Breakfast on the Farm

A few weekends ago, I had a very exciting Saturday morning. The day started with a beautiful bike ride from Lake Minnetonka on the Dakota Rail Regional Trail.

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The final destination was unknown to me when we started, but about 12 miles and 1 hour later, we arrived at Gale Woods Farm.

We had visited Gale Woods Farm a couple of years ago for the second best Valentine’s Day ever (runner up to the zoo). Gale Woods Farm is part of the Three Rivers Park District.

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In addition to being a full-functioning farm that produces meat, eggs, and produce, it also focuses on education, offering a variety of classes and community events. We were there for ‘Breakfast on the Farm’ – an annual fundraiser that features a menu comprised of entirely locally-grown and produced ingredients.

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Breakfast was served buffet-style, and the menu included eggs, potatoes, biscuits, cinnamon buns, and fresh fruit:

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The farm was packed, and we could see the cooks hard at work in the open-air kitchen:

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After finishing our food, we walked around the farm to check out the animals. We saw cows…

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and chickens….

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and sheep…

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We also tried some samples from the garden:

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Lastly, we went to a demonstration on beekeeping and learned about honey production.

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One interesting thing I learned was that the image I have in my mind of a beehive is actually inaccurate. I always thought that beehives looked like this…

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Actually, nests that hang from the tree like that are wasps nests, and true beehives more resemble honeycomb hanging from a tree:

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Haute Dog

In addition to being a nice shopping/eating venue, Calhoun Square in Uptown often has weekend events open to anyone interested. The events are usually themed (coffee, fashion, motorcycles, etc.) and feature related vendors and activities. This past weekend, Calhoun Square hosted, quite-possibly, its best event yet.

Haute Dog: Urban. Fashion. Lifestyle.

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The photo above was taken of a poster advertising the event on Monday – so there were six agonizing days of anticipation. As described on the poster, the event would feature:

– Free Animal Communication (Pet Psychic)
– PETicures
– Doggie Fashion Show
– Free Doggie Treat Buffet
– PAWparazzi – Free Dog Photos with Celebs

Vendors were advertised to include: JimmyCHEW, BONE Appetite, and So FETCHing.

I know, right?!

Naturally, priority #1 was finding a dog to bring with me. That proved not be too difficult since I found someone through work who would come with their dog.

When Sunday finally came and it was time for Haute DogI was beyond excited. We could tell as soon as we walked in that we were in the right place:

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The dogs pictured above were huge! And slobbery. And their hair was super matted. Possibly a result of the aforementioned slobbering.

Dog watching continued as we met these two poodles:

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The owner said she uses only natural dyes and bleaches so she doesn’t damage the dogs hair or skin at all. I wonder if they know how crazy they look?!

The flier was accurate in saying there would be a free doggie treat buffet. There were tons of different treats to sample, and some vendors were even giving away small bags of treats for people to take home! Some of the fancier treats were available for purchase:

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These look good enough for me to eat (and the woman behind the counter assured me that they would be completely edible and safe for humans!). The treats above are made by Posh Pooch, and they are decorated dog cookies in a variety of bright colors and fun shapes (the squirrel shaped cookie was my favorite). We bought a peanut butter cup and a bone shaped cookie:

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Although the poster’s teasers for free treats was accurate, I was a bit disappointed by the ‘photos with celebs’:

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A little misleading, no?

Nonetheless, it was fun watching people try to get their dog’s heads aligned with the hole.

Several pet service businesses had small advertising booths. I thought this one was funny since it advertised a Pet Taxi:

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Whose pet needs a taxi?!

After all the excitement:

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Our doggie was pooped:

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So pooped in fact, we couldn’t get her to move. Good thing Haute Dog thought of everything:

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harhar 🙂

The Love Tour: Valentine’s Day at the Zoo

Sorry for a couple-day hiatus in writing – I was out of town for the weekend, and Thursday night I had no time to blog due to the fact that I was on the greatest Valentine’s Day date ever!

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‘The Love Tour: Mating rituals that might make you blush,’ run through the Minnesota Zoo as a fundraiser for their conservation programs. First of all, this date was a complete and total surprise, planned by the fabulous Noah. I will admit I had pretty high expectations since I had been hearing comments like “I’m so excited for Valentine’s Day” since last March, but this completely exceeded even my highest hopes.

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What made this the greatest Valentine’s Day date ever? See for yourself…

First, we got to the zoo (I was immediately excited since I love the zoo but still didn’t really know what was going on). We went inside, and were greeted by friendly zoo staff and champagne.

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Waiters came by with appetizers – mini polenta cakes and lettuce wraps with strip steak and pico de gallo:

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That was about when I learned that we would be having a Tropics Trail Tour to learn all about the mating rituals and practices of animals. A delicious dinner follows the tour. Sneak peak at the dining room:

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While we’re waiting for the tour to begin, there’s plenty of entertainment (besides the food and champagne) to keep us occupied.

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I think I’m better at boggle, but these games were fun. 🙂 After much anticipation, the tour began, and it was SO interesting/fun/funny/greatest time ever. The zookeepers leading the tours all volunteered their time for the event, and our guide told us that the keepers really enjoy the event since they don’t usually get to talk about mating rituals with their regular tour groups (ie, elementary school groups). Heading into the tropics, our first visit was to the ring-tailed lemurs:

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a little hard to see, but the lemur is sitting on the branch in the top middle area of the picture

Male lemurs rub their mating smelliness all over their tails and then wave their tails around to attract females. This lemur was sweet enough to have decorated his pen for us:

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how thoughtful

Next up was the rhinoceros hornbill:

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For anyone who says that monogamous relationships are unnatural for animals, they should meet a rhinoceros hornbill. These birds mate for life, and they can live for up to 90 years. What’s more, the female completely trusts the male to stay with and provide for her, as the mother stays inside a tree trunk for the entire egg-incubation time period. The male brings her food and all of the supplies for the nest. Even more faithful, though, are African Penguins. What makes African Penguins incredible is that no instance of dual-partnership has ever been recorded in the wild. Not a single one. Wow!

on the trail

on the trail

Next up were tropical fish:

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We learned that zebra sharks are one of the few species that have ever been recorded to reproduce asexually. Female zebra sharks have reproduced alone. A Jesus-shark (as noted by our tour group), if you will.

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Although sad for the tour to end, I was excited to get to dinner, especially after seeing there was a live band!

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Our table number was number 38…

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…and there were salads and a bread basket waiting for us when we arrived:

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The salad was delicious with grapefruit, feta, and toasted almonds. For the main course, we were served beef tenderloin, cod, asparagus, and potatoes:

holy yum

holy yum

I took my fish home with me since I still needed room for dessert.

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fish to-go

Dessert was honestly one of the best things I have ever had. I don’t think Noah loved it quite as much, but I am way more of a chocolate person (all you ladies out there, say heyyyy). 🙂

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Molten lava caked with chopped pistachios and fresh whipped cream (the whipped cream seemed to have a little espresso flavor). This was so good.

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Obviously. 🙂

We even got treats to go in the form of two truffles from Max’s, the sponsoring organization.

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Overall, this was hands down the best Valentine’s Day I could have imagined. Thank you, Noah – you’re my African Penguin. ❤