Rain, rain and more rain.

There's no need to water outside, but there certainly is a need to weed and mow. The veggies and herbs are growing too and that's rewarding.

I purchased the last container of strawberries sold at the farmers market tonight and felt guilty because there were several who came later, looking for strawberries. They were sold out by 6, with an hour left of the market.

Strawberry and kale salad was what I planned to eat after I got home. So I needed the strawberries. The recipe was provided by the Minnesota Farmers Market Association & Budding Farmers, as one that's simple to prepare and offer for samples at a market.

The Eyota Farmers Market recently accepted a grant for a "hand washing station" to use when preparing recipes for the public to sample. A new Minnesota law requires one.

On my long ride home - driving around town and picking up 11 directional farmers market signs - I kept thinking I was driving through a neighborhood where someone was cooking. But the scent rode with me.

Oh yeah, I had purchased a loaf of herb-seasoned French bread, baked fresh today by Laurie Whitmore. As I sniffed the aroma and smelled my fresh strawberries, I decided the bread would be perfect with my salad, along with some cheese.

If you think I am eating light, think again, because I am having a slice of Karen Loeding's apple pie topped with ice cream for dessert. Farmers market day is a very long work day for me, starting before 7 a.m. when I set out the signs and ending after 7 p.m., with picking them up. But after each market ends, I feel it is worth the extra effort needed to get through the day.

OK, so now time for the pie...

Yum! I like getting Karen's small-sized pie and I'll be enjoying a slice a day until it's gone (sometimes I share). The first piece, eaten before I start storing it in the fridge, is always the best! The crust is so wonderfully tender and flaky. And there is just the right amount of cinnamon.

As I don't have time for baking pies this time of year, I am happy to pay for someone else to do the baking.

After spending two recent weekends up north, I am really behind at home. Our first weekend there was a very cold and wet one, but then we had a very lovely one. My daughter-in-law, Molly, came to stay with Sylvie and Cora and we spent some time out on the water.

Because my oldest son, Doron, was in Duluth running his first marathon, they came to stay at Grandma's cabin. Our only bad experience was the poor service we received at what had been a favorite place to eat out, near our cabin. Even the mosquitoes were not nearly as bad as the previous weekend.

That may have contributed to an explosion of the dragonfly population. As we drove up to the garage early in the afternoon, I noticed two different kinds of butterflies fluttering and a dragonfly perched on the porch railing.

Once out the water, droves of dragonflies zoomed by the boat, apparently feasting on mosquitoes. They weren't gone, but they seemed fewer, at least.

Normally, we don't arrive until evening, but Thursday was the Viola Gopher Count. In taking a day off work to celebrate this unique town celebration, I've found taking the Friday afterward off makes for a nice, long weekend.

It rained and delayed the parade in Viola, normally held at 10 a.m. We'd planned to be there by 9, to set up chairs along the parade route. The downpour convinced me to delay our departure. When Doron, Molly and the girls arrived at my door (they had come from Minneapolis for the Gopher Count), they bore news that the parade was delayed until noon. I'd have known, had I checked Facebook.

And when it stopped raining around 11, I announced it was time to go, ignoring the forecast for rain most of the day. Thanks to umbrellas and tents provided on site, we weathered it through the day.

The parade was shorter, the school band was a no-show and the cavalcade of antique tractors was reduced to one tractor.

The crowd was also smaller, but die-hard Gopher Count fans still came. To commemorate the 140th anniversary of the very first Gopher Count in 1874, the parade went around twice, as was once the tradition. This was according to plan, but how could anyone have known it would also be shortened due to rain?

Except for some sprinkling during the second go-round, we had a nice afternoon to enjoy the usual activities - cake walk, doll buggy parade, pie-eating contest, women's nail driving contest and foot races. There are always familiar faces around, those that come back, year after year, just like my children return to relive a childhood memory, in spite of needing a midweek vacation day.

On Saturday, while on our lake cruise, Molly got a call from Doron after he had finished Grandma's Marathon in Duluth. His time, which Molly had tracked on her iPhone, was great and he'd completed his first marathon in a time qualifying him to run the Boston Marathon, should he choose to compete there.

My daughter, Amanda, missed Gopher Count this year - she moved to Boston this spring to take a new job at a garden center, its location is along the Boston Marathon route.

Her brothers posed for the traditional family snapshot at the celebration, and left a spot where she might have been standing, had she been there.

The freshly-picked strawberries were oh-so-sweet tonight. The combination of them with the strong-flavored kale greens was sharpened by a homemade vinaigrette. The strawberry/dressing combo also works with other salad greens.