Friday, May 12, 2017

Berean Bush Living

It's official.  I'm all moved in for the summer.  Ten acres of solitude.  Lots of quiet study awaits!

I've been writing...and will fill you in soon. 

Until then, enjoy spring! 


Monday, February 27, 2017

Turning the Calendar Page

Winter is marching out...

And with spring around the corner, new ideas emerge. 

I'll be laying these out soon.  Stay tuned. 

I've missed you all...

Until then, if the Lord tarries...


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Autumn Blessings

Its early morning.  The rising sun in the East is hours away. 

However this morning I am wide awake and overflowing with praise.
My round “yurt-type” house is done. The Wee-bit-bigger-House!

Well, almost.  But as far as I’m concerned, it is finished.  Varnish and paint are nearly completed.  No running water yet, but I haven’t had that in years.  {That’s a whole story in itself, but one you have to experience to fully understand.}  The claw foot tub, refurbished by Russ, was carried and brought in my by a handful of our hearty friends this week.  It fits perfectly.  I can’t wait to fill it! 
Upon hearing that, you may wonder if we have decided to become “city-fied” and have an indoor bathroom “facilities”.  No…we sport a new matching-round-outhouse {awaiting its matching green metal roof}.  Simple living - just the way I like it.  But the tub?  A nice upgrade indeed!

Along the way, those who know me have asked…”why is it taking so long?”  Well, it’s easy to understand, if you realize every piece of wood or furnishing is created here on site by Russ.  There’s no running to a big box store and loading up your truck with pre-cut wood for the construction.  No special deliveries.  Instead, it is cranking on the chainsaw and cutting the tree that would be a “fit” for sewn logs.  Once the tree is felled, it is brought up to the mill for cutting.  {I’m sure Russ would use different terms.}   

Then it is stickered and dried.  This is about the time I would say…why is it taking so long?  Waiting for wood to “dry” is the hardest for me.  {Yes…I have also asked along the way.} 
But now that my home is “nearly” finished, I can rejoice.  
We had our first snowfall last evening, with snow on the ground this morning.  I awoke to a toasty 70 degrees.  {So different from the old cabin.}  It looks to be a good winter in the Wee House.  {Actually…Wee-bit-bigger-House.}   This is a view of our doors facing West.  Hearty big doors, made by Russ.
As for our old cabin, those same “hearty friends” carried in a woodstove into the old cabin.  It was good to {finally} feel warmth emit from the stove when I am in that cabin.  This particular stove has a glass door, which adds a nice visual to the cabin, since there is little else to watch.  
Earlier this week, while doctoring in a nearby “big” town, we stopped and picked up a new "tabletop" oven and some throw rugs.  We had scouted out the oven on a previous trip, and were delighted to find it on sale for $30 less!  The finishing touches are being put into place. 

Upon coming home that day, we raced the impending snow and put up wood into the cubbies that are built into the home.  {Doors closing in the cubby, possibly made from our old dog trailer, are pending.}  It always feels so good to stack firewood – truly one of my favorite cold-weather chores. 

I’m still enthralled with the circular pattern of the home.  Mountain Man, Eustace Conway, goes into great detail about a circular building being “natural”, and I believe it.  

Our woodstove sports an Ecofan (purchased from Tractor Supply), and it really does the job by running on heat.  Just place it on your woodstove and off it goes!  This morning it is whirring silently, sending the warmth throughout the round house.  

So, as I sit on my “indoor swing chair” {pictured below}, handcrafted by Russ, I am content. 

We made it {barely} by the first snow.  Other excitement awaits as winter crouches in closer.  I will be parking my new-to-me Dodge 4x4 truck (maroon in color) in our “circle” about 300’ away.  I’ll try and haul in supplies (canned food, staples) before the big snow banks get formed.  
I’ve also been doing fall training with the sled dogs, using the Honda 4-wheeler.  With my petite fiery-never-stops-pulling “Skunk” in single lead, the boys only have to exercise braun and pulling power and a willingness to follow her lead.  {Actually, I wish they had less braun.}  It is my hope that I will use the sled to get around this winter.  We’ll see if the “normalcy” of this takes hold before winter crushes the idea.  But I do have more hope than ever before.  Skunk has matured and shows a level head, eager to take my commands.  Gee {right turn} and Haw {left} now mean something to her and she is eager to please.  With that world opened up, the limits are endless.  I may just head out the driveway and explore.

My world on our “40” has been very busy as of late, I haven’t traveled much out of Mancy.  {See previous post – Mancy in the Middle.}   
Yesterday I missed a wonderful day with my friends.  Applesauce Day  Picture a wood stove-warmed Amish kitchen overflowing with community and family enjoying hot coffee and waiting for kettles of apples to cook down.  The end result is hundreds of jars filled with delicious applesauce, from their own trees.  I was invited to partake, but unable to attend.  Not to worry, as they are holding apples for me.  But it won’t be the same as sharing the day with my Plain friends.   They warm my heart in so many ways, and I've had many a dinner and good conversation in that particular Amish kitchen.  My life and theirs are entwined forever.

Sun is now rising.  I better tend to the wood stove and see what the day holds. 

For now, I’ll go run dogs. 

Until next time friend – Lord willing,

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October Surprise

 Yes...give Him the glory for all the beauty around us.

Even when the rains come.

Not just when there is abundance.

Or beauty.

This is my I head into the woods.  So you see why it is easy to become a recluse.

However, I've missed you my friend.  I have so much to tell.  And I will...soon.

Know that Jesus is on the Throne.
Keep that knowledge close to your heart as you see all that is going on around you.  I's hard.  But keep in the Word and focus.  On Him.

Until then, Lord willing,


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Under His Wing

We’re in what I call “hang time”.  
The “dog days” are sliding into late August, but I know winter isn’t far off.  You can’t quite enjoy summer, because of the excitement of autumn awaits.  At least that is the case for me.  
I’ll be heading into our local Sport’s Store this week (Lord willing) to buy my hunting license for deer season.  Not sure which “combination” I’ll go for yet.  Last year, I sat in my simple blind watching a buck dance around for circa 20 minutes.  I had the tool to put him in the freezer (Barnett Crossbow), but I lacked the correct license.  So I watched him strut before me, and around me, until he moved on.  This year, I hope to be ready on all levels.
Last week one of our hens hatched out an egg.  Actually, she sat on several, but only one hatched.  It’s a little yellow chick, with lines and blotches of black showing future beauty.  

We have another hen who has been sitting on a nest for way more time than necessary.  Through the hot days and cool nights, she won’t move.  She is determined to hatch out a chick, even though Russ and I shake our heads each day knowing she won’t give up the dream.  She refuses to move.  If you have never been around a “broody hen”, then you may wonder why we haven’t just gone ahead and moved her.  A hen is determined to “take out” anyone or anything that interferes with her beloved eggs or hatched baby.  I don’t want to be the recipient of that anger and fury.   
A third hen also is broody now, sitting on the nest.  It cuts down on egg production, as they are “out of the mix” during this 28-day process, but it provides us with the replacement chicks for our flock.  Our flock is less than 10 now, including our rooster, so it is important to keep these numbers up.  We enjoy seeing them go through this process, and the hens are truly driven to do so. They need no human intervention on this yearly event.  
I love watching the new-mama-hen with her chick these days.  She is so attentive.  She takes the chick throughout the property, staying close to the core cabin.  She walks her by our cat, who wouldn’t dare pounce on a chick.  She takes her on a daily tour, starting at dawn and ending at dusk.  When I put down corn scratch the other day, the Mama called and clucked to her chick to dig in and partake.  Of course, the other hens hear this and come running.  But the puffed-up Mama, feathers expanded and full, are designed to show strength and power and keep the others at bay.  It works.  Everyone, including me, gives this Mama hen a wide berth.  Lord help me if I forget and walk too close, as she will come at you – all in the name of protecting her young.  
I thought of this yesterday, as I heard once again about a child left “by accident” in a hot car.  This nearly one-year old girl was rescued by a police officer, who pried the door open, to save her from a 115 degree car located in Pennsylvania.  Her grandmother and an aunt had gone shopping and “forgot about her”.  Had she died, she would have been the 27th child this summer to do so.  
So…we have a hen who won’t let a chick out of her sight and fiercely protects her…and humans who are so “distracted” they leave their children to die.  I cannot comprehend.  Simply cannot do it.  The only saving grace for these poor children is to know they are in the arms of Jesus – another beautiful flower in his bouquet.  For eternity.  
For we have a promise.  Jesus will never be distracted…we are told he will NEVER let us go, once we know Him.  Of course, we may get “distracted” and walk away, and therein lies the rub.  We must be obedient.  We must not fall away with the world's distractions.  
Jesus said:  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  John 10: 27-28   

Keep focused on the Good Shepherd.  It’s a beautiful thing…knowing we will be protected like our hen protects her beloved chick.
For Jesus said:  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!  How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!  {Matthew 23:37}
Until next time, Lord willing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mancy in the Middle

Mid-August.  It’s hard to believe summer is sliding into fall.

Before long, my game of “Mancy in the Middle” will end. 

I live in Mancy.  Mancy is not the correct name.  Mancelona is.  Mancelona was the daughter of the town’s founder, hence the name.  But many folks call it other names.  Man-ce-tucky is one.  Man-ce-tucky describes the “redneck Appalachian ways” of our small town.  One stop light.  Across road on one side, a military tank sits on the lawn.  If you happen to get a red light while heading north or south through the Mitten state, you might see a horse or two at the local Dairy Delight across and up the road from the tank, complete with cannon, next to the post office.  

The town fits us well.  In many ways.  We’re a town where the folks at the local hardware know your name.  Post Office also.  And the local Feed Store.  We’re not fancy.  We’re just Mancy.  You’ll find men with beards and work-stained hands.  They wear their hard work for all to see.  Lumbermen, farmers, ranchers, and roughnecks, etc.. 

Since April, I have been leaving our “40” each week to head north to assist with aging family.  My home town is a beautiful town…always many degrees cooler as I crest the hill at the foot of the bay.

It’s a resort town, on Lake Michigan – Little Traverse Bay.  The town swells each summer with what we refer to as “Fudgies”.  Fudgies are those who buy and consume “fudge” made by many confectioners in the area.  Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Fudgies invade.  Traffic swells – both vehicle/bike and foot.  It has always been this way, and always will be this way.  Cottage living, restaurants, art shows and events are geared for this summer season.  Well-groomed men with pastel shirts and khaki shorts are found in the “organic” section of the various stores.  Chatty starched-white tennis-skirted women and even chattier chic children are to be found.  Topics of tennis and organic this – organic that.  It’s a swirl of people and action and everyone seems to have one thing in common – they seem to adore their hand-held god (little g).  {The cell phone - aka computer -  in the palm of your hand}. 

Until Labor Day, the “Fudgies” blend in with the locals.  After that, life returns to normal.  This is what I grew up with, and it benefited me as I worked in beautiful places “on the water” like Little Harbor Club and Stafford’s Pier Restaurant, just to name a few.  Old money…new money.  But always money.  It’s an amazing place, this northland. 

Summer also finds me more mobile.  I find the truck heading south, sliding into my Old Order Amish community.  Earlier in the month, while sitting in the 3-hour Sunday church service reverently belting out German hymns of persecution (the Loblied in particular), I felt at home.  A “carry in” dinner followed, where each ‘fork full’ was truly heavenly.  But more importantly, the conversations during the dinner and the fellowship that followed filled my soul.  People were connected to each other, with the center of the conversation Godly.  No hand-held gods here.  Only the true God – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.   

So…from Mancy an hour south to Amish, back to Mancy.  Then Mancy an hour north to my home town on Lake Michigan.  And then back to our secluded piece of land in Mancy.   And so it goes. 

As I walked through the woods this morning, scaring Pats into flight and picking blackberries, I felt the call of Autumn.  Today the woods were still, as our precious family vacationers left for home the evening before.  I can’t imagine a place I would rather be, than in the woods.  Soon, I will be more “in the middle” than not. 

Until then, have a wonderful end of summer.  And I’ll check in soon, Lord willing.


Friday, June 3, 2016

The Wee {bit bigger} House

This week ushered in June 1st.  It’s rainy and cold in the tip of the Mitten State.  Blackberry winter continues.
It’s been well over a month now since I moved into the “new place” - the Wee {bit bigger} House.   It is my new home – and it has been a long-awaited {and much desired} move. 
It’s taken many months (18+) to get to this point, but the day has come.  And surprisingly, I am getting fiercely attached to this circular building which is beginning to house my few-but-precious earthly treasures.  
In a nutshell, it began as a well house years ago, which was turned into our tiny Wee House.  

In an effort to bring about more living space, Russ built another circular building around the original Wee House, which we referred to as the “outer Wee” during the past year.  {See this post for more on this…}
There are the same cubbies and nooks and crannies that the original Wee House sported, but this is bigger, and has the feel of…well…, nothing I’ve ever been in before.  
As of this past week, it is sporting a new Forest green roof – installing is compliments of Russ and the quality metal was obtained/purchased at my Amish friend’s metal shop.  Never before have we been so “fancy” in building materials.  
Today it’s early morning and I’m sitting on a comfortable “Russ-made” wooden swing, looking out one of two big picture windows.  Directly across from me is a wall which holds a 9’ “Russ-made” sign saying “Thank You God”.  A good reminder as the day begins…  In addition, a thermos of hot, black coffee is at my feet, ready for retrieval.  Life is good.  
My view this morning is to the West, taking in a lush green field, bordered by deciduous mature trees in the distance.  Three (3) Bluebird houses skirt the west side of the Wee, and provide joy and awe in seeing their beautiful show of color, and dedication to their nesting sites.
As for the Wee {bit bigger} House…it’s like all our buildings.  It is done when the materials are available.  If they aren’t available, we wait.  Living mortgage free is important to us both. 
As for the main “ingredient”, the lumber is from our woods.  Russ cut the trees needed, planed the boards to specifications on his sawmill, and constructed the circular addition.  There are nearly a dozen different kinds of wood in this new addition {Ash, Basswood, Birch, Beech, Cherry, Soft Maple and Hard Maple, Red Pine and White Pine, Douglass Fir, Ironwood and Popple…}.  Windows and such are salvaged from discards from other folks.   All the furniture is also “Russ-made”, with the exception of an old Hickory Amish Rocker, obtained years ago.  
As I mentioned, the building sports two big windows facing every way but North.  Mornings have become even more of a blessing, as I sit and watch the world come alive.   Living in the woods, as I did in the main cabin, is quite different than having the sun slip in overhead through two tiny windows that face Northeast and flood the room with the morning sun.  I am loving this “open field” living.  I awake to the rising sun and song birds.  It feels heavenly.  As I am typing this, the sound of a light rain on our new metal roof adds to the melancholy whistle of the train that is passing through our small town, two miles from here.  Those are two sounds that I dearly love, especially when combined.
My bedroom yields a queen size bed, covered with two of my favorite quilts.  One  was lovingly made by my childhood close-as-a sister friend, and the other is an Amish-made quilt, stitched by a dear lady who I met nearly 30 years ago, Anna, mother of Levi. 
The kitchen area is perfect.  It reminds me of a trapper-cabin kitchen.  My favorite part is an old stainless steel table {another discard} that Russ built into the counter top.  That is where I make my morning coffee and toast.  Depending on which way you walk around in the circle layout, you will view a fireplace, which cozies up to the kitchen counter on the other end of the stainless steel counter.  
As for anything fancy – no running H20 in the sink yet, but it is accessed at a station within the Wee.  It is still a “haul and heat” situation for using water for dishes or bathing.  As of now, my “new” claw foot bathtub is still outside, waiting for a “new look” before being brought in.  In addition, outhouses still reign.  {We don’t make a big fuss about bathroom use in these parts.}  Russ is currently constructing a new outhouse that is circular and will match the Wee in its uniqueness.  I can’t wait to see it completed!  
I also look forward to learning to cook with even less “modern” appliances in the future.  As for now, we are in “camping mode” until everything is 100% completed.  I would say we are at 75% at this time.   Russ may say less… 
We do have electric here, although the use is minimal, with a bill to match - thank you very much.  Added lights will be gas/kerosene/solar, etc.  
Our original cabin is down the lane - 300 feet from where I reside.  I will have to do some math to figure out how many miles I walk each day as I forget something at the cabin or vice versa, or move things to the Wee.  Eventually, everything will be where it should be.  
Since Zip has passed on, petite-sled-dog Skunk has taken her place {almost}.  She spends most her nights with me, but then hangs out {loose} with the 3 boys in the dog yard during the day.  {Dawg/Malakai/Knik}  It’s like a big “play pen” for her.  The boys enjoy it, and it makes the dog yard more fun, having her in there.   Our two aged Siberians, 14-year old Doug and Libby, are in an adjoining large area that is also part of the dog yard.  They are enjoying the freedom of being together and romping about when the others play, mirroring their movements.

I have been very careful with this move to not bring in anything more than I need.  I love living a minimal lifestyle and it is showing.  All I need are my books/letter writing materials/this new-to-me laptop {albeit not connected to the Internet}/and basic kitchen and canning equipment.  My entire seasonal wardrobe fits in a Rubbermaid tote, or on a nail.  {I haven’t used hangers in years.}  My books and my letter ministry keep me very busy and fulfilled.  I don’t usually have a phone nearby.  Truth is…I abhor phones.  Never have liked using them.   ‘Nuff said on that subject.
So summer is upon us, and it will be exciting to see what it will bring.  We are living in some amazing times…seeing the Bible played out before our very eyes.  We need to be focused on God, and not be distracted by  itching ears”.  As Apostle Paul wrote to young Timothy, it applies today, perhaps even more so… :  I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:  Preach the word!  Be ready in season and out of season.  Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears , they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.  But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.  {Emphasis added by me.}  2 Timothy 4:1-5
If you don’t know Jesus…don’t delay.  Take a quiet moment to stop and think about what it will take to let Him into your life.  Have you heard Him knocking on your heart?  Don’t be distracted…focus and follow.  Your life depends on it.  We are but a vapor…but eternity lasts forever.  Do you wish to spend it with Him?  Take that step now…before it is too late...or the knocking ceases  {If you wish to have assistance in this…leave a comment as to how I can connect with you.}
Grace be with you.  Amen.
P.S.  More on living an obedient life soon.  
P.S.S.  Russ just arrived with a handful of purple lilacs in hand.  Oh how the beautiful aroma of this yearly gift fills the air.  Thank you God.  And Russ for taking the time to think of me, and knowing how much this would please me.