St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

2016 River Road Hwy 87 Ramble 9/24/2016

 2016 River Road Ramble 
 2016 marks the 11th Annual River Road - Hwy 87 Ramble.   The person who makes it all work is Joan Swanson, one of the members of the Sterling Eureka and Laketown Historical Society (SELHS) which sponsors it.  
   This year we have about 30 people who have enrolled officially to have stops, sales, open houses, events, etc., along the 30 mile loop tour between Grantsburg and St Croix Falls.  
   Eleven years ago, I was writing a weekly newspaper column, entitled River Road Ramblings.  The September fall color was spectacular and early that year, and I invited my readers to take a Ramble up the River Road.  
   Joan, another SEL member, Marcie and others in SELHS  thought it would be a good excuse for a celebration and enlisted local businesses, churches, and folks along the road to invite folks in for a yard sale, farmers market, craft sale, or just something interesting to look at.  
   Eleven years later, we are still doing it, and each year we get a little more participation, a few more folks touring the area, and it is a tradition now that folks look forward to.  
  This year's information is on Facebook at St Croix River Road Ramble -Facebook  as well as at Ramble 2016 
   Our own stop, the Hanson Farm, is missing pumpkins and apples this year with crop failures, however we will have maple syrup (excellent year) and lots of good squash as well as a garage sale.  The apple crop, while there are many apples, has many visual defects that really make the apples unsalable. A late freeze, huge amount of rain, and some hail did its work on the apples.  So we are giving them away free if folks want to pick them.  They were sprayed regularly with Sevin so aren't wormy (or at least are mostly worm free), but as I don't spray a fungicide, wet years leave the cosmetics of an apple quite visually unappealing.  Peel off the skin and under you have the beautiful white apple excellent for eating, pieing, crisping, saucing, and otherwise enjoying.  At least 1/2 of the 25 trees got caught by the freeze and didn't bare this year. 
   I have to put up my signs that say farm visitations are at your own risk.  Wisconsin passed a law that puts the risk on the visitor rather than the farmer for agro-tourism.  The sign says:

 That doesn't totally absolve the farmer from having obviously unsafe places accessible on the farm, so I will need to block off the old silo pit -- 6 feet down growing lushly with ferns.  As a kid, I spent much time tossing silage down from the silo above ground, and by spring as the silo emptied, tossing it up from the pit with a ladder inside to get out again.   
  Fall color is coming; the harvest is close by with soybeans yellow, corn brown, and garden vines dying down.  
   My posting here is rare, but every day I post photos from the farm on Facebook.  You can see them at 
On the Farm via Facebook    You do need to signup for a free account there, but if you use the internet and want to keep up with your kids and grandchildren, social media is pretty much needed nowadays.  
   Facebook has been mostly taken over by the boomers as the younger folks find their own niches in twitter, snapchat, instagram, etc.  The difference is partially an sort of continuous feed of information versus most of us on Facebook, a daily check on things. 
  I plan to spend the Ramble day at the Cushing Museum, visiting with the cultural elite who choose history over food and sales (or maybe combine the two).