Zzzz, zoom and oink

minnesota sampler #2

Winner, winner, no-chicken dinner: at lower right is the Three Hour Tour deliciousness

So, summer’s over, at least per the calendar. Here’s what I was thinking about as Labor Day weekend wrapped up:

We were tough … for awhile

We finally put my little AC unit into the bedroom window! Hot, wet summer + fall pollen = misery, even for me. These last few nights have been very nice! Welcome to the Hotel Stevens Street. The house was born in 1923, but we’re in 2015!

Best part of Labor Day weekend: a nap on Monday, in between the Fair and teaching yoga.

All The Running That Happened

I ran a double header of races on Monday: a 10k then a 5k. Hard! Fun. Not a PR but I was sore enough on Tuesday to confirm I didn’t just jog it. Sore from the ribs, down! Wondering if the last year or so of marathon training has ruined my 10k form: I felt light but maybe not so powerful with that shuffle, shuffle.

State Fair 2015, Couples Version


Keep looking closer; there is more detail in this quilt!

I went on my own, on an evening last week to watch the 4H Llama Costume Competition, wander aimlessly in the Creative Activities building, and shamelessly try some (a lot of) new foods. I returned on Monday with Steve to check out a few special things. My discovery on Wednesday wasn’t just a dream: I’m still amazed at -but loving- being able to buy a beer -and a good one!- at the fair and wander around with it.

Fave foods, overall: frozen cider stick, the Mancini’s cannoli, and that Town Hall coconut beer. Sweets win, and I didn’t even go with dairy (yes there was dairy in the cannoli but it wasn’t frozen nor did I have to wait in the long line in the Dairy building)! Of course we tried a few savories and were pleased: I enjoyed the flavorful items we got at Rabbit Hole for lunch: kimchi curry poutine, and a fried pig tail in a ginger sauce. Thank you, sweet piggy for the delicious meal! However, the cannoli won. Wait, no, that “Three Hour Tour” beer that Town Hall Brewery brought to the Ag building won. It was snuck into a sampler tray that included an apricot-flavored beer (I have to admit, though: it was the first apricot beer I’ve ever liked! Nicely done, Fitger’s!)

cinnamon pig

You can never go wrong with Cinnamon: a few of the inhabitants of Barns of Lost Creek

Still sort of on the food front but maybe a little earlier up the production line: I loved the swine barn! Not just the piglets, either. Pigs are nifty, and I only discovered this just a few weeks ago when we visited Mellissa Deyo’s “Barns of Lost Creek” in Wisconsin for a party. In addition to lovely property and pizza, she had 5-6 pigs! I’d made it to 46 years of age, never having spent any time near a pig, to the shock and amazement of my husband. I’m having trouble putting to words why they were so interesting to me, but they were. Maybe it was the intelligent eyes? Movements?

Sadly, by the time we got to the Swine Barn on Monday, the swine had mostly left. So here’s a photo and video for Steve & the rest of you, of pigs on other days.

Mellissa also had some exotic, very colorful chickens, too – I was very happy to see them as I’d already heard that the State Fair had to forgo the poultry exhibition due to concerns about bird flu, this year. My years working on a Breton chicken ranch left an imprint on me – and my visits to the fair over the last few years included enjoyable visits to the poultry barn.

amaranth art

The seed art competition in the Ag Building: loved this fish composed of colored amaranth!

I love that this is one of the largest state fairs and so has some things in common with the state fair that I grew up going to, every year (the “Puyallup” State Fair in Washington): there are some special foods available, lots of farm animals, and also some fun rides and weird, large, cheaply-made prizes that you can either win or buy. Also: it’s large enough to get lost at. It’s pretty nifty to go into a building at dusk and come out and night has fallen on the fair. It was so festive, with all the lights and people! Reminds me of my childhood experiences at various rodeos in Central WA and some late-night carousing in Torino, Italy.

Except for the seed art.

And the battered, deep-fried cheese curds. I can usually only make it through about half a serving but these are so, so good! Those scones in Puyallup were lovely but just don’t compare.


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