I did not win a ribbon at the State Fair. Nor did Becky. But Tanya did, she won a sixth place gold ribbon. Here’s a picture of my piece in its glass case with other Halloween pieces, including a very nice quilt.


We had a good time at the fair. I’m writing this Monday evening after a long day there. One of the highlights was a raptor exhibit and talk. The people involved in it are falconers, and had various hawks and falcons diving out of the air for a leather lure. They also had owls and two vultures and a young bald eagle. All of the birds in their show are damaged in some way and cannot be set free; their organization rescues injured raptors and tries to heal them so they can be returned to the wild. One of their birds was a merlin, a variety of falcon smaller than a crow, almost as little as a robin, a beautiful bird. Here is a photo of a very small owl that lives in pine trees and his color is such that the casual observer thinks he is a pine cone. All these birds are extremely useful in the natural environment – one of the hawks, for example, goes after skunks, preferably sick ones, and often the illness is rabies.  The tufts on an owl’s head are not ears, nor do they mark the location of its ears, it’s to break up the outline of his head, making him harder to see while roosting.  The owl is sitting on a trainer’s hand, which gives you an idea of how tiny it is.


And in the Miracle of Life barn, where you can watch pigs and cows give birth and chickens hatch, we encountered an amazing young man studying to become a veterinarian.  He was supervising the enormous sows giving birth to large numbers of piglets in very uncomfortable-looking little pens.  He told us things like, when we saw a mob of piglets all fast asleep suddenly rise as one to begin avidly suckling, that when the mother’s milk “comes down,” she emits a pherenome the piglets smell and identify as an invitation to dine.

Here is one of the four of us eating breakfast – I had a wonderfully light and delicate croissant with an almond paste filling – not all the food at the fair is on the order of deep-fried Oreos. This is Ann.


And here is an only-in-Minnesota food wagon selling Mexican treats, including Oof-Da Tacos! (Uff-Da is a Scandinavian exclamation of consternation, and is practically the state motto.)