Saturday, May 25, 2024

Weekend Steam II: Western Maryland 1309, The Beast Is Back!

 Great engine, Merle! Thank You!

Dynamic braking by the Diesel to test 1309.

Weekend Steam: Scott-Carver Threshers, Jordan, Minnesota

 Merles spotted another great engine show, in Jordan, Minnesota. The only problem I see is that this show is not in the same time frame as the show at Rollag, and it is a long way from where we live. The Corliss you see at the end of the news report powered an ammonia compressor for refrigeration.  Thank You, Merle!

I am pretty sure that this Advance Rumely is the engine I learned on, many years ago!

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Wildlife Resort

 It is a rare day when we don't see any wildlife in our back yard. The Toms stayed way back, but I got a few photos. Mama Deer and her yearling let me get some good shots. Mama looks to be pregnant, and I think the yearling is, too. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Hillbilly Highway: The Road Out Of Appalachia

 Susan and I lived near Highway 23 in Eastern Kentucky for several years, and witnessed the cars with Ohio and Michigan plates coming to visit every summer.

Laurel Wilt: An Imported Disease Wiping Out Sassafras....

....And spicebush. This deadly fungal disease came from Asia, in wood, as have many other forest pests. It was first found in 2002, and is now killing the sassafrases in our timber in Southern Illinois.

There is a reddish sassafras tree just to the right of the driveway, and a dead one to the right of it. Another is behind the one with fall colors. This Spring, all three of them are dead.

University of Kentucky has a good post (click) you should read about Laurel Wilt if you are a forest owner or just a tree lover. 

Spicebush is a site indicator of deep, rich, moist and well drained soil at the foot of slopes and adjacent to streams. Spicebush means that you can grow excellent black walnut, Shumard Oak and swamp chestnut oak. Foresters get excited when they find spicebush. The twigs traditionally have been used to flavor meat from wild game, especially groundhogs.

Sassafras roots and bark have been used for centuries to make Spring tonic and root beer. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Cicadas On Our Pear Tree

 Periodical cicadas come out in huge numbers and they do serious damage to new growth on trees. We know from experience that they love to poke their eggs into fruit tree twigs. Oh Well, or words to that effect. It looks like we will have a good number of pears this year in spite of the little songsters.

Tuesday Torque: Big Superior Oil Field Engines

 Merle found a good video of a fellow starting his 35 HP Superior.  I do not recommend rolling these big engines with your feet. If they kick back, you will be thrown and you will have broken bones. It happens! This is a Facebook vid, so it can't be embedded, so click this LINK  Many Thanks, Merle! I will post a few more Superiors from YouTube, maybe even one of my own!

Sunday, May 19, 2024

This Week's Assignment

 Take it easy, give dogs some lap time, try to move up doctor appointment.  No Grinding! No Driving! Slow walking. 

Second-degree (incomplete) heart block: With this type, your heart’s impulses only get to the lower chambers some of the time. The types of second-degree heart block are:

  • Type I, also called Mobitz Type I or Wenckebach’s AV block: This is a less serious form of second-degree heart block. The electrical signal gets slower and slower until your heart actually skips a beat.
  • Type II, also called Mobitz Type II: While most of the electrical signals reach your ventricles, every so often, some don’t. Your heartbeat becomes irregular and slower than normal. This form of second-degree heart block is more serious and may warrant a pacemaker.

Durango and Silverton Is Running Again!

 Spring is here and the trains have begun running again! Plan your trip to Colorado. Many Thanks, Merle for the reminder!

Song Of The Cicadas


The cicadas are still emerging from the soil, even as the early ones are dying off. I flip them out of the dog yard as I see them because I don't want the dogs eating them. That would make for unpredictable gut issues! A few more days and the music will disappear

Friday, May 17, 2024

Weekend Steam: Indian Narrow Gauge!

 Many thanks to Merle for finding new places to go and sights to see!

Thursday, May 16, 2024

In Need Of A New Lightning Whirler...

 Last week I was fine. Now my heart is ticking at thirty. It's a three week wait to see the cardiologist.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Thirteen Year Peridical Cicadas

 We saw this brood in 2011, 1998, and 1985. With a bit of luck we will see them again in 2037. They will emerge whether we do or not!

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Emerge, Reproduce, Die, Repeat...

                                                   Back To The Old Grind!

Friday, May 10, 2024

Weekend Steam: A Couple Across The Pond

 Merle sent links to a couple of shorts. Not embeddable, so here are the links. Thank you, Merle!


Burrell Traction Engine

Memphis Belle, Real History!

 We liked the 1990 movie, but there are many inaccuracies when compared to the actual events. This video corrects much of that!

James Gregory Passed Away Wednesday, May 8

 We have enjoyed his videos for years, and will miss this good guy. Link

Monday, May 6, 2024

Tuesday Torque: Start A John Deere A

 Many Thanks, Merle. I went over to YouTube and found a similar vid.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Weekend Steam: DIY Engine Shop

 Merle sent a video link on Facebook, and I had to go look for the topic on YouTube. The engines they sell are pretty, and evidently run well when assembled.  Whether or not you are in the market for a toy of this nature, it is a good site, so go take a look. DIYEngineShop

Many Thanks, Merle!

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Last Look

 Mama Owl, or maybe it's Papa, stopped by for one last visit after they moved out with their fledglings. I just had my little pocket camera, but it's not bad if you don't zoom in too much. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

More Groundhogs Than We Need!

I put up a camera, I find a groundhog. We have plenty of them at our place. This is the latest one. There is another hole under the east end of this barn, and I will check there next.

Galloping Geese!

 Here's another great topic picked by our friend Merle; the Galloping Goose. There are several videos of this wild beast, so here is a sampling. Thank You, Merle!

Monday, April 29, 2024

Rest In Peace, Mister Larry Mittens

 Dr. Bouland, our veterinarian at Mt. Vernon gave us Mr. Larry Mittens. He was a young Tom who strayed in there, so the good doctor fixed him up and sent him home with us. Mr. Mittens was about fifteen years old, and developed a large mammary tumor in recent months. He began having difficulties yesterday, and today we had our current vet assess him. We knew going in what was going to happen. We've been through this before. Mittens was a good little pal, and an easy keeper, never causing any trouble in the household.

1917 Ford Model T and 1926 Fordson Snow Machine

 Great Pick, Merle! Many Thanks!

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Under The Utility Vehicle

 Our Kubota RTV has been mostly trouble free since we bought it twelve years ago. Last week I noticed a wet spot under it and investigated. There is a heat exchanger under the transmission filter, with two heater hoses hooked to it. This device has rotated counter-clockwise, kinking the hoses in the process, and nearly pulling one off. I called the parts guy at the dealership and he had never seen this happen, but he told me there is one nut in the middle of this thing to tighten after I remove the filter.  Good information! I have the filter and trans fluid, plus new 5/8" heater hose, so this week I will forge ahead and put everything back in order.

Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Planting In The Dark

During planting and harvest it is common to see farmers working into the night to finish their work. We had rain forecast for the next day, so this farmer finished the field before he quit on this field.

Weekend Steam: Gaar Scott

 Merle sent a suggestion for showing Gaar Scotts, so here we go. Thank You, Merle!

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Susan's Garden Report, April 25, 2024

 We ran the raw video through the process again this morning and it seems to work correctly now, so here is Susan's Garden Tour/Report!

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Corcoran Field Boot Maintenance

Here's my quick and dirty guide to caring for your leather work boots. My boots don't go on long hikes nowadays, but they do go with me in the woods frequently. Work boots are my daily footwear. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Four New Goslings!

We are up to eight, if the varmints don't get them. Pretty little things!

Monday, April 22, 2024

Tuesday Torque: 45 and 30-60 Mogul Tractors

 We will look first at some old video that was shot in black and white. Thank You, Merle!

Next we will look at newer videos, in living color.

Another Earth Day,

Another load of wood.


Sunday, April 21, 2024

Never Been On A Stone!...

 ...Is a common expression among guys who trade knives. Knife traders are good guys to stay away from. They are good at skinning you out of a good pocket knife, and you end up with  junky old plug. Something I have never heard is, "It's never had a blade on it!" We have that. We picked it up at a little sale years ago when returning to the farm from Old Threshers. 

It is a little shop worn from sitting in various places over the years, but that stone has never sharpened tools.

Back To The Old Grind!

First Poppy!


Saturday, April 20, 2024

Big Bird News!

 The past day has been an exciting bird day for us. Last night one of the baby barred owls stuck its head up out of the den in the hollow hickory tree! We quickly set up an emergency fence across the dog yard just in case the little bird gets on the ground. We sure don't want a dog to get it.

One of our nesting pairs of geese now have four goslings that they are walking around the yard and taking out in the pond. The pair under our sycamore tree is still sitting on eggs.

One of our hunting friends came over this morning and nailed a Jake turkey. He called once and waited 1/2 hour before the turkey showed itself. 

Weekend Steam: Strasburg Railroad #89

 Summer travel opportunities will soon be here, and Merle reminded us that Strasburg Railroad is a must for steam enthusiasts. Click the photo of Number 89 to watch Strasburg's video on YouTube.

Click Here for Strasburg's website.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Early Arbor Day

 Hamilton County IL Soil and Water Conservation District organized another tree planting project for the third graders this year, and we had perfect weather mid-day to show the kids how to plant trees. Good times! The kids all know how to plant a potted tree properly now, and will probably remember it for the rest of their lives.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Prowlers Again

 The bums you will always have with you. We recently noticed that fuel had been stolen from our utility vehicle, and found strange footprints in the barn. The perps also pulled the wires off the ignition switch on the log splitter. Bad pennies they are.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

A Good Tree In The Wrong Place

 Here's a typical weekend job for Susan and me. This black walnut is a volunteer, and a pretty nice tree, but it is too close to this cottage, so it will go into the barn as firewood. The crown was going to reach over the roof this year, and that is far enough. We use the open face and bore cut method to take the tree down.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Tuesday Torque: De La Vergne Oil Engine

 Merle ran across a Facebook Reel of the BIG De La Vergne engine at Rollag, Minnesota. Hey, I have  a video of that engine, so I am going to post mine! It is really big. 26 " bore and 38" stroke, 20,175 cubic inches! Built in New York in 1903. Thanks, Merle!

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Weekend Steam II: Another Quick Look At The Mt. Washington Cog Railway,

 ...Thanks to Merle for spotting! ClickThisLink

Even The Dogs Gotta Grind!


                                       Back To The Old Grind!

Bore Cut Challenge

 This is easy if you have practiced, but those who are new to bore cutting often blow out their hinge or back strap. When the cut is through, let off your throttle and let the chain stop before pulling the saw out. A successful cut can be ruined by pulling back with the chain running. 

Follow the same rules we use for big trees when you cut the little ones. Look for safety hazards. Measure your diameter, height, and space to drop the tree. Design your front and back cuts, your trigger, and know your escape route. Small trees can be challenging because there is not much room to work in the stem with your saw, so plan accordingly. Thank You for visiting and watching!

Friday, April 12, 2024

Weekend Steam: Valley Railroad Company, Essex, Connecticut

 Merle spotted another railroad that we had never heard of, and I found  a video of more than an hour, shot last fall. Grab a cup of coffee! Thank You, Merle!

Spring Turkey Season Is In

Last weekend was youth season, and I could hear a novice calling just west of us. Continuous calling. He scratched that hen call solid for half an hour. It was hilarious. The gobblers did not fly down to him. This morning is one of the regular seasons, and at sunrise there was one shotgun blast near us, so someone got a gobbler. On a related note, our barred owls were nowhere to be seen or heard yesterday or today, so they have taken off with their fledglings. It has been fun watching them. 


Wednesday, April 10, 2024

John Prine....

 ....passed four years ago today. He wrote this song after visiting his grandfather's grave. The line about the sailors always gets me. John was a good guy.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

April 8 Eclipse Cook Out

 Several friends gathered with us for an eclipse party, and we were blessed with a nearly cloud-free sky, light breezes, and perfect temperature to enjoy being outdoors. Y'all should been here!

Tuesday Torque: 1903 Humber Tricycle

 Many Thanks, Merle! I could sure enjoy one of these.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Barn Groundhog

We are letting him stay, in case of hard times. This big boy could grease your skillet!

Hoping For A Sunny Day April 8

 We are all set for a good time tomorrow. Friends have come from far away, the brush pile is ready to light in the morning, and we have lots of meat to cook outdoors. Then four minutes of glory at two o'clock!

No Grinding, Just Good Times!

Friday, April 5, 2024

Weekend Steam: Firing A Best Traction Engine

 Merle sent the link to this channel back in December, and we are just getting around to posting it. There are a lot of good channels on YouTube, and MrShoptaw is one of them. Click his video over to YouTube and hit his subscribe button! Thank You, Merle!

The Barred Owl Keeps An Eye On Us!

 We got lucky this morning and the owl perched nearby, and waited while I retrieved the camera. With no time to spare, I cracked the door open and got a quick vid.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

What Happens When Your Saw Goes Dull?

 This video was going along swimmingly until I was in the final cut, then the right side of the chain stopped cutting well and the bar began curving to the left. Being so close to finishing, I fought it through, and you can see how difficult that is. This went from a pruning lesson to a malfunction demonstration! Stay Sharp!

Tuesday Torque: Crosby, North Dakota

 Merle sent a link to a video from Crosby, North Dakota and it looks like a great show.  Crosby is only five miles from the Canadian border in NW North Dakota, so check your oil and kick your tires before you head out! Thank You, Merle!

Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Right Tree In The Right Place

I am not anti-maple, I just don't want you to be disappointed in the future because a tree is in the wrong place. Look at your space and keep soft maples 100 feet away from your house. 

Back To The Old Grind!

Weekend Steam II: The Last Coal Fired Train From Durango

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Weekend Steam: To Be Restored?

Merle sent this one last year, and I am hoping this engine really will be put back in operation. Thank You, Merle!   Link To Engine Info

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Long Distance Litter

 We can't make them go away, but we can refuse to be part of the problem.  Don't buy mylar balloons. They never make it to Heaven!

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Look Quick Or You Will Miss Her!

 Mama Owl pops out of her hole and leaves while we were talking about her. We get our owl thrills every day in the back yard.

Tuesday Torque: Lobster Fishing In Norway

 The Solfrid is 1924 vintage. The Brunvoll hot-bulb Diesel is from 1957. They work well together. Many Thanks, Merle, for spotting this great video!

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Weekend Steam II: Mt. Washington Cog Railway

 Many Thanks, Merle. This suggestion came from Merle several months back.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Weekend Steam: Smoke And Drama!

 Merle sends lots of links, and I went back to last year and spotted these great shorts. Thank You, Merle!


Pruning Walnuts (And Other Trees, Too!)

 Prioritize your cuts and make them right. Will the tree be merchantable as is, or if you prune it? Can you make the tree produce more merchantable volume? Can you improve the value of the wood? Let the answers guide you as you prune.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Pipeliner Fly-By

 The pipeliner flies by about once a week, looking for problems along the petroleum pipeline that goes through our timber. In the rare event that we would have equipment on or near the line, we call the operator so they can inform the pilot, rather than trigger alarm bells. We always enjoy seeing him go over.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Waiting To Pounce!

 Something is always out to get you, even in the relative safety of your back yard. Keep an eye out for hazards!

Remember The Guy Using A Stick And His Flipped Cart... start his little Diesel engine? He now has an upgrade to his starting system!

Monday, March 18, 2024

Tuesday Torque: Midwest Old Threshers Parade Of Tractors

 Merle picked out a short by Someplace or Another of the LaCrosse Rein Drive Tractor at Mt. Pleasant. I have admired this little mechanical wonder since I was a kid. I looked up the long version, and you can see the LaCrosse at the 8:00 minute mark. Thank You, Merle!

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Enjoy Spring!

 Down in the twenties tonight, so unhook your garden hose! Admire the flowers while we have them!

Back To The Old Grind!

Weekend Steam II: Irish Steam At Speed!

Friday, March 15, 2024

Weekend Steam: Homemade Steam Motorcycle!

This is a  great one, Merle, and obviously one-of-a-kind. Thanks for spotting! I wonder what the range is on this baby. 

Here is a better look at this nice ride.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Busy Sunday

 Plenty to do outdoors!

Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Weekend Steam II: Rough And Tumble Engineers Historical Association

 Here's another great suggestion from Merle. Rough and Tumble Engineeers Historical Association at Kinzers, PA is the second oldest steam show in America, and it is one that all of us should attend. There are many great videos on YouTube, so remember their name and look them up for yourself to have a good time. Thanks, Merle!

Friday, March 8, 2024

Weekend Steam: Mick Savage, Over In U. K.

 Mick has some nice content on his YouTube channel. Thanks for spotting, Merle!

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Ranger Is In Training!

 We are taking Ranger to classes and working with him every day to improve his behavior on leash, for call backs, sitting, and threshold discipline. He is doing well with circling, figure - 8s, and zig-zags. He is a quick learner and is always anxious for a lesson.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

The Harps Of Spring Are In The Air!

 The spring birds are hollerin', the buzzards are circling over us every day, our barred owls are hatching young'uns, and the daffodils are lovely. The crocuses are looking great, too!

We let the fire go out for a day, and fired up again. We still need some heat. 

We Are Getting Ready...

 ...for the Eclipse Wienie Roast! We are building the new brush pile for that glorious day.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Save Your Old Potatoes!

 Don't let last year's potatoes go bad on you! If you won't eat all of them before they spoil, peel them, cut them up, and can them.

Back To The Old Grind!