Thursday, July 28, 2011

Needing Inspiration Today?

This may fit the bill...

You will want to turn off the soothing music on Playlist - to your right.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, 
I delight in weaknesses, 
in insults,
in hardships, 
in persecutions, 
in difficulties. 
For when I am weak, then I am strong. 
 2nd Corinthians 12:10

Folks, this scripture speaks volumes to me.  
For the last week, I've felt and endured each of the above.  
Weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties.  
I can take weakness, and even hardships or difficulties,
but insults and persecutions cut me at the knees.  
Not so much for the hurt and pain of my flesh, 
but because I can't defend my Savior the way I so deeply desire.  
I feel like I'm fighting with a dull butter knife, instead of a sharp sword.  
The only way I know to get better at defending my God 
is to bury myself deeply into scripture.   
His word, His soothing promises.  
I hope someday I can shine the light of Christ Jesus 
to all who question His existence and final plan.  
Until then, I will abide in Him, and read His word.

Until tomorrow, abiding in Him, God willing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Vine and the Branches

 John 15:1-8
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, 

while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.   

You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. 
No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine
Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
    “I am the vine; you are the branches. 
If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; 
apart from me you can do nothing.  

If you do not remain in me, 
you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; 

such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, 
ask whatever you wish, 
and it will be done for you.  

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, 
showing yourselves to be my disciples.

In Jesus' name, amen...

Until tomorrow, abiding in Jesus, God willing.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

So, so Thirsty

 Truth is, I'm thirsting for knowledge.

Biblical knowledge.
Knowledge of the ages...stored for easy retrieval in my humble little brain.
Such a big task, that will continue until my last dying breath.

 Some days, I'm so antsy to do the work of the Lord.
I wonder if I can accomplish such a feat on our "40"...

And my desire to bear fruit is overwhelming at times.

But I know my biggest job is to abide in Christ, having taken the path of the cross.

Whether it is with my husband, my neighbor, my family, the lady at the Post Office, etc. etc.

Your will, Lord.  Not my will.

I pray for this daily.

"The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked." 
1 John 2:4-6
Until tomorrow, God willing.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beatin' the Heat - Russ-Stick Style

Last night, as I was winding down for the day, I noticed...
it was 90 degrees inside, and 86 outside.

No air "conditioning" here.  

I wasn't cooling off, and the uncomfortableness was giving way to health concerns.

I decided it was time to take measures.

I grabbed my gear and headed to a homemade swing,

As I laid there, 
reflecting on my day spent in Amish country, I was so grateful for my simple life.

Head propped by pillows, I stared right into the solar system for a conversation with God, 
maker of the universe.  
Before beginning, a falling star set the tone.  
Dear Lord, my Heavenly Father...
The West winds gently rocked the creaky swing back and forth, 
back and forth...

Zip laid by my curled feet, 
every so often lifting her head to sniff the air in quick, short inquisitive gestures.
I dozed, woke, dozed again.  
I had to acclimate myself with the outdoor sounds.
The tapping, scratching of the cable against our flag pole.

Rabbits underfoot nearby.  Hopping, thumping their feet on occasion.  Nibbling.

That's our little "skunk" rabbit...isn't he adorable??

The changing sky...first clear...loaded with stars and the blinking lights of faraway planes.
Then clouds, and cover.
More wind.
Dare I say even cool at times?
Zip jumped up and off the rocking swing several times,
to patrol,
causing the swing to rock abruptly, like a boat being tossed by waves in an unforgiving sea.
But once she returned and settled in by my feet, the gentle rhythm continued.

The rhythm of life.  
Slow and easy.  
Hot and cold.
I must not forget to give thanks...even when life is uncomfortable.

Jesus even did so...

So they took away the stone. 
Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me..."
John 11:41
Until tomorrow, God willing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

There's a Fox in the Henhouse

Fox Mulder that is...

I named our young rooster Fox, since one of his flock is named Agent Scully.
You X-Files fans will recognize this...

Actually last year, I thought he was a she.
He was born hatched here, just last summer.

Click here for the Blog about this young chick's start in life.

 It's hard to believe that little chick, turned into this beautiful rooster.

And now, he returned to his birthing hatching grounds with his own flock. 

Nine (9) beautiful hens,
who lay gorgeous eggs for us each and every day.

Side bar:  We actually have two other flocks also...with a total of 4 roosters on site.
Other roosters are: 
DiNozzo, Stewie, and Charlie Sheen (yes, he looks JUST like him...seriously!)

Until tomorrow, God willing.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Traveler's Buggy Training

Wednesday night, we had to cancel our Wee House Worship.
So we switched gears...and made the best of it.
Since our dear friend Ellen was already planning her evening with us,
we decided to go with Plan B.
Training Traveler.
So after an outdoor picnic supper, we began.
Ellen took the reins first.

We were told Traveler had been driven in his past.

And when he came to us the first time,
we saw evidence of such with markings on his back legs.
They were worn by the harness rubbing against his hair and skin.
Did you know a horse's skin is 7 times more sensitive than a humans? 

Raz, the overseer, is no stranger to the harness...

He watched intently, as if to glean some information from the exercise.
Or just watch his favorite human, Russ, in the round pen.

It was wonderful having Ellen share her skill of horsemanship.
She's no stranger to driving horses, or dogs, for that matter.
She has a beautiful Haflinger, Bob, who she uses for field work at her Farm.

Traveler responded well to Gee (right)
and Haw (left).

He's quick on his turns.

And has a fast "giddy up" trot.

I'm not sure who worked harder that night.

But it sure was a great start toward our final goal ~
Traveler as a buggy horse.

I thought you might like to see what the excitement is all about.
This video features a Standardbred who just came from the race track to an Amish Farm.
A young couple is along for the ride, impressed with the speed!
You'll see how fast they trot!
And how much the horse enjoys it!

Be sure and turn off the soothing music on Playlist so you can hear the dialog and clip-clops!

Until tomorrow, God willing.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Perimeter Predator

Like most things in life, things happen when you're not paying attention.
 But unfortunately, things happen even if you are paying attention. 

Just last week, circa 4:00 p.m., I was feeding the two goats their grain,
as I always do,
holding the bowl while they shared.

Upon looking out into the clearing,
I see 2 coyotes trolling in the field in front of the pig fencing and round pen.  

I was standing in the background under the shade trees.

I watched for about 8 minutes, as two coyotes trotted and circled the fencing, frustrated at the rabbits who were thumping their hind legs and flitting about, running for cover,
unlike these contented rabbits pictured below... 

The next day, Russ and I walked the portable fencing to double check all the connections.

We found where "something" had tried to bolt into the fencing
and flipped the fencing upside down, in the corner.
We knew it had to be one of the coyotes trying to enter. 
Had it been our pigs, it would have been from the inside out,
and they would have made their way through.  

As it stands, our pigs have never tested the fencing since the original poke. 

This isn't the first time we've seen coyotes in broad daylight.  
It's becoming an almost daily event.  
You'll note below, the coyote isn't even alarming our horses. 
That's an indicator he's been through many times.  

The morning I scared him off by the horses, he circled around and came in closer...

 And, unfortunately, two weeks ago, 
Mr. Jitters (my Heritage breed JAVA rooster) 
was snagged by a coyote, near our main cabin.

I loved that rooster...he was my favorite of all 5.

Needless to say, 
I always carry my little Marlin with me now,
when I head out on trails. 

Just in case a couple coyotes try to mingle too closely with my trusty dog, Zip.
Bear in mind, I would not shoot at a coyote, just shoot to scare if off.

Although per Michigan DNR:  
Coyote may be taken on private property by a property owner or designee all year if they are doing or about to do damage on private property. A license or written permit is not needed.

Zip lets me know if she smells a coyote, either on the ground, or in the wind.
She's not a fan...and the hackles standing up on her back indicate such.

But even knowing they are a predator, I'm fascinated by them.

Until tomorrow, God willing...

Speaking of tomorrow...I plan on giving you a tour of our place in the next couple days...
so you can figure out just what's what, and where we are.

Perhaps we can connect the dots.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

1/3 Living - Deep Wood Thoughts

As I sat in a camp chair within our tiny cabin porch the other night, 
I reflected on our first couple nights “off grid”
Zip was by my feet, her nose just inches from the fresh air of the screen door.

It was dusk and darkness was closing in.  Earlier, as I walked into the woods to approach the cabin, the birds were singing and pats (partridges) were flying up as Zip and I neared their nook.  But now, it was dead silence except for the gentle snoring of Russ, deep inside the cabin walls.  My eyes were attempting to adjust to the darkness, as the sun drained from the tree-cluttered sky. 

As darkness finally overcame dusk, the fireflies began their syncopated dance among the trees.  In the distance, I could hear the yipping of a coyote and a neighbor dog, a mile or so away, on the wind.

While watching the fireflies burst their light forth, HOLD IT, and darken, I thought to myself…is that me?  Am I like a firefly, bursting with the light of Jesus for some to see at times, and then fade out quickly, never to be seen again?

Is that me?  Saved by faith and grace, bold for Christ, but only in short staccato bursts?

I pondered this thought as I watched the fireflies.  Soon the darkness and silence took over, causing my head to bob from the weight of the day's chores.

As the tiny candle was blown out for the night, and the cabin was immersed in total darkness, my thoughts began to churn.  Laying on my sleeping bag, in complete utter "out in the middle of the woods" darkness, I thought I must let my light shine.  
However, it isn't up to me.
 As I die to myself, 
Christ will fill me and I will become like a cracked pot
or perhaps a firefly...
with light shining through…God willing.   

Matthew 16:24-25
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, 
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross
and follow me.  
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: 
and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."

Until tomorrow, truly God willing.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Being In the World, but not Of the World

There's ways to achieve this...

First, you can hide.

Or you can run.

Or... you can turn to Jesus for everything.  

Every day.

Every waking moment.

James 1:27   ..."and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Slip your hand into His...and your walk will become lighter.

Until tomorrow, God willing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

1/3 Living - Going Off Grid

It's been brewing for a while.  A change...a desire.

Something needed to be altered.  We needed LESS...

Truth is, God has graced us with so much abundance...
and we are eternally grateful for that fact.
However, for us, less is more.

I knew things would change the day I, retreated from working a "normal", leave-home type job.

But the change was put off, as we were so busy with dog sled rides...

And then, just surviving winter...

In addition, as the dog sled rides waned, and maple syrup season began, we were busy with other projects, including a nice long stay from a 12-year old boy, who stole the hearts of many, including ours, while here at our place.

 Jordan, peeking into the Trail Cam, upon a nightly visit. 

Simply stated, we put it off.

Then, it was time for Jordan to return home.

And a mere 4 days later, Russ was injured in a fall, where his horse, Raz, rolled on his leg, landing him on crutches.

Now, having lost June, and sliding into July, a change is due.

Truth is, we want to see what it would be like to live without electricity or running water.

At the Bear's Den cabin.  On our "back 10"...

We spent the 4th there all day.  Working, then taking a nice afternoon nap in the heat of the day.  It felt so right.  As Russ dozed off, and Zip sighed by my feet, I laid there in the cool of the cabin, listening to the Hermit Thrush sing his soulful tune just outside the homemade screen door.  I felt a million miles from any one, any place.  Far from the world, but closer than ever to God. 

Yes, it is time for our Independence Day.  We are moving in tomorrow.

We won't be taking much, as we want to truly have what we only need.

It's 8 x 10.  Quiet and secluded.

We're adding a small chicken coop, for breakfast eggs.   We will be utilizing 3 Buff Orphingtons, one of whom just hatched 5 chicks, who are growing like weeds.  We will move the 3 adults and the 5 chicks.  No rooster at this time, even though we have several to choose from.  We'll see what morphs into being with the chicks.  I'm sure there's a rooster or two in the bunch.

We decided to use a dog house, which has never been used as such, for our new coop.  Here it is ... 

Of course fencing to be added to protect the chickens, and this unique house will be put up on stumps.

Now, around back, to the new dog yard area. (Outhouse is to the right.)

This will be the new (dog yard) home of our "Fab Four".  Broccoli, Skunk, Knik, and Malakai.

More on that later.  

NOTE:  We are not downsizing or getting rid of any animals.  Just trying something new.

So, stay tuned, as we take this step and move "out back" for the next year.  We'll be using the dogs and horses more and more for power as we try to get back to an even simpler way of life.

Until tomorrow, God willing.