We visited friends in Minnesota this weekend.  That was our first trip out of town since we bought our house June or since Sarah hurt her knee in May.  For us, that is quite a long, dry spell. Speaking of long, dry spells, it has been so long since we got measureable precipitation, I don't even remember when our last rain was.  The birch tree in our front yard is getting ready to drop its last few leaves.  We started watering it weeks ago, but despite our best efforts, it continues to drop leaves.  I can't remember the last time I mowed the lawn.  The whole lawn is almost completely brown and dormant.  Only a couple of spots that are always in the shade have any sort of green grass.  If you believe the long-term forecast, we aren't supposed to get any rain until the beginning of September, at the earliest.  Madison usually received 3.25 inches of rain between 01 August and 24 August.  So far this year, Madison has gotten 0.35 inches of rain in the same time period.  Year-to-date we are over seven inches of rain below normal. Sarah and I could have written the travel section in the Star Tribune today.  The headline article was about what to see and do in Wisconsin.  The article below the fold on the front page was what to see and do in San Francisco.  One of the few interior articles was about traveling to Plymouth, MA to see Plymouth Rock. We put Dalla up at a kennel (euphemistically called "doggy camp") while we were gone this weekend.  She was nearly a literal ball of furry energy when we picked her up.  She must have thought we were sending her back to the pound.