Saturday, February 28, 2015

Breaking News. . . Nova is here!

The much anticipated Nova Rolfsrud Wilson, finally getting a chance to stretch her legs.
She's fine, her Dad says.

Lynn Wilson with his first born.
Word was received this afternoon from the airport in Phoenix, Arizona, where Grandpa Steve was contacting everyone he knows with the good news:
Nova Rolfsrud Wilson is here!
Born today at 4:30 p.m. CST, at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, she weighs 6 lbs 12 oz, is 20 inches long and scored a 9 on her APGAR -- which is a really good score, Grandpa says.
Yes, Nova is an unusual name, and just may have something to do with her father being a NASA Research Astrophysicist.
Competition among the grandchildren has already emerged. Kaia, the first one, was born exactly on her due date. Nova beat that by one day!
Mother Briggs is doing fine, Steve said. He had no idea about Dad.

A nova is a cataclysmic nuclear explosion on a white dwarf, which causes a sudden brightening of the star. Novae are not to be confused with other brightening phenomena such as supernovae or luminous red novae. Novae are thought to occur on the surface of a white dwarf in a binary system. If the two stars of the system are sufficiently near to one another, material can be pulled from the companion star's surface onto the white dwarf. A nova is caused by the accretion of hydrogen onto the surface of the star, commencing a runaway fusion reaction. -- Wikipedia

On Saturday, where there is smoke, there is training.

Black smoke rose high over Shakopee this morning, causing two curiosity seekers to veer from their intended route to the community center walking track.
Trainees from Shakopee, Chaska, Carver
Fire crews from miles around had gathered near the Rahr Malting property on the banks of the Minnesota River to burn a group of old buildings in a training exercise intended to clear the area for future development.
"I used to live in that house," life-time Shakopee resident Matt Drees exclaimed to his driver. Flames licked at the old building as firefighters sprayed just enough water to keep things under control without extinguishing the blaze.
Later, without breaking stride, Matt
handled other important
business of the day.
Firemen stood close enough to stay warm without catching fire. Despite temperatures in the low teens, a knot of townspeople gathered to witness the excitement of flashing lights, burning buildings and jets of water.
A camera drone circled overhead recording the event for its operator.
The two curiosity seekers didn't get out of their car, just shot these photos as they slowly cruised past the scene of the action. There would be enough exercise later this morning at the walking track in the community center, and besides Matt's back is still on the mend from recent surgery.
With their inspection complete and satisfied that the situation was under control and in competent hands, the pair signed off, turned south and sped away.

Matt points out features in the old neighborhood that is about to get a make over.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Big One

This luxury Lake O'Dowd fish house has drawn the admiration and wonder of many a passer by, but it will be gone by March 2 when the DNR says it is time to clear the ice. It's too cold to walk outside these days, so Stan and Matt (he's recovering from back surgery) took their exercise today at the Shakopee Community Center. They paused to admire the fish house on their way home, speculating that it is probably used as a camper in the summer time. One sure clue to that -- the ice house has what appears to be an air-conditioner on the roof.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Overflight brings memories of our Dinner at Grand Junction

Our banquet on the banks of the Gunnison on St. Patrick's Day in March of 2008. That's corned
beef and cabbage on the platter on the right.
On our way back from Tucson in 2008 we stopped to see our daughter in Grand Junction, Colorado, where the Colorado River joins the Gunnison -- in a "grand junction." Jennifer's arty landlord treated us to a delicious and memorable dinner as well as a glorious view from her home on the banks of the twisting, turning Gunnison.
It was St. Patty's Day, so in honor of our Irish we ate corned beef cabbage and boiled potatoes and such. The merry evening ended with a bonfire under the stars.
The Gunnison River curve seen from the artist studio.
Below the artist's studio window, the Gunnison turns a sharp corner, hugged along the shoreline by the Union Pacific railroad tracks in what is said to be the tightest turn in modern railroadom. The heat from steel-on-steel friction created by the extreme turning is cooled by pools of thick lubricant spread by the company along the trackage.
Yesterday, returning from California, we overflew Grand Junction and sure enough, there was that sharp turn in the Gunnison, traced by the railroad. It stirred memories of good times staying overnight with our daughter in a tiny cottage in the back yard. You could light the stove for morning coffee without getting out of bed -- the ultimate in convenience.
Our accommodations were --
unusual -- that night in 2008.
Grand Junction is on the doorstep of the Rockies, so the next day we were treated to the grandeur of a magnificent snowy drive over the peaks to Denver, gleefully photographed by Kathleen while Stan kept a tight grip on the wheel.
(On yesterday's flight we also got a bird's eye view of all the ships at anchor collected at Long Beach due to the dock strike, as well as the gorgeous snow-capped San Jacinto peak near the project house, the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead still showing the effects of a long drought, and, of course, snow-covered Shakopee - Home Sweet Home…. where wife and dog would warmly greet the weary traveler.)

Grand Junction yesterday from 35,000 feet. Jennifer used to live beside the sharp turn in the river.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

French Curve overhead trellis project -- Day Three

This is as far as we'll go on this trip. This morning we traced a new rail from the old, screwed and glued it, sanded it, then cut dados (right) for the braces. The framework is done, we need some feet later. Next we'll rip the lattice work from 2x6 material and place it across the rails, like railroad ties, except there will be variations in the lattice that will effect another curve. When will this be done? Not sure. Stay tuned. We catch the 9 a.m. to MSP tomorrow. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

French Curve overhead trellis project -- Day Two

It's about 14 feet long.
The first laminated redwood assembly has been glued, screwed, jig-sawed and sanded. This finished rail will now be used as a template, and placed on top of a second rail assembly and, before its final trim, traced to assure that the twin curves will be an exact match. Duplicate rough pieces for the second rail were pre-cut and set aside on the first day, so final assembly of the second rail should go much quicker. Which is a good thing. Stan leaves for Minneapolis on Wednesday morning.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

French curve overhead trellis project -- Day One

Two redwood beams are being fabricated in the shape of a voluptuous French Curve to complement the ordinary shed roof added recently to the back of the house. The beams are laminations that will be trimmed out with a jigsaw, laced with lath then erected high overhead, where vines, bougainvillea and the like will find suitable anchorage. The redwood material will be glued, screwed, sealed and painted before taking its place under the California sun. . .which can be brutal.
We hope the final product will last a lifetime. This is Day One.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Very Cold. . . but still stylin'

Photo by Hai Dang
Hai spotted this well-dressed traveler at the Spirit Airlines Minneapolis/St. Paul departure desk in Terminal One this afternoon. He's bound for LA (the Oscars?) where he'll no doubt shed his warm white coat.
Perhaps he'll change into some high fashion rainwear when he arrives. It's supposed to be wet on the Red Carpet in Hollywood tomorrow.

There will be a door to close when showering

There's no door between the bathroom and the bedroom. That may be very California, very modern, very open concept -- but it just won't do. There's a conventional arch-top door -- left hand swing, 32 inch rough opening -- on the way. We considered a barn door on sliders, rejected it. This door will match the others in style. The existing wall is made of 2x6s, we'll install 2x4's for the door, which should make for an interesting recessed effect when finished. Transom could be glass or beadboard or plain. Standby or comment.

New Closet. IKEA storage unit, Target crates. Recycled shelves and closet poles.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Today at Lowe's

We walked 7 miles round trip to Lowe's this morning to get 25 feet of 12/2 electric cable, no annuals.
But this outdoor display was a nice diversion.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Good Luck in the New Year

It's bad luck to bring unfinished business into the New Year. Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, coincides with the Chinese New Year tomorrow, so the pressure was on Severin to complete this beautiful woodworking project for his Asian clients. He'll be painting this custom cabinet project and installing the obscured glass today so it should be ready for the Big Day tomorrow.
Chop Chop, Severin.

2015 Chinese New Year is February 19, 2015. As the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the holiday is also known as the Lunar New Year. In China, the Chinese New Year is named the Spring Festival as well. In Asian cultures, the Lunar New Year is the most important holiday of the year and is celebrated over a period of 15 days.

2015 is the Year of the Ram. However, it is also regarded as the year of the sheep or the goat. Regardless of whichever name you prefer, the animal represents the eighth sign in the 12 cycles of the Chinese Zodiac. The ram is also regarded as an auspicious animal that delivers a year of promise and prosperity. Those that are born on the year of the ram are said to possess a lot of peaceful traits. Rams are kind, helpful, and trusting. The Ram is also resistant to change.

Information from Latin Times web site.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

For Mom

Washington Navel Orange, CDFA #3001184 1 C&M Nursery, Nipomo CA

Beverly Rolfsrud -- 1920-2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tree shoppers discover the Privet

"This is the best time for planting," the highly-commissioned salesman at the well-endowed nursery asserted to the two customers who had just driven in from Highway 79.
They were in the market for some big shade trees, and this was obviously the right place to look. The most interesting species discovered today was the Privet, it appealed to the northern boys with its broad leaves and bushy appearance with a proper study trunk. The way a tree is supposed to be, not all frondish, or palmy or spindly like so many of the native desert-hardy trees.
Isn't a Privet a shrub for a hedge, (hence privacy) but these were big bushy, dramatic trees, not at all shrubby. Who knew?
It may well be the best time for planting a tree, but there were so many choices, so much to consider. In the meantime, we'll look up that Privet tree.

Wikipedia says:
A privet is a flowering plant in the genus Ligustrum. The genus contains about 50 species of erect, deciduous or evergreen shrubs, sometimes forming small or medium-sized trees, native to Europe, north
Africa, Asia and Australasia. Privet was originally the name for the European semi-evergreen shrub Ligustrum vulgare, and later also for the more reliably evergreen Ligustrum ovalifolium used extensively for privacy hedging, though now the name is applied to all members of the genus. It is often suggested that the name privet is related to private, but the OED states that there is no evidence to support this.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Victim directs sarcasm, ridicule to friend

Wayne with fellow sufferer Matt Drees sending out sarcastic emails from snowbound cabin. 
Immediately after the cold and flu season has peaked in the northern tier, a more vicious malady strikes. Easily spotted and diagnosed, cabin fever exhibits obvious symptoms. Unfortunate victims become morose, sometimes belligerent. Often deep in a funky denial, they attack those around them, ridiculing the innocent, mocking old friends, making sarcastic remarks and biting observations. Severe cabin fever sufferers will belittle others with offensive comments that they might otherwise eschew.
Take the sad case of Wayne Kasich, caught in a snowdrift just south of the Canadian border, enduring cloudy days and starless nights.  His poor wife would be the object of his illness but, thank goodness for email, he's able to re-direct these malodorous symptoms elsewhere.
Read this to see what can happen:

Hello Stan.
So after three days in that climate you have installed one 28" refrigerator. Is that correct? While we are in the throes of winter? While we are staring at the annoying red squirrel that is eating the bird's food out in the yard where it is well below zero?
You send your wife dead flowers and then you say you took a wrong turn and you go watch people in their shirt sleeves flying model airplanes. You say that was just an accident because you took a wrong turn. Meanwhile, your wife is cooped up indoors, looking at a dead plant you sent on Valentine's Day, with you galavanting around in 75 degree weather. I have not seen any evidence of your work. Are you really out there? Really?
I'm showing no signs of cabin fever this winter. I'm doing very well. In fact I am probably better than you are because I'm being honest about where I am. I'm fine! Really, I'm fine!
Don't let the smiles fool you. Those are cackles -- as they disrespect their hard-working friend in California.

No poem as lovely as a tree. . .

Photo by email
Isn't this a lovely tree? Emily learned this technique in art class and showed Grandma how she can do it during yesterday's Valentines Day overnight. Very cool, Emily. And notice the stick person under the tree. Who could that be?

Morning smoothies.

I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Joyce Kilmer

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentines Day!

Via email
Looked Good On Line
It's the thought that counts, of course.
The thought is that he misses his sweetie back in Minnesota while he toils in sunny California. Kathleen's favorite flower is the fragrant, fragile Gardenia, a beautiful plant would remind her of how special she is to him.
Through the magic and convenience of on-line ordering and guaranteed delivery the deal was done. ProFlowers to the rescue, right?
The potted Gardenia originated in a bitter cold Illinois and arrived on her doorstep, as promised, yesterday afternoon -- when the temperatures were a balmy 30 degrees in Shakopee.
By this morning, above is what became of his Valentine! -- definitely not like the one on the right that originated the thought.
Ah, but we're philosophical. All flowers are temporary, it is just a matter of how much time, they all fade and die.
Our Love is Forever.
Happy Valentines Day everyone. Have a good thought.

Postscript: The nice lady at ProFlowers promised to deliver a replacement. Kathleen chose a hardier plant to arrive Wednesday.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Morning buzz

Boasting that it's "one of the friendliest clubs around," members of the Menifee Valley RC Flyers Club were performing aerial acrobatics this morning. The Minnesota snowbird had turned right instead of left and was surprised to see a dramatic display of loops and stalls as tiny craft darted about in the clear blue sky, responding to the radio controls of skilled operators below.
It looked like a lot of fun. Closer inspection revealed some World War II vintage craft along with more contemporary models. The small knot of flyers gathered this morning was friendly alright, handing the visitor a club brochure and encouraging him to come back on the weekend, when members who have regular jobs join in for big meets and some aerial competition.
The field is located on a hillside, away from the populated area, though the models don't really make much noise anyway. The scenic field is available to members for night flying, is open seven days a week with skilled instructors available. Annually, they are invited to a nearby homeowner association private lake where they install floats and demonstrate their flying skills.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fridge is in. . .

The door to the kitchenette is just under 28 inches wide and we bought a 28 inch wide refrigerator. Removing the refrigerator doors and scootching it in sideways made all the difference.
A half an inch to spare on both sides. We had to remove the doors anyway, we want it to swing on lefthand hinges so we can open it to the max. Now that we've got it all measured, we'll roll out the refrigerator and install the cabinet above.
Travis, our California native contractor whose wife shudders when it gets below 50, got the Pex plumbing in last night so we've got hot and cold and a drain. We keep Travis entertained with tall tales of the Northland. Project week continues.
Meanwhile, outdoors, some planters are taking shape to the whine of a skilsaw.
Cold beer by tomorrow.

Update: What color should the knobs be?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Over the top

This is Mt. Jacinto. Not Katie 2. Photo was taken from Katie 2.
Previous climbing experience pretty much limited to Crazy Horse Monument and Inspiration Peak, the Minnesota boy felt an extra surge of exhilaration as he reached the rocky summit today. In a moment of passion he hoped would resonate through Valentine's Day, he christened the peak "Katie 2" and surveyed the kingdom in the valley below.
You can see the house from here.
All the huffing and puffing was worth it, an organic stair-stepper of sorts. The rewards included a view of snow-capped Mt. Jacinto. Far away in the other direction, commuters rushed to and fro on I-15, some heading toward San Diego, some toward LA.
Trail dog Jackson thinks everyone likes him.
The round-trip was a mere 2.5 miles from pillow to breakfast, but it felt farther than that in some new muscles in an old body.
Hopefully this won't interfere with projects scheduled for today. There's a tree to plant and a pergola to begin building so the vines can get a head start before summer . Uff da.
You can never climb high enough, of course. Katie 2 was a challenge, but just to the west there's an even taller peak, a better view.
Katie 3 tomorrow.

Katie 3

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hike in the early morning mist

Photo by Stan Rolfsrud
We'll get to the summit tomorrow. (It's no K2 -- you can see the house from here.)


Here's a concept for a trellis/entry point for an east-facing portico.
Revision One. (Client loves French Curves.)

Monday, February 09, 2015

Turbulence ahead?

Stan writes from Los Angeles:

4F was my window seat yesterday on a flight to LAX. 
Seated forward in 3F was a toddler, her mother sat beside her with a nursing infant in her arms.
Stowed in the tiny foot space directly underneath me, belonging to 5F, was an eight-month-old Samoyed puppy. He was letting everyone know he wanted out of his cage. Now.
It had all the makings of a long afternoon, perhaps the dreaded flight through hell.
Seated beside me was an attractive Chinese National, returning from her job in St. Paul to see her father in Bejing. We needed no language as we looked at each other, sighed and started laughing out loud at our luck. We had paid extra to get these seats.
As we settled in, she dug deep into a huge leather carry-on bag and, after a moment or two, produced a shiny orange tangerine. Then she dug around again, and produced another. It was for me.
As we sat together peeling those juicy, fragrant tangerines, her simple act of friendship seemed to change everything.
The baby slept, the toddler watched a movie and took instructions from her parents, and the puppy spent the entire flight, happy on Mommy's lap.
We reached LA without any turbulence just in time to watch an orange and blue sunset settle peacefully over the coast.
Great seats.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Martha's Eats and Treats

Three of Martha's Mavens enjoyed a bite at the local treatery, Tasha, Jennifer and Christina.
Our favorite bakery in the whole wide world is open again. Martha's Eats and Treats in Dundas took a winter hiatus over January, but has opened again, to the immediate relief of the baked-goods-starved local populace. The place was hopping today. We dove into a couple of plates of quiche and savories and hot bowls of soup with our resident Jennifer and then were surprised by a visit from her friend Tasha and her fourth-grader Christina.
Later we inspected the in-floor heating project at Jen's Old House. The hot water heater, despite the skeptics, is doing yeoman duty. Our winter-weary feet warmed noticeably as we sat in Jen's comfortable bedroom. There's still plenty to be done to get the system running to the max, but for now we're convinced the dang thing is going to work, and work well.

Final inspection and approval was noted today (above) by the Superintendent of Good Work.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Governor Fortenberry?

Ken and Anna in a campaign photo. She has to be among the most patient women in history. Don't know
what's up with the log cabin in the background. Doubt that Ken was born there, but who knows.
Same old Ken.
Stan served in a U.S. Army Information Office in 1970 with an unforgettable character, Specialist Fourth Class Kenneth Fortenberry, a one-of-a-kind gadfly Southern boy who delighted in tweaking the son-of-a-bitch colonel who was the Brigade's chief of staff. Ken wasn't intimidated by anyone or anything.
Future N.C. Guv?
Stan lost track of him for a while, then spotted him on 60 Minutes in 1987. As publisher of a small-town newspaper he had taken on corruption and the local sheriff, and his house got bombed. Harry Reasoner interviewed him. A book he wrote about the experience, "Kill the Messenger," was published in 1989 and has been under option for a TV movie.
He received the Georgia Press Association’s Freedom of Information Award in 1993 for his courageous investigative reporting of a powerful public utility that was being mismanaged.
Ken re-established himself in North Carolina, raised a family, then lost a run for a congressional seat.
He's now retired, and obviously bored.
Last month he announced he was running to be the Governor of North Carolina in 2016. Libertarian Party. Good old anti-establishment Ken, Stan thought, no rocking chair for him.
Browsing through his campaign platform, Ken is correct on just about everything. So there is absolutely no chance he'll ever get elected. But he'll shake up the regulars, raise some hell, and maybe be a spoiler -- and garner lots of attention and have plenty of fun doing it.
Same old Ken. Good luck to this Great American -- who tried to get Stan to partner in a publishing venture somewhere in South Carolina after the Army. Come to God's Country, he said.
A road not taken.