Monday, October 25, 2021

Tuesday Torque: Big Associated Engine

 There is a calming effect from listening to a big hit-and-miss engine idling. There is a bit of confusion. The title says 6 HP, the tag on the engine says 12 Mule Team, so make your best guess. Thanks, Merle! I love the panting and the Snort of intake.


Sunday, October 24, 2021

Bow Season Is In, Firearm Season Coming Soon

 Bow hunters are in the woods now, and from experience we know that they sneak in on us. We will be marking our boundaries in hopes of discouraging some of the trespassers and to make prosecutions more of a sure thing. I saw many deer while I was out today. There are two in this photo, a buck who has just bedded down so only an ear is visible, and the doe who is remaining attentive.


The need to discourage trespassers never seems to end, and this year we have someone in the neighborhood has become an outfitter booking hunts. We want to make sure he is not putting hunters on our acreage. Back To The Old Grind!


Saturday, October 23, 2021

Weekend Steam II: Little Engines!

 Merle picked out some good video of model locos up close where you can see lots of neat action. Thanks, Merle!


Friday, October 22, 2021

Weekend Steam: Bulleid Southern Railway Strange Locomotive

 Merle found one that I have never heard of. British railways were nationalized after WW II, and they did some odd things. Thank You Merle!


Deer Like Sweet Potatoes!

 We took down one side of the garden fence, and this morning, most of the leaves had been eaten from the sweet potato vines. Deer like beans even more, and you can't garden without a way to keep deer out. We cut the last of the okra this morning.



Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Susan Is Still Canning!

Susan got a good deal on Top Round Roast and has been canning for two days. Now she will be looking for deals on pork and ham.


Tuesday, October 19, 2021

First Fire, Fall 2021

 The house was getting pretty cool every night, and today the sun didn't shine right away. We lit her up so we could take off our jackets in the house. Hickory smoke has a wonderful smell. Jack spent the evening lying in front of the stove.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Always The Ant!

 

A friend called about a mushroom. From the description it sounded like a giant puffball, and it was. She wanted nothing to do with a mushroom new-to-her, and gave it to Susan. It's the biggest one we have seen. Susan went to work right away and cooked each slice lightly on both sides, separated them with parchment paper, and put them in the freezer.



Winter is coming, don't be like the grasshopper. Back To The Old Grind!

Weekend Steam II: Please Read The Steam Engine Guide, and Please Use A Tripod

 This video is worth wading through just to see what may be a Stanley Steamer engine, but my gosh, you may need a Dramamine. You gotta wonder why they are not warming the engine up properly by blowing out the steam chests and cylinders without locking hydraulically. Anyone wanting to get into steam engines should read Prof. P.S. Rose's Steam Engine Guide, find an old man who has run engines, and nowadays you can also find steam schools associated with many of the shows around the country. Thanks for spotting, Merle! 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Weekend Steam: Stack Talk With An English Accent

 The brief writeup on the video says this is an an 1874 engine, and I think it is that old. Fowler built these for plowing, and he was developing his engines in the 1860s. Over on the American side of the ocean, early traction engines didn't grow to large sizes until the wind stacker was invented for threshing machines. The older machines with web stackers required less horsepower, and the wind stackers were a dividing line in American traction engines. Anyhow, this Fowler engine has obviously been overhauled and maintained, and it can really talk. I wish the numbers were published so we could see the horsepower this engine is producing. Thanks, Merle, for spotting!


Thursday, October 14, 2021

Took A Walk In The Woods Today

I visited the remains of an old friend in the woods today and found that a nice young tree is growing from the stump. That Is A Joy! Time flies! Susan and I watched this red oak for years, visiting it every time we were up in the north end. We should have named it sooner! Anyway, I am thinking that it was a stump sprout, so it would have been 70-plus years when it was cut in 1940, and now it is growing again. How many cycles of stump sprouting has this tree had? No way to know, but if it survives wind and weather, the next time Ralph is harvested it will be from roots well over 200 years old.

 Susan and I have plenty to do in our timber. We have CRP tree plantings due for thinning, an old shortleaf pine plantation that needs prepped and burned, plus thinning in the timber stand you see in this video. Oh, autumn olive and bush honeysuckle need to be killed...


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Brittle Tree Demonstrates The Importance Of Your Hard Hat!

 This shingle oak is dry and brittle! Watch the spears fall out of the top when this baby goes over. We will be making wood tomorrow and stacking this one at the house. I watched the seconds tick by, and from the time I turned to escape until the first spear dropped in was four seconds. A small limb dropped in at six and a half seconds, and a really hot spear comes in at seven seconds. Don't stand around watching the tree fall, because part it may be falling on you!


Sunday, October 10, 2021

Mystery Solved!

 Occasionally, but often enough I think about it, I would get a whiff of freshly cracked hickory nut while out in timber. I could never figure out why I would catch that smell, and it has bugged me for many years. It was usually fleeting, but unmistakable. I finally found the solution. This year we have a bumper crop of hickory nuts in the yard, and that means lots of hickory hulls on the ground. We have been raking them up so we can scoop them up and get them on the burn pile. We found that when they are damp after a rain and the humidity is up, you get that smell off of a pile of hulls. Fleeting, but definitely there. What will we figure out next? Back To The Old Grind!



Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Susan Said "No."


 We could have had this nice groundhog for the freezer, or maybe turned it into groundhog stew and canned it, but Susan wasn't interested. It's been a long time since I have skinned a groundhog and I was happy to leave it alone.

Neat Printing Method At Old Threshers, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa

 This popped up on YouTube, and it is neat as can be!


Monday, October 4, 2021

Fall Garden Bounty


Susan's garden is winding down, but fresh vegetables are still coming out every day. The Lazy Housewife beans were disappointing until recently when they have been producing. The Rattlesnake beans were great producers and we will definitely plant those again. We kept the deer out of the garden OK, but the rabbits were a daily feature. They worked hard on the sweet potatoes. We didn't have sweet corn, so raccoons were no problem. Susan sowed beets after the potatoes were dug, but a heavy rain wiped them out. The okra is just about done, but Susan has a bunch of that cut, dipped in cornmeal, and in the freezer.

350 HP Fairbanks Startup

 There's some good narrative in this video. Usually at shows you see them start up and run engines with no explanation, so this is a good one to watch and listen. Thanks for the pick, Merle!


Sunday, October 3, 2021

Habanero Hot Zone!

 We have dried down the habaneros and are turning them into dust for seasoning in the kitchen and at the table. This stuff is definitely great for your circulation! Keep yourself upwind while processing habaneros!


Back To The Old Grind!

Friday, October 1, 2021

Weekend Steam II: Midwest Old Threshers 1987, Steam Traction Engines

 This video showed up on our YouTube feed tonight, and we had to take a look because we were there in 1987. It starts off giving me a glimpse of Stanley Mauser, and old friend and steam engineer. He shows up again briefly near the end of the video. We saw Otto Zwicki's little steam engine with a bunch of whistles, and at the 17:12 mark you will see Mr. Oberman's Port Huron engine. I'm helping out on the steering wheel and you will see a young Zeke at the 17:22 mark, riding on the back of the engine. Pretty neat, and totally unexpected.


Weekend Steam: Pocahantas Glory Volume 8 Preview

 This video is a great one for an advertisement. I think it is a stand-alone, but if you want to purchase the full video, the web address is listed at the end of the video, and in the description if you click it over to YouTube. Thanks for the pick, Merle!

Preview of Pocahontas Glory Vol. 8, a new 71 minute DVD of Norfolk & Western steam railroading in the 1950's. Order item 011.7 from herronrail.com

October 1 Tomatoes!

 Sauce, and a couple of nice slicers!




Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Were The Tacos Delivered??

 The news hacks tend to ignore or totally miss important details. I kept seeing stryofoam takeout food containers in photos and videos from Del Rio, so I went looking on Google Earth. There is a taco shop just a block from the river, and I have a pretty good hunch that the "immigrants" were making regular trips back and forth. Is it not a problem when illegal aliens can hop back and forth across the border for takeout tacos?



Monday, September 27, 2021

Tuesday Torque: Disappearing Power Plants

 Towns all over the country had their own power plants in the not-too-distant past. The government, through the EPA has been pushing them out and beating them down, and there are not many left. Our little county seat in Hamilton County has a power plant with big Fairbanks engines, and they are used occasionally when the big transmission lines fail. The county board is talking about getting rid of it. Holy Cow. You can't pull electricity out of a hat. Thanks for a great pick, Merle!


Sunday, September 26, 2021

Elderberry Potion Time

 Elderberries are loaded with flavanoids, which are good immune system builders, so Susan has been processing berries into juice and preserving it to use over the next year. We don't have an elderberry thresher. Susan freezes the berries in a paper grocery bag, then shakes it up real good to separate the berries from the stems. We will be planting Sambucus cuttings next spring and may have to improve our processing in a few years.  Back To The Old Grind!


Weekend Steam II: Nevada State Railroad Museum

 Great one, Merle. Thank You. The old fashioned engines with a slide valve would look just right in your back yard. 


Saturday, September 25, 2021

Dead Hickory, One For The Wood Pile!

 

Here's another dead hickory for the wood pile. Look your dead ones over carefully and make sure you have enough solid wood to make a successful drop. Also look overhead for branches that may break or dislodge and mitigate accordingly. 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

This Has Been A Big Bird Year

 We hoot with our barred owls nearly every night, we watched baby buzzards grow up, a couple friends bagged gobblers last Spring, and now the Turkey Boys' Club marches around the house every day. 


A flock of geese flew in on the first day of Autumn, and when reviewing the video I see a couple of turkeys slipping through the trees on the far side of the pond. We saw a heron poking around in the shallows today, and turkey vultures from up north are heading south over us every day.


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Driving The Dogs Nuts!

 Jack nearly caught this little guy, and then the squirrel sat up there and teased the dogs.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Andersonville On The RioGrande

 Henry Wirz dithered. Supplies were practically non-existent. Crowding and filth did what they do. The prisons on both sides of that conflict were terrible, but we remember Andersonville because of a novel, and the photos and records compiled at the end of the war. 

                                         
Shebangs. The trademark shelters of Andersonville. There is food and water, and there are porta-pots, but the administration is dithering. The Rio Grande is not a good place to be bathing and washing clothes. Crowding and filth can still do their thing. Keep watching. This could come to a neighborhood near you. 
 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Tuesday Torque: Prairie Tractors At Rollag

 These beasts turned a lot of ground and threshed a lot of wheat. It's well worth the trip to see these machines in person.


Sunday, September 19, 2021

So, What Happens To Those Soybeans?

The soybean crop is being harvested now, and Susan got to take a ride in the combine. 

 

What happens to those beans when they leave the farm? That is one of those things that most of us never see, even though the beans have always been part of our lives. We know there is oil, and meal, but mostly we don't see what happens.  Here's a little look at the way soybeans are processed. More of a press than a grind, but it's close enough. Back To The Old Grind!