30 Jan 2017 – Sunny highs in the upper 40’s

We are still in the long, long, long process of what feels like an eternal move from Florida to here.  We are in the house now and have some spaces that are finished so we have been travelling back and forth to Rapid City to drag what we can out of storage.  Our first trailer load consisted of whatever we could grab from the front part of the storage unit.  We also maneuvered and wrestled our way toward the back of the unit, over the gun safe and heavy furniture to fish out the futon pieces and mattress so we would have a place to sit other than lawn chairs.  When we arrived home, and unloaded the trailer we were quite disappointed to find we didn’t retrieve two key pieces to assemble the futon and were stuck again with lawn chairs.  We also laughed at the contents of the boxes we retrieved as none were full of things we had been missing or couldn’t live without.  We had one box full of beer glasses, while quite useful they are hardly a bare necessity – especially since Keystone comes in its own glass (aka beercan).  We had one box full of random kitchen tools including a big cheese grater, a small cheese grater, a meat grinder, BBQ spices, fancy dishware that we never use, vases, and various other items we hadn’t seen in 10 months.  So if you came to visit after the first haul out of storage we would’ve given you a beer in a cool beer glass, but you’d have to sit on the floor….just like college!moving1

We returned to Rapid yesterday for haul #2.  We successfully retrieved the essential futon pieces and two bar stools.  We now have several places to sit and are quite happy about that!  We also hauled more of the easily accessible boxes out of the storage unit.  Unpacking boxes is much like Christmas morning, you never know what you’re going to find! This time we retrieved about 150 ammo cans, gun cleaning equipment, office/work clothes, flight suits and helmets, and the two end cabinets for the office desk.  Hmmmm…..Dave and I are both wondering why the heck we moved all of this stuff?  It is strange how living a minimalistic lifestyle for the last 10 months has changed our perspective as to what kind of things are important to have around the house.  Hindsight is 20/20, but if we could go back I’m sure there would be less boxes of random stuff that made the journey across the country.

On a related note, Dave and I were chatting the other night about how much our lives have changed since we have been here. One funny thing that happens when you are living in ranch country without a TV is that the appearances of people in corporate America or on TV become quite striking.  We are used to seeing our neighbors, friends, and each other in work clothes, sans makeup, nobody has fancy hair or nails.  We dress up on occasion but dressing up now means good blue jeans and boots.  After this becomes the norm and you finally watch the news on TV or see people dressed up in the big city, they look quite alien in all their fancy fluff!  Alternatively, we probably look like rednecks to the city people now, but we love it.  We went to town and I was wearing mud boots, a camouflage coat, a baseball hat that said “LaRue Tactical” on it, and a flannel shirt. I asked Dave if he thought I should have dressed better for our trip to the big city.   He laughed and said, “Look at me!”  And he was also wearing camouflage mud boots, a brown barn jacket, old jeans and a La Rue Tactical baseball hat. We laughed even harder when we returned from storage and I opened a box of “work clothes” including skirts, jackets and high heels.  Not much need for these things out here in the sticks!  The cows would probably not be impressed.

We also become quite used to the lack of traffic.  Even Rapid City seems crazy-busy compared to The Hills.  Here we worry about cows and deer in the road, not people texting while driving and not paying attention.  Both are equally as dangerous I suppose, but I feel the cows and deer inspire less road rage.

Another thing we appreciate about living out here is the real genuine niceness of people in this part of the country.  Our UPS delivery driver keeps some of his customers’ phone numbers in his cell just in case their driveways are too icy for him to make a delivery; in which case he calls or texts them and asks if he can drop their package at their church, at work, or with their nearest neighbor.  This just doesn’t happen anywhere else. 

Last week the electricians were here hooking up some of our fixtures and they didn’t have enough of one type of wire.  Dave and I were going to Custer anyway and asked if we could pick it up for them.  On the way to Custer, we stopped at the small mercantile in Pringle.  We doubted they had the required wire but thought we might ask and it turns out they did have some!  Dave went to check out and they said, “We don’t take credit cards.”  We didn’t have any cash so we thought we would have to make another trip but the clerk said, “You’re locals aren’t you?”  and we said we were.  She said, “Don’t worry about it, take the wire and just settle up with us the next time you come through.”  Again, this just doesn’t happen everywhere. 

When neighbors are burning slash, they call and say, “Don’t worry if you see smoke!  We’re burning slash.”  If you don’t call the neighbors when you’re burning slash the neighbors call and say, “Are you on fire?”  The Community Watch Program is in full effect out here. 

We are not saying that living in the country is better than living in a city or a neighborhood, it is just a nice change and since it is relatively new to us we are enjoying it immensely.

On the homebuilding front:

Chimney braces on the roof



Dumbwaiter in the mudroom




Barn door operational!  Bring in the barn animals!

As always, thanks for reading.  The Hoten Holler Homestead is almost up and running and we appreciate all the readers for sharing this crazy journey with us.  Oh by the way, it is still cold here and we have plenty of snow!

Snow drifts nearly over the top of the barbed wire fence posts
Real life Christmas Card on Hoten Holler!