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Posts Tagged ‘South Dakota’

We attempt to lead a normal life…  Honest, we do!

Yet ‘Weird’ seems to follow us around like a dog on a leash.

Take last Saturday for example:

The day started early.  We were up and on the road by 6:30 am, long before the sun had made its first appearance over the horizon.  This was a quick and unplanned trip to meet up with our son and daughter-in-law at Pierre, SD.  The last time they visited us at the ranch they had borrowed our large flat-bed trailer to haul an old pickup across the state to Watertown where they now live.   Dalton has been working on restoring the seventy-something Ford for several years now but he wasn’t sure she would make it the whole way on her own power.  So they were thrilled to use the trailer even though it is a heavy old beast – weighting over 2 tons all by itself. 

Dalton and Dani both grew up in households where if you borrow something from your neighbor (or family) you always bring it back better than when  you took it.  We also live by the principle that if someone brings you a covered-dish or plate of cookies, you never return the dish empty – you always fill it before you return it so it makes perfect sense that if you borrow a big, old flat-bed trailer you must fill it before you return it.

Right?

Well, they did.

They knew we have been looking for hay so when Dalton called Thursday night and said they would be headed our way with the trailer filled with hay we were excited.  Since it was going to be a very quick trip we offered to meet them half-way at the SD State Capital city of Pierre. 

Like I said – Saturday started early.  We loaded Steve in the pickup and pulled out of the yard at 6:30 am – sharp.  We stopped at the end of the driveway to mail a letter, drove thru Hell Canyon to Custer where we stopped at the bank then on to Rapid City where we stopped for breakfast at McDonald’s.  A half hour later we pulled on to the interstate and sped (Yes – I was driving and yes I have a heavy foot) to Wall, SD – the home of the world-famous Wall Drug. 

I have to stop and ask… 

“Have you dug Wall Drug?” 

If you’ve been there – you will understand.

We stopped in Wall long enough to fill up the tank and pee the dog then we were back on the road to Pierre.  That’s where we met Dalton and Dani with this:

Sweet!  They can borrow the trailer anytime they want!

Nothing ‘weird’ so far – right?

Well, actually the ‘weird’ started about 5 minutes before they pulled in to the parking lot where we were supposed to meet. 

Hubby and I arrived first at the local Perkins and since Hubby has a bladder the size of a peanut he went in to use the restroom while Steve and  I waited for the kids.  As he returned to the pickup he was the first to notice something weird…

“There’s a chicken in the parking lot.”  He stated as he climbed into the pickup.

“What do you mean there’s a chicken in the parking lot?”  I asked.   “We’re in the middle of town.”

He pointed under the truck.

“There’s a chicken in the parking lot.”

I got out to look.

He was right.  There was a chicken in the parking lot…  

A white rooster who was missing some feathers…

A white rooster,who was missing some feathers and looked strangely familiar!!!

A scowl furrowed my delicate brow.

 

Flash back to an earlier post:

”  Levi (the dog) and Franklin (the rooster who lives on the porch) supervised the whole operation so you know it was done right.  Franklin is very picky when it comes to the details.  They were very impressed by my carpentry skills.  Can you tell? “

 

Present day:

It was Franklin – just a little worse for wear.

Franklin lived on our porch for a while last spring.  By summer, we had moved him along with the other chickens to the other chicken house but he had never really gotten along with the other roosters so he had moved (escaped) out of the coop and took up residence on the road grader.  Which turned out to be his saving grace. 

It has been a bad summer for chickens at the ranch.  When Hubby started to notice that the fowl numbers were dwindling, he set out catch-em-alive traps and soon racked up the impressive tally of 11 skunks, 3 raccoons and 1 mean old badger.  Unfortunately, by the time he had thinned out the predators a bit we were down to 1 hen, 3 roosters and Thomas the turkey who is so old and tough that not even the skunks would touch him. 

A couple of weeks ago we moved what was left of our little flock back to the chicken coop by our house to keep a closer eye on them.  And once again Franklin, our ‘Lone Free-Range Rooster’ had decided he didn’t like the chicken pen full of roosters so he escaped out into  our yard and had been roosting at night amongst the vehicles. 

It appears that Friday night he chose the Chevy pickup for his roost not knowing it would be pulling out before daylight.

Hence Franklin’s trip to Pierre.

We’re not sure if he was roosting under the pickup in one of the wheel wells or under the hood next to the engine.  Hubby thinks he might have been sleeping in the bed of the pickup – which would explain the big smile I got from a passing truck driver.   What a let down – I thought he was flurting with me.

Where ever Franklin was, by the time we saw him he had ridden for 5 hours and a grand total of 250 miles before abandoning ship.

It only took a moment to catch him.  He had gotten quite tame when he lived on the porch and frankly, I think he was afraid to leave the safety of the pickup.  We rigged up a set of chicken hobbles from a piece of baling twine we found in the pickup then set him in the back – covered up with a nice warm blanket while we ate lunch.  The waitress even went out to check on him while we ate.  She thought it was hilarious!

Franklin was cold and shivering (and probably in a state of shock) after flying down the highway for the last 5 hours.  It’s amazing that he stayed put and didn’t hit the pavement at 80 mph.  If he had I’m sure there wouldn’t have been anything left but a few feathers blowing in the wind and we would have forever wondered what had happened to that crazy old bird.

Of course I had to post pictures on Facebook and we laughed all they way home about the funny comments everyone made. 

Besides the photo shown above there was this photo.

“Can I ride home inside the pickup?”

And then I posted this one of Franklin and Steve in the back seat.

My sister says:

“Puppy smells chicken.”

Franklin says:

“Beef.  It’s whats for dinner.”

Can life get any weirder?

Franklin never made a peep all the way home.  He travels very well considering this was probably the first trip he’d ever been on.  I suppose life on the ranch can get a little boring at times – especially if you’re a chicken – so maybe this was a nice change to his normal routine.  We did find out that he loves Sun Chips and he really did appreciate a little drink of water.  Maybe it’s not to bad to be hobbled as long as someone is waiting on you. 

I suppose there is the possibility that Franklin has now discovered that he enjoys traveling and he will be watching for another opportunity to stow away on the next trip.  It’s a thought.  It’s pretty easy to spoil a chicken.  Maybe I’ll have to get one of those mirrors with the long handles that the secret service agents use to check for bombs under vehicles – just so I can check for Franklin before I pull out of the yard.  I would sure hate to get caught transporting chickens across state lines even if it wasn’t my idea.  I bet you have to have a permit for that kind of thing and there’s probably all kinds of fines and jail time if you get caught without it. 

I’ll have to check into that.

On another note, I have personally declared November 3rd as National Take Your Rooster for a Ride Day.  There seems to be days for everything else so why not this?  I considered bringing it before Congress for an official declaration but we all know Congress can’t agreed on anything so I’m sure it would only add to the stack of worthy bills they need to be working on.  

But as Forest Gump would say, 

“That’s all I have to say about that.”

With that I will leave you with one parting thought by Steve the Wonder Dog.

 

“I like Chickens.  They taste like…      chicken.”

 

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I love to go to the South Dakota State Capital building at Christmas!

Every year, from mid November till the end of December our capital is decked out with over 100  decorated Christmas trees.

And  the best part is that anyone can decorate a tree!  You just have to fill out an application.

Our state capital is in Pierre – pretty much, smack-dab in the middle of the state.

The trees (no artificial ones are allowed) and the lights are supplied by the State.  They are set up and ready to decorate when you arrive.

Each tree is decorated by a different club, organization, buisness, family, farm or ranch.

Some have specific themes and most have wonderful hand-made ornaments. 

Some of my favorite trees have been the ones decorated by local farms and ranches who are celebrating over 100 years.

The largest tree in the rotunda of the Capital is between 25 and 30 feet tall.  Last year it was decorated by the South Dakota Florist’s Association. 

Here’s my sister, the florist – one of many who helped decorate it.

I have never been there for the decorating but I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun.

I usually show up after its been transformed into a winter wonderland (when the work is done – Hee Hee!).

All season they have different events and a variety of entertainment – especially on the weekends.  They have choirs and vocalists and if you get there on the right day the Governor himself will serve you a piece of pie. 

Unfortunately, I have never made it for pie day – maybe next year.

Of course, I love old capital buildings anyway.  The marble pillars and stained glass are impressive.

And I love the floors of our capital building.  I don’t know how they make them but I love it!!!  I want these floors in my house.

I didn’t make it to this years display – these photos are from 2009 but I’m sure this year was just as beautiful.

I don’t know if other states do this but check it out and if they don’t I’d like to invite you to South Dakota. 

The Pierre Chamber of Commerce has information about the displays on their website.

www.pierre.org/christmascapital.shtm

Hope to see you there.

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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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