Friday, May 31, 2013

June Mr. Completely e-Postal Is Up!

Click over to Engineering Johnson for the details of the June contest, which you can shoot this weekend, along with the May contest (Posted on the left side of this page.)  It looks like Zeke has designed a great contest, and I recommend trying to shoot it quickly at least once.  If you want to time yourself, set up a camera on a tripod, and you can get your time off of the video you shoot.

Weekend Steam; Holy Cow, A Year Goes By Fast!

The Southern Indiana Antique Machinery Show is just a week away; boy does time fly. There is usually a steam engine or two there to run the sawmill, plus beaucoup tractors, gas engines, fleas, and old cars. Click here for current information from their webpage.

If you need a show for this weekend, Click Here to go shopping.  Summer fun has begun!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Crankin' It Up: A Black Cat Double; Introducing Bart

WillYouRemember by TrueBlueSam Will You Remember was recorded in February, 1918, and is from the Broadway play, Maytime, which was very popular with doughboys who were shipping out from New York; this was one of the earworms for our men being shipped to the meat grinder of the Western Front. Brat's buddy Bart wanted up on the Brunswick with his pal tonight, so you all get your first glimpse of that cat. Bart is a much heavier bodied cat, but he didn't have the Tasmanian personality that Brat had when he showed up. Bart likes to sit on your lap and be petted, while Brat prefers patrolling the house and singing his songs.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

e-Postal Deadline Is Coming Up!

The end of May is almost upon us, so shoot your targets and send them in to smallestconservative (at) hotmail (dot) com.  Tactics are important on this target.  The little goober with the nine bullet holes around it is worth 1000 points, but I couldn't hit that sucker.  I re-shot and picked up some easier points.  Click Here if you still need to download a target and study the rules.


The May e-Postal has been extended through the first weekend of June!  Engineering Johnson should be posting the June contest, and then you can shoot both on the same weekend!!!  Zeke?


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Too Many Tacos?

Taco Tierra in Fairfield, Illinois has been a regular stop for lunches for more than twenty-five years; they have lunch specials Monday through Friday, and that determines what I order when I stop.  Whether you stop at ten in the morning or eight o'clock at night, the line is out to the street, and you don't order over a speaker.  One of the workers comes to your window, takes your order, (Mild, Medium, or Hot?) and your food is ready when you get to the window.  Recently I pulled up to the window, the lady opened the little door and said "$3.63."  I handed her the money, she handed me a bag of tacos, and I drove a couple miles down the road and parked to eat my lunch.  Halfway through the first taco I realized that I hadn't placed an order, but the bag had what I wanted.  Try that at your local burger outlet.

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Youth Shooting Sports Alliance

Ruger's auction this week is a New Model Super Single Six manufactured in 1975.  Click Over to Ruger's GunBroker page to read all about it.  This auction ends mid-day on Wednesday this week.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Just One More Thought For This Day...


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

Our Memorial Day

Sunday, May 26, 2013


...up a child in the way he should go;

 and when he is old,

he will not depart from it.

Not National BBQ Day

A nice comment came in on YouTube for this song that we post for Veterans' Day every year, and it is a good reminder that this weekend we honor those who don't come home. Click Over To Retro Films and watch The Big Parade, and keep a hanky handy.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

What We're Missing When We Watch A Talkie

Go over to Sondrakistan, and listen to both of them! All this guy needs to really have a good time is a black cat to park on top of his Foto Player. Right, Brat?

Not My Victrola

cdbpdx posted this beautiful Billy Murray Edison cylinder from 1915. Sixty years later, Grandpa Jones put "Are You From Dixie" on an LP, that we have stashed somewhere.

Crankin' It Up With Our Old Buddy Brat

We pulled a couple of very old march records out of our collection for Memorial Day weekend.  The first record is the Metropolitan Orchestra, which is pretty well known.  The second record is a banjo solo by Vess Ossman, a very popular banjo artist in his time.  You can Click Here to read about him on Wikipedia; he died of a heart attack when he was in his fifties; a real tragedy for his family, and for musicoligists, who don't have any electrical recordings of this remarkable musician.

Under The Double Eagle and Invincible Eagle March by TrueBlueSam

Friday, May 24, 2013

Mr. Completely e-Postal Reminder

This is the final weekend in May, and this month will end next Friday.  Work in some range time to shoot the e-Postal contest, and win fame, but no fortune, in the gun blogosphere.  I have my targets all printed out, and I have steeled myself to go down in flames shooting against the Mrs, Danno, Billll, and especially Mr. C.  You should do likewise.  The link is on the left side of the page, so click over and print your targets.

PS:  I have a couple records uploading to YouTube, and Brat will be posted with a couple of great marches on Saturday.  Don't forget to shoot!  YouTube blocked my records from last night; two that are both over one hundred years old.  Supposedly, a German company holds the rights to them.  So.....I am now seeing if they will work on my DailyMotion account.

Weekend Steam

The summer show season has begun!! Here are some looks at the Pawnee OK show, May 4, 2013, courtesy of Chris Thompson.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Vintage TC Contender Barrel Opportunity

I was doing a search for barrels on the 'net, and ran across This Nice Looking Early Contender Barrel. It sells Friday evening this week. It's a .357 Mag, for shooting the Thompson Center HotShot Cartridges.  The removable choke has two flats on it, which is the earliest design.  Soon after they began making these, they took the flats off and made a wrench that fit in the end of the choke for taking it off and back on.

Thompson Center promoted these barrels for hunting small game, and I guess they would work OK on rabbits at close range.  I tried a .44 Mag on squirrels and was sadly disappointed.  You can't buy the HotShot cartridges nowadays, but you can load shot shells with Speer capsules, and they make fine snake loads, especially with the choke on the end of this barrel. 

The lightweight octagon barrells are very sensitive to changes in load when shooting bullets, but they are accurate.  I recently bought an early 10" .357 barrel (Not a choked version.) and it shoots much better than I do.  I just bought a scope base and will be installing glass soon.

Crankin' It Up: Rerun

Long days at the computer or behind the wheel this week...maybe we'll do a new record on Friday. Here is a good one we did a couple years ago, and it hasn't had many views. Brat was even waiting on the Brunny for me tonight, but I was too beat to sort through old records. Gene Rodemichs's Orchestra; January 1921.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Proud Mama

Crazy geese.  This photo was last week; this week both families of geese have gone west to our neighbor's pond.  I still don't understand the attraction.  Sure, we have a barky little Schipperke, but the neighbors have beagles.  They'll be back next week if the coyotes and foxes don't eat them.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Do You Trust Your Grease Monkey?


I have always done most of the maintenance on our family vehicles, but I tend not to crawl under my work truck.  Those vehicles have always gone to a garage for oil changes, brakes, tranny service, and etc.  Recently I noticed a bit of rear end noise when starting out, and checked the differential.  It was down about 1/2.  I have been using a couple of garages for service on this truck, and because there was no evidence of a leak, it is obvious that the rear end hasn't been checked by either garage for several visits. 

Get in the habit of looking under your car and checking the differential for evidence that you mechanic has pulled the plug and checked the oil level.  It just takes a second, and it can save you a bundle of money and aggravation.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Free Air Shows

A wet spring has the crop dusters busy spraying wheat with fungicide in Southern Illinois. It seems like I see a free air show wherever I go lately. This session began with the plane buzzing our house.

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Youth Shooting Sports Alliance

This .44 Magnum Carbine is attracting plenty of interest on Ruger's GunBroker page.  This rifle was made in 1969 and has been stored in Ruger's vault all these years.  The description says that there are a few scratches, but that won't hurt its performance on deer or wild hogs.  Click Over to read all about it, and to place your bid.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Like Elephants?

Fiction has popularized the myth of the Elephant Graveyard, something that I learned about in ancient Tarzan movies when I was a kid.  We stumbled across just such a graveyard over the weekend; only it's lawnmowers.  Oh; The Humanity!

There are some mighty sad cases scattered all over a block in a little town that I shouldn't mention, just to keep away the trophy hunters.  These sights brought to mind the experiences of a neighbor who thought he could fix up and use an old Allis Chalmers combine, because there were old ones sitting idle all over the Southern Illinois landscape.  He soon learned that the same parts were worn out on every one, and he never did make his old combine work again.  Need a mower? Go buy a new one.

UPDATE: An appeal for information from Danno of Sandcastle Scrolls... a comment to your "like elephants" post...

What wears out on lawnmowers?  I'm think specifically of riding lawnmowers.  I don't need a lawnmower... I already have one.   But I could use a tug for the airplane.  I occasionally come across Craigslist offers for riding lawnmowers at very reasonable prices. A combine would be overkill ;-)

Is it the mower that wears out or is it the drive train?

All I need is a solid rolling platform..  Speed is not important, but torque is (the big plane loaded with fuel is about 4000 lbs). I'm thinking a retired riding mower 10 HP-ish would do the trick.  I have a tow bar and imagine I can figure out/weld a tow hitch arrangement and distribute the forces to the frame.

I'll accept any thoughts/opinions/what to look for/rules of thumb, etc.

Thanks for weighing in...Danno

Opinions?  Answers for Danno can be left in comments, or sent direct to him from the e-mail address provided on his blog, SandCastle Scrolls.  Comment Moderation and Word Verification are turned off now, to encourage you to enter your opinion.  Spam comments are rolling in, so Word Verification is being turned on again.

"I Go To Bed Blue And I Wake Up Cryin'..."

Yep, it's time to get Back To The Old Grind. Thanks, Chester! Lucille Brogan performs the Coffee Grindin' Blues, posted on YouTube by Jimi Kerneilly.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Not My Victrola: Dueling Pianjos?

MechanicMusic45 shares a rare treat that was recorded in 1973 by Hi Babit.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Weekend Steam: Tough Shape

MrPete222 found an interesting old engine at a rummage sale. Have a look, and see if he gets it together.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Crankin' It Up With Our Old Buddy Brat

Brat was out in the utility room tonight, laying on the open window sill, and I had to call him a couple times before he came to the Brunswick for our weekly Crank-Up.  This record is cracking, and has a serious chigger bite on both sides, but it still sounds pretty good.  The rumble seat song is pretty risque, even for the 1920's.

Six Jumping Jacks by TrueBlueSam

The No-Good Bum Is Going To Be Prosecuted

...Go read about a good catch by a Southern Illinois cop, at WSIL TV3 News.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Late Bloomers

The long cold spring has caused our poppies to bloom a bit later than they usually do. They normally pop by the middle of April, and are often done by May. They have been making a great show for a little more than a week now, and the yard is really a show with peonies, irises, azalea and poppies showing off together.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fidgety Feet

 There are a couple goose families living on our pond this year.  We think this is the same couple that raised goslings here last year.  In previous years, coyotes or foxes have killed the babies and run off the parents.  Another couple moved in, too, and they have two tiny goslings toddling around behind them.  A couple days ago, we saw a groundhog working his way around the edge of the yard, and unbeknownst to him, he was heading for the geese with the newly hatched pair.  Mama goose launched on him when he loped into her danger zone,  flogging and pecking him until he was well past her babies.  Poor groundhog then suddenly realized that he was separated from his home zone and he had to turn around and run the Mama Goose Gauntlet a second time.  He'll never go near a goose again.

We have noticed that the geese will disappear for a day or two and then reappear.  We found our missing geese, goslings and all, at a neighbors pond nearly 1/2 mile away (2350') when we made the loop around back of our timber.  They have been making this journey with the babies, on foot, going through two patches of timber.  It has to be tough on goslings who are just a week old, but it should make them appreciate the convenience of flight after they sprout feathers.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Survived the Drought of 2012

Our Little Sunshine.

Ruger's Auction To Benefit the Youth Shooting Sports Alliance

Ruger makes a change this week, donating the proceeds from their latest auction to the Youth Shooting Sports Alliance.  Click Over to Ruger's Gun Broker Auction page to read all about this new-old-stock Security Six made in 1975.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Cemetery Crawl

We started the Mother's Day festivities with waffles, sausage, eggs and coffee first thing Sunday morning, then hit Kentucky Fried for the mid-day meal.  The temps were perfect for outdoor recreation, so we visited some of the rural cemeteries in our neighborhood.  We reminisced over family names and local history.  We need to go back with a shovel to this grave and level it up a bit.  Some around it have lost their spires, and they are nowhere to be seen.  This cemetery is missing a bunch of stones, and that is a trend we have seen in the last thirty years.  One of the locals will mow the cemetery with a Bush-Hog, knock down a few stones every time, and then dispose of the evidence instead of placing them back where they belong.  One cemetery that has most of its stones has an interesting story.  A neighbor was hired to mow it, and the stones were not laid out so he could run his tractor through it.  He rearranged the stones so he could do a neat job from the seat of his tractor.  That's better than many others have done, so I give him Kudos for that. 

A reputation can follow you for a long time.  One fellow buried near here had to be carried down a dirt road by the pallbearers on a rainy day, and then the casket had to be lifted over a fence.  While he was being handed over in a downpour, the pallbearers lost their grip and dropped him.  One of the men is still quoted as sputtering, "The old sonofabitch is STILL causing trouble!"

"...Gives You A Good Feeling."

Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

On Mother's Day...

...Say a little prayer for those whose marriages produce only nieces and nephews.

Mothers' Day Song Fest!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Weekend Steam: Really, Really Big

From SteamRailwayWorld.

Crankin' It Up

Sad Day Today.  One of our old cats had to make the final trip to the vet.  Cancer is a heartless beast.  No party music this time.  Rest In Peace, Hank, you have been a precious pal.

Serenade; Efrem Zimbalist by TrueBlueSam

The May Mr. Completely e-Postal Is Up...

...over at  The Smallest Conservavtive.  This contest is designed by Danno's Sand Castle Son, and it's a good one, with huge rewards in points if you are willing to risk half of your shots on the highest value target.  The scoring criteria is HERE, so you can begin forming your strategy to win fame and glory in the gun-blogging world. 

This contest will run through the month of May, so you should have plenty of opportunities to schedule some range time with family and friends.  We have hosts lined up for the year, through November, so join in on the fun.  You know you need the practice.

March:  Mr. Completely
April:  Jimmy B, theCUG
May:  Sand Castle Son at Smallest Conservative and 
July: Billll of Bill’s Idle Mind
August: Carteach of Carteach0
September: True Blue Sam, right here
November: Danno at Sand Castle Scrolls

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tactical Solutions Magazine Release

 My old Ruger 10/22 Sporter still had the original magazine release; the one that you have to poke with your index finger, just behind the mag well. I went whole-hog and spent the extra money for a Tactical Solutions release lever, and it really does make dropping the mag quick and easy; I've already dropped the magazine twice when I didn't mean to do that. I think this modification is great for quick changes under pressure, such as in a timed event, but for running down stray 'possums, I think the current style that Ruger installs on these guns is the better choice. Sure is pretty, though, and easy to use. So easy that you have to think about NOT dropping the magazine.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fair Catch

 I enjoy catching old cars out in the sticks, and avoid taking photos of junkers I see along public highways; heck, that's sort of like poaching deer.
 One of my bigger tree planting jobs this year required multiple visits over several months, and the planting took place recently.  I checked on the progress, and made my final inspection last week.

This was a rough job for the contractor, because much of the acreage had volunteer trees coming up, requiring zig-zags, dodges, and difficult turnarounds.  There is hardly a straight row on over 100 acres of upland planting.

 And on my last visit, I ran across this sad old classic.  There isn't much that can be said about this one.  It's too far gone for any hope of restoration, but it's off the beaten path far enough that scrappers haven't swiped it.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Honored American Veterans Afield

Ruger keeps putting out great guns to benefit the charities that you want to help!  This week is the final auction in the series for Honored American Veterans Afield, and it is very popular; judging from the view numbers and the current bid.  It is a sample of a Ruger 10/22 Rifle with a black laminated stock, manufactured in 1989, and stored all these many years in the Ruger vault.

100 % of the proceeds of this auction go to Honored American Veterans Afield, so be generous if you would like to own this rifle.  Click Here, or on the photo to visit the GunBroker auction page.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sneak Preview

It was painful.  Check back later this week for the sad pics.

April e-Postal Results!

Click Here to go to the Conservative UAW Guy's blog and check out the scores for the April contest.  The May contest will be posted soon at Sand Castle Scrolls, and The Smallest Conservative.

Busy Schedule

Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Not My Victrola: Hot Roaring Twenties Jazz... Duke Ellington.  EdmundusRex just uploaded Jazz Lips, from 1928 by Duke's orchestra.  This song is well into the electric recording era, but still is musically in the 1920's; it's a good one.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Weekend Steam

Jimnutz107 provides a fascinating visit to the Illinois Railroad Museum.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Paying Too Little; Scope Deals Too Good To Be True

 Billll, of Bill's Idle Mind blog left a comment tonight that prompted me to post my recent experience with an inexpensive red dot scope.

Billll said..."I discovered that my Hi Point is not the 6 MOA gun I had thought it to be, but I have a nice 6 MOA scope available at a good price."

My Ruger Mk III .22 pistol has a Simmons 51105 red dot scope mounted on it, and though it has been holding its zero, I have had a few problems with it.  The directions that came with it did not tell the minute-of-angle value of clicks, so sighting it in required some experimentation.  Soon after this scope was sighted in, it began losing the red dot when shooting, and the knob had to be jiggled to bring the dot back; that is aggravating when you are shooting against the clock.

The last time we shot at the Carmi Rifle Club I realized that the adjustment knob was getting really loose, and I had to touch it between shots to keep it turned on.  I did a search for information about this scope, and found that others are having the same problems.  Here is what I found when I tore into it.

 Remove the battery, spin out the retaining ring and remove the rheostat plate, and I found two screws rattling around.  The top two screws were loose, and if I hadn't checked into this, the adjustment knob would have fallen off.

I had a real surprise when I snugged the screws back into their holes.  Tighten them down, and the knob won't turn!  Yes, these screws can barely be snugged up at all, certainly not enough to stay put.  I daubed a bit of Loctite under the heads of all four screws, and I am hoping that it stays together.

Place the rheostat plate in the knob, spin in the retaining ring, and you are ready to replace the battery.  I will be shooting a bit over the weekend to see if the knob stays in place.  After this experience, I sure would not recommend a Simmons red dot scope to anyone. 

Our other Mk III has a Bushnell red dot, and it is performing like a champ so far.   I have since bought another Bushnell to install on a 10/22, and it seems to be a good one, too.  We will continue to shoot the Simmons and report back on whether the Loctite keeps things in place.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Southern Indiana Antique Machinery Show

The annual show at Evansville is just over a month away, coming up June 7, 8 and 9, 2013.  We have been attending this show for a few years now, and it is always a good one.  There are lots of gas engines, tractors, old cars, and a few steam engines, with plenty of shade for relief from the late-spring warm temps.  We captured this fine example of a Rumely Oil Pull at the June, 2012 show.