Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Chestnut Surprise

 We had some leftover chestnuts in the extra fridge, and I just noticed them about three weeks ago. We forked up a little bed, stuck some nuts in and put mushroom mulch over the top. I didn't expect any to sprout, but we have a nice Chinese chestnut coming up in the garden now. We will have to find a good spot to move it this Fall. 

Monday, May 30, 2022

Tuesday Torque: Great War Rotary Engines

 Engineering Johnson posted a photo of a World War I biplane engine and a commenter called it a radial engine. It does look like a radial, but radial engines  have a rotating crankshaft. The engines on early biplanes were often what is called a rotary engine. The crankshaft is stationary and the engine spins around it. They are a different sort of beast, and they packed a lot of power in a light package. Here are some videos that show a little bit about them. Pilots were subjected to castor oil that exhausted from the engine. The Germans used mineral oil, and that caused fouling problems with the sparkplugs, so they moved away from the rotary designs.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Cover Them Over...

 Cover them over with beautiful flowers, Deck them with garlands, those brothers of ours, Lying so silent by night and by day Sleeping the years of their manhood away. Give them the meed they have won in the past; Give them the honors their future forcast; Give them the chaplets they won in the strife; Give them the laurels they lost with their life.

Weekend Steam II: Elevated Garden Railroad Construction

 Thank You, Merle! This is a good one to watch if you are thinking about a project like this. Shortcuts will bite you, and sooner than later.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Weekend Steam: Overtaking With A Steam Engine...

 ...looks like Off To The Races!  Thanks, Merle!

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Calculated Risks In Tree Work

 We have been enjoying August Hunicke's videos. He is an arborist out west, and he has great skills, a great crew, and a full complement of equipment. He also sells his own line of arborist rigging at Monkey Beaver. Pour a cup of coffee and watch him take down this ash piece by piece. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Occupy The Den Trees

 We had a pair of barred owls denning in the dog yard, and they disappeared. We have visual confirmation, of the reason, and it is just as we suspected. The U.S. govt. was shooting barred owls out west, because they thought that barred owls were killing spotted owls. My money is on the trash pandas being the problem.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Tuesday Torque: General Motors Diesel Locomotives, 1937

 Tjos week's post was suggested by Zeke, who is a lifelong train enthusiast. He wrote, "General Motors filmed this in 37 and released in 38.  It has some good shots of streamliners and early switch engines.  I think most of the Burlington locos were shot around Chicago as I see the Western Ave coal tower appear in some of the footage.  There’s even a cameo by 3007 on a turntable, presumably in Aurora.  O.T. rode behind that at least once.  It’s preserved at Union IL.  Click to video 1.  Thanks for the links, Zeke!

GM did an updated version of this in 42 that has a lot more engine related material and an eye toward the war effort."   Click to video 2. Hmmm, the second video will embed, so here it is.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Friday, May 20, 2022

Weekend Steam: Union Pacific Challenger 3985 To Be Restored!

 This is great news! Many thanks to Merle for spotting this video!

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Murder In The Dog Yard

 We have a chain link fence to keep the dogs corralled, and to keep predators away from them. Raccoons, though, can go right over a chain link fence. We think a coon was up in the trees hunting a couple nights ago. It might have been a squirrel, but they tend to stay in at night. Maybe it was a feral cat, so I have to keep an eye out. I'm betting on raccoon, though.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

How Many Perps Must Wiggle The Bolt...

...Until It Falls Out Of The Wall? I bet he wishes now that his lucky number hadn't come up.

The Illinois State Police video can't be embedded, so the first slide is a link to the video, and I have posted screen shots of important moments. Note the time in the lower left of the screen shots. Not much happens until 3:30, then things happen rapidly. Stay alert. The officers walked by the perp while he was engaged in escaping and did not realize what they were seeing.


Monday, May 16, 2022

Tuesday Torque: Allis Chalmers 1949 G Tool Tractor

 This rarity would be good for hauling in firewood! Great Pick, Merle! Thank You for spotting this one!

Sunday, May 15, 2022

A Hoe Instead...

 ...of a cane to wield! First a walker, then a cane, now she's out in the garden battling weeds. Two weeks after getting a new hip. Staples come out tomorrow. Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Friday, May 13, 2022

Thursday, May 12, 2022

We Are Thick With Ticks!

 We posted this little video seven years ago, and it's worth looking at again. The ticks are numerous as they are every spring. Big ones, tiny ones, itchy little biters. Pop them out and give them a ride down the water slide in your bathroom sink, or wrap them up in tape for a quiet nap. Be alert for tick diseases. Watch for a circular rash around the bites, and get antibiotics if that happens.

Our little Schip, Lisa Marie developed crippling arthritis, we think from a tick borne disease. She first had knee problems, then her toes splayed, then her ankles went. She was a happy and brave girl through it all until her hips failed her. It was brutal to watch her decline, and then we had to make that final trip to the vet. So, watch for signs of sickness after tick bites, and don't hesitate to seek medication. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

The Maniac Bells Of War

Did you hear Pelosi say the other day that "We are in it to win it!" We are at war now, whether anybody noticed or not.

Telling words from a century ago...Many thanks to Country Joe McDonald for remaking his Robert W. Service album to bring these words back to life.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

A Swarm In May...

 is worth a bale of hay. This swarm was in one of the fruit trees yesterday, and today it had moved on. We currently don't have any colonies. 

Tuesday Torque: Starting Some Good Old Big Ones!

 This is a fun one, Merle! Thank You!

Monday, May 9, 2022

Spring Is Progressing

The dog yard is looking better than I expected, and there are only a few spots in need of rejuvenation. The stepping stones have taken a lot of wear that was killing grass. 

 Out poppies are putting on their annual show. Always a joy. Back To The Old Grind!

Vice News Report On Ukraine

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Thursday, May 5, 2022


 Baby geese are out with the proud parents now. There are four of them this year. We have had a fox hanging around, so I hope the parents keep their guard up.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Barn Buck!

 A young buck stopped by to get out of the rain and have a little naptime.

Monday, May 2, 2022

You Really Should Ask Yourself

 Do I know a good orthopedic surgeon? These old engine have been known to launch a person, but this seems to be the accepted way to roll over an Oil Pull. Thank You, Merle!

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Shiny Shovel Show!

 Groundbreaking ceremonies are a hoot. New shiny shovels, and not a person who intends to work with them. WSIL TV3 posted this photo on their website of the ceremony for the new police station in Mt. Vernon, IL. Shovel Man #11 should have checked his equipment!

Kids, on the other hand are eager to work with a shovel if someone will just show them what they need to do. Kids will get down on their knees to break up soil, fit a hole to the tree, fill it in, and punch down that soil nice and firm. They practically fight over the chance to get their hands dirty and do a job. I have shown many an adult how to plant a potted tree, and few want to get their knees dirty. Keep that youthful enthusiasm if you still have a bit of it. Back To The Old Grind!

My planting tools aren't too shiny, but their patina comes from honest work and an occasional rubdown with linseed oil.