The planets aligned last weekend and I was able to attend a wedding between two of my past students and watch my nieces rodeo. The wedding was wonderful. Several students I had taught also attended the celebration and my heart was filled with joy to see them successful and with families. One of the students I had taught 18 years ago. She was adamant that our program changed her life. I am forever thankful to be a part of so many amazing people's lives. The girls did great at the rodeo and both qualified for the state high school rodeo. I am very proud of them both. I had not been to a 4-H rodeo for a long time. It brought back many memories.
On the long 5 hour drive home, Aunt Bonnie is notorious for stopping to take photos with the beautiful South Dakota landscape in the background. It was the golden hour for photo taking and there is a reason they call it that.
The next morning started with lots of coffee, as we got back pretty late. We were in no hurry. The day was spent hiking in Spearfish Canyon, a picnic in Spearfish Park, feeding the fish and ducks. Then a fun afternoon playing in the creek. Next year, when the littlest is a bit older, we will get tubes and float the creek.
The next day we did our annual hike. This year I was anxious to try the new hiking trail between Lead and Deadwood. It proved difficult to find the trailhead in Lead, but then the trail was very well marked. We had a picnic at the Powerhouse Park in Deadwood and then went up and down Deadwood Main Street. There are several nice shops and of course ice cream. We waived to everyone on the KELOland Sky Camera. I guess we had quite an audience. After a little relaxing back at the cabin, we went to the neighbors to pick raspberries. The girls were lucky enough to pet a baby bird that was flying around the berry patch.
The girls went to my school with me on Thursday, so they could meet my students and see where I worked. (The last time the two oldest went to my job, they met the young lady that was married in Huron. When the young lady found out my nieces were in Huron we were all invited to her house before we left for home. They were happy to see each other again. She showed them a video of the elephant she used to ride in Thailand.) When we returned home it was kitchen time. The oldest made chocolate raspberry jam. The middle one made grandma's banana cream pie. The third child made a strawberry pie with a chocolate crust. The littlest made a blueberry pie. We all reminisced about reading Blueberries for Sal at Grandma's.
The last day was spent fishing. We haven't had much luck at the fishing hole this year, so I anticipated some bored kids in about 1/2 hour. That did not happen. I put the littlest's line in the water and before I could take 3 steps she caught a catfish. It was non-stop excitement. We caught 11 fish. They were pulling them out left and right. Time flew. Before we knew it we were late to meet their Mom and Dad at the Day's of 76 Parade. Luckily we made it in time and they watched the parade with their little brother.