Another month has passed and we've been busy all the while.
We've been seemingly living underneath a huge garden sprinkler all summer as we've had rain more days than not. And when we get rain, it's often in non-trivial quantities. Along with the rain, we've had a good number of very hot and humid days. As you might expect given those conditions, there are plenty of mosquitoes around this year. It's gotten so bad that if we want to go out into the yard, everyone (except Dalla) has to put bug spray on their arms, legs, and head. Garrison's head is particularly susceptible. If we don't get bug spray on his head soon enough, he gets big red bites all over his forehead, cheeks, and neck.
The garden has been enjoying this weather for the most part. We've been drowning in zucchini again this year, even after giving away several to friends and coworkers. The tomatoes have been a bit late in coming, but now they're finally starting to come in. For the first time ever, the tomato plants on the south side of our house got so big that they fell over and pulled their cages with them. After last year's cucumber explosion, we didn't plant any this year and that hasn't been a terrible mistake. Some of the hot peppers are getting nice and ripe, but we have yet to get any green beans. I guess that's the interesting aspect of gardening, you never know exactly how it's all going to turn out.
Sarah and I planted a Zestar apple tree in our yard three years ago. This year is the first year that it's produced any fruit. We harvested one of the two apples the tree produced this year (it's still pretty small), and ate it last night. It was a really tasty apple. We have high hopes for next year.
Two weeks ago I took a day off of work and went up to Oshkosh for the annual AirVenture air show. I really enjoy listening to the interesting and varied speakers that give talks in the forums there. The airplanes are interesting, but it's the speakers that keep me coming back. The most engaging speaker I heard this year was Bob Richards, the author of Secrets From the Tower. He's definitely a character. The airplanes at the show this year were OK. The Air Force showed up with their version of the VF-22 Osprey and with a large array of cargo planes. There was the big DC-3 show, and a few other planes of interest, but not as many as in years past. Quite frankly, if the Air Force hadn't been there, Aeroshell Square would have been a bit empty this year.
The day after AirVenture, Sarah, Garrison, Dalla, and I drove west to Governor Dodge State Park to spend the day. We had a nice walk on one of the park's numerous hiking trails before sitting down to a picnic lunch on a hillside overlooking Cox Hollow lake. Garrison really seemed to enjoy the novelty of eating outdoors and on a blanket where he could get up and wander off to look at the lake any time the urge struck him.
The weekend after that, we went to the Wisconsin State Fair. I can't say why I get the urge to visit the Fair every year, but I do. We did many of the obligatory State Fair things like eat deep fried food on a stick (cherry pie, in our case), visit all the livestock barns, jostle arms with thousands of our fellow Wisconsin residents, and bake in the heat and humidity.
Last weekend we made our annual trek to the Twin Cities to visit with friends and family. Once again, Garrison surprised us with how easily he took to the travel. He slept well in the hotels where we stayed, and wasn't a complete terror when we ate in restaurants. We took him to the Como Park Zoo on Friday morning where he reinforced for us his dislike and perhaps fear of some large, land-bound animals. He enjoys watching animals in the water but large animals like gorillas and orangoutangs are definitely not on his favorite list. Regardless, he seemed to enjoy himself there. He may not have understood all that was going on around him, but he did his best to copy everyone else he saw by going up to every window and railing and peering over or through to what might be beyond.
We are extremely fortunate to have generous friends in the Cities who opened their homes to us both Friday and Saturday afternoon. Both days we were able to let Garrison nap on their beds while we ate lunch, which made the trip much, much easier for all concerned. Once he woke up, he was then able to burn off some energy playing in their yard or with their kids.
Saturday night, my Mom watched Garrison for us so that Sarah and I could take in a St. Paul Saints game. In short, the game experience is OK, but the Madison Mallards put on a better show. The Mallards have better food, better party spaces, better beer, seats closer to the game, lower seat prices, and better between innings entertainment. It was good to see what all the fuss is about, but I'll take a Mallards game over a Saints game any day.
The original plan was for my Mom and I to take in a Twins game at Target Field on Friday night while Sarah watched Garrison at the hotel. Unfortunately, both Sarah and I were so wiped out by our drive up to the Cities on Thursday night (we arrived around 01:00 and woke up around 06:00), that we both passed out around 21:00. It will have to be next year for me to visit Target Field.
Garrison continues to grow and develop. He has become an absolutely voracious devourer of books. More specifically, he wants us to read him book after book after book. We're making heavy use of our library cards and the toddler and picture book sections as a result. He definitely knows more words than he can speak at this point. His most recent word is probably "dooooowwwwnn" for "down". He's also starting to play with toys a bit more. He spends more time playing with his various plastic trucks every day, which gives us a chance every now and then to get dinner on the table or do some other household chore.