This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween decorations

As someone who does not understand why people enjoy putting out Christmas decorations, which people have been doing for many years. I obviously do not understand why some people go all out to decorate for Halloween. But for reasons completely mysterious to me, some people take the time and the money to provide what they think are interesting displays of Halloween delight.
The blowup decorations seem a bit cheesy, but this one above is rather cute.
I am not sure what the one above is supposed to be. It was on a street where almost everyone put out something. Decorating seems to be contagious. Once one neighbor starts, others seem to pick it up.
The scene above was just part of a much larger display. The house also had the figure below and much more.
Here is another hanging ghouly in another neighborhood. I saw things like this for sale at the local Walgreens. I wonder if that is where this one came from.My camera does not take good pictures of poorly lit scenes, so I cannot show some of the elaborate night decorations. However, the scariest Halloween decoration I saw on my ride around town was this sign in bright pumpkin orange. A sign like this is not something to laugh at.
Update: Someone told me that there was a noteworthy Halloween display on Elm Street, a nightmare on Elm Street, so I had to check it out. I guess it is rather gruesome. But I am impressed that it seems to be an original creation, not something bought at a store.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall colors II

Two weeks ago I wrote about about the sudden onset of fall colors. Most of the leaves that I had in pictures then have fallen, as have a lot of others. But the maples were very pretty this past weekend. I looked around town trying to find some attractive trees, and found the best ones in Weston Cemetery.

The leaves on the ground were as attractive as the leaves in the trees. This year seems to be a rather unspectacular display of leaf color.
Later in the day I rode out to St. Joe and found the ginko tree by the pond turning yellow. Once the leaves turn, ginkos drop their leaves very quickly.As I was leaving the the pond, I heard a crash. The wind had broken a branch from a tree, and that spooked a heron that has been spending a lot of time at the reflecting pond, probably feasting on the gold fish. (Go heron--eat those worthless fish.)
A week ago I traveled to Kentucky, expecting to find the leaves much greener as we went south. They were not. The trees looked pretty much the same the whole length of Indiana.
Correction: The ginko trees stay yellow for a while, but once they start dropping their leaves, the leaves drop very quickly.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fall colors I

With surprising suddenness the colors of fall have arrived. A day or two ago almost all the trees were still mostly green, but today the ash, locust, hickories, and poplars are all turning various shades of yellow. The picture above shows how dramatically different the trees are, from green, to red and yellow, to mostly bare.
Above are locust trees in the park. Below is a maple that has begun to turn a beautiful orange/red.
I think the tree below is an ash. The ash borers have not arrived in Rensselaer yet.
Here are trees at St. Joes. Most are still green, but change is underway.
Both the weather and the leaves were beautiful today, but winter will soon be here. It has already arrived in parts of the west.

Road to somewhere

Rensselaer has had a lot of road construction in the past year. I just noticed a project that is long overdue, the widening of the intersection where state road 114 takes a turn as it comes into town. At present there are problems when big trucks take the turn, and we get a lot of trucks because we are on a route that trucks hauling garbage to landfills use. The intersection is a mess now, but it should be much improved once the construction is finished.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


We are a third of the way through October and almost all of the tree leaves are still green. However, I noticed that vines are changing color. I am pretty sure that the vines on the trees above are Virginia Creepers. I was not willing to walk through the tall weeds to be absolutely sure.
It may be that the vines on the trees were the plant above. Aren't they pretty? But if you know your vines, you know that this vine is not to be touched. It is poison ivy.
Here is a poor example of Virginia Creeper. It has five leaflets rather than three. It is harmless, at least to people, and probably to the trees as well.
Here is a final vine, morning glory, which is very pretty on the edges of the cornfield even though it is a noxious week. I dislike it intensely because I cannot eradicate it from my backyard.
Update: Today I noticed tjat some of the prettiest vine leaves around were on the vines growing on the side of my house.

Friday, October 10, 2008


This morning I noticed some frost on some of the grass along the side of the road, the first frost I have seen this fall. Summer is over, fall is here, and the harvest is underway.
Many of the soybean fields have already been harvested. I found one that was ready, but still not harvested.
The corn is ready, too.
As I was finishing my bike ride, I saw a combine ready to attack a corn field. By now it is probably just stubble.
Update: Here is the same field a couple days later with the sun shining. The trees are still green--very few leaves have started to get their fall colors.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Rummage Sale

For many years there have been two annual rummage sales in the basement of St. Augustine's Church, one supporting Birthright and the other St. Augustine School. The sales have been among the largest in the area in terms of stuff and shoppers. Their popularity is enhanced by the low prices: $2.00 per bag on Friday and $1.00 a bag on Saturday. Here are some pictures of what is involved.

Setup starts the Sunday before. Tables have to be moved and the basement prepared.
Then the stuff arrives. Some years there is a great deal. This last sale, October 2008, was on the small side.

There is a bunch of loyal volunteers who work set up every sale. It takes a long day to sort all the material and set it all out on the tables.

Here is what the tables look like before a big sale.
There is a mass of people who arrive on Friday morning looking for bargains. They do find them.

By Friday afternoon there is still plenty left.
The crowds are smaller on Saturday, but the shoppers are as determined.
At noon, the cleanup crew takes over and sees how fast they can put it all away. The leftovers go to Jasper Junction, which sends a truck. For the past few sales there have been volunteers from St. Joseph's College helping with clean up.

In some years we have filled a truck this size with the leftovers. I am not sure how we did this year--I was not on the loading crew. When the truck is loaded and the basement put back to order, we are finished.
The sale of October, 2008 set a new record for fast clean up. It was all over in half an hour.

Oktoberfest 2008

The annual Oktoberfest sponsored by Mainstreet featured lots of good food, music, and wonderful weather.
Early in the evening, a tuba band entertained. This year the Education Club from St. Joseph's College entertained kids with face painting and cookie decorating. They are in the upper left of the picture below.
In past years it has been very cold, so the organizers have provided wood fires. This year their heat was not needed, but they provided ambiance. The brick street also provides ambiance.
Darkness comes quickly now that we are in October. And that is when the serious partying begins, with a rock band, dancing, and, of course, beer.