shooters Foundation



Here's a very special deal from Ruger this week!  These Mk II pistols have consecutive serial numbers, and are prototypes for the training pistols that Ruger would make for the U.S. Army.  The U.S. mark is larger than on the production model.  This set has jumped from $350 to $2583.66 in 18 bids.  These collector pieces will sell mid-day, April 12, 2017.  CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place your bid.  $4050!!!!  Holy Cow!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Tuesday Torque: Restoration Challenges

If you fool around with old machines you will encounter poured babbit bearings, and you may have to make some yourself.  I poured the rod bearing for the 9 HP Economy that you see  in Gary Bahre's engine shed. Zeke helped my do that when he was just a little guy.  Gary had to pour a new rod bearing for the Bessemer 8 HP engine after the new rod was built.  I have poured many wire rope sockets with babbit, back when I mechanicked for a living.  The  MadMailer has just posted a good video showing a challenging project, and he says there will be a part II, so stay tuned.


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Makin' Wood Again

We're cutting wood while the weather is still cool, and the ticks aren't very thick.  Here's a nearly dead blue spruce we worked up for next winter's kindling.  Made a lot of stove wood today, too.


We All Need Time At The Range!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Weekend Steam: The Rock Train, Climax Locomotive!

This video is actually an advertisement, but it is a joy to watch.  Climax locos are mighty rare, and there are some good closeups here.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Can You See It?


Click on the first pic and look up in the fork on the right tree (black oak snag).  Do you spot things like this when you are out in the woods?  Landowners are always amazed when I point out the animals hiding overhead, and I really don't know why these things stand out to me.  I trip a lot when I'm in the woods because I do look up more than I look down.


Here it is.  We seem to be covered up in coons the last few years.


Not too many people hunt or trap them now, and the numbers are really up.


Coons, skunks, possums, and coyotes are all nest predators, sucking eggs and eating baby birds.  I think the depression in the fur market is the reason that we are seeing fewer wild turkeys the last few years.


Here's another one, up in a squirrel's leaf nest in a hickory tree. Squirrels like to suck eggs, too, and not very many people hunt squirrels.  Funny thing about these coons.  You can whistle, yell, stomp, and they just go right on taking their nap.  Squirrels will scoot around a tree and try to stay out of sight, but coons don't care.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Massachusetts Shooters Foundation



This week Ruger is offering a 1977 Convertible Blackhawk in .357 Magnum/9mm.  These are great guns, and it's one you can shoot and not worry about buying a safe queen.   It sells mid-day, April 5, 2017.  Click Here to read all about it and to place your bid.  $735

Monday, April 3, 2017

Tuesday Torque: Twelve Turning

You can read all about the Dornier DO-X on Wikipedia. It was first built with twelve 524 HP engines, which were swapped out for 610 HP Curtiss water-cooled V-12 engines, so the plane could reach a safe cruising altitude.  There were only three built, and there were many problems, but it was important from a pioneering and engineering standpoint.  This radio-controlled model appears much more airworthy than the original planes.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Saturday, April 1, 2017

One More Daffodil Post

Our daffodils have been beautiful this year, but they are just about done now.  I took these photos last week, and I could have taken more today, but I spared you and stifled the urge.