Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse MemorialOn

On our second day in Hill City, in the Black Hills of South Dakota, we drove the the scenic Needles Highway in Custer State Park.. We couldn't have visited at a more perfect time. The foilage was beautiful.
The tunnel will accomodate one car at a time.

Construction began on Mount Rushmore in 1927 and was complete in October of 1941. The sculptures were indended to be carved from the waist up but the project ran out of money. The heads of the four presidents are sixty feet high.

Don't forget to take a jacket. I forgot mine but fortunately had a sweatshirt. At the viewing area the wind was cold. Allow at least a half a day to see everything at Mount Rushmore.

This picture of Washington's profile was taken after we left the Memorial on our way to the Crazy Horse Memorial.

Crazy Horse Memorial was commissionby by Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear. Construction began in 1948. All that is complete is the head which stands eighty-seven feet tall. If finished, the Crazy Horse Monument will be the world's largest sculpture. To help with size perspective, the tunnel shown in the rock is approximately eight stories high.
Allow a full day to tour Crazy Horse Memorial and see the museum and many exhibits.  Be sure to see the historical documentary. A bus will take you down to where the blasting takes place an bring you back.

The Black Hills are beautiful. It's easy to close your eyes and imagine going back in time to the days before roads and modern structures dotted the land. I can see hundreds of buffalo grazing on the grasslands and Lakota warriors riding to the hunt.

How about you?

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading and Writing.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Linda and Sam Brown - Operating a B&B

I know, I'm supposed to have Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial today but since we visited Mountains to Prairies B&B I thought you'd like to meet Linda and Sam Brown, owners of the B&B, before I move on.

I asked Linda what it's like to run a B&B. Linda is also a writer and you'll love the way she describes their adventure.

What is it like to run a B&B? Without giving it a great deal of thought, I might say that it is much like dancing. Sam and I are partners in this ongoing dance, and when the harmonious music is heard by both of us, the dance is heavenly! However, occasionally one of us may step on the other's toes, or someone may bump into us...and so we take the necessary time - and steps - to readjust to the rhythm. Periodically, the music changes to a different tempo, which can be a bit jarring even when expected, and so again we readjust. More happiness, excitement, variety and adventure are added to the dance when younger dance students (granddaughters) join us. And so it goes—The broad and colorful spectrum of music moving us 'this way and that way' creates a fluid niche in time devoid of boredom. The dance hall fills up seasonally with visiting dancers, who add to the meaning and purpose of our dance, and who generally orchestrate the movements. In short...running a B&B is more like dancing than running.

Linda's Recipe for Wild Raspberry Jam

In summer of 2004, before life became quite so busy, Smiling Bear (a.k.a. Linda Brown, Innkeeper) submitted a fresh specimen of his Wild Raspberry Jam at the Central States Fair in Rapid City to be judged with other preserved goods. Much to his surprise, the humble jar of woodsy jam won a blue ribbon, and Best of Class . . . and, could this be? Best of Show! Smiling Bear had already jotted down the recipe, so he decided to take it to the fair and display it with the jam. Here it is...

Wild Raspberry Jam in 15 Easy Steps

1) First, you must show the raspberries where you are.
In fairy tales, they will smile and eagerly jump into your bucket.
By the way, you are in the woods somewhere.
2) Over your shoulder and on your knees:
a) Glance over your shoulder frequently while picking.
b) Pray you will not be pounced upon by a mountain lion.
3) While on your knees, lift branches and pick the big ones.
4) The big berries, not the big spiders.
5) And do not pick the bees either. Run from territorial bees. Come back later.
Two weeks later, or whenever the horsemint is gone.
6) While you are waiting, pick over yonder . . . but listen for rattlesnakes.
7) Keep the stinging nettle from your face.
Brush it away with a free hand.
On second thought, just step on it.
And on the thistles, too.
It is ok . . . Your shoes are tough . . . They have tripped you, right?
8) It is also ok, while confined to the bushes, to let your mind wander
and think grandiose things . . . Just do not hold your breath.
You need your breath for the next step.
9) Do deep knee bends for at least 1-3/4 hours for each batch of jam.
10) While on your knees again, thank God for no berry-munching bears out there.
(. . . with one exception, of course, yours truly.)
11) While on your feet, if something bites your ankle and you jump,
you did the right thing. You took your big foot off the house of those poor ants.
12) Pick like there is no tomorrow, because it might hail and take the crop.
Or worse, someone else might get them!
13) Pick some more, like crazy, because crazy is feeling familiar now,
and it is easy to do familiar things.
After three weeks of picking, though, you might get delirious and have thoughts.
. . . Like, What am I doing, I can get bigger ones at the store, already frozen!
Next, when another berry falls and misses your bucket cuz this is no fairy tale,
you will begin thinking of who you can call to come and get some of these berries.
In fact, you will probably be thinking out loud by then.
14) At that point, it is time to gel. So, gel out and enjoy the pleasant breeze.
Refocus on the perfectly scented scenery.
Watch the deer, the turkeys, birds and squirrels.
15) If the squirrel scolds you . . . move your berry bowl from under his tree.
And when the elk coughs . . .
That is it . . . the tongue-in-cheek recipe for Best of Show Wild Raspberry Jam.

The rest is history. For Smiling Bear, there is no place on earth closer to God than in a wild raspberry patch.

Thank you for sharing with us today. Readers, I hope you'll leave a comment for Linda and let us know if you use her recipe.
Thanks for Reading and Writing!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mountains to Prairies B&B, Hill City, South Dakota

In Hill City, South Dakota, our home away from home was the Mountains to Prairies B&B. We spent three nights there enjoying the accommodations, our hosts and their other guests. Located a block from town, walking to restaurants, shopping, and activities like the 1880s train is easy.

Below are our hosts Linda and Sam Brown. Linda cooked delicious breakfast, a different dish every day with homemade breads, breakfast casseroles, pancakes, fresh fruit, juice, and coffee or tea. Sam served us while sharing sight seeing information about the area.

After breakfast we sat around with the other guests and visited. Linda and Sam joined us. We had such a fun relaxing time we were late leaving every morning.

We met wonderful folks from Massachusetts. From left to right, my husband Larry, Sam (host), Peter and Patricia (newlyweds on their honeymoon), Linda (host), Marie, and Nancy. As you can see, the dining room is filled with antiques as was each of our rooms. Larry and I stayed in the Prairie Homestead room.

Linda will be guest blogging one day soon and sharing her prize winning currant jam recipe with us. She and Sam scour the countryside for berries for her jams and jellies.

I hope you'll join us when she visits.

Larry and I've been to a number of B&Bs. We love the ones where we meet interesting people. What about you? Do you enjoy staying at B&Bs?

My next post will be on Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial and Deadwood.

Thanks for Reading and Writing!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day two of South Dakota - Badlands and Hill City Wineries

Friday morning we drove through the Badlands National Park. The landscape changes from grassland to sharply eroded spires and buttes rich with fossils of a variety of extinct animals. It's easy to see how the area got it's name.
It's easy to see how the area got it's name. In our early history, if a person got lost, they'd never find their way out of the rough territory. Today with air search, heat seeking sensors and cell phones rescue would be easier.

While driving through we saw Prairie Dog Town and some buffalo. We found out later that if we'd continued on the dirt road we'd have seen a herd of buffalo and not just the five we took pictures of. The prairie dog I photographed let me get close. It was so curious, it scurried toward me, then changed it's mind. In another area of Prairie Dog Town, we saw a badger digging in after a meal. Dirt flew everywhere. Strangest thing--a coyote stood ten feet away watching the action. After a while it  moved a little farther away and lay down to wait. Unfortunately, my pictures didn't come out where we could identify anything.

From the Badlands we drove to Hill City where we toured two wineries--Stone Faces Winery, Valiant Vineyards second winery and Prairie Berry Winery. Both had free wine tastings with delicious offerings, and we came home with five bottles. 

My next post will be about Mountain to Prairies B&B where we stayed in Hill City. Thank you for stopping by and please leave a comment. I enjoy reading your comments.

Happy Reading and Writing!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 1 in South Dakota - Wall Drug in Wall, SD

In 1931, a young pharmacist, Ted Hustead, and his wife, Dorothy, purchased a drug store in Wall, South Dakota. They gave themselves five years to build their business into a success. By 1936, the pharmacy wasn't the success Ted desired. Though he filled a few prescriptions, he spent much of his time swatting flies and looking out the door at the shade-less street.

One hot day in July Dorothy tried to nap with her two children but the loud jalopies on Route 16A kept her awake. An idea on how to bring people into the store popped into her head. All those people driving across the prairie were thirsty. They'd put up signs along the road advertising free ice water. On the day Ted put the signs out, people were already arriving before he returned to the store.

While getting their free ice water, some customers bought ice cream cones, sodas, and other items. From that day on, Wall Drug had plenty of customers each day. The following summer it was necessary to hire eight girls to help out. Now the drug store draws up to 20,000 customers on a good summer day.

My husband and I ate lunch in the cafe attached to the drug store. Larry had their buffalo burger which he said was delicious. I wasn't brave enough and opted for a regular hamburger. After lunch we browsed the many gift shops. That evening we came back for pie with homemade ice cream and a cup of their 5 cent coffee.

Thanks to JL Wilson for telling me about Wall Drug. Otherwise, we'd have missed it. If you're ever in the area, it's worth your time to stop.

My next post will be will be about Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial.

Thanks for reading and writing!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

September's Winner of my Ebook Drawing

Congratulations to Angelica and Zi for being the winner of my monthly ebook drawing.  Take a look at my website, guys and let me know which is your choice. I'll send it right over.

Thanks and Happy Reading and Writing!