Where my summer went (3)

It now looks and feels like autumn in Minnesota, with highs only in the mid-40s (4.5 Centigrade). But before we embrace the fall colors, here’s one last look at the summer of 2018.


Thanks to haze from the blazes in California, the sunrises take on an eerie red glow.

Hazy sunrise 1330493 BLOG

Hazy sunrise 1330502 BLOG

So do the roads, which are practically illuminated by fluorescent orange cones in the ubiquitous construction zones.

Road construction 1330492 BLOG

Orange cones 1340594 BLOG

The lupines bloom, even as the daisies and coneflowers begin to fade.

Lupines 1330391 BLOG

Daisies 1330426 BLOG

As if on cue, the oak trees drop their acorns almost overnight. One enterprising young neighbor decides to capitalize on the windfall. Sadly, his supply far exceeds the demand.

Carl's acorns IMG_9229 BLOG

Esteban and I go to the Renaissance Festival.

Leslie at Renfest 1340545 CR2 BLOG

Renfest light smithy 1330634 BLOG

It’s the same as ever: lots of pottery …

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… and music …

Renfest musicians 1330544 BLOG

… and pottery and music …

Renfest musicians 1330516 BLOG

… elaborate costumes …

Renfest clothes 1330622 BLOG

Renfest gallows 1330599 BLOG

… ballerinas masquerading as unicorns …

Renfest unicorn 1340526 BLOG

… ponies masquerading as unicorns …

Renfest unicorn 1330539 BLOG

… audience participation …

Renfest bubbles 1330660 BLOG

Renfest puppets 1330560 BLOG

Renfest Zilch torysteller 1330588 BLOG

… and being wanted by the wenches. (With extra points awarded for the jaunty tricorn hat.)

Wenches want me 1330565 BLOG


September brings even shorter days, but — paradoxically — warmer weather. Esteban and I brave the sun and visit the State Fair. To my dismay, we speed through the horse barn and miss the heifer judging.

State Fair heifers 1330739 BLOG

But at least we get a hands-on demonstration of the restorative power of goats and sheep.

State Fair goat 1330751 BLOG

State Fair sheep 1330770 BLOG

And to my delight, I somehow manage to convince my husband to join me on the Sky Ride (shown below, on the left of the frame).

State Fair 1340016 BLOG

State Fair skyride 1330825 BLOG

Never mind that our gondola lists precariously toward Esteban’s side — or that the roofs below us are inexplicably covered in underwear. (Fitting tip: If your bra or underpants fall off spontaneously, try a smaller size.)

State Fair undies 1330808 BLOG

From our dangling perch we see — and hear — the Giant Sing-Along. Predictably, the enormous karaoke machine is playing Twist and Shout.

State Fair Giant sing-along 1330888 BLOG

The Sky Ride also gives us a bird’s eye view of the food options. (Schnitzel strips! Corn dogs! Strawberry smoothies! Funnel cakes!!)

State Fair food 1330893 BLOG

But because we have already gorged ourselves on cinnamon rolls, pork chops, turkey drumsticks, fried pickles and mini donuts, Esteban and I resist the temptation.

We waddle over to the Fine Art building where we find a Van Gogh …

State Fair art 1330894 BLOG

… and a snowy Minnesota landscape where no van should go.

State Fair art 1330899 BLOG

It’s only 11 a.m., but the fairgrounds are already at capacity. We call it a day.

State Fair crowd 1340033 BLOG

On our way out we encounter another man with dubious taste in t-shirts. Good for you, buddy!

State Fair anorexia 1340019 BLOG

Back at the office, a newsletter glides across my desk on its way to publication. My friend and colleague Tom notes that there are no more summer months on the calendar. Unfazed, our client says it’s still summer.

Optimism? Or tragic denial? Either way, I don’t argue.

Insight IMG_9056 BLOG

It went by so fast that in my mind it’s still summer, too.

How is the weather in your neck of the woods?


  1. “May the goats and sheep restore you.” – Ancient Minnesotan parting wish.

    38 degrees here in central Indiana this morning. First day wearing long sleeves and a heavy coat.

    • “May the goats and sheep restore you.” LLOL, Jim (literally laughed out loud)! I’m going to start saying that randomly to strangers and see if it catches on.

      As for your weather in central Indiana: Long sleeves and a heavy coat for 38 degrees? Doesn’t that seem like overdressing, just a bit? 🙂

  2. We successfully avoided the State Fair for another year. Another tip for those having trouble keeping their underwear from falling off – hit the food booths *before* taking a gondola ride. I have found that massive calorie intake has made this problem entirely preventable.

    Here in tropical Indianapolis there have still been some top-down days (in the convertible sense, not the Minnesota State Fair gondola sense) in October. Sunny days in the upper 50s is some of the Best Weather Ever.

    Random question – has anyone in the history of the world ever bought an acorn?

    • I’m so glad the goat and sheep brought a smile! (They do every time for me, too.) Sorry to hear about your weather, though — that sounds dreadful! I hope the cat is helping at least your lap stay warm! 🙂

    • We did indeed have a summer — but it was one of those “small-town summers”: Blink, and you’ll miss it! Oh, to be a collie on days like today, wrapped in a luxurious fur coat! 🙂

  3. Wonderful pictures, wonderful humor, and lovely view into Minnesota “)) I had no idea mid 40’s was the high for autumn there! What a temperature adjustment post summer. But it looks beautiful; hope there will be more photos as the season progresses ; ) Thank you!

    • After 30-some years here I *still* have no idea what a “normal” autumn temperature is supposed to be, Lara — LOL! But the abrupt change of seasons really can be an adjustment. (As I will show you on Sunday at approximately 4:30 p.m. Pacific time, ha ha.) Thank you so much for stopping by, and for bringing a big smile with your kind comment.

  4. Loved the costumes! Looked like everyone had fun there! And at the festival. How did the underwear, etc., get on the roof exactly?
    The t-shirts – LOL!

    • I have no idea how the undergarments got on the roof — but perhaps one of my other blog-friends who lives in Minnesota will enlighten us. And those t-shirts! Not all were suitable for a family blog, but you get the idea. 😉 Thank you for being such a loyal reader!

  5. I had to laugh at the fitting tip … perhaps they were attempts at the mile high club!
    I’m running around in Australia taking photos of blossom and breathing in the pollen-filled air. It’s daylight savings and starting to warm up 😊

    • Ha! I love your theory about the mile-high club attempts. People are weird, so that’s certainly a possibility! And how wonderful that it’s spring where you are. I hope this summer will be less dry and hot for you than last year was. Thank you so much for stopping by!

        • Yes, indeed — I remember reading stories last year about farmers having to slaughter their animals because they couldn’t get water to them. I hope it won’t be so heartbreakingly dire again this summer.

  6. As a former badminton player, I always wondered where the shuttlecocks came from. Now I know. Folks in Minnesota grow them. (Photo #6 from the top.) 😉

    • Haha! It took me a second … but yes, you are absolutely right. You should come visit our shuttlecock farms sometime! 😉

  7. It’s beginning to feel like the endless summer here in France. No rain to speak of (while our neighbours to the south have experienced terrible flash flooding) and everything is dry as a bone. Bring on fall! (24 C today). I love your photos from the fair — I do remember going to the state fair in Minnesota as a kid and also, of course, the CNE in Toronto. That sky ride brings back fond memories.

    • Would you like to trade places for a week or two? Because I would gladly invite you to come stay in the condo in exchange for a week or two of endless summer — though it is terrible how much some people are suffering, like your poor neighbors to the south. Glad those state fair photos brought back some memories. I curse it for all its excess and cheesiness, but I would miss it if ever I moved away.

  8. Great photos. I had no idea Renaissance fairs had such permanent grounds. It’s been years since I was to one. If I say “for fun” does it give my roots away? 🙂 But really, leaving the fair at 11 am. Where was your sense of adventure? 🙂 The frames are a nice touch. And I love the stack of highway cones.

    • For fun! You betcha, Marie. 😉 Yes, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival has grown into a virtual town, with permanent buildings. Alas, next year will be the last at its current location after 47 years because the lease on the land is ending. It remains to be seen whether they’ll move or just close down. As for the State Fair: You say adventure, I say insanity! Ha ha. Our philosophy is to leave while we’re still having a good time (or before the pronto pups run out, whichever comes first) — and it’s working, because we’re already looking forward to next year! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind comment.

    • Sometimes I worry that I try too hard to be clever. But if you appreciate it, then I’m on the right track! 😉 Thank you so much.

  9. Hello and hello! My goodness you have a whole lot of party going on. I haven’t been to a Renaissance Faire in years, and like yours, I think it eventually lost it’s location, but I always liked the sense of being immersed in a different time. Yours looks like fun. What a great idea going to your State Fair early, then leaving while you’re still having fun and before the real heat of the day.

    Great pics, great puns and a whole lot of fun. xo

    • Yes indeed, it’s a 24/7 party over here! LOL. What a shame that your Renaissance Faire lost its location. As cheesy as they can be, they’re loads of fun (if only for the people-watching). Fingers crossed ours will stay afloat somehow after next year, sigh. As for the state fair: We’ve learned from experience that it’s best to go before people get too drunk and sweaty (and no, I’m not joking). But most of all, it’s so lovely to hear from you! I think I’ll wander over to your corner of the world now and see if maybe there’s an update from my dear friend in California. xo

      • Let me make a note: go before drunk and sweaty people show up. Got it!

        And whadaya know: https://www.norcalrenfaire.com

        It’s now in Hollister which is about an hour south of here so technically still northern California. I here you’re already getting cold weather. You must be made of good stock to survive your MN winters. Sending a big hug your way. xo

        • Ooooh! Please tell me you and Mike will go to the NoCalRenFaire?! As is says in the name, there are no calories. Ha ha! As for my good stock … well, yes, my ancestors were apparently quite hardy. But whether this little hobbit will follow in their tough-as-nails footsteps remains to be seen anew with each snowfall. 🙂

  10. You always find such beauty in everything! Weather here has been very mixed… raining most days now though. The last couple of days has been around 13 degrees Celsius in the day and around 4 or 5 at night time. Could all change tomorrow though!! Very unpredictable Xx

    • Oooh, that *is* quite a temperature swing you have going! Makes it difficult to know what to wear, doesn’t it? But the unpredictability can also be fun — so long as you don’t get caught in the rain unexpectedly, I suppose. Hope it will warm up for you again before it plunges into winter in earnest. (So not ready for that!) xx

  11. I have always wanted to go to a renaissance fair, at least once. Your pictures captured how I always thought it would be. It is crazy how quickly summer flew by. And now I am forced to confront my denials about the freezing temps! ❤

    • Well … if ours survives its forced relocation, you should come visit! It’s a bit like a medieval Comic Con with (fake, terrible) British accents — very silly, but lots of fun. Thank you for virtually tagging along! 🙂

  12. Ballerinas mascurading as unicorns or unicorns mascurading as ballerinas? 😀 😀 😀
    Cinnamon rolls, pork chops, turkey drumsticks and mini donuts… Count me in. 😊 (you can help yourself to my share fried pickles if you want them though). 😊 😊 😊

    • That’s a good question you raise about the ballerina/unicorns. I will have to inquire further next year! 😉 As for the fried pickles: Don’t pass ’em up until you’ve tried ’em. They are surprisingly delicious. Unless you don’t like pickles, I suppose, in which case they are a scourge sent from Hades to torment (wo)man. Ha ha.

    • Your comments are always welcome, Otto, no matter when they arrive! The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is the largest of its kind in the United States. (Although I call it the Anachronism Festival because the participants and spectators alike seem confused about what actually went on during the Renaissance. For example, Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean is a common costume, as is 12th-Century armor. But it’s all in good fun, and as you can see the photo opportunities are fantastic.)

  13. That was quite a summer. Very eerie that Californian fires would affect your sunsets. I wonder how far the haze from the Amazonian fires will reach?
    And that anorexia t-shirt – I believe he has a way to go before he fills that up.

    • Isn’t it unfathomable to consider the destruction that is still raging in the Amazon? We’ll find out soon enough how far the effects of the fires will reach, I’m afraid. But on a happier note, I’ll be returning to the State Fair this weekend, so maybe I’ll see anorexia guy and check on his progress! Hope things are okay in your corner of the world.

      • It’s a disaster, and governments should be contributing to aid efforts, in the same way disaster relief is offered after an earthquake.
        Anyway have a great time at the State Fair. Cold and wet here in Sydney.

        • I agree with you that it’s a disaster, though sadly manmade. But it has been heartening to see the global response actually having an effect on both the fires and on Bolsonaro’s policies. On a lighter note, I’m happy to report that we had a brilliant time at the State Fair. It was cold and rainy (just like in Sydney, when we last corresponded) but we made the best of it by taking shelter in the arena and watching four-year-olds compete in races with their ponies. It was as adorable as it was impressive. Plus, for once I can say it’s something you would NEVER find in Paris! 🙂

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