Thursday, November 30, 2023

Christmas 2023: You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch!

 From the 1966 TV cartoon, How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Clydesdales Came To Town!

Actually, they came to Marion, an hour down the road. It was worth the trip to see them, and to learn a bit.

                                  Click the photo to enlarge it.

                                             Rocco, one of the Wheel Horses.


Each horse had his specs and stats listed. 

A question on my mind was how these big guys are shod so they can navigate paved roads without slipping. The shoes have Borium brazed on the bottom. Borium saves wear on the shoes and it is grippier on pavement than steel. The Clydesdales cannot go on polished concrete, so the arena they were in had Astroturf where the horses needed to walk. Smooth, decorative brick streets are dangerous, but navigable if care is used. 

It was a good time. We went to Walt's Pizza afterward. 

Christmas 2023: Jingle Bells, Barking Dogs

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Hillbilly Gin Pole: How Would You Plant A Pole?

 This was our first time planting a new pole in the ground, and it went according to plan. The light and guy line go up next. 

Walking In A Winter Wonderland, Dean Martin

Tuesday Torque: 1925 Dodge Brothers 4 Cylinder Flathead

 It does sound pretty, doesn't it? Thank You, Merle!

Monday, November 27, 2023

Camille Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1, 1872

We featured the Dance Macabre by Saint-Saens by several artists during October. Saint-Saens wrote much more, and this one is a good sample. Grab a cup of coffee. 


Christmas 2023: Christmas In Prison, John Prine

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Aluminum Beverage Cans From Beginning To End

 There are no college classes on how to do all this. You have to learn it at SHK. A glaring gap in this video is the making of the beverage end, but it's a good vid. Back To The Old Grind!

Christmas 2023: White Christmas, Bing Crosby

Weekend Steam II: Loading And Moving A Locomotive

Pretty neat, Merle. This Facebook post actually came with an embed code option! Thank You!

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Christmas 2023: No Place Like Home For The Holidays, Perry Como

Travels With Tristan: A Big Leap!

 This one is guaranteed to give you a modicum of vertigo. I don't know how he does this. I would have to belly crawl if I found myself up there.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Christmas 2023: Charlie Brown Christmas

 Let's start out with the Charlie Brown Christmas Album. Grab a cup of coffee and CLICK HERE.

Weekend Steam: Steam Motorcycle

 I really like the looks of this one, Merle! Many Thanks!

Thursday, November 23, 2023

How And Why Did Conductors And Engineers Get Their Outfits?

 Polyester is a bad idea if you are around heat. I was on many fires in Kentucky while wearing the KDF uniform, with poly in the trousers and shirts. The bosses did not want anyone wearing blue jeans because that would not look professional. They eventually let us wear Carhartt pants, and they issued a small number of Nomex pants for fire fighting. I think the overalls are a great idea because you don't have to hitch up your pants all day long, and a trainman needs his watch within easy reach. Those upper pockets are handy. 

Perfect Shot!

 Dusty has been hunting on our farm for many years, and he never fails to make a good shot. We appreciate that! He stuck this nice buck at the base of the neck on the right side, sliced through the aorta, and out the back of the left lung. The deer ran only about fifty feet. 

Photo is Dusty's.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Tuesday Torque: 1919 25 HP Best Crawler Goes Flying!

 Merle found a great one for us, and it is a remarkable recovery of less-than-barn-fresh tractor find. Thank You, Merle!

Home Fires Are Burning

 It is cool enough now that we keep a little fire going through the day now. Life is good.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Weekend Steam II: 1920 Minneapolis

 This is a link to a Facebook post: Click Try as I might, I cannot figure out how to embed a Facebook video on Blogger. Anyhow, Merle found a good one, and the owner says the boiler is in very good shape. 

A video on YouTube provides details.  Thank You, Merle for spotting!

Cherrybark Oaks Grow Like Weeds

This photo of Susan and a cherrybark oak in the front yard was taken in 2000. We planted this tree as a twelve inch seedling in 1991 or 1992.

Look at it now! Cherrybark oak prefers 109 Raccoon soil here in Southern Illinois. Raccoon is a bottomland soil, but is not as tight as Bonnie and other bottomland soils. It functions like a transitional soil between slopes and the flattest bottoms. Cherrybark will grow well on Bonnie and also on many upland sites, so we used cherrybark seedlings in tree planting projects whenever they were available.

 I always think of Mel Gerardo when I see a planting project. Mel Gerado was the first district forester at Fairfield, IL in the 1950s, and later ran the state nursery at Anna, IL. He did a marvelous job of cranking out a huge variety and number of seedlings for the big Conservation Reserve planting years. Mel was a Marine and fought at the Chosin Reservoir. The thousands of acres of successful tree plantings in Illinois are a testament to his professionalism. If your third grader in Illinois brought home a seedling for Arbor Day, you may have a reminder of Mel at your house, too.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Weekend Steam: Firing Up!

 Thank You, Merle! I really like little engines like this one.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Saartje, Schipperke, October 19, 2023

 Eric Janssen, Arnhem, Netherlands is one of our Facebook friends. His faithful companion for more than fifteen years is Saartje, and now she has passed away, in Wallonia, Belgium. Eric and his friends around the world are heartbroken. Eric has started his first trip without Saartje with him on the Valer. The wheelhouse is empty and lonely.  Visit his Facebook page and get to know him and his Schipperke. Eric has posted about their travels for many years.  "Her little body had gotten so tired, that rest is here now. The loss is huge, it's terribly empty on board."

"I wonder why it is a dog don't get to live too long, but he still has to die old."  Jim Stafford, Mr. Bojangles

Same Old, Same Old


The Ugliness Of Poachers

 I pass this spot frequently when I am going back and forth through the country. Last year, and again this year, poachers are dumping deer carcasses along the road. (Six in one spot this year.) These deer had only the best cuts taken out of them and they were not field dressed or skinned. It is maddening to know we have people of such low morals nearby.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

I Can't Even Spell Operating Engineer,

 but we put the replacement pole in the ground without any trouble. We used the old pole, steadied up with guy ropes and the loader, and lifted the new one with the RTV. Got it tamped in and next we move the hardware.

Monday, November 13, 2023

The Colors Are Fading

 Hickories were golden, but now they are brown and dry. There is still color out there, but it is fading fast. 

Sunday, November 12, 2023

20,000 Phone Calls Home

 We got Mom (Bea Johnson to the Blog World) a cell phone more than twenty years ago. With unlimited minutes we could talk whenever we wanted, and Mom enjoyed calling her brother Chuck every week and talking as long as they wanted. After Dad passed away we never failed to talk at least three times a day, morning, after work, and before turning in. Our last call was Thursday afternoon last week, and we could tell that it was the end. Mom passed at 9:29 Friday morning, November 10, 2023. 

When she was living alone in her house, she got nervous about being able to protect herself, so she took up shooting. We would go out to the local range every time I went to Iowa to see her, and she went to Reno a couple times to attend Mike Gallion's Gun Blogger Rendezvous. She took the Iowa concealed carry class and qualified with her .45 Blackhawk because that was her house gun, and the big cartridges were easier for her to handle than stuffing .22s into a magazine. I put together a small collection of photos for those who remember Bea here on our little blog. 

Habits die hard. Every time I look at the time, I think it is time to call Mom. 

Riding With Ranger

 We took a great timber tour with Ranger this morning. The dog sure does love going out for adventures. 

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Remembering Vincent Speranza On This Veterans' Day

 Vincent Speranza passed this year on August 2. What a fine example of an American hero.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Weekend Steam: Scott-Carver Threshers, Jordan, Minnesota

 We've never been to this show, and it looks like a good one. Merle spotted it for us, and be sure to admire the big Vilter Corliss engine. Most of these big industrial engines were or are being scrapped, and we should rejoice for every one of them that is saved in the engine shows around the country. It takes knowledgeable, dedicated volunteers to move and restore these giants to running condition. Many Thanks, Merle!

Thursday, November 9, 2023

No-Fear Deer

 This is just the latest example I have seen of deer wandering in close to running equipment. Yesterday Susan and I were running the log splitter, and Mama Deer and Baby came out and eyeballed us. Back in 1989 when we were prepping the Bull Springs field to plant, deer stood around watching while I drove the John Deere B back and forth across the field. They make all the fancy hunting gear seem a bit silly.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Dead Pin Oak Firewood

 These trees have been dead just one year, but the sapwood is already going punky, so the hinge must be deep enough to get into the heartwood. If wedging is needed, make your falling cuts up the stem a foot or more from your girdling cuts.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Tuesday Torque: Bulls Eye Gas Engines

 Great selection, Merle! Many Thanks!

Including a Sears bonus!

Sunday, November 5, 2023

How To Make Cowboy Coffee With Kent Rollins


Back To The Old Grind!

Headaches In The Woods

 Watch your topknot. Forked trees make a couple problems for forest landowners. A forked tree has less merchantable volume than a well formed, straight tree, and they are prone to breaking up in storms, or from ice. Any time a forked tree is up against a better one, it is good to take out the forked one and let the good tree grow faster. The hackberry in this photo has provided me with yet another widow maker to watch for. Always be watching overhead when you are in timber.

Revisiting Our Log Landing And The Headsaw Pit

I took a little hike through the woods and stopped by the site of the sawmill that was here in 1940. The photos at the end were shot during the harvest we did in 2012. We are still amazed at the speed of our black oaks after we thinned out hickories. They grew like weeds after that treatment, and now the white oaks appear to be turning on after the woods was thinned by the harvest.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Weekend Steam: The First Locomotive

Replaying an old favorite.

Merle's pick is  a brief video of a re-creation of Peter Trevithick's little loco, which was the first one. Think about the inventions and upgrades that had to come along after this 1802 invention.  Boilers were notorious for failing in the early years.  There are very few steam engines of any kind from before the late Nineteenth Century that survive. Boilers are a big reason for that. Of course, stopping these machines was harder than making them go.  During the mid-Nineteenth Century train wrecks that killed scores of people were common.  Wrecks were caused by bad rails, inadequate brakes, poor communication, telescoping cars in wrecks, stoves in the cars that ignited wrecked cars, and bad bridges. Travel by rail was not for the faint of heart.  It all started with Trevithick's little engine.  Thank You, Merle!

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Who Is In Charge Of Axe Handles?

 Remember when you were a kid, you were taught to always put the trademark up on a bat so you wouldn't break it? The trademark is oriented so the growth rings in the bat are horizontal and in line with your swing. Turn it 90 degrees and you really can break your bat. The same rule on growth rings applies to wooden tool handles, too. Internet sellers of tool handles are not paying attention to that. I was about to order a couple axe handles, and saw this photo on the page I was on.

So, we went to town to one of the big hardware/lumber yard stores and I looked at handles there. Here is what we found.

At least you get to inspect and choose when you are in a store. Also check the grain along the length of the handle. If it runs out either side it is also prone to breaking. We bought the one on the right.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Samsung Clothes Dryer Repair Hack

 Instructions for changing the heating element are to lift the drum out to access the element assembly. I had limited space, and I found a better way. Less disassembly = less chance of screwing up. Watch for sharp edges on sheet metal components.