Revolving Door

We’ve had a revolving door of houseguests over the past four weeks. I feel so popular!

Following my FIL’s visit the first weekend in August, my MIL and nephew came up for a few days. They drove the 1,200 miles from Tacoma to Rapid City, which I can tell you from personal experience is quite the haul. Once again we played tour guide, taking them to the usual hotspots – Mount Rushmore, Custer Wildlife Loop, downtown Rapid City.

Anthony loved the dinosaurs almost as much as my blogging friend, Jess Witkins!

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Come to think of it, so did I…

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It was a pretty nice visit. All of our guests have been very impressed with western South Dakota and really like our house. You could call these visits soul-affirming, even though we already knew we made a great move!

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I was especially excited to see my parents, because – well, they’re my parents! And it had been 11 months since we’d seen each other. I’m pretty sure that’s the longest I’ve gone in my adult life without seeing them.

They arrived Thursday morning, and I was able to take Friday off to spend some time with them. In addition to seeing the local sights—Prairie Berry Winery, Crazy Horse, Pactola Reservoir—we have been enjoying lots of time on the patio. Evenings have been spent talking, drinking wine, listening to music, barbecuing, playing corn hole, and dodging mosquitoes. Not in that order. The weather has been perfect; temperatures have been mild and, so far, we haven’t had any thunderstorms.

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A fun thing happened yesterday. Our doorbell rang, and when we opened the front door, there was Doris’s daughter Kristi and her new husband Troy. We had spoken to her over the phone a few weeks ago and invited her to stop by when she was in town.

Kristi grew up in our house and you could tell it was a very emotional experience for her to be back inside. She approved of the cosmetic changes we made upstairs and was thrilled that we kept the basement the same. We learned a few more interesting facts about the house and what it was like for Kristi and her brothers growing up in the neighborhood, and we let her dig up several of the dwarf irises her great-great-great-great grandmother transplanted from Norway. She’d told us she regretted not taking any, so now she can plant some in her garden in Connecticut. They’re a very nice couple, about my age, and we told them they have an open invitation to stop by any time they are visiting Rapid City.

I’m glad she got to see the house. I still recall my road trip to Dayton, Ohio in 2011 and my own (failed) attempt to visit my childhood home. I know what a thrill it is and would never deny her the opportunity! Upon leaving, Kristi said she is happy we bought her mom’s house and is grateful that we are honoring her legacy so much.

Gotta run. We have some errands today, including picking up a new stand-up freezer—a generous housewarming gift from my parents. We’re zipping down to Fort Collins next weekend to stock up on items from Trader Joe’s and now I can stuff that bad boy with chile lime chicken burgers and steel-cut frozen oats to my heart’s content. We’re headed out to dinner tonight, and then Tara and I have to go back to work tomorrow. My parents will be here until Wednesday. But they’re talking about coming back in October, so I’m pretty sure I won’t have to wait so long to see them this time around.

I really have to brush up on my corn hole skills though, because my dad has been kicking my ass.

 

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What’s the Latest Buzz?

Mosquitoes, that’s what.

They have been relentless this summer, no doubt because of all the rain we have had. And they seem to be impervious to mosquito repellant. I sprayed myself with Off® one morning before my walk and still managed to come back with half a dozen new bites on my arms.

Little bastards.

Also, motorcycles, as in, the buzz of thousands of two-piston engines filling the air. It’s a toss-up as to whether there are more mosquitoes or bikers, and we have the Sturgis Rally to thank for that.

At least the motorcyclists don’t bite.

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We had our first houseguests last week and they were really impressed with both Rapid City and our house. Tara’s dad Randy and his girlfriend Cynthia came up for a few days after fishing (successfully) for walleye in Wyoming. It was their first visit to South Dakota and they were surprised by the natural beauty of the area. I think a lot of people have this impression of South Dakota as being flat and featureless, and while that’s true for most of the state, the Black Hills are the exception.

They were down for doing touristy things, and we were happy to show them around, even with the steady parade of motorcycles that greeted us everywhere we went, including Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park. Sunday, we took them to the 79th Sturgis Rally, per their request. It’s something that should be on everybody’s bucket list—the people-watching alone is worth the trip!

It was a nice visit. We ate, we drank, and I daresay we were even a little merry. It was nice to show off our new digs!

My MIL visits next week and my parents the week after, then Audrey will be out next month. Suffice it to say, we’ll be busy playing host for a while.

Buzzworthy happenings in the backyard? Raspberries. Hundreds of them. So many, we hardly know what to do with them all. Doris planted a row of raspberry bushes along the west side of the house and they have been producing ample amounts of sweet, delicious fruit for a few weeks now. I’ve made raspberry bread, raspberry coleslaw, and raspberry vinaigrette. We’ve had waffles with fresh raspberries, raspberries with whipped cream, and even just plain raspberries. One of my work assignments has been expanding the food and drink section of our fall/winter visitor’s magazine, and in doing so, I came across a recipe for a traditional Native American berry dish called Wojapi. It’s traditionally served with fry bread, something Tara knows how to make really well, so I’m thinking of giving that a go this weekend to use up more raspberries.

Too much fruit is a good problem to have IMO.

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Also, lots of deer in our backyard. I put up netting over the raspberry bushes and they haven’t touched those, so I don’t mind their presence. On a recent walk, I stumbled across these fellas on the Skyline Wilderness Trail near our house.

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I love wildlife.

I also love sunrises. I’ve got some nice ones on my morning walks, but with our rapidly-fading daylight, it’s going to be dark in the mornings soon. I’m savoring these while I can.

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That’s all I’ve got for now!