Thursday, July 23, 2015

Although we’re enjoying the beautiful summer weather we’re having at the moment, it comes with it’s downside too. Of course.

The nice warm daytime temperatures tend to clash with the cooler afternoon and evening air here in the hills, which, on a regular base, cause severe thunderstorms. Most of the time it ‘just’ involves a lot of lightening and thunder and sometimes torrential rains,

Got rain?
.... but every now and than these storms produce hail. Big hail. Golf ball size hail, I’m not kidding.
Which causes holes. Big holes. In the AC and vent covers.

Especially since they’re 15 years old and brittle. Like this:

Oh well …. What can you do?

Order new covers and shrouds (k-ching!) and replace them:

Looks like fun!


We added some different vent covers so we can have the vents open even if it rains:

Great job honey!

And also replaced our front AC cover, since it was old and sort of falling apart, if you see what I mean:


So much better! We started to look a little rough around the edges there …

OK. Time for some R&R. We heard through the grapevine, there was a little summer event going on in the tiny town of Rochford only about 30 minutes away from us, so off we went.
Notice the words ‘little’ and ‘tiny’ in the previous sentence?

Well, I think this was about the smallest town event we’ve ever seen. 
They have a funky saloon though!
The town itself turns out to have only 15 permanent residents and than there’s another handful that live in the surrounding area. Throw in a few lost tourists and there you have it … Rochford Day!

We walked up and down main street, which by the way is the only street, ...

 ... sampled some chili at the chili cook-off (which was the guaranteed winner since there was only one contestant) and bought and tasted a view homemade deserts.

All in all, not really worth the drive if it wasn’t for the beautiful drive through the hills itself, and the goodies we brought home.
And it was sort of a hoot, just for the ‘small-town’ experience of it all!

Let’s see, what else did we do? Golf of course. We either go very early in the morning or in the early evening when we have the course practically to ourselves.

Talking about golf, James renewed the old grips on his clubs with new, and somewhat over sized, ones. How hard can it be? Well, once you get the hang of it, and with the (indispensable) help from a vice, not too hard, it turned out …..


When we don’t have a thunderstorm, we eat dinner outside and we make good use of the BBQ.


Merlin is first at the table, especially if it’s chicken:


We have a saying in Holland that says, ‘one swallow doesn’t make it summer yet’. 
Well, how about six?

  Yup, definitely summer!

By the way, they’re Barn Swallows. They’re making a mess, but they’re so adorable ….


This one especially …. just look at that face!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Trent's house in Belle Fourche
Happy belated 4th of July to you all!
I don't know about you guys but we had an absolute perfect 4th this year!
We ended up in Belle Fourche for a (partial) family reunion of the Kenagy (his mother's) side of James family.
His mother's sister Nancy's children are scattered over several states, but accidentally two of them (Tammy and Vicky) were visiting the other two (Trent and Troy) for a short summer vacation, which happened to include this 4th of July celebration.
Since Vicky knew through Facebook we were only 45 minutes from Trent, she invited us over for the parade and a picnic afterwards at Trent's home in Belle Fourche (are you still with me?).


It was a gorgeous summer morning, and it looked like it was going to be a hot one, when we set of for 'Belle' , as the locals call her, where we arrived just in time to walk down the couple of blocks of the hill from Trent's house, to set up our chairs for the parade.
After standing in the, already blazing, sun for half an hour, James remembered having an Eazy-Up gazebo/tent in the truck and went back to get it. 

It's aptly named 'Eazy-Up' because it literally sets up in minutes!

Much, much better! We were the envy of the street!
The parade started at 10.30 ....

Of course there were lot's of (marching) bands:

...... and a whole lot of horses and carriages and pretty girls ....

... but I think these were the cutest ...
Rural and historical America showcased it's tractors and old cars:

..... and ..... is that a monkey ????!!

The kids went wild with all the candy that was thrown by all floats and cars and whatever else ...

Some even went as far as robbing others of their stash.....

.... with a water pistol!
 There were clowns:

...and .... what the .... ???

And many, many floats. Quite a few held class reunions ....

Throughout the whole parade there were many entrees of which the participants carried water in some kind of way; water pistols, hoses, canons, buckets and whatever they could come up with .....

Because of the extremely hot weather, everybody just loved to get sprayed on ....

All in all, it was a parade that can go down in the books! Nothing what I expected from such a small town. Wow, what a blast!

Afterwards we all walked back to Trent's beautiful house for a wonderful picnic in their yard!

As you can see, the tent came in handy here as well!
Ann, Trent's wife, had prepared most of the food beforehand, it just needed a little finishing touches ....

James and Ann's dad couldn't wait for desert to be served ....
Soon, everybody was eating up a storm! It could have been a Hess reunion! ;-)

Stories were told from times long ago, when everybody was about 30 years younger! 
(I guess: 'long time no see' was an understatement!)


I don't know who had more fun, the kids or us!?

When everybody was sufficiently stuffed and we were running out of memories we said our goodbyes and promised to visited whenever we'd be 'in the neighborhood' ... we'll see how that goes ...

After hitting Walmart in Spearfish, to once again 'stock up the pantry', we got home around 5pm.
The day was not at an end yet though, since we headed out again around 7.30, for the 4th of July evening fireworks in Lead, our 'home-for-now' town.

Lead is an old gold-mining town and still has some mining going on, in what is called 'the open pit', smack in the middle of town.
They're rebuilding the visitor center next to it, and we will hopefully get a chance to go and visit by the end of the summer.

But this night the pit was the scene of the fireworks, it being an ideal place to set of fireworks without anything catching fire ...

We found ourselves a good spot up above the mine's hole, albeit behind a chain link fence ....

We had no clue where the fireworks were set up but in hind-side it turned out to be on the very top of the left hill in this picture ...
           See? If you squint real hard, you'll see the 'launching tubes' pointing up ...

It was a long wait (why do fireworks never start on time?) but it was worth it because it was pretty grand! For a small town it was a rather good show, better than we expected!

Again, happy Fourth!