Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Great Bicycle Build Continues

This weekend my younger son helped me make progress in assembling the 3-speed bicycle that we have been intermittently working on for many months.  My son hooked up the brake cables and adjusted the brakes.  We cooperated on wrapping the handlebars with long strips of synthetic leather.  My son took the left side of the handlebars and I took the right.  He did a tight, professional job of his side.  My side was slapdash but adequate.

His wrapping somehow put me in mind of a lady's black stocking on a shapely leg.  Judge for yourself.  (Yes, I probably need to get out more.)

My son is an excellent teacher.  He lays out general principles, describes specific techniques and pitfalls, and then lets me blunder ahead.  The objective is to get me to roll up my sleeves and take ownership of my actions.   Then, just as I am on the verge of doing damage to the equipment, he patiently steps in with gentle comments and sets me straight.

For instance, I put the chain on the sprockets and found that there was too much slack.  My son gave me a chain-breaking tool and showed me how to remove a link.  Then, he gave me a so-called "master link," a sort of slotted metal snap to fasten the chain together again.  I set to the task with my usual mixture of anxiety and impatience.  As I was preparing to snap the master link into place, my son quietly said, "It's probably better to go with the traditional chain design instead of a Moebius design."  In my tunnel vision I had inadvertently rotated one end of the chain and was about to introduce a twist.

We are about a week away from finishing the bicycle.  Stay tuned.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Cherry Creek Farmers Market

On my way back from this morning's hike, I stopped at the Cherry Creek farmers market to load up on salad fixings and cantaloupe.  The place is always festive.  Plenty of produce, lunch tents, and arts-fair stuff.

There were two bands. Three men in the prime of life (that is, gentlemen my age) were playing a peppy version of "Arkansas Traveler."  I complied with the ancient custom of the bards: You snap a picture, you toss a dollar in the fiddle case.

Two other gentlemen were playing electric guitar and accordion.  Great fun.

Every Saturday the market draws a good crowd.  Today I was pleased to note a contingent of plump, middle-aged beauties.  The "heifer" factor was high.

The Red Rocks Trail Extension

I took a hike this morning at the Matthews/Winters Park.  The park authorities were boasting about a new extension to their Red Rocks Trail, and I was eager to check it out.

The main trail starts with a view of the prairie abutting the foothills.

I reached the foothills and took the new trail extension, which veers down into an isolated valley.  I couldn't see or hear a soul.

I emerged from the valley and saw a huge boulder covered with yellow and white lichens.  This is a case of the plant kingdom vandalizing the mineral kingdom.

I took a brief rest sitting on a flat rock.  At my feet was a strange, little bush with curved filaments covered with light fuzz.

It's easy to miss interesting sights if you're moving too quickly.

Neighborhood Flowers

I walked around my neighborhood and took pictures of flowers.  My apartment borders a large office park, and I get to enjoy some first-rate flower gardens placed at the major street intersections.

I enjoy beauty in all its forms: flowers, scenic vistas, paintings by the Old Masters, Raquel Welch -- both the younger and the mature versions.  Anyway, here is a small selection of the flowers I saw.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Denver Botanic Gardens

My brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and niece are visiting from the Midwest.  Yesterday we went to the Denver Botanic Gardens to enjoy the plant life.

We began with the tropical conservatory.  To a rhubarb fancier such as myself, there were wonders to behold.  Imagine the rhubarb-strawberry pie you could make from these beauties!

Another tropical plant had decorated itself with pink streamers.

The botanic gardens had four or five lily ponds scattered about.  Here is a snapshot of the largest one.  I was intrigued by the great "platter" at the lower left.  On the far side I saw a few tiny ducklings, like fuzzy ping-pong balls, paddling around the lily pads while Mama kept a watchful eye on them from the concrete curb above.

Here is a look at a smaller pond.

I wandered back toward the Asian section of the gardens and found a Chinese pine tree with a festive multi-colored trunk.

The botanic gardens had a dozen or so sculptures on loan from Minneapolis.  Here is a horse of scrap wood.

This bright sculpture seemed almost alarming to me -- like a very aggressive alien life form rising up.

The most surreal sculpture was The Hare on the Bell.  I could imagine The Mad Hatter lurking behind the trees.