31 October 2011

The End of October

I'm always reminded, this time each year, of this song by my favorite songwriter / singer / poet, the late Dan Fogelberg.  Enjoy.



Old Tennessee

End of October
The sleepy brown woods seem to
Nod down their heads to the Winter
Yellows and grays paint the sad skies today
And I wonder when you're coming home

Woke up one morning
The wind through the window
Reminded me winter was just 'round the bend
Somehow I just did not see it was coming
It took me by surprise again


(Chorus)
And I hear you're in San Francisco
Living with your sister who's a mother to be
And her husband's way down in Georgia
And I'm still in old Tennessee...
Wishing you'd come home to me

Life here is easy I'm sure you recall
How it's so warm and breezy
In the summer and the fall
But winter's upon me
And I've got no heat here
And I miss your fire so sweet
Dear I miss your fire so sweet

(Chorus)

End of October
The sleepy brown woods seem to
Nod down their heads to the winter
Yellows and gray paint the sad skies today
And I wonder when you're coming home
I wonder when you're coming home
I wonder when you're coming home

03 October 2011

H-o-w-d-y F-o-l-k-s!!

The State Fair of Texas started this weekend.  It was the perfect Fair Day.  The sun was out, there was a slight breeze, the temperature was perfect and my girlfriend Karen came up from Houston to go with me.

There are several reasons I like going to the Fair on the first weekend….
1.  The park is nice and clean
2.  All of the Vendors are excited and in good moods
3.  The grease is new and clean
All’s well with the world.

Everyone has their different areas and activities of the fair that they enjoy.  Karen and I like the food, the rides and the exhibits.

Once through the gates, the first order of business is three-fold: 


Fletcher Corny Dogs (regular or jalapeƱo will do),

Jack's Frys (make sure they come right out of the fryer and haven't been sitting under the heat lamps!), with vinegar and seasoned salt on them.


This year they added a new Spicy variety which boiled down to a little cup of Sriracha sauce; and to wash it all down,


ice cold beer - yes, I realize it is 10:00 a.m. but it's the State Fair, so there.  This was our beer man for the day.  Karen would wink at him and we got them for 6 tickets instead of 7.  Which, by the way, the beer out on the fair grounds is 10 - 12 tickets.  Just go inside the Food Court building and you'll find your cheapest beer.  We researched this very carefully.

So, this was our main diet during the day, but we did venture out to try one of the new fried foods they always introduce.  We're very skeptical about these because, quite frankly, half of them just sound and look gross.  Last year we wasted tickets on the fried beer.  N.A.S.T.Y.

This year we tried the Big Tex Choice for Best Tasting which was the Buffalo Chicken in a Flapjack served with syrup.  Again, the key is make sure they give you one that just came out of the fryer.  This little culinary nugget was a chicken tender on a stick that had been dipped in really spicy pancake batter and fried.  This was passable, but still not worth the tickets in my opinion (better spent on beer).

Some of the others we had no intention of trying were the Fried Bubblegum, Fried 'Kraut Balls (wonder if those are as good as Shweddy Balls?), and Deep Fried Salsa.


Before we left the Food Court, we ran into this sweet young lady who was wearing an apron that I wanted.  They were not for sale anywhere at the Fair; only Food Court employees had them.  I suggested she sell it to me and tell her boss she lost hers and would need another one.  She said her boss was also her aunt and that she would know she was lying.  Great apron though, huh? 


Tucked in between the Food and Fiber building and the Fur and Feather building is a little Oasis we like to visit called the Texas Wine Garden.  There are fountains, pretty plants, jazz music playing and tables to sit and relax.    Each day three or four Texas Wineries are highlighted and you can talk to the representatives from the wineries and taste their wines.  Karen and I know from Wine Trail trips that Texas has some very good wines and I'm sure that the wineries represented Saturday were good as well, but I just can't bring myself to pay $10.00 for a little plastic wine glass of a wine I might not even like. 


 I would do better by buying a whole bottle from the store and try it; which there was one that I am going to seek out.  Karen and I really prefer wines, but the wine sold at the Fair out on the Midway is a little gut rot.  So, Karen and I find a nice table and enjoy the music, our 6 ticket beer and watch people for a little while.


Our next stop was the Food and Fiber building.  This building has all things food; Texas food.  Vendors hand out samples of their products, the Beef Council cooks fajita meat, Borden's has ice cream, and you can learn all about raising bees.

 This is Harold.  He makes and sells "Texicun Gormay Pickuls"  and they are purdy hot!!


 Karen liked the hottest ones; the Dern Hot pickles.  Turns out Karen is pretty hot herself!  Harold told her, "my pickles were the hottest things in here until you walked up to my counter."!


This lady was waiting in the free ice cream line.


We were greeted by Strawberry Shortcake


In the Embarcadero Building you can find anything to buy.  Look here, you can buy a free standing shower with a mirror in it! Oh dear, I don't think I'd want to look at myself in the mirror, in the shower; that means I'd be looking at myself naked....Y-I-K-E-S !!



You can even get a vibrating message and eat at the same time.


One of my favorite buildings is the Creative Arts Building.  Here you can see all the quilts and collections that people enter.  Including this huge wall of preserves and pickled stuff.


Each year there is a butter sculpture in this building.  Sometimes you can see the artist in his refrigerated glass cage working.  This is amazing this year; it's life size.





 Another fun annual contest they have is the Shoe Art.  There are some clever people out there.  Since I love to tap dance and drink beer, this was naturally my favorite.



 "The Stat-shoe of Flipperty"

  "Shoe - Fly"


Time for a little culture so we headed over to the plaza outside the Texas Hall of State to watch different dance groups perform. 

And look at these cuties watching with us.





There was a special exhibit in the Texas Hall of State building celebrating the State's 175th Anniversary.  They had all sorts of artifacts from Davy Crockett's pipe and pistol,

period costumes, including a gown worn by the Grand Duchess of Texas during the 1940 Galveston Mardi Gras,

to this very important piece of Texas History...

 the world's first frozen margarita machine.  As the sign mentions above, this is actually a replica of the original that is housed in the Smithsonian; she is referred to as Maggie-Rita.


I’ve never been crazy about the Midway ripoffs games.  The only thing I liked about the Midway at the Tulsa State Fair,when I was a little girl, was getting the felt hat with a feather in it and my name written in cursive in shiny silver glitter. 



Here's a guy using his very scary appendage to lure us in to his Fright House.


Here's the Midway Barker.  He lives on a pole.  He's actually pretty funny; very quick witted.  I posted a little bit of video I took of him here


 This is a really fun treat for adults and children.  Everything in The Greenhouse is made out of some sort of plant.


 Wind turbines


 My favorite (and the the primary exhibit in here), the trains.


 Even all of the tracks and bridges are made out of twigs and branches.




I could watch these for hours.  But we didn't.  It was getting late in the day and we had other things to see.

Like this.  Wish I had this talent.


 and this,


 and this,


and this (what's up with the animals on the back?),


 and this,


 and this.   Is he sucking that in on purpose??



Now here's a couple of ladies who are mighty proud of the junk in their trunk.  Sure hope the lady in the red shoes has a good man at home to rub her feet tonight!

Well, that was our day at the Fair and we sure enjoyed ourselves!  I'm already looking forward to next year!!