Who are we? We are our stories.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

On Prized Possessions

Possessions are just 'stuff'; things that will likely be pawed and dickered over by the rag-pickers at some future estate sale. But I ain't dead yet. And there ain't no glory in regret.

Favorites tend to be fluid. I love my garden and my old Bulldog garden tools (Clarington Forge since 1780). I love the Native American tools and projectile points that the Old Man and I picked up walking fields when I was a kid.

One of my prized possessions is this bicycle, a 1948 M. Bonvicini. Earlier I documented the process of having replacement decals made. Link here.

Over 70 years the decals have melded into the paint, and part of the finish on the offside of the downtube panel has been scraped to bare metal. This really necessitates the panel being repainted. Also to match the existing front stub fender, the reproduction fenders require the outside to be painted the soft green of the frame, the center ridge left polished aluminum - with a very fine dark blue pinstripe at the color break. 

Pinstriping has become a dying art, but I reached out to Jeff Bock in Ames, Iowa who does really top-drawer paint work. Thursday evening I received his response.
"This is a VERY COOL bicycle! I'd be thrilled and honored to work on it for you. Although, achieving an exact match on that flamboyant teal will be a serious challenge. What color were the fenders? I'm thinking that the soft green won't be an easy match either. I looked at the decals. It appears that Mr. Salmon did an amazing job."
So now I have to find time to remove all the components - to disassemble the entire bicycle and get the frame and fenders down to Iowa City.

Obsessively yours,

Friday, November 29, 2019

Sax-Zim Bog

The northern Minnesota unincorporated community of Sax has 20 people scattered in the general area. Six miles down the road is Zim, population 10. The bog in between is nationally, even internationally, famous for its assorted boreal bird species, particularly owl species, which have migrated down from the sub-arctic. It is an obligatory a stop for any birder doing a 'big year', or filling out a serious 'life list'.

In mid February there is a Sax-Zim Birding Festival in nearby Meadowlands, pop 135. Last year the low temp during the festival was -59F. The coldest I have ever been was near -40F, and as I recall, that was damned cold.  -59F? Seriously? Last winter almost 3,000 birders visited Sax-Zim.

Birding down in Texas I was wore a Duluth Hawk Ridge baseball cap. Some birders asked if I go to Sax-Zim.              No, it is damned cold up there, I go to the Lower Rio Grande Valley.


- Gunnar

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Estero Llano Grande

An hour drive up river to visit with friends, Brian and Jutta. Between Tacos Pirata at Nana's and drinks at the Blue Onion, we birded a little - really damned little. Mostly we walked, sat and talked. There were a lot of birds, but most of them were Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. If you have seen one Black-bellied Whistling duck....

Vermilion Flycatcher - female

A lot of ducks, too much food, a little beer and lot of talk. After returning home we stopped over to Nancy and Mike's for another round of talk. And one last beer.

Life is hard. Sometimes there are things more important than seeing birds.  - Gunnar

Friday, November 1, 2019

South Padre Island Fall

We have never visited the Rio Grande Valley in Fall. These are from our first day on South Padre, working the Sheepshead lots and the Birding Center. Met a number of fine folks today, particularly enjoyed the company of Bob Bartelt.

Here are some photos from today:

Keeping warm on the coast - Gunnar