12 May 2016 – Sunny (WINDY) 63°F

Today we went out to the property to meet the water guys and get our water turned on….finally.  Unfortunately, they had already done that after some miscommunication and our hydrant hole is now full of mud.  Black Hills Rural Water – 2, Hotens – 0.  Now we are waiting for it to quit snowing (yes snowing!) so we can get back there and dig some more in that danged hole!

We also met with Todd (builder) and the solar guys and discussed where the battery bank would go and how they would trench for the conduit for the solar panels to the battery storage.  It was a beautiful sunny day and I wish I would have taken some pictures!  More to come.

After all the “business” was taken care of, we went over to Cowboy Dave and Linda’s to see if they needed help with anything.  We spent the afternoon stringing barbed wire between his pasture and the National Forrest.

We had begun this project last week, tearing down the old barbed wire fence and learning all sorts of new tricks from Cowboy Dave.   I am so happy to now have received some tutelage in the use of fencing tools.  (Pilot Dave has done this type of work before.)  I learned to use a fence post jack, a fencing tool, a post cannon, (actually Pilot Dave did all of the post cannon work), and a fence stretcher.  Last week we had jacked the posts and taken down the old barbed wire….some of it was single strand which Cowboy Dave pointed out has not been manufactured since the late 1800’s.  There is some history out here in the hills!  So we rolled that wire and he kept it as an antique.  We salvaged the multi-strand wire and reused it when we moved the fence.

The two Dave’s built an “H” which was two big logs that were driven into the ground with braces in between.  The H provides stability and tension for the barbed wire in the corners.  Then Pilot Dave used the post cannon and drove all the posts into the ground (sometimes into the rock!).  This was good exercise, and Cowboy Dave was happy to have Pilot Dave’s help!  We attached the wire to the H and the last post pulled it tight, and began hanging it on the t-posts all the way to the end.  We did 3 wires and have one to go, but about 4pm, Cowboy Dave said, “Is it time to go drink beer?”  And everyone knows the answer to that question.

So back up to the High Lonesome homestead we went and had a few Keystone Lights on the porch with our wonderful friends and their two sweet dogs.  Shortly thereafter, our other new friend, Matt, showed up with his 5 dogs!  Yes, 5 dogs….I’m in heaven!  Then, another friend showed up whom we had not yet met.  This man, Chad, had a rough week as his parents’ home burned to the ground on Tuesday and his girlfriend broke her back in a separate incident and was in the hospital.  Cowboy Dave and Matt had rushed to Chad’s folks’ place to help fight the fire but it was too windy and they were too late.  Chad said they were having a massive cleanup effort this Saturday and we volunteered to go help. 

So these are some things we have observed about the people in the rural Black Hills.  Neighbors are good to each other.  They want to help new friends succeed in their ventures into farming/ranching. They want to help old friends when things don’t go well.  They take advantage of the sunny days by getting up early, working hard all day and then drinking cold beer in the late afternoon sun.  No one ever pulls out their smart phone during conversation, in fact they rarely use cell phones. They love their dogs.  They love their guns.  They love their freedom.  We love it here.