Autumn is my favorite season. I love the cool evenings, crisp mornings, warm days, and the changing colors of leaves, grasses, and bushes.
In the fall, my upright and I perform our Harvest Tales which are full of scarecrows, crows, and corn palaces. Yep it’s true, palaces made out of CORN.
In Sioux City, IA in 1887, the very first Corn Palace was constructed. It was large enough to contain a roller rink inside. The residents of Sioux City held costume balls in which the participants dressed as Scarecrows. You might think this sounds a little corny, but they decorated the structure with corn on the outside and the inside. The structure was constructed from wood, then they split field corn, maize, and other Indian corn in half. They nailed the cob to the wood. On the inside, the Ladies Auxiliary Club of Sioux City would use corn kernels to create mosaics depicting nature scenes or other interesting things. Sorghum, wheat, and even carrots were also used to decorate the interior.
The largest Corn Palace was in 1891 This Corn Palace was so large that it spread across Pierce Street and featured a large archway that allowed traffic to pass though. A balcony atop the main 200-foot tower allowed visitors to take in a magnificent view of the city and the surrounding three states. Concerts were held in the spacious interior.
Sadly, after the Great Flood of 1892, Sioux City never built another Corn Palace. When the residents of Mitchell, SD heard that Sioux City was not able to build another Corn Palace, they decided to build one of their own. They have featured a corn palace now for over 120 years. Their slogan reads, “The World’s only Corn Palace!”
If you’re interested in learning more about corn palaces and seeing some mighty interesting pictures, check out the following links:
Sometimes I dream about Corn Palaces. In my dream, I’m dressed as a scarecrow and I’m waltzing to a live band. The song is about corn and is titled “Corn is King!” (Which was a song written by J.G. Smith to commemorate the very first Corn Palace.) As I twirl around the wooden floor, I glimpse something with sharp teeth, beady black eyes, and a long slick tail. At first I think it might be Kitty (I think everything is a Kitty at first), but I soon realize that this is worse than Kitty. A rat has entered the ballroom and is proceeding to eat the beautiful corn mural of Romeo and Juliet. I leap across the floor to stop him, only to discover that he has hundreds of friends. They use their sharp claws and teeth to tear down the corn palace. As the palace crashes around me, I rush outside only to discover flocks of crows circling the palace. (Did you know that large flocks of crows are called murders? Neither did I!) A murder of crows blackens the sky until the sun is blotted out! I usually wake up right about now. I jump in bed with my upright and force her to pet me until the images of fiendish rats and murderous crows dissolve.
But my dream is partly true. The Corn Palaces in Sioux City did attract large numbers of crows, rats, and other birds. Mitchell, SD likes to say that their Corn Palace is the largest bird feeder in the United States!
I enjoy watching the Broncos. Mostly, I like the football snacks my uprights provide. Generally, I’m a very well trained dog and a good dog, but I do enjoy sneaking a chip every now and then. My upright should have named me Ninja! I stole a chip from a bowl without even knocking it off the table. In fact, no one knew I stole the chip until they saw me munching on something crunchy! Whenever I watch the Broncos I wear my lucky scarf. They always win when I wear it!
I also enjoy the commercials. My upright likes to teach me tricks during the commercials. This usually involves more chips or dog treats. We practice some of the tricks I know well such as sit, hi-five, and roll over, then we progress to new tricks. The length of commercials is a perfect time for dog training. It’s just long enough to practice something new, but not too long to make me bored or tired. My upright and I have been reading some new books about dog training. I’ve listed some of my favorite books below:
101 Dog Tricks by Kyra Sundance and Chalcy. The book provides step-by-step instructions and pictures. Chalcy, Kyra’s dog, sure looks smart. (But I’m pretty sure I’m smarter. Not that it’s a contest or anything.)
I also enjoy reading 101 Ways to Do More with your Dog! By Kyra Sundance. This book expands upon activities in which you can engage your dog. I’d like to try some new activities with my upright!
My upright and I are also reading the book Chaser by John Pilley. This book is about a Border Collie who knows a thousand words. Chaser even understands phrases and can correctly identify over a thousand nouns. Chaser is my inspiration. I often wonder if my upright had gotten me as a puppy, if I’d know a thousand words. Before I was rescued by my upright, Denise, I spent hours crated. I spent the majority of my puppyhood locked in a crate! But once Denise rescued me, I began to develop my natural curiosity and ability to learn!
I do know one phrase quite well, “Go Broncos!” They have a game on Thursday that I look forward to watching. “WOOOOF! WOOF!” Maybe I’ll teach Peyton Manning a trick or two for when he’s on the field!
I’m a lucky dog. My upright and I went running this week in several beautiful parks. I love trails that wind through tall pine trees and meadows dotted with flowers. I enjoy all of the scents left by other dogs and various animals such as rabbits, foxes, and even deer. We visited small ponds where fish and turtles swam and I saw a hawk swoop down and catch a large rodent.
My upright and I love Fox Run Regional Park. We like to arrive early in the morning and then we go for a run. My upright carries a collapsible water bowl and water bottle for me. She makes sure that if I need water, we stop. The trail is steep and challenging in places. Eventually, we wind through the woods until we arrive a two small ponds in the center of the park. The ponds contain fish and turtles, a large gazebo, and picnic tables. We love this park!
We also traveled to a park called The Homestead Ranch Park. This park was originally settled in 1874 as a homestead. It contains wide open meadows, tree studded bluffs, and a pond. The trail is not very long, but it is very scenic up on the bluff! The views are spectacular.
In addition to that park, we also met some friends at Spruce Mountain Open Space. The trail winds its way to the top of the mesa. The views are spectacular. A hawk was circling above us, then suddenly dove for the ground. I was a little bit scared! In its talons, the hawk had captured a rodent for breakfast!
On Labor Day morning, we ran the Pikes Peak loop which is a beautiful trail in the trees with a nice combination of shade and open areas. The trail winds through the Cathedral Pines community, with many wild flowers, aspen and pine trees, and lots of peace and quiet. The trail also connects to the Black Forest Park. Black Forest Park is one of my favorite parks although it was damaged by a fire in 2013. The trails are unmarked and there is a lot of erosion, so if you want to hike or run in this park, be careful!
Here are some tips to make your run enjoyable for your four-legged furry friend.
1. Carry water and a collapsible water bowl (esp. if it is warm out and if you are running a long distance).
2. If you’ve never run with your dog before, be sure to start out with an easy two mile run. After you see how your pet does on that, then increase the distance. My upright and I enjoy running for miles and miles. I love runs that range from 4-8 miles, but have run 10 miles. Border Collies were built to run and run and run, but not all dogs are like us.
3. If you have a young dog or a puppy, I do not recommend running with them until their hips are fully developed. Racing around in a back yard is different than running mile after mile with a human. We have to match your pace and that can be very challenging for a young dog. If you want to do some running with a younger dog, start with just a mile or two. Help them to build their running muscles!
Sienna, The Smartest Border Collie!
I'm a red and white Border Collie. I love performing with my upright, Denise Gard. I call all humans uprights, just so you know! This blog will detail all of my adventures and contain some useful dog tips for all dog lovers!