Country Living

Life in the Valley

Note: when I say “valley” I’m not speaking philosophically about where we are at in life.


We literally live in a valley.

Between the Wet Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

And its great.

Here is a little snapshot of what our lives have looked like since being here:

The Groths (Hannah’s fam from TX) came and celebrating Christmas with us. Pic below is of sledding adventures in the mountains. It was great to create memories in our (2 bedroom 1 bath) rental home with them. SUCH a tight squeeze, but so worth it.


westcliffe colorado

Ryan has been making rustic/farmhouse style furniture for the rental we’re living in currently (with hopes to sell when Tiny House is complete). There is a barn on the property, so he has a workshop finally! He’s had a few local folks interested in some custom furniture, so hopefully he’ll get to be out in his barn more often.

farm style table

westcliffe colorado



I’ve (Hannah) enjoyed having a home for the first time since we’ve been married. We realized that since April we have lived in 5 different homes and about 10 different hotels. The little things like cooking, and relaxing on the couch and watching a movie, having a Christmas tree, or hanging our coats up in a closet are things that I am thankful for in this housing situation.


little things


We also have a new addition to the family: Macey the pup! She’s a Lab/St. Bernard mix and has a really laid back, sweet personality. She’s six months old, loves to please, and is eager to learn. One downside: she eats poop. No, she loves poop. I’ve heard this is normal for pups, still: NOT.OK. Other than that she’s great :)




We also traded (for good or bad) our Saturn for this big girl, Griselda Hobbs. She’s a 1975 Jeep Wagoneer. Almost all her handles that do anything functional, come off and on at different times. The radio doesn’t work as far as we know. To get to the trunk you need a special key to first put the window down, then unlatch the back. The fabric is torn and super retro. The seat belts go across your lap. She’s a hefty lady weighing 3 tons, but she can maneuver her way through at least 6-8 inches of standing snow, hold her own on the iciest of roads in negative degree Colorado winters, and she’s a lovely burnt orange, oxidized in all the right places. Not sure how long we’ll keep her alive, but for now, this charming old gal is ours.



We have been working on the Tiny House to get it ready to move down here from Golden. We had to order some more (bigger) axles, that could hold more weight because this house is freakin huge! We have some friends down here that have offered to let us park it on their land. Once it’s moved down here, we’ll work on getting it finished! The exterior is almost completely done, its just the inside that needs work now.


While we’ve found part time work here in the Valley, we are still looking for more lucrative means of making a living here. As we’ve talked to many people here, this is what they have to say about new folks coming in:

– people move to Westcliffe because they love it (either they have family that lives here, they’ve visited growing up, camped here, been hunting with their grandfather…etc.)

– they all struggle financially to “make it” for the first several years

– if they make it out of those first years, they stay forever

– if not, they leave to go make life work somewhere else

So, we have a similar story. We felt compelled to move here. Moved. And we would LOVE to make it work here and stay forever.

But that’s the part that we’re at currently: making it work here.

We absolutely LOVE being here. The people that we’ve met have such similar passions and goals in life as we do. There is a slightly older population in town, so we enjoy being on the younger end of things. There is an openness here to do things “differently” (i.e. build a Tiny House, or straw bale, or earth bag home). We are really looking forward to raising a family here and participating in the community here.

So, we’re still hopeful that perhaps we can be one of those families that can make it work here :)

We’ll keep you updated on our lives in the Wet Mountain Valley.

Living in a small town is like living in a large family of rather uncongenial relations. Sometimes it’s fun, and sometimes it’s perfectly awful, but it’s always good for you.

– Joyce Dennys



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  • Reply Linda Jewsbury February 9, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    So nice to have an update on how you two are doing! Thanks for sharing. I’ll be praying for you to make it work there – because I know that community would be blessed by you being there as part of the community!

    • Reply RyanHannah February 10, 2014 at 3:08 am

      Thanks Linda! Hope all is well in Golden :)

  • Reply Di Ana Castañeda February 9, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks for the update :) you guys are an inspiration!

    • Reply RyanHannah February 10, 2014 at 3:11 am

      Thanks friend! Come visit!

  • Reply Nancy Graham February 10, 2014 at 2:41 am

    Thanks! I love hearing about your adventures and pray that you will make it work. So nice to see Ryan working in the workshop and making furniture. Gary shares that passion and I hope to one day live in CO. Until then, we will live vicariously through you. ;)

    • Reply RyanHannah February 10, 2014 at 3:12 am

      Jancy, we shall live our best here in CO until you guys get out here ;-)

  • Reply Lindsey C February 10, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    If anyone can make it work, it’s the two of you. I’m always inspired by your creativity and ability to build something from nothing. Love you guys. Miss you always! Roomies for LIFE!!!!

    • Reply RyanHannah February 15, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      We love you Linds! Can’t wait to hear about YOUR adventures this next year!

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