Tuesday, December 29, 2009

McCormick-Deering Engine

This little throttle governed engine is an education in motion. The advances in gas engines during the early Twentieth Century made the operation of farm engines progressively easier for farmers, and this engine has a few important improvements to note. It uses a sparkplug instead of an ignitor, which is a much simpler system to maintain. Most hit-and-miss gas engines had only a mixing valve, but this throttle governed engine has a real carburetor. If you examine the plumbing you will note that the carburetor does not use a float, but it has an overflow line that takes gasoline back to the fuel tank. The crankcase is enclosed, but you should note the grease cups which are visible. Type M's, which were introduced in 1917 had a dry crankcase, and the bearings were lubricated by grease cups. There are still plenty of exposed moving parts to oil, and I think the most interesting gizmo is the handle on the fuel pump, which can be used to push fuel to the carburetor when it is dry.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Not My Victrola

Just in case you will be partying on New Year's Eve, an easy Fox-Trot is in order to practice your dance floor coordination. "What Could Be Sweeter" is courtesy of YouTuber 240252.

Here It Comes Again!

Back To The Old Grind!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Bonus Posting!

A banjo picker was at the party last Sunday, and unfortuantely, I missed most of his playing. I did manage to sit down and catch his last song before he put away his banjo.

Dahlgren's Got The Spirit!

We came home through the little town of Dahlgren Wednesday night and stopped to admire the old depot. Nice.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Apple Butter Party

Back in November, the next-door neighbors had their second annual apple butter get-together for friends and neighbors. It was an all day event that began with peeling,

Then, cooking in a copper kettle over an open fire.

Mrs. TBS took her turn stirring.

The Master of Ceremonies demonstrates how you check the consistency of apple butter.

Jars were filled,
and divided up among all the participants. Mrs. TBS pressure-cooked them after she got home, so they will keep. I feel a bit Plutocratic every morning with this delicacy on my toast.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Weekend Steam

Southern Pacific 4449 just made a Holiday Express run in Portland, Oregon, and it is a beautiful sight to behold. Watch the joggers. A lady jogger makes a couple turnarounds to scope out the locomotive, but the guy in the green shirt doesn't break stride at all to admire the steamer. I have always heard that a man can't resist looking at a beautiful woman, or a locomotive. As a happily married man, I have learned to avert my eyes at the proper moment for other women, but never for a steam engine. I am wondering about that guy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Crankin' It Up

This week we are highlighting another Puritone Christmas record, "Oh Holy Night" performed by Charles Hilton and the Harmony Quartet. Christmas is just one week away!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Some Good Advice Here...

This is a great old song by Eddie Cantor, one of the greatest entertainers ever; and he has sound advice for folks who would like to keep their lives in good order. This song has been one of my favorites for a very long time.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Not A Trace Is Left

This old hand colored photo used to hang in the farm house in the picture. I was looking at it recently, and tried to figure out when it was taken. My dad bought a 1951 Hudson in 1957, so I know it was before that, when we were riding in a Plymouth. I can see an open spot next to the catalpa grove where dad burned some outdated farm machinery; our milk cow; our New Idea corn picker;...and a tree that I remember my dad cutting down when I was a little guy.

That photo was taken before July 5, 1954, when this black and white picture was taken. The smell of this tree being cut up is one of my early memories. I wasn't quite three years old, but this event stuck in my head.

I took this photo in the late 1980's on a visit to the old home place. The corn crib was the last building left on our farm. That's Dad, EJ, and Mrs. TBS inside the crib. During my recent visit with Mom up in Iowa we drove by the farm but didn't stop to take any pictures. It is all just an open farm field now, without any sign that families once lived here.
This row of white pines was just north of the home site. I enjoy looking at this photo every winter, so I can remember how cold that old house was. I'm as sentimental as anyone about the good old days, but we sure are living more comfortably with insulation and high efficiency furnaces.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Studebaker Wagon

Our friend Duane, at Boonville, Indiana (Star of the Fairbanks engine videos.) showed a couple of nice old Studebakers this year. This 1957 wagon is extremely rare, and in very good original condition. It has the 289 V-8 engine.

The dashboard was a treat to behold. The switches are off in the middle, and up or down for high and low. The 1958 Studebaker Hawk I had long ago had the same type of switches. Just under the dashboard left of the steering wheel you can see the lockout for the overdrive. When I bought my Hawk, the first gear had been ripped out of the tranny, so I ordered a used one from Warshawsky in Chicago.. It was delivered by Railway Express, but the overdrive unit was shorter than the unit on my car. I learned how to disassemble a standard transmission, and overdrive unit, and put them back together so I could have wheels. My Hawk had a 4-barrel carburetor, and that made the engine more powerful than the drive train was engineered. If you floored it in high gear it would slip the 10-inch clutch. I guess that was OK, because it kept me from abusing my little hot rod. Anyway, it was good to see a vintage Studebaker that wasn't rusted out; they were bad about that.

Monday, December 14, 2009

How Are Those Carbon Credits Working Out?

I hope that all of the True Blue readers have been keeping up with the saga of the man-caused global warming fraud that was recently exposed. The main stream news people have been going on as if nothing has changed, and some in our Congress want to go after the whistle blowers. I have been watching the global warming hysteria with interest since it began because it affects the forestry profession. Twenty years ago I heard a presenter tell us that in fifty years, we would be growing mesquite in Illinois. We are almost halfway there, and I haven't heard any rumors of mesquite creeping north. If you are not alarmed by what is going on , watch the video above. The man asking questions at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference is a reporter with credentials to be in this meeting. He is shut down, ultimately by an armed guard so as not to embarass a global warming proseletyzer from Stanford University. It appears that the UN intends to cram carbon regulation down our throats by whatever means is necessary to line the pockets of the world's tyrants.

The Society of American Foresters has been blowing the bugle for man-caused global warming, too, and I am not alone in saying that the leaders in SAF have damaged the credibility of that organization. The leaders of SAF are deeply involved with universities and the US Forest Service, and government grants for research dollars have tempted the SAF away from common sense and sound science. There are many good reasons to grow trees, but I know that I can't change the world's climate by locking up carbon in timber. Trees are temporary, no matter how large and majestic they may grow. We can't come up with magical formulas to make forests "Sustainable." You can't cut more than you grow; it's that simple. The site, the weather, and the type of forest that grows there will determine how much is produced and the rotation schedule.

You might lock away carbon if you bury wood deep underground. This tree which was recently exposed may have been buried hundreds or thousands of years ago. Spruce logs are sometimes unearthed in glacial lakebeds in southern Illinois, buried in glacial outwash ten thousand or more years ago. The carbon in those trees may still be locked up, but on a geological time scale, it is just an interesting footnote.

Eventually the carbon based molecules will be displaced, and the wood will either rot or be replaced by stone. The logs in this petrified forest were buried in sediments, then eventually uplifted and exposed by erosion in a desert totally alien to the environment they grew in; and all that climate change happened before we came along.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Not My Victrola

Posted by Zefrenm over on YouTube.

Another Monday

Back To The Old Grind!


Mrs. TBS and I had important business up north this week, going up early one day, and returning the next. We were very lucky and were followed north by a southernly flow of warm air that held the blizzard off of Chicago until we exited stage south. EJ took us to a great pizzeria in LaGrange while we were visiting.

EJ has set up housekeeping in a new-to-him bungalow in one of the Chicago 'burbs. You will recognize the aluminum Christmas tree if you have listened to our Hoosier Hot Shots record that is down the page. That is his Columbia phonograph on the left end of the walnut table.

"Well, Old Man, do you know what this is?" I didn't.

"It's a record caddy, for your kind of records!" I must be slipping.
GSC asked about the woodwork in the bungalow in his comment. It is a charming home that has been altered very little since 1916 when it was built.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

65 Years Ago....

Click over to Theodore's World.

Weekend Steam

AndrzejMastalerz posted this interesting video. He did not provide much info, but I think it is safe to assume that these engines are on their way to a scrapper. The banging noise is not in time to the movement of the rods, so I think it is something hanging down and banging on the crossties.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Crankin' It Up

I tried to look up the date of "Oh Little Town of Bethelehem" on 78Discography, and the Puritone label is not listed. Because it is electrically recorded we know that it is no earlier than 1925. Straus & Schram was a Chicago based mail order store.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Close Shave

This pecan tree had a very close call. Last September we had a powerful thunderstorm roll over us, and luckily for this tree, it was well soaked by rain before a lightning bolt struck it. The wet bark conducted the strike down along the surface, and as far as we can tell, the inner bark and sapwood were not injured. Some of the outer bark was blown off, but no real damage is evident. I was on the internet at the time, and this tree is only about fifty feet from where I sit at our computer. A hit that close delivers a very impressive, but brief sound and light show. I unplugged the modem and the 'puter. Better late than never.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Hard Part

Regular readers know that I love tipping over trees; that's the fun part. After you have a tree on the ground, the hard part begins. Before we had a hydraulic splitter I loaded some pretty hefty chunks in the trailer for splitting at the house. Now we can park the splitter right next to the tree and make little ones out of big ones pretty fast; that makes processing much more tolerable. The worst part of the chainsaw business to me is cleaning up the sticks. Out in the woods you can just leave them lay, but in the yard the tree top has to be worked down, loaded up, and hauled out. We try to delay jobs like this one until late fall when the grass has quit growing. If you do one of these in the summer you have to put on a big push to do the cleanup, then smooth out the holes before the grass gets away from you.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tom Thumb

Way back when I was a teenager I saw an IHC Tom Thumb like this engine for sale... for the unattainable sum for me, of $35.00. I don't really know what collectors these days are paying for highly desirable engines like this one, but I do know that you would be hooted down if you offered only $1000. A Tom Thumb is still out of reach for me; some things never change.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Here Comes Monday!

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

We are really getting in a holiday mood at True Blue Sam. We looked up Christmas songs on YouTube and settled on a great Yogi Yorgesson Christmas song (posted by MickeyClark) that we know you will enjoy. If you want/need your very own Yogi CD to make it through the holidays, go to www.yogiyorgesson.com, and make the call. We bought the Yogi Yorgesson Christmas CD over the phone last year, and received great, speedy service from Mr. Howard; his phone number and e-mail address are on the Yogi website.

Easy Shopping

If you have a kid or adult who is hard to shop for, click on the Russell engine on the left sidebar and study the catalog for Kester's Collectables. George casts these wonderful toys in aluminum, cleans up the castings, paints and assembles them himself.

These toys are destined to become collectors' items in the future, and they are loved by kids, even in our computer age. George Kester does not do sales online, so you will have to peruse his website catalog, then call him to place your order. Christmas will be here soon, so place your order in time for George to paint your model and put it in the mail.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Weekend Steam

ChessieStorm is a YouTuber I ran across while looking for good steam videos. He has posted over 500 videos, mostly short ones showing a variety of rolling stock on the move. These three videos are of Union Pacific locomotive 3985 going up the Big Sandy Valley in Eastern Kentucky in November, 1992, as it traveled to Elkhorn City to pull the Santa Train on the Clinchfield. ChessieStorm captured some good sound. Steam whistles do sound good in the mountains.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Crankin' It Up

Christmas is only three weeks away, so we are going to help you get in the mood with a wonderful slide whistle rendition of Jingle Bells by the Hoosier Hot Shots! According to 78 Discography, the Hot Shots recorded this lively number on Novermber 17, 1936. The aluminum Christmas tree is from around 1960; the Brunswick is from around 1920; my warped musical tastes come from the 1950's. Merry Christmas! Say it often!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Spread A Little Christmas Cheer!

Soldiers' Angels is sending packages to 140,000 miltary personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they need your help! Click on the Wrapped in Holiday Spirit banner to donate. I saw on the news yesterday that APO and FPO packages need to be shipped this week to reach soldiers by Christmas, so do not delay.

November e-Postal Scores!

Danno has posted the results for the final Mr. Completely e-Postal Contest of 2009; click over to his blog and study the score sheet. Merle gets bragging rights for being the most enthusiastic entrant; he had twelve separate entries. If you have not been shooting these contests, start thinking about doing so next year. You will note when looking at the scores that you can shoot these contests with anything you have and your targets will be scored. A monthly trip to the shooting range will improve your skills and provide fun and fellowship with your range buddies, and the other online entrants.

Abenaque Engine

This beautiful Abenaque engine was featured by Engineering Johnson in a post nearly three years ago. We videoed it last September so we could share the mechnical entertainment with you. This engine is fired by an ignitor rather than a spark plug, so there are several extra parts dancing around at the end of the camshaft and on the head.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

This Baler Caught My Eye

This Minneapolis baler is a real jewel, and the owner keeps it in operating condition. Taking the baler to the hay or straw was a great advancement in farm technology, and it is amusing to watch machines such as this one at Boonville, Indiana being used as stationary balers to process the straw from threshing.

I did not realize that Minneapolis made a baler like this, powered by a V-4 Wisconsin engine, but it did not surprise me. It was kind of like running into a brother of an old friend.

My parents had a Minneapolis combine of the same vintage as the baler when I was just a little kid. It too was powered by a Wisconsin engine rather than a power take-off shaft from the tractor. I don't know for sure, but I think that these machines hit the market while there were still many tractors in the fields without a power take-off. The big problem Dad had with his machine was that chaff would collect under the metal shrouds around the air-cooled cylinders. The chaff had to be cleaned out on a daily basis when using these machines or the engine would overheat, and possibly catch fire.

That's Dad on the combine, my sister in front of it, and myself on the tractor seat. I ran a forage harvester for a major seed company every summer during my college years. It was a small custom built machine for harvesting alfalfa and clover research plots, and it was powered by a Wisconsin V-4. Every morning my routine included pulling the shrouds off the engine and cleaning out the chaff. It's funny how a lesson I learned before I was five years old stuck with me and came in handy many years later.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Saint Andrew's Day

Saint Andrew's Day is November 30, and even if you are not Scottish, it is a good excuse for a holiday season party. ( The flag of Scotland is the Cross of St. Andrew, and this is widely displayed as a symbol of national identity.) Because Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland, a proper celebration should have bagpipes, Scotch Whisky, and haggis. If you are apprehensive about haggis, at least make a meatloaf with both cut and rolled oats instead of bread for the filler.

My favorite poet, Robert Service, gets little or no respect from Professors of English; I think because he was a Scot, and possibly because he actually made a living writing poetry. In his collection of Bar-Room Ballads, published in 1940, Mr. Service uses the term Sassenach twice in one of his poems. This word is a Scottish/Gaelic term derived from an early word for Saxon. It is a somewhat derogatory term for anything English. Use of this word may be one of the reasons this successful and entertaining writer is still being snubbed for all of his works except for a few early poems about the Yukon Gold Rush.

Below is the offending poem; a great story to read on Saint Andrew's Day. Now pour a glass of good Scotch, crank up a CD of bagpipes, and enjoy a good story.

The Ballad of How MacPherson Held the Floor

Said President MacConnachie to Treasurer MacCall:
"We ought to have a piper for our next Saint Andrew's Ball.
Yon squakin' saxophone gives me the syncopated gripes.
I'm sick of jazz, I want to hear the skirling of the pipes."
"Alas! it's true," said Tam MacCall. "The young folk of to-day
Are fox-trot mad and dinna ken a reel from a Strathspey.
Now, what we want's a kiltie lad, primed up wi' mountain dew,
To strut the floor at supper time, and play a lilt or two.
In all the North there's only one; of him I've heard them speak:
His name is Jock MacPherson, and he lives on Boulder Creek;
An old-time hard-rock miner, and a wild and wastrel loon,
Who spends his nights in glory, playing pibrochs to the moon.
I'll seek him out; beyond a doubt on next Saint Andrew's night
We'll proudly hear the pipes to cheer and charm our appetite.

Oh lads were neat and lassies sweet who graced Saint Andrew's Ball;
But there was none so full of fun as Treasurer MacCall.
And as Maloney's rag-time band struck up the newest hit,
He smiled a smile behind his hand, and chuckled: "Wait a bit."
And so with many a Celtic snort, with malice in his eye,
He watched the merry crowd cavort, till supper time drew nigh.
Then gleefully he seemed to steal, and sought the Nugget Bar,
Wherein there sat a tartaned chiel, as lonely as a star;
A huge and hairy Highlandman as hearty as a breeze,
A glass of whisky in his hand, his bag-pipes on his knees.
"Drink down your doch and doris, Jock," cried Treasurer MacCall;
"The time is ripe to up and pipe; they wait you in the hall.
Gird up your loins and grit your teeth, and here's a pint of hooch
To mind you of your native heath - jist pit it in your pooch.
Play on and on for all you're worth; you'll shame us if you stop.
Remember you're of Scottish birth - keep piping till you drop.
Aye, though a bunch of Willie boys should bluster and implore,
For the glory of the Highlands, lad, you've got to hold the floor.

"The dancers were at supper, and the tables groaned with cheer,
When President MacConnachie exclaimed: "What do I hear?
Methinks it's like a chanter, and its coming from the hall."
"It's Jock MacPherson tuning up," cried Treasurer MacCall.
So up they jumped with shouts of glee, and gaily hurried forth.
Said they: "We never thought to see a piper in the North.
"Aye, all the lads and lassies braw went buzzing out like bees,
And Jock MacPherson there they saw, with red and rugged knees.
Full six foot four he strode the floor, a grizzled son of Skye,
With glory in his whiskers and with whisky in his eye.
With skelping stride and Scottish pride he towered above them all:
"And is he no' a bonny sight?" said Treasurer MacCall.
While President MacConnachie was fairly daft with glee,
And there was jubilation in the Scottish Commy-tee.
But the dancers seemed uncertain, and they signified their doubt,
By dashing back to eat as fast as they had darted out.
And someone raised the question 'twixt the coffee and the cakes:
"Does the Piper walk to get away from all the noise he makes?
"Then reinforced with fancy food they slowly trickled forth,
And watching in patronizing mood the Piper of the North.

Proud, proud was Jock MacPherson, as he made his bag-pipes skirl,
And he set his sporran swinging, and he gave his kilts a whirl.
And President MacConnachie was jumping like a flea,
And there was joy and rapture in the Scottish Commy-tee.
"Jist let them have their saxophones wi' constipated squall;
We're having Heaven's music now," said Treasurer MacCall.
But the dancers waxed impatient, and they rather seemed to fret
For Maloney and the jazz of his Hibernian Quartette.
Yet little recked the Piper, as he swung with head on high,
Lamenting with MacCrimmon on the heather hills of Skye.
With Highland passion in his heart he held the centre floor;
Aye, Jock MacPherson played as he had never played before.

Maloney's Irish melodists were sitting in their place,
And as Maloney waited, there was wonder in his face.
'Twas sure the gorgeous music - Golly! wouldn't it be grand
If he could get MacPherson as a member of his band?
But the dancers moped and mumbled, as around the room they sat:
"We paid to dance," they grumbled; "But we cannot dance to that.
Of course we're not denying that it's really splendid stuff;
But it's mighty satisfying - don't you think we've had enough?"
"You've raised a pretty problem," answered Treasurer MacCall;
"For on Saint Andrew's Night, ye ken, the Piper rules the Ball.
"Said President MacConnachie: "You've said a solemn thing.
Tradition holds him sacred, and he's got to have his fling.
But soon, no doubt, he'll weary out. Have patience; bide a wee."
"That's right. Respect the Piper," said the Scottish Commy-tee.

And so MacPherson stalked the floor, and fast the moments flew,
Till half an hour went past, as irritation grew and grew.
The dancers held a council, and with faces fiercely set,
They hailed Maloney, heading his Hibernian Quartette:
"It's long enough, we've waited. Come on, Mike, play up the Blues."
And Maloney hesitated, but he didn't dare refuse.
So banjo and piano, and guitar and saxophone
Contended with the shrilling of the chanter and the drone;
And the women's ears were muffled, so infernal was the din,
But MacPherson was unruffled, for he knew that he would win.
Then two bright boys jazzed round him, and they sought to play the clown,
But MacPherson jolted sideways, and the Sassenachs went down.
And as if it was a signal, with a wild and angry roar,
The gates of wrath were riven - yet MacPherson held the floor.

Aye, amid the rising tumult, still he strode with head on high,
With ribbands gaily streaming, yet with battle in his eye.
Amid the storm that gathered, still he stalked with Highland pride,
While President and Treasurer sprang bravely to his side.
And with ire and indignation that was glorious to see,
Around him in a body ringed the Scottish Commy-tee.
Their teeth were clenched with fury; their eyes with anger blazed:
"Ye manna touch the Piper," was the slogan that they raised.
Then blows were struck, and men went down; yet 'mid the rising fray
MacPherson towered in triumph - and he never ceased to play.

Alas! his faithful followers were but a gallant few,
And faced defeat, although they fought with all the skill they knew.
For President MacConnachie was seen to slip and fall,
And o'er his prostrate body stumbled Treasurer MacCall.
And as their foes with triumph roared, and leagured them about,
It looked as if their little band would soon be counted out.
For eyes were black and noses red, yet on that field of gore,
As resolute as Highland rock - MacPherson held the floor.

Maloney watched the battle, and his brows were bleakly set,
While with him paused and panted his Hibernian Quartette.
For sure it is an evil spite, and breaking to the heart,
For Irishmen to watch a fight and not be taking part.
Then suddenly on high he soared, and tightened up his belt:
"And shall we see them crush," he roared, "a brother and a Celt?
A fellow artiste needs our aid. Come on, boys, take a hand."
Then down into the mêlée dashed Maloney and his band.

Now though it was Saint Andrew's Ball, yet men of every race,
That bow before the Great God Jazz were gathered in that place.
Yea, there were those who grunt: "Ya! Ya!" and those who squeak: "We! We!"
Likewise Dutch, Dago, Swede and Finn, Polack and Portugee.
Yet like ripe grain before the gale that national hotch-potch
Went down before the fury of the Irish and the Scotch.
Aye, though they closed their gaping ranks and rallied to the fray,
To the Shamrock and the Thistle went the glory of the day.

You should have seen the carnage in the drooling light of dawn,
Yet 'mid the scene of slaughter Jock MacPherson playing on.
Though all lay low about him, yet he held his head on high,
And piped as if he stood upon the caller crags of Skye.
His face was grim as granite, and no favour did he ask,
Though weary were his mighty lungs and empty was his flask.
And when a fallen foe wailed out: "Say! when will you have done?"
MacPherson grinned and answered: "Hoots! She's only haf' begun."
Aye, though his hands were bloody, and his knees were gay with gore,
A Grampian of Highland pride - MacPherson held the floor.

And still in Yukon valleys where the silent peaks look down,
They tell of how the Piper was invited up to town,
And he went in kilted glory, and he piped before them all,
But wouldn't stop his piping till he busted up the Ball.
Of that Homeric scrap they speak, and how the fight went on,
With sally and with rally till the breaking of the dawn.
And how the Piper towered like a rock amid the fray,
And the battle surged about him, but he never ceased to play.
Aye, by the lonely camp-fires, still they tell the story o'er-
How the Sassenach was vanquished and - MacPherson held the floor.

Should'a Bought This Long Ago

I have been spliting wood the old fashioned way for forty years; with a Sotz Monster Maul since 1980. Splitting with a maul is good exercise, and you learn to read a chunk of wood pretty well, but this year I realized that my elbows needed some relief. We did some research online, and made the jump to a 35 ton gas powered splitter. Holy Cow, what a difference! We should have done this years ago. One big advantage of this machine is that we no longer have to pick up heavy pieces of wood. We can park the splitter near the downed tree, and then roll the wood to the splitter. Thirty-five tons is a lot of push, and we won't be leaving many hard-to-split rounds in the woods now. We have worked up four trees with this new machine so far, and it has been able to split every gnarly, knotty chunk that we have thrown at it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Not My Victrola

24052 has posted "My Pretty Girl" from 1927 with a great slide show to energize you this week. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday, and can gather the strength you need to make it to Christmas and the New Year.

The Holiday Is Over!

Back To The Old Grind!

E-Postal Reminder

Click on the link on the left sidebar, or HERE, read the rules, print your targets, and go put some holes in paper. This is the last e-Postal match of the year, and the practice will do you good. EJ shot it while he was home, and I will have to re-shoot, because he stomped me with my pistol. The deadline to submit your target is midnight, Monday.

Weekend Recreation

There was a black oak tree failing in the back yard, and it was time to take it down before taking it down became dangerous to my health and well being. In this first photo I have just punched in to form the hinge on the heavy side of the tree, and am cutting toward the back of the tree with the top side of the bar. I then punched in on the other side of the tree to complete the hinge, and then cut back until my cuts matched up and the tree tipped.

EJ and I counted the rings, and this tree was about ninety years old. That is about the life span of a black oak, and is plenty old for one with people walking around under it. Click over to EngineeeringJohnson to watch it go down.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Weekend Steam

Bidone1967 is a YouTuber that we just met on the Internet, and I think that he lives in Germany. His videos are extra nice quality, and today's steam video, plucked form Bidone's channel, is a cute little English traction engine. I think this was filmed at a show in Germany, but since I can't read his notes, that's just an educated guess from clues in the video.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Crankin' It Up

"When My Baby Smiles" was recorded in January, 1920, and is an Irving Berlin song. It has always been one of my favorite records, and now that we have it on YouTube I can listen to it without changing a needle every play. We have company for the Thanksgiving weekend, so I am being lazy and re-posting this record rather than posting a new one. Next week we should have the True Blue Studio back in operation.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving To All Of Our Readers

"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

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Titan Engine At Old Threshers

This nicely restored IHC Titan engine was at Mt. Pleasant last September. You will note that it is very similar to the Mogul throttle governed engine that I videoed at Pinckneyville. Old machines like this are a joy to watch, with all of the parts exposed; just stay back and don't get your clothes caught in the revolving machinery.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Joy Of Gravel

We live on a gravel road, so we can count on picking up nails on a regular basis, especially after the road has been dragged by our road commisioner. When you discover a leaking tire, have a helper move the car until you have the hole exposed so you can work on it. Get your tire plugging kit out of your travel kit.

Pull the nail if it is still in the tire, then run your probe in the hole to make sure it is open for inserting a plug.

Thread a plug into the applicator tool.

Push the plug in with the applicator.

Leave a little bit of the tails sticking out.

Pull the applicator back out of the hole. The plug will stay behind, slipping out of the slit in the end of the applicator.

Air up your tire and you are ready to roll again. We usually go by a tire shop and have the tire dismounted and patched rather than run on plugs for very long. This set of tires will be replaced soon, so this plug will stay.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Mother Lode!

A cluster of oyster mushrooms like this one will gladden the heart of any woods worker, and these delicacies can grace your table any month of the year after rains dampen the wood on wounded or dying trees. I keep a sharp knife in my pocket just in case I run onto a batch of these beauties when I am out. I also keep string in my vest so I can lash my knife to a stick and reach mushrooms up the trunk too far for my arms.

Unfortunately, this batch of fresh, ultra-prime oysters was not in the woods; it was in the front yard of a home in Albion, Illinois. I went around the block, stopped and took my photos, and bid a sad good-bye to the best bunch of mushrooms that I have ever seen.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Not My Victrola

Pax41 keeps posting great copies of his music collection. "The Sweetest Story Ever Told" was recorded in July, 1917, so we know this is an acoustic recording. The clarity is amazing. The singer is Sophie Braslau; the conductor is Josef Pasternack.

Monday's Coming; But It's A Short Week

Back To The Old Grind!

Be VERY Quiet!

Firearm season for deer is going on this weekend in Illinois. This nice eight pointer is hanging out behind our barn, so I am not doing any plinking until next week. Our deer are pretty smart and they know that chainsaws, hammers, and Skilsaws are not threats to them, so we are able to work on the barn so long as we stay on the front side, and we don't venture out back. We have at least one hunter lurking on a boundary line who would love to take this buck home in the back of his truck, so we are being careful not to flush him out of our woods.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Weekend Steam

This Aultman-Taylor traction engine is an unusual design that stands out in the crowd if you know your steam engines. Most traction engines have a clutch with wooden shoes which grip the inside surface of the flywheel. This century old beauty uses a sliding pinion gear on the crankshaft to drive a bevel gear which transmits motion via a drive shaft to another pinion, which turns the differential.

Click the photos to enlarge them for a better view of the system. This drive system uses fewer parts than the typical engine of its day, and I am sure that there was much less clanking going on when starting and stopping.

You can see the back side of the crankshaft drive pinion in this photo. Aultman-Taylor engines used the Woolf reverse gear that you will also see on Case steam engines.
Photos by True Blue Team Member Engineering Johnson

Friday, November 20, 2009

Crankin' It Up

Snappy dance number (Fox-Trot) by the Manhattan Dance Makers, recorded on March 17, 1926. This is the flip side of "When The Golden Rod Is Blooming," a song we posted last year. Our good microphone is still away, so this one was recorded with our old mike. This record is loud and boisterous, so I think we can get away with using our tinny microphone, and we hope we will have the good one back soon. Shake a leg.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Today In History

Go Here. It never grows old.

Econo Cases For Airline Travel

Here is a tip for travelers who cringe at the thought of paying big bucks for a TSA approved locking case for airline travel. All you need to convert a Ruger pistol case into a sturdy locking case is a drill, two long-shackled padlocks, and a stack of washers to take up the slack when the locks are snapped. The washers can be epoxied together so they don't scatter when you open the case for the TSA inspector. One or two of these can easily be packed in your suitcase for trips to far-flung shooting events. This is also a suitable solution for folks who need a locking case for land travel across state lines in vans or SUV's that don't have a trunk to lock up your guns. Hat tip to EJ!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Load Up!

November 19 is National Ammo Day! Click the pic to read about it, then go buy (at least)100 rounds.