Monday, August 31, 2020

Tuesday Torque: Let's Watch Some Bump Starts!

 Big old engines are hard to pull through compression so bump starting is popular with these heavies. Watch the mag, and especially the trip for kicking the engine off. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Digging, Always Digging

 Do you ever wonder about which tools were invented first? I've thought for years that the hammer would be first, but there is also a good chance it was the shovel. Pick up a stick and you can use it to reach, to push, or to dig. Deuteronomy 23:13 tells us to carry a stick so we can clean up after ourselves.  We never get done digging, until we're really done, and then somebody else gets to dig for us.  Anyhow, the dogs are liking their stepping stones, and they will give us a safe path to clean the dog yard when it rains.

Back To The Old Grind!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Weekend Steam: Barn Fresh Steam Traction Engine?

 This is a rare occurrence!  This engine went from the barn to running with very little work. During the 1950's and 1960's you would hear about this type of find, but you sure don't expect it today.  The Minneapolis had been idle for 60 years. Remarkable! Posted to YouTube, November 2018.

The Iron Ranch
2.76K subscribers
"Here is a 1910 Minneapolis 22hp steam tractor that we recently picked up. We found it in Eastern Oregon and it last ran in the early 1950's. Everything was in great shape, so with a little work we had it running again for the first time in over 60 years. The engine is 22hp #6423 and it lived its entire live in a roughly 10 mile zone until we found it this fall. Even now, it is only a few hours away from its original home. Aside from being local, the tractor is almost entirely original, having the factory jacketing, original whistle, original pressure gauge, and some original paint too! We are very excited to continue tinkering on this amazing engine! I hope you guys enjoy it too! And for those who ask, yes we know the governor is not working. We had to disconnect it because of an issue that we discovered upon initial fireup. We left it temporarily disconnected in order to be able to test run the tractor and have a little fun before we ran out of daylight. We will be fixing this before it's operated again."

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Roaring Twenties Music: Japanese Sandman

 Whispering and Japanese Sandman are a couple of the best songs in the world for Fox Trotting, and we play them often.  Paul Whiteman recorded both of these classics in August 1920.  We featured Whispering last week, and here is Japanese Sandman, with a bonus of Nora Bayes in a second video.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Brass Man Bart Performs Wait 'Til The Sun Shines, Nellie

 Ben knocks out another good one!

How Many Ash Trees Will You Be Cutting?

 We have a bunch of them! Ash pops up all over the place, especially around edges, so we will have a good supply this winter of stove sized ash that needs just one split. Remember that these edge trees are usually way off balance.  Don't get your head knocked off by a barberchair.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Tuesday Torque: Revisiting Old Threshers At Mt. Pleasant

 Midwest Old Settlers And Threshers is one of the shows that is cancelled this year, but they will be back. Here is a nicely restored Reid oilfield engine that I recorded in 2009.  Susan and I were fortunate to see engines operating in powerhouses when we lived in Eastern Kentucky. The Reid is pretty neat because it is a 2-stroke cycle engine.  Instead of the crankcase being used for intake and transfer to the combustion chamber, Reids use a charging cylinder running parallel to the power cylinder. They have their own sound.

Rick: Listen to the John Deere at 24 seconds as the operator cranks it. You can hear the atmosphrically operated intake valve snorting while the engine is at low RPM. Thanks for the question in Comments!

Sunday, August 23, 2020

At Least It's Not Plumbing!

 We're reshaping a corner of the back yard to improve water flow away from the house. The old Ariens has been busting clods for forty years!

Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Emerald Ash Borer In The Local News: My 15 Seconds Of Fame!

  John Ross of WSIL TV 3 called yesterday and then came right out to do a brief interview and look at emerald ash borer damage to trees.  We got lucky and found some really good galleries for the camera.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Roaring Twenties Music: Whispering, by Paul Whiteman

Paul Whiteman and his orchestra recorded Whispering on August 23, 1920.  It went to Number 1 for eleven weeks, and stayed on the charts for twenty weeks, selling more than two million copies.  It is one of the songs that made the Twenties roar.


Weekend Steam: 1911 30-96 Nichols & Shepard

 Let's go to Reynold's Museum! "Lighting up Reynolds Museum's own mighty 1911 Nichols & Shepard 30-96 steam traction engine for the first time in the 2017 season. This massive behemoth is affectionately known as "Big Nick" and is one of the most powerful steam tractors operating in Canada today. With a full head of steam on this traction engine delivers a whopping 96 horsepower and roughly 1250ft/lbs of torque at the flywheel from it's two cylinder simple expansion engine, drawbar horsepower is rated at 30. The steam engine makes use of the famous Stephenson twin eccentric valve gear system to control engine direction and variable steam cutoff. This tractor is fitted with a solid drive pin to bypass the clutch under heavy load, locking the crankshaft directly to the output drive gears when heavy traction work is required such as plowing, this prevents clutch damage due to excessive slippage. A huge thanks must be extended to the Reynolds Alberta Museum for lending out their vintage machinery for our group to gain steam hours towards our heritage steam operators certificates."

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Diggin' Taters!

Plus, OKRA! We are living the good life!


Monday, August 17, 2020

Tuesday Torque: Revisiting The Debut Of The 8 HP Bessemer

 Four years ago this fall, our friend Gary Bahre made this old basket case run.  It was just a very poor parts kit when he got it, and it is really fixed up well now, and could go back to work if Gary had a mind to do that.  History of this engine:  Found on a farm in Lawrence County Kentucky in 1976, brought to Illinois in 1980, this engine held a mailbox by the side of the road from 1992 until 2014. Gary Bahre took it on as a project and has made a basket case run again. During this engine's working years it powered a sorghum press at Martha, Kentucky. It had water in it during a freeze, and the water jacket was broken. When we bought it there was a big, ugly brazing job holding the water jacket together. Gary Bahre cleaned that up so it hardly shows now. The farmer continued to use this engine until the rod broke; we guess sometime during the 1920's. It sat outside and rusted until I saw it in 1976 as I was going to a timber marking job at Martha. My wife and I went there after work, bought it from the son of the man who originally purchased and ran it, and we loaded it in the back of our AMC Rebel station wagon.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

We Will Be Back!

 Here's a nice, barn fresh, Associated engine at Pinckneyville a few years back. Don't give up, things will get better.

Back To The Old Grind!

Friday, August 14, 2020

The Devil Wears LaCrosse

Walking old Jack Dog yesterday morning I observed a track in the driveway that didn't belong. It was narrow, not a car, tractor or utility vehicle. I turned around and looked behind me; the log splitter was gone. It happened sometime after 10 PM and morning, and one of the neighbors told us that he had something setting off an alarm around 2 AM.

I found footprints. The thief walked in on the old section of road, and in the dark walked through mud.  The tracks are plainly LaCrosse rubber boots, but the mud did not print the size rectangle. They should put serial numbers on them and register all buyers, I guess. The County Sheriff came out, took photos and notes, and we sent him documentation for our splitter, on the long chance that they encounter it somewhere.  I have long held that thieves don't steal anything they have to work with, so the thief probably had a buyer lined up.  We had lots of storm damage locally, so our machine is probably helping some receiver of stolen goods work up a tree.

It was a good machine.  We have been using it since the fall of '09, and it has helped send many trees up the flue. It was full of gas and had clean oil; ready to work.

Weekend Steam: Missing Pinckneyville

 This is what we should be doing this weekend.  I hope the October show happens. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Adopters Are Being Checked Out...

... for Godiva and Betty Boop, and it appears that they will be going out the door.  They don't know that their lives will soon turn upside down again.  Sisko is oblivious, too, that he may soon be moving on.  It is going to hurt us more than it hurts them!

Back To The Old Foster Doggy Grind!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Free Air Show Thrills!

 One of the joys of living in the country is seeing a free air show every little bit.  Today it was a helicopter!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Foster Schip Update

All three of the fosters at our house are ready to move on to a permanent home when the right matches are found.  Godiva would be quite happy to stay with us forever, and she fits in well with our dogs.  Someone, somewhere is a match for little Godiva, and they will have a great life together.  One of the neat things she has learned is to use the ramp to get up on the bed and back down. Our dogs are accustomed to jumping, and we got a ramp to keep them safe because of their age. Godiva knows nothing about jumping up on a bed, so the ramp was a natural path for her.  She loves to lie in patches of sunshine. She does not like rain or hot days.

Betty and Sisko are little firecrackers.  They had come in from playing a few minutes before this photo and went straight to their kennels to rest. Both of these dogs will need someone with plenty of energy. Sisko plays rough with Betty and he grabs her by a hind leg when they are wrestling.  Betty is smaller, but she can dish it right back and make Sisko back off when he gets too rough.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Brass Man Bart: Colonel Bogey!

Gotta say again; You're gonna love this one!

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Done Plumbing, At Least For A While, We Hope!

Ford's Plumbing was out again this week to work on the perimeter drain and replace the broken segment under the basement slab. We had mission creep occur and they also replaced a gutter drain line that was damaged many years ago.  Everything is Hunky-Dory now, and our lives can return to the regular programming.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Tuesday Torque: Cletrac Collection

I always enjoy seeing a Cletrac at a show, but I don't know much about them other than they were made in Cleveland.  There's enough history in this video to get our knowledge going.

John In Philly: I was looking through photos at Pinckneyville and came across this high-crop version of a Cletrac that was shown in 2014. I started looking for videos and could not find one. This is a rare bird, but others do exist.

Sunday, August 2, 2020


No Pinckneyville, Mt. Pleasant, or Rollag this year.  Here's one from Rollag last year.

Vicarious Grinding Thrills!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Epic Tree Fails #32

Garth, over in the Netherlands is putting together some great compilations of tree cutting mistakes and accidents.  There are always ladders, often kickbacks, and some barberchairs.  If you are cutting trees, take a class and learn the techniques you need to avoid barberchairs, and always escape from the stump when the tree goes into motion.  As you come up on the 4 minute mark you will see a man create a barberchair that gets really tall, and he stands still, evidently not understanding what he has created.  It is a fatal pair of mistakes.