http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/08/13/king.sotu.economy/art.herbert.hale.jpg caption="Herbert Hale lives on a check of a little less than $17 a week and whatever he can pick up from odd jobs."]
CHERRY CREEK, South Dakota (CNN) - The tiny one-room house rests on a hill; no electricity and no running water. A creaky metal cot and a rusting wood-burning stove is all the comfort Herbert Hale says he needs.
"All it is is logs, glue - dirt and water put together - then cement and the chicken string," Hale says of his home. "Long as the windows don't break, it's nice and warm in here."
The roof leaks a bit, and the floorboards are rotted in one corner, but Hale isn't one to complain.
"It's home," he says, almost under his breath, as he invites a visitor to have a look.
Firewood is stacked in one corner inside, and more outside as Hale uses the summer months to stockpile for prairie winters, where 20 below zero is not all that uncommon.
He also pulls bunches of long weeds in the prairie grass, to dry for use as a firestarter.
"I have to be careful," Hale says matter-of-factly as he pulls a few fistfuls. "Sometimes there are some snakes. Rattlesnakes. Nothing to mess around with."