Sunday, January 23, 2022

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Valentine Countdown: If You Could Read My Mind, Gordon Lightfoot

Check Your Chimney, Scratch It Down!

 We had a warm, dry, January day, so it was time to clean the chimney. Wear your oldest coat, grab your leather gloves, and be careful getting off and on the ladder.

Let your fire cool down and cover it with ashes. If your flue is above your pile of coals you will have a stinky, smoky mess when the creosote comes down. Remove all the coals from your stove if this applies! Scratch down your flue several times and clean all of the creosote from your stove before rekindling your fire.

Walkin' The Dogs

 Hopping up when the dogs stir gets you going every morning, gets you ready to turn in at night. We see the sun and moon rise and set, and it is often spectacular.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Valentine Countdown: Chantilly Lace, The Big Bopper

Maybe You Get The Day Off...


For Many, Back To The Old Grind! Everyone else, enjoy your day off!!

Weekend Steam II: Steam Powered U Boat!

 This boat would have been a great leap in technology in 1918.  The concept certainly was pushing the limits of possibility for the time it was designed. Thank You, Merle for spotting this one!

Friday, January 14, 2022

Weekend Steam: Fantasy Double Header!

 The final day of the Welsh Dragon tour would see unusual double headed pairing of LNER B1 61306 Mayflower & LMS Jubilee 45596 Bahamas. The pair are seen on the climb away from Shrewsbury at Bayston Hill and Condover on the Welsh Marches Line. We also managed a bonus shot at Stokesay Castle after the dynamic duo stopped at Craven Arms for longer than expected which gave us those few extra crucial minutes to get set up.

Doggy Dig No More!

 The dogs like to snuffle and eat dirt wherever the moles make a hill. I think Susan has found a great solution with the chili powder cure.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Hog House School Marm, The Rest Of The Story!

The second half of the hog house school marm went pretty well, and there is a lesson. You have seen me many times cut the heavy (bad) side of the tree and finish on the opposite side. That rule fits in with bucking rules, too, where we cut the compressed side first. The good side did not have a good escape route, and the footing was bad, plus the weight on the bad side was not excessive, but you see the result after I finished the back cut. I should have pounded in a wedge before finishing the final cut "Just In Case" it was needed. Turned out that it was. Every tree is a lesson.

 I really do wish you could feel the ground when one of these big ones comes down. The sensation is addictive.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Don't Smash The Hog House! Dropping A Dead School Marm

This red oak over by the old hog lot died a few years ago. I have been putting off cutting it because it wants to fall on an old hog shed. Of course, if I don't cut it, it will eventually come right down on the shed, so I decided "Why Not!" Here's how it goes.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Tuesday Torque: Let's Listen To Some Oil Pulls

 We'll begin with the startup of a 30-60. Folks have been starting big engines with their legs for a long time, and most of the time it works fine. Occasionally the engine will kick back, breaking bones and throwing the operator some distance. Think about that if you buy an Oil Pull!

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Snow Belt Solar Secret

The salesman never mentioned snow! We knew snow would shut down the panels and knew that we could blow snow because we have used leaf blowers for fireline construction and snow removal for decades. Your blower can move snow without scratching the panels, and that is an important benefit. Think about and plan for snow removal when you plan your solar panel installation.

There is an important safety issue that you should know when you are using a blower to move snow. Wind blown snow generates static electricity, and if you touch the panel framework while blowing you are going to feel the burn of a constant static discharge. It can make your heart go out of rhythm. I found these facts myself last year when blowing 3-4 inches off the panels. My heart settled down and ran right after a while, but it can be worrisome, maybe worse. Don't belly up to the panels while blowing snow!

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Changing Your Headlights, Just Like It Was A Century Ago!

 Today it is more like it was in 1923! Back then, headlights had bulbs, and you would carry a few extra under the seat in your Ford. Then headlights modernized and we had sealed beams. Now we are back to bulbs. What's old is new again.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Tuesday Torque: 1917 IHC Mogul 10-20

 I shot this video eleven years ago at Pinckneyville, and it still gets a few views per month. This tractor spent its working life in a feed mill, so there is still factory original paint. It is  a great running original condition machine, and I am always impressed when an old engine fires up as easily as this old girl.

Ready Or Not, You Gotta Do It!

 Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Weekend Steam II: British Road Locomotives and Great War Transport!

 Thank You, Merle!

Excerpt, Passing Of The Year, Robert W. Service

 My favorite poet says things well:

And so from face to face I flit,
     The countless eyes that stare and stare;
Some are with approbation lit,
     And some are shadowed with despair.
Some show a smile and some a frown;
     Some joy and hope, some pain and woe:
Enough! Oh, ring the curtain down!
     Old weary year! it's time to go.

My pipe is out, my glass is dry;
     My fire is almost ashes too;
But once again, before you go,
     And I prepare to meet the New:
Old Year! a parting word that's true,
     For we've been comrades, you and I --
I thank God for each day of you;
     There! bless you now! Old Year, good-bye!

Friday, December 31, 2021

Weekend Steam: British Plowing Engine, Pulling A Sled!

 I never thought about the Brits having tractor pulls, but now I know better! Thanks for spotting, Merle, and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Tight Branch Angles, Included Bark

Tight branch angles are trouble. They trap bark between the stem and the branch or fork, making a weak connection that is prone to breaking up in a storm. You lose wood quality, timber volume and maybe the entire tree. If you can reach the problem branch when it is young, take it off.  Take the tree out so other, better trees can grow if you do a pre-commercial thinning. Trees like this are good candidates for firewood, too. Sawlog trees with this problem should definitely be taken during a harvest, rather than keeping them for the next sale. They are high risk.

This is how the tree appears when you can look inside.

This is what happens when you don't nip the problem in the bud. Rot is introduced into the tree, and there will be ring shake at the year of the injury.


Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Monday, December 27, 2021

Almost A Chainsaw Disaster!

 Eaton Rapids Joe sent a link for a chainsaw story in the UK Daily Mail (click the link), and it is an educational article and video. Much of the information in the article is obviously wrong if you have spent any time on our chainsaw posts. Matt Charland, the man who is nearly killed, is no lumberjack, though he may have cut trees before. He said the tree had a weird angle, but the tree appears to have forward weight and it should have fallen right if he had made the proper cuts. The tree is dead, and that is one of the failure factors. Dead trees can be brittle and lose fiber strength. So, what did Mr. Charland do that was wrong?

You always should evaluate weight and lean on every tree you cut from two different angles, and assess whether the tree will need to be wedged, and if so, how much lift you need to provide. Wedging a dead back-weighted tree is risky because the hinge is likely to part when you lift with your wedges. 

This screen shot at 36 seconds makes the tree appear to have forward weight, and the next one at 39. Click on the first photo and they will come up so you can click through them.

seconds shows the tree tipped forward. Then the hinge fails. This is the real failure in the process. The hinge was obviously not strong enough, and probably was cut too thin. The back cut on any tree you fall should be perpendicular to the stem, which usually is a horizontal cut, not angled as this one is. Many novices cut on an angle, and the explanation they always give me is that it will make the stump push the tree over. At best, you cut through more wood to make the back cut. At worst, as in this case, the hinge failed, the tree slid on the sloping back cut, and the butt of the tree was propelled forward by about three feet, totally changing the balance of the tree, brittle wood was jarred loose from the treetop and rained down, and the tree which had started forward, changed direction and fell opposite of the planned direction. 


                                                       Landed, tipping back, and wood is falling.

Make a plan for every tree you cut, starting out with the hazards. Use a plumb to determine weight and lean. Avoid wedging dead brittle trees if they have much back weight. If you do, have an escape route in case the hinge pulls apart. Do not cut trees that have any chance of hitting valuable improvements, especially power lines.  Thank You Very Much, Eaton Rapids Joe, for the link!