Ottertail Country

Ottertail Country
Ottertail South

April 30, 2009


About a week ago, I hauled the last of Peggy's things from her old house in Phillips! The garage at home is about full of things getting ready for "the sale". After that, we can start parking vehicles in there again. I also have to finish the work benches on east wall and run in the rest of the outlets. Always something to do....

I did a little reminiscing about this bicycle while loading it and hauling it to the Ottertail. Years ago (very early '90's ?) I saw an ad in a cycling magazine that showed a recumbent bike made by Rans, a company that also builds small airplane kits. I cut out the picture an put it in my toolbox at work. I found a dealer, got a brochure and found out these things were quite spendy. I found other brands of recumbents, found dealers, called and wrote letters and ended up with brochures for about a dozen different bikes. I realized that I had a collection of photos and information that would allow me to construct one of these things.

The bike I actually patterned my frame after was one of the Easy Racers. That's one in the photo above, and I did find a windshield like the one above and used it when I was riding alot. It helped with wind drag, rain, etc. Anyway, I had straight on side views, wheelbase dimensions, wheel sizes, etc. I was able to draw out a full scale model on some corrugated board at work.

Freshly graded driveway in the spring always looks nice.... anyway, I got a couple of 10 speed road bikes and started measuring and cutting. Soon I had frame members all cut and fit, welded together and painted. I scrounged necessary parts for shifters, brakes, cables and housings, extra chain. I needed a small diameter from wheel/tire combo, and I think someone from work brought me one.

Here was the last gathering of firewood from the edge of the field last week. It's lasted through April, and I think the stove will go out this weekend. I'll kind of miss messing with it, I think....

This original bike had a steering bar under the seat that was linked to the front fork with some 1/8 diameter aircraft cable. Eventually I fashioned and aluminum handle bar (a copy of something I saw somewhere...) and made the switch. It was lots better. The seat was made of plywood, foam padding and vinyl covering stapled on with my roofing stapler. The seat is still the original and works well.

The last firewood is at the stove.

That recumbent bike saw a lot of action over the years. The first couple of years I put about 1500 miles a year on it. The longest one day ride was from Westboro to a friend's house in the hills west of Bayfield.... 125 miles. It also did two 'Best Dam Bike Tours', a fundraiser for the MS Society. That was a two day, 150 mile ride from Milwaukee to Madison, with an overnight at Whitewater U. The first year Liz Barton did the ride with me. The next year my niece Amy from Wausau did the ride on a recumbent I built for her. The following year Rosie did the ride with me, we rode a tandem bike that I had built the year before. We had fun...

Chilly as it has been, the lawn is actually turning a little green!

Seems like the deer are able to find a little something to eat out in the field. Looks pretty brown to me, but what do I know?

We had quite a storm last Friday, lots of lightning, thunder and about an inch of rain. Some of the clouds looked pretty weird.

I just liked the colors in these pieces of wood. Really, I will quit with the wood stuff. But I guess that soon we will saw into that pulp pile in the field......

I gotta go, Carlo


April 29, 2009

Hailee and hunting.....


Hailee spent several days with us while we were on layoff. I mean furlough..... here we are looking at pictures of dogs, of all things, on the computer. I was showing here how to use the mouse and such, with mixed success.

Then she helped granny take out a reconsidered knitting job and ended up with all the used yarn on her head. It reminded me of raspberry flavoredRamen noodles.

We also spent some time outside hauling firewood from the edge of the yard to the outdoor stove. I think we were just done with an awesome bit of running when this picture was taken. Or some other heroic endeavor.

Yes, we were still firing the stove at that point. I think it was the week of April 13-17. We were nearly out of wood, then decided to cut up some windfall items at the edge of the lawn to extend the burn as things did not seem to be warming up much.

Starting on the 15th I was turkey hunting. Here is the view from the blind looking southeast. A couple of times I was startled by that decoy when I would look in that direction. I'm probably not as smart as most turkeys....

Here's a look at the blind from 'decoy distance'. Apparently, the turkeys would rather see a big, non-defined blob than something that looked like an enemy.

I had decoys set out about 25 yards away in three directions. I went out to the blind while it was still dark, having set out the decoys late in the preceding evening. I took some coffee, a couple of donuts, and a summer sausage sandwich. I did have some action with calling and having a bird answer and eventually come in. It acted like a tom, all fluffed up and tail spread, but it had no beard or wattles on the head. It never approached the decoy, so I'm not sure what it was. I have since read on the web of others seeing a hen turkey acting like a tom on occasion.

The decoys looked pretty real, although the realism doesn't play into it much. I have seen some decoys of other animals the I would have thought were a joke, but the general shape seems to do it. Well, I had no luck in getting a tom turkey this year, but I had a good time.

Early morning light makes for some interesting looks. I could not resist the silver maple shadow on the garage wall. Blow this one up and see the nicely defined shadow of a robin on the extreme right.....

That's it for now,

I gotta go, Carlo


April 18, 2009

Getting closer......


Finally had a chance to go flying!! The weather has either been too cold or too windy (mostly that) since early January. In fact this was the first time I've flown since Kristi went with me. Relax, Adam, I'll be giving you a call soon.........

Notice how clear this photo is. It was taken through... "the new plastic on the door"!! Back in February I talked about putting new plastic in the plane's zip-out doors. It's so clear that it seems like there's no window in the plane, it's great and I'm excited about it. The plastic for the next one is on the dining room table now and scheduled for cutting, fitting and sewing into position...... soon!

Yeah, Kristi, I'm keeping an eye on you guys..... when Adam flies with me, we can get some getter pics. These I did by trying to fly and take a picture at the same time. Usually not too bad, but the clear window is on the side I was sitting, so it was hard to get the camera far enough away from my face to be able to aim, focus, etc. Much easier shooting out the other side, or, better yet, when a photographer is in the plane with me.

You saw that single pile of wood in an earlier post, that's gone now and I'm burning up what ever is handy. We found a few fallen trees right next to the yard, so we cut these up and hauled them via wheelbarrow to the stove. I'm thinking that April 16th or 17th will be the final burn day.

That little silver maple in the back yard is getting big enough to make it's presence known. It's hard for the moon to get up through all those branches.

And here is a shot of our "giant trained seal" balancing the moon on his nose. That seal lives about 150 yards out into the woods, so you can imagine how large it is.

Well, that's all from the Ottertail today.

I gotta go, Carlo


April 16, 2009

Catching up.


This is how the wood piled appeared on April 6th.... not much left! But it doesn't take much wood to keep the boiler hot as the house is getting a lot of heat from sunshine and not as much loss to not-so-cold air outside. I'm just trying to get the most out of having the water heater turned off, so will keep burning until I'm completely out...

Now this looks like a kit of some sort for something or other. Actually, it's a bunch of parts I made at work for a shelf idea for the garage.

In the winter we park the motorcycles cross ways in the garage along the wall opposite the overhead doors. This leaves a large wall space that is of no particular use. So I fired up my drawing program, designed a shelf system, made laser burn patterns and produced some parts.

I also had to do some bending, a little welding, and finally some bolting together of parts at home.
I took advantage of an overhead roof truss member and designed the brackets to hang on there, then the cross supports bolted to the vertical part and attached to the wall with lag bolts.

Here's a view taken from a ladder. The shelves are 20 feet long and 2 feet deep. We will still be able to park the bikes along the wall there (you can see part of Peg's bike under there) and be able to store a bunch of stuff above. Probably will want put lighter stuff on these, like coolers, etc.

Here is the moon hovering over the Ottertail one spring evening. What a nice full moon period we had in April! Clear each night and the moon was bright.

Earlier that same evening I got this shot. I love the look of the low evening sun on that wood siding.

That's about all for today, I'm trying to catch up with this stuff, and I'm getting close.......



April 15, 2009

Kettle, day two....


On Kettle weekend, Chris, Ashley and Hailee stayed overnight, so we had a little extra visit time. Gotta love those tap shoes........

Remember the phrase from years ago, 'little miss smarty pants' ? Hmmmm.... anyway, I seem to remember a banjo song from years ago, may have been an original, called 'Little miss Marty Spance'. Any recollections of that, anyone?????

Sunday morning is pancake time, and Hailee and I are getting a pretty solid routine..... it must have started with that teddy bear pancake mold we found.

After breakfast, Hailee helped grandma brush out her hair. She seemed to take it very seriously.

And a little piano playing. Didn't last too long, as there was one more balloon to blow up. Now this kid has a unique talent. She loves to blow up balloons, and she does not hold them with her hands! She keeps them in with her teeth (I'm guessing) and blows, blocks the air from getting out while she breathes in through her nose, then blows again..... this is done to any empty balloons there are, sometimes she lets the air out again and re-inflates. Go figure.... I can hardly get one of those blasted things blown up.

I gotta go, Carlo


April 11, 2009

High culture in Ogema.......


A few weeks ago we had an event that probably is the only one like it in world. Well, O.K., maybe in Ogema it stands unique..... Kettle Fest!! Being aficionados of Ma & Pa, we mentioned them to Kristi and Adam last Christmas. They were eager to see them, so we decided to have a bash.....

If you have watched them, you know what we're talking about. The original movie was "The Egg and I", starring Fred and Claudette (see above). Ma 'n Pa were neighbors of the egg ranch, and they turned out to be really popular and went on to star in a series of Ma and Pa Kettle movies.

Typical Ma, ready for anything and handy with frying pans and shotguns.... they are a riot. You have to go here and watch them do some math.... it's a good example or what they are about.

We had planned a number of food items for the day, including kettle corn, of which Kristi made a giant batch; kettle fried potato chips (super crunchy and really good), and a variety of other treats. Here Rosie was preparing a bunch of crab leg pieces for grilling.

The weather was quite nice out, even if it was only the 21st of March. We grilled on the deck without freezing, no wind, quite unusual for up here..

Carol brought Donna with her, Kristi was there and Jim and Adam came down later. Carol brought a crock pot with 'hot venison' for sandwiches. What do you call the style, shredded? Whatever, it tasted great. Kristi brought a cake, and Donna brought a jello salad. I'm not sure I have this all correct, it was a busy day.......

Rose and Bryn had stayed overnight after their birthday dinner, so they were available to be put to work early in the day.

Hey, here's what it was all about! One of the early showings, The Egg and I, is playing.

Chris and Ashley arrived mid-day, somewhat skeptical of the movies, but game for anything! I think they enjoyed it?

Chris did take some time out from the event to take Hailee for a walk in the woods.

Oh, yeah, the crab legs are on the grill......

The venison kabobs are just off the grill.......

We took a break from the movies to all sit down for mid-afternoon feasting. Jim and Adam arrived as we were eating, so they got in on the food AND got to see a movie or two.

Crab legs.... you would have thought that these two maniacs had not eaten in a week!! They cleaned up every bit of them......

So the past adventures of Ma and Pa live on in all their wonderful glory. If you want to borrow the DVD's, just send a request..... we have lots of episodes.

I gotta go, Carlo