Saturday, January 30, 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Valentine Countdown: The Carpenters, Mr. Postman

Uploaded by Kanal von den Hobbylosen.

No Need For A Toothpick; It's Done!

Gary's cart parts disassmbled easily today. Now it's ready for a wire brush, then the sand blaster.

Photo Credit: Gary Bahre

Pistol League Night

We haven't been to Pistol League at the Carmi Rifle Club since before Christmas; partly because of lousy weather, and partly because of dreary, dark winter evenings.  We went tonight and there were more than a dozen people there, for six lanes of shooting.  We did a lot of catching up and had a great time.

 Pattie shot her personal best before Christmas; 439 out of 480. That is 48 shots, 12 from 15 feet, 12 from 30 feet, and 24 from 50 feet.  She was nervous tonight because she hadn't shot in more than a month, but she broke 400 with a score of 417, and that is pretty good for a lady who has suffered a bad stroke. I hope the weather is good again next week so we can go again.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

If I Knew You Were Coming

I'd Have Baked A Cart!

Our engine friend Gary Bahre sent us this little update.  He picked up a very rusty cart at an auction that was so encrusted he could not get the wheels off.  The meat should just fall off the bones after this treatment.  I have seen my dad rehab old iron skillets by putting them in a fire, and it works.  Gary said the wheels were glowing, and all the parts should be ready for the sand blaster now.

Photo Credit: Gary Bahre.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

One Of A Kind 1913 Elgin Tractor

This unique tractor was on display last summer at the American Thresherman Show at Pinckneyville.  The owner purchased it from the descendants of the original owner and he was careful to put it back in operating condition without hurting the tractor's barn-fresh patina.  The transmission is a friction drive system reminiscent of the Heider Tractor's system, but it is laid out differently.  There are a few Heiders out there in the world, but there is only one Elgin. I hope it is back next August so I can see it operating.

I should have included this photo in the slide show:

Valentine Countdown: Jimmie Rodgers Tells A Sad Tale

Uploaded by Jimmie Rodgers.

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger's auction this week is a New-In-Box P90 Decocker in .45 Auto, manufactured in October 1991.  The auction will end mid-day, Wednesday, January 27, 2016. 100% of the proceeds of this sale will go to benefit the Light Foundation.  Click Here, or on the picture to read all about it and to place your bid.

$855, 15 bids.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Valentine Countdown: Comedian Harmonists

Uploaded by EdmundusRex.

Uploaded by #ComedianHarmonists.

January 25, The Birthday Of Burns, And A Visit To The Western Front

Nineteen-Sixteen was a very bad year.  It was the year that the Great War went from bad to worst. Nineteen-Sixteen gave us the Somme Offensive and Verdun.  England, France and Germany were bled white.  Robert W. Service was there in 1916, a volunteer in his forties, driving an ambulance between aid stations at the front and hospitals.  He met a lot of men and heard a lot of stories.  The Haggis of Private McPhee is one of my favorite works by Robert Service, and I always revisit this poem on January 25.  Was it based on an actual event?  We will never know, but poets get ideas from real life, so it would be no surprise if there is a whole lot of truth in this tale from Rhymes of a Red Cross Man.  This book was dedicated to Robert's brother Lieutenant Albert Service, Canadian Infantry, who was killed in August 1916 on the first day of the Somme Offensive.

The Haggis of Private McPhee

"Hae ye heard whit ma auld mither's postit tae me?
It fair maks me hamesick," says Private McPhee.
"And whit did she send ye?" says Private McPhun,
As he cockit his rifle and bleezed at a Hun.
"A haggis! A HAGGIS!" says Private McPhee;
"The brawest big haggis I ever did see.
And think! it's the morn when fond memory turns
Tae haggis and whuskey -- the Birthday o' Burns.
We maun find a dram; then we'll ca' in the rest
O' the lads, and we'll hae a Burns' Nicht wi' the best.
"Be ready at sundoon," snapped Sergeant McCole;
"I want you two men for the List'nin' Patrol."
Then Private McPhee looked at Private McPhun:
"I'm thinkin', ma lad, we're confoundedly done."
Then Private McPhun looked at Private McPhee:
"I'm thinkin' auld chap, it's a' aff wi' oor spree."
But up spoke their crony, wee Wullie McNair:
"Jist lea' yer braw haggis for me tae prepare;
And as for the dram, if I search the camp roun',
We maun hae a drappie tae jist haud it doon.
Sae rin, lads, and think, though the nicht it be black,
O' the haggis that's waitin' ye when ye get back."
My! but it wis waesome on Naebuddy's Land,
And the deid they were rottin' on every hand.
And the rockets like corpse candles hauntit the sky,
And the winds o' destruction went shudderin' by.
There wis skelpin' o' bullets and skirlin' o' shells,
And breengin' o' bombs and a thoosand death-knells;
But cooryin' doon in a Jack Johnson hole
Little fashed the twa men o' the List'nin' Patrol.
For sweeter than honey and bricht as a gem
Wis the thocht o' the haggis that waitit for them.
Yet alas! in oor moments o' sunniest cheer
Calamity's aften maist cruelly near.
And while the twa talked o' their puddin' divine
The Boches below them were howkin' a mine.
And while the twa cracked o' the feast they would hae,
The fuse it wis burnin' and burnin' away.
Then sudden a roar like the thunner o' doom,
A hell-leap o' flame . . . then the wheesht o' the tomb.
"Haw, Jock! Are ye hurtit?" says Private McPhun.
"Ay, Geordie, they've got me; I'm fearin' I'm done.
It's ma leg; I'm jist thinkin' it's aff at the knee;
Ye'd best gang and leave me," says Private McPhee.
"Oh leave ye I wunna," says Private McPhun;
"And leave ye I canna, for though I micht run,
It's no faur I wud gang, it's no muckle I'd see:
I'm blindit, and that's whit's the maitter wi' me."
Then Private McPhee sadly shakit his heid:

"If we bide here for lang, we'll be bidin' for deid.
And yet, Geordie lad, I could gang weel content
If I'd tasted that haggis ma auld mither sent."
"That's droll," says McPhun; "ye've jist speakit ma mind.
Oh I ken it's a terrible thing tae be blind;
And yet it's no that that embitters ma lot --
It's missin' that braw muckle haggis ye've got."
For a while they were silent; then up once again
Spoke Private McPhee, though he whussilt wi' pain:
"And why should we miss it? Between you and me
We've legs for tae run, and we've eyes for tae see.
You lend me your shanks and I'll lend you ma sicht,
And we'll baith hae a kyte-fu' o' haggis the nicht."
Oh the sky it wis dourlike and dreepin' a wee,
When Private McPhun gruppit Private McPhee.
Oh the glaur it wis fylin' and crieshin' the grun',
When Private McPhee guidit Private McPhun.
"Keep clear o' them corpses -- they're maybe no deid!
Haud on! There's a big muckle crater aheid.
Look oot! There's a sap; we'll be haein' a coup.
A staur-shell! For Godsake! Doun, lad, on yer daup.
Bear aff tae yer richt. . . . Aw yer jist daein' fine:
Before the nicht's feenished on haggis we'll dine."
There wis death and destruction on every hand;
There wis havoc and horror on Naebuddy's Land.
And the shells bickered doun wi' a crump and a glare,
And the hameless wee bullets were dingin' the air.
Yet on they went staggerin', cooryin' doun
When the stutter and cluck o' a Maxim crept roun'.
And the legs o' McPhun they were sturdy and stoot,
And McPhee on his back kept a bonnie look-oot.
"On, on, ma brave lad! We're no faur frae the goal;
I can hear the braw sweerin' o' Sergeant McCole."
But strength has its leemit, and Private McPhun,
Wi' a sab and a curse fell his length on the grun'.
Then Private McPhee shoutit doon in his ear:
"Jist think o' the haggis! I smell it from here.
It's gushin' wi' juice, it's embaumin' the air;
It's steamin' for us, and we're -- jist -- aboot -- there."
Then Private McPhun answers: "Dommit, auld chap!
For the sake o' that haggis I'll gang till I drap."
And he gets on his feet wi' a heave and a strain,
And onward he staggers in passion and pain.
And the flare and the glare and the fury increase,
Till you'd think they'd jist taken a' hell on a lease.
And on they go reelin' in peetifu' plight,
And someone is shoutin' away on their right;
And someone is runnin', and noo they can hear
A sound like a prayer and a sound like a cheer;
And swift through the crash and the flash and the din,
The lads o' the Hielands are bringin' them in.
"They're baith sairly woundit, but is it no droll
Hoo they rave aboot haggis?" says Sergeant McCole.
When hirplin alang comes wee Wullie McNair,
And they a' wonnert why he wis greetin' sae sair.
And he says: "I'd jist liftit it oot o' the pot,
And there it lay steamin' and savoury hot,
When sudden I dooked at the fleech o' a shell,
And it -- dropped on the haggis and dinged it tae hell."
And oh but the lads were fair taken aback;
Then sudden the order wis passed tae attack,
And up from the trenches like lions they leapt,
And on through the nicht like a torrent they swept.
On, on, wi' their bayonets thirstin' before!
On, on tae the foe wi' a rush and a roar!
And wild to the welkin their battle-cry rang,
And doon on the Boches like tigers they sprang:
And there wisna a man but had death in his ee,
For he thocht o' the haggis o' Private McPhee.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Our Nephew's Wedding Was The Highlight Of 2015

Josh and Shannon were married last August in St. Louis, and it was a day to remember. I did not take many photos that day, but the photographer has posted a great collection online so we are having a good time reminiscing. Oldani Photography's page is Right Here, so go have a look and enjoy it along with our family.

Valentine Countdown: Really Desperate Love?

Don McLean, uploaded by bluearmyaudio.

Valentine Countdown: Desperate Love

Maria Callas performs 'O Mio Babbino Caro', as Lauretta sings to her father of the boy she loves.
Uploaded by Maria Callas.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What's Over Your Head?

Here's a widow-maker and a hollow treetop in one tree; rotten stems and another widow-maker in the other two trees...

...over a picnic table.  A picnic table next to a playground.  Write your own sermon.

Valentine Countdown, Only The Lonely, Roy Orbison

Uploaded by AK47bandit.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Whether It's Really Most Sincerely, Or Only Merely

Take It Down!  Gravity always wins with trees, so don't wait to see what is going to happen when a tree dies.  Sooner is much better than later.

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger® is offering an Old Army® Blackpowder Revolver in their weekly auction. This cap-and-ball revolver was manufactured in 1974, and it is still in its original box.  You can click to see several pictures from Ruger's website, and you can read the entire description on Ruger's GunBroker page. This fine pistol will sell mid-day, Wednesday, January 20, 2016.  100% of the proceeds of this auction will go to benefit the Light Foundation.

$1290, 45 bids

Valentine Countdown: Love and Marriage, Frank Sinatra

Uploaded by Max Powell.

Under Wraps

 Collected forty years ago up a hollow in Eastern Kentucky...

Serving as the Mailbox Engine for more than twenty years...

Adopted by Gary Bahre in March, 2014, the 8 HP vertical Bessemer engine is up and running, and it is a masterpiece of engine restoration.  Gary let us know that the old Bessemer is running, painted, on a new cart with a cooling tank, and it even has decals like it did a century ago.  The coming-out party will be in March at a secret location, and then photos and videos of this rare engine will be made public.  Watch for it here, and on SmokStak.  Gary will also be submitting an article to Gas Engine Magazine where he will share the difficult restoration process.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Valentine Countdown: Moonbeam

Nick Lucas, 1927. Uploaded by ccwidget.

Weekend Steam: Boiler Builders

Watch the men handling the rosebud torches.  They handle those with the same respect you show the muzzle of a firearm.  Video uploaded by FixYerDigger.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Art's All In How You See It

Created with none of your tax dollars, and available for viewing only by those who walk the remote byways of rural Illinois, Agrarian Shipwreck symbolizes the futility of small dirt farms, the heartbreak of shattered dreams of sharecroppers, and the misery of starving and poorly clothed farm kids.  An anonymous sculptor created this masterpiece by utilizing an abandoned cultivator, a broken mowing machine, and a farm waif's rusty tricycle.

Or maybe someone cleaned out the machine shed. Admission is free!

Valentine Countdown: Buddy Holly's True Love Ways

Uploaded by CatMan916.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Valentine Day Countdown: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

It's hard to believe this classic goes back more than eighty years.

Gertrude Niessen, 1933, uploaded by EdmundusRex.

Irene Dunne, 1935, uploaded by jlichicago.

The Platters, 1958, uploaded by OldManCrankyCane'sChannel

A Quick Lesson In Aspect

Winter is a great time to see the effects of aspect, especially if you are out walking timber in the snow and ice.  Aspect and slope position are just as important as soil type in determining where and how well trees will grow. Here are a couple pictures of an icy road that show how quickly site conditions change with minor changes in slope and aspect.

We had an ice and snow mix, and this is at the end of the first day on an untreated county road. One lane is sloped slightly to the south, and one is sloped slightly to the north. Even though the temperature stayed below freezing, the tracks melted and dried out on the south-facing lane.

When the road reaches a west-facing slope, it is almost completely clear after one afternoon of sun. We may not notice these minor differences in slope and aspect, but trees do, and other plants and animals  do, too.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Valentine Countdown: That Romantic Texas Troubadour

Ernest Tubb didn't have a great singing voice, but he sold a lot of records and his fans would show up even when he was sick with emphysema. Here are a couple of his more notable songs.

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

This week Ruger is offering a Single Six Convertible in .22 Long Rifle and .22 WMR that was manufactured in 1974. The price for one of these in 1974 was right at $100.  Bidding is already over suggested retail for a new one as I post this, but you know how collectors are.  Click Here to read all about it and to place the winning bid if you need this pistol in your collection.  It will sell mid-day, Wednesday, January 13, 2016.  100% of the proceeds will go to benefit the Light Foundation.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Valentine Countdown: Sophie Tucker, 1911

Video uploaded by Nellie4535.

And again in 1926 with Ted Lewis and his band!

Uploaded by ASA Curator.


I do believe this washer would take the buttons right off your shirts for you!

Back To The Old Grind!

Photo Credit: Gary Bahre

Crankin' It Up With Brat The Cat: Sonny Boy Performed By Irving Kaufman

This tearjerker has been one of my favorites for a very long time. We posted this song by Al Jolson, and YouTube blocked it in most of the world if I remember correctly. So far there is no problem with Irving Kaufman's rendition. I will grab one by Al from YouTube and post it below so you can hear how it is remembered by Jolson fans.

Jolson video uploaded by Nathaniel Jordan

Update: The Internet is scary. Miss Meisenheimer's birthday is October 21, 1904. She passed away in March, 1977, and was survived by one sister, a niece and four nephews.


Junior is out of isolation, and this cold, snowy morning seemed like a good time to introduce our foster Schip to the dog yard. He immediately said hello to St. Francis.

Three Schips getting along! Little Skipper is the Alpha-Dog, and keeps a close eye on our guest.

Junior behaves well on a leash, and he seems to know the Sit command. He doesn't do Down yet, and we are working on Leave It.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Valentine Countdown: Cloudy Sky

Uploaded by Sony Music Entertainment #BobbyBare

Listen, Learn, and Pass It On!

Copy This Code to paste into a Facebook post:

To post on a blog: click the YouTube logo in the lower right of the video. Click on share; click on embed; copy the Embed code, paste it into your post when in html mode.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

We Didn't Have Enough To Do... we signed up to be foster parents for wayward Schipperkes. A few days later, Junior moved in with us. He is a ten-year-old Schip whose family had to move and couldn't take him. He was in an animal shelter when he was rescued, so we have kept him isolated from the other pets for ten days, just in case he picked up any bugs in the shelter. He is being introduced to the cats and dogs now, and he is very good-natured. He likes cats and wants to get along with the dogs, but the other Schips don't want to get along with him. No fights, though.

He is a big Schip, and looks and acts much like our first Schip, Merky, who we got as a pup in 1976. We might fail as foster parents and want to keep this boy.

Valentine Countdown: R.I.P., Kitty

Uploaded by Teddyb1939.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Valentine's Day Is Coming!

Our month of Christmas music was quite successful. Our readership on this little blog did not fall off while we put up a new record every day, and that is just about as good as it gets on True Blue Sam. We had so much fun choosing songs for you we are going to do it again for Valentine's Day. We will have happy, sad and hopeful songs, and vary the selections over several decades so you will have a good surprise every day.  We are starting out with a George M. Cohan song that was a big hit on the Edison label. Nellie Kelly, I Love You. Uploaded by AgesAgoMusic08.

Crankin' It Up With Brat The Cat: Dusky Stevedore, by...

Irving Kaufman. I pulled this one out of a filing cabinet on January 3 and Brat and I put it in the hopper. While I was looking up information I discovered that January 3, 2016 was the fortieth anniversary of Irving Kaufman's passing. He was a real trooper with an impressive career in show business and the recording world. This record was cut in 1928, but even though we were into the elecrical recording era, the Vaudevillian heart of Irving comes through. You don't have to shout on the stage, you just have to be heard and understood in the back row of the theater.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger's auction this week is a 1990, NIB 9mm P85 Decocker. This is a gun to use, not to put away in the safe, so you might have a chance to place the winning bid. This pistol will sell mid-day, Wednesday, January 6, 2016. 100% of the proceeds of this auction will go to benefit the Light Foundation. Click Here to read all about it and to place the winning  bid.  $636

Monday, January 4, 2016

Tuesday Turbo Boost: Soldier's Joy

Earl Scruggs and Jon McCuen performing live:

Uploaded by Roy Hillard Locke
And, as Earl and Jon recorded it for the Circle Album, forty some years ago, with Jon McCuen playing Uncle Dave Macon's banjo.
Uploaded by #NittyGrittyDirtBand

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Where's The Meat?

And sprayed-on fat? Feed your fur-babies better than this. Well, the machinery is fun to watch.

Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Not My Victrola: I'm Looking For A Girl Named Mary

I know this song from a version recorded by Edison, and it has been 45 years since I heard that. Sometimes I think my mind is a jukebox, what with all the old songs stuck in there.  Before radio, microphones, electrically recorded records and television killed Vaudeville, this is the sort of entertainment you could hear if you went into a theater for live entertainment.

Video by Victrola Jazz

Friday, January 1, 2016

Weekend Steam: Lombard Log Hauler

We have looked Lombards before, but these are new videos, and this is the season for pulling timber out of the north piney woods. Videos by Herb Crosby.  UPDATE: I sent a message to Herb on YouTube and heard back from him. He writes: "We will be running our c.1910 Lombard steam log hauler again this summer at the Maine Forest and Logging Museum in Bradley, Maine and invite all to come visit.
Herb Crosby" 

Baby Day, Baby Year

A Beautiful Start To The New Year

Dealing With Storm-Damaged Trees

This video starts with still shots taken after the top has been cut back to the point where the broken parts are hanging free from the ground.  Aside from the unpredictability of the broken top, The worst hazard on trees like this is the tripping hazard. Every time you move your feet you need to have the brake set on your saw, because you never know when you are going to trip and take a dive.

I really like the 1 1/2" thick wedges.  Wedges often kick out when you cross and stack them. You can beat that by driving in 1" wedges on one side of the tree, then pound in the 1 1/2" wedges in your free space.  If that doesn't tip your tree you can then cross and stack the 1" wedges you just freed up.  They probably will not kick out when you are able to start them with a little extra space between the stump and log.