Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Doc Will Soon Be Flying!

  Read all about Doc here.

The first video is long, so move the slider along to the action shots. Some narrative about the test happens at about 37 minutes.

September e-Postal Deadline Coming Up

We are going to accept your targets for September though October 5, so you have one more weekend to show off your hardware and your shooting skills. You can shoot any position with this contest so long as both hands are on your gun, so go to the range and rack up some impressive points. Link Here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Here's A Machine That Is Too Cool Not To Share

It's a broom corn thresher, and I imagine there were a lot of these around the country in times past. Preparation of broom corn heads for broom making is probably done much more efficiently nowadays...but I wonder how many broom making facilities there are in this country now. Probably not very many. This neat little machine was working at the American Thresherman show at Pinckneyville in August.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Use Your Knees, Hercules

The chestnuts are dropping and we enjoy hearing the plop-plop of them hitting the ground. You can really mess up your back picking them up and you better put an elbow on one knee as you reach down. Gloves are a must for pulling them out of the burs. We use our toes to open the burs, but you still have to reach in past the spines. You can see Jack in the background chawing down on the nuts that fell on his side of the fence. I don't know how he does it, but he gets them out of the burs and fattens up on them every fall.

A Triple!

Everybody gets into picking up chestnuts; it's hard to resist.

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger is offering one of their US-marked MkII pistols that was built for the US Military; this one in 1986. It had a split grip and never left the factory, and interest is high, of course. CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place your winning bid. This fine, rare Ruger will sell mid-day, Wednesday, September 30, 2015. 100% of the proceeds from this sale will go to benefit the Light Foundation.


Tuesday Turbo Boost

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Months Of Mondays

Back To The Old Grind!

Photo Credit: Gary Bahre

Friday, September 25, 2015

Weekend Steam: I'm Obsessing Over The Midwest Central

And why not?! There are sure plenty of videos to look at, and some of them are really good. This one is from 2010, before Number 9 shipped out to the Georgetown Loop.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Crankin' It Up With Brat The Cat: Old McDonald!

Gid Tanner and His Skillet Lickers recorded this classic on October 31, 1927. Just as good now as it ever was!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

All That's Left Are The Late Beans

We have had some of the best drying weather I have ever seen in late summer/early fall, and the corn and beans both ripened and dried in record time this year. The combines are running everywhere I go. Our renter had this forty finished the same day he started it, then swapped headers and moved over to the beans.

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Well, I'm out before even bidding. This .38 Special Security Six from 1974 has had 26 bids at the time I am writing this, and it is a bit higher than my limit. It is a good firearm that can serve you well, and it comes with some nice premiums to sweeten the deal. Go Read All About It and place a bid if you want to be in the running. 100% of the proceeds of this auction will go to benefit the Light Foundation, and this fine firearm will sell mid-day, September 23, 2015.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Fall Will Begin This Week...

...and we have seen the proof! In spite of lies about Global Warming by money-grubbing politicians and prostituting-so-called-scientists, we have seen carnies heading south on I-57, right on schedule. There soon will be a flood of their colorful vehicles heading for warmer climes, and they will be back right on schedule next spring. Twenty-five years ago I was told that mesquite forests would inhabit Illinois in fifty years, but our oak forests are hanging tough and I haven't seen a single mesquite sprout yet. They're going to have to get a move on.

Tuesday Turbo Boost

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Crankin' It Up With Brat The Cat: The Goldenrod Is Blooming...

...And you know what that means! It's time to dust off one of my old favorites to celebrate the show that entertains our eyes along the highways and byways every fall.

Not My Victrola; Something A Little Different

We were out on a drive in the country tonight at sunset, and it was glorious. A front was going through and the patterns in the clouds along with the colors prompted an old song to pop back into my head. They wouldn't let kids sing this song in public school today, but we did with Miss Kos in the 1950's and everybody liked it. In fact we sounded glorious!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Respecting Rotten Trees

I was asked to drop this rotten red maple recently because it was endangering  a parking area. You can see the evidence of fungus on the stump and the stem, and it sounded (Thump it with a hatchet.) punky, too. There are a few things to think about with rotten trees. You don't know how much strength the hinge is going to have, so you don't want to fight side-lean. Walk around the tree and find that spot where the tree is well balanced side-to-side; that way the tree won't be trying to go sideways, pulling the hinge apart. You also don't want to fight back lean, because the tree will probably just head over backwards when you start pounding on your wedges. You have to take it in the direction of its weight/lean. Make your hinge about 1/2 again as thick as you normally would so it doesn't crush and trap your saw.

Evaluate your tree so you know where it will go if the stem breaks. Breaks happen suddenly and you won't have time to think about it if it happens. It will happen to you if you cut many of these hazard trees. When it does go pop you will know exactly where to step to get out of the way. In this case I made my front cut for the tree to rotate, I punched the saw through from the right side of the photo to the left and angling back. I then hooked the dogs in and began sweeping to the front of the tree to set the hinge thickness. The back of the tree popped apart before I got there and the tree went down as planned, just a little quicker than I wanted it to. I made one step and was 135° from the front cut when the tree hit the ground. Normally I like to be ten feet or more away when the tree lands, but this is what you get with rotten trees.

When you are cutting sound trees you can take your time, stop and talk about it, or even take a lunch break. When you are cutting a rotten one you need to have your plan in mind and do your cuts as quickly in succession as possible. Don't fiddle around and give the tree a chance to collapse or pull apart when you could have it cut on your terms.

Weekend Steam: Henschel Engine

Midwest Central's Number 16  is almost a spring chicken, being born in 1951. It is very modern as steam engines go, and it came to Mt. Pleasant in 1982. It is sidelined now awaiting boiler repairs, but it will be back on the active roster someday.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Very Old, Rare Engine: Van Duzen

From what I hear there are no two of these engines alike still in existence. You see them on SmokStak occasionally, but there aren't very many of these. These came from the early years of gas engine production, so the numbers are few. We were very fortunate to see one up close, in person.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Lifetime Of Faceplants

We just had our annual FFA Forestry Contest at Sam Dale Lake in Wayne County, Illinois. Nine schools brought forty-five students, and a good time was had by all. This kid doesn't know it yet, but if he goes into forestry for a living he will be putting his face in the dirt on a regular basis. Here's why.

We're always looking up. Tree quality and vigor, stand dynamics, squirrels, birds, angels, hickory nuts. We walk while we look and we fall down. Most of the time the ground is soft. You become more careful when you wear tri-focals.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

This is one of 1800 Anniversary Models that Ruger made in 1985, and it marked the end of the .44 Magnum Carbine in Ruger's lineup. I was out before I looked at the bidding, but maybe you want to give it a go. CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place your bid.

$2726. Keep a light coat of oil on it.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Tuesday Turbo Boost

 Johny Cash had a good hit with his version. I first heard this song done by the Sons of the Pioneers.

Vaughn Monroe started all this in 1949 with his orchestra...

...and was seriously mocked by Spike Jones. You gotta love More Cowbell! Mr. Monroe was not amused.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Maybe You Haven't Been Grinding As Finely As You Should....

Improve your attitude with This DOUBLE BARRELED GRINDER!

Back To The Old Grind! Duplex Action, Baby!

Crankin' It Up With Brat The Cat

This record got to old Brat, and he had to leave. The poor old boy hasn't seen his mother since he was  a barely grown kitten and it was too much for him. If you still have a Mother, give her a call. Don't suffer the heartbreak of my Motherless Kitty.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bad-Ass Hero of 9/11

This man made a difference, while 911 operators were telling people to stay where they were and to wait for help. He would have none of that, and 2700 people were saved from destruction. CLICK

We Always Have One Foot In The Grave...

...From the time we're conceived until the bottom of the Slippery Slope. Sometimes you dance on the edge and come back; eventually you slide. A day or a year makes no difference once you hit it. When you hit those slick rocks you are not coming back up. Talk to the important people in your life while you can, because you never know until it is too late.

August e-Postal Scores

Better late than never, I guess. We waited for more entries, but it looks like the Johnson/Bentrup's, and Merle's Clan were the only folks who made it to the range. This was  a good target, and everyone did well, especially Missy, who BEAT MERLE! I see good scores in her future! Be sure to take Missy to the range again Merle; I bet she can Shoot the Moon on the September target.  Here are the scores. Thank You, Merle, for a good contest!

(Note that Centerfire Rifle is 5 shots, with a maximum score of 50. All other classes are 10 shots with a maximum score of 100. Pattie Ann shoots with a rest due to disability.)

Class 1; Air Pistol, Iron Sights/Non-magnified red dot
No Entries

Class 2; Air Pistol, Magnified optical sights  
No Entries

Class 3; Rimfire Pistol, Iron Sights\ non-magnified red dot

David aka TrueBlue Sam
Ruger Mk III, Iron
92 1x
Ruger Super Single Six, Iron
Pattie Ann
Ruger 22/45 Lite, red dot, rest
David aka TBS
Ruger 22/45 Lite, red dot
Susan aka Mrs TBS
Ruger Mk III, red dot

Class 4; Rimfire Pistol, Magnified optical sights

David aka TBS
TC Contender, Bushnell 2.5x
Pattie Ann
TC Contender, Bushnell 2.5x

Class 5; Centerfire Pistol, Iron Sights/Non magnified red dot
Enfield #2 38/200
Colt Commander .45 ACP
Beretta 9mm
Missy Shipley
British Enfield #2 38/200

Class 6: Centerfire pistol, Magnified optical sights

No Entries

Class 7; Rimfire Rifle, Iron Sights/Non-magnified red dot
M1 Carbine .22LR, iron
25 yd

Class 8; Rimfire Rifle, Magnified optical sights (25 yds)
Missy Shipley
Marlin 781 4x
25 yd
95 3x !!!!!
Marlin 39A 4x
25 yd
87 1x

Class 9; Centerfire Rifle, Iron Sights/Non-magnified red dot (50 yds)
Ruger Mini 14 Lyman peep
50  yd
Class 10: Centerfire Rifle, Magnified optical sights (50 yds)
M44 Russian Carbine Millet 2x
50 yd

Merle demonstrated his Less Lethal technique for those times when you really want to make it hurt!

And Missy shows us how to shoot a good group with a .22 rifle...

You all be sure to print out the September target and hit the range! It's a great target to hone your shooting skills.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

This week Ruger is offering a nearly new rifle used by Mike Fifer. It is the new Ruger Precision Rifle that Mr. Fifer used testing out this new model, and you can see from the photo that this gun will shoot. Click Over to read all about it, and to place your winning bid. 100% of the proceeds will go to benefit the Light Foundation, and this precision-made rifle will sell mid-day, Wednesday, September 9, 2015.

$3750... breathe...

Monday, September 7, 2015

What's Up!

Susan's flower beds are going out in a blaze of glory this year. She did really well with her sunflowers, and you can just see one of her cannas in the background. She has a bunch of those.

Out by the road she has a border of Cosmos around the sunflowers, and they frame the display eloquently. She has other flowers mixed in, (But I'm a man, and I can't remember their names. I don't think I can change.) You can see some pinkish looking ones here, but the sunflowers really are the show, and they knock your socks off.

Tuesday Turbo Boost

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Throw The Belt Off That Grinder And Take It Easy Monday!

Here's a video stroll through the gas engine area at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, taken on the first day of Old Threshers. Video cameras should be welded to a tripod, and you might have to watch out for seasickness, but it's a good video nonetheless, and it gives you a good feel for the number of engines on display. Just after the beginning you will hear the noon whistles from the steam area. You will see lots of Cushman engines, the featured make this year, and plenty of water pumps, corn shellers, and corn grinders.

Friday, September 4, 2015


These anniversaries sneak up on you. Fifty years ago I went to work at this little appliance store in Washington, Iowa.

I swept floors, washed windows, cleaned nasty old refrigerators and stoves, and wrecked my back moving old 15 cubic foot freezers out of basements. I've been unemployed a total of two weeks since I became a wage slave. I worked on a section crew for a short time, took care of a handicapped student for a year, fought forest fires, and was a mechanic in both the oil and coal fields. Currently I take nice nature hikes and do a lot of writing.  I wore this jacket for a few years after I went off to school (I worked then, too.) and people understandably called me Jarvis. A few of them still do.

The end is in sight, but not quite yet. I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Might be this...

Or maybe this...(I'm not really into trigger warnings, but before you click Play, note that the video below is from Blazing Saddles.)

Let's face it, I'm Tired!

Gary Bahre Has Made Another Basket Case Run!

Old Bessye spoke yesterday for the first time in about ninety years! We feel kinda like this!

It has been a long difficult journey for Gary from this collection of broken, rusty parts, to this:

This is Gary's photo after he had it ready to try. He primed it, rolled it over, and it ran out the priming fuel; twice! Gary still has lots of finishing up to do, but the old girl is breathing again.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

e-Postal Target Two-Fer

I'm going to hold off on posting scores for August until after the holiday weekend, so everybody gets to shoot both the August...

...and September contests!

Both of these contests are made for good scores, so have at it and have a good time. Also consider this: The bullseye on the ram target is 3" diameter. At 25 feet, that is 36 minutes of angle. A practiced pistol shooter should be able to hit eights on a good number of the shots. The sweet spots on the September targets are about 1" by 2", or 12 by 24 minutes to make the four 20 spots. Hickok 45 in his videos has his 24" gong out at 80 yards and regularly hits it, even with snubnosed pistols. That is a 30 minute of angle shot. It would be a breeze with a rifle. With a pistol you have to pay extra attention to sight picture, trigger squeeze, and Kentucky windage, but it is entirely doable for someone who knows how to shoot.

Consider the August target again. The rings are 1, 2, and 3 inches in diameter. That is 12, 24, and 36 minutes of angle at 25 feet. We all need to shoot targets like this regularly to see problems in our shooting technique and to become better shots. We all need the practice, so print those targets and go shoot this weekend!

Click the targets for the links to the rules and the pdf's.

.22 LR In Stock... Natchez Shooters Supply. We have had excellent accuracy from the Federal Game Shok and the CCI Standard Velocity. We like Velocitors for using on varmints through a rifle. If you study chronograph information on the blogs, you will see that Velocitors do not give you any advantage from a short barrel. You need to use those rounds in a rifle to make the extra expense worthwhile.

AND, Midway has the Federal Game Shok cartridges at a good price, too.

Illinois residents need to have an account with their FOID on file for online ammunition sales. Natchez wants Illinois residents to call in ammo orders. I don't know the ordering policy for Midway, but you do have to set it up with your FOID in advance.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Steam, and More! Old Threshers Begins Thursday, September 3, 2015!

There is lots more about Old Threshers than steam engines; like Dancing Girls at the Saloon...

and the blacksmith shop in the North Village. Old Threshers starts September 3 and runs through Labor Day.

Georgetown Loop # 12

Big 'uns! And Little ones, too!

Old Threshers goes on through Labor Day, so pack up the babies and hit the road for Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

Gun Blogger Rendezvous X Reports

Kevin at Smallest Minority

Billll  at Billll's Idle Mind, and Part II


Not Claswitz and Part II

and last, but certainly not least is the report on, by Lucky Gunner.

Check back over the next few weeks at the Gun Bloggers site, because more photos and video will be posted, along with plans for GBR XI in 2016.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Gary Bahre's 8 HP Vertical Bessemer Update

Gary has had several interruptions this year that kept him out of his engine shop, but work has resumed on the Bessemer that Susan and I collected near Blaine, Kentucky nearly forty years ago. I am still amazed that we loaded this thing into the back of the American Motors station wagon by ourselves, and even more amazed that we were able to drag it all the way to Southern Illinois in 1980. This project is a real capstone for Gary's engine collection. It's extremely rare, and the rebuild had several difficult challenges. He will be belting Bessy up to one of his engines soon to break her in before he actually fires up.

This engine ran a sorghum press during its short working career, and I think the owner should have stuck to using a mule. The water jacket is broken from freezing, and the rod was broken, probably from a lack of lubrication. The drip oiler had to be kept topped up and dripping well for the rod, and I bet it went dry several times before the rod hammered itself to death. Great Work, Gary!

Video courtesy of Gary Bahre

You can read about the restoration process and see more photos on This Smokstak Thread.

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Jump on this one! Ruger built their improve Red Label Shotgun for just over one year, so there won't  be many chances to get one of these. This is a 12 Gauge gun, and you can read all about it HERE. This gun will sell mid-day, September 2, 2015. 100% of the proceeds of this auction will go to benefit the Light Foundation.