Friday, June 30, 2017

Weekend Steam: Overhauling A Locomotive

Thursday, June 29, 2017

An Oldie But Goodie To Share With You

If you are as old as I am, you heard Stonewall Jackson singing this song on the radio when you were a kid.


What brought that to mind is a real oddity.  I know a guy who had a little Gospel singing group back in the 1980's, up until recently.  He is getting close to 80 years old now, and it looks like he hung up his microphone. He started out using a Chevy van to travel and perform, but he soon outgrew that and needed something larger.  What he found was Stonewall Jackson's old tour bus. My friend was a real good mechanic and he made everything ship shape on the old bus, and I would see it on the road occasionally.


I saw the old boat today at a scrapper's premises on the outskirts of Bluford, Illinois, so I guess it's touring days are finally over. A 60 year career is a pretty good run, and I bet if some collector wants to sink some money in it, it would run for another 60 years. You must be good at working on Detroit Diesels and positive ground systems. That is IL Hwy 15 in front of the bus, so look up Bluford on the map and get going!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Black Powder Log Splitting Revisited

These photos and video segments are from the first video I posted on YouTube, almost ten years ago. I looked them up on an old hard drive and discovered some unused video of the pin oak log at the end, and decided it is worth sharing.  I would love to do some of this, but I have no idea how many laws a person might be breaking in Illinois, so I just enjoy the old vid.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Pattie's Happy Birthday


Pattie had her 93rd birthday today, and it was a good one! She had a constant string of well-wishers in person and on the phone, even a video call with Oscar, her Great-Grandchild!  Happy Birthday, Pattie!

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation


This week Ruger is offering a Mini 14 Ranch Rifle from 1994. It is a bit of a special one because of the NRA logo that is stamped into the receiver. It comes with one 5 round magazine and set of Ruger rings that fit the mounts machined into the receiver. This Mini 14 will sell mid-day, June 28, 2017, so CLICK HERE to read the entire description and to place your bid. $1025

The War Abroad

There is a video made in Afghanistan for recruiting volunteers for ISIS. Here is the LINK. It is on YouTube, and it concentrates much of the horror you would see if you have kept up with the murders of people that devout Muslims have been committing over the last many years. This is what is coming to our shores if the barbarians have their way. The infiltrators and infrastructure are already here. I don't usually do "Trigger Warnings," but there are beheadings, shootings, blood, and more. You don't have to watch, but at least be aware of what is coming, help spread the word, and fight the ignorance and lies about the evil they call Islam.

Update: YouTube pulled the video, and there is not a replacement on the new site where I saw it.If you had looked, you would have witnessed children shooting prisoners in the backs of their heads, Heads being cut off with knives, and prisoners being shot in the backs of their heads with rifles. More gruesomeness than anyone should witness, from religious zealots.

"Charlotte Is Average." This Is The War At Home



And, In Georgia:



The chicken wasn't cold, which is the explanation being promoted by all the news hacks. That accusation was just the excuse to get their food for nothing, and then to escalate to violence. It is typical behavior of predators to get into your space by asking for a light, spare change, or whatever. When someone does that, tell them to get the H--- away from you, and say it with authority.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Tuesday Torque: Stubborn Fairbanks 118 At Evansville

I sure do hope this fellow has put a few drops of oil in his crank handle by now. That squeaking really bothers me!

Well, this little oilfield engine didn't want to go. I've watched pumpers start these and other Fairbanks engines; they usually primed them up with gasoline or drip fuel, then adjusted the natural gas or LP to keep it running. A pumper down in Southern Illinois found some boys drinking beer at one of the wells he took care of, and the boys had shut the engine down so they didn't have to listen to it while they enjoyed their brews. The pumper blocked them in and made them try to start the engine up again. They didn't enjoy their party so much then. He fired it right back up after they gave out.

Don't Be A "Great White Defendant!"

This poor man took bad advice from his lawyer. He won't last six months in prison, and he did nothing wrong.



Here is what you are up against with today's thugs. A blow to the back of the head, your head hits the sidewalk. You could well be dead before the cops show up to make a report with a "vague description."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

World Music Day! Here's Something To Ponder.

Poor old Randy Newman. He's a great musician, composer, and entertainer, but the numbers are small. I like all of his songs, and here is a paradox.

Here's Randy doing You've Got A Friend In Me with Lyle Lovett. 84 thousand views since 2011.
Here's Randy performing solo 1 1/2 years ago. 16 thousand views.
Randy Newman, one year ago, 400 thousand views.
A guy with his little kid, six months ago; 15 MILLION views.
I hope Randy is getting royalties on that one!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation


Ruger is offering another special collectible firearm this week, and the collectors are lining up. It is a 25th anniversary .44 Magnum Carbine made in 1982 as production of this neat little rifle came to a close. The bidding is up to $1525 as I post this, so take a deep breath before you post your winning bid. CLICK HERE to read all about it. This fine collectible carbine will sell mid-day, June 21, 2017.  $1525

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Once Won't Kill Them


Many of the tree planting projects have been in river bottoms along the Little Wabash, Elm, and Wabash Rivers, plus tributaries. Flooding often occurs after trees have been planted, and it kills the leaves. Trees hold back a set of buds and will usually survive, putting out new leaves after the waters recede. One Spring we had a second flood, and that will kill a tree planting project. There aren't any reserve buds left after two floods. This project is a 60+ acre planting near Crossville, IL, and it went under after the leaves were fully emerged this year. Click and enlarge the photo and you can see the new leaves coming out.

We see a similar mechanism with drought. If the trees can grow long enough to store up reserves and form buds for the next year, they will often survive a severe dry spell in August that kills the leaves.  One of my good friends once said that "We shouldn't worry so much about how we plant trees. Leave a field alone for ten years and trees will be all over the place." I do like to see good ones growing, so I still obsess over it all.

That's Gratifying!

My YouTube channel passed five million views early this morning. Our first video was in October 2007 and we are still having a good time making them, although we have pulled down most of the old 78 records to avoid copyright problems. Viewers like chainsaws better than shooting and old engines. We have many good friends from YouTubing and blogging, and that is the best part.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Sourwood Flowers


Our sourwoods are blooming now. We brought them from Eastern Kentucky as tiny seedlings in 1984 and we wish we had more. They are a beautiful reminder of our years before Southern Illinois. The flowers are small, delicate, with a soft fragrance, and are famous for the honey produced from their nectar.


With only two small trees we will not have any sourwood honey to sample, but Susan's bees do like them. These flowers came on as the persimmons finished, so we should have planted more sourwoods. The white blooms are brilliant in sunshine and they brighten eastern forests after the other trees are done blooming.


Sheba, June 14, 2017

                                                                 Click To Enlarge.
Sheba has died as a result of a twisted gut (torsion). She got real sick early Wednesday morning, and we were rolling at 5A to take her to the emergency clinic at Glen Carbon. We got there before 7, and her heart attack began during the initial exam. She passed at 7:25.


Sheba began showing symptoms of GI distress a year ago, and she has been to Glen Carbon (diagnosis, pancreatitis), and to our regular vet (diagnoses, ear infection, anal gland infection). Little dogs don't get torsions, and every vet knows that. Sometimes you have to get past your education. Of course, no vet is going to take a dog in for surgery after the symptoms ease up, so Sheba had to wait for the big one, and then she couldn't be saved.  She has been my close buddy for almost two years, and a constant companion since I retired.



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Before The Great Society and the Welfare State, We Had Families



$350 for one of those man-killing machines in 1952! That would be almost $6000 in today's money, going by the increase in postage stamps. A big felling saw power head is around $1000 today, depending on size and make, and that is still a big purchase you have to think about before you drop your money.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation



Ruger is offering a 1975 vintage .357 Blackhawk for sale this week. It has a 6 1/2" barrel, and has been stored in Ruger's vault all these years. Photos on Ruger's website show a bit of wear on the left side of the muzzle, and fingerprint stains on the hammer, plus a tiny ding on one of the stocks, so I would call it slightly shopworn. It will sell mid-day, June 14, 2017. Click Here to read the full description and to place your bid. $616

Monday, June 12, 2017

Tuesday Torque: Mogul 6 HP At Evansville



This smooth running, good looking 6 HP Mogul was running over at the Evansville SIAM show on June 10, 2017. It's hypnotic!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

I Couldn't Help Myself!

Tony Sage of Vincennes, IN had a great display with two IHC Ms running. One was turning a corn sheller, and the other was turning a grinder. I still get up and stay busy, so, Back To The Old Grind!


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Friday, June 9, 2017

Weekend Steam: Old Steam Powered Machine Shop 23, Sleeving A Cylinder

I have a soft spot in my heart for big Economy engines, and that is what machinist David Richards is working on in his latest video.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

When Stuff Happens, It Happens Fast!

Nobody was hurt; no equipment was hurt; but it was close!




Our guy dug all around this big leaning white oak in preparation for pushing it over, but as it went over a branch caught the back of the bucket and nearly wreaked havoc on the backhoe. If the branch had hit the cab it would have broken all the windows and showered the operator with glass. This tree was rotten through and through, and I think that allowed the branch to tear off. Otherwise, it would have pulled the backhoe into the hole.

Pay Attention, Pass The Word, Blaspheme Daily

The Ramadan massacre continues and the pace is picking up. Thirteen days in and more than 800 are dead from terrorist attacks by faithful Muslims. Over at the Religion Of Peace blog I see the UK Daily Mail reports there were eighteen missed opportunities to stop the Bridge Massacre. Right below that, the next headline tells us that UK police are going to crack down on "offensive" Facebook posts. Whatever you do, don't offend a Muslim on Facebook if you live in the UK. Continue to submit to Islam and the police will leave you alone. Yeah, they will leave you for the Muslims to handle.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Worse Than Pulling Teeth; The Big Pin Oak Comes Out Of The Pond

Boy oh boy was this a full day. Our guy with heavy equipment showed up and we spent the day pulling and cutting. He could just barely make that tree move, (Two big limbs were jammed into the bottom of the pond.) but we persisted. We cut a couple big chunks off to lighten the load as it came out, and then we began cutting big limbs out of the crown. We just have some branches in the pond to pull out tomorrow, and then I can start making firewood.


I Never Had Time For A Job!

We have been busy since pulling the plug on the job. Mowing, gardening, cutting trees that should have been cut twenty years ago...



Most of the trees a person has to cut are not exciting; just normal problems of getting it on the ground while watching out for safety concerns. This post oak and white oak are both easy ones to drop with forward weight, but cleanup around each needed to be done first for a clear work space and escape routes.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation


Ruger is offering a 2003 P90 Manual Safety 9mm pistol this week. It is new-in-box and has been stored in Ruger's vault all these years. CLICK HERE to read the entire description and to place your bid. These pistols are built like a tank and the prices are usually reasonable on these auctions. This pistol will sell mid-day, Wednesday, June 7, 2017. $510! Good Deal!

The Whistle Blows

"....The Army said they would try to give us twenty-four hours' notice of departure. Actually the call came at nine o'clock one morning and we were ordered to be at a certain place with full field kit at 10:30 A.M. We threw our stuff together. Some of us went away and left hotel rooms still running up bills. Many had dates that night but did not dare to telephone and call them off.

As we arrived one by one at the appointed place we looked both knowingly and sheepishly at each other. The Army continued to tell us that it was just another exercise, but we knew inside ourselves that this was it.

Bill Stoneman, who had been wounded once, never showed the slightest concern. Whether he felt any concern or not I could not tell. Bill had a humorous, sardonic manner. While we were waiting for the departure into the unknown, he took out a pencil and notebook as though starting to interview me. "Tell me, Mr. Pyle, how does it feel to be an assault correspondent?"

Being a man of few words, I said, "It feels awful."

When everybody was ready our luggage went into a truck and we went into jeeps. The first night we spent together at an assembly area, an Army tent camp. There we drew our final battle kit--such things as clothing impregnated against gas attack, a shovel to dig foxholes, seasickness capsules, a carton of cigarettes, a medical kit, and rations. We also drew three blankets just for the night, since our bedrolls had gone on ahead.

The weather was cold and three blankets were not enough. I hardly slept at all. When we awakened early the next morning, Jack Thompson said, "That's the coldest night I have ever spent."

Don Whitehead said, "It's just as miserable as it always was."

You see, we had all been living comfortably in hotels or apartments for the last few weeks. We had got a little soft, and there we were starting back to the old horrible life we had known for so long--sleeping on the ground, only cold water, rations, foxholes, and dirt. We were off to war again......

That was when the most incongruous--to us-- part of the invasion came. There we were in a front-row seat at a great military epic. Shells from battleships were whamming over our heads, and occasionally a dead man floated face downward past us. Hundreds and hundreds of ships laden with death milled around us. We could stand at the rail and see both our shells and German shells exploding on the beaches, where struggling men were leaping ashore, desperately hauling guns and equipment through the water.

We were in the very vortex of the war--and yet, as we sat there waiting, Lieutenant Chuck Conick and I played gin rummy in the wardroom and Bing Crosby sang "Sweet Leilani" over the ship's phonograph.

Angry shells hitting near us would make heavy thuds as the concussion carried through the water and struck the hull of our ship. But in our wardroom men in gas-impregnated uniforms and wearing life belts sat reading Life and listening to the BBC telling us how the war before our eyes was going.

But it wasn't like that ashore. No, it wasn't like that ashore."

Excerpts from: The Whistle Blows, Brave Men, by Ernie Pyle; Scripps-Howard Newspaper Alliance

A Post From Ernie Pyle; 73 Years Ago

I took a walk along the historic coast of Normandy in the country of France. It was a lovely day for strolling along the seashore. Men were sleeping on the sand, some of them sleeping forever. Men were floating in the water, but they didn't know they were in the water, for they were dead.

The water was full of squishy little jellyfish about the size of a man's hand. Millions of them. In the center of each of them was green design exactly like a four-leafed clover. The good-luck emblem. Sure. Hell, yes.

I walked for a mile and a half along the water's edge of our many-miled beach. I walked slowly, for the detail on the beach was infinite.

The wreckage was vast and startling. The awful waste and destruction of war, even aside from the loss of human life, has always been one of its outstanding features to those who are in it. Anything and everything is expendable. And we did expend on our beachhead in Normandy during those first few hours.

For a mile out from the beach there were scores of tanks and trucks and boats that were not visible, for they were at the bottom of the water-swamped by overloading, or hit by shells, or sunk by mines. Most of their crews were lost.

There were trucks tipped half over and swamped, partly sunken barges, and the angled-up corners of jeeps, and small landing craft half submerged. And at low tide you could still see those vicious six-pronged iron snares that helped snag and wreck them.

On the beach itself, high and dry, were all kinds of wrecked vehicles. There were tanks that had only just made the beach before being knocked out. There were jeeps that had burned to a dull gray. There were big derricks on caterpillar treads that didn't quite make it. There were half-tracks carrying office equipment that had been made into a shambles by single shell hit, their interiors still holding the useless equipage of smashed typewriters, telephones, office files.

There were LCTs turned completely upside down, and lying on their backs, and how they got that way I don't know. There were boats stacked on top of each other, their sides caved in, their suspension doors knocked off.

In this shore-line museum of carnage there were abandoned rolls of barbed wire and smashed bulldozers and big stacks of thrown-away life belts and piles of shells still waiting to be moved. In the water floated empty life rafts and soldiers' packs and ration boxes, and myserious oranges. On the beach lay snarled rolls of telephone wire and big rolls of steel matting and stacks of broken, rusting rifles.

On the beach lay, expended, sufficient men and mechanism for a small war. They were gone forever now. And yet we could afford it.

We could afford it because we were on, we had our toe hold, and behind us there were such enormous replacements for this wreckage on the beach that you could hardly conceive of the sum total. Men and equipment were flowing from England in such a gigantic stream that it made the waste on the beachhead seem like nothing it all, really nothing at all.

But there was another and more human litter. It extended in a thin little line, just like a high-water mark, for miles along the beach. This was the strewn personal gear, gear that would never be needed again by those who fought and died to give us our entrance into Europe.

There in a jumbled row for mile on mile were soldiers' packs. There were socks and shoe polish, sewing kits, diaries, Bibles, hand grenades. There were the latest letters from home, with the address on each one neatly razored out-one of the security precautions enforced before the boys embarked.

There were toothbrushes and razors, and snapshots of families back home staring up at you from the sand. There were pocketbooks, metal mirrors, extra trousers, and bloody, abandoned shoes. There were broken-handled shovels, and portable radios smashed almost beyond recognition, and mine detectors twisted and ruined.

There were torn pistol belts and canvas water buckets, first-aid kits, and jumbled heaps of life belts. I picked up a pocket Bible with a soldier's name in it, and put it in my jacket. I carried it half a mile or so and then put it back down on the beach. I don't know why I picked it up, or why I put it down again.

Soldiers carry strange things ashore with them. In every invasion there is at least one soldier hitting the beach at H-hour with a banjo slung over his shoulder. The most ironic piece of equipment marking our beach-this beach first of despair, then of victory-was a tennis racket that some soldier had brought along. It lay lonesomely on the sand, clamped in its press, not a string broken.

Two of the most dominant items in the beach refuse were cigarettes and writing paper. Each soldier was issued a carton of cigarettes just before he started. That day those cartons by the thousand, water-soaked and spilled out, marked the line of our first savage blow.

Writing paper and air-mail envelopes came second. The boys had intended to do a lot of writing in France. The letters-now forever incapable of being written-that might have filled those blank abandoned pages!

Always there are dogs in every invasion. There was a dog still on the beach, still pitifully looking for his masters. He stayed at the water's edge, near a boat that lay twisted and half sunk at the waterline. He barked appealingly to every soldier who approached, trotted eagerly along with him for a few feet, and then, sensing himself unwanted in all the haste, he would run back to wait in vain for his own people at his own empty boat.

Over and around this long thin line of personal anguish, fresh men were rushing vast supplies to keep our armies pushing on into France. Other squads of men picked amidst the wreckage to salvage ammunition and equipment that was still usable.

Men worked and slept on the beach for days before the last D-day victim was taken away for burial.

I stepped over the form of one youngster whom I thought dead, But when I looked down I saw he was only sleeping. He was very young, and very tired. He lay on one elbow, his hand suspended in the air about six inches from the ground. And in the palm of his hand he held a large, smooth rock.

I stood and looked at him a long time. He seemed in his sleep to hold that rock lovingly, as though it were his last link with a vanishing world. I have no idea at all why he went to sleep with the rock in his hand, or what kept him from dropping it once he was asleep. It was just one of those little things without explanation that a person remembers for a long time.

The strong, swirling tides of the Normandy coast line shifted the contours of the sandy beach as they moved in and out. They carried soldiers' bodies out to sea, and later they returned them. They covered the corpses of heroes with sand, and then in their whims they uncovered them.
As I plowed out over the wet sand, I walked around what seemed to be a couple of pieces of driftwood sticking out of the sand. But they weren't driftwood. They were a soldier's two feet. He was completely covered except for his feet; the toes of his GI shoes pointed toward the land he had come so far to see, and which he saw so briefly.

From "Brave Men" by Ernie Pyle

Monday, June 5, 2017

Tuesday Torque: Southern Indiana Antique Machinery Show...

...coming up June 9-11!  Just north of Evansville on Hwy 41 at the Vanderburgh 4-H center.


"If It's Happening In Ames, Iowa..."

You have to laugh. "One time thing," "It'll never happen again," fights and unruly behavior caused by "Bars and college students." It's easy to excuse until it's your head that's busted.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Carmi Rifle Club Youth Shoot


This weekend we had the annual Carmi Rifle Club event for kids.  We only had seven, so volunteers outnumbered the kids, and the kids got to shoot all they wanted to, with rifles, shotguns, and pistols.


They love shooting clay pigeons at 100 yards.  They are pretty quick to get onto trigger squeeze and follow through. They want to see the bullet strikes, so they keep their eyes open. This little guy broke a bunch of them.


Everybody loves hitting the tannerite bombs. Reactive targets, whether they are steel, clay pigeons, or tannerite, give shooters incentive to shoot well.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

How's Your Ramadan Going?


Six days in and we are rolling right along with 345 kills already. Ramadan 2016 set records and included the Pulse Nightclub masacre where faithful Muslims killed 49. If they keep up the pace they should make better than 1700 heinous murders this year. Maybe they are going for 2000.  The warmup was overacheiving, and the kidnap and masacre in the Phillipines continues, even though the news hacks can't seem to say Muslim, or Islamic Terrorists. Go To Religion Of Peace every day for your Ramadan update and to read the latest news from around the world so you will know what's coming to your neighborhood. If you see Ramadan carolers coming to your door, go out the back and run!

Many Thanks to Glen R at Religion Of Peace for permission to post his graphic.