Musings

Fencerow birdhouse

Birdhouse fencerow field

In my head (a naïve place, apparently), it’s early summer, like July. Outdoors, I see hints of autumn, leaves well past mid-summer in their growth-fading progression, plus the species that are blooming and fruiting (drupe-ing, too!) indicate that summer has crested, and the slide into fall has begun.

Oh, look

QAnnes lace pink

Are they all like this—just-opening Queen Anne’s lace? Are they always pink? I don’t remember noticing youthful pinkness before.

Couldn’t resist the pull of the extensive knowledge-dump G__gle provides…and, yup, the pink happens. Also, news to me, it’s not native to NAmerica.

Chores, fun

Glassware sparkley

The chores part had to to with accumulated activities (like decrusting the glasses/dishware on the open shelves), plus prepping for what turned out to be hosting and protein, as our guests brought much of the remainder of the meal. Lucky us!

The fun part was dinner with fam&friends. The best.

Fire coals

The evening included the best after-dinner activity: a M-fire. Overseen by an incredible moon.

Moon over lake

Early on, the moon had an orange cast, not captured by our camera(s). You have to use your imagination.

Just coffee-water

Porch corner

Oblique sunlight this morning…highlighted some pleasures of being here…that have nothing to do with invasive critters, trees that may be ready to shed limbs (or worse), or other Facts_of_Life.

Not entirely sure why the window-glass fogged up; it was fine when I arose, and I sure wasn’t simmering a chicken or similar.

Field and ex-farm

Orchard field view

Our clothes line has been down since the other clothes-line post rotted at the base and no longer stood upright. The remaining post has become a sculpture, bearing mosses and enterprising spiders.

Somehow, other chores keep rising to the top of the to-do list, and the sculpture remains. We hang the wet stuff inside.

Where the tent is. I’ll take that down tomorrow, and maybe replace it with swim-wet gear.

Beyond The Rivers

001 LkMI ex dock

With the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers behind us, I was on pins and needles to see Lake Michigan. Our first views were near a series of dock-ruins. This one is made, I think, of concrete sections.

002 wooden type

We made a side trip to a wonderful wood type museum in Two Rivers. I knew nothing about the history of the Hamilton company; now I know more.

003 LkMI MI

The previous LkMI shot was from WI. This one’s from MI soil.

004 wild golden hour

Oh, the light! I totally grooved on this evening’s golden hour.

Prairie and Midwest

01 tallgrass prairie roots

Mostly there are fields, plowed, planted, this time of the year. What was here was tall-grass prairie. It wasn’t just grass, but an assortment of deep-rooted plants, well suited to occasional dry spells.

02 Miss R

Yesterday we crossed the Missouri; today, the Mississippi. Water levels are holding for now, which makes sense given how green the landscape is. The plants, I mean.

To the plains

01 morning rollingview

Out early enough to catch the morning golden hour light. There’s even a pronghorn in this field (left of the top of the fencepost).

02 bighorn sign

Our critter species count started early, with pronghorn, red fox, prairie chicken (or grouse?), deer, and ??—I thought there were five notables in the first hour…ah, well. No bighorns this day….

03 tackytown

Into the Black Hills, a long-time tourist mecca, tacky to the nth degree.

04 plains begin

Dropping down into the Plains, you know the vistas will change. The name Black Hills makes far more sense if you come upon them west-bound. East-bound, they are ragtag cousins of the Winds and Bighorns, not to mention the Tetons.

05 plains valley

At first, the valleys still have some character, by which I mean they aren’t just rounded hills.

06 last bison almost

We duck into the Badlands for one more hit of spectacular geology. And find our last bison. The fellow with this guy was even more scruffy.

07 badlands pano

So scenic. Most of the Badlands have this grey-white cast.

08 badlands redwall

Some are banded with red, and a very few are entirely reddish.

09 greywhite grasslands edge

We both enjoyed the transition zone, where the eroded badlands meets the grasslands. Windy, hot in the sun….

10 MO R RR bridge

One more milestone: looking back at the Missouri River, fourth longest river system in the world. We’ve been in its drainage basin for days, across several states.

I spare you pictures of the farmland we zipped across after this, speed limit 80mph, like the high mountain passes, good for hammering your mileage. Glad the sun is behind us for this stretch….

For me (you, too)

Rocker

We lunched in and wandered the streets of Buffalo, the model for the county seat of Durand in Craig Johnson‘s Longmire series (books, and now on TV). This lovely rocker was in a log cabin that was moved to the grounds of the county building (I think that’s what it is) about a decade ago.

Johnson doesn’t copy the town, and instead captures a version of its flavor and sass. We got some of its flavor, too, as we lunched at the real Busy Bee Café, where Sheriff Longmire often dines. He gets the regular, but he isn’t sure what his regular is. The proprietress brings what she choses, and that’s the way she likes it. He must, too, as he frequently returns.

I had a really good bison burger with a side of cole slaw. They make the vinegar and slightly sweet version, with the cabbage somewhat wilted, just a tad. Very yummy, but I’d probably never make it that way.

Short stories

Irrigation Bales in motion

A little agriculture…lots of irrigation around here, not all productive row-crop fields, but most, it seems to me. And the product must move to the consumption area. Not many alternate farm roads, so we travel the US highways with tractors and combines….

Purple long view Green blue long view Surviving snow

Three long views…different colors. The third is the heights of the southern Bighorn range. Note the surviving snowpack, in the last half of AUGUST, kids.

Red green med view Grey cliff face

Midground color variation…red/green (not the man/show), and the grey rocks of the cliffs on one flank of the Bighorns.

Runaway truck ramp

I didn’t check it, but the crossing from Ten Sleep to Buffalo seemed to have long, grinding climbs/descents, just as we found east of Greybull. I don’t know if they were 10 miles, but they are close. This runaway truck ramp, really some cable-gates, I thought, is on the descent into Buffalo. (Will they change their name to Bison? Is there even a movement afoot?)

Devils tower

Aha. And the geology. An igneous island amidst eroding sedimentary formations. Or the twenty-second wonder of the world, something like that.

PD CU

Despite the many signs in the parking lot and along the trails below Devils Tower preaching sensitivity to this place that is sacred to many indigenous Americans, as in, they wish you wouldn’t climb it, the splash page on the NatPkServ website is all about what a wonderful climb it is. Doesn’t even mention the deer, turkeys (no photo), and prairie dogs you may see.

Deer near river

And this deer, in the low ground inside the bend of the river…better photo than the one we saw at DT, and a pretty river to boot!

And now my back posts are caught up! Yay for connectivity and energy…in conjunction. Thanks for waiting for me, Gentle Reader.