Monday, July 23, 2012

Make Room For The Dishwasher!

Imagine my glee when I came home to find Joshua working on demolition to make room for our new dishwasher on Sunday. Oh thank goodness! Finally! Yes! I cannot remember ever living without a dishwasher until we bought our home almost 2 years ago. Even as a kid, we had a dishwasher. Obviously, I'm capable of washing dishes by hand. I've done it for awhile now. However, my life will be so much better when I can just rinse the dishes and plop them into a dishwasher. SO much better!

So, this is where the project is right now. We'll have to hire an electrician for the wiring. Joshua is also installing a garbage disposal at the same time, but he hopes to do the plumbing himself. So it is still going to be awhile, but I am so excited the forward momentum has begun. Soon, our kitchen will be taking a big step toward the modern age. I could not be happier!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Germans from Russia

In researching my family history, I noticed that a great deal of my ancestors moved to Russia from Germany for a single generation before moving again to the Dakotas. I wondered why they would make such big moves. A move of that size had to have been such a big production and would take weeks, maybe even years. to execute. So why?

The South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center states, "Any Germans from Russia out there? Well today (posted on 7/17) is the anniversary of a somewhat important day in your history, and in the history of South Dakota. It was on this day 250 years ago in 1762 that Catherine the Great was formally crowned Empress of All Russia. However, she gained that position 8 days prior on July 9. Catherine the Great issued two manifestos inviting ethnic German peasants to come to Russia to escape conscription into the army and for a chance at a better life. Hundreds of thousands would come to Russia between 1763-1871. Russian policy changed in 1871 and the ethnic Germans began leaving the Russian steppes for the Great Plains of North America, as well as South American countries such as Brazil and Argentina. Many settled in the Dakota Territory."

Friday, July 20, 2012

Oehler Family History

Believe it or not, I am not the only one in our family with deep roots and family history in the Dakotas. Joshua's great-great grandpa was a traveling preacher based in Minnesota. Josh found some information that he possibly traveled through Yankton, SD. We found a church that may have been built shortly before his arrival. We are still not quite sure if he worked in this church but Joshua is hoping to dig a little deeper. It was built in 1873.

Several of his great-great grandpa's sisters and brothers settled along the Dakota/Minnesota border. We were able to track down his great-great-great aunt and uncle near Milbank, SD.

No day was complete without an amazing sunset over lots and lots of farmland. It was such a great and memorable trip. I hope that we get to go back again someday and explore some more. I felt like we didn't get to see nearly enough of North Dakota. I would love to travel further into Minnesota too.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Yankton, SD

 Yankton, SD (Dakota Territorial Museum)

Yankton, SD - Yankton Lake (we went canoeing)

Sunset over the Missouri River (just outside of Yankton, SD)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Little House on the Prairie

As a little girl, I was a huge fan of Little House on the Prairie. I remember feeling so accomplished after I finished the entire set of books. It might have been my first series of books that I ever read, which blossomed into my love for a good series. The books are set in various places. Toward the end of the story, the Ingalls settle down near De Smet, SD. This is where Laura's parents, Charles and Caroline lived out their days. Today, the property is open to visitors. It is a really nice, family-friendly stop. I think that all of the structures are recreations of what might have been, but not actual structures from the Ingalls Family.

 A Dug-out

A simple pioneer home



Ingalls' house



Flower garden


 Prairie school replica (Dakota Territorial Museum)

Teacher rules in Dakota Territory

Prairie school replica (Dakota Territorial Museum)

I picked up a book at Mt. Rushmore called Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life (South Dakota Biography). I read it as we drove across South Dakota and thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the story behind the story. If you were or are a Little House on the Prairie fan, I highly suggest picking up this book up.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Badlands

Oh my gosh, we loved The Badlands! I didn't really know what to expect. I certainly did not expect it to be THAT beautiful. Mother nature is the best artist.

I would go so far as to say that this was my favorite part of our trip. I really, really, really loved The Badlands!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mt. Rushmore

We came. We saw. We took pictures. We shopped. We left. Yes, Mt. Rushmore is amazing. Yes, everyone should see it. No, it isn't all that exciting.

Josh's highlight of the day was seeing two baby goats on the drive down the mountain. They were playing "king of the hill" on the side of the mountain while their parents feasted on some grass down below.

My highlight was taking an evening swim as the sun was setting at our cute, little German hotel - The Bavarian Inn. After lots of sightseeing, walking and driving, relaxing in the pool was perfect. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012


The drive to Deadwood was gorgeous. We wound our way out of North Dakota on small farm roads and imagined what it might have been like to take the stagecoach from Bismarck to Deadwood. 

Just across the South Dakota border, I felt like I stepped back into the 1980's when we were instructed to pump our gas and THEN pay. Really?

Bear Butte offered a feast for the eyes as the sun was setting. If we go back, I think I'd like to stay near there for a night.

We have been watching old episodes from the HBO program about Deadwood and so we both were anxious to see it in person. We pulled into town after dark and decided that we might as well take a walk around town since we'd been in the car all day. We stayed the night at the historic Bullock Hotel. Our room was really cute. I was in love with the old door knobs and key holes. 

After a solid breakfast at Bully's we were up and at it again the next day. I think that both Joshua and I agree that we were a little disappointed by Deadwood. It is sort of a mini Reno or Atlantic City, which is just totally not our style. Although the town could not be located in a more scenic setting and we did enjoy our time there, it was not quite what we had hoped it would be. Historic facts and places were often askew or missing entirely. It was hard to know what you could or could not believe. Maybe this feeling is true to the Deadwood vibe of the 1800's - lawlessness, swindlers and thieves. Either way, it was fun but not fun enough to be the highlight of our trip.


Wild Bill Hicock's grave

Overlooking Deadwood from the cemetery after walking up a really giant hill!

Seth Bullock's grave

After Deadwood we headed for Mt. Rushmore, driving through the Black Hills. It was another beautiful drive. More on that tomorrow!


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