Sunday, June 30, 2019

Summer Time - Finally

I heard a bit of this the other day while pulling my truck out of the garage so I could move the bike out. I had the damn song stuck in my head the rest of the day and if you click on it, so will you!

Billy Holiday sings Summertime - if your Daddy's rich and your Mamma's good lookin'.

Probably my favorite summer time song - Mungo Jerry. I've been listening to this song since 1972 and still haven't figured out all the lyrics.

First time all year I've hung any clothes out to dry. I usually hang my work/work out clothes on the line all summer. Seems like I haven't been able to do that this year due to the weather. I might have been able to get a few loads out there if I absolutely had to but the convenience of the dryer is a lot easier than dodging rain drops. In fact, I had to take this load down a little earlier than I expected due to the skies clouding up and the threat of a storm coming in. Which it did, of course.

I mowed the yard front and back, had the clothes hanging out to dry and was planning on going back out to do some more outside stuff after a bit of a late lunch, but since it looked like it might storm, I bailed and stayed in after taking the clothes off the line and tending the chickens. I'm not sure what the temperature was but had to be about 90. Not as bad as some of the temps they're having in Europe these days. I read it hit a record 114 someplace in France the other day.

I bought a new gas can and mixed up some two-cycle fuel for the motorbike I finished up last year. The grandsons will be back this week and we're going to see about getting it running. The younger one was eyeballing the little Harley Rapido the other day. We might have to get that one running after the motorbike. Last time I looked at it I was fiddling with the air cleaner and housing. I don't recall if I got the housing repaired or not but I did locate an air cleaner for it. As long as the boys keep coming down, I might actually get a few projects finished.

Rapido as seen at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, IA
Took the Himalayan out the other day and put about 50 miles on it. Seems to run and idle a bit better now. It's fun to ride on the back roads and in town but it's turning about 4500 rpm while running at 55 mph. I'm not planning on doing any long range touring - certainly no high speed touring - so it should suit me just fine.

Thursday, June 27, 2019


Photo From Here

Well, yeah. Things are working out well being a handyman at the new gig. I'm keeping pretty busy working on lawn mowers and doing a bit of welding here and there. Not sure what I'll be doing this fall when the mowing season is over. Probably pick up the slack that will be left when the summer help goes back to school.

Shelf brackets for the new gig. These will go next to the salt rack I posted the photo of a few days ago. The welders are going to stay next to the rack. These will go over the welders to store rods, helmets, etc. The end pieces were cut-offs from the pieces I used to fab the rack. The grandson sand blasted them for me. I was going to have him cut the square tube for me as well but he wasn't dressed for that. He's planning on coming down this summer on a regular basis. I'm hoping to teach him a few things and have him help me complete a few projects. He's going to be a freshman in high school next year. Time for him to start thinking about a career path. Even if he doesn't have any interest in being a welder, it's good to be exposed to different trades just so you'll know what it is you don't want to do - like me with plumbing.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

All In a Days Work

Couple of welding jobs - one finished, one to go. The hatchet in the foreground belongs to Surly. He bought it at a flea market or something. It was originally a roofing hatchet and he modified it to make himself a camping axe. You can't tell in the photo but it has a crack where the slot for pulling nails used to be. Additionally, he says the material is soft. Since it won't hold an edge, we might hardface the cutting edge to make it serviceable. I'll get the crack welded up in the next couple of days and I'll know more about what the material is after that. We can then make an informed decision on the hardfacing.

Behind the hatchet is a broom handle I welded. It's just a cheapie broom. One of the guys at work was using it and managed to hit the bottom of the garage door that was open about two feet up. When he hit the bottom of the door, the handle snapped in two. The tube handle is paper thin. Not the easiest thing to weld. I had the TIG set on about 25 amps and using the pedal I had to be real careful not to burn a hole in it just from striking an arc. I got it welded, though. Used some small MIG wire as a filler. Good practice.

I might not be the best welder out there but you have to admit I sure do quite the variety.

Friday, June 21, 2019

New Throne

Installed a new toilet yesterday in the little half-bath off the laundry room. First off, I dislike greatly doing plumbing. I worked occasionally for a plumber when I was in high school and I decided right then and there no way I wanted to be a plumber. Of course when working for him I always got the dirty jobs so it was a good education even if I didn't like the work.

When I woke up yesterday it was still raining so I decided I would wait a bit before starting since I figured I'd have to make at least a couple of trips out to the shop to get tools. I got started about 10:00 and figured I'd be done around noon. Everything was going pretty smooth - I got the old toilet out without making a mess and was ready to start installing the new one when I discovered the new bowl was broken. That didn't make me at all happy and then I managed to tip the old toilet over and spill about a gallon of water on the floor. After cleaning up the spill I loaded up the broken toilet to take it back from whence it came - about a 50 mile round trip. Once I made it back home things went pretty smoothly. Installation was pretty straight forward - bolt everything down and then run up town to get a new supply line, install it, turn on the water and push the button. No leaks, works like a charm.

This is a dual flush model. One button uses a little over a gallon to flush, the other button uses 1.6 gal. to flush. They had these in a few of the rooms I stayed in when in Europe, Seemed to work well, plus, the tank on the new one is narrower than the one it's replacing and seems to be more to the proper scale for that little bathroom. Anyway, one more item checked off the to-do list.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Pretty Good Day

Busy day yesterday - started out with a visit to the chiropractor. Not my favorite way to start the day but it's been awhile since I've been there so I figured I should get in there before I locked up. Hit the Dollar Store, grocery, feed store, and the hardware store after that. Paid some bills and then headed out to the shop to do a couple of welding jobs.

I started by fixing a clip on the strap on a pair of bib overalls, then fixed the lever for a big blower as shown in the top photo. It had been welded before but the weld had a bunch of slag in it which allowed it to break again. I ground it out and rewelded it. There's a plate that bolts to it and it's bent into a nice curve that I don't think should be there. I'll have to check it out when I reassemble the thing. It'll be easy enough to straighten if need be - just lay it down on the floor and whack it a couple of good licks with the sledge.

The bottom photo is a screwdriver I made after fixing the blower lever. It's made from 3/8" round stock and a driver like you would chuck up in a cordless drill. These things are handy as all hell. I'm going to take this one to work. Seems like every time I work on something there, I find I need another tool that I don't have there. I don't want to take all of my good tools from home to work and I'm not planning on making a career out of the new job either, so I'll make what I need or buy a few cheap supplemental tools as needed from Harbor Freight or Menards and call it good.

I also cleaned out the chicken coop, did a load of clothes and hit the gym. Pretty good day.

Sunday, June 16, 2019


The chickens seem to be adjusting to their new home. They still run for cover when I open the door to the coop but it shouldn't be long until they are feeling at home. These are Silver Lace Wyandottes. They're a pretty hardy breed that tolerate cold better than many of the breeds and will lay regularly through out the winter. Not that that's all that important to me. We don't use very many eggs but I like having the chickens around. In fact, it would be more economical to just buy eggs rather than keeping a small flock but if you live in the country, chickens are almost de rigueur.

Knocked out another welding job at work the other day. The boss bought another welding machine - got a good deal on a used Miller stick welder. Made the job go a lot better than the old buzz box I used on the trailer job. This one is a rack for softener salt - pallet down below and one on top. I made it out of some left over rack parts that he had. He's got a couple more welding jobs lined up for me. I'm not sure when I'll get on those. I jump around from job to job there about like I do at home. It does keep it interesting.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Amy Black

On our way home from Kansas the other day, Cuzzin Ricky and I took US 36 across Missouri for a good portion of our eastward journey. Much of it was four lane and most all of it was rural driving, with the road skirting the towns rather than going through them. Nice drive with a 65 mph speed limit through the beautiful countryside. When I travel I usually scan through the "little" numbers on the radio dial to see what I can catch. We got lucky and picked up a pair of sister stations around Chillicothe that were playing a nice assortment of country, bluegrass and other songs that sort of fell into those categories. I'd never heard of Amy Black before. It's a shame there isn't a spot for her and many of the other artists we heard on our trip to be heard more often.

My buddy Kevin and I looked into what it would take to start a low watt station at the high school. If I was a little more tech savvy, I could probably get this stuff on the computer and pipe it out to the shop - wouldn't have to put up with a lot of the damn commercials either.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Trip West

First stop on our trip west was a little town in Iowa to get a bite to eat. We drove around a bit but didn't see anything but happened to run into a lady going to the post office. I asked her about a place to eat and she said the restaurant closed about six months ago. She then said "Go down a block and turn left, no wait. They're closed too. Go down around the corner to the right and there's a bar that has food." Shame to see those little towns dying a slow death. However, Cuzzin Rick and I had a pork tenderloin in a nice little beer joint and there was a '48 Chevy sedan delivery across the street for sale. Looked to be in pretty decent shape - a couple of rust holes on the fenders but it was all complete. My first car was a '48 Chevy four door. Lot of fun working on it and driving it. The only car I've ever had up on two wheels.

Next stop was Knoxville, Iowa - Sprint Car Capitol of the World! We went to the museum and caught the Saturday night show. The museum isn't real big but they had some nice cars and a good collection of racing memorabilia. They were featuring A. J. Foyt, so several of the cars we had seen recently at the museum in Indy. They did have a Pop Dreyer car there. This is the third or fourth car I've seen built to this plan. If I live long enough, I'm going to build myself one of these.

The races on Saturday were good. Weather was nice and they had three classes of winged sprinters. Rick's not a big fan of the wings but they fly around the track! The people at the track were all friendly. When we came in the two folks collecting for the parking fee asked where we were from and when we told them we were first-timers from Indiana he told us to spin the truck around, park by the fence so we could get out easily, put us in a little buggy and then gave us a tour of the facility and dropped us off by the ticket office. "Because that's how we do it here."

We headed west the next morning to Kansas to visit my brother and pick up the chickens he started for me. He's got a real nice farm but like most everyone in the farm business this year is battling the wet weather. He's behind schedule on most everything and I felt a little bad about tying him up while the weather was finally nice for several days in a row. However, we had a great visit. He and my sister-in-law are great hosts. He took Rick on a tour of the farm and took us to the local high school to meet the ag teacher and see the new facility. The school has a total population of 61 students and all but two of them are in at least one of the ag classes. The instructor has eight preps every day and he was running a summer camp at the school on his own time. Quite the go-getter.

It was a great trip and Rick and I really enjoyed ourselves. Great weather there and back, no real traffic problems and a great visit with my brother and sister-in-law.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Not in Kansas Any More, Dorothy

Just got in from a trip to Kansas. Close to 10 hours in the saddle plus a lunch break. I've got 6 new chickens to show for it. I'll post more in a day or two.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Words to Live By

"In the time of your life, live - so that in good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding-place and let it be free and unashamed. Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart. Be the inferior of no man, nor of any man be the superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man's guilt is not yours, nor is any man's innocence a thing apart. Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand. Have no shame in being kindly and gentle... and have no regret. In the time of your life, live - so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it."

- William Saroyan, "The Time of Your Life" (1939)

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Welding Job

Welded up a mount for a tool box on Cuzzin Ricky's trailer yesterday. I also made a new license plate bracket to replace the flimsy stock one. The tool box uprights are 3x3 tube with 2x2 angle to support the box. We just sat the box up on there for a photo but didn't center it up. I did drill some mounting holes in the angles for him. He's going to clean up the welds, paint everything and bolt it down.

The top photo is of our helper for the day - Rick's grandson. He was pretty good about staying out of the way and looking through the helmet when I was welding. I usually work at a pretty good clip when doing this type of work so he slowed down my rhythm a bit. There was no hurry and it's good to have these young guys getting some exposure to work like this, so well worth the few extra minutes needed to finish up the job. Also, Rick explained a few things about the process while we were working. He probably knows more about welding now than most high school graduates.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Productive Weekend

Nice looking TIG weld, even if I do say so myself. Cuzzin Ricky brought me a pair of jackstands that he wanted a plate welded to the bottom of to keep them from sinking into the sand. One of the stands had a corner bent out, so I straightened that out, set it on the bench and it was all out of kilter. I had to twist it back into shape before I could weld it but no problem doing so. There was an auction tag on one of them, so I assume Rick bought them without checking them over real carefully. There's a tag on them that says they're good for 2 tons but I think this one must have been over loaded or something. Should be good now though. No way those legs are going to spread welded to that 1/4" plate.

Before I could do any work out there I needed to clean up after the raccoon. When I was out there the other day it sounded like there was a baby or two in there with momma. I didn't want to trap the mother and get stuck with a couple of little ones stuck in the wall. I thought maybe some pepper spray might get them to move out but when I got out there they had already vacated. I washed the wall and doors down with Pine-Sol and it seemed to do a good job of cleaning and removing the odor. The wall is covered in OSB and the door in luan plywood. I varnished both the wall and the doors when I installed them, so that helped repel the 'coon piss and made the clean up easier. After I try to figure out how they got in, I'll replace the ceiling,

I put the pitcher pump back on the well pipe, replaced the headgear on a welding helmet, restocked my metric bolt organizer and got some yard work done in addition to mowing. Pretty productive weekend now that the rain has stopped. According to the weatherman, more's on the way again later in the week, however.