Green and lush. That's how everything looked in South Dakota and Iowa the end of May/beginning of June. Beautiful! These are two views from the patio at the farm where I grew up and my parents still live. (Click on the photos to appreciate fully!)
My South Dakota sister with a couple of her boys and Erin in my mom's canoe.
Erin and Grandma Ruth.
Erin and Brady with cousins, Levi and Seth.
My Dad sitting in my sister's family's new speedboat while he watches Alison park the canoe.
Hangin' out at the dock. My brother-in-law just purchased part ownership in his grandma's lake cabin which is about a 15 minute drive from the farm, on Big Stone Lake.
On my trip, I was able to visit with my 90 year old great aunt and my 90 1/2 year old grandpa. I also, was able to meet and visit with Mildred, pictured above, who's 91. She shared glimpses of a life filled with horses, trick roping at rodeos (she could have 3 ropes going at a time: one in each hand and one between her teeth), becoming a law student(when women didn't do that), learning how to fly to help train pilots in World War II, becoming a circuit judge (South Dakota's first woman to do so), and county judge, going to Elderhostels after she and her husband retired, and the pleasures of still living at home on their family farm (which was about 10 miles or so from where I grew up.) I exclaimed admiration for the life she's had and she said, "Yes, and I've loved every minute of it!" (The picture she's standing by is an artist's rendition of Mildred dressed to perform in a rodeo.)
My grandpa helps me identify some unmarked old family photos.
Target practice with Grandpa Maurice.
Erin's first attempt at shooting a gun.
We went up to my aunt and uncles horse ranch to see a couple of my cousins and their families who were back visiting from Minneapolis and Kansas City. We were treated to checking out the new spring foals, too. (Pictured above are a few of my cousins' kids.)
I think Erin caught this cute pose.
The mares with the oldest foals - maybe two weeks - stayed around us to eat their "treat" while the mom's with the youngest babies - one was maybe only 1 or 2 days old- were more protective and walked away from us, over the hill.
Adorable Adam. I don't think he reads this blog or I wouldn't dare label his picture like that. Oh, and it wasn't easy for Erin to get such a candid photo of him.
The lilacs bloomed late this year, Memorial Day, because of the long winter. Usually their blooms are gone and the peonies are blooming by then.
Grandpa took Brent and I to his favorite getaway - Hartford Beach (which is also on Big Stone Lake.) Here, he is joining Brent in some rock skipping. It is so fun to hear him talk about all the good times he had at Hartford when he was a teenager. The nine mile drive from town was gravel then, but they would come down at least twice a week in the summer. There was a hotel with a dance hall and a rollerskating rink to add to the place's popularity. He goes on the hikes now. The trails are full of trees, ferns, all sorts of wildflowers, and you have to be careful to stay away from poison ivy. The foliage provides a cool, green canopy for hikers even in warm weather. Grandpa fought in the jungles in Okinawa which had been literally stripped of all vegetation because of the war. He soaks in the fresh green life around him with transparent joy, still so thankful to have come home from the war to enjoy so many more years.
Brady takes Grandpa to Google Earth to see pictures of Okinawa and the island he was taken to after he'd been shot. The jungles have been replaced with high rises now.
A taste of some of the game playing that went on.
I don't know what this shrub is called, but I enjoyed the blooms out the farm kitchen window. I don't remember ever seeing this bush bloom, even though it was there while I was growing up!
Brady and Grandpa M watching cousin (grandson) Logan's baseball game, in LeMars, IA. (Home of Blue Bunny Ice Cream!)
Logan at first base. We enjoyed a gorgeous evening, - no rain, bugs, or wind!
Grandpa had shoulder surgery the end of April and was still in a sling. Erin became "matching" when she fell off her cousin's Ripstick and ended up with a hairline fracture in her arm.
We bought Brent's folks a Bocci Ball lawn game several years ago. It's the best gift we have ever given them. Bocci ball competitions are a tradition whenever we're back. (Right to left: Brent's sister, Ann; Brent; his sister, Sue; and Katie, Ann's youngest.)