Monday, February 28, 2011

Rest In Peace, Frank Buckles

Frank Buckles, the last veteran of The Great War passed away on February 27, 2011 at age 110.


The stars are shining bright above the camps,
The bugle calls float skyward, faintly clear;
Over the hill the mist-veiled motor lamps
Dwindle and disappear.
The notes of day's goodbye arise and blend
With the low murmurous hum from tree and sod,
And swell into that question at the end
They ask each night of God--
Whether the dead within the burial ground
Will ever overthrow their crosses grey,
And rise triumphant from each lowly mound
To greet the dawning day.
Whether the eyes which battle sealed in sleep
Will open to reveille once again,
And forms, once mangled, into rapture leap,
Forgetful of their pain.
But still the stars above the camp shine on,
Giving no answer for our sorrow's ease,
And one more day with the Last Post has gone,
Dying upon the breeze.

Vera Brittain, V.A.D. Nurse

Ted Gundy: A Remarkable WWII Veteran

Ted Gundy's story was on Cowboy Blob, and now I see it is being posted on other blogs. This video is so moving that True Blue Sam is doing a re-post too, because you really need to watch this!

Video credit to vmcmil.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Monday's Comin"

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

"The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise" is a song that is stashed away in one of my record cabinets, but my record doesn't have the words. Pax41 uploaded Franklyn Baur's 1927 performance for our gratification, and now I have some incentive to look for my copy of this beautiful song.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weekend Steam

The Joyland 65 was written up in the Engineers and Engines Magazine a few years ago. This engine spent several years of its life working at the Joyland Amusement Park in Wichita, Kansas, and then just disappeared. It was discovered sitting in a warehouse, where it had rested for 45 years, and now it is back in the mainstream again for folks to see at steam shows. I ran across these videos on YouTube, and though they are not the highest quality, they are fun to watch. I have included the comments from JeffDetwiler's YouTube channel below each video.

"This is the first plowing done by the Joyland 65....possibly ever in its 86 year lifetime. It spent 45 years in a barn at Joyland Amusement Park in Wichita, KS, until Chady Atteberry discovered it in 2003 at it's former owner, Harold Ottoway's, funeral. It is documented all the way from the Case factory in '21 until the present."

"Fairview September 2010, perfect day for a plow ride, great soil, great friends... Btw~ the 65 Case was only rated for 6 to 8 plows from the factory... Needless to say they don't make things like they used to!! Shame."

Friday, February 25, 2011

Crankin' It Up

The Regent Club Orchestra recorded this excellent dance tune on May 16, 1925. Does it remind you of "Back Home Again In Indiana?"

Thursday, February 24, 2011


 I noted on my last trip to Iowa that this corn crib is gone now, and the entire farmstead is slicked off for row-cropping.  These drive through cribs were equipped with an elevator in the center of the building that took ear corn up into the cupola, where it was put down a chute into the bins on either side.  
 During the 1960's, most farmers made the switch to shelling corn in the field, and storing the shelled corn in bins equipped with a dryer.  The old buildings were handy for parking wagons and other implements, but they have gradually been disappearing from the landscape.  There aren't many left.
Back when cribs were still being used to store and dry corn, you could buy a Maid-Rite sandwich for 30 cents, and a cup of coffee for a dime.  I remember when the proprietor of the Maid-Rite shop in Washington, Iowa raised his price to 35 cents, and everyone in town was telling him he would go out of business.  They get a lot more for a Maid-Rite nowadays, and 35 cents is a dim memory.  The price didn't hurt his business, but a few years later a Hardees moved in nearby, and it snagged most of the lunch crowd from the high school and the downtown area.  That's what did in the Maid-Rite in Washington.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shoved WHAT Down His Pants?

From Chickasha, OK: "He appeared intoxicated."

Economy Gas Engine

This nicely restored Economy engine was idling at Boonville, Indiana last fall at Thresherman Park.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tactical Carbine Tips Episode 7: Ready Positions; Courtesy of Ruger Firearms

Ruger's notes from their YouTube channel: "Dave's back with more Ruger Tactical Carbine Tips.
In this episode Spaulding shows you how to use the ready position at pistol length distances to your advantage.

Dave Spaulding, winner of the 2010 Trainer of the Year award by Law Officer Magazine, has returned for a second series of self-defense tips for shooters. In Ruger Tactical Carbine Tips, Spaulding focuses on the popular AR-style carbine to explain a host of techniques and help prepare shooters for an array of combat situations."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Crankin' It Up

Paul Whiteman recorded this classic by Zez Confrey on March 30, 1922.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Beginner's Guide To Shooting Competitions-Ruger Rimfire

Ruger keeps posting them, and I will keep bringing them to you! Here is the latest from Ruger, which tells us about Ruger's rimfire competitive events. Ruger's notes from YouTube: "Working with your firearm at a shooting competition isn't only a great way to get to know your weapon, it's also a great way to get to know other shooters. Whether you prefer a pistol or a rifle, shooting on your feet or on a horse, these competitions have something to offer everyone. The Beginner's Guide to Shooting Competitions series takes you through a variety of matches to help you find an event that's right for you.
What is Ruger Rimfire?
In this episode we look at what is needed to participate in an of the Ruger Rimfire competitions that take place across the United States.
Ruger Director of Media Relations Ken Jorgensen tells you what you need to know to have a fun and safe time at one of these exciting, family friendly events."

It is really great to see and hear Ken Jorgensen, who has been communicating (along with Lori Petoske) with Bea and Mr. Completely about GBR VI and the Ruger Convertible Blackhawk Giveaway. Ruger makes great products, and they have great people working in their organization.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Not My Victrola

Pax41 shares a Helen Kane recording from 1930 that is really a hoot. I think Helen would have frozen off her tootsies during this winter.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Weekend Steam

Stan Matthews brought West Side Lumber Company Shay Number 9 to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa in 1966, and it has been going around the Midwest Old Threshers show grounds ever since.  Forty five years is a pretty long gig, and the logging locomotive is now going to have another job to add to its resume.  Midwest Central Railroad recently worked out a deal with the Georgetown Loop Railroad to swap engines for a period of seven to ten years.

The big Shay was recently loaded up on a trailer and shipped west on Interstate 80.  Click over to the Midwest Central Railroad Blog to see photos of the loading process, and for links related to the move.

The Georgetown Loop has been missing walk-in business during the tourist season because their engines are not able to pull heavy loads.  One of the engines on the Colorado tourist railroad will be shipped to Iowa as part of the business arrangement, where it will be used during the annual Labor Day weekend show, and the special events in October and December.  This swap is a big change for both organizations, and it should be good for both parties.  Be sure to attend Old Treshers this year to see a "new" locomotive at Mt. Pleasant.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gun Blogger Rendezvous VI: You Don't Want To Miss It!

Gun Blogger Rendezvous attendees all know Bea, and they also know that she is passionate about her Ruger Blackhawk .45 Convertible.  Most folks find it surprising that that True Blue Sam's 110 pound mother shoots a big bore revolver until they give it a try, then, of course, they want one, too.  It is a joy to shoot!  How does a grandmother who never shot a pistol before make the leap to a .45 that could hang on Marshall Dillon's hip?
Bea was widowed in 2005, and made the decision to stay in her home, and that required being able to protect herself if an intruder broke in, so she took up shooting pistols at age 77.  She started out with a little .22 auto, and then went shopping for a .22 revolver.  She found a 1973 vintage Ruger Single Six at the Coralville Scheel's store and discovered that she really loved shooting a single action revolver. 
Scheel's had a .45 Convertible Blackhawk when Bea went shopping for a centerfire pistol, and it seemed like a good choice, since it would have less muzzle blast than a .357, and the big slow bullets produce manageable recoil in a steel framed gun.  It turned out to be a fantastic choice for a house gun.
(Photo Credit: Deb)
She fell in love with this pistol the first time out on the range.  The recoil is easy to handle, the grip and the big hammer are friendly to small, arthritic hands, and you can hit what you are shooting at. Bea also discovered that other shooters don't pick up their .45 auto brass, so she went home with lots of empty brass that she could reload.
Rolling her own loads makes shooting even more enjoyable, and picking up free brass makes every range trip an adventure.  Are you beginning to want a .45 Convertible Blackhawk now?  Good!
Lori Petoske, the Marketing Communications Manager for Sturm Ruger Firearms, represented Ruger at GBR V last September.  Lori really hit it off well with all of the attendees, and this connection to Ruger gave Mom an idea.  She has had the time of her life at the Rendezvous, and she wants to give even more to the event to help Project Valour-IT, so she decided to purchase a Convertible Blackhawk to be raffled off at GBR VI next September.  Lori Petoske, and Ken Jorgensen of Ruger have made arrangements with Bea to provide a certificate for a new Ruger Blackhawk .45 Convertible to one lucky person at the Rendezvous this year.  The winner will have to be a registered attendee, and must also be present on the evening of the raffle.  Ruger will ship the gun to an FFL for the winner.  Bea promises not to grab the certificate if her ticket is drawn first!  Blackhawks are excellent pistols for hunting, recreational shooting and home defense.  Shoot one, and you will want one.  Come to the Rendezvous and maybe you will win one!

Crankin' It Up (Second Time Around)

YouTube listeners started talking about the sound quality of the True Blue Sam theme song record, and while this Frank Crumit recording is nearly ninety years old, and has been played many times, I decided to redo it with the good microphone. I left the old one up on the sidebar, so we can all do a comparison now and see if I am getting any better at making recordings off of the old windup Brunswick.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Running Out Of Gas

True Blue Sam is really getting low on gas engine videos from last year, but winter will eventually give way to engine shows again, and we will shoot some new videos for your viewing pleasure. I had a John Deere hit-and-miss engine long, long ago, and it had a spark plug, with a Model T coil for an ignition system. I didn't realize that my engine was rarer, and much more collectible than the engines with ignitors, and I let it go too cheaply when I needed cash. Oh Well, it's probably making someone else happy today.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Toopie Trots!

Toopie continues to improve in his recovery from a stroke on December 1 of last year. He now is practically running, and is ranging out to run all over the yard. We may have to start leashing him again so he doesn't run off. I am still incredulous  astounded at the changes we see in Toopie every day. I thought he was a goner the day the stroke took him down.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Home Again

I headed back to Southern Illinois Tuesday morning.  The car thermometer showed 2 below when I left Washington, Iowa, and 16 above  in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.  There was lots of snow until the last few miles, and most of it has melted off around home while I was gone.  I spotted this water tower in Pike County, Missouri as I headed north on Sunday, and made the turn-off today to grab a few photos.

The Frozen North

 I am on the road for a few days to visit Bea up in Iowa, and have been marveling at her 14" to 16" of snow.  She couldn't get out of the house for a couple days while she waited for someone to dig out her doors and driveway.  Pretty good for February.
Way back in the 1930's, these poor folks didn't know that winter storms were caused by global warming, and they just kept on milking their cows, who made more methane, which is the reason that we have winters yet today.  Oh yes, they also had a Model T.
It's a good thing someone invented endloaders so we can handle all of this Al Gore effulgence.  Turn up the thermostat a degree or two, and pretty soon we might have daffodils!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday to Frank Buckles

Sondrak posted last week that Frank Buckles, the last surviving Doughboy of The Great War celebrated his 110th birthday.  Click here to read about Mr. Buckles.  World War I doesn't get much respect from the history teachers nowadays, but it was big, and it was bad.  I see in Sondrak's post that Mr. Buckles drove an ambulance while he was on the Western Front.  Robert Service wrote a little about that; go here for a small sample of a day in the life of an ambulance driver during WWI.

Tactical Carbine Tips, Part 6; Courtesy of Ruger Firearms

Dave Spaulding is back with another episode in his series of instructional videos. Ruger is doing a great service to all shooters with their videos on YouTube, and I encourage you to go to the RugerFirearms channel to leave a positive comment. Positive feedback will keep these great videos coming, so make yourself heard!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

Crankin' It Up

This record is actually a little before its time. The Revelers recorded Collegiate for Victor on September 15, 1925, before the switch was made from acoustic to electrical recording. The style of singing The Revelers use would have come through much better with microphones instead of megaphones, but it is charming, nonetheless. A CD of recordings by The Revelers is available online here. If you have ever heard the Comedian Harmonists, you now know where their inspiration came from.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lots of McCormicks

Nice bunch of McCormick engines that we saw at the Evansville show in June, 2010.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Throwing Your 800 Pound Gorilla

We looked at height measurement and evaluating lean of trees you plan to fall in previous posts; this time we will be figuring whether or not we can push a tree where we want it with wedges, and giving you some useful numbers that are easy to remember, and to use in the woods.  I like to measure the diameter early in the process of sizing up a tree, because the diameter guides your design of the hinge.  This tree measures 38" diameter at breast height (4' 6" above the ground), and the hinge should be 80% of that in length, or 30".  The thickness of the hinge can be up to 10% of the diameter, but 4" of wood is a lot to bend, so let's figure on a hinge no more than three inches thick.
We are checking the height of the tree here.  Charlie is standing at one chain (66'), where you would use the Biltmore stick to measure merchantable height.  I found the spot where my stick showed that I was away from the tree the same distance as the height, and paced in 125'.  That's a tall pin oak!
We decided where we want the hinge, and measured across that spot to see how a 30" long hinge would fit, measured back 3" for the thickness, and then measured to the back of the tree, where we would pound in the wedges.  We had 30" between the back of the hinge and the wedging point, so we break the tree down into 30" segments.  If we raise the back of a 30" segment 1", the opposite corner will move forward one inch.  The far corner of the next 30" segment will move forward 2"; and so on.  This tree is 125' tall, or 1500".  Divide 1500" by 30", and you have a 50 segment tree.  This means that each inch you raise the back of the bottom segment will move the top of the tree 50", or just over 4'.  The crown and weight of this tree appears to be no more than 1 foot behind the stem, so this tree can easily be wedged over against its lean by driving in a set of parallel wedges that are 1" thick.  This one was just for practice; now we will drop one.
We are standing at the aiming spot for a black oak snag, and this spot was chosen because there is no side lean from this vantage point, and there is a relatively clear spot for this tree to fall into.  A quick measurement and pacing in showed this tree to be 50' tall.
Viewing the snag from 90 degrees around, we see that this tree has quite a bit of back lean.  Check the lines added to show where the top is, and you can see that we had about 5' of back lean to overcome.  We checked our segment size next.
From the back of the hinge to the wedging point we had 9".    Nine goes into 600" 67 times, so we have a tree that is close to 70 segments.  Raising the bottom segment 1" will move the top of the tree between 5 and 6 feet, so this looks do-able, but you also need to know some practical limits to guide you before you start cutting.  The numbers you should remember are these:  For a 50 segment tree, you may be able to handle up to 10' of back lean, if the wood is strong, you have built the hinge right, and you feel like pounding parallel wedges until you are blue in the face. 60 segments, 8'; seventy segments, 6'; 80 segments, 4'.  As trees are taller and thinner, you can handle less back lean; as they are shorter and stouter, you can handle more back lean.  These numbers are not absolutes, and it is not much fun pounding wedges on trees that are at the limit, so don't push your luck.  The larger value that you will gain from these numbers is in evaluating side lean.  The hinge you build into a tree with back lean is holding all the way across, and has plenty of strength if you make it right.  Side lean, however is pulling on only one half of the hinge, and compressing the other side; plus, the tension is not evenly distributed, being much stronger on the outside of the hinge.  This means that the limits on side lean are somewhat less than 1/2 of the limits for back lean.  Practice the evaluation process several times before you put it into use, until it becomes second nature to you, and never push your luck around high value targets.
We have raised the back of the tree not quite an inch, and the hinge is handling the stress just fine.

The stem is nearly vertical at this point in the process.  The problem you will find frequently with small trees is the lack of space in the stump to work.  The wedges have run into the back of the hinge, so we had to stack two wedges to bring the tree over.
Cross your wedges when you stack them and they will not jump out when you pound on them.

All done.

Practice your measurements, and practice your cuts on trees that don't have any big problems or risks.  If you want to test your limits on trees, do it on ones that can't fall on anything of value; and that includes you!

February 2, And You Know What That Means!

You should have your groundhog thawed out, and you need to be up bright and early to parboil that critter, and put him in a roaster to cook slowly all day with 'taters, carrots, and onions.  Don't forget to plug plenty of spicebush twigs in him to flavor up the meat right!  You did remember to gather spicebush twigs, didn't you?  No?  Oh Well, I'll pick up a bucket of chicken on the way home.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't Let Winter Get You Down

Iowa winters can keep you from going to the range, but practice is important, and shooting always makes you feel better, and beats back the winter blahs.  Crosman pellet pistols sell for around $55 dollars online, plus shipping, and a homemade pellet trap can easily be built out of cardboard boxes for free.  You only need 15 feet or so in your basement to have a good indoor wintertime shooting range.  The instructions for this pistol recommend a minimum of three pumps, but Bea has found that her pistol shoots just fine with only one pump.  Remember to wear your eye protection! You don't have to put on your ears to shoot one of these, and you will still have your trigger finger/eye coordination come springtime.