Let It Snow!

Meltwater

Yesterday morning it snowed, the first snowfall of the year. The temperatures plunged below zero, and in one night some trees dropped all their leaves in a panicked attempt to keep up with the temperature change. It was amazing to see the blankets of green leaves covering the grass and snow and gathering in the street. My planned trip to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum took on a new twist, as I had to gear up for winter hiking, but I got some nice shots of fall of color with a bit of snow on it.

It was my first trip to the arboretum, so I didn’t really know what to expect. It was a lot of fun tromping though the trails, making first tracks on the first snow of the season, photographing flowers and trees with little snow caps and catching droplets of snowmelt in the sunlight. We saw little waterfalls, quick-moving streams and even quicker-moving wild turkeys (maybe the snow made them think it was November). We got a little lost, but it was nice to just explore without having to worry about direction. We went where the interesting photos were and it worked out just fine.

It seems wild to me that only a few weeks ago I was eating at Lucia’s outside patio in a tank and shorts. Yesterday’s snow had melted by lunchtime, but we got some light flurries today, and tomorrow we’re expected to get up to a few inches of accumulation, so it looks like winter is here. For me, I’ve got a log burning in the fireplace and a whole chicken roasting in the oven. Winter, bring it on.

Discovering the Minnesota State Fair

Scrambler

The first year I lived in Minnesota, I heard a lot of talk about the state fair. It seemed like the Minnesotan event of the summer, the one thing that everyone seemed to go to. I was intrigued. I’d never been to a state fair before. Oh, sure, Michigan has one, and New York has one too. New Jersey even has a state fair (although I didn’t know until I looked it up just now)! And yet I’d never been to any of them.

Growing up, I thought only people who raised livestock went to the fair. I was slightly disturbed by the whole idea, having grown up reading and watching Charlotte’s Web. I didn’t want to see cute little(!) pigs and cows that would be eaten when they got home. My parents weren’t interested in going to the fair either, but for different reasons. It seems the Michigan State Fair is held in a somewhat sketchy part of town. Neither of my parents grew up going to fair; it just wasn’t the thing to do there. So I was pretty surprised to find out that it IS the thing to do here in Minnesota. So that first year, Jim and I hopped in the car and drove out to the fair to see what it was all about.

On that first visit we didn’t really check a map and headed north to see what there was to see.  It seems the northern part of the state fair is where the farm equipment is displayed.  I’d never seen so many tractors in my life, and was in awe of the size and variety of tractors and tillers available.  Being a city girl, I didn’t even know what a lot of the stuff was used for!  It was a real eye-opener for me, knowing that I truly was in the heart of farm country.  We also got to see some of of the logging equipment in use, classic cars and tractors and the dog show.  It wasn’t until we started to get hungry that we ventured over to the south end of the fair.

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Bastille Dog

Bastille Dog

This sweet dog was hanging out with his people yesterday at the Bastille Day block party at Barbette in Minneapolis, MN. Pit bull terriers really get a bad rap, and this guy was the perfect example of how sweet they can be. Just look at that smile!

Another Year Older

Cupcakes!

On Sunday I turned 33. I’m getting to the age where birthdays start to seem bittersweet – it’s great to celebrate another year of life, but at the same time I know my years are limited. I realize I don’t know how many years I’ll get, but I know it’s not all that likely to be more than 100, and I’ve already used a third of that. It’s wondrous but frightening at the same time.

Jim gave me a really sweet card listing some cute and quirky reasons that I should be really glad to be 33. It was really nice of him to notice that I wasn’t really thrilled about it and to write such sweet and cheerful things to me; he could have just given me a store-written card. It might seem silly but those words mean more to me than an expensive gift.

Am I happy with how I’ve spent the last 33 years? In a lot of ways I am. I’ve had a lot of fun, and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve always valued the experience more than having something to show for my time, and I’ve had some really great experiences. I’m happy with who I am, and with the direction that I’m headed, and I’m learning a little about myself, and life, every day. That seems like a pretty good place to be at 33.

So, So Sweet!

Honeycakes

There’s something about warm weather that makes me crave sweets. I’ve gotten a little out of control lately, having dessert after lunch and dinner and taking afternoon trips to the local bakeries for fudge brownies and lemon squares, so I’ll be abstaining for a while to break the habit. But of course that doesn’t mean I can’t look… and photograph!