Sunday, April 30, 2017

Louisiana Bound

Photo From Here
Heading down to Louisiana for the Golden Gloves so posting will be a bit light. Hope my boy does well. It's a long haul down there and back but should make for a nice little vacation regardless of the outcome of the fights.

I haven't really been anywhere in the last couple of years - at least not anyplace I haven't already been to before. The only problem with this trip is that I've been to Louisiana but I still haven't made it to California and Nevada. I would have rather gone west rather than south, especially since I'll have to ask the Missus extra nice if I want to make that trip yet this year. With all that's going on in the news, I'd like to finish up the states on my bucket list and then just plan on staying close to home. Of course, if you've got the ramblin' fever, sometimes you just need to go.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

It's a start - a couple of pieces for the sheet metal roller I'm going to make. I've got a couple of other pieces gathered up also. I need to make a trip to Tractor Supply and see if they have the hubs, bushings and sprockets I need. If not, I should be able to order those items from MSC. I'm planning on building it over vacation between spring and summer sessions at the college. I should be able to complete it then as long as I have most of the parts in house. With a roller I should have most all the equipment I need to do motorcycle and automobile sheet metal work. I'm thinking about buying a plasma cutter but I've got ways to shear sheet metal and saw or flame cut heavier material.

I got my peppers and my tomatoes planted the other day along with some glad bulbs and a couple more lilies behind the house. The pepper plants in the photo are a couple extras I planted on the south side of the shop. I need to trim back a tree so they'll get more sun yet and I still need to get a few other things planted but things like radishes and carrots I stagger the plantings anyway. Not sure what else I'm going to try and get in - cucumbers for sure. I'll decide when I go to TSC for the roller parts and peruse the seed rack.

I got the shop racoon proofed. At least I think I did. Doesn't look like there's been any more activity in there. I've still got a lot of cleaning up to do. I'll probably have to take some of the ceiling sheets down and replace them. I'll also have to decide what I'm going to do with some of the things the raccoon pooped on. Probably end up just tossing most everything. Time to start down-sizing anyway.

And one last item that points to how far we've fallen when it comes to using our prehensile thumbs: I was working in the lab and I observed a couple of the machining students using a hack saw. The project requires a stud to be threaded into a block of steel and then trimmed off to a specific length. The instructor has them thread a bolt into the block, cut the head off with the hacksaw and then mill the stud to the proper length. Simple enough but it was quite obvious that several of them had never used a hacksaw before. The saw was going every which way - one guy was even sawing using only one hand. There was nothing wrong with his other hand. I guess he figured it just wasn't worth the effort to use both of his hands. If what separates us from the apes is the ability to use tools, we might want to bring back shop class to get these boys an opportunity to learn how to use basic hand tools.

Those boys could learn a few things from Primitive Pete like I did back in the day.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Weekend Welding

Cuzzin Ricky and I went to the USAC Sprint Car races at Plymouth Speedway Friday night. It was the first time either of us had been there. Nice track - 3/8 mile dirt, stadium seating and 5 buck pork tenderloin sandwiches. It was a great night for racing other than the temperature - low 40's by the time the feature was run. I thought I had on plenty of clothes but I was still pretty chilly by the time we headed for home. The race itself was great. 30 lap feature and not even a single lap run under the yellow. Easy drive over there as well. Have to watch the schedule for more open wheel events there in the future.

Saturday I worked on Rick's trailer. I had the plate to mount the winch all set to weld on, just a matter of grinding off some paint where the welds were going and clamping it down. 

I had to cut out the tube that supported the top rail in order to mount the roller guide that the cable runs through. I made up a couple of angle iron braces to bolt the guide to and welded those in place.

He wanted a couple more tie-downs in the middle of the trailer, so I had to weld one of these in on each side. The loop that holds the "D" ring in place is wider than the channel the frame is made from so I had to remove the wood planking so I could weld the loop from the bottom side and I made a plate to go over the top of the loop that I could weld to the frame rails and to the loop since I couldn't weld it to the inside of the fender. 

Took me a bit longer than I had figured but mostly that was because I hadn't seen all the parts before the trailer arrived. If I had seen everything before hand I would have had everything ready to go. Not really a problem, though. It was a nice day to be outside welding and using the tools. Rick tells me I've got a free haul coming if I ever decide to drag home a farm truck! Always good to have one in the bank.

Got some other spring-timey chores done on Sunday. Took the covers off the air conditioners, did some yard work and some piddly things on the to-do list. Need to do a bit more with the garden and then get things in the ground. It's starting to look kind of scary if you pay any attention to the news at all. A couple of big cities lost power last week, things even more shaky on the international scene and lots of store closings across the country. Definitely need to have the garden going as well as checking out the rest of my "preps". Things just might come unglued one of these days before much longer. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.

Have a good week. Be ready.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Life In The Country

Beautiful day yesterday. I spent an hour on the annual Spring cleaning of the chicken house. Can't beat the smell of nitrogen in the air. Actually, I couldn't smell a thing. I bought a good respirator to wear while performing that chore and to have on hand in the event there's a anhydrous ammonia spill around here. The railroad tracks leading to the co-op have a section missing right down the street from me and the tracks are blocked off presently but the farmers have been pulling a lot of anhydrous trailers out of there. Must be trucking in the nitrogen?

After cleaning up the chicken house, I went into the shop and noticed things weren't quite right. The duct work for the wood burner in the back of the shop had a couple of sections down on the floor and a coffee can with some tractor parts that was up on the top storage area was on the floor as well. I went to the front of the shop where I do most of my work and looked at the floor of the sidecar rig and the shiny aluminum wasn't shiny anymore. Something had pissed all over it! I suspected a raccoon had gotten in there and after I cleaned off the sidecar, I went up the ladder to the storage area and sure enough, lots of "evidence" of a raccoon having been up there.

My shop has three foot high knee walls with arched trusses going up from there. From the end of the building it looks like a Gothic style arch as you can see in the file photo above. The sheet metal hangs over the knee wall a bit and there's a gap that would be the eaves on a house. When I was rebuilding it from a dilapidated old machinery shed into my shop, I closed the gaps on all but a couple of spots. I left those open so the cats can come in and out and try and keep the mice in check. I've never kept any food in there so I wouldn't encourage any of the "trash pandas" or any other wildlife to make the building their home. Other than the mice and the occasional squirrel, I've never had an issue. Looks like it's time to close up the rest of the gaps and just be careful not to lock the cat in the barn for any length of time after that. And then break out the respirator and do some more clean up.

I put the sharp blades on the mower and cut the front yard again. I noticed while mowing all the fruit trees are loaded with blossoms. Should be a bumper crop of apples and peaches this year. One of my small cherry trees got chewed off, however. Deer or rabbit most likely. I also planted a few lily bulbs and took the dog for a walk after supper.

Typical "shitty" day in the country.

Edit: I forgot to mention cleaning up the dog poop in his pen as well - truly was a shitty day.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Rainy Days & Mondays

I got a chance to thumb through the Gingery book on making a slip roll machine. Looks to be pretty straight forward except for the end pieces. Those will be a bit tricky but I've done tougher. I'm going to start collecting material and making bits and pieces. I'll have to check out the local farm store or Tractor Supply for some things. I might get lucky and be able to get most everything locally. 

Started turning over the garden over the weekend along with mowing again and some additional yard work. The weather was nice when it wasn't raining. Enough that I could get outside at least part of the last three or four days. It's looking pretty wet for the upcoming week, however. That's OK. It is April after all.

Have a good week.

Friday, April 14, 2017


Photo From Here

Now ain't that the truth. I've pretty much given up on trying to establish any type of time line around here. I guess since most of the things I'm trying to get accomplished are not real important in the big scheme of things, it doesn't really matter when they get done. However, I would like to get a few of the bigger projects completed. I've got a bunch of little things I'd like to work on - the kinds of things that would fit in a suitcase or shoe box, bring me just as much pleasure as the cars and bikes and not take up all the room in the shop. 

However, I went to the Golden Gloves in Indy again Thursday night for the finals. Two of our guys were supposed to square off against one another but one of them couldn't make weight. The other guy gets a walkover win and a ticket to the nationals and I get to go along. The details are still being ironed out but I'm happy for the fighter. He's worked real hard to get there and deserves his shot at the top. 

I was pretty much retired from the day to day operation of the gym until Jimmy had his accident. I stepped in to help but for a variety of reasons I would be happy just going there for my own workouts and let it go at that. Maybe after I retire but not now. It'll be nice going to the nationals, though. But it also is one more thing to squeeze into the schedule and upset the plans.

Speaking of plans, I got my Gingery book on making a slip roll for forming up cones and cylinders. I just glanced at it but I definitely need one for a lot of the projects I do. After I get a chance to read through it a little deeper, I'll see about getting started on it.

In the meantime, I'll keep plugging away at things and try to get some work done in the garden if the weather allows. Enjoy your weekend and Happy Easter to all of you.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cardiac Update

Today's the five year anniversary of my heart attack. Cardiac events, if you're lucky enough to live through them, are normally life changing events. I've known some people who didn't change their lifestyles after having a heart attack. Even after undergoing open heart surgery, they soon go back to the same habits that got them into trouble in the first place. Unfortunately, that doesn't usually end well.

I've been doing well since coming home from the hospital. I retired from the high school, cut back on a lot of other activities, changed my diet, and generally have tried to keep from falling into the trap of going  back to the old habits. I'm not a strict adherent to the vegan diet any longer. I've added some dairy, mostly cheese, back into the diet to get a little protein and I'll have a bit of pork at the breakfast buffet or on a sandwich when I'm at the races, but the cholesterol has remained under 150 and the balance of HDL/LDL is good. I continue to exercise pretty much on a regular basis but that slipped a bit when the Missus was undergoing her lymphoma treatments. Cancer will definitely add some stress to the family situation but we were fortunate in that her's is a type that responds well to treatment and I was fortunate in that she's a real trooper and dealt with it very bravely.

As mentioned previously, I'm currently training for a 5K race walk. I should have started my training sooner but motivation has been a bit harder to come by than in past years. While the exercise is beneficial to both my physical and mental health, it's not if I go all in. Still working on the "middle path" thing. That needs to be my philosophy in all things but it seems like that's where I'm most apt to stray.

The projects have been coming along. Not always at the rate I desire but with my job at the college and my increased role as a domestic around the shack here, something has to give. Again, "Middle Path, Grasshopper". The college job is going to be wrapped up at the end of the year. My boss, smart ass that he is, asked me the other day if I might be interested in subbing - only two or three days per week, though. Funny guy - but not only no, hell no.

So five years down the road, I'm in a real good place - healthy, wealthy and wise as they say. The Missus is doing fairly well, I'm much more relaxed and happy, I've got a real good support group with my friends and family, so in all honesty, I couldn't ask for more.

I would suggest all of you take a few minutes to take stock of your own situations, see if you're living a sustainable lifestyle and make any necessary changes if that's not the case. All things in moderation. Get a bit of exercise on a daily basis. Cherish your friends and family. Be well, be happy.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Reporting In

Beautiful weather the last few days - sunshine & warm temps. I got the mower out and cut both the front and back yards after picking up a truck load of sticks. I had put the mower on the battery charger about a week ago, don't know if it was really necessary, but it fired right up. It was parked behind the tractor and the tractor needed a little something with the 3 point hitch adapter, so I fixed that while I was shuffling things around.

I cut a piece of sheet metal to extend the Ducati fender for my buddy. I need a slip roller to do the initial forming, so I'll take it to work and do that in the HVAC lab. I ordered a book from Gingery on making my own roller. He's got plans for building a 24" one. I bought several of his books from Lindsay when he was in business. According to the Gingery site, the guy who took over Lindsay's business is still selling the Gingery books. If you never did any business from Lindsay, you missed a great opportunity, especially if you're a tinkerer like I am. I haven't bought any thing from the new owner, mostly because I had purchased everything I thought I would need prior to Lindsay's retirement. Everything except the roller plans, apparently.

I'm looking at a pretty busy week again. Dentist visit with the Missus, work, Golden Gloves and maybe finish up the welding job for Cuzzin Ricky as time and the weather allow. We were supposed to hit the midget race at Kokomo this past weekend but Rick came down with something. It would have been good weather for the races but I got a bunch of yard work and a few other things taken care of instead. Always plenty to do in the spring of the year when you've got an old farmstead in the country. It's worth it though.

I've been picking up the training for the race walk but it looks like I'll be going to Louisiana now instead. One of our guys will be the Open Division State Champ and will be fighting in the Nationals about the same time I'm scheduled to do the 5K. I should find out more this week. This will be the first Open Division fighter we've ever had that made it to the national tourney.

Have a good week. Get out and enjoy the weather.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

It's All About The Money

A couple of interesting things about the all-mighty dollar I ran across in the last few days:

There was an ad in the Mansion section of the Wall Street Journal for the Blessings In A Backpack organization. The 20% of the children in this country facing food insecurity normally can count on a hot meal at school but what happens on the weekends? This is where Blessings In A Backpack comes in. According to the ad, $100 will pick up the slack for a whole school year, so they can count on eating on the weekends as well.

A couple of pages before the ad was featured a $45 million estate for sale in Austin, Texas and a little blurb about Jane Fonda buying a $5.45 million townhome. This is after selling her ranch in 2015 that was listed for $19.5 million and her Beverly Hills home is currently on the market for $11.495 million. I'm not going to rag on Jane Fonda, that's another story, but it does spell out the disparity of incomes in this country. On one hand you've got kids going hungry and whose lives could be greatly improved with a measly $100, and on the other you've got a celebrity downsizing to a $5 million home.

Also in the WSJ was an article about credit card debt. Seems it has reached $1 trillion dollars again, which puts it up there with car loans and student debt. I would imagine some of these households are also the ones where the children are wondering where their next meal is coming from.

Photo From Here
I noticed in the Vintage Motorsport magazine e-mail that Jaguar has initiated the Jaguar E-Type Reborn program. Knowing that kids are going hungry and dreaming about owning a factory refurbished E-Type is probably not the most humanitarian thing going but there's no way a retired school teacher is going to cure the hunger problem or buy an E-Type that the factory has gone through. 

There's always going to be rich people and poor people. There's no shame in being poor but it's a real shame if you can't feed your kids, regardless of how that came about. I think the schools could do a lot more to remedy the situation by bringing back a more traditional education with Home Economics (FACS), agriculture classes and making the students aware of the resources of their county extension agent. The county I live in has more than a few poor people. It also has thousands of acres of agricultural land. Have we become so ignorant or lazy that we can't grow some vegetables or keep a few chickens to help feed ourselves? I don't have all the answers but teaching the young a few skills like gardening and food preservation should never have gone out of favor. Now's the perfect time for all of us to be thinking about a garden, by the way. Your own, a community garden or a CSA.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Indy Car Stuff

I've been thinking a lot about the old Indy cars of late. Cuzzin Ricky turned me on to the USAC Silver Crown group on Facebook which is where the photo came from. There was also a mention of a dirt car classified site on there. There's a street legal open wheel car on there for $15K. Looks to be a beaut. Pretty much exactly like I want to build. The price is about the same as a decent new motorcycle. 

Babineau Metal Works will make one up to your liking. If you want to see some nice craftsmanship, check him out. 

If you want to see some of the open wheel events without leaving the house, Loud Pedal TV can do it for you. There was a trailer at the Terre Haute race Sunday from Speed Shift TV. Both of them have Sunday's race available.

I'm going to have to buy both a new computer and a new television one of these days. Looks like a lot of the racing that I'm most partial to is going to be available over the internet so I should look into getting a new system so I can watch races from the comfort of the recliner. Normally, there's not much worth watching on TV anyway, but my old set is square rather than rectangular like the new wide screen (letter box format) sets so I can't see much of the actual picture. Since I'm about half deaf as well, I don't get much out of viewing things I can't see or hear all of. Maybe the answer is to just not bother with a new system, now that I look at it like that. Stick to reading books and my daily newspaper in the evenings.

The weather man is talking some snow in the forecast. I was hoping we were done with that for the season. It's about time to start mowing grass again and I've got other work to do outside. Supposed to be a decent weekend at least. I hope so. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Silver Crown at the Action Track

Practice at the Action Track

Beautiful TIG welds on that seat. You wouldn't have much racing without welding. Foot racing and horse racing would be about it. Most everything else will have welding involved either directly or indirectly.

The photos are from the Silver Crown race Cuzzin Ricky and I attended at Terre Haute Sunday. 100 lap feature for the champ cars and a 20 lap UMP show. Great afternoon and evening of racing. We've got the Terre Haute trip down to a science: roll into town and stop at the Grand Traverse Pie company for lunch and a piece of pie, check in to the motel, hit the race track, Steak and Shake for a late dinner, get up in the morning and get us a muffin and a cup of Rex coffee at the Clabber Girl. They had an old champ car on display this morning in the little museum located in the Hulman Building. Offy powered car built by Ed Kuzma. 

Photo From Here
This is the car with a photo taken at the airport it appears. I didn't have my camera with me when I went in for coffee. Beautiful car. More info at the link.

Great way to start the season.