Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Grader and vehicle collide as more snow falls December 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 11:15 AM
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ABOUT 45 MINUTES AGO, while sitting at the dining room table proofing the winter edition of Minnesota Moments magazine, I heard the unmistakable bang and crunch of metal on metal.

I looked outside to see that a city grader and a passenger vehicle had collided at the intersection of Willow Street, a major arterial road in Faribault, and the side street by my corner house.

This City of Faribault grader and passenger vehicle collided at the intersection of Willow Street and Tower Place. By the time I grabbed my camera and got to the window, the grader had already backed up, out of the intersection.

I don’t know how the crash happened—it could have been anything.

But it’s slippery out there right now and the side street ends at the bottom of a hill.

Fortunately, no one was hurt and I don’t think the passenger vehicle sustained much damage. I didn’t tromp outdoors to look, though.

Yes, thick snow is falling here. Again. The snowfall began Wednesday evening. So, if you live in southeastern Minnesota, or anywhere else weather conditions are dicey, please be cautious.

Faribault police arrive at the crash scene around 9:45 a.m.

This truck, which was not involved in the crash, travels down the side street while the cop car remains parked on Willow Street wrapping up details following the collision.

WHAT ARE ROAD and weather conditions like in your neighborhood?

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


Shopping for a Christmas tree

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:32 AM
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AT OUR HOUSE, we never rush out to buy a Christmas tree. For whatever reason, my husband has always been concerned about the tree drying out and becoming a fire hazard. Perhaps he’s justified in his wariness.

However, due to his vigilance, we’ve come very close, several years, to going without a Christmas tree. I recall one December standing in a tree lot just days before Christmas with about five trees to select from. We got a cheap, Charlie Brown tree. If you wait long enough, they practically give the trees away.

If you wait too long, you'll find mostly empty Christmas tree lots, like this one at Farmer Seed & Nursery in Faribault. Fortunately, there were plenty of trees to choose from inside.

This year, though, because of a full schedule, we purchased our tree on the evening of December 14, early by our standards.

A nearby greenhouse offering half-price trees was already closed for the evening, so we headed to Farmer Seed & Nursery in Faribault with a pocketed $5-off coupon. After a quick perusal of the trees, I pronounced that I really didn’t like any of them (in our price range).

My husband muttered something about “a tree’s a tree,” but humored my desire to check out the trees at another greenhouse in town. As we drove by the front side of Farmer Seed, I saw a sign advertising the trees at 25 percent off. I figured I’d just made a mistake by suggesting we search elsewhere. But I did not say this out loud.

So, down the road we headed to the next tree lot, which was closed. My husband, to his credit, did not utter a word of disapproval as I directed that we better return to Farmer Seed with less than a half hour until closing time.

I knew if I was to have a Christmas tree, I needed to find it here, and fast.

I passed on the trees painted an unnatural blue-green. I passed on the short tabletop trees.

I could have chosen from among about a half dozen flocked trees.

I admired the flocked trees but decided they really weren’t my style.

The premium Christmas trees, which are too tall and too costly.

I lingered too long over the magnificent and costly fraser firs that were absolutely perfect but way to big and tall for my living room. I passed on the two trees that were barren of needles in too many spots.

After doing some quick math, I decided we could buy the $44 tree I liked best because, at 25 percent off and with that $5 coupon, it would cost only $31.05. I thought that a bit much, but Randy didn’t. I think he just wanted to get the darned tree and get out of there, because he mentioned something later about cold feet and I then mentioned that I had suggested he wear boots (like me) instead of tennis shoes.

That tree is sitting now, undecorated, in a corner of the living room. By the time Randy got the tree into the house, it was too late to decorate and too cold to decorate. I mean the tree was too cold; it was still thawing. Just stepping near the tree was like stepping into a freezer.

Anyway, that’s how the Christmas tree selection process works at our house.

HOW ABOUT YOU? Do you put up your tree right after Thanksgiving? Or do you wait, like us, until shortly before Christmas? And, even more interesting, how does the selection process go for you? Is it difficult, fun, easy, trying, etc.?

Let’s hear your stories.

P.S. Maybe I’ll post a photo of our tree once it’s decorated.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling