Sunday, November 19, 2017

No Question, It Is November

 Mid going on Late....

The critters all know, the hunters are aware as well.  Our valley has been dotted with orange and boom booms.  Our local deer season is typically the first week of November, then a week off with the season returning again for the Thanksgiving week.  At least 2 hunters were very successful in our vicinity.

Deer weren't the only animals busy and about....I had to get busy with the Opossum Relocation Program.

I thought I'd be smart and put the cat dishes up on the porch swing to prevent the robbing of their kibble.  Our Moesha isn't in the best of shape (overly broad), jumping isn't something she's very good at these days so I turned the planter upside down, mostly confident that our "little grinner" wouldn't have the needed skills to access the food bowls.

I greatly underestimated the ability of our recent arrival.

The live trap was put out in the driveway.  Percy, our other barn cat learned to not do that again and the trap was reset.  It didn't take long and I had the proper captive.  Off we went, a fearful and very still opossum clinging to the side of the trap.  5 miles away in an area more isolated and near the State Park, the release was complete.  Proud of myself (for not using a different method to rid us of the pest) I drove home, back up the driveway and swung the corner to the garage only to see another opossum cleaning up the uneaten food where the trap had been previously set.


So far, we're opossum-free.

Last winter, when the very coldest snowfalls required my use of The Plowtruck, the truck's starter wouldn't run.  I discovered after much frustration that if my magnetic heater was attached right to the body of the starter itself, the truck would start.  Of course that meant crawling under the truck, the very coldest snows typically with very coldest winds, making that entire process less than ideal when the whole reason for having the plow truck in the first place was to be able to deal with our driveway enjoying inside the cab comfort.

Starter was ordered, it arrived and on one of our nicer winter days last February, I crawled underneath and started to install the new unit.  Getting only as far as that one impossible to reach bolt, the process reversed, I put everything back together.

I told myself and others...."I'll put up with this Attaching Heater Method for now and then install the new starter when it's warmer and easier."

We had a lovely summer, I spent much of it riding and put the new starter in yesterday afternoon in 32 degree weather.  It was markedly warmer (the lawn green) than the last time I attempted the job.

Ambitious yesterday, I finished rebuilding the snowblower's carburetor and this morning reinstalled it.  The upside is that the blower started on the first pull, something it hasn't done for a few neglectful years.  The downside is that gas was leaking very improperly so that project is not yet finished....I'm going to call it 85% complete.

The sun was shining this afternoon and our thermometer was reading 34 degrees on the shaded side of the house.  They're saying maybe 50 for tomorrow but I'm not retired yet.

The Lake City boat harbor....

Looking downriver...

Looking upriver....

Finally a stop for a hot cup....

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Social Media - 1882

It was different back then...but not all that much.

Christmas Day, 1881.  My great great grandmother Lydia Hulburt gave this to her daughter Harriet (Hattie) whom had turned 16 years old only 4 days before.  Mother Lydia was almost 45.

I'm guessing that young Arthur from Sparta, Wisconsin mistakenly wrote the year as was only January 7th and I'll bet that for 7 days he'd been mistakenly using the wrong date on every check that he wrote.

A Merry Christmas wish from Hattie's little sister Luella, almost 9 years old.

Check out this penmanship from Hattie's teacher....her 13 year old sister Emily with another Christmas wish.

That same 1881 Christmas, another holiday wish from her younger sister Julia Alona Hulburt.

Wonderful sentiments all from sisters, friends, teachers, etc.  This entry is the most important one however.  A young A. W. Cooper, a friend 2 years her senior wrote, "Place one link in memory's chain for if we part we may never meet again."

Five years later, they were man and wife.

Hattie at 38 years old......

Albert at 40 years old....

Lydia at 75, her daughter Hattie at 45, Hattie's daughter Josie at 22 and Hattie's granddaughter Pearl at 16 months.

Albert at 54, Hattie at 52, my grandfather Allen at 21, Josie 30 and Lorence 15

Monday, November 6, 2017

MN Swan Ride - 2017

Yesterday was the 24th annual MN Swan Ride and my brother was among the first to arrive on a very chilly morning.  We were still getting rain down in Red Wing at that time and I was still debating whether or not I'd suit up for the event.

This the planned Route, 140+ miles to arrive at The Cove in Buffalo City.  Using even the shortest way home, most participants were looking at  230+ mile day; my brother managed 278.

All of these photos courtesy of my brother's image-taking....mine begin once you see the yellow scooter.


Fury Motors sponsors a free breakfast and a gathering place for the ride's send-off.

Whenever I've participated in the ride, their established Route was intercepted by me.  Sometimes with a coffee thermos, always with a camera, I've watched the riders come and go, working their way to the lunchtime rendezvous.  Yesterday was no different, though an attempt was made at picking a corner where I'd catch the group(s) going by.

Arriving quite early, the church service was still in progress, cars parked in and around this big corner.

I was ready...with lots of time to spare.

 Lunchtime at The Cove in Buffalo City, the Mississippi 15 feet from where I'm standing.

 It was just the right kind of day for dessert.....

 Rum Cherry to be exact....

So while the real riders did well more than 200 miles, my piddly ride was 109.

The pie chart is getting sliced, optimistically, a few more adjustments yet this riding season.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Not Really Another One....

Only part of one.

I'm hoping to get this one back on the road....

I have to go deep inside to replace the kick start shaft, which I have.  I do not have a muffler and need one.

This is the kind of weather we've been having, making it easy to be busy in the shop disassembling.

Last weekend Mike turned me on to an online auction happening down in Omaha.  Sunday afternoon I bid $50 on an old Honda and won.  When I mentioned to Peg that I'd won the auction and would be making a road trip to Omaha, she seemed to be a lot more concerned about the quantity in the garage than the cost of reaching that quantity, who knows why??

I was excited about a daylong blitz to Omaha to pick up the bike and since I had only 2 weeks in which to pick it up, last Friday was my hoped for pickup day with a stop in rural Iowa at Baxter Cycle the bonus along the way.  When I mentioned Friday to Rich, I was informed that wasn't going to work.

"I'll be in Mpls picking up and dropping off bikes....."  Well now, that was a scheduling problem that I could work with, would be convenient even though I would miss out on my road trip.

Friday didn't work but Saturday did.

I'm thinking I should ask for some of my money back.....look, leaky fork seals.

The muffler and kick start lever were what made this all worth it.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Rural Life

Wednesday evening I took a quick ride to Red Wing on the sidecar rig, knowing full well that it might be awhile (months??) before the weather and I could cooperate on Satisfying/Fun Conditions again.  It was a dinner ride, cool but wonderful.

As the day's temperatures get cooler and the hours of sunlight shorter, I've been spending more riding time closer to home.  These roads were not only the ones my brother and I started riding on 50 years ago, they were also the roads we drove farm machinery on, hauled hay over, accessed fields for crop work, etc.

As I've already mentioned to some of my riding friends, down at the far end of this distant cornfield there once stood a one room schoolhouse.  My mom attended that school through the 8th grade and once the small neighborhood schools consolidated (and buses appeared), the schools all closed.  In this neighborhood, that meant that everyone attended in Red Wing.

That building was moved to a neighboring farm, desks removed and soon thereafter used as a chicken coup.  During the summers that my brother and I helped mom's brothers on their farm, we helped the chicken coup neighbor clean the chicken manure out of the building that our mom attended school in.  Butch's guidance and stories made the work a lot more interesting and fun than it may seem to someone that wasn't there.

Besides this view which I thought was attractive in more than one way, a recent story that Eric had sent reminded me about the old school, the way the roads ran before being widened, straightened and leveled.  That story had to do with the Armistice Day Blizzard, the anniversary of which was recently remembered and talked about in the area press.  It was Monday, November 11, 1940, a blizzard that took too many by surprise.  The Flower Valley School was let out early, mom was 11 and the neighbor with the chicken's helped her get home.  Mom's shoe was lost on the way and most likely still out there somewhere.

The above photo was taken in Section 11, on the edge of the first "E" in Creek on this topo, looking north.  This USGS Topo map was downloaded from the government site and is the 1950 version.

This morning we woke to a new white coating on the ground; the white coming and going all day with blustery winds, warmer ground temperatures and fluctuating air temps.

I had some shopping to do and was anxious to get out into the weather (using the van) this morning early.  I drove up the Bullard Creek Valley and stopped, did a U-turn and pulled over in Section 10 near the "Y" in Hay to take this photo.  This is that valley, the white area adjacent to the "Y" on the map above.

It was still snowing albeit lightly;it had let up quite a bit when I stopped for this morning's photo.  Difficult to see, the sheep all have snow on their backs.  In late November, 1972, I was plowing this now-harvested soybean field beyond the row of trees.  It had been dark for hours, my goal obviously to finish the field that evening before heading back for our 10PM dinner during harvest time.  Late, maybe 9ish, it had started snowing.  I kept on plowing and even without a cab, actually stayed tough 17-year-old comfortable.  The amount of heat blowing back from the Minneapolis Moline's inline 6 cylinder plus the tremendous heat generated by the transmission and drivetrain mass directly below my feet kept me feeling less cold than you might imagine.  I finished and managed to get the tractor and plow home without running off the gravel roads.  Home, chilled and hungry but very proud and happy that I'd finished what I'd been sent to finish.

This is what I was piloting, my favorite tractor of any I've worked with.....

My view....

And what I was doing that corn stubble not unlike this YouTube gentleman, 'making it black.'  I didn't have a cab though.

Now 6PM and the current radar.....

For the official record, there was no riding done today, October 27, 2017.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sunday's Mix

It started in the predawn hours...finishing up Richard Galbraith's Cuckoo's Calling and then after sunrise, a Board Meeting ( I just take notes ).

Out for the ride that I had hoped would happen on Saturday.

River still high though down a couple of feet from just a few days ago....

Stopped for breakfast at the South Fork, the Buffet sounded just right.  A quick text to Mark whom lives a few blocks away...."I'll be there in 15 minutes...."  It didn't even take him that long.

Mark, your company and our discussion was genuinely appreciated as always; a great way to launch into the main event for the day....The Ride.

Saw the sign for Public Boat Launch and had to stop, then photograph....

I simply can't avoid the temptation...these roads appear and must be followed.

I would have stayed out longer but I needed to get home for the evening's concert in Red Wing.

The very best live show of any that I can remember, an incredible guitarist and performer.  I won't provide a link.....if you're interested and unfamiliar, there are lots of videos out there.

Tonight I mowed the lawn, almost in the dark, wearing my winter coat, stocking hat, sandals (w/socks) and by the time I was done, should have had my gloves on.  Possible snow for Friday.

This might be the end?