Follow along on our 40-acre farm and sled dog kennel - tiny cabin and outhouse-living, in rural northern lower Michigan. We're not fancy...just folksy...and giving God all the GLORY.

Peek Behind the Scenes

P.O. Box 903
Mancelona, MI 49659

SNAIL MAIL WELCOME ~ we love to hear from you!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Knee Deep in Beauty





Until tomorrow, God willing.

Buck's New Boots

Yep...they make 'em for horses.

This spring, (BC...before crutches),

Buck was ordered a fancy new pair, in lieu of metal horseshoes.



Buck came to us with compromised hooves, many years ago.



The hoof will reveal a lifetime of nutrition, or lack thereof.



We felt, in Buck's case, a boot of this nature would serve him well.

Less invasive, and worn only when ridden.




We weren't sure what to expect...but you know what?



He liked them...



These boots were made for walkin'...

Until tomorrow, God willing.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Handwritten Sorrow

Yesterday, earlier in the day, our mail was retrieved at the local post office.  
After dinner, as the light was fading,
we settled in for the night, full and content.

I pulled out a letter from the small stack of mail.
 I was excited.  I had received a letter from a dear Amish lady, 
a young mother, who I have visited with on occasion over the years. 
Mary
wife of 
Levi

I had ordered two lambs this spring from Levi, but when Russ was injured, 
I wrote back and cancelled.
I hadn't heard from them since, 
but know they are busy on the farm and with family, 
so it was a surprise to get the letter, after the fact.


As I read the letter, I gasped.  
I exclaimed to Russ, who was sitting in the cabin across from me..."Yost died".
Upon saying the words and dropping the letter to my lap, 
both Russ and I were overcome with emotion for many minutes. 
Russ slowly got up from his chair to retrieve Kleenex for us, 
and we sat, in silence, soaking in the news. 

To add to the sadness, his younger sister, Anna, had drawn me a picture of a dog, 
which Mary so kindly included in the envelope.

A young boy, barely a teen, taken by cancer.
Here's his story, that I wrote 2 years ago:
And no, we never returned with the sled dogs.  
Nor did I mail him the book I had ordered for him, about sled dogs.  
It is sitting in the Wee House next to me on a chair, on my "to do" list.
In the back of my mind,
 I had planned on delivering it to Yost in person this spring, 
upon picking up the lambs,
 not realizing he had joined his Father in Heaven earlier in the winter.
Yost is now in Heaven with his mother. 
He entered Heaven the same day I retired.
And I look forward to seeing him someday...

Dear Heavenly Father, you are surrounded by such sweet children.  Your children.  It is only by your love that makes this pain tolerable.  Knowing they are comforted by you, gives peace to those who have seen their child leave this world, for their Heavenly home.  We know they will be safe until they are reunited with their loved ones.  
In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.

Until tomorrow, God willing.




Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Back in the Saddle

Having been without Internet for days, I'm back.



And with so many stories to share.

Simple stories, from our "40"...

But today, I'm joining my good friend, my parallel friend, for a little road trip.

Just a day trip, but oh so special.



And Russ is now walking, so I can leave knowing he will be fine for the duration.

Thank you for all your comments, cares and concerns. 

I'll respond, and update you upon my return.

God willing.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Two Weeks Today

These last few weeks, I have felt like the elusive coyote.


Trotting around the perimeter of the action, but not making a move.
Frozen.
Unable to tend to my writings.

Truth is, I've never been busier in my life. 
Sweat, aches, bruises, exhaustion.
For I'm now "running the show" at our farm and kennel.

Russ is out of commission,
due to his riding accident two weeks ago, and barely able to use crutches.



Our world is different now. 
For Russ, it is accepting the pain, constant bed rest and time needed to mend.

For me, it is becoming a farmer, and all it encompasses. 
Plain and simple.

Instead of being behind the camera, I'm there, in the trenches.
And, let me tell you...there's a beauty so raw, so real,
it's almost too difficult to write about.

But I'll try.

Stay tuned.  As we begin our 3rd week with Russ healing.
And me helping.
As any help meet would do.

And the LORD God said,
"It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."
Genesis 2:18




Please feel free to add us to your prayer list for Russ' healing,
as we listen to God's word, and do his work.
Hour by hour, day by day.

Until tomorrow, Lord willing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Mystery of Melanie Gould

For the last week, thoughts and prayers have been swirling in my head about dog musher, Melanie Gould

Please see the Fairbank's Daily News-Miner for the story.

Melanie is gone.  Not reporting to work.  Leaving her dogs unattended.

When I first saw the concern pop up on the social media site, Facebook, I thought perhaps Melanie connected with a friend to look after her dogs, and went to the bush for a couple nights of solitude.  I understand that desire.  Afterall, she lives near Talkeetna, Alaska. 

I even understand how mushers have been failed in the past by "caretakers" not showing up to fill in as promised. 

I thought, won't she be surprised to see the fuss when she returns home.  But as the story unfolded, and the concern poured in, I realized something wasn't quite right. 

Facebook has a page "Have you seen Melanie Gould?" that is an excellent resource for updates and information.  Her two friends, both named Amanda, are working hard at sticking to the facts of this unfolding drama.

No, I've never met Melanie.  But if you are a dog musher, you know her. 

Melanie has crossed over the Iditarod finish line 6 times, as a rookie in 2000, and with her best showing in 2006.  In 2007, she scratched.  She did not finish. 

As with all Iditarod mushers, we followers watch their actions.  The same goes for Melanie.  You know how she stands on the runners of a sled, how she pulls her snow hook, what she wears as outdoor gear, how she treats her dogs, her smile

One of my early blogs featured pictures of her year 'round "outdoor shower", providing me with inspiration for our "unique" shower system.   The link to Melanie's photos is now gone...vanished.  Just as she disappeared quietly last week.

Now, a week later, the mystery continues.  My dreams are now filled with all things Melanie.  She encompasses my waking (and now sleeping) thoughts. 

I pray this ends well.  She's tough, and resourceful - two key elements in being safe. 

God speed search party.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

"On Your MARK" Saturday

Making Adoption Resources Known

That's my goal.

And to perhaps spark an interest in one of Michigan's waiting children.

Today we feature Carlos.
Click on the link and be prepared to melt when you connect with those eyes...
He's been waiting for a home since 2008.

You will want to turn off the soothing music on Playlist so you can hear Carlos describe himself for you.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lilacs, Lead Dogs and Lovin' the Lord


Introducing Skunk...


...our new lead dog who turns 1 this month.

Right now, she is busy turning our kennel upside down, as she is in standing heat.
She also managed to single-pawedly bring two 12 + year olds  (Windows and Asta)
and a 10 + year old (Star) into heat. 
Not to worry, they are safe in the "heat pen" portion of our Alaskan-style dog yard.

Around the stroke of midnight last evening,
the coyote who we tagged "Too Tall"
came by to serenade the girls on a clear, cold, star-filled night. 
It sounded beautiful...and only Skunk responded.
(Yes, mushers have this uncanny ability to know each sled dog by their bark...)

My dear husband, Russ, is still sidelined on crutches and has his leg elevated
since his Sunday riding accident where he and his big horse, Raz,
went down in a tumble and Raz rolled on his leg.



Thank you for all your prayers. 
They are truly felt. 
Healing is taking place, slowly.

I just got done with my morning chores, 2 hours worth,
which ended with the sled dogs, as always.
As I clasped the kennel gate, signaling my departure, it began.
Awatchy, in the far right corner of our dog yard began his slow,
head to the sky "thank you" howl.
I turned my back to walk away,
but not before the 23 sets of eyes saw my face break into a slow grin.
For they know...I love what I do.

Having Russ laid up has thrust me into the world of early morning chores,
and early evening chores.
Not just "helping", but doing it all.
Moving pig fencing,
burying the elderly chicken that passed on while sitting in her favorite spot, 
reporting to Russ all the nuances of each animal...
how the 5 week-old piglets are now becoming weaned and letting me pet them without moving...
taking the goats for walks... 

In the ten years we have been together Russ has not even had a cold,
so he has never missed seeing the animals. 
Nor have they missed seeing him. 
While it is difficult for him to sit by and watch me struggle, it has been a blessing to me.
I get a peek at the core of this farm.
To have the animals react to me, the way they always have to him. 



Up until now, especially with the horses, I've always been the "Boss' wife". 




I'm so fortunate to be able to fill some very big shoes.   
Right now, we are in survival mode. 
But we "count it all joy", as it could be much worse.  Or winter.


"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up."
(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NKJV)

Thank you Josh from Maine for highlighting that scripture for me, as we move forward.

I love how the Lord factors in what happens when situations like ours come about.


Until tomorrow, God willing.