Thursday, January 30, 2020

2020 Valentine Festival: Tiptoe Through The Tulips

This is an excerpt from Reel 6 of Gold Diggers Of Broadway, from 1929. The music starts just after the 55 second mark. Nick Lucas singing, and on the guitar.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Pruning With A Power Pole Saw

We are playing catch-up on some of our yard trees, and this tool is wonderful.  One tank of fuel will wear you down, but it is much faster and easier than using a hand powered saw.

2020 Valentine Festival: I Love My Baby, Aileeen Stanley, 1925

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Scholastic Action Shooting Program

Ruger is offering a P94 Double Action Only, LE pistol made in 1994. This pistol is New-In-Box, but the laser does not work.  CLICK HERE to read the full description and to place that winning bid. This fine pistol will sell mid-day, Wednesday, January 29, 2020.

2020 Valentine Festival: She's Always A Woman, Billy Joel

Holy Cow, this was published 43 years ago! Tempus Fugit.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Tuesday Torque: Have A Look Inside A Sleeve Valve Engine!

Willys was famous for sleeve valve engines, which was pretty neat in an era where most cars needed a valve job regularly. I have always heard that sleeve valve engines ran well, but I have also heard that they tended to trail blue smoke down the road.  They would probably work better today with our modern engine oils and tighter manufacturing tolerances, but I don't think it would be good with high compression.  The concept is just a curiosity today.  Just think; these had to be imagined and then drawn on paper by draftsmen before any parts could be made.

2020 Valentine Festival! Save The Last Dance For Me, Emmylou Harris

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Be A Classic!

                                                            Back To The Old Grind!    Photo Credit: Engineering Johnson

2020 Valentine Festival: Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? Carole King

Friday, January 24, 2020

Weekend Steam: Angry Ollie

Merle picked another great one!  Angry Ollie looked like he was doomed a year ago, but if you click over to YouTube and read the comments you will see that he is being rebuilt and will be back online in a couple years.  The exhaust and whistle of this engine just about knocks you over!  Thanks, Merle!

2020 Valentine Festival: Call Your Sweetheart!

Hello Ma Baby, Arthur Collins, 1899

My Lady Of The Telephone, Joseph A. Phillips and Chorus

Hello, Hawaii, How Are You, Nora Bayes, 1916

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Scholastic Action Shooting Program

Ruger is offering a blue Mini-14 made in 1976.  The test fire date is in 2010, and the rifle has been marked used, I think because there is some pitting and wear to the finish.  Read the entire description and follow the link to Ruger's site to see all the photos.   Guns sometimes suffer from the inattention that happens when they are locked away, and I think that is what we have here.  It comes with both fiberglass handguard and a wooden handguard, and that is pretty neat. CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place your bid. The problems with the finish does not seem to be scaring the bidders, and there is some entertainment value to that!  This nice little rifle will sell mid-day, Wednesday, January 22, 2020.

2020 Valentine Festival: Love At The Five And Dime, Nanci Griffith

2020 Valentine Festival: Love Is Like A Butterfly, Dolly Parton

Monday, January 20, 2020

Sunday, January 19, 2020

You Supply The Horsepower

                                                           Back To The Old Grind!  Photo Credit: Engineering Johnson

2020 Valentine Festival: Some Of These Days, Sophie Tucker

Friday, January 17, 2020

Weekend Steam: This Week We're Visiting Germany!

World traveler EJ confirmed that last week we were seeing Poland, and this week Merle has sent us to Germany.  I wonder why European railroads never went to chime whistles like their American counterparts.  Thank You, Merle!

2020 Valentine Festival: Mary Chapin Carpenter Double!

2020 Valentine Festival, Weekend Steam Edition: Steamroller Blues, James Taylor

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Let's Revisit Boresighting

I removed the rear iron sight from a milsurp rifle this week and installed a base and scout scope. I have my own routine for boresighting, and it works great for me.  I did not have a vertical line that I could use, so I sighted on a sycamore leaf that was on the ground 50 yards out. Here is my method:

"Bore Sighting: You can get very close if you can look through the bore with the rifle in a steady position.  I cut V's in a cardboard box, and set the rifle so I can look downrange through the barrel. (Rifle is in position as if it is shouldered.) Pick out a vertical line (fencepost, tree, power pole, etc.) at 25 to 100 yards, and center it in the bore.  Turn your windage adjustment so it is on your vertical line.  Look thorugh your barrel again and make sure that your target is still centered. Now, turn the rifle on its side and line up on your mark again.  Look through your scope and adjust the elevation so it coincides.  Now, check through the barrel again and pause to think. Your elevation crosshairs will be looking downward through a straight line extending from your bore.  The bullets will be curving downward, making your hits a bit low.  Turn your elevation up a minute or two, depending on caliber and the distance to the boresighting target.  Cap your turrets and go to the range.  You will be very close."

I set up a target behind the barn at 25 yards, got a good. steady rest, and fired my first round.

Some minor adjustments and two more shots to check, and I was done.

2020 Valentine Festival: Pretty Woman, Roy Orbison

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

2020 Valentine Festival: Van and Schenck, Ain't We Got Fun?

The challenge of being a young couple starting out has always been a hard one.  But try to have fun!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Valentine's Day! Just One Month Away! We Are Starting With Rudy Vallee!

A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody is a great song to start off our annual Valentine Celebration!

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Scholastic Action Shooting Program

Ruger is offering a stainless Vaquero in .45 Colt this week. This fine revolver was made in February 1993, the first year of Vaquero production. This gun is New-In-Box, and the photos show it to be in good condition. CLICK HERE to read the entire description and to place your bid.  This gun will sell mid-day, Thursday, January 16, 2020

Monday, January 13, 2020

Why Learn New Chainsaw Techniques?

We get a lot of comments on YouTube about chainsaw techniques that tell us many people do not make a plan for each tree they cut, and many do not know how to set up a hinge, evaluate weight and lean of a tree, or recognize the hazards that a tree presents. Injuries from chainsaws and trees can affect you the rest of your life, and getting killed lasts forever.  Find a chainsaw class and learn how to use your equipment safely and efficiently. Contact your University Extension office, or your local Department of Natural Resources forester to find instruction.

Colonel Jerry R. Johnson

"Colonel JERRY R JOHNSON 5/21/1932-12/31/2019; Colonel Jerry R Johnson, 87, loving husband, devoted father and longtime resident of Las Vegas, passed away December 31, 2019. Jerry was born May 21, 1932 in Moline IL, to Ray and Orpha Johnson. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1951, served 26 years, and rose to the rank of Colonel. Jerry was awarded a Business Management degree from Golden Gate University, and worked at the Stardust Hotel, Las Vegas Referrals and was the president of the F-86 Saber Pilots Association. He loved the Air Force and especially flying. He piloted a variety of planes including T-6, F-86, F-4, F-101, and F-111. He flew 156 combat mission with 100 over North Vietnam. He held assignments all over the world from Morocco to Hawaii and twice at Nellis Air Force Base where he was the squadron commander for the 422nd. He married his wife Dorothy in 1956, and they lived a beautiful marriage for 63 years. They raised two children, daughter Linda and son John. Jerry led a full life with travel, golf, bridge, and close friendships throughout his life. He joins his daughter, Linda; and brother, Dwain in Heaven, Jerry is survived by his loving wife, Dorothy; his son, John; and brother, Lloyd."  From Las Vegas Review-Journal/

Jerry was my Dad's little brother. (Lloyd came along later after Orpha remarried.) Their early years were pretty tough, and Jerry didn't talk about it much. Their father, Ray, was a roll turner in a steel mill, but work was not steady during the Thirties.  They ate a lot of corn meal, and lived in a little tarpaper shack. Ray died in 1940 from a perforated ulcer, and that was a hardship neither one of the boys talked about. Orpha married a successful farmer and their lives improved considerably, but both of them said that going into the service was great.  They had good shoes, good clothes, and the best food of their lives. Jerry loved S.O.S.  Jerry was in the mess hall one day when an officer came in and asked if anyone there wanted to learn how to fly.  Jerry stuck his hand in the air, changed his life, and had a memorable career. Jerry stayed in touch with Dad through the years, and after Dad passed away in '05, he called Mom every Sunday morning.  Susan and I took a few vacation trips with Jerry, Dorothy, and John; those are special memories.  Jerry was a hero to me as long as I can remember, and we are sure going to miss him.

Tuedsay Torque: Iron Man Challenge

Fixing up old engines can be really hard, but engine guys are a helpful bunch, and there are always willing helpers in locating and fixing parts.  The original owners of century-old engines are long gone and barn finds are rare nowadays.  You have to find engines that other collectors have saved, and that is evolving into finding engines that are doing their second go-round in collections. Finding tips for old, rare, engines in good condition is a challenge that you have to pursue on your own; sort of like finding a good place to pick morels.  Once in a while a collector gets lucky and finds an original condition engine, with original paint, and needing only a little fixing up.  That's what our friend Gary Bahre brought home last week.  It's a Kansas City/Waterloo Faultless engine, and it took less than an afternoon for Gary to make it run. It started and ran OK at first, but the hardened grease in the magneto bushings soon softened up from being oiled and the mag quit.  I've heard of spoiling an engine if you treat it too well, and I guess that must have a little truth in it. It runs on battery, though.  It will be in top shape for a coming out party in the near future.  Nice Catch, Gary!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Makes Monday Bearable

                                                           Back To The Old Grind!        Photo Credit: Engineering Johnson

Friday, January 10, 2020

Weekend Steam: Somewhere Way Over There...

No English in the title or description, so I can''t say much about this one, except it's good.  Thank You, Merle!

Thursday, January 9, 2020


I have often wondered if Big Jack has some Malamute genes.  He does not like going into a doghouse, though he will if the weather is really bad and I throw treats in. He will curl up in the snow if you leave him out, rather than go to his heated house.  The weather has been cool; very nice for January, and I put a bed on his porch every day to keep him off the ground, plus I keep his heat lamp on in his doghouse.  This is how he prefers to spend his time outdoors.

We put him in the mud room at night, where he has wool blankets for a bed, and a cat to sleep with. He enjoys a couple truck rides per day as he goes between the farm and the house at Belle Prairie.  Jack is 14, or very close to it now, so we like to make every day a good one for him.

Still Learning About Wood

It looks like we have enough wood under the eaves to get well into March.  All the wood I process now is going into the barn. In years past we have depended heavily on black oak snags, which are pretty well seasoned out when we cut them.  We have learned over the years that wet black oak will dry well enough in about a month to make a good fire. Black oak is one of the red oak group, and the spring wood is made up of large pores, which allow water to evaporate out quickly.  Trees in the white oak group close off their pores with tyloses (This is why white oak barrels can hold fluid.).White oak and post oak need a couple years in the barn before they make a good fire. 

This year we have a bunch of logs on the ground from the pipeline clearance work done last spring.  Many of those logs are cherrybark oak; one of the red oaks.  They do not dry quickly as I thought they would, even though they have the open pores in their spring wood.  I think it is a function of the width of the growth rings.  Black oak will have 8 to 12 rings per inch, but the cherrybarks are much faster growing, and they will have growth rings 3/4" wide, and sometimes wider.  All that dense wood between the spring pores hangs onto its moisture, and after a month of drying split wood under the eaves the cherrybark is just beginning to show seasoning cracks.  That will speed it up a bit, but it will be at least another month before I want to try burning any of it.  Split a piece and check it, and it is damp. 

Hickory is a dream.  I have been blocking those out, bringing them to the house and splitting them.  The big chunks have seasoning cracks in them by the time I haul the chunks to the house, just an hour after they have been cut.  Split them and stack them, and in a week they have lots of cracks, and in a couple of weeks they burn with a hot blue flame.  We are cutting wood a couple days every week, because that hickory needs to be put in the barn.  Leave it out and hickory is a smorgasbord for the bugs, and it turns to dust.  White oak logs will be the next priority to shelter, because it takes a long time to dry.  The logs from the red oak group will be the last ones we put away.  They have more insect and rot resistance than hickory, and they will dry fast once we put them under cover.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Ruger's Auctions To Benefit The Light Foundation And The USA Shooting Team

Ruger has a couple of good ones again this week.  The Mini-14 is a Law Enforcement Only model made in 1988.  The M77 Magnum Rifle in .416 Rigby is thought to have been shipped to a gun writer, and then returned to Ruger's vault.  Both of these rifles look like good ones!  Click on the photos for the links to go to Gunbroker, read the full descriptions, and place those winning bids! Note that these auctions end on Thursday, January 9, mid-day.  Good Luck!


Monday, January 6, 2020

Is Illinois Marijuana Going To Drug Dealers In Other States?

Illinois is now selling marijuana and marijuana based products in outlets across the state.  The Lieutenant Governor, Juliana Stratton was featured on the news buying weed on January 1. (I wonder if she went there in a state vehicle.)  Also in the news was a report of an Indiana resident having 100 grams of cannabis and a Glock pistol when he was stopped after a high speed chase.  He bought his weed in Illinois shops, where he had to have made many purchases because of the legal limits. From WNDU16 News

"Mr. Peavy had purchased the marijuana from Illinois earlier this morning.
Possession of marijuana is illegal in Indiana. Marijuana purchased in neighboring states is a criminal offense to possess               
                                                 Click For Link
Here are the basic rules for Illinois residents and non-residents:

"Who can buy marijuana?
                                                             Click For Link
So, Mr. Peavey had more than 6 times the legal amount for a non-resident of Illinois when he was stopped in Indiana. The press releases from Springfield are all aglow with the cash pouring into the state coffers from weed sales.  Is that weed I smell, or a rat?

UPDATE: This map explains it!  Residents of northwestern Indiana just need to pop over to Chicagoland and there are 21 marijuana dispensaries from which to choose!  Evidently, Illinois does not keep track of marijuana sales the way the do with Sudafed. Map is from Chicago Sun-Times online edition.

Tuesday Torque: 1949 English Diesel Still In Use

This is an interesting video to watch.  This engine is 70 and still working quite well.  The operators obviously pay attention to details and that has kept the old girl going.  Many Thanks to Merle, our video spotter!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Parties Are Over; Long Haul Ahead!

                                                            Back To The Old Grind!    Photo Credit, Engineering Johnson

Friday, January 3, 2020

Weekend Steam: Trencherfield Mill Engine

This is a remarkable machine to watch.  It is a triple expansion engine with four cylinders. In this system, the exhaust steam from the second cylinder is exhausted into two cylinders.  This engine is also a rope drive, which is really neat.  Many Thanks to Merle for spotting these great steam engine videos!

Thursday, January 2, 2020


The old joke is, "I don't have to go to work; I'm surrounded by it!"  That's us, all right.  Took a little walk in the woods at the farm and realized that I could be cutting wood every day and not catch up.  We planted those ash trees in 1976, and if we don't cut them now and store the wood, we will lose it all to the emerald ash borer.  Ash is easier to work up than decadent pin oak, so that is where I will start.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Same Old Same Old

A beautiful day; some nice hickory to split tomorrow.