Sunday, November 30, 2008

Not My Victrola

Here is a nice fox trot courtesy of FuzzBear6240 over at YouTube. You should be able to go tripping out the door after you hear this one. I had Victrola like this one and a stack of records in 1970 in my dorm room. I had to stuff a towel in the horn because the floor monitor said it was too loud. This was back when students had humongous stereo speakers playing heavy metal.

Monday Again!

Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Weekend Steam

We have company this weekend, so blogging time is limited. This is a nice video I saw over on YouTube.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Crankin' It Up

The fall of 1918 saw the passage of the Volstead Act, a veto by President Wilson, and the immediate override of his veto by Congress. Prohibition was coming, like it or not. Billy Muray made out all right selling songs about it, and I think this record, "How Are You Going To Wet Your Whistle? (When The Whole Darn World Goes Dry)" was his first song on the subject. This was played on our old Brunswick, as usual.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Range Report/E-Postal Reminder

Mom tried out her new Ruger Single Six today. We put in some Wolf springs to reduce the trigger pull and make the hammer easier to cycle, then sighted it in. After a few cylinders she shot the November E-Postal target. We didn't have a proper support, but she was able to use a makeshift rest for her arms, and she shot a pretty darn good target. She nailed six out of the nine balls, and in the proper sequence. If my 77 year old mother can do it, so can you! Go over to Mr. Completely, click on the E-Postal link at the top of his blog to get your target and the rules, and send a scan of your targets in by midnight Sunday. Thank You, Curt, for hosting a very challenging contest this month!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Give Thanks For Our Heroes

Don't forget our troops around the world on Thanksgiving. Click the link for the rest of the photos in this series from Big Picture.

And over at SondraK...

George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789." G. Washington

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pot Party

 Mrs. True Blue Sam started looking for a pot in the cupboard the other day and it was kind of like a clown car. I guess we have enough of these now; I count twenty iron skillets in this photo. She won't let me go to auctions anymore.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Over the River and Through the Woods

You all are probably getting ready to hit the road on Wednesday to visit family for Thanksgiving. If your T has been chattering in low gear, or the clutch has been slipping in high gear, you better continue reading the pages from 'Dyke's Ford Supplement.' I don't want your flivver dying on the side of the road.

Cartoon from "Model T Memories" by Floyd Clymer

These pages are jpg images scanned at 100 lines per inch, and you can copy them to your hard drive for future reference. Click on each image to en-biggify, then right click and save picture as. These four pages complete the section on the Model T transmission. The previous posts can be found by clicking on the T's label at the end of the post, or in the label list on the right side of the page.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Not My Victrola

'Hello Cutie' is guaranteed to lift your spirits for Monday morning. I have had this song running through my head for forty years and never get tired of it. The version I heard has a different line in the chorus: "Sweet as tutti-fruiti, you're a little beauty, Hello Cutie, Hello!" It's a long shot trying to find records pressed eighty years ago.

Monday Again!

Back To The Old Grind!

BONUS GRINDING! This week we have a twofer, courtesy of COUNTRYDRIVE, who has posted this corn sheller and buhr mill powered first by a tractor, and below by a horse. Thank You, COUNTRYDRIVE!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weekend Steam

Now that winter weather has arrived, a steam powerhouse would be a great place to sit and relax. This is a cross-compound Corliss engine that used to pump water for the city of Marshalltown, Iowa. It is on permanent display at Midwest Old Threshers.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Crankin' It Up

Those Panama Mamas is the flip side of last Friday's selection, and it is just as hot a dance number with some great trombone courtesy of Miff Moles.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Seasonal Frustration

Every year you can count on seeing some of this in farm country. After the harvesting is done farmers start pushing out fence rows and timber edges to increase their acreage or to rearrange their fields. This is one big reason that I am always pushing for landowners to plant trees on land that is idle. Illinois is actually gaining forest land, but it takes a lot of effort to stay ahead of clearing for agriculture and other uses.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Transmission Error

I have always done most of my own vehicle maintenance, and the first time I serviced the transmission on our Chevy Astro-Van I was taken aback by the filter. After dropping the pan you simply pull the old filter straight down to remove it. You then have to pull the old retainer/ seal (circular object), install a new retainer/seal, cram the new filter up into the retainer/seal, reinstall the cleaned pan, and add the proper amount of transmission fluid. I had always assumed that the pan fit closely enough to the filter to keep it from working out of the retainer. I was wrong.

A couple weeks ago I noticed the transmission slipping a little, and it was slow to go into gear. I checked the transmission fluid, and it was way over full. That didn't quite compute, but I pumped out some fluid and then the van could not move at all. I dropped the transmission pan and the old filter came down with the pan. Luckily, with the filter disconnected, the fluid level was high enough for some to be picked up, but the torque converter was not being kept full. After I had pumped some out, no fluid could be picked up by the pump.

We drive on gravel, and we go over lots of washboards, so I will drop the pan again, take some careful measurements, and install a shim pack of flexible magnets under the filter to keep it in place.

Our previous vans were Fords, and the transmission filters on those cars were bolted on; they never came off. The next time we go new car shopping we will be looking for a better idea.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ranch Security

Hey-Joe (Right) showed up in June of 1998 and has been part of the family ever since. His old companion Henrietta's heart gave out this year, and HeyJoe was pining away. We looked at dogs at local shelters and brought Jack home with us. He and Hey-Joe became buddies right away, and Joe is once again a happy doggy. Jack was a city dog and was a bit spooked by the country, but now he likes long walks around the farm and practically dives when I tell him 'Down.'

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Not My Victrola

Here is your Monday Morning Mood Modifier, courtesy of 240252 over on YouTube. If this one makes you want to Fox Trot, that's OK.

Monday Again!

Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Weekend Steam

Here is a nice mix of steamers running around at Old Threshers. This is a string of short videos we shot while we were going from one attraction to another; nothing special, but fun to watch.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Crankin' It Up

We had to make a run to town this evening, and Christmas music was playing in the stores already. You won't find any of that here until well after Thanksgiving--guaranteed! Here is a peppy jazz record made in April, 1925. The song is "Down And Out Blues" performed by The Cotton Pickers, an all white house orchestra employed by Brunswick. The hot trombone playing on this record is Miff Moles, and he is quite interesting to read about on the internet if you are into the history of forgotten musicians.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

T Tips

If you want to get around like this guy you better keep reading these pages and save them to your hard drive for future reference. Here are two more pages from "Dyke's Automobile Encyclopedia, Ford Supplement" for your reading pleasure. Click on the pages to enlarge, and then save them if you think you might ever have to work on a Model T.

Next time we will have more pages of transmission information. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Armistice Day, November 11, 1918

On this Veteran's Day ninety years after The Great War ended, we should pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by the men and women of that generation. World War I was overshadowed by the Second World War, but it had horror beyond our ability to imagine today. From the time we entered the war in April 1917, until Armistice Day, we had 117,000 combat deaths, and 205,000 wounded. Those are really big numbers for the few months we were in the war. Worldwide there were about 10,000,000 killed by the war, 3,000,000 widows, and 10,000,000 orphans.

The first video in today's post is "My Dream of the Big Parade," performed by Henry Burr, Billy Murray, and the Peerless Quartet. The second video is a lighthearted song I am sure you have heard before. Spend some time reflecting on the debt we owe all who have served to protect our freedom, and be sure to thank a vet today.

Here is Nora Bayes in a 1919 recording of "How Ya Gonna Keep Them Down On The Farm," posted on YouTube by RReady555.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Not My Victrola

Heigh-Ho, Everybody! Here is 'The Song I Love' by Rudy Vallee, posted by Victrolaman1 on YouTube. It should lift your Monday morning mood.

Monday Again!

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

I can't say much about Fritz Kreisler because his playing leaves me nearly speechless. This recording is 'Andantino,' from 1926, and posted on YouTube by Pax41.

Near Lawrenceville, IL

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Weekend Steam

Here is more of the action you can see at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. This is an Advance Rumely steam engine powering the sawmill.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Crankin' It Up: WWI Commemorative Edition

The Great War was in its last few days ninety years ago; here are a couple more popular songs from those days. 'Till We Meet Again' was very popular, and could be found in nearly every record cabinet. My disc of 'I'm Crazy Over Every Girl In France' has been in my collection for about forty years, and this is the first time I have listened to it. It was well liked, because it is very worn. I had to play both of these records with a soft tone needle to reduce the hiss, and move the microphone in close, so you will hear the spring rumble a bit. The slide show is made up of some of our sheet music collection.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

West Kern Oil Museum, Taft California

I took a trip and never left the farm tonight. One of our regular readers in California, GSC, recently visited the West Kern Oil Museum at Taft, CA, and linked me to a stack of photos he took while he was there. I worked in the Southern Illinois oil fields for several years when I was between better jobs, so it was pretty interesting looking at this old machinery.

This little engine would not have powered an oil well, but would have been used to power shop equipment, pump water, or some other oil field task. It resembles the International Harvester Famous engines, which were built a century ago. It helps date the development of this oil field.

Here is a single well pump jack, and a one lung engine to power it. These ran off of natural gas from the well head until the gas production dwindled. In Southern Illinois you will see lots of rigs similar to this still in use. When the gas is no longer sufficient to run the engine, an LP tank will be set next to the well to keep it running.

This hefty sideshaft engine probably was in a powerhouse that ran rod-lines to pump several wells. These were used in Illinois, and also in the eastern oil fields. I saw operating powerhouses in Eastern Kentucky when I worked there thirty some years ago. There is still a small oil field near Oblong, IL that uses rod lines to pump the wells.

This neat old truck has a well pulling unit on its back. It was used to pull the rods and tubing out of wells when a rod was broken, the tubing leaked, or the pump needed service. Its not a whole lot of fun working behind one of these, but it is better than being a tubing tester.

I think this is a Fairbanks 346 cu. in. engine. Fairbanks is the most common brand of engine you see on pump jacks in the Illinois oil fields.

This is an eccentric drive that would have been in a powerhouse. A large engine would be belted to this machine, and rod lines are pulled by the hookups on top. A bell crank would be at each well head to change the motion from horizontal to vertical. It was a pretty good system in its day.

This is a two cylinder Bessemer engine. Bessemers are 2-stroke engines. This might have been in a powerhouse pulling rod lines, or powering pipeline pumps.

This is a newly built standard derrick. Building these kept a lot of oil field carpenters busy all over the country. The well drilling rigs that worked with these were cable tool rigs, not rotary rigs. Cable tools are raised and lowered by a spudding arm, and the drill bit would pulverize rock every time it came down. The tools would be pulled out, and a bailer would be used to bring out the cuttings. Large pipe would be set at the top of the well, and progressively smaller pipe would be run in when it became necessary to case the well.

An old driller I knew in Illinois told me of a bizarre tale about working on one of these rigs in Kansas, many decades ago. A holdup man began hitting rigs on payday, and after being robbed of their pay once, a crew kept a shotgun handy in the shed over the rig's machinery. The robber showed up again one payday, but met an untimely end with a load of buckshot. The crew reached a quick decision on the dead outlaw's fate, and shoved him down the large surface pipe of the well they were drilling. They pushed him to the bottom with the tools, and drilled him up. If you know of a missing outlaw in Kansas about seventy years ago, he may be your man.

Here is another very old engine that probably was in a powerhouse. GSC linked me to a video of this one running, and it is a hit and miss engine; very unusual for an oil well engine, at least from my experience.

Here is a smaller Bessemer; a single cylinder. I have seen these at engine shows, and in Eastern Kentucky powerhouses.

Cable tool rigs had to have tools dressed regularly in a blacksmith forge in order to cut right, and cut the right size hole. These shops were busy 24 hours a day during the war years.

You have to wonder how effective this old fire truck would have been against an oil well fire. From the looks of the paint, it must have spent most of its life inside.

I haven't been to California for many years, but if I am out that way I know that I will have to visit this museum. Thank You GSC, for sharing these great photos.
This is the machine that GSC asks about in his comment. It is a centrifuge, which would have been used to separate oil from water, or other impurities. I do not know if this was part of the treating equipment or if it was used for testing. Comments are welcome from anyone who can tell us more.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fall Color Update

The fall colors have had an extended season this year, building slowly, and finally hitting their peak over the weekend. We can see the show beginning to fade now, and when the weather changes in a few days, leaves will begin falling rapidly.

Monday, November 3, 2008

October e-Postal Results Are Up!

The October contest results are posted over at Traction Control. Click over there and check out the scores; this was a very interesting contest. Mr Completely with his Hi Standard is absolutely amazing. Engineering Johnson bested me, which makes me feel pretty good. Gary A shows us how well a Ruger .22 rifle can shoot. One of the scores to note is USCitizen (Traction Control host) with his Hi-Point C9. This is an economy pistol which he recently tried for the first time, and he shot a very respectable score with it. Scroll down a few posts below the scores and read his review of this nice pocket pistol.

Thanks for a great contest, US Citizen!

At Least It Didn't Linger

Our next door neighbor's barn looked pretty good compared to other buildings of the same vintage, but it had structural problems that were going to cause problems soon, and the cost to fix it up was prohibitive. One reason it looked so good is that concrete footings were poured in 1924 to shore it up. The neighbor found the date and Susan's Uncle Percy's initials on the north footer.
Most of these old building are allowed to kind of melt down, but this barn was in the front yard, not the back forty, so siding was removed, cuts were made to hinge the timbers, and it was pulled down. I wish I could have been there to hear it Whump when it fell.

Its suffering is over now.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Not My Victrola

Here is your Monday Morning Mood Modifier! I have always liked 'Painting The Clouds With Sunshine,' which came from the same movie as 'Tiptoe Through the Tulips.' This is another of the videos posted by RReady555 on his YouTube channel. Be sure to check him out; he does a great job with these old recordings. Below is the poster for 'Gold Diggers,' for the benefit of those who haven't seen the post with 'Tiptoe.'


Kids! How many gadgets can you count in this picture?
Back To The Old Grind!

Poets' Corner

Mr. Riley would be lost on the modern farm. This is a nice look back at how things used to be.

by: James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here--
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock--
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries--kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below--the clover over-head!--
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin' 's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! ...
I don't know how to tell it--but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me--
I'd want to 'commodate 'em--all the whole-indurin' flock--
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Weekend Steam: Calling Leslie Nielsen!

Do you remember the cockpit scenes in the 'Airplane' movie? That is what I thought of when I was taking the video clips of this Nichols and Shepherd engine at Old Threshers. There was a John Deere parked next to the steamer, popping away with no muffler. Oh Well.

Just to show I have some compassion, wash you ears out with this one of the Kitten engine at Old Threshers.