Visitor: "What's the sound we heard outside?"
Me: "Can you be more specific?"
Visitor: "It sounded like... 'HUUUNGH!'"
Me: "Ha! Can you make that sound again?!"
I apologize for a lack of theme or common thread to the post this week, but there has been a lot going on that I just want to make notes about.
There was an explosion of wildflowers this past week with the leadplant and yellow prairie coneflowers lighting up the prairie with purple and yellow. The native, warm season grasses are shooting up and will get very tall soon. I forgot to bring my camera this week to take a picture of it, but it turned out I was too busy anyway. Speaking of tall, the farmers' corn has shot up and across much of southern Minnesota, the corn is flowering. The weather has been very nice! I haven't had to use my air conditioner since June! After a couple wet weeks at the beginning of July, it has dried out, partly because of the high pressure system that is also keeping temperatures down.
This was a busy weekend in the park as the Love of the Land Rendezvous went on. It's not as big of an affair as North American Indian Days out in Browning, MT, but it's basically all the same things you might expect if you've been to that sort of event before: drumming and dancing, arts and crafts, indian tacos. Alice Erickson made some great indian tacos. One of those is plenty enough to eat for a whole day. The rendezvous kept us busy in the park over the weekend and we had more visitors on Saturday than any other day yet this summer. My grandparents came to visit on their way to a family reunion in South Dakota, and it was nice to see them if only for a short while!
On Thursday, I was walking the trail and found a deer with a spotted fawn prancing around her in the grass. Then I noticed a pair of orchard orioles flitting around in the trees nearby. I watched them for a while since I had not seen then in several weeks. Proceeding down the trail, I saw the male red-winged blackbird in a perch he typically uses, but this time, he was squawking and making a variety of angry noises at me. The female appeared and fluttered around my head a little bit. It was obvious they had a nest there, so I played with them a little bit, stepping one step closer and making them get agitated, then stepping away a step or two and letting them calm down before stepping closer again. I was amusing myself with that when I heard an unfamiliar, piercing honk sound. It was a green heron, which flew in and perched at the top of a nearby tree. Sometimes you see everything all at once!
I saw some folks using a credit card with a picture of Bucky Badger on it. I told them I liked it and that I used to sit "Riiiight about there, in Section O." The man said, "O sucks!" And I said, "I can't give you the reply!" He said, "I know!" I guess you have to know what Section O is all about to understand why that's funny, but suffice to say that Section O has a reputation and has specific cheers at UW football games, and the job of the rest of the sections is to harass Section O, and a startling degree of profanity is used both ways.
Yesterday, the phone rang at the visitor center. I was helping other visitors and didn't take the call, but I could hear another ranger talking to the person, trying to give directions. I could only hear one side of the conversation, but I could hear the ranger saying, "Did you see the signs? Where are you now? No, no, that's the housing area!" Once the people finally got sorted out and to the visitor center, they told us they had followed their GPS and it had taken them as far as the Three Maidens, the picnic spot at the entrance of the park. They couldn't find the visitor center because their Garmin GPS did not lead them straight to it. They literally followed the GPS so loyally, they never looked around to see where they were. If they had, they might have noticed that the road continued straight to the visitor center - there is nowhere else to go. It was yet another, "How do some people function in society?" moment that is always terrifying. The incident reminded me exactly of the scene on The Office regarding loyal GPS-following.
UPDATE: Even worse. A middle-aged Swedish couple on holiday in Italy drove 650 kilometres out of their way when their GPS system confused the island of Capri with the northern Italian town of Carpi.