Archive for the ‘greetings’ Category.

An additional Author

Hey everyone, this is Jeremy, Rod’s son. Dad’s still working on things now and then, but he’s doing less welding and woodworking and general seat-of-the-pants engineering than he used to.

Apparently, i have taken the helm on that front, and while i’ve maintained a small and mostly abandoned blog for the last thirty years or so, i’ve never really settled in anywhere. facebook, twitter, linkedin, they’re all fine, but even mastodon requires relying on someone else’s servers to keep content available. Call me crazy, but i have a hard time trusting big business to do anything right — particularly techbros.

This is a long way of saying, i guess i’m migrating content off of my old blog to here, at least the stuff worth saving. SO, there will be a few more posts about things like IT stuff, 3d printing, and other asshattery. Also, more profanity, because i have more rough edges than my father.

A Fun Birthday Gift

I received this 1ooo piece puzzle late last year, for my 75 birthday from my son. When I was young putting puzzles together was a major entertainment. I haven’t done many in recent years and seldom have I done ones this big. I liked the picture and I decided I would hang it in my shop.
How to do this took a bit of planning. I searched my collection of old frames and backing material but didn’t find what I wanted, so that slowed me down. Then I had a couple of problems come up in my old house that used up some of my time. Then with Christmas coming even more of my time was gone.
I didn’t get the project moving till  New Years Day. My wife brought me a fancy, old large picture she had tucked away. It was very nice, but the picture had faded. It was the right size with glass and a metal frame.

Birthday Puzzle on Old Picture

Birthday Puzzle on Old Picture

A very nice thing was, the frame was put together with screws, so it could be disassembled and assembled easily. Also the smooth surface was nice to assemble the puzzle on.

picture frame and glass
Donna and I spent several days putting the puzzle together. After a time the eyes get tired and one needs to walk away for a rest but it was a lot of fun. The weather outside was not pleasant so it was very fun to be able to do things inside.
Below Donna is putting the frame together. The frame was a couple of inches wider than the picture so we put a white cardboard strip on each side. The frame could have been narrowed, but then I would have needed to cut the glass and backing also. I just didn’t want to chance messing it up.

final assembly

Below is the Puzzle hanging in my shop. I think it looks great. I want to thank you, my Son, you are good at picking things.

Shop north 2017

Winter 2016

Winter  December 19, 2016

The snow stopped, The sun came out and the wind slowed down. It was a little more than 25 degrees below 0 yesterday, but today the temp climbed above o. Tomorrow it will rise to near freezing.
The sun light is so pretty with the ice crystals in the air. It gives a sparkle to the sky that you don’t see any other time of year.
The snow keeps moving across the fields in this prairie land and the wind always blows. Some time it is soft, mostly it is in the 15 to 20 MPH range. Many times it blows at 25 to 35 MPH and often in blizzards it will pass 40 MPH.
The snow will end stacked in farm groves and house yards, road ditches and fence lines.
I like to watch the snow move when the sun is bright. It is so pretty to watch it drift and dance across the fields.

Snow Storm 4 PM January 26, 2014

I couldn’t resist taking another photo today. The wind has come up to 35 MPH with the gusts reaching 53 MPH. The temperature on my thermometer has dropped to 0 degrees. As you can see by the picture below one wouldn’t want to be out in an open aria.

This pictures and the one below were taken from the same location. Both are looking north past my grove, down the county black topped highway. I am quite sure the road is not blocked by snow, but it would be very difficult to stay on the road judging from the visibility.

The forecast is for a low temp tonight of 17 degrees below zero. That puts the wind chill at a -40 degrees.

4 PM  26 January 2014

4 PM 26 January 2014

Winter February 26. 2014

This is winter on the prairie of west central Minnesota. It warmed up and snowed last night. It is hard to tell how much because the wind this AM is gusting to 35 MPH. They are predicting the temp will drop to 17 below zero with wind gusts as high as 55 mph tonight. I think that will only make a difference to the fuel company as my plans are to stay inside.
Walking out into the full wind is almost unbearable to bare skin, but the grove of trees around my house and farm buildings help make it possible to be outdoors at least a little bit if you dress right. Having grown up on this farm and spent much of my life working outside, going out of the house is something I need to do at least some each day.
You can see how the world looks white and gray, it has a beauty all its own. The neighbors seem far away and the only sound you hear is the wind.

Winter Wind

Winter Wind

One must keep doing something, so I have been going through things I had tucked away over the years. I have saved many old books, magazines and papers of all sorts. I guess I planned to read stuff again but never had the time. Things would get packed away, tucked out of sight in the attic or in my shop and then forgotten.
I have been taking boxes of stuff out and going through it on these cold days. Much is just destined for recycling, but some I just can’t throw out. I open the boxes in my shop where I have room to go through things as you can see in the picture below. You can see the mix of stuff on the table and I have already put plenty in the basket under the table to recycle.
The Air Trails magazines I bought with hard earned money in 1952 and 53. I wore them out reading them and building models from their plans. The set of plans is for a model of a J-3 Piper Cub I built, it is well worn but I can’t throw it away. The model train magazines from when I became interested in HO trains. I also spent a lot of time with electronic magazines. Then by 1957 when I earned my drivers license, I became interested in Hot Rods and a few of those magazines survived.
The list goes on and on. I have saved a few. The early radio, electronic, snowmobile, very early computer and old farm magazines bring back a lot of memories.



Some of the things that turn up are interesting. Most everybody that dabbled in electronics years ago remembers Lafayette Electronics. It was a fun place to buy parts and things you couldn’t buy in a rural town. It is gone now, like so many things I remember. I bought my first VOM Meter from them and I used it for many years.
Why these checks got saved I just don’t know, they probably got tucked away to use in my next order and then were forgotten.

Sorting Treasures Today

Sorting Treasures Today

Spending time in the Minnesota Spring

I can tell we are moving into spring but it still more comfortable inside as you can see by the picture below. The sun is nice but the snow is deep. It is slowly melting away but there is enough that the access around the farm yard is still difficult.

I spend my time in my shop cleaning up and going through the stuff that has collected in the back corners. I ran across this old toy reed organ. I opened it up to see the inside, It is amazing how things have changed. Instead of a chip that generates almost perfect tones, this uses reeds and a small fan to blow air over them. The simple electric circuit is just a battery holder, switch and a small electric motor to run the fan. I played with it some but I used my power supply instead of batteries. Interesting too, is that it is made in Italy not China. I don’t know the age but I had a note stuck to the box, telling me to check it out dated 1988. The quality of sound is not very good but it does look neat. Today I just can’t put it in the garbage. Another day maybe or I might be able to think of a clever use for it.

Winter comes to the Minnesota Farm

An old fashioned blizzard came last Saturday and Sunday. First warm moist air blew in from the south and ran into the cold air coming from Canada. The snow came down heavy and the wind blew hard from the South East. Then during Sunday the wind switched to the North West and gusted up to 35 MPH. We were lucky they had predicted gusts over 40 MPH. The temp dropped through the night to 8 below 0 Fahrenheit. You won’t last long outside in weather like that. The good thing is the dropping temperature ended the snow.
I stayed in mostly, took a few pictures outside, and checked that everything was OK. I can’t take the cold like I used to.
It brought back memories of the days when I was a boy. Storms were exciting, if they came during the week you would have days off from school. One of the best things was I was allowed to stay up as late as I wanted. The whole family would be home and during the storm, outside work was held to a minimum. Often we all sit by the kitchen table and play games, read by the gas lamp or just talk.
The wood fire in the kitchen range would be burning at maximum. The draft damper on the back of the stove would click as the wind gusts swept by the chimney. The sound was fascinating, a regular tapping that was completely random. It was like a strange kind of music. I don’t think anyone else ever paid attention to that sound.
In the 1940’s the road through the farm was the main north south highway. It connected the two county seats , Willmar and Olivia. I can remember having people snowed in for the night. The one I remember best was a fellow with a grocery delivery van. He had become stuck on the road by our farm grove and dad pulled his van in the yard with his team of horses. It was war time and many things were rationed. All the fruit and food that could be damaged by freezing were carried into the house for the night.
He was outgoing and full of fun, with a loud laugh. I was given bananas, cherry’s and other goodies to eat, and he encouraged me to eat more of what I liked. When dad would remind us that we should be conserving these good things, he would laugh and say it would all have been lost in the cold if it wasn’t for you, so enjoy. I remember the laughing and talk going on into the night. I think I fell asleep in my mothers lap, I don’t remember. When I awoke the next morning, the storm had ended, the snow plough had come by, and the fellow had left.
Below is a picture early Monday morning. The sun was shinning bright, the air is clear and cold at a minus 9. I always remember it being beautiful after a blizzard. My sister and I would take the sled or shiny scoop shovels and slide on the new drifts.
The work horse’s would be so happy to run free in the barn yard even if it was cold, after being cooped up for a couple of days. They would run,jump, buck and pass gas noisily.

It is so beautiful outside. Sparkling white in the bright sun. One could feel a bit of warmth from the sun and a crisp cold from the air. We had 15 inches of snow but it never lays still on the prairie. The next picture shows my farm field, you can see soil showing through the snow cover. The wind has swept the snow into farm yards, fence lines and road ditches. When the wind blows from a different direction the snow will move again.

I have two more pictures to show. The first shows a job for me . the snow flying off the snow plough lays the mailbox down often. Not serious, just a bit of work, worth it to have the road open. The second one shows why we had a quiet time during the storm. That little amount of snow that stuck to the dish, blocked the TV signal from the satellite very effectively.

lady Luck comes round

The first Saterday of each month the Willmar Car Club has a breakfast get together.  Nothing formal, it’s a gathering of people from all walks of life who like cars.  If its nice we drive our rides. If our ride isn’t running or it is still in the dream stage we come anyway, and join the conversation. I always enjoy the stories people tell, and I have found most car people like to talk about cars. Check the locations and schedule at the following link, then drop in and join us, you will be welcome.

Now we always have lots of door prizes which adds to the fun. As you can see from the following picture, some are extra nice.  The way we do things, a table is filled with prizes and each lucky person gets to chose the one they like best.

The last Breakfast, Lady Luck smiled on me. My name was the first name drawn, so I had first choice. Check the picture below and note the headlight bezel clock on my shop wall. Sharp isn’t it, can you name the car it came from?

These are hand made by Brian Pearson of New London MN. They are not cheap plastic but solid metal,  made from the real headlight bezels. He makes a wide variety and can be reached at Brian also does some other interesting things. Check this site  at

Car Clock

Car Clock

Willmar class of 1959

I just attended my 50 year class reunion this week end. I had a good time and it brought back lots of memories. Out of a class of about 260 their were, I’m guessing, some over 110 members present. A good turnout but it was somewhat disappointing that a lot of the people I chumed around with weren’t there. I ran with the guys that liked cars. and most of my friends joined the blue collar world after school.
It was an impressive bunch at the banquet, preachers, lawyers, engineers, professors. Many people with impressive resumes. I’m proud to have known them and it was fun visiting with everyone. Probably best was the forgotten memory’s it brought back. It made me think hard about my life and the choices I have made.
School was tolerable, but hardly the best time of my life, I was eager to move on. I got pretty good grades but almost never studied. I had some good teachers and I enjoyed those classes. Then their was Russ the coach who could make an interesting subject like history unbelievably dull. I loved to read, still do, read all my text books cover to cover by the end of the first quarter.
I received about six and one half percent of my education in high school the rest of my education has been spread over the my life time. I found that education costs money whether you get it in the “Halls of Ivy” or on the street as I did.
I am satisfied with the way life turned out and I wouldn’t trade with anyone. I would be the first to admit I made a lot of mistakes and did a few stupid things. Even if I could I wouldn’t go back and change a thing, it might screw up the end result. I have traveled as much as I desire, Europe, all 50 States and Canada. Along the way I learned I would rather listen to people, than instruct them. I have found most people are friendly, weather on the streets of London, or New York, or a small town in rural America, and if you do find a hostile person, its not you they are angry at, but the problems in their own life. One thing is certain they all have interesting stories to tell.
I have been very fortunate in that my best friend in life is my wife of almost 48 years. I have a great family, My two children have done much better in life then I ever did, all this in a world that is much more difficult. I believe my grand children are very capable and are being well equipped to deal with the future.
As for the future, I have been hearing that the world is “going to hell in a hand basket” as long as I can remember. It was always from old people and it hasn’t happened yet.  I’ll admit I feel that way myself sometimes but then I think how good I have it. I believe that feeling is just a symptom of old age and the fear of change.
That the world is changing there  is no doubt. Some change is bad,  some is good but most is just different. Change is also opportunity, as a fellow I worked for pointed out to me. The cruel fact is No one looses money without some one else gaining it.
If anyone from the class of “59” reads this, I would be happy to hear from you. Conversation is something I truly enjoy.   E-Mail me at


The Crew at Goosebery Falls

On The Way

Last week My bride and I joined with seven other couples from the car club and motored to Duluth, MN. We traveled most of the way with the top down. It was a most enjoyable trip, and I enjoyed the attention the four red convertibles attracted.

It had been Years since I had spent any time in Duluth, and of course the city has changed. The area by the Lift Bridge is very cosmopolitan, factories and warehouses are now replaced by upscale tourist things.

We toured the Condon estate and Mansion home of one of the great Robber Barrons, the stable was finer than many homes.

Driving around with the top down is such a different feeling. One feels free with the wind in your hair and the sky above.

It was a relaxed trip, we all enjoyed stopping at Garage sales, Flea Markets, and anywhere the urge took us.

Garage Sale Fun

Flea Market Fun

Me, My Bride, the red Capri