Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The first job of the new month was finishing up those mounting brackets to hold a pair of 99 bike tail lights on the roadster. Although they're holding modern technology, I did manage to make one of them with an authentic period-correct paint sag. In the afternoon I took a walk down the lane to the woodlot and moved a lot of fallen branches out of the road. The weather.com forecast shows a couple of warm weeks with highs above 50, and I plan to use some of those warm
days to turn those branches and a lot of others into firewood.
Clyde went with me on my walk, and several times he ran ahead and got in front of me to get stepped on. Maybe he thinks he's a dog.      

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

In the morning I paid bills and did a little cleanup in the shop. After noon I went outside for a bit of yard work, cutting off little trees around the wood pile behind the shop and treating the stumps with Tordon so they won't grow back. I was clearing the way to start splitting all that wood on some of the warm days that are predicted during the next couple of weeks. In the afternoon I drove the roadster to town for groceries. I also stopped at the liquor store for some heart medicine (port). I have a cup after dinner most evenings. I buy it on the first Wednesday of the month, when old people get a 15% discount.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

I've decided I need to spend at least an hour every day just organizing and cleaning, at least until I get the mess under control. This morning I started upstairs above the shop, gathering stuff that will go into the fireplace, tossing other stuff that will go to the dump, vacuuming, and starting to get things in some semblance of order. I spent the day at it, and took care of some things that have been waiting to be dealt with for years. A lot of what I did today was basic, making space for shelves where I can organize.

Friday, December 4, 2015

More cleaning and organizing. I'm bringing old slides from the house to my office over the shop and setting up shelves for them. One of my winter chores will be to start scanning them and other old pictures for use with a digital projector. While I was in town for groceries I shopped for casters. I have a shop vac that is otherwise good to go, but has lost its wheels. I wasn't delighted with any of the casters I saw today, so I'll stop at Lowes and see what they have when I go to Wichita tomorrow.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

This morning I was off to Okieland for an auction in Medford. The advertising mentioned Model T parts, but it was pretty slim pickings in that department. I did buy a couple of hood shelves and a few books for a dollar. The hood shelves are pretty rough, but they have good clips and springs in them. Another guy bought a pile of stuff that included six casters, and I gave him $4 for those, so I won't have to spend $15 to $20 for a set of new ones. When I got home I changed oil in the Camry, then wnt to Wichita for dinner and a movie. Dinner was at Buffet City, a good Chinese buffet, and the movie was Trumbo. I'm glad I went. Bryan Cranston is wonderful in it, the rest of the cast is excellent too, and Jay Roach's directing of a good script by John McNamara is first rate. John Goodman as a producer of trashy movies is worth the price of admission, and Helen Mirren makes a wonderfully nasty Hedda Hopper.  It wouldn't surprise me to see some Oscar nominations from this movie.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

After a lazy sunday morning mostly playing online, I spent the afternoon on an outside chore. I dug up three small redbuds that were inconveniently located behind the shop, and transplanted two of them along the lane to the wood lot. I ran out of time, so I'll plant the third one tomorrow. I don't think sitting in a pail of water overnight will hurt it. I hope these three will be the first of over a dozen such transplants. The weather is mild, with highs in the fifties, but there have been some freezing nights to put them all to sleep until spring. I hope that this late fall transplant will get them all off to a good start next spring.  In a few years a lane lined with reduds should make a nice display of pink in early April.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

Up before daylight, I got a picture of a very pretty sunrise. The day was clear and warmed up to 62, considerably above normal for December. After doing laundry I drove the roadster to town for groceries, then finished the rosebud transplanting I started yesterday. I have pieces of plastic bag tied to the plants so they'll be easy to spot .

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Today I never went off the place. My main chore of the day was picking up scrap lumber and other reconstruction debris on the west side of the house, and turning it and the pile of scrap lumber in front of the garage into firewood. Tomorrow it will move into the garage to stay dry. I still need to get some scrap lumber off the roof and cut it up also. I hope I can get to that sometime this week too.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

With nice weather continuing (65 at 4 PM), I spent much of the day outside. I boxed up the wood I cut yesterday, moved some of it into the house to use this week, and put the rest in the garage. I moved some new lumber off the front porch and into the garage to stay dry, then removed old lumber off the garage roof and the living room roof. Some of that will become firewood, and some of it is good enough to save and reuse.

The afternoon mail brought a package. It was an ignition and light switch a Model T friend in New York sent me to see if I could fix it. Somewhere between Staten Island and Parkefield the postal service customized it. I told Tony not to buy a new one yet. This looks pretty bad, but I'll see if I can straighten it out.  It wasn't insured, but insurance wouldn't have mattered anyway. USPS insurance is worthless if you're not shipping a store-bought item and have a receipt for it.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

According to weather.com, this was the penultimate day of the current heat wave. I took advantage of the nice day to deal with firewood. I took the truck and gathered up a couple of small piles I cut last summer, took time out for a trip to town for groceries, then attacked the wood pile behind the shop.
I fired up the splitter and split a load, then stacked it in the garage.  I estimate that what I split today amounted to about a fifth of the pile,  so there's a lot more to split and put away.

Friday, December 11, 2015

A busy day began with planting.  Yesterday's mail brought the American sweet gum I ordered from the Arbor Day Society, along with the usual free red maple.  I planted the sweet gum by the west drive, and put the maple  near the southeast corner of the front lawn, far enough from the road to be away from the power lines.
  In the afternoon I went to the co-op to sell my share of the milo, stopped at the bank to deposit the check,  and drove to Winfield to pay the property taxes. The milo paid about half the tax bill. When I got back to Arkansas City I stopped to get cat food, and when I came out of the store I found the roadster had a flat tire. I had no spare, but fortunately a couple of college boys saw my predicament and gave me a ride home to fetch another wheel, so I was able to gas up the car, buy a piece of square tubing for a project, and make it home with no further trouble. I'm going to see if I can find a six volt tire pump to carry in Model T's, along with a spare tube.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

With evening rain in the forecast, I took advantage of one more dry day for some outside chores. One was mulching the two new trees I planted yesterday, and some of the other small trees. I spread a couple of bushels of leaves around each tree, laid chicken wire over them to keep them from blowing away, and put on a few bricks to keep the wire in place.  I rehung the big tarp that the last fierce wind took down from the back wall of the house, then fired up the splitter and attacked more of the woodpile behind the shop. I split enough to get the stack in the garage about as high as it will go, and started another pile in front of it.  

Sunday,  December 13, 2015

When I got home with the roadster Friday afternoon I drained the oil for an oil change.  But I didn't put in the new oil because of what I found. The old oil had a small brass machine screw in it. There's only one possible source for that. It was one of the three screws that were holding a balance weight on the transmission reverse drum. So I'm going to have to pull the engine and transmission out of the car, open up the transmission, and replace the screw. I just hope one screw falling out is the only damage that's been done. I think when I have all three screws in, this time I'll braze them in place so there won't be any chance of them working loose. While this project is under way I'm sending the radiator off to have its leaking seam repaired. I think while I have the car apart I may take care of a few other things it needs, like installing the correct drive shaft housing for a 1915, and putting on the new wheels.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Short & sweet: I spent the morning packing the radiator. Except for a trip to town for groceries, I spent the afternoon taking pieces off the roadster, getting ready to pull the engine/transmission.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Never went off the place today. I spent the day taking pieces off the roadster, getting ready to pull the engine/transmission. I should have it out tomorrow. My last chore today was bringing the hoist over to the shop from the barn. The last time I used it was last year when I was working on my mowing tractor.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Again, I never ventured off the place today. I spent all morning and into the afternoon cleaning up in the shop, organizing, and putting things away to make space for the upcoming engine/transmission work I have to do. In the afternoon I rolled the hoist into the shop, cleaned it up, and used it to raise the roadster's body off the frame. I only had to raise it a couple of inches and set it on blocks to clear the way for sliding the engine/transmission forward, and lifting it out. Tomorrow I'll pull it out and look inside to see what I find.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The best laid plans...
I never did get that engine pulled. I had to pack and send a timing gear to a friend in California, buy some groceries, and take care of a few other little things. But the main job of the day was getting my adjustable engine stand ready to use. It had sat outide the shop on the ground, and one of the casters had rusty dirt in it that kept it from swiveling. A couple of the rollers didn't turn very well either. From now on when I'm not using the stand I'll take it over to the barn and leave it inside away from the weather. Getting all three casters working properly was half the job. The other half was redrilling some of the adjusting holes so the stand will lock the engine in place in eight positions.  Maybe I'll get that engine pulled tomorrow. While I was working in the shop, outside the snow was falling. It started about one and went on all afternoon. It was pretty light, and the ground was warm enough to melt a lot of it. I expect most of it will be gone tomorrow, and Saturday all of it will be melted, even in the shady places.     

Friday, December 18, 2015

This morning I got the engine/transmission out of the roadster and moved it around behind the car where I'll work on it. In the afternoon I took time out from the engine to make a bracket to hold a drain  pan on the bottom of the engine stand. The pan will catch drips from the engine and can also be a basin for washing parts. Tomorrow I'll dig into that transmission and see what I can find.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Well, I got into the transmission today. I'll have plenty to do. The first will be finding a better reverse drum. The one that's in there has some rust pits that made it rough enough to chew up the band lining. Another job will be replacing a broken magnet. I'm just glad I got in there and found it before it broke all the way and made a real mess of things.

Here's the source of all the fuzz.

Good thing I found that magnet bfore it could break all the way.

Plenty of fuzz to clean out.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

I spent the day tearing down that transmission. Why all day? Because if you don't have all the right tools you have to stop and make them.

Monday, December 21, 2015

More transmission work. I hunted up a couple of spare reverse drums and prepared them for sandblasting tomorrow to find out if they have any cracks in them hidden by dirt and/or rust. I had to take time out for a trip to the courthouse in Winfield to pay property taxes. Today was the deadline and there was a crowd, so I had to take a number. It didn't take more than about a half hour, though.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My busy day began with salvaging magnets from a spare flywheel. I spent most of the afternoon sandblasting, starting about 1:30 and finishing a few minutes before five.  I blasted two reverse drums to find out if they were any good. If you look closely at the one on the right in  the picture, at about eight o'clock and nine o'clock you can see little cracks, so this drum is toast. This seems to be a common problem with reverse drums. Apparently they're more delicate than low and brake drums, which are much less likely to be cracked. Fortunately I couldn't find anything wrong with the other drum, and I'll be able to use it. While I was blasting I also did several of the magnets. I had given all of them three hard whacks on an anvil, from both directions, to find out if any of them had cracks which would cause them to break. All of them survived the whacking, then one of them fell apart in my hand when I was blasting them. I'll give all the magnets another whack test before I recharge them for use.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Today I did a little more engine/transmission dismantling, but bogged down on removing flywheel bolts. They're hard to reach without the Ford wrench specifically made for that use, but eventually I found a socket that would do the job. Meanwhile, I have another set of transmission drums I'm trying to get apart. The gear holding them together is stuck fast, and I have 50/50 penetrant soaking on it. Every few hours I hit the puller with an impact wrench, but so far it hasn't budged.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

This morning I spent over an hour dealing with a Fedex overcharge. The bill was  $140.60 when the Fedex website said it should be about half that.  It turned out that the wrong charge was for  a box measuring 25" x  56", when it was really  25" x  26".  The agent I reached by phone was able to make the correction.  My  other big office chore was ordering some Model T  gaskets, rivets, and magneto screws.  I make it a habit to buy from  several parts dealers, but in this case  Lang's, the biggest outfit, was the only one that had everything I wanted. My magneto repair will have to wait until I get those screws sometime next week.

Friday, December 25, 2015

With forecasts predicting a wet weekend and a descent into freezing weather with snow, I took advantage of a dry and relatively mild day about 45 to fire up the splitter and turn some of the woodpile behind the shop into smaller pieces. Things were going great and I had wood piled in the back of the truck up nearly to the top when the part of the splitter holding the control lever broke off. Making a replacement part will be a new project for me to finish before I run out of wood. I have a full stack and part of another already in the garage, so that won't be anytime soon. My cousin Wally and I spent the afternoon at our cousin Pete's house, tying on the feedbag. She laid out a fine spread, and I suspect I won't be able to stay awake very late tonight.  

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A wet weekend began dry, but during the morning the rain arrived and kept up all day. It was mostly light sprinkles with a few periods of steady rain. I didn't have a gauge out,  but there was enough to make big puddles in the driveway. I worked in my office, getting a set of shelves ready to hold my boxes of several hundred slides. I'll be scanning them, and I need to get them organized first. Eventually a good may of them will find their way to this website.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Brrrrr, crunch, crunch! The thermometer said 32, but the fierce wind whipping out of the north didn't feel that warm.  Last night's light rain turned into today's light rain/snow/sleet, freezing on the ground to make walking crunchy. That banging sound is ice falling off the trees and hitting the roof. I worked in the office, getting the set of shelves for slides in place and putting the boxes of slides on it. I scanned a few slides and posted them on Facebook, hoping some of the people in them could tell me what year they were taken.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Big Storm
that made such an impression on New Mexico and Texas was a bust here. A few days ago the forecast for today showed a 100% chance of 3 to 5 inches of snow. Yesterday that was down to a 70% chance of under an inch. It turned out to be little more than a trace. Meanwhile, I spent way too much time trying to get a new digital projector to work. I bought the thing so I could project images from my computer onto a screen. First, it took me an hour to find and download a manual for this model from the website. Then, when I tried to set up the thing to work, what I got on the screen didn't match what I was seeing in the manual. So tomorrow I'll give the phone support folks an opportunity to explain it all.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

All morning I scanned slides. These were pictures from 2003. Each one took from three to five minutes to scan and crop out the frame around the edges. The work was slowed down by the scanner ossacionally getting tired and quitting. Then I'd have to close the program and restart the computer.


Cleaning up in May after the big winter ice storm.

Peddling signs at Petit Jean, Arkansas, in June, 2002.

After a trip to town for AAA batteries and celery,  I spent the afternoon shopping online for the adapters I'll need to hook up a digital  projector to my laptop and desktop computers. I'll find out if I bought the right ones when they get here.  One comes with free shipping but may take more than a month to arrive.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

This morning I finished scanning the 72 slides I was working on yesterday,  then  gathered up all the ones I could find in the house, brought them out to my office,  and put sticky notes on some of the boxes identifying what was in them.  When I went to town for groceries in the afternoon my car's tire pressure warning light was on. Recently the right front tire has  had a slow leak.  So I took time today for a visit to a tire shop to have it fixed.  I don't like the idea of possibly having to  blow up a tire at some inconvenient time, like in the dark during freezing weather.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

I finished the year taking care of one more little chore that's been hanging for years.  I went online and researched converting VHS  video to digital files,  and ordered a device that's supposed to do it.  I hope I'll be able to play some of the old videos from thirty years ago through a digital projector and show them at our next family reunion in June.  Along with  scanned slides I'm working on this winter, some of them going back sixty years, we should have a pretty good show. There's so much material that I won't get through all of it this year, and we should be having a new show at each reunion for at least a couple of years.