Sunday, June 23, 2013

Moving day for a Wisconsin engine and a South bend lathe.

Its good to have a bunch of muscle when it comes to moving day. And so it is with my friend Terry who unfortunately after a short stint of "funemployment" is moving up to Presque Isle where he has found a new job as a CAD teacher at the local high school. So we agreed to help him load all his garage toys and dreams on a U-haul for the 5 hour trip north. Now most of us might have a few odd garage toys but not on the scale of Terry's toys. Each one of his runs about 1700 lbs. The first of which is a Lombard log Hauler 110 horse 1915 Wisconsin engine that he is rebuilding.
I arrived at 9 am on Saturday with planks, cribbing blocks and rollers for the task and found about 12 of his church brethren anxiously waiting. Sorry guys, would have been here sooner but had to attend to a little mater of selling a car to an ex-con.
In no time flat we had the thing moving on the steel pipe rollers, Terry levering it forward with the pry bar
Up the ramp and on in to the U-Haul trailer
Then after a short run to Home Depot for a couple of 4x4 runners we tackled the lathe.
Unfortunately we got a bit busy and spaced out taking any photos of that process. We did load the trailer to the gills, axles about one inch away from the rubber stops likely just past it gross limit and sent him on his way by half past noon. Arrival was expected in Presque Isle by 6 pm where the brethren from his new church would be awaiting to reverse the process.

For those that do not know what a 1911 Lombard log hauler looks like here is a photo of one restored to near original condition. They came in two flavors. The early ones had steam engines and the later sported the Wisconsin 110 hp engines.
Terry first saw the same exact engine when he was about 12 while hunting with his dad up in the woods in the Alagash. 
No mater how much he begged his dad there was no way the thing was coming home with them. 30 odd yrs later he found the fellow that had hauled the very same engine out of the woods and traded an old buffalo rifle for it. This time it made it home with him.
He set about tearing it apart  . . .

 Cleaning a 100 years of muck from it. . . and rebuilding it
Many of the bronze and aluminum fittings were missing scavenged over the years by scrap metal junkies, so parts had to be drawn up on the computer  . . .
patterns and......
molds made
A year ago we made a trip up to Odd Duck foundry in Orington where sand molds of some parts were made.
Aluminum . . .
 . . . and bronze smelted
and poured
and voila, one set of new aluminum valve push-rod shrouds
The end results after cleanup on the lathe
The raw cast bronze intake manifold fittings before machining
. . . cleaned up and . . .
 . . . fitted on the jugs
I am sad that my friend Terry is moving away but it is almost like the engine is finally headed back home.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

You meet the nicest people on Craigslist . . .

No really, you really do. Turns out that we decided to sell the old Mazda as having 4 cars since I bought the Dodge is just to many to juggle. The Mazda from 94 with 200 thousand miles was just not worth a lot even though it essentially was a solid rust free car. It needed new tires, the back brake lines were getting a bit crispy and registration had to be renewed this month anyhow. So on to Craigslist it is.
As expected, you get the steady stream of yahoos and mooks calling with champagne tastes and beer budgets. I am talking the cheap beer fast thrills crowd here. What else can you expect when you list a 20 yr old car for 1200 dollars?
The first to jump and actually come and see it was a shady sounding character with a voice that tells you he's been rode hard and put away wet. But once you get to chatting with the fellow he really grows on you. Happiest, funniest easy going contented man you could meet. A real comedian in every sense of the word. He had us cracking up with every other word he spoke. I mean the kind of laughter that makes your gut ache. We soon learned his colorful story which includes a criminal history spanning over 50 years , 73 arrests and 10 cumulative yrs in prison. High seas adventures running boatloads of dope from Jamaica in the 1970s. Seems he got himself straightened out 12 yrs ago and uses the subject of his misadventures to perform as an on-stage comedian / motivational speaker under the name of Felon O'Reilly. He has also authored a book telling his life story.
We agreed on a price of ten dead Benjamins (cash of course) and he drove away with old Mazda . Check out his web site at A search on youtube under his name will provide you with a few short clips of his on stage performances.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Freaky flowers

Bought a few lifts of flowers to dress up the back deck for the summer.
just some bright colors
got them planted Sunday afternoon
Among them we got a freaky two headed flower
A Siamese Gerber daisy

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Damn Squirrels

Did a small repair job on a fascia and sophit today. Aparentley squirrels in the high rent district are no longer happy to nest in trees. This one chewed through the end gap of the trim on a garage and set up a condominium in the barge rafter.
I removed the rotten trim, pulled out about 15 gallons of nesting debris . . .
and cleaned it all out
fortunately the squirrel in residence was DOA
Little bastard has quite the chompers
Fortunately the trim was all short pieces with suitably located joints, so I was able to scarf in some new bits without having to peel back the whole thing.
Finished it with a quick coat of primer.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Smoked Alewives


Ever since I did my first batch of smoked salmon my friend Jonathan suggested we try smoking Alewives. Around these parts apparently they are mostly used for lobster bait. Some old timers smoke them and hawk them off as edible to unsuspecting children and tourists. After several fits and starts we borrowed a 14 foot aluminum skiff and explored the Presumpscot river in Falmouth. We did not catch anything on the first try.
But given the hassle of the boat we figured it was just as easy to walk the trail and fish from the bank. Ospreys and cormorants seem to catch a steady stream of them but we did not enjoy quite the same level of success.
In addition to suffering a good slip on a wet rock and giving my self a couple of good bruises I did manage to catch one . . . . . .

  and Jon and Noah caught 6 between them
After salting our harvest overnight I rigged up the smoker . . . .
and 6 hours of smoking later
the results . . .
provides for a small bony piece of . . . . . . smoked lobster bait
edible if you wash it down with copious amounts of beer . . . .