WELCOME to our brand new blog called Life at High Country!
To give you a little background, my husband John and I are from Minnesota and we had lived and worked in the Twin Cities area for 24 years. Prior to moving to the ranch, John’s entire career was spent in the supermarket industry, the last 20 years with the upscale grocery retailer, Lunds & Byerly’s, an independent chain with 22 stores in Minneapolis & St Paul. I divided my time working part-time for the Dakota Country District Court (10 years) and the suburban Lakeville Police Department (7 years) while establishing a career as an author and freelance writer. And through it all, with the Good Lord’s help, we raised a blended family of six wonderful kids.
In 2006 my first book Hidden Heritage: The Story of Paul LaRoche was released, opening the doors into the fascinating world of writing. As time went by I realized those doors continuingly led West. Each time John and I visited one of the western states, we simply couldn’t wait to go back. In 2013 the Westward call rang even deeper until it intertwined with our hearts, prompting us to give up the “good life” in the suburbs. With our ‘kids’ now adults, all married and settled in their own careers except the youngest who was still in college, we took that initial step to see what might follow.
In truth I never would have guessed such a drastic transition possible, but when God asks us to take that leap of faith it’s up to us to respond in obedience. We walked away from our jobs and what most would call a comfortable, idyllic lifestyle. In turn, we are now blessed to reside in an 1890s barn on our own guest ranch.
As only God can do, He brought us to the High Country Guest Ranch near Hill City, the very town where we spent many of our summer vacations. Our backyard is none other than the Black Hills National Forest. It’s been an interesting transition from the fast pace and congestion of the Big City to the remarkably quiet setting of our little meadow; from corporate expectations and suburban courtroom dramas to operating trail rides and hosting visitors from all over the world. To be honest, we’ve had quite a learning curve and have yet to master all the ins and outs of the tourist industry. We are fortunate to have great partners at The Funding Farm in Brandon, South Dakota, to come alongside us with their business expertise. And here at the ranch we not only have a great staff, we are also thankful to have people in the tourist industry such as Black Hills & Badlands and the South Dakota Department of Tourism to help guide us as we go forward.
Summer days are nonstop, morning ‘til night—just like real ranchers—and—like real ranchers—the rewards come in quiet, unassuming ways…colorful sunsets over the western ridge; sweet scent of the Ponderosa Pines; star-filled skies; trickling sounds of a nearby creek.
As the resident writer, I’ll be authoring these glimpses into our ‘Life at High Country’, either from my tiny loft in our old barn or the ranch office. We miss our close friends and family dearly, but believe in our hearts this is where we belong for now.