Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fence Row Old Iron Investigator

I frequently encounter old iron in my ramblings in the countryside; most of it is less interesting than this rusty McCormick Deering tractor.
The history behind old machinery in fencerows is usually a mystery, and much of it was used up and worn out before it was parked to oxidize away. I do enjoy walking around finds like this one, and imagining the history of the farm it worked on.

Around on the backside, you can see that the top cover is off of the differential, so we can surmise that the rear end went out on the old girl. And what's that over on the left?...

The old tractor had a bad seal on this axle. It's a pretty good bet that the grease in the rear end ran low, and bearings went out. The tractor was probably outdated when that happened, so it wasn't worth fixing or trading in on another tractor. If you want a real challenge, send me an e-mail and I will check with the landowner for you to see it it might be for sale.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hot Air Engine Model at SIAM Show

This homemade scale model was on display at Evansville last summer at the Southern Indiana Antique Machinery show. Hot air engines always intrigue me when I see them run, and below, in the next video, Engineering Johnson provides some insight into the mysterious inner workings.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Good Advice Before You Go Shopping; Shooting

This video from YouTube has some good advice for women who are considering purchasing a handgun, but it applies to anyone. It is well worth watching if you are new to shooting, or an old hand.

Here It Comes!

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

Edmundus Rex just posted a great 1928 recording of "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man Of Mine," by Ben Bernie's Orchestra. The vocal features our favorite Victrola Girl, Vaughn DeLeath. This one will have you feeling great as you shuffle out the door Monday morning.

Important News From Iowa

Over on the Midwest Central Railroad Blog there is BIG news! The boiler for Engine Number 6 will soon be returning from the shop in Minnesota, and the railroaders have been busily working on the locomotive chassis in preparation for the happy event. It looks as though The 6 will be running again by Labor Day.

AND; Stranded In Iowa tells us that the Iowa Senate has passed concealed carry legislation and sent it over to the House. It is not a perfect bill, but it should provide a much better system than Iowa currently has, where citizens in many counties are not allowed to carry a weapon, based on the whims and opinions of the County Sheriff. If it is passed and signed by the governor I think that Mom will be shopping for some new hardware. Well, like she says, "You can't have too many guns!"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Weekend Steam

Here is an unusual place to find a steam engine. Luckily for us, the Besler steam airplane was actually filmed being demonstrated in 1933, and now the old newsreel clips can be found on YouTube. Amazing pictures!

UPDATE: Go HERE to read two fascinating articles about the Besler airplane.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Schedule Some Range Time For The Weekend!

This is the last weekend of the month, and that means you need to shoot your Mr. Completely March e-Postal target if you have not already done so. Click Here to download the target pdf, and to read the rules.

AND; Cheaper Than Dirt wants all of us to join in the fight against marauding Zombies, so click here to download their e-Postal target. All entrants have a chance to win a $50 gift certificate, and the contest runs until the end of November. That means you can shoot it during every range trip until you think you have maximized you score, and you will be able to track your shooting skill improvements during the year.

PLUS; Another e-Postal contest has popped up, this one from Nashville Online Handgun Postal Match. This month has a St. Patrick's Day theme, and the targets must be submitted by the end of March.

No Excuses! You know you need the practice, so load up family and friends and head to the range!

Crankin' It Up

Cal Stewart recorded this classic comedy piece on October 12, 1908. Try not to split a side laughing.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I'm Not Sure What To Call This One

This tough looking homebuilt was running around at Old Threshers last year. It looks like it has a pile of Model A parts in it, and it probably would be a great mudder. Whoever put this together obviously knows how to have a good time, and wants to enjoy driving his antique rather than protecting it from dust and fingerprints.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Servicing Your Ruger 10/22 Rifle

Ruger is doing great job posting useful videos on their YouTube channel. This series of three demonstrates what you need to know to keep your 10/22 working reliably.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monument To A Tense Moment

I ran across this old barber chair in Jefferson County, Illinois recently. This tree was cut somewhere around twenty years ago, and the stump serves as a silent reminder to those who see it that trees have the ability to smash you if don't know what you are doing. When the tree began motion, it split lengthwise, standing on the springpole, and what happened next we do not know. If the logger escaped unharmed he was a lucky person, and I hope he changed his ways.

Here is what he did wrong. He made one horizontal cut on the heavy side of the tree, then cut from the opposite side without first opening the front to allow the tree to rotate downward on the hinge wood. When the first cut closed, the tree split. I imagine fast footwork ensued to get out of the way. Read the chainsaw safety rules on the lower left sidebar, and peruse the postings under the 'Chainsaw' label to learn all of the cuts you need to safely drop a tree. It doesn't take a very big tree to kill you, and chainsaws are the most dangerous tool we use, so please pay attention to safety when you crank up.

Monday, March 22, 2010

e-Postal Range Day

Saturday was a beautiful day to be outdoors "Down On The Farm," and we took a break from our projects to shoot Mr. Completely's March e-Postal contest. I started out by checking my sight settings on the Single-Six. I knew from Merle' contest that the groups needed to move slightly right and down, so I moved the rear sight one click down, and one click right. With my arms rested on the bench I shot two five shot groups at this spot from fifty feet with Remington Yellow Jackets.

This group was shot with CCI Mini-Mags, and we used the Mini-Mags to shoot the targets for the contest.

This month's contest is shot from 25', offhand, with ten shots. Each star can only be scored on one time. The twenty point stars are a pretty tough challenge for someone who's eyes aren't made for iron sights, and the Mrs.' first target had a score of zero. She tried again, and made a score of 35.

I managed to hit a 50 point star with my first shot, then missed the paper trying for the upper right 50 pointer. I concentrated on trying to hit twenty point stars after that, and got three. I shot three more targets, but this was my best one.

You still have one more weekend to shoot your targets for this contest. Remember that every entry gives you a chance to win a $50.00 dollar gift certificate from Cheaper Than Dirt.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Not My Victrola

Orchestra leader, pianist, and player piano artist Zez Confrey entertains us this week with "Mississippi Shiver," courtesy of VictrolaJazz.

Monday's Coming!

Back To The Old Grind!

Yesterday Morning In Iowa...

Spring was having a hard time getting a foot in the door.

Old Barn Update

We've continued working on the barn during the winter when weekend weather was tolerable. We put new framing pieces in place and have been hanging siding across the center section. We put in a few hours Saturday, and the progress looks good to us. The northwest and southwest corners need quite a bit of work before we can finish the siding on this face. The upright timber in the southwest corner is completely eaten off by termites, and the roof appears to be staying up by divination, levitation, or some other mysterious force.

We have upgraded the condition rating of this end of the barn from "Completely Cattywampus" to "Sorta Sidegogglin'." The only reason we use a level or a plumb bob is to have a good laugh.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Weekend Steam

This video is by YouTuber jfreelan1964. It starts out with two 1/2 size Case 65's pulling the weight sled at Old Threshers. They put on a good show, and really snort. The Case 110 HP engine is next, and it just plays with the sled. The Minneapolis is working near its limit, and even though it is much smaller than the 110 Case, it pulls the sled with the weight all the way forward.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Crankin' It Up

Spring weather is upon us right now, and it put me in the mood for a waltz. "Marie" is a tune that most of you will recognize, and it was recorded on the Perfect label by Sam Lanin and his Orchestra on October 26,1928.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chasing Rainbows

We had to run up the road to the Belleville area on Sunday, and we had the good fortune to chase a rainbow down I-64 as we returned home. We tried hard to catch it, but it stayed ahead of us until it disappeared. Do you suppose that story about a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow is actually bogus?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Merle's Match Results Are Posted!

Merle has the results of his contest up on Page Three of his contest post (Click). Mrs. TBS and I both had fun shooting the targets, but we did not shoot as well as most of the contestants. I had just switched the Single-Six from the magnum cylinder to long rifle, and had not spent enough time fine tuning the sights; we were both throwing a bit high and to the left. I tell you this to emphasize that entering these contests will help you to fine tune your firearms and shooting skills. Shooting more will turn you into a better shot, and provide fellowship and fun with family, friends, and online shooting enthusiasts.
The Mr. Completely March 2010 e-Postal contest is going on right now, so click here to read the rules and to download your target! We have two weekends to go in March, so make your range plans and join in the fun!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Monday Morning Coming Down!

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

St. Patrick's Day is almost upon us, so we are all being blessed with a John McCormack classic.

One Lung Mogul Tractor

(Click To Enlarge.)
This original condition Mogul tractor was on display at Pinckneyville last August. I never got the chance to see it run, but it was a joy to look at up close. According to the information placard, it spent all of its working life under cover. Pretty sweet.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Weekend Steam; Stack Talk

Steam engines sound best when they are pulling a good load; here are a couple of videos from YouTubers with traction engines belted up and pulling hard. The Russell is running on 150 pounds of steam, and it sounds crisp and powerful.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Crankin' It Up

Last week I heard a country band play "Yearning" on the radio, and it has been spinning around in my head ever since. Here is a 1925 version, sung pretty well by a tenor. The last note he sings reminds me of a line from another old song: "Whenever I think of Lincoln, I know I could never forgive a guy who would murder a man like him, and let these tenors live!"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Follow The Rules!

I saw this story through a link on The Conservative Scalawag, and it is one that must be passed on: "The superintendent of a rural school district in Montana says he was showing students his black powder muzzleloader gun when he accidentally fired the weapon into a classroom wall during a history lesson.
Dwain Haggard, who used to be a Civil War re-enactor, was showing the gun to five students in Reed Point High School's American history class Friday when it fired." (Click here to read the rest of the story.)

There are only four easy-to-remember rules for basic firearm safety, (See Rules To Live By on the lower left sidebar.) and they apply to all firearms, from antiques, to the most modern. The teacher should have been familiar with the operation of a musket if he was a Civil War re-enactor. For those of you who are not familiar with muzzleloading firearms, below are excerpts from a Civil War era manual which explains how to check your musket to discover if the bore is empty or loaded. Every time your muzzleloader comes out of its case you should check it, just as you would check a modern firearm for an empty chamber.

One time and two motions.

227. (First motion.) Seize the piece with the left hand below and near the upper band, carry it with both hands opposite the middle of the body, the butt between the feet, the rammer to the rear, the barrel vertical, the muzzle about three inches from the body; carry the left hand reversed to the sabre bayonet, draw it from the scabbard and fix it on the barrel; grasp the piece with the left hand below and near the upper band, seize the rammer with the thumb and fore-finger of the right hand bent, the other fingers closed.

228. (Second motion.) Draw the rammer as has been explained in loading, and let it glide to the bottom of the bore, replace the piece with the left hand opposite the right shoulder, and retake the position of ordered arms....

[ From Loading: 5. Draw- RAMMER.
One time and three motions.
160. (First motion.) Half draw the rammer by extending, the right arm; steady it in this position with the left thumb; grasp the rammer near the muzzle with the right hand, the little finger uppermost, the nails to the front, the thumb extended along the rammer..

161. (Second motion.) Clear the rammer from the pipes by again extending the arm; the rammer in the prolongation of the pipes.

162 (Third motion.) Turn the rammer, the little end of the rammer passing near the left shoulder; place the head of the rammer on the ball, the back of the hand to the front.]


234. Put the rammer in the barrel as has been explained above, and immediately retake the position of ordered arms.

235. The instructor, for the purpose stated, can take the rammer by the small end, and spring it in the barrel, or cause each recruit to make it ring in the barrel.

236. Each recruit, after the instructor passes him, will return rammer and resume the position of ordered arms." *

*Hardee's Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics (1855)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mogul Engine Ignitor

I have been having so much fun watching last week's video of an ignitor that I had to post another. This engine is a little Mogul that we saw last fall at Boonville. When you are watching this, remember that the engineers and draftsmen who designed these things didn't have fancy computer software to help them. These were all designed on paper, one line at a time, and the visualization had to happen between the ears.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Just How Good Are Those Big Black Ants?

A pileated woodpecker has been dining on the carpenter ants who have riddled the interior of this black cherry tree.
Ants must be a very tasty treat, judging from the number of holes the bird punched in this tree.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ruger Redhawk Disassembly and Reassembly

The Ruger Redhawk is a pistol that is near and dear to me. I have been shooting one for years, and the massive construction really soaks up the recoil when you shoot full power loads, making them tolerable for someone who doesn't shoot hot loads regularly. I usually shoot moderate loads, a bit hotter than .44 Special, but below the listed magnum loads, and pistol novices would have no trouble shooting them in the big Redhawk. Redhawks are made for serious handgun hunters, but mine mostly does plinking duty, plus taking care of varmints around the farm. I often say that it shoots like a rifle, and it has never failed to connect when I shoot at a possum, skunk, or groundhog.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Not My Victrola

Jane Green sings "Got No Time," recorded May 28, 1925, and posted on YouTube by Pax41.

Monday Morning's Coming!

Back To The Old Grind!


Aspect is one of the first lessons discussed in forest ecology courses, and field foresters see the influence of aspect on a daily basis. Aspect is simply, the direction a slope faces. The snow on the maple branch above illustrates how quickly the environment changes from the south facing slope to the north facing slope. The direction a slope faces influences the type of timber, the growth rates, plus fuel types and fire behavior.

Forest site types change with soil type, slope position, and aspect. It is common to find red oak-white oak forest growing on the north and east sides of a hill in southern Illinois, and on the opposite side of the hill, with the same soil type you will find post oak and black oak growing as the dominant species. You will find differences just as dramatic in fire fighting. It is common to have hot fire conditions on the south and west sides of a hill when forest litter will not carry a fire at all on the north side.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Weekend Steam

The steam videos this week are YouTube posts of engines in Swiss steam boats. The first one is in the 100 year old ferry boat, Stadt Zürich as it travels across Lake Zürich to Rapperswil.

This engine is in a paddle-wheel boat on Lake Geneva between Lausanne (SW) and Evian in France.

This is beautiful machinery, and the size of the cranks and rods is breathtaking.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Crankin' It Up

This week we are featuring the well known "Hoosier Sweetheart" on a well worn Victor dance record. This is one of those songs that everyone likes, and the previous owner of this record demonstrated that by playing it hard. Jean Goldkette and his orchestra recorded "Hoosier Sweetheart" on January 31, 1927.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

How Are You At Parallel Parking?

The 40' X 100' three story brick building is now sitting above its new foundation in Washington, Iowa. I think that the movers and both neighbors probably were nervous during the parking phase of this project, and there is still lots of work to do, setting more jacks, removing the wheel units, and etc. This was a much tougher test than parallel parking for the DMV. Do you need a license to drive a brick building down the street? I guess that would be a BBDL.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hidden Treasures

I can't resist looking at dilapidated sheds as I pass by them. The shed in this photo caught my eye a year ago because I could see some old iron peeking out between the barely there siding boards, but I couldn't tell what kind of machine the iron belonged to. I pass this shed maybe once a month or less, and every time, someone was following too closely to slow down for a good look. Finally, last Saturday, there was no traffic either way; I stopped, zoomed in, and shot a picture from the highway. When I plugged the SD card into the computer I found that the old iron is a hand-cranked forge blower. Mystery solved. Zoom is good.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Snort, Putt, Snort Snort, Putt

There is a bit of lost motion in the rocker arm pivot of this IHC hit-and-miss engine, but it doesn't seem to mind. This video gives you a good look at the ignitor hardware. Sparkplug ignition is mechanically simple, and electrically complicated; ignitor ignition is simple electrically, and mechanically complicated. And more fun to watch.

This engine was running last fall at the fall show at Boonville, Indiana.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Working On Your Ruger Bearcat

Here are a couple more videos from Ruger with information you can use. I don't have a Bearcat, but I have admired them for years, and may buy one sometime.