Saturday, October 5, 2019

The Leaves are Changing

It seems like so much is going on and yet not going on. Our new driveway has been finished, finally. Lisa got her final notice that her father's trust is now finished after dealing with that for over 2 years. The permit process for our next phase of our project has just been approved, so we can start on that part. Things are getting done.

And yet as we sit in our little Hobbit House on our property, we can't help but wonder why things can't move at a more rapid pace? After all we started back in April. Even when we talked to the builder the very first time, he was optimistic we could have a structure up by late October. In fact everything we have been dealing with, someone has said that it could be done in half the time. For instance our driveway. We started in April and were told that soon as the ground thaws they could (I guess "could" is the key word here) start the driveway. Another for instance. When we originally met the lawyer after Lisa's father passed away, he told us he had everything in order and it would take only a "year" at max to finish his estate. So if you were to look in Webster's dictionary under the word PATIENCE, you will see our pathetic faces.

Like I said, we sit in our Hobbit House  on our property.

We really like it out there. It is peaceful and we have met some of the neighbors now. I caught this cute deer on our Sasquatch cam.
We are still staying busy out here. Still clearing brush when we can. I want to share this with you and I know some people in SD will think that I am making it up and they know who they are. The sad reality is, is that I tore my rotator cuff in my right shoulder, honestly. So I am very limited on the amount of work I can do. I have a doctors note and everything.

I can however run equipment. Remember when our new driveway washed out from some torrential rains and looked like this?
We knew that this would be a recurring problem so I bought this at the local Home Depot for a couple of hondo's(hundred dollar bills) a box grader. In hindsight though I would try to find one with wheels for easier transport. But this baby does the job!
I drag this behind the atv and it works wonders on fixing the driveway.
.

The rains have started and we are getting rained on almost every other day. The weather has drastically turned cooler also. From the 80's two weeks ago, to the 40's now. We keep watching the weather to see if we have to move out of the camper and into Beverly's basement. Things were looking good for us one day and then the next you look at the long range forecast and it changes. Our plan was not to leave our super secret undisclosed location until mid November because of baby reasons.

With it getting colder we are going through some serious amounts of propane. We have no hookups out here yet so everything is being run on propane. The heater, fridge, stove, oven, water heater and our generator. A 20lb. tank will last 3-5 days depending on the outside temp. For some odd reason it always runs out at 3 o'clock in the morning so I have to go out and change tanks in my underpants. So if you see me out at 3 a.m.in my underpants at "Q", you will know why.

Lisa has dug deep into her Scandinavian roots and made some Swedish meatballs from scratch. It was delish!
That's it in a nutshell. 

I almost forgot how good my hunting endeavors have been. We were driving downtown and all of a sudden this beast tried to attack us.
Luckily he was on the outside of the truck. I watched as he found a way into the engine compartment. So that night I set a trap. NOw for those that don't like to see hunters posing with dead animals, don't look at the next picture. 
Mouse kabobs for dinner!

"Glady's! Turn up the heat!"

Friday, September 27, 2019

A Close Encounter With Aliens

There has been some positive progress in our little piece of paradise. Try saying that real fast 3 times. We went in August to the J Bar B Ranch in SD and soon as we left town our contractor started our new driveway project.
They worked on that for about a week. It didn't take long. The highway department came to inspect it and they said that we needed a four foot concrete apron connected to the road. So we waited and waited. As we waited we had a week of rain. Lots of rain and our poor driveway looked like this.
We just watched the rivers of water and gravel flow back down the hill. It made us start to second guess this whole project. So we will have to watch and see how it erodes in the future. Our other option would be to black top it and that gets expensive.
The concrete eventually got poured and then they came back and fixed and finished the driveway. So now in mid September we can finally say that our new driveway is open for business.
We have to say that it turned out great. This is a project that Lisa's mom and dad were thinking about for years and never quite got to it. The paperwork process is what takes so long. As an added bonus, the power company has been out clearing the brush under our power lines so that they can energize our lines. 



When Lisa's father purchased this property, he had power lines run back into it but never had the lines energized because there was nothing back there. So it has made that part easier for us as we go forth to build our garage. We don't know if he had ever planned on building something back there but we feel very lucky that he gave this to us and in a way it will kind of be his legacy so that we can still enjoy that property.

I like to jump on our atv's and drive our trails that we have made. I usually tell Lisa that I am going to patrol the back 40. Well on one such patrol I came across this in the woods.
It is huge. It is the size of a basketball. As I looked around I spotted even more of these things.
I have found about a dozen of these things. I think they may be Sasquatch eggs. Or maybe they are body snatcher pods. Whatever they are I decided to take matters into my own hands and take care of them before the government disarms me.
                                     
I loaded up some hollow points hoping for a spectacular explosion of Sasquatch or alien embryo matter. But nothing really happened as you can tell from my video-agraphers reaction. Satisfied that they were not a threat, I let the others live in peace. They are free to do whatever it is they do.

Our next project will be to clear the land where the garage is going to go. Permits have been applied for and now we wait again.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Rumor Control at the J Bar B

I thought that I would set the record straight after our visit to the J Bar B ranch. It is true that we visited Jim and Barb. That we don't deny. The reason we went was just to visit. I was keeping tabs on Jim's work progress and saw the perfect window of opportunity to visit. No heavy work was going to be involved. Actually not much work at all.

We jumped into our truck and slowly made our way to South Dakota. Carefully watching the calendar. We arrived at Jim and Barb's and was greeted by this sign.
Okay????????? "I guess we are in for a "beercation", I said to Gladys. We drove up to the house and it looks great. We can't believe how different it is from our last visit.
Last year when we were there, there was just the plumbing in and the foundation in. And with some very careful planning we were able to avoid everything to this point.

Although that upside down house wrap is still bothering me. Hopefully it will be sided by the next time we are there so I don't have to look at it. I don't know how they can sleep at night knowing that that is up there?

Now don't get me wrong. I would love to help. But in all reality I was born to be more of a supervisor than a laborer. 
As you can tell from my perfect stance, holding my coffee cup at the correct angle. Standing at the right distance to not be too close that I might be asked to get something and yet not too far away that I can't see what's going on and offer my words of wisdom. There's a fine line being walked here and it takes many, many years of working in the government to master it. So consider it mastered.
In this photo I watched Jim help unload his steel. I expertly stood out of the way. I like to give heavy machinery a wide berth.
This photo shows me staying out of the way again as Jim levels some gravel at Kevin's place.
And finally this photo shows me staying out of the way as Jim wires electrical outlets. I am sure there were many more incidents that I didn't photograph but I am sure you all get the idea. 

The beauty of this is pure genius on my part. For the many years that we have known each other I have been planting psychological seeds. Whenever we would get together the first thing I might say is something like this. "Boy it's great to see you guys again, but my arthritis has really been acting up." Or this. "Let's go for a hike but I have some calcification in my foot right now."

It has been going on now for years and they are at the point where they don't expect much from me. I think that they are just happy I am still breathing.

That pretty much wraps up our visit with them. We watched them do many things.
Here Daisy was doing a mind meld on Jim trying to talk him out of his rice crispy bar. I think that it was working.
Here is a group picture of us all. Luckily I was able to get out of my scooter long enough to take that. 

We had a great visit as always.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Re-Shaping the World as We Know It

As I sit here in our Super Secret Undisclosed location, hunched over a computer screen like Dr. Evil,
stroking my hairless cat. I can't help from using our countries spy satellites to spy on myself. I use the Hubble Space Telescope to look down on our land to see what it looks like from outer space.
This is our land in a certain midwestern state. Sorry for the quality of the picture. I may be an evil genius but I still don't know how to take a screenshot from my Chromebook computer. Lets zoom in closer.
And closer.
That group of trees in the middle is our focal point. They are the only pine trees on the property. Everything to the left of those we have cleared now in preparations for our garage. I shall have a talk with NASA to fly over and get a more up to date picture.

The work has finally begun on our new approach road. We can't believe it.
This is looking down to the highway from our hill. They have removed the shoulder so that they can pour a concrete approach.
They have also installed the new culvert. In our wildest dreams, we never thought we would own a culvert. But look at us now. Is that a sign of success? Hmmm.

We have signed all of the papers to get our new garage going. We have gotten estimates for wells, septic systems , electrical systems and land prep. So with all of that done we decided to go out of town for a little while. And of course as we did that everything started to move. This approach we were hoping would have been done while we were in Alaska, but it wasn't. They started the culvert weeks ago and then nothing. Soon as we get to South Dakota the phone calls start. At least the project is rolling again.
Here they have started cutting into the hillside.
Nearly done. It doesn't take long once they start and have the right equipment.

Once we get back to our super secret location, we hope to be able to pull right into our very own little piece of paradise. More picture to follow.


Monday, August 26, 2019

Drifting Along

Things are starting to move along with our property now. Thank the maker. The new road approach is underway and we have met several times with our garage builder. So we decided to take a little vacation from that project and take care of some bucket list items and sneak up on some people.

First item on the agenda was to travel down the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota. We have lived here in the Dakotas and Minnesota area all of our lives and I don't know how many times we have passed this roadside attraction and have never stopped. We have time on our hands so we decided to take the road less travelled. Now according to legend, the town of Regent was dying and one person who identifies with the male gender, took it upon himself to create giant sculptures to entice people to travel to Regent, 32 miles south of the interstate. First sculpture is called "Geese in Flight".
These sculptures are spread out over a 32 mile stretch of highway to Regent. So to see them all you have to make the trip. GENIUS! Next up, "Deer Jumping a Fence".
It's an optical illusion because they look like they are jumping over the camper. Next up was a fishing sculpture but it was raining so I didn't get out of the truck. Besides, it was just fish anyways. Here is the photo of the fish, courtesy of Gladys.
After that giant grasshoppers.
The grasshopper wanted to eat our camper. Next sculture down the road was giant pheasants.
I almost hit these pheasants as they crossed the road. Next up. An American Hero. Theodore Roosevelt. I almost hate to put this in the blog because someone may want to tear it down.
Then the last one is the largest tin family.
So that is the end of the highway. They have 2 more sculptures in the works. They are just waiting for some land to put them on. The little town of Regent is trying to hang on and it would be a shame if it didn't. Growing up in this area of the country we have seen town after town fade away. That was a bucket list of ours and now it is in the bucket. 

Our next destination is a place just across the Montana border in the Custer National Forest. Someplace that I have not been to since Custer was a corporal.(Those that don't know, Custer was a General, HAHA)

It was actually about 30 years since we have been there and as we enter our old age, our memories are getting a little fuzzy. Case in point is that we were following what signage they had, which wasn't very good at all. We turned down the road we thought we had to go down and we look at each other and Gladys says to me, "Tango, this doesn't look familiar."
"I know what you mean Gladys. The road I remember was a wide gravel road that looked less like a goat trail and more like a road." So we continued on thinking that this had to be the place and after 30 years it would have to have changed. It looks like this road has not been maintained or used hardly ever. I am just glad we didn't have our fifthwheel.
Thankfully the sign that we could read said that the campground was 3 miles away. I just hope we don't meet someone coming the other way. Well we did find the campground and we were the only ones there.
Our memories failed us because this is not the campground we wanted. They had a forest service map and it confirmed the fact that we were in the wrong spot. Oops. We decided to stay the night anyways and do some exploring. The price was right. Free!
I climbed a hill to take a look at our surroundings. Lisa took a picture of me on top looking down.
That white spot is the camper in the trees.
And our surroundings. We really like being out west. The emptiness of the terrain and just looking at how vast the views can be. We were talking about how we were the only ones in this spot and compared it to Canada and Alaska. The difference now being that we can protect ourselves with something other than a can of bear spray. And I'm not talking about a rolling pin.

After an uneventful night we packed up and headed to Belle Fourche, SD. I sent a message to a friend telling them we were on our way and I thought that it was funny when my phone auto corrected it to Belle Douche. So know Belle Fourche has a new name for us. 

We are at the Belle Douche reservoir. Free camping. You can't beat that. I think this is the closest that we have ever camped to a lake or any large body of water. As we drifted off to sleep we were soothed by the constant lapping of waves against the shore. This was a nice campground except for the flies. That would be my only complaint about it. Where to next? We don't know yet. We are just winging it. Our reservation for the J Bar B isn't for another day so we will find another place we haven't been to before to explore.

I hope that no one is eating for this next part. The following is just another example why I don't really like some people. We stopped at the RV dump station to take care of some business. Those with RV's know what I am talking about. For those that don't, we had to dump our waste tanks. Everyone has to do it sooner or later. So we pull into the dump station to this sight.
That's toilet paper all over the ground and guess what those little nuggets are? It makes me think that the idiot that did that just didn't bother hooking up a hose and just let it fly. The mentality of this idiot makes me just shake my head in disgust. Even if it was an accident or on purpose, take time to clean up your mess before the next person has to deal with it. 

We reached our next destination. Another reservoir called Angostura Recreation Area. It is in the southern Black Hills of SD near the town of Hot Springs. It is a very large area for camping and it is close to the Black Hills. 
Up next is going to be our adventure at the J Bar B Dude Ranch. We can't wait for that hilarity to begin.