Sunday, August 26, 2012

Everything's Peachy!

(photo copyright 2011, Jane Heitman Healy)

'Tis the season of abundance, as fruit ripens and vegetables mature for good, fresh eating. In August, the Western Colorado peach harvest is in full swing. The area around Palisade is apparently perfect for peach growing. Orchards abound and sell their goods on site and at farmer's markets. There's nothing like biting into a big, ripe peach and savoring the flavor while juice drips down your chin!

Here's a visit to one Palisade orchard:

Palisade held its annual Peach Festival last week--a place for fun and for finding a plethora of peach recipes, including interesting ones from area chefs.

(photo copyright 2011, Jane Heitman Healy)

I was delighted to discover two suppliers of Colorado peaches here in my South Dakota city! One hardware store and one large grocery chain bring in lugs by the semi trailer full. For a few weeks each summer, everything's peachy!

(photo copyright 2011, Jane Heitman Healy)

Your reading connection this time? The peach section of your favorite cookbook or maybe Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Big Minnesota Welcome

(Big Ole, Alexandria, MN, photo copyright 2012, Jane Heitman Healy)

On a vacation to Minnesota this summer, we were heartily welcomed wherever we went, but never more warmly than by the two big guys in Alexandria and Bemidji.

Big Ole, above, spearheads visits by watching over a small park on Lake Agnes' banks and keeping track of Broadway traffic. Born in 1965, he stood as mascot to the Minnesota Pavilion at the New York World's Fair. Big Ole's shield informs us that Alexandria is the birthplace of America. Not what you learned in history class? Me, either, but if you visit Alexandria's Runestone Museum, you may become a believer.

The highlight of the museum is the Kensington Runestone, unearthed by a farmer in rural Alexandria in the 1898. It has been dated back to 1362. The real question is, how did it get there? Did Viking explorers "plant" it? Did they settle in the area for awhile and carve it then? Were they merely passing through? The museum presents evidence to help visitors decide. The gift shop carries many books about the runestone and Vikings in general.

(Kensington Runestone, Alexandria, MN, photo copyright 2012, Jane Heitman Healy)

Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe, greet visitors in Bemidji. Paul Bunyan is a lumberjack of tall tale fame. Paul and Babe are faster and stronger than anyone else! Read more about them at

(Paul Bunyan and Babe, Bemidji, photo copyright 2012, Jane Heitman Healy)

Paul and Babe, created for a Winter Carnival, are enjoying their 75th birthdays this year. These senior citizens were placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1988. If you want to celebrate Paul and Babe, wear plaid on Wednesdays this year like the folks of Bemidji.

What big welcomes have you encountered this summer?