I can’t tell you how many miles I’ve driven in the course of the last two weeks, but with trips to the Minnesota State Fair and Clay County Fair, coupled with jaunts to the farm and a “backroads” drive that took me through Wirock, of all places, on Monday afternoon, I must say I couldn’t have chosen a better time to travel southwest Minnesota’s and northwest Iowa’s countryside.
I absolutely love this time of year — not only because it’s my last chance to get to the greatest state and county fair around, but because after a sweltering summer, I can finally open my windows and turn the air conditioner off. Most of all, I love taking drives in the country and seeing the greens transform to shades of brown.
If one season could last all year long here in southwest Minnesota, I’d wish it to be autumn.
After our 4-H club’s meeting Sunday night, I took the kids I mentor on a little trek down some gravel roads in Bigelow Township to open up the bluebird houses for the winter.
Aside from kicking up dust as I hurried to get them to four different locations before the last bit of sunlight disappeared, we marveled over the beauty of the calm lakes, dodged grasshoppers while walking through tall grasses and stopped in the middle of a gravel road to admire a beautiful buck as he retreated to the hillside of a Wildlife Management Area. (A little farther down the road we stopped again to watch the doe and her fawn. We eyed each other for about 30 seconds before they decided to bolt for the trees.)
Between sightings of deer and pheasants, a drive through the countryside yields many views of some still vibrant prairie flowers, in addition to the changing shades of corn and soybean crops.
I saw about half a dozen combines working in the fields on my drive Monday afternoon —some working to harvest the corn crop and others crunching through soybean fields. We hope to shoot some video footage of the combining efforts soon, so keep an eye to our website, www.dglobe.com, for the latest Nobles County Farm Bureau-sponsored project to connect our local consumers with the farmers who produce their food.
Meanwhile, there are multiple opportunities coming up to enjoy all that agriculture has to offer, from scenic drives through the countryside to apple orchard openings and a visit to Worthington’s King Turkey Day festivities this weekend. I heard our famed turkey, Paycheck, has his running shoes ready to leave that other bird — Ruby Begonia — in the dust, making sure Worthington stays the Turkey Capital of the World.