Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Trapline Chatter

Hello folks.  It’s been a while since I checked in.  We don’t have Internet on our small farm, so it’s a trek to “connect”.  I hope all of you are doing well and enjoying the silence of this winter season.  As I told hubby Russ today, “I think we are slowing down to the speed of life…”

Days on our {cold} snowy 40 acres seem to revolve around a couple necessary events.  Firewood, sled dogs and eats.  Hubby’s day starts very early, and ends early.  As for me?  I read about 4 books per week, enjoying the quiet evenings for this enjoyable pastime.  Chores begin the day and chores end the day.  Bracketed by chores, it seems. 

As for eats, we keep it simple.  This morning I fried up potatoes and sweet onions in plenty of butter, whipped up some blueberry pancakes (using gifted Bader Blueberries from Holland, Michigan) and topped it off with our homegrown bacon and sweet maple syrup from our trees.  Later in the day, I made our usual loaf of bread, via hand kneaded…no bread machine or fancy devices in our small 15 x 20 cabin.  Just good old-fashioned bread, that rises nicely by the woodstove.  This evening we will have grilled (yes, outside) pork chops from our hog, slathered with BBQ sauce, noodles with butter and green beans from our summer garden.  Snacks and munchies fill our stomachs in between the meals.  I make cookies every few days – oatmeal chocolate chip – which go good with a hot cup of coffee from our woodstove trivet.

Our sled dogs are probably wondering about now just where all the people went to this year.  This is the first year, in over a decade, that we haven’t provided rides to the public.  Yes, we are officially “retired” from the dog sled ride business.  However, I’m in the process of training new leaders.  Taking a couple out at a time seems to work well.  (Less dogs to tangle when they are confused and both turn in different directions.)  It’s fun to see things “click” in the minds of these young dogs.   Since we are no longer doing “rides”, we can’t justify paying someone to put in trails with a snowmobile, so the old-fashioned “wood and leather” snowshoes go into action.  Our trails are now made by snowshoes, not snow machines, like in past years.  Although it is hard work, I love the feeling of stomping down the trail, knowing it will serve a purpose – not only for our dogs - but also as a trail system for coyotes and game who have always enjoyed (and taken advantage of) our trails. 

I go into town about every ten days or two weeks.  That seems to be a good fit for me this winter.  I pop into the Post Office (where we are on a first-name basis) to mail letters and packages, and then check the Internet at our local Library (also first-name basis), in addition to getting another armful of books for the next week.  {Sometimes our local Librarian calls me to tell me “news” that she knows I wouldn’t have heard since we live without television – a gesture that is truly “small town”.}  Even so, going to town more than once a week would be too much.  Though we have no TV/Internet/Fancy Phone at home, truthfully…I’m finding the radio to be too overwhelming much of the time.  I’m enjoying backing off and finding quality in good conversations, and the Good Book.  My treasured Bible.

My trips to treasured Amish friends, stores, and communities have been significantly reduced due to weather.  The last time I visited my favorite hardware store, I had spied our previously owned goat near a barn.  I had delivered him the year prior, on Christmas Eve, to be a new addition to a small herd.  I was saddened to learn that earlier this month, that there had been a fire in that community – the barn burned.  However, the goat (and other livestock) were saved from the fire and toxic smoke.   Sadly, buggies, equipment and a freezer shared by several families were lost.  I have been in that beautiful barn – such a shame.  But “Praise God” it didn’t spread to the house or hardware.

We, too, averted disaster this past week at our place.  Not by fire, but by testing out a new sleigh, built by hubby Russ and our Farrier friend, pulled by two HUGE strong Percherons.  During the “take off”, hardware failed, and caused a “little excitement”.  Needless to say, once everything settled down, I stayed back, enjoying the scene of the prancing Giants from afar as they headed down our long snowy drive.

As for daily blessings, we enjoy having the winter northern lower Michigan birds appear at our cabin window each day to feed on the black sunflower seeds.  We have only 2 feeders, (one right by the front window, and one on a tree near the window) but they provide a constant flow of Chickadees, Blue Jays, many types of woodpeckers, Mourning Doves, purple finch, brown-headed cowbirds, and the like.  Our “cabin kitty” also enjoys the daily visits of these “camp robbers”.  She “talks” and swishes her tail and at times, pounces at the window, hoping to make a catch.  We’re hoping she doesn’t break the window!  That would put us in a pickle for the cold winter!

Speaking of critters…does anyone out there run a trapline?  I’d love to hear about it. 

The Blog title {Trapline Chatter} might strike a familiar cord with some of you out there.  It is the name of a radio service for those folks in the Bush.  It relays messages to those with limited communication in Alaska.  Tundra Topics did the same back in the 70’s.  Perhaps these services are still being used today?  Does anyone know?

That’s it until next time, dear friends, Lord willing. 
And remember…Rejoice!  The King is on His way!!  {Are you watching?}