Who are we? We are our stories.

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.