Odin sacrificed an eye, trading eyesight for insight, and disguised as Vegtam the Wanderer, traveled the world in quest of the wisdom of the ages. I have the eye sacrifice part covered. I'll get back to you when that wisdom thing kicks in.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

1410 Chaos and Birds


Our old house grew piecemeal around a 1907 12x16 hunting cabin. Five additions later the "new" foundation dates from the late 1920s or 30s. The ground level blocks are crumbling on the two lakeside corners. Modern builders no longer build concrete block basements. It took me a couple of years to find an old block layer with the skillset, equipment and crew to repair our home. I eventually got a bid and commitment from Steve Hamberg. This will involve beams to support the house and removing all the blocks from the top plate down to 5' below grade. Then pouring new footings and laying up new block walls. The thought of all this was a little scary when it is a quirky old home you love. One year later, this week our name finally came up on his list.

Front loader, backhoe, workers holling over jack hammers ... all on the same day as the first of Fall Warbler migration. I ran away, down the street to John Chesterman's to split, sample and critique a few IPAs as we regularly do. After the workers left and work day's dust settled, I returned, turned the water on. Lorna and I sat down on the Growlery bench to talk and wait for the birds. Damn surprising, a few actually showed up. 



Game on ! -Gunnar

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Laced leather bars

These are for my Chris Kvale "gentleman's cruiser"  bicycle - custom frame made for me in 2011. Wood rims, wood fenders, custom leather trimmed bag by Ely Rodriguez.

Bicycle with previous "old" bars. 

I was never really happy with the old brake setup so I found a set of modern time trial brake levers on eBay about a year ago and I am getting around to reworking it. This required replacing the 7/8" diameter bars with 15/16" diameter. That doesn't sound like much, but in my opinion the bigger bars have much better hand feel. The brake cable routing is internal in the bars, keeping the whole set-up clean and uncluttered.

The leather was originally red which I dyed with a wine or burgundy aniline dye to match the Brooks Colt saddle which is on the bike. After I laced it up the original red shows in the holes, but I can live with that.    I think.

For anyone who might care that beautiful nickel plated stem was made for me by Vincent Dominguez with a faux front lug to match the frame. 



Next, strip the satin anodizing off the brake levers and buff them to a mirror polish. Then mount the bar assembly back on the bike.

Obsessively Yours,
Gunnar

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Water system today


Trickle water in


tank concealment

tank access, overflow hose

overflow pipe

overflow evaporation "dry stream"

Thursday, July 25, 2019

7-Eleven Bicycle

The 7-Eleven racing team was the first U. S. team to race in Europe. In 1985 they were invited to the Giro d'Italia and they stunned the bicycle world with two stage wins. By 1988 Andy Hampsten won the Giro outright. 

Although the bicycles were labeled as Murrays they were actually made by Ben Serotta. After the wins Murray pumped out 100s (1000s?) of tribute bikes in the same livery. This is not one of those.

My friend Dan Lestrud has been aware of this bike for a decade or more. Recently the owner called him. Due to health issues he offered to sell him the bicycle. 

The saddle should be a Cinelli Unicanitor and the brake hoods are cracking and need replacing. Other than that it just need a clean up. I wanted to get "before" photos. 











Sunday, July 21, 2019

Garden 9/17/2019

Here are some cellphone shots of the garden taken three days ago. (Before the storm.) The Asiatic Lilies are starting to fade, but the Daylilies are kicking in. The photos of the plantings along and behind the dry stream is already obsolete of course. Recently it is where my energy has been directed. 








Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Garden Update

Many homeowners want a "low-maintenance" garden. Just for the record, this is not low-maintenance;  it is an extremely high maintenance garden. 






I am the process of adding a dry stream - actually not quite dry. I have to dribble a small amount of water into the system to deal with evaporation, which is surprising in hot weather. The dry stream carries the excess water from the storage tank. All is still in process.



I ripped out some hostas around the water reservoir tank which also houses the pump. I replaced them with a cultivar of Japanese Forest Grass. Native to the mountains of Hokkaido, which also gives us a large number of our Hostas. Apparently zone and pH matches Minnesota. Oh yeah, I also built a handrail, backed with a section of picket fence cut at the same angle.

plants camouflaging the water-feature storage tank


I also got a real deal on a large heavy pot - a great pot! So I was forced, forced! to fill it. My daughter-in-law Nicole and I shopped and agonized over large perennials and shrubs. Eventually I bought a Smoketree. The pot is maybe 20" diameter, 4 feet ground to treetop. It will have to winter in the cool winter Growlery with a pair of potted Krossa Regal hostas. High maintenance, it will require continual pruning.




I had a problem hole between the boulder and the arborvitae. I tried a big hosta which was out of scale with the rock garden plants, then an Astilbe which did not thrive. I got a deal on a grafted Elderberry because it grew horizontal at the graft (which helped me). Not as large as the normal Elderberry, the color is good, and it still should help eventually screen the transition between the rock garden and the lower garden. I may eventually buy another one at an end of season sale.



Sore back, calloused knees, dirt under my fingernails. - Gunnar B.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Warblers At Bancroft Bay Park

We went to Bancroft Bay Park this morning. It was cold and for whatever reason the Warblers were feeding down in the grass rather than in the treetops as they normally would. I have been watching the Spring Warbler migration for over fifty years and I probably have never seen this many Warblers. 

Our birding guests Paul and Carolee have been posting all of the birds and numbers they have logged this week at Bancroft (and Myre Big Island State Park and our yard in Oakwood) to eBird at Cornell University. As of today Bancroft Bay Park was officially designated by eBird as a "Hotspot". 

 Here are some from today (first pic  is a Least Flycatcher):