Monthly Archives: October 2017

Happy Halloween


Golden Gopher Hockey


Mariucci, with the Extra M’s cut off

As I spend some time in the Twin Cities, I decided to drive onto the University of Minnesota campus Friday to take in some Gopher hockey. It’s starting to look like hockey weather down here with some snow in the air. The Golden Knights of Clarkson were taking on the Golden Gophers of Minnesota.

It was a very even game for two periods; both Clarkson & Minnesota are good skating clubs. The game was scoreless after one period, and Minnesota led 1-0 after two, on a Scott Reedy goal.

Minnesota seemed to gain an edge in the third period, with extended play in the Clarkson zone. Minnesota would score two more in the final period on goals by Rem Pitlick and Brent Gates Jr. Clarkson broke the shutout with a goal at the 18:42 mark.

Minnesota had a 3-1 non-conference win.
Stars of the game:
#3 Reedy for the first goal.
#2 Casey Mittelstadt with two assists
#1 Rem Pitlick for a goal and a constant presence on the ice.

Eric Schierhorn had 26 saves for Minnesota, and Jake Kielly had 25 for Clarkson.

The same two teams meet again for round two Saturday night.


#Artober24

I received a special request recently to make a positive post, using art in some form, under the hashtag artober24. Art isn’t exactly what I do on this site, and I’m traveling at the moment, so I don’t have access to much, but I agreed to make an attempt. I’m not much for social media, so C to C will have to do.

The aurora flowed like a great river;
An inverted Yukon meandering across the sky.
Time lapsed. Banks eroded. The brilliant green
river changed its course.
Then drought hit, and the powerful flow was reduced
to a faint puddle, a dim shimmer.
The sky was quiet.

With an explosion, the aurora returned as a wall of
thunderheads.
Imposing. Inspiring. Pulsing.
The lower layer of the wall of light was magenta.
The aurora’s lightning.
Thin lines of green light dropped down from
the glowing storm.
Like sheets of rain falling on the distant hills.


Fats

Pioneer rock & roller, Antoine “Fats” Domino Jr has died. From 1950 through the early 1960’s, Domino had over three dozen Top 40 hits, 23 gold records, and sold over 65 million singles.
The New Orleans artist, with his Cajun accent and boogie-woogie piano, had a style all his own. Elvis Presley once said, ” …Rock ’n’ roll was here a long time before I came along. Let’s face it: I can’t sing it like Fats Domino can. I know that.”

Domino was 89.


Fats playing the Carib Theatre, Kingston in 1961


First Overland: Series I Rescued


Is it you Oxford?

In 1955, two Land Rovers with six college students left London to see if they could trek all the way to Singapore. Officially, the adventure was tagged “The Oxford and Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition”, but eventually it became known simply as First Overland.

The two Series I Land Rovers were christened “Cambridge” and “Oxford”, with one painted the light blue of Cambridge and the other the darker blue of Oxford. The six adventurers and their Rovers, were helped out by a young BBC producer by the name of David Attenborough. Attenborough supplied the film that would document the expedition.

After successfully driving to Singapore, the young men returned home in 1956, and the footage was turned into a documentary film. Tim Slessor would write the now iconic expedition story: “First Overland”. The Land Rovers, however, would follow a different road.

Cambridge found its way to Iran a few years after First Overland was completed, and was never seen, nor heard from again. The other, Oxford, journeyed to the Ascension Island, which is in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. There it was used until sometime in the 1990’s, when it was parked, and has been rotting away since then.

Finally, Adam Bennet of York saved the tired, old, metal traveler from its apparent fate. The Land Rover was returned to the U.K., where it has been brought back to life. It has a few more battle scars, but it is back in driving condition.

BBC has a video out with the surviving members of the Far Eastern Expedition getting behind the wheel of Oxford for one more drive.


Oxford & Cambridge on their Far Eastern Expedition


Jeep Wagoneer


Austin Gipsy


1967 Austin Gipsy G4M10 4×4

The Gipsy was produced by Austin from 1958 to 1968. It replaced the Austin Champ, and was expected to compete with the Land Rover.

The Gipsy is very Roveresque, right down to the individual Lucas wiper motors and the black, red and yellow lever knobs. It’s also a sparse interior, with inward facing rear seats, although the Gipsy does have a door on its glovebox. Unlike the Series Land Rover, the Gipsy body was steel, instead of aluminum.

This particular Gipsy comes with a very nice Turner winch. I do like the look of the Austin’s front end.

Originally available in a 90″ wheelbase, a longer 111″ wheelbase was later added. British Motor Corporation, which Austin was a division of, merged with British Leyland in May of 1968. Suddenly Land Rover and Austin found themselves with the same manufacturer, and Austin’s Gipsy was discontinued.

The Gipsy was powered by a 2.2L inline four engine, originally used in Austin’s A70 sedan. In all, 21,208 Gipsys were produced over its decade long run.


Tales written in the fresh snow

I came home from work, and by the looks of the tracks in the fresh snow, there had been quite the party going on when I was gone.

At first, I was looking for the weasel’s tracks, which I found right away, but I was surprised to see grouse tracks practically right on top of the weasel’s. Upon further inspection, I found a whole covey’s worth of grouse tracks all around the yard.

The rabbit tracks were also plentiful, although that was not a surprise, since I have been flushing them all summer long.

I followed the story written in the snow as best I could. The new Siberian peas that had been planted two years ago, seemed to be of interest to the grouse, and I took note that the weasel enjoys visiting the Rover Hut. He probably has been entering the hut for some time, but his secret was not revealed until the recent snowfall. It made me wonder if weasels can catch red squirrels. We have an abundance of those damn, pine rats. I had a roll of insulation in the Rover Hut for a customer, and within 24 hours the red squirrels had attacked the roll, and little tufts of the stuff were all over the hut. We also are high on the rabbit cycle.

A little over a year ago, the neighbor’s cat died suddenly. It was an outdoor cat, and roved the entire area. I didn’t mind the cat, and it very kindly left me gifts in my work shed if I left the door open at night, but I’m kind of glad it is gone. She was a killing machine, and left a trail littered with small carcasses. Underneath the neighbor’s house is a ghastly killing field. This summer, I noticed far more birds hanging around than was usual, and I expect the weasel moved in to fill the vacancy.

The neighbor does have a new cat, but it’s terrified of the outdoors, and can not be coaxed out the door, which secretly thrills me, and less secretly amuses me. I told the neighbor to just embrace the new cattitude, and enjoy the fact that this pet is entirely different from the last one. I left out the part that I’m starting to prefer the weasel, if only for a change of pace.

After reading the snow, I went on my late afternoon walk, and flushed three ruffed grouse just down the trail from my place. The sound of those beating wings, and the sight of those zig-zagging brown rockets is a great way to forget one spent any time at work at all.


Alaska Day

On this date, 150 years ago, the formal transfer of the deed to the Alaska Territory took place at Fort Sitka. In March of 1867, the United States had purchased Alaska for $7.2 million, but it took until October of that same year to get commissioners from both countries to Sitka.

October 18 was officially designated a state holiday by the Territorial Legislature in 1917.

Here’s to 150, Secretary Seward.


The World’s Smallest Carnivore

As I loaded the truck this morning for today’s job, I caught a flash of white out of the corner of my eye. I stood still, watching and waiting. Sure enough, a hyper, yet timid weasel showed itself from my wood pile. It made a rush at me, stopped halfway to size me up, then ran back to the stacked firewood. I kept watching, and the weasel became bolder, venturing out further and further from the wood pile. Eventually, I was ignored completely, and the weasel went about its morning activities, hopping onto a railroad tie, and then slipping down into the marsh.

I assume it’s a least weasel, and not the short tailed variety, due to its small size. It’s coat has already changed to all white, with the exception of it’s black-tipped tail. At approximately six inches long, the weasel is a little bundle of energy. I’ve never had a weasel in my wood shed, and I always felt like I was missing one of the most important aspects of burning wood for heat. I’ve had friends with a resident weasel, and Dick Proenneke famously wrote about his, which he named Milo, in his wonderful journal: “One Man’s Wilderness”. Of course, with a home territory of several acres, the weasel may have just been visiting the wood pile. Still, I’m hoping it takes up residence, even if that multi room condo will be decreasing in size as we progress through the winter months.

Weasels can be ferocious predators, and will take on animals much larger than themselves. With their high metabolic rate, weasels need to consume roughly 40% of their body weight daily.