Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Birthday Present--So Sweet, So Delicious

We stopped by the B's to drop off CB's birthday present, and look what we got!  Some of the best damn caramel corn this side of the Lake County/Miner County line.

Hey!  Some of it looks gone already!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our Old House--1935, With a Sailor-boy

On Sunday afternoon a brother and sister, Dean and Colleen Holst (I'm not sure of Colleen's married name) stopped by with these pictures, which featured our house, front and back porch especially.  The upper shot shows Dean in his little sailor outfit in 1935 on the rock pillar in our front yard.

The lower photo shows Dean and his cousin Marlene Baker, probably in the mid-1940's, with his grandmother Coppersmith and her two sisters on the back porch (now gone) of our house.

I love getting these old photos of our house and the people who lived and visited here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Getting Those Gourds to Shine

We took a bit more leisurely approach to our day today, after the activities of the past week, culminating in our prize-winning float and a trip last night to Sioux Falls to see Dave Eggers, the writer, and Valentino Achak Deng, the subject of Eggers' "autobiography" of him.  It was the highlight of the South Dakota Festival of Books.  

The wife zipped over to Winfred to her folks' place while yours truly spent some time grading papers, and she came back with this sign of fall--a collection of gourds that her dad found hidden in the cow lot.  A little veggie oil, and these things look ready for the hearth!

I also entertained some folks who knew our old house as children, when their grandmother, Christina Coppersmith (if I remember rightly) lived here back in the 1930's and 40's.  They brought some pictures and offered some comments on how the place has changed since they knew it.

Another Kind of Float--The Beautiful Kind!

The work our College of Arts and Sciences team did over the past week on our Whack-a-Miner float paid off on Saturday with a "Most Beautiful" win at the DSU homecoming parade down Egan Avenue.  
We overcame various difficulties (a near decapitation of our Trojan, a dead battery, a runaway Ford pickup, misplaced keys, frosted fingers, water damage, spelling problems, etc, etc.) to emerge victorious!  It was fun working with my colleagues, especially Dr. Kurt Kemper, history prof and float-building guru, who was the fire that kept the pot perking.  

Our float featured helmeted miner heads popping up while a whacking Trojan, with shocking sword and shield action, pounded them back down (if you could just use your imagination a little).  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How High's the Water, Mama?

Reports from Lake Herman show the gophers have it worse, but east-side Madison isn't exactly dry.  Whoosh is right!  No comments on the video, so hum along ("Proud Mary?") and provide your own commentary.  Dang!  Wet!  
Update:  The video is now available!  Complete with a very observant dog, and a person do what we're warned not to--driving through a stream running across the road.  

And Another Inch

Today brought another inch of rain, and more is to follow, apparently.  We've had enough!

Four More Inches

More rain.  Last night the rain came down in sheets again, with rain and thunderstorms earlier in the day as well.  The ditches out in front of our house were filled with water, water running over the road, water running down the driveway, water in our basement.  Not a lot, but still a source of misery.  But where are four inches of rain supposed to go, on top of the rain that's already fallen (including the four inches we got overnight a few weeks ago)?  Most of it heads down the ditch, down the street, into the storm drains, into the streams and lakes and rivers.  But when those waterways are too crowded, too much of it lingers, invading places we count on to stay dry.  Things will dry out, but it won't be too soon.  

More rain falling now, more rain expected today.  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Are You Gonna Eat That?

Like we try to do every week, we stopped at the farmer's market near the Madison Library and, after assuring ourselves that we had at least one baguette, we sauntered past the tables eyeing and fingering the produce.  Lead veggie farmer Cody Carper had this beast at his stand.  "French," he said.  "Tasty."  But they weren't moving.

Two bucks.  He threw in an acorn squash.  

So now it looms in our kitchen like the pod of an alien colonist, or a sinister pumpkin ready for revenge over past mutilations.
But what the heck.  We're gonna eat that bugger. I hope my nose doesn't then take on the physical attributes of this flash gourd.

She's Planning for the Future

What do jalapeƱo jelly, spaghetti sauce, homemade catsup, chili sauce, pasta sauce, rhubarb steak sauce, salsa, and pizza sauce have in common? They all sit in anticipation and expectation for our later enjoyment, courtesy of the wife who has been busy canning up a storm.

Yet Another Race for the Old-Timer

This old guy has been running races for some time now, since that first 660 yard race over in Murdo that got my blood pumping as a junior high kid. How did I know then that my success in that race would goad me well beyond what feels good into trotting these creaky bones out of bed on a Sunday morning to race another 13.1 mile race? But here I am, with my faithful support crew (read--the wife) at the Sioux Falls Half Marathon once again. I was happy to see a colleague and various past and present students out similarly occupied on this cool September morning (the 12th).
The result? Not bad. 1:46:57, about an 8:12 pace for the distance. Now to prepare for the TCM, a race twice as long. Whew!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Suspicious Package

Who knows whether I'm being tested or someone just walked away from their special treat on the Beadle Hall stairs. In any case, a little snack bag like this, unattended as it is, rarely escapes my notice.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Investing in Dental Work

After having invested big bucks in a tooth that gave way, I'm now confronted with investing in a tooth that will linger in the grave long after the rest of me has turned to dust.

Bummer. And I cut my bike ride short this morning just so this young dentist could work me over with drill, hook, and sewing kit.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Quiet, Colorful Evening, with Butterflies

Who knows why these butterflies love our trees to roost in? Maybe because they have such a great view of the house at sunset?

The Gift of a Fallen Tree

We thought we heard a boom and half the other night, and I was fearful there was a tree poised to fall on the house, but the casualty was a tree in the lot next door, which I discovered when I heard my neighbor's chain saw. With the offer to cut the tree up myself, the wood became mine. Look how nice and ripe that wood is, winter fuel coming up.

Note too the dotted lines of the sawdust leading up to the remaining tree stump.

Back to the Office

It's back to work again after a long and lazy summer full of heat and rain. It looks like I've got a good crop of students, plenty of them to keep me busy, and ready for good work. A good place to be.