May 1, 2014
Today Dean Voth came over to help
me work on my shop roof. We took off old roofing and replaced boards
underneath that were rotten due to leaking. We got new boards installed
on about a third of the north slope. Tomorrow we'll put the new roofing
on that section, then start on the next two thirds.
Friday, May 2, 2014
Today we pulled off more old roofing, replaced rotten boards
underneath with new ones, and installed the new roofing. We're now a
little over two thirds done with the new roofing. All that remains is
to replace more of the rotten boards we removed today, put on the rest
of the new roofing, and
reinstall the siding at the west end. We had to take that off to remove
the old roof. I aim to be out there as soon as there's enough daylight
to see what I'm doing. Tomorrow is supposed to be pretty toasty, so I
want to do all I can before the heat comes on.
Saturday, May 3, 2014
This morning I was on the roof as soon as there was enough light to see
what I was doing. I had some of the old rotten boards off and new ones
on when Dean got here about a quarter of eight, and by noon we had all
the new roofing installed and the siding at the west end back on. There
are still some finishing touches to do, and those will be morning
projects while we're having warm weather. Tomorrow's high is predicted
to be near 100º. The sun reflecting of that shiny roof makes a hot day
a lot hotter. In the afternoon I spent a couple of hours with the
watering can giving a drink to a lot of little trees and bushes. All
105 counties of Kansas are now officially in drought.
Sunday, May 4, 2014
Send ten bucks to the Arbor Day Society for a membership and they
send you ten seedlings. Mine arrived a few days ago, so today was
tree planting day. I chose flowering trees and received American Redbud, Sargent Crabapple,
Washington Hawthorn, and White Dogwood. Will I live to see them bloom?
I don't know. I do know that I'm grateful for all the beautiful trees
planted by my great grandparents and all the family who were here after
May 5, 2014
With the new roofing mostly done,
installed more screws in the siding and then moved indoors. Old sheet
rock was falling apart from water damage, and today I removed it. Once
I get new ceiling Sheetrock in, I'll build shelves to absorb some of
the clutter from my shop.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
A little of this, a little of that.
With an 80% chance of rain predicted for Thursday, I need to finish up
the shop roof project. This morning I started removing the old ridge
cap and bought some new to replace it. By eleven the sun glaring off
the roof was getting pretty toasty, so I moved on to something else.
That was the pile of old roofing on top of the carport. I stacked it
there when we took it off last week. Each piece isn't all that heavy,
but a stack adds up to a few hundred pounds, and the carport was
starting to sag, so I tossed it all in a pile on the ground. Next was a
little Model T work. The shop manual says you can install transmission
bands through the inspection door, without removing the hogshead.
Easier said than done. This is one of those jobs that features a rising
level of frustration and irritation, inspiring the enthusiastic
recitation of military poetry. I took the time to make a tool that will
use baling wire to pull the ends of the band together to make it fit
around the drum. I still have more struggle ahead to make it work, but I think I might learn how to do this job. After welding my new tool, I left it to
cool and moved on the the last chore of the day, watering. The drought
continues, so I spent the last couple of hours of the afternoon with
the watering can, carrying water to the roses I planted about five
weeks ago and the seedlings I planted two days ago. At this stage they
need daily watering to get them going. I worked a little more on that
transmission this evening, and I'm ready to call it a day.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Today's main activity was installing
ridge cap on the new roof. That
means cleaning out old dirt and new elm seeds, then putting the cap in
place and putting in the screws. Pretty simple stuff. The forecast
shows a 60% chance of rain tonight, so I needed to get that job done
just in case it really does rain.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Today's main project was more of installing those newly relined
transmission bands in the touring. Eventually I managed to get all
three of them in, but in the end one of the removable ears fell down
inside the transmission. Before going any further I'll have to go to
town in the morning and get a magnet tool to retrieve it. I've
read of tying a long piece of dental floss on all small parts so they
can be pulled out if they fall in. I'll do that from now on. I should
have done it today. Except for a trip to the dentist's office for a
tooth cleaning and a visit to the clinic for a blood test, I spent all
day on the transmission. It's a learning experience. Eventually I'll be
able to do the job in less than a day. Ninety years ago Ford mechanics
were expected to do the job in forty minutes, but I doubt I'll ever get
that good at it.
Friday, May 9, 2014
Well, the predicted rain was a
bust. There was a lot of noise, but only .05". So today I hooked up a
hose and started watering. The first job of the day was painting the
Bendix cover off the touring. I removed it so I could move the reverse
pedal out of the way while installing bands, and decided I might as
well paint it while it's off. With that done I set out the hose, then
brought out the mower and spent most of the day mowing. A lot of
the grass is looking pretty poor. Maybe the next storm, predicted for
Sunday, will bring enough moisture to do some good.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
After doing laundry I checked out an auction in Winfield.
There were some Model T manifolds, both intake and exhaust, but I have
all of those I need, and there was nothing else of interest. It was a
different story at the auction a mile east of my house. There were a
lot of useful items, and a lot of things sold cheap, so I spent the day
at it. I spent $1 each for a drill and a saber saw, 50¢ for a box of
scrapers and putty knives, 50¢ for a set of roadside reflectors, 50¢
for a roll of foam rubber and a couple of air mattresses, $1 for a pair
of power strips, 50¢ for a handful of broom handles, and $1 for a box
of clamps. The big buys of the day were $2 for a box of a few dozen
miscellaneous screwdrivers and $2 for some brass welding rod.
Along with those things there were three
gallons of antifreeze, a couple of jugs of motor oil, several
other small tools, and a few mystery items. I spent a total
of $16. As usual, the things I bought because I wanted them came
with extra items I don't need. Eventually I'll have an auction too, and
get rid of all the extra stuff.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Lazy Sunday. I worked on the transmission bands a little bit, getting
them in position to install the pedals, springs, washers, and nuts. I
played online, then carried water to some of the recently planted
seedlings. I took a nice afternoon nap on the front porch swing, then
did more watering. Maybe I'll feel more ambitious tomorrow.
Monday, May 12, 2014
After yesterday's high around 90º, today's afternoon in the fifties
felt pretty cool. The predicted rain was another disappointment, less
than a tenth of an inch. I spent most of the day cleaning up and moving
stuff in the east part of my shop building, getting ready to install
new sheet rock in the ceiling and build some shelves.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Somebody at the IRS decided that I needed to fill out another form and
send more money, so I spent way too much time on that today. The
bizarre complexity of the tax system is exquisitely annoying.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Today I went back to work on those transmission bands. I finally
managed to get the reverse band where it belongs by moving
the other two back to make room for it. After that the big hurdle is
getting the low and brake bands back where they belong. I spent a
couple of hours on the transmission, and that's the limit I've set to
preserve my alleged sanity. The old Ford shop manual said the job
should take forty minutes. I'll be happy if it takes me only forty
hours. In the afternoon I moved on to yard work, pulling some weeds and
grass, cutting some little trees and poisoning the stumps, doing a
little mowing, and watering the dirt where I filled in the gas line
ditch. With no rain I have to water that soil to get the grass growing
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Cool weather continued. In fact, I slept under two blankets and a
comforter last night. This morning I did yard work wearing a coat. In
the afternoon I went back to work on the transmission band job. I'm
learning what works and what doesn't, so the next time I have to do
this job it will be easier. But I stopped this evening after hitting a
major snag. I was very careful to stuff rags in around the reverse
shaft so I wouldn't drop a washer or nut into the transmission. I got
the washer and nut on the shaft with no trouble. Then I took the rags
out to move the low band into position and promptly dropped the spring
for it down the rabbit hole. I'll return to attempting spring recovery
after I get some sleep.
Friday, May 16, 2014
After a morning trip to town for a doctor's appointment and grocery
shopping, I spent the afternoon on yard work. I picked up trash and
mowed along the road, pulled grass and weeds east of the house, and
watered seedlings. It takes about ten minutes to fill the two-gallon
can, walk to the seedlings, water them, and walk back for more water. I
spent over an hour doing that. Maybe I'll find time tomorrow or Sunday
for attempting spring retrieval.
Saturday, May 17, 2014
I know it's chilly when I open a door to the house or shop and Daisy
goes running past me to get inside. This morning at seven it was 42º.
Something unexpected in the middle of May. It would be OK if it brought
some rain, but the drought continues.
This morning I checked out an auction in town. A lot of the stuff was
junk, and the few items I wouldn't mind having weren't enough to make
me spend my day there.
I stopped at the Cherokee Strip Museum to arrange for our October
Model T tour to stop there, then I gassed up the car and came home. I
spent the afternoon removing the barbed wire from the old fence across
the road so I can mow the bank on that side of the road. I got all the
old wire off, and started on the mowing. I'll remove the posts later.
The important thing today was just getting the wire out of the way so I
Sunday, May 18, 2014
When I was in town Friday I picked up a magnet on a flexible stem. This
morning I used it to retrieve that dropped spring out of the
transmission. I got very lucky. It pulled out the spring on the first
attempt, in less than ten seconds. After that I went ahead and finished
installing the bands and adjusted them. That took until after noon, and
with that job out of the way I went back to bank mowing. I made good
progress on that, and should be able to finish it up tomorrow morning.
The mowing is slowed by interruptions to pick up glass from broken
bottles. Some lush is in the habit of throwing his empty Heineken
bottles out in the grass. I've picked up several dozen of them, but I
missed a few and the mower has hit a couple.
Monday, May 19, 2014
I was back at bank mowing first thing in the morning, and had it done
about a quarter after twelve. By three I had all the old fence posts
out. I ended up with more than two dozen beer bottles I picked
out of the grass.
May 20, 2014
Pick-up and clean-up day. Job one
was rolling up all the old barbed wire I had laid out on the ground.
There was a lot of it, and that took a couple of hours. Then I hauled
away beer bottles, fence posts, and other leftovers. I hauled up
firewood I had cut earlier, stacked the big pieces by the splitter, and
the small pieces in the garage wood pile. I spent the last part of the
day carrying water to seedlings that are too far from the house for a
hose to reach them. During all this I had the hose running on several
plants west of the house. The drought is beginning to stress some of
the established older plants, not just seedlings. The fading forecasts
continue. The ten day forecast will often show a 100% chance of rain a
week or more away. Then, the next day, it shows 90%. Then 80%, 70%, and
by the time you reach the actual day it's another dry one with a 10% or
0% chance of any moisture.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
The day started with yard work in the cool of the morning. While the
water was running on various thirsty plants, I cut down little trees
behind the house and poisoned the stumps, picked up trash and mowed
along the road by the west field, and hauled yard waste to the dump
pile. In the afternoon I built a little table to hold a small fridge in
my shop so I can have cold liquids handy when I'm working in there. My
evening activity was an old hot weather favorite, a nice nap on the
front porch swing.
Today's big news was RAIN! It began a little after four in the
afternoon and lasted until almost five. It was steady and pretty heavy
for over a half hour. As the picture shows, it was a good soaking that
made big puddles. It will be a big help to some of the plants that were
withering. But it soaked in quickly and all the puddles were gone in an
hour. The forecast shows a 40% chance of more tomorrow and Saturday,
and 60% on Monday, so maybe we'll get lucky again. In the morning after
a three mile run, breakfast, and a shower, my first job of the day was
planting a little redbud I took out of the ground next to the house
yesterday. I put it down by the lane to my woodlot, where I've planted
several others. In a few years those, along with the ones that are
already there, will make a pretty display in the early spring. With the
planting done, I moved on to the next big deal of the day, figuring out
what parts I need to fix my mowing tractor. After some study, I think I
know how to get the final drive apart, so I'll tackle that in the cool
of the morning.
Friday, May 23, 2014
And so I did. My project for the day was the mowing tractor. It took a
big chunk of the morning to set up the hoist to hold it, then get a
jack under it and drop the mower. Then I had to consult a manual and
post an inquiry on the Allis Chalmers discussion forum for guidance on
how to remove the axle and the pinion shaft. The axle and pinion
bearings are all wrecked and will have to be replaced. It doesn't look
like this repair will be terribly complicated or difficult, but it will
take some time.
May 24, 2014
After doing laundry I checked out
an auction at the fairgrounds. Not enough to keep me there, so I came
home and got a little work done. I took advantage of the wet ground
that makes weed-pulling easy and removed a weed patch south of the
barn. With the ground so soft, I could grab bunches of weeds and pull
them all together. I worked on the tractor some more, but I stopped
short of unbolting the final drive. I'm glad I did. I asked about
weight on the Allis Chalmers forum, and one guy said it weighs 150 to
200 pounds. I don't like the idea of trying to lift something that
weighs more than I do, so I have to figure out some way to use a
hoist. This afternoon I did a little transplanting, taking a redbud
from east of the house and putting it down by the lane to the woodlot.
I have my doubts about digging up and transplanting that big a plant,
over a foot high, but maybe it will survive.
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Wow! What a gully washer! I was on my way to town for some celery this
afternoon when it hit. By the time I got to town the underpass was
starting to flood, so after shopping I came home a different way.
Here at home it was a little over an inch in about an hour. The way it
was raining in town, it may have been more there. Am I
complaining? Absolutely not. I'm glad at last to be getting some of the
rain that we should be getting this time of year.
So what did I do today? Yard work. I did a lot of weed pulling, and I
finally moved some tulip bulbs that were in the wrong place. I've been
meaning to move them for a few years, but never did get around to it
when there were still leaves to show exactly where they were. And the
redbud I transplanted yesterday? Looking good. If it's still doing OK
in a couple of days, I'll move some more.
Monday, May 26, 2014
Yard work and shop work today. I did a little more weed pulling and a
little more small tree cutting and poisoning. I mowed in back,
where the grass was getting out of hand, but had to interrupt the
mowing to fix a broken drive chain on the mower. I'm like a farmer,
having to stop work to fix the equipment. My shop work was installing
the Bendix cover on the touring car. Sometime this week I'll put
the transmission cover back on, put in some new oil, and try out
those new bands. Another chore today was working on a shopping list.
Bob's Antique Auto Parts will be closing soon and having a liquidation
sale, so I'll stock up on some parts I'm likely to need.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Today's main project was finishing up the work on the touring. I
put a transmission cover on, put away the tools, wiped
off some of the dust, put in oil, aired up the tires, and went for a
test run. It was pretty good, but I was too conservative in adjusting
the bands. The brake and low bands were still loose enough for the
pedals to go to the floor, and there was some slipping in low. So
I took off the transmission cover again and took up more of the slack
in the brake and low bands, put the cover back on, and went
for another run. This time I drove around the block (two miles) and the
car was back to normal. It took the hills without bogging down as it
did last year with the rotten band lining wrapped around the brake
drum. I was delighted. Tomorrow I'll wash the car and use it when I go
to town to buy groceries and pay bills. Still on the agenda for that
car is a new radiator sometime this year, and maybe I'll even get
around to restoring some top bows and installing the top.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Today I paid bills and went to town for shopping. One item I had to get
was a new battery for the touring. The old one expired after five and a
half years. I also had to get a new battery for the speedometer.
Buying and fixing a real speedometer for this car would be pretty
expensive, so I'm using a Velo 5 bike speedometer. Putting a new
battery in it was the easy part. Figuring out how to set it took
forever because the manual has almost no words, and is
mostly drawings and symbols. After another test drive of a
couple of miles with the car and the speedometer both working well, I
washed off the dust.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
It was a Model T morning. I spent most
of it polishing the touring, adjusting the rear brakes,
and making a video
of starting with the hand crank. In the afternoon I drove it to town
for some shopping.
Friday, May 30, 2014
This morning I readjusted the
touring's transmission bands. New linings always require some
readjustment after the car is driven. Again I drove the car when I went
to town for groceries, and it was not a good drive. There was a lot of
vibration, more than what's normal for a Model T, and a regular
knock/ding that did not sound nice. Coming up the hill from the river,
where I could normally accelerate up the hill, today I had to use the
low pedal to get to the top. This car is grounded until further notice.
Fortunately it has an engine/transmission rebuild scheduled for this
summer. My last chore of the day was the pile of old scrap lumber in front of the
house. I pulled all the nails and cut it into firewood for next winter.
With the pile out of the way, now I can mow there.
Saturday, May 31, 2014
The day began with a drive to Ponca City to check out a pair of
auctions. Neither one had enough items of interest to keep me there, so
I came home to get some work done. Regular readers may recall my big
adventure in a previous episode, back in February, when I attempted to
cut the scaffold on the west side of the house from twelve feet down to
eight feet. I was through working on the upper roof and needed it lower
to work on the windows and wall. My attempt to cut four feet off the
bottom and lower it with a jack ended up with the whole thing toppling
over and pretty much coming apart. Since then the mangled carcass has
languished on the ground waiting for me to get back to it. Today I did.
My main project of the day was rebuilding the thing and tipping it up
to stand next to the house. It took a hi-lift jack to get it started
and a bit of muscle to finish, but all it needs now is the boards on
top and I'll be ready to go to work on that upstairs wall. That means
installing the new windows, making the frames for them, and shingling