Balaton, MN 8/16-18
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Farm #1 Farm #2 Farm #3 Farm #4 Farm #5 Farm #6 Denise Kim

While the family was here during our first weekend, they asked us to come to their hometown which is Balaton, MN.  It's about 150 miles south of Ten Mile Lake.  We agreed to this but left our trailer at Ten Mile Lake and just made a weekend trip out of it.  So on Friday morning we packed our clothes, personal items, dogs, crates, etc.  Lewie came "with" (mid-westerners tend to not finish their prepositional phrases so instead of "with us" it's just "with") so we had three adults, two dogs, and everything except the dogs' crates in the cab of the truck.  Because of the grey skies and continual threat of rain, only items that could get wet were eligible for the back of the truck.

Anyhoo, we made our first stop at Becky's house.  Becky is a sister to Lynn, Barb, and Kim and thus, one of Denise's cousins.  But Becky was unable to make it to Ten Mile Lake and that was part of the reason we agreed to go to Balaton.

We spent about an hour at Becky's.  She and her husband, Dick, run a dairy farm.  We had both Shotzee and Pearl "with" and a dairy farm to these city dogs was like Disneyland to a five year old.  At one point Shotzee snuck off with the farm dog, Trooper.  I think they actually went down the road to another farm before coming back but in any event, they came back.

Next we went into the actual town of Balaton and visited with Aunt Janice.  While sitting on her porch, the severe thunderstorms that the Weather Channel warned us about commenced.  They were pretty impressive, delivering huge "booms" and heavy hail in short bursts.  I was content to remain on the covered porch and watch the phenomenon but Janice insisted I come inside for my own safety.  Coming from California, I guess I'm naive when it comes to severe weather.

The storms passed and we went to the "health center" (click here if you missed the explanation earlier).  After a few drinks and a little coaxing, I pulled out the magic tricks.  Before the evening was over, I had everyone in the bar watching.  Even the bartenders left their post.  They were amazed and I had fun doing it.  And as a bonus, I even got a few free drinks!!!

We stayed with Kim and Lynn for the weekend.  Thanks to Shawn for the use of his bedroom!  On Saturday, Lynn was busy with Kara at the Murray County Fair.  Kara had a pig entered in the fair and won "Best of Show".  Congratulations to her.

Denise, Kim, and I went to the local grocery store to get items for Sunday dinner (you know, the noon meal) as Kim was having the family to her house for it.  While combing the 3 aisles in the store, I was stopped by a lady who wanted to verify if I was the magician at the bar last night.  She said her son woke her up to tell her about this magician from California and proceeded to tell me how impressed he was.  That's what makes it all worth it!

As we left the store, a pickup truck with three guys in it saw me and started honking and waving.  Apparently they were at the bar last night too.  So I guess I'm famous in Balaton.  Maybe I should leave my job and go to Hollywood?

We had lunch at the local gas station...I mean convenience wait, pizza parlor...pardon me, restaurant.  OK OK, it's all the same place but the food was great.  Thanks again Kim for buying lunch.

That afternoon, Kim and I went to the liquor store in the nearby town of Slayton.  While camping at Ten Mile Lake, Kim and Lynn always drank McAdams, a Canadian whiskey.  I bought a bottle and both Denise and I love it.  Well the store in Slayton sells it for just over $10 for a 1.75 liter bottle so I wanted to buy a case.

While in town, we stopped at the county fair to see if Lynn was around.  We didn't find him but saw Dick and his sons, Wade and Jeff as they had cows entered in the fair.

We went to Lake Shetek and met the family for supper.  I remembered the place from my previous visit for a family reunion about seven years ago.  The food was good then and it was still good.  The prime rib I had was both huge and excellent.  Others enjoyed their meals as much as I and everyone seemed to have a good time.

On Sunday, we enjoyed a nice morning.  I roasted the pork loin in the Weber while Kim and Denise prepared accompaniments for dinner (the noon meal).  The rest of the family arrived mid to late morning and we all enjoyed a few beers around the barbeque.  It was a nice time before heading back to Ten Mile Lake.

I've gotten a little lazy with the camera but I did take a few shots around Lynn & Kim's place so you could see what a mid-western farm looks like.

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