Friday, April 27, 2012

Steph's 40th Birthday!

Our daughter Stephani had her 40th birthday on Sunday!  Leah and I were busy Saturday with a small craft show, so Steve and I left for Steph's after I got hone late Sat. afternoon.  It is a 5 hour drive to Steph and Cullen's in southern Minnesota.  They live about 6 miles south of Pipestone on an 11 acre little farm.  Their is house is very old and needs a lot of work, but is very comfortable.  They have quarter horses, and she and Cullen are busy ALL of the time with their horses, and attending gaming and  team penning events.  She also trains horses, breeds quarter horses and give riding lessons.  This is on top of holding down a full time job in Sioux Falls SD.  Both ride together to work, she at Excel Energy and Cullen is a diesel mechanic just down the road from where Steph works. 

They have done so much to this little farmstead since they've been married (4 years come May).  They have installed new fencing, tore down rotten out buildings, fixed horse stalls and made a nice riding area.  Now this spring they've had the chicken coop removed, and cleared out trees from the grove to start building an indoor riding arena. 

                                                At the  Pipestone National Monument 
Pipestone - a soft quarried stone that peace pipes are carved and sanded from.  The art work made of pipestone is beautiful and when polished is a deep dark red.  We watched an artisan work on one, and he is so proficient it only takes him 3 hours to make a plain pipe.  He was working on one with a buffalo head.  I didn't dare ask if I could take his picture - should have.   There was beautiful turtles carved and all kinds of pipes from little to big. 

Sunday afternoon we visited the Pipestone National Monument.  (this week all National Parks are open for early visitors for a free week)  Steph and Cullen had not yet visited this park either, so we had a good afternoon learning about how this area was used by Native Americans from all over the US coming to this area to quarry for pipestone to make their peace and ceremonial pipes.  The area is still quarried, but only by Indians, and all by hand.  Just like their ancestors used to quarry pipestone.  Pipestone is a soft stone many layers deep in the earth, and the documentry movie we watched first was so informative.  Then we walked the Circle Trail.  There are numbered markers along the trail and if you're smart enough to have picked up the little trail booklet describine features at each of the markers you'll learn more about the area!  Of course we didn't see the booklets, and met up with others that had one.  That family said they'd been there 4 different times, and this was the first time they'd used the booklet.  It was great information!  I picked up the booklet AFTER the walk and we intend to go back another time to check things out closer!  Early spring here and the trees just starting to bud. 
Stephani on the walkway below the falls.  This is Winnewissa Falls.  An 1870 view of the falls in the booklet shows two levels of falls, but in the early 1900's the falls were lowered about 8 feet by blasting the rim, creating 18 additional acres of tillable land for an Indian School at that time.
Steph and Cullen on the top trail.
A flooded quarry that won't dry out until late summer.  Visitors are not allowed to go into the areas that are being quarried now.  Spring snow run off fills the quarries, so most of them aren't being quarried until late summer and into the fall.  It takes many years digging off the top soil, the layers of quartzite.  The vein of pipestone that we saw in one quarry was only about 12 inches, with overlying Sioux quartzite.  Chopping and cutting through that is very hard.
There were some pictorial markers along the way.  This was Cullens first time here too, and he is part Indian.  His uncle is one of the carvers that here, and he didn't even know that!  I think he was very moved by this big of history that he wasn't all that familiar with.  The prairie land around the quarry is considered sacred ground, and years ago when different Indian tribes came to quarry the pipestone, they camped on higher ground to the west and north and only entered the quarry area for the obtaining pipestone.  The general belief held by many Americn Indians is that the stone was formed from the flesh and blood of their ancestors.  Pipestone National Monument is the only location where Indians have quarried the red pipestone and still quarry today.  There are several ceremonies held here yearly when Indians come from all over. 

So we all enjoyed our afternoon walk at this park.  Driving by, you wouldn't even know it is there.  Prairie land around and I can't wait to go back some time this summer to see the different colors of the grasses and with the trees all with leaves, it should look a little different.

Sunday evening then we went out to supper and Mad Mary's in Flandreau SD.  Yum, the food is so good there.  Then Steph wanted to go to the casino there to the Birthday Booth.  She won $42.00 to use there and with her money left from last year, she had over $70.00 to play with.  Of course, none of us won anything!  But we had a good time.   (It's not very often that we go to a casino-too hard to lose hard worked for money!)

So we had a great time with Steph for her birthday!  I'll post more pictures another day.  It's not letting me do any more here now.

Have to go to the doc today to hear my blood test results - will share that with you too.
Hope you're all having a great day!



Country Gal said...

Happy belated B-day to your daughter , sounds like a good time at the park, lovely photos. Hope all goes well with your blood tests ! Have a good day !

Far Side of Fifty said...

Great photos! Gene and I will have to visit that park, it sounds very interesting! 40 years sure goes fast..Happy Birthday Steph! :)

Lynda said...

What a great birthday present for your daughter - - - to have her parents and dogs come for a visit. It looks like you had a wonderful time. We love being with our daughters, too. It's really nice when they are also our friends.
Don't know what you're looking for with blood work but hope the results are the best they can be.