Saturday, March 31, 2018

Weekend Steam: Plan Your Vacation Itinerary!

Nevada State Railway Museum, Carson City,  Independence Day Weekend Only!  Spotted by Merle; Thank You!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Lots Of Wildlife Activity Lately

We have been seeing a steady stream of ducks stopping by as they migrate north, and this week we had a couple of egrets stop for a day and load up on fish.  They were a joy to watch.

We had a tree full of buzzards this morning.  They all appeared to be resting, so maybe they had a rough night.  I never stand still very long when there is a flock of buzzards, just for safety's sake!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

This Is Why We Carry!

An armed guard prevented robbery and mayhem last night in a Chicagoland church.  This is good to remember if you go to Church Night.  A gathering of peaceful people is attractive to robbers, but this one was foiled by a good man who was prepared.  Click For Link to WGN9 News.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

...And While We Are Thinking About Not Blowing Up Guns...

...Here is the latest from Fortune Cookie 45LC on his Smith and Wesson .45 Colt/.454 Casull discovery.

Revisiting 2.7 Grains Of Bullseye

One of the first reloading articles I remember reading is Blowing Up With 2.7, by Col. Jeff Cooper, about 1980.  The thought was that the standard load of Bullseye might occasionally detonate behind a .38 wadcutter load and blow up your revolver.  Bullseye is a dense powder, and there is a lot of power in a little pile of the flakes.  The issue of possible detonations still comes up, and pistols do sometimes blow up with handloads.  Today I stumbled across an article in a 1982 American Handgunner magazine that addresses the issue, and it pretty well settles it for me.  Read the article, pay attention to your quality control when loading, and you will probably never have your gun blow up in your hands.  I never knew if light loads of Bullseye would actually detonate until I read this article, but I did decide to use bulkier powders so a visual check will easily catch double charges, and make triple charges impossible.  Click Here to read the article, which appears on pages 8 and 69.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Scholastic Action Shooting Program

Collectors are going wild over this one!  It is a 1972 Ruger 10/22 Carbine that was returned by the distributor for unknown reasons.  It has a black walnut stock, aluminum framed trigger group and an aluminum buttplate.  Current carbines have a birch, polymer or laminated stock, polymer frame trigger group, and polymer buttplate.  This beauty has the Lyman rear sight with the white diamond below the sighting notch.  This fine collector piece will sell mid-day, March 28, 2018.  Click Here to place your bid.  $655

Monday, March 26, 2018

Tuesday Torque: Sick Of Winter Weather? So Is This Guy!

5.3 Liter Jaguar V12.  Show that snow who's boss!  Thanks for spotting this, Merle!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Spring Is Trying To Slip In

It has been SEVEN weeks since the Groundhog said SIX more weeks of winter.  I must go to the barn tomorrow for another load of wood because we are still running both stoves.  Iowa has 6 to 10 inches of snow, and there are power outages.  I think my little brother, the jeweler is in the cold tonight, because he needs power to have heat.  In Southern Illinois, it is cold, but at least we have mud instead of snow, but it still feels like winter tonight. 

Yesterday the precip was light, so we took Pattie out for a brief yard walk with the dogs and stopped to take a photo.  Try posing five dogs and getting a good photo.  It was a good time, and Pattie enjoyed it.  We have lots of daffodils, and the Iris is up about four inches now.

It was four and a half years ago that we made the patch of daffodils at the end of the driveway.  The ground was dry and hard, so we had to bore a hole for every bulb.  Pattie had her earmuffs on because the generator is loud, and the work sure paid off.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018

YouTube To End Firearm Related Channels, Videos

Here is the latest video from reloader, Fortune Cookie 45LC.  He has one of the great firearm channels on YouTube, and provides instruction on reloading for both beginners and experienced loaders.  He is one of the presenters who will likely be cut from YouTube shortly.  Let's listen to his thoughts on the situation. 

YouTube is notorious for changing rules and the application thereof. They recently changed the rules on monetized channels and cut out a whole bunch of little channels from the benefits of ads on their videos. I don't know if it will do any good, but contact YouTube and rattle their cage. If you are a YouTuber who is interested in firearms, create an account at Full30. It is just getting started, but they soon will have upload capabilities for displaced YouTube presenters.

Bogus Information, Dangerous Results: Wildlife "Hinge" Cutting

Last week we looked at a dangerous cutting method used by some loggers to drop high quality logs.  That undercutting method may kill you, so it is not recommended, but we need to know about these things so we can read stumps when we are looking at timber.  Gain some cutting skills, look at a lot of stumps, and pretty soon you can tell who cut which trees during a timber reconnaissance.  This week we will look at a method that is just as dangerous, maybe more so, because it allows a tree to gain elevation and get above the cutter. 

Before we even start, I want to make clear this is not proper Hinge Cutting!  A proper hinge is about 80% of the Diameter at Breast Height in length, and about 10% of the Diameter at Breast Height in thickness (up to around 2"), with an open face on the front so the tree can rotate to the ground while the hinge remains intact.  The people promoting this obviously do not understand chainsaw safety, and have no knowledge or skills in applying silviculture; the science of growing trees.

The contractors who are promoting this tell customers that this type of cutting will provide woody browse for the deer herd by putting the crown down on the ground.  Of course, trees will not live for very long in this condition and they will cease to produce fruit, which is important for all wildlife.

Cutting trees this way turns most of them into barberchairs because a proper hinge has not been made. The trees go into motion and split, which elevates the butt end of the tree puts it right up into the cutter's face.  Do this, and you will be hit in the face!

Cutting is done only on the tensioned side of the tree until the tree begins to tip.  I have seen many good, young pole size trees that would have produced timber and decades of mast crops for wildlife destroyed with this bogus method.

In addition to wrecking timber production, every tree you cut this way may become your death trap.  The butt kicks up in the air, and that may kill you.  It can also fall after tipping if the back of the barberchair fails, so you have two chances to be maimed or killed.

If you use a chainsaw and you have not taken a safety course, seek one out.  The University of Illinois Forestry Extension is providing classes at various locations around the state.  You will learn about the personal protective gear you need, basic chainsaw maintenance, and safe methods of falling and bucking trees.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Scholastic Action Shooting Program

Ruger is offering a 2001, new-in-box P 95 in 9mm, with manual safety.  This fine pistol sells mid-day, March 21, 2018.  CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place your winning bid.  $825

Monday, March 19, 2018

Tuesday Torque: Cranking Up A 10 HP Mogul

This little exercise was at the crankup I attended in February.  I cut off more than a minute of cranking at the beginning.  Most of the engines in this barn will run, but they are started only about once a year.  Note that the Mogul kicked back once.  Pulling over an engine with the flywheels is much safer than spinning it with a crank. Don't ever crank one for starting by putting your foot in the flywheel.  Serious injuries can result!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Before New Math, Before Common Core, learned the multiplication and division tables, and were able to work out problems in their head when they went out into the world.  Ernie Pyle was with engineers on Sicily during WW II, and saw them work out complex problems firsthand.  The general waiting on the finished product was the first one across.

Sicily, 1943, with Ernie Pyle:  "When the Forty-fifth Division went into reserve along the north coast of Sicily after several weeks of hard fighting, I moved on with the Third Division, which took up the ax and drove the enemy on to Messina.

It was on my very first day with the Third that we hit the most difficult and spectacular engineering job of the Sicilian campaign.  You may remember Point Calava from the newspaper maps.  It is a great stub of rock that sticks out into the sea, forming a high ridge running back into the interior.  The coast highway is tunneled through this big rock, and on either side of the tunnel the road sticks out like a shelf on the sheer rock wall.  Our engineers figured the Germans would blow the tunnel entrance to seal it up.  But they didn't.  They had an even better idea.  They picked out a spot about fifty feet beyond the tunnel mouth and blew a hole 150 feet long in the road shelf.  They blew it so deeply and thoroughly that a stone dropped into it would never have stopped rolling until it bounced into the sea a couple of hundred feet below.

We were beautifully bottlenecked.  We couldn't bypass around the rock, for it dropped sheer into the sea.  We couldn't bypass over the mountain; that would have taken weeks.  We couldn't fill the hole, for the fill would keep sliding off into the water.

All the engineers could do was bridge it, and that was a hell of a job.  But bridge it they did, and in only twenty-four hours.

When the first engineer officers went up to inspect the tunnel, I went with them.  We had to leave the jeep at a blown bridge and walk the last four miles uphill.  We went with an infantry battalion that was following the retreating Germans.

When we got there we found the tunnel floor mined.  But each spot where they'd dug into the hard rock floor left its telltale mark, so it was no job for the engineers to uncover and unscrew the detonators of scores of mines.  Then we went on through to the vast hole beyond, and the engineering officers began making their calculations.

As they did so, the regiment of infantry crawled across the chasm, one man at a time.  A man could just barely make it on foot by holding on to the rock juttings and practically crawling.  Then another regiment, with only what weapons and provisions they could carry on their backs, went up over the ridge and took out after the evacuating enemy.  Before another twenty-four hours, the two regiments would be twenty miles ahead of us and in contact with the enemy, so getting that hole bridged and supplies and supporting guns to them was indeed a matter of life and death.

It was around 1 P.M. when we got there and in two hours the little platform of highway at the crater mouth resembled a littered street in front of a burning building.  Air hoses covered the ground, serpentined over each other.  Three big air compressors were parked side by side, their engines cutting off and on in that erratically deliberate manner of air compressors, and jackhammers clattered their nerve-shattering din.

Bulldozers came to clear off the stone-blocked highway at the crater edge.  Trucks, with long trailers bearing railroad irons and huge timbers, came and unloaded.  Steel cable was brought up, and kegs of spikes, and all kinds of crowbars and sledges.

The thousands of vehicles of the division were halted some ten miles back in order to keep the highway clear for the engineers.  One platoon of men at a time worked in the hole.  There was no use throwing in the whole company, for there was room for only so many.

At suppertime, hot rations were brought up by truck.  The Third Division engineers went on K ration at noon but morning and evening hot food was got up to them. regardless of the difficulty.  For men working the way those boys were, the hot food was a military necessity.  By dusk the work was in full swing and half the men were stripped to the waist.

The night air of the Mediterranean was tropical.  The moon came out at twilight and extended our light for a little while.  The moon was still new and pale, and transient, high-flying clouds brushed it and scattered shadows down on us.  Then its frail light went out, and the blinding nightlong darkness settled over the grim abyss. But the work never slowed nor halted throughout the night.

The other men of the Third Division didn't just sit and twiddle their thumbs while all this was going on.  The infantry continued to get across on foot and follow after the Germans.  Some supplies and guns were sent around the road block by boat, and even some of the engineers themselves continued on ahead by boat.  They had discovered other craters blown in the road several miles ahead.  These were smaller ones that could be filled in by a bulldozer except that they couldn't get a bulldozer across that vast hole they were trying to bridge.  So the engineers commandeered two little Sicilian fishing boats about twice the size of rowboats.  They lashed them together, nailed planking across them, and ran the bulldozer onto this improvised barge.  They tied an amphibious jeep in front and went chugging around Point Calava at about one mile an hour.

As we looked down at them laboring along so slowly, Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Bingham, Commanding officer of the Third Division's 10th Engineers, grinned and said, "There goes the engineers' homemade Navy."

During the night the real Navy had carried forward supplies and guns in armed landing craft.  These were the cause of a funny incident around midnight.  Our engineers had drilled and laid blasting charges to blow off part of the rock wall that overhung the Point Calava crater.

When all was ready, everybody went back in the tunnel to get out of the way.  When the blast went off, the whole mountain shook and we quivered too-with positive belief that the tunnel was coming down.  The noise there in the silent night was shocking.

Now just as this happened, a small fleet of naval craft was passing in the darkness, just offshore.  The sudden blast alarmed them.  They apparently thought they were being fired upon from the shore.  For just as our men were returning to their work at the crater edge, there came ringing up from the dark water below, so clear it sounded like an execution order, the resounding naval command, "Prepare to return fire."

Boy, you should have seen our men scatter!  They hit the ground and scampered back into the tunnel as though Stukas were diving on them.  We don't know to this day exactly what happened out there, but we do know the Navy never did fire.

Around 10:30 Major General Lucian Truscott, commanding the Third Division, came up to see how the work was coming along.  Bridging that hole was his main interest in life right then.  He couldn't help any, of course, but somehow he couldn't bear to leave.  He stood around and talked to officers, and after a while he went off a few feet to one side and sat down on the ground and lit a cigarette.

A moment later, a passing soldier saw the glow and leaned over and said, "Hey, gimme a light, will you?"  The general did and the soldier never knew he had been ordering the general around.

General Truscott, like many men of great action, had the ability to refresh himself by tiny catnaps of five or ten minutes.  So instead of going back to his command post and going to bed, he stretched out there against some rocks and dozed off.  One of the working engineers came past, dragging some air hose.  It got tangled up in the general's feet.  The tired soldier was annoyed, and he said crossly to the dark, anonymous figure on the ground, "If you're not working, get the hell out of the way."

The general got up and moved farther back without saying a word.

The men worked on and on, and every one of the company officers stayed throughout the night just to be there to make decisions when difficulties arose.  But I got so sleepy I couldn't stand it, and I caught a commuting truck back to the company camp and turned in.  An hour before daylight I heard them rout out a platoon that had been resting.  They ate breakfast noisily, and loaded into trucks, and were off just at dawn.  A little later three truckloads of tired men pulled into camp, gobbled some breakfast, and fell into their blankets on the ground.  The feverish attack on that vital highway obstruction had not lagged a moment during the whole night.

It wasn't long after dawn when I returned to the crater.  At first glance it didn't look as though much had been accomplished, but an engineer's eye would have seen that the groundwork was all laid.  They had drilled and blasted two holes far down the jagged slope.  These were to hold the heavy uprights so they wouldn't slide downhill when weight was applied.  The far side of the crater had been blasted out and leveled off so it formed a road across about one-third of the hole. Small ledges had been jackhammered at each end of the crater and timbers bolted into them, forming abutments of the bridge that was to come.  Steel hooks had been embedded deep in the rock to hold wire cables.  At the tunnel mouth lay great timbers, two feet square, and other big lengths of timber bolted together to make them long enough to span the hole.

At about 10 A.M. the huge uprights were slid down the bank, caught by a group of men clinging to the steep slope below, and their ends worked into the blasted holes.  Then the uprights were brought into place by men on the banks, pulling on ropes tied to the timbers.  Similar heavy beams were slowly and cautiously worked out from the bank until their tops rested on the uprights.

A half-naked soldier, doing practically a wire-walking act, edged out over the timber and with and air-driven bit bored a long hole down through two timbers.  Then he hammered a steel rod into it, tying them together.  Others added more bracing, nailing the parts together with huge spikes driven in by sledge hammers.  Then the engineers slung steel cable from one end of the crater to the other, wrapped it around the upright stanchions and drew it tight with a winch mounted on a truck.

Now came a Chinese coolie scene as shirtless, sweating soldiers--twenty men to each of the long, spliced timbers--carried and slid their burdens out across the chasm, resting them on the two wooden spans just erected.  They sagged in the middle, but still the cable beneath took most of the strain.  They laid ten of the big timbers across and the bridge began to take shape.  Big stringers were bolted down, heavy flooring was carried on and nailed to the stringers.  Men built up the approaches with stones.  The bridge was almost ready.

Around 11 A.M., jeeps had begun to line up at the far end of the tunnel.  They carried reconnaissance platoons,  machine gunners and boxes of ammunition.  They'd been given No. 1 priority to cross the bridge.  Major General Truscott arrived again and sat on a log talking with the engineering officers, waiting patiently.  Around dusk of the day before, the engineers had told me they'd have jeeps across the crater by noon of the next day.  It didn't seem possible at the time, but they knew whereof they spoke.  But even they would have had to admit it was pure coincidence that the first jeep rolled cautiously across the bridge at high noon, to the very second.

In that first jeep were General Truscott and his driver, facing a 200-foot tumble into the sea if the bridge gave way.  The engineers had insisted they send a test jeep across first.  But when he saw it was ready, the general just got in and went.  It wasn't done dramatically but it was a dramatic thing.  It showed that the Old Man had complete faith in his engineers.  I heard soldiers speak of it appreciatively for an hour....The tired men began to pack their tools into trucks.  Engineer officers who hadn't slept for thirty-six hours went back to their olive orchard to clean up.  They had built a jerry bridge, a comical bridge, but above all the kind of bridge that wins wars.  And they had built it in one night and half a day.  The general was mighty pleased."

Ernie then talks about a few of the men he got to know during this wartime engineering feat, and ends Chapter 6 with this:  "During the last half hour of work on the Point Calava  Bridge, I saw as fine a drama as ever I paid $8.80 a seat for in New York: The bridge was almost finished.  The climax of twenty-four hours of frenzied work had come.  The job was done.  Only one man could do the final touches of bracing and balancing.  That man was sitting on the end of a beam far out over the chasm. a hammer in his hand, his legs wrapped around the beam as though he were riding a bronco.

The squirrel out there on the beam was, of course, Sergeant Levesque.  He wore his steel helmet and his pack harness.  He never took it off, no matter what the weather or what he was doing.  His face was dirty and grave and sweating.  He was in complete charge of all he surveyed.  On the opposite bank of the crater, two huge soldier audiences stood watching that noisily profane craftsman play out his role.

Their preoccupation was a tribute to his skill.  I've never seen a more intent audience.  It included all ranks, from privates to generals.

"Gimme some slack, Gimme some slack goddammit," the sergeant yelled to the winch man on the bank.  "That's enough--hold it.  Throw me a sledge.  Where the hell's a spike, goddammit?  Hasn't anybody got a spike?

"How does that look from the bank now, colonel?  She about level?  Okay, slack away.  Watch that air hose.  Let her clear down.  Hey, you under there, watch yourself, goddammit."

Sergeant Levesque drove the final spike deeply with his sledge.  He looked around at his work and found it finished.

With an air of completion, he clambered to his feet and walked the narrow beam back to safety.  You could almost sense the curtain going down, and I know everybody in the crowd had to stifle an impulse to cheer.

If somebody writes another What Price Glory? after this war I know who should play the leading role,  Who?  Why, Sergeant Levesque, goddammit, who do you suppose?"

Excerpts from Chapter 6, The Engineers' War, Brave Men by Ernie Pyle, Henry Holt and Company, 1944

PS:  Go HERE to read about some of the men who made this bridge happen, and to see some photos.  The first photo has a soldier who is obviously Sergeant Levesque in the center, wearing his pack harness and helmet.

Bonus Weekend Steam! Engineers and Engines News Flash!

I have been taking Engineeers and Engines for more than fifty years, and I look forward to every issue. Brenda Stant publishes this treasure bi-monthly with a combination of new and old photos, submitted articles and her own writing, plus lots of news about steam engines, gas engines, tractors, railroads, and engine shows.  The current issue which was mailed out this week has big news (Really Big News!) and if you are not currently a subscriber, you need to subscribe right now with this issue.

A young engineer/machinist/foundryman from South Dakota is building an all new 150 HP Case Road Locomotive.  Case built a small number of these more than a century ago and none remain.  There is only a boiler left to show that they actually existed.  This engine project began more than a decade ago when Kory Anderson went to Racine and began mining the Case archives for all the information he could find about the 150 HP engine.  Kory has since been making patterns, casting parts and machining them, and his dream will soon be realized.  The new engine will be unveiled to the world in September of this year in South Dakota. 

Kory's article and other information about the largest Case traction engine is in the April-May issue of Engineers and Engines; a total of 13 pages of new and old photos, plus historical information.  Call Brenda Stant at Engineers and Engines to start your subscription.  E and E is one of those magazines that you save.  The information inside the covers is timeless and you will soon be an expert in old machinery when you read this publication.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Weekend Steam: Durango and Silverton

It's still winter, so here's another one in the snow, spotted by Merle.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

No-Fiber-Pull Cutting Technique

Hang around here long enough and you might become a logger.  Traditional cutting techniques that utilize a hinge built with the falling cuts often pull fibers out of the butt log.  That is not a problem with blocking logs, but for grade, and especially for veneer logs, fiber-pull costs you a bunch of money.  Loggers who are cutting veneer logs make a different set of cuts for the most valuable trees.  There is no hinge to guide the tree as it falls, and there may be more collateral damage because of that, but the bottom of the tree has no fiber-pull damage.

You fall a tree this way by bore cutting under the butt, but you leave root swells to support the tree.  Vertical cuts are made on the compressed side of the tree to sever the root swells, and then cuts are made on the tensioned side to let the tree fall.  That tree may do unpredictable things when it is detached from the stump, so rapid footwork is advisable.

Cutting any tree larger than sapling size without building a hinge is dangerous, making your falling tree an unguided missile.  All of the smashed logger accidents I have seen were stumps with no hinge.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Backroads Reminiscing

Golly, I have shot a lot of photos in my travels the last several years.  Most are not terribly interesting; tree plantations, trees with problems, roadside dumps; generally not worth posting but they are reminders to me of places I have been.  I noticed this barn tonight as I scrolled through photo months.  It is a good barn quilt on a well-maintained old barn, just east of the Little Wabash River in rural Edwards County, Illinois.  The roof is straight and tight, a lean to was added long ago, probably for parking machinery, and part of the siding has been covered with metal siding.  It is straight, too, which is not easy to maintain with old barns. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Scholastic Action Shooting Program

Here is your chance to purchase one of the last Ruger Standard Model Pistols, made in 1982!  This rare pistol is New Old Stock, In The Original Box, with one nine shot magazine, and instruction manual.  The price is not bad as I post this, so CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place your bid. This gun will sell mid-day, Wednesday, March 14, 2018.  $852

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Brat Cat, March 9, 2018

Our old friend Brat cashed it in yesterday.  He went into a tail spin of weight loss a couple months ago and could not keep kibble down.  The vet has kept him on antibiotics for a kidney infection for more than six weeks, but the weight loss continued and his kidneys were failing.  He had a hard time keeping good canned food down in his last week, even though his appetite was good.  He may have had cancer, or it could have been an infection, but the old boy did not have the strength to fight whatever it was.  He sure was a good buddy, and was a joy to have around with his outgoing personality.

Oops, About International Women's Day; It's Not Tractors...

..."Europe is being invaded by a violent Third World Muslim rape culture." Pat Condell talks about that, and was censored from YouTube for it, so it is worth posting.  His presentation is on a mirrored YT channel and is embedded here.  It is also on LiveLeak and linked, in case YouTube takes down the duplicate.  Mr. Condell does a great service in documenting for the World what the politicians and news hacks refuse to tell us.  This is well worth eight minutes of your time.  If you have any doubt about what is going on in Europe, do a Google Image search for Elin Krantz, the young Swedish lady who was an advocate for Muslim immigrants, and then had the misfortune of meeting one. He first came to the U.S. and was deported for offenses, and he went to Sweden.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Weekend Steam: Cumbres and Toltec Winter Steam

Spring is fast approaching, so we have to work this one in.  Thanks, Merle!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

International Women's Day! Let's Celebrate...

...those wonderful women who drive International tractors!  They don't have a day for the gals who drive John Deeres, you know!

Kind of an odd thing to have a holiday for if you ask me, but I do like tractors.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

More IHC Veritcal Famous

I found raw video that I missed the other day, so here is the Famous engine running!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Scholastic Action Shooting Program

Ruger's vault has to growing roomier as the weekly auctions roll by.  One day there will be no more of these special rifles, revolvers, and pistols, so look, think, bid!  This week we are tempted with a Ruger .44 Magnum Carbine built in 1981.  If you want one of these little woods rifles in your safe, take a good look and do your best!  CLICK HERE and place that winning bid!  $1575

Monday, March 5, 2018

Tuesday Torque: Vertical Famous

Here's another fine antique International engine; a Famous from the early 19-teens, with a buzz saw mounted on the factory truck.  Note that a set of eyes is needed up high to verify that fuel has come to the carburetor, and a battery is used for a good spark when cranking.  I love the nice puff of exhaust when it starts.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Gun Oil The Hard Way!

I guess you could use peanut oil for guns; I know some of the products on the market are vegetable oils.  Maybe you could use it for hydraulic oil, or in your old beater's tranny.  Grow your peanuts, save a dollar the hard way!  Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Gary's Crankup, and a Little Interesting History

Our friend Gary Bahre hosted the annual crankup at his farm and the weather was perfect.  He had a bunch of engines running outside, and he served a gourmet meal inside.  Well over thirty engine friends showed up.  Most stayed all day, and a whole lotta visitng was going on.  This crankup group is pretty special.  After engine-show-season is over, members of this group hosts crankups during the six month off-season, Gary is next to last in the rotation, and there will be one more in April.  I learned a little history from Gary today.  Gary's father was one of the founders of the American Thesherman Association in Pinckneyville, Illinois. You can read a bit of the history HERE.  Gary is just a bit younger than me, and he grew up with steam and gas engines.  Before the first Pinckneyville show happened, Gary's father had a get-together of engine friends on the family farm.  There were six steam engines and a whole bunch of steam enthusiasts.  Gary's mother cooked more that 200 pounds of pork for the crowd!

The enthusiasts who were at that steam get-together are the ones who formed the American Thresherman Association, which is still hosting the big steam, gas, and tractor show every year in August and October.  Gary's annual crankup is a fine remembrance of the work of those founders, and it is a family reunion for this group that shows their engines in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky.  Fine Friends!

                                                                    Click To Enlarge

We spent our time today visiting with friends and enjoying the engines rather than making new videos of Gary's collection.  The video below is one we shot in 2014, right after Gary completed this 6 HP Titan.  This engine worked in Floyd County, Kentucky on Spurlock Creek, grinding corn for meal and corn mash.  It was literally just over the mountain from the 9 HP Sears Engine in Gary's collection that we found on Buck's Branch, just above Martin, Kentucky.  Forty years after these engines were saved it seems a bit unbelievable that they are in the same place in an engine lover's collection.  Thank You, Gary and Peggy, for your hospitality and the great engine party!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Of Course I Am Still Serious About Blogging!

If I wasn't serious, you would be seeing cats!

And these aren't just dogs; These are Schipperkes, which are way better than plain old dogs!

Here we have Lisa, who came all the way from Texas, just lookin' for a place to stay, and Junior, who loves Susan to death, and...

Jack in the red harness, who will be with us as a foster for a short time.  Jack is overweight, so he is on a measured diet and also a walking program to make him fit.  Jack is eight years old and has several prospects for a forever home.  He is very well housebroken, but he is missing his former home.  We are doing all we can to make him comfortable here before he moves on.  If you would like to adopt a homeless Schipperke, go to and fill out the one page application.  Dogs have things happen in their lives that cause them to need a new home.  They need loving people who can help them transition back into a loving family.  Schips are smart, energetic, playful, and loving.  Lisa wakes me up every morning with wiggles and kisses.  Once you have a Schipperke, you don't want to be without one. (or two or three)  Foster dogs are evaluated so they can be placed into a home that matches their personality and needs. The placement is mostly about the dog!  If you think you would like to have a rescue Schip, please go to the link and fill out an application.  You need to have a veterinarian who can give a recommendation, a suitable home, and preferably a fence that can safely hold an energetic dog.