Monday, July 20, 2009

Farming at the Minnesota Zoo

One of the neat things at the Minnesota Zoo was the working farm. We rode a tractor trailer out to the farmhouse. All of the usual animals were there; horses, cows, chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, even a bull. I didn't hesitate to get up close to the animals. They all made me laugh.

I'm not sure what kind of chicken this is but I loved how he was covered head to toe in feathers. 

This little guy must have been so full and exhausted from eating that he fell asleep in his trough.

Alex and I made a discovery with the sheep . . . they don't "Baaa." Instead, they "Maaa." Can you guess which one is Alex? (Sorry for the sudden orientation change – I always forget when I am recording video.)

I have been wanting a dog but I think the zoo opened up so many more options . . .

Up Close and Personal at the Minnesota Zoo

This past weekend Alex and I visited the Minnesota Zoo for the afternoon. I had heard on the radio that the resident Moose just had twins. Since one of my life goals has been to see a Moose, I thought it would be fun to finally see three. I missed out when I travelled to Alaska and when we drove the Gunflint Trail in Northern Minnesota. While I would have liked to have seen my first Moose in the wild, I guess the zoo will have to do. 

The Minnesota Zoo is very different from the Cincinnati Zoo. I can't say one is better than the other. Cincinnati seems smaller because there aren't as many open space areas for the animals. The MN Zoo had a lot of open spaces for multiple animals. The Camels, Giraffe, Zebras, etc. were all in one area. The MN Zoo also sets it up so that you really feel like you are walking through their habitats. They had one exhibit for just Minnesota wildlife. I had no idea there was such a variety or that Puma live in Minnesota. Yikes!

So I have never thought there was much to say about being a Michigan Wolverine. Aren't wolverines just oversized rodents? So I saw several in the zoo, and I am thinking they are a bit frightening. Wolverines also apparently live in Minnesota as well.

The Brown Bear does not live in Minnesota. And I am thankful. When we walked up to their area, this is what we saw. 

But then a minute later the Dark Brown Bear showed his softer side. He was so cute. He also put on a show for the onlookers. I could have watched him all day. I just wanted to give him a big bear hug.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Bike

For my birthday, Alex got me a new bike. I think Alex had intended on getting me a quality bike for "serious" bikers. We headed over to some bike shops to get myself sized. Getting back on a bike was not as easy as I thought it would be. It has been at least 8 years. 

Overall, I was a little bored with the lack of selection or rather lack of color selection. I guess when I wandered over to the bike accessories to look at flowers and cute baskets to decorate the bike, Alex decided that I was not the "serious" biker he thought I was or would be. So off to Dick's Sporting Goods for a more economical bike.

I ended up liking and receiving a Diamondback Lustre. It is white with lime green (my favorite color) surferesque graphics.

Alex and I live on Victory Memorial Parkway which is part of the Grand Rounds. A very long bike path that loops around the Twin Cities. Watching people everyday go by our house on their bikes was what made us decide to get bikes. Of course the areas that we ride closest to us are rather hilly and have a lot of stop and goes. I am not in the best of shape as evidenced by the photo and I have no leg strength. So I have found myself walking up a lot of the hills. The first 8 mile ride I walked maybe 6 times. I think the second time maybe I walked 4 times.

I think I drive Alex nuts when riding. He takes off at the speed of light. Once I make it up a hill from walking, I am riding my brakes all the way down the hill. I think I just have a fear of losing control and wiping out. It reminds me of my skiing adventure. I am currently trying to find a stylish helmet to go with my bike. That might give me a bit more confidence. 

Despite my fear on the hills, we have had a lot of fun on our bikes. We rode up to our local Dairy Queen for ice cream several times well as one of the local beaches to catch some rays. 

I would like to give my bike a name . . . if anyone has suggestions please share!

Pull Tabs and Meat Raffles – Minnesota Night life

One of the more unusual things that Minnesotans take part in are meat raffles and playing pull tabs. Neither of which I did until a few weeks ago. Our neighbors, Chris and Kristin, and us headed up to our local neighborhood bar, Eagles Nest Lounge, to try to win some meat. Our local butcher donates meat to the Lions Club so that they can raffle it off. It is a great fundraiser for the Lions Club as well as advertising for the butcher shop.

I didn't know what to expect. While we waited for the meat raffle to begin we each bought some pull tabs. I don't really know how to explain pull tabs except that they are little cards that you "pull tabs" back to see if you have 3 of a kind in a row. I actually won $55! We put that money towards our meat raffle tickets.

The meat raffle consists of buying numbers. Someone spins a wheel. Whatever number is landed on is the winner. I won in the second round. I had my pick of a variety of meats. I ended up getting 2 T-bone steaks. Kristin won the next round, picking 2 sirloin steaks. Another table was getting rowdy saying the thing was rigged. We couldn't stop laughing. Who would have thought I would be excited to win meat? Anyway, the next several rounds went to other people. I won once more picking up a dozen hot dogs and some bacon. Kristin won in the last round with 7 pounds of ground beef.

We had a great time. I think we made out pretty well. All of that meat for essentially the cost of our pull tabs which I think was about $40. Not a bad deal. We grilled out our steaks and they were delicious! Our next barbeque will be hot dogs. 

Whiz Bang Days

As I mentioned in my last post, last weekend our town of Robbinsdale celebrated their annual "Whiz Bang Days" celebration. As my friend and neighbor points out, it is a fun way to celebrate our community. The whole weekend felt like I lived in a small town not in a big city like Minneapolis. 

There was a lot going on during Whiz Band Days. You ask, "Why is it called Whiz Bang?" According to the Robbinsdale website;

After his return from WWI, Doughboy Captain Billy Fawcett started a publication in Robbinsdale called "Captain Billy's Whiz Bang," which was the first publication of Fawcett Publications. (Fawcett Publications also produced McCall's and Redbook magazines.) It was a magazine sold to WWI Doughboys to help them keep in touch and let people know about the war. The name "Whiz Bang" came from bombs that were being used during the war. They were land-to-land bombs that flew overhead. When they flew they made a "Whiz" sound and when they landed it went "Bang." 

Over 60 years ago, when Robbinsdale started the community celebration they were searching for a name. Since Fawcett Publications was still in business and they were at war at the same time, it made sense to call it "Whiz Bang Days."

The weekend consisted of a Wine Tasting (which I missed out on), a street dance (again missed out on), a carnival, a parade and fireworks.

The parade was a lot of fun. We went with our neighbors Chris and Kristin and their family. It consisted of funny clowns, fire trucks, and lots of beauty queens.

That evening we walked back up to Crystal Lake (pretty much in our back yard) and settled in for some fireworks. It was a short show, but considering the cost of fireworks and the size of our town I was impressed. 

It was a great weekend. I am already looking forward to next year. 

Rest in Peace Whiz

Last weekend our small town celebrated their "Whiz Bang Days." There were a lot of small events occurring throughout the weekend such as as a wine tasting, carnival, parade and fireworks. Alex and I rode our bikes up to the carnival on Saturday. We got the typical carnival food and played the typical carnival games. I was determined to win a goldfish. I never did when I was a kid so I thought maybe I would have better aim this time around. Lucky me I WON!

I named my goldfish "Whiz" after "Whiz Bang Days." She was a great fish. She enjoyed her short bike ride home in her plastic baggy. She made her home in a flower vase. She took a few laps back and forth. I even splurged and got her some food. Unfortunately, Whiz lasted less than 24 hours. I found her the next morning lifeless. I will treasure the few moments we had together. I realize its not the quantity but the quality of the time.