Saturday, April 30, 2011

Weekend Steam: Isle of Man Steam Railway

PhillipGriffin1234's notes from his YouTube post: "The Isle of Man Steam Railway is a truly delightful line, the only surviving part of the Isle of Man Steam network, that runs from Douglas in the east to Port Erin in the south west of the Island. Unlike preserved railways as we know them, the Isle of Man Steam Railway is still 'State Operated' with fully paid staff. Essentially it's a 'proper' railway, equally at home carrying holidaymakers or commuters.

The whole system was closed in 1966 and after a brief revival by Marquess of Ailsa, the lines (except the Douglas to Port Erin line) ceased to operate. The railway as we know it today was nationalised in 1978. Today it's doing well with four trains each direction a day (five during the TT race season) However it does not operate in the winter season. The line is operated entirely by Beyer Peacock 2-4-0s with the exception of 15 'Caledonia', a Dubs 0-6-0.

The video was taken over a period of a few days, from both the lineside and on the train. Engines running included
No.10 G.H.Wood in the Apple Green livery of the 'Ailsa' period, and No.12 Hutchinson in the traditional Red livery. No.13 Kissack also made an appearance on our final day of filming."

I was hooked on this one when the steam came swirling out at the beginning of the video. I thought I smelled hot steam cylinder oil!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Crankin' Up Someone Else's Victrola

Pale Moon is a record belonging to a friend, and it is played on his Victrola. He just had the tone head rebuilt, and it sounds good, but the spring makes some rumbles. Fritz Kreisler is elegant, as usual.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

e-Postal Deadline Coming Up!

Your e-Postal targets must be sent to JIMMYB the CUG by Midnight on April 30.  Click here to read the rules and to download your target.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Passing Things On

This peony in the Wife's flower garden was in bloom last week, and I am glad I took a few photos, because the recent storms have cleaned it of blossoms.  This peony came from Fannie and Rose Gilbert, of Washington, Iowa.  Fannie passed away in 1963, and her sister Rose died in 1960.  They both reached the ripe old age of 87.
This tintype shows us a young Fannie...
and this photograph shows us Rose.
Rose went to college, and was a school superintendent in Kansas, but we have some photos showing that she visited the home place west of Washington, and she moved back to the farm when she retired.  Fannie never left home, and she helped her brother George manage the 120 acre farm. They had two more brothers and one other sister, who was the only sibling that married.
They moved into town in their later years, and my mother and dad rented their farm.  We have another picture of Rose as a young lady, and she has her hair up on top of her head, the same as in this photo.

I think they would be glad to see that someone is keeping this peony and remembering them.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dave Spaulding Is Back!

From Ruger's YouTube writeup: "Dave's back with more Ruger Tactical Carbine Tips.
In this episode Spaulding shows you how to clear your carbine as fast as possible and get it back on target."

Clearing jams is an important skill, whether you are a casual shooter, competive, or if you carry a gun for protection, or in your job.  When you are at the range with your .22 pistol, run a few magazines of your pistol's least favorite ammo at the end of your session so you will have some practice.  My mother does this, and she can clear her 22/45 fast and get right back to shooting.   You can too, so work on this skill every time you are at the range.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Inspiration For Monday Morning!

Back To The Old  Bigger, Better, Humongous, Super-Duper Grind!

Not My Victrola

BSGS98 posted this delightful, jazzy number just a few hours ago.  His notes:

"Dapper Dan

Words by Lew Brown

Music by Albert Von Tilzer
Yerkes' Master Saxophonists
Vocal chorus by Arthur Hall
Puritan 11075
Recorded October 1921
Harry A Yerkes lead several musical groups during the transition of ragtime to jazz between 1917 and 1924 for the Columbia label. Some of the groups he organized and recorded included Yerkes Marimbaphone Band, Yerkes Jazarimba Orchestra, Yerkes' Bellhops, the Novelty Five and the Happy Six. Some of the talented musicians in his groups included, Ted Fio Rito, Rudy Wiedoeft, and George Hamilton Green."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Weekend Steam

The summer tourist season will be here before you know it. This video was uploaded by OregonParks, and their description follows:

"Scenes from Steam Locomotive #19 from McEwen Station to the Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area. This is a great way to see changed landscape that the Sumpter Valley dredges left behind.
For more information on Sumpter Valley Railway:

For more information on Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area:"

Friday, April 22, 2011

Crankin' It Up

Home Sweet Home is a Nineteenth Century song that was very popular during the Civil War. Elsie Baker (1883-1971) recorded this old favorite on January 15, 1914.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pain In The Glass

We went touring a few weeks ago, and as we motored through Marion, Illinois, a tiny rock flipped up by the car ahead of us nailed a spot on the windshield.  It took out a chip, and two cracks started moving out; one going up, and one going down.  Luckily, we happened upon an auto parts store in two blocks, so we eased into the parking lot, went in the store and bought a windshield repair kit.  These kits consist of a tube of cyanoacrylate glue, and an application system to put it into the crack to stop it from spreading.  After carefully wiping off the glass you apply a pad with adhesive on both sides, and the base for a syringe.

 Squeeze most of the glue out of the tube into the base, and then apply suction with the syringe for at least ten minutes.  The partial vacuum pulls air out of the cracks so the glue can migrate in.

Remove the syringe and pull the plunger to the top of the barrel, then put it back on the base and push the plunger down to the catch.  This step applies pressure to the glue to give it a push into the bottom of the cracks, and you are supposed to let it stand for about twenty minutes.  Remove the syringe and base, then use the remaining glue on the top of the crack.  Let it sit in the sun for a while to cure, and you are done. 

We have used these kits on other cracks, and we generally have been successful in saving the windshield.  Even if it doesn't work, you will only be out around ten bucks, and will save hundreds if it works.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Big News From Ruger!!!

Last week a photo was leaked of a 1911 .45 by Ruger, and on Monday Ruger made it official! Jeff Quinn of has posted a review on his website, and this video on hisYouTube channel. This beauty is 100% American made, and it has a very competitive MSRP. Start saving your lunch money; this looks like one you can't afford to miss.

UPDATE! Ruger's introductory video:

Monday, April 18, 2011

"Guaranteed To Purge Melancholy!"

Our family has been entertained at Old Threshers for more years than we can remember by Professor Farquar (aka Sandy Lee) and his wife. He's not too well known when you get away from the Midwest, but he stays busy in Iowa, Missouri and Kansas at special events, schools, and other venues. We have three of his albums, and his latest one is "Hear The Drums Thunder," "Contemporary and traditional songs of the Civil War." I recommend it highly to anyone who is interested in history, and who likes homespun entertainment. You can contact the Professor at:

Look around his website, give him a call, and order a CD.  You'll be glad you did. (A short video plays when you click on to his site, so turn down your speakers if you are at work.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

It's Back Again Already

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

Hoorah, Hoorah, For Southern Rights Hoorah!

Phonofile shares an Edison cylinder from 1909 with one of the favorite songs of the Confederacy.

Click over to Wikipedia to read about Polk Miller and his "Old South Quartette."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Weekend Steam

SpencerMcGrew posted this video of a Porter locomotive at Rollag, Minnesota on it's first run, pulling Locomotive Number 353. Mr. McGrew's notes:

IT RUNS!!! full throttle + minimum cutoff= a powerful noisy little engine

Builder: H.K. Porter
Build Date: 03/1924
Construction No.: 6854
Empty Weight: 72,000
Weight on Drivers: 72,000
Driver Diameter: 40
Tractive Effort: 16,500
Boiler Pressure: 180
Cylinders: 14x22
Fuel: Coal
Gauge: Standard

Friday, April 15, 2011

Crankin' It Up

With the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War this week, 'My Old Kentucky Home' was an easy choice for the crank-up. Next week we will play the A side of this record, which also came out of the years just prior to the Civil War.

Elsie Baker recorded this song for Victor on April 27, 1916.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What A Difference A Couple Of Decades Make

I use Google Earth on a regular basis nowadays to check out places from the air before making a real visit, and I am surprised daily by the tree plantings I stumble across that I haven't visited in many years.  This project is from 1992, and it is doing pretty well.   It has mostly white oak, swamp chestnut oak, cherrybark oak, northern red oak, and Shumard oak.  The swamp chestnut and cherrybark oaks are growing faster than anything else.
This cherrybark oak is over eight inches diameter in less than twenty years, from a seedling.  The owner sprayed glyphosate and simazine herbicides along the rows when he planted to control the grass and weeds during the first year.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Adventures In TSI

 Most TSI (Timber Stand Improvement) work is fairly straightforward and safe to perform, the most difficult part being the decisions you have to make on which trees to grow, and which ones need to be killed.  In large pole and immature sawtimber you work on wide spacings and look up at crowns constantly, checking for space around the trees you choose to help. 

You have to take out a cull occasionally, and these things bear watching.  This white oak toppled after being girdled, and I suspect that it fell while the cutter still had his saw in it.

Don't work on trees like this one if any spectators are hanging around.  The results are just too unpredictable.  If you are going to girdle a tree with just a thin shell, be sure to start on the compressed side, and finish on the tensioned side of the tree.  Don't kill a tree like this one in a high traffic area; it will go from being a hazard, to an extreme hazard.

 This tree had multiple fire scars, was hollow all the way up the trunk, and it also had fence wire imbedded in it, so even without the fire scars it would have been worthless.

Here is a look inside the hollow stump.  Old wire never goes away in a tree.  I get calls once in a while about putting nails in shade trees to keep them from fruiting, (It does not work!) and the caller always gets a lesson from me about not putting metal into trees.  It will be a problem for someone years in the future.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ghosts In Daylight

The header at the top of this page is made up of family photos; the first three are Civil War veterans.  We have done lots of research over the years about these men, and have managed to find quite a bit of interesting information, and have visited many of the places they fought during the 1860's.  On the left is William Tweed.  He was born near Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and moved to Oquawka, Illinois with his family when he was just a kid.  His father Abraham died when he was just ten years old, and William didn't like the treatment he and his siblings received from Abraham's brother who took them in, so William got on a horse and rode back to Fort Wayne to live with an aunt.  He rode back to Illinois two years later and took over the affairs of raising his siblings.  He signed up to go fight in the war after going to a rally, and you have to wonder what his pregnant wife had to say about being left to manage a farm all by herself.  He and his wife are buried at Bassett, Nebraska.

Second on the header is Jesse Morgan, who was born near Makanda, Illinois. He served in the Sixty-Second Illinois Infantry, and he was very bitter about his time in the military. He is buried in Ventura, California with his second wife. His first wife (my ancestor) is buried at Makanda.

The third fellow is George Hunt, who was born in Blount County, Tennessee, and moved to Crawfordsville, Iowa with his wife, Sarah Alexandar just before the war. He enlisted in the Twenty-Fifth Iowa Infantry, and fought through most of the Civil War, missing out on the Grand Review because of an infection in one leg. That infection killed him in 1870, and he is buried at an unknown location in Montgomery County, Kansas.

Matthew H. Jamison (Not an ancestor) was the lieutenant over Company E, Tenth Regiment, Illinois Infantry; William Tweed's regiment.  Mr. Jamison's book, Recollections of Pioneer and Army Life was a major source of personal information for us, and this book is one that I will be quoting from over the next few years as we follow the timeline of the war.

 The Introducton from Mr. Jamison's book:

     "Gone are they all!  The tints of youth; the tumult of battle; the old and worn and tattered banners; the neighing horses; the broken caissons; the prisoners of war; the Mississippi flotilla; the defiant rebel yell on the midnight departure from Corinth; Bragg's broken columns on the shifting field of Mission Ridge; the bloody repulse of Kenesaw and Marietta; the discomfiture of Hood before Atlanta; the exultant March to the Sea; the advance in storm and flood through the Carolinas; the bloody hour before Bentonville; the Surrender of Johnson at Raleigh; and the pageant on Pennsylvania Avenue following the funeral car of President Lincoln.  Gone are they all; and I too am soon gone!  In the fleeting moment the aging veteran, hat in hand, waves a  salute to the oncoming youth, bearing full high advanced the colors of his country to undreamed-of triumphs: for this is our warfare; no battle, no crown of Victory!

M. H. J.

October1, 1911.
Battle Mountain Sanitarium,
Hot Springs, South Dakota" 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ruger Shows Us How To Do Cowboy Fast Draw!

Some days the blogging is easy! I had the previous post in the hopper, and Ruger put up a new video about Cowboy Fast Draw, so TBS readers get two fast draw posts in a row. The good folks at Ruger must have been reading my mind. Ruger is one of the sponsors of the Gun Blogger Rendezvous.

Cowboy Fast Draw At The Gun Blogger Rendezvous

I saw over on Mr. Completely's blog that he had a Cowboy Fast Draw match at his local club, the Holmes Harbor Rod and Gun Club. Mr. C has included Cowboy Fast Draw in the last two Gun Blogger Rendezvous, and I expect it will be part of the fun again this year. While he is best known for shooting steel with his home built .22 High Standard, Mr. Completely is a well rounded shooter, and he showed us how to shoot the Drag Race stage with Bea's .45 Ruger Blackhawk.(Above) He's pretty good on fast draw, too, as you will see in the second video below.

The first video is one I have run before, with Quick Cal giving the Gun Bloggers a lesson in the mechanics of performing a quick draw with a single action revolver.

The second video is a new one, and it shows some of the action during our little contest. The ammo for these fast draw contests consists of brass cases machined to accept a shotgun primer, and a wax bullet pressed into the case mouth. Ear and eye protection must be worn by all present; shotgun primers are loud, and the wax bullets can bounce occasionally.

Gun Blogger Rendezvous VI is coming up in September, and it's important to remember that you do not have to be a blogger to attend. If you follow the blogs, like to shoot, want to learn a little bit about shooting, or maybe just meet some of the bloggers you read, you should sign up and go to Reno! Click here to go to the Gun Blogger Rendezvous site, and register with Mr. Completely.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Pay Doesn't Look Too Good, but,

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

Atticus70 shares a great record by the Casa Loma Orchestra, recorded in December of 1930.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Weekend Steam

The engine room of the Steamboat Natchez on the Mississippi River. New Orleans, Louisiana. Wednesday, January 2, 2008. By Kevinsyoza.

And another look at the Natchez by Steamboatsorg.

Friday, April 8, 2011

March e-Postal Scores Are Up at Mr. Completely!

Mr. Completely has posted the scores for March.  Go have a look.  There was good participation, and some very good scores.  Ol' Rich made 89 points shooting a .45 auto, which is downright astounding!  The target for this contest held great disadvantages for big bullets, and I believe Ol' Rich could teach us all a thing or two.  It is good to see that EJ found time between his trips to make it to the range.  The 35 he shot with his .44 Super Blackhawk (photo by The Packing Rat; GBR-IV, Day 2) is nothing to sneeze at, either.  I believe my kid can out-shoot me now.

Russell is a first time pistol shooter, and used Bea's Ruger 22/45 Hunter.  It was a cold, windy day, I shot fast, and my score with Mom's pistol was well under Russell's.  I hope we see Russell and Bea in future contests.

Mr. Completely's monthly e-Postal match is open to everyone, whether you are a blogger or not, and you don't need any fancy equipment.  Bea shot the March target with a Crosman pellet pistol, which you can buy online and have delivered to your door for under sixty bucks. Mom built a pellet trap out of cardboard all by herself, and she can now shoot in her basement whenever the mood strikes her.  You should join in on the fun!  You know you need the practice; I sure do.

Crankin' It Up

Billy Murray recorded this old Vaudeville favorite in November of 1920.  I think the basic rule for copyright on old records right now is that anything from 1923 and back is safe.  This record went into YouTube with no problem, but last fall I uploaded the same song performed by Al Jolson in 1921, and YouTube claimed it was violating someone's claim to copyright.  I guess Billy Murray doesn't have as many people fighting over his old records as Jolson does.  Artists that are less well known than Jolson cause no trouble up until about 1930, but I watch out whenever I post an electrically recorded record in case YouTube wants to have a cow about it.  Electrical recording began in late 1925, so it is important to watch out for that.  I keep all the mp3 files backed up from these recordings, just in case YouTube cancels me over a copyright claim one day.  These recordings sure save a bunch of phonograph needles.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fire Fun

One of my neighbors called Saturday morning to see if I could come over and help him burn off a patch of prairie grass.  I fired up the ATV,  topped off the water tank, and grabbed the camera before I went.  This was a low stress burn.  The edges were either bean stubble, or mowed grass, and controlling the lines was a piece of cake.  Here we see George lighting the downwind side against a firebreak of soybean stubble, which required only watching, and no work in the smoke.

The flanks were mowed prairie grass, which was damp, and did not burn aggressively.  After the fire has some degree of separation you wet the line and snuff it with a flapper, or run over it with your ATV to kill it.

The upwind side was against green grass in a farm lane, and it was easier than the flanks.  Here we see some nice action along the flank of the fire.  I was back home in two hours, and hadn't broken a sweat.  Way back before we had ATV's, you had to carry a five gallon can of water on your back while you patrolled the line, and you would have bruised shoulders and had a sore back, even if you had an easy day.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Put That Camera Away... these guys will get back to work.  Is this a real "Hi, Mom!" moment, or what?

This photo was shot by a brand new True Blue team member and shooting buddy, Russell L, one of Bea's neighbors.  Bea and I took Russell to the Washington County shooting range a couple weeks ago, where he promptly beat me shooting the March e-Postal match.  We saw this practice fire on the way back into town, and Russell has kindly allowed me to post it on the blog.  Thank You, Russell, and welcome to the Blogosphere!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Learn To Shoot The Steel Challenge With Mr. Completely

Mr. Completely has an excellent post up now with all the information you need to participate in your first Steel Challenge match.  I recommend that you bookmark this post and read it a few times, or copy it so you will have it for future reference. 

This video of Mr. Completely and KeeWee was shot at the 2010 Gun Blogger Rendezvous.  Mr. C is an excellent teacher, and everyone who shot at the Rendezvous went away richer for the experience.  You can join in on the fun just by registering to attend, and then make your reservations and travel plans.  The 2011 Rendezvous will be September 8-11 at the Silver Legacy Hotel in Reno, Nevada.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Everybody Has To Do It

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola: Don't Throw Your Back Out Edition

I went looking for "The Boy In The Boat," by Charlie Johnson's Paradise Orchestra. I not only found the tune; I found a very talented fan of 1920's jazz performing a great dance routine that could have come right out of a Jazz Age speakeasy. The young lady is JazzGirl1920s on YouTube, and if you check out her channel you will see that she likes this old music, well about as much as does old True Blue Sam.  Remain firmly seated during this performance, or you may hurt yourself.

Ruger's Tactical Carbine Tips, Episode 10: Use of Cover

In this episode Dave Spaulding discusses different uses of cover when using a carbine. This video is very similar to Tactical Tips, Part 6, which covered the same basic information while using a pistol.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April e-Postal Is Up!

The Conservative UAW Guy is hosting Mr. Completely's April e-Postal Match.  Just in case you haven't shot the March contest, Mr. C tells us that he won't be able to process entries until next week, so you can submit targets for March through the weekend.  Click on the UAW Guy's link to go to his site, read the rules, and download the target.  Load up your range bag, and load up the car with family and friends, and go shooting this weekend!

Weekend Steam

Here's a fresh video from Oklahoma which was made at the Pawnee Steam School. No other information was included with this video, but it is still interesting to watch.