Sunday, July 29, 2012

Photos from the Fair

Sunday, July 29, 2012. This has been a dry summer. America hasn't been this dry, I've read, since the 1950s and 1930s. Someone I talked to, who had been working on a well in this area, said that water in the major aquifer in this part of the state starts 61 feet lower than it usually does.

The good news is that Earth isn't running out of water: it's just being distributed a bit differently this year. A normal season or so of rain should percolate down to that aquifer and get water levels back to what we're used to: but right now, a whole lot of water isn't there.

I don't have numbers, but it seemed to me that there weren't quite as many folks at the Stearns County Fair this year. Which isn't to say that the fairgrounds looked empty.

These folks drove by the corner of Ash Street and 9th Street South Saturday morning. July 28, 2012.

I started taking photos on my way to the Knights of Columbus Bingo booth. This was about 6:00 p.m.. July 28, 2012.

Saturday at the Stearns County Fair. Lots of families. July 28, 2012.

The midway: this is the 'amusement park' end of the fair. July 19, 2012.

Same place, a minute or so later. July 28, 2012.

Looking back the way I came, near the ticket booth. July 28, 2012.

"Bingo:" That's where I called numbers for two hours. I like doing that: it's a way I can help. July 28, 2012.

Inside the 'Bingo booth.' There in the lower right of the photo is the board where we keep track of which numbers have been called in each game. July 28, 2012.

About two hours later, my shift is over and I take a look at some of the exhibits. July 28, 2012.

4H does a lot more than model rocketry: but that's one of my favorite stops in their building. July 28, 2012.

This is part of the 'real' fair: agricultural machinery on display. July 28, 2012.

I've got almost two dozen photos of the fair, and am half-done.

Sunday, July 29, 2012: Still more photos. 11 photos down, 11 to go. This next set is inside the Conservation Club building.

Ducks, gadwall and otherwise. July 28, 2012.

Some of the critters in the Conservation Club building are native to Minnesota. Others, like the golden pheasant there, aren't. That Chinese bird certainly is colorful, though. July 28, 2012.

The three-section aquarium that's built into the floor. July 28, 2012.

Whitetail deer, like this fawn, live here in central Minnesota. July 28.

Wallabies, not so much. July 28, 2012.

A family and a horse at one of the livestock barns. July 28, 2012.

Pigs are big in this part of Minnesota: a big part of agribusiness, anyway. You can see a horse's ears, inside the building. July 28, 2012.

Other buildings have commercial exhibits. This is where the arts and crafts are shown. July 28, 2012.

The Ferris  wheel. 'It just wouldn't be a fair without the Ferris wheel.' July 28, 2012.

Daylight is just about done. Whole families are still on the midway, and now groups of teens. July 28, 2012.

An old standard of the midway: a merry-go-round. July 28, 2012.

That's all for this week. Summer is more than half-over. Next big transition on the calendar is the end of harvest, and the start of school.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Drought, History, and a County Fair Next Week

Sunday, July 22, 2012. As we say in Minnesota, 'it could be worse.' My yard is tan, with patches of green highlighting the weeds: not exactly a 'house beautiful' scene, but the lawn will recover.

It's been a dry summer: but at least the weeds are green. July 19, 2012.

I haven't heard how crops are coming along in this part of central Minnesota: but my guess is that we're better off than folks down in southern Illinois, Nebraska, and other places with "extreme" to "exceptional" drought. I made 'thumbnail' copies of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's U.S. Drought Monitor's last two maps:

(from U.S. Drought Monitor, used w/o permission)
Drought conditions, July 10, 2012.

(from U.S. Drought Monitor, used w/o permission)
Drought conditions, July 17, 2012.

The good news is that it's been worse: in the 1930s, and again in the 1950s. We learned from the Dust Bowl, and farmers should be doing a much better job of soil management these days.

The bad news is that we'll probably be spending more for food, later this year. Still - 'it could be worse.' Pricier steaks and a tighter household budget is a whole lot better than a famine. This article compared this year's drought to some of what happened in 'the good old days:'
"Historic drought to bring higher food prices, experts say" (July 17, 2012)

"The historic drought baking the nation's breadbasket is about to hit American consumers where it hurts most -- the supermarket checkout.

" 'Prices are going to go up, Justin Gardner, assistant professor of agribusiness at Middle Tennessee State University, told the Christian Science Monitor. 'The only question is when.'

"Everything from breakfast cereal to roast beef will cost more as a result of the worst drought in 24 years, which has already prompted authorities to declare more than 1,000 counties in 26 states -- nearly two-thirds of land in the lower 48 states, stretching from Nevada to South Carolina -- natural disaster areas.

"Only in the 1930s and the 1950s has a drought covered more land, according to federal figures released Monday. So far, officials say there's little risk of a Dust Bowl-type catastrophe, but crop losses could mount if rain doesn't come soon -- and that means across-the-board higher food prices...."
That drought map probably doesn't tell the whole story. I was near Hillsboro, North Dakota, this weekend: an area that the U.S. Drought Monitor shows as having 'severe' drought conditions. Harvest was under way: come to think of it, this seems rather early for that sort of thing. Besides, I don't know what the yield per acre is.

Harvest in the Red River Valley of the North. July 20, 2012.

The Stearns County Fair starts this week. Folks were starting to set up the midway when I got home this afternoon.

Getting ready for the Stearns County Fair. July 22, 2012.

I missed Sinclair Lewis Days: that was July 15 through today. It's been a mildly hectic week: at least it felt that way.

Sunset. July 22, 2012.

I plan to get a good night's sleep, start Monday morning refreshed and - good grief. I've got medical stuff to do in St. Cloud tomorrow. Oh, well: there's only a 20 percent chance of rain, and I gather that we could use the moisture.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Adornments, Bric-a-brac, Candles, Doodads ...

Sunday, July 15, 2012. I must have driven past Marc'ette Floral several times since they added the 'Ivy Brick Inn' sign to their building's 'other' door. The Ivy Brick Inn website ( shows what I'd expected: photos of the rooms, rates for overnight and "weekend retreats." The eight-guest minimum was a slight surprise, but what do I know about inns?

The website's home page had another surprise. It says that Ivy Brick Inn "is perfect for crafters and other gathering ideas...." Followed by a longish list of ideas:
  • Quilting
  • Scrapbooking
  • Spiritual Retreats
  • Girls' Weekends
  • Wellness Retreats
  • Small weddings
  • Groom's Dinners
  • Showers
  • Wedding Party Lodging
  • Business Meetings
  • Parties
  • Luncheons
That "Showers" item seemed out of place: until I realized that they probably meant "wedding shower" or "baby shower," not the stand-up personal hygiene service at places like where I fuel up the van.

Marc'ette Floral's south room. This is one of my favorite retail display areas in Sauk Centre. July 11, 2012.

Marc'ette Floral, the gift-and-flowers shop attached to Ivy Brick Inn, redecorates their south display room regularly. That, combined with my not stopping in all that often, means I get a new visual treat each time I'm there.

Marc'ette Floral - plant-related items, flowers, decorations, and candles. July 11, 2012.

Marc'ette Floral and Ivy Brick Inn are at the corner of Main and 6th Street South. About two and a half blocks north, Hidden Treasure doesn't look anything like this photo. Not if you're on Main Street:

Hidden Treasure's back entrance, not-quite-hidden under the stairs. July 11, 2012.

Hidden Treasure is a 'card and gift' shop, with books, decorative items: and candles: including Spiral Light Candle products. I'm particularly interested in that new sort of candle, since my son-in-law and #2 daughter's company makes them.

Butterflies, candles, plaques, and a whole lot of other knickknacks, bric-a-brac, whatnots and curios. July 11, 2012.
I like the look of Hidden Treasure's interior, too. It reminds me of some of the older homes I've been in: the sort where the homeowner likes to collect nifty-looking little doodads.

Sunset at Ash and 9th Street South, Sauk Centre. July 11, 2012.

My Small Town America: Central Minnesota webcam looks in about the same direction as that sunset photo: except it's pointed down to give a view of a hummingbird feeder, birdbath, and whatever's going on near the corner of Sauk Centre's Ash and 9th Street South.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Independence Day, Weather, and Two Weeks of Prayer

Sunday, July 8, 2012. Independence Day fell on a Wednesday this year.

Wednesday was also the last day of the freedom rosary in the garden by Our Lady of the Angels church for two weeks. Nearly a hundred folks, have been out there, praying and singing for an hour each evening. I found out about it on the Sunday after it started, and was out each evening after that.

Last evening for the freedom rosary in Sauk Centre. July 4, 2012.

It was hot and humid on a few of the days, but happily we didn't get rained on. Then, on the night of July 4, there was a tornado watch. I haven't heard of anything more severe than a thunderstorm in central Crow Wing County, and southeast Cass County, north of Sauk Centre. Can't say I'm disappointed.

More about that freedom rosary:
Mostly, it's been hot this week: the sort of weather where I'm inclined to see blinking my eyes as "strenuous activity." Compared to some parts of the country, though, we've had an easy time of it:
Temperatures got down to more reasonable levels this weekend.

Finally, photos of someone's holiday decorations:

Flags and bunting for Independence Day. July 8, 2011.

Really small flags, but lots of them. July 8, 2011.

The Stearns County Fair is coming later this month, but that's a couple weeks off: July 25 through July 29, I think.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Freedom Rosary: Two Days Left

I've been spending an hour each evening in the garden next to Our Lady of the Angels Church, with several dozen other folks. Normally I stay inside during heat advisories: we manage to keep parts of the house relatively cool. Or not-hot, anyway.

This freedom rosary is enough of a big deal for me, to warrant going out to face heat and the occasional mosquito. Besides, it's a nice opportunity to take photos:

Getting ready for another freedom rosary at Our Lady of the Angels Church in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. July 2, 2012.

Not as many folks as some previous nights: no surprise, since it felt like 101 ° F. July 2, 2012.

Young, old, and most ages between. July 2, 2012.

Related posts:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Independence Day's Coming

Sunday, July 1, 2012. I've got mostly photos again this week: only not quite so many. Actually one of them is from last week.

'Fireworks tent' in a parking lot on Sauk Centre's south side. Independence Day's coming this Wednesday. June 23, 2011.

The next three photos show part of what I've been doing this week. As many as 98 folks have been gathering in the garden next to Our Lady of the Angels church each evening to pray. Tonight there were 92: I suspect some of us decided to stay inside, out of the heat and humidity.

Freedom rosary, in the Marian garden at Our Lady of the Angels church. June 24, 2012.

Freedom rosary, violins, folks singing. June 25, 2012.

Freedom rosary: photo by Dr. Erik Rivers. June 26, 2012.

There's been more going on in Sauk Centre: folks buying food and fireworks at the grocery; hummingbirds refueling at feeders, including mine; all the usual routines.

Down the road in Alexandria, KSAX television stopped broadcasting. Alexadria's Echo Press ran an article on the closure:
If something special happened here in Sauk Centre: I missed it, but will try to catch up next week.