Friday, October 31, 2008

Range Time!

This is the last weekend to shoot your targets for the Mr. Completely's October e-Postal match, and while you are at the range, you can also shoot your targets for the November contest.

October Target

November Target

We change back to Dark Time Sunday morning, and it will be difficult to go out and shoot after work until next spring, so you better get out Saturday. These contests are great practice, lots of fun, and you get to rub elbows with some great shooters. Watch the video to get in the mood. I saw this on Arrgghhh! recently and can't get it out of my mind.

Crankin' It Up: Halloween Special

Moran and Mack were a comedy duo in the 1920's who don't get much play in our modern world. The only pictures I can find of them are with their faces made up with burnt cork, so they are generally ignored nowadays, but their jokes are still funny. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. stated that they told the funniest joke he ever heard, and if I don't receive too much flak over this record, I just may share my others with you someday. Anyway, this recording is a two sided routine titled: "The Two Black Crows In Hades." It was a lot of fun picking out photos for the slide show. It was difficult to record because of the loud noises maxing out the mike, but we got it. Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hanging On To The Bitter End

We saw these beautiful black eyed Susans last Saturday while we were looking at a prairie project. They are not only lovely, but they obviously have some real spirit, since we were two weeks past our normal frost date. Their effort was not wasted on me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Persistence Pays Off!

Our friends Bill and Troy saw this old boy several times last year and never were able to connect. We all were worried that one of the local poachers would pick him off illegally some night, but Sunday morning he walked by Bill's ground blind, and Bill made a good shot with his bow. This buck has ten matched points and a one inch spike this year. Congratulations, Bill!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Radial Engine Overload

One of the events we were thrilled by at Old Threshers this year was seeing and hearing these old beauties fly in and out of the Mt. Pleasant airport. They circled the show grounds as they arrived and left, giving us a rare audio-visual treat. With the Ford logo on the first one, I feel pretty safe saying that it is a Ford Tri-Motor, but I don't know this second one. Can the loyal readers help me with this one? UPDATE! Read all about it Here!
Thanks for the link, Danno!

Moxie: A Way Of Life

My dad, uncle, and grandfather.

You don't hear the term 'Moxie' much nowadays. In the not too distant past, everyone had to grow a pretty tough hide to get by in the world, and if you didn't have Moxie, you didn't survive. Growing up as a Baby Boomer, I had it a lot easier than my ancestors, and I did not always appreciate the hard times that preceeded me. I often ponder my dad and his brother, and wonder about their experiences as they were growing up. Their father, Ray, was a lathe operator at Republic Steel in Moline, IL. (Ray and his siblings lost their mother, their step-mother, and their father to tuberculosis when they were all very young.) Ray was in poor health for years before he died from a perforated ulcer at age 45 in 1940. Ray had to walk a mile to a bus stop to go to work, and toward the end he wasn’t able to walk that mile. The boys became stepchildren in 1942 when their widowed mother remarried. I remember their stepfather, who died when I was in grade school. I liked the man, and when I was a kid I never thought about the implications to my dad and uncle of having a stepfather. Life had been hard during the 1930’s in Moline, IL, with their father in poor health, and living in a tarpaper shack. The stepfather was a farmer with a solid house, and he provided enough food for the first time in their lives. Dad and his brother never voiced any complaints to me about their upbringing.

A few days before Dad went into the hospital for the last time, we saw this field of shocked oats. I knew from past conversations that Dad had threshed, and that he knew how to build a shock of oats from the bundles, but this sight stimulated him to tell me about his transition from city boy to farm boy.

On moving day, the family possessions were loaded into the new father’s Ford car for the trip from Moline, Illinois to Washington, Iowa; everything but Dad’s bicycle. The stepfather would not allow the bicycle to be tied onto his car for fear of scratching the paint. If Dad wanted to keep his bike, he would have to ride it, and not just to Washington, but all the way to Wellman where he would be put to work for a farmer that the stepfather knew. That bicycle was the only set of wheels the family had had up until this time. Dad had earned the money for it by setting pins in a bowling alley, and it was pretty important to him. This was a tough choice for a fourteen year old kid, but Dad chose to ride his bicycle rather than give it up. The Ford left with his mother, brother and new father. Dad started his long bike ride. He rode west from Moline, crossed the Mississippi at Muscatine, and continued west. By the time he reached Washington he had ridden sixty miles. He stopped at his grandmother’s house for a snack and water, then headed west again. When he reached the farm north of Wellman he had ridden over eighty miles in one day.

The next day he was put to work shocking oats. It being August, he wore a short sleeved shirt. The farmer could have told him to wear long sleeves, but he didn’t bother. Dad’s arms were a painful scratched up mess in short order, and he knew to wear long sleeves the next day. His brother, only ten years old at the time, drew lighter duty around the farm.
They survived this transition in their lives, and it made both of them even tougher than they had been as starving city kids. Dad got a job driving heavy equipment when he was seventeen, was drafted into the Army when he turned eighteen, and took up farming after he got out of the Army. His brother joined the Air Force and made a career out of it. They both did pretty well for a couple of depression era kids who started out in a tarpaper shack. Today would have been Dad's 81st birthday, and I sure do miss him. He was teaching me how to live right up to the end. He wasn't just a good father and a great guy, he had Moxie.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Not My Victrola

Paul Whiteman recorded "Say It With Music" in 1921, and it was the number one song for five weeks. It will help you with you Monday Morning Motivation. I hope you all had a great weekend!

This video was posted by RReady555 on his You Tube channel. Check him out if you like these vintage songs.


Back To The Old Grind!

He's Not A Disagreeable Kind Of Guy....

...but he is always trying to start something. Here is our friend Duane D of Boonville, Indiana firing up the single cylinder Fairbanks, Morse Diesel at the Boonville fall show.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Crankin' It Up: WWI Commemorative Edition

Here is another song from The Great War that many of you have heard before. Irish tenor John McCormack performs Keep The Home Fires Burning on a Victor Red Label disc. This song is as good now as it was in 1917 when John recorded it. Ninety years ago, the allies were pushing the Germans back, and American troops were in heavy fighting just north of Verdun.

This was played as usual with our old Brunswick. John maxes out the microphone, even with this worn record, so I tried a soft tone needle. That made him sound like he was down in the basement, so I recorded this one with a loud needle. You will hear the mike fuzz out a couple times, but the rest of the song is good. I am the guilty party for most of the wear on this record, which I have had for over forty years. The photos came from internet searches and an old book about WWI.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

August E-Postal Results!

I think all of the entries have been forwarded to me, and we had a pretty good contest. We had some ties for points, and I placed them in order of the number of edge strikes, and I must tell you that it is difficult splitting out placement for nearly equal targets.

Shooting Categories:
Class 1. Rimfire Iron: Rimfire pistols with iron sights
Class 2. Rimfire open: rimfire pistols with optical sights
Class 3. Centerfire iron: Non-compensated centerfire pistols with iron sights.
Class 4. Centerfire open: Centerfire pistols with either a compensator or optical sights - that means an iron sighted compensated gun shoots in Centerfire open.

Class 1: Rimfire pistol; iron sights

GaryA, MSgt. USAF, Ret: Ruger MkII 90 points
BillH, FreeInIdaho: High Standard 80 points
Sailorcurt, Captain of a Crew of One: S & W Model 22a 75 points
Danno: Ruger 22/45 65 points
GaryA, MSgt. USAF, Ret: Ruger Single Six 55 points
True Blue Sam: Ruger Single Six 5 ½ 50 Points
Engineering Johnson: Walther P-22 3 1/2” 45 points
Engineering Johnson: Ruger Single Six 5 ½” 40 points
True Blue Sam: Walther P-22 3 ½” 30 points
Tootsie: Ruger Single Six 5 ½ 10 points

Class 2: Rimfire Open Results; Rimfire pistol, optical sights

Mr. Completely: High Standard Supermatic Citation 100 points
C-More Red Dot Sight 6 MOA

Class 3: Non-Compensated Centerfire Pistol; Iron Sights

Manfred von Richtofen: Colt Python .357 65 points; no edge shots
Sailorcurt, Captain of a Crew of One: CZ vz.82 9x18 65 points; 1 edge shot
Xavier: Manhurin .357 55 points
BillH, FreeInIdaho: Glock 27 50 points; 1 edge shot
Danno: Taurus PT-92 50 points; 4 edge shots
Engineering Johnson: Ruger Redhawk 5 ½” .44 mag 35 points
Engineering Johnson: Springfield 1911 5” .45 ACP 35 points
Engineering Johnson: Ruger Blackhawk 4 5/8” .38 Sp 30 points

Class 4: Centerfire Open (compensated and/or optic sights)

No Entries

If you entered and are not listed, please contact me at I will add your score asap. If you want a link added to your name for a blog or website, let me know and I will do that, too.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Get Acquainted With Your Model T

Here is your trusty brass Model T Ford.

Under the steering wheel you have the spark control on the left, the throttle on the right, and a horn button below the spark lever.

The black box on the dashboard has the four ignition coils and the switch for Battery/Off/Magneto. The pedals are left to right, Low, Reverse, Brake. The emergency brake is set, and holds the direct drive (High) clutch disengaged. When it is straight up it still holds the direct drive clutch out, but the rear brakes are released. Press the low pedal and open the throttle to accelerate, move the emergency brake forward, let up on the low pedal, and you are in high gear.

Here are more pages from Dyke's reference supplement on the Model T. Click on the pictures to enlarge them. There is lots of good material here, and you might even want to print them and keep them under the front seat with the baling wire and pliers.

Be sure to read about setting your spark before cranking. There won't be a test, but I don't want you getting a broken arm.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Not My Victrola

Here is a nice little mood lifter to help you start the week. I hope You Tube is working in the morning. They have been off most of the weekend, and even though they are up as I post this, the videos won't play.

Monday Again!

Back To The Old Grind!

Range Time! E-Postal Updates

Time's a wasting! October is more than half gone, so just in case you have not shot your targets for Mr. Completely's E-Postal match, you should follow the link on his blog, (or here) download the target, and go to the range with your favorite shooting irons. This month you are allowed to shoot from any position, and you get to use a distance multiplier. You can shoot at 10 yards, or 1000, or any distance in between. Think hard about the distance that is optimal to make a tight group with each gun you use so you can maximize your scores. Scan the targets, send them off, and you will have bragging rights. The only shame is in not entering.

If you have been waiting for the August E-Postal results, I have a deal for you. Resend your scans, photos or scores from you August targets to me at: .
I will tabulate the scores and deliver them to Mr. Completely, and also post them on this blog. I will tabulate the results as of the end of this week, so tell all your shooting friends who may have participated to look through their sent mail, forward the targets to me, and the results will be up soon.

UPDATE! CLICK HERE for the link to the results.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Weekend Steam

Andy adjusts the rod bearing on his Huber.

Andy G powered the thresher with his Huber last week at the Boonville, Indiana fall show. He noticed the crankpin smoking on his engine and shut down to readjust the rod bearing, which was interesting to watch, but was stressful for Andy. You will hear Andy make one long blast on the whistle to signal that he is stopping. At the end of the video the engine is shown idling while Andy watches his pet for signs of trouble.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Crankin' It Up

Bennie Krueger's Orchestra performs 'You've Got To See Mamma Every Night.' I haven't been able to find any information about this disc which was made for dancing, and with no vocals. Popular female vocalists Sophie Tucker, Marion Harris, Lizzie Miles, and Dolly Kay all recorded this song in 1923, and I am assuming that Bennie Krueger did too. Push the furniture back to the wall and have a good time.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Beyond Wedging

We're revisiting the pin oak where we watched Jason cut out the heart of the tree. This big tree was on the edge of the timber, and it had some heavy limbs reaching out toward the light. It would have been easy to drop in the field next to the timber, but that would not have pleased the farmer. Jason aimed it into the woods, and pounded in a wedge as part of his setup. In this video we pick up the story as Jason cuts the tree loose. It sits down FIRMLY on the wedge. It's obvious there is more backweight than can be overcome with a wedge and a sledge.

Jason's partner, Roger M backed up to the tree and attempted to push it over. He made the John Deere grunt pretty well, and then switched to Plan C . He and Jason put a choker around the tree, and ran the skidder out at a 45 degree angle from the hinge. You can hear Roger winching back to the pin oak at this point in the video. He winches himself into a tree (Off Camera), shifts his winch into low, and pulls the pin oak over.

Watch the big limb break over backward and fall back onto the stump. This is a great demonstration of why we want to get away from the stump when we turn a tree loose. The end is repeated a couple times to reinforce the lesson.

The Weekend Is Coming!

The fall show at Pinckeyville, IL runs Friday through Sunday. There are lots of activities and a great variety of old machinery to see. It will be a long wait until the shows next summer, so you better load up the family and head to Southern Illinois!

More Chainsaw Tips For Forest Products Week!

Here is our friend Jason demonstrating how to cut the heart out of a large tree he is setting up to drop. Observe that he starts his bore cut with the lower corner of the nose of the bar, pushes in to his right, then sweeps counter-clockwise while he holds the saw in the center of the hinge. Jason makes a point out of stopping to explain how to do the bore cut whenever someone new watches him. He's afraid that if he doesn't teach the method, the next time he sees that person, half their rear end will be cut off. If you try to punch straight in you will have a major kickback. Click back through my 'Chainsaw' posts and you will find a video I posted on the 'Bore Cut.'

Thursday is 'Take Your Plank To Work Day!'

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Forest Products Festival!

I looked at the calendar today and noticed that this is Forest Products Week. I really have no idea how we are supposed to celebrate this event, but we already have a couple of tree related posts up, so here's one more.

Our friend Jason J the logger/lumberman is falling a pin oak with the open face method, and I have added titles so you can understand what he is doing. Note that he angles down slightly when he bores through to prevent bypassed wood on the butt log. It is a really slick variation of the open face falling system. Also, please notice how he looks around as he makes his second cut back from the hinge, and before he releases the tree. He is checking on the whereabouts of his partner, who is driving the skidder. He makes a clean escape after he cuts it loose, while I stand there like a dummy taking my pictures. At least I was back over twelve feet, and I was wearing my hard hat.

Monday, October 13, 2008


The fall colors are changing every day now, and we are having a very nice show in Southern Illinois. This little beauty is a persimmon in our back yard. The red leaves are Virginia creeper.
You have to get out of the car and do a little walking to see nice views like this one.

Baldcypress is very pretty when it goes through its changes. This tree can live just about anywhere, and we plant lots of it for filler in tree planting projects. It also makes a good windbreak tree it you plant three or four rows.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Not My Victrola

Here is a very nice march (Bold Front March; Edison Military Band) from SilentBacchus on a two minute Edison cylinder. I hope it gives you the push you need to get out of the door on Monday morning.

Monday Again!

Back to the old grind!

Rare Old Fairbanks, Morse Engine

One of the treats we enjoy at Boonville is seeing this old beauty run. They had the pump running yesterday, so we were able to shoot some interesting video. This engine used to pump out of a lake to supply water to the town of Ferdinand, Indiana, and was replaced by a modern system after it was unable to keep up with demand during a big fire. It was left hooked up the water system as a backup, and finally was unhooked after it accidentally pumped unfiltered lake water, crawdads, fish, and moss into the town's water system. Duane D., the operator in this video, saved the engine from being scrapped, literally by minutes, in a breathtaking city council meeting in Ferdinand. Hats Off, to you, Duane.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Weekend Steam, Continued

 The Mrs. and I had a glorious time at Boonville, Indiana today at the fall steam and gas engine show. We took lots of pictures and video to share with our loyal readers. The fall colors are coming along nicely, so it was a beautiful drive over and back. We had a great time visiting with the exhibitors and watching old machinery operate.

They have a load and a half to thresh tomorrow, and the weather forecast is good, so get to bed early and head out in the morning for Boonville, Indiana!

The Fall Show in 2012 is scheduled for October 12-14.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Weekend Steam

Hmmm......a pile of sawdust. I wonder what they are up to.

It's the Old Threshers nighttime spark spectacular. As neat as this video is, I must tell you that you should go see this first hand. The sparks zipping and dancing around combined with the sound of four engines running hard is overwhelming. It is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.

Crankin' It Up: WWI Commemorative Edition

Ninety years ago this month, our soldiers in France were fighting in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. October 8 was the anniversary of Alvin York's incredible feat of capturing 132 German soldiers, while fighting single-handeldly against their machine gun nests.

'Hello Central, Give Me No Man's Land' was popularized by Al Jolson, who introduced it in "Sinbad" at the New York Winter Garden. This recording is by Elsie Baker, an early recording artist. She used the pseudonym Edna Brown for her less serious records, and that is the name she recorded this song under.

Steam and More

The Antique Steam and Gas Engine Club is having their fall show this weekend, just north of Boonville, Indiana. There are lots of things to see, and lots of activities to entertain you.

This show is a great opportunity to learn about cooking on a wood cookstove, which will be fired up all weekend in the log cabin.
Antique tractors, garden tractors, and home-builts will be on display, and running around.

Gas up your buggy and hit the road to one of the best little shows in the country!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Something To Carry You Through

SilentBacchus posted this wonderful rendition of 'Dixie" a couple days ago. I looked it up and it is the New York Military Band, Fife and Drum Corps and Chorus on an Edison Blue Amberol cylinder, recorded in 1913. The Edison system uses a stylus travelling vertically rather than side to side as the Berliner disc system uses, which is what most phonograph records are. Edison cylinders and discs have more grooves per inch, thus they play longer. The Blue Amberol cylinders have 200 groves per inch and play for about four minutes. The sound quality is much different with Edison records, and because the vertical system can have greater travel than side-to-side grooves, the volume can be much louder, and the sound quality much better.

When I heard the fifes and drums I was blown away. I must have heard them in a former life, or connected with an ancestor when this played. It will bolster your spirits and give you the strength you need to make it to the weekend!

Burn Your Burs!

After we cleaned up the slash from our spruce tree we raked up the leftover twigs, then piled on the chestnut burs that have dropped. We love our chestnuts, but these burs are a problem. The old saying is "Round as a ball and sharp as an awl." The spines have a way of getting into your fingers whenever you work anywhere near a chestnut tree, and you don't dare go barefoot in our yard.

We had a nice bonfire, and now we have a great spot to plant a replacement blue spruce.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Feel Like Something's Missing?

You must drive a Ford! Many years ago a very nice gentleman gave me an old and bedraggled book with the title: "Dyke's Automobile and Gas Engine Encyclopedia." Do you wonder how to tune up your Baker Electric, or how to adjust your Klaxon Horn? All of that important information is in this book, plus, advice on how to become a successful car salesman! The back of the book has a Ford supplement, with everything you ever needed to know about working on your Model T, as of 1919.
In celebration of the 100th birthday of the Model T, True Blue studios will be posting pertinent pages guaranteed to improve your life if you drive a Tin Lizzie; at least we will unless this old book crumbles as I scan it. You will learn important skills, such as gapping your sparkplugs with a worn out dime, grinding your valves, and adjusting your transmission bands. We will even consider honoring requests for specific problems, so you can keep your T on the road!
All of these posts will be labeled "T's" so you can find them easily. Stay tuned!

PS: Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Not My Victrola

Here is OttLakeRambler performing one of his old time fiddle tunes. It will get your feet moving, just the ticket for Monday morning. Check him out on You Tube for more great tunes.

Here Comes Monday Again!

Back to the old grind!

FFA Forestry Contest

Mrs. TBS and I spent all day Saturday in Carbondale, IL at the SIU campus with FFA students at the state forestry contest. We took two students from our neighborhood who represented Wayne City High School. A team is supposed to have five individuals, but even with the short team Wayne City did not place last, so our kids did pretty well.
Billy is hunkering down to measure an azimuth, while a contestant from Jerseyville is recording her information.

Pacing between points. Close does count in this event; students measure the distance between points by pacing to the nearest foot, and the results show that most contestants had practiced for this.

Equipment identification is an event that every student should score 100%, but most of them don't. They have the list ahead of time and can look up all the items in catalogs or online.

This surveyor's chain is a genuine antique.

The written map test was tough for high school students; no multiple choice here.

There were twenty five trees to identify, and there was not much time to think. This old post oak was a tough one for northern Illinois students.

This girl had excellent technique with her Biltmore stick. Note how her eye is on the left side of her stick as she places it against the tree.

As soon as she has the stick placed properly her eye switches to the right to read the diameter.

Billy and the Jerseyville girl measure the merchantable length of a tree.

Emily is dialing in her azimuth as she sights on the next pin.

Take your compass reading and....

pace off the distance. It's nice when you don't have to split a step.

Here are a couple of contestants playing 'Wilson' with me.
This was a great day, and it was good for these students to see the campus and meet some of the forestry faculty and students at SIU.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Weekend Steam

Take a ride on the Midwest Central Railroad! Here is a nice new video from EverywhereWest on YouTube, of Engine Number 6 circling the grounds at Midwest Old Threshers this year.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Crankin' It Up

Tonight we have another fiddle selection. You will recognize the tune as Turkey in the Straw, but the record is labeled Old Zip Coon. This song was first performed in 1829, and was popular on the minstrel stage. The lyrics to Old Zip Coon were different from Turkey in the Straw, and if you look it up on Wikipedia, you will see that more than one person claimed to have written it. This record was recorded in 1914 or 1916, depending on the source, but well before Eck Robertson recorded his fiddle tunes. I guess Don Richardson's records are considered to be something other than country music; maybe folk or minstrel tunes. This record has Old Folks at Home plugged in the middle, and I am sure you will recognize that song. This is another well loved record that was played to death. I don't remember when or where I picked up this rarity, and tonight was the first time I have played it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Results Are In!

Mr. Completely's September E-Postal Match results have been posted on The Sentinel. Click the link to go have a look. Mr. Completely is amazing with his homebuilt High Standard pistol. If you look through his archives you will find some video of him shooting this gun, and he sure puts me to shame with my old fashioned revolvers. I'm anxiously waiting for the August results yet, and the new contest for October.

Progressing Nicely

Most people think of sugar maple and the bright oranges and reds that species is famous for when they think of fall colors. The sumacs have been putting on a nice show in old fields and edges for the past month, and most folks don't even pay attention to this humble shrub. The leaves yellowing on the left are hackberry, and the tree turning yellow on the right is catalpa. Goldenrod (lower right and left) has been glorious for the past month. Spanish needle is brighter than goldenrod, and it has finished its show already. Dogwood, sassafras, persimmon, blackgum and sweetgum have been putting on a decent show for the last few weeks, and again, most people are not taking notice. A few days ago I saw a white ash that was totally purple, red maples are beginning to turn a deep scarlet this fall, and sugar maple is starting its great exclamation now. Don't go out without your camera.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hinging and Wedging Again

We took down our dead blue spruce, and it required wedging, because the tree was leaning backward from the direction we wanted it to fall.

Here are the important parts of the process to note:

1. Control the saw when you start it. I like to hold it between my knees; others like to set it on the ground.

2. The first cut aims the tree. Use the line across the top of the air filter housing to line up on your target.

3. The second cut should match up with the aiming cut.

4. Bore through behind the open face to establish your hinge. Start your bore cut with the bottom portion of the bar's nose, then rotate the saw around the nose and bore through. The hinge should be up to 10% of the diameter of the tree at 4' 6" above the ground.

5. Cut out half of the back and insert a wedge.

6. Cut out the other half of the back and drive your wedge in.

7. If one wedge thickness does not tip your tree far enough, cross two wedges to gain additional lift.