This is Matt and Lori Birkholz broadcasting to you live from The Mists (aka The Cloud).

Welcome to our web site.

Ahoy, Earthlings! We're feeling less and less like residents now, and more and more like Visitors. While we figure out what planet we want to be from, we're just going to be a post office box (mostly a web site) probably until after The Collapse.

Matt's portrait shot Lori's portrait shot

Our Photos

This is our photo dump, lately a pic of every perch we've landed on. The descriptions and captions are brief, mostly to help us... remember things. It begins just before Lori's “foreign assignment” to Intel Eire in 2004.

Here are the latest dumps:
July 3rd, 2024 Yes, it was rather cold in Rapid City, SD, on July 3. (2 photos)
June 25th, 2024 Local fauna in baby form, Rapid City, SD. (2 photos)
June 24th, 2024 The fun weather around Rapid City, SD. (5 photos)
June 20th, 2024 New pizza oven for RV and first cookies baked in it! (After first pizzas.) (2 photos)
June 19th, 2024 View of west Rapid City, SD, from Dinosaur Park. (4 photos)

Our Ranch

After three years and our transmogrification into “free spirits” (full-time RVers), we had no way to get to our ranch, having sold off the old Ford Explorer along with most everything else. We rented a Toyota 4 Runner in November of 2022 just to see how bad the rodent damage was, and it was bad. A year later Lori had finally traded her convertible for a Jeep, and we got to the ranch twice, carrying many gallons of water, trying to beat back the rodent invasion (otherwise still hanging back from the... other invasion).

No matter. At this point the “construction camp” is so civilized that we are content to wait a bit before building, a decade if need be. We do not intend to strand capital in the path of an invasion.

The latest Ranch Log entries:
November 7th, 2023After Monument Valley and an annular eclipse we were back in Arizona, ...
October 4th, 2023For Lori's birthday we kicked the rodents out of the shed. ...
November 17th, 2022After three years we were anxious to meet the new squatters, ...
November 23rd, 2019Went to the annual meeting of the Westwood Ranches Road Owners' ...
September 9th, 2019After 15 months we were anxious to meet the new squatters, ...

Our Heritage

We owe a lot to our heritage and find the stories of our elders surprisingly relevant and instructive. So we have gathered what little we have that did not come from “history” books, and consider the nearest, the real-est, the most personal, more precious than all. These are the stories — likely the ones that first put pen in hand, and often the only story to make it whole onto the page.

Papa's Harness Shop by Melva Birkholz
This story was written by Matt's grandaunt who was born in 1911, the little sister of his paternal grandfather Roy (Leroy Birkholz). The story was broadcast on Wisconsin Public Radio in the '70s on the weekly program “Yarns of Yesteryear.” It was selected from a yearly creative writing contest for senior citizens sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Extension Arts Development Unit and the Wisconsin Regional Writers Association.
Memories by Melva Birkholz
These stories were typed up by “Aunt Anny” (as the grandnieces and grandnephews knew her) on her personal typewriter.
THE BOOK By Elden Terry Birkholz
These recollections were typed up by Matt's father on his personal computer.

Our Contact Information

514 Americas Way #14595
Box Elder, SD 57719-7600

If you would like to send something small, we use the mail forwarding service Americas Mailbox. We tell them where we are every couple of weeks. For large items, please email, text or call.

If you would like to send email, specify matt or lori before Send to elders if you would like Matt and Lori to receive a copy.

We will answer the post, not the phone. Interactive access is jealously guarded.

Our Theme

The interlaced border and silly font were inspired by gifts from Lori, The Spirit of Celtic Art by Sebastian Coleman, and Paul, The Rigante by David Gemmell. It seems Matt caught A Bit O' the Irish during our year there. He claims this old Celtic legend “haunts him.”

Our Abbey

Sometimes an incautious friend asks “What in blue blazes are you talking about?” Sometimes they even challenge us to be specific. So now we have an Our Abbey web page.

If our abbey is not completely mental, it is a cyber-abbey, a digital cloister wherein privacy and security are sacrosanct. The abbey's network is all GNU/Linux. Our servers are Debian and our desktops are Ubuntu ( Pop!_OS and Mint). We like to buy RYF (Respects Your Freedom) hardware and will even invite certified devices into our Inner Sanctum, i.e. patch them into the cloister Ethernet.

Our cyber-cloister is a secure network providing all the usual email and cloud services while storing our data locally, on our own encrypted disks. Recent breaches at password keeping and VPN hosting businesses highlight the danger of letting your private data roam, to gather with others' in valuable hordes.

In pursuit of security and privacy for all, we strive to decentralize the Internet, to “Balkanize” commercial hosting. We encourage other small organizations to take their business private, truly private. So we have documented how we did it here.