Who are we? We are our stories.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

When I Lay My Burdens Down

I suppose you all heard. Yesterday Doc Watson laid his burdens down.

...and the Trinity.

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

Young lovers and old couples tend to be the 'hand holders'. The couples in the great in-between are either too hurried, not truly in love anymore, or maybe embarrassed to show their feelings in public. As couples age together the love becomes quieter and deeper. And they aren't afraid to show their love. Lorna has started holding my hand more as we walk up the street. Then it dawned on me - with age her circulation has suffered a little and her hands are always cold.

Monday, May 28, 2012


The past few days a pretty young black Labrador bitch had been hanging around. A fine-boned animal, she had no collar and was obviously on the edge of starvation with bones showing beneath her glossy jet coat. At first she was wary, maintaining safe distance. I talked to her in a soft voice, squatting with my hands extended. Eventually desire overcame fear and she was brave enough to approach me. As I touched her, softly petting and reassuring her, she became almost  deliriously happy, jumping, doing everything she could to make physical contact. 

Adeline, "We're going to call her
 Bella, because it means "beautiful".
Now I had a problem. What to do? In these days of budget cuts we don't have "Animal Control". She may be someone's lost dog, but without the collar, it's not likely. But what could I do? I have an old Pug that is slowly recovering from a $300 round at the vet. I can't take any dog to Texas next winter. What to do? The two young girls from across the street solved the problem. They fell in love. Their mother fell too. The only issue was an okay from Dad who was still at work. In the meantime, I found a collar we bought for one of the pugs that was too big. It was just about skinny Lab size. We gave one of Bud's leashes to them and of course we had dog food, which we fed her sparingly. I was afraid giving a starving dog as much as she wanted, would probably lead to a sick animal. 

Sometimes things just work out. Dad came home. It turned out he had been looking for a nice hunting dog. From the look on his wife and children's faces, his sudden interest in hunting was a good decision. So last night the dog was warm, fed and sheltered. This morning the girls were walking the dog. If you are missing a thin black Lab, bite your tongue. She is loved. As I look out the kitchen window I can see between the houses to the neighborhood park. Bella is running and playing with the children. Life doesn't get much better than this.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day Classic

Friends and family on the high deck. Eatin' in the treehouse.

Bud is a little tired. He's about 14 years old, on meds and he spent the night with his doctor, Dennis Nelson.. He's past the crisis for now and he'll be okay - medication, bed rest and fluids. Good dog, Bud!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

500 Years of Female Portraits

The Believer

For Memorial day. By last count I have posted this song approximately 14 times in the past. This version is sung by the songwriter, Bob Carpenter. His discography is a little confusing. There were three Bob Carpenters. One was a hockey player who only sang in the shower when he was extremely drunk. There were two musicians named Bob Carpenter. This one was from Canada, so probably played a little hockey too. He only released one album, Silent Passages. Then he died. He died in spite of what some internet sites that lump all the Bob Carpenters together would lead you to believe. 
The forest grows around my door now
And I am dreaming of a meadow
Where I may lay in frosty sunlight
Down beneath the earth's gray shadows

You can download the album from Amazon and get a cleaner cut than this.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Memorial Day Flowers

I always feel I should write more on my blog, but it kills fifteen minutes or more that I could be doing something else, like building a bird house or transplanting a Large Yellow Ladyslipper before an earth-mover smashes it, which was my mission this morning before we went out to the cemetery.

I've outlived a lot of people. Young people are too alive to worry about cemeteries. They don't have as many friends names etched in the granite as they walk slowly through through the grass down the alleys of markers. Remembering. So as the oldest, still  upright and above ground, I am delegated to flower eight graves. 

It's a old cemetery by local standards, filled with long dead Danes - Nelsons, Hansons, Petersons, Jacobsons and a scattering of Bergs. As I was putting flowers on the grave of Lorna's parents, Bob and Florence Hanson, I remembered that when Florence died, instead of money in an envelope, my Dad paid for the stone. I don't know how Bob felt about that, but it meant the world to my much younger brother, Kirby and my sister, Lona.

After planting two flowers for them I moved to the grave beside them, their granddaughter, Kristina Marie Hanson - Born June 30, 1981, Died June 9, 2006. 25. For three years there were a handful of Indian wrist bangles that Addy left on top of the stone for her. Last year they were gone. I really should get more bangles for her.

I took my tools and plants across the road to my grandparent's grave, Rev Neil Berg & Nellie Berg. Both lived long, full lives into their 90s and I loved them both dearly. As much as I've ever loved anyone.

Then I diagonalled across to the northwest corner, along the way noting the names of the great-great-grandparents of my childhood friends. Last year I must have become distracted, because intending to put flowers on Lorna's grandparent's grave, I put the flowers on someone else's site. So this year I carefully noted, Harry D. & Adena Nelson. Adena, my daughter's namesake, and also the namesake of cousin Judi's cat. I did not know Harry D., but I have not heard many good things about him. On the other hand, Adena was nameworthy. 

As I walked east to another Berg section I passed my other grandparents, Martin & Ella Cassel. Their site had already been tended, so I moved on to my kid brother Kirby. Kirby Miles Berg, (Father of Jamie Berg)  Born Sep. 21, 1961 - Died Dec. 16, 1990. 29 years. He died in a house fire, the hardest day of my life. 

Then the next stone up the road to my parents. The names are wrong. It says Marlin Berg & Nadine Berg. It should say Bud Berg & Chicken Berg, then people would know who was really under that big polished black stone. I noticed on my parent's marker, in small letters below their names, it reads, "Together in the Garden". It struck me then that gardening was the one of the few things they had in common at the end, other than their children, and they did their best to divide us up between them too. I gave them two plants anyway.

Because the Cassels had been covered, I had one plant extra and realized I had forgotten my uncle, John Berg, "Jayberg", never John or Jay. So it was back across the cemetery one more time. My Grandma Nellie was still alive when he died. It was hard on her, burying her baby, the last of her three sons. She outlived them all. When Jayberg died it was a short service - a song, a prayer and cousin Dan and I placed the urn of ashes in the grave. Then I wheel Grandma in her wheelchair to another section of the cemetery to distract her. She didn't like the cremation anyway and I we knew she would be just mortified to see Thane Nordlin, one of Jayberg's favorite neighbor kids, putting another can in the hole. By Jayberg's wishes it contained the ashes of his old dog, Benji. I'd have given Benj a plant too, but I only had one left so it went to Jayberg.
They will have to share.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wedding Party

From today's Albert Lea Tribune:
Brawl reported 
A large fight between at least 20 family members was reported at 73964 115th St., south of Albert Lea, at 12:11 a.m. Sunday. Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office officials said the fight broke out at what appeared to be a wedding party. No one was cited.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Yellow Swallowtail

This is a fuzzy photo of my shirt that Lorna took a month ago. Actually it's picture of the Yellow Swallowtail butterfly that landed on me. 

I have three windows in my Growlery, the south window overlooking the flower garden. The windows open wide, but have no screens. Last summer I even had a chickadee which sat on the sill and I occasionally put handfuls of seed out to feed it. I have plans to put a little bird feeder outside the window, but other BIG projects have occupied my time and I haven't gotten around to it.
(Note to self: Build small feeder tray.)
I had plans to put screens on because there are flies, Junebugs, all manner of insects which fly in. Today after I mowed the lawn, I was shot and collapsed my ass in a chair in the shed to rest. A Yellow Swallowtail flew in the south window and flew around the Growlery, I assume admiring the hanging bicycles, or maybe just enjoying the music. Whatever, after a few laps it became bored and fluttered out the west window.

(Note to self: Cancel all plans to put screens on the windows.)

Cottage Progress

Everything is still progressing toward the June 1st possession date for the cottage. As too many transactions these days, the sale will be a short sale and the mortgage holder has signed off in writing to the sale. On our end we have arranged to have the full amount in our checking account ready to pull the trigger. We have had house deals blow up and I was in the real estate business long enough to know the unexpected can always happen. I  think we have done everything we can to do prevent it. 

I have the phone numbers for all the local utilities and city services. More importantly I have contacted a local kid and we have purchased a new lawnmower for his use. I'll have to buy a leaf rake before fall.

We are also buying used furniture, I think the only thing left is the beds. Hell, we can just sleep on the floor if we have to.   

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


What the hell. We close on a cottage in Lanesboro on June 1st. June 2nd? The annual Lanesboro Rhubarb Festival.  First Place Recipe Winner for Rhubarb Festival 2011: (More here)

Rhubarb Grillin Salsa
Enid Dunn & David Watson

6 cups rhubarb, finely diced
1 yellow pepper, finely diced
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 orange pepper, finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced
½ to 1 cup green onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
Jalapeno pepper, to taste for heat level, finely chopped
1/3 cup brown or turbinado (raw cane) sugar
Fresh lime juice of 3 limes (approximately 1/3-1/2 cup)
2-3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1 cup rhubarb strawberry jam
1 tablespoon grated ginger or 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon galangal (a flowery Thai spice available at www.penzeys.com. I use Penzey’s spices as they are in our back yard. Penzey’s Spices, Wauwatosa, WI. is reasonable and always has top quality and service. And no, they didn’t pay me for the plug!)

Blanch rhubarb for 10-12 seconds in boiling water. Refresh under cold water and drain. Place rhubarb in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well blended.

Any of the ingredients may be modified to taste. This sauce/salsa lends layers of flavor to pork, chicken and fish. The salsa/sauce may be brushed on as a sauce toward the end of grilling time or as an accompanying salsa side. If a thicker sauce is desired, add liquid Certo for a smooth texture. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Freeborn County Historical Museum

This is part of about twenty buildings, houses and shops with furnishings and tools, which comprise a historic village at our local museum. There is also a large building housing vehicles and farm equipment, as well is the main 10,000 sq ft museum, which has presently being doubled in size. Why am I posting all this?  'Cause Ms Lorna, my wife, is a volunteer tour guide. Stop in and be guided some time. 

Growlers in the Growlery

What's a Growlery without growlers of beer? Sally and the Judge finally arrived back from the south yesterday. This afternoon the Judge and his son, Tim were over to the Growlery to help me put a dent in the growler from the Town Hall brew pub that my daughter gave me for my birthday. A nice full-bodied stout with a little bite - a wonderful choice for the hard-to-buy-for old duffer. Beer, friends, 81 degrees, and no relief in sight. It's been a pretty good life. So far.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Summit Saga

Saga_bottle_thumb Saga_case_thumb Saga_glass_thumb

 Summit Sága IPA 

 Epic hop character. 
Named after the Norse goddess Sága, drinking companion of the God Odin. With a divine tropical fruit hop aroma and clean, assertive bitterness. 




Brewed Year-Round
Original Gravity: 14 P
Alcohol by Volume: 6.4%
Color, (deg. L.): 9.0 L
Bittering Units: 80
Malts Utilized: Harrington, Caramel
Hops Utilized: Centennial, Amarillo, Citra, Rakau (dry-hopped: Amarillo, Citra, Rakau)
Yeast: American Ale
Established: 2012

Reviews and Accolades:

The search for the perfect name for the newest member of our brew family was a saga in and of itself. Just one more reason why Sága was a good fit.

Food Pairings:

Spicy cuisine, peppery, sharp, or pungent cheeses, marinated meat, hearty seafood

Serving Tips:

Serve at 45 °F, in a Nonick tumbler. 

Beer Facts:

Deeper Cool

By Sarah A, King.

Still Cooler

Skeleton Typogram
Aaron Kuehn

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lanesboro Cottage

People buy second homes for different reasons. They buy them on golf courses, lakes and in the mountains. I'm outing this one now because all the purchase agreements, promises and disclaimers have finally been signed. We take possession on June 1. It's about four blocks from the village shops, cafes, and pubs - and also from the Root River Trail, a 75 mile paved bike path which links Lanesboro with seven other villages along the river. 

It's a two bedroom with a walkout basement situated at the crest of a 20%+ grade hill. 


The ride home.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Geoff Peterson

I don't work. I can sleep in, so I can stay up. All night if necessary. Not so crazy about Ferguson, but I think Geoff Peterson, the gay robot skeleton is pretty good. In fact I think the world in general would be better with fewer Craig Fergusons and more Geoff Petersons.

I can picture people out there saying, "WTF, Geoff Peterson?"

2012 Giro D'Italia

95th annual starts today. Of course I'll be following the Liquigas Cannondale team because of Rory Mason's (Masini) connection with Cannondale Racing;  You can follow it steaming here:


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dex's Serrotta

Dexter Henschel is a local Albert Lea guy, but I really first got to know him when I bought a nice wheelset with early Phil Wood hubs from him for a pittance. The wheels are now on the green Chris Kvale which I bought from Tom Sanders, then sold to Jon Guinea. He also gave me a Brooks saddle which I then passed on to the Z-man for one of his trips across America. I guess Dex gives me things and I pass them on. I received this email from him this morning and he graciously gave me permission to post it. (I would kinda like to swap out the tires.)
Had a thought while looking around your blog. I used to own an interesting bike. Serrotta built for road racing and criteriums.  I bought used as frame only -- I was the 3rd owner, built aproximately 1970 by Ben Serrotta. I rode it for 20+ years and approximately 20,000 miles. Sold it back to the fellow I bought it from via an agreement that when I was done with it,  he had first chance to buy it. He sold it to a co-worker who restored it completely and fitted it with vintage Campagnolo parts.  It is now painted to match his vintage Jaguar sedan. He asked at a bicycle site if anyone had a lower serial number, no one else had knowledge of a lower number. He plans on moving from the Seattle area to La Crosse, and promised me he would stop by some time. Attached find low-res pix in the present condition.

Regards - Dex

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Unrequited Love

Gabus (Silk Hope) is still an admirer from afar, pining for his unattainable love (See McLean Abuse).  He sent off his semi-annual love letter to the object of his affection and received this in return:

Hi Jack,
Still holding onto it!
But, good to know you're still out there!

Yeah, he's still out there and now he will be moping around for a week or two until the yearning passes again until next year. Hopefully he has shelved the idea of mugging Ms. Nina and stealing her bicycle - one of those ideas that seems brilliant at the time, but in hindsight prove to be unimaginably foolhardy. People sometimes do crazy things in the name of love.