November 13, 2013

  • Solar Systems

    Working on installing a couple solar daytime air heaters on the house. Inspected a house with them on it, new owner didn’t want them, offered to help seller take them down if I could haul them off, he agreed. So in another few days, I will have solar heat. The panels are old General Solar panels, I wish I had new glazings for them, but not easy to obtain or retro-fit onto these panels. I think they’ll do fine, despite 30+ year old glazing. Made a wood frame for them to sit in on the deck, will secure them to the deck. Have to do some insulating on the air ducts, and route the intake duct yet, and then install the circulation fan and thermostat. Then additional insulation under the frame, attach sheet metal to the frame, and do some waterproofing. One, two days work tops to finish.

    Need to get my furnace fixed as well, darn thing won’t stay on. Stays on long enough to raise the temps one or two degrees, then shuts off. Circuit board or something.

    May have to break down and buy corn for the corn furnace this winter. Had hoped to help harvest, maybe get paid in corn, isn’t looking real positive.

    Thursday the Torch plays for the City Mission, then I might sneak down to the new arena and take in the Trans Siberian Orchestra show. I do like to see them, haven’t been to the new arena yet.

    Tomorrow lunch meeting out at Big Shots, put a few rounds through the 1911. Should be fun. Long time since I’ve done something like that.

    Got a nice dis from a Realtor in Fairbury over an Inspection I did. Seems he was pissed that the agent representing the buyer wasn’t present, that the front door was open (never mind the storm door was closed) and we were walking in and out, and the prospective buyer’s kids were running around excited. Apparently that makes me unprofessional. Really pissed me off. Probably a good thing he said that in an email, if he’d have said that in person I might have had to insist on the head-wall test; see how many times I can put his head through the wall… what a schmuck. Seems you never can please everyone, I know this, but frustrating still…

    Work football concessions this Sat, then one more home game after Thanksgiving, that should do it for concessions this year. Wasn’t such a fight as last year trying to find help, despite a few Does “retiring” from helping…at least one that really needed to.. bless her heart. Working on getting past due members to pay up, not an easy task. Always something, then there are several that just like to wait til the absolute last minute…frustrating to pour time and effort and resources into getting someone to pay their dues. For Christ’s sake, people, it isn’t that much money. $100? Frickin’ two tanks of gas. We even have a monthly auto-deduct from your checking account if you want. Couldn’t be easier. I’d love to see the membership at plus 300 again. Fund raising continues to go well for the HVAC equipment at the Lodge, at $13k out of $19k.. I need a few “blessed” Elks to step up and write a larger check. I know of at least two well off ones that haven’t chipped in; and at least one more that could afford to give a grand. Find about half a dozen of those, we’d have this retired… then move on to kitchen renovation, or possibly Lodge Room carpet. People don’t realize how much it costs to keep a building in good condition…always something.

    May have snagged a pickup I have been after. ’64 GMC longbox 3/4 ton 4WD. Has later model running gear in it, 454 stick shift. Has a sunroof which I didn’t appreciate, but otherwise what I am after. Wish the body weren’t so rusted, but after all, it is nearly 50 years old… another project for the yard, take a number. Need to get a hoist or two bought, get a few more cars inside. Winter is here already, still a crap ton of stuff to do outside. Not to mention getting started on Maureen and Kev’s house…

    Had birthdays last weekend in Neb City, was nice to see everyone. Bills’ family moved back here a few months ago. I like to be around them face to face, much better than reading their FB posts. They are so opinionated on religious matters you cannot have a discussion with them. Fundamentalist doesn’t begin to describe it. I worry for them both, neither one are in great health, and with all those kids, from 17 to diapers… this old “children are blessings” thing needs to stop….
    Well, time to get back after Inspection reports, get them finished and sent out. Radon reports due as well. Always something…


September 29, 2013

  • Applejack Car Show Nebraska City

    Applejack Car Show

    Applejack Car Show

    Entered my Jeep in the Applejack Car Show in Nebraska City this fall, trailered it down due to low speed, drove it up to the show. Fun to drive, but runs very rich. Have to figure out what is going on with the carburetor, it has given me fits so far…lots of entries, over 230, Kevin made it down with his Daytona, it’s maiden voyage. Still working on the turbo issue, but thinks he has it figured out…

    Kevin's '84 Dodge Daytona Turbo...

    Kevin’s ’84 Dodge Daytona Turbo…

    it was a fun weekend, for sure… today we brought them to the Union College Neighborhood Association Car Show n Shine, in Lincoln on 48th & Prescott. Great fun to see all the cars, over 100 at a Show n Shine, good turnout. Allen met us there with his motorcycle, certainly turns heads. Several people sought him out and gave great comments on it…

July 19, 2013

  • Diamond T engine seized up on me last fall, found out a valve had broken off its stem, landed on top of the piston, which instantly stopped the engine, destroying  the piston (they are aluminum, doesn’t take much) and bending a rod. Knowing it needed rod and main bearings, I figured an overhaul was in order. I was able to find the parts, actually, but this engine had already been bored .40 over, which means I’d have had to go .60, and the crank turned at least once. So do you rebuild or replace? Do you try to find another original engine or do you put a Chevy V-8 in it?

    Wanting to keep the truck as original as I can, I opted to try to find an engine. Posts on the Diamond T website went unanswered. Talked to a friend of mine who said he knew of a fellow about 50 miles away that had some Diamond T’s. Found that guy, he mentioned that he had been in contact with a fellow in South Dakota that was planning on putting modern running gear in his old 201 pickup. That pickup should have the same engine and trans as my 306. Got his name and number, found that he had the truck near Rapid City at a customizers shop, they had indeed removed the engine/trans, and it was the same one as mine. And yes, he would sell it, very reasonably. So Allen and I decided to make a road trip to South Dakota. We built a crate for the engine, got it in the back of his pickup and brought it home. A friend of mine that runs an auto shop did the swap for me, since I didn’t have time. We did pull the head on it to see how bad the cylinders were, they were nearly perfect. We pulled the trans to replace the clutch, it looked new, so put the trans back on. After a minor adjustment to the hand brake, drove it home. Now to get started on the paint and bodywork on it. Remove the box sides, sand, prime and paint. Some minor sheet metal work on the running boards will be in order.It was a shame to see this fellow “destroy” that 201, it was a one-owner, 1947, from a dairy. It even had some of the milk cans still in the back of the truck. Ran perfectly, drove great. He wanted to “hot-rod” it, put a Chevy V-8 auto in it, different front and rear ends, disc brakes, etc. I can see doing that to a parts truck or something drug out of a junkyard, but to take a perfectly original truck like this and butcher it… it was probably worth $35k before, now it wouldn’t be worth $10k… oh well, his poor judgement is my gain, I guess…


    Got the Jeep 95% finished, need to wind manila rope around the front bumper, fix the handbrake, and get the idle smoothed out. Tighten the steering perhaps. Otherwise it is done, runs good, fun to drive. Turned out nice.

October 9, 2012

  • Time for an update

    Been a long time since I updated. A lot has happened. Got the Jeep painted, still need to finish that project up. We lost Aunt Babe this fall, she was 95. Died peacefully in her sleep at the nursing home. She was in a lot of pain, it was time for her to go. Kyle graduated Briar Cliff last spring, now is working as a Goalee Coach for Men’s and Women’s soccer at Iowa Lakes Community College in Spencer, Ia, and taking an on-line Masters Program course. Allen is working for a shingle delivery company, driving a truck and unloading shingles at job sites. Seems to like it, about a $3 an hour raise over Armored Truck job, plus no more 60 hour weeks, and overtime when he does get over 40. Plus benefits. Can’t beat that. My job busy all year, finally slowing down a bit. Joined a praise team at church playing guitar, does me good to learn a few new songs each week, play with the group. Managed to work in a banjo and a mandolin song here and there. Perhaps I can get the Dobroe out and figure something out too. Would like to play fiddle a little, but one of our members plays fiddle, and her temperment would not tolerate someone else playing too. Good group tho, good dynamics. Got the garage up for Maureen and Kevin, three stalls wide and two deep, room in the roof. Nice looking, but it is huge. Working on fixing my place up to refinance it, so I can deed off the 3 acres the trailer sits on, give it to them. They want to build a nice house out here, get rid of the trailer. Can’t say I blame them, certainly gotten our money’s worth out of that old wreck. Got my Goldwing fixed, the alternator decided to give up the ghost last spring, and it only comes out from inside the engine, so you have to pull the engine and dismantle it. Over $1000 at the bike shop…no thanks. Decided to fabricate some brackets and hang a small alternator off a Kubota tractor on it. $150 and it runs fine now, all kinds of power. Wanted to make it to Cassoday Kansas to the bike rally, but never got a chance until October, then it was too cold. One more run in November, but Maureen and Kev in St. Louis that weekend for a wedding, so they can’t go…don’t want to go by myself, not that much fun. Will run the corn furnace this year on what I had leftover from last year. Corn prices are high, and with this summers drought, not much available. Cheaper to buy propane than corn. Ought to put corn in my pasture and harvest it myself, but don’t really want to buy implements and corn pickers and all that. Found a nice car trailer this summer, has a 12,000 lb winch built in, new tires, etc. Very reasonable. Kids got me a storage shed, spent a month evenings and weekends assembling that. Want to insulate it and run wiring to it, move the cats out there and get them out of my garage. They are so hard on it and everything in it. Tired of finding cat puke and piles everywhere. All my cats intact, Yowler had an injured leg for a month, but it is healing up. Mittens in good shape, as is Smoky, Butterscotch, Pipsqueak. Maureen’s outdoor cats are Sis, who managed to get her tail injured last spring, so now has a bob-tail, Squish, who is black with deep yellow eyes, and Doc, who is lanky black and part Siamese. She also booted Eloise outdoors (calls her Chicky) and sometimes Nova comes outside too… much happier, too many cats indoors in that small trailer. Diamond T locked up the engine this summer, towed her out here and parked it, haven’t had time to look at it. Down on the food chain a ways. Trying to finish up Allen’s truck, fixing the heater motor. Need to get the bodywork done, that rust-free box we picked up a few years ago is getting a pretty good amount of rust… he want’s to Line-X the exterior, has talked about it but never got estimates for it. I want to get the Grasshopper in the shop this winter, pull the engine and install new oil seals, and head gaskets, it blows oil so bad it is hard to keep it going. Got the gasket set, haven’t had the time. Someday I’d like to get to the Thunderbird…found a good body man near the Kansas border, he is working on Kyle’s 79 right now. Get that done, the T-Bird is next. Then paint the Diamond T, then Allen’s El Camino… sometime down the road I’d like to get to the Ambulance, and the Gremlin…. so many cars, so little time… OK, best close for now, time to get an Inspection report done…happy


December 7, 2011

  • Work continues on the Jeep, hoped to get it painted before cold weather, but that didn’t happen. Too many other things got in the way. Too often happens. I did get the 12 V. conversion completed, a lot of the rusted body sheet metal repaired. Ordered a new tailgate, some new weatherstripping for the hood, between the cowl and windshield, got the seats reupholstered. Anxious to get back to work on it, get it completed. 

    Kevin bought himself a motorcycle, so now it’s time to get rid of the blue Goldwing. Served it’s purpose. Bought a little mini-chopper at a fundraiser for a friend, have no idea what I’ll do with it, probably donate it for a raffle prize or something. Neat little bike. Hope to get it running this spring and at least ride it around a bit.

    Kyle’s gold Camaro decided to break a pushrod, wound up pulling the heads on it, time for a valve job. Heads are at the machine shop being rebuilt, then to reassemble. I will have to pick my brain and remember how to set up the initial settings on the rocker arms. I know you back them off til they clatter, then tighten til they quit, then another quarter turn, but you have to get it running first. Discovered the Insurance had lapsed on it last April, thankyouverymuchStateFarm, so renewed it with Farm Bureau. State Farm slowly nailing the coffin shut on my business. Need to get the heater fixed in the blue Camaro, and the wipers. Just haven’t had time.

    Got a new chimney installed on the corn furnace, got my corn for the winter, but the main auger motor on the furnace is worn out, running slow, so ordered a new one. In the meantime, propane furnace not running right, won’t stay on until thermostat satisfied. Frustrating to have to turn it off, then on constantly.

    Wanted to get the new rear door installed before cold weather, that didn’t happen. Unless we get a warm stretch, that won’t happen. Work slowed down a little, finally. November was crazy nuts.

    Got Christmas figured out for most everyone, want to find a local place that prints photos on T-shirts, or find one on line that can do it pretty quick. Be fun to get each of the kids a t shirt with a personal pic on it.  Got stocking stuffers for the most part, can’t find the jellied orange chocolate and raspberry sticks this year. Will keep looking.

    Allen on vacation on a cruise, hope he’s having a good time. Work has been a little rough for him lately, he butts heads with his female supervisor, which I fear is a problem he will have for some time to come. He has always struggled with female authority figures. No wonder.

    Kyle will be home in a few weeks for winter break, he is ready for it. I know he is burned out on school, just hope he can keep it together through spring, complete his degree in both majors.

    Mo and Kev seem happy so far with their jobs, working second shifts. Kinda kills the recreational time, but once you adapt to it, can be very beneficial.

    Aunt Babe is now in the nursing home, continues to deteriorate, not a pretty picture. Pray some night she goes to sleep and doesn’t wake up. Sad to say, but at 93, restricted to a wheelchair, what have you got to look forward to?

    Tom and Betty seem to be doing OK, as do Curt and Kris and family. Mary Ann struggling with the concept of retirement looming quickly, she is not sure what to do with that. Know it will be hard for her to adapt to being around Jeff a lot, they really don’t have much in common. Scott and Dave continue to do well, they struggle financially so much. Once you are in the hole, it is really hard to climb out, especially on what they earn. Been there, done that.

    Spend some time at the Elks Lodge, but am going to taper back. This will be my last year as Deer Hide Chair, someone else can do that. Same for State Eagle Chair, again, someone else can do that. Half tempted to retain that, as it is a “do-nothing” position. Oh, I can send letters and make a great effort, but get no response, so what’s the point? Really need to shed a lot of these time drainers so I can spend time here at home working on my house.

    Hope to get a garage put up this winter for Mo and Kev, need to get to NC and apply for variance on the setbacks, then get the building permit, take down some fencing, move the small shed, etc. Great weather to be doing all that in…

    Wanted to get some ham antennas up this fall, that didn’t happen. Bob asked me at the last Elks dinner if I got to work any of the 160 meter contest, told him I still didn’t have antenna’s up. He said, “that’s what you said last year”. Kinda hit home. Too much other stuff on the plate, not getting enough “me” time out here. That needs to change. Hope to get the bath in the basement finished this winter, then hit the radio room hard, get it in shape, finally start to get organized a bit. Plenty to do, for sure.

    Had a great early Christmas gift from the kids, they went together and got me a Gibson Les Paul Studio, black with ivory trim, one I have always wanted. Now I have to work and improve my playing skills to match the caliber of the guitar! Ed has been after me to start lessons again, but just haven’t had time this fall. Need to cut back on work a bit and make time, but hate to turn down work…never know when the phone stops ringing…

    Well, best wrap this up. Need to update more often.

February 20, 2011

  • Found a nice clean little ’48 Jeep CJ2A. Wasn’t really in the market for one, but when you come across something at the right price…

    won’t take much to restore this one. Will convert to 12.v, have the seat frames already, and some new headlight rings. A little welding and grinding on the body here and there…and a brake job.


August 17, 2009

  • Kyle’s latest find… a ’67 Coupe in SS trim, with a 400 small block, and a supercharger under the hood…


    a few back and forth negotiations, and it made its way home…


    Looks good with the gold ’67.


    and with the ’79 Berlinetta too….



    decisions, decisions….which one do you drive?

July 8, 2009

  • About time for an entry,  I guess.. Found this sweet little Triumph TR-3 the other day, a 1951…



    has 3 of 4 wire wheels, appears quite complee, except a front bumper..



    interior was in surprisingly good condition. Had the original convertible top and rails all intact, and the side curtains. Dash was complete as well…


    Even had the tail lights and rear bumper guards in place…


    and the hood ornament. How rare. They wanted $2,000 and won’t have a problem getting it…


September 26, 2008