Saturday, May 30, 2009

· Lilacs In June

Beautiful lilacs and their sweet scent
will adorn the breakfast tables in early June
at Mountains To Prairies Bed and Breakfast.

Below is the lilac bush on April 30,
with leaf-buds beginning to open,
unafraid of the unexpected frost.

The Hills are alive with the blooming of flowers,
and tourists—Welcome!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

· Prep Week and Spring Opening

This past week marked Sam and Linda's induction into Tourist Season 2009 (ready or not)Mountains To Prairies Bed and Breakfast, Smiling Bear Antiques and Smiling Bear Espresso Bar needed awakening from hibernation and preparatory grooming

The week began Saturday, May 9 with a Mother-Daughter Tea Party for Two. There was some hesitation on Linda's part when requested to host the party, because winter dust created by Sam's ongoing third guest suite construction project had not yet been gathered. However, the mother assured Linda that her young daughter would not be much of a dust inspector. So, Double Chocolate Scones were served, along with other treats, and organic tea!

Sunday, Mother's Day, we fled to the deep woods for rest and rejuvenation, finding fields of wild flowers, various wildlife, and sweet mountain air freshened with moments of light rain.

Tuesday, May 12 cleaning began in earnest, with the assistance of a friend. An antique shop that needs dusting—to Linda's way of thinking (she would rather be out hiking)—can be a formidable sight! But, having a cheerful friend in the same room doing the same task, and with conversation flying like feathers, Enemy Dust met its demise in just a few short hours. The protagonists were urged along by an added incentive...hunger pangs, in anticipation of a late lunch at the Alpine Inn Restaurant.

Volunteer Duster Snacking on Apple
May 14, after serving our guests breakfast, we spun into a whirlwind of pre-determined, as well as spontaneous, activities:
  • made two batches of jam, Chokecherry-Oregon Grape and Wild Raspberry-Strawberry (at the request of one of our B&B guests who arrived May 13 and wished to take some jam home to her husband). Prepared labels
  • made Wild Chokecherry Syrup, for our signature lattes and for breakfast french toast or pancakes
  • made seedless Wild Raspberry Sauce, for same use as above
  • more cleaning ... unpacking merchandise ... pricing
  • completed a batch of Dagoba Mint Dark Chocolate Truffles
  • naturally, other necessary tasks were tucked between the flurrying pleats of the day 
Sam too often observed potential customers pull into the parking lot, look at the Closed sign, turn around and leave—until, not able to stand it any longer, he let one couple in to do a bit of shopping, and visiting. He was ready; Linda had nothing left to do but to catch up.

Yesterday, May 15 we officially opened shop to the general public, while our B&B guests were out bicycling the Mickelson Trail from Hill City to Custer, and back. We enjoyed a prosperous first day serving espresso drinks and selling antiques, but felt especially blessed for the opportunity to converse with such interesting tourists.

Friday, May 8, 2009

· Your Relaxing Place

Yesterday a friend and I (Linda) had the opportunity to drench ourselves in the springtime beauty of the Black Hills Forest, along Playhouse Road. Intermittent light rain helped the sensation greatly, but certainly didn't dampen our spirits.

Sprinkles of rain scented the exhilarating mountain air with freshness, and enhanced intricate woodsy fragrances, as well as highlighted many otherwise subtle natural colors. My camera had not a minute of boredom, capturing the mellow sagey hues and lacy texture of lichen on moist rocks, as well as the brilliant green colors and spongy appearance of mossed-over logs. 

The picture below is a composite, featuring a lichen background and one end of a hollow oak log, in which the bear feels right at home... 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

· Guest Comment - German

Recent guests from Colorado consisted of Mom, Pop, their delightful little lady, and the girl's Grandmother. They all were a pleasure to have with us for their five-day springtime visit to the Black Hills. We showed them our BEAR picture of the weekend's adventure, trying to decide whether it truly is a bear in the back of the mine shaft—but only God knows for sure, and the bear. 

The girl is a rockhound, so we contributed a couple of rocks to her collection. She was particularly fond of the mica, a few pieces of which adorn a tray on one of our tables.

The Grandmother is from Germany.  We brought her an antique miniature framed hand-painted Germany red deer picture for her analysis, with the added question of whether it may have originated from the Black Forest. She suggested a loupe for discovering of what metal the frame is made, and translated the script on back of the piece. Her beautifully written comment in our guest book needed translating, too, so she graciously offered to read it, indicating that the longest word is akin to hospitality.

We thank all of our guests for their friendship and stories shared!