Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota State Fair

Big Blade

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We had a close-up view of a wind turbine blade outside the Eco Experience building at the Minnesota State Fair. It provided a dramatically different perspective from how these blades appear when slowly turning a great distance away.

I framed this picture to remove any visual references that reveal this blade was attached to the ground and pointing straight up into the sky. These blades are massively large.

I’ve been telling myself the image is well-suited to become a Words on Images creation but that moment hasn’t materialized yet. In the meantime, I am posting it today, as is, because I didn’t have anything else to write about.

I mowed the lawn for the last time in August yesterday. Wish I could say it would be the last time this year but predictions for September warmth hint the growing season will last well into the fall again this year. After the significant amount of rain we received last weekend, there are areas on our property where the grass is as long and lush as we’ve ever seen it.

The big blades I’ll be spinning in the weeks ahead will be all about cutting grass, not generating electricity.

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Written by johnwhays

September 1, 2022 at 6:00 am

Fair Fun

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Just as I suspected, getting there required the first long wait in a queue for an express bus ride to the great Minnesota State Fair. There would be more lines to come but none of them ended up becoming unbearable waits and they always came with a good reward.

Not having to drive through traffic and pay a high price to park made it well worth the approximate half-hour wait for the bus ride.

We were able to bypass the LONG line at the front gate to purchase an entrance ticket because we bought ours online in advance. The nice young ticket checker was able to tap my phone for me to navigate to the e-ticket barcodes. Saved me the embarrassment of trying to do it myself.

If I could post just one picture for our day at the fair, this next one would be my choice.

Breakfast of champions. Cyndie asked, “Is it too early for cotton candy?”

We’d been inside the gate for a mere few seconds. “No,” I answered.

What could I say? We were at the State Fair! She was going to need the sugar buzz to survive a LOT of walking in the hours ahead.

What else should we eat?

There went my sugar quota for the day. Look at how many you have to eat just to get the cover on to save the rest for eating when you get home.

Biggest highlight of the day for me was chatting up the DNR folks for information and ideas about caring for our fields and forest. We have a lot of ash trees in our woods and they most likely won’t survive another decade based on the odds of emerald ash borer infestation. As a result of the warming climate, we should consider replacing them as they die with trees that have historically done well in the growing zone just south of our location.

Moose picture. Just, well… because, moose! And a really big one, too.

Speaking of art, fine art at the Fair is always fun.

It occurred to me that some visitors from rural farm country might be experiencing museum quality art displays for the first time in their lives. It’s a gas seeing the mix of humans from every walk of life mingling in the wide range of “neighborhoods” at the Fair. From the Fine Arts building to the hog barn feels like a world away.

Some streets were wide open and food vendors there required little in the way of wait times. A few blocks later, it was an elbow to elbow mass of people trying to walk in multiple directions. We bought deep fried cheese curds from a booth on a less-crowded block. The greasy goodness was just as satisfying as if we’d gotten them from the busiest corner of them all.

We never did find the 4-H kid who was showing a cow that spent much of the summer on the field next door to us, but we did get to see some kids who really love their livestock. The young man in the photo above was taking a little rest with his prized porker.

There was this large array of feathered coyote food in cages. Since that was my first thought, it is my opinion that I’m not ready yet to go back to having those sweet birds roaming our land again.

I forgot to take a picture of the incredible pork schnitzel sandwich that was probably the best thing I ate all day, but a chocolate malt from the Dairy Building was photographed in the nick of time before the cup got emptied.

Of all the days we picked to attend, Tuesday is not a good day to see horses.

The horse barn was closed all day. Really?

It took until we were about to leave before I finally came upon a person I knew. Friend, Mary Jo, from the Tour of Minnesota bike trips, was helping one of her friends who had space on the second level of the Grandstand selling things from a store she has near Rice Lake, WI (I think it was). Another highlight of the day.

We had a fabulous time at the Fair. Now, all we have to do is figure out how to stop eating everything in sight and get back to normal.

Whatever normal is.

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Written by johnwhays

August 31, 2022 at 6:00 am

Fair Bound

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Today is the only day that worked out for us to pay a visit to the Minnesota State Fair so we enlisted the services of our animal sitter to cover the hours we plan to be away and we’re going for it. Neither of us can remember how many years it has been since we last went to the fair but it has been a long time.

I’ve only changed my mind about going several times after reading articles about long lines, not just at food booths but also simply getting a seat on a shuttle bus to the fair itself. Cyndie pointed out we already had coverage for the day so we might as well go.

Knowing today would be booked for all-day fun, we made a point of diving into chores as soon as we got home yesterday. We pulled a full shift on the driveway, raking up and shaping gravel shoulders for 60 yards (30 on each side). Then I scooped a few days of manure that had accumulated in the paddocks over the weekend while Cyndie did some weeding around the barn.

While we were at the lake, both our cell phones were buzzing with storm alerts from back home and our power co-op emailed a notice the power had gone out. Upon arriving home we found no evidence whatsoever that we’d lost power. There were a few small tree branches on the ground but not anything that different from a typical windy afternoon. The rain gauges held between 2.5 and 3.0 inches of water.

The images in our minds triggered by the weather app warnings conjured a much more vigorous impact than what physical evidence presented upon our return home. For that we are thankful. Unfortunately, outcomes like this serve to feed my tendency to be nonchalant when it comes to alarming weather alerts.

Sunday night, the Hayward area got pounded hard by a very dramatic 1:30 a.m. thunderstorm. It had Delilah in fits, barking at the flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder. She works hard to scare off thunderstorms due to a deep-seated drive to protect us from harm. All she did is protect us from getting good sleep.

As the storm raged at its peak intensity, I invited Cyndie to imagine what it would be like to experience that from inside a two-person tent. That is what I and a few others endured in June during the Tour of Minnesota bike trip because we opted out of the invitation to sleep inside the school. Throw in the sound of an air-raid siren wailing right overhead for full effect.

No storms in the forecast for today’s fair adventure. Just a threat of sore feet and tested patience in dealing with a hundred-thousand other people trying to do the same thing as us. Oh, and a high potential of exceeding my daily sugar and overall calorie intake goals in a span of very few hours.

We are looking forward to it.

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Written by johnwhays

August 30, 2022 at 6:00 am

Waning Days

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In the slow but steady march of days away from one season and toward the next, we have now arrived to chilly mornings, complete darkness when I wake up for the day-job, and leaves changing from green to red.

Last week when I mowed, I noticed this sprinkling of color in the grass beneath the maple tree that always turns the earliest. It’s become a reliable harbinger of the beginning of the end of summer for us.

I should be thrilled. Autumn has always been my favorite season. But I think that is changing. Maybe, with age, I am developing a more balanced perspective. I think it feels more accurate now to frame my view as appreciating all the seasons equally.

Today is the first day of the Minnesota State Fair. That means a lot more to me in theory than it does in practice. I rarely attend the fair anymore, however, the memories I hold from past visits, and the one year I worked a booth there, are a thread that keeps me feeling connected, whether I go or not. It is a blast of activity that serves as an exclamation mark at the end of summer.

It all has me feeling a little melancholy, which is rather uncharacteristic for me this time of year. Luckily, it can’t last, as the season of wood fires brings me great joy, and we have already lit a couple in the fireplace to ward off a bit of chill in the last few days.

Bring on the fall sports, the spectacular colors, the crisp air, the end of bugs, the time between mowing and shoveling, the harvest festivals, and Cyndie’s apple crisps.

The waning days of summer become the waxing days of autumn. Bring it on, I say.

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Written by johnwhays

August 24, 2017 at 6:00 am