Back when I was writing the River Road Ramblings Column--9 years ago, we had one of those falls where the maples turn red and orange instead of just yellow. Driving Hwy 87 and the River Road between Grantsburg and St Croix was really spectacular (as this year promises to be).
So, I decided to invite my readers to a River Road Ramble--a self tour following a guide I put in the newspaper column. The Sterling Eureka and Laketown Historical Society jumped in and said we should have a few historic stops along the way, a few open houses and maybe a few garage sales. So, we drummed up some local support and 9 years ago started the tour.
Each year we think might be our last one, as we worry that we haven't got many stops; the weather may be cold or rainy; maybe no one will participate with a stop or no one will show up. But each year after we are done, we find we have had a good time; had enough folks come along and visit and enjoy the color and whatever we have prepared so we do it again.
This year our pumpkin and squash garden was a complete failure. It is in a low area that flooded so often this spring we got a very late start; most of our seeds didn't sprout, and those that did got drowned and later dried and then again drowned out. Our apples faired a little better with some trees setting fruit even with the cold spring, but then a few weeks ago a storm came along knocking over a couple of our best trees and dumping about half of the apples on the ground before they were ripe.
That said, we do have some left and we had a decent maple syrup yield and quality, so instead of having the sale at the farm Margo is headed to Eureka to join some others at the town meeting hall to sell syrup and apples there. The Eureka farmer's market collapsed at the end of last year, but some of the folks are coming to Eureka for sort of a reunion sale. The Wilsons, who sold honey aren't coming because they didn't get any honey this year, so it others had some troubles too.
Way up on the north end of the ramble -- West on Oeltjen Road off the River Road just into Burnett County a mile or two out in the barrens, we put some signs up at a big garage sale where the folks had some giant pumpkins for sale. I think the sand didn't drown out this year like our clay gardens. Down a couple of miles at Steve's garage sale and sawmill demonstration, he said his son-in-law or maybe grandson was bringing in some pumpkins too.
In Cushing there was a sign selling acorn squash, so someone has some of those for sale. Usually people want buttercup, but ours didn't grow this year.
Nephew Bryce is getting married at 2 pm up Hwy 87 at Trade River, so we will take a break from the Ramble and catch the wedding. It is important to have some Uncles and Aunts present as witnesses so if pressure is needed in later years we can remind them we heard them say they were going to love, honor and obey each other!
Will there be at 10th annual River Road - Hwy 87 Ramble? Well, if you turn out and take the tour and enjoy yourselves, we might just try it again.
|Ears of corn from the sand fields along the River Road -- last corn field before 10 miles of jackpines and scrub oaks along the St Croix River West. Not too bad this year!|