MARCH 2014

MAY 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 Today was new window day. Since a tree fell on the Suburban last year and broke out a window, I've had plastic taped over the hole. This afternoon I took the vehicle and the replacement glass I recently bought to a body shop and had the "new" window installed. On a forty-year-old vehicle, most of the new parts you buy for it are actually old parts. Now it's good as new, and I won't have to listen to plastic whipping in the wind when I drive.  This was also a day for some tour planning. I found that there's nothing else scheduled that would conflict with our tour the first weekend in October, so that's when we'll have it. While I was sitting here at the computer I heard something moving in the attic above me. I went and got a ladder, but by the time I got up there and looked whoever was there had left. My first thought was squirrels, but I think it actually sounded like something slower-moving. I'm guessing possum. Whatever it is will be back, and I'll find out.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 Some chores are recurring, like mowing in the summer and cutting firewood in the winter, or doing laundry all year. Other jobs are so infrequent as to be practically one-time affairs. Today I finished one of the latter type. I finished spreading that left over pile of dirt into the low areas where the filled-in ditch has settled. If I'm lucky there will be no need for another new gas line before I'm dead, then somebody else can deal with it. That was my mid-day activity. In the morning I worked on setting up my new  Apple laptop, installing a browser and an FTP and  accessing email.  I do that kind of thing so rarely that it's always new to me and I have to learn it all over again. The experience reminded me how much I despise passwords and the recurring need to change them. But I have a plan to simplify that.
Thursday, April 3, 2014 I spent most of the morning working on a new web page on determining the year of a Model T. In the afternoon I went for a drive, scouting out routes for the October antique car tour, taking a look at the Geuda Springs Museum, and talking by phone with the owner of the Caboose Museum in Atlanta.

Friday, April 4, 2014 Did a little more tour planning this morning, corresponded with the Atlanta Caboose Museum owner who is sending some info, and talked to the advisor of the students who are running the Old Oxford Mill as a restaurant. My model T work was cleaning and painting studs and nuts. Small detail work like that really eats up the time. Today being relatively cool, with a high in the mid-fifties, I had a fire in the kitchen stove this evening and had a trash-burning session in the living room fireplace. It's still possible to have some more chilly weather, but it's also possible this may have been the last fire of the season. I noticed this afternoon that the roses I planted last Sunday are already leafing out in several places, and the forsythias by the west drive are now in full bloom. Soon the redbuds will be out, then the lilacs.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I spent too much time at the computer today, researching serial numbers. I made a list of
Model T serial numbers by calendar year, and another list by model year, along with a little chart showing dates of the model years.  I'll get a copy of the whole thing laminated and take it to auctions and swap meets so I can identify engines I see. My only outdoor work today was watering the roses I planted last Sunday. Some of them are really sprouting the leaves.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

I still face a huge amount of sorting, organizing, and putting away. The main obstacle is having a place for everything. So today I set about removing the built-in screen cabinet that's left over from my former sign business. I'll replace it with shelves for old car parts. I had noticed that Miss Kitty suddenly slimmed down, so I wondered where she had the kittens. While dismantling the cabinet I heard mewing nearby, and found them in the old dog crate just three feet from where I was working. It looks like about half a dozen of them.  

Monday, April 7, 2014 Work continued on dismantling the old screen cabinet. I got most of it done. When I went to town for groceries, I stopped at the lumber yard and bought some corrugated barn siding to use on the roof over the east end of the shop. The old roof is leaking after only sixty years, so I'll be working on replacement for a few days. It wouldn't do much good to build new shelves and fill them with stuff only to have everything soaked because of a leaky roof.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I am a happy camper. Fed up with the HP laptop I bought two years ago to take on trips, I finally sold it and got a Mac laptop. I spent this morning installing software so I can blog, operate my website, and download pictures from my camera. Windows and I never got along, so I'm delighted at last to have a laptop I can operate without it giving me crap like "The parameter is incorrect", whatever that means. With the traveling laptop situation apparently under control, I moved on to preparing for tomorrow's auction in Wichita. The advertising lists some shop tools that may be good, so I want to take the trailer in case I have to haul home something heavy. The first thing I needed to do was unload the Suburban. The big thing to unload was the Ruckstell rear axle that Bud Redding kindly donated for my TT project. I spent the rest of the day unloading, cleaning out, airing up all the tires, filling the tank, and hooking up the trailer. I'm ready to go.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Well, I went. I passed the day in Wichita and ended up spending $5. I had no use for most of the stuff that was auctioned off, and the few items I did want mostly went to folks who were willing to pay far more than I was. I fact, I didn't bid on a lot of items because they started out too high for me and went up from there. I passed on the lathe that drew me there, because there was no equipment available for loading it. I ended up buying a light box for $4 and a belt gauge for $1. I did manage to get some reading done, finishing the latest Model T Times.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Today was Dad's birthday. He'd be 111 today. Here we are together in 1942. He's one of the old timers I miss.
I spent the morning as chauffeur, driving my cousin Wally to the hospital for a test. He passed it. I used my waiting time to finish reading the latest Vintage Ford. It's an excellent issue with some good information I can use. In the afternoon I updated my website, using my new Mac laptop for part of the job. It's quite a relief having a
computer I can take on trips with some expectation that it will do what I want it to.

Friday, April 11, 2014

This morning Wally
showed up with a pickup load of wood. He had a huge old maple that was leaning toward his house, so he had it removed to avoid future disaster.
He's keeping a couple of big sections of the trunk to have them sawed into lumber, and I'm getting the "small" pieces for firewood. Some of those smaller pieces were well over a foot thick, and so heavy we used a dolly to run them up a ramp into his truck.  After that first batch we brought two more loads and stacked them in the yard near the splitter. There may be enough there to provide heat for a month next winter.    

Saturday, April 12, 2014

After doing laundry, I went to check out auctions in Winfield and Wellington. Neither had enough of interest to keep me there, so I came home and got started on the next building project, the new roofing on the east end of my shop building. I gathered tools and materials, cleaned the fallen tree debris off the roof, and started removing the nails and screws holding on the old roofing. When I was able to lift some of the old metal enough to see underneath, I found some of the boards are rotten, so it's not a case of just taking off the old roofing and putting on the new. I'll need to replace some of the boards under the roofing too. There's a strong chance of rain in the forecast for tomorrow afternoon and evening, so in the morning I'll have to lay some plastic sheeting over the work area and lay some boards on that to keep it from blowing away. Later in the week we're supposed to have a few good days when I can get the job done. One other thing I did today was shoot pictures of spring flowers. I hope at this time next year I can take a picture of the house with the exterior reconstruction finished.  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

It occurred to me that instead of fighting the wind to spread plastic sheeting, I could lay a few pieces of new roofing over the old roofing and put some heavy boards on top to keep them from blowing off. It's a good thing I got that done in the morning, because a little after noon the first rain arrived. I spent the afternoon doing taxes. It turned out I have to send Uncle Sam some dough, but I get about $5 back from the state. Whoopee!

Monday, April 14, 2014

This morning Ed Emerson came up from Enid and we went for a tour planning drive. When we started out a strong north wind was blowing snow. Our drive was east to Hewins, south through the
Nature Conservancy's Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, and west to Ponca City. We found some roads that will be good for Model T touring, but there are others I want to explore before we settle on a final route. By afternoon the snow was over and the sun was out, but a cold north wind still made it a chilly day. I was ready for an evening fire in the kitchen stove.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Most of my Tuesday was devoted to tour planning. A big part of that was researching roads with online maps, making an itinerary, and downloading some maps covering part of the tour area.  A bigger chunk of my time was spent on downloading software for editing the maps and learning to use it. That last item is slow going for an old guy who isn't smart with computers.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I had a good computer day. The free photo editing software I downloaded yesterday is GIMP. It's more complex than I like, but today I learned what I needed to know about it for now and finished nine maps for one day of next fall's Model T tour. Here's one sample.

We're supposed to warm back up into the seventies and eighties starting Friday, so I'll
soon get back to doing some outdoor work. The grass is waking up, and I'll need to mow before long.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

On another chilly day spitting moisture, I decided to spend some time in a nice warm car, and went for a drive to scout more possible tour routes. We plan to include several stone arch bridges that should be good settings for Model T photos.

Floral Bridge, Timber Creek, 1905

Pudden Bridge, Grouse Creek, 1913

Crabb Creek Bridge, 1890

Friday, April 18, 2014

At last the nice weather returned, and I got some outside work done. I took the chain saw down the lane and cleared away the two dead trees that were blocking the road. I also got busy with the clippers and the poison and got rid of a lot of little trees that were coming up where I didn't want them. I thought I was going to plant some seedlings. But when I opened the package from the Arbor Day Foundation I found that it contained the four rose of sharon I bought, not the ten seedlings that come with your membership renewal. So instead of seedlings along the lane, I spent the rest of the afternoon planting rose of sharon around the house. I also have three forsythias to plant, and a red maple. I still have to decide where the maple is going to go.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

This morning I went to check out an auction in Cedar Vale. There was a lot of stuff that would have been good if it had been taken care of, but had reached the junk stage. There was a Model T steering column that contained some good parts, but a fellow T guy I know wanted it, so I didn't bid on it. Nothing else inspired me to stay, so I was home by noon. In the afternoon I drove over to Oxford to look at a 1913 Ford roadster that's for sale on eBay. I like it. I like it so much that if I didn't already have too many vehicles and too little storage space I'd be bidding on it. But my reason for going was to check it out in person and take pictures to post on the MTFCA Model T forum as a report to help anybody who may be interested in bidding on it. With two days to go in the bidding, somebody may get a great deal or the price may skyrocket into "Are you kidding me?" territory. We shall see.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

I spent way too much time online today but I did get some work done. I planted the three forsythias and the red maple that came from the Arbor Day Foundation this week. I bought the forsythias and the maple came as an extra freebie. The ADF is a great source for landcscaping. The prices are wonderfully low, lower for members, and for a $10 membership they send you ten seedlings. I'm caught up on planting for now, but any day now the ten trees will arrive and I'll have more to do. I already have places picked out for them.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Today was another tour planning day. Ed and I drove around the route for day one of next fall's tour, going at Model T speeds to get the timing. In the first leg of the drive, about sixty miles in two and a quarter hours, we saw four other vehicles. Two of them were the same truck twice. Heavy traffic will not be a problem on this tour.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Looking at all I have to do, I realized that I need to cut way down on my internet time. Too much time in front of a screen has been keeping me from getting a lot of things done. Today's non-screen activity was mowing. My mowing tractor is down (one of the things I need to fix), so I have to use only the little Dixon riding mower. I did finish the mowing around the house, and should finish the rest of what I have to mow tomorrow. Now that warmer weather is here and I can work in the unheated east end of the building without suffering from the cold, this evening I got back to dismantling the last pieces of the old built-in screen cabinets left from sign factory days. Some of the sheet rock ceiling in there is falling apart and will have to be replaced, then I can build some shelves and start putting
away some of my clutter.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Except for a shopping trip to town, all I did today was mow. Of course that includes picking up the beer bottles and other trash, and fixing the mower so it would mow. I finished almost all of it. What's left will take less than an hour.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I wasn't happy with the unmowed bank along the road, especially as the grass and weeds grew taller and taller during the summer. It's too steep for the riding mower or the mowing tractor, but it occurred to me that a push mower might work. So I got an old one that hasn't been used for many years out of the barn. I cleaned it up, put in gas and oil, gave it a squirt of ether, and started it up.  It ran, but lacked the power I think it should have. Anyway, I went to town and bought new foam for the air filter, installed it, and started mowing. By the end of the afternoon I got most of the bank mowed. Tonight I took the carburetor off, thinking I'd soak it overnight in carb cleaner, but I guess not. It's plastic! I'll wash it with soap and water and blow it out and hope that cleans it well enough to make the mower run better.

Friday, April 25, 2014

This morning I put the carburetor back on the mower and found that a good cleaning and adjustment did the trick. The machine ran fine, with enough power not to bog down and die when it hit some thick grass. I finished mowing the rest of the north bank. That includes taking the clippers and the Tordon to a few small trees that had come up in an unfortunate location. I'd like to do the same thing on the south side of the road, but first I'll need to remove the old barbed wire fence that's fallen down in the grass. I definitely don't want to hit that wire with the mower. With today's mowing out of the way, I spent some time on next October's Model T tour, driving to a few likely tour stops. Monday Ed and I will drive some of the potential routes for time and distance.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

After doing laundry this morning I went to check out an auction north of Udall. Not worth staying. I drove some possible Model T tour roads and went to Atlanta to have a look at a possible tour stop, the Caboose Museum. Near Atlanta I drove over a sharp rock that ruined a tire, so when I got back I had to go buy a new one. That's OK. The old tire was getting mighty low on tread, so it was just about time for a new one anyway.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

After a long dry spell, the wee hours of this morning brought a good rain storm. After I was up and working at the computer, another one came along. I didn't have the gauge out, but the two storms together provided enough moisture to do some good. I spent the morning working on tour maps. That's slow work because I'm still learning to use the new software. In the afternoon I hunted up the shop manual for my truck and began work on repair. The snag came when I got to removing a brake drum. I have a puller for that job, but I have no idea where it is. I suppose I'll find it after I buy another one.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Today Ed and I did another tour planning drive to check out roads and get times and distances. This one was all here in Cowley County. We covered about 126 miles, and in the first hundred miles of that we saw a total of five other vehicles. Two of them were trucks parked for road maintenance and cemetery mowing. About 23 miles of the first hundred were paved. This tour will be over a lot of what I consider perfect Model T roads, remote country routes with no high speed traffic. Indeed,  almost no traffic at all.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The day began with a trip to town for a diagnosis of the Camry's dead cruise control. The mechanic thinks he knows what the problem is, and is getting a part for it. Tomorrow I'll take it back for the repair. At home I spent most of the day inside, out of the cold wind. I had thought maybe I was done with heating until next fall, but sometimes late April can bring some chilly weather. It was cool enough that I had a fire in the kitchen stove this evening, then lit a fire in the living room fireplace and burned trash.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

So this morning I took the Camry back to town for cruise control repair. After a couple of hours the mechanic came to me and admitted that what he thought was wrong with it wasn't. He wasn't sure what's wrong with it, and suggested the only solution was to replace the main computer. I wasn't about to begin the game of replacing one part after another until you stumble across the right one. So much for modern computerized diagnosis. I'll pretend it's an older car and just do wihtout cruise control. At home I spent a couple of hours with the watering can giving a drink to all the recently planted seedlings. I also found that one of the sweet gums I planted last fall has survived the winter and is starting to sprout. I'm still waiting to see about the other two. This afternoon I found that Miss Kitty has brought the kids outside. The last time I saw them was a couple of weeks ago when she had them in the attic of my shop building.



MARCH 2014

MAY 2014