Friday, December 31, 2021

Weekend Steam: British Plowing Engine, Pulling A Sled!

 I never thought about the Brits having tractor pulls, but now I know better! Thanks for spotting, Merle, and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Tight Branch Angles, Included Bark

Tight branch angles are trouble. They trap bark between the stem and the branch or fork, making a weak connection that is prone to breaking up in a storm. You lose wood quality, timber volume and maybe the entire tree. If you can reach the problem branch when it is young, take it off.  Take the tree out so other, better trees can grow if you do a pre-commercial thinning. Trees like this are good candidates for firewood, too. Sawlog trees with this problem should definitely be taken during a harvest, rather than keeping them for the next sale. They are high risk.

This is how the tree appears when you can look inside.

This is what happens when you don't nip the problem in the bud. Rot is introduced into the tree, and there will be ring shake at the year of the injury.


Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Bryn Athyn Train Wreck, December 5, 1921

 This wreck should not have happened, and it caused the change to metal passenger cars.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Almost A Chainsaw Disaster!

 Eaton Rapids Joe sent a link for a chainsaw story in the UK Daily Mail (click the link), and it is an educational article and video. Much of the information in the article is obviously wrong if you have spent any time on our chainsaw posts. Matt Charland, the man who is nearly killed, is no lumberjack, though he may have cut trees before. He said the tree had a weird angle, but the tree appears to have forward weight and it should have fallen right if he had made the proper cuts. The tree is dead, and that is one of the failure factors. Dead trees can be brittle and lose fiber strength. So, what did Mr. Charland do that was wrong?

You always should evaluate weight and lean on every tree you cut from two different angles, and assess whether the tree will need to be wedged, and if so, how much lift you need to provide. Wedging a dead back-weighted tree is risky because the hinge is likely to part when you lift with your wedges. 

This screen shot at 36 seconds makes the tree appear to have forward weight, and the next one at 39. Click on the first photo and they will come up so you can click through them.

seconds shows the tree tipped forward. Then the hinge fails. This is the real failure in the process. The hinge was obviously not strong enough, and probably was cut too thin. The back cut on any tree you fall should be perpendicular to the stem, which usually is a horizontal cut, not angled as this one is. Many novices cut on an angle, and the explanation they always give me is that it will make the stump push the tree over. At best, you cut through more wood to make the back cut. At worst, as in this case, the hinge failed, the tree slid on the sloping back cut, and the butt of the tree was propelled forward by about three feet, totally changing the balance of the tree, brittle wood was jarred loose from the treetop and rained down, and the tree which had started forward, changed direction and fell opposite of the planned direction. 


                                                       Landed, tipping back, and wood is falling.

Make a plan for every tree you cut, starting out with the hazards. Use a plumb to determine weight and lean. Avoid wedging dead brittle trees if they have much back weight. If you do, have an escape route in case the hinge pulls apart. Do not cut trees that have any chance of hitting valuable improvements, especially power lines.  Thank You Very Much, Eaton Rapids Joe, for the link!

Sunday, December 26, 2021

All The Snow Has Turned To Water,

 Christmas Days Have Come And Gone...

Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, John Prine

1913 Massacre, Arlo Guthrie

 Written, recorded and released by Woody Guthrie in 1941, and recorded by Arlo Guthrie for his Hobo's Lullaby album in 1972. A waning moon on a cold winter night before Christmas is a sad reminder of the Christmas Eve disaster.

Vivaldi Four Seasons: Winter, Cynthia Freivogel and the Voices of Music

It's official now. The days will be growing longer again.


Outdoorsman Challenge

 Find the deer. It is less than fifty feet away. Spotting a tiny bit of your game can be the key to success. I spotted her, took photos, and left without alarming her.

And here is the answer. One ear. She spotted me first. Both ears turned to me and I stopped. In a few seconds she relaxed and she no longer faced directly at me. If you are hunting meat and not a trophy, the time you spend in the woods will make the deer become somewhat accustomed to you. 

Silent Night and Adeste Fidelis, Brassman Bart

Tuesday Torque: Riding Along In A 1919 Model T

 We haven't visited Road King for a while, and his videos are always fun and a bit educational. This T Roadster starts and runs great, and it looks like an easy driver, too.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Weekend Steam II: Steam Locomotives In Autumn!

 This is half an hour of steam, so pour a cup of coffee! Thank You, Merle!

Lo, How A Rose E're Blooming

One Tree, Two Little Loads

The ash that snapped its top and tried to get me is all cut, split, and stacked. Two trips in the Kubota RTV got it all, plus another small pole that I had on the ground.


Vivaldi Concerto In D Major RV 212 "St. Antonio" Alana Youseffian And Voices Of Music

Alana Youseffian will thrill your heart with this performance. Watch the other musicians as she plays the Cadenza. Especially, watch the cellist, who is about to burst as Alana plays harmonics beyond the fingerboard.  

Friday, December 17, 2021

LMS 46100, The Royal Scot Ascends Hatton Bank

 I never cease to be amazed to see steamers running like new in today's World. Great Pick, Merle! Click the video over to YouTube to read the description.

Christmas Canon, Trans Siberian Orchestra

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Holy Moley!

 A high school acquaintance  told me how to handle moles many years ago. He managed a golf course and had figured out how to get them. Just push down all the runs that are active, watch and wait. Pretty soon, the mole will start pushing a tunnel roof back up. Pounce with your shovel. Well, we have moles invading the dog yard. It's hard enough keeping grass with all the little feet running around, and the moles make a mess. The dogs want to sniff and dig, too. I did the "pat down and wait with a shovel" trick this morning, and by golly, it worked! The dogs were all a bit spooked by it when I flipped it out. They weren't nearly as eager as when they were trying to dig him out.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, The Piano Guys

Monday, December 13, 2021

What Child Is This? Lindsey Stirling

Widowmaker Surprise!

 Always wear your safety gear and make a plan that includes looking for hazards and your escape route!

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Angel Eyes, Emmy Lou Harris

Mike Rowe, We've Set Up The Workforce For Failure

Copper Being Dug, Ground, Pulverized, And Much, Much More!

 Back To The Old Grind!

Twenty-Year-Old Saved From Life Of Crime

 Look at the news stations in any big city and your heart will be broken for our country because of lawlessness gone wild. In this news report, a 23 year-old met a 20-year old to sell a gun. I am guessing it was a stolen gun. The 20 year-old got his hands on the gun and took off running. The seller drew another gun and unloaded on the runner. There truly is no honor among thieves.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Everything But The Music Box!

 One of my favorite poems has come true! Robert W. Service published this gem in his final volume in 1955. It should have more fame. Read to the end and see what is available in the marketplace today!

Toilet Seats, by Robert W. Service

While I am emulating Keats
My brother fabrics toilet seats,
The which, they say, are works of art,
Aesthetic features of the mart;
So exquisitely are they made
With plastic of a pastel shade,
Of topaz, ivory or rose,
Inviting to serene repose.

Rajahs I'm told have seats of gold,--
(They must, I fear, be very cold).
But Tom's have thermostatic heat,
With sympathy your grace to greet.
Like silver they are neon lit,
Making a halo as you sit:
Then lo! they play with dulcet tone
melody by Mendelssohn.

Oh were I lyrical as Yeats
would not sing of toilet seats,
But rather serenade a star,--
Yet I must take things as they are.
For even kings must coyly own
Them as essential as a throne:
So as I tug the Muse's teats
I envy Tom his toilet seats.

A Dream Come True!

Where Are You Christmas? Faith Hill

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Weekend Steam II: Pisgah Central Railroad

 Thank You, Merle! Took a trip and didn't leave the farm!

It's A Marshmallow World, Dean Martin

How The Left Stole The Future

 If you need confirmation, all you have to do is check on your old classmates who became teachers and use social media.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Sleigh Ride, The Five Browns

 Five Julliard trained sibling pianists, on five Steinways!

Friday, November 26, 2021

Weekend Steam: Let's Wash Out A Locomotive Boiler!

 I think you all will enjoy this one. We love to watch engines run, but most of us don't see the maintenance that goes on behind the scenes. Good One, Merle. Thank You for spotting!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Young Backyard Buck

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation

  "Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.  Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best. Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789." G. Washington

Did You Ba-reak It?

 Susan and I have been enjoying the Voices Of Music and their Baroque performances on YouTube. In case you ever wondered just what is different about Baroque instruments, this video will provide the answers. Spend some time in violin shops and you will see Baroque violins that have been converted to the modern format. You are holding history in your hands when you handle one of them.

Alana Youssefian not only performs flawlessly, she is having a good time while she plays, and the other musicians reflect the joy. Watch the cellist as Alana plays harmonics high up on the strings. Joy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The First Country Music?

 We were introduced to La Folia (Follia) when Zeke was doing violin, and it is an addictive tune. It dates from the Fifteenth Century and was played from Italy into Scandinavia. Voices Of Music performs an authentic rendition on Baroque instruments that you will want to play over and over and over.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Hunting Thrills

 Dusty Wood has been hunting on our land for several years.  He knows the habitat and he gets acquainted with the deer every fall. This year he brought his daughter Kelby with him during the first firearm season. They saw a Nine and a Ten the first day that both would have been good to take, but she didn't have a shot presented. They came again on Sunday, setting up in a different spot because of a wind shift. Just before sunset the Nine showed up. Dusty sent me picture of the heart, and she put her bullet right through the center. Congratulations, Kelby! That is a fine buck and a great shot!

Tuesday Torque: Around The World In A Model T Ford

Theresa R. "Terri" Morrison

 Blog friends have seen Merle mentioned frequently on these pages.  Merle has been part of this blog for many years, as a supporter of the e-Postal matches and screener of engine videos. Merle recently lost his daughter Terri, and any kind thoughts and prayers you can send his way will be a comfort to our good friend.  Click to read Terri's obiturary  and please keep Merle and his sons in your prayers.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Weekend Steam: Strange And Extreme Locomotives And Trains

 Designers have done a lot of thinking outside the firebox! The Fontaine and Holman designs never should have made it to the drawing board!  Thank You Merle!

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Peter Jackson's Military Treasures

 Pour a cup of coffee and take a trip back in time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Jack And Lisa By The Fire


                                                           Jack (left), and Lisa Marie

Four years ago I drove to Chickasha, Oklahoma to get Lisa from June Adams Moore, of Midland, Texas. Lisa is the sweetest little dog you will ever meet. Even her vets love her.

BNSF Branch Line Covered In Weeds--Large Fire Encountered By Train Crew

 It's not that large of a fire, but it could sure burn some ties. If you don't have a little water and flappers to smother the fire you really can't do much. Don't ever swat a fire. That  pushes air to it. Dampen it and then smother it with your flapper. I gotta wonder if there are big old gas engines in those grain elevators. Probably not. Engine collectors figured out fifty years ago that those old elevators held treasure.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Monday, November 15, 2021

Tuesday Torque: What Can Thicker Oil Do For You?

 Our modern oils are wonders, and it is wise to stick to the recommendations from engine manufacturers. The upshot of this video is that thick oil would not move through the oil pump freely, and the gear that powers the oil pump and distributor stripped teeth. At best, thick oil won't circulate freely on a cold morning and you can have bearing damage and scoring on your pistons and cylinder walls. The authors put some great effort translating for us on this video.

"You Have No Right To Defend Yourself!"

Sunday, November 14, 2021

RSO (Range Safety Officer) Joy

 Carmi Rifle Club does a couple of carry classes every year, and has transitioned to doing renewals and new certifications because Illinois requires a review class plus requalifying with a firearm at five year intervals. We have an experienced club member with every shooter at the firing line and folks get quality instruction with lots of individual attention, and a variety of pistols and revolvers to use during the class and for qualifying. The Illinois law specifies the target and requires at least 70% of the thirty shots hit in the black, which is easy for most folks, even rank beginners. Most people are serious about doing well, and we enjoy scoring the best targets. There are 300 possible points if they hit the 10 ring every time, and there is an X ring in the middle of the 10 ring. Yesterday we had three shooters make a score of 300, and with 23 X, 24 X, and a first in our classes, 30 X. Definitely a target to keep, I'd say!

Is It Summer, Fall, Or Winter?

 It seems we are having a taste of each every week, but that cold weather is coming and will settle in for a while. Listen to these. They are as good as you will hear, period instruments, playing the music as it was written.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Weekend Steam II: British Steam BR Standard Class 9F

 We are gaining education from the videos you find Merle. Thank You!

Friday, November 12, 2021

Weekend Steam: British Railways Garratts

 Garratts seem a bit odd to us in the U.S.A., but we have also seen videos of this style of locomotive in Australia. Good One, Merle!

Scrape Early, Scrape Often!

Boy Oh Boy do we have deer activity this fall. All the paths we walk have active scrapes, and saplings are being  rubbed to death. Yesterday the bucks started making daylight appearances, so they are getting stupid just as the weather is turning perfect for hunting. 

Even a neophyte hunter can find the scrapes all over our woods.


And another!

 The buck making this line of scrapes is pulling out all the stops and he left a big old calling card on this one. Whatever works, I guess!

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Deer And More

Trail cameras are entertaining us around the clock. Our phones alert us at every photo, and often several happen in the night.

That is Mean Jean and Sammy, our barn cats. They are shut in every night to avoid coyotes. 

Surprisingly, I have seen the big deer in person this fall, but only the less mature ones on camera. They are pretty.

Neighbor dog that visits regularly and leaves when we speak to him.

Needs to grow another couple years.

This one is a bit bigger and looking impressive.

 Turkey hens raised some good clutches this year. They parade around the yard regularly, but don't tolerate dogs like the resident deer families. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Never Done Making Wood

That is about one week's worth of firewood when we are running one stove around the clock.

Here is about three week's worth of wood.  We run two stoves when the temps go down into the twenties, and the basement stove's wood is all stacked down below. We have enough stacked at the house now to make it to Christmas, and about a month or more as reserve in the barn, so we need about three more months to make it to the end of April. We are having good weather for cutting, so the stacks will keep growing.



 Stumps and tree tops are of little interest to most, I think, but foresters look at them and pay attention to them. Stumps show you the recent history of timber, information that we need when figuring out what has gone on, and how to plan for the future. Here's one little bit. Trees in the red oak group decay much faster than trees in the white oak group. This stump is a black oak, cut nine years ago. It looks about the same as a white oak stump would look after thirty-five or forty years. The annual rings in stumps will show you how fast your timber is able to grow on a site, too, and you can see in those rings when disturbances happened in the past. Foresters are easily amused.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Big Four "30" Tractor, The Giant Horse

 You gotta love the sound of a big four cylinder tractor engine! Thank You, Merle!

Sunday, November 7, 2021

A Little Bit Of Heaven

 We brought a load of ash out of the woods and paused for a while to look at some of the trees we've planted. Then we went back to the house to split and stack that wood. Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Two Easy Ash Drops

Weekend Steam II: Pocahantas Glory #7, N & W Steam

 1956, I was starting school at Franklin Center. The Milwaukee Road was already dieselized and I wasn't seeing any steam. Thank You, Merle!

Thursday, November 4, 2021

The Key To Birthday Bliss...

 ...comes from a Forestry Suppliers catalog?

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Down To 31° Tonight!

 We're done bringing in the last of the garden produce. These are the last habaneros.

Excitement In Bugtussle

We are easily amused out here in the country. The electric co-op was installing some new poles and put on a good show for us yesterday. The mailman had to wait a bit, but they were able to let him through in a few minutes.


Monday, November 1, 2021

Tuesday Torque: 1929 12-24 Hart Parr Belting Up

 Wouldn't you love to have a little Hart Parr like this one? You gotta love the sound of the exhaust. Little scenes like this one where the exhibitors are belting up make engine shows special. Thanks for spotting it, Merle!

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Dance Macabre, By Saint-Saens, Arranged By Liszt, Played by Horowitz

Dropping Dead Ones, One, Two, Three!

 Susan and I planted this spot in 1976, and it does feel a bit funny seeing trees you planted that are now sawlogs. These died last year, and we already have wood from the first drop in the stove. It is burning great.

Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Weekend Steam II: Let's Take Another Ride On The Santa Fe

Thanks, Merle! I really enjoy seeing these Pre-PowerPoint presentations!

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Weekend Steam: Manitoba Steam In The 1950s

 Great One, Merle! I never thought of searching for steam in Manitoba! Thank You!

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

We Are Loaded With Free Heat

 Dead ash trees are scattered throughout our timber. I will never get it all cut and split before it spoils, but it really is easy pickings. 

Walk Quietly

He's pretty, but needs to survive another year or two. I saw a real big 'un the other day and didn't have a camera with me. The mama and her twins are still hanging around the yard every day. I hope they can keep their heads down.


Morning Light Show


Monday, October 25, 2021

Tuesday Torque: Big Associated Engine

 There is a calming effect from listening to a big hit-and-miss engine idling. There is a bit of confusion. The title says 6 HP, the tag on the engine says 12 Mule Team, so make your best guess. Thanks, Merle! I love the panting and the Snort of intake.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Bow Season Is In, Firearm Season Coming Soon

 Bow hunters are in the woods now, and from experience we know that they sneak in on us. We will be marking our boundaries in hopes of discouraging some of the trespassers and to make prosecutions more of a sure thing. I saw many deer while I was out today. There are two in this photo, a buck who has just bedded down so only an ear is visible, and the doe who is remaining attentive.

The need to discourage trespassers never seems to end, and this year we have someone in the neighborhood has become an outfitter booking hunts. We want to make sure he is not putting hunters on our acreage. Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Weekend Steam II: Little Engines!

 Merle picked out some good video of model locos up close where you can see lots of neat action. Thanks, Merle!

Friday, October 22, 2021

Weekend Steam: Bulleid Southern Railway Strange Locomotive

 Merle found one that I have never heard of. British railways were nationalized after WW II, and they did some odd things. Thank You Merle!

Deer Like Sweet Potatoes!

 We took down one side of the garden fence, and this morning, most of the leaves had been eaten from the sweet potato vines. Deer like beans even more, and you can't garden without a way to keep deer out. We cut the last of the okra this morning.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Susan Is Still Canning!

Susan got a good deal on Top Round Roast and has been canning for two days. Now she will be looking for deals on pork and ham.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

First Fire, Fall 2021

 The house was getting pretty cool every night, and today the sun didn't shine right away. We lit her up so we could take off our jackets in the house. Hickory smoke has a wonderful smell. Jack spent the evening lying in front of the stove.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Tuesday Torque: Big Crossley Engine, Located North West Victoria, Australia

 No history on this engine, but isn't it a nice one! Thanks for spotting, Merle!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Always The Ant!


A friend called about a mushroom. From the description it sounded like a giant puffball, and it was. She wanted nothing to do with a mushroom new-to-her, and gave it to Susan. It's the biggest one we have seen. Susan went to work right away and cooked each slice lightly on both sides, separated them with parchment paper, and put them in the freezer.

Winter is coming, don't be like the grasshopper. Back To The Old Grind!

Weekend Steam II: Please Read The Steam Engine Guide, and Please Use A Tripod

 This video is worth wading through just to see what may be a Stanley Steamer engine, but my gosh, you may need a Dramamine. You gotta wonder why they are not warming the engine up properly by blowing out the steam chests and cylinders without locking hydraulically. Anyone wanting to get into steam engines should read Prof. P.S. Rose's Steam Engine Guide, find an old man who has run engines, and nowadays you can also find steam schools associated with many of the shows around the country. Thanks for spotting, Merle! 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Weekend Steam: Stack Talk With An English Accent

 The brief writeup on the video says this is an an 1874 engine, and I think it is that old. Fowler built these for plowing, and he was developing his engines in the 1860s. Over on the American side of the ocean, early traction engines didn't grow to large sizes until the wind stacker was invented for threshing machines. The older machines with web stackers required less horsepower, and the wind stackers were a dividing line in American traction engines. Anyhow, this Fowler engine has obviously been overhauled and maintained, and it can really talk. I wish the numbers were published so we could see the horsepower this engine is producing. Thanks, Merle, for spotting!