Who are we? We are our stories.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Hvoslev In Spring

Fillmore County is drained by a web of trout streams. About 5 miles east and south of Preston the Hvoslev wma is a 240 acre jewel tucked in a small wooded valley which embraces a stretch of the South Branch of the Root River. All you "wormers" take heed, this is flyfishing church, and like any trout water worth the name, this is a stream for artificial flies, catch and release only. 
"It was into this setting that Johan Hvoslef—a Norwegian immigrant fresh from medical school in Chicago moved in 1876. He observed nature here for 44 years, filling 56 notebooks with accounts of his daily activities, world events, local weather, birds, and plants. Among the notations: 
“August 3, 1896. I saw an Ectopistes migratorius (passenger pigeon) near Ole Bendikson's. This was the last wild pigeon I ever saw.” 
After Hvoslef's death in 1920, his wife presented the diaries to what is now the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota."

We took the risk.
Good road, but a truck road.

Mini island.

Water over the bridge.

Spring fed.


Enjoy the water, be well - Gunnar

Thursday, April 21, 2016


This week I spent a couple of days at the ophthalmology department at the Mayo Clinic. There were about 50 people sitting in the outside waiting room. There were people from all over, women in saris, women in burkas, pink wrinkled old men with Scandinavian accents, people quietly mumbling to each other in various languages. The only thing the majority of us had in common was that we were old human beings that could not see well. Sitting there it struck me that eyes are very complicated high tech devices that given enough time, tend to fail. A generation or two ago we would all be blind or well on our way.

Over two days there was a lot of sitting in waiting rooms. I didn't actually eavesdrop, but out of boredom I listened in to a lot of conversations. I happen to overheard a exchange between three apparent strangers that seemed to be involve a question of bird identification. Birds? I quietly sidled over, sat down beside them, and whipped out my shiny new cell phone, all loaded up with iBird Pro. After settling the bird I.D. issue we introduced ourselves - a gentleman from southeast Minnesota, and a mother/daughter team from Faribault, and me. The daughter, a lass of maybe 50 years, said her mother could identify all the birds in North America. That sounded almost like a challenge so I scrolled through a few Flicker photos on the cell. Ah, the Gray-crowned Yellowthroat photo I took at Estero Llano last year! - an ABA code 4 wanderer from Mexico, a certain winner. "I'll give you a hundred bucks if you can identify this one." She leaned forward and peered at the image on the cellphone for a long time. Then, "That's a Gray-crowned Yellowthroat isn't it?" I was stunned, damned gob-smacked. "Ah, ah, I guess I owe you a hundred dollars". She burst out laughing, "The photo has a label at the bottom!" 

Gray-crowned Yellowthroat
It went on and on - scans, people injecting dyes into me, more scans, point-blank blinding lights in my eyes, "Look up, now up and left, now left,..." etc. Different techs, different doctors; different tests. Again and again and again. The evidence was starting to mount up, it wasn't looking good, but no one was talking. "When Dr. Bakri has analyzed the results of all the tests she will talk to you." Dr. Bakri is the head of ophthalmology and we have a bit of a history. She lased (lasered?) 14 retinal tears for me six years ago, setting a bit of a record. Through that we had time to talk and get to know each other a little. 

As it turned out my eye issue didn't work out too well. A have a tear ("a break") across my macula which causes a warp in my vision ... and because of my previously compromised retina, it is not operable. By the time she had dropped that news on me I was pretty much expecting it.

After our formal discussions she asked me if I was still birding. I replied that I was. "One eyed birdwatchers, that's what spotting scopes are for." Today I ordered a new spotting scope. 

Enjoy your sunsets while you are able - Gunnar

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Worth Brewing Snug


1. a small, comfortable room in a pub or inn offering intimate seating for only a few persons .

In this case, a small room tucked back in the corner of the Worth Brewing tap room. It is quiet, furnished with oriental carpet, three antique loveseats, and a small table with a couple of cafe chairs - decorated with carefully placed beer advertising signs and stained glass.

Evening in the Worth Brewing snug with Anne and Dave Bonnerup. 

 Peter Ausenhus doing brewmaster
I began the evening with a Short Trip IPA, this batch made with Amarillo, Chinook and finished with El Dorado hops. It is a good enough beer, but a little low on the IBUs for my taste. For round two (or was it three?) I fell back to the Field Trip IPA, and also had my growler filled with that. It is a seriously good, balanced IPA, just under 6% with somewhat moderate IBUs. 

Good company, good beer, good pizza. - Gunnar

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Ron Cooper Mixte: Done

Done - unless, if and when, new paint and decals. The old decals had no clearcoat and were so flaky I just wiped them off with the edge of a credit card. I do have a new set, but I'll hold them until I decide whether to have it repainted, paint it myself, or simply leave it and ride it. For now, ride it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Spring. 25 years ago I planted a few bulbs in the grass. Now the grass is half gone, but the bulbs spread more every year. When they die back in late Spring I just take the dry leaves with seed heads and throw them in bare spots.

There were still a couple of Loons way out on the bay this morning. Lorna was chasing and may have a couple of photos. 

We counted nine Wood Ducks in the willow tree and in the water below this morning - so there are likely at least five pair nesting on this stretch of the Oakwood shoreline. Later there was a female sitting on the roof of a nesting box, checking it out to make certain it is duckish enough and peeping her approval to the male who was perched higher in the oak. He has NO input. The photos are through window glass at distance. They are very spooky birds now when they are comparing nesting options; any door opening or head appearing and they are just gone. 
Lorna says there are three nesting boxes on the north side of our round peninsula. That makes about half a dozen boxes in Oakwood which is the limiter on populaation.  I suppose I should make a few more various bird boxes before next year.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Existential Dread and Honey Cakes

Lanesboro has a quirky streak. Case in point, the Commonweal Theatre's 19th Annual Ibsen Festival coming up on April 15-17. This used to be held in the dead of winter, which seemed appropriate for the morose old Norwegian, but a couple of years it was cancelled due to weather, so it evolved into a dark, brooding celebration of Spring and tax day. 
SKIEN, NORWAY: Arts Council Norway today unveiled ambitious plans for Ibsen Verden (Ibsen World), a 25-acre theme park celebrating the dramatist considered by many to be the father of modern drama, in the town where he was born in 1828. Scheduled to open in the spring of 2017 (the 150th anniversary of the premiere of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt), the park will offer attendees of all ages a chance to experience the author’s signature blend of piercing social critique and free-floating existential dread in a fun and interactive environment surrounded by southern Norway’s lush lakes and waterways. 
Lorna and Henrik
“Until now, visitors seeking a quintessentially ‘Ibsen’ experience in Norway had few options,” said Gunhild Molvik, interim director of Arts Council Norway. “At last, Ibsen Verden will offer the playwright’s diehard fans and casual theatre goers alike a distinctive and direct reckoning with the stark psychological naturalism that undergirds Western dramaturgy as we know it. And we’ll be sure that the park’s cafés will serve delicious honey cakes, Ibsen’s favorite sweet.” 
Unique attractions planned for Ibsen Verden include a haunted house, inspired by the divisive dramaGhosts, which visitors can exit only via a lethal morphine injection, and a Hedda Gabler shooting gallery in which participants are forced to contemplate the futility of human striving in the vicinity of a loaded weapon. The Master Builder Pavilion, sponsored by Nokia, will offer a free “master class” on brooding over doomed but deeply symbolic structures, with practical take-home tips like the best materials for sky castles.
And no Ibsen experience would be complete without a cathartic door-slamming exhibit, in honor of the stunning climax of A Doll’s House, or Dr. Stockmann’s Water Report, a hair-raising raft excursion through a contaminated lagoon. Park planners aren’t overlooking youngsters in their plans, promising such thrilling rides as Peer Gynt’s Troll Trap and Little Eyolf’s Rat Race. 
Previously, Molvik pointed out, Henrik-hungry tourists could only hobnob with dusty scholars at the Ibsen Centre in Oslo; browse through assorted barns at the Telemark Musuem in Venstøp, the farming community where Ibsen spent his tortured adolescence; or trek to the aptly named Grimstad to contemplate the playwright’s miserable years as a pharmacist’s assistant in a harbor town. Added Molvik in an aside, “Or they could see one of his plays, I guess.”
Be happy, but not too happy - Gunnar