Thursday, March 31, 2016

Trash Stories

It's raining out so I am going through some of my trash walking photos instead.  Sometimes I find things that make me wonder what's the story here.  I picked up this glove.  I was not curious enough to find out what was inside.

 I was walking around Lake Harriet recently and passed by this tableau.  I didn't have a bag with me so I left it there for someone else to enjoy.  It must have been a wild night or maybe someone realized just how stupid that hat is.

This was in an alcove by the Post Office.  There was a worker on break, having a smoke, rearranging all the butts in the pail into the shape of his home state.  Is that Wisconsin?

 The spray can was empty so the next best pass time is setting stuff on fire.

I reached for it and then I decided to leave it.  One of the many varieties of grass spiders in Minnesota.

Making movies in the park?

It was the start to another bad day, out of smokes, out of dew, and out of time.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Walk to Nordeast

The plan this morning was to walk straight up to the Broadway Bridge (I'm standing on it), pick up only one bag of trash and walk home.  I picked up one bag full of garbage along "the stretch" between the Broadway Bridge and the Plymouth Bridge. It was hard to stop at one because there is so much litter in this area.  The Plymouth Bridge is the one you see right before downtown.  I'm trying to leave the trash in downtown alone so the Earth Day volunteers will have plenty to do.  So north I go!

Across the Broadway Bridge is the neighborhood known as Nordeast.  Instead of going home we walked over there because I was thinking "where's the potty?"  The old Grain Belt Brewery buildings dominate the skyline on this side of the river.

10:30 am potty break and delicious humus veggie sandwich courtesy of SIP Coffeebar was next.  The Community Keg House is right next door but it was too early to be open otherwise I could have talked myself into a well earned breakfast beer.  Another time.  Yes, definitely soon!                         

Further north on Marshall Street I could see a sign on a building that just said FOOD BUILDING.  A light bulb went off in my head.  I think I have read about this place.  So we walked over.  Inside you can take a self guided tour and watch the butchers carving up pork at Red Table Meat. You see the vat of milky whey at The Lone Grazer Creamery.  Bees and solar panels are on the roof.  A milling and baking business is soon to open. Perhaps I can sample some of these products next door at The Draft Horse Restaurant.  Again, not today.  We are too early.

I can see the edge of a building that looks like Street Art to me and so we continue north on Marshall St.

                           More interesting stuff on the building.  I think this was a dog washing business.

                         The river is right there so let's see what kind of garbage is down there!

Well, of course there is plenty of graffiti under the BNSF railroad bridge.  This is the same bridge that crosses from Ole Olsen Park.  That black and white stone painting is the work of MR HBAK.  I see his stuff in quite a few places, including train cars.  Is it weird that some old lady from Minnesota (me) can recognize his work?

Oh, it's a Huck Finn raft minus one blue barrel.  I pulled out a blue barrel out of the river last fall.  Is this where it came from?

I get it now.  The Huck Finn raft is how they got across to do that graffiti under the bridge. Clever!  Look at all the trash lodged in the logs.  I'd like to use that raft to clean up this spot.

Time to head back home.  If we use the Car2Go down the street we'll be back home for lunch.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Earth Day 2016

We are about a month out from Earth Day.  Saturday, April 23rd the city of Minneapolis and Park and Rec will host their annual Earth Day cleanup.  I'll be a site coordinator stationed at the corner of 11th Avenue South and 2nd Street South in Gold Medal Park.  That's the fairly new park between the Guthrie Theater and across from Izzy's Ice Cream.  Bring your own gloves if you wish, but I will have gloves available courtesy of Park and Rec.  Trash bags will be provided of course.  That little green dot on the park map represents me and I'll be there to direct you to my favorite messy spots.  The larger green circle is the area along the river and cliffs that we will be cleaning.

I was exploring the cliff area a few weeks ago and it is still a mess over there so there should be lots to do. No one was living in this area then, but that's not to say that someone won't be "tenting" here in another month.  I'm getting ready to post a sign back there to let folks know to expect volunteers on Earth Day.  If there is anyone back there next month, I want to make sure that they know that their possessions will not be disturbed if it looks like they are actively living there.  Of course, they can help clean up too.  I've asked St. Stephen's Street Outreach to check in on this area too.

Click on the link below for a list of all the Earth Day cleanup sites in Minneapolis.  There are two other nearby sites. One is across the river at Father Hennepin Park.  The other site is not too far from my own station on 1st Street South in the parking lot of the old Fuji Ya parking lot.  

If you don't live in Minneapolis, you can find out where your city hosts events or just get out on your own!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Another Cart

Last Thursday was another one of those "warmer than it should be in Minnesota for this time of year" days.  I walked north along the river with my trash bag.  I was on my way to the Plymouth Bridge to see if that Cub Food shopping cart had been picked up.  The Cub Foods cart was still there even though I had called Cub one week before.  But this is a Walgreen's Pharmacy cart in this photo.  It was in the weeds just south of the Plymouth Bridge.  This time I decided to just pull it off the slope myself.  Those suckers are heavy and I was wishing I hadn't quit that Body Pump class I used to go to at the YMCA.  I called Park and Rec and told them where I left it and suggested they pick it up before some kids decide to ride it back down the slope to the river.  I told them about the Cub Food cart too since it was still there.  I tried to pull that one up too and moved it about 3 feet before I decided that was not going to happen.  I hate to see this heavy junk end up in the Mississippi River. This summer the Conservation Corp will host the 25th Annual Great Mississippi Riverboat Cleanup.
 I'll be on one of those boats (with a friend).  I just need some rubber boots.  Maybe I should start working on my arm muscles too.  

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Cub Cart

Last Wednesday I spent a couple of hours collecting trash along the stretch of the Mississippi River between Broadway and Plymouth Bridges.  This Cub Foods cart was down a slope and in the weeds about a 100 ft north of the Broadway Bridge.  I didn't try to bring it up because, really, what am I going to do with it anyway.  I thought about that cart when I got home and looked online to find the nearest Cub Foods.  There is one in North Minneapolis on Broadway so I called the store and told them where to pick it up.  I thought about calling Park and Rec first since its on their property but why not just let Cub solve it instead of one more thing that Park and Rec needs to do.  Park and Rec has been in the news lately because they might be asking the citizens of Minneapolis for money this fall.  A lot of money.  Something in the neighborhood of $300 million.

I'm not sure about what I think about raising property taxes, but I do know what I think about the parks that we have in Minneapolis.  I've been in Minnesota thirty plus years, but only lived in Minneapolis for the last year and half.  I rely on the parks to get me out of the urban-ness that I have thrown myself into.  My walks in the park are different than my walks downtown or in the skyway.  The skyway is like a pedestrian freeway.  I weave in and out of people just like they were cars, passing by slow walkers and dodging inattentive ones that are looking down at their cell phones.  I avoid the tall, agressive panhandler that can make a walk turn nasty.  My mind is not quiet as it is in nature.  I do like to observe folks downtown. Where are you going for lunch? Why did you choose those shoes to go with that outfit? I eavesdrop on conversations.  The endless complaining about co-workers, work load, bosses, etc.  Sometimes there's something good to overhear.  There was the Dad who was trying to convince his three small boys that the fountain in the IDS Tower is where a giant comes to shower in the morning.  I enjoy my downtown walks, but my mind is not peaceful.  I came across a great article in the New York Times about what parks mean to people like me who live in an urban setting.

So walking outside for me quiets the city life of noises and drama.  I walked in the park on Wednesday for two and half hours. I picked up some interesting stuff and I felt particularly peaceful when I got home. So ok, I might be convinced to vote yes next fall.