Things On The Beach, Pt. 2: A Closer Examination

My time at home in Duluth is drawing to a close and I took time to walk the beach on Park Point on a pleasant, late August day.  The last time I was walking on a beach, it was on Stockton Island which is part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.  On that walk, my focus was the large driftwood pieces lining the shore.  On this walk I chose to take a closer look at the smaller things that wash ashore.  Lining the beach is a combination of human-made, human-altered and natural debris.  It’s hard to know how much of the human debris ends up on the beach intentionally and how much is inadvertent, but it wouldn’t be hard to fill a trash bag on every walk with little bits of mostly plastic trash.  It also highlights the growing problem of plastic microbeads in the Great lakes, more on that here.  I realize that when we go for a walk, we want to be able to enjoy the time and the environment as we are walking and would rather not be distracted by trash along the way, so perhaps carrying a small trash bag and making a point of picking up a bit of human-made trash would go a long way in making future walks a bit more pleasant.


Frozen Lightning

Much to most people’s surprise, Lake Superior’s north shore has a volcanic past and one of the after effects of the intense heat is cracks filled with mineralized gases.  The cracks come in many sizes, some hairline, some several inches wide.  There are many places you can find long and wide bands of quartz running through the rocks.  Agates are also abundant.  The cracks in these images are of the hairline variety and with the effects of water and the surrounding rock surface, nature has created and almost alien landscape.

Ford F250

Discovering abandoned treasure along a detour near Lake Superior.

St. Paul Farmer’s Market

There was a time when going to the farmer’s market did not involve a trip across a metropolitan area to get your veggies.  But as more people choose to live in downtown areas, the markets are choosing to come to them.  And this is a good thing, it gives city dwellers an opportunity to find fresh produce that is coming directly from local farms.  The twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are blessed with many such markets, both in the downtown areas and in many of the neighborhoods.  Recently, before heading home to Duluth, I took a trip to the St. Paul market.  My route was very different from what our grandparents would have taken.  Like them, I arose early, but then drove to University and Dale avenues in St. Paul, parked my car and caught the Green Line light rail for the rest of the journey.  The Green Line stops one block from the market and you can download a free pass if going to the market.  The reason I chose Dale Ave. was because I knew I would be going to Dragon Star Oriental Market afterwards for a few other items. (the local oriental markets are a post for later)  If your city has farmer’s markets, I hope you take advantage of them.  Farm to table is some of the best eating you can discover and the prices are very reasonable.

Small Town Baseball

Although most of the attention baseball gets is for the major leagues, there is something special about attending a game in a small town.  The atmosphere is more relaxed, the concessions cheaper and the bathrooms less crowded.
A few weeks ago, my nephew’s American Legion team from New Ulm was in the playoffs. The games took place in Chanhassen and Chaska Minnesota, two smaller communities on the outskirts of Minneapolis.  The Chanhassen site was much newer, whereas the Chaska site has been there for many more years, has suffered through record breaking floods, as it sits next to the Minnesota River, and has small town written all over it.  Unlike a major league stadium, there are more opportunities for bored kids to entertain themselves, neighbors to gossip, to observe hawks and herons flying by, to watch the sparrows nesting in the speakers, occasionally coming down to snap up bits of fallen food. It was easy to feel close to the action, now matter what form it took.
In the end, New Ulm lost twice to Eden Prairie and was edged out of advancing to the next round, but for family and friends, it was still a great way to share several summer days, being together, watching baseball.