red-apples-on-a-blue-sky-day-13959_staatsYesterday was the epitome of an early fall day – cloudy and cool in the morning, but clearing skies and warm sun.  We took advantage of the day and left the Cities early, heading west to Howard Lake, Minnesota.  Our first stop was Swenson Gardens, the essential place for peonies.  We had visited there a year ago, but this time we were getting advice on dividing and planting peonies.  Keith and Becky offered they personal help and guidance and we left with plenty of information and three new peony plants for our home garden.  As the sun was breaking through the clouds, we wandered south a few miles to Carlson’s Orchard.  The bakery and restaurant were doing a bustling business, and a wait was required but certainly worth every minute.  We had a delicious lunch, followed by fresh apple pie a la mode.  The orchard was filled with apples, and the beautiful red Haralsons stood out against the blue and white sky and green of the trees and grass.  One more stop at a winery for some tasting and a glass of wine in the sun made for a full and relaxing day.

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