last weekend i made two carrot cakes – one was for my parents’ anniversary. i tried out my fancy piping tips! oh, and bonus cat and tree ornament pics.
and suddenly it’s fall.
the dust from the combines cutting their way through the corn fields is so thick on the rural roads, it’s like fog. it smells of dried grass, starch, and autumn. the valleys are heavy with the corn dust, with the lights of the giant tractors blinking in the dark like UFOs. the time is ripe for harvesting, and farmers make the most of the time, hauling corn from the fields into the early hours of the mornings.
because the first hard frost came late (last night), the leaves are browner than normal, even though the conditions throughout the summer were perfect for a spectacular fall foliage showing (lots of rain). spots of yellow, orange, and red poke through the drabness here and there, and they help shout out the season.
the roadside stands boasting pumpkins for $3 are picked over, the only pumpkins left being the oddly shaped and not-quite orange. gardens are cleared out of usable vegetables, with the only exceptions being hardy veggies like broccoli, brussels sprouts, leeks, onions, carrots, and the like. the defeated tomatoes that were so boastful during july and august are now nothing but darkened, wasted stalks with any leftover fruits littering the ground: squashed, deflated, wrinkled, and decaying.
the summer’s been well for hay, and the corn stalks have been rolled into bales. the entire growing season has been great: seeds went in early, the rain was relatively steady, and september was warm into october. the minnesota harvest is set to be a record-breaking one.
ready for winter.
today, liz, jane, and i went to red wing and lake city to get our shop on! i took some pics while we were there.
OMG WOW this weekend was a whirlwind of cooking. it’s harvest time, so i was canning up a storm, and at the same time i made a cheesecake for a birthday tomorrow at work, ice cream, and fancy ribs and potato salad for supper tonight.
a couple weeks ago i put up a batch of pickles and a batch of tomato sauce. this weekend, i canned another batch of each as well as some pickled green beans and salsa. oh, and blanched some green beans for freezing. i was a canning fool all weekend. i’m glad it’s over. i enjoy doing it, but it’s a lot of work.
the OTHER fun thing i did lately was take some cosplay pics! liz’s friend caitlin’s friend rikki had a photographer bail on her, so caitlin recommended me to take the pics! SO MUCH FUN. these girls dressed up in comicbook, videogame, and movie characters.
If you have facebook, we are currently voting on which good stock photos should be in the calendar here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.852822341470957.1073741830.152183304868201&type=3
here’s my fave pic
on friday evening while i was trying to nap, i got a text message from caitlin asking if i wanted to do a photoshoot the next day. i was like, uh, maybe? she got me in touch with the person who wanted it, and on saturday, charlie and i went to mankato to do a photoshoot with a bunch of ladies who are a part of a cosplay calendar!
i was worried since studio photos aren’t my forte, but the music studio where it was being held actually had a huge green screen we used as well as a couple floodlights. WHEW. i actually went out to amazon yesterday and ordered a continuous lighting kit so i can make it look a little better next week.
so, we were there for about 3-1/2 hours and got about 6 ladies done. i haven’t done any of the photo touchups yet, but i’m pretty pleased with the overall look of them. plus, photoshop can solve all problems. i know some photographers who are like “get it right in the camera, and you don’t have to use photoshop,” but i am not one of those photographers.
i’m going back next week to do the rest of the calendar photos, and i’m looking forward to it! it’s pretty fun!
so close to the end of vacay. here i am at home, but posting about yesterday. it was a grey day, but we packed up camp in the drizzle and headed north to deadwood. we ended up stopping at pactola reservoir, but it was pretty dreary, so i got creepy pics. got to deadwood for the lunch buffet, which ended up being the cheapest, best food of the trip. threw $20 away on slots, then checked out a miniature train exhibit, the museum, and the visitors’ center. i toured mount moriah without nate (he was sick and stayed at the car; i was sick and decided a tromp through the cold drizzle was a good idea) and checked out wild bill hickock’s and calamity jane’s graves (as well as a bunch of others’).
then we headed over to lead to see the open pit mine, which was fascinating and disgusting at the same time.
(meanwhile, this whole time, it was lucky if the temp got above 50º – bleah.)
finally got outta deadwood to head to sturgis. i did want to see the motorcycle hall of fame/museum, but entry fees were a little high, so we passed. instead, nate and i checked out the indian motorcycle showroom, nate got his souvenir tshirt, and then we strolled main street. dead as a doorknob, basically. there were a couple kitchy tshirt shops open, but we stumbled into an antique/weirdo shop that was awesome! got a stellar father’s day present there.
spent the night on a bed that was 100x more comfy than the camping cabin mattress, then got up this morning and headed home 🙁
i stopped at the minuteman missile center on the way to see what the deal was – it’ll have to wait for another trip. then the last stop of the trip was lunch at al’s, where i had the obligatory chocolate malt. crossed the missouri and here nate and i are – home again home again, jiggity jig.
you know what’s elusive in the hills? the bighorn sheep. all week nate was on the lookout for a sheep. i hadn’t seen one in years – who knows when. then, while we were at our cabin, nate said, “LOOK.” and there was a sheep standing in the campground. RAN to get my camera and caught him running away.
anyway, today nate and i went to keystone to get our dose of tacky in. we went by way of hwy 16 and the pigtail bridges, and it was SO FOGGY. i was really nervous driving on the edge of the road in the fog. we made it, and i finished up my prize shopping, got myself a sweatshirt since it was absolutely chilly out, then got a giant ice cream cone. mmmmm. considered the 1880 train, but was $26 a person, which seemed a little high to me.
on the way home, we stopped at the mt. coolidge lookout, which was an even freakier drive up the side of the hill, but it was worth it. learned about the forest fire in 1988, which lasted only 5-6 days! couldn’t believe that. if it hadn’t been a little foggy yet, we would’ve been able to see some pretty awesome landmarks, but as it was, i was barely able to make out crazy horse through my camera lens. it would’ve been awesome to see the hills give way to the plains. ah well. another time.
back at the cabin, we had the sheep moment, then nate took a nap while i decided a hike through the woods on a minimally maintained trail while in the beginning stages of a cold was a good idea. i took my camera in case of wildlife or attackers (that sucker’s heavy!). it was a good hike until i got to the river i would’ve had to cross if i’d been a through hiker (not yet – another year).
had a good fire that night! after a few false attempts and about 45 minutes of the wood actually drying out by burning pine needles, the logs finally burned well. watched the fire til it was embers.