Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!


This is a big old Bessemer two stroke oil field engine that was running at Boonville at the October show. The ignition system is a hot tube, so you will note that the spark plug has no wire on it. I am so old that I have seen a grease and oil soaked engine just like this in a power house in Eastern Kentucky being used to pump oil.

Newest Addition To The Family

I had Black Bart the Cat at the vet's office recently, and heard another customer talking about a Schipperke.  I had to check that out, since that is my favorite breed of dog, and it turned out that a Skip was in need of a home.  Skipper is a middle aged male, and is a perfect gentleman, even around the cats.  He goes to the door and barks when he wants out, comes when he is called, and stops whatever he is doing when I make the stop noise.  He even puts his nose up in the air and howls on cue from me. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ruger's Valour-IT Auction

This US marked Service Six revolver is in the same class as the US marked Mk II that was recently offered and sold. There are no US marked guns like this out in circulation. This is the only one! It definitely is a valuable collectible item, whether you are planning to use it, or squirrel it away in your gun safe. Be a good-deed-doer, and bid on this gun. Win it, and you have a shooter, or a collector's item....and you help a wounded soldier.   The auction for this fine revolver ends mid-day Wednesday.

The new item on the auction block is this Super Blackhawk Convertible, in .44 Magnum and 44-40.  Only 1200 of these were manufacture in 1990 and 1991.  Click Here to check it out on GunBroker.

Bidders were paying attention when this Green Beret 10/22 came to the deadline.  It had twenty-one bids and brought in $3050 for Project Valour-IT.  Wow!
Don't be afraid to bid if you see a gun you like while Ruger is running this program.  As in any auction, you set a limit before you bid, and stick to it.  Whether or not you participate in these auctions, visit Ruger's website and send a Thank You to Ruger's CEO.  Move your cursor over News and Resources in the top bar, scroll down to Tell The CEO, and send Mr. Fifer a letter thanking him.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Big Buckeye At Boonville

This big fine Diesel was put back into operating condition last year, and it sounds pretty good. Rob Seaton, the fellow you see working the throttle, worked over the fuel system to make it run. You can see a little puff of smoke when he bumps the throttle; he is going to have to change a head gasket.

Handgun Hunting by Ruger: A Brief Look At Optics

This is a quick look at what optics can do for you if you plan to use a handgun for hunting.  It is important to consider what you will be hunting, and what you want your limitations to be. Take a look at the photos below, and you can see how the sights on your pistol affect your accuracy, and your maximum effective hunting range.

The iron sights on the Single Six are clearly not good enough if I want to nail squirrels at 25 yards.  However, this level of accuracy is fine if I want to be able to pop a coyote while I am out on a woods walk.  This level of accuracy is also good enough for dealing with coons, possums, and skunks, if I hold my range to about fify feet.

A red dot scope puts the target and your sights in the same plane, and allows you to see clearly, without magnification.  You can kill squirrels with this combination, but 25 yards is pushing the envelope a bit.  If your squirrels are just 40 to 50 feet up in a tree, this type of sight will bring home the bushytails.

Contenders shoot at least as good as rifles, but you need magnification to utilize the accuracy built into these pistols. This barrel and scope combination was assembled over thirty years ago, and it still works just fine.  It is great for blasting starlings that land on the barn roof, and I haven't punctured the tin roof yet; but that flyer on the bottom tells me I had better not get cocky.

The 10/22 was bought used over twenty years ago with a Simmons 3-9X scope already installed, on tall see through mounts.  I have recently upgraded it with a Volquartsen target hammer kit, which has given it a two pound seven ounce trigger pull.  Breathing moves the crosshairs up and down when you are shooting a rifle; much more than when you are shooting a pistol off of a rest.  At least that is my excuse for not making a one hole group with this rifle off of the bench.  Anyway, I'm good for 25 yards on squirrels with my rifle, if I can find a good rest.  Coons, coyotes, skunks and possums had better look out. 
Think about what type of shooting/hunting you will be doing before you decide what type of optics you want to put on top of your handgun.  I like the red dot on the Mk III because of the type of shooting I do, but if I wanted to make it my squirrel gun, I would change to a scope with magnification.  As it is set up now, it does just fine on varmints around the farmstead, and it is good for offhand recreational shooting. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hardly Working?

Back To The Old Grind!

MayorMoonshine's first video! Not Bad!  That Super M doesn't even break a sweat pulling a 20" bur mill.

Not My Victrola: Tales From The Love Worn

Harry Reser's Six Jumping Jacks; 1928; posted by 240252.

Art Fowler and His Ukulele; 1927; posted by warholsoup100.

I hope these guys were at least lucky at cards.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October e-Postal Match Is Coming To The End

This is the final weekend before the October Mr. Completely e-Postal match closes at Midnight on Halloween.  You havefifteen little bowling pins to shoot with fifteen shots; there's a little wiggle room on elevation, but not much on windage.  I have tried it a couple times, and I can make nine hits OK, but I would like to do better than that.  I will see what I can do, and may post my results if it is not terribly embarrassing.  Click over to Traction Control for the rules and the target.

Weekend Steam

We get to see all kinds of wonderful sights through the magic of YouTube. Here, JaniceBraud shares a railroad treat from down in Texas: "At 2012 Railfest, Texas State Railroad 1917 Baldwin "Pershing" steam engine #300 (Consolidation class, 83 tons) pushing the much heavier (224 tons) T&P steam engine #610 (Texas class) into storage/maintenance building. This Texas and Pacific engine is the sole surviving steam engine of the super-power high capacity freight engines. It pulled the 1976 Bicentennial Freedom Train across Texas."

Ghosts In Daylight

Dad would have turned 85 today.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Crankin' It Up: Lies Will Not Serve You Here!

Halloween is upon us, and so it's time to repost one of my all time favorites. There are many great lines in this classic, such as "Well that's all I did, and believe me, I cut him deep." "The night I robbed the hen house." "Not over seven times...a week."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blundering Bachelor Breakfast...

...or Heart Attack On A Shingle? While the wife is away food prep has to be quick and easy. Next time, maybe we will cover how to best prepare frozen burritos!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Here's A Collecting Opportunity For You

One of my friends in Wayne County has collected gas engines, tractors, and even steam engines all of his adult life.  What started out as a hobby has become a sort of investment program, with old and unusual machinery being bought and sold for income.

This odd collection is a bunch of air compressors that he stumbled upon, right before they were going to be sold for scrap.  These machines were used in road construction, and helped build the Interstate system in Illinois.

Most of them use a standard engine block, but half of the cylinders provide power, and the others pump air.   I have seeen air compressors like these years ago as we passed through construction zones, but wasn't aware that they are now possible collector items

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Handgun Hunting, From Ruger Firearms

Tom Kelly continues an informative series, courtesy of  Ruger, to help folks who want to hunt with a handgun. His advice about your effective range is right on the money. I have hunted only small game with a handgun; and for squirrels you need to be able to put a bullet consistently through a squirrel's heart/lung area. That is mighty hard to do with iron sights, but you can keep shots in an inch circle with scope, if you take a rest with your gun. My neighbor was just telling me last week that since he put a red dot scope on his Ruger Mk II, he is making head shots on squirrels; something that he had never done before with a pistol.

Ruger's Current Auctions For Project Valour-IT

Ruger keeps putting special guns up for bid, and is donating 100% of the proceeds to Soldiers' Angels Project Valour-IT, to purchase voice activated laptops for wounded soldiers.  Folks weren't paying attention last week, and the stainless Service Six snubby went for about $100 less than you would have to pay for a current production GP-100 snubby.  These auctions are definitely worth watching and bidding.

Wednesday, Ruger will be selling a very special 10/22.   From the GunBroker auction page, "This is the fourth of six consecutive serial-numbered “Green Beret” 10/22 Carbine rifles Ruger is auctioning off. The serial number of this rifle is 110-63736 and the rollmark date is May 31, 1973."

From Ruger's Facebook page, here is the info you need for the newest auction item: "We have another great auction this week! This time around it's a Service-Six® Military Model double-action revolver and is marked “U.S.” at the right front of the frame. All the proceeds from this auction will be going to support the Soldiers' Angels Project Valour-IT. So head on over to to place your bid today!"

This revolver is in the same class as the US marked Mk II that was recently offered and sold.  There are no US marked guns like this out in circulation.  This is the only one!  It definitely is a valuable collectible item, whether you are planning to use it, or squirrel it away in your gun safe.  Be a good-deed-doer, and bid on this gun.   Win it, and you have a shooter, or a collector's item....and you help a wounded soldier.  Thank You, Ruger, for your generosity.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Nice Ride!

Take an old Wheel Horse garden tractor, add a restored IHC LA or LB, plus chrome wheels, cushy seat; and it's a ride fit for a MinPin! Lucky Dog.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Experience Counts; Patina Is Good

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola: Vintage TV Show Themes

 Pianomn199 has posted some real treats for children of the 1950's. The top one is the theme from Dragnet, performed by J. Lawrence Cook in 1953. Below, we have I Love Lucy, Bonanza, and The Real McCoys.

Click over to Pianomn199's YouTube channel to hear more of his recent uploads.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekend Steam: Pinckneyville Weekend

The American Thresherman Fall Show is going on this weekend in Pinckneyville, Illinois.  Click Here to go to the American Thresherman site, and have a look at the poster for the fall show.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Crankin' It Up: Be Careful Not To Split Your Sides

Cohen On The Telephone was recorded in 1913, and the premise is that this is the first time Mr. Cohen has used a telephone.  I first listened to this recording nearly fifty years ago, and it was funny the first time.  I didn't listen to it again until recent years, and it suddenly is funny again because of the difficulties we have talking on cell phones as we go about our business; and maybe because my hearing isn't what it used to be.  This record is supposed to be ethnic humor, but I don't think it really qualifies for that anymore.  It sure can be related to if you have ever had a call fade after you dropped over the top of a hill, or the party on the other end fills a glass with ice while you are trying to hear them. 

One of the other record collectors who posted this recording described it as "hilarious."  That sounds a bit hopeful to me, but I think you will enjoy it, and maybe have a chuckle or two.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Forest Products Week Obligatory Post...

...Look Ma, No Hinge!

Even in little old Southern Illinois, things are changing.  Logging is always limited to being a family businees in Illinois, due to workman comp taxes, but loggers still have to modernize, even if they are a little behind the rest of the country.  One of the loggers I know has been using a Timbco harvester for several years, and it really speeds production.  He bought it to come in out of the widowmakers that come with chainsaw felling, and it is an impressive piece of machinery.  This one handles all but the largest of bottomland trees, and nothing drops on your head.

Below is a video from Interstate Tree, on YouTube, to give you an idea how this harvester works.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Hammer Falls Today....

on a new (1985 Vintage), snubby, Ruger Speed Six.  All proceeds are being donated to Project Valour-IT, so you not only can buy a rare gun; you can also be a good-deed-doer. GO BID if you would like this fine Ruger revolver.

It's Forest Products Week!

Let's compare some old and modern technology and see how things have changed in lumber
production.  The sawyer has to be able to pass the log through the saw, and a belt drive, friction transmission is how it used to be done.  It still works well, and the sawyer had only a link to the steam engine governor and his lever to control the power.  Now, the drive is handled by hydraulic motors.

The old cable and drum system for pulling the carriage is still in use in many modern sawmills.  This is a timeless and simple system.

Dogs for holding the logs still work the same, but are now controlled electrically, and are linked to limit switches so the sawyer doesn't accidentally saw them off.

The old setworks, if maintained right, will saw lumber just as good as a modern sawmill.  It is human-powered on these old mills, but it moves the knees out just fine.

Adjustments to thickness of the cut is definitely analog.  Reach over and move a peg to set it.

Carriages still run on tracks, just like in the old days.

Watching the old mill run at Boonville is painful at times.  The Huber doesn't have enough power to keep the RPM up on the headsaw, and they chew through the logs at a slow pace.  They do have good inserts in the blade, so the blade doesn't heat, and it runs true.  It should zip through logs a bit faster, though.  Note that the sawyer has to roll the log up to keep it on the carriage.  That has changed on some of the new mills.  Watch the video below to see what a difference it makes.  

This mill video is courtesy of mcdonoughsawmills, and it shows a modern band saw headrig. The big advance that I see over older designs is the layout of the carriage. The bed is slanted downward, and turning equipment is on both the carriage and in front of it. For over a century, logs had to be turned up, so a 270 degree turn was needed to turn a log down 90 degrees. With the angled bed and dual log turner, half or more of the time turning the log is eliminated.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Trouble; Is There Trouble?

I heard this Fairmont start up while I was a few displays away, but it quit before I could get over to it.  The owner of this engine display was looking for parts when I showed up.  A 1/4" nut had come loose from the top of the intake assembly, and parts had gone flying.  He found the cover and the check valve, but he had to rob a nut from another engine, and the spring that goes behind the check was nowhere to be seen.  He made a bold effort, but the little Putt-Putt engine couldn't be made to run without a properly functioning carburetor.  No worries, though.  He said he has plenty of spare parts at home. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Building A Broom; Courtesy Of The Sunflower Broom Shop

Claudie Parson, Broom Maker, demonstrated how to build brooms over at the Boonville, Indiana Antique Steam and Gas Engine show. Thirty years ago we saw brooms being made by an elderly couple at Boonville, but they are long-gone now. It was good to see that others are keeping these time honored skills alive. You can contact Claudie to purchase brooms by her mailing address or by e-mail.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

There's An Endless Supply Of Mondays

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola: Too True

Uploaded by BigBand78.

Mrs. True BLue Sam has been gone for three months now; since the night that her Mother Pat suffered a stroke. They are both in St. Louis, and hope to be finishing up rehab within the next month so they can come home.

It has been a long struggle for both of them. When Pat had her stroke, she couldn't even swallow, and Susan had to keep her airway open as we rushed to the ER in Mt. Vernon.  We were blessed that she landed on her side and not her back when she fell, or she would have drowned.  The day that I took her dogs to visit, she could barely walk with assistance, and her left arm was useless.  Her face was still paralyzed on the left side.

Her tormentors  therapists have her walking about 1/4 mile per day now, and she can climb in and out of a car, even a utility vehicle.  ( A one day visit at the farm.)  When going up and down steps, or in and out of a car you have to say: "The good go up; The bad go down."  You have to use your good leg up first, and your bad leg down first.  Normal activities require extra thinking, and it becomes a family thing, in order to make things work right.  Pat can stand at a kitchen counter now, and prepare food; which has always been important for her.  Pushing Teddy off of her lap when he climbs up to love on her is still difficult.  At least Teddy is happy to ride in the back.  Liza is a bit sensitive about that, and has to ride up front.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Weekend Steam: Wouldn't You Rather Be In Colorado?

Colorado is where I would like to be right now, to see the aspen show, and to ride the Durango-Silverton Railroad. This is the best time of year for sightseeing; and whistles sound better in crisp autumn air, in the narrow valleys as you approach Silverton.   I purchased the postcard in 1970, so the view probably dates to the mid-1960's.


We have featured both of these videos before, but they are worth looking at and listening to again. Barstool100 posted the first video in 2007, and CChan006 upoaded the second video in 2008.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Crankin' It Up: Adventure And High Drama

More than fifty years ago, when I began school in a little one room school house, our teacher talked about Robert Peary and the expeditions to the North Pole. It was only fifty years prior to that time, and folks still marveled at the difficulty of the struggle to reach the Pole. Nowadays, folks don't place so much value on it, and of course the naysayers contend that Peary really never knew if he was on the Pole or not. He certainly was at least very close, and probably all around it, and I don't think there are many who would even attempt it today with equipment made with 1909 technology. Think dogs, Eskimo-built sledges, and furs; probably woolen underwear. This recording was made by Commander Robert E. Peary sometime between December 1909 and March 1910, and was picked up by Mrs. True Blue Sam at a rummage sale in St. Louis a few weeks ago. Two recordings later, Shackleton tells of his dash to the pole. I've told the Mrs. to hit the rummage trail again before she leaves Missouri and find that Shackleton recording, but I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Odd Antlers

I was privelged this week to see these unusual antlers on a buck that was taken with bow and arrow in Southern Illinois.  I have seen similar antlers on a female deer several years ago.

The knobby ends of the antlers are a consistency similar to cartilage, and appeared to be pretty delicate. 

We sent photos to a wildlife biologist, and talked about it on the phone.   The gum tissue on the upper jaws of this deer was very soft, and had not toughened up normally, and the deer probably had a very limited diet.  The hunter had butchered it already, and there was almost no fat in this deer.  The biologist had a couple of ideas;  it might be caused by a virus, but there was almost certainly a physical injury to the deer at a young age that interfered with his normal hormonal production.

The hunter who wants to display antlers like this has a big problem.  The soft tissue makes great food for bugs, and the deer will need regular fumigation or freezing to prevent it from being turned into dust and frass. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What Do You Do For A Cow That Slobbers?

You have to teach the cow how to spit.  This old Cushman at Pinckneyville had a serious cooling system malfunction going on, and it was hard to pick a safe distance for shooting video.  You will notice that the usual closeups of small moving parts are absent from this vid, and that was for the benefit of the lens and electrical components of the camera. 

Cushmans always remind me of a high school pal who had one of these, in excellent original condition, because his grandfather always kept it under cover.  He took it to Old Threshers in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa to show while he was still a high school kid.  One of the Shellabarger brothers ( Ralph; an Old Theshers founder, no less!) visited with him, and gave him a clutch assembly, which was a significant upgrade.  Engine people are good, and the bigger they are in the scheme of things, the better they are.  At least that's been my experience. 

The Shellabarger brothers sold farm equipment, and they had access to lots of good collectible material.  One of the engines that Ralph showed was an extremely rare Eli two stroke engine, which could be run in either direction.  It just about broke my heart when Ralph sold that engine, and it left Mt. Pleasant.  The brothers saw so many different types of engines in their business that buying and selling was easy, and keeping an engine because of its rarity was not so important to them. 

It sure is peculiar how many memories and emotions can be brought up just by watching a slobbery old engine. 

Ruger's Project Valour-IT Auctions

Ruger keeps on amazing me with the guns they pull out of the vault to sell for the benefit of wounded soldiers through Soldiers' Angels Project Valour-IT. The one that will sell this week is a US marked Mk II Target model; probably the only one like it outside of the military. The price has risen to a realistic level for a gun of this quality and rarity, but it is not unaffordable. The Mk II was a significant upgrade from the Mk I, with the cutouts at the back of the receiver and the ten round magazine. Many shooters look for Mk II's to avoid the magazine safety and the loaded chamber indicator on Mk III's. I get along fine with the Mk III system, and I find the loaded chamber indicator very handy for verifying that a cartridge stripped off the magazine, but if you want a good Mk II, you won't find a better one anywhere.

Ruger will sell a .357 Speed Six next week, and they aren't making any more of these.  It was manufactured in 1985, and you can read all about it HERE, or click the picture.

The hammer falls mid-day Wednesday for the Mk II, so don't put off looking and bidding.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Live Line Demonstration

Wayne-White Electric Co-op, out of Fairfield, Illinois works hard to educate both kids and adults about the dangers around distribution lines. I was lucky last week and caught part of their demonstration as they performed for fourth graders from White County.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Weekend Steam

Next weekend, October 12-14, is the fall show at Boonville, Indiana.  We prefer the fall show over the one in July, because the weather is usually perfect for strolling around all day, taking photos, and perusing the flea market.   Here are a few shots we took last year that were left over after we made our usual videos.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Landscape Is Gettin' All Yellered Up

The day lilies are just about done, and the trees are putting on quite a show.  The drought had me thinking we would have a dull fall, but the rains from Labor Day on have made a great difference.

 Yellow is the dominant color, with hickory, persimmon, sweetgum, green ash, and sycamore showing plenty of that, but we also have scarlet in sumacs and black gum, plus various shades of red, yellow and purple in sweetgum, white ash, and persimmon.  Sugar maples seem to be strongly orange this fall.

 Some of the fruit adds little splashes of color, too

Sassafras is very colorful this year with its standard mix of red and yellow.

I didn't take any photos, but an odd thing most folks miss is the red from poison ivy that grows up trees along the road.  It often shows more color than the tree it has climbed. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

September e-Postal Contest Scores

The scores are in, and we had a good turnout for the September contest.  The thing I really am seeing now is the improvement in one's shooting when a red dot scope is used.  My eyes do not see iron sights very well nowadays, and shooting the walnuts with a red dot was a fairly easy task.  I was lazy and didn't even try it with the Single-Six.  Mrs. True Blue Sam cannot shoot iron sights, and she cleared every nut with ten shots.  She was amazed.  Of course, Mr. C cleared all ten nuts while shooting offhand with his High Standard and OKO sight.

Perfect scores required hitting five very small areas, and only Mr. C and Billll pulled that off.  I gave it a try, but after a couple shots I took the easy way out and centered up on the nuts.

The October Mr. Completely e-Postal match is being hosted by U.S. Citizen, at Traction Control.  Click over to get the targets and rules; take your family and friends and have fun while improving everyone's shooting ability.

Many Thanks to all who entered!  We couldn't have a shooting match without you!

Rimfire Pistol
Iron Sights
Ruger Mk III 22/45
Browning Buck Mark
Ruger Single-Six
Browning Buck Mark
Ruger Mk I
Pat Butler
S & W 617
Browning Buck Mark
Pat Butler
Iver Johnson
Rimfire Pistol
Mr. Completely
High Standard, Leupold
Rimfire Pistol
Red Dot Sight
Carla M
Ruger Mk III, Simmons
Ruger Mk III, Simmons
True Blue Sam
Ruger Mk III, Simmons
Mr. Completely
High Standard, OKO, offhand!!
Rimfire Rifle
Iron Sights
Savage 62
Rimfire Rifle
Red Dot
Tom F
Ruger 10/22
Rimfire Rifle
Ruger 10/22
Remington Nylon 66
Pistol Caliber Carbine
Red Dot
Hi-Point 9mm