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Archive for December, 2010

I’ll bet you’re wondering if I’ll ever get around to talking about ranching – aren’t you?

Well here goes.

This is winter – so there isn’t much that goes on around here except feeding cattle, horses and every other manner of animal that lives here (including us).  It can be exciting but how about some photos of working cattle from summertime instead?

These are cowboys.  Some are fast…  Some are slow… 

The fast ones usually last longer.  The slow ones end up bruised and hurting.

This is my honey.  He’s moving the branding irons around so they get nice and hot.  That’s my Dad running the gate and a neighbor checking the ear tags.  We use either a tag in the ear or one in the brisket (under their neck) to help identify our cattle.  There are also ear tags that are treated with pesticides to keep the flies away from the cattle.

Here’s some of our babies waiting for their turn.  I’ve often wondered what’s going through their minds.

“What are they doing?  Can I go first?  Do I really want to go first?  Where’s my Mom?  How do I get out of this chicken outfit?”

This is Butch – my husband’s cousin. 

“OK little guy – your turn.”

  “But I don’t want to go!”

Holy buckets of milk replacer, Batman!!!

Where did all these cowboys come from?

This way of working calves is called ‘Dragging ’em’.  You use a rope and a horse to drag them out of the pen (even though occasionally they will run you over on their way out) and to the waiting cowboys who flank them (you reach over the top of the calf, grab him by the flank right in front of their back leg and lift them off their feet and roll them over onto their sides).  Sounds easy – I usually don’t do this as most of the calves out weigh me. 

Here, Butch is waiting for Kyle (it’s good to have big friends) to untie his rope so he can go get another calf.  Slade ( the muscular kid on the left) is holding the back legs of the calf – can be a messy job take the other end if at all possible.  Richard (in the middle) is getting ready to castrate the little guy – another messy job.  DJ (our oldest son in the chaps) is holding down the head of the calf (this end usually makes lots of noise but little else).  John (another neighbor) is moving in to give a shot and here comes Hubby with a hot branding iron. 

It’s a well-oiled machine.

Here comes Grandpa Bud with the ear tags.  It only takes about 3-5 minutes per calf if everything goes right. 

Sometimes it doesn’t…

Here’s the little one that got away before he got his shot.

But we always get them – sooner or later and pretty soon everybody’s back with mama.  Then it’s time to put things away and head to the house for lunch.

It’s good to have lots of help.

Can you tell – we’ve started a little remodel job on the house?

Thank goodness the house doesn’t look like this anymore.  It’s amazing what a little sheet rock can do .

Branding day is a big event with lots of neigbors, friends and food.  And it’s a great time to check out all the sweet new babies running around the place.

 

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Anne Hathaway CottageI’ve told you about out Garden Club trip to Sioux Falls but I didn’t even mention the last stop on our trip – the wonderful Shakespeare Garden at Wessington Springs, SD. 

It is amazing to me that I  have traveled past the small town of Wessington Springs so many, many, many times in my life and had never even heard of the garden or the beautiful thatched roof cottage until I started planning the garden club trip. 

How could this happen?  I mean really – this is the only thatched-roof building in the whole flipping state! 

But it’s true.  Thankgoodness for the internet or I would have missed it entirely and probably gone to my grave never realizing it was there.

Anyway…

It all started in 1926 when Mrs. Emma Shay and her husband, Clark W. Shay were both professors at the Wessington Springs Seminary.  Emma was an English Literature teacher and more than anything she wanted to travel to England and learn everything about the area and the writers who called it home.  She knew it would make her a better teacher but she needed $1,000.00 to make her dream a reality.

 
She borrowed the money from the Seminary with the understanding that she would keep a journal of her travels and also gather flowers, leaves or whatever she could get her hands on from the grounds of the homes of  her beloved English authors.  When she returned home these pressed and preserved treasures would be used to make ‘portfolios’ to sell and thereby repay her debt.  And she did it!  She traveled to England alone and saw the homes of the authors whose writings she had always loved and when she returned to her quiet little home in South Dakota she worked hard and paid back the money then promptly set to work (with the help of her husband and students) to build a garden filled with the flowers and plants Shakespeare had written about in his plays. 
 
When Emma and Clark retired in 1932 they began work on a cottage designed from a postcard of the original Anne Hathaway Cottage at Stratford-on-Avon. 
I want to live here (so does Sue).
 
But nothing lasts forever…
 
The college was closed in 1964 and the buildings demolished in 1970 – except for the cottage which was privately owned at the time.
 
In 1989 the Shakespeare Garden Society was established to purchase, restore and take care of this wonderful place and the rest is history.
 
Our garden club had arranged a group tour and English tea complete with fresh scones hot from the oven.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and felt like little girls playing tea party.
 
If your planning a trip through South Dakota be sure to stop by and check it out.  Their web site is:  www.shakespeargarden.org   It gives you scheduals and upcoming events. 
Just makes you want a ‘spot o’ tea’ doesn’t it?
 
 
 

 

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Since I’m missing summer and my garden, I thought I would show you some photos I took a couple years ago when our Garden Club went to Sioux Falls, SD.

 

 Our first stop was the Strawbale Winery.  I love unusal buildings and this place was built using strawbales covered with stucco and siding – how cool is that?  And it was cool inside – a perfect place to age wine.  And after a few samples I was definately

‘feeling the love’.

We’ve got lots of bales at home, honey – lets start building!

We also toured the Pettigrew Museum.  This little home was purchased by Senator Richard Pettigrew in 1911.  And it looks like he might still be here – check out the front step.  

OK, I’m getting freaked out!!!

After touring the Sertoma Butterfly House and all the beautiful gardens of Sioux Falls, it was time to go home but just because it’s time to go home doesn’t mean we have to stop touring – does it?  Of course not – so we stopped at Mitchell, SD and saw the Corn Palace.  This is a huge building that is covered with corn – you heard me right – corn.

There are real corn artists that create amazing (get it – a ‘maize’ ing) works of art on the walls of the building using different, natural colored ears of corn – kind of South Dakota’s version of the Rose Parade only it’s not made with flowers…  and it doesn’t move. 

 

Unfortunately, artwork made of corn doesn’t last forever so every spring the Corn Palace gets a fresh batch of corn and they start over with a totally new design. 

After a little shopping and a bite to eat it really was time to go home – back to our every day lives – only richer now with the memories and photos to cherish of another wonderfull trip. 

Every year to commemorate our journey into the world of natural beauty and art we take a group picture for the local newspaper.  We make sure to choose a place that shows some of the wonders we have seen.  And this year was no exception as Sioux Falls is home to an exact, full-sized replica of the famous scuplture by Michaelangelo – the Statue of David (one of only two castings ever made).  We took several shots be be sure we had captured the ‘soul’ of our journey and of course, I chose the one that showed what a cultured group of refined and gentile ladies we are.

OK, perhaps it wasn’t a good ideal to put me in charge of something as important as this.

Why don’t we have art like this at home?

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Missing Summer

 

  It’s that time of year –

the time when you start  to believe…

  And what do I believe?

I believe snow is pretty…

 the first time

Snow is even pretty the second and third time…

But this is the time of year when you

start to believe that it will never end!

It just keeps coming!

And I’m a wimp when it comes to the cold.

 

Can you tell?   

I’m missing summer.

It’s gonna be a looooong winter.



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