May 17, 2013
12.54 Miles. Mac-Groveland, Desnoyer Park, Merriam Park, St. Anthony Park.
There’s a whole lot of blooming going on right now. If you have allergies then you’re well aware of this thanks to your itchy, puffy, red eyes, drippy nose, sneezing, wheezing and cough. For those not burdened by pollen allergies, there are plenty of visual cues.
For example, I noted patches of green droppings under certain trees around the Highland Park and Macalester-Groveland neighborhoods. Upon close inspection it appeared that maple trees were the culprit. Research I did after the ride leads me to believe the little green items shed by the maple trees are flowers. I had no idea that maple trees flower.
Have you ever taken an exceptionally close look at a utility pole? I hadn’t either-until for an inexplicable reason I did today.
Is the outrageously high price of gasoline forcing Harley riders to ditch their hogs for scooters? Unlikely, so perhaps it was an end of the school year party that brought riders of 12 motor scooters together at 235 Exeter Place.
Many people take pride in a luxuriously green lawn. Others lean toward abundant landscaping. Today I visited a yard laden with wind-driven spinners.
Paul Ceplecha has as many as 50 spinners and several windmills displayed throughout his yard at 144 Montrose Place. Paul’s explanation is simple, “I like motion (which) is why I do these things. You can’t really see wind so I put spinners, and whirligigs and what-have-you in there.
Paul has lived here about 40 years and he inherited the house about 10 years ago. That’s when he replaced all the grass with gardens and started decorating.
Paul said, “I’ve got rainbow ones everywhere and red, white and blue ones everywhere and so I try to find different ones for variety.”
Paul purchases the spinners at local home improvement stores and on-line. Experience has taught him that most spinners last four or five years and then need replacement, a process he calls “attrition”.
Neighbors seem to enjoy Paul’s decorations. “I had one neighbor come up to me and he asked me where I got the cardinal because his son works for the Arizona Cardinals. He said, ‘Where can I get one for him.’ So we had to figure out where it came from.”
Abby Lamberton has lived next door for upwards of 20 years and made a point of telling me how popular Paul’s yard decorations are. “This is a toddler magnet. The parents of toddlers have a hard time because, we’ll be sitting out in our yard, and they’ll stop. Loud screams will be forthcoming unless their parents let them take a good long look and they’re just mesmerized.”
Just four doors north of Paul’s place was a completely different, primordial yard display.
Now solidly in Desnoyer Park, I stopped to see another unique home with an interesting history. The original portion of the Edward and Ida Brewer House was a damkeeper’s home until 1918 when the Brewers had it hauled up the hill by a team of horses to their property at 387 Pelham Parkway. Brewer was famous for his illustrations for Cream of Wheat advertisements and paintings which include the Hastings spiral bridge.
Later, Brewer added a studio to the home, according to an article by Patricia Condon Johnson in the Spring 1980 edition of Minnesota History.
Emerald Street is Saint Paul’s border with Minneapolis between I-94 and University Avenue. Weyerhaeuser, one of the world’s largest forest product companies, has a large distribution warehouse on the Saint Paul side of Emerald Street.
Frederick Weyerhaeuser was a close friend and Summit Avenue neighbor of railroad magnate James J. Hill. According to the website www.historylink.org, on January 3, 1900, Weyerhaeuser agreed to purchase 900,000 acres of forest lands in Washington state for $5.4 million. Not long after, Weyerhaeuser and other investors created the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company.
These three shots illustrate an odd situation. First, the railroad crossing sign (above) is in a barrel, not anchored in the ground. Second, (above right) on the street side of the railroad crossing sign post is this sign from the Minnesota Commercial Railroad. Finally, (right) what brings it all together is a look at the tracks to which the previous signs refer. There is a condo in the way of the tracks, which is certainly a problem and could be an emergency if a train is on the tracks.
The clicking of skateboard wheels hitting concrete followed by hoots and whoops drew me east to the sidewalk of the Court International Building on Franklin, between Curfew and Eustis. I thought the commotion was a group of skateboarders perfecting some new tricks. It turned out to be skateboarders doing some, like totally gnarly, tricks for a video and photo shoot.
As I watched and shot the skateboards, the sky darkened and became threatening. Showers and thunderstorms were forecast so I chose to stay relatively close to home in case I had to play beat the weather which I decided I better do.
That turned out to be a prudent decision because big raindrops started to fall as I got within a half-mile of home. And about 30 seconds after I reached the safety of the garage, the skies opened.
Getting home dry was about the best ending possible to today’s ride.
The map of this ride is at the following link: