Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

We just got back from a quick trip to Sioux Falls. As it turned out, we did not get to Blue Mounds State Park or Pipestone National Monument. The temperature hit 90 both Saturday and Sunday; and there was the kind of intense sunlight that goes through my skin like a knife. It hurts to be out in it. Sunscreen helps, but not enough.

Instead, we went to Mitchell, S.D. and saw the Corn Palace. The exterior is decorated with pictures made from seeds: corn, wheat, grasses and so on. New decorations are designed every year, around a theme. As you might is expect from South Dakota, the art is realistic. The seeds are specially grown, giving the decorators a full palette of colors.

Corn seeds come in pretty much every color, except (I think) green.

I just checked Google images and found white, yellow, orange, red, blue, purple and black corn. But not green.

Mitchell has the only Corn Palace in the world, the billboards say.

We also visited a small history museum and an archaeological site, where a 1,000 year old Native American village is being excavated. The museum is inside, as you might expect; and the archaeological site has been enclosed. We spent very little time outside.

Birdwatching is difficult in a moving car. However, I did see a zillion swallows and red-winged blackbirds; two yellow-headed blackbirds; a couple of killdeer; three herons; a couple of male pheasants, one without a tail, which looked very odd; a large hawk, which was almost certainly a red-tailed hawk; and some small birds hovering over the median that were (I suspect) kestrels.

Birds always make me happy. They are the dinosaurs that survived.


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