Where I Come From, You Do Not Drive On Lakes

This past summer I lived for three months in South Dakota while I interned with Monsanto. It was an enjoyable internship experience. I got to see a lot of beautiful scenery, learn a lot about corn and soybeans and I was thankful I was able to try living in the Dakotas for a three month period and not on a permanent basis. Their summers in the Dakotas are extremely mild compared to hot and muggy Alabama summers, but I wanted to go and see what winter was like. During Christmas break I paid a winter visit to South Dakota, and let me tell you it is an entirely different ballgame than what I am used to.

ImageTemperatures were below zero the majority of the time I was there. The wind chill was anywhere from -13 to -45, until I got off the plane in Aberdeen, I had never felt temperatures below zero. However these low temperatures are very conducive to recreational activities that I have never participated in like snowmobile riding and ice fishing.

Ice fishing was what I was most excited about getting to attempt on my trip. Zack, who preaches at the church I attended this summer agreed to take me. So he got out the fishing rods the night before we went and got them all ready to go. I was surprised at how tiny they were!

ImageThe next morning we woke up early, I put on almost all the clothes I had brought with me (literally, even my pajama pants) and we drove to Pickerel Lake about 60 miles east of Aberdeen. Pickerel is a big fishing lake, a beautiful area I frequented this summer to watch sunsets and walk. Zack brought along his wife Elizabeth and their two year old son Isaac. We pulled up to the lake and Zack instructed us to roll down our windows “just in case the car fell through the ice.”

ImageI did a double take. In Alabama our lakes hardly ever freeze over, much less do they freeze where you can walk on the ice, MUCH LESS DRIVE ON IT! But sure enough there were vehicles scattered all over the lake.

ImageWe started out across the lake in their Honda Accord. The snow was blowing which made it hard to see the tracks made by other vehicles. We made it a few hundred feet and got stuck. I didn’t have on my coveralls yet, but Zack and I jumped out to push the car out of the deep snow we had got stuck in. We drove out to where some of the other vehicles were. We got out and sure enough you could walk around, it was tough to tell you were even on ice because it was covered with snow except for a few patches here and there.

ImageZack and I drilled some holes in the ice with his hand auger.

ImageThe auger makes a nice little 6 inch hole. You have to have some way to drill a hole, the ice is so thick you cannot break it by hitting it with something. The ice was about 3 foot thick.

ImageAfter you drill a hole you can use a fish finder or even just drop your line in and see if you get a bite.

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We finally decided on a spot and set up our ice shack. Ice shacks reminded me of campers, you have some that are super fancy and some were super simple.

ImageThe one we used was a little pop-up deal that fit nicely inside a hard sided case.

ImageIt isn’t made of much, but I was surprised how warm it was inside, especially because we had a space heater since little Isaac was along. Just being out of the wind helped. The wind was so strong we had to made sure someone was in it so that it did not blow away!

ImageThe kind of fish that we were fishing for are pan fish like blue gill and crappie. You can barely feel their bite so the strategy was to watch the tip of the rod for movement. Since we had Isaac along in the shack with Elizabeth and I, it was very hard to do and we had little luck.

Imageeing able to go ice fishing was definitely a new experience, ice of that proportion was new to me. I am now by no means an experience ice fisher. If someone who is a seasoned ice fisherman was to read this, they will probably laugh at my description of the endeavor and terminology, however for an Alabama gal, I was doing good to be out there sitting on a frozen lake.  I would like to try it again sometime, can you ice fish where you live? What has been your experience?

Webster South Dakota ice fishing

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South Dakota is a Different Ballgame in the Winter

This summer I spent three months in South Dakota. The weather was SO NICE. After enduring Alabama summers for 21 years to get to spend a summer where there is little humidity was such a treat. I can only think of one day where I actually thought, “whew, it is hot.” I decided a few months I wanted to go back in the winter time and see what it is like. I got a good taste of what it is like, when I landed in Aberdeen, SD last Thursday it was -13, when I left on Sunday the wind chill was -46. It cold, but a different kind of cold.

I got a lot of experience driving on ice and show while in South Dakota. I don’t know how people know where to park in parking lots at Walmart, Target etc. because you cannot see the lines. Image

 

There were huge piles of snow some the size of buildings, in every parking lot from where it had been plowed after snow showers. Image

 

I found it interesting that corn was stored out and uncovered. After asking Mr. Tom from church he said that the corn was actually best stored that way, it was frozen and would not loose its quality. Image

 

Streets if they were paved were pretty  much ice and snow. Image

 

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I was able to visit with my trainer from Monsanto. We ate at our usual cafe in Webster, this was a treat. Image

The snow was very pretty, but there was a lot of it and it was so cold, it is not going anywhere, anytime soon. ImageImageImageImageImageImage

It was interesting seeing the fields so bare and snow covered. ImageImage

 

Frozen lakes was a new concept to me. I had the opportunity to go ice fishing (there will be a separate post on that later). We drove on the lake, which was somewhat terrifying at first, but then after drilling holes in the ice that were 2 1/2 feet deep I was reassured I had little to worry about. Image

While I was out and about in Webster on Saturday the temperature hit a whopping 0 degrees. 

 

 

 

 

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One of my favorite things about South Dakota was getting to see some beautiful sunsets. I was able to sit on a hill and watch the sun go down on the plains on Saturday (from the warmth of my vehicle of course). Sunsets are always a great time for reflection and to be in awe of the beauty of God’s creation. ImageImage

 

After visiting South Dakota during the cold months I have no idea how they deal with the snow and ice for 5 months out of the year. I can see where it would get old. I am glad to have experienced the brutal winters they have and I most enjoyed getting to visit with friends from church and my trainer. Stay tuned for a post on ice fishing, let me tell you it will be something else. 

Where is PETA and the Humane Society?

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Homes outside of Ellsworth Air Force Base. (Image source: iWitness Rob Griffith/The Weather Channel)

Last weekend a very early snowstorm hit the parts of Wyoming, North and South Dakota. This is hard to imagine for me because I only  left there from my internship back in August, and it is currently still VERY warm in Alabama. This snowstorm was one of the worst people in that area have ever seen. They received 12 hours of rain then four feet of snow and sustained 60 mph winds during a 48 hour period of time. Through acquaintances like Katie Pinke I was able to see pictures of the snow over the weekend.

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Katie Pinke a farmer’s wife and mom in North Dakota. She was speaking to a women’s conference in the Black Hills during the storm. On Saturday she posted this picutture saying “Still no power. The hotel has a gas stove and a flash light in the kitchen. We get hot pork sandwiches to eat but it’s getting pretty chilly now and all roads from here are closed! But I spoke to an amazing group of women. We laughed, wiped a few tears and all better together in this experience. Next up? Extra blankets and a fireplace. One big sleepover in the lobby.” Read more about Katie’s Life on the Prairie at http://thepinkepost.com/

As the snow started to melt some the news of its destruction started coming through. throughout the week my heart has ached for people in that area. 4 people lost their lives and so many cattle died. It is estimated that 75,000 head of cattle were lost in this one storm. Some producers have lost anywhere from 20-50% of their heard.

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Cattle who tried to take shelter in this area were buried underneath the snow. More pictures can be seen here: http://bigballsincowtown.com/storm2013.htm

Since this was an early storm cattle were still in the pastures at this point in the year. During the winter months since the winters are so harsh in that area of the country the cattle are moved closer so they can be kept under close watch and cannot be too far away when bad weather comes. This storm wiped out calves that would have been sold this fall as well as their mothers that would produce future calves.

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This poor cow walked until it could not walk any more and was found as the snow began to melt away earlier this week. (AP Photo/Rapid City Journal, Kristina Barker)

Cattle are actually pretty smart. I asked numerous farmers this summer how their cattle made it in the winter. They know to keep the wind at their back and walk with it. They walk to find places of shelter which in bad storms like this could even mean going through a fence. This time even if they found a creed bed, or man made shelter in the pasture to stand against many were sinking in the mud from the 12 hours of rain and were then buried under the snow suffocating them.

This event did not even break national news sources until yesterday because of the flack they received for their lack of coverage. The government is still shut down, therefore there are no disaster assistance programs to offer these people. Fund have been set up by individuals to help people in this region out. But here is my question.

Where is PETA and the Humane Society? 

They claim that they help during national disasters. They post pictures of their “help” and will run television commercials when hurricanes are on their way or wildfires are raging. HSUS has a webpage where you can give specifically for animal disasters.

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They claim to help animals during natural disasters, why aren’t they helping?

But where are they? I can tell you they will not come.

Why?

Because their goal is not to “help” animals. The have two major goals

1) They do not like animal agriculture which means they want you to become a vegetarian

2) Take your money

“My goal is the abolition of all animal agriculture.” –HSUS Director of Animal Cruelty Policy John “JP” Goodwin Their goal is not to help animals, but push their vegetarian agenda. To push that agenda they need funds and that is why they run commercials showing puppy dogs and kitty cats that have been neglected and abused. They pull at your heartstrings which in turn pulls out your wallet. At the end of 2009 their revenue for the year was $148 million dollars, yet they only spent one half of 1% actually helping animals.

This has happened before: According to Humane Watch

HSUS raised $34 million in The wake of hurricane Katrina, Supposedly To help
reunite lost pets with their owners. But comparatively little of that money was
spent for that purpose. Louisiana’s Attorney General shuttered his 18-month-long investigation
into where most of these millions went, shortly after HSUS announced its plan to contribute
$600,000 toward the construction of an animal shelter on the grounds of a state prison. In 2009,
Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB-TV reported that public disclosures of the disposition of the $34 million in
Katrina-related donations added up to less than $7 million.

humane watch

Groups like Humane Watch keep an eye on the Humane Society’s activities and works to inform the public through advertising campaigns, especially in places like DC and NYC. http://www.humanewatch.org/humanewatch-ads-hit-capitol-hill/

However the main reason they are not going to come is because they are an anti-agriculture group. Because they are against agriculture, they are not going to assist these animals and their owners. They will not help. They give millions of dollars to fight agriculture in all 50 states each year. They pay their lobbyist well and have put 17 million dollars in their own pinion plans.

This is just one example of a flaw in HSUS and PETA, they have many. Before you give your money because of a sad commercial you see, research the group. Most likely if they are advertising on national television they have too much money. Do you see your local pet shelter on television? Most likely not, they have to use every cent they have effectively, donate to them.  Most local humane shelters do great work, they are not at all affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States.

Since the government is not around to help if you are interested in donating to the disaster relief  a Rancher Relief Fund has been set up by the AgChat Foundation. You can donate here: http://www.razoo.com/story/Rancher-Relief-Fund?fb_ref=2eYjT2ox1

Dad Always Said No Hitchhikers..But I Couldn’t Resist

Friday I had to visit three farmers to get some paperwork signed and the last one I visited was Travis. He was out cutting alfalfa for hay so I met him at the field he was working in.


Alfalfa is a perennial legume that is in the pea family. It grows slowly, but after a few weeks forms a very thick ground cover. If a field is empty it can be planted to hold the ground in place to prevent erosion.



It does not grow very well in warm climate, so I had never seen any until I moved to South Dakota. It is primarily used for cattle feed and is great because of its high protein content. In the Dakotas you can cut it anywhere from 3-5 times a year, in climates in places like California it can be harvested up to 12 times. It is very thick and bushy like. When it is cut the roots and stubble remain and that is where it grows back.




I showed up and he was off the tractor with his hat in hand running around trying to pick up something. I walked out there and in his hand he had three ducks. While cutting he had came across a duck nest and we looked for the others, but were unable to find any others in the thick brush. I had a bucket in my truck so I put them in the bucket and off we went. They are probably the most harmless hitch hikers I could have picked up. They sat in their bucket in the back seat and I only heard a few peeps.




I called my boss who was a wildlife major in college and she suggested trying to put them where other ducks are and another duck might take them in. She said that ducks will often serve as surrogate mothers. So I decided to take them to a lake near my house where I had seen mother and baby ducks. First I stopped by and showed Mr. and Mrs. Hagen (the people I live with) the baby ducks.





They were so sweet and so cute, I was sad to leave them, but I am sure they are much happier by the lake with the other ducks. 

Tis the Season for Farmer’s Markets

Summer is upon us which means that it is time for local fruits and vegetables! Farmers markets across the country are open and the first fruits and vegetables are coming in. Farmers markets can range in size and products. The little town I live near of Webster,SD (pop. ~1,950). Webster has a market each Tuesday, however the 2 weeks it has been open this season there has not been many vendors only 2 or 3. Today however I was in Aberdeen, SD (pop. ~26,000) and was able to stop by their market!

In the Dakotas there are not many fresh vegetables coming in right now. There were 2 vendors selling vegetables, but there were an abundance of other people selling goods they had made.
This gentleman was selling cheese his wife had made. It was very delicious!
The few people who had vegetables for sale had lines wrapping all around the 4 corners of the tent.

Honey, which is very good and sweet up here since it is from clover.
Lye soaps
breads..
and even a guitarist was a plucking away.
Elizabeth who is married to the preacher at the church I have been attending comes each week to sell some of her items and sweets. She is one of the craftiest people I know and has such cute things.
She hand paints little people and had on display today a super hero set, Disney princess set and a custom set of her family!
She also makes and sells dinosaur towels. Her little boy Isaac (who unfortunately was sick today) loves to parade around in it at the farmers market and at home after his bath. A little boy at the market modeled today.

She makes them in all kinds of colors for boys and girls. If you are interested in purchasing any of Elizabeth’s products she can be reached at elizabethopheim@gmail.com and is hoping to set up an Etsy shop soon!
Farmer’s markets are a great place to support local farmers and buy fresh produce. This is the time of the year to enjoy those fresh fruits and vegetables.
To find your local farmer’s market in Alabama you can go here: http://www.fma.alabama.gov/FMCounty.aspx 
To find farmer’s markets in other parts of the country use USDA’s market finder:

Seeing the Sights of the Black Hills

This last weekend a friend from Auburn was supposed to fly up to the Dakotas to visit and see the sights. Due to flight problems they were not able to come, but because I was already half way across the state I still decided to go on as planned. My first stop was in Wall, SD at Wall Drug Store. A fun, and free attraction as you get close to the Black Hills. They offer free ice water…why not stop?




I left wall and headed toward Mt. Rushmore. I had been previously with my Dad and Brady and loved it so much I wanted to go back. At dusk each day they have a lighting of the monument and a program explaining its importance and a little about the presidents on the mountain. It is definitely worth your time if you can be there at that time.



This particular Friday was also Flag Day. It was a beautiful evening and there were a lot of military men and women there and they were all recognized on stage.






Saturday I visited Wind Cave National Park. It is the 6th largest cave in the world, 3rd in the United States. It was very different from other caves I have been in. Not many stalactites and stalagmites. I am sure to spelunkers it was something to see. It looked like corrugated cardboard to me. It was very interesting and the $9 tour lasted an hour and a half. Definitely worth the money. And…you get to see buffalo! They are everywhere and if you aren’t careful you might just hit one at night.








After seeing Wind Cave I journeyed over into Wyoming and visited Devil’s Tower.





I was also able to drive over into Montana. The east side there is not much to see, but it was still pretty.



It turned out to be a great weekend trip. It was a wonderful weekend to be out and about seeing the sights of our beautiful country.




Wall Drug Store: You Have to Go Once

If you have ever traveled South of Montgomery, Alabama on US 231 I am sure you have seen one of the hundreds of Sikes and Kohn signs.



You see these signs for miles and if you aren’t familiar with the store your curiosity is peaked. I remember when I was in 7th grade we were coming back from Florida and I begged my parents to stop there. It wasn’t anything extremely special, especially the prices, but I was able to say I have been there. There is a similar marketing scheme in South Dakota used by Wall Drug Store in Wall, SD.

For miles you see their signs. I even saw one this weekend in Wyoming! The signs have many slogs and are all shapes and sizes.



Wall Drug store was started in Wall, SD at the edge of the Badlands back in 1931. At that time there was nothing to the town of Wall and the drug store struggled. Ted Hustead and his wife Dorthy were worried that they would not be able to stay in business. With Mt. Rushmore due to open in a few years they decided to stick it out. One hot night when Dorthy would not sleep she came up with the idea that they should offer free water to travelers. After all with it being so hot that was the one thing that people would want. The next few days Hustead and some local high school boys made signs to put along the road. Their idea worked, people started getting off the road to stop in Wall to get free ice water. They still offer “ice water” today. It is now more of a tourist trap, but one definitely worth seeing once if you are in the area.

The New York Times has described Wall Drug as “a sprawling tourist attraction of international renown and takes in more than $10 million a year and draws some two million annual visitors to a remote town.” The store is 76,000 square feet!

They actually do have a drug store. They also have a cafe, play area, and sell souvenirs, camping supplies, fudge, pottery, books, western art, clothes, etc. You name it they have it.
They still offer “free ice water” however they do not chip ice off a block like they used to. It comes from a water fountain and you drink it out of paper cone cups. However, it is not ice cold, a major disappointment (especially for a girl from the South who loves her ice water).
Wall Drug is a place you have to stop at least once, I have now been twice. Still a nice break from traveling and it is a free attraction! There are plenty of photo opps and room for the kids to run around and burn off some bottled energy. If you are on your way to the Black Hills definitely stop.

Tom-Tom Knows Best (if you listen the first time)

I like to pride myself in being pretty directionally savy. Back home I can tell you pretty much where any road is until you get into subdivisoions. I will admit however I was a little worried about finding my way around in South Dakota. Afterall, most of their roadways are streets or avenues and they mostly are numbers and not actual names like O’Neal, Pepper etc. On the first day I was here I figured out a very helpful fact.
Avenues run North to South and Streets run East to West.
This doesn’t help me remember what road is which but I at least know what direction I am heading.
Another thing that helps is that most of the counties are on the grid system. Basically every mile there is a road. Not necessarily a travelable road, but a road.
Limestone County, AL (top) vs. Day County, SD (bottom)
My Tom-Tom which my brothers gave to me for a high school graduation gift, has been very helpful for the most part. No matter where you are the address numbers are not always right, but it usually gets you within close proximity of your destination.
Tuesday I was sent to Mitchell, South Dakota for a siminar. I left about 5:30am I made it without any issues and even had time to visit the Corn Palace.

When I left Mitchell I was to go to Conde, SD to pick up some leftoever seed from a grower. When I left the farm with their seed I typed in my Tom-Tom my home adderss. It said it was 80 miles! Let me assure you it was not 80 miles. How did I know this? These hills. Yep, those with the windmills.  

I see these hills every Sunday and Wednesday on my way to church. I knew that I was just on the other side from the main highway I needed to take me home and it would be quicker to go over them vs. around them. Seems logical right?
I told Tom-Tom I wanted the shortest, not quickest way and off I went. I am always leary of Tom-Tom when he tells me this:
However, in South Dakota practically every road is dirt! So if you hit avoid unpaved roads you will never get to wherever it is you are trying to go.
So here I go along the dirt roads trying to figure out how to get over the big hills to the otherside to take a “short cut”. I go down one road Tom-Tom told me to go down and I basically ended up in someone’s backyard. It might have been a road at one point, but not anymore. So I quickly turned around and left. This happened several more times. It would tell me to turn and I find this:
Or this… (which you can tell was a road, but now has a fence in front of it)
I finally got over the hills and all I could find was signs I take very seriously out here.

Long story shorts, many roads, many backups, turnarounds later. I had to give up and go back the way Tom-Tom suggested in the beginning. I could see where I needed to go, there was just no way for me to get there unless it inovlved me plowing through a farmers field, mud hole, or pasture. I saw some beautiful scenery and animals along the way, but it got later and later and I was ready to be home.

Tuesday was Mr. Glenn’s (I live with him and his wife) 80th birthday and I was planning to make him a peach cobbler. I finally found my way home and had time to make the cobbler. Moral of the story, just do what the Tom-Tom says the first time unless you want to take the scenic route.

Friends, Sunshine and Work!

Celebrated Memorial Day in Webster yesterday. The Hagens (who I am living with) told me about the parade and program the town was having and I figured that I should go with them. The parade was small, but was great, it was a perfect picture of small town America. The boy scouts, girls scouts, and 4-H members walked in the parade, a fire truck, and a old Oliver tractor pulled a load of Veterans.

I also was able to see a familiar face on Memorial Day. My friend Tiffany who goes to school at North Dakota State was passing through and we had lunch at the local A&W. It was so nice to see someone I know, even if it was just for a short period of time.

Today was my first day of work in the field. I met my trainer and manager for breakfast at a local cafe and we discussed my projects for the summer. We then when and looked at some Channel vs. Pioneer tests plots that have been put in recently then around lunchtime I was told to go home. I was a little bummed after all I was expecting to put in a full day’s work. I went home and around 5:00 was asked to go and pick up some seed in Aberdeen which is about 50 miles away. I was thankful to have something to do.

The first 3 1/2 days I have been in South Dakota it has been very gloomy weather. Fog most of the day, rain, and wind blowing the rain sideways. I was beginning to wonder, “does this place ever have sunshine?” This afternoon my question was answered: yes! I was able to drive to Aberdeen and enjoy the beautiful scenery and was so thankful to see farmers out in the fields planting. They have had so much rain here recently the farmers are very behind on planting, corn should be in the ground by now, but a lot of it is not. They are getting there. The sun definitely brightened my day and I am glad to know the sun does shine here.

What Have I Gotten Into?

Back in January I accepted an internship with Monsanto for this summer. I am working with one of their brands called Channel. It is found mainly in the Midwest. Honestly I had never heard of it until I was told that is who I am to work for.

A few weeks after I accepted I found out I was going to be in the Dakotas. (you can read all about that here It Might Just Be South Dakota) I am now in South Dakota, been here a little more than 24 hours now, and it has been an intersting 24 hours. It all started yesterday morning with a 4:30am trip to the Saint Louis Airport where I had been at Monsanto’s headquarters for the week being trained.


Oh the joys of airport lines, security and problems. I flew to Minneapolis and there boarded a Great Lakes Aviation flight to Watertown, South Dakota. Great Lakes Aviation must be short for Crop Dusters USA because the planes were all tiny. Don’t believe me? Smallest commercial plane I have ever flown on.
 When it came time to board, they called for the Watertown flight and me and ONE other man walked up. It was just the two of us on the flight. Yep 2 of us plus 2 pilots, no flight attendant, no bathroom, no free drink. I had checked in first so I was assigned the special seat. The back row had three seats and I was to sit in the middle one to try to distrubute the weight as evenly as possible. It was a loud, bumpy and extremely cold flight. I even broke out my leather work gloves out of my backpack.
It was that cold.
As we began our descent below the clouds I got my first look at my new location for the summer. Lots of fields and a lot of lakes.
We landed at the Watertown Airport, no gate you just get out on to the asphalt.
When we taxied up to the airport and I looked around and thought “What in the world have I done??” This was the first time during this process where I doubted what I was doing. I had came 1,400 miles to the middle of nowhere and it didn’t hit me until I got here. As we deplaned I figured it would be warmer than the plane ride…false. When I stepped off the plane I was almost knocked off my feet by a gust of wind. I was handed my bags then it was off to the parking lot to find my truck, which wasn’t hard. My boss had described it as the dirty silver Ford (which I have since washed). Found it!
I loaded up the truck and started trying to back out and realized the emergency brake was on (so I thought). I released it and nothing happened. Engaged the brake and released it again, still nothing. I then got out the manual and tried to figure out what the warning messages meant. Texted my boss who had been driving the truck prior to her getting a new one. Still Nothing. Called the local Ford dealership who said to bring it in, but how was I to get there?!? So finally I got desperate and called my trusty mechanic, my dad. He told me to do the same things I had been doing and it still didn’t work. So then I cried a little and scared my dad (afterall I’m sure he wanted me to call him from 1,400 miles away crying) anywho, we finally got it figured out with a little extra jiggling of the brake pedal. Thankfully the only major crisis so far. The truck works fine now. Whew!
I then drove to my church so I would know where it was for today, bought a few essentials then drove the 70ish miles from Watertown to Webster, South Dakota where I am residing for the summer. I am living at Lakeside Farm Bed and Breakfast with Mr. Glenn and Mrs. Joy, a sweet Norweign couple who are retired dairy farmers. Their place is beautiful!
I have tried making friends with their cats, with no avail.
I got to the house and Mr. Glenn asked me if I would be interested in going into town with them to a celebration at the Webster, Armory. I did. (what else would I have done?) It was very interesting, the city of Webster and the city of Dewangen in Germany has had a friendship for the last 10 years and there are 36 people from the city in Germany here in Webster visiting. So it was an evening full of singing, musical and dance performances. There was even a German Polka band the town had hired to come in and play.
There was a huge crowd for a town of 1,900 people on Memorial Day weekend.
It is still cold here today. The drive to church this morning was more difficult than I am used to. It was extremely foggy and so windy I had to hold the wheel firm to stay on the road plus heavy rains. Not a fun drive, but it was very encouraging to be with brethren. I only brought summer dresses and sandals for Sundays. Thankfully I brought a few cardigans, but I still looked like a spring chicken today and it was 50 degrees. I am still cold and have the heat cranked up still trying to thaw out.  So for the most part the summer is off to a good start, I am just ready to start work on Tuesday. I’m not sure what I have gotten myself into, but I can face the uncertainty by finding comfort in Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good”