Monday, September 1, 2008

Minnesota State Fair/Bratfest/Critters of the Motherland

Happy September!

I hope you all had a spectacular weekend. Shout-outs to everyone who has their first day of school tomorrow, especially PG, who starts her doctorate at the U!

R and I had a marathon of fun adventures, starting with our annual pilgrimage to the MN State Fair on Thursday night.

Every year there is a featured weird food at the State Fair, including such things as Hot-Dish on a Stick, Deep Fried Candy Bars, Pizza on a Stick, etc. This year it was Chocolate Covered Bacon. Heck yes we tried it:
As one could expect with a combination of two perfect foods, Chocolate Covered Bacon was delicious. The salty/chocolaty quality reminded me of dipping a french fry into a chocolate shake, except with a smokiness that was a little weird. These so-called "Pig Lickers" were pretty rich, though.

The animal barns were being cleaned last Thursday, and unfortunately we couldn't see any miniature goats as they were all being replaced. We did attend the "Miracle of Birth" barn, however.

Can you see an umbilical cord hanging down from one of the baby pigs? They were so tiny.

DSCN3914.JPG These two larger piglets appear to be snuggling, but in reality they were biting each other.


The baby calf.

These ducklings had their own swimming pools!

On Friday we traveled to my hometown in Central Wisconsin. As usual we were pampered and fed heartily. R and I spent every evening at my sister L's and her boyfriend CC's rural estate. L and I went on a wildlife search AND ONE OF MY CRITTER GOALS WAS FINALLY REALIZED.

Ladies and Gentlemen: The salamander.

Unlike the tiger salamanders we found in the sandy basement of my aunt's house, this one was all black. Here is a tiger salamander:

Here he is in his hole, under a board leaning up against CC's garage.

How we loved this gentle creature! But, I'm having trouble identifying this salamander. Could it be a blue-spotted salamander, a native of Wisconsin?
I think we would have noticed the spots, even though our salamander was covered with sand.

Or it could have been another WI salamander, the spotted variety.

We also saw one of these guys:
A gray tree frog.

And possibly a frog that is endangered in Wisconsin, a Blanchard's Cricket Frog:
We didn't have our camera last night when I spotted this guy on the outside of the garage window. He was green with distinctive copper eyes and a matching copper stripe along the side of his head. Adorbs!

Arachnids were present as well:
DSCN3918.JPG There were tons of daddy long legs everywhere!

I also spotted one of these guys:
Unfortunately she was just zooming through the treetops, not up close!

Close to my hometown is the largest one day festival in Wisconsin, the Harrisville Bratfest!
R had never attended this venerable event, so we hastened there, seeking brats and adventure!

The brat and R's commemorative bottle coozy! Notice as well his new camouflage hat.

L and CC in action!

For some reason I do not recall watching a tractor pull before.

Side Note: The tractor pull track is directly adjacent to the Lion's Club where R and I had our wedding reception!

Trucks pulled too:
The plume of smoke was very dramatic! And carcinogenic!

I highly recommend attending the Bratfest. Although tickets to the tractor pull were $10 (kids get in free) the menu is quite reasonable:

Hope you had a great weekend too!


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