| March/April 1998

Once again, we have quite a lot of letters this month, and we're very pleased about that. In this issue we also have several stories about the various 'Steam School' operations that are popping up at clubs around the country. These schools offer hands-on instruction to the steam engine novice, and hopefully help the clubs to build on the number of capable volunteers in their ranks. We think you'll be interested in the stories and the comments from some of the students. Maybe this is something your club should start doing!

Well, on to the letters:

GARY JONES, 576 Murray Street, Owatonna, Minnesota 55060 writes, 'This is just a little mix up at our house that some readers might get a chuckle out of.

'I have two steamers, a 65 HP Case and a 19 HP side mount Keck Gonnerman. I have a recipe for cylinder oil which I mix up myself for my two steamers. In making this I naturally need to add tallow and lard to make my oil. The cylinder oil is probably one of the most important components in having an engine perform well, but unfortunately, is one of the last things I think of making before a show.

'Since you can't buy rendered tallow and the lard you buy often has salt in it, I usually end up rendering tallow and lard out in my driveway about midnight, a few days before we start to saw in the spring. A year or so ago, I spent an entire evening rendering out a few pints of tallow. It was clear and perfect and I was delighted with the fruit of my labors. Anyway, I put it into a little saucepan, covered it, and stuck it in the refrigerator to cool overnight before starting on my lard the next evening. The next morning I checked my tallow and it had solidified into a nice orangey-brown. I patted myself on the back and left for work.

'Quite often my wife and I will make little treats for each other and leave them in the refrigerator or in the kitchen with a note saying, 'Enjoy your treat.' Well, my wife is usually still in bed when I leave early for work, and when she looked in the refrigerator and took the cover off that pan she thought it looked like butterscotch pudding. (It looked JUST LIKE butterscotch pudding. I can see how she made the mistake.) Delighted with her husband's thoughtfulness, she took the pan over to the kitchen table, picked up our Chihuahua and sat down at the table to read the paper and sample her treat.