Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Russ-Stick Realville

In the last few weeks, we saw our final horse, Raz, head down the driveway to his new home.  Actually, he is “going home” to the place where he was born, a few miles east of us.  Our good friend, who loved him the minute she laid eyes on him as a newborn foal a decade ago, is thrilled beyond words to have him back.  

She still owns his Mama, along with several other horses, some also related to Raz., so he is very well received.  Every ride he has taken off our property has included a visit to this home, so he knows it as second nature.  We sent along his groceries too.  150 bales of hay, so the winter won’t be a burden to our good friends.

As for us…I found this quote tucked within my weekly Amish Newspaper (The Budget), which outlines our life desires to a T.  It is by Wendell W. Price.  There are many activities I must cut out simply because I desire to excel in my pursuit after God and holiness.” 

Will we miss Raz?  Of course.  But I truly believe God brought us to this point, for many reasons.  I must say, I was stunned to see my dear friend, Terri at Our Crazy Farm, was also at this point in her walk.  I think we were saying goodbye to our horses at the same time as she and her family saw their last couple equines leave the farm.  She, too, had horses for many years, with generational ties.  She summed up my feelings upon their departure when she stated “peace dominates the sadness…”.  She added, “These earthly treasures and delights don’t demand our attention like they used to, our satisfaction and joy is sought elsewhere.  We walk along now, after having tasted of glory and eternities nearness, refusing to be comforted by anything short of God Himself.  It’s a strange place to be, to live in this world as if we don’t belong here, strangers and aliens waiting to go home.”  

She goes on to state our feelings, as if snatched from our very thoughts.  See for yourself, HERE.  {Thank you dear Terri, for your ever-comforting words.}

As for our small farm, we still have chickens.  We had two batches hatched this summer, starting on Memorial Day, with the last one in August, with a count of 14 chicks, compliments of our hen, Israel.  What a sight that was!  This summer, we made a new tradition of Sunday dinner being chicken dinner, compliments of our young roosters who morphed into “manhood” throughout the summer.  They go from the outdoor butcher table right into the oven.  Fresh and delicious ~ baked chicken with ‘tators and thick gravy and the trimmin’s.  Next day or so, it’s Chicken Pot Pie with the leftovers.

As for me, my travels to the Amish community have increased tenfold.  (I’ll be leaving again on “Black Friday” to spend the day.)  I have enjoyed so many visits to various homes, being welcomed into the fold by children and adults.  In recent months, I’ve enjoyed road trips with my Amish friend, traveling to other Amish communities.   I’ve been learning about living out a Christ-centered life to the fullest extent (I now wear not only a skirt, but a head covering).  At times, the emotions are so raw, there are tearful conversations as we dig into revelations of the Word, and such. 

Oh friends, I have so much to tell, but hold back.  I couldn’t figure it out until I talked with a dear friend, who also knows the deep roots of the Amish life.  She summed it up with one word.  INTIMATE.  It is too “intimate”.  It’s SO true…to write any facet about my visits, is truly too intimate.  Perhaps someday I can figure out a way to do so.  The Lord will let me know.

As snow continues to fall, my eyes wander to the sled dogs, all 15 of them.  (Zip is in the cabin by the woodstove, with me.)  This is their time.  And they know it.  For us, it will be different, as it is the first year in over a decade that we aren’t open to the public for dog sled rides.  Calls continue to come in.  We have already had to turn away two Boy Scout troops and others.  I feel bad in doing so, but know our musher friends will pick up the slack and provide them with a wonderful experience. 

I have decided I’m going to check in here each week.  I’ve missed you, my friends.  There is so much to talk about, and we must advance the Kingdom, as the Lord tarries.

Until next time, Lord willing,


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How we Shelter in Place

The frigid November wind is whipping around our tiny cabin as I settle in on my desktop ‘puter.  It’s ironic how it takes up a huge space in the middle of our 15 x 20 cabin, only to be used as a word processor, with no link to the outside world.  Even though we don’t have Internet, I hear my fingers dance over the keyboard, as thoughts spring forth.  And that feels like I’m connecting. 

Another perk - my backside is sufficiently warmed by the woodstove that sits in the southwest corner, a mere few feet away.  On top sits a 14-cup Wenzel percolator.  A coffee pot, kept warm throughout the day for immediate consumption by any and all.  I poured a cup before sitting down, hoping the warmth would ward off the chill I get from viewing the snowy display outside our front window. 

Speaking of coffee, I just began drinking java this autumn.  It was the weekend of the early doe hunt.  I had been out in the woods for hours, coming home cold and wet from freezing drizzle assaulting my face.  Upon entering our cabin, and smelling fresh brewed hot coffee, I decided right then and there, it was time to start drinking the caramel-colored water.  I have been on this earth for nearly 6 decades and now was the time.  Two months later, and I’m hooked.  However, I doctor it with my Amish-gifted organic sugar, and French Vanilla creamer.  As for that early hunt.  No doe taken, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.  No shot fired, but watched one walk away.  Now that we are into rifle season, I’m not seeing any, other than tracks, although I head out morning and evening on most days, spending hours walking and watching in our 40-acre woods. 

While stump sitting last weekend on opening day, I had to smile.  I spend quite a bit of time in our woods, year ‘round.  Therefore, “our” crows are on to me.  They like me, as I like them.  They don’t “rat me out” when I enter the woodlot.  While sitting the other evening at dusk I could hear crows in the area “ratting out” hunters.  At least that is what I figured all the fuss was about, hearing and seeing them all fly miles away.

I suppose I’m not your typical deer hunter.  I grab my 30-30 and head out.  Wearing orange, of course.  (Bought an awesome orange hat at the local Resale last week for a quarter.)  But I don’t sit in a “blind”.  I actually sold 2 Porta-potty poly outhouses this fall during the early hunt to a couple fellas {from downstate} who were going to make them into deer blinds.  As for me, I like to perch myself on a stump.  The other morning I did think to take my “hot seat” for padding, and was glad I did.  (Did I mention I hunt wearing a skirt?  Actually, my Amish-made skirt is a true gift.  Warm and thick.)

As opening day approached, I actually became hesitant about taking a deer.  We had just processed our 500+ pound hog and our freezer is busting out with pork cuts.  But thanks to a seasoned hunter friend (AC Ellen), I was reminded of venison burger, and such.  And the fact the Good Lord told us we are to use the animals for our needs.

We had a good butcher day with our gilt-never-turned-sow hog.  We work in tandem with a  farm friend couple - the guys cut the meat up, with us gals using our Food Saver machines and bags.  When we get to the sausage, we are in the home stretch.  We use AC Leggs seasoning and I truly have tasted none better.  We stop for lunch on butcher days.  This time, it was a venison stew (complete with Morel mushrooms) made by our friends, along with my homemade apple cake (made fresh that morning) for dessert.  By evening, we drive the couple miles home, tired out (but a good tired) knowing we will be eating good over the winter.  The second half of our breeding pair, which never did produce, will be next.  He will be mostly sausage.  (NOTE:  The hams on this girl weighed 35+#’s…huge!) 

Speaking of hogs.  Check out the video outlining the feral swine situation here in Michigan.  I've written about Baker's Green Acres before HERE...having traveled to sit in the courtroom and see it first hand.  This is a preview of the movie yet to come:  {Warning...Not for the lighthearted...}

“Nuff catching up for now.   Please check out Baker's Green Acres videos and website.  They need everyone's support.

In the meantime, if you wish to see what it is going on in our neck of the woods, go to SNOWMAN CAM and see.  Click HERE.  Our good friend, Blueberry Becky, lives just a crow’s fly from this cam and it has recorded “her bear” and other critters for your perusal.

Until next time, Lord willing…if the Lord tarries.