Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Foster Schipperke Update

Sisko and Betty Boop are still living downstairs.  Sisko is going to need a strong, energetic human who can do walks, obedience training, run, and play.  Betty is more subdued than Sisko and loves to sit on your lap and cuddle, but she does like to run and play, too.

Godiva has moved upstairs and is fitting in with our pack of dogs.  She was pretty shy at first, but in a couple days she figured out the routine and today even kenneled on command when we had to  go out for a while.  Every one of the dogs we've had is special.

Godiva passes the toenail clipping test with flying colors.   I wish all of our own dogs behaved so well.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Tuesday Torque: Rustons

I first heard of Ruston-Hornsby engines more than fifty years ago when Rev. Elmer Ritzman began publishing the Gas Engine Magazine in 1966. An early article in that magazine was about the Ruston Hornsby oil engines.  Finally, at Rollag last year, I saw some fine examples of Ruston engines.  Be sure to watch closely and note the broken frame and the torch-welded repair.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Picking Up Sticks

No days off when you are retired!  We've been dropping trees, busting them down and moving them.  This redbud was getting tight with the 220 line that goes to the garage, so I cut off the power at the pole before whacking.  Flipped the power back on, but it didn't come on.  The breaker between the meter and the house is having problems, and we were able to get it back on, but now we are going to get a new meter loop and a new pole (The original is 60 years old!).  Back To The Old Grind!

Weekend Steam Part 3! How Do You Build A New, High Speed Locomotive?

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust built the Tornado, and now they are going to build a new Mikado, The Prince Of Wales.  Here is a detailed discussion of the planning that goes into the process.  Thank You Merle for sending this on in!

More Weekend Steam!; Rebuilding The Sumpter Valley Steam Engine

Zeke sent the link for this one.  If you ever wondered how old locomotives are brought back to life, this video shows how it is done.  Thank You, Zeke!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Weekend Steam: Where Do Model Engines Come From?

Here is a great example of a home workshop where magic is made and steam engines come out.  The Stuart Triple Expansion is a classic kit, and I first saw it in steam catalogs more than fifty years ago. Thank You, Merle, for locating this great video!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Flower Patches

We have been making flower patches by the road for many years.  The last couple years the weeds took over and things weren't pretty.  We are doing a workover this Spring to beat the weeds back.  We've tilled our beds three times to kill the weeds that are up, and have seeded one bed to new flowers.

This patch will get another tilling when it dries up next week, and then we are going to plant squash all over it and hope that we can overwhelm the weeds.  Next spring we hope to redo it again and take it back to flowers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Earth Day 50? Holy Cow! It's Always Earth Day For Foresters.

Never did care much for tree huggers.  I'm more of a tree planter, a tree counter, and a tree user.  I planted this one thirty years ago, and emerald ash borer doomed it.  Life's not all bad, and this will go in the barn for next winter.

                                                                     Chips. Not Dust.

Does the Earth love it as much as I do when a tree thumps down?  I never get tired of that, and the bigger the tree the bigger the thrill. Let's revisit our Earth Day Tree Murder video. We put it up on YouTube years ago and I still have no hate comments on it. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Retirement Can Be Sweet

Sleep past Dawn with your little gray cat, warm meals, rides in the truck, nobody expects me to work, and walks whenever I ask for them.  A dog's life is pretty nice. Big Jack is 14, and loving it.

The Great Outdoors: Goose Island

                                                                 Click Photo To Enlarge
"I am not the goose you are looking for!"  Also, I saw some goslings on the pond this evening.  Soon we will be having great baby goose shows in the back yard.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Sittin' Around, Not Doin' Nothin?

Nope.  Folks want to get out and go. Frey Produce of Orchardville, Illinois had a Watermelon Drive Through this weekend, and the line was running about 1/2 mile the entire time we were there.

Pop your trunk or rear hatch...

 ... and it's watermelons on the run!

There's a smile behind that mask!

People don't want to sit around.  They want to get Back To The Old Grind!

Friday, April 17, 2020

Weekend Steam: Samson... the Beamish Museum.  Almost a traction engine on rails, Samson was built from a photograph and an engraving of the original engine that was scrapped in 1904.  Thanks Merle, for spotting this one!

The Great Outdoors: Counting Tree Rings

This ash tree was in its early seventies, and if not for the emerald ash borer, it probably would have been good for a hundred.  Most of the ash trees in our timber died from ash yellow disease many years ago and I have to wonder if this one and a few other survivors had some sort of natural immunity to that disease.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Quarantine Fun!

                                                                     Click To Enlarge.

I made my best guess, and I was wrong!  Now I don't have a clue. Thank You, to Whomever left the surprise!

Still Two Burnin'!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The Great Outdoors: Doomed Ash Trees; Treat Them Pre-Emptively!

You know your ash trees are dying sooner, not later.  The emerald ash borer has been in Southern Illinois for several years now, and blonding of ash bark is common.  Wait until the trees are dead and you will have limbs raining down on you, and the trees will become brittle and dangerous to cut.  Wait a bit too long and your trees will topple.  Pick your conditions and take those trees down safely. We have a couple more to do this spring yet, and that will give us a good jump on firewood for next winter.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Tuesday Torque: 50 HP Samson

According to the writeup on YouTube, this Samson engine was built at Stockton, California and went to work in an Arizona mine in 1910. Walter Miller and his son David located this rare engine and took it to the Iron Ranch to be restored.  Click the YouTube icon in the lower right corner to read the description.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

It's Spring And You Might Be Firing Up Your Old Tractor...

Back To The Old Grind! Safely, Please! I know a guy who hand cranked an old Farmall and it tried to go through the barn wall. I think he jumped straight up to avoid being crushed.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Weekend Steam: NKP In Northern Ohio, Adhesion Problems!

Merle found a very interesting video.  Click the YouTube icon in the lower right of the video to go to YouTube and read the entire writeup for this video.  The rails were greased to make the train slip through a tight situation, but they were greased a bit too much. They gave the locals a really good show.  Thank You, Merle!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Great Outdoors: Dropping A Lodged Snag

A good friend called with a tree problem.  A dead tree had tipped and lodged in a live tree at the edge of the back yard. They were considering calling a track hoe.  I had to go look, and I took a couple saws, plus wedges.  It was a tough one.  It was a big dead ash that was resting on a 12" diameter elm tree.  The good part of the puzzle is that the ash wanted to roll, with a bunch of weight lying on the left crown.  That turned out to be a very good thing, and the tree came down with only one cut.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Monday, April 6, 2020

Tuesday Torque: Some Nice Tractors And A Chance To Improve Your Collection!

Aumann Auctions move a lot of old iron, and you should watch one of these auctions online.  You will be astounded at the prices old tractors with steel wheels bring nowadays.  Aumann gets good iron in these auctions, and serious collectors follow them or go in person to stay in touch with the hobby. You can click on the YouTube link in the corner of the video to read Aumann's writeup, and you can visit the auction site HERE.  This auction is postponed due to the quarantine, so keep an eye on Aumann's site for updates.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Enjoy The Benefits Of Working From Home

No commute, you just have to dress the top half, you don't have to wear shoes, you can go out and enjoy your flowers at break time.  All that, and you will stay on the right side of the sod!  It's almost like not grinding at all!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The Eyes Still Have It!

Heading over to the farm this morning I was going down the gravel, parallelling the creek, and spotted a raccoon up the pin oak just right of center.  I don't know why I saw it, but I sure did, and stopped to shoot a couple photos.

That sure looks like an uncomfortable place to take a nap.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Weekend Steam: Double Your Pleasure With Double Headers!

Here is 21 minutes of joy, picked by Merle just for you!  Many Thanks, Merle! 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Don't Bring Lulu!

                                                                     Click Pic To Enlarge.

Schipperkes have come and gone, and a couple more have come in.  We still have four foster Schips and it looks like we will have them for another month.  This pretty blonde girl is Lulu, an adult who raised pups in her previous life before her owner transferred the dogs to Midwest Schipperke Rescue.  We are handling Lulu regularly to socialize her because she is somewhat fearful of people.  She has a home waiting for her in another state, and she is going to stay with us until the lockdown is over. Illinois' rules appear to allow transferring foster dogs, but we don't want to take chances catching Covid, and we sure don't want to be stopped in another state and possibly lose a dog.  Lulu's fur in her ruff is much softer than black Schips. Giving her shoulder massages feels as good to us as it does for her.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Great Outdoors: Bad Branch Angles and Included Bark

Narrow angles in a tree are weaker than wide angles, and joints with no ridge have bark included between the branches.  The included bark not only keeps the two sides from growing together, as the tree grows the branches push against one another and eventually will push the tree apart.

This problem is quite common in shade trees, partly because of tree species choices and partly because shade trees usually don't have enough competition for sunlight, and they spread rather than growing up straight.

They may break up in storms, or on a dead calm day, like this Bradford pear tree.

The wounds caused by these breakups are huge, and the tree really needs to be taken down before rot makes it even more dangerous.

Ignore the warning signs and you probably will be going out in a storm to open up your driveway.  When pruning for timber production, the first pruning done is to make young trees merchantable when they mature.  It may just be a nip or two to make a young junk tree into a valuable tree.  Shade trees are similar.  That early pruning can make a tree a good, safe neighbor for you.  Failing to do those cuts can cause damage and inconvenience in the future for you.