Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

In Hayfield, Part III: Free squash at The Legion November 17, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , , ,

ONE OF MY PHOTOGRAPHIC passions involves small towns. I love to day-trip to Minnesota communities with my husband and then explore. By explore, I mean park our vehicle along Main Street and then walk around downtown before also perusing city streets. I always find something quirky, something interesting, something truly small townish.

A snippet of downtown Hayfield looking from The Flying Monkey Saloon toward the post office and grain elevator.

A snippet of downtown Hayfield looking from Flying Monkey Saloon toward the post office and grain elevator.


Take a recent Saturday morning stop in Hayfield. Here’s how this community promotes itself online:

Welcome to Hayfield, MN, a sprawling community of 1,300 residents nestled on the corner of Highway 30 and 56 and is almost equal distances from Austin and Rochester in south-east Minnesota.

Hayfield is “close enough to Rochester, but just far enough away” and prides itself with a booming local economy with over 40 local businesses.





Well-crafted words can make any place sound inviting. Only a visit can distinguish between polished PR and reality. I’m happy to report that Hayfield truly is small town neighborly as evidenced at Rothie American Legion Post 330. There, on the back patio, I spotted a sign, Squash Free For the takeing (sic).




As I photographed the sign, a Legion member pulled up in his van; he’d just finished erecting a flagpole. He invited me to help myself to the hybrid squash grown by Charlie Williams of Brownsdale.




And so I grabbed one of the smallest orbs—not just squash, but a symbol of rural Minnesota and the generosity of those who live there.


This concludes my series of stories, and earlier posts (click here and then click here and, finally, click here), from Hayfield.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


10 Responses to “In Hayfield, Part III: Free squash at The Legion”

  1. Littlesundog Says:

    My goodness… I sure could use that squash to supplement feed for Emma and Ronnie deer right now! I think that is one of the most wonderful things to do with surplus garden goods – offer it free to others. We do the same here. I have a few people in town who I call when I have extras. One lady is very poor and always so thankful for the fresh vegetables. Her husband goes fishing all summer to keep meat on the table, and she often offers some fish in trade for the vegetables. I would say that is a good trade!

    • Oh, Lori, bless you for your kindness extended to others through the gift of fresh vegetables. That story about the poor woman and her husband touches me in the kind of way that makes me incredibly thankful for generous individuals like you.

      I, too, am always thankful for garden fresh vegetables gifted to me.

  2. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:


  3. Don Says:

    Generosity knows no boundaries! Your story is what motivates me to want to live in a rural area.

  4. Back here in the quite less rural Boston area anything left on the back porch (unchained or unguarded) is always considered “free for the tak(e)ing.” Lol.
    Congratulations to rural Minnesota for having so many giving spirits!

    • Well, then, Jake, allow me to share this “giving spirits” Boston area story with you. While in Somerville/Medford in May for our son’s graduation from Tufts University, my husband and I were walking around his neighborhood and came across the Tufts’ Crafts House (I think I got that right). The students had cleaned the pantry and were giving away jars of peanut butter. And, yes, the peanut butter was shelved on the porch, but “guarded” by resident students. I took a jar, thanked them and delivered the freebie to my poor college grad son. There you go.

      • Thank you for lending a bit of credence to my comment. I did notice that you said they were “guarded” lol

      • You are most welcome. I found all of the folks I met in the greater Boston area to be most friendly and welcoming. Upon learning I was from Minnesota, here was the standard reply, “Oh, it’s cold there.”

        Indeed. Temps are plummeted overnight. And tomorrow sections of our state are slated to endure our first blizzard of the season. School closings are already scrolling across the TV screen. My area of southeastern Minnesota will be mostly spared unless the storm track shifts south.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.