Saturday, August 29, 2009

Minnesota State Fair Horse Show

For me the Minnesota State Fair is nearly over, although there is another week to go.

I do the jump crew work for the English horse show over the first week.
The weather has been good and the crew seems to be working well. Its busy in the Hippodrome and we need to get the jumps in and out.

Yesterday the cattle were being judged before the ring was released to us.

They are all groomed fine and the stands are full of cow folks from all over the 87 counties of Minnesota.

They are some of the best looking cows in the world.

The announcer really knows his bovine.

Class after class goes by and is judged. Lots of kids with their livestock are all gussied up for their effort to win a ribbon at the Minnesota State Fair.

There were easily four thousand people watching in the Colosseum, half of them in cowboy hat.

The Hippodrome is shaped like a very, very large Quonset-hut made of concrete. The dirt covered ring inside is huge.

They have been judging class after class for hours.
In they line up. A line twenty, thirty cow or more long is no problem for the Minnesota State Fair Hippodrome.

When the final lineup is in the ring, you can hear a pin drop.
The announcer helps you figure out what to look for in a cow.

You can feel lots of building suspense.

Eventually the judge walks the line gives a second and a third final look over... when...

The crowd explodes when the judge slaps the haunches of the blue ribbon champion.

The winner received a brand new truck and trailer.

Next it's pictures while we clear the ring and try to get the folks out so we can drag the ring and set up for the jumpers scheduled to show in twenty minutes.

It took us twenty five to do it. We were moving pretty good.

All went well, and today; Sunday, we will do the setup and take down for the last day of the Minnesota State Fair English Horse Show 2009.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sailing a Small Lake in Mid Minnesota

August has arrived, and we have finally had a string of ninety plus degree days.

Although cooler than some, I think this has been a magically perfect summer; whether-wise, here in our fantastic state of Minnesota.

The sailboat "Liberty" has been plying the waters of Forest Lake in Washington County.

(For those not from here, that is a county about forty five miles north of the twin cities bordering the Saint Croix river and Wisconsin on the east.)

We did have one foray to Lake Independence west of the cities when I did the horse show in Loretto.

She is a single masted fourteen foot fiberglass sailboat that can be launched from almost anything with a ball hitch.

With bench seating port and starboard and a fore-deck to hangout or swim from makes it perfect for the many small to medium glacial remnant lakes sprinkled across Minnesota like silver coins.

She seats four, perfect for two.

Forest Lake is nice and close.

Just about three hours before sunset or after sunrise is the time to catch the lake breeze.

I am usually one of the few boats and only sailboat on the lake in the morning, and the evening time is a great time to socialize.

I like to leave work, drive home, shower, pack some water and munchies, load and go. I can be launching in fifteen minutes if there is no wait at the launch by the lakeside park.

Once on the lake it is now all about observation. Your vantage and viewpoint changes.

You now see the shoreline surrounding you rather than seeing a pan of water from shore.

The wind often travels in unseen puffs but their sign is there if you look. They hit the surface of the lake and are forced to flatten out. As they are forced to change direction on the face in contact with the water, the wind gives a slap to the surface and the energy transfer makes little waves.

These roughly round, traveling areas of rippled water are often called a catspaw. They commonly form that shape, with the round "toes" typically on the leading edge.

Catspaws on the water can be very usefull to the sailor who knows how to ride the edges, especially if he is in a hurry to return to port to take advantage of the libations available at the "Laker" bar and grill just two hundred paces from the dock on the east side of Forest Lake.

Pull in, tie off, walk in. Food, friends, sun and drinks.

August is here, I have three horse shows to work over the next four week.
(One will cover the first week at the Minnesota State Fair. Hope to see you there!)

I treasure these times on the lake.