Sunday, May 31, 2009

Not My Victrola

We haven't listened to Lee Morse for quite a while, and she is a rare talent. 'Let's Fall In Love' is a slow Fox-Trot, so grab your sweetie and dance close tonight.

Here Comes Monday!

Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

June e-Postal Contest Is On Now!

Sebastian has announced the contest for June; it will be challenging and fun for the whole family. Use your best ammo and check your sights from the bench because there are some tough shots on this target.

Weekend Steam

We have one of these little steam tractors tucked away in a closet, and bring it out to run it on special occasions. It is more than thirty years old and looks identical to the ones being made now. It is good to see that a company can still survive making a nostalgic product like this, mostly with hand operations instead of automation.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Crankin' It Up

Palesteena is a happy Fox-Trot from 1920 that is fun to dance to. If you hear it sung, you would call it a novelty song, with lyrics that are humorous, even by modern standards.

In the Bronx of New York City
Lived a girl, she's not so pretty
Lena is her name.
Such a clever girl is Lena
How she played her concertina
Really, it's a shame.
She's such a good musician
She got a swell position
To go across the sea and entertain.
And so they shipped poor Lena
Way out to Palesteena
From what I hear now, she don't look the same.

They say that Lena is the Queen o' Palesteena
Just because she plays the concertina.
She only knows one song,
She plays it all day long
Sometimes she plays it wrong,
But how they love it
Want more of it
I heard her play once or twice.
Oh! Murder! Still, it was nice.
All the girls, there dress like Lena
Some wear oatmeal, some Farina
Down old Palesteena way.

Lena's girlfriend Arabella
Let her meet an Arab fella
That she thought was grand.
On a camel's back a-swaying
You could hear Miss Lena playing
O'er the desert sand.
She didn't play such new ones
All she knew were blue ones
And Yusef sat and listened by his tent
And as he tried to kiss her
You heard that Arab whisper,
"Oh Lena, please play your instrument!"

Frank Crumit was one singer who recorded this song, and I would love to share it with you, but I don't have an original copy. It was published in a four CD set titled 'The Roaring Twenties' by Intersound ( in 1998, so you can probably find a copy if you look for it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Look Up When You Park, Or Stand Under A Tree

What goes up, MUST come down, and trees, even though they look like peaceable types, are often just waiting for a chance to kill you. I have had several close calls over the years, and the owner of this camper probably has newly found respect for trees. This limb came down during calm conditions in a public campground, while the family was sitting around a firepit just outside. There was about four feet of this limb sticking out the top of the camper; I am glad nobody was sitting in this chair. Whenever you pass by or pause under a tree, look up, down, and all around. Eventually all that wood you see standing in a forest is going to end up on the ground, and whether you are in the way when it comes down is just a matter of timing.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Big Old Dog Tick Would Be Welcome

The only ticks I have been seeing this year are these tiny little aggravations. You can't feel them until you start to itch, about a day after they have dug in. Most are deer ticks, but some are seed ticks with just six legs. Deet reduces the numbers, but doesn't make you entirely safe. The Tick Twister is seeing lots of use this year.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Under The Wire

I went out behind the barn to shoot one more set of targets for Manfred. This time I used my first rifle, the Ithaca Model 49 single shot that Dad bought for me many years ago. You still have a little time, so get a move on!

Time's A-Wasting: Get To The Range!

You have until midnight to submit your e-Postal targets to Manfred, and don't forget to figure in the time zones. I shot my targets yesterday between rain showers, and you should have no trouble beating my scores!
I clicked the rear sight up one for the first five shots, which all threw too high, and I clicked it back down for the remainder, which saved my bacon.

I shoot my little single action better than I do the Smith and Wesson, but this wasn't too bad.

I banged off five, checked the target, and found that I was throwing far left at twenty-five yards. It was about to get dark, and I didn't have time to start over with both targets, so I held between the club and the right side to shoot the second five shots. I managed to touch the circle three times. Now, go show me up!

Not My Victrola

Let's start our Monday with another Sophie Tucker song, this one is from the 1929 movie,'Honky Tonk' by Warner Brothers. It was posted on YouTube by bsgs98, and has a great slide show of the Red Hot Mama for your enjoyment.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Poets' Corner; Memorial Day


There's a broken, battered village
Somewhere up behind the line,
There's a dug-out and a bunk there
That I used to say were mine.

I remember how I reached them,
Dripping wet and all forlorn,
In the dim and dreary twilight
Of a weeping summer morn.

All that week I'd buried brothers,
In one bitter battle slain,
In one grave I laid two hundred.
God! What sorrow and what rain!

And that night I'd been in trenches,
Seeking out the sodden dead,
And just dropping them in shell-holes,
With a service swiftly said.

For the bullets rattled round me,
But I couldn't leave them there,
Water-soaked in flooded shell-holes,
Reft of common Christian prayer.

So I crawled round on my belly,
And I listened to the roar
Of the guns that hammered Thiepval,
Like big breakers on the shore.

Then there spoke a dripping sergeant,
When the time was growing late,
'Would you please to bury this one,
'Cause 'e used to be my mate?'

So we groped our way in darkness
To a body lying there,
Just a blacker lump of blackness,
With a red blotch on his hair.

Though we turned him gently over,
Yet I still can hear the thud,
As the body fell face forward,
And then settled in the mud.

We went down upon our faces,
And I said the service through,
From 'I am the Resurrection'
To the last, the great 'adieu.'

We stood up to give the Blessing,
And commend him to the Lord,
When a sudden light shot soaring
Silver swift and like a sword.

At a stroke it slew the darkness
Flashed its glory on the mud,
And I saw the sergeant staring
At a crimson clot of blood.

There are many kinds of sorrow
In this world of Love and Hate,
But there is no sterner sorrow
Than a soldier's for his mate.

Reverend Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy M.C.
"Woodbine Willie"

Not My Victrola

Courtesy of Patriot4913, on YouTube.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Weekend Steam

Click on the article to enlarge. This brief article from the November-December 1964 Iron-Men Album illustrates a common hazard in rural America. Luckily, the steamroller did not fall through, and I bet it took many hours of hard work to extricate from this predicament.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Crankin' It Up

Player piano afficianados will recognize Zez Confrey on the label of Cow Bells. Mr. Confrey was an amazing talent, and some of his work has been recreated to play on modern player pianos in recent years, and is available on CD's. Cow Bells is a bouncy Fox-Trot, with a real cow bell playing along with the other instruments, and Zez is on the piano. It's a rare treat.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Side Shaft Hit-And-Miss

This engine was running at the Boonville, Indiana show last fall. Most hit and miss gas engines used on the farm used a push-rod to operate the exhaust valve, so side-shaft engines like this one are highly desirable collector items. Watch the cam action and the governor catch, and you can sense some of the appeal of side-shaft engines.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dialing In

Manfred has us shooting this month at ten yards, and then at twenty-five yards; both targets must be shot off-hand. I went out behind the barn and shot without warming up, and shot poorly on the near target, then worse on the twenty-five yard target. I decided to check my sights from the bench to see if it was me or my sights....most of it was me. I did need to move the rear sight one click to center up at twenty-five yards, and I may click up one after checking again after work tomorrow. Targets must be sent to Manfred by midnight, May 25, and don't forget to figure in the time zones, Manfred is in Europe. Click on the e-Postal link under Get Out And Shoot.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Barn Treasures

The barns I looked in during my childhood held fascinating items, like horse collars, harness, Model T parts, husking pegs, and etc. Maybe that is why I still like to look around in barns, even if they are the newer pole barns that have replaced most of the old timber construction; I love to admire old treasures. I stopped in to visit a tree planting contractor recently, and he showed me an amazing accumulation of tractors and other machinery he has collected in recent years. In this shot I can see a couple of old crawlers, three tractors, a hit and miss gas engine, a tree planting machine (relatively new), and of course, the two traction engines smiling for the camera.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Not My Victrola

"Saxophobia" is a pre-jazz saxophone performance that is energetic to say the least. RReady555 posted this recording of Rudy Wiedoeft on YouTube for all to enjoy. Shake a leg, get back to work, and have a great week!

Here Comes Monday!

Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Weekend Steam

Here is another interesting photo from an old Iron-Men Album. (Click on the photo to enlarge.) Read the caption and you will note that men have been collecting steam engines for a long time. These engines weren't for play, though. I bet they all did their share of threshing and silo filling, and since this was in Wisconsin, they probably were used to sterilize dairy equipment. Maybe they even threshed barley for the breweries in the dairy state. It looks like the first one in the lineup is fired up.

This is from the May-June issue of 1964.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Crankin' It Up: Never Thought That Life Could Ever Be So Sweet

The record for this Friday is another minor milestone: it is our 200th YouTube video. We got out some of our sheet music collection and made a slide show to go along with a great old record, "Oh You Beautiful Doll," sung by Arthur Collins and Al Campbell on the Zon-O-Phone label. If you listen to the song a few times you can pick out most of the words. It is guaranteed to make you feel good. A real bonus for us was one of the beauties on the music covers. One of these cuties looks just like EJ's violin teacher in his pre-engineer life. I will have to give her a call.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Nasty Hackberry

When we first looked at this hackberry we weren't too sure about dropping it because it had lots of ice damage, with several hangers overhead. The stem on the left also has a bad split, but it stopped about four feet above where we would need to cut. There was also a dead eastern red-cedar with its top stuck into the crown of the first stem to be cut. You will see a photo of the setup to take the cedar down at the beginning of this slide and video show. This tree had lots of lean, and you can tell that the students were pretty gun shy. Careful planning before they cut made it go pretty well.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

These Things Are All Over The Place

Construction in my home town has uncovered a 12' X 30' cistern that lurked below the surface in a very public area. I run across old wells all the time out in the woods; that is why I keep a whistle on my compass lanyard. The story does not say what was over the top of this hole, but you have to wonder why it hasn't caved in and swallowed some unlucky individual in the last one hundred years.

April e-Postal Results Are Up!

Click Here to go over to the Conservative UAW Guy's blog to see the scores and stimulating narrative for the April contest. Billl, of Billlls Idle Mind was declared the overall winner of the event because of his moxie and superior engineering skills. You all will be amazed at the artillery he used to shoot his targets! I had not looked at Billll's blog before, and I will be adding him to the blog roll on the left. It is a pretty neat site.

These online shooting contests are open to anyone who can shoot the targets, scan them, and e-mail them, but the participation is light. Don't sit on the sidelines and let the usual crew have all the fun; take the family to a shooting range and get into the game! The contests are fun, and we all need the practice. Go to the 'Get Out and Shoot!' heading in the left sidebar and click on the May e-Postal contest to print your targets and read the rules.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rules To Live By

If you read the gun blogs you will see the Four Rules posted on many of them. The Four Rules are a great aid in preventing firearm accidents, because anyone can remember just Four Rules, and you generally won't have an accident unless you violate more than one rule. Being a stickler for details and adhering to the rules all the time will make you a safe shooter.

1. All guns are always loaded...
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy...
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot... and
4. Be sure of your target and what lies beyond it.

Knife safety is even easier.

1. Never cut toward yourself...
2. Always cut away from youself...
3. Never cut yourself.

And one more that can be added to both knives and guns...
If you drop it, let it fall.

One of my landowners called me today to thank me for giving him a safety lecture in his woods recently. He ordered a set of chainsaw chaps and a hardhat with a face shield and ear muffs. He called me because "A Limb As Big As My Arm" fell on his head, which was saved by his hat. That made me feel pretty good, but then in the news tonight I saw a story about a chainsaw fatality which started me thinking. There is lots of safety information about saws, but there is no concise list of essential rules for chainsaw safety like the list we have for guns.

This brief video illustrates the necessity of keeping both hands on your saw while the chain is running. This operator ALMOST got cut. This event caused a brief lecture before any more cuts were made.

I am going to start a list of rules, and am asking for comments for additions if I miss any important points. As I have been thinking about this I realized that chainsaws are complicated little buggers... I think they will have lots more rules than we need for safe shooting.

1. Always wear your safety gear when running your saw: hard hat, eye, face, hearing protection, cut resistant protection for your legs, heavy boots, gloves (depending on work conditions).

2. Safety devices on the saw must be in working order: front hand guard,chain brake, chain catcher, throttle lockout, and right hand guard.

3. Hold the saw on the ground or lock it between your knees for starting. No 'Drop Starts.' Set the chain brake before cranking.

4. The engine must idle reliably without turning the chain.

5. The chain must be sharpened properly, including properly set depth gauges.

6. The chain must be adjusted to remove slack and still run freely.

7. The operator must understand the forces on different parts of the bar as the saw runs: push, pull, kickback and attack.

8. Both hands must always be on the saw when the chain is running. The thumbs must be wrapped around the handles. Both feet should be firmly planted on the ground.

9. The operator must always know where the end of the bar is, and what it's doing.

10. Don't let the upper (kickback) corner of the bar contact anything when the chain is running unless the tip has been buried with the lower corner.

11. Let off of the throttle before pulling out of a pinch on the top part of the bar.

12. Make a plan for every tree you cut. Assess hazards, lean, escape routes, forward cuts, and back cuts. Evaluate the forward or backward lean, and the side lean of every tree you cut. Know your limits.

13. Clear your work area and your escape path of brush, vines, and other hazards that can trip you or catch your saw.

14. Escape from the bullseye when the tree tips. 90% of accidents happen within 12 feet of the stump. Go more than 15 feet, and stay out of the bullseye until things stop falling.

15. Keep spectators away more than twice the height of the tree in the direction it will fall.

16. Don't cut alone.

17. Keep your body and the swamper's out of the line of the bar in case of a kickback.

18. Set the brake when taking over two steps or when moving through tripping hazards. Keep your trigger finger off of the throttle when you are moving.

19. DO NOT operate a chainsaw from a ladder! Operating with your feet off the ground requires special training.

20. Do not cut above your shoulders.

21. Springpoles must be shaved on the inside of the apex between the ascending and descending sides. If the apex is higher than you shoulders, stand under the springpole and cut it low on the descending side. It will release upward, away from you.

Leaning and heavily loaded poles that are too small to bore cut for a hinge should be shaved on the compressed side until they fold.

22. Do not cut a tree that is holding up a lodged tree. Do not work under a lodged tree. Think about a mouse trying to steal the cheese out of a trap.

23. Instruct your swampers and helpers to NEVER approach you from behind or the sides to within the reach of your saw when you are cutting. If you pull out of a cut with the chain running, or have a severe kickback, the swamper can be killed if he is coming up behind you!

Well, that is a start. Please leave comments if you can think of more rules that should be included in this list.

Monday, May 11, 2009

How Would You Rescue Someone Pinned By A Tree?

Joe Glenn demonstrated a neat rescue technique during the class at the Dixon Springs Ag Center. If you ever have to do this, these are the steps:
Set cribbing under the tree to support it on both sides of the trapped party,
bore two holes through the section above the victim,
make two cuts to sever the section with angles which prevent it from falling,
use wedges at each end to prevent it from moving,
insert a pole in each hole that you bored,
lift the section off of the victim,
and don't step on him.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Not My Victrola

24052 has posted the timely "Sunshine" by the Casa Lopez Orchestra, on a Brunswick disc; we are in need of sunny days here in Southern Illinois. This is a peppy dance number and it should help you start your week on a pleasant note.

Here It Comes Again!

Back To The Old Grind!

Crankin' It Up: Take That, Sigmund!

I remembered this record as we were eating our noon meal today, and had to share it with you. Our Mother's Day celebration is now officially a Lollapalooza!

Not My Victrola/Crankin' It Up; Mother's Day Spectacular

Two of my all time favorite Mammy songs. If you are lucky enough to have a mother, be sure to call her today.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Weekend Steam: A Wee Bit Of Heaven

During breaks at the Old Threshers Steam Traction School we strolled through the machinery building to admire the sleeping iron housed there until the Labor Day show. Looking down the row I see: Port Huron, Advance Rumely, Huber, Reeves, Case, Case, Minneapolis, Gaar-Scott, GaarScott, Avery return flue, and on the right side, Wood Brothers, and Nichols and Shepherd.

EJ was checking out the new-fangled internal combustion powered tractors. It looks like he has his Walter Mitty goggles on as he surveys this big Twin City tractor.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Crankin' It Up

Let's shift gears this week and try a waltz! "Kiss Me And Then Say Good-Night" has a great Roaring Twenties sound, especially with the clarinet in the band. It is played on our old Brunswick, as usual.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

May e-Postal Match!

Manfred, of Armes et tir Passion is the host this month for Mr. Completely's e-Postal Match. CLICK HERE to go to the rules and to print your targets. The weekend is coming, so be sure to make some time for the range.

Bad Sweet Gum

This sweet gum had a girdling root, and lots of exposed wood where the cambium had died. It still had lots of solid wood, and it was easier to drop than we expected when we first saw it. The trunk was hollow about 12 feet up. Taking the tree down before rot progressed saved a bundle of money; waiting another year or two would have made a bucket truck mandatory for safe removal.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Two Trees, One Slot

These yellow-poplar stems had a severe case of lawnmower blight and needed to be taken down before they fell on a house. Both stems were weighted toward the house; one appeared to be balanced fore and aft in the line it needed to fall, and the second one had definite back lean. Our chainsaw students made their cuts carefully and dropped both trees successfully where we wanted them.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Chainsaw Novice Drops A Gnarly Tree

This boxelder tree at our class last week was a nasty looking individual. Most of the limbs overhead were dead and rotting, the trunk had extensive rot, and it had lots of weight to one side. It did have forward weight in the direction it needed to fall, and the student put his hinge low, finding solid wood for a good hinge. Note how instructor Joe Glenn keeps a close eye on the student through the process.

Every tree cut during the class at Dixon Springs Ag Center presented problems that had to be worked out before cutting could begin. The particpants were enthusiastic and took home a valuable set of new skills. I will post more photos and videos of this class in the days ahead.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Here's A Neat Idea!

Economical pistol cases can easily be made from trouser legs. Pick up used trousers from a Goodwill or other thrift shop on the bargain days, make a bag from each leg, or make them double thickness like these. Add Velcro for a closure. Two legs can be stitched end to end for a long gun case. Hat Tip to Tootsie!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Not My Victrola

240252 has posted the great Charleston number, "Five Foot Two," and it is guaranteed to help you shake a leg and get a move on for Monday morning.

Here Comes Monday!

Back To The Old Grind!

Gun Blogger Winter Rifle Match Results

Sebastian has posted the SCORES FOR THE WINTER RIFLE MATCH! Click here to view. The entrants were few in number, and I encourage all of our readers to enter the next match. These online contests are great for building your shooting skills, and they are a fun family activity. You can still shoot the April e-postal match today, so click the link on the left sidebar, print your targets, and take the wife and kids to the range.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Weekend Steam

You can't just hop on a steam engine, turn a key and drive away. You have to take care of lots of details first, like checking your water level, cleaning out yesterday's ashes.....

cleaning the flues.....

gittin' wood....

filling the grease cups..... (Cup grease makes your skin feel great!)

and oiling every moving part. Steam does get in your blood, and you always have to go back for more. The kids in the video below are already addicted for life and they don't even know it. They will grow up thinking that everyone knows how to run a steam engine.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Crankin' It Up

I never know what I will pull out of the record cabinet. I was looking for "Maytime," a Broadway show tune from 1917, and a favorite old love song. I found Bennie Krueger playing "Maytime," but it's not the "Maytime" I know. Anyway, this is a good Fox-Trot, and the title fits for the first day of May, so push back the furniture and enjoy!