Friday, September 30, 2016

Weekend Steam: Take An Excursion On The Waverly

                                               Photo from

This beautiful side-wheeler was built in 1946, reboilered in 1957, and again in 1981.  It is still thrilling people today.  Let's have a look in the engine room, where there is a triple expansion engine that will warm the heart of every steam fan.  The cylinders are 24", 39", and 62", by 66" stroke.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

E-Postal Deadline Is Coming Up!

Mr. Completely will accept your entries up through Sunday night, October 2, 2016.  You can surely do better than I can.

The E-Postal contests are a lot of fun, but they are also important for keeping up your skills with the targets being changed every month.  September will soon be over, so CLICK, get your target, read the rules, and go to the range.  You know you need the practice.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger's offering this week is a 25th Anniversary .44 Magnum Carbine.  It will sell mid-day, September 28, 2016.  Click Here to place a bid.  100% of the proceeds of this auction will go to benefit the Light Foundation.  $1775

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tuesday Torque: 125 HP De La Vergne

FYI: This engine is on display at the Rollag, Minnesotat show.  It has a 26" bore, 8" wrist pin, and 9' flywheels.  A 55 gallon drum is 23" in diameter, so you can sort of get a feel for the size of the piston in this behemoth.

Video Credit, Gary Bahre

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Time To Hook Up Again

Back To The Old Grind!! Photo Credit, Gary Bahre, at the Paducah show.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Weekend Steam: Corliss At Rollag

Gary Bahre shot this video at the Labor Day show in Minnesota.  Big engines take a gentle touch when you are starting cold.  Steam condenses when it hits the cylinder, so you have to allow the water time to escape through the petcocks.  Open the throttle too quickly and you can damage the engine.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Failure and Success at Fostering

We began fostering wayward Schipperkes last year, and our first one was Junior.  We adopted him in short order.  He's a ten year old, over-large Schip who reminds us of our first dog, Merky.  Adopting  your foster dog is considered a failure, but Junior is a joy and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Our next assignment was the two little girls Missy and Barbie.  They are somewhere less than ten years old, and their owner had gone into a nursing home.  A relative visited their home once a day until they were surrendered, so we spent a great deal of time re-housebreaking the little girls.  They were a joy, but we aren't in this to collect Schips, and we adopted them out to a very good home.  Letting them go was difficult, but now they are living a dream life, and are on the road several days a week helping in a transport business.  So far this week they have been to St. Louis, Tulsa, and DesMoines.  Their new owner keeps us updated so the pain of separation is less.

We had another success this week, I guess.  We brought an old boy home with us from a kennel, and we could see that he was in bad shape.  We didn't know just how bad.  He had three good nights in a soft bed with the other dogs around him, and he had pleasant walks outside in grass.  Yesterday and this morning he couldn't keep food down, and today our vet did his blood work and found that his kidneys were gone.  He had a couple of good days with us and passed in loving arms.  It doesn't feel like success, but at least he didn't die alone on a cold hard kennel floor.

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger is offering a rarity this week.  It's a Model P94, made in 1995; fewer than 2000 of these were built.  This pistol will sell mid-day, Wednesday September 21, 2016.  Click Here to read all about it and to place a bid.  100% of the proceeds of this auction will go to benefit the Light Foundation.  $1525

Monday, September 19, 2016

Tuesday Torque: Wright J-5 Joy

Here we are treated to an antique Wright radial engine fresh out of the shop being fired up for the first time.  It starts after one rotation of the prop.  The inertia starter is a great practical application of torque, isn't it?  The comments on YouTube center around all the smoke.  Anyone who has rebuilt engines understands that.  You oil everything as it goes together; so the cylinders, the pistons, the valves and seats; everything is well oiled to protect the engine from corrosion if it sits, and from friction when it is first cranked after the rebuild.  All the excess is burned or blown out when the engine fires up.  I was sort of thinking about that while the man who cranked it stood there waiting for the pilot to kick in the starting clutch.  I think I would have moved.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'

Our friend Gary has shared a batch of his photos from Rollag, and this post is all about making flour.  Rolling mills replaced millstones in the Ninteenth Century, and they are still being used today.  If you had climbed up in the Morrison Mill at Burnt Prairie that we featured a while back, you would have seen a row of these machines for making flour.  The floor above those held the silk sifters for refining the flour.  The original limestone bur mill was on the first floor, and that mill layout was probably fairly standard in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries.

Back To The Old Grind!     Photo Credit: Gary Bahre

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Crankin' It Up: The Goldenrod Is Blooming!

Yup, it's time to recycle one of my favorite discs, because the highways and byways are being beautified by a common weed.  Vocal Chorus by Irving Kaufman.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Not My Victrola: George Gershwin, I've Got Rhythm

The information is lacking on the YouTube description, but I have a hunch that this is actually played by George Gershwin.  He made many reproducing piano rolls, and the information on those has been digitized so they can be played  on modern players.  Anyway, that's a guess.  Don't know if it's true.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

FFA Forestry Fun

We had our annual FFA Forestry Contest this week, and it was  a good one, with perfect weather and enthusiastic students.  Here we see a couple of students measuring azimuths on the compass and pacing course.  One student scored 91 out of 100 possible points, which is downright remarkable.

I tell them all that they should get 100% on the equipment ID, since they have the list in advance and can look up pictures of every item.  The kid who scored 91% on the Compass and Pacing got 100% on the equipment, and on Tree ID, and the management exercise. 

Many of the kids have trouble measuring timber, and we work with them afterwards so they can do better next time.  Both of these students are showing good form. 

This is the Fairfield, IL team, plus two trainees who will probably be team members next year.  The Olney team took top honors, with their five members taking the top five individual scores.  

Offloading On The Fly

What is this header, 12 rows wide? That's over thirty feet. My dad had a two row planter to pull with his WD Allis, and it would have been right at home behind a team of horses. He also had a two-row pull-behind New Idea picker, and because it was a pull-behind you had to open the field shucking by hand, or get a neighbor with a mounted picker to open your field for you. Times change.

Mike Rowe: You Don't Know Mike

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger is offering a .32 Caliber Convertible Single-Six this week to benefit the Light Foundation.  This  revolver, made in the 1990's for Buckeye Sports Supply, comes with two cylinders; oe for .32 H & R Magnum, and one for .32-20 Winchester.  This revolver will sell mid-day, September 14, 2016, and all proceeds will go to benefit the Light Foundation. Click Here  to read all about it and to place your bid.  $3325

Monday, September 12, 2016

Big Foot

We did the FFA Forestry Contest at Sam Dale Lake today.  Most of the students were prepared and at least looked like they had practiced the various tasks a bit. A few weren't prepared, but that's normal.  I saw one boy on the compass and pacing course walking heel-to-toe to measure between stakes, so I paced the same leg and came up behind him.  I asked to see his number, and he had 112 feet.  I had paced 120, and a check on the numbers showed that it measured 122.  He was 120 inches short in 112 steps, so he has feet that are a bit more than an inch over a foot long. He could have come closer trying to take three foot steps like some of the other students do.   I explained pacing to him and told him to walk normally and count each pace (two steps) as five feet.  He should have come closer on the rest of the legs.

Tuesday Torque

Our friend Gary Bahre made a trip to the big show in Rollag, MN, and he shot a bunch of video.  Here is one of his first ones, of a 22 HP headless Witte.  The Witte Expo was at Rollag, so I bet there will be more of these engines featured in future vids from Gary.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Multi-Task Monday

Back To The Old Grind! (And shell, separate the cream, and wash your overalls.)

Photo Credit: Gary Bahre, ILEngineGuy.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Weekend Steam: Aerial Views Of Old Threshers

Jim Unger Knows My Heart

Has there ever been a better explanation of how it feels to roll out every morning?  Well, maybe Hoyt Axton.

Can't really complain, though. I'm not crawling around under oilfield trucks now, and I always have coffee handy.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Things I See

I run across yard art bottle trees on a somewhat regular basis.  My favorite of all time was made of Phillips Milk of Magnesia bottles.  That's a little too much information for me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


The wet summer keeps on giving.  I spend my time outdoors walking through various forestry projects when I'm not driving or typing, and the mosquito crop this year is remarkable.  We have tiny ones you don't hear or feel, normal sized ones that hurt, and really big ones that grab your attention.  No matter the temperature you wear long sleeves and cover up with lots of deet and Buggins.  You can cool off on the way back to the office, so you tolerate the heat.  I hear Zika on the news, but strangely, nobody is talking about West Nile Virus this year.  It has to be out there yet, and I don't want it, so I wrap up and spray.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger is offering another 25th Anniversary .44 Magnum Carbine this week.  Click Here to read all about it and to place your winning bid.  This fine little rifle will sell mid-day, Wednesday, September 7, 2016.  100% of the proceeds of this auction will go to benefit the Light Foundation. $1700

Tuedsay Torque

Wouldn't you love to park this baby in your garage?  It's a 25 HP Superior oilfield engine that was on display at the recent Pinckneyville show.  Engines like this pumped oil out of the ground for decades, pulling on rodlines from powerhouses.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Friday, September 2, 2016

Weekend Steam: Marshall Corliss

This big cross-compound Corliss engine is running at Old Threshers this weekend in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.  During its working years it supplied water to Marshalltown, Iowa.

August e-Postal Results

Participation is definitely down this year.  Billll, Merle, Susan and her Mother, and me. are the only entrants this month.  This target looks deceptively easy, but I couldn't seem to shoot a perfect score.  I always pulled off for a shot or two, and I threw away a stack of targets where I did poorly.  Here are a couple of Billll's.  I tend to bump up scores where the shooters have been reluctant to go for close points.  Billll broke the line on both of the close ones, so I gave him another point on each one.

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

Susan, Mrs. TBS
Ruger 22/45 Lite, red dot
25 ft
David, TBS
Ruger Mk III red dot
25 ft
Ruger Mk I Iron
25 ft
Pattie Ann
Ruger 22/45 Lite/ red dot
25 ft

Class 4; Rimfire Pistol, Magnified optical sights

No Entries

Class 5; Centerfire Pistol, Iron Sights/Non magnified red dot
CZ-52, 7.6x 25 Tokarev
25 ft
CZ-82 9 x 18 Makarov
25 ft

Class 6: Centerfire pistol, Magnified optical sights

No Entries

Class 7; Rimfire Rifle, Iron Sights/Non-magnified red dot
Iver Johnson M-1 .22 Carbine
25 yds

Class 8; Rimfire Rifle, Magnified optical sights (25 yds)
M39A Mountie, Bushnell 4X
25 yds

Class 9: Centerfire Rifle, Iron Non-magnified Red Dot
4095 HiPoint 4095 Carbine
50 yds

Class 10: Centerfire Rifle, Magnified optical sights
4095 HiPoint 4095 Carbine, 4X
25 meters
Yugo M24/47 4X
50 yards

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Midwest Old Threshers, Through Labor Day, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa

The annual celebration/reunion is going on now.  It has been called the Greatest Steam Show On Earth, and if it isn't, it's pretty close. I have spent many happy days there, but will be missing for the foreseeable future.  Here is a little video from 2011 in the big engine building.