Thursday, May 4, 2017

Final Days in South Dakota


I have two excuses for not updating the blog for the past couple of weeks…… first, we have had very inconsistent internet. We have to drive up the road to the top of a hill to get connected and even then it is spotty. The second excuse is that we lost Barb’s camera and we were hoping it would turn up. It didn’t……thus very few pictures this post.
We closed on our property in the Black Hills last week so now it is official! It was a long and arduous search and it feels good to have someplace that we will someday call home. When is that someday? We will probably start building very slowly over the next several years but for right now we are content traveling and exploring this great continent. First up will probably be leveling the site and running power so we have a place to park when we are in the area.

We have been out to the property several times in the past 10 days, walking it, checking out every nook and cranny, envisioning ourselves living there someday. Besides being home to several hundred prairie dogs, the property has been used to pasture 3 horses the past several years. Funny thing about that…… When we asked if the owners knew whose horses they were they had no idea. A check with the neighbors resulted in some speculations but no concrete answers. Finally a son-in-law of the former owners said he thought he knew who they belonged to and would see about getting them moved.
The property is fenced on 2 sides but the horses shared our 45 acres with the adjoining 40 acres so the horses had free roam of 85 acres. One thing we learned about South Dakota is that if you don’t want livestock on your property it is your responsibility to keep them off, otherwise if there is no fence they range wherever they want to. Very different than Wisconsin where it is the farmers responsibility to keep their livestock within their pasture area.

We also ran across something else really cool on the property. It seems to be home to several Burrowing Owls that have taken over abandoned prairie dog holes. Stayed tuned as we try to get pictures of them.
We need to do something to get the prairie dog population under control. A few are okay but 100’s are ruining the pasture. Prairie dogs feed primarily on grasses and their roots which in turn kills all the grasses just leaving the noxious weeds or open land void of plant life. Of the 45 acres the prairie dogs cover about 1/3 of the property. When Barb was researching how to handle them she ran across an article about what great pets prairie dogs make! If fact they sell for up to $700 in Japan in $450 in New York. So to all the readers out there, when you stop by and visit us in South Dakota you will receive one prairie dog for free!!!!!
Walking the dog town.....
Several readers asked if there is water or power on the property. The short answer is yes to both. They recently brought rural water to this road so there is water at the road. All we would have to do is pay a $2,500 hook up fee and pay to have a pipe trenched the 1,700 feet to the building site. After that it is $80/month whether you use it or not. The other option is to install a cistern and haul your own water. Since we are a year or more away from getting serious about building, we are going to wait and see which direction we are going with the water.
There is also power in the area so that is definitely a bonus compared to a few other pieces we were looking at! I also met one of the neighbors who seemed very nice but then again they were from Wisconsin as well so of course they were nice!

We had hoped to move the rig out to the property but a late April snow storm changed those plans so we stayed our final week here at Country Charm.  Well actually 2 nights for me and 9 nights for Barb and the dogs as I took a 4 day “vacation” and went to central South Dakota to go turkey hunting with some friends. We had a great hunt and I was able to get one with my bow.
We did have one traumatic event over the past two weeks…... The day started like any other. We thought we were moving onto the property and were taking care of any chores that required power since we would not have hookups for the remainder of our stay here. One of those chores included getting my hair cut. Something Barb has been doing every 3-4 weeks for the past 3 years. But with the first swipe of the electric clippers I knew this experience would be like no other I had before. Barb gasped as she took the first swipe and said “I am so sorry” I knew immediately what happened and said “You forgot the guard didn’t you?” She just kept repeating “I am so sorry…..” Yup, she forgot the guard and I had a 5” strip shaved to 1/8th inch on the back of my head! She kept saying that she could fix it but somethings just aren’t fixable but she tried to blend it as best she could. Needless to say we got a good laugh out of it once the initial shock was over.  
The short strip really brings out the gray!
My friend Kevin returned to Pringle with me after turkey hunting and we spent a few days exploring our property and the surrounding area. Kevin is a general contractor and if everything works out he will be the one to build our place. We played with house designs, picked out a building site, met with the Highway Dept. to talk about putting in a driveway, talked to the electric company and several lumber yards. It was a busy few days but we now have a good idea on several key items.
We left the Black Hills this past Tuesday and since Kevin had to work the following day we drove the 13 hours in one straight shot! Have not driven that long in a while and it was very tiring. After being on the road for the past few years anything over 5 hours seems like a long time so 13 hours was really brutal. Barb and I drove the truck while Kevin drove the jeep. Everything went well until the 12 hour mark of the trip when Kevin noticed that one of the tires on the 4 wheeler trail was bouncing. He stopped to check it out and found that it had blown a ply resulting in a large bulge in the tire. He limped it home the last hour very thankful that he did not have a blowout.

It is good to be back in Wisconsin, it has been almost a year and a half since we have seen our family and friends in the area. We are only here a week and I think we have things planned everyday so I am sure it is going to go a lot quicker than we want!

39 comments:

  1. I worry about shaving too close on Ray by mistake too! Glad your property works out well for you. I bet you are wishing for some warmer weather though.

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    1. It finally started warming up right when we were leaving. Wished we could have spent another week or more out there.

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  2. I was wondering where you four went:) I was glad to see a comment on our blog so I knew you were out there somewhere. Congrats on settling on the property. I'm sure it is great fun to wander the property and plan for the future. Prairie dogs are so much fun to watch...on someone else's property:) How cool that you do have burrowing owls!! Love you new hair design! Maybe it will be a new trend:) I do understand those slip ups. I, also, cut John's hair and have said "I'm sorry" sooo many times!!! As John says, it will grow back and I'll wear a hat!! Enjoy your family visit!

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    1. Even if we manage to get rid of all the dogs on our property the neighboring property has plenty to look at.

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  3. Congrats guys...you must be pretty excited! Nice job on the haircut Barb. I think you should have evened out the other side too! 😜

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    1. Oh believe me, she wanted to but I would not let her!

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  4. OMG, good thing you have a good sense of humor on the haircut! Luckily I've never had that happen when I do Steve's hair. But he likes it pretty short anyway. How about an "after" picture? Sounds like things are coming along nicely with the property. I hear those "dogs" are good eatin'! You could put up some owl boxes here and there. They work great for gophers, should work great on the prairie dogs too.

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    1. Hard to get mad at something like that, it is not like I am going to work everyday.

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  5. Love the new haircut, Jim! 😁

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  6. Congratulations!! I can't think of a better place to call home. We've seen how they get rid of prairie dogs in Montana. You get lots of target practice! I had one of those oops moments cutting Steve's hair. He ended up looking like a q tip! It grows back but makes for a good laugh. Look forward to seeing you in SD one day!

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    1. We also had dinner with Phil and Rudee while we were there. It was great to see them and hear about the area.

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  7. Thanks for the laugh! Maybe Lisa can fix it.

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    1. Barb wanted to fix it by cutting the entire back that length. I told her to leave it and I would just wear a hat for the next month.

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  8. Cool haircut! Cut a strip on the other side and call them racing stripes :) As for the gophers.....a few hunting buddies and a 22-250 or HR17 works wonders. Free beers and burgers for the high total?? We have them here too unfortunately. Congrats on the land purchase and future build.

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    1. I put the word out to a few people in the area that they were free to stop by and take out their frustrations on the prairie dogs. I am hoping they take me up on my offer.

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  9. Looks like the prairie dogs have been feeding on your hair roots, Jim! Can't wait to see what the future brings for you guys on your property.

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    1. Ha, aren't you the funny one! We don't think we will get too much done this year but would like to at least get it "rig ready".

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  10. Great seeing you guys again and welcome to the neighborhood!

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    1. Great seeing you guys too. Right after I posted this I realized I forgot to write about our visit! We will be back in November, maybe sooner and will give you a call.

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  11. It is funny how many of us full timers have our wives cut our hair. Kim cuts mine also. I don't care much now that I am not working. Easy is better in this case. I would just shave it all down to that level. Wear a hat, it will grow quick enough.
    The property looks awesome. Do you have a name for the place yet?

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    1. No name for it yet.....we will have to give it some thought!

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  12. Glad to read that you are slowly getting things organized for the future build.
    We see lots of people with haircuts like that and they paid to have it done.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. She has cut my hair for the past 3 years and this was our first mishap. I think that is a pretty good average.

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  13. Congrats again on the property purchase! It's exciting stuff for sure! I'm sure Bill and I will settle down somewhere (or multiple somewheres) but we are so far from that decision! Good for you guys!

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    1. We are not in a hurry to build but when we found this piece of property we knew it was the one for us and wanted to lock it up before someone else bought it.

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  14. We are happy to hear of your SD plans. Another stopping point where we will have great guides

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    1. You guys are welcome any time! We need to get it leveled and power run then it will be ready for visitors.

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  15. Such an exciting time! We love rifing the Black Hills, one of the most beautiful places ever!!!! As for the dogs, how about Craigslist ad in Tokyo?

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  16. Excited to watch your progress!! And thanks for the laugh (at your expense) on the hair..

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  17. The hair cracked me up. Are you sure you didn't make her mad and it was a subconscious clipping? 😄 Very happy for you on the property and super interesting about the prairie dogs. They are cute little guys damage aside so maybe you could start a side business. Prairie Dogs R US!!

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    1. It is possible that the haircut was revenge for something I did, or perhaps didn't do. I will gauge her frustration level before getting my next hair cut.

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  18. Glad you found a place that is horse friendly!!!

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    1. You guys could ride your horses right to the National Forest from the property. Hope to see you and your sisters next weekend!

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  19. Oh my! I hate it when I forget the guard on Ron's hair too! Oh well.....it always grows back. Your property looks and sounds awesome.

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  20. Sounds like everything is falling into place just right... well except that patch of hair in the back. :-) Sharon has been using a flowbee on me since we began traveling to cut my hair and my last trim had a similar runway in the back.

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    1. We will have to look into that flowbee, maybe that is the ticket!

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  21. I don't envy you having to deal with those squeaky little prairie dogs. They are cute as can be, but kinda messy. Love the new hairstyle!

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    1. Maybe we should send a few to your Idaho property!

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