Food, Community And All Things Sustainable

June 30, 2011

Chamberlain, SD in Stare Down with Missouri River Over Boat Ramps

In a Stare Down with rising flood waters on the Lake Francis Case portion of the Missouri River, the city of Chamberlain has erected a temporary boat ramp – with proper permits from the Game, Fish and Parks Department. The permanent boat ramps at American Creek Marina and American Creek Campground have been closed.  

American Creek Campground is under seven feet of water, so you simply cannot access the permanent boat ramp. Water is so high that boats cannot go under the American Creek Bridge to access the marina. Well, that really doesn’t matter, as that boat ramp is also underwater.

The temporary boat ramp was erected using the entrance to American Creek Campground. The natural incline of the entrance makes this a logical choice.  “Use at your own risk.” says Mayor Doug Nelson. Boaters are smiling a bit more these days.

Here’s a before shot of the location for the temporary ramp.  Trees way in the background mark the usual location of the Missouri River.  In the 5 days since this photo was taken, flood waters have risen to the gate.  We are being told it will be better in August, maybe September.  In the meantime – get yer boat out on the River and enjoy yourself.

June 27, 2011

Chive Blossom Vinegar

It is so easy to make Chive Blossom Vinegar.

Pick chive blossoms - you will need enough to fill a glass jar. Pull off the little paper wings at the bottom of the blossom.  Rinse the blossoms, and dry them - a salad spinner works great for this step.

Pack chive blossoms into the jar. Pour enough white vinegar into the jar to cover the blossoms. Screw on jar cover. Allow to steep for 2 - 3 weeks in a dark place. A cupboard is a good place. Resulting vinegar will be a lovely shade of lavendar and will taste like - well, chive blossoms.

Strain the vinegar, toss the blossoms. Add a spring or two of chives with blossoms attached to a bottle, pour in the chive blossom vinegar.  There you have it...a lovely lavender colored chive blossom vinegar suitable for gifting. 

June 26, 2011

Urban gardening

Last week I rang up my friend Mark from Muddy Pumpkin Farms, and asked if by chance he was coming near my place of work and could I please order some fresh veggies.

Well, not only was he coming my way, he was able to deliver the order directly to my house.  Part of the order was "lettuce, whatever you have. I love lettuce." Well, for the settled upon price, I received* broccoli, cilantro, scallions, fresh garlic, snow peas, kale, potatoes, radishes and a pot of lettuces.  Yup, that's right...a pot of lettuces. (*I'm thinking I've forgotten an item or two, but most of the produce is already consumed, so I can't check the refrigerator for the forgotten item.)

My little urban garden looks so cute on the front step.  I can just hop outside and harvest the leaves I want. A daily watering and I'm set for lettuce for the season - thanks, Mark.

Oh, and that pot of lettuce has attracted inquisitive neighbors who come up the walk to see what kind of flowers I'm growing.  It gives me a chance to talk to them about container gardening and what we can raise right on our front step...thanks Mark! And then I put in a plug for Muddy Pumpkin Farm.

Back in the saddle as an urban gardener and educator...well sort of. And that little urban garden was moved out onto the sidewalk today to take advantage of the day's on and off rain.

They Said It Wouldn't Happen

Despite being told the Missouri River flooding this year would be less than what was experienced last year in Chamberlain, a record flood is happening.

The water rose several feet in just a couple days, forcing officials and hundreds of volunteers in Chamberlain and Oacoma to construct levees and sandbag utilities in an effort to hold back Missouri River flood waters.

If you are the praying type, please pray for us, and everyone affected by high water this year - there is another post coming on that. If you are not the praying type, send us good vibes and think good thoughts of us.

And please, volunteer - do something to help someone who needs help. Yes, I know you can't rush over here to help. Help in your community. Someone needs you today.

Now the photographic proof.  The Missouri River waters have risen up to the gate into American Creek Campground.  The trees way in the background - that's where the Missouri River is supposed to be.  All that water between those trees and the gate is the campground. Drowned out, unusable until August - that's what we are being told.  Like I said. Please pray for us.

June 20, 2011

South Dakota Tractor Museum

One of my favorite Kimball, South Dakota places to visit is the South Dakota Tractor Museum.  And my favorite display area is the "Women's Building"... it's also the best kept secret at the museum.  Walking into the Women's Building is like walking into my grandma's house. A favorite piece is the Hoosier kitchen cabinet, just like the one grandma had in her farm kitchen.

So much more is on display - feed sack clothing, musical instruments, equipment for washing clothes, ladies hats, handiwork. The bedroom, living room and kitchen displays can keep you busy all day - "Grandma had one of those." "Aunt Martha had one of those." - you get the idea. It is truly a walk down memory lane.

When visiting the museum, I've often encountered women out in the parking lot, sitting in a vehicle reading a book or magazine - unaware of the Women's Building which lacks signage.  Invited inside, they often spend more time in the museum than does their husband.

Ladies, when the man decides to visit the South Dakota Tractor Museum, there is no reason to stay in the vehicle because you are really not all that into tractors and such.

The Women's Building is at the rear of the Visitor Center, which also houses a Gift Shop full of locally made items and a used book corner. One other item you might want to check out amongst the farm equipment is a grasshopper chewed fence post from the 'Dirty 30s' will be surprised at what grasshoppers can do! Just ask one of the museum guides to show it to you.  If I don't mention the blacksmith shop and one-room school, those museum guides are going to me I'm mentioning them.

The South Dakota Tractor Museum is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. Guided tours available. No admission charged, donations appreciated. Interstate 90, exit 284 at Kimball, SD.