Sunday, September 30, 2018

Boonville Engine Show, October 12-14

Fall engine shows are coming right up!  Boonville, Indiana is in two weeks and Pinckneyville will be the weekend of October 20.  Back To The Old Grind!  (Faultless Engine powering this grinder.)

Saturday, September 29, 2018

We're Goin' Downhill Now!...

...has become one of our favorite expressions; mostly about anything to do with being (way) past 35.  The sun is south of the centerline now when it rises, so we are into Dark Time now.  It will be a long time before the days are longer than the night.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Weekend Steam: More 60009 From South Africa

Many Thanks again to Merle for being our spotter!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Nightmare In The Laundry Room

We did some de-constructing tonight in preparation for a plumbing project.  The box had shaved the insulation off of a wire at a time in the past; either forty some years ago or recently during another part of our basement renovation project.  The house has not burned down and nobody has been electrocuted, so we feel good. The breaker is taped down and this will be properly repaired tomorrow.  It's always something.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Dramatic Weather

Three inches of rain in the early morning!  It started yesterday about the time the dogs were waking up, and it continued through their second walk after they had been fed.  Sheesh!  I drove through about a mile of water up to the rims because we don't have good ditches.  Fed Big Jack, walked him, and drove back through the mile of water.  The rain was mostly gone the rest of the day, but at sunset a few showers were dancing around to make the sky interesting.

Today was dry, except for some light showers in the early morning as a front passed through.  We saw a few farmers shelling corn today, so yesterday's rain was intense enough that it ran off rather than soaking in. 

The District Forester toured the timber today while re-inspecting us as Tree Farmers.  I handed her the new stick so the right side was showing and told her to flip it over.  You should have seen the smile on her face!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Honored American Veterans Afield

Ruger's offering this week should make your heart skip a beat.  If it does not excite you, you might want to go in for a checkup.  This is a M77 Ruger Hawkeye African in .223 Remington with a 23 inch barrel.  It was built in 2013, and this is a rifle to die for.  The price is not out of line as we post this, so CLICK HERE, read all about it and place that winning bid!  $1361.01

Monday, September 24, 2018

Tuesday Torque: A Forty Year Project

Through the magic of the Internet we can try to go back and revisit our memories.  I spotted a flywheel through a hole in the side of a shed when I was going up Buck's branch forty years ago, and then went there after work to check it out.  The 9 HP Sears and a bur mill were in the shed, which had been recently damaged by a back hoe.  The gas line markers in this photo were behind the shed, and the engine ran on gas supplied by that gas line.  Both the engine shed and the miller's home are long gone.  (Google Earth image)

The man who lived here was the son of the miller, and he was glad to see a collector get his artifacts so there would be hope for them.  We moved to Illinois a couple years later and brought the engine and mill with us.  Gary Bahre took the engine under his wing a couple years ago and has made it look factory-new.  The new underslung cart with the Case threshing machine wheels really makes it a beautiful showpiece.  Gary has just finished installing the original ignitor with a Webster magneto that he rehabbed so the Sears looks like it did when it left the Evansville factory in 1920.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

I See Paint Specks In My Future...

Back To The Old Grind!  (This is WAY better than painting with a roller!)

Make A Better Biltmore Stick

Way back in time, our Forest Measurements professor at Mizzou handed out blank sticks and had us do the math in class to make Biltmore sticks that fit.  My stick is long gone, but it worked better than a store bought stick because it was made for my reach distance.  A homemade hickory Biltmore is a much better companion on a woods walk than a maple stick.  You can use it as a walking stick if you need it, and you can fend off a vicious dog should the need arise.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Buck's Branch Sears Is Done!

Gary got our baby running today on the new mag!  Photo Credit: Gary Bahre

Friday, September 21, 2018

Model T: 110 Year Anniversary

The Model T was introduced by Ford on October 1, 1908. They made more than 15,000,000 by the time production ended in 1927. This video shows some of the engineering that went into the T, and a bit about driving it. Model Ts are fun cars to play with, but the two wheel brakes, slow highway speed, and splash oil system make them a poor choice for highway touring in today's high speed, congested world. Restoring one will hone your mechanical skills, and they make a good family project.

Ten years ago we posted Dyke's Ford Supplement on this blog in celebration of the centennial of the Model T. The link is provided below. You can click on each image and then save it for reference, just in case a vintage Ford is in your plans.

TrueBlueSam Dyke's Ford Supplement

Weekend Steam: Big Boy Restoration Update!

This project is slated to be operational in May, 2019!  Merle spotted this video, and it has lots of good information and pictures.  Thank You, Merle!

Thursday, September 20, 2018


Susan and I both saw cute little tree frogs while we were outside enjoying the beautiful late summer weather.  Who does not love seeing a tree frog?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Teddy Dog On The Underwater Treadmill

Teddy was paralyzed by a herniated disc when we took him to Veterinary Specialty Services in Manchester, Missouri. They did a quick assessment, recommended an MRI to make a diagnosis, and after confirmation of the problem they took him directly to surgery. That was on August 23, 2018. He responded well to surgery and had motor activity in his legs the next day. Less than four weeks later you can see how well he is walking during his physical therapy treatment on the treadmill. The good doctors at VSS and the physical therapy at Healing Paws have saved Teddy's life.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Honored American Veterans Afield

Ruger is offering one of their vintage 10/22s this week.  This one has a laminate stock and it was made in 1988.  Thirty years ago Ruger was using a flush magazine release, so you will probably want to replace that when you upgrade your trigger.  Add a scope and you have the perfect varmint rifle to use around your compound. CLICK HERE to read the full description and to place that winning bid.  This fine little rifle will sell mid-day, September 19, 2018.  $520

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Night Will Soon Be Longer Than The Day

The sun is almost in the middle of the road at rising and setting.  We will soon be going into Dark Time.

Tuesday Torque: Reminder Of An Old Friend

An old friend, Ernie Werner, located this tractor south of St. Louis and asked his friend Cliff to go with him to retrieve it. Cliff took one look at it and tried to convince Ernie to forget about it. It was sitting clear down in the dirt, there was no paint, and the spokes in the rear wheels were rusted in two where they were buried. They winched it onto their trailer and the owner told them to stop at his house on the way out. He had all the wheel lugs but one in a crate. Ernie cast one lug out of brass to complete the set. Ernie was a good friend to many of the engine collectors in Illinois and Missouri, and we sure do miss him.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Olney FFA Forestry Team Takes First At State!

The Olney FFA Forestry Team did well at Carbondale.  They took first place by a very comfortable margin, and three of the five team members were in the top ten out of 72 individuals who competed on 16 forestry teams.  The top scoring individual is one of the Olney students!  They can go on to the national contest at the annual FFA Convention in October, in Indianapolis. Congratulations!

Photo Credit: Jamie Vandyke

Busy Engines Are Happy Engines

Back To The Old Grind!

A Vanished Way Of Life?

Eric Janssen posted this video on his Facebook page.  The video is about 35 years old, and I suspect that there are very few little barges making a living this way today.  Eric's barge (Valer) was built in the 1920's and has the engine that was installed during the 1930's.  His cargo hold serves as an artist studio.  He motors about the waterways of Holland with his Schipperke, Saartje, and he is famous among fans of the little black barge dogs.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Feeling Blessed

A week ago we had eight inches of rain from Tropical Storm Gordon.  There are many around us that lost soybeans from flooding, but our farmer was lucky and so were we.  Shelton Creek shoots across a forty that belongs to our farmer, and then it goes across us during flood events.  We planted a patch of cypress trees many years ago to kill the velocity and to spread the flow out, and that little patch of trees makes a big difference.  It saves soil on a regular basis, and this time it saved some corn.  The flood came on Saturday, and on Friday (Yesterday) he was picking our corn.  Today he did his field.  No channels cut and no corn down!  Farmers traditionally don't have a good relationship with trees, but they can work wonders.

Anyhow, here comes the corn, and the combine after the shelling was done.

This is our little miracle worker.  Birds love it, too, and deer have been known to hide in it from road hunters.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Weekend Steam: South African Steam

Merle is finding some far flung engines for us.  I had no clue that an engine like this is running in South Africa.  Click it over to YouTube to read the description.  This may have been the final run.  Thank You Merle!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

FFA Forestry Sectional Contest

Saturday we had torrential rain, Sunday was cloudy and damp, but running off, and Monday was glorious.  We had great field conditions for the students and kept them busy all afternoon.  We set up the Compass and Pacing course first thing, then Timber Measurement, Tree ID, Equipment ID, and Silviculture.  The students also had to take a general knowledge test and a test on map interpretation.  It is a real workout for the kids and a few always excel.  Everyone learns, and I bend the rules and coach the ones that don't have a clue what they are doing.  That way they learn a bit and they may do well next year.  Olney took first, and Fairfield was second.  Olney will be going to the state contest at Carbondale on Saturday.   Here are a few photos of the activities.

Bonus measurement info that I provide to students, or anyone else who needs to measure tree height:

Measure Log Length With Any Straight Stick

Biltmore sticks are usually set up for a 25” reach on the tree diameter scale and the Merrit Hypsometer, and many of us do not have a 25” reach.  Using the Merrit Hypsometer requires that you pace out one chain (66 feet) from the tree, and many of the students I see do not understand pacing, so they throw a lot of error into the equation.  There is an alternate method that lessens the errors, but the student must still concentrate on pacing accurately and keeping good form with a stick.
Much of the upland timber we work in will run from 1 ½ to 2 ½ logs in length.  Instead of 66 feet, pace out 32 feet (2 logs) from the tree and turn around.  Your eye is now 32 feet from the tree.  Roll your head back and keep it motionless while measuring.  Extend the hand holding your stick so it is up to eye level.  Bring the top end of the stick back with your other hand so the stick comes to the corner of your eye.  Raise the stick to vertical position, roll your eye to the stump level of the tree and lower your hand with the stick so the top of your hand is in line with the stump (Approx, 1 foot from the ground or less, usually). Hold your head motionless and roll your eye up to the top of the stick.  It will be lined up to show you 32 feet up on the tree, or 2 logs.  If your cutoff point is no more than 8 feet above that, it is a 2 log tree.  If the cutoff point is no more than 8 feet below it, you have a 1 ½ log tree.  Because you often will have a 2 log tree, you can see what ½ of that is and add it to the top of your stick in your head and see if you have a 3 log tree.  If the timber is running taller than a 2 log average, make your distance 40 (2 ½ logs) or 48 (3 logs). 
This method saves a great deal of time in pacing and the 25” reach of the stick is irrelevant.  Check your pace frequently so you can nail that distance and you will do a good job of measuring the merchantable height.  Check your diameter measurements with your Biltmore Stick  against a Diameter Tape so you will know how your stick actually measures for you. 

Bonus Info: You can also measure very close to the exact height of  vertical objects with a stick.  Holding your stick vertically with your head back, move in or out from your object until the stick matches up with the top or the cutoff point.  Pace in to your tree, wall, smokestack, or whatever you are measuring.  Now you know the height.  This method is also valuable to see if a tree will strike an object that you don’t want to strike, such as  a power line.  Stand at the power line and set up your stick.  If the object (tree, silo, smokestack) is standing taller than your stick, it will hit you.  So Easy it should not be legal.

PS: I just heard from Olney.  They took first place at the Monticello Sectional and their five team members were all in the top ten.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger is offering a Deluxe Sporter 10/22 this week with a 22 inch barrel.  Most 10/22s are made with 18 inch barrels, and some are 16.  The 22 inchers are nice for squirrel hunting with standard velocity ammo because they are much quieter than the shorter barreled models.  This particular rifle was made in 2001.  It will sell mid-day, September 12, 2018.  Click Here to read the description and to place your bid.  $531

Monday, September 10, 2018

Tuesday Torque: Fascinating To Watch

Hot air engines have been around for a long time and I still can't get my mind around the inner workings.  They are quiet, and have a history of working in remote places where fuel supplies were not a  sure thing.  Build a fire out of whatever and it will spin.  Maybe  not a lot of torque, but a lot of action.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Whatsoever Your Hand Finds To Do, ...

...Do It With Your Might!

Back To The Old Grind!  Even If You Are Just Having A Good Time!

Flooded Gravel Challenge

Are you up to this challenge?  You must know your roads and the locations of drainages and culverts to get around in the country during a deluge.  I have seen vehicles swept into fields and also stuck in washed out culverts.  Test carefully, do not go over your hubs.  Do not be in a hurry.  Tomorrow will get here if you don't screw up.

Go Around Or Wait; Don't Drown Yourself Or Your Vehicle

The Gordon system really hosed us, and taking care of the pets at both houses was a challenge.  Torrential rain was coming down on the way over, and on the way back, making for bad visibility.  I took the long way around, and still had to make an unplanned detour for deep water in the road.  The trip over (normally 6 1/2 miles) took an hour.  Coming back took longer, plus a wait for more than an hour while I waited for the water to drop at this culvert.  We had more than 7 inches of rain, and neighbors are reporting up to 8 1/2 inches.  We don't need that again.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Weekend Steam Bonus! Case 150

Just a link here.  There are some videos on Facebook, and I do not know if it is possible to copy and embed code from Facebook.  I have been looking with no luck, so here is  the link to Anderson's FB page with a good video:

Weekend Steam: Locomotive 844, Out Of Cheyenne

Merle spotted this video of 844 rolling out of Cheyenne, in July of this year.  There is some good video and lots of good whistle.  Thank You, Merle!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Weekend Assignment To Myself

I began carving this Biltmore stick almost a year ago, and responsibilities around Patti's place have limited my time.  I have the head nearly up to the top now, and intend to finish this project over the weekend.  The wood is tiger-stripe hickory, and I hope the figure really pops when it is varnished.  I have made about forty sticks for various foresters but have not done one for several years.  This one is special because it is for the new forester that took my place at Fairfield.  The numbers will be placed for a 23 inch reach.  Standard sticks are made for a 25 inch reach, but the kicker is this stick will be a left-handed model; a first for me and maybe the first one ever.  I will take pictures before I pass it on.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

FFA Contest Coming Right Up!

The local FFA Forestry Contest at Sam Dale Lake is coming up next week and I will be going to set up the compass and pacing course.  I haven't navigated in the woods for several months, but I get to cheat and use a metallic tape to measure the distance between points.  Jenny, the new District 19 Forester will be ramrodding the event.  She has a year under her belt now at Fairfield and she seems to be enjoying running the best Forestry District in Illinois.  I will get some photos, because this will probably be my last FFA outing.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger is offering a 1990 production, P85 Decocker in 9mm.  These are not the current fad in handguns, but they make a fine house or car gun, and it is a double stack with a 15 round magazine.  Read the entire description HERE and place that winning bid.  The Rugers that are not collector items are usually pretty good deals in these auctions, so be sure and check it out.  This fine pistol will sell mid-day, Wednesday, September 5, 2018.  $755

Monday, September 3, 2018

Tuesday Torque Bonus: Buck's Branch Sears Update

Gary Bahre has the original ignitor rebuilt, painted and ready to install on the big 9 HP Sears Economy engine.  He met with a supplier over the weekend and has a good magneto.  He has installed it on the ignitor and it sparks.

The Buck's Branch Sears will no longer be a hillbilly; it will be a first class, fully restored engine!

Photo Credit: Gary Bahre

Tuesday Torque: Invent A Cooler Carburetor!

The Hagan is one of the rarest and neatest gas engines.  They were made in Kentucky and are highly coveted by collectors.  The carburetor has a brass chain that runs down, around a sprocket, and back up again, dipping into gasoline at the lower part of its travel.  Air is drawn across the chain and then into the engine. You have heard of the secret carburetors that Ford or Chevy bought, just to keep them off the market, no doubt.  The Hagan is not one of them, but it is cool as can be.  This engine was posted more than four years ago when it was on display at Old Threshers in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and it has only had about 150 views.  I just made the first comment.  After you watch this video, click on the YouTube icon on the video's lower bar and show this YouTuber (Travis Benner) some love in a nice comment.

Illinois Concealed Carry Class (Sixteen Hours), Carmi, IL

16 hr. IL Concealed Carry Course
Day 1 on Sat. Oct. 20, 2018 - $115
Day 2 on Sat. Oct. 27, 2018 - $115
   8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.

The two day course fulfills the 16 hr. required hours of training for the IL concealed carry license.  If you have 8 hrs. prior credit, you only need to sign up for Day 2.  Examples of prior credit – NRA Basic Pistol certificate, DD214,  Hunter Safety (4hrs) plus Utah or FL concealed carry license (4hrs) if training was done in separate classes and not together.

Space is limited to 12 students for Day 1 – no limit for Day 2.  If you would like to reserve seats in either class or both classes, please respond ASAP.

Pre-Registration and non-refundable deposit of class fee is required. Please email or call 618-963-2788 for registration form and to verify available space.

Deadline for registration is Oct. 15, 2018.

Illinois Carry Permit Renewal Course, Carmi, IL

Carmi Rifle Club Will Be Hosting A

Concealed Carry 3-Hr. Renewal Course

Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 
8:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
8:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. is the classroom portion of the course and will be held at White County Farm Bureau Building, 304 E Robinson St. Carmi, IL.

Live-fire qualification will be conducted at the Carmi Rifle Club range and scheduled throughout the rest of the morning and afternoon.

Course conducted by ISP registered instructors Mike and Valinda Rowe.

This course fulfills the renewal training requirements for the Illinois Concealed Carry License.
Firearms and ammunition will be supplied.
FEE:  $50

Pre-Registration and non-refundable deposit of class fee is required. Please email or call 618-963-2788 for registration form and to verify available space.

Deadline for registration is Oct. 20, 2018.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

We Never Quit

The Mrs. and I were discussing the problem of being tired all of the time.  I realized that since we are officially retired, we never take a day off.  Our work days now run clear 'til bedtime.  Sheesh!  Nobody warned us about this!  Gotta work in a vacation or something.

Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

More Weekend Steam: Fifty Years Of Stationary Steam At Old Threshers!

This video, by one of our YouTube steam friends, OldieCarl, shows the Murray Corliss Engine. It was the first engine in the Stationary Steam Building at Old Threshers, back in 1968. Everyone was amazed and all the engineers on the traction engines were talking about it. It was a big project, but it was just a start, and the engines that came later have dwarfed it. It is special, though, and you will enjoy watching and listening to the dashpots close the valves. What a treat! Looking through my YouTube videos I see that I do not have this engine captured. I must go back to Mt. Pleasant in another year and correct that. I do have the Marshalltown Corliss, which is huge, and the Corliss from the Mental Hospital at Mt. Pleasant. Those are big ones.