Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Joe's Drawers

According to The Judge, who has lived his whole life in Oakwood, Joe Koevnig was a bit of a neighborhood legend in his day. He had a large garage which had a shop with a wood stove and an ice box. The shop was where the men hung out - smoking, drinking and playing cards, especially during snowstorms. As far as I know he didn't call it a growlery, but we all know a growlery when we see it, don't we?

The garage and house were razed a year ago. Before the wrecking ball took it out I grabbed what I could of Joe, some old pens, a few beat up old shop drawers and I took them down to The Growlery. For a year the drawers were stacked loose in my bench. If I wanted to get at something in a bottom drawer I had to remove two drawers to get at it. After a while the charm of that wore thin. It didn't seem ... efficient. Last week I made a couple of small cabinets to insert into my bench. Amazing, the drawers, the refrigerator, fit as if they were made for it. All I had to do was make the cabinet sides out of thin plywood. That worked so well I made three more drawers myself, trying to replicate Joe's proven construction methods, one long one underneath and a couple more on the left side. I considered painting Joe's drawers, I finally decided they wouldn't be improved and the varied colors went well with the Sioux Chief's bonnet.

From left: garden tools in the bottom, non-bike tools and "stuff" in second drawer, cardboard box for empty beer cans and bottles. The Chief is a refrigerator for craft beer, bottled water and Coke - no lite beer, no diet soda. You want low-calorie? I got water. The large brown wooden box/drawer is a case of beer in waiting. The rest of the drawers are full of miscellaneous bicycle paraphernalia. The far right is a machinist tool box resting on a castered cabinet.

Three Galmozzis. The one on the right wall is the 1984 I publicly swore I wouldn't buy. I haven't done anything with it yet, but it gives me pleasure looking at the three bikes, observing the evolution of bicycle construction and components. Just today I realized the "new" bike is still 30 years old and would be considered totally obsolete and quaint by most of today's riders.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Life Well Lived

Last weekend was our 45th wedding anniversary, which I was surprised to learn was the Stainless Steel Anniversary. After the new refrigerator was delivered early Thursday afternoon and reloaded with the contents, which had been temporary stored in iced coolers, we packed up and went over to the Lanesboro cottage. 

In the evening our friends Laurie and Debb came over and picked us up for an evening at the Old Village Hall. It must be a couple of years since I have seen them long enough to really talk. We had a wonderful meal ... and apparently it was their turn to pick up the bill. It was a joy to spend the evening with them.

We have never had off-street parking at the cottage except in the back alley which is really too far to lug suitcases. Friday our neighbor Jody Solberg dropped a load of crushed rock on our wide boulevard and Butch Culbertson drove his skid loader up the hill and leveled it for us. I know it is a small village, but what they charged was a ridiculously small amount. Thanks to both of them we can now park vehicles in front of the house.

Lorna spent a lot of time in the sun, catching up on her reading in the backyard and pretty much ignoring a couple of deer that were cleaning up the fallen crab apples. There were some strong breezes and the weight snapped off a fruit laden branch. As I know well, it's sometimes tough being an old tree bearing a heavy load. 

There are quite a few village deer that live across the hill and in the woods below the cottage. Last Fall a friend looked out our window and counted 27 trotting through the neighborhood. They are regular visitors, twice a day, often enough that they eat most of our potential perennials, and vegetables are pretty much out of the question. After Lorna came in the rest of the clean up crew showed up. There were nine deer in the yard, but as anyone who has tried to get group shots of people, say nothing of animals, know how hard it is to get them to stand in line. They generally ignored my directions. And then there was the issue of Dustin's lawn tractor in the picture. The lot lines are a little vague in the village so he takes no chances and generally just parks it on our side. 

I did notice that in the past couple of weeks the fawns have pretty much shed their spots. This one is down to a handful on her rear haunches. I say "her" - to me they are all does unless they can generate antlers and prove otherwise.

Here is some shots that just seemed right. Pickled beans in the cupboard, apples on the table and a bicycle in the living room. Sweet. 

 And now the obligatory foodie picture. There is a rough menu scratched on the blackboard, but if things are not hectic you can turn Brett loose to operate. It was early, before the tourists were awake, and only a couple of tables of locals. We each ordered a "Brett surprise". It's always a treat - today he made us scrambled eggs covered with (I'm guessing) capicola, feta, spinach, caramelized onions, shredded cheese and whatever else. It went quite well with strong coffee and newspaper. Lorna also ordered a large cinnamon raspberry roll to go. Just in case. 

At noon we walked down to the trail head for the Taste of the Trail. We sampled the food, watched some friends singing as the Rhubarb Sisters, picked up a couple of pulled pork sandwiches and hiked back up the hill to pack for home. 

 Back home this afternoon. Roosevelts tonight.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Faked Galmozzi?

This bicycle was listed a few weeks ago on eBay as a vintage Galmozzi with original finish. It had a Buy-it-Now, or maybe it was a Starting bid, of around $1900, wheels not included, plus the shipping costs from Italy. The first thing that first flagged it was the color, quite a harsh red. Old Galmozzis are rare, original paint almost unheard of, but the color was unlike any Galmozzi I've seen. The Galmozzi lean toward a tertiary range. This was very "unroosterish". A close look at the pictures indicated a lack of filing, finishing and overall refinement. The style and lugs were all the right manufacturer, but there were a number of minor builders in the Milan area that used those same lugs. This one just didn't feel right. 

There were a few email exchanges with people who are far more expert than I am. Everyone agreed it was old, yet seemed "wrong". Then James Aldo Ross drove the final nail in the coffin. He noticed that in places the decals were applied over the paint chips. Was a "creative" soul attempting to turn a $100 frame into a $1900 frame? It's even possible that it has changed hands after the decals were applied and the seller thinks it is a Galmozzi.

I lost track of the auction so I don't know the result. Maybe it was pulled. I don't really know why I'm even posting this other than it was curious and a reminder not to believe everything that is posted on eBay.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Apple Tree

In the back yard of our Lanesboro cottage we have the tallest crab apple tree I've ever seen. It's an old tree, as apple trees go, and well beyond being a solid tree. The first year we owned the cottage we had a tree man come to cut down a locust which had broken in a storn and was resting on the roof. He had eyes to cut down the apple tree, but we thought we should see it flower at least once before we took it down so we only let him work his chain saw magic on one large broken limb. We haven't cut the tree down yet. Eventually it will fall of it's own weight and age. If a tree falls in the' Boro and no one hears it ....

There are three trunks, all of them hollow. It makes a terrific fun house/race track for the Red Squirrels, in one hole out another as they chase each other around the tree. We should maybe cut it down, but for now it's a terrific show in Spring and sets a heavy load of fruit for the birds and deer. 

Photos from this morning. Pardon the quality, it was through the window glass with a pocket camera.

When it's apple pickin' time in the 'Boro it'll be gal pickin' time for me.

Be well. May your life be as fine as mine.


Yesterday I rode the old Galmozzi the five miles to the Whalan (pop 63) pie shop, rated by Yahoo Foods as the "Best Pie in America". I am doubtful about that - I have eaten a lot of pieces of my Danish grandmother's pie, but it is good pie in an old-fashioned lard crust and fresh fruit sort of way. Regardless, my grandmother is long gone, and it is well worth the 10 mile bike ride on a nice sunny afternoon. I rolled in five minutes before closing, picked out two pieces that looked like they would travel well, and had them boxed up. I boarded the Old Gal for the one-handed ride back to the 'Boro. This was silly, I have a very cool Galmozzi musette, tailor made for pie toting - next time. On the way back I noticed a subtle click/click every revolution - a bad wheel bearing I would guess. It would probably go on forever if it didn't drive me crazy first. 

Later I was sitting at the trail head in Lanesboro getting a drink of water, trying to regain my click-clack senses, and figure out how best to get up that damned steep Church Hill to get back to Lorna while carrying pie. The Rooster started drawing a crowd. Well, actually it drew four people - it drew a small crowd. The normal questions were posed. How do you shift it? Are the wheels fragile? Is that seat comfortable?  My favorite was, The Lady, "What year is it?" Me, "About 1950." The Lady, "Are you the original owner?" Me, "Huh?" 

I need a new selfie photo. I haven't cut my hair in a year or two, I'm getting a little gaunt and saggy, but I'd have to be 90 years old to be the original owner of that bicycle. I hope I don't look quite that old. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Exorcism Of the Ghost of Elvis

The Ghost of Elvis has been passed on to haunt another soul.

It was a sweet ride.

Coffee cup not included.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

An Z-Man Update

The other day someone asked me what The Z-Man, aka Cjell Mone, aka Taylor Zimmerman, was doing.

Hell, I don't know. I haven't actually seen him since last summer - just an occasional email or bumping into his parents now and then. I suspect he'll roll in unannounced one of these days, as is his wont.

His face does show up here and there. This is from Bikepacker Magazine. It's a good interview, Z being real. The lad has the corner on lack of pretension.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Human Executions

First, let me say I do not feel we have a moral right to take any person's life and I do not think this should be any State's option. In our country some states have chosen to go another way and I have to accept that. 

On Monday for the third time in my life I took an old dog to the vet to have it's life ended. When the vet terminates a dog's life he strokes and comforts the animal, gives it a shot, and it slowly goes to sleep and dies almost immediately, no gasps or convolutions. I realize that canines and humans have different anatomical structures and I have no idea what is in the injection they use, but it appears to work quite well. 

My thought as I watch the news with southern states struggling with unavailable termination "cocktails" or ineffectual solutions, that maybe they should be talking to the people with experience in humanly ending lives rather than medical doctors who's knowledge and skill is in keeping animals alive.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bud's Last Ride

On Monday I put a handful of dog treats in my pocket and loaded the ol' Bud into the car for his last trip to the Clarks Grove Veterinary Clinic. The Budster was completely deaf, partially blind and eventually he was likely suffering from canine dementia. He could be a joy and he could be a pain in the ass, but he did the best he could. As he aged he slept most of the time, when awake was really only interested in when the next meal was. 

Do dogs have ghosts? It has only been a couple of days; his presence is quite strong. When I get up from my chair I look down to make certain I don't step on him sleeping at my feet, when I come in the door I still glance where his kennel was - just checking on him. When we were in the kitchen Bud was always there, ever hoping for clumsy fingers. Now I catch myself stepping over nothing. Last night I started to set an unlicked yogurt bowl on the floor, one of the things that Bud was really good at - prewashing dishes. 

Was Bud a great dog? No, probably not, but he was our dog. He was our dog for 15 years.

And he will be our last dog.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Growlery Door

There was some petty theft in Oakwood a couple of weeks ago. I lost my prescription sunglasses out of the truck. I've always been a little uneasy about the Growlery door. It was a heavy old door, but it had a rinky-dink latchset and a single large pane of glass. The combination of some bicycles that are relatively valuable, at least to me, and the missing Ray-Bans pushed me over the edge. Last week I replaced the glass with two layers of tongue-and-groove boards, replaced the latch with an old cast iron set I've been saving for years, and I installed a heavy deadbolt lock. Obviously the door could still be breeched, but it would require some serious tools and noise to accomplish it. I also bought a screen door for $39.95, plus about ten bucks worth of hinges. It only costs a few dollars more to go first class.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

1950(?) Galmozzi Project

This week the Ghisallo rim wheelset was completed. Dan Lestrud, who built them, won't accept cash, so I need to buy him off with a fine bottle of liquor or two. They look great, ride sweet and are dead nuts true so far. The project is not complete. Next, I need to make brake pads out of wine corks. Just a short turn around the neighborhood trying to avoid braking left black marks on the rims.

There are some other small things - the brake hoods are Dia-Compe replacements for the Balillas, some nuts and bolts that have been replaced over the years. I may not replace them because they are part of the bicycle's story. The toe straps are cheap - made in China. I would like to find a pair of red Alfredo Bindas. They are available on eBay, but I haven't adjusted to their price yet.  Just little things. 

The front derailleur is not quite period correct. I believe Campagnolo marketed their first derailleur, the Gran Sport in '52 and likely the lefthand shifter setup at the same time. Regardless, it would have been a typical upgrade of the day (beats shifting greasy chains with fingers). It has the added benefit of acting as chain retainer, keeping the chain from jumping off the rings while shifting, which has proven  to be a bit of an  issue for me, being a novice Cambio Corsa operator.

Early Brooks Team Professional with large, smooth
 rivets. I have "butchered" it some, but to my eye I
need to remove more leather from the bottom and
under the nose. 

Cambio Corsa drivetrain. A bad design solving a non-existent problem. Possibly its the quirkiness that has made them so bloody dear and expensive.

Dogbone skewer. A reproduction.  I have an 
original, but it's on a shelf because of  $$$.

Campagnolo Gran Sport derailleur

Saturday, June 28, 2014


Food is fuel. If you eat too much of it your body will store it for future use. Evolution has sorted out our desires. We don't like the taste of things that will make us sick or even kill us. The human animal is attracted to foods that have a lot of energy per bite - that is, fats and carbohydrates. The downside of this is that if we take in more calories than we burn, we store the excess. Over the years I stored about 75 pounds of excess energy, banked for future consumption. This all makes good sense if you are a hunter-gatherer, not so much if you are a retired, relatively sedentary old man pushing 70 years of good living.

As nature intended, I love food. And I really love good food. I have loved it to a fault. I loved it to 260+ pounds. (I do not own a scale, but the Mayo Health Care System does.) All scales lie to us anyway. Their numbers can always be rationalized. I have a belt and we have a full length mirror at the end of the hall between the bath and the bedroom. It's hard to rationalize holes in a belt, and believe me, mirrors will not tell a lie. My 69 year old body is certainly not a pretty sight. But there is less of the ugly than there was a couple of years ago.

About then I took charge of my body and it's intake. I'm not quite where I want to be yet, but I am damned close. The holes in the belt are about 1 1/4" apart. I started punching more downstream holes as I needed them and eventually cut off the end when it became floppy long. I will need one more hole soon. All of this is not self congratulation. It is my foodie credentials. I think about my fuel intake now. Two days a week I do a modified fast - holding my intake to about 600 calories. Listen to your body; only eat when you are actually hungry, not just because it is "meal time". Eat local when feasible. Avoid fast food. We split our restaurant meals. We often eat appetizers as our main courses. We divide our deserts. We believe in eating in moderation. And we eat very well, in moderation.

I really started thinking about this again when I recently saw something on the net showing twelve people holding trays of their typical daily intake. Here is a couple of the particular bad ones.

People, this is not food (though the cigarettes are a nice touch). This stuff will kill you over time.