Sunday, September 22, 2019

IHC M and Feed Mill at Rollag, Minnesota


                                      Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Looks Like Fall To Me

The Sun won't cross the Equator until the wee hours of the morning, but today, the sun had crossed over to the south side of our east-west county blacktop.  Close enough for me!


Friday, September 20, 2019

Weekend Steam: Engine 353 At Rollag

Engine 353 is a standard gauge 0-6-0 and it pulls carloads of happy people all through the Labor Day weekend show every year.  No Charge for riding!  I recommend you be there on Friday if you wish to ride, because on Saturday the lines are long.


Nearly On The Centerline


Dark time is soon coming.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Ruger's Benefit Auctions Of The Week

                                                                            $1135
This Round Butt, 2 3/4" Speed Six in .38 Special was made in 1983 and never left the factory.  It is a new gun that has been stored in Ruger's vault these many years.  CLICK HERE to read the description and to bid.

                                                                            $1502
This M77 in .375 H & H Magnum is a beauty.  It was built in January 1992 and shipped to a distributor, who returned it for unknown reasons four years later.  The closeup photos on Ruger's website look really good.  Be ready for Moose if they show up at your squirrel feeder!  CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place your bid.

Both of these fine firearms will sell mid-day, Wednesday, September 18, 2019.

Tuesday Torque: 600 HP Snow Engine At Rollag

Volunteers from the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers took on this project in 1992 and moved the Snow engine from Pennsylvania to Rollag.  The twin to this engine is at the Coolspring museum in Pennsylvania.  The opening photo of this video has information about the size of this engine.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Let'z Be Productive This Week!


                                                              Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Murray Corliss Flour Mill Engine at Rollag

This Murray Corliss Engine is on display at Rollag, Minnesota.  It powered a flour mill at Freeport, Minnesota for fifty years, and during that time, the rope drive had to be replaced only one time.  Study this drive system; it is really neat!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Attempted Robbery In Philadelphia...

Study this video and see the good things and the mistakes.  Every violent encounter you have will be a new experience, so figure on making mistakes.  You have to stay ahead of the curve to prevail, so train and practice.  I am guessing that the clerk has had little self defense training, even though his first shot was good.  He drew against a drawn gun and made what appears to be a central nervous system hit.  He shot again, and I can't tell if he hit or missed, but from that point on this video shows panic and lack of training.


The video is on LiveLeak, and I can't find an embed code, so CLICK HERE or on the photo for the link to the video.

PS: No checking for accomplices or moves to cover, no reload after expending his ammunition, and then he goes out the door with gun in hand.  Don't do that.  A man with a gun coming out the door from a robbery...write your own script.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Angry American, Toby Keith

Ruger's Auctions Of The Week

Ruger is offering two great firearms this week!  The Fiftieth Anniversary Ruger .357 Blackhawk Flattop is being sold to benefit the Light Foundation; The Stainless Ruger Mini-Thirty is being sold to benefit the USA Shooting Team.  Both will sell mid-day, Wednesday, September 11, 2019.  Click the photos to go to the auction sites.


                                                                          $655


                                                                     $1275

Where Were You? Alan Jackson

No Time To Kill, Clint Black

Monday, September 9, 2019

Tuesday Tonnage: WMSTR Steam Hammer

I should have asked questions, but this is the first steam hammer that I have seen, and I could not think intelligently.  Merle has helped, since he has experience around machines like this, and he says it is probably less than a ten ton hammer.  Thanks, Merle!



This baby shakes the ground when it comes down. The steam hammer is located by the Montana Boiler on the show grounds at Rollag, Minnesota.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

We Love Corn, So...

...we shuck it, shell it, shred it, grind it, and on and on.  We couldn't live without it!

Back To The Old Grind! Gas Engine area at the Rollag MN show.

Coffee Break's Over; Back On Your Heads!

Rollag was a great getaway, and I walked five miles every day on the showgrounds, according to my phone, which keeps track of that.  As I neared home, Susan called me to let me know that the roofers were going to be at the farm in the morning to start ripping off the old shingles, and that I needed to cut branches and a few trees to improve access around the house.  The phone says that cutting and dragging brush caused me to walk six miles!  I'm feeling it! I am reminded of the poor fellow who is choosing where he will stay in purgatory, and picks a place where everyone is enjoying a cup of coffee.  No sooner than he picks his fate and Coffee Break's Over!


The roof is done, and I have ash trees to take down now, because of emerald ash borer, but that is going to wait because we are digging out a downspout drain pipe that is plugged. 


Friday, September 6, 2019

Many Things To Share From Rollag

There are buildings full of many wonderful things at the Western Minnesota Threshers Reunion.  This brief video is from the Hot Air Engine Shed.


Weekend Steam: Steam In The West Highlands

This makes me want to visit Scotland!  Another great pick by Merle!  Thank You, Merle!


Thursday, September 5, 2019

Fun Times At Rollag


We had a grate time at Rollag! (Grates are sitting on the platform of a Minneapolis.) I walked five miles every day around the grounds and did not see everything.


One of the engines of interest is this Advance straw burner.  The firebox is set up differently than wood and coal burners, with a brick arch to keep the fuel from being pulled too quickly out the flues.  I never saw any of these in Iowa, where coal and wood could be had easily.  You have to really be on your toes to fire with straw, but that is what they did in the early days of agriculture on the plains.



While looking at the straw burner I noticed this sign.  I had been hearing rumors about Women of Steam, and Women Teaching Women About Steam at Rollag.  Someone said they even publish a calendar.

The Queen contest is for real, but I don't know how the winner is chosen.  Probably involves shoveling coal or filling grease cups!


And, Here is Lilly, the Queen of Steam at Rollag this year.  How often do you see work boots, overalls and a tiara?

Many Thanks to John In Philly for the link in his comment to an article about Women Of Steam.

Why Wait For The Weekend?! Kory Anderson's Case 150 At Rollag

I'm home from Rollag and just beginning to review my photos and video.  I gathered up the clips from the Case 150 and assembled a video to review the highlight of the Rollag show. Click the icon in the lower right corner to bring it up to full screen.



Here are the numbers from the Prony Brake. They were running a new belt that was not heavy enough for this engine, and at 171 HP it was slipping.


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Ruger's Auction; A Double!

Ruger is offering two firearms from their vault for sale this week!  The Single-Six in .17 HMR will benefit the USA Shooting team, and the PC9 Carbine will benefit the Light Foundation.  Click on the photos to go to the links to read all about these guns and to place your bid.  Both firearms will sell mid-day, Wednesday, September 3, 2019


                                                                                    $633


                                                                               $705                         

Tuesday Torque: I Went To A Show!

I went to Rollag with friends and saw many wonderful things, and loaded up several SD cards. This 3 HP Gade is one of hundreds of engines running in the gas engine area.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Give It A Rest



                                                                  No Work Today!

Friday, August 30, 2019

Weekend Steam: Durango And Silverton Snow Special

Summer is nearly over, and wouldn't it be great to take a Fall trip on the Silverton? This trip is pretty neat, as snow is pushed back from the rails on a Wintertime run. 


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger is offering a P89 Double Action Only pistol that was made in 1994 and returned to the factory in 1995 for unknown reasons.  It is being sold as a used pistol, but the photos on Ruger's website show no wear.


This fine pistol will sell mid-day, Wednesday, August 28. Click Here to read the full description and to place your bid. $555

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Forty Years? Holy Cow!


Kentucky let us go on USFS fire detail in 1979, but we had to take of vacation time to do it.  It was well worth the vacation time for the experiences we had.


We almost burnt up, we did not get smashed by boulders rolling down a mountain or by Douglas-firs that were tipping over after their roots burned. Sleeping out under the stars in Montana and working in Douglas-fir and subalpine fir made some great memories.


Helicopters sure beat hiking for miles. We were on the Continental Divide near Anaconda in this photo.

Susan and I moved to Illinois in 1980, and I got on with the Illinois Division of Forestry several years later.  Springfield finally allowed us to go on USFS fire details beginning in 2005, and I got to make a trip to Minnesota in '06.  It was a good trip, and I was running  a chainsaw instead of a Pulaski, but the Montana trip still beats it.

Midwest Old Threshers Number 70!

The first Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers show was in 1950.  The eight founders showed fifteen steam engines and eight threshers at McMillan Park in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and they attracted 10,000 attendees.  Old Threshers has always offered good family entertainment with no alcohol served on the grounds and no carnival attractions.  They are still going strong at 70, and this year's show will start the Thursday before Labor Day as it has for years.

In 1979 when Old Threshers was turning thirty, Dana Close Jennings published a great paperback book about the show, full of photos he had taken there.  I'm glad I got a copy forty years ago, because it must be pretty scarce today.  Here are a few pictures from Mr. Jenning's book.


This Aultman-Taylor engine belonged to Milo Mathews.  He restored it in 1946, and again in 1977.


Threshing with the Jumbo engine.  Threshing with steam and with horse power is still demonstrated every day at Old Threshers.


Here is Stan Mathews, the driving force behind the establishment of the Midwest Central Railroad, grinding on a locomotive frame.  Stan brought engines 2 and 6 in the early Sixties, and Number 9 in 1966.  Number 9 has been on loan for several years to the Georgetown Loop, but it has returned to Mt. Pleasant this year.


Here is Engine Number 2, which was retired many years ago for boiler problems, but it will be up and running again one of these days.  If you are able, get yourself over to Mt. Pleasant for Labor Day Weekend.  They always have some new old stuff to see, plus a bunch of the same old same old, which we never tire of watching.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The USA Shooting Team


Ruger is offering a good one again this week.  It is a P85 Decocker in 9mm, made in 1990.  This is a New-Old-Stock pistol that has been stored in Ruger's vault since being built and tested.  It will sell mid-day, Wednesday, August 21, 2019. CLICK HERE to read the description and to place your bid. $685; a good deal!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Tuesday Torque: Hoe That Corn!

Here's a rare machine that I am guessing did not sell well, or create satisfied customers.  I bet if you put me on it, I could destroy 20 acres of corn per day trying to keep it between the rows.  I never was good at driving a tractor with a cultivator, and it gave me the nervous jim-jams trying not to disturb the corn roots. The young farmers of today have never used a cultivator, what with the use of herbicides.  Farmers today take off in mid-summer and go on vacation. Old-time farmers might have slipped into town on a Saturday night and had a cheeseburger and an ice cream cone.  Times sure have changed.


Never Going Back To Work



                                     We've been surrounded by it! Back To The Old Grind!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Weekend Steam 2: Maine Two-Footers!

Merle's pick is a good one.  Thank You, Merle!


Click this over to YouTube to read the description.  Number 7 was freshly restored in 2018.

Weekend Steam: Threshing At Pinckneyville

We shot this video a few years ago. This Advance steam engine was pulling a thresher with a Garden City feeder, so it can be fed from two bundle wagons.  The belt was set up a bit loose, it slipped, and the thresher choked up.  Panels were pulled off the thresher to clear it, and it blew chunks when they started up again.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Pinckneyville Weekend

This video was shot in 2015 and is a good example of the sort of things you get to see at a big engine show.  The show goes on all weekend at the fairgrounds on the west side of Pinckneyville.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

EAB; We Got 'em!


The Emerald Ash Borer arrived in Southern Illinois several years ago and we are experiencing the die-off that other areas north and east of us  have had.  This year it is really going!  I see dead ash trees wherever I drive and we have trees dying in our yard and woods.  The tree in this picture is one I planted about thirty years ago, and the bucket has been kicked out from under it.  Oh Well, or words to that effect. We will have nice firewood during the upcoming winter.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The USA Shooting Team


Ruger is offering an M77 Rifle in .300 WSM this week, and it is special!  It has extra nice wood in the stock, was built in December 2005, and it is a New Old Stock rifle, in its original packaging. The price is not bad as I post this, and it is a good one to drop a bid on.  CLICK HERE to read the full description and to place that winning bid. This rifle will sell mid-day, Wednesday, August 14, 2019.  $750; Someone got a great bargain!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Tuesday Torque: Support Your Local Engine Shows!


 There probably is an engine show within easy driving distance for you nearly every weekend through the summer and fall.  Pinckneyville, Illinois is having their annual summer show beginning Thursday of this week.  Engine shows change every year because exhibitors bring different parts of their collections.  This Massey at Pinckneyville in 2018 is a work of art.


Model #2!

Operator platform.


Maintenance reminder!

Transverse engine...

 ...built by Buda.


CLICK HERE to go to the Farm Collector Show Directory.  There is plenty of good, family oriented entertainment out there if you look for it.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Sharpen That Shovel!

I am a cheater, and I do not go to the pains of perfectionists like Wranglerstar.  I look for shiny spots on the edge and knock them out with an angle grinder. Annual applications of of linseed oil keep the wood in good shape and I hardly ever need to change a handle.  This is a great shovel that Wrangler is fixing.  Firefighing shovels have more angle so you can grab a little dirt and give it a fling. You can also scratch fire line through pine needles and leaves.  I mostly used Council rakes, which are great for raking leaves and cutting brush.  You have to keep them sharp, too.  Back To The Old Grind!


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Love Island It Ain't!

We saw a few minutes of what they call a reality show the other night.  The premise of the show was young adults hooking up, and somebody "winning" through votes from viewers.  Susan and I decided we have our own reality show.  We call it "Get Up And Go To Work!"  This week's episode was a thrilling exercise we call "Find The Pipe," where we are searching for perimeter and downspout drains that have become plugged over the years.  It is much better than Find The Pipe, 2018, where we were replacing sewer lines.  We won last year, and it looks like we will win again in a few days.  The yard looks like rabid gophers have been digging, but that will be remedied with the next game, "Rejuvenate The Lawn."


Friday, August 9, 2019

Weekend Steam: Lombard Log Hauler!

Off to the North Woods to see how they pulled out white and red pine logs to build a nation.  You must have nerves of steel to steer this beast with a train of logs behind you and point it downhill.  Thank You, Merle!


Thursday, August 8, 2019

Can't Quite Figure This One Out


Our electric co-op has a good arborist that is in charge of line clearance.  He must have been on vacation when the crew did this tree.  It's a dead red maple, and the entire tree should have been taken down and chipped. 


Maybe the chip truck was full; maybe it was close to quitting time...  I do have to say that our power is extremely reliable since Jim Gifford became the line clearance guy at Wayne-White Electric Co-Op.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Oh Boy, New Boots!

My work boots are getting old, so I ordered a new pair, and they are nice.  They feel like pulling on a set of kid gloves.  They just need a good treatment of Pecard's and they will be ready to go to work.


Ruger's Auction To Benefit The USA Shooting Team


Ruger is offering a P85 this week, and these guns have a great reputation for being built like a tank.  This one was built in 1988, and it comes with a 15 round magazine.  These pistols don't fit the current mold for concealed carry, but they make a great house or car gun.  This one comes with ambidextrous mag release and safety catch.  It is a new gun that has been stored in Ruger's vault for more than thirty years.  The hammer will fall mid-day, Wednesday, August 7, 2019.  CLICK HERE to read the full description and to place that winning bid.  These do not draw the big collector money, so be sure to study this one and how it might fit into your life!  $660

Monday, August 5, 2019

Tuesday Torque: Buckley Michigan Engine Show

Here is a pleasant video showing some of the machinery at the Buckley show a couple years ago.  There are lots of engine shows going on, and they will be going on until winter weather threatens.  Get out and enjoy them!  Note, at 6:24 the Farmall on stilts.  No Way would I ever be tempted to get on this thing! Tippy!


Sunday, August 4, 2019

Plenty More Where This One Came From

I could be cutting problem trees every day, and there are three more on the other side of the barn from this walnut that I will be doing soon. It's all very satisfying, but we don't have as much play time as we thought we would have when I retired. Gotta hit it again this week, so it's Back To The Old Grind!


Saturday, August 3, 2019

Grasshopper 727 Lawnmower Review

Our Grasshopper mower is in its fourteenth year of mowing grass at two homes, and we just did some repairs to keep it going. Here is the rundown on the repairs and maintenance we have had to do on this machine.



The gearbox in the mower deck is the only part of this machine that is cause for dissatisfaction.  Grasshopper could punch a hole in the skidplate assembly to provide access to the oil plug.  Maybe they don't do it because they don't want their customers working under the deck.  There is probably a liability risk if they tell people to do that, and then a deck flops down on the person checking the oil.  It looks like a good modification, though, if you want to make your maintenance chores easier.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Joys Of Country Life

Lisa loves to go for rides in the country with me, and you can hear her grumbling at this crop duster.  I love the free air shows we get out here.


Extreme Wedging


This is definitely not fun.  This walnut was past my lean limits by at least a foot, but this takedown was not optional; it was threatening a barn.  We used a rope to counter some of the back weight and pounded wedges 'til it went over.  The problem with extreme wedging is when you pass four inches of lift on the back of the butt log.  Wedges won't hold if you need to add more, and they kick out rather than lift.  After sleeping on this problem, I think I see a solution by adding an angled seat to the stump with a chainsaw, plus a hefty wooden block.  That is something that I will try if I have to do this again.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The USA Shooting Team


Ruger is offering a rare one again this week.  It is a straight-pull bolt action (Not Semi-Auto) Mini-14 that was made for export to the UK. It was built in 2000, has a Zytel stock and fiberglass hand guard, bayonet lug, flash suppressor, folding rear peep sight, and scope rings.  CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place your bid for this unusual Mini-14. It will sell mid-day, Wednesday, July 31, 2019.  $1625

Monday, July 29, 2019

Tuesday Torque: More Than Knowing What To Flip

Starting early gas engines and tractors can be tricky for a novice. You have to get your head into that four stroke cycle, and be thinking about when the mag is going to click over.


Yard Work Reward

Yard work in the country means brushpiles and then wienie roasts.



Back To The Old Grind!  Ready for S'mores?