JULY 2014


Friday, August 1, 2014

After a three mile run, breakfast, and a shower, I paid bills. When I went to town for shopping I stopped at the post office and got a money order and sent it to buy that Dodge axle shaft. In the afternoon I was going to take advantage of the soft ground to do some weeding, but it was too sweaty in the sun. I'll get back to that little chore in the cool of the morning.

Saturday, August, 2, 2014

Remarkably, there was no auction that looked interesting to me, so after doing laundry I came on home. It's odd to have so little auction activity on a Saturday this time of year, because there are usually so many auctions on the weekend that they even have some during the week. I did come home by a different route today, because I was looking for a windmill. I remember seeing one that I thought would make a good setting for a Model T photo, but I'm not sure what road I was on when I saw it. I suppose I need to keep a note pad in the car and write down the location when I see something interesting I might want to find later. My mechanical project today was removing the rear brake lines from the Dodge and buying new ones. The old ones were stuck so tight that the ends twisted off when I removed the backing plates.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

I'd like to plant some hollyhocks west of the garage. The afternoon sun there would make it a good place for them. But first I have to get rid of the chives that have taken over the area. They're so thick that their roots are tangled together to form sort of an onion-scented sod, so getting them out and getting the dirt off the roots is slow going. I'll have to work on that job a little bit each day until I have them all out. The chive removal went on until about eleven, then I moved on to the truck. I found that both grease fittings for the rear wheel bearings were broken, so I removed those and installed some new zerks. But the biggest job of the afternoon was cleaning up the differential and housing, then making a new gasket to fit. The ring gear has pits, and if I had any intention of driving the truck a lot I'd try to find a better one. But this truck is almost exclusively for work here on the place, like hauling firewood and yard waste. That won't even amount to 500 miles a year. I expect that gear will outlast me, so I'm not going to worry about it.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

The chive war continues. This morning I dug up enough to finish clearing almost half the area I want to do. At this rate I should have it cleared and seeded by the end of the week. I spent most of the day at the computer, trying the make the Gimp photo editing software work. Eventually I found the Gimp Chat website, posted a question, and received a link to instructions explaining how to make the tools function. Now I can finish the maps for the fall Model T tour, so, as the saying goes, I am a happy camper.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

More chive removal until the sun started reaching me. It looks like I have the area about two thirds cleared now. With my new knowledge of how to use the Gimp software a little more, I spent most of the day working on the fall tour maps except for a couple of hours when Ed Emerson stopped to visit, and a run to town for groceries.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

An old saying claims that life is all the stuff that happens to you while you're making other plans. Today's slice of life was an unexpected digging project. The toilet goes to a septic tank, but water from the kitchen sink and the shower goes into a buried sump west of the garage. The cover on said sump has deteriorated and started to collapse, so today I did the digging to remove the old cover and install a new one. The hole is lined with bricks, stacked without mortar to let the water seep into the ground. The cover I removed today is one I installed about twenty years ago. The one piece of galvanized corrugated steel in it is still good, but the fiberglass pieces are falling apart. So I won't use any fiberglass for the new cover.
I found that the hedge logs supporting the cover are still solid after more than sixty years, but I'll be adding some fresh ones to last another sixty years.


I'll have to wait for about a foot of water to dry out so I can shovel out the dirt that's fallen into the hole, so any water from the sink will go into a pail to dump in the back yard. I guess I'll do my bathing in the back yard with a hose until this is fixed.
   After all that digging, oh my aching back!  But later in the day the sky clouded over and I finished the uncovering. My last project of the day was putting a tarp on the living room roof to stop the leaks until I get the new roofing  on. I expect that will be sometime this fall when working up there is less toasty.  This is the last major roof I have to fix on the house.  There's also the back porch roof, but that's a mighty small one.  I hope to have the outside of the house finished before next summer.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

It's a good thing I got that tarp on the roof yesterday. The rain started about 3 AM and kept up until after daylight, leaving an inch and a half in the gauge. Rain running off the roof put another foot of water into that sump, so I decided to try a siphon. I laid out about a hundred feet of hose, and fortunately there's enough of a slope to the west to make it work. I left the siphon running while I drove the Suburban to Winfield to pick up the final drive for my mowing tractor. After I did that, and paid over $600 for it (!), I did some shopping and paid some bills, and came home to find most of the water drained out of the hole. I hope it will dry out and I can shovel out the dirt that fell in and get it covered again before the next rain arrives.

Friday, August 8, 2014

It was another rainy start, but the moisture quit by ten and I was able to get the Suburban to the east and of the barn and unload the final drive for my mowing tractor. I finished welding up the oil pan for it, and cut a new gasket. I hope I can get that tractor back together this weekend and be ready to mow. The new axle shaft for the Dodge arrived today, so I'll put that back together as soon as the mowing is out of the way.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

More rain got the day off to a wet start. I made my way to the barn and set about putting the repaired final drive back on the tractor. It's one of those jobs that looks like it should be easy but takes forever. I was able to lift the thing into position with the hoist, but could not get the drive shaft to slide all the way into the differential. No amount of raising or lowering to get the right angle, or jiggling, or grease, or incantations, or musical accompaniment, could make it slide all the way in. It was infuriating. In the afternoon I took a nap, then went back to it and failed again. Maybe I'll figure it out tomorrow.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I spent the day working on the mowing tractor. It doesn't seem there's that much to do, but everything takes longer than you think it will. Cleaning all the grease off the drive shaft and making a close inspection,  I found that  some of the splines appeared to be mashed wide. So I did some filing and tried installation again. This time the shaft slid right into place with a little jiggling, and I had the final drive bolted in place in about five minutes. With that out of the way I set about putting everything else together.  This  part went slowly because of the need to wire brush the rust off of bolts and chase the threads with dies.  I got the draw bar jacked into place and was  putting bolts in the seat base when I noticed the brake problem.  The picture shows it. The brake lever on the right side faces forward. In the foreground you  see the lever on the left side is installed backwards. My first thought was that I'd leave it alone and use just the right brake until after mowing season. But looking at the shop manual, I think I can fix it now without taking too much time.


Monday, August 11, 2014

That was right. Turning the brake lever around facing the right way was a fairly simple thing. Putting the tractor back together took two days instead of one, but it's done. I reassembled the tractor, put the mower back on, and greased everything that takes grease. I finished up about four this afternoon. I had to go to town for celery and tea, but after dinner this evening I went out and mowed for an hour and a half. I'm delighted to have my mowing tractor back in action. All is not prefect, though. It lacks power, and stalled a few times. I hope that's just fuel starvation, and that a good carburetor cleaning will fix it. I really don't need another major breakdown in the middle of mowing season. I'll find out about that tomorrow morning. As soon as I get the rest of the mowing done, I'll get to work on the truck and put in that new axle shaft. I have a lot of tree trimming to do, and there will be a lot of branches to haul away. The bigger ones become firewood, and the smaller ones go to the dump pile to decay into the ground.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The day began with more work on the mowing tractor. I took off the carburetor and cleaned it out and blew out the passages with compressed air,  and removed and cleaned the air cleaner. I finished about ten and mowed for an hour and a half, took a break, then mowed some more. It was slower mowing than usual because it's been so long since the last mowing that the grass got really high and thick. I have to go over it with the mower up, then go over the same area again with the mower down.  I got most of the mowing around the house done except for the  edges and around trees and other obstacles where I can't use the tractor. This afternoon I went to work on the Dixon ZTR mower to find out what's wrong with it. The last time I used the thing it stopped suddenly with a loud CLUNK. After I towed it up to the shop and rolled it inside, oil ran out on the floor. So I suspected that whatever happened had cracked the case. When I got the engine off the mower this afternoon, I found that I guessed right. There is a crack in it, and the engine is also stuck fast so it won't turn. I haven't looked inside yet to find what made the crack, but I suspect something expensive. I did an online search and found out two things. One is that apparently all the parts to fix it are available. The other is that I'll need these parts, because no equivalent engine for a replacement is currently being produced. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First on this morning's agenda was mowing. I was going to use the push mower around trees and edges, but it was not to be. The old Air Cap mower has gotten harder and harder to start, and this morning I was able to get it running only briefly. It bogged down in some tall grass, and no amount of rope pulling and adjusting would get it going again. So that's one more item that will go in the auction I plan to have. I want one of my winter projects to be sorting through all the junk around here and setting aside stuff to get rid of. Then I'll have one of the local auctioneers sell it all off to get me some space and a little bit of cash. So with nothing working to mow around edges and obstacles, I went online and looked at new mowers. I found a Bolen push mower for $149 at Lowe's. This mower won't need to do a lot of mowing, so it will be good enough. I went to Ponca City, and while I was there I drove part of the route for our October Model T tour and wrote down the distances from point to point. I bought the mower, brought it home, and spent about an hour putting it together. I started it up and finished some of yesterday's mowing with it until the afternoon sun made it a bit too warm for my taste. I'll do more in the cool of the morning.  For something less strenuous in the heat of the afternoon, I got out the sprayer and attacked the Johnson grass  again. Little by little, I'm getting rid of the stuff.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The miracle of 2014 is ending. The forecast says that the amazingly mild weather with a lot of highs in the eighties is changing to more normal weather for August, with highs in the nineties. That's OK as long as it doesn't get too humid. When the salt doesn't want to shake out of the shaker, and a little bit of it spilled on the table forms salt water puddles, that kind of moisture in the air makes those nineties pretty tiresome.  To beat the heat,  I was out with the new mower by seven.  I mowed along edges and around trees where the tractor doesn't go,  and I mowed the north bank along the road. That took until about ten. Then I brought out the tractor and mowed some more. There's more to do, but I hope to finish it up tomorrow. In the afternoon I did some weed pulling to have it done before the ground gets hard, and did a bit of cutting off little volunteer trees and dosing the stumps with Tordon.  I did a  some work on the October Model T tour, typing distances from point to point on the Friday itinerary.  I'd better get busy on the roadster too,  so I can drive the routes in a T to see if it discovers anything the modern car missed.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Morning activities were burning trash,  pulling weeds, more mowing, and working on the October tour. The mowing was another slog through the tall stuff. With all the mowing equipment broken down, the grass got really high. In the area I mowed this morning, I had to go over it twice with the mower all the way up. I'll give it a few days to dry out, then I'll hit it again with the mower down.  Later in the day I drove up to Winfield for the Kansas & Oklahoma Gas & Steam Engine show. It's always fun to watch the old farm machinery run. I spent the rest of the afternoon driving the back roads south of Atlanta, looking at potential tour routes.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I wasted a day in Okieland. I drove down to Cleveland for a big auction of old cars and parts. The last thing I need is another car, but I hoped there would be some good Model T parts for me. There were some Model T parts, but they weren't for me. The choices sold too high for me, and the remainders were sold in such big lots that I didn't even bid on them. Sometimes at these big auctions some crumbs fall off the table for us little guys to lick up, but not this time.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Early in the morning I finished mowing the north ditch by the road in front of the house. Then I went back to Winfield for another visit to the gas and steam engine show, and then I did laundry. I thought I might get something else done in the afternoon, but I got sleepy and took a nap on the front porch swing. I'm lucky to have such a nice napping place.  Later, while online, I saw that a young FB friend received a post that included a link to an easy money website. I watched the video and remarked that it was a classic pyramid scheme. The poster asked, "How would you know? Did u even look at my website?" Here's what I told him:

Yes, I watched the video. This is just an internet era version of the classic pyramid scheme. Making money depends on recruiting new people. How would I know? I'm old. I've been around since dirt was invented and I've been paying attention. Believe me, this is not not new. Fifty years ago you'd see an ad in the paper. "Make thou$and$ from home!" You would go to the meeting in some rented storefront. The sales assistant would wax poetic about how getting into this business had changed his life, and how he owed it all to the head guy, Mister Whoever. Then Mister Whoever would come in, dressed in a thousand dollar suit and wearing shoes with a blinding shine, and tell all about his Cadillac and his mansion. That part was probably true, because he was at the top of the pyramid. But the new guys, at the bottom, were desperately trying to sign up enough newer people at least to get their money back. The farther down on the pyramid they were, the less likely they were to do so. There's always a product. Cleaning supplies, plastic containers, whatever. But the product is never the main focus. That's recruiting more people to pay in more money. So yes, I did look at the website and I did watch the video. Have you Googled Ponzi?

By the way, it's a great video. It delivers the message in an engaging way and doesn't go on too long. If you created that, maybe you should make video production your business.

Monday,  August 18, 2014

Today I actually accomplished something. I reinstalled the differential in my truck.  Wrestling an object that heavy into position was quite a struggle for a feeble old man, so it took quite awhile. But eventually I got it bolted back on and reattached the drive shaft. Tomorrow I'll start putting in the axle shafts and bearings, and reinstalling the backing plates. I also have to fit new brake lines because I had to wreck the old ones to get them off. I hope the old truck will be ready to roll in a few days.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I thought I'd get the axle shafts in the truck this morning, but then I noticed that the outer seals don't look great after sixty-three years. So I got online and ordered some new ones. With any luck they'll be here Thursday or Friday. Meanwhile, I installed the new brake lines and got the backing plates ready to put back on. There's plenty to do while I wait for those seals. Bending the brake lines to fit looks like a simple thing, but it seems to take forever to get them at the right angle for the fittings to screw together. Other work on the truck was vacuuming spider webs and trash from the cab and engine, and filling the battery and putting a charger on it. The thing hasn't been run for a year and a half, so it will take a few maintenance chores to get it going again. I filled the master cylinder, but was pleased to find it didn't need much fluid to fill it. When I went to town for groceries I also shopped for new brake valves. None of the three parts stores had the right ones, so I'll put the old ones back on until I find the right ones online.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This morning the axle shafts and bearings went back in the truck. As soon as the new seals arrive, the backing plates will go back on, I'll install the drums, bleed the brakes, and put on the wheels. With a break to visit the casino and fill some gas cans (it costs less in Oklahoma), I spent almost all day on the truck. I was getting no spark, so I cleaned and tightened connections, checked circuits for continuity, and cleaned and gapped plugs.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The plan was to start the day with cutting a hedge tree to make new logs for a sump cover. Few things are as infuriating as trying to start a chain saw that refuses to start. After awhile I quit trying and went to work on the truck. I put all the spark plugs back in, squirted some starting fluid into the carburetor, and started it up. I let it idle to warm up  for an oil change, but thought better of it when I looked underneath. The front wheels have settled into the ground a bit, so it would be a tight squeeze under there taking the oil plug out of the pan. I'll wait until I get the rear wheels back on and can move the vehicle. I spent most of the morning doing other truck chores. Cleaning out the cab, vacuuming off spider webs, washing the windows, oiling the doors, etc. When I originally started working on the truck several weeks ago, I tried to remove the right rear brake drum with a standard three-jaw puller. It didn't budge the drum, but bent it. So today I put the drum in my press and tried to squash it back the way it belongs. If I'm lucky, it will be close enough to right for the wheel to turn without a lot of wobble. In the afternoon I went to town for groceries and to take the chain saw for repair. The repair shop was closed for inventory, so I hope I can get the saw in there tomorrow. The last development of the day was the arrival of those new axle seals in the mail. After my morning doctor's appointment, I'll be back to work on the truck.

Friday, August 22, 2014

After my visit with the doc this morning, I took my dead chain saw to the Orscheln repair shop. The kid on duty had no idea what to do, and said the mechanic will be back to work in Monday. So my sawing will have to wait until next week. Work on the truck continued today. I installed the backing plates, put new oil in the rear end, and did some greasing. I spent way too much time on a job I hate, refilling a couple of grease guns. Sometimes they work right away, but usually not.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

It looked like the sump had dried out enough for me to start shoveling out the dirt that had fallen in, but it turned out to still be pretty muddy, so I didn't get much done. I'll give it a couple more of these hot, dry days to dry out some more, then I'll try it again. I finished putting the drums back on the truck, then started on the brakes. One of the bleeder valves is broken, and one is the wrong size (too short). The ones sent to me by the highly advertised parts dealer back east are unusable (3/8" instead of 5/16"),  so I called the Brake Shop in Wichita.  They thought they had the right ones. So I drove up there and found out they didn't.  I bought one that had the right threads, but is a little short. It will do until I find some the right length.  So with two of the right bleeder valves installed and two that are a little short, I set out to bleed the brakes. But no amount of pressure on the pedal would cause the brakes to bleed.  I think the problem is a bad hose that has disintegrated inside and is blocked, because that's the problem I had on the front brakes. So I set about trying to get the old hose out. Easier said than done. After wrecking my left hand I finally got one end loose, but the other end remained stuck tight.  So I squirted some 50/50 on it to soak overnight, and I'll try again tomorrow.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fixing this truck is starting to seem like my life's work. It took me about a day and a half to get the bad rear brake hose off. After squirting 50/50 on the fittings, I cut the hose so I could get a box wrench on, then used the floor jack to shove the wrench up against the weight of the truck. That finally broke the thing loose. But I still had to wire brush the threads before I was able to turn the nut to get it off.  With the hose finally off, I went to town for a new one. Naturally, there was none in the store, so they say they'll have it tomorrow afternoon. Real summer has arrived, with a high here this afternoon of 98. When the temperature gets up to the high nineties it saps my ambition and I get drowsy, so I took a nice nap on the front porch swing. A weather paradox is that air coming up from the south brings heat, but the south breeze cools you down.

Monday, August 25, 2014

With a nice, cool morning temperature of 82, I was back to sump digging a little after seven. In about a half hour I made good progress and was getting down to where the soil was still muddy enough to stick to the shovel. With a predicted high of 101, I'll give it another hot, arid day to dry out some more, and hope I can finish the digging tomorrow morning. I took the chain saw to town for repair, hoping it will be ready to use soon to cut new logs for the sump cover. The old ones weren't in terrible shape, but I want to use fresh logs that will last several more decades. I'm still putting water from the kitchen sink in a pail and watering plants with it, and bathing in the back yard with a hose, so I'd like to get this project finished and uncomplicate daily life a bit.  After digging I worked in the shop, cleaning off the work table so I can get busy reassembling the rear axle for the roadster.  In the afternoon I mailed  back those wrong truck parts and picked up the new brake hose. I installed the hose and went to work on a job I despise. Bleeding brakes, in theory, should be an easy job. But somehow for me it's always a major hassle. Chow time came with the brakes still not done, so I'll try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

One more day. Again I was out with the shovel in the cool of the morning, only 80, and got my digging project almost finished. The bottom is still wet enough to be too sticky for good digging, so I'll give it another day of drying and hope to finish it up tomorrow. Today I got started in earnest on my rear axle rebuild. I would have got more done, but I had to go to town for some numbered drill bits. The farm supply and the auto parts stores didn't have them, so I had to pay Ace prices. While I was in Orscheln looking for bits, I asked about my chain saw. The repair guy called in sick again, so I'll be without it for at least another day.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Digging done. I finished the little
remaining bit of excavating in just under fifteen minutes. Now I'm waiting for a chain saw to cut fresh logs for a new cover. No word on that again today. I spent most of the day working on my roadster rear axle rebuild, plus some cleaning up in the shop. The rebuild will go slowly because I'm shooting video as I work on it. I did one on finishing a rebuild, but haven't done one yet on the start of the process.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Death and destruction started the day. I got out the sprayer and attacked Johnson grass along the road and in the yard. I killed a lot of it the last time I sprayed, but some escaped. If I keep at it, eventually other kinds of grass will take over. I worked on the roadster some more, trying to remove the old bushings from rear spring perches while waiting for rear axle parts to arrive. I also did some online searching for bronze bushings. Some websites make it easy to find things, and some are a waste of time. Eventually I found the right ones, but I also found that the cost of shipping would be more than the price of the goods. I didn't buy. I'll see if there's a local source before I go down that road. In the afternoon I went to Orscheln to see if the repair guy was back to work. He was, but is swamped and won't get to my chain saw until next week. I called another repair shop and they were even further behind, so I guess it will stay at Orscheln. When I got home I set about preparing for the predicted rain, stretching some tarps to protect my precious digging from filling up with rainwater. As I finished up about five, sprinkles were beginning.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Well, apparently rainwater in my excavation isn't a problem as long as I keep the tarps over it. The storm last night was pretty heavy at times, and left almost an inch (.97") in the gauge. So getting the chainsaw back to make a new cover isn't urgent on that account. But I do want to finish the project so I can have my shower back. That's a lot mere convenient than bathing in the back yard with a hose. I wasted a big chunk of the day shopping for parts. I was searching for bronze spring and perch bushings. I checked local stores, researched online sources, called bearing suppliers in Wichita, and finally called Lang's, a regular Model T parts dealer. Finding that theirs, listed in the catalogue as brass, are actually bronze, I ordered theirs. Should be here Tuesday or Wednesday. I hope I can get the stubborn old bushings out of the rear perches before the new ones arrive.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

After doing laundry, I spent the day in the shop, doing a little cleaning up but mostly working on the roadster rear axle rebuild. As before, I'm going at a snail's pace, shooting video as I go. Luckily, so far I have
on hand all the parts I need. I hope I can have the car back on the road by next weekend.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

On a lazy Sunday morning I lay in bed until nine. After breakfast I played on the computer until almost noon, then got back to my rear axle rebuild. I spent the afternoon working on that and shooting video as I went. But now I'm at an impasse. I need the pinion bearing I bought in March and don't rememebr where I put it. I looked in the places that make sense, and of course I came up empty. Losing things like this drives me nuts. On the bright side, I did find the impact wrench that I lost track of long ago.



JULY 2014