Monday, October 29, 2007

Down on the Rio Grande

Many years ago I went to Terlingua, Texas to begin a canoe trip on the Rio Grande. It was a coincidence that I showed up on Halloween. Everyone was celebrating heartily and they made it clear that this was just a warmup for the partying at the Chili Championship.

I had a date with the river, so I missed the big party. If you like chili, and a good time, you better hit the road. The party begins on Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More Boonville IN!

This photo was taken at the Fall show in 2006 of a Keck Gonnerman engine running the sawmill. Kecks were built in nearby Mt Vernon IN, so this is a brand you see in Indiana and Illinois.

You can also see unusual engines like this Reid two stroke oil field engine. The Fall 2012 show will be October 12-14, 2012.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Some Little Old Country Show You Never Heard Of

Antique engine enthusiasts have shows scattered all over this country, and if you look for them, you can find shows from spring through fall. A favorite of mine is the fall show at Boonville, Indiana on the second full weekend every October. At this show you can see gas engines, steam traction engines, antique tractors, farming with horses, much more. The weather is always great for this show, and you can stroll the grounds all day without breaking a sweat.

One of the old skills demonstrated at this show is blasting a log into pieces. This practice is still used to reduce logs that are too large to run through a sawmill. My father and grandfather used to do this many years ago to split logs to a size that could be processed into firewood with a buzz saw. This was way back in BC... Before Chainsaws. The hole for the powder was drilled with a hand powered auger back then; now folks use a chainsaw to punch the hole.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tape Your Ankles!

You can have an adventurous shopping experience in stores like this one, which I call The Dented Can. Bent and Dent discount/salvage stores buy odd lots of groceries and related items from salvage companies and sell the goods at greatly reduced prices. Some of the packaging is damaged, some of the items are out of date, and some items were cleaned off of store shelves to make room for updated products. Most of the items are still good, and in many years of shopping in these stores, I have discarded only a few purchases. This particular store is operated by Amish proprietors and is a few miles north of Kalona, Iowa, just east of the cheese factory on Highway 1. You will note on the photo that this store is open just three days per week. The shelves are fully stocked only on Wednesdays, and this creates an intense competitive mood among the bargain hunters shopping here. The number system was installed after scuffles broke out among people waiting to get in the doors at opening time. The owners now let one person in at a time, and this has worked for crowd control outside the business. Once you get through the doors, it is a bit like a roller derby retrieving a cart and getting to the aisles. Customers do not behave like ladies and gentlemen when they have bargain coffee beans in view and are blocked by other shoppers. I prefer to wear my combat boots, and I keep a sharp lookout for ladies with a clenched jaw and steely eyes.

You can shop for the same type of bargains safely at Greenfield Grocery in Wayne City, IL. This discount grocer is open six days a week and has fully stocked shelves every day. Greenfield is operated by a Mennonite gentleman, which means that the store has electricity, refrigeration and air conditioning.

Neither Amish or Mennonites will use the internet, so searching for these stores is not easy. If you can find one in your neighborhood, you can save a lot of money on your staple items, and try new foods at bargain rates.