Thursday, March 31, 2011

Trent's Legacy - A Fisher of Men

Late at night, I like to check out the Blogs I follow. 
They are good folks, who farm, who love the Lord.
Reading their Blogs, and seeing their farming lives and animals, 
makes me feel like I'm on track.

Late in February,
I clicked on Terri's Blog "Our Crazy Farm" and let out a late-night gasp.

It was titled "A New Home".

Terri's 12-year old son, Trent, was killed while attending a youth group ski outing.

Terri didn't miss a beat. 
She wrote her Blog, as she would any other day,
and outlined Trent's "new home" ~ Heaven.

It caught me so off guard. 
I was used to seeing baby goats, or children riding ponies, or the latest canning project. 
But this?  I was frozen on the page.

As condolences poured in, Terri wrote: 
"Know that God's plans and God's grace are greater than ours. We have been rejoicing since Friday for the good work that God has done! We have prayed for over 12 years for Trent to go to heaven one day and to be used by God in a mighty way~ and God has honored that.
Who are we to complain when and how??"

As the days unfolded, I followed Terri's Blog.  I have to admit, it wasn't easy at times.  Seeing the beautiful pictures of a boy I had not even met, made my heart heavy with sorrow.  But I kept coming back...

Why?  Because what I found wasn't what one would expect. 
There was no pity, no blame, no hate at the world for what happened. 
Quite the opposite.

I found grace.

I found the love of God.

I found a mother, who lost her son, but understood that loss in an intimate way.

It's been over a month, and I've continued to follow "Our Crazy Farm".

Tonight, I felt the need to share, as did other Bloggers,
due to the words Terri had flow from her heart to hand. 

I've never met Terri, but feel she is filled with an amazing love and understanding of the Lord's plan. 
A plan that is available to all, just for the asking.

Today, she writes this.  Click it here.

I hope the Lord continues to bless her with understanding, healing and faith,
and the ability to witness to His word and promises. 

Until tomorrow, God willing.

The Magic Hour

I love the hour right before the sun goes down. It’s magical, both in lighting and in content. 

Last week, as the temps were at their peek after a long day of climbing from single digits,
I sat on our swing by our main cabin,
just out of reach of the dog yard, but in full view of all our animals.

While I gently rocked, I tipped my head back to capture the last of the sun’s rays as it exited the evening sky. I had just returned from breaking out a new trail on our 40 acres. I was tired of taking a dogsled over the embankment of our long drive, so I came up with a way to avoid that route. Hence, I put in a new trail. Actually, I was perfecting one that Russ had begun in the summer months, over a year ago. It connected one campsite to another, but entered into an area of the woods where no trail currently goes, other than the wildlife. I was overheated from walking in the deep snow. Snow so deep and sugary that it sucked my Yaktraks off my Muck boots. Luckily, I keep watch for such things and retrieved it on the way back through. Now, I was sitting, waiting for Russ to finish with the horses, so we could move into the final step of the nightly chores, the dogs. But while I waited, I sunk deeper into the warm, heavy wooden swing, rocking with a rhythm of the land, enjoying the small break at the end of a long, wonderous day.

I could hear the melting snow drip, drip, drip off the “old mill” roof, pinging on a bucket below. To the right of me I could hear the new roosters, youngsters who aged over the winter, try out their new cock-a-doodle do. Scratchy, screechy and short. In front of me a black American Silver Fox rabbit moseyed up to a white Californian and sized her up for motherhood. In the near distance I could hear the hogs squabble over whose turn it was to spin the feeder turnstyle. Their grunts and squeals mixed with the squeak of the metal as it turned, spilling out feed with every spin. Zip, my faithful companion dog, laid in an alert style on the snowy drive. Content to stay near, as always. I watched out of the corner of my eye. She too basked in the sunlight, absorbing the last rays. Beyond Zip I could see our trio of horses, head’s down eating hay provided earlier, their bodies lit up by the sun’s rays. The goats were also quiet, no doubt either chewing cud or hay, bellies full with their sweet grain and grasses. Several crows overhead gave a call, adding to the barnyard banter. The crows reminded me of all the coyote tracks I had seen on my way out to the trail. They traversed the field and came amazingly close to the barnyard perimeter.  Yes, we had a full house.

My thoughts were quickly diverted as the sled dogs began to stir. They always see Russ before I do, and alert me to his presence. Part 2 of the evening chores would begin. Right on schedule, closing out the magic hour.
Until tomorrow, God willing.  And wondering, is this Heaven?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Rite of Spring

It's finally time.

Today, we begin to fire up the sap pan for our Maple Syrup production.

Stay tuned. 

We will have 4 fires, smokehouse, Wee House and main cabin. 

Until tomorrow, God willing.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring Sledding ~ Dog, that is...

Guess who went dogsledding today?

Me and my furry friends.

None of us could wipe that smile off our face...

Until tomorrow, enjoying the spring snow, God willing.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Forgotten Love

It took a late March snow storm to bring us together again.

The freedom to roam is exhilarating.

A surprise with every footstep, like the turkey scrape on the snow.

Here's a better look.

Beauty everywhere.

Simple and pure, as the driven snow.

Until tomorrow, God willing.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the Heavens.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Today, we are knee deep in snow.

But soon, spring will emerge.

And with it, a whole new set of chores.

The focus will be off dog power and on to horse power.

Our boy Raz, is still in training from last year.

But coming along nicely.

We can't wait to see what spring holds for us.

What about you?  We'd love to hear your plans...

Until tomorrow, God willing...

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Shoes

Guess which "boy" is getting new shoes?

I'll give you a's the teenager of the bunch.

Earlier in the week, our farrier, Bruce, came out to trim our 3 horses. 

Raz, Nauish and Buck.

It was windy and cold, and the horses wanted to cuddle.

Bruce comes on a regular basis, scheduled every 6 weeks.

Perhaps I should have told Russ he had a nibbler behind him...
no surprise...
Nauish is so tactile.

  We knew Buck, who is getting into his late teens,
might be ready for his first set of shoes.

He was...

So, the teenager is going to get new shoes for spring trompin'...

 I bet he'll make sure everyone knows he's special ~ he always does.

See how Nauish ("Now-eesh", our black Mustang) 
behaved in the early days with it

That youngster has come a long way...

Until tomorrow, God willing, and wonderful.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bippity Boppity Bacon!

Our new smoker is...



If you want a good chuckle about BACON, click here

Until tomorrow, God willing~!

The Tax Man Cometh

Actually, we're heading to him.

That's if our critters let us leave for a couple hours.

What a task...getting tax information ready for the accountant.

But then again,
it gives you a chance to look over the past year and ponder the decisions you made.

And re-live those special moments.

How about you? 

Have you pondered yet?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Silent Spring

It was Two for Tuesday this week.

That day, I went for not one, but two dog sled rides.

Morning.  And night.

After a long snow-filled weekend, which included butchering a hog onsite,
I wanted to be out on a trail, with the dogs.

It seemed the dogs, especially Aliy, also wanted to reconnect with nature.

Our old boy, Hans, was soaking up the sun and dreaming of earlier days.

And our young lad, Broccoli, was looking ahead.

Content dogs.

It was nice to get out, and get on a new trail link we finished putting in that morning.

I was a melancholy musher, knowing it may be the last day on the trail.

As it turned out, it was. 

Wednesday gave way to hauling two more pigs to Ebels for processing.

And sometime during Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday evening,
 winter gave way to spring. 

The snow is going fast.

And this little chickadee will soon make room for the robin.

I'm not ready. 
Simply put, I am mourning winter. 
My soul aches for snow.

Until tomorrow, God willing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bacon in the Sun

Spooning ~ pig style.

Sookie, Jackson, Rune and Reba.

More story to follow...stay tuned.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Don't Confuse Hospitality with Endurance

I've always liked that phrase.

And, at our place, on our 40 acres, it fits.

Our daily company is growing...
and the word is out that we are kind to creatures who show up at our door.
Like the wild turkeys. 
Meleagris gallopavo.
You can set your watch by them. 
Knowing we begin feeding exactly at 4:00 p.m.,
(which is actually 3:00 p.m. as we don't change our clocks...)
they arrive, one by one.

At first, they stuck out like a sore thumb.
And our roosters were leary...wondering if they would woo our hens.

But after the first day, they fit in and came and left with little fanfare.

That was months ago.

Now, the beautiful birds are here to stay.  Considering us home.

And why not...they are God's creature.  Beautiful.  And wonderfully made.

Right down to the tail feathers.

So for now, the fowl are not calling foul. 
Although I still haven't figured out
how they all know to gobble at precisely the same second.

Even with the gobble, all is well with our roosters.

And their bigger, loftier cousin.

Until tomorrow, as always, God willing.

Monday, March 7, 2011

March Mushing Madness

Even though our last official tour ended on Saturday,
we are still "all things dog".

We still have snow.  And we have a kennel full of dogs who love it.

As Iditarod plays out this week,
my mind wanders back to when the current 4-in-a-row Champion was at our place,
back in September of 2008,
during a full moon. 

4-time (back to back) Yukon Quest Champ.  4-time (back to back) Iditarod Champ. 
Making history on the back of a dog sled.

Folks were excited to meet him here, at Russ-Stick Acres.

For me, meeting this legend was a dream come true.
And what a wonderful way to do so, surrounded by like-minded folks.

We had door prizes galore, provided graciously by nearly every mushing-related company.
Many folks, over 100, went home with a prize under their arm.

We had singing. 

Horse-drawn transportation.

And happy participants, despite the rainy weather.

People were excited to meet Lance. 

The legend.

He's such a humble man, and kind to all, young and old. 
He "engages" with you.

Sometimes now, when I walk the property
and visit our Bear's Den cabin where Lance and his wife Tonya stayed,
it's hard to believe they were here for 4 days.
It seems like a dream...

...that he followed the trail to our little place in Michigan.

This video says it all. 
Catch the March Mushing may just see history in the making.

Until tomorrow, God willing.