APRIL 2009


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Brrrrr! When I got up this morning it was 13º outside and 32º inside. I didn't waste any time getting dressed and lighting a fire. The forecast is for warm weather later in the week, with highs in the seventies and lows above freezing. There's always a chance of more cold into April, but this weekend may be the last time I need to burn any wood until next fall. I'm putting off all the outside chores for a couple of days until the weather warms up. I spent most of the afternoon today finishing the headlight buckets and working on other TT parts.


Monday, March 2, 2009

This afternoon I took a walk down through the woodlot. I noticed that a few wild rose branches are starting to leaf out, and some of the trees are about to do the same. A couple of daffodils in front of the house had started to bloom, but those 15º mornings put a stop to that. It was still a little chilly, about 48º, so I brought in wood for one more evening fire.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I was downtown to buy apples, so dropped in at Bryant Hardware just to visit. The store has been in the same family over eighty years, and is a local treasure. Zack Bryant says the poor economy is really hurting business. I sure hope things turn around soon. It would be a shame to lose that beautiful old store.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I took advantage of the nice weather to do a little outside chore, moving several sheets of roofing board in the garage to make space for an indoor woodpile for next season. I plan to have wood outside as usual, but with another supply in the garage I won't have to bother with tarps. I can use wood from outside when it's dry (which is most of the time), and from inside the garage during wet weather. My other afternoon job was installing a tether in the back seat of the touring car to keep Zeke from jumping out when he goes for a ride.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

With an afternoon above 80º, I opened up the barn and started reassembly of the TT. I got the front springs and axle back on the frame. I would have got more done if I hadn't spent so much time making the air jack usable. Some bugs like to get into small spaces and pack them full of mud. I guess I need to get some kind of caps to put over all my air fittings.


Friday, March 6, 2009

OOooops! Friday is usually feast night, with chili beans and tamales, but I was so busy I forgot to put the tamales in the oven. So I had tosdadas instead. And what had me so busy? Today I installed the spindles on the TT, and swept up a lot of leaves that had blown into the barn, and installed the new head gasket in the touring car. The new gasket cured the coolant leak. I took the car for a test drive for a couple of miles and it ran fine. The next chore is to install new tie rod bushings to make the steering a little steadier.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

I didn't spend the whole day on vehicles, but a pretty good chunk of it. After doing laundry, I painted running board nuts and bolts and hung them in the oven to cook. The next chore was to improve the steering on the touring car. When I started taking things apart, inspection revealed that new tie rod bushings won't be enough. The tie rod bolts are worn too, and will need to be replaced. Those will go on the list of parts I'm going to order next week. I'll pick up the parts while I'm at the Chickasha swap meet two weeks from now. I found that the drag link connection to the tie rod was loose too. I was able to fix that without having to replace any parts. I put everything back together, then went to work on a completely different job. A new roof on the bathroom and west porch, and new shingles on the west wall upstairs, have never stopped the leak that drips in front of the bathroom door when it rains. This afternoon I went up and looked for the source of the problem. I think water has been getting in around the bottom of a window frame. I caulked everything that looked like a possible source. The next rain will show whether I solved the problem. With that task out of the way, I welded a crack on a TT part, then started up the touring car and took it for a three mile run. After installing a new head gasket, you tighten the bolts to fifty foot-pounds with a torque wrench. Running the engine will loosen them, so after you drive the car you let it cool and tighten the bolts to fifty foot-pounds again. You do this after each drive until they quit loosening and don't need it any more. Today's run was a bigger workout for Zeke than for the car. He was down the road with some of his little friends when I went by, and ran alongside the car. I stopped a couple of times and invited him to ride, but he wouldn't get in the car. He was having too much fun running. At the end of the three miles, he was panting like a steam engine. I finished the day painting the hand brake lever assembly for the TT. This evening I tried a new restaurant, El Maguey, and wasn't terribly impresed. I went and saw Slum Dog Millionaire again. The Oscar for best picture was well deserved. An excellent film.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

With only twelve days until spring, today I started getting ready for yard work. First I had to spend an hour adjusting a malfunctioning overhead door to the shop. Then I loosened up the rusted-tight mounting hardware on a three-bottom plow, put oil in the WD tractor, and put a charger on the WD's battery. I took the touring car out for another short drive of three or four miles, then I turned my attention to the Dodge pickup. It took a quart of oil, a little water in the battery, and brake fluid in the master cylinder. The I drove it down to Chilocco and filled three five-gallon gas cans for the mower and the tractors. It won't be long before mowing season begins. But first, a little more winter. The forecast shows lows in the twenties and highs if the low forties later this week, so I split some wood and stacked it in the garage.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Success! Perhaps. A rainy day arrived at last, and there was no dripping in front of the bathroom door. Apparently the caulk job on that upstairs window did the trick. This wasn't a heavy rain, so it will take a downpour to know for sure if the problem is really solved. The rain was over for awhile when I got home this afternoon, so I went out and tried to start the WD. The battery was still dead after having a charger on it since yesterday. I don't know if the battery is toast, or if one of the charger clamps didn't make contact. To be continued.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Well, the weather folks blew it. The forecast was for the rain to stop overnight, and the sky to clear, and the temperature to reach 61º this afternoon. Instead, the rain continued most of the morning, the day remained mostly cloudy, and the temperature never even reached 40º. That's OK. We really needed the rain. Zeke was supposed to go get his shots this afternoon, but he was out visiting his little friends when I got home. We'll try that again tomorrow. I did go to town to get some 5/16" steel rods for the truck project. The throttle and spark rods are pretty bad, so I'll make new ones. When I got back from town I laid a fire in the living room. For a few days we're supposed to have cool days, and lows in the twenties again, so I'll need to use up some more firewood.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mr. Doggie was home this afternoon, so I took him for shots.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

I took the TT radiator into town this afternoon to have it presure tested. Work on theTT project continus a little bit at a time. If the weather warms up enough this weekend I'll blast some more parts and get them painted.


Friday, March 13, 2009

I was a little late getting the tamales in the oven this evening, but I didn't miss my treat this week. A couple of real tamales (not the canned fakes) buried in chili beans with grated cheese, jalapeño slices, and chopped onions. One of my favorite meals.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

After spending a good part of the morning sanding and priming the TT steering gear cover, I went out to take advantage of the warm weather above 50º and sandblast some parts. I got a few done, but had to waste an hour getting moisture out of the line and removing wet sand before I could start.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

I enjoyed my customary Sunday morning bog-down listening to the weekly blab shows and playing with the computer. About eleven I went out and started up the WD and worked on hooking up the plow. I couldn't get the snap coupler to snap and couple, so I'll need to work on it some more. At noon I got started on sandblasting TT parts and spent most of the afternoon at it. Doing both sides of the steel firewall took most of that time. I finally finished that, and spent the last half hour on the steering column. I almost finished it, but will need to do the last few inches of it some afternoon this week. At four I went out for a three-mile jog. I've been a lazy bum this winter, so I need to get back to regular running. It's been a month since the last time, so I wasn't surprised at the slow time of 32:50.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Success! I came straight home from work and had the sandblasting equipment set up by 3:30. By four o'clock I had finished the firewall and the fender bracket I had to do, and was putting away the equipment. Daylight saving time is helpful because it keeps my sandblasting area out of the shade long enough for me to get some work done after I get home. Standard time and short days put me in the shade so early I can only sandblast on my days off.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

After gassing up the car this afternoon, I hurried home to reinstall the snap coupler on the WD and try it out. It turned out that the tractor wouldn't start because the battery was dead again. I put the charger on it, and I'll try again tomorrow.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Well, I got the WD started and ran it out of the shed to install the snap coupler. I had trouble trying to line it up to drive the mounting pin through it. Tomorrow I'll try putting a jack under it to hold it up while I put in the pin.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

The jack did it. I got the snap coupler back on the tractor and tried it out, and it worked as intended. I hooked up the plow and headed for the garden to try it out. By the time I refilled the hydraulics, I had just enough time to make a couple of passes along the length of the garden. I hope to have time Saturday to plow and disk the whole thing. This is my first plowing experience, so I need practice to figure out what I'm doing.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring arrived and I went to Okieland. This morning I drove down to Chickasha for the annual prewar swap meet, where nothing after 1942 is allowed. I got a late start and didn't arrive until a little after eleven. This meet wraps up Friday afernoon, so I didn't have a lot of time to shop. Still, I managed to get some needed parts for the TT project, including a nice pair of hood shelves, a good TT running board, and a fender eye bolt. I also got to meet and briefly visit with Bruce McCalley, author of the Model T Ford Encyclopedia. And perhaps best of all, there were two 1924 Model T touring cars, one with the top up and the other with the top down. I took dozens of pictures to provide some guidance when I assemble the top for my 1923 touring. On the way home I stopped at El Rodeo in Guthrie and had the best enchilada I've had in years. I'm deep in Anglo white bread country here, so I suppose that's faint praise considering the competition, but it really was good.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Today I got the plow hooked up to the WD and plowed the garden. This is my first plowing experience, so it was not a pretty job. That's OK. I'll go over it with the disk and level it out. I started the day doing the laundry, then I drove over toCaldwell for an auction. I went to take a look at a "Moll A Ford truck" listed in the auction ad. It was a money sink. It was the kind of thing you could turn into a restored truck worth $10,000 by spending two or three times that amount on it. I didn't want to stand out in the cold wind being a snot fountain, so I did't wait around to see what the truck went for. I came back and worked on TT parts before getting around to plowing the garden.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Today I jacked up the front of the touring car to work on the loose steering. With the weight off the wheels, I found that things were even looser than I expected. Spindle bolts and bushings were badly worn, and so were the tie rod bolts and bushings.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Today I spent most of my time after work pressing new bushings into those spindles, and a new tie rod bushing into one of the arms. The bushing installation in in the other arm didn't go well. I got the bushing in about half way before my installation rod broke. I'll have to try it again tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Well drat! I've wrecked two new bushings trying to press them into that spindle arm. I thought I had one more, but haven't been able to find it. I had to get on the phone and order a couple more. This demonstrates the corollary of Murphy's Law which states that everything takes longer than you think it will.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

All my time after work this afternoon was spent in doctors' offices. First I dropped off Zeke at the vet's, then I went to the eye doc for a checkup. My visit with the optometrist took about an hour, then I went back to the vet's to find out what's wrong with the dog. He's been going around with his mouth hanging open and dropping food on the floor. It turns out he has a rare nerve condition with the common name of canine drop jaw syndrome. The cause is unknown, and it usually goes away in a month or two. There's no treatment for it, so he'll just look odd for awhile.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

I thought maybe I'd had the last fire of the season, but after work this afternoon I was covering the outside woodpile with a tarp and bringing wood into the garage. The forecast is for snow tomorrow and Saturday morning, and a low in the twenties Sunday morning. Time to crank up the electric blanket to high again.


Friday, March 27, 2009

I worked late today. Friday mornings I usually finish by nine, but I had to make extra signs today. We make most signs six or eigtht at a time, but this Texaco sign is very popular and sells a lot, so I made sixteen and didn't finish until after ten. Except for grocery shopping, I spent the rest of the day working on the TT project, mostly sanding primer and painting parts.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

The forecast was for rain turning to snow, with accumulation of over a foot of snow likely by noon today. Instead, the temperature hovered around 32º all day yesterday, and the rain turned to ice as it hit. The predictable result came last night a little before ten when the electric power went off. Somewhere the buildup of ice brought down some lines, and it was time to light the kerosene lamps. With the electric blanket not working, it was a night for wearing wool sox to bed. No matter how many blankets you use, you can't feel warm if your feet are cold.

As I was getting up this morning about seven, the power came back on. When I went out to take pictures of the wreckage I was reminded of the big ice storm seven years ago, but this one wasn't as severe. There were a lot of branches down, but not like 2002.

I went to town to work on TT parts, and found that the sign factory had only partial power. I discovered the reason when I looked out the front door and saw that one of the three ice-covered wires from the main line was broken. The oven and some of the other equipment didn't work, and the lights were dim, but I was able to get some things done. I got the finish coat sprayed on one of the TT headlight rims, and sanded and applied more primer to the other. With more dents and pits to fill, it will take more work. I put primer on the steering column, which has a lot of pits to fill, and painted one side of the firewall. I spent some time using the thread file on one of the front wheels so I can get the hubcap screwed on. I can get the cap started and partly screwed on, but it will take a lot more filing to make it go on all the way. I could buy a die to recut the threads quickly, but it would cost $300. I can do a lot of filing for $300. One chore I finished was assembling the Holley NH carburetor to replace the one I took off the TT engine to use on the touring car. I finished painting the hand brake lever, and cut and painted new steering column mounting bolts. When better weather makes working in the barn comfortable again, I'll have more parts to put on the TT. So far, all I've reassembled is the front spring and axle.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

After a couple of hours sanding and painting truck parts, I went for a Sunday drive in the country. I was looking for locations that would be good settings for old car photos. I found a couple of likely places that would look good after the vegetation greens up.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Today's afternoon activity was cutting up branches brought down by the ice storm. There isn't as much to do as there was after the big sotrm of 2002, but there's enough to keep me busy for awhile.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gary Wilson has the tools and know how to ream spindle busings and tie rod bushings to make the bolts fit, so I took the job to him yesterday. He had it done already this afternoon, so after work I worked on reinstalling the spindles on the touring car.


APRIL 2009