Saturday, May 31, 2014

Not My Victrola

Here's a recording by Fritz Kreisler that is new to me. "Blue Skies" has been recorded by many artists, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised...but where has this recording been all my life?

 Just in case you aren't familiar with this song, here is Harry Richman performing it on disc in 1927.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Weekend Steam

Summer vacation time is upon us, and maybe you want to take in a steam excursion or two. This is a selection of some steam trains you can find in the western U.S.

Crankin' It Up: There's A New Victrola On The Block!

I'll have to shoot a new introduction, won't I?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

New Pony In The Stable

 Friday morning we will be checking the speed of the turntable, and then we plan to do a Crankup for you on this new-to-us Victrola we have moved into the music room.  The Brunswick (and Brat) will still be featured regularly, but this new beauty will sharing duties with the old Brunny.

Stay tuned!  As soon as we have the speed set we will be recording!  We might even feature a different cat for a recording mascot.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Worthington Tractor!

 We showed a little teaser of this tractor, and now it's time to let you see the whole thing.

The model name is on the grill; it's a Chief!

 Duals for handling heavy loads.  There is a lot of iron hanging on the front end to counterbalance the oilfield engines this tractor handled.

 Definitely not a factory installation.  I wonder how many fingers this setup took during its working life.

Believe it or not, the engine is not stuck.  It was started a year ago, and the carburetor is off for a cleaning right now.

Not very pretty, but it would be a great little putt-putt for touring a gas engine show.

The gas gauge is on empty.  Ask for a fillup if you make a deal on this ride.  It's in rural Edwards County, Illinois.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Yesterday's Business

We had important business to attend to on Memorial Day.  Susan was out early collecting flowers from her garden and the wildflower patch.

She decorated several graves at Dahlgren.  This is O.T.'s.

This is a young Marine from our neighborhood.  He was buried in France, and his father had him shipped home after the war.  The information that came with the casket cast doubt on whether the soldier inside was actually John Voliva, because no identification was on the body.  Against all objectons, the father viewed the body so he would know, and it was his son, identified by his red hair. 

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger's auction this week is a rare special edition GP-100® with a 3" barrel, from 1988.  Read the entire description on Ruger's GunBroker page, and then place your bid.  This is a highly desirable gun for collectors, as the bidding demonstrates.  100% of the proceeds from this auction will go to benefit the Light Foundation.  The hammer falls mid-day, Wednesday, May 28, 2014.

Holy Cow!  33 bids, $1550!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tuesday Turbo Boost

Earl Hines on the piano, 1929.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

For Lloyd Bentrup...

We keep these for you. 

...Would Have Been Forty Years Old Today...

Cystic Fybrosis is a nasty disease for a kid to have, and for a family to deal with.  I have a friend in his mid-40's with CF, and he sets a record every day when he gets up.  Mike climbed up on our car when he visited one time, and left a dent in the hood.  It's still there, and it always reminds me of my little nephew. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Not My Victrola: Memorial Day Weekend

Crankin' It Up: More 7" Victors

We are working our way down through the stack of the old 7 inchers in our collection.  I couldn't find a date on "Ragtime Society" that is on the Monarch record, but "Hiawatha Two-Step" is from 1903, so we know that the Monarch disc is sometime before that. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Weekend Steam: Oh No! Division

I don't know how these newspapers are on sharing, so I'm just providing links for you this week, but you won't be disappointed. 

Go Here,

and Here.

Mr. Completely's June e-Postal Is Up At Engineering Johnson!

Zeke has posted the June e-Postal contest early, providing us with the opportunity to shoot both the May and June targets in one range trip.  Zeke has drawn his own original target again, and it has some interesting twists.  Click Here to go to Engineering Johnson, read the rules, and print your targets. You can also click the picture of the target below to print it, but you must visit Zeke's blog to read the rules.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

...Just Waitin' To Happen

Danno of Sand Castle Scrolls sent the link to THIS NEWS REPORT of a tree dropping on a car, the occupants, and a police officer who was performing a routine traffic stop.  Be sure to stop the video between 44 and 49 seconds to examine the stump, and note the discolored wood.  This accident was very predictable if only someone had examined the tree.  A safety exam for a tree goes all the way from the root system to the terminal twigs, and checks for any problems that could be compromising the health and safety of the tree.  This week I had a call from a homeowner who had a black oak that fell, blocking a state highway.  He wanted it, and all of his yard trees checked.  The black oak had several dead roots, probably from the drought of 2012, and he had seen mushrooms this spring, but hadn't connected them to any risk.  We found two more trees in his yard with serious problems, one that will eventually smash his garage, and another that will land on his bedroom, if they are allowed to stand.  He IS going to have them taken down on his terms in the near future.

Here's a little of what I see on a regular basis:

 Root rot fungus showing down low on a tree...

...and more of the same...

....Wood rot fungus and loose bark...

...shouting at you from the lower stem of the tree...

...and the tree is going to fall on the neighbor's house, which is a bed-and-breakfast!  The homeowner does not want to remove this tree.  She is going to wait until the tree is in worse condition!  Some take my advice and some don't.

Pay attention to your trees!  Most damage from trees is very predictable, other than damage caused by  tornadic winds and ice.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Let's Drop A Lodged Tree!

Cutting a lodged tree is always a thoughtful exercise, and it is a necessary skill that every chainsaw user should have in his toolbox. We've shown a few videos before, and this is the latest. It's a dead, hollow, black locust tree that was a hazard to workers, and it had to be dropped into another tree because of severe lean. I knew what was going to happen, and everything went according to plan; it's just a bit tedious. Be sure to step back quickly at the end of every cut.

What Goes On At The Gun Blogger Rendezvous?

Click over to The Smallest Minority.  Kevin has a great collection of photos and videos to whet your appetite.  September's closer than you think!

In this brief vid we see Molly Smith exercising .40 cal pistol and a Ruger Mk III Hunter, just like the one you may win if you attend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger's auction this week is an 1991 All-Weather 77/22®.   Read the description on Ruger's GunBroker page, then figure your limit and place your bid.  100% of the proceeds will go to benefit the Light Foundation.  This fine bolt-action Ruger will sell mid-day, Wednesday, May 21, 2014.

$830;  Someone made a good buy!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Old Iron Adventures: Falk and Bessemer

I've been collecting things for a long time.  A friend and I snagged these two Falk engines near Marshalltown, Iowa in the late 1960's.  I kept the 5 HP in the foreground; my friend restored the 10 Horse model by the clothesline.

I soon had the 5 Horse Falk running and showed it at Mt. Pleasant before college took over my life.  Mom and Dad brought it down to the farm in Southern Illinois in the late 1970's, and it has been collecting dust in a barn ever since.

I spotted this 8 HP Bessemer engine from the road while going to a timber marking job at Martha, KY in 1976.  Susan and I went there and bought it from the owner after work one evening.  It cost me $50 and a good pocket knife.  We unbolted the cylinder; I picked up one side and then the other while Susan put bricks under it.  We were able to shove it into the back of our American Motors Rebel station wagon, and took it back to Prestonsburg.  It followed us to the farm when we left Kentucky in 1980.

Some big farm equipment smashed our mailbox in 1992 and we had to put up a new one.  The old Bessemer was a sad case with more repairs than we could afford, so we painted it up and bolted the new mailbox to it.  It looked great when Susan's parents posed next to it.  It made a great landmark, and we only felt a small amount of guilt for giving up on making it run again.  One day Gary Bahre drove by, and almost wrecked when he saw the old engine.  He pulled in and introduced himself.  Gary is a dedicated engine restorer and collector, and we became good friends.  Several years after we met we sold a trailer load of old iron to Gary, and you have seen the Collis, Novo, and IHC Titan he restored on this blog.

Gary made us an offer we couldn't refuse while we visited at his Crank-Up last March.  He offered to put the Falk back together and do a "Barn-Fresh" restoration, just so he could see it run.  That is one heck of an offer, but I felt we would be taking advantage of him.  I told him we would give him the  8 HP Bessemer to keep if he would do that.   Papers were drawn up and signed, and Gary went home with a load of rare iron.

A visit to to a carwash, fresh oil and gas, put on the flywheels, and less than 24 hours later the old girl performed for Gary! (Video by Gary Bahre)

Gary will be showing the Falk 5 HP at Paducah, KY and Pinckneyville, IL this year.  Our agreement lets him take it to shows as if it is his own engine, so the Falk will be getting some exposure. 

Gary is doing the finishing touches right now.  He is replacing plungers and pins that have excessive wear so the engine won't hiccup on him when he is showing it. 

And now our mailbox looks like anybody else. We still have a few engines stuck away, out of sight, for my retirement years.

Tuesday Turbo Boost

Posted by JGuth3; 1978 performance by Arlo.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Big News For Gun Blogger Rendezvous, September 4-7, 2014

Blog followers can breathe a sigh of relief about the annual Gun Blogger Rendezvous in Reno, Nevada.  GBR organizer, Mike Gallion has been in and out of the hospital for some serious issues lately, and the previous beneficiary of the annual fundraiser had to be dropped, but now there is great news!   Kevin Baker of the Smallest Minority has jumped in with both feet, and he will be assisting Mike in organizing the Rendezvous this year.  HAVA-Honored American Veterans Afield,  will be joining the Rendezvous, and will be the new beneficiary of the big raffle on Saturday night.  This year, Rendezvous attendees will have the opportunity to share their shooting range time and firearms with veterans who enjoy shooting activities; an exciting opportunity!

Ruger has been a generous sponsor for GBR in years past, and they have jumped in again this year with a very generous donation.  This new MK III Hunter is safely stored away in a secret location awaiting the trip to Reno in September.  One lucky person will win this fine firearm (among a host other valuable prizes) at the raffle on Saturday night at the Rendezvous.

Zeke of the Engineering Johnson blog will be bringing an identical pistol to the Rondy for all to try at the range.  Keep an eye on Kevin's blog, Mr. Completely, and Engineering Johnson for updates.  Registration will open soon, and it's not too early to make your travel plans.

Photos courtesy of Engineering Johnson.

I Hope Those Linings Aren't Asbestos

Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Not My Victrola: Revisiting An Old Favorite

Puttin' On The Ritz was a disc in the first batch of records I acquired more than fifty years ago, so I alway have a listen when I see a new upload on YouTube.  240252 has a great slide show up with his 1930 Brunswick recording of Harry Richman and Earl Burtnett's Orchestra. 

Harry Richman is featured in the video clip from the 1930 movie, "Puttin' On The Ritz."  It's interesting to see that many of the movies from back then were essentially filmed stage plays.  They are great historical glimpses.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Weekend Steam: Time For Field Work

Plowing with a 110 Case at Rantoul, IL, 2013.

Crankin' It Up

Here are a couple of fairly decent early Victor 7" discs from my little stack of early treasures.  These are from 1900 and 1901.  You can hear more of Banjoist Vess Ossman on

Turkey In The Straw has been in the news again because someone is all offended about it being a racist song. (The tune also goes by "Old Zip Coon", and it was performed in minstrel shows a long time ago.) It actually pre-dates all of that, and it's only as racist as you want it to be; and "Turkey In The Straw" is a fun song to sing if you know it. But, if you want to get all exercised, here's Vess Ossman performing "Turkey In The Straw Medley" with "Arkansas Traveller", and starting out with "Dixie"! Yep, "Turkey In The Straw" even MORE racist. Wish I had my own copy of this record...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I See...

...This one's still breathin', folks.  More pictures later, it's been a long day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Bees Came Through Winter In Good Shape

Susan has been in her beehives every week since the winter finally broke, and the bees are doing great.  She is manipulating them to discourage swarming, and if the rain lets up we should be seeing some persimmon honey come in soon.  We placed straw bales around the hives before the first cold snap last fall, and that seems to have protected the bees very well.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Advice From Ralfy

Ralfy has some good advice for whisky aficianados, but I wonder how many people can afford 1/2 a bottle of single malt scotch per week.  If you have a kid, nephew or niece going off to college soon, just tell them to never drink hard liquor straight from the bottle.  This little bit of advice will protect your loved one from hugging porcelain in the dorm restrooms.  Here's Ralfy...

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger's auction this week is for one of the highly desirable .44 Magnum Carbines that are highly coveted by deer hunters and woods-walkers.  Read the description on Ruger's GunBroker page, because there are a few small issues you will want to take care of, but that doesn't seem to be hurting the bids at all.  100% of the proceeds will go to benefit the Light Foundation.  This fine Ruger Carbine will sell mid-day, Wednesday, May 14, 2014.


Tuesday Turbo Boost: It Looked Like Yellow Hail!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Weekend Steam: Gettin' Serious

We've been looking at steam models for a few weeks, and we all could use a locomotive fix.  Union Pacific is pulling some of their Big Boys back to the shop to be re-conditioned for service.  Big News, Indeed! Like a Million Pounds Big.  Here is the proof as a display loco leaves California for Wyoming.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Crankin' It Up: WInding Up Our Climax Collection

We still have several early 7" records of other makes, but this is our final Climax recording, and I think it is the best of the batch.  Should I continue with these really old ones, or do you want me to go back to later songs on the regular 10" 78's?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Just What The Travelin' Man Ordered!

See if you can guess what this little item is before the fifth photo. 

The Best .22 Ever?

I won't argue against that sentiment.  Hickok 45 shares a couple of Marlin lever actions with us, and I'll confirm that this design is a joy to handle and to shoot. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cold War Hero Captain Morris H. Reed

Fifty years ago while the Cold War was hotter than most people realize, one of our heroes lost his life on a training flight over Scotland.  The missions the Air Force warriors practiced would have surely been suicide missions had they ever actually flown them, because they couldn't outrun the heat from the thermonuclear bombs they would be delivering.  They will tell you that it didn't matter, because if they did fly these missions, there wouldn't have been anything to come back to.  It was deadly serious business, and Captain Reed was one who gave his life to keep us safe.  Click Here to visit see photos of the crash site in Scotland.  Say a prayer for his family today, and to give thanks for men like Captain Reed.

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger's auction this week is some mighty fine moose medicine, and can be used to bag just about any game you could wish to hunt around the world.  The .375 H & H Magnum may be an old cartridge, but it's still a good one, and has only been surpassed recently with the .375 Ruger cartridge.  100% of the proceeds of this auction will go to benefit the Light Foundation, so Click Over to Ruger's GunBroker page and place your best bid.

April e-Postal Scores Are Posted!... the CUG Blog, Click Here.   Many Thanks to the Conservative UAW Guy for hosting a great contest!  Check out the scores, even if you didn't enter.  The iron sight shooters really outdid themselves.

Be sure to enter the May contest at the Smallest Conservative blog. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Not My Victrola

We haven't visited EMG Colenel for a while, and he has quite a collection.  This Zonophone is a very early disc, and the song, "De Ole Banjo," is obviously a minstrel tune.  It's a good record, and the singing and accompaniment are top notch.  It's a rare, very clear glimpse back to entertainment more than a century ago.

Ladders and Chainsaws Do Not Mix!

 Language Alert right after the guy goes flying.

Ladders ( I think.) are the second most dangerous tool in  our garages, and chainsaws are Number One.  This poor fellow climbed a ladder to do a task that should be done by a tree climber, or someone with a bucket truck.  He also made a cut with the saw held in one hand, and that is just asking for a kickback to put the saw back in your face.  I hope he takes a remedial class after he is healed up.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Weekend Steam: A Little Change of Pace

Instead of a steam engine, this week we are featuring a Stuart Steam Hammer.  I've seen these in Stuart's lineup for almost fifty years, but this is the first time I've seen one run.

We Got Mittens, Too!

Click the pic to read the medallion.

Crankin' It Up: More of the Climax Collection

These old records aren't exactly the finest in entertainment, but they are interesting from the historical perspective.  Climax records were pressed when disc recording was in its infancy, and that shows in several ways.  Next week, more mandolin!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mr. Completely's May e-Postal Contest Is Up At The Smallest Conservative!
Sand Castle Son (Danno's Son) has just posted the May contest on his blog, The Smallest Conservative. It's a good target, and you will want to study it well before you shoot to develop your tactics for optimizing your score.  While you're on his blog to get your target, be sure to scroll down and read the coverage of the NRA Annual Meeting.