Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dreaming Of a Brown Christmas

November was brutal even by Minnesota standards - cold and snowy. Ol' Ma Nature seems to have made a mistake and flipped her months - tore the wrong sheet from her calendar. We had a warm snap a few days ago which erased all the clean white snow and left us living in a sepiatone world. This is a shot I took last weekend as we left the Commonweal Theatre and were about to take the hard left turn and go up Church Hill to home.

The village is tucked into a sharp bend in the Root River which leaves it surrounded by the river and high bluffs. The Christmas tree at the end of the main drag is a little deceptive. It's a tall power pole on the high bluff all strung with cables of lights. I think it must belong to Orval Amdahl. If so, someone must give him a little help because he is about 95 years old. The following has nothing to do with Christmas, but its a nice little video of Orval.

Lorna is working for a couple of weeks so last Wednesday I slipped alone over to the 'Boro to listen to Kevin Kling, a story teller and one of Minnesota's true gems. His stories make Garrison Keillor seem like a rank amateur - in my own storytelling opinion. The program was Kevin telling stories bracketed by the musicians singing and playing Kevin's poems set to music. 

I was not exactly alone; I was dining with a couple of friends at the Old Village Hall before the show. Kevin and the musicians came in to eat. One of my friends comes out of a theatre background and knows Kling from the old days, the days before the accident broke him to pieces. So after the hugs, laughs and backslapping, I got a chance to meet Kevin and the musicians - always a treat. This video has very little to do with the show we saw, but it gives the feel of Kevin.

This morning I bought the last two tickets to the Lanesboro Holiday Community Sing-a-long at the St. Mane. Cut that one a little close. Lanesboro has two Theatres, The Commonweal is slick and professional, - the St. Mane is small, intimate and the productions, at their best, have a homemade feel to them. If  "homemade" wears a little thin for you, just skip ahead to 2:30 or 7:00 minutes. Sweet.

Be well, G.

Kirby Miles Berg

My brother Kirby died 24 years ago today in a house fire. He would have been 53 years old. 

In this past year he became a grandfather. I wonder. What other things could he have become? 

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Parkway Pub

Lanesboro has a number of places to eat, but a shortage of pubs. The Village Hall has a bar with a few draft beers, the Pedal Pusher has half a dozen taps with various Minnesota beers, but they are both really restaurants, not pubs serving good bar food. There are a couple of bar bars in town with big screen T.V.s and the almost perennial banners advertising "Sale on Bud Lite". While these are necessary fixtures in any small town they aren't the kind of place any aging beer-boy hipster would normally frequent. I have always thought that the village with its tourist based economy really needed a brew pub with a few craft beers on tap. 

(This is a serious wake-up call to Riverside On the Root - you have a great location, passable food, fun outdoor music ... and an absolutely dreadful beer selection. No EPAs? No IPAs? None?) 

One of the bar bars is the Parkway Pub, the three story building in the Google street shot.
The rumors: 

The Parkway has been purchased by a local couple who have plans to add an indoor stairway to access an upstairs group room and to remodel the main floor bar into an "Irish style pub". I have no idea what their idea of an Irish pub is. I realize they won't likely be brewing beer (yet?). As my tastes are undoubtedly extreme and narrow-minded, I'll likely be disappointed in the beer selection. I think Guinness stout and it's ilk are incredibly overrated compared with almost any American style ale craft beer. "Guinness: brewing quite ordinary beer since 1756".

Whatever, I'm all for the effort. If they don't turn it into a Disneyland version of an Irish Pub, I may even sidle up to the bar and force myself to choke down a Guinness. Or two.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanks 2014

The feast continues even as I post this. I needed a break from the din and love. Somehow missed pictures of the wonderful turkey and magnicent ham - thank you to Larry and Linda. And thanks for Larry's health.

Chris A.
The brewmeister pours his ale.

Miscellaneous wine,

Gravies, rouxes and stews. 

Mother and son.
Mother and daughter.

The feast - course one.

The Hanson sisters.
The heart of our family,
the reason we are together.
Kids, dogs, talk, and football.

And thanks to all for the food, drink, and unconditional love. - G.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Snowgiving Eve

All of the extended Hanson family, siblings, children and grandchildren are trying to fight their way through the weather to get home for Thanksgiving. The snow is just at the beautiful stage, but more, too much more, is forecast. Everyone here has grown up driving in snow so we all know the drill, all know the rules. Be careful out there, don't speed, stay in your own lane, don't do something stupid.

The Growlery Garden:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Kvale Details

Still in process - Brooks Swallow saddle, new handlebars will get laced-on honey leather. With the Paul brakes and after I installed the Curtis Odom hubs, the old CLB brake levers looked less and less appropriate. Now I need new bars that will accept the MTB sized Paul levers.

The tires are 700 x 28c Panaracer Fairweather Travelers. The Pacenti rims and the tires are both fine products, but a bitch to marry. Fair warning. The tires need to be stretched like old tubulars to get them on the rims. God forbid I get a flat out on the road. 

Here is what I have so far. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Who I REALLY Want To Be

Check out DEC 10.  ;-)
I have a childhood friend, Mary Mac, who left Minnesota after high school and never looked back. Well, that isn't totally accurate. Part of her never left; she still clings to little scraps of news about people that populated a time that probably only exists in her memory. 

Minnesota has storytellers. I have even been told I tell stories. I have heard it from enough people that I guess I have to plead guilty. Anyway Mary Mac refers to me as her own private "Garrison Keillor", which always makes me cringe a little. Minnesota's great storyteller isn't Gary Keillor, it is Kevin Kling. And I think Mr. Keillor would agree to that. Certainly Kevin's stories are far more insightful and philosophical. And, in my opinion, funnier.

Give this video 10 or 15 minutes, then quit if you want. But get back to me if you think he isn't a great storyteller.

Hillcrest Neighborhood Kids

Earlier this Fall our Lanesboro neighbors, Marv and Carol asked if their grandchildren could "use" the leaves under our maples. A couple of weeks ago I figured they had used up all the fun in the leaves and the season was getting long. Winter was coming. Lorna had friends coming over last weekend for a yoga weekend so I went over the day before and chopped the leaves with the mower and dragged them down on a tarp to compost under an evergreen tree.

A couple of days ago we were back in the Boro and my pile of leaves had been scattered about a little. The kids again? Shortly a deer came out of the woods and curled up, soon to be joined by a couple more. Yearlings. Yeah, the kids.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Growlery Ceiling Fan

Lorna is gone this weekend, spending three days with her sister from Alexandria and three close friends at the Lanesboro cottage for a yoga immersion weekend.

It is a little cold to be outside much, but Lestrud came over Friday afternoon and into the evening to help me pass the time. Always a pleasure. This morning L.P. and I went out for a late breakfast and we took a short tour of the north side - mostly checking progress on their remodeling project.

I received a couple of packages Friday, a ceiling fan for the Growlery and bar end plugs for the '84 Galmozzi. A ceiling fan in a shed, you say? Among my numerous vices is smoking cigars and the smoke tends to hang heavy in the confined space of the Growlery. I do have an exhaust fan, but it's noisy. I have been using a small portable fan. but it really wasn't satisfactory. Installing a ceiling fan should take about an hour. It took me most of this afternoon. Christy didn't seem to be around, but I fired up a celebratory test stogie anyway and it seems to work pretty well.

The plugs were were made by Scott Gabriel, He painted the infill to match the blue and green of the bike. The thin green lines don't show much in the photo, but I am quite pleased with them. If anyone needs to pimp out a special bike contact me and I'll give you his email address.

Be well, and stay warm,