Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Dry Wood From The Barn

 We have been going through the wood with the cold spells this winter. We like to run the stove in the basement when the temps get down in the twenties and colder, and we have a foster dog downstairs to keep warm. That doubles the amount of wood going up the chimney. Warmer temps are coming in a few days and I will be out in the woods again bringing in more dry ash wood. 

Annual Valentine Song Festival! Passionate Kisses, Mary Chapin Carpenter

Sunday, January 29, 2023

So Many With Chainsaws...

So Few With Skills....

                                                                Back To The Old Grind!

A quick rundown. The hinge should be about 80% of the tree's diameter at breast height, and should be on the side of the tree where it is falling. Placing it back gets rid of all of your leverage if you need to use wedges to push the tree over.  The thickness of the hinge should be up to 1/10 of the diameter of the tree. You see no hinge wood at all on this stump. The back of the hinge should be level with the front of the hinge. The taller you make the hinge, the greater the risk of it failing from twisting as the tree goes over. The back cut should normally be made perpendicular to the bole of the tree. That is normally horizontal. You will hear people tell you straight-faced that they angle the back cut so the stump can push up on the tree. Call me if you ever see a stump reach up and push. What that angled cut can do is allow the butt of the log scoot down and out, leaving no hinge to guide the tree, and totally change the balance of the tree. A tree that was balanced forward can be changed 180 degrees, and drop on your head as you try to get away. 

Anon: I think it originally looked like these stumps.

Annual Valentine Song Festival: Bicycle Built For Two, Nat King Cole

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Long Time, No See


Susan and I took a little detour this week to look at a tree planting project that I hadn't seen since its first year.  It looks pretty good.

I remember meeting with the landowner at his shop after he picked up his seedlings. He told me he was going to put them in his pond for a few days before he planted. Whoa! I got that straightened out, and went over seedling prep and care. 

I delivered a tree planting machine first thing the next day, and he had a small crew working on his seedlings. One guy was winding roots up tight in pigtails so he could plant them easily. Whoa, again! How do people think of such ideas?  Got that straightened out, too.

I just checked the acreage on Google and it is about 18.5, so they planted about 8100 trees. The cedars you see are volunteers, and they are good for migrating birds and other wildlife in need of a little shelter. It looks pretty darn good.


Annual Valentine Song Festival! It Had To Be You, Frank Sinatra

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Burns' Birthday!

Robert W. Service wrote all kinds of poems. Sad poems, funny poems, thrilling and thoughtful poems. It is a crime that English teachers in the U.S. of A provide only a few samples of his work that he turned out during his time in the Yukon. Every year at this time, The Haggis of Private McPhee is running through my mind. It is a thrilling tale, and the experiences of McPhee and McPhun are all too real pictures of the Western Front. It might even bring a tear to your eyes. 

 The Haggis of Private McPhee

"Hae ye heard whit ma auld mither's postit tae me?
It fair makes me hamesick," says Private McPhee.
"And whit did she send ye?" says Private McPhun,
As he cockit his rifle and bleezed at a Hun.
"A haggis! A HAGGIS!" says Private McPhee;
"The brawest big haggis I ever did see.
And think! it's the morn when fond memory turns
Tae haggis and whisky -- the Birthday o' Burns.

We maun find a dram; then we'll ca' in the rest
O' the lads, and we'll hae a Burns' Nicht wi' the best."

"Be ready at sundoon," snapped Sergeant McCole;
"I want you two men for the List'nin' Patrol."
Then Private McPhee looked at Private McPhun:
"I'm thinkin', ma lad, we're confoundedly done."
Then Private McPhun looked at Private McPhee:
"I'm thinkin' auld chap, it's a' aff wi' oor spree."
But up spoke their crony, wee Wullie McNair:
"Jist lea' yer braw haggis for me tae prepare;
And as for the dram, if I search the camp roun',
We maun hae a drappie tae jist haud it doon.
Sae rin, lads, and think, though the nicht it be black,
O' the haggis that's waitin' ye when ye get back."

My! but it wis waesome on Naebuddy's Land,
And the deid they were rottin' on every hand.
And the rockets like corpse candles hauntit the sky,
And the winds o' destruction went shudderin' by.
There wis skelpin' o' bullets and skirlin' o' shells,
And breengin' o' bombs and a thoosand death-knells;
But cooryin' doon in a Jack Johnson hole
Little fashed the twa men o' the List'nin' Patrol.
For sweeter than honey and bricht as a gem
Wis the thocht o' the haggis that waitit for them.

Yet alas! in oor moments o' sunniest cheer
Calamity's aften maist cruelly near.
And while the twa talked o' their puddin' divine
The Boches below them were howkin' a mine.
And while the twa cracked o' the feast they would hae,
The fuse it wis burnin' and burnin' away.
Then sudden a roar like the thunner o' doom,
A hell-leap o' flame . . . then the wheesht o' the tomb.

"Haw, Jock! Are ye hurtit?" says Private McPhun.
"Ay, Geordie, they've got me; I'm fearin' I'm done.
It's ma leg; I'm jist thinkin' it's aff at the knee;
Ye'd best gang and leave me," says Private McPhee.
"Oh leave ye I wunna," says Private McPhun;
"And leave ye I canna, for though I micht run,
It's no faur I wud gang, it's no muckle I'd see:
I'm blindit, and that's whit's the maitter wi' me."
Then Private McPhee sadly shakit his heid:

"If we bide here for lang, we'll be bidin' for deid.
And yet, Geordie lad, I could gang weel content
If I'd tasted that haggis ma auld mither sent."
"That's droll," says McPhun; "ye've jist speakit ma mind.
Oh I ken it's a terrible thing tae be blind;
And yet it's no that that embitters ma lot --
It's missin' that braw muckle haggis ye've got."

For a while they were silent; then up once again
Spoke Private McPhee, though he whussilt wi' pain:
"And why should we miss it? Between you and me
We've legs for tae run, and we've eyes for tae see.
You lend me your shanks and I'll lend you ma sicht,
And we'll baith hae a kyte-fu' o' haggis the nicht."

Oh the sky it wis dourlike and dreepin' a wee,
When Private McPhun gruppit Private McPhee.
Oh the glaur it wis fylin' and crieshin' the grun',
When Private McPhee guidit Private McPhun.
"Keep clear o' them corpses -- they're maybe no deid!
Haud on! There's a big muckle crater aheid.
Look oot! There's a sap; we'll be haein' a coup.
A staur-shell! For Godsake! Doun, lad, on yer daup.
Bear aff tae yer richt. . . . Aw yer jist daein' fine:
Before the nicht's feenished on haggis we'll dine."

There wis death and destruction on every hand;
There wis havoc and horror on Naebuddy's Land.
And the shells bickered doun wi' a crump and a glare,
And the hameless wee bullets were dingin' the air.
Yet on they went staggerin', cooryin' doun
When the stutter and cluck o' a Maxim crept roun'.
And the legs o' McPhun they were sturdy and stoot,
And McPhee on his back kept a bonnie look-oot.
"On, on, ma brave lad! We're no faur frae the goal;
I can hear the braw sweerin' o' Sergeant McCole."

But strength has its leemit, and Private McPhun,
Wi' a sab and a curse fell his length on the grun'.
Then Private McPhee shoutit doon in his ear:
"Jist think o' the haggis! I smell it from here.
It's gushin' wi' juice, it's embaumin' the air;

It's steamin' for us, and we're -- jist -- aboot -- there."
Then Private McPhun answers: "Dommit, auld chap!
For the sake o' that haggis I'll gang till I drap."
And he gets on his feet wi' a heave and a strain,
And onward he staggers in passion and pain.
And the flare and the glare and the fury increase,
Till you'd think they'd jist taken a' hell on a lease.
And on they go reelin' in peetifu' plight,
And someone is shoutin' away on their right;
And someone is runnin', and noo they can hear
A sound like a prayer and a sound like a cheer;
And swift through the crash and the flash and the din,
The lads o' the Hielands are bringin' them in.

"They're baith sairly woundit, but is it no droll
Hoo they rave aboot haggis?" says Sergeant McCole.
When hirplin alang comes wee Wullie McNair,
And they a' wonnert why he wis greetin' sae sair.
And he says: "I'd jist liftit it oot o' the pot,
And there it lay steamin' and savoury hot,
When sudden I dooked at the fleech o' a shell,
And it -- dropped on the haggis and dinged it tae hell."

And oh but the lads were fair taken aback;
Then sudden the order wis passed tae attack,
And up from the trenches like lions they leapt,
And on through the nicht like a torrent they swept.
On, on, wi' their bayonets thirstin' before!
On, on tae the foe wi' a rush and a roar!
And wild to the welkin their battle-cry rang,
And doon on the Boches like tigers they sprang:
And there wisna a man but had death in his ee,
For he thocht o' the haggis o' Private McPhee.

Annual Valentine Song Festival: I Only Want To Be With You, Nicolette Larson

Here you go, John! We are just trying to mix it up a bit year to year!

Monday, January 23, 2023

Annual Valentine Song Festival: Stardust, Hoagy Carmichael

Tuesday Torque: Pony Motor For A Big Bessemer Engine

 I am sorta surprised we don't see more gadgets like this one. I know that some oilfield pumpers have contraptions they can use to crank recalcitrant Fairbanks engines, though most of them spin the flywheels the old fashioned way. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Working On A Method

                                                             Back To The Old Grind!

Annual Valentine Song Festival: Somebody To Love, Jefferson Airplane

Weekend Steam II: 1997 Titanic Movie Engine Room...

 ... Is actually the engine room of the Liberty Ship S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien. Many Thanks to Merle!

As it appeared in the movie scenes. 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Driving The Dogs Nuts!

 This squirrel, along with his playmates has been taunting the Schips, and they have been sucked into the game. I hope the squirrel doesn't get too cocky, because I don't want fleas on our dogs!

Annual Valentine Song Festival! Blue Eyes, Elton John

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Annual Valentine Song Festival! Lovesick Blues, Hank Williams

Nitrogen Tanker Truck Mystery Solved!

 There has been a parade of nitrogen tankers in and out on our county road. We kept our ears to the ground and finally found out what is going on. The coal mine has (had?) a fire, and nitrogen is used to extinguish underground fires. They must continue putting nitrogen down the hole until the burned area has cooled so that it won't re-kindle.

New Hi-Point 10 mm! You Need One....

 ...because it is illegal in Illinois. If Chicago politicians don't like it, it must be good! It is a great product, made by Americans, for Americans! All of the video reviews I have seen so far show this new model to be a reliable firearm at a great price.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Tuesday Torque: Kerosene Annie At Rollag

 Bringing the Oil Pull prototype back to life and to the show at Rollag was a pretty big deal. Western Minnesota Threshers Reunion has recently posted three videos of Annie.

Annual Valentine Song Festival! You're Nobody 'til Somebody Loves You! Dean Martin

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Bankers, Postal Workers, Givernment Employees...

 ...Don't hook up; you can sleep in. Everybody else, Back To The Old Grind!

Annual Valentine Song Festival! Ain't We Got Fun!

 In 1921 the Twenties weren't quite roaring yet. This song held up for many years, but I doubt that Millenials have even heard of it. Our shellac copy sounds a bit better than this record, but it does have lots of honest wear. The favorites were played hard and they didn't necessarily get a new needle for every play.

Mystery Trucks In Our Neighborhood

 We keep seeing these nitrogen tankers on the county road and it took a while for us to find out what was going on.

A coal mine fire! The trucks are off loading to a tank and nitrogen is sent in a temporary pipeline to a borehole into the mine. We have been told that the fire is out, but nitrogen continues to be sent down to cool the burned area until it will not be able to rekindle.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Thursday, January 12, 2023

"Just Out Of Harm's Way"

 We really like August Hunicke and are learning from him, but I am going to keep my feet on the ground!

Sixty-Seven And Counting....

 Don't hold your breath waiting for the IL State Police to make a statement in favor of the Constitutions of the United States and Illinois.

Mechanical Music At A Whole Different Level

 Tuning and maintaining one of these would be well beyond the abilities of most owners. 

Monday, January 9, 2023

Tuesday Torque II: 1916 Galloway, A Big Un!

 Thanks to Merle for another great pick. This is another engine that looks challenging to start, but don't be sticking your foot in the flywheel!

Tuesday Torque: Starting A Big Reid 2-Stroke Engine

 Pay attention to the danger of using a foot in the flywheel to crank your engine. These old engines can launch you, and bones will be broken!

The Final Step In Your Falling Plan: Get Away From The Stump!

 Many loggers will tell you to never turn your back on a tree. They will stand right by the stump while the tree is going over, not even thinking about the chunks that will rain down around them. Make a sound plan, and when that tree begins to tip, get out of there!

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Activities Planned This Week

                                                                    Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Friday, January 6, 2023

Did The NYC 999 Really Go 112 Miles Per Hour?

 That would be hard to prove either way, but I wish I could have seen and heard it on that run. There is a good article on Wikipedia with many details. There were several stopwatches on the 999 train during the record run, so I lean toward believing it. The 999 was running a high pressure boiler and it had drivers 86.5 inches in diameter. Start doing the math, and the drive wheels turned 233 revolutions per mile. At 100 mph, it would do a mile in 36 seconds, and be running at 389 rpm. A limitation to high speed is the flat-faced D valves in the steam chests. As boiler pressure goes up, there is more weight pressing the valves to the cylinders, and that is why locomotives were soon switching to piston valves. Many Thanks, Merle for spotting a great video. 

Air Evac Helicopter At Hamilton Memorial Hospital, McLeansboro, IL

 I took Susan to rehab at the Hamilton Memorial Hospital and got to see a helicopter come in to move a patient. The Air Evac Lifeteam landed on the helispot and soon had a patient loaded and transported to another hospital. These helicopters and crews save lives every day. Our house at Belle Prairie is on the flight path between Mt. Vernon, IL and Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, and they run any hour, day or night, when there is an emergency. They rattle the windows and we know someone is getting help.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Train On Fire! BNSF Engine Is Spewing Burning Oil

 Almost as impressive as when we had a cat on fire....Four small spot fires were the only damage to the landscape.

Dangerous Hollow Tree!

This is a repeat from ten years ago, of a tree that needed to come down at a state site. I told the site super that the best way to deal with it was to wait for snow, throw some Diesel fuel into the opening, light it and walk away. He was close to retirement and wasn't willing to risk his pension, so I had to cut it. It had a thin shell, and I was able to true up the compressed side to make a straight face in the shell, then a quick plunge cut behind the face from each side to complete the hinge, then zip around fast and get out of the way. It sounds easy, but the danger of a tree like this collapsing when you cut it is real. You must pay attention to the thickness of the shell and make a good hinge when cutting hollow trees.

Monday, January 2, 2023

New Year's Morning

 Yup, she went down the stairs to the basement! Went back up, too. The knee is still swollen, but much better than it was. We are still icing it regularly.

Tuesday Torque: Who Doesn't Love A Model Steam Engine?

 This is a great video, Merle! Many thanks for spotting!

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Day Off?

 Maybe you have the day off, maybe you get to play. This video will work either way. It is not a hit and miss engine. It is a 2 stroke Bessemer oilfield engine. The grinding part starts at 25:45.

Back To The Old Grind!