Saturday, December 30, 2023

Weekend Steam II: Steam Shovel Action!

You will see some familiar machines in this video, because part of it was made at Rollag. We never get enough of steam shovels! Thanks to Merle for the link!


Friday, December 29, 2023

Weekend Steam: Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad Willamette Shay #2

 Plenty of good Shay engine action and whistle talk! Thank You, Merle, for the link!

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Pull Off Your Shoes If That Helps... count. I've been aggravated lately from a logging site on Fbook. People, (Trolls, I think.) keep posting photos of trees and saying ridiculous ages for them, like 500 year old oak trees that are obviously a fraction of that. I doubt any of them have ever counted tree rings. I've counted a bunch over the years, and it is important for foresters to do that whenever they encounter stumps in the timber they are walking. You have to know what sites will do, and stumps will tell you. This black oak in the photo was dying, and I cut in in 2009. It counted out 90 years. O.T. is the guy behind me with the walking stick. He was 89 at the time, and he made it to 90, too.

Rest In Peace, Otto

 Little Otto, a min pin, came to us in August 2008, after being dumped just down the road from the farm. Susan's sister took him in, but he stayed with us frequently when my sister in law and her family traveled. Otto moved in with us permanently about a year ago as his health deteriorated. His heart and kidneys were failing, and today we made that final trip to the vet with him. He went easy, and we are thankful for that. He was a good little friend.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Tuesday Torque: Eagle Tractors

 Another great suggestion from Merle! One of these vids was over at Boonville, IN. Thanks, Merle!

Friday, December 22, 2023

Weekend Steam: Old Petrie Town

 Merle found another place we've never heard of: Old Petrie Town in Queensland. Thank You, Merle! There are several videos available about activities here, so we will probably return. 

Facebook Reel

Christmas 2023: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, John Prine

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Christmas 2023: Lo, How A Rose E're Blooming

Maybe It Will Be Mild Until The Equinox...

The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill

I took a contract to bury the body of blasphemous Bill MacKie,
Whenever, wherever or whatsoever the manner of death he die --
Whether he die in the light o' day or under the peak-faced moon;
In cabin or dance-hall, camp or dive, mucklucks or patent shoon;
On velvet tundra or virgin peak, by glacier, drift or draw;
In muskeg hollow or canyon gloom, by avalanche, fang or claw;
By battle, murder or sudden wealth, by pestilence, hooch or lead --
I swore on the Book I would follow and look till I found my tombless dead.

For Bill was a dainty kind of cuss, and his mind was mighty sot
On a dinky patch with flowers and grass in a civilized bone-yard lot.
And where he died or how he died, it didn't matter a damn
So long as he had a grave with frills and a tombstone "epigram".
So I promised him, and he paid the price in good cheechako coin
(Which the same I blowed in that very night down in the Tenderloin).
Then I painted a three-foot slab of pine: "Here lies poor Bill MacKie",
And I hung it up on my cabin wall and I waited for Bill to die.

Years passed away, and at last one day came a squaw with a story strange,
Of a long-deserted line of traps 'way back of the Bighorn range;
Of a little hut by the great divide, and a white man stiff and still,
Lying there by his lonesome self, and I figured it must be Bill.
So I thought of the contract I'd made with him, and I took down from the shelf
The swell black box with the silver plate he'd picked out for hisself;
And I packed it full of grub and "hooch", and I slung it on the sleigh;
Then I harnessed up my team of dogs and was off at dawn of day.

You know what it's like in the Yukon wild when it's sixty-nine below;
When the ice-worms wriggle their purple heads through the crust of the pale blue snow;
When the pine-trees crack like little guns in the silence of the wood,
And the icicles hang down like tusks under the parka hood;
When the stove-pipe smoke breaks sudden off, and the sky is weirdly lit,
And the careless feel of a bit of steel burns like a red-hot spit;
When the mercury is a frozen ball, and the frost-fiend stalks to kill --
Well, it was just like that that day when I set out to look for Bill.

Oh, the awful hush that seemed to crush me down on every hand,
As I blundered blind with a trail to find through that blank and bitter land;
Half dazed, half crazed in the winter wild, with its grim heart-breaking woes,
And the ruthless strife for a grip on life that only the sourdough knows!
North by the compass, North I pressed; river and peak and plain
Passed like a dream I slept to lose and I waked to dream again.

River and plain and mighty peak -- and who could stand unawed?
As their summits blazed, he could stand undazed at the foot of the throne of God.
North, aye, North, through a land accurst, shunned by the scouring brutes,
And all I heard was my own harsh word and the whine of the malamutes,
Till at last I came to a cabin squat, built in the side of a hill,
And I burst in the door, and there on the floor, frozen to death, lay Bill.

Ice, white ice, like a winding-sheet, sheathing each smoke-grimed wall;
Ice on the stove-pipe, ice on the bed, ice gleaming over all;
Sparkling ice on the dead man's chest, glittering ice in his hair,
Ice on his fingers, ice in his heart, ice in his glassy stare;
Hard as a log and trussed like a frog, with his arms and legs outspread.
I gazed at the coffin I'd brought for him, and I gazed at the gruesome dead,
And at last I spoke: "Bill liked his joke; but still, goldarn his eyes,
A man had ought to consider his mates in the way he goes and dies."

Have you ever stood in an Arctic hut in the shadow of the Pole,
With a little coffin six by three and a grief you can't control?
Have you ever sat by a frozen corpse that looks at you with a grin,
And that seems to say: "You may try all day, but you'll never jam me in"?
I'm not a man of the quitting kind, but I never felt so blue
As I sat there gazing at that stiff and studying what I'd do.
Then I rose and I kicked off the husky dogs that were nosing round about,
And I lit a roaring fire in the stove, and I started to thaw Bill out.

Well, I thawed and thawed for thirteen days, but it didn't seem no good;
His arms and legs stuck out like pegs, as if they was made of wood.
Till at last I said: "It ain't no use -- he's froze too hard to thaw;
He's obstinate, and he won't lie straight, so I guess I got to -- saw."
So I sawed off poor Bill's arms and legs, and I laid him snug and straight
In the little coffin he picked hisself, with the dinky silver plate;
And I came nigh near to shedding a tear as I nailed him safely down;
Then I stowed him away in my Yukon sleigh, and I started back to town.

So I buried him as the contract was in a narrow grave and deep,
And there he's waiting the Great Clean-up, when the Judgment sluice-heads sweep;
And I smoke my pipe and I meditate in the light of the Midnight Sun,
And sometimes I wonder if they was, the awful things I done.
And as I sit and the parson talks, expounding of the Law,
I often think of poor old Bill -- and how hard he was to saw.

from BALLADS OF A CHEECHAKO by Robert Service

Well, I need to get wood. Happy Solstice!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023


 ...Coyotes are showing up in the driveway at night. I bet I find a carcass in the edge of the woods if I go looking.

Ranger Likes To Ride!

He's always ready if we go to the tractor or utility vehicle.

Christmas 2023: It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, Andy Williams

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Merry Christmas From The Family, Robert Earl Keene

Weekend Steam II: Garratt Locomotives Down Under

 Great recommendation, Merle. Many Thanks!

Weekend Steam: Mercer Locomotive Works

Follow this LINK to see video.

Cash in all of your retirement accounts and get in line. Many Thanks, Merle, for spotting!

Friday, December 15, 2023

Christmas 2023: Away In A Manger, Emmylou Harris

Taking Down A Lodged Tree That Is Torqued

This is one of the cherrybark oaks we dropped in the thinning project last summer, from a segment of a longer video we uploaded in July 2023. The tree we drop lodges in another, but only on one side, creating torque that is wanting to roll the tree to the right. This throws compression on the right side of the hinge and tension on the left side. Carefully nipping out the hinge from left to right allows the tree to roll as the hinge is removed without pinching the bar, but be careful. Stand to one side as you do this in case the tree breaks loose and shoots back. Cutting the hinge on lodged trees commonly ends with the saw stuck between the butt of the tree and the stump, so analyze the situation carefully before you try this. If this tree was being harvested for a log, you would have your skidder available to dislodge it. If you are cutting it for firewood, you could take it down by cutting segments about four feet long, starting with the tree attached to the stump. We have covered that technique in other videos...LINK. That method is time consuming, but safe if you plan each step.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Christmas 2023: Silent Night All Day Long, John Prine


Hefty Hickory

 Here's another blowdown to work on. I think the compression coming back down the stem is greater on top, so we will start there and watch the kerf carefully, with wedges at hand to keep it open. I will work on the side with the first tree against it and we will see how it goes.

Back To The Old Grind!

Friday, December 8, 2023

Weekend Steam: Lapping A Steam Engine Slide Valve

 Here is something you won't see every day, and you even get to see the grit selection used for the process. Many Thanks to Merle for spotting this one!

Christmas 2023: It's A Marshmallow World, Dean Martin

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Christmas 2023: Carol Of The Bells, Christmas Piano Cover

Well, Children, What Are We Going To Do?

 Decisions, Decisions. This is good wood, but I will have to carry all of it up that ravine bank to get it out. Can I do it? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

We Don't Need No...

 ...storebought deer blinds!

Christmas 2023: Deck The Halls, Mannheim Steamroller

December 7 Changed Everything,

and touched everyone. I've known lots of veterans from WWII, and it's true that most of them didn't talk much about their experiences. Usually you can glean only a little bit at a time, even with those you know well. Today, we really can't fathom the changes to everyone's life, as the entire country became focused on fighting a war, with the iron will to win it.

 How many parents felt their hearts sink when they received one of these?

Men from every corner of the country, all part of a team.  These guys even had a couple of Code Talkers with them.

"This guy got killed on Guam, this guy died on Iwo, this guy got shot all to hell, this guy went nuts.  I got tired of seeing the guy next to me get it." It's a wonder that any vets go to reunions.  The memories need to be kept under control.  Good things and bad come out when your vet opens up and talks a bit.  "Navy guys would trade booze for souvenirs."  "I always picked up the first BAR I could find after landing."  "When you came off, you would fill an ammo box with oil, put your .45 in it, and bury it under your bunk so you would have it next time."  "On Iwo, you would go hole to hole, and you always had either your .45 or your Ka-Bar in your hand when you went into a hole....I sure got tired of sticking that Ka-Bar in Japs."

Re-post from ten years ago.