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Gary Dakota

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since Mar 04, 2012
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Recent posts by Gary Dakota

Thank you, I did check the site out but it didn't really offer me any way to try and contact retired people who may want to live on a ranch for their retirement.

A retired person or couple would be ideal for me or best of all worlds would be to find three people, all card players and perhaps even divers or table tennis players and get them to want to live on this ranch.

Anyway thanks again for the site and if you have any curiosity you might like to check out a post I just made on this site under Permies forums under homestead and under "We want to move but where, please".
7 years ago
I will tell you a little about the area I live in a little later in this reply but first and formost I am on a mission to find someone who may be interested in a trade.

I live on a 5,000 acre ranch in the Black Hills of South Dakota and I am looking for an individual or family that might like to live on my ranch in exchange for doing a little cooking and a few other things for me.

What I have to offer is rent free living in a new home on a 5,000 acre ranch. The home will have all the appliances furnished and sits at the edge of a large garden area and apple orchard with a creek and pond nearby. You will have use of out buildings and a large root cellar and will be able to pasture 2 horses on the ranch along with having other small livestock. There is also lots of firewood and excellent hunting and recreational opportunities. The ranch is only a couple of miles south of Wind Cave National Park so if you want to see how beautiful it is click on their web site.

What I expect in return is 5 organic meals a week, (usually for 1 but quite often for two and a couple times a year for a large family group), 2 freshly baked loafs of bread a week, (in a bread machine that I will furnish), my home cleaned once a week or at least every other week and if you are willing to do my grocery shopping (paid for by me) I will furnish you an older pickup to use within 15 miles of the ranch, all expenses paid.

Now this tread was started by someone wanting to know where to homestead so I will point out the advantages and disadvantages of this area.

Advantages – no state income taxes, the ranch is in a banana belt where the average high temp in the coldest month of the year is 38 degrees and you can grow peach and pear trees here. You are defiantly in the American outback and the 50 mile drive to the nearest town of 60,000 people is mostly open and beautiful. The town of Hot Springs (pop around 5,000) is 14 miles away and has a hospital and most all necessities but no Wal-Mart. You have super well water, clean air, spectacular evening skies, all the firewood you will need to heat your home and to sell if you are so inclined, an abundance of wild turkey and mule deer, and you will only be 9 miles from a great fishing and swimming lake.

Disadvantages- you are only 1 mile off the highway and most of the time can hear it, you are in a zone 4 for gardening, the hail storms can wipe your garden out in a heartbeat, it can be hot and dry (but we have irrigation water), there hawks, eagles, owls, fox, skunks, weasels, mountain lions, and more to kill your chickens or even small live stock, the property taxes in SD are high if you wind up owning your own place and the wages are very low in this area.

Those are general advantages and disadvantages of the overall Black Hills and a few mentioned are specific to this area but there is one major consideration to the trade I am offering that must be considered. YOU MUST HAVE AN OUTSIDE INCOME because this is not a paid position and jobs around here are few and far between and even if you find one it will usually only pay $8 to $10 per hour. There is however high speed internet on the ranch if you are presently making a steady income via the internet.

So there you have it. I hope this gives you some insight into living in the Black Hills and if you have any interest in the trade I am proposing perhaps you will take the time to send me an email and we can talk about it further. My email address is

PS I had an earlier post under “we need more farmers” somewhere on this web site which tells a little about the previous family I had here that you may find interesting.

7 years ago
I am a new member and because I am laid up with an injury I have some time so I thought I would add my insight to this discussion. Of course any insight worth paying attention has to come from someone who has been there and done that so I’ll give you a brief history of my experiences.

I have been a man since I was 13 and making a man’s wages at 15 working as a labor. At 16 I spent 30 days in the Canadian wilderness half way between Lake Superior and Hudson Bay on a 100 mile canoe trip and never saw another human being except for the man with me who was younger then I. At 19 I was married and owned my own home and was working as an apprentice plumber. At 21 I had my first of five sons and at 22 I went to Alaska looking to homestead. I had a $1,000 in my pocket, a new pickup and pulled a 45 foot mobile home over the Alcan highway. I had no job lined up, knew no one in Alaska, had a year old baby and my wife was pregnant. The year was 1965 and you could still homestead federal land. For a $25 filing fee I could homestead 160 acres. You had to live on the land for two years straight or 7 months a year for three years, you had to build a cabin and clear 20 acres and when you had done all this you got title to the land. I found 160 acres on a lake and only 5 miles off the already staked out highway between Anchorage and Fairbanks. The only problem was that the highway was not to be completed for 5 years and at the time the 160 acres was 50 miles from the nearest road. I told mama that I could deliver our next child but she would have none of it. These unreasonable women. 

There were no plumbing jobs available and when the money started running out I sold encyclopedias door to door, painted houses, hung sheet rock and signed up to take my masters plumbers exam. Once passed, I started my own business and have never worked for anyone else since. I got so busy that I had my cousin come up and made him a partner. He is still there today. With no experience in buying or selling land, I bought 20 acres and within 90 days sold 10 acres for what I paid for the entire 20. My second son was born and mama become pregnant with number 3. She was not happy in Alaska so as a compromise between the farm land of southern Minnesota and Alaska she agreed to buy a working ranch as soon as we could afford it.

On the way to getting here I have, since 1967, always lived on 40 acres or more. I got a real-estate brokers license (I got a waiver and never had to work as a sales person under another broker), I farmed, raised beef cattle, was a guide and outfitter on my own ranch in Colorado, owned an Athletic club, bought and sold lots of land and designed and built four homes. (one log and one underground) I am now running a 5000 acre cattle ranch in the Black Hills of South Dakota, own commercial property in Texas and Minnesota and am writing children’s books for children’s charities. (see

In the last ten years I have tried to get a family to be able to make a living off the land on this ranch. I have furnished a home, all the garden seeds and irrigation drip lines, a root cellar, all the firewood that they could cut and use or sell, I bought 50 butcher chickens in return for getting 25 butchered chickens back, I furnished a milk cow and laying hens for milk, eggs and butter and they could not make it. (I am still looking for someone to move on the ranch but it a slightly different capacity but I will no longer take anyone without an outside income).

The most expensive item in the American outback is you outfit (truck). Original cost, repairs, insurance, fuel and maintenance, and everything requires lots of miles. It is 28 miles round trip to a small town and over 100 miles to a town of 60,000 people. The economy is not very good in most of rural America and the people can’t afford to pay organic prices for the garden produce. And producing organically costs lots more per salable item than using conventional means. Then you can be wiped out by grass hoppers, hail, cold, insects or too much rain. There are also hawks, eagles, fox, coons, skunks and even coyotes or lions to cut into your livestock. And don’t forget the doctor and dental bills.

I don’t want to burst your bubble and I admire anyone willing to go after their dreams. I have perused mine all my life, and in your case if the military provides you with medical back up in case of a serious health problem and if you have a military retirement check then you have it made. Without these things, I suggest that you only go into this with everything paid for, no debt and some money in the bank. Then you have a good shot at making it.

I would not trade the American outback for a million dollar place next to a city or suburb but as someone posted here, if you are close to one of these, people will pay big bucks for organic produce or a novelty. I have even heard of a rancher who sells grass fed beef via the internet and includes sage brush in his boxes and gets three times the price for the novelty of it.

So go for it, just know what you are up against.
7 years ago
How would you and your family like the opportunity to live in a new home on a 5,000 acre ranch in the Black Hills of South Dakota?
I am interested in offering you this opportunity and possibly the opportunity to purchase your own land sometime in the future as part of a trade.
Here is what I have to offer; I will be completing a new home hopefully by June first. It will have all new appliances and will be heated with wood. It will be located on a 5,000 acre ranch and will have use of a large root cellar, a large garden area, several out building, 60 acres of pasture if you have horses, and it will be close to a creek, pond and large apple orchard. There is ample firewood available and the recreational and hunting opportunities are super. The ranch is less than 2 miles south of Wind Cave National Park so if you want to see what the area looks like just visit their web site.
Here is what I expect in return; I am looking first and foremost for a down to earth honest person or family that loves to cook and is very good at it. I want you to prepare 5 evening meals a week for me and possibly one other person, bake two loafs of bread a week in a bread machine that I will furnish, clean my small home once a week for 3 or 4 hours, and if you do my grocery shopping I will furnish you with an older pickup to use on and within 15 miles of the ranch. I eat all organic or natural foods and I eat no processed sugar or white flour so cooking with all wheat flour and honey can be a challenge.
This is not a paid position so you must have an outside source of income and some form of medicinal insurance. I do however have high speed internet on the ranch so if you are making money off the net that should be acceptable.
If you have any interest, send me an email and we can talk further.
Thanks for your interest
7 years ago