Meet the Mighty, Mighty Jimmy. Hazel's 1969 GMC Pick-Up.
Hazelnut likes to call her ancient pick-up the dude magnet because every time she fires up Jimmy and drives him into town some well-meaning fellow asks if Jim is for sale.
Bad Dog thinks Hazel is cool because she lets him ride in the back of her pick-up. Such shenanigans are okay out here but a blinky no-no anywhere one drives faster than 15 mph. (So sayeth Bad Dog's human.)
The nerve of those guys ~ lumping The Mighty, Mighty Jimmy into an impersonal category of buy 'em, sell 'em cars.
He is soooo much more than that. Hazel's Dad bought Jim way back when she was knee-high to the truck bumpers. He's an important part of the family.
Plus, he's the only guy that can reliably transport us yahoos into the remote outback of Western South Dakota. (When the going got tough, we parked my Ford Explorer by the side of the road.)
Hazel lives in rough and tumble cattle country where tall prairie grasses wave back and forth in a hypnotic pattern, very similar to ocean waves.
This important road trip was an inspection of her back-breaking labor earlier this summer.
When she planted 300 native trees in the sheltered areas of this wild land she inherited from Mom and Dad.
Think it's hard to make a living as a human?
Try life as a deer or an antelope. They don't exactly play out here.
They spend the better part of their day searching for water and protection for raising their young.
That photo above is a few of Hazelnut's 300 tree seedlings. They don't look like much right now but just you wait a few years.
As these seedlings grow, Hazel's trees will provide a safe haven for animals, a legacy to her family, and an essential windbreak to thwart the top soil erosion that plagues this part of the country.
So, that's the news from Western South Dakota as I make my way through the hinter lands, back home after what I was originally boasting to be my 'Still Can't Believe I'm Getting Paid for Gardening' vacation.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Update: Things didn't exactly work out as planned. I did not get paid. In fact! I sort of got fired.
You see, the foundation collapsed on my brother's house. Now, I highly doubt I'm such a curse that my showing up in town (after I swore I never would again) caused the old gal to give up the ghost. But ya never know...
Perhaps this old house, where I was born and raised, entertained the notion of a landscaping face lift, rolled her eyes and called it a permanent day. Or, maybe she just doesn't like me.
Whatever the case, here is the trouble I caused ~ the collapsed basement of my brother's home: