Sunday, May 31, 2020

Rural Retiree Fitness Program


Life out here in the country is great!  We don't need to join a gym; when we need a workout, we just go out in the yard and dig a hole.  Then we fill it back in and reseed the grass or lay the sod if we were able to save it.  It gives us all those sore muscles and calluses that others have to pay big bucks for!


                                                              Back To The Old Grind!

PS: When the perimeter drain was laid in the early '70s, for some reason they put a trap in it.  That thing has plugged with sediment, so it is coming out and our plumber will run a camera in to see if it is plugged above the trap.  We are keeping our fingers crossed.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Friday, May 29, 2020

Weekend Steam: A Little Case Action!

Here are a couple of Merle's picks that highlight a brand everybody likes.  Thank You, Merle!




Thursday, May 28, 2020

Sisko aka Sisco, Spell It As You Wish...

Sisko is one of the pups that moved in last February.  He is coming up on nine months of age now and pretty well has his growth, so Friday morning he has an appointment for neutering.  Dogs that go through foster care must be fixed when they go out into the World, and Sisko is ready for his permanent home.  Poor kid! (Photo was made in February after Susan cleaned him up.  He is a fine dog, and full of Schipperke energy.)


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Remember Nico, The Schipperke Foster Pup?


 Here is Nico soon after he arrived for foster care. He is a handsome little fellow, and a joy to be around. 



 Look at him now, in his new, forever home. He is living the good life, and his family is very pleased with him.

Invercargill, Performed By Brass Man Bart...

...aka, my brother Ben.  Ben has been a tuba player since he was a kid, and his tubas are a joy to him.  This Eb tuba was beat up pretty badly when he bought it, and I think it is his favorite.  He also plays a euphonium on this, his first YouTube video.  Click it over to YouTube and give it a thumbs up if you like it, and hit the Subscribe button.  Ben plans to turn out a  bunch of tuba videos.  I don't know if he will take requests, but I am officially requesting that he put Asleep In The Deep on his list. 


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Flower Walk


One of our friends has been working on prairie restoration on his ground.  He has become an expert in the native wildflowers of Southern Illinois, and his work is impressive. 


Most people who re-establish a prairie concentrate on grasses, but this prairie is mostly wildflowers.
There are trails all over this project so burns can be done by one person. 


The search of local native plants continues. Every collection of new seeds is a treasure.





Monday, May 25, 2020

Tuesday Torque: Shows Or Not, You Have To Fire Them Up

Here are a couple of Wendell Kelch's big 'uns that he has posted recently.  You have to limber up these old machines once in a while of they will revert back to Barn Fresh.






Sunday, May 24, 2020

We Remember...


...Lloyd Bentrup, the uncle we never knew, mortally wounded July 24, 1944 as he served on the USS Colorado.


Buried at St. Joseph, Missouri with a brother and his parents.


His Mother's flowers still honor his memory.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

One For Militaria Aficionados

We were visiting a friend this week and he showed us some of his collection.  This heavy leather antique was made at the Rock Island Arsenal in 1918, and I don't want to hazard a guess what it is for.  Comments are welcome!







Friday, May 22, 2020

Weekend Steam: 1948 Boiler Explosion

Here are some good photos and a good explanation of the explosion of a locomotive.  These stories are always fascinating, and you need to understand the causes if you hang around boilers and steam engines.  Thank You Merle, for good spotting!


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Thinking About Steel Targets? Here Are Some Safety Tips From Hickok45

This video has been up for a few years, but new people are always coming into the hobby, so it bears another look.


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Got My Feet Wet This Morning, And Was Cold All Day!


I had to be out for a while this morning, and walking in tall, wet grass will make your feet wet. You can grease your boots, wade quickly through a stream and stay dry, but walk in we grass and you will have wet feet the rest of the day. Oh Well, the flowers were sure pretty, with the raindrops decorating them.


 After dinner there is nothing as good as a warm dog or three on your lap!  The little blonde one is Godiva, who is still looking for a home. 


Monday, May 18, 2020

Tuesday Torque: Merle Found Some Big 'uns!

Merle sent links this week to a couple of gas engine videos, and big engines are always interesting to watch when they are fired up. It's not just that they require strength, knowledge, and the Knack.  They have the ability to pick you up and throw you, and it really does happen occasionally.  Engine guys are well aware of the dangers, but you always get on edge when you see somebody cranking a big engine.   Thanks, Merle!



Sunday, May 17, 2020

Friday, May 15, 2020

Weekend Steam: The World's Fastest Steam Engines!

Merle has spotted another good one that gives us a look at steam in Great Britain. This is history we don't hear in the U.S. Engines running more than 100 miles per hour seems as breathtaking today as it must have been 80-some years ago.  Thank You, Merle!


The Great Outdoors: Gather Next Winter's Wood Starting Now!


We have let both stoves go cold, and we might not light up again until next October. That's just five months, and the woodpile in the barn is only enough for a couple weeks of cold weather.  The weather now is perfect for cutting.  It's warm enough that we can work in shirtsleeves, but cool enough we don't work up a sweat.  Before you go out and do your necessary chainsawing, review your safety procedures.  Here is the list I use:



Chainsaw Safety  Rules

1. Always wear your safety gear when running your saw: hard hat, eye, face, hearing protection, cut resistant protection for your legs, heavy boots, gloves (depending on work conditions).

2. Safety devices on the saw must be in working order: front hand guard,chain brake, chain catcher, throttle lockout, and right hand guard.

3. Hold the saw on the ground or lock it between your knees for starting. No 'Drop Starts.' Set the chain brake before cranking.

4. The engine must idle reliably without turning the chain.

5. The chain must be sharpened properly, including properly set depth gauges.

6. The chain must be adjusted to remove slack and still run freely.

7. The operator must understand the forces on different parts of the bar as the saw runs: push, pull, kickback and attack.

8. Both hands must always be on the saw when the chain is running. The thumbs must be wrapped around the handles. Both feet should be firmly planted on the ground.

9. The operator must always know where the end of the bar is, and what it's doing.

10. Don't let the upper (kickback) corner of the bar contact anything when the chain is running unless the tip has been buried with the lower corner.

11. Let off of the throttle before pulling out of a pinch on the top part of the bar.

12. Make a plan for every tree you cut. Assess hazards, lean, escape routes, forward cuts, and back cuts. Evaluate the forward or backward lean, and the side lean of every tree you cut. Know your limits.

13. Clear your work area and your escape path of brush, vines, and other hazards that can trip you or catch your saw.

14. Escape from the bullseye when the tree tips. 90% of accidents happen within 12 feet of the stump. Go more than 15 feet, and stay out of the bullseye until things stop falling.

15. Keep spectators away more than twice the height of the tree in the direction it will fall.

16. Don't cut alone.

17. Keep your body and the swamper's out of the line of the bar in case of a kickback.

18. Set the brake when taking over two steps or when moving through tripping hazards. Keep your trigger finger off of the throttle when you are moving.

19. DO NOT operate a chainsaw from a ladder! Operating with your feet off the ground requires special training.

20. Do not cut above your shoulders.

21. Springpoles must be shaved on the inside of the apex between the ascending and descending sides. If the apex is higher than you shoulders, stand under the springpole and cut it low on the descending side. It will release upward, away from you. Leaning and heavily loaded poles that are too small to bore cut for a hinge should be shaved on the compressed side until they fold.

22. Do not cut a tree that is holding up a lodged tree. Do not work under a lodged tree. Think about a mouse trying to steal the cheese out of a trap.

23. Instruct your swampers and helpers to NEVER approach you from behind or the sides to within the reach of your saw when you are cutting. If you pull out of a cut with the chain running, or have a severe kickback, the swamper can be killed if he is coming up behind you!

24. Quit When You Are Tired!

25.  Pause and review; reflect, when you are being pushed. You may be pushed into danger. Do not let pressure to complete a task cause you to ignore safety rules!


Most of these rules carry a penalty of serious injury or death if you choose to ignore them.  You might get away ignoring some of them for a while, but eventually they will bite you. In my video below, I was at the end of a long day and was tired, so when I cut this lodged snag loose, I did not step back.  I saw the top snap and come back at me, but there was no time to move out of the way.  It is a good lesson for anyone who uses a chainsaw. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

You Take Your Excitement Where You Find It!


Wayne White Electric Coop linemen changed out four poles on us a few days ago. Could you be as cool as the guy in the bucket with 7200 volts just a few feet away?  Linemen are a special breed.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Tuesday Torque: Mogul 1 HP

Here is our friend Gary's 1 HP Mogul engine, an original from 1917.  Gary isn't getting ready for any shows, but he is pulling his engines out, oiling them, putting in clean fuel, and then running them  out of fuel so he doesn't have sour gas in his babies. Engines may sit for years and you don't want to leave gasoline in the tanks, check valves, and carburetors. 


Sunday, May 10, 2020

By Hook Or By Crook

I think I can reach this, and it ought to pull down without too much strain. Plenty enough to pick up and cut this week, too.


                                                           Back To The Old Grind!


                                Bonus wildlife pic, just because they stood still for a minute.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

The Great Outdoors: Nasty Little Blighters

You have seen Emerald Ash Borer mentioned here several times, but it is very seldom that you will see one of these little pests, even though there are billions and billions of them.  We have been splitting ash firewood, and a few of the nearly finished pupae have been rolling out from under bark as we work.  They are all of 1/2" long, but boy do they leave trails under the bark.  The trees are doomed when you girdle them under their bark by chewing away the cambium and sapwood.  Here is one of them, cradled in the palm of my hand. We have our work cut out for us this year, taking down dying ash trees and making firewood.


Friday, May 8, 2020

Do You Carry At Home?

Listen to Massad Ayoob in this new video, and then update your methods if you have not done so already.  100% of home invasions happen at....home!


Weekend Steam: Merle Spotted Some Sad News

The virus is far-reaching, and engine shows are being cancelled all over the country this year.  Union Pacific Railroad has made a sad announcement.  I hope that all of you who wanted to see the Big Boy got a good look last year, because it won't be touring this year.  Thanks, Merle.


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

How Do You Handle Carpenter Bees?


We tried a little experiment today.  We have carpenter bees every year, and they are destructive; boring holes into your house to raise their young.  I primed a couple of .44 Special cases, added a bit of Herco powder, put a card on top of the powder, filled the case with Cream Of Wheat, and placed another card on top of the Cream Of Wheat. We went out to try them and the bees were not out in the cold, but we found a couple of red wasp nests being built under the eaves.  These loads smoked 'em, and with no damage to the paint. Gotta load a bunch now.  Murder Wasps, Look Out!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Poppy Weather


Poppies have a hard time.  The weather likes to be disagreeable when they pop out.  Last night we had heavy rain; 1.7 inches with lots of thunder and lightning.  Tonight we've had a couple of storms blow through along with a half minute of hail.  Enjoy them quick! They're calling for frost Saturday morning, and we are thinking of building a fire to maybe keep frost off the garden.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Tuesday Torque: 25 HP Otto and 3 HP Backus

Chris Epping has some amazing engines. I wish he told a bit about them, but watching is still good.


Addition to Blog List

I just added Minuteman Review to the blog list. It's a pretty good site, and the trouble was deciding if it is a blog, forum and reference, or a place to shop.  It is all three, so you will find it under each of those headings on the left side of this page.  Thank You, Jay, for bringing your site to my attention!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Low Life


Susan was out doing yard work today and found this, a not-yet-stale remnant of a beer on the pond bank.  We are guessing that the trespass occurred yesterday when we were both gone for part of the day, and our return caused a hurried exit-stage-left.  It's a bother that we can do without.  We have had more than our share of trespassers and we make a good effort to nip it in the bud every time we catch one.  Every one is unique.

This one, during a deer season last year was wearing a hat with the Illinois State Police logo on it.  I don't know if he was in ill-mannered State Cop, or just managed to cop a hat from one, but it didn't gain any points for him with me. 


It looks like we will be doing some things to tighten up security a bit more.  Back To The Old Grind!  And carry at home!

Saturday, May 2, 2020

The Towering Potato


We saw a potato tower at a friend's house and Susan had to try it. She built it all herself, except for pounding in the fence post uprights.  Life is an adventure!

Friday, May 1, 2020

Weekend Steam: Visit The Illinois Railway Museum...

...at Union, Illinois!  The museum is 55 northwest of Chicago, so Southern Illinois residents have a long drive to get there, but it is definitely on our list.  This is a good one, Merle!  Many Thanks!  Click on the YouTube icon in the lower right of the video to watch on YouTube, where you can read the description and comments.