I set out a couple Saturdays ago to take one picture every hour of my life in Big Stone County. It's a rich and sometime busy life. If you're under the impression that small town and rural life is slow paced and without opportunities, you might be surprised. Here's a view of a day in the life of a farm mom in Big Stone County.
It started early with taking Alma into Clinton for play practice. The school is doing the musical Oliver!
While Alma was at practice, I headed down to the Harvest Fest at the Apple Ranch on Big Stone Lake. There were lots of friends to talk to, artists and artisans, and apples to be bought. Any U of M students at Food Day at the U? You may have enjoyed those apples on the Regional Partnership's table. Last year I met a woman who raised her own alpaca, spun their wool into yarn, and knit lovely hats and scarves. This year I marveled at Liz Rackl's granite carvings. I couldn't stay as long as I liked because it was time to pick up Alma from play practice and so I headed back to Clinton.
Alma and I had a bit of time to spare before we went to a friend's house and so we stopped to visit Doreen at the Cabin Cafe. We split a homemade caramel roll and I enjoyed a good cup of coffee. People! Go out of your way to eat at The Cabin Cafe- Doreen is a great cook and committed to using healthy food. Organic oatmeal for breakfast and secret recipe pie crusts made with canola oil-- and delicious! Open 7am to 2pm Tuesday - Sunday. Pie on Sunday only.
On the way to our friend's house to help them move, we passed what looked to be 3 or 4 generations of one family combining corn. Alma got a good look at the guys in the combine- and older man with a very old man. Looked like an aging farmer with his own elderly dad bringing in the harvest. What a great touchstone for a farm life and a family on a crisp autumn afternoon.
Alma and I went on to our friends JoAnne and Simon's house- for a fun and sad time helping them move. JoAnne and her family had to move away because the DNR cut her hours as the Big Stone State Park ranger. We need this beautiful state park! We need this young and active family! Just think- the weekend they moved out we lost .1% of the population of the county. So this was not a happy event- but I'm sad to say it is indicative of the state of the county. (Let's change that)
We stayed for sandwiches and apples at JoAnne and Simon's and then off to the big game! Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley had a Saturday afternoon football game. Met the rest of the family there and we all stood with hands on heart as the Star Spangled Banner was played by the school band.
An hour later I was cold and warming up in my car. Check out the great view of the game with a fieldside parking spot! And me- after my gushing thrill of football post a few weeks ago- now reading the Energy Bulletin on my cell phone.
At last back home to hang out, process tomatoes, and cook up a batch of ham and veggy soup. This tomato squisher/de-seeder is the best invention EVER! We make great seedless sauce in no time. What's more, the chickens get the seeds and the tomato skins and think of all the healthy nutrients there- not a bit wasted.
And upstairs to bed- but first a couple games of hangman.
String together a bunch of simple pleasures and you get something of a life well lived. The trick, I think, is to pay attention-- every hour sometimes.