27 November 2016

Partly Cloudy, High 47°F

We are wishing and hoping that all you Hoten-Holler Foller-ers had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and a relaxing four-day weekend.  Thanksgiving is such a wonderful American tradition: the whole premise of giving thanks, eating until you need to switch to sweat pants, the family, the football, and especially the time off.  This is an awesome time of year, and we have a ton to be thankful for here in South Dakota.

We were happy to see all the progress on the house the week of Thanksgiving.  Sheet rock arrived and was unloaded.  The tongue and groove ceiling in the entry way was completed.  The guys worked hard until sundown on Wednesday.  Thanks to Todd and crew!

Thanksgiving was cold. There really is no way for us to leave and travel to see family, as we are kind of stuck here making sure the camper doesn’t freeze and the batteries for the solar power don’t freeze.  We decided to make the most of it. We had a relaxing morning, then we went to work splitting and stacking wood.  Reef fired up the smoker and cooked up a frenched-pork roast and baked potatoes.  I made some spinach/artichoke dip and corn casserole.  We moved our patio table into the house and decided to have our first Thanksgiving inside.  It was about 49° in the house, but we ate in there anyway, and it was awesome!

The two things we really missed were family and pie.  We decided we will definitely have family here next year if we can get anyone to come.  Since we missed out on pie, we have given ourselves a pass to have pie any time the opportunity arises all year. “Well, I really shouldn’t have pie, but I didn’t get any at Thanksgiving, so serve it on up!”  We really strive to be quite logical, especially when pie is involved.

We spent the rest of the weekend completing several projects that were on our list. We finished staining the timber frames on the west side of the house.  Thanks to Todd, our builder, we were able to use the tele-hand to reach the high spots.  Dave and I had no desire to put a ladder up to the highest peak, as the ground is quite sloped and the peak is pretty high off the ground.   We pulled the tele-hand to the north side, extended the arm, and I climbed up in the basket and stained the high parts.  Dave didn’t slack off by any means; to complete the inside of the porch he had to stand on a ladder leaning out against the beams, and this was quite precarious.  We just took our time and we think the result is beautiful. Plus, neither of us fell and cracked open our melons, so again, something else to be thankful for!

The other big task we completed was pulling out the rickety old cattle guard that went over Stagecoach Springs Road.  That thing has become exceedingly hazardous because some of the welds in the bars have broken.  You really had to slow way down to cross, and  more than one person has complained about it.  Cowboy Dave even put up a sign saying, “Cross at your own Risk!”  While the daunting old thing caused great concern to all crossing drivers, it served no real purpose as the cows would transit it fearlessly.  We decided it was time for it to go!

Pilot Dave used the bobcat to haul up several loads of rock from our build site.  There is no shortage of rock around here!  Then Cowboy Dave brought up his tractor to join in.  The two Dave’s chained up the heavy old cattle guard and pulled it out of the ground.  Cowboy Dave used his tractor to remove the timbers that framed the box in which it had sat.  Pilot Dave picked up and dumped loads of rock into the hole in the ground.  Cowboy Dave used his tractor fill in dirt and gravel on top.  They make quite a team, the two Daves!


Then our neighbor Sheri and her son Allen showed up with a huge loader and a big load of dirt.  They filled the hole with the dirt and hooked up the cattle guard and hauled it away.  Team DaveX2 worked to smooth out the gravel and now instead of a dangerous and scary cattle guard we have a smooth road.  I bet the UPS guy will be really happy, he won’t even have to slow down!

Meanwhile, the days are clicking away out here on Hoten Holler.  Granted, we only have about 9.5 hours of daylight right now, but it seems like the time is flying.  There is always something to do and it is usually fun or at least rewarding.  We are surrounded by some really great people and entertained constantly by some really silly cows.  We say we are living RFD-TV in HD, on widescreen and in stereo. We are both healthy and getting our fair share of fresh air and exercise.  Every day we are watching our house go up and watching the sun go down, counting our blessings, and thanking God for the weather which has been so mild. We sincerely wish all of you a belated Happy Thanksgiving!