The Great Minnesota Get Together

Since we’re not city-dwellers, my family doesn’t get to make it to the Minnesota State Fair every year.  But every year that we do is as memorable as the last.  Here are some pictures from the past couple:

Come One, Come All

Wild Horses

One of the cheapest and most entertaining things to do: The SkyRide.  Rest your weary legs and check out the fair from the top.

Sky Ride

The View From Up Here

Real-Life Farmville

A trip to the fair would never be complete without a bucket of cookies from Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar.  Always worth the wait.

Oh, Sweet Martha...



Country Churches

This church in Isanti County looks like something you’d go into only on a dare on Halloween.  The west side of it is decayed and blown in by wind and weather.  The front door stays open, inviting trouble.  It hasn’t been used as a church in some time, but its beauty can be remembered, even through the weathering of the wood.


This Swedish style church in Northern Isanti County is tucked away on a dirt road in a small township, but on Sunday the parking lot is full of cars.

Isanti County Fair 2012

Every year we try to get to the Isanti County Fair at least once.  I’m not a ride person anymore, but they make good pictures. We like to go for the horse shows, the 4H barns and the music.


(This mama pig had JUST given birth to her piglets!! I have a soft spot for farm babies, but I think the piggies are undeniably cute!)

Surprise Twins!

Who doesn’t love a good ball game?  I sure do and so does my family.  I love them even more when we get surprised with free tickets. Not only were our tickets free, they were in great seats AND it was one of the Minnesota Twins‘ best games this year!


Barn Doors

A random collection of barn doors across East Central MN.

Franconia Sculpture Garden

With as much time as I’ve spent in the St. Croix River Valley, I thought it was downright ridiculous that I had never stopped at the Franconia Sculpture Garden.  It’s right on St. Croix Trail and I had driven past it a hundred times, but never had the time to stop.  So on one of my rare days off, my husband and I decided we’d better check it out.  It’s open to the public every day, dawn to dusk.  And it’s free (although they do ask for a donation which we were happy to give).  I definitely recommend taking an hour to walk through the park and check out the sculptures.

We’re not art-gallery regulars, but we both appreciate art.  I’m not an art critic and I could be WAY off base with my interpretations of the sculptures and the artists’ intentions.  However, I think that’s the great thing about any kind of art: it means different things to different people.  These were some of my favorites:

The “radio tower” is my name for this sculpture.  I love it because I’m a music buff and have been my whole life.  I remember using boom boxes and stereos even older than some of these.  I think it really speaks to the advancement of technology (I’m listing to Pandora on my iPhone as I type this) and how, as we advance in technology, things that we once coveted and cherished become trash when replaced with smaller, more capable technology. 


I don’t have a name or a great assessment for this piece… I just liked it.  The panels in the back are individual pieces of graffiti art that flip like the posters I used to look through every time I went to Target or Walmart as a teenager.

This sculpture is apparently very open to interpretation.  My husband thought it was maybe a portrayal of a tornado.  I, being in the real estate industry and watching how crazy our market has been, took it as an interpretation of that.  First, with the great builder’s movement in which older homes were demolished to make way for new suburban developments.  Then when those homes were vacated due to foreclosure.  Inside this house is a crazy web of ropes.  Homeowners tied to their homes because of the inability to sell, perhaps?  As I see home prices start to rise and the number of foreclosures in our market start to level out, I think it’s important to remember these things that we’ve been through and this image does that for me. 

Without Snow, Frost Will Do

Frosty Trees in Fish Lake Regional Park (Copyright A Hollen)

This is quite possibly the strangest winter I’ve experienced in a while.  Coming from a midwestern girl, that’s saying a lot.  This morning we woke up to a heavy frost from the melting and fog we’ve had.  It looked like it had snowed and at this point, we’ll take what we can get.  Every twig on every tree was frosted and glistening in the sun that was pushing through every crack it could find in the clouds.  As I went about my day, from snapping pictures at the North Branch Polar Plunge to showings in Sunrise and Shafer, I was greeted with a glittering, gorgeous landscape. Then the sun finally made its debut, and infected every soul with Spring Fever.  It’s only the beginning of February and I’m dodging mud puddles and questioning whether it’s safe to go out on the ice.  Of course I know that there are technically two long months left of winter and that at any given time, we could be buried under feet of snow.  But for now, this feels like the longest spring we’ve ever had.