Friday, May 18, 2012

More from the Minnesota Festival...

The Minnesota Shepherd's Harvest Festival is held annually at the Washington County Fairgrounds at Lake Elmo, Minnesota, a small burg near Stillwater.  I was actually raised for a few years (up to age six) at 214 West Elm Street in Stillwater -- we drove by the old, old house, and I was gratified to see that somebody has preserved it in Painted Lady garb.  It's a mid-19th century Federal-style, four-square, upright house situated on a kind of small knoll.  The grandparents lived downstairs, and we lived upstairs.  It was too dark to take a picture, but it was a joy to know that I somehow remembered the address and how to find it.

Minnesota is about wildlife, trees, and water.  Perpetual access to natural beauty, I once concluded, is the main reason people endure the harsh extremes in temperature -- from sub-zero temperatures in winter to three digits in summer.  That leaves out the fact of mosquitoes -- swarms of them.  Minnesota used to have one of the biggest anti-mosquito budgets in the nation.   But -- beauty is beauty.  The St Croix River, on which Stillwater and part of St Paul are built, and where my mother's parents once had a very small cottage surrounded by gooseberry bushes, is now a National Wilderness Preserve -- and for good reason.  Few scenes are more entirely lush and inviting than this old river, once an important migratory path for settlers determined to press into the Great Plains. You have to perch on top of the bridge leading to Hudson, Wisconsin, to get a really panoramic view (it's wide), but here's a wee taste, taken from the 1883 Freight House, now a delightful restaurant, particularly on the patio:

And, everywhere, the ducks, birds, small animals.  Here is a new family on a small pond near our motel (in White Bear Lake, Minnesota).  Click on the picture to make it bigger -- look for the babies (it's MAY):

....and finally, a Minnesotan with a stellar sense of humor, and a snap of some of the handspun yarn I bought for the studio, made by two young ladies in their 20s -- a company called Hello Purl.

Enjoy!  And let me hear from you if you've been to an interesting festival lately.


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