Friday, September 11, 2009

a little of this and a little of that

This post is a brief recap of our Labor Day weekend visit to Eric's hometown. We gallivanted a little, and we sat around a little, and we worked a little, and we ate and talked a little. OK. We ate and talked a lot, but isn't that what you do when you get together with family?!? So, here comes a little bit of everything I captured on camera.

Our first destination was pure craziness: The Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion. If you're not from the rural Midwest, you would have been a total fish out of water here. But, since both Eric and I come from agrarian roots and cherish our days (or years) spent sitting on a tractor seat, we were fond of this gathering. It was really something too! I've never seen so many OLD and UNIQUE tractors in one place. It was a mecca for all things mechanical or antique. Most things were steam powered (as the title suggests) or horse powered. There were demonstrations of practically everything I could imagine that was involved in the early days of making our country the industrialized nation that it is. Brother Ryan, you would have been enthralled! It might not have been the perfect destination for a woman who was (and is) about to burst forth with child, but the day of walking and jostling along on tractor wagons couldn't have been bad for preggo here :)!

Human powered (old fashioned) teeter totters, everyone but myself took a turn!
Steam powered carousel, which the kids adored. We watched a parade of zillions of different tractors, vehicles, and steam engines. This one was cool...So was this one.... (it is water cooled with that pretty little waterfall that flows over everything. Even growing up with my dad- Mr. mechanical- I had never seen anything like this).A highlight of the trip for Eva- taking a ride around a lake on an old steam train.
Here we all are in our cattle car...We left the festival at dusk, enjoying the full moon over the wheat fields and machinery. Onto a little more of this and that- Brian, Mom, and Eric discovered that they all have the same, work-issued laptop. So, Eric spent some time guiding Mom and Brian through some of the finer features of their machines (not steam powered!). I thought maybe I could send this pic into HP for a $5.00 off coupon or something :).No trip to Crookston is complete without time spent at the farm. On this occasion, I decided that my favorite part of visiting the farm is the sound. Or lack of sound. Or perhaps just the wind. That is what you hear out there. Only wind rushing through the grasses and trees. And the occasional chicken clucking. It is peaceful, and a little like stepping back in time.
Speaking of stepping back in time, Eric took the opportunity to photograph some iconic shots of old farm equipment that is no longer in use. If you're unable to read the writing on this rusty 5 gallon pail, it says, "Asbestoline." Hmmmm.There is always something quirky and surprising to be found at the farm, and this trip did not disappoint in that regard. Y'all know about John Deere, right? But did you know about the "John Deer Stand?" That's right. A John Deere tractor, converted into a mobile deer stand machine (also not steam powered!). So, Eric and the girls went for a spin in the deer stand mobile. Who would've thought!?! The designer and engineer himself-We also clamored around in the hay loft of the barn, which is something I haven't done since I first visited the farm (when Eric was still a hopeful college girl's infatuation). Believe me, it was not the same experience to climb that rickety ladder this time around. Let's just say, my current weight is not well proportioned for ladder climbing!
This is coming back down the ladder.
Hope peered out of the big windows at the fields and trees below. Later, Grandpa took the girls for a spin in a stanky wheelbarrow. Eva's imagination was alive, imagining being a kid when this hay loft was in it's glory days. She had the perfect spot for a rope swing. Eric jumped on board the imagination train and told us that he had always wanted to host a barn dance up there. I think the Patenaude siblings might have to revisit that idea some future summer. It sounds like so much fun!
Back in town at Eric's mom's house, we spent a sunny Labor Day playing outside and getting wet. By the end of the day, the kids were ready to chill out on the couch and enjoy a few good books. So was I. (L-R: Katelyn, Eva, Elysa, Evan, me) And while we played in the yard and chilled out in the basement, Eric earned the son-of-the-year award. He spent his day attempting to install a new light fixture and fan in his mom's living room, where there was no existing wiring. He spent hours in the tiny crawl space above the house, fishing wires around, army crawling, and talking himself out of claustrophobia and panic attacks!

He was gasping for air and dripping with sweat when he finally emerged looking like a walking dust bunny! Sad, but true, the wiring work was perfect, but the light fixture and fan ended up not looking right. So after all that hard work, we ended up driving home that night with an unfinished job. Mom and I were feeling major pangs of sadness for Eric, but he claimed that working in the crawl space and living to tell about it was enough of a victory to leave him satisfied. Bless him!
So, that's the end of a "little" of this and a "lot" of that. It sure was a relaxing end of summer for us. Thanks family!

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