Thursday, August 31, 2006

Home Again

My sister, father and I flew home yesterday. South Dakota is a pretty place, and everyone is friendly. Saturday was taken up with family things and the wedding, so Sunday Nancy and I did touristy stuff. We drove out to Mitchell to see the corn palace (everyone kept saying "It's really small.") Turns out it's about a half a city block, and the entire exterior is covered with a mosaic made from ears of Indian corn. I can scratch that off my list; only 999 left.

On the way, we passed the Porter Sculpture Park. Since we had no schedule to keep we stopped, and it was well worth the $4 we spent to go through it. The artist was there, and he walked us through the park.
That's my sister standing next to this sculpture of an Egyptian steer. I think the artist, Porter, said it was sacred to the ancient Egyptians, but I was only half listening, I was so fascinated. It's hollow, so we went inside, and the interior details are incredible. The sculptor's father is a blacksmith, so Porter worked in the blacksmith shop all his growing up years, and uses smithing techniques to make his pieces from scrap iron and parts of old farm equipment. And it's all just sitting on the prairie, next to the interstate.
This is a reproduction of a dugout. The settlers came for the free land offered under the terms of the Homestead Act, and often the first shelter they could build was one of these, dug out of the side of a hill.
This is the interior. When there was rain of any amount, it could take 3 days for the roof to dry out. It's no wonder they had consumption!
This is a claim shack, only marginally better than the dugout, in my opinion, but at least it's not a hole in the ground. It's approximately 8 feet by 10 feet, and an entire family would sleep in there.
And this is the view. Practically nothing but sky and grass.

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