Posted by: Brendan | June 1, 2010


City Mouse, Country Mouse.

I’m a Chicagoan by upbringing, and by character. Five years of Idyllwild has made it’s mark, and I like to think I’m making my mark on the Hill, as we know it. It’s a give and take, and the town’s many upsides are really growing on me. I feel like the City mouse and the Country mouse at the same time.

Despite the town’s lack of stoplights, going anywhere takes a bit more time. Everyone knows- and wants to catch up with- everyone. Once upon a time, this bugged me a bit, it cramped my style when I was in a hurry, which was always. But I’ve since decided this is a function of community. The grocery store, post office, bank, and gas station provide more than basic services; they’re incubators of new town growth. (The touchy-feely kind, doesn’t need building permits)

Here, it’s easy to live with one foot on the mountain, one foot in the-rest-of-SoCal. Which is more or less how I define it. There’s the Mountain, then there’s the OC, the IE, LA, and San Diego. And the Desert… When defining spaces by geographical and social lines, it’s hard not to notice the obvious contrasts we have up here. Up here. But when it comes to the aforementioned one-foot, two-foot business; the tricky part is finding the right balance, and tuning it.

Our friends come up to visit from all over- IE, LA, SD, Tucson, all the usual suspects. Lured by the longer springtime days, wildflowers, non-polluted air, and cooler daytime temps. The obligatory Idyllwild show-around tour works both ways; it gives the Country Mouse an opportunity to see how the City Mouse lives, and vice versa. Invariably, we make our town comparos- they range from silly to profound. And I’m grateful for all of them. We’re in a unique place up here. Tired of chainsaw art? We can head to LA and get our culture on. The man gettin’ you down? We can lock ourselves in our (cozy) mountain cabin and escape to solitude.

City Mouse

Chris came through from Tucson this past week. We hit the trail on one of the town’s few days of relatively little sunshine. Chris, being the light expert he is, pointed out the outstanding quality of light we enjoyed those days. Be sure to check Chris’ website for outstanding wedding photography.

We had a gaggle of visitors from Orange County, including Brian DeGroodt and a number of SHARE mtb folks. They rode our trails and I rode a vicarious buzz.

Country Mouse

We’ve finished a major equipment move into the old, small (cozy) Siren shop. I’ve moved these machines more times than I care to admit. But that’s another story. On the bright side, I’ve developed a good technique…

I’ll be building all the custom frames here, in the country.

The Standard Handbuilt frames will continue to be produced down below, in the city.


So I can spend some more time here…

and here…

with these two:

One foot, two foot…



  1. Great post, BC

  2. As Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

  3. Wow…an engineer’s garden. Intense build!
    Concrete in those footings? I need to replicate that effort in the next two weeks, any pointers for a non-engineer?


  4. That garden is going to rock… all good stuff!


  5. I love it. I’m a city mouse who is inspired by all country mice. We’ll make it up the hill in the coming months now that we’re almost settled into our new city home. Nice couch too!

  6. Thanks y’all.
    Hamilton, I followed a video online to build it. Specifically, this one:

    I used cedar for the sides and redwood for the posts. Spendy but rot resistant.
    It was easy! Got it done in about 3 beers’ time.

    Tessa- send the rig whenever you guys are ready.

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