Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Putt Putt Putt Putt

This engine is one we saw last October at Boonville, Indiana. Unfortunately, I did not write down any information, or take a photo of the builder's tag. The carburetor looks to me as if it could be a Fairbanks, but I really don't know. You will notice when you play the video that this little engine is throttle governed, not hit-and-miss like most engines of this vintage. Can the readers help with the brand name?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Brave Face

I pass this old barn on a daily basis. Most of it is pretty straight, but the south side has fallen, and tin is missing from the roof.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Not My Victrola: "Make Believe" Edith Day and Howett Worster, 1928

Jozefsterkens has posted a very good record made in 1928, with an old show tune that you all will recognize. The stars of the 1920's can still thrill us today.

Monday Again!

Back To The Old Grind!

Time Machine

One of the joys of looking at patches of timber is looking into the past of the farm connected to the timber. This woods is the pot at the end of the rainbow for old iron afficianados.

There are lots of items from way back in Before-Tractors. Some people use little horse drawn discs like this one behind an ATV to work up food plots.

HAY! I remember using these...they can't be antiques!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bonus Range Time!

The Winter Gun Blogger Rifle Match has been extended until the end of the month to bring in a few more entries. Don't waste this opportunity! Click on the link on the left sidebar, read the rules and print out your targets. You can enter with only ten shots from a .22 on one target, or shoot three targets with an SKS or Kalashnikov rifle. Check out my offhand target and you will see that you will suffer no embarrassment.

This is also the last weekend to shoot Mr. Completely's March e-Postal Match. Both links are under the heading: Get Out and Shoot! Gather your gear, load the family in the van, and go to the range!

Weekend Steam: Through A Glass, Barely

Passing through a small town in Wabash County, Illinois, I spotted this two-cylinder home-built labor of love in the window of an out-of-business machine shop. The light was all wrong, but I took some pictures anyway. This looks like it is not a scale model of any particular brand, but it is very representative of the style of engines that were built toward the end of the steam traction era. The little twin engine at the left of the photo appears to be made from two Stuart Number 5 engine kits.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Crankin' It Up; Support Your Local Organ Grinder!

With spring weather creeping in on us, the organ grinders should soon be out on the streets. Just in case your neighborhood does not have an organ grinder, you can listen to this to hear what you are missing. This record has three songs on each side, and I included both sides on the upload. It starts with 'Daisy' and ends with 'On the Banks of the Wabash.' Don't forget to tip the monkey.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Prairie Grass Maintenance

I checked out this smoke the other day and it was just one of my neighbors burning off a patch of prairie grass. He was burning it in from three sides, leaving one side cold so the rabbits could escape.
The flames were pretty impressive for a flanking fire. I did see lots of rabbits, and none of them were smoking.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sign Up and Saw!

The Dixon Springs Ag Center is hosting another chainsaw class specifically for people in the ice storm damaged area of Southern Illinois. Game of Logging instructor Joe Glenn will be coming over from Missouri to teach the course. The first two days are April 2 and 3. Cost for attendees is $25.00 to cover the cost of lunches for all four days of the course. Contact Stephanie Brown: SBrown63 (at) Shawneelink (dot) net to sign up for the course.

True Blue Sam will be there with his Husky 346XP and 385XP to help out, and some lucky students will get to cut with these beauties. Don't Delay; available slots are limited!

Chomp, Chomp

Who knew that sassafras was an omnivore? I will have to be careful about taking long naps under trees.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Virtual Tripping; Old Car Goodness

Danno, over at Sand Castle Scrolls, took a weekend trip to the Grand Canyon, and has graciously shared photos he took at the Grand Canyon Valle airstrip. This 1906 REO shows off the technology of the early years of automobiles. This car has a one cylinder engine, it is water cooled, has right hand drive, and the final drive is by chain.

This 1922 Maxwell is a real beauty. I think it is a newer model than Mr. Benny's.

The 1908 Buick has a four cylinder, overhead valve engine. Note that this car still has right hand drive, gas headlights, and kerosene marker lights.

The 1912 Model T Ford Depot Hack shows Henry's switch to left hand drive. Left hand drive allowed motorists to stop and visit face to face along the road. Were there surfers to drive woodies in 1912?

1917 Model T Speedster

1925 Model T Delivery Truck

1926 TT One Ton Ford Truck

Model T Depot Hack
This depot hack bears an uncanny resemblance to the beater hack in my last Model T post, but it is a bit more polished.
Thanks for sharing your trip with us, Danno! Visitors to this page can click over to Danno's site by clicking on SandCastleScrolls in the blog list on the left side of the screen.

Monday, March 23, 2009

That Whooshing Sound....

is my cholesterol shooting up. Greenfield Discount Grocery at Wayne City, Illinois has a dozen cases of WHEELS OF BRIE! I am being bad, and loving every luscious bite.

Click on the Discount Groceries label to see previous posts about our favorite grocery store.

Cull.....Short For Culvert?

This shingle oak was an interesting problem. I was asked if I could take it down because the landowner was unsure about dropping it without having it fall down around his ears. A standard front cut of about 1/3 of the tree's diameter would have left about a three inch hinge on both sides, and releasing the tree by cutting in from the back probably would have caused the tree to split and do bad things. I was able to put an open face in it with almost a foot of hinge on one side, and four inches on the other. I made the hinge three inches thick when I bored in from either side, which was an inch thicker than I normally would have made it, but fiber pull was not an issue, and I was concerned about the integrity of the hinge wood.

Click on the picture to enlarge it. On the right side of the picture you can see where I punched in behind the hinge, and then cut back about one foot. Next, I punched in on the other side, and cut quickly around the circumference to release the tree from the stump. I then made a quick getaway.

I cut the bottom end of the tree off for the owner, who plans to put it in his pond for fish habitat.

I often have kids ask why we can't just cut the trees that die, rather than cut live ones to use. This tree is a good example of why we can't depend on dead trees for our supply of wood. That method makes as much sense as butchering animals for meat only after they die a natural death.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Not My Victrola: Spring Break Edition

GramophoneShane has posted a Shimmy version of "Collegiate," just in time for the young folks to enjoy on their spring break. I always get a kick from the words to this one: Tappa Halfa Keg, Delta Handa Poka; that's real jocularity! Have a great week.

Monday Again!

Back To The Old Grind!

Bringin' The Message

The Ballad of Salvation Bill

'Twas in the bleary middle of the hard-boiled Artic night,
I was lonesome as a loon, so if you can,
Imagine my emotions of amazement and delight
When I bumped into that Missionary Man.
He was lying lost and dying in the moon's unholy leer,
And frozen from his toes to finger-tips
The famished wolf-pack ringed him; but he didn't seem to fear,
As he pressed his ice-bound Bible to his lips.

'Twas the limit of my trap-line, with the cabin miles away,
And every step was like a stab of pain;
But I packed him like a baby, and I nursed him night and day,
Till I got him back to health and strength again.
So there we were, benighted in the shadow of the Pole,
And he might have proved a priceless little pard,
If he hadn't got to worrying about my blessed soul,
And a-quotin' me his Bible by the yard.

Now there was I, a husky guy, whose god was Nicotine,
With a "coffin-nail" a fixture in my mug;
I rolled them in the pages of a pulpwood magazine,
And hacked them with my jack-knife from the plug.
For, Oh to know the bliss and glow that good tobacco means,
Just live among the everlasting ice . . .
So judge my horror when I found my stock of magazines
Was chewed into a chowder by the mice.

A woeful week went by and not a single pill I had,
Me that would smoke my forty in a day;
I sighed, I swore, I strode the floor; I felt I would go mad:
The gospel-plugger watched me with dismay.
My brow was wet, my teeth were set, my nerves were rasping raw;
And yet that preacher couldn't understand:
So with despair I wrestled there - when suddenly I saw
The volume he was holding in his hand.

Then something snapped inside my brain, and with an evil start
The wolf-man in me woke to rabid rage.
"I saved your lousy life," says I; "so show you have a heart,
And tear me out a solitary page."
He shrank and shrivelled at my words; his face went pewter white;'
Twas just as if I'd handed him a blow:
And then . . . and then he seemed to swell, and grow to Heaven's height,
And in a voice that rang he answered: "No!"

I grabbed my loaded rifle and I jabbed it to his chest:
"Come on, you shrimp, give me that Book," says I.
Well sir, he was a parson, but he stacked up with the best,
And for grit I got to hand it to the guy.
"If I should let you desecrate this Holy Word," he said,
"My soul would be eternally accurst;
So go on, Bill, I'm ready. You can pump me full of lead
And take it, but - you've got to kill me first."

Now I'm no foul assassin, though I'm full of sinful ways,
And I knew right there the fellow had me beat;
For I felt a yellow mongrel in the glory of his gaze,
And I flung my foolish firearm at his feet,
Then wearily I turned away, and dropped upon my bunk,
And there I lay and blubbered like a kid.
"Forgive me, pard," says I at last, "for acting like a skunk,
But hide the blasted rifle..." Which he did.

And he also hid his Bible, which was maybe just as well,
For the sight of all that paper gave me pain;
And there were crimson moments when I felt I'd go to hell
To have a single cigarette again.
And so I lay day after day, and brooded dark and deep,
Until one night I thought I'd end it all;
Then rough I roused the preacher, where he stretched pretending sleep,
With his map of horror turned towards the wall.

"See here, my pious pal," says I, "I've stood it long enough...
Behold! I've mixed some strychnine in a cup;
Enough to kill a dozen men - believe me it's no bluff;
Now watch me, for I'm gonna drink it up.
You've seen me bludgeoned by despair through bitter days and nights,
And now you'll see me squirming as I die.
You're not to blame, you've played the game according to your lights...
But how would Christ have played it? - Well, good-bye..."

With that I raised the deadly drink and laid it to my lips,
But he was on me with a tiger-bound;
And as we locked and reeled and rocked with wild and wicked grips,
The poison cup went crashing to the ground.
"Don't do it, Bill," he madly shrieked. "Maybe I acted wrong.
See, here's my Bible - use it as you will;
But promise me - you'll read a little as you go along...
You do! Then take it, Brother; smoke your fill."

And so I did. I smoked and smoked from Genesis to Job,
And as I smoked I read each blessed word;
While in the shadow of his bunk I heard him sigh and sob,
And then . . . a most peculiar thing occurred.
I got to reading more and more, and smoking less and less,
Till just about the day his heart was broke,
Says I: "Here, take it back, me lad. I've had enough I guess.
Your paper makes a mighty rotten smoke."

So then and there with plea and prayer he wrestled for my soul,
And I was racked and ravaged by regrets.
But God was good, for lo! next day there came the police patrol,
With paper for a thousand cigarettes. . .
So now I'm called Salvation Bill; I teach the Living Law,
And Bally-hoo the Bible with the best;
And if a guy won't listen - why, I sock him on the jaw,
And preach the Gospel sitting on his chest.

From: Bar-Room Ballads, by Robert Service

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Weekend Steam

Holy Cow; looking through the folders of last years photos I find that I am out of decent video files from last year's shows. I have lots of still shots, and of course the collection of old steam magazines, so we will have pictures until we visit some shows this year. This beauty is one of the Russell engines you can see at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa every Labor Day weekend.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Crankin' It Up

Spring begins at 6:44AM CDT today, so we are featuring a record this Friday with a "Springy" title. The "Wild Flower Waltz" is performed by the Yerkes Jazarimba Orchestra, on a Columbia disc, and played, as usual on our windup Brunswick.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Practice, Practice!

This is one of the targets I shot last weekend for Mr. Completely's March e-Postal contest. A perfect score is 25, and the worst possible score is 125, so you can see I have room for improvement. We all need to practice regularly to shoot well, so print out a stack of targets and shoot this contest during the upcoming weekend. Shoot it each month, and you WILL be a better shooter! While you are getting ready, print out the target for the Gun Blogger Winter Rifle Match and shoot it too. You only need a .22 rifle and ten shots at twenty-five yards for that contest. The rifle target must be sent in by 11:59 PM Saturday night, and Mr. Completely's deadline is midnight, March 30.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Graduation Day!

Tonight we have the final installment of the Ford Supplement from Dyke's Automobile and Gas Engine Encyclopedia from 1919. Whether your level of interest in Model T's is doing an immaculate restoration of a touring car, or fixing up a jalopy depot hack, this book can be your guide to the internal workings of the century-old design by Henry Ford. Click on each page to enlarge it, then right click and save it for future reference. Click on the T's label at the bottom of the post to bring up all of the posts with pages from Dyke's Ford Supplement. Happy Motoring!

Burning Desire

It has been well established over the last fifty years that fire suppression in oak-hickory forests has been causing a shortage of oak reproduction. I have seen this firsthand, having worked both in areas with excessive wildfires, and forests with no fires. Timber that burns reproduces to the species that humans and wildlife need to live their lives. The problem with prescribed burning that is not addressed very well, is that prescribed burns can damage or kill timber just as well as a wildfire. If you are trying to make money with your timber, the use of fire to make the trees reproduce has the potential to severely cut into the quality of your timber, and your income. The black oak above was severely burned in a prescribed fire.

Dr. John Groninger of Southern Illinois University is seen here checking out a black oak that was killed in a prescribed fire in a research area. Note that a red oak of similar size is unscathed just a short distance away.

This shagbark hickory died in a prescribed fire, and even though hickories are low in monetary value, they are important providers of food and homes for wildlife.

What is a timber grower to do? Here is the solution I recommend if it is time to burn your woods in order for it to regenerate. You have to protect your trees within the burn area. One of my landowners put in ten man-days on his high quality white oak forest preparing it for its first prescribed burn. He is on track to have the final sale of this stand in about fifteen years, and it is time to make new oaks start up in the understory. Most of the preparation was done with a leaf blower and a rake to clean fuel away from trees which will ultimately be harvested.

He even cleaned around his hickories if they appeared to be merchantable. The little sedges growing at the foot of this tree are a fire frequency indicator. They will grow all over an upland timber that has a fire once in a while, but in a woods that is not burned, you will see them only around the bases of trees.

One day was spent chainsawing and moving heavy fuels away from his trees. This is a good idea for every forest owner as a protection against wildfire damage.

We lit his thirty acres today, after several good drying days, and the advance preparation made it a low stress burn.

Here the landowner is stringing fire with a drip torch.

The protected trees had more than enough clean space around them, and we had a wide fire line encircling the thirty acre woods.

He made his fire line extra wide around his cabin.

After the downwind sides were burned in a safe distance, we lit some head fires to run with the wind, and speed up the process.

This burn also did some good fuel reduction for us, so the next fire will be much easier to prepare.

We patrolled the line after the fire, mopping up hot spots like this stump,

which was demolished and scattered using a Council rake. Mopping up after the fire is just as important as the advance preparation. You don't want your fire scattering sparks across the line to your neighbors.

This was the first of a series of burns we will do in this timber over the next dozen years. We suffered almost no collateral damage to the trees, and this is a burn I can use as a model to show other forest owners.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Be Sharp!

Chainsaw instructor Tim Ard instructs us in one of Progessive Farmer's videos above. Watch Tim a few times to imbed in your brain just what you need to do to the teeth on your saw when you sharpen. If you can see a thin shiny line on the front edge of the top plate, or a shiny spot on the point, you need to sharpen. I usually touch up my blade every time I stop to fuel up, and that way my saw never is dull, unless I am careless enough to 'rock' it, or unfortunate in finding metal in a tree.

The angles he shows are very important to maintain. If you hook the side angle forward too much, it will bite too aggresively, and if you have it leaning back the tooth will not cut well. The depth gauges need to be checked regularly, because as the tooth is sharpened back, it bites less until the depth gauge is lowered to match. I usually touch up the gauges every three or four sharpenings. The advantage of the Pferd tool that Tim demonstrates is that the depth gauges are adjusted to match as you sharpen. There are several tools available to help you sharpen, and my favorite is the Carlton File-O-Plate. It works only on chains with no anti-kickback devices, but it fits easily in my ammo box kit I take to the woods. After you learn what you are doing with a file you will probably sharpen freehand most of the time, and use a tool to make things perfect when you are at your workbench. Below is a picture of the File-O-Plate, a tool that is handy to pack, but also very easy to lose in the leaves. I usually do not take it out of my kit in the woods, and have used the same one for more than a dozen years.

Next, loggers Jason and Roger are taking a break, and Jason sharpens freehand while Roger tells a mildly amusing story of going to a logger class.