Friday, October 24, 2014

United States Naval Training Center, Bainbridge, MD

Commodore William Bainbridge commanded the United States frigate Constitution when it sank the British frigate HMS Java during the war of 1812.  In 1942 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt personally honored Bainbridge by naming the newest recruit training center after him.
First opened October 1, 1942 for the training of Navy recruits it continued in that status until June 30, 1947 when it was inactivated as a recruit training center.  However the Recruit Training Center was reactivated February 1, 1951 as the Korean Conflict began to heat up into a major war.  In October 1951 a WAVE (Women Accepted for Voluntary Enlistment) Recruit Training facility was established.  All male recruit training on the site ceased in 1959.  The Recruit Training Facility was once again deactivated as a recruit training center in 1976, and ultimately ceded to the State of Maryland in 1986.

September 8, 1955 I entered the gate of Bainbridge, part of a busload of recruits from upstate New York State having been sworn in the previous day in Syracuse.  Soon I became one of 56 recruits to be assigned to Company 447, 16th Battalion, 1st Regiment.  Our Company Commander was a first class petty officer named Hunter.  Fifty of us were only a day or two in the Navy, while an additional six were attendees of the Recruit Preparatory Training (RPT) facility.  Lacking formal education they couldn’t understand Navy training so upon entry they were given enough basic education to get along.

As this was nearly sixty years ago, this old sailor may have forgotten a bit, but as I recall we all stood in lines as we were given a good physical examination, issued Navy clothing and necessary hygienic items, and haircuts, before marching back to our barracks #147 for a session of stenciling all our newly issued clothes and such.  I yet have my issued copy (with stenciled interior) of The Bluejackets Manual.

Touching on that haircut experience, I noted that the six sailors from RPT had longer hair due to their several week’s earlier entrance to boot camp.  I reasoned that I had fairly short hair to start with, that it might not be noticed there was a seventh sailor with longer hair so I didn’t get in the haircut line.  I was right, and no one noticed for about a week, but then someone did.  I always thought it was one of the RPT guys that didn’t want competition in that department.  At any rate, our Company Commander drew me aside and had me escorted for a haircut.  Of course, this set me back a week or so behind everyone else, but I really didn’t care, I had only wanted to see if I could get away with it or not.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Amish Life

I've been unable to upload to this blog for the past few weeks.  I may have found a solution to the problem, at least for a while.

This is mostly a test blog to see if my attempt will actually work or not.

The photo to the right is of a pair of Amish lads picking field corn by hand to be used as animal feed.  In modern times this seems very old fashioned, but to each his own.  The Amish do it the way they want to do it, and that is fine with me.

This second photo is an Amish four-horse-hitch plowing the soil in the first step of preparing the land for next year's crop.  This year's corn crop was only recently removed for cattle feed for the coming winter.

These two fields were in close proximity, and both are located a bit north of Heuvelton, St Lawrence County, NY.  There is a rather large Swartzentruber Sect located in the area.  They are considered the strictest of the various Amish clans.  Electricity, telephones, automobiles, rubber tires, and various other trappings of civilization are out of the question.  Only dark muted colors are worn, with the exception of the flat crowned straw hats worn by all males.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lost Dish

A few minutes ago it seemed like a lunch was in order.  Within my ability to cook are few options.  I decided to scramble an egg, add onions and some chopped hotdog, a little milk, and salt and pepper.  I found everything but the salt and pepper in the refrigerator including half an onion in a small covered dish.  Removing a small plastic dish from the cupboard I cracked the egg into it.  I added salt and pepper, and began dicing a piece of onion into it.  I put the cover back on the onion and returned it to the refrigerator.  I then proceeded to cut up about half of the hotdog into small chunks.  I went to drop this into my dish, and the dish had disappeared.  How could it?  I hadn’t moved from where I was standing.  It was no where to be found.  I spotted the onion dish and decided to put it away while I solved the disappearing dish problem.  I couldn’t locate that cover either.  It dawned on me.  The mixing dish and the onion dish were identical.  I had placed the onion cover on my mixing dish and put it in the refrigerator.  Senility wins again.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

1949 Ford 8N Farm Tractor Update

After finding sediment in the bowl I removed the fuel tank, sloshed and dumped the fuel, and made a fresh start.  I cleaned the sediment bowl and screen.  This seemed to help, but I still had problems with it stopping without warning.  I then found a piece of metal moving around in the bottom of the tank.  This may have been shutting off the fuel flow.  I also had a mechanic clean and adjust the carburetor.  It has not stopped again since, but if the fuel is left on after engine shut down the carb will overfill and run on the ground so I shut the fuel off whenever the tractor is not in use.

I want to use it for snow removal during winter so I found an old used loader and bought it for $200.  Not knowing what I was doing, after I got it home I found there is no hydraulic pump or control, and it is expensive to buy them new.  I am watching Craigslist for sued parts, but no luck so far.

Next I located an old Dearborn snow plow about 150 miles from here that I could buy for $300.  I decided this was probably cheaper than repairing the old loader.  My problem here was that it costs a lot to have something as heavy as that trucked 150 miles.  I had to sort of give up on that at least temporarily.

Since then I located an old snow plow about 40 miles from here that had been removed from another 8N so it should go on mine and work.  I bought that for $200, as well as a set of tire chains for the 8N for another $75.  Paying $30 to have this trucked to my dooryard seemed a bargain.  I now have a heavy duty blade, an underslung framework, and a hand lever assembly to raise and lower the blade.  I don’t like the hand lever part so am thinking of converting it to either an electric winch, or a cable back to the three-point-arms and use them for lifting.

More as it develops.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Simple Times of Long Ago

In the late 40s and early to mid-50s times were much simpler, and on a grand average a little better than they are today.  Born in 1938 I was in my preteens during this post-World War II period.  Being the middle born of 13 children there were always siblings to play with.

As I sit here at my computer as midnight approaches on what has been a rather dreary rainy day I decided to enjoy a dish of ice cream as a nice late night snack to brighten my day before retiring for the night.  I scooped several spoons full of vanilla ice cream into a cereal bowl and liberally applied some caramel topping.  As I perused all the comments of my friends on Facebook I greatly enjoyed the delights of my preferred concoction.

Suddenly I recalled those times in the distant past when as a boy one of my brothers and myself would walk the ½ mile to our neighbor’s home.  There for a matter of a couple of hours we would while away the time playing a card game called Pedro with Ralph and Gladys Mayne.  They would have been in their 50s at the time.  Who won the games was of little importance.  An evening of entertainment was what we all desired.

At the end of the evening Gladys would always bring forth ice cream to be eaten by all.  What a great treat this was to a couple of children I’m absolutely sure they realized.  Here it is now some 65 years later, and yet I remember those wonderful evenings so long ago.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Senile, Who, Me?

I recently bought a 1949 Ford 8N farm tractor which I plan to use for snow removal in the coming winters.  My thoughts ran to installing a loader, and, in turn, in some manner attaching a snow plow of some kind to the bucket on the loader.  I spotted an advertisement on Craigslist for an old loader located some 40 miles from my home.

As I have no equipment with which I could bring a heavy loader to my home, I enlisted the aid of my nephew Les.  He owns a larger than average Ford 350 pickup, and has a flatbed trailer attached with a fifth-wheel hitch.  He agreed to go with me to look at the loader, and if I bought it he’d cart it home for me.  A good plan.

He asked me to drive to his home so he wouldn’t have to turn his long rig around at my place.  I was a bit concerned to learn he had misgivings about turning a truck around on my 10 acres, but I drove to his home with my 2014 Jeep anyway.  After parking in his yard we proceeded on to our destination.

I bought the old loader, and the former owner said he would load it on Les’ trailer for us.  He started an old Ford 800 tractor, and attached a boom pole to the three-point arms.  This is an approximately 6 foot long pole used to lift heavier objects.  His tractor ran out of gas.  After adding some gas, the battery was dead.  He jumpered the battery using a separate battery apparently kept for this purpose, and got it running again.  With a moderate amount of confusion we finally got the thing loaded on the trailer.

Les drove us back to my home where I used my recently purchased 8N to tow it off onto the ground where it landed upside down.  Just then my nephew Don and his pretty wife Diana drove into the yard after driving all the way from Alabama.  After conversing in the yard for a few minutes Les decided to go home while I entered my home with the guests for a nice afternoon chat.

Later that evening my wife asked me where my Jeep was.  I told her it was in the front yard where it is always parked as far as I knew.  She said, “No, it’s not.”  I looked out to discover she seemed correct, I couldn’t see it either.  I searched my memory (what I have) to try to think if I had left it out back for some reason.  I couldn’t recall having it out there for any reason.  I was about to panic and call the State Police to report it stolen, but I had the keys in my pocket.  How had a thief managed that?

My wife casually asked, “Did you leave it at Les’?

Uh, yes, I did.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

1949 Ford 8N Farm Tractor

July 10, 2014 I bought a 65 year old farm tractor.  This is not intended to be a complete restoration project by any means.  I bought this thing to work with although I have little use for it other than snow removal.

In an “as is” condition I believe the engine and drive train are good.  The three-point-arms work correctly.  It has a refurbished radiator newly installed, and a new 6 volt battery.  It has had a recent engine tune up.  The rubber is decent.

The grill is home made.  The grill guard has been bent and straightened in the past.  There is a rusty place on the hood.  The headlights are in a separate box.

It started and was driven onto a trailer to bring it home.  This was a good start.  After it arrived at my home it started, ran, and was driven around my yard.  The next morning I found it only wants to run for a couple of minutes and then quit.  It seems to be running out of gas.  After a couple of minutes it will run again.

I found the fuel strainer on top of the sediment bulb partially plugged and cleaned it, but that didn’t change anything.

More later as it develops.