Monday, December 5, 2022

The Art of Collecting

 Collecting anything is an art.  Really good collections have been put together by a knowledgeable person who has refined their focus.  I have collected a lot of things over the years and I had to learn how to walk away when the quality was not there or when I couldn't afford the asking price. I have had access to several large collections of motorcycles,  guns and decoys.  If you ever want back in, be careful how you ask what's for sale. That is an art as well. 

Rotations of really good collections are usually based more on boredom than need of cash.  Our focus becomes more refined and selling 3 or 4 items may get us one good item. 

Remember a couple of things when collecting.  You must be your own expert so do your research.   Learn how to walk away and be polite about it,  you may want back in later. And only the best that you can afford. Someday it will all be sold so make sure it's all sellable. 

Saturday, December 3, 2022

1912 Elmer Crowell Preening Pintail

 This bird sold for over $600,000

John Blair Decoy

 This is not the most expensive decoy ever sold but I like it. You could buy this bird for a bit over $200,000

I have been collecting decoys for quite a long time.  I had an interesting collection years ago but sold most of it.  Recently I started collecting again and sure wish I had kept a few of my best pieces.

 I will never have a bird like the one shown but I have a few that I really like including a pair of redwood Pintails that I carved myself.   When I worked for American Canyon Fire we were burning a house for training. Captain Wallace knew I was looking for some large pieces of redwood So he cut some beams and presented me with a few seasoned pieces of redwood that I carved a nice set of decoys from. Thank you sir, I still have them 

The only pair of Tim Drennen carved decoys

Lucas ET Ignition for BSA 441 Single


I just started on another BSA 441 single. This one is a pure race bike with no battery. 

More to come, stay tuned....

My Last Best Dog....

 Prince Indy's Ace

My last best dog.  OK, I confess.  They are all my last best dog.

We bought Ace for my granddaughter and he belongs to her and my wife, I just take care of him.

We had a scare last week and a quick trip to the vet where he got checked out and he's doing fine!
Things like that make you aware of the impact that the loss of a dog can have on people, especially my people, who are very attached to him.

We bought him to replace Golden Ace who was a very aggressive Golden Retriever and not a good fit for our family.  He was rehomed and is doing great.

These things always seem to germinate in my mind...should I get another dog ?  It is a long term commitment and has always been a part of my life.  We were sitting on the back porch and I "found" a litter of black lab puppies that were papered.  I say "found" because you can find anything almost quickly as you think it...not sure that is a good thing?

We went to look at the litter and as soon as we got out of the car Ace came running to us, he was only 7 weeks old.  The other puppies were hiding under benches and whatever they could find.  I told my wife, "this is the one".  She got a little stirred at me because we were supposed to evaluate every puppy and then think about it...not hardly.  I wrote them a check and we went home and surprised Grace with him that afternoon.

He's a good dog and always has been.  Never a growl or snap at any of us.  He destroyed the yard for the first year then settled down.  He graduated at the top of his class in obedience school.  Good dog !

I have had many last best dogs, but I really think that this is my last best dog?

Red or Blue ?


Red or blue ?
My 1912 Hendee belle...what color to paint her ?  Since the engine cases and the wheels will match the frame I have to decide early what color.  A friend came by and asked if I was going to paint her the usual red or do something different ?  Blue was an official Indian color.

The perfect color...patina never looks right unless its original

Goodbye Bro......

 David Lawrence Drennen 

May 23, 1950 - December 20, 2021

It's difficult to tell the story of my oldest brother David without going too deep into family history.   I dont remember David as being a boy, he became a man very early in life.  

While my dad was traveling all over the world, David tried to take care of my mom.  He did his best.

David loved my maternal grandfather Willard Truax who had a large farm in North Dakota.   David loved working on the farm with my cousins the Truax's.  I dont remember David being idle for too long. He was always building and experimenting. 

One time he and his friends built a huge balloon out of dry cleaning bags.  It must have been 10 feet high.  They assembled one night in our friends the Waldo's back yard and heated it up so it would float way up high.  They rigged a sterno burner under it which kept it airborne.   The next day there were write ups all across the state of Montana about a UFO !

David was all of our hero from a young age.  Believe me, we needed one ! He was always there to rescue you. We had a very volatile family so it was good to see him coming !

He left home right after he graduated and went to college for a short while in Minnesota. We still lived in Montana after leaving North Dakota.   

Shortly afterwards he enlisted in the Navy and had some good years in the military.   He married his 1st wife Pat and had 2 sons who he dearly loved.

When his 1st marriage ended he went into the US Army and served in Germany.   This was before the Berlin wall came down. He was an Army Scout and patrolled the German border .

I have a picture of him in civilian clothes standing in front of the Russian Kremlin.   He was smuggling bibles into communist Russia. 

About this time he came back into my life. I had a pretty serious accident and my life was in a shambles.   He came out to California and stayed with me and really helped me get back on my feet.  Together we formed Bro Construction and worked all around Vallejo until we saved up enough money to journey across the country on another great adventure.

We drove across the country in my van and I still remember everything. He had to stop everywhere that was interesting. 

I went to visit him in Alabama before he left for Europe.   This was a truly life changing weekend.   We went spelunking in some caves that he and his friend Steve Calvert knew about.  I'm not sure how bright it was but it was interesting!

We were going to go to Europe and tour around together.   I wasn't able to go but he did.

He ended up back in Germany where he became a German trained engineer.  

This is when he met and married his dear wife Heide.I believe this was in 1986. 

 My life took some serious changes that year for the good and we always stayed close to each other.  Neither of us held back on our beliefs but we always ended things peacefully. 

We didn't agree on everything such as politics and religion but we always stayed close friends. We agreed to disagree..

We just decided that we would be close regardless.   

We often talked on the phone,  it was always "hello bro" and ended with "I love you bro".

David was a deeply religious person and was totally engrossed in politics.   He studied and taught constitutional law. 

He worked as a systems engineer in the automotive industry.  He was working right up until he contracted COVID a few weeks ago. It turned into pneumonia. 

I will miss you bro ....

P.S.  David was very private and hated the internet but I wanted him to be remembered properly. 

The black and white picture was in 1967 just before my brother Dale was struck by a car and killed.  Dale is holding  the cat.  He loved all animals.   The car missed David by inches.  David is in the back row next to my dad. My brother Gilbert is in front, I am in the next beside my sister Leah and just in front of my mom. My brother Dana is next to me.