Who are we? We are our stories.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

English Sheds

Yesterday I wasted a chunk of time just sitting and smoking cigars in the Growlery with Christy from next door. We do this fairly often, yet when he leaves invariably he says, "We should do this more often". I guess we haven't hit the threshold of too much yet.

Thanks to George A. for the link to these pictures. Also, thanks to The Telegraph where I stole borrowed these images.  And the Brits in general, who are wonderful in their quirky "shed in the backyard" sort of way.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Angry Catfish, Beer, and Pastry

This link is for the young bearded dude at the Angry Catfish Bicycle and Coffee who sold me the tail light this afternoon. The Catfish is one of three sweet stores in a row on 28th in South Minneapolis - a triple destination. The others being Buster's On 28th next door ("What a neighborhood pub should be.") where I had a Butternut Squash Rissoto and a tap Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, one of a couple of dozen beers on tap. Then we moved one door down to A Baker's Wife where we loaded up on enough almond Danish pastry to fuel the remainder of life's continuing journey.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Smalltown Pleasures

On the spur of the moment the ladies and I decided to make a run down to Worth Brewing this evening. Before Lorna and I left to pick up Add at a friend's house, I called Soups Pizza in Northwood to place an order for a Hot and Spicy Peno pizza, thin crust, easy on the Jalapenos. The woman took my order and asked if we wanted it delivered to the pub? And how many plates did we need? She did not ask for my name nor a phone number nor credit card number. Now I understand caller I.D. and all, but it struck me as being a very casual transaction. When we got out of the Honda in front of Worth Brewing, I asked Lorna and Add to stake out a table while I checked on the pizza. As I walked in the door of Soup's, she looked up and said, "Hot and Spicey Peno, right?"  Right. The pizza was just ready and waiting for delivery. "How would you have known who to deliver it to?" "Oh, I recognized your voice." My voice? I also should have ordered some of the buffalo wings, which Add, world traveler, has declared as to be the best ever. Maybe next time.

(If ya ain't got nothin" to write about, write about nothing.)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

This was a variation on a theme played out all over America today - a little beer, a little football, a little wine, a lot of food, a lot of family love. There were 16 family members plus a couple of old friends. And three big ol' dogs who ate most of the leftovers set outside to cool. We were all a little pissed, but the dogs seemed rather pleased with themselves and even thankful.


The next generation: Foster, Signe, and Ruby.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beaver Gnaw

Another picture from Lorna's daily walk, a gnawed tree in Edgewater Park. As this is just a short distance from 1410, maybe I can hire him to take out a handful of Ash trees that are growing on my shoreline.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fountain Lake Miracles

The early season forming ice reflections give us an inverted woods, clouds in the stream, and ducks walking on water. And they say there are no longer miracles.

Growlery, 11/22/11

Nothing very visible has happened in the Growlery during the past week, just slowly tightening windows and getting it more homey. Today I added another chair so Christy from next door will have something better than an old pail to rest his poor old broken-down ass on. As you may recall, Christy is for all practical purposes a one-armed man. As a lad he blew most of his right hand off screwing around with a revolver, then three years ago he had an accident while climbing a tree to a deer stand. "Hell, I only do it once every 60 years." A one-armed old man climbing up a tree while carrying a loaded .50 caliber muzzleloader - what could possibly go wrong? When the butt hit the ground the gun discharged, the ball struck him in the right armpit, destroying his shoulder. After numerous failed surgeries at the Mayo Clinic, the arm just hangs there limp with a non-functioning hand attached. He does not have it removed because, as he puts it, "I've become attached to it over the years". I only digress to share this little nugget of misery and woe because he is presently in South Dakota on a pheasant hunting trip ... with a shotgun ... a regular unmodified shotgun ... a one-armed hunter armed with a shotgun and a history of gun related mishaps. And still he is invited on numerous hunting and fishing trips. "They only tolerate me because I cook." For the sake of his companions, let us hope he doesn't receive the honorary Richard B. Cheney Award for Marksmanship.       Again.

Back to my world, I've added an additional lower shelf to the desk to hold my amp/CD player and I put a little knob on my cigar humidor, thereby turning it into a lidded drawer. The waste basket is the first prototype of the Hershberger baskets that Velo Orange used sell, from back when I was in the Amish basket business. ;-)

My old man made the ottoman. I have plans to eventually cover it with button-tucked cognac cowhide. He tended to cobble together junk furniture, but this one caught him in a brief moment of sobriety and it's quite sturdy and is just the right dimensions. 

Oh, and the bookcase is a peach crate from my late father-in-law's general store. For years, along with cardboard boxes, it was part of my very sophisticated wine cellar. It ain't much, but I will die with it. All the miscellaneous on the desk top have personal back links too of course, or they wouldn't be up there. There are a lot more and if I ever get this thing done, I'll post a history of them all.

You can double-click this photo if you want to read the writing on the wall or check the titles of my reading material. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Growlery, Phase II Completion

A couple of people have inquired about the progress of the Growlery. It's slowly coming along.

My workbench will be centered on this, the  west wall. The boxes in the corners are actually temporary stereo speakers.  I have a flush, wall-mount set that I will install when I put up the sheetrock. 

Same wall. The windows slide up in the wall, so I have to  insulate above the window with 3/4" foam panels. I think the ceiling will probably be tongue-in-groove pine, painted off-white.

The light fixture with the cover removed. My vision is not good and will continue deteriorating, so I installed as robust a fixture as was feasible. It's pretty intense, so I wired it with two switches, so I can turn on either three tubes or six. I also bought a dark woodgrain linoleum remnant for the floor to make nuts, bolts and widgets as visible as possible. There is another single light and a cigar exhaust fan above the desk on the other end of the room.
The desk corner. Eventually there will be wainscoting and bookshelves in this corner.  The wall-heater under the window throws off pretty good heat, but just in case I wired another circuit under the north window for a future  auxiliary heater if I need it.

Friday, November 11, 2011


... at Edgewater Park, from Lorna's cell this evening on her daily walk.

Hell in a Handbasket

The world is going to hell in a hand basket. The world economy is collapsing, Penn State is a den of perverts ... and then ... the Elbow Room. When we arrived for our regular Friday night hamburger,Vic was waiting for us with the saved Minneapolis Tribune newspaper for our reading pleasure. Rachel, the waitress, knows what we want, only stops by our booth to confirm it. All is normal and right with the world, right? Wrong. After my cheeseburger with fried onions and a side of deep-fried onion rings - done crispy, I surprised even myself by ordering a desert - the local delicacy, strawberry rhubarb pie. Obviously it is seasonal, so I expected it to be frozen.  But it was even worse. Mary used to bake the pies at home and bring them in to the cafe in the morning. The looong arm of health regulation finally has reached out and saved us from ourselves. Mary can't do that anymore. Her kitchen has been deemed unsafe, unclean, and unhealthy - it just ain't safe. Instead of a flaky, lard based crust rolled by hand, encasing fresh rhubarb and strawberries, the pie came from Sysco, Inc. The crust was a cardboard based product and the filling was pink goo with a slight hint of artificial strawberry/rhubarb flavoring.  But it was safe. :-(

When I got home, I had a waiting email from L.P. confirming a breakfast date for tomorrow morning at Trumble's, where they have a full time baker who prepares all variety of things that will probably kill me in the long run. At least it'll be real food that takes me out.