Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Dreary Weather

Wednesday, October 28, 2009. It's been raining. Quite a bit. Drizzling, mostly, now that I think of it. Also overcast.

More of "October's bright blue weather." October 28, 2009.

I was going to take some pictures of Halloween displays people had set up: but in this weather they seemed more dreary than fun. Maybe next time.

Which I see will be after Halloween.

By which time I should be feeling more up to
par. Right now, as Arthur Guiterman wrote, "Great Caesar's bust is on the shelf, And I don't feel so well myself."

Not All Dairy Farmers are Like This

You may have seen a television commercial, touting one of the animal-cruelty outfits, that shows a cow being tipped by a bulldozer. I'm sure it's quite a moving image, for city folks.

It moves folks around, here, too: but not quite the same way. 'Nobody'd treat a cow that way' is a pretty good paraphrase of most of the comments I've heard.

I see their point. Dairy farming is an important part of the economy here in Central Minnesota, and nearly everyone who's lasted through the last few slumps is very, very careful with their cattle.

Dairy farmers are no more likely to abuse their cows, than the owner of a factory is likely to throw a crowbar into the machinery on his assembly line.

But strange things do happen.
"Sauk Centre Farmer Loses Sick, Malnourished Cattle to the Law"
KSAX (October 28, 2009)

"Despite several warnings from local law enforcement, 69 year-old [redacted] of Sauk Centre was escorted from his farm by Stearns County Sheriff's Deputies yesterday.

"An ongoing investigation conducted by the Animal Humane Society of Golden Valley revealed that [redacted]'s 47 dairy cattle had been willfully neglected since April.

"KSAX Eyewitness News recently aired photos of the cows released by the Animal Human Society of Golden Valley. These photos show stick-thin cows with ribs jutting out of their skin. Some stand in manure knee deep, others look obviously diseased...."
One of his neighbors said that he and other neighbors had tried to help - but that their offers had been turned down. The neighbor also that, in the neighbor's opinion, the farmer tried, but wasn't able to do the job.

Plausible enough. There's a sort of stern self-reliance that's part of the culture around here. As a rule, I think it's a virtue - but like other human traits, it can keep someone from applying common sense.

Back to that commercial with the mechanized cow-tipping: City folks, I think, generally don't think all that much about what goes on outside the suburbs.

Which means that commercials like that animal cruelty one (the organization is against it, by the way), and news articles about the fellow with the 47 sick and starving cattle, is just about all they know about people who make their living raising livestock.

I'm not faulting KSAX and other news outlets for running that story: It's 'news' - and a reminder of what can go wrong. But - and this is important - those sick cows are news because they're rare. Most farmers are sharp enough to keep their sources of income in good health.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New-to-Me Store, Garage Fire, Halloween's Coming, and Torches

Sunday, October 25, 2009. I noticed a new sign on the storefront next to the Thread Shed on Main last week. I know: It's been there for a month - since September 21, - and It's A Dollar had their Grand Opening last week. What can I say? I've been a little distracted.

I've mentioned how gray October is: and dark. That car's running with headlights on, and it's early afternoon. October
22, 2009.

They still had their "Grand Opening" signs and balloons up when I went this week, to take a look around.

Pretty good selection, actually. October 22, 2009.

I talked to Kirstin, one of the co-managers - the other one's Sundae - and learned that the place is owned by John Johnston, is tied to Thread Shed and the Todd County DCA - and that the Sauk Centre Herald had done a pretty good write-up on them about two weeks back. I figured I'd look up that article - but discovered that we didn't have that issue in the house.

Despite its name, I learned that not all the items in It's A Dollar sell for a dollar. Some go at two or four for a dollar.

Oh, yeah: That got my attention. October 24, 2009.

Around supper time, I heard a siren on south Ash Street and saw an ambulance turn east, a block north of us. Then another siren, and this time it was a fire truck turning here at the corner of 9th and south Ash.

And there were a lot of red flashing lights off in the general direction of the school. My oldest daughter and I went to see what was going on: three units from the Sauk Centre Fire Department, and an ambulance were parked on that stub of East Street near the school, and a police car was blocking the other end of the street.

It could have been worse: a lot worse. That light on the roof seems to be some sort of flashlight. October 24, 2009.

When we got over to south 8th, I realized why so many units had come out. There was a bit of smoke coming from the back of a garage: and a fuel oil tank sat just back of the garage. This time of year, there could have been well upwards of a hundred gallons of oil in there.

The fire crew had to push a cinder block chimney over, but they got the fire out. And, in what I thought was a really nice gesture, helped get a tarp over the new hole in the roof.

Halloween's coming. October 22, 2009.

In the two-decades-plus that I've lived in Sauk Centre, I haven't been to Monster Manor. Not once. It's been open this weekend, and of course will be on for Halloween - which I see is next weekend.

The Marian Garden by Our Lady of the Angels church. October 25, 2009.

Statues in the Marian Garden by Our Lady of the Angels church got blessed this evening. A fair number of people turned out.

More about that another time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October's Bright Blue Weather: And Otherwise

Wednesday, October 21, 2009. The flag at the National Guard armory downtown was flying at half-staff today. I think - but haven't found out for sure - that it's to honor National Guard Specialist George Cauley, who died recently, of wounds incurred in Afghanistan. There's more at the Minnesota National Guard website and KSAX.

National Guard Armory, Sauk Centre, Minnesota. October 21, 2009.

We had "October's bright blue weather" on Monday. Blue skies, fluffy clouds, sunlight, the whole works.

Harvest's happening. October 19, 2009.

Agribusiness is a very big deal here in central Minnesota: and messages on the 1st State Bank sign often reflect this.

Ironically, H1N1 showed up in a few Minnesota pigs this month. October 19, 2009.

I'd have been at the Harvest Graces Mass, but they say to stay home if you're sick. October 19, 2009.

The big holiday trio is coming up: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Quartet, with New Year's. Which gives some householders a chance to decorate their yards.

One of the more thorough Halloween displays. October 19, 2009.

Some folks put up a sort of combination display. This one would be fine for Halloween and Thanksgiving. October 19, 2009.

October's bright blue weather ended sometime Monday night.

"October's bright blue weather"? The poet didn't have this in mind. October 21, 2009.

Hardly the day to take a leisurely stroll. October 21, 2009.

Rain or not, some jobs won't wait. Like the fellow I spotted near Lake Wobegon Trail. Hats off, to everyone whose job takes them outside on days like this to keep the systems we all use working.

He's probably wondering why I stopped. October 21, 2009.

Tourist agencies don't emphasize it: but this is a fairly typical October day in Minnesota. October 21, 2009.

It's getting late, I'm still not feeling up to par, and there's more to do tomorrow. I trust that Sunday will be a better day. Dryer, anyway.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"October's Bright Blue Weather" - Not Quite

Sunday, October 18, 2009. We had a few hours of "October's bright blue weather" this morning. Then the clouds came back. I see that Helen Hunt Jackson, the poet who made a poem of that name, grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts. They may have more reliably bright blue Octobers there, than we do here in central Minnesota.

Enough philosophizing. That three-day mattress sale downtown is over now. (I wrote about it in the Sauk Centre Journal Blog.) The street sweeper's been by my house a few times, and it's about two weeks until Halloween. And, that Marian garden between Our Lady of the Angels church and the rectory is just about finished.

The Marian garden by Our Lady of the Angels Church is getting finished, one piece at a time. October 14, 2009.

Halloween's coming up. As I've said before, some households take holiday decorating more seriously than others. One place, near the river, has the biggest single Halloween decoration I can remember seeing: a sort of inflated gateway. "Cute" is an over-used adjective, but it's the only one I can think of to describe the thing just now.

Now that's a Halloween decoration! October 16, 2009.

With the drought this summer, I didn't think we'd have the most spectacular autumn colors this year. Looks like I was right.

October's bright blue weather? October 16, 2009.

My family and I moved to Sauk Centre in early 1986, so in 2011 I'll have lived here a quarter-century. In that time, I've spotted some places in town that tend to have really nice fall colors. Like the yards in these two photos.

Last year they were a real treat.

This year, they're a bit more subdued. Okay: a lot more subdued. The overcast didn't help, but that tree just isn't the bright-red it was last year. Well, there's always next year.

Let's take a closer look. Those trees have been brighter, some other years, but it's still a nice scene. October 16, 2009.

"Spectacular" isn't everything. I think that's a nice, subdued set of colors. That tree's got a beautiful shape.

Then there's this yard. There's a whole lot of color going on there.

They're a chore to rake up, but autumn's leaves put on quite a show. October 16, 2009.

Maybe I'll catch some of "October's bright blue weather" on Monday. Looks like that'll be my last chance for the week. Tuesday through Thursday, we're slated for rain. Then, as a change of pace, the forecast says that Friday it'll be snowing.

Minnesota: Our climate's not boring.

Friday, October 16, 2009

That's No Store: That's a Three-Day Sale

Driving through downtown earlier this week, I saw signs in one of the storefronts on the east side of Main. Today, I dropped in to see what the new store was like.

Driving by, it looked like a new store was moving in, and attracting attention with a sale.

Odd sort of name for the place. "America's Mattresses." Sauk Centre doesn't have all that many national chain stores. But, what do I know?

Mattresses! Lots and lots of mattresses - and those crazy cartoon sheep.

Okay: That's downright cute.

A quick glance at a business card, and a few minutes chatting with the person behind the counter put me straight. Cullens, up in Alexandria, had rented the storefront for a few days this week. They'd bought a half-truckload (I think that was it) of Serta mattresses, and were selling them here in Sauk Centre.

I might have bought one myself, but ours are in good condition still - and mattresses aren't the sort of thing you generally pick up as an impulse purchase. Tomorrow's the last day they'll be there: so I'm glad I checked when I did.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Autumn, Arson, and Sunflower Stalks

Wednesday, October 14, 2009. I'm back. My family (minus #1 daughter, who couldn't get away) spent the weekend in northern Illinois. We buried the last half of my parents' cremains there. That's not a typo: They were cremated, their ashes comingled, and the cremated remains ("cremains") put in two urns. September was quite a month for this family. (More in my personal blog, October 12, October 5, September 30, 2009.)

My family and I were in Chicago on Monday. October 12, 2009.

It's good to be home. October 14, 2009.

The front page headline of this week's Sauk Centre Herald says that the house fire on South Birch Street a month ago (Monday, September 14) was probably arson. The article says there's a $2,500 reward for any information provided that leads to a conviction. The paper has a phone number for the Sauk Centre Police Department the State Fire Marshal's Office and the arson hotline (1-800-723-2020). Those phone numbers are on the Herald's Web article, too.

I drove around the north side today, to look around. There are fewer leaves on the trees, and more on the grass, than I saw last week. No surprises there.

Sunflower stalks, fallen leaves, and a garden waiting for next spring. October 14, 2009.

Pumpkins out for Halloween and/or Thanksgiving. October 14, 2009.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating. Just about everybody in Sauk Centre does a pretty good job of keeping their yards mowed. A few households go a few - quite a few, in some cases - steps further, and decorate.

One of the more decorated front yards in Sauk Centre October 14, 2009.

I like that. My household isn't one of them: But I'm glad that there are people who take the trouble to make their front yards into a display.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Back in Sauk Centre - and Glad of It.

As I noted in another blog, I'm back in Sauk Centre - and it's good to be home.

My plan is to look around tomorrow and Wednesday, and get back to the regular Sauk Centre Journal schedule. Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Wet Week, So Far

Wednesday, October 7, 2009. It's been wet this week.

Or, to put in another way, it's been clammy, dank, dewy, drenched, dripping, drizzling, foggy, humid, misty, moistened, muggy, raining, rainy, showery, soaked, sodden, soggy, sopping, soppy, water-logged, watery and wringing-wet.

It's rained.

A lot.

This tree has it all: bare branches, autumn
colors, and green foliage. October 5, 2009.

Sauk Lake, near the band shell parking lot. October
5, 2009.

Sinclair Lewis Park, down by Sauk Lake, has been looking pretty quiet. I was a little surprised to see the fountain still running, back on Monday the 5th.

The umbrella kids are still there, in the fountain. October 5, 2009.

Gulls, ducks, and other birds have either headed south or are getting ready to go.

A few gulls on the fishing pier, in Sinclair Lewis Park October 5, 2009.

These two didn't mind me getting closer. October 5, 2009.

Ducks on Sauk Lake. Getting ready for the trip south, I suppose. October 5, 2009.

I'd meant to see the Goat Show, last Friday and Saturday, but it slipped my mind. I see they're already letting us know when the 2010 Stearns County Fair will be.

I missed the Goat Show! October 7, 2009.

A friend of one of my kids has H1N1 / Swine flu. He's being well taken care of. I learned about it this morning. That sure brought the pandemic 'home' to me.

I saw blue sky today: and have a photo to prove it. October 7, 2009.

I saw a bit of blue sky today: and took a picture so I'd have proof. There was a scrap or two of blue, several days ago: but that's been about it. Today's flashes of sunshine were a welcome change.

I think I've mentioned this before, but September's been a pretty - ah, interesting - month for me. My second-oldest daughter got married, my new son-in-law got quite sincerely sick, and my father died.

With everything that's been going on, I'm giving myself a sort of vacation: So there won't be a Sunday entry this week. I plan to be back on schedule for Wednesday, October 14.

Thanks for your patience!

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's Been Quite a Day

I've got everything I needed to get done tonight, done. And, if I didn't: it'll keep 'til morning. It's crazy-late for me, and I need sleep.

I'm looking forward to writing the next Sauk Centre Journal entry. There's a photo of a service truck with a really clever motto on it.

That's it: I'm signing off for the night.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wet Streets, a Two-Tone Tree or Two, and H1N1

Sunday, October 4, 2009. It didn't rain today, not that I noticed anyway. I even saw a patch of blue sky around noon. It's chilly, though: or bracing, or brisk: and finally starting to feel like fall.

See that two-tone tree, to the right of the stop sign? Looks like it can't make up its mind what season it is. October 2, 2009.

That tree to the left of the truck is a bit undecided, too. About the streets: I've mentioned that it's been raining, right? October 2, 2009.

The baseball field, up on the north side, seems to have new dugouts. Either that, or I don't remember the ones that are there - not all that unlikely, this last month. I suppose the things will have roofs eventually. But, what do I know?

I suppose that 'please keep off the grass' sign isn't all that hard to read. Still: you'd think it'd do more good nearer where people might start walking. October 2, 2009.

Have I mentioned that it's rained most of the week? I didn't have to be out in it all that much, happily - and I suppose we can still use more moisture in the soil.

On the Country Club golf course's west side, there's this mushroom: looking like it's been planted there. October 2, 2009.

H1N1 / Swine flu has people's attention. Today in church, we heard that the bishop says that we shouldn't shake hands during the 'sign of peace' - instead, in the Our Lady of the Angels parish at least, we're supposed to put our hand over our heart and bow a little. Makes sense, in the circumstances.

I've got another photo or two, but enough's enough - and I've got more to get done tonight.