Hoten Holler!


October 4, 2016

Halfway Around the Sun in South Dakota

2 Oct 2016 – Sunny highs in the upper 70s

Yesterday was laundry day, and thanks to solar power we were able to do several loads right here on Hoten Holler without any laundromat hassles and without spending a single quarter.  img_0658

Around 2PM, Linda called and said that the neighbor had found Red Butz, their renegade bull that escaped into the National Forest in June.  She and Cowboy Dave were going to round up the replacement bull, (B.C. – or Baby Cakes, or Butch Cassidy, or Buster Crab….no one knows his real name for sure!) and take him to Ned’s for the exchange of Red Butz.  This sounded like great fun to us so we went along to see if we could help, or at least help more than we did last time when Red Butz escaped!


Up in the pasture with all the ladies, there stood the big beefy beastie, with his pinkish looking eyes and curly white hair on his face.  B.C. is a Hereford bull and weighs about 1600 lbs.  He looks like he may just kill you, but he is really very sweet.  He lets all the cows lick his head and groom him, and he will even let Cowboy Dave pet him.  Cowboy Dave and Pilot Dave just walked up behind him, and Cowboy hit him lightly in the back foot with a whip and off he went.  It was like walking a dog as the two Dave’s walked him a half mile down the fence line back to the corral.  Linda and I rode in the mule, providing cow cake (a treat for cattle) and beer as requested during the journey. 

Cowboy Dave could not believe it.  He said he had never seen a bull be led away from the lady cows so easily.  He went right into the corral and right into the trailer.  What a good bull!  Linda called Ned to tell him we were on our way, and Ned said they had been chasing Red Butz since 10AM trying to get him into the corral.  Pilot Dave said she should tell him we had to do the same, and we were exhausted!  Ha ha.

We drove the trailer over to Ned’s ranch and as we approached the gate we saw two cowgirls on horseback riding towards us.  They were herding up two stray calves that had gotten in the forest and away from the herd.  It was really like we were back in an old western movie, but this is just daily ranch life for people out here.  Pilot Dave held the gate for them so they didn’t have to open and close it on horseback and they waved and smiled, and rode off to water their horses. 

Next we unloaded B.C. and he sauntered off like the easy going bull he is.  Then, we uploaded Butz.  He was a jerk and ran at Ned.  Ned hollered at one of the cowgirls, “I need a horse!”  and since they had their horses already saddled and ready to go, one brought him Rosie.  Rosie knew just what to do, and Ned, (who is in his early 80’s!) easily jumped up in the saddle and they chased Butz right up into the trailer.  It was exciting for Pilot Dave and me, although I think it is just ops normal for the ranchers.  We talked to our neighbor Ned a little more, and we both agree that people in South Dakota are just awesome.

We have been reflecting on the last six months, realizing we have been here half a year…halfway around the sun.  Dave and I agreed that this has really been the best summer of our lives. It has been a huge adventure and our only regret is we did not get here sooner.   

We have been getting up with the sunrise and listening to elk bugling nearly every morning.  We also see many white tails and hear coyotes, and some strange creature we cannot identify.  We are far too northern for a chupacabra, so could it be a Yeti?  Probably just an owl or strange bird. In the evenings, after the construction crew is gone, we sit in our future living room and watch the sunset.  We can hear cows mooing and coyotes yipping, and when it is dark, the stars are so bright we can hardly believe it.  So far, the autumn has been mild but we know that can change quickly.

The progress on the house has been great this week.  Todd and crew have been working very hard and the ceiling panels are on.  The windows arrived and we can’t wait to see what they will look like installed.

We know the posts are coming infrequently, due to our lack of internet, but we hope you are enjoying our story and we appreciate the views.


A Trip through the Valley with the Valleys

22-25 September 2016

Cold, Windy, rainy highs in the upper 50’s

Dave’s Mom and John came to visit us last week.  The weather had been beautiful and the first day they got here it started getting cold, rainy, and windy of course. Uninhibited as we South Dakotans are by the weather; we still gave them the grand tour of the property.  First we introduced them to our awesome neighbors, Cowboy Dave and Linda. Cowboy told them all about this area, and how we are right in the middle of the old Stagecoach route from Deadwood to Cheyenne.  Then, Linda and he insisted we take the mule (Kawasaki) to drive the area instead of just tromp around like we had planned.  It was very nice of them, and it made it easier on everyone considering the rocky/hilly landscape.  Thanks Cowboy and Linda!  img_0587img_0585

After the grand tour, we drove them up through pleasant valley to Custer and had lunch at the Buglin’ Bull.  Considering they were weary from traveling and we had plans the next day, we left them at their hotel in Custer with plans to meet up early and work.

We had originally planned to put them to work with some tree limbing and slash pile dragging, but the weather was wet, leaving the build site a big muddy pit.  We decided to take them to go pick up 30 bales of hay that we would use as insulation for the camper. 


After this we took them on the not-so-touristy trip through the Red Canyon, where Cowboy took us months ago.  We showed them the old mining shafts and the site of the Metz Massacre, then we continued down to the town of Edgemont and picked up old Hwy 18 to drive up by Rocky Ford Road where we almost had bought property, but are glad we did not.  We continued the scenic drive up through the town of Hot Springs and through Wind Cave National Park where we got to see tons of bison grazing in the cold, dreary weather.

The next day, we were up early in Custer for the much more touristy drive through the Needles Hwy.

We continued down through Rocky Mountain National Park and we watched the “Spirit of Tatanka” movie at the visitor center.  They really enjoyed it and then we took the backroads off of the Wildlife Loop to see herds and herds of buffalo, tons of antelope, and of course, prairie dogs.  We ended up in the booming metropolis of Pringle at the Hitchrail Bar for a buffalo burger and some chili.

We had a great visit with Mom and John, we only wish the weather would have been better.  It was great to see them both and we hope the next time they come we can host them in our home and they won’t have to stay in a hotel.

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