Monday, July 19, 2010

This past weekend was "Maple Grove Days." We mostly missed it because of a church camping trip, but did catch the opening parade and the fireworks. We lucked out with the firworks-- they were supposed to be Saturday night (while we were camping) but two tornado warnings meant they got postponed. The tornado warnings were not too much fun when camping with a lot of young children. We spent 30 minutes on two occasions huddled in the bathrooms (actually, on the floor of a shower stall) with young children on our lap (who were wet, cold and scared).
We had a great viewing spot for the fireworks-- about 100 feet from our front door. Maple Grove, Minnesota. 18 July 2010.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The last image from the south-east of Minnesota. We returned to the cities by way of the Mississippi river, stopping in Winona at an overlook. We look forward to coming back here in the late winter when the Bald eagles are apparently quite a sight (we did see one in Lanesboro, but couldn't stop to get a photo). 9 July 2010. Winona, Minnesota.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Last Friday's trip really was a marathon-- 400 miles in 12 hours. And it was lovely. Among other things (Warren will be happy to note) we saw this endless wind farm, happily co-existing with miles and miles of corn farms (kind of like the camels and the cattle, except bigger). East of Austin, Minnesota. 9 July 2010.

Friday, July 16, 2010

After leaving the Spam Museum last Friday we headed east, but soon stopped to view a rather interesting site-- camels and cattle, apparently being raised together. At first we thought they were llamas (tho not in pajamas), but finally decided they were, indeed, camels. What do you think? (Double click to enlarge.) East of Austin, Minnesota. 9 July 2010.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We purchased a tiny can of "Spam Spread" (since neither one of us could remember the last time we had eaten Spam) at the gift shop, and then stopped at a grocery story to buy genuine Ritz crackers to put it on. Becky couldn't get over the idea that she was eating cat food, so was only good for a ceremonial (and symbolic) tasting. I decorated mine with bits of Cheetos. The baby spoon was purchased for a little one-year-old friend of ours (with matching plate). We figure he should be introduced to the finer things in life from an early age. Austin, Minnesota. 9 July 2010.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I was serious when I said the other day that we didn't have enough time here. We easily could have spent two hours, and although intentionally a little kitschy, it's a very well designed, interactive museum. At the end of the self-guided tour through the museum (just before you end up in the gift shop, where you can buy, um, Spam fly swatters, and other fun things) is the Spam Game Show.

Test your knowledge of Spam trivia:
A. What year was Spam first produced?
B. What is Spam made of?
C. Who was the largest purchaser of Spam during WWII?
D. What other countries produce Spam?
E. How much Spam is consumed in the United States every second?

A. & B. Spam is a registered trademark name for a canned ground pork shoulder and ham product introduced by the Hormel Company in 1937.
C. During WW II, Hormel sold more than half of its output to the U.S. government, which supplied SPAM to the armed forces of the U.S., and also to the U.S.S.R. under the lend-lease program.
D. In addition to the U.S., spam is produced in 7 other countries: Australia, Denmark, UK, Japan, Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan. Spam is distributed in more than 50 countries.
E. In the United States alone, 3.6 cans of Spam are consumed every second.

More Spam trivia:
The 1 billionth can of spam was sold in 1959.
The 6 billionth can was produced in 2002.
West Yellowstone sponsors the 'Spam Cup' cross country ski race, with the winner receiving a can of Spam.
The SPAMJAM Cafe opened in February 2004 in the Philippines. Except for hot dogs, French fries and desserts, all other menu items are made with Spam, including Spam Burger, Spam Hero, Spam Club, Spam Spaghetti, Spam Baked Macaroni, Spam Nuggets and Spam Caesar Salad.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

OK, so I wasn't even born when these ad's ran, but I swear I was served Spam Boats as a kid. Were they the pre-cursor to spam bots? Austin, Minnesota. 9 July 2010.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Who knew just how much the Spam can has changed over the years! (Some might ask, "And who cares?") Raise your hand if you remember the key that came on the top of the can. Austin, Minnesota. 9 July 2010.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

First stop was the George A. Hormel Theater, where we watched 5 minutes of the 15 minute video about the history of Spam and Hormel. Part of the reason that we were here at all was because I mentioned Spam (in a positive way!) in a sermon several weeks ago. I heard so many interesting Spam stories after church that I had to learn more. Austin, Minnesota. 9 July 2010.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Yesterday we took a marathon tour of the southeast corner of Minnesota, starting with the Spam Museum. We didn't get as early a start to the day as we had hoped, so only had 45 minutes here. Part kitsch, part homage to the Hormel company, it began with reserved spots in the parking lot for museum go-ers. Austin, Minnesota. 9 July 2010.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Don't these look like purple Christmas trees? It reminds me of the year that we were given a Christmas tree by a co-worker who knew we couldn't afford one. In California they spray fake snow on trees to make them look, well, um, more Christmasy, I guess. It's called 'flocking' and it come in all sorts of colors. When the co-worker presented us with a cute little tree, all covered in white fake snow, he very proudly said, "I hope I chose the right color flocking!" We were deelighted by his thoughtfulness, but never came to appreciate the flocking phenomenon. Maple Grove, Minnesota. 2 July 2010.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Tired of the Great Egret photos yet? I'm feeling quite lucky to have one in my backyard, so I'm sure there will be more than a few! Maple Grove, Minnesota. 3 July 2010.

Monday, July 05, 2010

From Saturday's morning walk. As I watch this Great Egret from day to day I'm learning more about her habits. Maple Grove, Minnesota. 3 July 2010.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

From a sunset walk to the new band stand in Maple Grove. The American flag and the Minnesota flag were flying over the Cub market. Maple Grove, Minnesota. 1 July 2010.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

OK-- no bugs or creepy crawly things in this photo, you'll be glad to know! I had an early morning walk today and loved seeing these _______ (purple flowers) by one of the lakes behind our home. Still haven't bought the "Wildflowers of Minnesota" book yet. Maple Grove, Minnesota. 3 July 2010.