Monday, October 31, 2011

"Then There Were Ghosts"

MacKinlay Kantor wrote about many subjects during his career, so it's not surprising that he wrote a good ghost story; but I don't think that this is just a story.  This is an excerpt from the essay "Of Course There Are Apparitions," from the book, The Day I Met A Lion.  Everything else in this book is true, but of course, you can use your own judgment.  Happy Halloween!

Halloween Crank Up

Moran and Mack would probably draw an unruly crowd of protestors today, but even if this was recorded in 1929, it's still funny to me today.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Really Old Grind

Back To The Old Grind!

October 2011 e-Postal Deadline Coming Up

Midnight, Monday, October 31 is the deadline to submit your targets to U.S.Citizen!  Head to the range with targets, hardware, ammo, family and friends.  The information you need is re-posted below.

U.S. Citizen at Traction Control is taking us back to the basics this month with this set of four bullseyes.   Take five shots at each bullseye, and try to make 100 points.  The practice will do me some good.  Click over to read the rules and to print your targets.

Not My Victrola: Halloween Special

We have posted this piano roll by AeolianHall1, before, and it's a good one. It ought to be, it's actually Horowitz! Perfect for Halloween.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Crankin' It Up

The Victor Military Band performs Texarkana, and Young America Hornpipe, on this recording from June 14, 1918.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

See The Sig Sauer Samples!

Sig-Sauer sent five guns to Reno for the Gun Blogger Rendezvous attendees to sample:  P226 Extreme in .40 S & W, Sig 522 Commando, Sig 1911-22, Sig P220 Diamond Plate in .45 Auto, and a 1911 Ultra Compact in .45 Auto.

The 1911-22 was getting plenty of attention, and it's the model that sort of grabbed my heart.  The Sig rep loaded Stingers in magazines as long as I wanted to shoot this beauty, and others were lining up to do the same.  It has a great trigger, just as you would expect of a gun with the Sig logo, and it never missed a beat all day.  It comes standard with an ambidextrous safety, and it is available at retailers for around $400.  This 1911 would be a great companion for your .45 to make practice more affordable. 


The Sig 522 Commando was at one of our steel stages, and everyone enjoyed double-tapping steel plates with it. The last shooter in the video is Molly, shooting the P226 Extreme in .40 S & W. You read all kinds of opinions on recoil in the various guns and calibers, and it was educational to watch Molly shoot. She probably doesn't weigh 100 pounds, but she handles what most would classify as "Snappy" recoil with no problem, bringing the gun back onto the target to shoot again without hesitation.  Proper stance, strong grip, good training, and lots of practice could work wonders for all of us.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pet Priorities

We attended a fundraiser for some local, private animal shelters recently, and I knew it was mistake.  There were a lot of animals in need of a home, but our place is pretty well stocked with pets already, and we aren't in a good position to take in more.  This calico kitty was pretty tempting, though.  Calicoes are always good-natured. 
 These Mountain Cur pups would have made good companion dogs for our watchdog, Jack, but Jack still has HeyJoe for company, so that would not work out right now.   We rescued a little dog like the one on the left over thirty years ago, and named him Doodles.  We found a good home for him, and he made a fine addition to the family that took him in.

And then, there's this.  We don't have to look for animals; they keep showing up.  This handsome cat is Rambler, who has been hanging around for most of a year.  I have been working with him so he now answers to his name, and I can touch him without being mauled. (All Cats Are Always Loaded.)  Another week or two and I should be able to pick him up so he can make a trip to the vet for tutoring.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hickok 45 Reviews the Ruger Gunsite Rifle!

One of the tempting new products from Ruger is the Gunsite Rifle in .308/ 7.62 x 51 Nato. I won't say much about it, because Hickok45 pretty well covers it in this video that he recently posted, but I must say that I am impressed that he and the rifle are hitting a 15" gong at more than 200 yards with iron sights, while he is standing flat-footed, without even using a sling to steady his aim. It speaks well for Mr. Hickok,and this great rifle by Ruger. There has been some talk on the internet about the choice of magazine in this model, and many question why Ruger did not use the M-14 magazines that are commonly available. Ruger said that there is variation in those magazines, depending on makers, and of course, engineers developing a product don't want wild cards thrown into the mix. That is very understandable. If you read about guns online, you will find that M-14 magazines can be used in Model 77 Rugers, simply by doing a little fitting with a die grinder, and locking it in place with the trigger guard, so you might want to check that out if you are so inclined. Anyway, it's a great little package, in a caliber that can handle most situations you might run into, so sit back and let Hickok45 demonstrate it for you.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Revisiting The BIG Fairbanks Gas Engine

We posted a video of this engine a couple years ago, and we recently shot it again as it was being fired up. It doesn't go on the first try, which is a bonus for spectators. Note that it is lit off by flipping the ignitor.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ready, Willing, and Able

Back To The Old Grind!

And Now We Come Down To The Wire!.... SOLD!!

Today is the final day to bid on this beauty from Sig-Sauer; the auction closes at 9 PM Eastern Time. All proceeds from this sale go to Soldiers' Angels to benefit wounded warriors, courtesy of Sig-Sauer who donated this one-of-a-kind engraved 1911. There are some serious bidders interested in this gun, and if you want it, you should click over and keep an eye on the bids. The winner gets a unique, extra high quality pistol, and will be providing several laptops to folks genuinely in need.  Many thanks to Sig-Sauer for this generous donation to Soldiers' Angels!

Update!  It brought $2876!   You can see it by clicking the photo or the other auction links in this post.

Not My Victrola

While checking the dates on some of my record collection, I saw an obscure title on 78Discography. I clicked right over to YouTube and did a search, and quickly found this song that I haven't heard for more than forty years. Many Thanks to Pax41! Isn't the Internet wonderful?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekend Steam:

The first engine we checked out at Boonville was this great little Kitten. We visited with Mr. Lindauer who brought it and were rather astounded. He lives a mile from the site of the Kitten factory at Ferdinand, has three full size Kitten engines, and then he built this free lance model. He knew many of the men who worked in the factory, and I bet he has a wealth of knowledge from those friends.

Like many of the exhibitors at steam and gas shows, Mr. Lindauer does not use a computer, but we gave him a card so his grandkids can show him his picture on the internet. Thank you for bringing your engine to Boonville, Mr. Lindauer!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Going For A Strong Finish!

What do you get when you cut down a tree?   Why, a place to grow another tree, of course.  Forest products week is almost over, and we have been celebrating by slapping paint on barn boards, stacking firewood, picking up nuts, and burning hot dogs with wood.  I will finish up by teaching a couple of quick chainsaw courses at the Dixon Springs Ag Center on Saturday.  

Crankin' It Up: Seasonal Music

This is the time of year when we think of bobbing for apples, husking corn, and of course, going to a barn dance. "The Circle No.2" on this Victor record from 1918, was played by the Victor Military Band. Why a military band is playing a country dance, I don't know, but it would still be good for kicking up the dust in the barn. This is one of Fannie Gilbert's records; I never knew she was such a party animal.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Let's Visit A Logging Job During Forest Products Week!

I recognized Jason's truck as I passed this logging job, so I turned around and went back to say Howdy, and took some interesting photos as a bonus. It was the end of the day, and Jason's partner had already headed to the barn, but logs still had to be sorted. After he finished he had a log to show me.

This is a top log out of a big red oak tree. It is a blocking log because of knots and limbs, and it has a small hollow in the center. The growth rings are amazingly even throughout, and there is no ring shake, so the only real defect is the hollow spot, which is just a volume deduction. Jason took the three logs below it to a mill, along with the rest of a load, and the mill owner had just called him to come and take the entire load back, because of the hollow spots. Jason couldn't figure out what the problem is, and I wonder if maybe the mill has a new log scaler who doesn't know how to handle a routine problem. The bright spot in all this is that Jason is taking another load to the same guy, so he doesn't have to deadhead 100 miles one way to retrieve his logs.

Here is Jason's semi trailer, all loaded up with white oak to deliver the next day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Extreme Leaners

Chainsaw novices often have trouble dropping a vertical, well balanced tree, and when they are confronted with a leaner, things can be very interesting.  Many don't realize that leaners need to be hinged  to take them down successfully, and this leaning ash tree is  a prime example.  The stem split for a short distance both ways before it fell, and the woodcutter left it without putting it all the way to the ground.  Leaners can split and smack the cutter in the head, or trap your saw to complicate your day, so make a plan before you cut.

A horizontal stem is an extreme leaner, and the hinge needs to be built to prevent the stem from splitting lengthwise. You do need to build the hinge a bit thicker than you normally would for a vertical tree, because it is under a lot of compression, and it will collapse, trapping your saw at the end of the bore cut if you misjudge. Cut the backstrap after you make your setup, and the stem will fold down on the hinge.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Challenges Of An Engine Videographer

I heard it from way off, and wondered what it was at first. When I got a little closer I realized that my engine videos were going to be soundtrack impaired. Remember seeing a kid with a whistle or a harmonica? They walk around at a family reunion or school picnic driving everyone nuts by blowing, and blowing, and etc... Well, he grew up; and he still has a *&%$#ity whistle. Oh Well, or words to that effect. I had fun, anyway.

Monday, October 17, 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Nothing!  This is the way things should be during Forest Products Week.  We recently bought paint at a Sherwin-Williams store in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, and there was an entire box of WOODEN paint stirrers at the counter.  The fellows waiting on us said to take as many as we want.  Stop and think about the U.S. Forest Service, which runs the Smokey Bear campaign.  One of their educational mainstays through the years has been the Smokey Bear Ruler, which hundreds of thousands of kids have taken home to use.  They were made of wood until recent years, when a switch was made to plastic.  I don't know the reasoning that went into that switch, but it doesn't quite compute with me.  Does Georgia Pacific sell steel 2 x 4's? Or does the maker of Chinet hand out Tupperware?  We have been proudly stirring paint the last three weekends with genuine American grown wooden paint sticks! And you should, too. 

Now, let's go make some sawdust.

My Pick For The Prettiest Tractor Ever Built

 This great looking Allis was the Boonville fall show.  My dad bought one of these to replace his WD, just before he had to leave the farm and move to town.  I can't pass a D-17 without giving a look, and it just occurred to me that I have never driven one.  Dad really liked this tractor, and giving it up was one of his regrets the rest of his life.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How Ya Gonna Get Your Corn Meal Made?

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

Let's hop across the Wabash, and see what folks in Indiana are up to...

The Hoosier Hop was posted by 240252. Recorded by the High Hatters in 1929; from the movie "It's A Great Life."

AND:  My gosh the moon has been pretty the last several nights.  It reminded me that it is time to recycle this oldie.

Posted by BSGS98.

Posted by EdmundusRex

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weekend Steam: Decisions, Decisions

The Boonville, Indiana fall show, and the Pinckneyville, Illinois Fall show are both happening this weekend. We have decided to go to Boonville, so we will hit the road early on Saturday, have a look around, and maybe get back in time to do a little work outdoors before dark.

Click Here to go to the Farm Collector Show Directory, and see if there is a show near you this weekend. You will need to click on pages three and four of October to see this weekend's shows.

Friday, October 14, 2011

What The Heck Happened To Smokey?

This is the face of the bear we all know and love.  I've been a Smokey fan since I was a little kid, but Smokey has changed.  I first saw his new look last April on a billboard, and since this is National Fire Prevention Week, that came to mind, and I looked him up.  Go have a look yourself, and ask yourself if kids are going to love this face.   It looks like a bad taxidermy job, or maybe he's become a zombie.  Move your mouse around Smokey's room to see him looking back at you. 
Click Here to look see Smokey the way he should be.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fed Bears

 Way up north, near Orr, Minnesota, some well intentioned folks feed bears on their property.  I guess they like wildlife, and they probably think they are doing good.  Volunteers come from all over the country for the privilege of handing out free meals to bears, and they collect lots of free chow from restaurants and grocery stores in the area.  It probably started out slowly, with a solitary bear, or two, but word got around, and more bears jumped on the gravy train.
 These bears aren't out doing bear-y things during the day.   They stick closeby, waiting for their benefactors to bring out the goodies, which include lots of donuts and other fried foods.  You have to wonder if they could ever go back to living on their own, like a real bear.

 The volunteers have to be careful, because these bears can be surly and impatient while they wait for their daily rations.  Feeding stations have to be spaced out to avoid fights between the recipients while they chow down on the freebies.

 It's a whole new world, and the bears probably don't give a thought to digging grubs, eating berries, and other old fashioned, difficult things.
Yup, it's a pretty good life, having all your needs handed to you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Geezer Test

Do you know what this item is, and what it used to be in?   If you do, you too might qualify to be called a geezer.

Holy Cow!  This has been up for over a month, and no-one has identified it!  I will put the answer in the comments.  

Weatherby Series 2 Vanguard Rifle

One of the treats at the Gun Blogger Rendezvous was this Weatherby Series 2 Vanguard rifle in .223.  Allen took it to the range for all to try, and he set up targets at 100 yards so folks could see how it shot. Shooters used it from a shooting bench, but had to support it in their hands, with their elbows on the table.  I looked at several targets, and most of them had a three shot group with just over an inch spread. I am satisfied that most would have shot under an inch if they had a rest under the front end of this rifle. I didn't get any video of this gun in action, but I see that Jeff Quinn of has reviewed one chambered in .257 Weatherby. Jeff gives us a good look at it, and we get to enjoy watching him shoot it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dam Repairs

It's been over twenty years since we had repairs made on our dam, and this year a couple of bad spots developed.  We had a local contractor come in to dig out the soft spots, and refill them a few days ago.  Anyone who tells you that trees are slow growing has never had a pond dam.  I haven't worked on it for a few too many years, and I have to go into lumberjack mode this fall to clear the dam again.  Oh well, we can use the firewood.  I dropped a sycamore that was fourteen inches diameter at breast height with fifteen growth rings so the backhoe could work on one spot.  These things are overtaking me!

Fall Colors Are Good This Year In Southern Illinois

 This persimmon and sassafras at Dolan Lake were putting on a bright show last week.  The colors have been good all over Southern Illinois, and even though I think we are peaking now, the show will continue for a while, because red maple is just now turning.  Most of the oaks are still green, and there will be a few colorful ones.
 Sassafras (left) and persimmon (right) look good with the sun shining through them...

 ...and the fruit is colorful, too.

The light was wrong on this shot, but it does show the intense red of sumac this year.  Railroad rights-of-way, and fence rows are loaded with red sumacs right now.

 Hickories often go straight to brown, but this year they are showing off.

 This big old persimmon looks good every year, and in the spring it's flowers perfume the air.

Round as a ball, sharp as an awl, that's chestnut.   The shiny brown of these nuts is one of my favorite fall colors, and in a couple of weeks these starchy nuts will sweeten up considerably.  The bur is a triple, which is a bit unusual.  Triples normally have one unfilled nut, but we found two good triples under one tree this year.  Gray squirrels ambush our chestnuts as soon as they drop, and deer like them, too, so we just get the leftovers.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Win A Ford Van!

The Mrs and I were shopping recently in the Sherwin-Williams store in Mt. Vernon, IL, and spotted this contest posted on a rack of Frog Tape.  I don't get too excited about winning contests, but then I got to thinking about this one, and realized that it's a pretty limited audience that is seeing these announcements, and most of those seeing it are busy making a living painting, so not too many of them will enter multiple times.  Anyway, click the photo to see it in a readable size, fill out a bunch of 3 x 5 cards by hand, and mail one in every day.   If I don't win, I would be tickled to death to see one of True Blue Sam's visitors get it, so let me know if you win.  The news release of the previous winner can be seen on this page.  Scroll down to January 6.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Not My Victrola

I've been listening a Jan Garber CD recently, and it's loaded with ear worms. VictrolaJazz just uploaded an acoustic Victor record of Jan Garber's band, and it's a good one. VictrolaJazz's comments: "This is probably the most exuberant arrangement of this show tune from No No Nanette I've ever heard. There is a truly acrobatic saxophone obligatto from 2:19-2:35 and I also like the chimes that are used in about the middle."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

FFA Forestry Contest

 Last week was a big one for FFA classes in Southern Illinois.  There were two regional forestry contests, one at Dixon Springs Ag Center, and the other one at Sam Dale Lake, in Wayne County.

 These local contests were preparation for the annual state FFA Forestry Contest in Carbondale on Saturday, October 1.  The winning school at that contest can go on to the national level.

 I always tell the students that they should score 100% on equipment ID, since they have the list of possibilities beforehand, and can look up all the items on the internet.

 I like to give each group a quick lesson before they start measuring trees in the cruising section of the test.   Some of the kids haven't even read the directions for using a stick beforehand.

 Some of them are pretty good, and get most of their heights and diameters right.

This young lady used her stick pretty well, but, FLIP-FLOPS in the woods?!  She's in for a rude awakening the first time she walks through a patch of nettles.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Traction Control Has Posted The October e-Postal Contest!

U.S. Citizen at Traction Control is taking us back to the basics this month with this set of four bullseyes.   Take five shots at each bullseye, and try to make 100 points.  The practice will do me some good.  Click over to read the rules and to print your targets.

September's Mr. Completely e-Postal Results

 There were several entries this month, and some very good shooting.  This target was shot by Liz at the Rendezvous, and it was shot at 40 feet rather than 25; 40 feet being the closest distance available to set targets at the Washoe County Shooting Range.  Liz had never shot Bea's .45 Blackhawk before, which makes this target rather remarkable.  Mr. Completely also shot at 40 feet with Zeke's Mk III Ruger, and scored 90; darn good shooting with iron sights that you can't see!

 I was feeling satisfied with my score of 95, then ASM826 blew me out of the water with a 125.

 Billll shot this nice target with his Nylon 66, and took one of the Bonus Buzzards.

Then, Mr. Borland nailed both Bonus Buzzards with a Smith revolver!...

 ...and made me feel totally inadequate by submitting this target.  Fine Shooting!

Mr. C demonstrated the value of his OKO sight combined with his long barreled, home built High Standard.  Looks like I need to practice a bit more.


Rimfire Pistol or Revolver, Iron Sights:
Mr. Borland, S&W 617: 200
Engineering Johnson, Ruger 22/45: 125
Billll, Ruger Mk I: 125
ASM826, Ruger Single Six: 125
True Blue Sam, Ruger Single Six: 95
Mr. Completely, Ruger Mk III: 90 (Shot at 40 feet)
Danno, Ruger Single Six: 75
Danno, Ruger 22/45: 70

Rimfire Pistol or Revolver, Optical Sights:
Mr. Completely, High Standard with OKO Sight: 200

Centerfire Revolver, Iron Sights:
Mr. Borland, S&W K38: 155
Liz: Ruger .45 Blackhawk: 50 (Shot at 40 feet)

Centerfire Pistol, Iron Sights:
Danno: Taurus PT92: 35

.22 Rifle:
Billll, Remington Nylon 66, BSA Scope: 100

Air Pistol:
True Blue Sam, Crosman 1377: 125
Bea, Crosman 1377: 60

I think this is everyone who entered.  If I have missed you, please let me know ASAP.