Friday, July 31, 2009

Crankin' It Up

We are going high class this Friday with some real Long-Hair music arranged by Fritz Kreisler, and played by Jascha Heifetz. Don't let my buzz cut fool you; I love this kind of music.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I have been told all of my adult life that you can steer a tree by making the hinge thicker on one end. I believed that early-on, but never had any luck making it work, and have never actually seen anyone successfully "turn" a tree once it is released to fall, but I still hear this method promoted.
If we set up a pointer at 90 degrees to the front of the hinge cut, we should see the treetop to the left of the pointer. OOPS! The treetop landed slightly to the right!

This pecan stump has an extraordinarily thick hinge on the right side, ostensibly to make the tree go in that direction. What is the result?

The treetop lies to the left. I have yet to see this method work the way its promoters say it does. You can watch loggers doing this on YouTube if you check out the tree falling videos. I have seen write-ups that tell they are using a "swing cut," but the tree goes in the direction it starts without turning. Putting a tree where you want it is simple, and doesn't require any magical skills. Go to the spot you want the tree to land on, look back at the tree, and if it is vertical in relation to you, aim straight on with the sighting line on your saw. Correct right or left in the opposite direction of side-lean, up to your side-lean limit. If the tree has more side-lean than the hinge can hold, pick another spot to drop your tree into. You can handle about half as much side-lean as you can back-lean. With back-lean, all of the hinge is holding against it, but with side-lean, only half of the hinge is holding against it.

In addition to being an ineffective method of aiming a tree, thick hinges destroy value in the most valuable part of the tree. Those long splinters should have remained in the log to become part of the lumber produced, but defective lumber will be cut now from an otherwise good log. One of the skills a logger needs is the knowledge of how thick he can make a hinge without causing fiber to pull as the tree falls. You can see on this stump that pecan begins pulling fiber when the hinge is a bit thicker than 1/2 inch.

Another common mistake you will see in timber operations is the tall stump. The wood in this stump is perfectly sound, and the logger should have cut this tree just a few inches off the ground. In this case, about forty board feet of the butt log was left behind, which would have been worth around $5.00 to the landowner at junk hardwood prices.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bonus Shooting Time!

Sailor Curt has announced that you can still shoot and sumbmit the July e-Postal match through the end of this week! These contests are a great way to improve your shooting skill, and are a great way to rub elbows with famous bloggers like Mr. Completely. Click here to read the rules and download your target for July, or find the same link under Get Out And Shoot in the sidebar. You do not need any "special" equipment; a .22 pistol, ammo, and a safe place to shoot are all you need. Shoot your target, and send a scan to Sailor Curt before the end of the week. Everyone who shoots wins bragging rights, and improved shooting skills!

It Beats Pumping By Hand!

A collector from Georgetown, Indiana showed this neat Aermotor display last week at Boonville. There is a good closeup of the ignitor and exhaust arm working in conjunction with each other at the end. I never get tired of watching and listening to old machines like this one.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Perfect Crime

This stump and treetop from twenty years ago is a warning for timber owners. The fellow who owned the timber back then never marked his boundaries, and seldom visited his property. He found out that his timber was gone when he decided to see if he had enough big trees to make a sale. Timber thieves usually don't go straight into a woods that they are stealing from; access is usually gained from a neighboring woods where they have purchased timber. A well marked boundary won't necessarily stop a thief if he sees timber on the other side, and no one is watching; and usually no one is. Even if the theft is discovered in time to connect the dots to the thief, he probably will not be prosecuted. Illinois for example, requires that intent to steal be proven. If the cutter swears that he didn't know where the boundary is, he will probably get away with making restitution, with no prosecution on his record. Landowners who grow timber need to keep in mind that some loggers steal regularly, seldom are caught, and when they are caught, they only have to pay for what they stole. You need to keep your boundaries marked well, check on your property regularly, and talk to your neighbors often to keep up with activities in your neighborhood.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Show Never Ends Around Here

Surprise lilies seem to come up thicker every year. Astounding!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Not My Victrola: A Spelling Lesson

Listen to this song a few times and you will never be stuck when someones asks how to spell"Constantinople." I have kept this tune in my head for more than forty years, and someone might ask yet; you never know. This is a Paul Whiteman record, posted on YouTube by MickeyClark.

Here Comes Monday Again!

Back To The Old Grind!

R.I.P. Scooter

Scooter was set out as a kitten, just down the road from our house, more than fifteen years ago. He has been a constant companion around the farm, following us around to help with yard work, and guarding our front step. The last time we saw him was last Sunday evening. The weather has been good, and the cats are sleeping outside instead of going to the barn or garage, and Scooter was probably grabbed by a coyote. One of his predecessors, Snaggle, disappeared the same way. That is one reason we keep loaded rifles handy by the doors, and we have killed three coyotes in our yard in recent years. The top photo was taken in April, as Scooter helped inspect the poppies.
This picture is from a few years back. Scooter always greeted us when we drove in, and we are really missing him.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Weekend Steam

There are two Kecks, a Kitten, and a model Keck running at the Boonville, Indiana steam and gas engine show this weekend, plus a great assortment of tractors, gas engines, and a few old cars. Mrs. TBS and I watched the sawmill for a while on Friday, and the crew has it tuned up and running great. There are a bunch of garden tractors, and several gas powered home built go-buggies putting around the grounds. Old Style Barbecue is being cooked on the grounds so you don't have to go hungry. If Boonville is too far to drive, go to the show directory in the left sidebar and find a show in your neighborhood.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Boonville, Indiana Steam and Gas Show!

The annual summer show is this weekend just north of Boonville, Indiana. See lots of gas engines, steam engines, tractors, threshing, sawmilling, and a great flea market for the folks who need fleas.

The fall show in 2011 will be on October 14, 15, and 16. Click on the labels at the end of the post to see related posts, many of them about Boonville, Indiana's steam and gas engine show.

UPDATE FOR 2012!!!

Information about the October 12-14 Fall 2012 Show can be seen at THIS LINK (CLICK).

Crankin' It Up

Here is a lighthearted Vaudeville song by Ernest Hare and Billy Jones. Cameo was a budget label, and this particular record was given to me forty years ago by my Great Aunt Bessye, in Burlington, Iowa.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Point A To Point B

Making the front of a hinge right is not terribly difficult because you can see what you are doing with the saw, and after you remove the wood, you can see if both cuts match up right. When making the open face, bring the saw's bar to the end of the first cut, dog in, and watch through the first cut for the bar to rotate in and match up. The back side of the hinge is a little more difficult, and novices often end up with uncut wood that interferes with the tree tipping, or a hinge that is to thick, or too thin on one end. This video shows the easy solution for the times that your bar can reach all the way through the tree. Punch through, cut the hinge wood to the correct thickness on the side where you are standing, anchor the saw by pressing the dogs into the bark, then carefully rotate the saw toward the open face until the hinge wood is the correct thickness on the other end. Easy As Pie!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reminders of Long Ago

OT, my father-in-law landed on Guam sixty-five years ago today with the 3rd Marine Division. He has never been one to talk about his time in the Pacific, and when we can get him to open up, we only get little bits. He brought only a few souvenirs home after the war, and a small collection of photos.

That's OT holding the hat in this photo. He can still name most of the guys without referring to the back.

His brother Maurice was a SeaBee, and he managed to drop in on Guadalcanal for a brief visit. OT landed on on Bouganville, not once, but twice. He was part of a scouting party that did a recon before the invasion. They were transported from Guadalcanal on the USS Stringham, and accomplished the mission without being discovered. They had some close calls, and he gets tense telling about it.
OT likes to tell about picking up battlefield souvenirs for trading with the Navy guys. There was booze available from sailors if you had good stuff to trade. Marines picked up lots of rifles, Nambu pistols, mortars, swords, and OT apparently did his share of trading. I asked him about the rifle, bayonet, and sword that he brought home. He got those on Guam; they weren't battlefield pickups. He won them.

Monday, July 20, 2009

June e-Postal Results Are Up!

Sebastian has posted the scores for the June contest. Click here, or on the link under Get Out And Shoot to see the results. Click on the July contest to download your target and join in the fun. I carefully checked my sights today, and corrected one click right. I did much better shooting the target this time.


So, I went out behind the barn to shoot Mr. Completely's July e-Postal contest, checked my sights, and shot at my first hole, offhand at 21 feet. HOLE IN ONE! Not bad for a duffer almost 58 years old! Piece O Cake!

Second hole. Seventeen shots-count 'em, to hit the hole. I quit, and plinked a bit to settle my nerves. It must have been bad ammo, or the rear sight was loose, or tricky air currents behind the barn. It couldn't have been my middle age eyes, or trigger finger. I will try again tomorrow.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Not My Victrola

Here is another Paul Whiteman record, this one from 1935, uploaded by Mickey Clark. The Darktown Strutters' Ball played in a Swing style really shows how music changed during the 1930's.

Here It Comes Again!

Back To The Old Grind!

July e-Postal Match: I Almost Missed It!

I was about to print out the target for this month's e-Postal Match and realized that I had not linked to it on TBS. This month the host is Sailor Curt, and this contest is a challenge. Your task is to make all five holes with as few shots as possible, and stay out of the hazards, where you are penalized extra shots. Sailor Curt needs your targets by midnight, July 28.

Not, Funny Ha-Ha

Cypress is a bit funny compared to other trees when it is hit by lightning. I guess the wood structure and the nature of its sap is just the right combination to maximize the effect of flash steam when a bolt strikes, because cypress trees throw chunks of themselves all over the place when they are hit. This top blew off of a twenty year old tree two nights ago when a squall line passed over us.

This photo was taken on Saturday, July 18, and you will note that Susan is wearing a jacket. Our high temperature was 70, and the kitchen felt pretty good Saturday evening with the oven fired up to cook pizza. Wow; a cold day in July! Get out and drive your SUV a few extra miles to warm up the world, if you believe in that sort of thing.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weekend Steam: Good News, Bad News, Good News

Video by EverywhereWest

Video by SteamAirMan

There is some news about Old Threshers at Mt. Pleasant,Iowa that travelers need to know this year. Veterans can go on the grounds for half price on Thursday, September 3, the first day of the annual show. This deal is available only for a one day pass. The bad news is that the two locomotives that do most of the work hauling passengers are down for maintenance. Number 6, the Baldwin Mogul engine has been disassembled, and the boiler has been sent off to have the stay bolts replaced. Number 9, the Shay from West Side Lumber is also down for some major maintenance. The Henschel engine will be packing most of the load, and a diesel switcher will be picking up the slack, so the trains will still be running to move the fans from one end of the grounds to another. The next good news is that veterans will ride FREE! on the train on the first day of the show. This is a great deal for vets who tire out, or who just want to ride and relax. Start planning for your trip to Mt. Pleasant.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Crankin' It Up

Celebrate the weekend with a snappy Fox-Trot, courtesy of The King Of Jazz, Paul Whiteman, and his orchestra. Carolina in the Morning will move your feet and lift your spirits. I could hardly hold still while I was recording it off of the Brunswick.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Sourwood is not an important tree from a commercial standpoint, but it is a tree that really brightens up the landscape during the summer. I became acquainted with sourwood when I moved to Eastern Kentucky in the mid-1970's, and I missed it when we moved back to Illinois almost thirty years ago. I think it was in 1984 that we took a trip back to Paintsville, KY to visit our friends, and to dig some sourwood seedlings. They are slow growing, understory trees, but they pay us back every summer with these beautiful blossoms. Sourwood honey is supposed to be a special treat, but I have never had the good fortune to taste it. We used to keep bees, and we learned to have our bees ready each year for the persimmon and basswood blooms. If sourwood honey is anything like persimmon or basswood, it would be worth a trip back to Eastern Kentucky just for a jar of honey.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Something Old, Something New

At first glance from head-on, this tractor resembles an Aultman-Taylor 30-60, a heavy duty threshing engine that is familiar to most tractor nuts. I quickly realized that I had never seen a Twin City tractor like this one before, so I spent some time looking it over and taking some photos. The radiator gives it that Aultman-Taylor look.

I have to admit that I am lost in this array of levers and pedals.

The four cylinder in-line engine is impressive, and is a sharp contrast to the Aultman-Taylor horizontal four cylinder opposed power plant.

Get a load of that water pump!

It looks as if it is ready to go to work plowing the prairie, or pulling a thresher all day. It even has a set of extension rims. We saw this beauty at the SIAM show at Evansville last month. I would love to hear it run, but the owner did not unload it. Just seeing it was a joy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Can It Be Saved?

This Bradford pear had a girdling root that wrapped around 270 degrees of the circumference. The homeowners had me look at this tree because it was failing. Doing surgery on a problem like this is not a sure thing, especially during a wet summer when fungus and bacteria have ideal growing conditions in the soil. I told the landowner how to proceed, and he has removed the root with a Sawsall and a sharp chisel. I will be taking a look later this week to see how the patient is doing.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Not My Victrola

Here is another all-time favorite of mine by Marion Harris, uploaded to YouTube by Pax 41.

Here Comes Monday!

Back To The Old Grind!

Birthday Girl

I had to run up to Iowa for the weekend to attend a high school class reunion, and it happened to coincide with Mom's birthday. I stopped at Cabela's in St. Louis and picked up a Lee reloading kit for her so she can roll her own for the .45 Blackhawk. She used to do piece work in a factory, so reloading is a piece of cake for her. Here, she is resizing some brass.

Putting a primer into the primer arm.

Seating a primer.

Checking to make sure the primer is flush.

Cases primed, charged, and ready for bullets. Saturday morning we went out to the range and spent a couple hours teaching the basics of pistol shooting to one of Mom's friends and his nine year old son. The kid was a real natural with a single action revolver and not only did he amaze his father, I think he embarrassed him a little by outshooting him.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Weekend Steam

These are amateur videos taken on the Cass Scenic Railroad at Cass, West Virginia. The top one has some great steam whistle sound, enhanced by the echo of the mountains. The second video shows the scenery at the top of the climb up the mountain. It has been many years since we rode this tourist line, and the sights and sounds make me want to go again. Look it up on the internet to begin planning if you like old steam trains. Old company houses have been fixed up for tourists to stay in, and the locomotives, scenery, and history will make this a memorable trip for you.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Crankin' It Up

This week's Crank-Up is a Marion Harris selection from October, 1920. Miss Harris performs "Never Let No One Man Worry Your Mind," and to make sure you know this song is amusing, Columbia's description on the label says 'Comedienne.' I managed to make it through without guffawing. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fun At The Range

It's Fun To Have The Birds Around

We have been watching this Mama Bluebird tending her babies for several days. This is the second brood produced in this bluebird house this summer. A few weeks back we spotted a big black snake doing some amazing climbs as he hunted, probably for birds. He was banished; and today we exiled another one. Last year we had a black snake that made his way to the top timbers in the barn, and that may be why we are short on barn swallows. The snakes have been put on notice that they are not welcome around our feathered friends.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Daily Chainsaw Rehab

This slide show has been hanging fire for a long time, but I finally got around to writing the titles. These are the steps you should go through every day after you have used your saw, but I did not include sharpening or carburetor adjustment. Carburetors seldom need adjusting on today's saws, and I may cover that in a future post. I like to sharpen after every tank of gas, and my chain is never dull. I touch up the depth gauges after several filings. I will definitely do a post about sharpening; probably next fall.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Old Cars At Evansville

Antique Cars At Evansville's SIAM Club Show
Uploaded by TrueBlueSam. - Car, truck, and motorcycle videos.

YouTube was down for maintenance, so I uploaded a slide and video show to DailyMotion to see how it performs. These old cars are pretty neat, and my big disappointment in taking photos was the blue Model T with the Frontenac head. I ran out of space on my SD card as he pulled up to the line to make a run, so I don't have video of the neatest hot-rod at the show. Other cars were making the run at about 28 to 30 miles per hour, but the Frontenac T came across the line at 40. Pretty Impressive. I read about this Model T conversion 40 some years ago, but this is the first one I have seen. The black, bare-frame T was recently assembled. The owner of that car found a set of solid Chevy wheels and had the machine work done to use Model T hubs with them. He will probably have a body on this car for next year's show.

UPDATE: This video is also available on YouTube now; Click Here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Speedster Teaser: More To Come

Here is a taste of the cars we saw at Evansville last month. I will be putting some photos and videos together for your enjoyment. This one sure does sound sweet.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Not My Victrola

Our fellow YouTuber, Pax41 has posted another great Marion Harris song, this one from 1924. It's a nice slow Fox-Trot to help you wind down after a holiday weekend.

The Party's Over!

Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Weekend Steam

This week we have a photo from the Burlington, Iowa waterfront, probably shot sometime prior to 1920. My Aunt Bessye was born in 1892, and I always enjoy seeing what she saw in the Burlington area when she was a young woman. I am also getting to meet relatives I have heard about, but never met. I Googled this boat, but had no luck finding information about it on the Internet. If anyone knows some history on the Excursion Queen out of St. Paul, please write in the comments.

Crankin' It Up On The Fourth Of July

Friday, July 3, 2009

Crankin' It Up

We have been pulling out these old Columbias for the past few weeks, and it is a bit amazing that we had these great early Twentieth Century violinists on record, and have never listened to them. Do a search for Frank Gittelson and you will wonder why you never heard of him. He studied in Berlin, debuted in New York in 1913, and had a long and successful career. He had some great instruments, too, but many people tend to put more emphasis on the violin maker than the person playing it. We have more violinists, but we will be uploading some more popular music for the Fox-Trot and Charleston fans.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Is One Of These In Your Future?

There's no telling what we will be driving in a few years, given the upheaval in the auto industry. These little putt-putts were motoring around at Evansville last month. I especially like the auxilary gas tank option on the first machine; he's ready to go touring.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Is This A Problem?

Small trees don't have much room for error when making your cuts, and they can be troublesome to novices who are learning how to use a saw. The front cut came out nicely for this student, who was working from the good (tensioned) side of the tree.

The potential problem came up as he finished his bore cut to establish the hinge. He didn't get off the throttle quickly enough, and the top of his bar cut out half of the hinge. Everything came to a screeching halt so the class could evaluate the situation and to make contingency plans.

Luckily, the missing hinge wood came from the heavy side of the tree. If it had been cut from the tensioned side, the hinge would certainly fail when the tree was cut loose. Because the mis-cut was on the heavy side, a wedge was pounded in to provide support, and the tree fell with the hinge when the back strap was cut.
Remember that the bar likes to pull toward the top when you are making a bore cut, especially in soft woods like this red maple. It is always safer to make your bore cut with extra wood for the hinge, and then carefully reduce the hinge to the proper thickness.
If you blow out the hinge on the tensioned side, the tree is almost certainly going to fall with the lean of the tree, and not the remains of your hinge. Stop and think through your cuts so you don't trap your saw under the heavy side of the tree, and so you can cut the tree loose and make a safe getaway. You may have to clear a new escape path for the new falling direction. Click Here to review your planning procedure for dropping a tree.