Select Page


Every Friday, I share a few of the activities that took place during the week on our farm in eastern South Dakota. We raise corn, soybeans, wheat and beef cattle. Farm life is based on seasons, the weather and the needs of our livestock – so each week is often unpredictable!

This week…John and I went on our honeymoon! We traveled less than an hour from my hometown to Hermann, Missouri. DSCN5537

We really enjoyed our visit to the quaint, historic German town nestled right along side the Missouri River. DSCN5531

Today, the town is most well-known for good german food, great wine and several comfortable bed and breakfast businesses.DSCN5555

However, in high school I thought of this town as a major personal rival. I ran on the cross country team and we dreaded coming to run on the high, steep hills at Hermann. We also feared competing against the Hermann runners when they traveled just an hour away to our much flatter landscape in Centralia. The Hermann Cross Country team was always in excellent condition because they had such tough hills to practice on each day. If my memory serves me correctly, they won state several years in a row.

It was very fun to come to Hermann with John just to enjoy the grapevines & wine without having to run a 5K!DSCN5575

John was a trooper about trying wine with me! Although, he definitely doesn’t take himself too seriously while tasting. Here, he poses as the Blachford family sommelier, selecting wines for our large wine stockpile. Just kidding. But…actually…bring on the Missouri wine! This stuff is good!


The Missouri River is the prettiest part of Hermann, even better than the neat old buildings. I had to laugh at the conversation John & I had about the river. DSCN5605

Sierra: Isn’t the river pretty?

John: Ya. I wonder how many acre-feet of water are moving by us right now? I wonder how long it took that water to get from South Dakota to here?

Sierra: What the heck is an “acre-feet?”

John: It’s a measurement for large quantities of water.

Sierra: Oh….I just thought it was a pretty view.

Conversation conclusion: Boys are way different than girls.

Hermann History

This small town was settled in the 1840’s by German immigrants, the strong German heritage is still present today in the food, architecture, decor and last names of local residents. The immigrants decided to settle in this region because the rolling hills and wide Missouri river reminded them of the Rhine River in their homeland. DSCN5577 DSCN5565 DSCN5538

I felt right at home here, because my mother’s side of the family is VERY German. Their last name is Diederich. This sign was placed in front of a local home, I was shocked to see what excellent condition the small home was in after so many years. It had faired much better than our farmhouse & it was some 40 years older. The little house was tucked deeply into the side of the hill and hidden by trees, so I wasn’t able to get a good photo.

“Haus” is the German word for “house.” DSCN5619

I had to chuckle at the last name of the real-estate agent: Oelschlaeger. What a solid, German name! I have NO idea how to pronounce this name, but I bet my German Grandmother could help me out. DSCN5562

When we pulled into Hermann, one of the first things John noticed (shortly after the acre-feet of water discussion) was a local farmer baling hay high up on the river bluff just outside of town. DSCN5585This hilly, river country is much different than baling hay on the prairies of South Dakota or flat land around Centralia, Mo.DSCN5618

One afternoon we drove out of town to visit a winery and I was able to get a good picture – from several miles away – of the hay field John had spotted. Quite a view of the Missouri River for hay baling!


When we left Hermann, we stopped at my Dad’s to re-hash the wedding reception, eat some leftover steak & pick up a few gifts. On the way, we saw some mid-Missouri farmers planting beans into the wheat fields they had just recently harvested. John was very impressed (and envious) of their ability to “double-crop.” Missouri has a longer growing season (more warm days) than South Dakota so some farmers are able to harvest two crops in one growing season from the same piece of ground. photo

My sisters were busy mowing pasture & hauling hay before we arrived but they took a break to visit with John & I before we headed North. My sisters & I are some of the most “cuddly” people you’ll ever meet. Naturally, the four of us ended up squished in on one couch. photo

After stopping at my Dad’s house, we went to Omaha’s Henry Doorly The best part was the “ski-lift” like ride that went OVER the giraffes, rhinos, koi pond, sea lions and several other species. We had so much fun on the ride that we left right after we finished riding. We felt we had seen the whole rest of the zoo! Plus, it was starting to get hot, so we decided it was a good time to hit the road.

DSCN5679Interesting things we learned at the zoo:

  1. Elephant mamas have udders by their front legs, not by the hind legs like a mama cow.
  2. Elephant mamas “rear” their calves for up to 4 years. That’s LOTS longer than a mama cow, too!
  3. Giraffes only have seven vertebrates in their necks – just like humans. Weird.

We made it home from the zoo just in time to take 4-wheeler ride to check on the corn, soybeans, alfalfa, pastures and cows. It was great fun! The soybeans were sprayed for weeds while John was gone. They were MUCH bigger than when I left around the 20th of June. DSCN5685

The alfalfa is about ready for the second cutting. We just need a few days with no rain in the forecast. DSCN5748

This bull is a real pain-in-the-you-know-what! I am ready to sell him, because he tends to jump fences and reek havoc on our lives. He’s in the pasture with a group of cows, but he always thinks the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Here he is bawling and making a big fuss, which irritates the bulls in next pasture.

He’s a good strong bull with good genetics – so I guess that’s why John keeps him around. DSCN5737

We looked for sick calves, sore feet or just any general problems. Everything seemed to be well except one mama cow had a sore foot, so John took care of her the next morning. Stewardship of the land and for our cattle is important to us. We do our best to care for our cattle and the land in a sustainable manner, by carefully monitoring both the health of the grass and the herd. These are the same cows & calves that I talked about in a previous Farmin’ Friday. Earlier this spring, we vaccinated them before turing them out to summer pasture. DSCN5743

John fixed a little bit of fence quickly, “Good fences make good neighbors!” DSCN5738

We are very glad to be on the farm now TOGETHER and MARRIED! We have spent the last few evenings opening presents a few at a time. It was quite the warm welcome when we arrived. John’s friends & family had hauled our presents back for us! DSCN5766

Such cute & creative wrapping! DSCN5770 DSCN5767Weddings are crazzzzyy fun & crazzzzzy overwhelming! Where am I going to put all of these lovely gifts?

Thanks for reading! We had a wonderful week on our honeymoon & starting to open presents, but most of all we are both glad to be HOME enjoying the rest of the beautiful South Dakota summertime weather! Hope you are enjoying summertime, too!




  1. Derina

    Sierra, glad you and John had a wonderful time together. I am surprised you have not rubbed off on him with white bulls yet. Maybe they would not escape the fence you might want to let him know they are better. (Your mom would be proud of you if you did. LOL) I am sure you are back to the wonderful life of farming and having fun.

    • Sierra Shea

      Someday I swear there will be a white bull, even if I have to slip some semen into the AI tank when he’s not looking 🙂 The surprise will come in the spring!

  2. Chris

    Congratulations on your marriage. I prayed for you and John this morning that you will have a life filled with love, joy and contentment and will walk in God’s will as you raise a family and grow old together. Best Wishes.

  3. Laurel Wilson

    Sounds like a wonderful way to start a marriage.


    • Sierra Shea

      It was!

  4. Curtis Bohl

    Did you mom tell you her college roommate (ie, my sister) was from Hermann? Our farm is just outside Hermann; dad enjoys reading you and your sister’s writing in the Advocate and would have enjoyed talking about farming with John.

  5. Kathy Hasekamp

    I personally think those are some BEAUTIFUL cows and THAT BULL~WOW! 😉


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hey, I’m Sierra Shea! I am so glad you are here. 

Where do I start with writing to introduce this blog? At the beginning, I suppose: I’ve been writing on various platforms online since 2013. I started blogging shortly after moving to South Dakota.

I am a mother and a maker at heart. I’m so grateful to be married to John and mother of three: Joslyn, J.D. and Jesse.

I am a self-taught decorator and designer. I am a brand new shepherdess and a Spiritual Director.

I love living in South Dakota, even though the winters & the wind can be a near-daily struggle.

Blogging is a grounding force in my life and it helps get me out of my head, unstuck and moving in the directions I always hoped I’d be going!