Monday, October 31, 2016

Tuesday Torque: Selections From Old Threshers

This video starts out with the Page Diesel engine at Mt. Pleasant.  The sound and rhythm of this engine is always a joy to experience up close.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bonneyville Mill, Goshen, Indiana

Back To The Old Grind!

Crankin' It Up: Two Black Cats Host Two Black Crows

We come back to this one every Halloween, and I still get a few laughs out of it.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Halloween Mood Music; Pt. 2, Dance Macabre by Saint-Saens, Played By Horowitz

A Little Mood Music For Halloween, Pt. 1

We used to go watch Sanford Lee, aka Professor Barnswallow T. Farquar, at the Log Village at Old Threshers every Labor Day weekend.  He plays the part of a patent medicine huckster, performing songs and magic tricks for the crowd.  This year he did his 500th performance at Old Threshers!  He and his Mrs. are modern day Vaudevillians, travelling and performing in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Iowa.  Here is one of my favorite songs, from his album, The Last American Minstrel, published in 1992.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Feel-Good Moment

Alcoa Akhbar!

Weekend Steam: Visit The Engine Room Of A Liberty Ship

This is the Liberty Ship SS Jeremiah O'Brien, in operation.  How many ships like this sailed the Atlantic during the War?* How many men, how many tons of war materiel crossed the ocean in ships like this one?  Click the YouTube logo on the video to read the description of the boat and the trip it is making.

*Henry J. Kaiser built 2751 Liberty ships for the war effort. He had not built a boat before 1940. (CLICK)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Value Of Planning Ahead

 It looks like a typical pole barn/machine shed but it is pretty special.

The treated posts and trusses are purchased, but the shortleaf pine 2 x 4s and 2 x 6s holding the tin came from trees the farmer planted himself about sixty years ago.  He has thinned his trees three times, making fence posts and lumber for home use with every thinning.

He still has a beautiful patch of pines and plenty of leftover lumber.

Denny's Right; We're Doomed

There are probably a lot of people who won't admit that they read the Grouchy Old Cripple, but every American should.  Denny posted a couple of good writeups yesterday, and if you haven't been reading Grouchy, you should start with these.  Living In Atlas Shrugged, and Americans Are Stupid.  He says what needs to be said about the current state of affairs in our dying country.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fall Color Report

I am seeing pretty colors everywhere I go, but I think most people don't notice as much as I do.  I am happy when I see one bright tree among the ocean of green oak leaves on the forest edge.  That may be because I recognize species that I wouldn't notice when everything is green.

The yellow-green in this picture is pawpaw.

The red/orange tones here are sassafras leaves..

...up close.  Get out and enjoy the colors now.  One good frost and the leaves will be dropping fast.

Our Choices, Explained By Pat Condell

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

You have an opportunity for a brand-new-never-used antique this week.  Ruger is offering a Standard Pistol made in 1972 (Ten years before the Mk II).  It was returned to the factory for unknown reasons by a distributor, and it has been resting in Ruger's vault ever since.

This is a classic, and the bidding shows it.  Click Here to read all about it and to place your winning bid.  This fine pistol will sell mid-day, Wednesday October 26, 2016. 100% of the proceeds of this auction will go to benefit the Light Foundation. $756.99

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tuesday Torque: 6 Cylinder Fairbanks 32D

If the information in the comments is correct, this engine is 14" by 17", with 2517 cubic inches of displacement per cylinder.  These engines were used for powering generators and boats.  The description on YouTube states that these were used in submarines, but a search on the net did not substantiate that.  There were Fairbanks diesels used in subs, but evidently not the 32D model.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Be Sharp This Week!

Back To The Old Grind!

Video by Gary Bahre at Pinckneyville.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Crankin' It Up: A Repeat, and an Explanation

We have taken a long break from doing our old 78s and putting them on YouTube.   We have recorded a good number of our old records for YouTube and I have not made a list as I should have.  I need to do that before I do any more, because it is a bother to do a record with my cat, get online, and discover that I already have it on YouTube.  I also was sick for several months this year.  I had a bad case of bronchitis, and coughed continually for a very long time.  I couldn't do a record with my cats without coughing and wrecking it, and I got out of the habit.  Anyhow, after I make a list of the records we have online I will probably get back on the old Brunswick with Bart and Brat.  The old 78s do not get many views, but I do enjoy the music, and watching them on YouTube is easier than changing needles.

Here are Bart and Brat with Moran and Mack, way back in B.B.  Before Bronchitis.

Not My Victrola: Time For Rudy Vallee

From EdmundusRex.

Full Throttle Bach

We have featured this video before, more than four years ago, I think.  It is Nigel Kennedy and the Irish Chamber Orchestra performing Bach's A Minor Violin Concerto.  Good music to keep you awake when writing on a quiet afternoon.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Weekend Steam: Locomotive 844

There was a special treat this week for train lovers in Southern Illinois.  Union Pacific Locomotive 844 traveled through on its way to Memphis.  I couldn't get away to see it, but WSILTV 3 had a good report with video and stack talk.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Evil Of Balled And Burlapped Trees

I got a call from a homeowner that said his pines were all dying of a blight.  He had taken out six already, and a seventh had just died.

This tree is newly dead and the upper needles had not turned brown.  I parked by it and I could see the ground moving around it as the wind pushed the tree around.  It was not well-rooted.  The movement would be obvious to anyone who works with trees.

 It is sincerely dead; no coming back.  The man has one more live white pine tree.

Here is the problem.  It was a balled and burlapped tree; the kind people plant when they want instant trees and immediate gratification.  We don't know how long they sat in a nursery bed with chopped roots that circled new growth in the burlap wrap, but these trees looked good when they were planted.  The circling roots do not straighten and extend radially.  They are stuck in the shape that was forced on them, and soon the trees are starved and strangled.  I see this  problem over and over, and I don't make many friends in the nursery industry.  I tell people to stay away from balled and burlapped trees, and to plant seedlings or potted trees with good root systems.  Landowner will argue that they want a big tree right away and buy the big one.  They will be replacing it in a few years, and they sometimes call me and ask for my blessing.  I tell them they screwed up and are screwing up again if they do another balled and burlapped tree.

Meanwhile, Susan and I have great trees all around the homestead because we plant small trees with good root systems.  I just stuck a swamp chestnut oak in the ground last week that is only 8" tall, and I am 65 years old now.  If I don't screw up and do something stupid I may get to enjoy shade from that tree in a few years.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Quick Dry Your Small Wood For Winter

Trees around the yard have to be totally cleaned up when we cut them, so it's waste not, want not, and the small wood comes to the house for the firewood stack.  We want the pieces to dry fast, so we use this technique to accomplish that.  Unless it's elm.  Haul the elm out in the woods and let it molder away!

We cut firewood year-round it seems.  We have a big pile of split wood downstairs, and a humongous pile of wood in the barn. We have been cutting black locusts lately in the oak patch we planted in 1993.  Locust dries fast if you split it, and it is hot firewood, so we are stacking it under the eave to burn during the upcoming winter.  It will burn well in four or six weeks.  We also have some dead pin oaks and black oaks spotted, so we will be busy until Christmas making wood.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Oh, Groundhog!

I got lucky again today.  I like groundhogs, and this one is a beauty!

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

You can't go wrong with this week's offer by Ruger if you are looking for a shooter.  This is a P85 Decocker made in 1990, and these usually don't go terribly high.  This fine pistol will sell mid-day, October 19, 2016.  100% of the proceeds of this sale will go to benefit the Light Foundation. Click Here for the description and to place your bid.  $630.01

Monday, October 17, 2016

Tuesday Torque: We've Come A Long Way

What a difference a century makes.  This is a 20 HP IHC Titan tractor that is basically a stationary hit-and-miss engine dropped onto a primitive tractor chassis.  It's a wonder tractors ever caught on, considering that farmers were expected to replace a steam engine with this barely-able outfit.  Tractor technology advanced rapidly, and it must have been painful to the purchasers to see how quickly their machines became obsolete.  Fun to watch, though!

Video by Gary Bahre at Pinckneyville this past weekend.

Pick And Prep Those Walnuts Now!

Here are a couple of easy methods for de-hulling your freshly dropped walnuts.  Wear your rubber gloves, or you will have stained hands for a long time.  Wash, dry, (Onion bags are good for storage.) crack and pick as Thanksgiving approaches.  We will get out the rack-and-pinion cracker and have a look inside our treasures after they have had a little time to mature.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Boonville and Pinckneyville: Two Great Shows This Weekend!

If you live near Southern Illinois or Southern Indiana this weekend promises to be a great time.  Two of our favorite shows are going on this weekend, and the weather is going to be beautiful.

Here is a little gas engine action at Boonville a few years back.

At Boonville you can rest your bones on a bench and watch the sawmill operate for as long as you want.

Pinckneyville will have many similar sights, but the show is not under trees for the most part, and there is a totally different feel to this fine show.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Are They Waiting For It To Cry Out In Pain?

They must be, because there are clues aplenty being ignored.

This blue spruce is 95% dead from Rhizosphaera Needle Cast.  They will call me when it is totally bare and tell me they don't want to lose this tree.

This maple was broken or topped, and the resulting top is attached weakly, with rot in the middle.  One fork has fallen.  The remaining tops are going to fall on the mobile home on the left, and the carport on the right.  There is also a car parked just out of the picture.

A Glimpse Of Our Future

This is a list of statistics from Israel for 2015.  Study it and learn.  Go to Google Earth and look at all the mosques in this country.  Pay attention; be prepared.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Slow But Improving Fall Colors

The fall colors in Southern Illinois are coming on very slowly this year, but I think there will be a great weekend or two.  Right now you have to know your species and be happy with little bits of beauty.  The red maple has improved in the last week, and it should have a great week when it peaks.

This sugar maple in Wayne City is pretty, but muted.  I will keep an eye on it and see if it brightens.

Sumac bushes are still the money shot if you need to see bright colors.  They are on edges and in fence rows.  The I-64 corridor has quite a bit of this, and...

...sassafras, which always colors up for us.  It may be red, yellow, or orange.

Black gum should be showing lots of deep scarlet in the next week.  Once it changes, it hangs onto its leaves for a short time, so be on the lookout for this species every time you go out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger is offering an exciting revolver this week, and you just might pick up a good deal while doing a good deed.  This is a .44 Magnum Bisley Vaquero Engraved Sample from 1998, and it was engraved in 1999.  It has resided in Ruger's safe ever since.  Click Here to read the full description and to place your winning bid.  100% of the proceeds of this sale will go to benefit the Light Foundation.  This fine firearm will sell mid-day, Wednesday, October 12, 2016.  $903

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tuesday Torque: Model Rumely Oil Pull At Rollag

Gary Bahre shot this video over the Labor Day weekend.  This model was built during the 1970's, and it is absolutely correct in every detail.  The old boy that built it was accused of having a salesman's sample from Rumely, but there is no such thing.  This is not a cobhoused lookalike, it is made just like the real thing.

Thinning, A Firewood Bonus

We planted this little patch of mixed oaks back in '93, and then added black locust the next year to add nitrogen to the soil. It worked, and the oaks shot up.  The place is too crowded now, and the locusts are up over the oaks, so we are working on them.  They make good firewood, and black locust dries fast as long as you split it.  The big trouble you have with pole timber is that nearly every tree will hang in another one when you cut them.  You get good at disassembling them without getting smashed.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Compare And Contrast

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Delightful Rural Skies

The Belt of Venus is the pink border you see above Earth's shadow at sunrise and sunset. We see it frequently out here in the country, but city dwellers often do not know to watch for this visual treat.  Our neighbor was probably too busy piloting his big green land yacht to enjoy it tonight. 

Problems Are Best Solved While They Are Small

Take A Lesson.  Back To The Old Grind.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Be Vigilant, Be Ready. There Is A War Going On Out There!

You can look up more of Colin Flaherty's videos, and read his books.  The news hacks have been covering up the extent of violence, and it is noticeable to anyone who wants to know the truth.  St. Louis is close to home for us, and we spend quite a bit of time there.  Listen, learn, and carry your protection.

Weekend Steam: Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad

Thursday, October 6, 2016

September E-Postal Scores Are Up... Mr. Completely's blog.  Click Over, and for Heaven's sake, shoot the October target and send in your results.  You need the practice!

Autumn Is Icumen In

Fall colors are off to a slow start, but there is color if you know your species.  Virginia creeper puts out plenty of red before the trees change, but most people miss it amongst all the green.  This one is in a green ash, and it will be yellow in a few more days.  White ash is just beginning to turn purple.

Red maple has started its show.  It will be red, orange, and yellow.  Sweetgum has begun changing, and it also shows several colors, usually on the same tree.  It will be purple, yellow, and red.  Most trees are still green in Southern Illinois, but if you are driving around this weekend, the money shots are sumac bushes, and sassafras trees on timber edges and in fence rows.  Both of those species are showing off now.  Persimmon has not gone yellow yet, but the persimmons have turned orange, and are pretty to look at.  It's still a bit early to pick them.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Some Days You Get Lucky...

Other days you settle for what you can get.  So long as they don't call your name, you are OK!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Look Up, Down, All Around!

You have to keep your wits about you all the time when you are out in the woods, and not just so you don't become lost or disoriented.  Stinging insect colonies are at their peak numbers now right before we have frost, and they are usually in a bad mood as the nectar flows disappear. I saw a couple of these last week on my walks.

Hornets usually build high enough that they are easy to see.  Sometimes they build close to the ground, and I always watch for that.  They are ill-humored, as are yellow jackets, who build in the ground.  Honeybees can knock me out of commission for a couple days, and even though they are generally mild-mannered, I approach them cautiously.

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

This week Ruger is offering another of the ever popular Government Target Models, but this one is a bit more special.  It was a special order for J.T. Ruger; William B. Ruger's son.  A scope base was installed at the factory for him, and it has been residing in Ruger's safe for many years.  J.T. Ruger passed away at the early age of 48.  You can read all about it and place your bid by Clicking Here, or on the photo.  This fascinating, fine firearm will sell mid-day, Wednesday, October 5, 2016.  100% of the proceeds of this sale will go to benefit the Light Foundation.  $1328

Monday, October 3, 2016

Tuesday Torque: Gilson Hit-And-Miss

Here's a typical gas engine from the early Twentieth Century like you would have found down on the farm. Power was a game changer, and simple designs were the best for most customers, who had probably not dealt with internal combustion engines before. This one has governor weights on the hub of the flywheel. They act on a latch that catches the pushrod for the exhaust valve, which is held open when the engine is up to speed. These things made life easier, and better, long before electrification.

This brief video is leftover from a trip to Old Threshers in 2013. I scrolled through some of the old folders and found some unprocessed video; not much special, but engines worth looking at.

October E-Postal Is Up At Mrs. True Blue Sam!

Susan has drawn another great target this year for your enjoyment at the range.  Click over to Mrs. True Blue Sam to read the rules, and to download the pdf file of the target.  You can enter until the end of October.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Opportunity Knocks

Have you priced chicken feed?  Back To The Old Grind!

Photo credit, Gary Bahre.

Peeling Chestnuts: Why Didn't We Think Of This?

Here is an easy-peezy method to peel your chestnuts.  People have been doing it the hard way for thousands of years.

We have refrigerated all the nuts we picked up yesterday. Today they will get a rinse in bleach water to kill any mold on the shells, then when they are dry they will go back in the fridge for later use.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Big Drop

Our chestnut trees are giving us great interest this year once more for the small investment we made when we planted them forty years ago.

 You have to use your feet, or a gloved hand to open the husk and pop the nuts out. The spines are like needles.

Susan's nut-picker-upper is a game changer, and a back saver.