The Herald Bulletin

August 1, 2013

Rick Bramwell: Something for everyone at the State Fair

By Rick Bramwell
For The Herald Bulletin

---- — Again this year, I will be working at the Indiana State Fair as an escort.

More specifically, I escort bands to the WFMS Free Stage and the Main Street Stage. I guide the acts through foot traffic to the backstage areas where they can unload instruments and equipment. I love the atmosphere of the fair and enjoy being there. My home base is the Gate 16 area.

The DNR Building is one of my favorite attractions. This year, interpretive naturalists from across Indiana will talk about snakes you might encounter in the Hoosier State.

Take your kids to the Fishing Pond and let them experience the joy of catching fish. The fish I like are in the holding pools and large aquariums. My favorite is the redear sunfish.

The “Taste of the Wild” cookout is this coming Saturday at 11 a.m.

All three events will be adjacent to the air-conditioned Natural Resources Building, the hub of DNR State Fair activities. Check dnr.IN.gov/statefair for the entire DNR schedule.

The soil in my garden is harder than the times in 1929. Three years ago I piled sand in one corner. I used it to blend with the clay in hopes of creating a more workable garden. That corner is just a little higher than the rest of the soil.

In late spring, I planted a row of sunflower seeds along the west edge of the garden; this, in hopes of attracting doves during the upcoming September season. Apparently, I dropped a seed in the sand corner. The sunflower growing out of the sand is twice as tall and three times the diameter of the plants growing in the supposedly more fertile soil.

Perhaps, the root system was allowed to grow deeper in the sandy soil and pick up more moisture; just a guess.

I’ve often said that blue jays get in their scolding mood, come fall. Now, I’m wondering if this is just triggered by the temperature. I’ve been scolded a lot this week.

I’ve been on the watch for the monarch butterfly. Their larva attach to the milk weed. When the butterfly emerges from the cocoon, they feed on flower pollen. I’ve yet to see the cocoons, but began seeing the butterflies Monday.

Rick Bramwell’s column appears Thursdays in The Herald Bulletin.