Wednesday, June 29, 2016

That Big Red Maple

goes on and on and on.  Working up firewood during the summer is not fun, but yard trees cannot wait.  They must be cleaned up no matter what the heat and humidity are doing.  The loader on the Kubota tractor is allowing us to handle wood that we previously would have discarded.  I can roll a big piece in the bucket and then roll it onto the splitter.  Pieces like these are hernias waiting to happen if you try to manhandle them.  A high of 80 is predicted for Saturday, with low humidity, so this tree will soon be stashed in the barn.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The USA Shooting Team

Ruger has offered another popular firearm this week, and the collectors are piling on.  This is a Mk II from 1986 that was built for the U.S. Government and returned for a split grip. It was repaired, and has been in Ruger's vault ever since.  There have been a few others like this one, and my guess is that Ruger simply sent out a replacement immediately rather than make our Military wait for a repair.  As I post this the collectors have run this pistol up to $1525, and the minimum bid is $1550.  If this gun trips your trigger CLICK OVER to read all about it and to place the winning  bid.  This pistol will sell mid-day, Wednesday, June 29, 2016.  100% of the proceeds will go to benefit the USA Shooting Team.  $1576

Monday, June 27, 2016

Tuesday Torque: Big Falk Engine

We never get a good look at the tag on this beast, but I think it is a 10 HP model.  Falk engines came in 3, 5, 10, and 15 horsepower models, and this looks like the 10 HP ones I have seen.  Never having seen a 15 HP Falk, and not having much for scale in this video, I can't exclude that possibility.  Lots of neat motion going on here in one of the prettiest mechanical marvels of the early Twentieth Century.

There are three adjustments on top of the carburetor. One is for adjusting the mixture for the gasoline section, then there is the kerosene section that the engine ran on once it was warmed up a bit. The third one is for adding a little water to the mix to prevent the kerosene from pre-igiting or detonating. That section is left alone by folks showing these old engines. It is easier just to run them on gasoline, and if you don't work them you don't need water to make them behave.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows

A look inside an abandoned flour mill.  Rolling equipment, chutes, lineshafts, clutches, belts, and more.

Back To The Old Grind! Title lifted from a John Prine song (Souvenirs).

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Dog In Its Proper Habitat!

                                         Photo Credit: Eric Janssen; used with permission.

Every dog lover should be following Eric Janssen on Facebook, and also I Love Schipperkes, where Eric also posts photos of his travels with the faithful barge dog, Saartje the Schipperke.  This is the part of the world where Schipperkes were bred.  Schipperkes are well known as ratters for shopkeepers, homes, and barges that moved goods on the waterways of  Belgium and the Netherlands.  Schips are very brave watchdogs known for never backing down from someone threatening their home and family.  Saartje is living the dream life of a Schipperke, and I wish I could go across the ocean and get to know Eric and his dog.  But, we can live the dream through the pictures he posts, and the television shows that are documenting their travels.

Our Schipperkes are all landlubbers, and dream only of chasing squirrels.  We don't want fleas, so we don't allow them to be squirrel dogs, though they would be excellent with their keen eyesight and quick nerves.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The USA Shooting Team

Ruger is offering another first class collectible firearm this week.  This is a .44 Magnum Carbine commemorating the 25th anniversary of this model, and the end of its production.  Collector interest is high, of course, but go look anyway and read all about it.  This fine little rifle will sell mid-day, Wednesday, June 22, 2016.  100% of the proceeds of this auction will go to benefit the USA Shooting Team.  Click Here.  $1765

June 21 is William Ruger's 100th birthday.  Ruger is celebrating by offering some limited edition collector items over the next few months.  Sign up on the Ruger website to be notified if you like that sort of thing.

Bill Whittle On Orlando

Monday, June 20, 2016

Tuesday Torque: Small Engine Conversion

A creative modeler took an early Briggs and Stratton engine and built it into a side shaft hit-and-miss engine.  Pretty neat.  One side shaft does nothing but spin a dummy governor.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Down The Rat Hole Of History

The Morrison Mill began operation in 1833, and continued until 1964 in the same family. The stone bur mill for corn meal was installed in 1859, and when we visited in 1987 it was still in place.  The owner operated the mill on a limited basis as a local tourist attraction and handed out one pound bags of meal.  There is also machinery for making flour and rolled oats on the upper floor.  It was quite an operation in its day.

Those days are gone, and I heard that the building was falling in on itself.  The bur mill is probably salvageable if someone can afford a crane to reach in and pluck it out.  That's not likely.  This Nineteenth Century factory is going down the tube.

Click to enlarge.  You can see the main line shaft in this shot.  The bur mill for corn meal is just below that on the first floor.

Ain't no goin' back for this old grind.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Not My Victrola: Jimmie Rodgers, Standin' On The Corner,

...with Louis Armstrong and his Mrs. on the piano.

Ramadan Whatever

They are going to kill us all anyway, so let's enjoy ourselves a bit during this holiest of seasons!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ramadan Is Warming Up...



Have A Heartbreak

The good news is that all four coons have been removed from the chimney.  The sad news is that one of them died.  The last holdout evidently came out and was trapped early in the day and worried itself to death in the trap.  The trap was in shade all afternoon, but look at how the coon dug on the floor of the trap trying to escape.  It's a shame, and not pleasant to think about.  

The live trap I always think of is Havahart, from Tomahawk, Wisconsin.  Knockoffs are made in China and sold in farm supply stores, and I am glad to see that Havahart is still making a go of it.  The thing you will learn if you use live traps is that many animals go nuts in these humane traps.  We have used the live-mouse-traps, and it is not a pretty sight the way mice die in those traps. We went back to snap traps that break the neck or skull.  We have moved many a 'possum and coon with live traps, and as long as you check regularly the animals have no problem.  We do not try to catch feral cats in them because we cannot think of a way to safely take an angry cat out of the trap.  I have cornered a few and grabbed them with welding gloves.  Not too sure if I want to try that again after experiencing a cat bite.

Some will ask why we didn't just shoot the problem animals.  They were in town; there was a mother with babies, and of course there is the time involved in waiting out nocturnal animals so you can make a shot.  Shooting wasn't practical, or legal in this instance, and the mama with two of her youngsters have been placed in a woods five miles out of town.

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The USA Shooting Team

Get ready for a broken heart.  Ruger is offering a Number 1 Light Sporter Rifle in .223 this week. This is a rifle that never went into production.  I would love to have this rifle, because I use a Number 3 Carbine in .223, and I can say that it has never failed me.  It is one of the best guns I ever hope to own.  Last week I thought about placing a bid on the Number 1, but it seems there are many other people who  desire it, too.  Go have a look, and place a bid if you want one of the best shooting rifles in the world.  It sells at mid-day, Wednesday, June 15, 2016.  100% of the proceeds will go to benefit the USA Shooting Team.  $2225, probably going to be a safe queen.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My Old Man, John Prine

O.T.'s last birthday cake was in 2010, but we didn't know it then.  He wasn't a pilot, he was a Marine, but the sentiments all fit.

Ramadan Bombathon at Religion Of Peace

I don't see many clicks from this little blog to the Religion Of Peace, which is down the left sidebar.  If you are not familiar with that website, the month of Ramadan is a good time to start reading.  The keepers of this site track terrorist attacks around the world and update news links regularly, and during Ramadan there is a scorecard so you can see the progress being made by devout Muslims.  On Day 9 we are up more than 70 attacks, and more than 600 killed.

I remember when George W. Bush spoke to the nation after the 9/11 attacks, and I believed him when he told us that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the attackers did not represent what the religion is about.  I believed it for a long time.

I meet a great variety of people who are landowners in my work.  One of my favorites is a man with military and government agency experience.  He has been all over the world, doing work that I can't begin to imagine, but I know that he is extremely knowledgeable about people, cultures, government, and more.  So, I asked him when we were out in his timber one time, "In what percentage of the mosques in this country are they preaching jihad?"  He looked stunned that I would ask such a question.  "100%!  That's what Imams do, That is what their book tells them to do."  If you don't believe that, just stop and consider what would happen to an imam who  preached to his flock to embrace Western culture, to love all of us infidels.  He would have more fatwas on his head than he could count.  If he was lucky he would be beheaded or thrown off a building rather than being impaled or burned alive.

Click that link for the R.O.P. about once a week and read the latest news.  There is a wealth of information there, and it would be a good thing if more Americans understand the threat that devout Islamists pose to our country.  Remember, when you hear one of them say "Death To America," it is not an idle threat.  They mean death to you, me, your family, friends, and our way of life.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Tuesday Torque:"Hey Y'All, Watch This!!!"

Pattie's Birthday Must Be Coming Up

Marvin moved into Pattie's wheat field today.  She was born while the wheat was being threshed in 1924, and she remembers threshing with steam when she was a girl.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Bottomland Tree Planting

All of my tree plantings this spring are bottomland projects, and we had a wet spring.  Sumer is icumen in, and it feels too late to be tree planting, but it was delayed by flooding and wet ground.  This project is in the Elm River bottoms, the wettest of wet bottomlands in the counties where I work.  The Elm was just barely in its banks when we started on this one.  The contractor put rice tires on his tractor and he was able to plant most of the project he finished today.  The tires are too big for him to use his front wheel assist because the ground speeds of the tires are out of sync, but this setup was just what was needed.  He is on our last project now (On the Skillet Fork of the Little Wabash) and will finish up this weekend.  We prefer planting trees when you have to bundle up, but if we get a few rains in the next couple weeks we will be OK.

May e-Postal Scores Are Up... the Smallest Conservative.  Susan tied with Billll.  She has learned to aim small!  She is pretty fast on steel plates, too.  At least faster than me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Susan's flowers continue their annual show as the daylilies kick in to provide new delights every day.
Photos by Susan.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The USA Shooting Team

Ruger's offering this week is another one of a kind product , a M77 Mk II with a McMillan stock in .308.  This is a black fiberglass stock that never was a production item. This fine, rare rifle will sell mid-day, Wednesday, June 8, 2016, and 100% of the proceeds will go to benefit the USA Shooting Team.  Click Here to read the entire description and to place your bid. $855

The next two weeks have a couple of real winners coming up, so check back and check your bank account!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Tuesday Torque: Oil Pull Stack Talk

I have always got a kick from the sound of an Oil Pull idling.  It's a two cylinder engine, but the way it is set up it doesn't sound anything like a John Deere.  I must do some study on this subject and find out exactly why it makes the music it does.

June 6, 1944

I took a walk along the historic coast of Normandy in the country of France. It was a lovely day for strolling along the seashore. Men were sleeping on the sand, some of them sleeping forever. Men were floating in the water, but they didn't know they were in the water, for they were dead.

The water was full of squishy little jellyfish about the size of a man's hand. Millions of them. In the center of each of them was green design exactly like a four-leafed clover. The good-luck emblem. Sure. Hell, yes.

I walked for a mile and a half along the water's edge of our many-miled beach. I walked slowly, for the detail on the beach was infinite.

The wreckage was vast and startling. The awful waste and destruction of war, even aside from the loss of human life, has always been one of its outstanding features to those who are in it. Anything and everything is expendable. And we did expend on our beachhead in Normandy during those first few hours.

For a mile out from the beach there were scores of tanks and trucks and boats that were not visible, for they were at the bottom of the water-swamped by overloading, or hit by shells, or sunk by mines. Most of their crews were lost.

There were trucks tipped half over and swamped, partly sunken barges, and the angled-up corners of jeeps, and small landing craft half submerged. And at low tide you could still see those vicious six-pronged iron snares that helped snag and wreck them.

On the beach itself, high and dry, were all kinds of wrecked vehicles. There were tanks that had only just made the beach before being knocked out. There were jeeps that had burned to a dull gray. There were big derricks on caterpillar treads that didn't quite make it. There were half-tracks carrying office equipment that had been made into a shambles by single shell hit, their interiors still holding the useless equipage of smashed typewriters, telephones, office files.

There were LCTs turned completely upside down, and lying on their backs, and how they got that way I don't know. There were boats stacked on top of each other, their sides caved in, their suspension doors knocked off.

In this shore-line museum of carnage there were abandoned rolls of barbed wire and smashed bulldozers and big stacks of thrown-away life belts and piles of shells still waiting to be moved. In the water floated empty life rafts and soldiers' packs and ration boxes, and myserious oranges. On the beach lay snarled rolls of telephone wire and big rolls of steel matting and stacks of broken, rusting rifles.

On the beach lay, expended, sufficient men and mechanism for a small war. They were gone forever now. And yet we could afford it.

We could afford it because we were on, we had our toe hold, and behind us there were such enormous replacements for this wreckage on the beach that you could hardly conceive of the sum total. Men and equipment were flowing from England in such a gigantic stream that it made the waste on the beachhead seem like nothing it all, really nothing at all.

But there was another and more human litter. It extended in a thin little line, just like a high-water mark, for miles along the beach. This was the strewn personal gear, gear that would never be needed again by those who fought and died to give us our entrance into Europe.

There in a jumbled row for mile on mile were soldiers' packs. There were socks and shoe polish, sewing kits, diaries, Bibles, hand grenades. There were the latest letters from home, with the address on each one neatly razored out-one of the security precautions enforced before the boys embarked.

There were toothbrushes and razors, and snapshots of families back home staring up at you from the sand. There were pocketbooks, metal mirrors, extra trousers, and bloody, abandoned shoes. There were broken-handled shovels, and portable radios smashed almost beyond recognition, and mine detectors twisted and ruined.

There were torn pistol belts and canvas water buckets, first-aid kits, and jumbled heaps of life belts. I picked up a pocket Bible with a soldier's name in it, and put it in my jacket. I carried it half a mile or so and then put it back down on the beach. I don't know why I picked it up, or why I put it down again.

Soldiers carry strange things ashore with them. In every invasion there is at least one soldier hitting the beach at H-hour with a banjo slung over his shoulder. The most ironic piece of equipment marking our beach-this beach first of despair, then of victory-was a tennis racket that some soldier had brought along. It lay lonesomely on the sand, clamped in its press, not a string broken.

Two of the most dominant items in the beach refuse were cigarettes and writing paper. Each soldier was issued a carton of cigarettes just before he started. That day those cartons by the thousand, water-soaked and spilled out, marked the line of our first savage blow.

Writing paper and air-mail envelopes came second. The boys had intended to do a lot of writing in France. The letters-now forever incapable of being written-that might have filled those blank abandoned pages!

Always there are dogs in every invasion. There was a dog still on the beach, still pitifully looking for his masters. He stayed at the water's edge, near a boat that lay twisted and half sunk at the waterline. He barked appealingly to every soldier who approached, trotted eagerly along with him for a few feet, and then, sensing himself unwanted in all the haste, he would run back to wait in vain for his own people at his own empty boat.

Over and around this long thin line of personal anguish, fresh men were rushing vast supplies to keep our armies pushing on into France. Other squads of men picked amidst the wreckage to salvage ammunition and equipment that was still usable.

Men worked and slept on the beach for days before the last D-day victim was taken away for burial.

I stepped over the form of one youngster whom I thought dead, But when I looked down I saw he was only sleeping. He was very young, and very tired. He lay on one elbow, his hand suspended in the air about six inches from the ground. And in the palm of his hand he held a large, smooth rock.

I stood and looked at him a long time. He seemed in his sleep to hold that rock lovingly, as though it were his last link with a vanishing world. I have no idea at all why he went to sleep with the rock in his hand, or what kept him from dropping it once he was asleep. It was just one of those little things without explanation that a person remembers for a long time.

The strong, swirling tides of the Normandy coast line shifted the contours of the sandy beach as they moved in and out. They carried soldiers' bodies out to sea, and later they returned them. They covered the corpses of heroes with sand, and then in their whims they uncovered them.
As I plowed out over the wet sand, I walked around what seemed to be a couple of pieces of driftwood sticking out of the sand. But they weren't driftwood. They were a soldier's two feet. He was completely covered except for his feet; the toes of his GI shoes pointed toward the land he had come so far to see, and which he saw so briefly.

From "Brave Men" by Ernie Pyle

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Back To The Old Grind!

Corn grinding for Wall Kiva Shalako house.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

NRA Youth Shooting Camp, Carmi Rifle Club

Volunteers were busy all day at the Carmi Rifle Club for our annual NRA Youth Shooting Camp.  The morning began with a detailed safety briefing for the students, then they broke into two groups for shotgun (outdoors) and pistol training(indoors).  Here we see a bit of the action at the indoor pistol range where the kids had the opportunity to try semi-autos, single action and double action revolvers.   After a delicious catered dinner all shooting was outdoors, where they shot a variety of pistols and rifles.

I worked the .22 rifle stage and stuffed magazines nonstop until the end of the event.  We had many targets from close up, out to the 100 yard berm.  It is always amazing to me to watch new shooters work their way out on the different targets, and then start breaking clay pigeons at 100 yards with a rifle that is sighted in at 25 yards.  These kids were smart, and every one of them that tried it succeeded.

Events like this one are learning events for the teachers, too.  All day long we are preaching and practicing safety.  The kids soak it up if you feed it to them.  Adjustable length stocks are one of the greatest improvements you can add to a rifle.  Every kid is a different size, and one .22 rifle was used more than any other, because it could be adjusted.  Good scopes help kids shoot well. An adjustable rest for the bench is imperative.  Kids can shoot a rifle well if they don't have to support the front end of the rifle; and again, every kid is a different size.  Good triggers help the kids, too.  Every .22 rifle we used today had a light, crisp trigger, and most of the kids took to a good squeeze with no trouble.

June e-Postal Is Up At Engineering Johnson!

Zeke has posted the June contest, and it's a good one with a great new concept to screw up your aim and provide entertaining misses.  You will need to print two for each turn that you shoot, and each turn is twenty shots.  CLICK HERE to read all about it.

Friday, June 3, 2016

SIAM Show, June 10-12, 2016

Here is a video we shot five years ago over at Evansville.  I don't know if this Keck will be there, but they always have a steamer on the sawmill, in addition to the gas engines and tractors on display.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

It Was A Long Day

We had a good day, but a long one.  Pistol League ran clear to dark tonight, and Pattie shot three turns with lots of pings. She is shooting very well, and going faster every turn. Susan is shooting faster than I am, but I am using a scope at 1.75, and she is using a red dot.  Walked the dogs, and going to the shower.   Gotta go fall in with the dogs, the cat, and the Monkey.

Gravity Does Like To Win!

This video is not one of mine, and I wish it had a closeup of the stump so I could see this guy's cuts, but it's a good lesson, nonetheless.  How much lean can you handle?  On a 50 segment tree you can handle about 8 to 10 feet of back lean with wedges if the wood is solid and you make the hinge correctly.  Back lean pulls against the hinge evenly, all the way across the stump.  The back lean limit means that you can handle a little less than 4 or 5 feet of side lean on a 50 segment tree.  Side lean compresses the hinge on one side and puts the other side under tension, and that tension is distributed unevenly.    In this case it appears that the crown's balance is about 6 feet toward the building.  That is more side lean than the hinge of a 50 segment tree will hold.  These outcomes of these problems are often quite predictable.

(Move the slider to about the minute mark to save time.)

The rope is another whole issue.  A rope to counter side lean should be opposite the side lean, not at a 90 degree angle to it.  This tree must also have back lean, because the four wheel drive truck spins its tires and does not move the tree forward.  The moral I see here is that you do not cut trees that have a chance of hitting your improvements or hazards.  It's better to spend money for a contractor than it is to pay for damages.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

SIAM Show, Just One Week Away!

One of the fine steam and gas engine shows we like to attend is the Southern Indiana Antique Machinery Show at Evansville.  It happens the weekend of June 10-12 this year, so put it on your calendar.  LINK here for location and phone number.  The show  is just north of Evansville, west of Hwy 41.