We’re together… at last!!!


After taking a new job in South Dakota, my family stayed behind in Wisconsin until we had located more permanent living arrangements. It has not been fun seeing Jeanne and Nathan only once or twice a month for six months.

After packing up the last of our belongings, this weekend we set off for our new home in the scenic Black Hills of South Dakota. We stopped overnight to stay with Jeanne's family in Iowa.  It was a long trip hauling our three horses, two dogs, seven cats and silly talking whistling parrot.

We're all finally here and what a relief it is! 

Our new place is located about 30 minutes south of Rapid City. It is not far from Mt. Rushmore. Our land includes 50 acres of mixed ponderosa pine forest interspersed with grazing for our horses. We have seen wild turkeys and mule deer every day we have been here. We hear that occasionally a local herd of elk passes through.

It is a log home was built by hand from logs harvested from the property. The hard work, attention to detail and love involved definitely shows. Had we not been as fortunate to find such a place, the only other way to live in such a home would have been to build it by hand ourselves. That would have been a lot of work.   

We have apple, pear and peach trees. I tasted one of the pears and the juice was sweet ambrosia. I will miss the orchard and grape vineyard that I began in Wisconsin but greatly appreciate the fruit trees we have here.

The trip took a total of about fifteen hours but our horses did fine. Unlike some folks' horses, we have never had any problem loading them into our trailer. I suppose it is because we have been careful to make sure each trip is a positive experience for them. Nevertheless, they were happy to be out of the trailer and to fill their bellies on some hay.

We look forward to now live in a place again where there are countless miles of trails to ride on. When I do one of my long trail training runs, I'll put Jeanne and Nathan each on a horse so they can both come along. We'll pack our lunch on the third horse.

There also is a unique straw bale house/barn. It is not complete and will need a final coat. We are thinking of a terra cotta clay color to make it resemble the adobe construction of the southwest that we love so much.

As you can tell, I enjoy the log outbuildings almost as much as the house. We will miss the timber frame 150+ year old  dairy barns we had in Wisconsin but we will find a use for these sheds and structures. 




We are looking forward to enjoying the hot tub, preferably while sipping a mug of cold homebrewed beer or glass of homemade wine. 



One of the best parts of our new home is that it is located right on the edge of a cliff. It is a long way down which my photos do not do any justice to. The first night I sat out on the deck and looked up to see the endless stars that make up the Milky Way. We have only a few neighbors; it is very quiet here with only a few distant electric lights to contaminate the darkness. We are looking forward to getting out the old telescope from my childhood and exploring the heavens.


The inside of the cabin is as unique as the outside.  It is great to have a place where our moose head, elk antlers, cowboy gear and replica wood cook stove feels right at home.

The home was built in stages, giving it an open yet pleasantly jumbled and unpredictable feel. I hate the standard floor plans of so many of the newer developer built homes. If you've seen one, you've seen 'em all. I could find myself around most unfamiliar new homes in the dark… not so in our home…many get turned around, even with the lights on.

A home with a somewhat more disorganized floor plan might drive some people crazy, but  we love it. There is no other place exactly like this anywhere.   

Nathan loves our new home too. There is a plank rope bridge going across the great room from one part of the home to his room. It creaks when you walk on it but is much sturdier than it looks. Nathan was excited to find several hiding places and secret passage ways between room and hallway with hidden doors.

I wonder home many other undiscovered secret places there are?  Aren't secret passages every kids's dream? 



Above are the views from the guest bedroom. We cannot wait until our friends and family can come visit. 


I am looking forward to running on the gravel back roads around the area. No more pavement or side walks for me to run on again, unless I happen to be visiting the city.

With all of the effort dedicated to moving this past week, I have only gotten a chance to fit in one run since doing the Boulder Marathon last week. I need to take some time and get more runs in. There is a local trail marathon going to be run here on the Mickelson Trail this Saturday. I don't know how well my legs have recovered but they feel fine so I decided what the heck and registered for it. This will definitely be a training run at my 50 or 100 mile pace so it should be no big deal. After all, it is only a marathon.  

I am looking forward to soaking in that hot tub, enjoying the view and listening to the birds after this and all of my other runs in the future. 

Ever since I was a boy, I have dreamed of living with my family in a secluded log cabin in the mountains. I cannot believe that this dream has finally come true.

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12 responses

  1. Rock on! You scored on the new dwellings. What an awesome valley that the house looks over! You must be ecstatic! The potential trail running is enough to make me drool… Congratulations…I look forward to visiting and running with you there some day. Again, wow.

    October 1, 2008 at 9:34 pm

  2. We cannot wait until you can come out for a visit and some running!
    I tried to walk the property line but had to give up because it went straight down a canyon and I wasn't wearing the proper footwear. Some of the fences are down from elk running into them I believe.
    It is totally awesome here and still hasn't sunk in that this will actually be our new home and not someone else's vacation home that we are visiting.
    It is hard to leave to go to work, I'd rather stay home and chop firewood, fix fence or do other chores. It helps that I love my new job and enjoy the colleagues I work with.
    Still, it will be hard to stay at work late when I have all of this waiting for me at home.

    October 1, 2008 at 9:44 pm

  3. Ash

    Tom! I am so happy that you are all together again! Your new home is absolutely beautiful; I can’t believe the views… What a very special place. It’s just as amazing as you described it. Chris and I can’t wait to come as see all of you! We miss you tremendously. Hugs- Ash

    October 2, 2008 at 1:54 pm

  4. Ash! We can't wait for y'all to come up and see us too! Hopefully it ca be soon!

    October 3, 2008 at 4:40 pm

  5. STUNNING!! Congratulation – what a perfect dream home!! Congrats on having your family (person and animals) back together. What a wonderful life 🙂

    October 3, 2008 at 6:38 pm

  6. Congrats to you two!

    October 4, 2008 at 1:26 pm

  7. Yes it is good that the entire family (and that includes critters as well as people) is together again!

    October 5, 2008 at 11:31 am

  8. You'll all have to come visit sometime. We still would like to take a trip to see y'all some day too.

    October 5, 2008 at 11:32 am

  9. WOW – what a great home! I love that bridge!
    You're a homebrewer too, I take it… our current quaff is espresso stout (mmm), and our most recent wine is a Merlot, but we've accumulated quite a cellar of wines and meads, all improving with age.

    October 26, 2008 at 6:17 pm

  10. The bridge is cool.. but scary for some folks because of the creaks and unsteadiness.
    Homebrewing is the perfect hobby for runners. How else to best burn off those extra calories? The hardest part of moving was leaving behind my 21 wine grape vines. Oh well, I will plant some as soon as I get a chance. In four or five years they will be producing.
    The expresso stout sounds great; I've made coffee stouts and porters before.
    I keg all of my beers and at times have up to 6 or 7 on tap. The trouble is that I enjoy creating new recipes so much that I make more than I could ever use. Fortunately for me, friends and neighbors never seem to mind helping out with the consumption part.

    October 28, 2008 at 7:27 am

  11. Tom,
    it's lovely. I can't wait to visit your "HOME" – for the sake of old time, u know how much we love spending time with you and Jeanne and getting to know more of Nathan, since our separation!

    January 25, 2009 at 8:41 pm

  12. We look forward to when y'all can come visit too!

    January 25, 2009 at 8:59 pm

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