Working The Minnesota State Fair

Man, this week has just turned nutty. I thought I had more time than I really did but between Non Birding Bill and myself, we have an action-packed schedule.

I forgot to mention that NBB is doing some children's theater at local Twin Cities parks. Cinnamon and I went out last Saturday night to watch the show. Kids in the audience loved it. Cinnamon on the other hand...If you're looking for some free entertainment for your kids, here's the remaining performance dates.

We did do the State Fair with just the two of us. I tried one of the new MN State Fair foods. Can you tell what I'm eating? Here's a clue:

That's right, SPAM. And not just SPAM bites. I was trying the deep fried SPAM curds. If you love SPAM, you'll love the curds. If you're not a huge fan, well it's just weird. It's cheese flavored SPAM, battered, deep fried and served with ranch dressing. I'll stick with elephant ears. I don't know if you can see it on the SPAM menu, but there's a big note that all of the menu items do not have trans fats. Yeah, because when you think diet and healthy, you think fair food.

We got lots of disapproving rabbit photos in the bunny barn, but we'll save those for the daily dose of disapproval. But above is a sampling.

And of course, no State Fair experience is complete for me without a visit to the crop art room. The big winner this year? A portrait of Dolly Parton!

And it was nice to see someone using their art to communicate an important conservation issue: Cats Indoors!

Al Franken was a popular subject for the crop art since he's now running for the US Senate. My personal favorite was the top portrait with the reason he's running being Franken's Staurt Smalley mantra, "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!"

Today, I did my first of three shifts at for the Minnesota Ornithologists' Union. I had so much fun, I ended up staying for part of the shift after mine. We're seeing lots of birds flying over the state fair. I watched a big old honkin' Cooper's hawk flying just above the trees and landing near the midway. We've also seen merlins, red-tailed hawks, common yellowthroats, and chickadees. It's fun to catch up with old friends--and I have some cool friends.

My friend, Kelly Larson showed up with a huge pile of sulphur shelf. Kelly's been a longtime mushroom hunter and we used to work at the Wild Bird Store together. One of my favorite memories was when she sent me some oyster mushrooms that she had found through the inter-office mail system.

This is a little different than the sulphur shelf we found in Mr. Neil's yard. That one was bright yellow and was growing on the trunk of an oak tree. The stuff Kelly brought is a subspecies that grows on the ground near an oak tree, you'll note it isn't as bright yellow on the bottom as the other stuff. Kelly rocks and as I'm typing this entry, I'm cooking the sulphur shelf in some chicken stock right now It always pays to keep some chicken stock on hand.


That little bit up there was Cinnamon hopping on my keyboard to let me know that she would like some attention. I can't believe she actually ended it win an explanation point--seriously, that was her, not me. Anyway, I have to wrap this up.