P.O. Box 903
Mancelona, MI 49659

SNAIL MAIL WELCOME ~ we love to hear from you!
No Internet...no fancy phone.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Patience Edna, Patience...







You blink, and months pass by.  How is that?

I think of our heavenly Father…how 1000 years is but a day.  Time.  We all have it.  We all have choices in how we use it.  How we trade it.  How we treasure it.

For example – I used to trade my time for a paycheck.  I think it’s fair to say we have all done that in our lifetime.  For me, now…being retired…I’m not trading my time any longer.  I have time.  But oddly, something shifted.  I feel I have LESS time than ever.  How is that?

Speaking of time…we were planning on moving into our well house by the end of October (2015).  See this Blog for details.  Bottom line, we wanted to be near our water source for the winter months, and see what it was like to be in a new place, out in the open, out of the woods, and have more room to roam about.  (I even put in a small dog yard to move the dogs with us.)  In the past years, I had stayed many a night in the tiny well house (known as the Wee House) and enjoyed the experience.  Still rustic living – haul and heat H20, etc. etc. etc.  But as for moving the end of October, that didn't happen, but not for lack of trying.  Then, the move crept into November.  And then perhaps a move by Christmas…and then we turned the corner of 2016 and in mid-January the realization of no such move finally hit home.  We are in the old cabin for the duration of the winter. 

The well house?  Well…it will be worked on again this summer and perhaps by next fall, we will try again.  Its “close”, {very close...} but we still need things done before we move in.  Rather…I move in.  I don’t believe Russ will ever totally exit his original cabin.   {Smile}


If you have happened to watch Braving Alaska, featuring four bush families eking out a living in the deep arctic wilderness, you will know Heimo and Edna Korth.  {If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you get your hands on a copy – we’ve watched it to the point we can narrate along.}  Being out in the bush, mail and supplies come by bush plane only several times a year.  One such time, Heimo and Edna (and then-small daughters Rhonda and Krin) are waiting in sub-arctic temps, watching for the plane.  The plane arrives and all the formalities of greetings take place between the pilot (now deceased Roger Dowding, from a plane crash on the Brooks Range), and Heimo.  As Edna cranes her neck and attempts to peek at the storage behind the pilot’s seat, she innocently asks “where’s the mail?  Where's the mail Roger?”.  Roger says…”patience Edna, patience”.  With that, Edna laughs softly, looks to Heimo and steps back to wait her delivery.   What’s a couple more minutes when you have waited 4 months or so. 

Patience.  It’s a virtue I’ve been told.  It’s also listed in the Bible as one of the 9 “fruits of the spirit”, which shows you are living a Christ-like vine-life.  {My Bible lists patience as "long suffering"...}  It's a necessity of life.  It’s also hard.  

I pray for patience.  Patience for “worldly” things that make living easier.  Patience for our Lord, Jesus, to return, ever the victor.  {I can’t wait to see that white horse!}  Patience for patience. 

As for us moving to the expanded Wee/Outer Wee/Well House, whatever you call it, it will come.  In time.  The good thing is, we choose to live mortgage free, which cascades down even further with what typical Americans buy into.  Every step in building is done by hand, with already-paid-for materials.  The wood is felled and hand cut and milled from our 40 acres.  Step by step.  We live this way so we don’t have to give up our time to go out into the world and trade it for money.  We use what we have and what is refurbished and tossed aside by others. 

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

So we may not have much, by “normal” standards, but truthfully, we don’t need much.  We have all seen where we get a new job with higher pay, only to have more bills that suck up that excess.  The key is…no debt.  When you have no debt (or very little), your money is yours.  {The Bible also instructs us in this, by telling us that the borrower is slave to the lender.  If you haven’t experienced this, go borrow money from a relative or friend.} 

As for us, we will never be “rich”, but our time is ours, and to coin a phrase from mountain man Eustace Conway…”…what do we do for a living?  We live for a living!  Money becomes something so mundane.  If you are a Foxfire reader, you may remember reading the life story of Beulah Perry.  It’s a must read.  She talks about money not being a part of the equation for a good, rich life.  Beulah lived a poor/rich life.  And of course, the Bible has lots to say about the love of money. 

So, as I work on patience and all it entails, I am dreaming about many spring activities.  One is turkey hunting.  I will get that gobbler this spring, Lord willing!  Russ is getting his new sugar shack tricked out – he now has it in our hoop house area – the best option ever. 




I’m also excited about doing what I had set out to do last summer, which is take up residence in the Bear’s Den.  I want to move some of our chickens out there, take my sled dog Malakai at night, and see just what it takes to live in a small place with books, a flashlight and some survival cooking gear.  It can only make me more well-rounded in the area of efficiency, something I seem to lack these days.  But the “bushy” winter days won’t last, and I’ve been praying a prayer of gratefulness to our Father for the warm winter.  Its perfect – lots of snow – but so far no -43 temps.  We’ll see how we fare in February and March.  And April. 



I hope you are doing well this winter.  I’d love to hear from you.  My old Blog pals have gone silent too.  It would be good to connect and hear what other farms  and families are doing. 

Blessings –
Sherry

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Night Thief





It’s nearly 3 a.m.  I’m sitting on a low stool, crouched next to the woodstove, hugged by the creosote steel doors that threaten to wrap around me.  I work the fire, attempting to bring it to life.  Coals are not willing to give heed to the wood that is placed on them.  I wait…tired and wanting to be back in my warm sleeping bag.  I’m wanting to be warm.  Wanting to forget what happened just a half-hour earlier.

An hour earlier, I rose to a quiet, cold, still night.  Stars filled the sky as I stumbled out the cabin door, heading to the outhouse with Zip, our Blue Heeler, in tow.  Our cabin kitty, now living outdoors, was nowhere in sight.  She usually greets us on these middle of the night treks. 

Upon entering the cabin, I set to work on getting the stove going.  Within minutes, one of our female sled dogs, who is known for her “tattle tale-ing” set off with a frenetic warning bark.  She continued on for several minutes, not liking the fact that whatever was out there, wasn’t taking her seriously.  Realizing my best (and only) headlamp was defunct, I shined a weak light out the side window to let her know I heard her warning, and to stop barking.  She paused, but then continued with a renewed fervor.  I then told her “o.k.”…and she let out a heavy, grunting sigh, as if to say “…o.k.,  I tried to warn you.  Whatever happens, it’s on you…”

Sitting back down on the handcrafted cherry-wood stool, I fiddled with the fire some more.  Then I heard it.  I squawk…not really a squawk, but a bleat – a cry for help.  Grabbing my defunct headlamp, I slammed the batteries in, making it temporarily work, and headed outside.  I could hear the cry/squawk/bleat as it retreated from the cabin area.  Every thirty or so yards it let out a sound.  It was traveling by foot.  But not on its own accord - it was being carried.  I realized by now it was one of our chickens.  It was one of the worst sounds and situations I’ve heard.  I couldn’t image the terror of being roosted for the night only to be snatched by a coyote’s toothy grip.  Carried away, to certain death.  Every thirty or so yards, I heard it, until they disappeared into the south woods. 

I shined my light into the fenced dog yard and verbally thanked Skunk, the sled dog, for her warning, and headed back inside.  Upon sitting down once again, I hung my head in sadness.  It had to be one of the young batch, hatched earlier this summer that roosted on their own, not willing to enter the safety of the latched chicken coop door that held the flock. 

As I finally got the fire going, I also had come to a another realization.  Although taught by the Mamma hen, that young bird had made a choice to not pick the safety of the flock, and also our oversight each morning and night as we open the door of the coop to let them out, and tuck them in at night.  It had mistakenly believed it was safe out on its own.  And now it was gone, dying a frightful, confusing death.  The analogy was clear.  We, as intelligent humans, are given God’s word, in the form of the Bible – God breathed and God inspired.  Jesus tells us we are safe in His arms.  As His sheep, we are safe in the arms of the Good Shepherd.

In the book of John, Jesus tells us:  Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.  I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 

We, too, have a choice.  It is free for the taking.  All you need to do is come to the Father…the Good Shepherd.  Do you hear Him calling for you?  He leaves the 99 to gather up the one – the lost sheep.  If you are lost…seek Him.  Peace will flood your soul. 

May peace be to everyone. 

Until next time…Lord willing,

Sherry

My Best Buddy






We live on a small farm on 40 acres.  Fields and woods.  We also have sled dogs.  Life is good…life is simple.  And I’m blessed to spend 1/3 of my waking hours in a blissful setting – in the woods. 

Heading into the woods, I take my “best buddy”, Ruger.  I used to go alone, but now, I always take my trusty companion.  It’s second nature.  Ruger is always at the ready for my command.   The other day, I had Ruger along as I headed out to do the morning check of our trapline.  I walked through a dense area, and came out into a clearing, overlooking a vista.  I always stop in this particular spot to peruse the land, looking for anything out of place, or perhaps some critter who is traveling through.  As I was scanning the horizon, a large coyote climbed up out of a hollow in front of me.  He also stood, looking about, scanning the perimeter.  As his head was on swivel to the left, he spotted me out of the corner of his eye.  Upon confirming me standing there, he shot off and sped across the land, making a wide arch, returning to our property, in particular the area of our sled dog kennel.  I had put my hand on Ruger upon sighting this big coyote, but my intention was to see his reaction upon seeing me.  It also gave me time to admire his thick coat, and compare it to several of our thick coated Siberians, which reside in the dog yard.  Once this interlude was completed, I headed back to the cabin to get another trusted companion – Marlin. 

Although not my best buddy, Marlin is a good companion to have in the woods.  Easy to travel with, and always at the ready.  Ruger also joins us. 

Last month, I took another companion with me in the woods – Winchester.  Even though I had new companions, I always took Ruger.  Having Ruger with me is second nature. 

Now I’ve expanded even more with my companions.  Barnett is a new tag-along.  A big boy to be sure.  But much quieter, which is nice when you are in the woods and desire solitude and silence.   Even though Barnett is a suitable companion, once again, Ruger comes along too. 

I can’t imagine not having the ability of taking my protectors along with me.  They provide so much.  Peace.  Security.  I take good care of them, and they take care of me.  They only act {or react} upon my command.  Never early, never late.  I am in control.  I like that. 

So this morning, as I returned from checking the trapline, I entered our cabin to be hit with the warmed air of the wood stove.   I was happy to have made it back home and beat the rain coming our way.  I said hello to our aging cattle dog, Zip, who was keeping the wood stove company, as I put Marlin away, and unbuckled my best buddy, Ruger, to put up for safe keeping within arm’s reach until the next time I head to the woods, a couple hours from now.  

I grabbed a cup of coffee, snagged a homebaked cookie, and took a seat in front of the woodstove, and gave thanks for all the blessing in my life.  Peace, security, and the ability to live a lifestyle I love, Lord willing.


1 Thessalonians 5:18 – 
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

Sherry

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Drifter



It's official.
I'm back home.



Home to blackberries coming on.



Also spent a day catching up with a dear friend, Joann, at her unique sled dog kennel, 
Coyote Run Kennels.  
Larry/Joann/ and Ana

I got to meet their new litter of pups.
8 total...4 of each.
Born on the 4th of July.    
I never knew how much fun pups could have, 
tugging and twisting on the hem of my skirt.  {...smile...}



I've missed my simple life.


And I've missed touching base with you.



Lots to report about getting back into the woods.  
It's not cold enough yet to run the dogs, 
but I'm doing a different kind of running.  

On foot.
I took a step and became an official "fur harvester".  

I'll spell it all out...soon.


Until then, 
I'm looking forward to traveling to Clare {Michigan} tomorrow
on a 
"girl's shopping trip - Amish style" 
with some of my BBF's 
(black bonnet friends
and driver/farm friend, Heather.



I'll catch up soon...Lord willing.
Until then, enjoy the end of August.  

Sherry

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Pilgrim






Although my great (x 12) grandparents, John Alden and his bride-upon-landing Priscilla Mullins arrived on the Mayflower, I hesitate to share their sense of adventure. 

I did, however, inherit the love of the land and God.

As I walked our wooded trails yesterday, I pondered why I/we don’t like to leave home.  It’s been over 12 years since we had someone else do our chores while we left our land.  



Perhaps it is because our simple ways provide me with all I need to be content.  What is contentment?  

For years, I was like a animal-on-the-go…always running.  But to where?




Now, I bask in the contentment of His word.  His teachings.  His LOVE.

On that walk yesterday, I stopped at our Bear’s Den cabin and snagged a small one-person-percolator to brew my coffee while up north during my weekly stays.  Yes, I could opt for a Keurig coffee selection every morning, but something tells me I am going to want a little bit of “home” with me, in the form of a camp coffee pot. 



The countdown is on.   See my Blog "Daylight in the Swamp"...

It is 7 days before I begin my trek north each week, only to return home on the weekend.  Even my Mother, the recipient of my travels, was shocked I would leave my lifestyle.  It will be a journey.  A pilgrimage of sorts.

I will miss our broody hens, showing their chicks all the nuances of our property, causing me to alter my walking route each morning. 



I will miss being in the dog yard, handing out their breakfast treats as Russ scoops and waters.  I know they will miss me too…my heart aches before I even leave.



Then there’s Zip.  She’s my daily shadow.  What will she think?



Russ.  He will remain busy from dawn to dusk, as usual.  However, he will miss me showing up with a fresh-popped pan of popcorn at the end of the afternoon, or warm cookies from the oven mid-morning.  And I will miss him also, as we trek each night on our trails, talking over our lives and His promises.





I will miss the land.  My feet connecting each day, feeling drawn to every change, which takes on a new look every day.  Even last night, as it was chilly, I told Russ that as much as I can’t wait until Spring, I’m really looking forward to Fall.  I love it so.



But then, we are just all pilgrims passing through.  

This home, however beautiful or however flawed, is not our home.  Our home awaits, for those who know the Son of Man.

Do you know Him?  I pray you answered “without a doubt”.  

If not, please take time to get to know Him.  The love you will feel will be like nothing you have ever experienced.  The King is Coming.  And He’s coming for you…

Until next time, dear friends.

Lord willing,

Sherry