Citizens

Postcard: Halloween 2014

Winona Media (Leslie Schultz) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 4:30pm

Categories: Citizens

West Avenue, almost done, and parking changes?

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 3:44pm

That’s tonight!  West is almost done.  The final layer of asphalt is now down, and they’ve dumped black dirt behind the wall and sprayed the boulevards and dirt bordering the sidewalks with that green stuff.

Here’s the new yard, with two new trees (with aftermarket bird nest), and the wired-for-light post for the Little Free Library next to the Neighbors Against the Burner sign:

Categories: Citizens

Ted Talk: the Musical Picnic Surprise Edition

My Musical Family - Joy Riggs - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 2:14pm
I knew as soon as I saw Ted’s face yesterday that he was feeling chipper about something. When I knocked on his door, stepped into the room and peered around the corner, I found him sitting on the side of his bed, looking alert. He was expecting me.

“I have a surprise for you,” he said, nearly singing the words.

“You do?”

My heart began to beat a little faster. I had a guess about what that might mean, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

“There’s a thick book over there on the shelf, right in the middle — do you see it? Can you get it for me?” he asked.

“The book Full Harvest?”

“Yes, that’s it.”

I maneuvered between the bed and the walker next to it and reached for the book. It was heavy. I handed it to him and sat down on the bed next to him. I tried to wait patiently while he paged through the 900-page historical novel, looking for something.

Ted opened the book to a spot three-fourths of the way back, where a bookmark was placed. I could see that the chapter it marked was about his grandfather, Benjamin Papermaster, the famous North Dakota rabbi. The first page of the chapter included a black and white picture of the elder Papermaster as a young man.

From my previous visits with Ted in the nursing home, I knew how much he loved and admired his grandfather. I also knew that my great-grandfather, G. Oliver Riggs, had known and admired Ted’s grandfather. In a recommendation letter G. Oliver wrote to the Adjutant General of the U.S. Army on Ted’s behalf back in 1941, G. Oliver had said of Benjamin Papermaster, “I never knew a finer man.”

But that page in the book wasn’t the object of Ted’s search. After another minute or two, he turned to the back of the book, where he located three small black and white photos. They were not part of the book; they were loose and had been placed there temporarily for safekeeping. Two of them were about the size of my iPhone; the third was almost half that size.

I took a deep breath. I sensed that my guess had been right.

Ted had insisted a few visits ago that he had nothing new to tell me about his days in the St. Cloud Municipal Boys’ Band, and no new memories to share about my great-grandfather. But I had happily discovered that this was not true. During my last visit in April, after I showed him an old family photo of G. Oliver, his wife, Islea, and their children, Ted came up with a new, tantalizing fact: he had a photo, somewhere at his house, of his mother and my great-grandmother pretending to play band instruments. The photo had been taken at a park in St. Cloud when the families of the adult band members had gathered for a picnic. Ted’s father, Bert, had played clarinet in the adult band.

“Here’s what I had in mind for you. Some pictures,” Ted said.

He held them in his hands and examined the smallest one. It was a photo of about a dozen middle-aged women, arranged in three rows. They were holding band instruments and posed as if they were about to perform a tune. The women were wearing long dresses and were either kneeling or standing in the grass, with trees and a lake behind them.


“Oh my gosh!”

I could feel my eyes widen. I leaned in closer and peered through the bottom half of my glasses, wishing I had either a magnifying glass or younger eyes. Or both. I scanned the tiny faces for anyone who looked familiar. I pointed to a woman in the front right corner.

“Is that your mom?” I asked.

Ted got his glasses from the nightstand and put them on, so he could read the words scrawled in black ink on the back of the photo.

He had apparently written the identifying words years ago.

“St. Cloud Municipal Band Picnic. Ladies picture with instruments. Some front row, right end . . .” he read aloud.

I interrupted him. “Does that say Sonia — your mom?”

“Yes. Sonia, front row, 1924 or 25 — I wasn’t sure which year that was,” he said. “They took the men’s instruments, which they can’t play, and they did that for a joke.”

He turned the photo back over so we could see the women’s faces again. Sonia was wearing a white dress, and her dark hair was pulled back from her face. She was holding what appeared to be an alto saxophone, although at first I thought it was a clarinet.

“Yes, that’s my mother,” Ted confirmed.

He would have been about 10 years old when the photo was taken. He was now 100 years old.

Ted moved on to a second picture. This was the one he really wanted to show me. This one was more of an action shot. Six women were visible, standing, holding instruments they appeared to be playing. Ted’s mom was second from the left, in the foreground. On the right side of the photo, I spotted a woman with an ample figure holding a sousaphone. She had not been in the previous photo. But she looked familiar anyway.


“One of these ladies is Mrs. Riggs,” Ted said, peering at the faces. He pointed to the figure on the right with the sousaphone. “I think that’s her. Is she kind of a fat lady?”

“Yes, that looks like it could be her,” I agreed.

“That’s your great-grandmother!” he pronounced triumphantly.

The surprise was revealed. I could tell he was greatly enjoying this. I was, too.

He read the words on the back of the second photo: “St. Cloud Municipal Band Picnic. Ladies with the instruments for a fun picture.”

We both laughed.

I rested my hand on his shoulder and turned to face him. I tried to speak a little louder than my normal quiet voice, to make sure he could hear me.

“Ted, you have made my month!”

The third photo showed a young Ted, playing clarinet, and his younger brother, Ralph, playing soprano saxophone. This was taken in about 1928 or 1929, according to the writing on the back. The boys were standing in front of their house, showing off their band uniforms. It was impossible to tell from the black and white photo, but Ted explained that the uniforms were blue, with a red stripe down the leg of the pants, and red trimming on the cap. The boys also wore red ties.


He handed all three photos to me.

“They’re yours forever,” he said. “Guard them with your life!”

I think he was only half-joking. But I took the admonition seriously. After our visit, I transported them home safely, where I will indeed guard them with my life.

What a gift, and what a fun surprise.

There is no way to adequately express my thanks for such a gift. But this blog post is an attempt.

Every visit I have with you is a gift, Ted. Thank you. 

With love and gratitude,

Your favorite bonehead

Categories: Citizens

PUC Chair: This is not about layout…

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 12:57pm

Not today’s photo, this one from September 11, 2014.

Today at the PUC, the Black Oak and Getty Wind Project was on the agenda. For the full docket, go to PUC SEARCH DOCKETS, and search for 10-1240 (Black Oak) or 11-831 (Getty), and for the Certificate of Need, 11-471.

I’d been retained late last week by project neighbors to address the Commission on their behalf.  They’d been participating throughout, and are frustrated that they’re not being heard, that issues that had been raised by their group, their neighbors, and the DNR were not being heard.  Well, so much for that… Chair Heydinger said that they, the Commission, were not there to discuss layout of the turbines, that it’s only about size, that the notice was about size.  Well, we did get that statement on the record, and I asked again, to be clear on the record, and she repeated that the layout was not at issue, that it’s all in the footprint.  There’s no where to go at the Commission with that kind of statement from the Chair!

Here’s the notice for that agenda item, the issues for Commission decision.

And more importantly, the Applicant filed a Petition For Extension of Certificate of Need on Tuesday, two days before this meeting!  The Commission is making decisions on this siting permit when the Certificate of Need is in limbo?  When the Applicant by their own admission is not going to meet its in-service deadline?

Anyway, layout not at issue today?  Here are the decision items presented to the Commission:

From the Briefing Papers, here is the DNR take on the layout, and note the reference to “previous layouts” because there have been several, and it’s very confusing

Here are DNR comments over the years — the September and October, 2014, comments are regarding this new layout — can you tell if the Commission, Commerce, or anyone paid any attention to the DNR Comments?

DNR_Oct92014_201410-103718-03

DNR_Oct92014_201410-103718-01

DNR_Sept292014_20149-103427-01

DNR_Sept292014_20149-103427-02

DNR_Sept292014_20149-103427-03

DNR_Nov22012_201211-80359-01

DNR_Aug 24 2012_20128-78117-01

DNR_Bat_Feb 22 2013_20132-83757-01

DNR_Feb112012_20112-59451-01

Did the Commission make any attempt to determine whether the DNR concerns were addressed?  Nope.  They just voted.

But this “wasn’t about layout,” so what does it matter…

And worse, knowing of the just filed Petition For Extension of Certificate of Need and that the project would admittedly not be built by the claimed in-service date, they rammed through approval of this new siting arrangement.

 

 

Categories: Citizens

MORC’s 20th Anniversary Gala: why it’s a big deal to me & why you should be there on Nov. 9

Mountain Bike Geezer - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 10:52pm

I have a little story to tell but if you want to get all the info about the MORC 20th Anniversary Gala coming up on Nov. 9, CLICK HERE. More on the Gala’s Facebook event page here.

I took up the sport of mountain biking in serious way in June of 2011 after attending the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Festival Grand Opening. In the photo above, I’ve added an arrow pointing to the MORC and IMBA tents in the back of the parking lot at Cuyuna that weekend. I’d never heard of either organization but I became a member a few days later shortly after purchasing a a 2011 Trek Gary Fisher X- Caliber 29’er from Penn Cycle in Bloomington, courtesy of Ben Witt at Milltown Cycles in Faribault.  (If that makes no sense to you and you’re curious, click here.)

I’ve been hooked on mountain biking ever since, as evidenced by the 250+ posts to this Mountain Bike Geezer blog.  And in those 3 years, I’ve done 90% of my year-round mountain biking on MORC trails in the Twin Cities metro area.  I feel a kinship to the organization like no other because of what it’s given me: the enjoyment of a sport I love and the opportunity to meet and spend time with so many great people.  Being a MORC board member this year has been an honor, especially since it’s MORC 20th anniversary season, topped off with this big fundraiser Gala,

 

I’m also pleased that Penn Cycle, where I bought the bike that I still ride nearly every day, has stepped up to be the Title Sponsor for the Gala. That’s founder/owner Pat Sorenson handing a check to MORC Executive Director Matt Andrews in the left photo.

I briefly met Pat back in 2012, not long after he signed on to be one of the two Founding Retailers for the newly formed Minnesota High School Cycling League (press release here).  That’s QBP’S Advocacy Director Gary Sjoquist, founder of the League, on his right.

The Gala will have amazing food, speakers, music, and auction items of course (details here), in a setting that’s stunning.

If you’ve not been to the Varsity Theater lately, you’re in for a treat, especially when you go to the bathroom, which won Best Bathroom in America honors last year.

Get your tickets before Nov. 1 and you’ll save some money. I’ll see you there.

 

 

GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULL

Subscribe to my free Thick Skull MTB Skills/Mountain Bike Geezer newsletter and get:

  1. The free 3-part video series, 'Light Hands, Heavy Feet': 17 mountain bike drills to develop the 'light hands' habit and make your riding more stable no matter what the terrain
  2. Exclusive how-to-ride related content every week that I don't post on my blog.

So do it. Get it through your Thick Skull.

Categories: Citizens

Community News: Northfield Public Library Secures Renovation Funding, Seeks Private Donations

Winona Media (Leslie Schultz) - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 8:24am

As regular readers of this blog might remember, my very first post (November 10, 2011) was titled “On the Thrill of Libraries”. That piece detailed the excitement I felt on knowing that my first book was part of the Northfield Public Library’s collection.

Today, I am still thrilled by the Library, but even more I am thrilled for the Library — and for all of us who love and depend upon it — because of some very good news about its future. Indeed, when I visited the Library the same day that the news reached me, I thought the fallen leaves looked like confetti.

The news? That by this time next year our Library will be even better than it is today.

Here is an excerpt from an email by Bill North, President of the Friends and Foundation:

Hurray! City Council Votes Unanimously to Approve Library Project!

“I write with wonderful news. The Mayor and City Council voted unanimously last night to approve the Library Project recommended by the Director and Library Board. But they did more! They also voted to pay for $352,000 of essential infrastructure and code compliance matters from other city funds, allowing the city funds and our private fundraising dollars to go entirely to pay for improvements to the Library. Finally, the City has created a “float” of $252,000 with which the City will cover construction costs while the Friends continue their fundraising efforts. This is great news because it will allow the Friends to accept multi-year pledges and apply for grants.”

I want to thank our far-sighted–and hard-working–City officials, staff, and volunteers for supporting this plan. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for all of us who love the Library to support it with a capital gift. Our own gift is the satisfaction of knowing we’re helping to create a stronger foundation for a fine and essential public treasure. Gifts of every size count! Below are materials I collected last week in the Library entryway. For anyone who has not yet seen the plans, or who is planning a gift, I encourage you to pick up your own copies.

 

//

// ]]>

It is not news that the Northfield Public Library is a flag ship institution of education and culture, or that having it firmly anchored on that wedge of land between Washington and Division Streets enhances the economic and civic liveliness of our downtown. It is also not news that Northfield citizens have been working for some years to expand the Library’s physical plant in order to keep pace with the leaps and bounds of demands for service since the last major renovation was completed thirty years ago in 1984.

So it is definitely a cause for celebration that the Library renovation project has a green light! The Library has given so much to our family–truly an incalculable amount.  Tim, Julia, and I are glad to be able to participate in this capital campaign, just as we do as patrons, as annual fund donors, and as volunteers. I would like to encourage everyone to join in–it is a mighty and joyous endeavor that requires us all.

In other Library-related news, the TRIVIA BEE returns on November 14, 20014 from 7-9 p.m. at the Grand Event Center. This event, run by the Friends, is a wonderfully educational and entertaining one. Do consider putting together a team or just come to cheer on your friends and neighbors!

Until another Wednesday, wishing you well, 

Categories: Citizens

Apple Overload

My Northern Garden - Mary Schier - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 8:14am

Sometimes — in the garden, in work, in home life — you just have to face that big task and DO IT! That was my situation on Sunday when I finally faced up to the massive pile of apples waiting to be processed.

The apples.

To say this has been a good year for apples in Minnesota is an understatement. Everywhere, the apples have been prolific, perhaps due to our late but very wet spring or maybe (in my case) to my apple cider trick, which once again led to lots of pollination of my two apple trees.

Whatever the reason, I’ve been picking and processing for several weeks. I tried giving away some of the apples and had a few takers, but this plastic bin was still out front on Sunday morning. So, I started peeling and prepping and ended up with:

12 pints of applesauce;

4 baked, then frozen apple crisps;

4 apple pie fillings, now frozen, to which I will add crusts at the appropriate time.

My trees still have a few apples on them that are too high for me to pick, even with a very clever apple-picking device that my neighbor gave to me. I will pick those off the ground as they fall and either eat or dispose of the fruit.

More than two bankers’ boxes of peels, cores and bad bits went to the compost pile.

 

Related posts:

  1. Cherry (and Apple and Crabapple) Blossom Time For a few years in the 1980s, I lived and...
  2. Bees, Apples and My Bumper Crop For the first time in 13 years, I have a...
  3. Apple Blossom Time? With the temps staying pretty cool — frost on the...
Categories: Citizens

MPCA Extends Silica Sand Comment Deadline

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 9:58pm

There was a notice on the MPCA Silica Sand page that the 10/29 deadline for Comments on their latest “rule concept” release, but couldn’t find a notice.  So I got ahold of Nathan Cooley who said he’d get on it, and lo and behold, a formal “Notice” is released and lands in the inbox!  YES!  Thank you!

Here it is, it’s official, straight from the State Register, p. 586:

So what to comment on?  This, from the MPCA site:

Second request for comments (September 2014); deadline for comments extended to Nov. 21, 2014.

The DNR also has rulemaking going on about trout stream setbacks and reclamation of abandoned mines.  MORE INFO HERE!

Categories: Citizens

Vote: Top Ten Difficult MTB technical obstacles in Twin Cities Metro area

Mountain Bike Geezer - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 12:45pm

Yup, voting is now live. Deets here, including photos and videos of all the candidates.

Stage 1 voting ends midnight on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014.

GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULL

Subscribe to my free Thick Skull MTB Skills/Mountain Bike Geezer newsletter and get:

  1. The free 3-part video series, 'Light Hands, Heavy Feet': 17 mountain bike drills to develop the 'light hands' habit and make your riding more stable no matter what the terrain
  2. Exclusive how-to-ride related content every week that I don't post on my blog.

So do it. Get it through your Thick Skull.

Categories: Citizens

One weekend, four MORC trails ridden

Mountain Bike Geezer - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 9:29am

It was an all- MORC weekend. I rode Murphy-Hanrehan & Lebanon Hills by myself on Saturday. And then I rode Theodore Wirth and Elm Creek on Sunday with Chris Heineman and Mike Loerzel.

 

Can you tell that a certain someone was out of town?

GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULL

Subscribe to my free Thick Skull MTB Skills/Mountain Bike Geezer newsletter and get:

  1. The free 3-part video series, 'Light Hands, Heavy Feet': 17 mountain bike drills to develop the 'light hands' habit and make your riding more stable no matter what the terrain
  2. Exclusive how-to-ride related content every week that I don't post on my blog.

So do it. Get it through your Thick Skull.

Categories: Citizens

Woolly Bike Club’s new Erratic Rock Trail

Mountain Bike Geezer - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 10:36pm

I attended the Woolly Bike Club‘s 2nd Annual Woolly Day in Saint Croix Falls, WI last Sunday.

I’d never ridden their trails and they were using the occasion to open their brand new flow trail, Erratic Rock.  They timed it right: blue skies, warm temps at the peak of fall colors.

  

WBC club vice president Mark Fisk (@markbfisk) greeted the 2 dozen+ riders and sent us out en masse to ride the nearly 3-mile trail.  (I’d forgotten that I’d met Mark back in June of 2013 at the IMBA Upper Midwest Regional Summit in Cable. Duh.) Among the group were my fellow MORC members Issac Niebeling and Michael Guinee.

  

The new Erratic Rock Trail is an intermediate-level flow trail though a spectacular hardwood forest. As you can see from the map above, it’s connected to another intermediate mtb trail, Big Oak. Advanced-level riders can be challenged by trying to go faster through all the sweeping curves on the long twisting route down.  It’s a hoot.

The club hosted a picnic at the end of the day, complete with brats, a bonfire, beverages and cake.

Nice touch!

Michael Guinee took some video while following me. Here’s a one-minute clip of some of the trail up top and on the way down.

I’m hoping to bring some of my fellow CROCT members up to see this new trail. We have our own glacial erratic rock adjacent to a county park near Northfield where we hope to soon get approval to build a mtb trail. The terrain and hardwood forest setting is very similar.

 

GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULL

Subscribe to my free Thick Skull MTB Skills/Mountain Bike Geezer newsletter and get:

  1. The free 3-part video series, 'Light Hands, Heavy Feet': 17 mountain bike drills to develop the 'light hands' habit and make your riding more stable no matter what the terrain
  2. Exclusive how-to-ride related content every week that I don't post on my blog.

So do it. Get it through your Thick Skull.

Categories: Citizens

Postcard: October 27, 2014

Winona Media (Leslie Schultz) - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 4:46pm

Categories: Citizens

Transmission filings last week!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 9:45am

For an update on Testimony filings last week, hop over to “Not-so-Great Northern Transmission” and check it out:

Rebuttal Testimony filed in GNTL Certificate of Need docket
Categories: Citizens

TREES!!!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 7:59am
THANK YOU!!!

The West Avenue project is almost done, you can see the wall where they’ll be filling in and painting the phony-rock part.  The street still needs another layer or two of blacktop, and the boulevards need seeding, but OUR TREES ARE HERE!!!   Two maples in the front, and on the side a new style elm and a Kentucky coffee tree.  We’d lost one tree before we bought the house (the hole was there), then a year ago spring a blizzard took another, and we lost our beautiful maple with this construction.  Now we’ve got to keep them alive and keep those damn deer from eating them!  Apparently one got ripped up by a buck further down the street.

And squint and look closely — check the flock of birds, thousands going by:

 

 

Categories: Citizens

Barbara O’Brien’s DOGFACE book release pawty tomorrow!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 10:34pm

Tomorrow, Friday, October 24, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., photographer Barbara O’Brien is having a DOGFACE book release party at Agile Canines, 216 Colfax Ave. N., Minneapolis.  Come join the fun, and bring a bag of dog food, cat food, kitty litter, or some other animal donation for the Humane Society of Goodhue County.  Be the first in your dog park to have a copy of her new book.  That’s DOGFACE!

That’s a photo of Alan and our dear old Kenya, not long before she died, yes, taken by Barbara O’Brien, photographer extraordinaire, when she did a photo shoot for Humane Society of Goodhue County.   Kenya couldn’t walk then, Alan had to carry her in, but her spirit was still good and she was full of life, a happy pup.  Barbara captured her buoyant smile.

Thanks, Barbara, for preserving her for us, and also Kady when she was younger, new to our family, Minnesota, and a little hesitant.  Now she’s always smiling too… when she isn’t sleeping, which she does a lot now.  It means a lot to all of us that Barbara got them on film… errr, on disk.  And we’ll be there tomorrow!!!

Categories: Citizens

New adventures: International Copyright

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 2:44pm

Wikimedia Commons

I’ve always said I don’t know anything about international copyright. Knowing anything about domestic copyright has seemed like quite enough of a challenge for me. But I guess all things must come to an end.

So here’s what I know now about international copyright.

  1. There’s that Berne Convention you always hear about (full text here). Essentially it says that the countries that have signed onto that treaty agree that they will apply their own copyright laws to foreign works used in their countries. So a French work used in the United States has all the protections that a United States work has in the United States. No special registration required. The author owns all rights to their creative expression (except those granted to users under Fair Use) as soon as the work is fixed in a tangible medium, unless they sign those rights away to publishers and such.
  2. Then theres the TRIPS Agreement (full text here), which says that everyone who signed that agreement will follow articles 1-21 of the Berne Convention, except for the “moral rights” laid out in Berne Article 6bis. Again, no special registration required. Authors own their rights. Fair use applies.
  3. All of which leads us back to good old U.S. Copyright Act

So now you know what I know about international copyright.

Categories: Citizens

Real language experiences

The Children's House - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:44pm
As I head out of the country I feel compelled to post yet another reflection on the danger of losing an important component in human development--language. The losing of it is occurring in the cyber filled nature of children's language "interaction". This occurs in the form of e-readers, iPad games, and the like. Much has been written lately about thus subject and I am happy to read about the research being done on the possible effects on children's development. Much like the nature deficit defined by Richard Louv in recent years, there appears to loom a language deficit. There is no understating the negative effects caused by a lessened experience in language (not to mention movement) in the young child. The early language and literacy deficit is revealed in the varied research done on the achievement gap plaguing our nation's schools, but is not limited to the conventionally cited groups in this discussion. What of the car seat bound suburbanite child restricted to interacting with the leap pad? Or the youngster pushed on the swing while a cell phone conversation takes the place of appropriate language interaction? A pervasive language neglect may prove to dumb down all children to the point of some serious struggles with surrounding reading. Reading is being able to understand written language. Written language is based entirely on the spoken word. When I say reading begins at birth, I mean that as we hear our first word, we begin the road to reading. 
As I board a plane to the other side of the globe I plan to ready myself to observe the language interactions from the perspective afforded to a language outsider. I hope to find that universal human element alive and active. The electronic devices I feel are robbing our young children of successful language experiences are manufactured in the continent I'm traveling to, let's see if their influence is similarly influential on the degradation of language development there.
Categories: Citizens

Magnificent Maples: October 2014

Winona Media (Leslie Schultz) - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 4:29pm

Wherever I went this week, it felt as though I was in a “Maple Street” state of mind. I keep hearing the opening line of a poem I memorized this year, “The Wild Swans at Coole” by W. B. Yeats. The poem begins, “The trees are in their autumn beauty…” No wonder the line reverberates when there is vivid beauty everywhere I turn.

My neighborhood has been filled with glowing leaves this year. Northfield’s actual Maple Street is just a few blocks from my house, and I took most of these photographs on the same day last week. Within a single block, I found yellow, green, red, and orange trees, and every nuanced shade between.

There was a time when I only knew the names of two trees: maple and pine. Years later, I am familiar with, and admire, dozens of other varieties, but there is something about maples of any color, size, or shape of leaf that calls to my heart. This year I am entranced by their choral presence. En masse, they can  function like stained glass between the dark leading of trunks and branches.

We think autumn colors are predictable, but are they? It seems to me that each year is distinct. Some years have next to no arboreal fireworks. This year, there must have been an optimal balance of moisture, temperature, and lack of winds and lashing rains. The colors this year took me by surprise, seeming to explode out of nowhere. Whether the sky is grey or milky or burning blue, all of the deciduous trees — and particularly the maples — are brilliant. As this photograph of a mirror in the heart of my home demonstrates, they even radiate their brilliance indoors.

Although I am especially dazzled this year, autumn has, of course, its distinctly elegiac side. Sometimes these maple leaves seem like hand-shaped silk handkerchiefs waving farewell as the growing season drifts out of sight.

Until another Wednesday, wishing you well,  

Categories: Citizens

Videos: failing at difficult rock climbs

Mountain Bike Geezer - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 3:54pm

I’m trying to get better at climbing, especially rock-strewn uphills and stairs.  Two videos of my recent failed attempts:

The rock stairs at Carleton College in Northfield:

Riding up a downhill rock garden at Hillside Park in Elk River:

GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULL

Subscribe to my free Thick Skull MTB Skills/Mountain Bike Geezer newsletter and get:

  1. The free 3-part video series, 'Light Hands, Heavy Feet': 17 mountain bike drills to develop the 'light hands' habit and make your riding more stable no matter what the terrain
  2. Exclusive how-to-ride related content every week that I don't post on my blog.

So do it. Get it through your Thick Skull.

Categories: Citizens

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