Autumn Leaves

By Molly Butler

Well. It’s that time of year.

A year ago this week, we found two kittens; Bobby Meatloaf and Beans are now our happy, healthy, spoiled housecats. Driving into town on Monday, my sister spotted a thin orange kitten stumbling “like it was drunk” on the road. She pulled over, wrapped it in one of the kid’s spare blankies, and brought it out to our farm, the de facto critter rehab. This kitten is half the weight she should be, bony and stumbling, with milky blue eyes, blind from an infection. She’s been sick and hungry for quite some time.

A little kitten doesn’t know that the liquids we force into her throat and eyes are medicine. All she knows is a sensation: discomfort, bitter taste, hunger. But she still purrs when she hears us open the door to the garage. She still trusts us, even when it must seem like these big clumsy gods are torturing her. And she doesn’t know it, but she’s healing.

Photo by Molly Butler - Bobby Meatloaf and Beans
Photo by Molly Butler – Bobby Meatloaf and Beans…one year ago.

It’s fall, and growth is no longer apparent. The skin of our butternut squash is hardening, the leaves are beginning to shrivel. The animals prepare to go south or go dormant. My parent’s garden has been mostly unattended since they had to evacuate after the fire, yet the flowers are full. The largest marigold plant I’ve ever seen is alive with honeybees stocking up, and the milkweeds host the last of the monarchs on their way out of town. The frogs in the pond will soon swim down the muddy bed and be still.

Even when we can’t see the way forward, a future is being composed.

Sometimes, the next phase of our growth doesn’t look like growth at all. Sometimes, the important work must be done in stillness. We don’t always know the context of our discomfort, the “why” behind the hard times. But just because we can’t see the progress doesn’t mean the vital changes aren’t happening. Deep in our cells, we are mending, arranging, building. Even when we can’t see the way forward, a future is being composed.

Happy fall, my friends. Have a wonderful first weekend of the season.


But I Guess I’m Already There, a group exhibition exploring the concept of home, will be available for viewing at the 410 Project in Mankato. The gallery will be open Friday and Saturday from 2-6 p.m.

Catch some incredible local performances. The Gold Unit Water Circus will be at the River Hills Mall this Friday! Head over at 7:30 p.m. for a performance that will take you back in time to the era of drive-in theatres, muscle cars and poodle skirts. Get your tickets in advance and use promo code FACEFREE to get a FREE child ticket with every full-priced adult ticket level 2 or 3. Connecting Commerce presents Concerts on Commerce, a family-friendly event featuring food trucks and live music by Nate Boots and The High Horses. Gather on the Ignition Fitness Grounds from 4-6 p.m. Bring a blanket and chair if you want to get cozy!

This weekend also kicks off EdgarFest at The What’s Up Lounge in Mankato. This 21+ event is $15 for one night or $20 for both Friday and Saturday. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7 p.m. Head to their Facebook to see the lineup!

Get your live music! The St. Peter Ambassadors will host the annual Oktoberfest! Head to the St. Peter festival grounds near Minnesota Ave and Grace Street in downtown, 5-7 p.m. Check out their event page for details. Tiger Ries will be at the Indian Island Winery in Janesville from 6-8:30 p.m., and you can catch Matt & Laurel at the Circle Inn from 6-9 p.m. Another Time Around will perform from 6-9 p.m. at the WOW!Zone in Mankato and the Grand Kabaret in New Ulm will host an Open Mic Night from 7-9:30 p.m.


The Minnewaukon 5K Fun Run or 2-Mile Walk is on! Support the United Way with this family-friendly event, including prize drawings and more. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m., and the start time is 9 a.m. Register here to participate. Still got a few miles in you? The community is invited to Sibley Park Shelter 3 for Walk for Recovery, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., organized by WEcovery, to bring awareness and advocacy, reduce stigma and celebrate the success of those in recovery.

Sample a little of everything. The MakerSpace is offering a one-night sampling of every class. Register here and join them at 6 p.m. to try all the creative disciplines they have to offer. These mini-classes are a great way to experiment and see what you like.

Celebrate the season with one of our many fall features this weekend. Pumpkin Junction at Blue Skye Farms will be open from noon to 5 p.m. with kids’ games, concessions, farm activities and more. Bring home your perfect pumpkin! Head to the Blue Earth County Historical Society from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Stamp & Scrap’s Fall Fest. Register here to decorate cards, enjoy lunch and win door prizes. The Westwood Marina on Lake Washington will celebrate Oktoberfest with Riverbend and the Dutchmen performing from 5-8 p.m.


The Mankato Bridal Show is this weekend from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mayo Health System Event Center. With more than 50 event professionals, this is a great FREE way to explore wedding ideas. Register here to make sure there’s room for you and your party. There are also two opportunities to catch the Gold Unit Water Circus at the River Hills Mall, with shows starting at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Ocho and Friends will be performing live at the 507 over the brunch hour from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with an intermission by Eli Johnson. Kaleb Braun-Schulz will be at the Coffee Hag from noon to 2 p.m. If you haven’t had a chance to get some fall activities in this weekend, Pumpkin Junction in Good Thunder will be open Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Bonus: A Problem Worth Fixing

In the words of Bob Barker, “Have your pets spayed or neutered.” Why?

Spayed females enjoy healthier, longer lives, with a lower risk of uterine infections and breast tumors. Neutered males can avoid testicular cancer and prostate problems.
Fixed animals also save you all those behavioral issues, like yowling during heat cycles and male dogs desperate to roam, becoming escape artists.
The cost of a spay or neuter is so much lower than the cost of caring for an entire litter.

The bottom line is, there are more domestic animals than we can provide quality lives for. It’s our responsibility to spay and neuter our pets. Thank you for doing your part to prevent unnecessary animal suffering.


Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.