Strange Things in My Junk

old dialer A
I found this old add while cleaning up the old papers I have tucked away. It dates from 1978 which in some ways, doesn’t seem that old to me. Looking at it, has made me think how much the world has changed in many small ways. This large add on device was made to do what your phone does all by itself now. The cost to the small retail shop was the $139.95 with a recommended retail of $199.95. That is way more than I payed for any of the phones I now use. The home phone is handy with every thing built in, but the cell phone is so amazing. You are always able to get in touch from any place at any time. I feel much safer when I am alone in the farm woods with my chainsaw or working out of sight around the farm.
In 1978 there was no internet, or home computers, I could go on and on listing things I use everyday that weren’t around but I think I better go back to going through my old papers and junk.

Winter Has Come

The Sun Dog is Out

The Sun Dog is Out

The snow came yesterday on the Minnesota prairie. It was mild at first and snowed heavily. As the day went on it got colder and the wind became stronger. It was beautiful to see everything white. By late afternoon the snow fall lightened so it was just flurry’s, I then cleaned 6 maybe 8 inches of snow off my driveway. The wind had become strong and it was not comfortable out side as it became dusk.
This morning the sky was clear out and a beautiful blue color. The temperature was at 0 Fahrenheit and the wind was still gusting to 35 to 39 MPH. It was so beautiful outside I just couldn’t stay indoors.
The bright light to the right of the sun in the picture, we always called a sun dog. They would be seen one on each side of the sun when it was very cold and clear out. I learned that they are caused by the reflection of ice crystals in the air. I couldn’t resist taking a picture because they were very bright today.
The road in the picture runs due south. You can see how low the sun is in the south. It was a Little after 11:42 AM when I took the picture.You can see High Noon doesn’t happen here this time of year.
Also note how the fields have been swept almost bare in spots by the strong winds. I am standing in the windbreak on the East side of my large farm grove, so the snow is not drifting close to me. The wind is from the Northwest and you can see down the road where the snow is sweeping across where the windbreak ended. Yesterday afternoon the trees had been loaded with snow now they are clear. I started to walk to the west side of the farm woods. As I got closer to the windward side I had to turn back. The snow had piled in deep and I hadn’t dressed warm enough to bear the cold wind. I went back inside, so thankful I don’t have to work out in this anymore.

My Birthday Gift

A New Project

A New Project

This is the new LED light I received from my son for my Birthday this year. I decided the best use would be for a light at my workbench. You can see in the picture the nice antique bench light I have been using.  I have liked the position of the old lamp but it had a drawback in the fact the metal shade would get hot enough to burn your hand after a bit of use. As a matter of fact the plastic in the lamp sockets would fail after a 2 or 3 years of use. The 100 watt light bulbs I have been getting lately would also come apart where the glass bulb is bonded to the base. I had scored back in the early 1990′s on a batch of these lamps at an auction sale. I had sold some, used many, but now I was coming to the end of them.

The project was to mount the new LED lamp in a handy way. The lamp I was using at my desk made it appear that this could become a bit complicated. I dug out a  bench light that had failed, so I wouldn’t destroy my working lamp. I was glad the pack-rat in me had tucked this one away.

The Planning

The Planning

I had anticipated a job that would require the fabrication of brackets. As you can see from the next picture with the light housing removed the job became very simple.





Finished Mount

Finished Mount

I knew I had it made when there was a extra hole in the center of the LED bracket that was just the right size. You can see how the cast pins that fit into holes on the old light housing fit on each side of the LED mounting bracket.
This holds the light very straight, almost like it was designed to fit.

Shelf Mount

Shelf Mount

I just had to show the shelf mount I made a few years ago to replace the clamp on unit. It was simple a washer welded to a piece of tube, than drilled to fit the lamp base. I also drilled a hole to screw the bracket down. The clamp on bracket would work loose at times. It also took up room that you can see I need.

The Finished Light Unit

The Finished Light Unit

The last Picture shows the finished unit. I really like the bright white light for working at my hobby things. As the years slip by I find that I need more light to see small things and this really does the trick. My son did an excellent job of picking a useful gift for an old man. Thank You Jeremy

An Adventure in the Old Days


Rod the Mover 1963

Washington DC 1963


Recently my old friend Sid VanVugt mailed me this old photo. He took the photo in 1963 on a venture we thought would be easy money.

It brought back memories that had been hidden away for a long time. It is of an old adventure Sid and I shared. I will relate what I remember.

My brother-in-law Bob Johnson had accepted a job with the CIA in Washington DC. He got quotes from a couple of movers and the CIA agreed to pay that amount. The quotes for the move were quite high and I made the statement that I bet I could do it a lot cheaper and better with a U-Haul truck.

It seemed like an easy way to make a few bucks, load the truck, drive out there, and unload it. I talked to my old friend Sid and he agreed to join in the deal.

We loaded the truck at their house in Apple Vally, MN with my wife Donna and my sister Louise helping. That was a bigger job than I had anticipated, but Sid and I were on our way by 10 that evening. We took turns, one driving the other sleeping. By three AM we ran into heavy fog on I 94. That was some of my hardest driving. One other thing we hadn’t anticipated was the truck had a governor on that limited the speed to 54 mph. This was in my days when speed was a highly desirable event to me.

One other thing was we were towing a 1953 Plymouth sedan with a rented U-Haul clamp-on tow bar behind the truck. The old car had a lot of wear and tear on it. Often when we would start from a stop, the car would zig and zag against the tow bar. We figured out that if we held the steering wheel steady till we were rolling along, then all would be fine. One of us would open the drivers door, hold the steering wheel well running alongside, let go, shut the door, let the car go by, then run up the passenger side and climb in the truck.

This wasn’t bad till we came to the toll roads with lots of stops. We had some strange looks but mostly laughs from people.

I think it was in Ohio when we were told to pull over just after we paid our toll. A young Highway Patrolman pointed out we had no safety chain on our rented tow bar. When I said I would pull into the next town and buy one, he said he would arrest me if I moved the truck without a safety chain. He than stated that we could not leave the vehicle there even for a short time. With this he left in his patrol car with a chirp of rubber from the tires. We couldn’t drive it and we couldn’t leave it, and this was before cell phones so you couldn’t call for help.

Well me and Sid dug around and found a set of tire chains in the trunk of the car. That would qualify as a chain, Maybe. The bolts to attach it was the real problem. The only thing we could find was some 3/16 stove bolts that clamped the legs on a kitchen table. They had a big problem, the bolt heads and the nuts would slip through the chain. Digging further we found four washers that would keep the tiny bolts from falling through the chain. The one end of the chain I hooked to the truck in a way that the small bolt was well hidden. The other end, on the car was in plain view and that had me a bit worried. Calling this a safety chain was really stretching reality. Sid declined to drive saying that I was always luckier dealing with law enforcement.

I barely started out when the patrol car with siren and lights cut sharply in front of the truck. I stepped out of the truck and met the cocky young officer. His first and only statement was “all right where is the safety chain”. I didn’t say a word I just walked back and pointed. The look on his face changed to astonishment, then disgust. He did a military about face, stomped quickly to his car and peeled out. He left two long black marks on the road, then cranked the wheel sharp, jumped the median and headed in the other direction.

Bob had mapped out the route for us and most of it was on four lane roads as most of the interstate highway was complete. I do remember we did cut across Pennsylvania on a two lane road in the mountains. It was the middle of the night and Sid was driving. I will mention that we had learned to get around the governor that restricted speed if there were hills. It was simple, just push the clutch in and coast down hill. I woke up and the truck was shaking in a way I had never felt before. Sid had pushed the clutch in, the hill had been steeper and longer that he expected. The speedometer showed well over 80 from what I could see. Engaging the clutch at that speed would have over revved the engine and probably destroyed it. The brakes were hot and pushing on them was like pushing on a wall. They would not slow the truck down.

At the bottom of the hill was a small town with a 30 mph speed limit. Our road crossed another highway with a traffic light at the corner. It was red as we approached. We were lucky, there was no other traffic in sight. We roared across and up the long hill on the other side. The truck came back to normal, we both took a deep breath and waited for flashing red lights as we rolled on, but they never came.

It was maybe noon when we rolled into DC. We were following Bobs instructions but the traffic was heavy. It seemed a bit confusing and the rig we were driving made switching lanes and turning more difficult. It was at this time a Volkswagen with Minnesota license plates passed us. It was Bob, a beep of the horn and a wave and he recognized us. We breathed a sigh of relief and followed him to the apartment believing the worst was over.

The apartment buildings were huge to us. The apartment was on the second floor, I was glad it wasn’t on the third. The worst was the road only went to the parking lot. Which was three buildings away. We started carrying but progress seemed slow.

The buildings were new and we spotted where construction equipment had driven up to the front of Bobs apartment building. we both thought why not us. we didn’t know it had rained for three days before we arrived. Needless to say I got stuck bad. I had to go to the apartment managers office and explain what happened. She was not pleased. She did allow me to use the phone to call a wrecker to pull us out. By the time the tow truck arrived Bob had finished work, which was a good thing. The truck winched us out without problems except for the clearance lights on the side of the truck box that scraped off on a tree. You can see the mud on the tires in the picture.

The tow truck driver would not accept pay, he insisted I ride back to the shop with him and pay in the office. Bob and Sid were unable to keep up with him in the heavy traffic. I payed the bill and waited a bit then headed off walking in the direction of the apartments. I walked several blocks, the neighborhood was looking rougher and rougher. I was feeling uncomfortable and was noticing people staring at me. The only thing I could think of to do was to keep walking. I was so relieved when the VW pulled alongside. When I climbed in I was told that I did a foolish thing to walk in a strange neighborhood alone.

We ate supper with bob and spent the night in Bobs apartment. We started early and spent the next day carrying the many boxes and pieces of furniture up the long sidewalk than up the stairway into the apartment. Fortunately Bob arranged for the heavy antique piano to be placed in a first floor storage unit close to the truck. I don’t think We could have gotten it up the stairway.

I felt so relieved that evening when we returned the U-Haul truck. All the clerk at the business did was glance at the truck and write the mileage down and sign off the papers. The job was done.

Back at Bobs apartment we cleaned up to go out and eat. I had another problem I had forgotten to take my suitcase so I was left in the clothes I had been wearing for three days. We went to a Italian restaurant that was full of fancy dressed people. I am sure that most of them thought I was a street person being given charity. The menu was mostly in Italian or so it seemed to me. Bob ordered for me. This was the first time I had ever eaten long spaghetti and it proved somewhat of a challenge. It was very good and I was hungry so I managed.

The flight back that night was a problem too. Every plane going to St. Paul was full. Bob finally found us a flight that got us into Chicago at 3 AM, with a connection on a smaller plane to St Paul. The second flight was delayed a couple hours. I remember walking around the huge airport afraid to sit down for fear of falling asleep and missing the boarding call. I remember little of that flight except sleeping soundly and the attendant waking me to tell me we were in the Twin City’s.


One Neat little Project

This hot summer I have been lazy. After taking care of the yard and things there wasn’t much energy left. By the afternoon I was most comfortable in the place shown in the picture.

Easy Living

Easy Living

Now that fall is here I am back to doing a few Projects. Below are pictures of my old hog barn that I turned into a storage building. I had cleaned it extensively with strong detergents and a high pressure washer. It was fine at first but this spring and summer the aroma of hogs came back slightly. Checking around, the most probable cause was that concrete holds odor deep inside itself. I was advised that sealing the surface was the best cure.

Now it is a fact that I am some what of a pack rat. I just hate to throw anything away that might be usable. I had on hand a large amount of paint some of which was quite old. Some had come from a household  auction of  a retired painter friend in the 1970′s. My Father-in-law and I helped by bidding on piles of paint. My Father, Father-in-law and I used much but still I had many  cans left. Plus one always has other odds and ends left over.

The following solved two problems. Because it was a storage shed the colors on the floor  didn’t matter. The cement floor was very porous and eroded so it would soak up a lot of paint as you can see in the picture below.

The Old Floor

The Old Floor

Donna At Work

Donna At Work

I eliminated 20 quart cans and two gallon cans of paint. I started with cans that were rusty or had the labels missing. A few were hardened beyond use but most stirred up. chunks were used to fill holes where anchor bolts had been ripped out when we removed gating and partitions. I was amazed at the amount of paint that soaked into the floor. The raised walkway on the left used up the whole gallon of tan I received free at a garage sale I stopped at that was just closing.
The colors were found at random and my intention was just to cover the floor but my wife came to the rescue and turned it into something quite unique. Best of all the building smells fresh again and where I store paint in my shop has much more room.

Wild Floor

Wild Floor

The Finished Floor

The Finished Floor

Mask Slingshot for Sale

I found this Slingshot RV/Surveillance Unit and Sonic Jet tucked away in its original box. It has a Copyright of 1986 on the papers and is made in Hong Kong by Kenner. The Ace Riker action figure is seated in the jet as you can see in the pictures.

Very little wear is shown on the toy. The Bomb that attaches to the bottom of the Jet Airplane is missing. I also had difficulty latching the sides of the RV. Everything else seemed to work good. It really is a clever toy the way that a Airplane fits into a RV. Also neat is the way the Airplane launcher is a set of guns that rotate as you drive the RV.

The instructions are included along with a nice shinny color poster. The poster has no tears but is wrinkled a bit as you can see in the pictures. After having been folded up for so many years it didn’t want to lay out flat. I think it would flatten out OK if laid out right.

The box has some good graphics as you can see in the pictures below, but it also has damage and wear on it. The one end flap is torn and a piece is missing, also there is no inside packing in the box.
If you click on the small pictures they will expand so you can see them better.

All in all I think it is a very neat toy, especially when you think it is 27 years old. I am asking $39.00 for it plus postage. I will consider offers and I do accept PayPal. I hope it finds a good home. Contact me at

Odd things for sale

I have a number of these colorful Stickers sheets. I think they were made to be used as labels in vending machines. The copy right on them is 1991. there are 36 stickers per sheet. I would sell them for $2.00 each sheet plus postage. I would discount on quantity orders and I would be open to offers. I can be reached at

What are they good for?

I acquired them with other things at an auction sale years ago so I know really nothing about them. If anyone had a good idea on what to use them for I would be interested.

Upgrading an Old Tool

This is my workbench where I spend a lot of time when it is not nice outside.

My Workbench

My old DC power supply is something I use often. I believe it dates from the late 40′s or early 50′s. The cables that feed the power out, as you can see are very old. The insulation was real rubber covered with varnished cotton. Age has turned the rubber to a crumbly mess and the cotton outer has become very brittle.

This is not a good situation even at 15 volts. I have been putting this project off for a long time. It was one of those little jobs that are easy to forget about. It popped into my mind the other day, when I ran across some nice flexible wire when I was digging for something else.


This should have been a real quick and easy project. Unfortunately one of the lugs I found was old and tarnished. This took a bit of cleaning to get the solder to bond. They are normally tinned and easy to solder to, but this one clip was different. I polished it down to the copper and used flux to get the job done. I soldered all the connections. Experience has taught me that a intermittent or high resistance connection can cause a lot of lost time.
The second lug worked like it was supposed to. The logical thing would have been to toss the first one but I wanted matching lugs of this size.
You can see I found a nice set of alligator clips with rubber covers. The wire cables and the clamps were the right colour. Handy to be able to tell the polarity at a glance.

Soldering the Clips

Almost Finished

Finished, Good for another 30 years

The job turned out nice and I had a fun doing it. The new leads are much more flexible and the insulating covers on the clips make them a lot easier to use.
Another good part is that I put stuff that was tucked away to good use.

Spending time in the Minnesota Spring

I can tell we are moving into spring but it still more comfortable inside as you can see by the picture below. The sun is nice but the snow is deep. It is slowly melting away but there is enough that the access around the farm yard is still difficult.

I spend my time in my shop cleaning up and going through the stuff that has collected in the back corners. I ran across this old toy reed organ. I opened it up to see the inside, It is amazing how things have changed. Instead of a chip that generates almost perfect tones, this uses reeds and a small fan to blow air over them. The simple electric circuit is just a battery holder, switch and a small electric motor to run the fan. I played with it some but I used my power supply instead of batteries. Interesting too, is that it is made in Italy not China. I don’t know the age but I had a note stuck to the box, telling me to check it out dated 1988. The quality of sound is not very good but it does look neat. Today I just can’t put it in the garbage. Another day maybe or I might be able to think of a clever use for it.

Ertl Semi Trucks for Sale

I have the trucks pictured below. They are all 1/64 scale made by the Ertl Co. and are still in their original packaging. They are all die cast metal with rubber tires on them.
First is the limited edition Land-O-Lakes produced for and sold only by the Toy Farmer magazine in 1995. I think it sold originality for $29.00. As you can see in the picture, it has a beautiful picture on the side of the trailer. The truck in the picture is of the one I have on display, The one I am selling is still in its original box.
Second is the Blue and White Coke Freight-Liner made by Ertl in 1998
Third is the Yellow Coke Peterbuilt made by Ertl in 1997

Land O Lakes Truck

I have decided that one of each of these trucks is all I need so I have decided to part with the extra ones. I will sell them for $20.00 each, plus postage. I do take PayPal. I can be reached at