Wednesday, October 1, 2014

rain delay

Job progress report

It started out as a hay field.

The crews work 6 days a week trying to get all the underground stuff in... electrical, plumbing, storm water structures, giant fuel tanks, then cover it all up with concrete slab in a pre-dawn concrete pour.

But the deadline is looming, the rest of the lot covers in asphalt and the local asphalt plant closes in November depending on the weather and will not open again until spring, maybe May?

So a rain delay puts a real dent in the schedule. 3 days + 4 inches = lake.

The weather has been really great on this job, not the usual 'muddy Buddy' job. One of the more memorable job lakes was in Key West, where the jobsite was at 8' above sea level. But the folks at Keys Federal Credit Union were good sports, calling the lake at the bottom of their steps "Lake Tidwell" and making good use of it:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

punkin chunkin

trophy and cash prizes!


some fly high!

some not so much

duct tape rules!

the winning pumpkin launcher made out of trees by the Lumberjacks

high school band drumroll

cleanup contest

Students from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology participated in the annual pumpkin catapult contest in Rapid City on SaturdayPoints were earned for distance and accuracy. The top three teams received cash prizes. One of the key events in the 6th annual Pumpkin Festival!

The teams varied in their expertise and attire, there were the pirates and lumberjacks, the guys with ties with their high flying trebuchets, and then there was the physics team. It was the physics team first try at this competition, the design was lacking, the teammates were lackluster, the catapult (named Ol' Reliable) broke once in practice, more duct tape, even gorilla tape, then broke again during competition, better luck next time guys! (lots of sympathy from Buddy for having tried to do this before with grandson Kyle!

When we first arrived here in Rapid City we heard on TV something called the South Dakota School of Mines, and wondered what it was - is it where you learn to be a miner? are there mines around here?

Then we passed by a sign for the school: South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. The technology part of the school is what we witnessed at the punkin chunkin contest. The student TEAMS had to design a pumpkin catapult for the contest. These teams usually work on their separate fields of interest, like creating and building off-road vehicles, airplanes, robots, bridges. 

Founded in 1885 in Rapid City, S.D. to provide instruction in mining engineering at a location where mining was the primary industry, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology evolved into a science and engineering research facility offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,640 students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The SD School of Mines placement rate is 98 percent, with an average early career salary for graduates of $65,600, according to the 2014-2015 PayScale report. ~ from SDSMT website

And just last week in the news: The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has been awarded a $4.8 million research contract from the United States Air Force to develop ultra-efficient energy technologies to improve military performance in hostile environments. ~RapidCityJournal

After learning about the school, it looks like the annual punkin chunkin contest is just a fun diversion from all the other interesting things going on at the SD School of Mines!

Friday, September 26, 2014

gone fishin'

D. C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery, Spearfish, SD


The Spring Stocking Pond bronze sculpture 
depicts the lives of early fisheries workers.

The Fish Car - transporting fish for stocking.

History lesson of the week: The D. C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery in Spearfish, named for Dewitt Clinton Booth, the first superintendent of the new facility in 1899. 

In 1871, The federal government started the National Fish Hatcheries because of the decline in fish population, lost from drought, flood, or over-harvest. There were 70 hatcheries across the nation in 1896 when the hatchery at Spearfish, South Dakota was established, mainly to provide trout to the area, as the local fish population consisted mostly of suckers and crappies. Trout are not native to the region, but it is an ideal environment for trout. Spearfish was chosen because of the pure cold spring water available for a gravity system and its location near town and rails. The first superintendent of the Spearfish facility was Dewitt Clinton (D.C) Booth, from 1899 to 1933.

The Generations bronze sculpture with the 
Superintendent's house in the background.

In 1905, after living in 2 rooms over the hatchery building for several years, the Booth family moved into the new Superintendent’s house. The house had electricity, indoor plumbing, bathroom, hot water, and central heating (in 1905!). We had a very nice tour of the Booth House by the volunteer docent. She gave a detailed history of the hatchery and the Booth family, the parties, the piano lessons, the coal burning kitchen stove (they got their coal hauled all the way from Gillette, WY because it burned longer, they are still mining coal over there, y'all should go over there and take a tour), the Neo-Colonial Revival style of the house (which means it has lots of windows - you can Google it).

vintage typewriter!

The D. C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery site is 10 acres, the entire hatchery site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The grounds are clean and landscaped, the self-guided tour is fun and educational, parking and admission are free.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

here's your sign

the scary amount of snowblowers

the Winter Survival Kit package from home (happy birthday dad)... 
shovel, poncho, dried food, matches, hand warmers...

Even though it is near 90 degrees today, it might not last much longer. Everyone is still talking about last year this time - (October 3, 2013) a.k.a. The Blizzard of 2013, when up to 55" of snow fell in some local areas, 31" here in our campground. Power was out for 1 week, lots of devastation, loss of livestock on local farms.

Rapid City Journal front page, 10-6-13

I am getting a message here and I don't like it! I have some projects at home that are calling my name... checking flights...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


exotic brats, pop, and water!

Spearfish City Campground with Spearfish Creek running around it is a perfect place for a craft fair or picnic, or last Saturday for the Taste of Autumn BBQ Cookoff Championship. There were giant BBQ cookers on trailers pulled behind campers, some tags from Wyoming and Colorado. There was brisket and pork and even some exotic brats! The smoke and smell of BBQ was in the air. We strolled around the site, found something we recognized for lunch (pulled pork), got our fresh-squeezed lemonade and Kettle Corn and went on our way. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

canyon color

Spearfish Canyon scenic drive - in search of color. 

We heard there were color changes in the hills, but we were skeptical, thinking the hills were full of pines and firs. But we found some in Spearfish Canyon. 

The usually green canyon is transforming, the predominant dark green fir trees are interspersed with yellows for this autumnal equinox. 

Friday, September 19, 2014


I get my daily dose of poetry and literary history from The Writer's Almanac, read aloud to me by Garrison Keillor. His voice is so soothing and sometimes slow, it is hard to sit still for the few minutes it takes, with work and deadlines looming in the background. But it is so worth it, a great way to start the day.

This week I heard the poem, Grandchildren and it has been in my thoughts ever since. It makes me grateful for my children and grandchildren. Glad that I became a grandmother at a young age, young enough to enjoy them without the accessories of artificial knees and hips and wrinkles (as in the poem below). I joined the grandparent club at age 40 and have been one now for 20 years, with the little ones now ages 20, 19, 18, and 17. They no longer hold my hand or sit in my lap but will come in a heartbeat for cookies or fried chicken.

Today is the birthday of granddaughter Racheal, she turns 18, is a senior in high school, and has her whole life ahead of her. Happy Birthday Racheal!

Grandchildren by Olivia Stiffler

They disappear with friends
near age 11. We lose them
to baseball and tennis, garage
bands, slumber parties, stages
where they rehearse for the future,
ripen in a tangle of love knots.
With our artificial knees and hips
we move into the back seats
of their lives, obscure as dust
behind our wrinkles, and sigh
as we add the loss of them
to our growing list of the missing.

Sometimes they come back,
carting memories of sugar cookies
and sandy beaches, memories of how
we sided with them in their wars
with parents, sided with them
even as they slid out of our laps
into the arms of others.

Sometimes they come back
and hold onto our hands
as if they were the thin strings
of helium balloons
about to drift off.

~photo credit to Crystal Photography

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

happy trails

Deadwood, SD

 Dinosaur Park, Rapid City

outtakes at Wall

Yippee Ki-Yay!!!

the fun is over, back to work

Carrie and Daniel's west trip, last day: Dinosaur Park, Deadwood. 

And as we heard playing earlier in the week at Wall Drug:

Happy Trails to you, until we meet again!

Monday, September 15, 2014

gettin' high

the backside of Mount Rushmore

Harney Peak trailhead - 7 miles roundtrip

Carrie and Daniel's visit - day 3! Hiked to the top of Harney Peak - the highest peak east of the Rockies at 7242'. Been there done that, got the selfie and the t-shirt!