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Archive for August, 2011

One of my all time favorite events of the Custer County Fair is the annual ‘Beers & Ears’.  It is hosted by the local VFW Post 303 and is jam-packed with great food, good music and a huge crowd.  As far as I’m concerned, it is the social event of the season and here’s a few photos to prove it.

Here’s the line waiting to get in.  This is the only time you will ever see people lined up in Hermosa, SD.

It is loads of fun but we never forget the ones who can’t be there – POW’s & MIA’s and also the local heroes who are serving in the Armed Forces today.

Stay safe guys!

Hermosa has a population of 351 and I would guess everyone plus a bunch of relatives, friends and tourists show up for Beers & Ears every year.

This year they had 4 tents set up and each of them was packed to overflowing. 

I remember one year it was raining hard.  The skies opened up and dumped buckets of rain just as people were starting through the line.  The wind was blowing from the north and by the time we got our food the only available seats were on the side with the rain running down your back.  The funny thing was most of those seats were all ready taken by ranchers and farmers who were so happy to see rain that they didn’t care!  It had been so dry for so long that rain was a blessing even if it came during dinner.  Of course we turned our backs to the wind and sat down with them.   Everyone on our side of the tables was soaked to the skin but we were still laughing and eating and telling stories – it was great!

The menu is simple – for $7.00 you get as many brats as you want (with all the fixings), a salad of locally grown cucumbers and onions in a vinegar dressing & all the sweet corn you can possibly eat.  This year they cooked around 80 bushels of corn and I’m betting they didn’t have much left over.  The beer is extra because I’m afraid they would go broke with this crowd if they didn’t charge by the glass!

Check out my official Beers and Ears Mug.  The VFW sells these huge mugs to raise money for their building fund.  I’m not sure if they are repairing the building they have or hope to someday build a new one.  Either way I had to have one.  It sits in the cupboard all year-long but I wouldn’t think of going to the fair without it.  All the hard-core Beers and Ears fans have one.

Everyone from the VFW pitches in and helps and in all the years I’ve gone to Beers & Ears I don’t remember ever hearing anyone complain or any fights breaking out.  Everyone is there for fun. 

They even crown a Beers & Ears Queen!  It is always one of the ladies who helps out.  She “reigns over the clean up crew, adding a touch of class to what would otherwise be a vulgar event”.  They say that every year as she waves from her throne at the parade on Sunday morning.  Notice the corn cob crown and her body-guard.  Actually, I think he was just there to throw candy to the kids.

So, if you’re ever near Hermosa, SD in mid August and you see a sign out on the highway announcing the County Fair be sure to turn in and have a look.  And if you happen to be there on Saturday afternoon, main street will be filled with vehicles and people.  And if you smell the aroma of brats and sweet corn – don’t you dare drive by.  Just get in line for one of the best meals you’ll ever have. 

It doesn’t matter if you have Cowboy boots or flip-flops on, I guarantee you’ll have a great time!

 

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I promised you pictures of the County Fair and here are some of my favorites.

You can always tell you’re at a County Fair as soon as you pull into the parking lot…

pickups and horse trailers as far as the eye can see.

And of course where there are pickups and horse trailers you will also find cowboys.  This is our neighbor Clayton leading his team to victory at the Ranch Rodeo.

“Forward, HO!”

And if that’s not enough to convince you you’re at the fair all you have to do is look into the Poultry building where you will see stuff like this…

Yikes!!!  Great gobs of poultry poo kid, what happened to your chicken?

Actually this is a Turken, a cross between a turkey and a chicken.  (It almost makes you think some creatures shouldn’t be crossed, doesn’t it?) 

Believe me, if it’s weird and wacky you will find it at the fair.

I just love the creativity of ranch kids – check this out.

This was my all-time favorite entry – ever!!!  Artwork made from live ammunition.  I bet Martha Stewart never thought of that.

Yes, those are loaded .22 shells.  You have to admit it sure beats the hell out of a velvet Elvis painting doesn’t it?  Notice I even got a nice little glare on the glass for the eyeball from the overhead lights – Cool.

I just love 4-H kids!!!

Then I was off to the Horticulture building where I found this.

Can you believe there were only 3 entries in the ‘Dress a Zucchini’ category?   There would have been more but we have been hit by some really bad hail storms and most of the zucchini were mush.   The one above was awarded the blue ribbon followed closely by these two in 2nd and 3rd place.

Just incase you can’t tell from the photo, that’s a very rare and endangered Zucchini Panda on the left and a Space Alien Zucchini with his trusty one-eyed Space Dog.  I thought they all deserved blue ribbons. 

Along with this guy – another great 4-H kid.

This is an 11-year-old boy with his very own team of oxen. 

Now, how many kids do you know can say that?

There were also people with really big horses.  This year they had a competition with 9 teams of ‘gentle giants’ like this entered .  They had several different events like log pulling, an obsticale course and they even played basket ball.

She’s aiming for the barrel right behind the wagon and she almost made it.

I loved the horses and was amazed at all the things they could do.  Best of all I got a ride in this beautiful buggy with Alice and her mule Belle Star.

To prove I got a ride, here’s the view from the front seat.

Go ahead and say it…

 I know you’re all thinking it…

“Nice Ass!”

There – now don’t you feel better?

And Belle was such a sweetie.

Then there was David and his horse Killer.

You guessed it…

Not only did I get a ride in the wagon but I even got to drive Killer!

I’m told there are very few people who have had this honor – it’s a very elite group.

I think we should have T-shirts printed.

 Then there was my favorite flower arrangement.

“Things just haven’t been the same since that house fell on my sister.”

And last but not least – my favorite meal – Beers and Ears at the local VFW.

I had a blast!

 

 

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I try to be organized.  I really do.  But for some unknown reason things never seem to work out the way I plan.  Take today for instance.

Every day I start a list.  I figure if I write it down – it will get done.  (I know, it’s a flawed theory but its the best I have right now).   I’m sure that if I could just finish 2 or 3 things after work every night sooner or later I would start to see progress.  So every day I write down the three most important things that need to be done.  I try to be smart about it.  I never put down big jobs like clean the garden shed, weed the entire veggie garden and finish the livingroom floor.  The jobs must be simple ones that I can actually accomplish.  Here’s today’s list:

1.  Bake a pound cake for the company that’s coming tomorrow.

2.  Water in the greenhouse.

3.  Weed around the hoop house.

That doesn’t sound so bad does it?  It’s not like I’m asking for the moon, right? I should be able to finish these items without even breaking a sweat especially since I have roughly 4 hours from the time I get home until it’s too dark outside to see. 

 It should have worked…  but it didn’t.

4:30 pm – The office closed – I ran for the door.  First stop – I needed to water at the Community Garden.  Our building is in charge of one plot where we are raising veggies for the Local Food Pantry.   I drove across town, watered and pulled a few weeds then headed for the pickup while I called Morgan, my baby, who has been sick again with tonsil problems and full-blown strep throat.  Since I had to stop at the grocery store for milk anyway I thought I’d see if there was anything he needed.  He didn’t need much just milk, hot dogs and Ramen noodles (the breakfast of Champions).  So I hurried into the grocery store, grabbed a small basket and zipped through in record time.  I was feeling good!!!  I was on track and I still had plenty of time.

I dropped off Morgan’s items at his house and headed for home – radio blaring and the windows rolled down.  Life was good.  Just like Wonder Woman I felt like I could do it all.

 And then I turned down the driveway…

 and saw the road blocked by a huge mass of black cows…

all congregated at the cattle guard (gate)…

and bawling at Hubby who was in the Ford pickup on the other side of the fence.  He was tearing across the field and kicking up dust as he tried to chase off a few cattle who had managed to get through the fence and were in the process of tearing apart the newly made hay bales. 

I took a deep breath. 

OK, I am Wonder Woman.  I can handle this and still get everything done.

I parked my pickup, jumped out and went to grab the broom in the back.  Just ask any ranch wife what is the best stick to drive cattle and 99.5% will tell you it’s a broom.  They are light weight and for some reason they look impressive to wild bovine.  Personally, I think it’s because of the wide bristle end.  If you didn’t know any better you would swear that thing would hurt when it hit you.  Anyway, I reached for my trusty broom but horrors of horrors it was gone!  Nothing in the back except a long-handled shovel and the spare tire.  Then I remembered – I had left the broom in Nadine (the world’s cutest camper). 

Rats!  No broom – but never fear – I am Wonder Woman!  I can drive cattle with my bare hands.

I took off around the herd of cattle, climbed the fence and jumped in the Ford with Hubby.  We roared across the field chasing the escaped cattle.  But cattle are evil and they love to split off and run circles, ducking and dodging like a welter-weight boxer, moving so quickly that the pickup couldn’t keep up.  Hubby stopped long enough for me to get out and start walking then together we drove them on toward the gate.  

Things were going well…  at least for a while but one nasty old cow in the bunch had obviously seen this strategy before.  She looked at me with one eyebrow cocked and at that moment I could read her mind.  “This ain’t my first rodeo, Honey!”  She flipped her tail high in the air and took off cross-country out of the field and across the pasture just like Richard Petty headed for the checkered flag.

But I didn’t give up for I am Wonder Woman!

I kicked it into high gear, running across the pasture, watching for snakes and cactus and jumping large prairie dog holes that would break a leg.  You should have seen me!  I didn’t know I could still run.  It felt good.  I wasn’t just jogging – I was running flat-out.  I was on a mission and 1500 pounds of ground round was no match for me.  I caught her and turned her and her gang of idiot yearlings.  It was impressive.  We got them through the fence and on their way to greener pastures.  And even after stopping to fix the fence I knew there was still enough time to finish the items on my list. 

 I am Wonder Woman!

I got to the house, put the groceries away, cleaned the kitchen like a crazy woman and mixed up a pound cake.  With the pound cake in the oven I had time to spare so I grabbed a boxed cake mix and whipped up a batch of cupcakes just for good measure.  I set the timer then the dogs and I ran to the hoop house.  I lowered the sides and started pulling weeds but it was growing dark so fast that I decided it was more important to water in the greenhouse instead.  I shut the door and ran for the hose then watered till it got too dark to see. 

OK – 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.  I am still Wonder Woman but I’m pretty sure the timer has gone off and the cupcakes are done so I whistled for the dogs and ran for the kitchen door.  The dogs beat me to the step and just as Dally jumped to the landing I heard a familiar buzz by the corner of the step –

Rattlesnake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I shoved the dogs inside and slammed the door behind them then ran to the pickup and grabbed the long-handled shovel.  Very carefully, I tried to find the pissed off snake in the plants by the step.  It was a little nerve-racking but he was buzzing like crazy so I could almost pin point where he was.  He struck at the shovel, I pinned him but it wasn’t a good catch so I tried again and he struck at me again.  I caught him again but couldn’t cut him in half.  We went round and round but I knew Hubby is on his way – I could hear the pickup coming back from checking cows so I decided to just hold him down and wait for the Calvary to arrive.  It was a good idea but instead of stopping Hubby drove right past our house and headed to the chicken coop by the barn to shut up the chickens. 

I took another deep breath.  It’s OK – I am still Wonder Woman but I’m pretty sure I never saw her with a pissed off snake at the end of a shovel while the oven timer buzzed on the other side of the door and two demented dogs watched through the glass door.  Ten minutes later my hands were numb from clutching the shovel and the snake was really mad.  I could smell the aroma of burnt cupcakes and pound cake when Hubby finally pulled into the driveway.  Of course, he parked on the other side of the house and then let the truck run so he could listen to the end of the weather report!  I yelled at him but he couldn’t hear me.  I screamed at him but he still didn’t hear.  Finally, he shut off the truck and stepped out where he could hear me yelling at the top of my lungs.  Five minutes later the 4 foot long rattlesnake had lost his head and Hubby handed me the rattles as a prize – 11 rattles and a button – the biggest one we’ve seen this year. 

Hubby also brought the news that the cattle have gotten through the fence again and are back in the field we just chased them out of.   Auhhhhhhhhhhhh!

I glared at him before turning to see what was left of the burnt offerings in the oven then took a few well-deserved moments to beat my head against the wall.

As for my list – I did water in the greenhouse but I have not weeded around the hoop house.  The cupcakes and pound cake are a little dark but I guess they will do and thankfully no one got bit by the snake.  It’s now midnight.  I’m tired, dirty and the kitchen’s a mess and I’m pretty sure I’m further behind now then I was when I left the office at 4:30. 

It’s too hard to be Wonder Woman.  I wasn’t cut out for this.  I have decided to turn in my crown, tall boots and lariat.  I will trade them in on something I could really use like a super loud voice that carries for miles and is one that Hubby could always hear no matter where he is.  That would certainly be something I could use.  So from now on I will aspire to be a woman with the voice of a super hero…  like the gal who won the International Hog Calling Contest a couple of years ago.  She’s my new hero. 

Sorry Wonder Woman.

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I am so excited!!!  It’s time for one of my all time favorite things in the world!!!

It’s time for the County Fair!!!

 

Yes, I know…  I need a life. 

 

But really – I love the county fair and if you’ve never been to one you have to go.  Even though ours is kind of small and not very fancy we still have a great time!  Actually, I am so weird that I pack up a camper and go for the whole weekend and this year I will take my beloved Nadine – even though she isn’t done. 

“Ain’t she a beaut?”

As of right now she still doesn’t have the basic necessities of a working fridge or water pump not to mention curtains on the windows.  (OK, I’ll take care of that before I terrorize a whole generation of local kids.)

It doesn’t matter that she’s not finished – I’m still going!  And I’m going to watch the Ranch Rodeo and dance with my favorite 4-H kids under the grandstand.  I will laugh at the ‘Dress a Zucchini’ competition and check out the chickens, bunnies, cattle & horses.  I’m also going to spend hours looking at the craft & cooking entries that everyone brings and once again I will unselfishly volunteer my time to judge the wine and beer .  Hey, even though they have never accepted my offer it still doesn’t hurt to ask.  I’m sure one of these years I will wear them down and they will take pity on me. 

 And last, but not least, I will eat and drink as much as I possibly can at the Annual VFW’s Beers and Ears Celebration!  Those guys know how to throw a party with lots of beer and more ears of sweet corn than you can shake a stick at.  

Sounds like fun doesn’t it?  But what does the County Fair have to do with Worthy & Weird quotes you ask? 

Let me enlighten you.

I am in charge of the Horticulture building. 

I didn’t accept this high and lofty position because of the money (we’re volunteers) or because of the glorious title (is Superintendent a ‘glorious title’?) or because I’m some kind of highly educated Garden Meister.  No, I volunteered for this no pay, no respect position because it’s the only building on the whole fair grounds that’s air-conditioned. 

See – I’m not quite as dumb as I look.

Never mind…

Any way back to the quote of the day.  I have chosen todays quote to honor the  Horticulturists of the world so here goes:

 

“You can lead a Horticulture…

But you can’t make her think!”

 

That’s OK…  Take your time…  I had to read it twice myself.

Deep, isn’t it?

I love this quote.  Just think of all the opportunities where you can throw this little beauty into the conversation:

garden club for sure,

 perhaps the local Art Council – every city has one,

and what about at the next PTA meeting? 

I bet the teachers would be tickled pink to meet your children after you drop a bomb like that.  Give it try.  It’s sure to raise a few eyebrows.

Let me know how it goes. 

But for now, I’m off and running.  There’s so much to do and so little time before I hit the dusty trail.   And when I get back home to my computer I’ll be sure to post some photos of the stuff I’ve seen.

See  you at the Fair!!!

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Fun and games continue at the ranch – just check out the dog.

This is Dally – Morgan’s puppy.  She caught her foot in the hole on the side of the pickup box (the one used for holding a railing) as she went to jump down and broke her leg.  Thankgoodness for Dr. Pete – he fixed her right up and in a month she’ll be rid of the cast and good as new.

She’s not very pleased about the whole thing but at least she’ll heal up.

We had to bring her home to the ranch because Morgan ended up in the hospital tonight.  He has a nasty infection in his throat so the Dr. decided to keep a close eye on him and pump him full of fluids and antibiotics.   Hopefully, he’ll get out in the morning and will be well on the way to recovery  once the medicine has a chance to work.

He wouldn’t let me take a picture so you just have to imagine a grumpy, sick kid in a hospital bed.

 

 

Scary isn’t it?

 

 

In the last week we’ve also had:

1.   a tractor with 2 flat tires – yes, the big expensive ones

2.  the big shaft go out in the baler – right in the middle of haying season

 3.  bad thunderstorms every night with no rain but lots of wicked lightning

4.  And now the cat isn’t looking to good…

I’m not sure how much more fun I can stand!

 

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