Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Reid Engine: Two Stroking

Two stroke engines have been around for a long time. Modern two strokes, like your chainsaw engine, have a closed crankcase, which acts as a pumping chamber to pull fuel and air into the engine, then propel the mix to the top of the cylinder. Reid engines used a separate cylinder to charge the power cylinder, and it is fun to watch. This engine is tuned up very well, and it never misses a beat.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shopping, Kinda-Sorta

 We've been checking out utility vehicles for putt-putting around the farm.  We looked at Polaris models at the Car Corral in Flora.  This metal-flake red number brought out the smiles. 

 The wife and I enjoyed looking over this homebuilt thing-a-ma-jig at the engine show at Evansville.  The most impressive part for me was the bean can air cleaner.  I didn't see anyone trying out the seat; whoever put it together forgot to include cup holders.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ruger's Versatile New 77/357: A Handloader's Dream!

 Just when you think you think you know what you want, Ruger pulls another one out of their hat.  Ruger's latest news release is a rotary magazine .357 Magnum, lightweight bolt action rifle.  Handloaders love the .357.  You can load heavyweight thumpers for taking deer or wild hogs, or load it down for plinking and small game.  The new Ruger comes equipped with iron sights, plus a set of Ruger scope rings.
This lightweight little rifle weighs just 5 1/2 pounds, and can quickly be unloaded by dropping the five round magazine and ejecting one cartridge.  Lever action .357's will run about one pound heavier, and the magazine tube must be unloaded by levering every cartridge through the action.  I can see this little sharpshooter standing by the back door, ready to take on coyotes, skunks, and other varmints that invade the homestead.  I have been rolling my own loads for a .357 Blackhawk for well over thirty years, and this new rifle would be a great companion for my revolver. 

A source at Ruger tells me that the rotary mag will also feed .38 specials, "Most Of The Time."  The shorter cartridges will occasionally "rim lock" causing you to clear a jam.  Use .357 brass for all of your field loads and you will have no problems.  Ruger has a nice introductory video on their website; Click Here to see it.
Images are courtesy of Sturm, Ruger, and Co.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

MMMMM! Buckwheat Pancakes For Monday Morning!

Back To The Old Grind!

Video by SustainableSeedCo.

Bonus Weekend Steam Report!

KCRG-TV9 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa has published a very good video showing the reconstruction of Number 6 at Mt. Pleasant for the 2010 Old Threshers reunion.  This video is nearly half an hour long, so go fetch a cup of coffee before you settle in.  The article that accompanies this video can be seen here.

Many thanks to KCRG-TV9 for making the embedding code public!

Not My Victrola; A Double From Pax41!

Just a little info from Pax on these two oldies: "song one was recorded on 6/7/1910

song two was recorded on 7/1916"

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Weekend Steam

Here's a new video by YouTuber Bidone1967. His notes:

"Hier der zweite Teil des Eisenbahnfestes der Mansfelder Bergwerksbahn.
Am ersten Juni Wochende fuhren Lok 9 und 11 zwischen Benndorf und Eduardschacht mit Personenzügen sowie zusätzlich ein Güterzug für die Fotofreunde.
Bei herrlichem Wetter war es ein Vergnügen die Züge zu verfolgen und zu filmen.

Viel Spaß beim anschauen des ersten Teiles.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Crankin' It Up

Wouldn't this world be a better place if everyone was issued a banjo when they were born? The Van Eps Trio (Banjo, Saxophone, Piano) performs a snappy little dance number for us on Paramount 2050-B.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Easy Leaner Technique?

Small diameter leaners present a problem to the person who needs to drop them.  The excess forward weight sets the tree in motion during the back cut while the hinge wood is too thick to bend, causing trees to split lengthwise.  On large trees this is not a problem, because there is plenty of  room to perform a bore cut and create a hinge of proper thickness before the back cut is done.  Small trees don't have enough room in them to punch through with the saw, so cutters are at greater risk of being injured by these small trees than if they were cutting a sawlog.

A safe method of dropping a small diameter leaner is demonstrated in this slide show.  The compressed side of the trees is shaved repeatedly until it begins to bend over.  This is the same method we use to take the snap out of a springpole.  It is effective, but time consuming, and lifting the saw repeatedly is awkward and tiring.  There must be an easier way.
I have been thinking and experimenting on moderate leaners, and I think I have hit upon an easier method that is also safe.  The first cut is an open face aiming cut, to create the front of a hinge.
There is not enough space behind the open face to make a horizontal bore cut, so do a vertical bore cut, leaving enough wood in the hinge to support the weight of the leaner.
Now you have a hinge, and a thick back strap to hold the tree steady. 
Sever the back strap, and the tree drops, with the hinge holding it to the stump all the way to the ground.

I have tried this on a few moderate leaners and it seems to do what I want.  The next step is to try it on a severe leaner, and then on a springpole.  This cut could save a lot of time and effort in the woods.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June e-Postal Match

Mr. Completely reminds us that we are running out of time to enter the June e-Postal match.  This is an easy match to shoot, and most shooters should easily make a passing score.  Phil, over at Random Nuclear Strikes is the host, and you can click here to see the rules and download your target.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Antique Wood Planer At Evansville

The Southern Indiana Antique Machinery Club runs several logs through their sawmill every summer. Last year they stacked a bunch of white pine lumber to dry, and at the recent show, they ran the lumber through a planer. The only problem I see is that the planer knives make so much noise you can't hear the old Ford cackle.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Rugers: I Can't Stop Thinking About Them!

Ruger is introducing new products into the marketplace on a regular basis, and every one of their new guns gives me a case of gun-itch, causing me to save back lunch money for a purchase.  The recent announcement of the SR-1911 absolutely made me weak in the knees, and I decided that one of these stainless beauties has to be in my future.  Then, last week, Ruger sent out e-mails to their fans with more good news: a ten shot single action, stainless, .22 Long Rifle revolver!  I have seen nine shot .22 revolvers in the past, but I think Ruger's Single-Ten is the first of its kind.  Which should come first, the SR-1911, or the Single-Ten?

Ruger's announcement:

"Ruger is proud to announce the Ruger Single-Ten™, a ten-shot single-action revolver chambered in .22 Long Rifle.  The Single-Ten features a ten-shot cylinder and is constructed from durable and handsome satin-finished stainless steel. With a 5.5" barrel and smooth, walnut "Gunfighter" grips, the Single-Ten is well balanced and points easily. The sight picture of the Single-Ten is enhanced by Williams™ fiber optic sights, which are click-adjustable for both windage and elevation."


Fans of the Ruger Single-Six series will notice a few differences right away.  The cylinder is not fluted on the Single-Ten, and there are fiber optic sights replacing the traditional iron sights.  I have already seen a comment on a gun blog asking why this model is not convertible to .22 Magnum.  Take a good look at the back end of the cylinder in the top photo.  There will be little clearance between the rims of cartridges when this cylinder is loaded.  .22 Magnum cartridges are are just a little bit bigger in diameter than .22 Long Rifles, and if this gun was made as a convertible, Ruger would not have been able to make it with a ten shot cylinder.  If you need the extra power of the magnum, you can still buy a Single-Six Convertible.  If you are like most shooters, and want a .22 for lots of practice at the range, the Single-Ten is right down your alley.

Photos and ad copy are courtesy of Sturm, Ruger, and Co.

UPDATE!  Jeff Quinn at has done a review of the Single-Ten! 

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

From the early Twentieth Century, we are being treated to one of the most popular comedy songs produced during the acoustical recording era. Victrolaman shares his copy of the baritone Arthur Collins performing 'The Preacher and the Bear.'  My interest in old records exposed me to this song long ago, and it was a treat to hear it performed live by Professor Farquar at Old Threshers in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.  The professor has it on one of his CD's, and I listen to his interpretation on a regular basis.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Weekend Steam

 Wood Brothers steam engine photo from Sullivan

This is where you should be on Saturday, June 18!  There are a bunch of other neat machines going on the block at this auction.  Click here for Sullivan's photo page.

Thanks to Stranded for bringing this to our attention!

UPDATE! The auctioneer is a YouTuber! Here is what he links to from his website.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Crankin' It Up

The Green Brother's Novelty Band recorded this percussive oddity on March 25, 1920. The Roaring Twenties had arrived, but many bands missed the news. The style of this piece is reminiscent of the very early recordings done by Edison, where xylophones were featured.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Something I Saw Out In The Ticks

 Judging from the growth of this willow tree, it looks as though this oil well has been sitting idle for fifteen years or more.  It's in a remote field that would require some chainsaw work along the trail in order to reach the location with a winch truck, and a well pulling unit couldn't reach it without a bulldozer clearing the way; so there it sits.

Loggers and sawyers see a lot of trees with metal embedded out of sight.  Catching a tree in the act of eating a solid object is always a thrill, and oddities like this are one reason that I carry a camera with me when I am out and about.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Perkins Wind Mill Company Engine

We saw some new-to-us engines at the Southern Indiana Antique Machinery Club show at Evansville over the weekend. One of the neatest is this Perkins sideshaft engine. The fellow who restored it needed a heat exchanger, and he came up with the idea of using an antique water heater to keep the engine cool. Pretty neat!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rugers Tactical Carbine Series Finale (Episode 15)) With Dave Spaulding!

RugerFirearms says:

"Dave's back with more Ruger Tactical Carbine Tips.
In this episode Spaulding shows you how to make the most of your carbine practice session.
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 situation."

Monday's Comin'

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

Zefrenm shares a great Dixieland jazz recording with us: 'How Come You Do Me Like You Do?' by the Original Memphis Five. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Weekend Steam

This video (By pentrexvideos) is an advertisement, but it is a darn good steam engine video anyway.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Southern Indiana Antique Machinery Club, Evansville

The SIAM Club is having their annual show on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!  Bubba and Big Earl, down at the National Weather Service in Paducah are forecasting a high temp of 88 on Saturday, which is considerably better than the 94-97 we have been experiencing, so we are planning on going over to Indiana early Saturday morning.  We need to pick up batteries for the cameras and clean the SD cards.  There is plenty of shade available at the SIAM show, so pack a lunch and drinks and head to Evansville.  Here is some of what you might see.

Pattin Brothers Oilfield Engine.

Old Cars!

Steam Powered Sawmill!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

This Is What All The Noise Is About

Click To Enlarge

The thirteen year cicadas have been busy around our home, and it is easy to spot females laying their eggs now.  These red-eyed wonders deposit their eggs in twigs with their ovipositors, and die soon afterward.  Newly hatched larvae will drop to the ground, dig in and remain out of sight until 2024.  There will be a batch of seventeen year cicadas here in four years, so we won't forget their song.  Toopie has enjoyed them more than we have, chowing down on them with great enthusiasm.  I hear that some royal smart person enterpreneur cooked up a batch of them and added them to ice cream.  Hopefully, the customers can keep them down better than our little dog.

True Blue Sam An Also Ran

Danno has posted the scores for Mr. Completely's May e-Postal match, and there was a pretty good turnout this time.  I felt pretty good shooting a 7 out of 19, given the small size of the circles on this target, and because each one is either a hit or a miss.  A bonus for us was Engineering Johnson coming home from overseas and visiting us at the farm.  He brought his Ruger Mk III, so the Mrs., EJ, and I all were able to submit two targets this month.  The big shock was Mr. Borland shooting a perfect score, which is a darned rare occurrence.  And...Billll scored better than Mr. C, which is also remarkable.

Random Nuclear Strikes is hosting the June match, so click over to RNS to grab the target and read the rules.  Take friends and family and make it a fun outing.  You know you need the practice; I sure do.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Transitioning Tips; Courtesy of Ruger Firearms!

Dave Spaulding gives us plenty to think about in this video. I see that I need to install slings on some of my rifles, and it wouldn't hurt to buy something more modern than an Enfield .303.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Lakewoods Marshalls, Cisne, IL

Cisne, Illinois is home to the Lakewoods Marshalls, a Single Action Shooting Society affiliated club, and they have a monthly match on the first Saturday of every month. Engineering Johnson, the Mrs., and her mother piled in the car with me on Saturday for the trip to Cisne. The Marshalls made us feel right at home even though we were not in costume, and we came home with a card full of raw video showing some of the action. Click the Lakewoods Marshalls link and find all the information you need to visit this great little club.

How's Your Monday On This June 6?

From Ernie Pyle, somewhere in Europe, in Brave Men:  "Speaking of noise, you've probably heard the term "screaming meemies," meaning a certain noisy type of German shell.  The boys called them "screaming meanies," instead and , brother, they were bad indeed to listen to.

The Germans called the gun the "Nebelwerfer."  It was a six-barreled rocket rack which fired one rocket after another, electrically.  The gun didn't go off with a roar, but the shells swished forward with a sound of unparalleled viciousness and power, as though gigantic gears were grinding.  Actually it sounded as though some mammoth man were grinding them out of a huge machine.

Whenever a shelling started we always stopped and listened, and somebody made a remark like, "Grind 'em out, boy; keep on turning!"...

Now, your Old Grind doesn't seem so bad, does it?

Excerpt from The Fabulous Infantry, Page 193, Brave Men, Henry Holt and Company, New York,1944

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Not My Victrola

The first part of June feels like the end of July in Illinois; our car's thermometer was showing 98 degrees yesterday as we were touring. We'd like to go walking down the shady lane, but then we'd have to check for ticks. Good Old Summertime!?

Shared with us by Victrolaman.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Weekend Steam

Willjlund posted this great video, from a traction engine rally at Pickering, in the UK.  That's all the information he provided, but the engine does plenty of talking.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Crankin' It Up

The B side of last week's Crank Up has Signor Grinderino churning out another tune for us. "Tulip Time In Holland"... this was recorded in October, 1916. No one was enjoying tulips in Holland in 1916.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


                                                            Click on photo to enlarge.

3382 Belknap and 72 Sharon soils are riparian soils you find alongside streams in southern Illinois, and they always are sites worth looking at.  Most of these sites were cleared for growing corn on small farms long ago, but modern farming methods have caused them to be abandoned.  Seed sources around the fields determined what tree species came up, and often these fields came up in river birch or soft maple, but sometimes you get lucky. 
Black walnut, with companion boxelder trees are a nice surprise that I find on a fairly regular basis.  Most landowners consider boxelder to be a weed tree, but they are a valuable trainer in a young walnut stand, forcing the walnuts to go upward for light, and they block light out of the understory, which helps shade off the lower branches on the walnuts. 

The trees in this stand have grown from about 14" diameter fifteen years ago to 20" now, or about five growth rings per inch; which is a respectable growth rate, in valuable trees.  On rare occasions when someone asks for my advice on buying timberland, I recommend that they consult soil maps, and look for timber that is pole size, which most sellers do not recognize as having any value.  Productive soils, and a thinning can take a pole stand into sawtimber size in a short time, allowing the landowner to retrieve some of the investment in a relatively short time.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Happy Trails, Mr. C!

Keep an eye on Mr. Completely's blog; he is flying out today to represent the U.S. at the European Steel Challenge at Winterswijk, Holland on June 3, 4, and 5.   Click the link and you can see some of the activities at the 2010 match.

Mr. Completely and KeeWee have competeted in Holland the last two years at their own expense, but this year he is being sponsored by GUNUP.

Shade Tree Utilization

We were busy last weekend replacing rotted wood in southwest corner of the old barn. A railroad tie is the ground contact, to discourage termites, and the timber that rests on it grew just a stone's throw away; a pitch pine planted by Mrs. True Blue Sam's mother in 1945. We needed some 14' stringers for hanging siding, so we pulled out the timber cut from the top log and sliced it up with a chainsaw and table saw.

A thunderstorm tore the top out of this tree in early 2007, and we stashed the lumber from it in the barn, figuring that it would come in handy sometime.