Friday, May 15, 2015

Deer Camp Livin’

This photo was taken several years ago, when we still had horses.

The last two weeks have been exciting around here.  Turkey season opened on May 4th, which found me strolling the woods cradling my 20-gauge shotgun.  What a blessed week that was, alerted to the sound of the “long beard” calling his gobble/gobble while strutting and fanning his feathers.  He and I had some exciting moments, as I called to him with my home-made call (using my voice) and him responding, but he remains elusive to me.  For my efforts I ended up with many miles on my soon-to-be worn out shoes.  In addition, I got to see the woods change before my eyes.  The week started out cold and wet, which make the woods come alive for me.  I like walking “stealth” and wet leaves accommodate this ideal.  Towards the end of the week, hot and humid weather was upon us, making the gun seem heavier, the trails longer and me not so enthused.  (I’m a cold-weather gal.)  But I pressed on.  My hopes were revived when a turkey came to mingle with our free-range chickens, only to find it was a hen.  {Did you know hens can also have beards?}  I still have until May 31st for this 234 Michigan hunt.  We’ll see how it plays out.

We did have some additions to our poultry this week.  One of our broody hens finished her task, producing little black fluffy chicks, spotted with a dash of yellow.  I immediately went to work hard-boiling some eggs for the new little ones and Mama.  It’s a good source of easy {and perfect} protein for the newly hatched chicks.  I look forward to seeing how many chicks are produced from the next broody hen, who has 11 eggs under her.  She still has that “broody” look – squatted down on her nest with eyes producing that 1000-yard stare.  It should be soon.

Russ and I were heading out to check game trails the other night {sans dogs} and began to weave past a sea of bunnies.  Our land is filling up with the newborns who enjoy darting out from firewood and lumber piles.  At once I noticed a huge skunk barreling straight for us, on a full run, in the middle of the bunnies.  I wasn’t armed, but Russ was, so this situation was brought under control real fast.  There was a little confusion when I was yelling SKUNK, SKUNK, as we have a sled dog/cabin dog named Skunk, and an adult rabbit (loose) named SKUNK.  Finally the real reason for my yelling became evident! 

Skunk, our sled dog, after a training run.

Skunk, the bunny, who is now 5+ years old, and runs free.

As I was out walking this morning, again checking our trails for signs of wildlife, {with my friend, Ruger – who I always carry when walking alone} I reminded myself how blessed I am to be living so rustic.  Although I am anxious about moving into our “extended” Wee House this autumn, I tell myself to be thankful for the main cabin we do have, that provides a warm (unless it is –43), dry place.  This past week was one of celebration!  Our water finally thawed – it’s official – we have H2O on the porch.  No more hauling water from our Wee House to the “main cabin”.  Granted, we haven’t had water IN the cabin for well over a year, and don’t ever intend to, but the steps to retrieve water have gotten shorter in length.  God is good indeed!

"The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head."
Matthew 8:20

As for living rustic…I liken it to what one feels when you are at “deer camp”.  If you have ever been, you know what I am speaking about.  You feel free, alive, at one with Mother Nature.  Rather...Father God.  You can relax.  Worries tend to stay at bay.  Your only concern is to live in the moment and enjoy everything around you.  The stew simmering on your makeshift woodstove comes alive with flavor.  Your conversations with those present take on new meaning and joy.  Your sleep is hard.  You don’t concern yourself with primping, unnecessary clothing, or anything of the world.  It feels raw.  Challenging.  But peaceful.  All at the same time.  That describes our life. 

Although we take it one step further, as many of you do also.  We rely on Father God/Son of Man to provide all that we have, and will have.   In the last few years, while we chose to live with less “money” than ever before, {my early retirement from state employment} we have both been consumed with being good stewards of what comes our way.  God has blessed us beyond our desires, with what He provides.  And He always provides.  It may be in His time, but He is always there for us.

Is it easy?  No…it’s not what you call “simple living” but it is “living simple”.  It’s not about how much money you make - the more you make, the more you will spend.  It’s about what you truly need.  We are told in Proverbs “…the borrower is servant to the lender.”  {All you have to do to test this truth is to borrow money from a friend or relative.}  Try to walk away from borrowing, if you possibly can.

So it comes down to living within the parameters of the money you bring home.  I would much rather live mortgage free, as we do now – living simply, than owe vast sums that would hang over my/our head.  There is such a freedom that comes with having time on your hands.  Freedom comes in many ways, my friend.  Take a step now to pay off a debt and never go that route again.  The freedom you feel will overpower any desire to obtain a “treasure”. 

Speaking of treasure, my Dad was a true treasure, for many and all who met him.  Earlier this week (May 12th) would have been my dear Father’s 86th birthday – he passed quickly (diagnosed in late July, and died early September) with brain cancer at the age of 60 – he was an amazing man, incredible father, and my best friend.  I will always miss his presence, this side of Glory. 

Until next time, when I write about traveling to the Amish Quilt Auction with several of my black-bonnet friends, driven by my farm friend.  A van load of excitement indeed!  Oh what fun awaits.

Lord willing…



Friday, May 1, 2015

It’s me, oh Lord…Standing in the Need of Prayer

Here we are…May 1st. 

I’m sitting in our little “jinga cabin”, which still carries the remnants of a harsh winter.  Muck boots, large –100 rating LaCrosse boots, all of which take up so much space.  In addition, I’m typing on a “desk top” computer (not hooked to the Internet) so I can transfer my words from cabin to Library via a thumb-drive thingy.  So, I’m feeling crowded, and am glad for the beautiful day unfolding, even though our woodstove is still filled with slow-smoldering wood.  Birch is my favorite for this time of year.  

I just got through doing dishes.  I will miss my woodstove once it is no longer needed.  We have not had running water in the cabin for well over a year now.  So to do dishes, I must carry and heat.  Same for a bucket shower.  Same for a drink of water.  Or making coffee.  Or..or..or..  It’s doable, but more time consuming, to be sure.  And one must prepare for water usage, well in advance.

This is the first Friday in weeks that I haven’t spent the day among my Plain friends.  Two weeks ago I was invited to, and attended the school program, marking the end of the year for the scholars, many who I have come to know and love.  {To see more about the day, read my “The Seeker” Blog, which is the previous entry.}  

Last week, I traveled back into the Plain community I feel so drawn to.  I was on a mission.  I sought guidance from a very wise, kind, experienced-with-life-and-God couple.  These friends of mine are so saddened to see the pain that is experienced by not following God’s Word and direction.  Such a tangled web, indeed.  {I will write more about my search for truth...about living in an unscriptural marriage soon…}  But as for this day, I rejoiced in many friendships.  I visited a half-dozen homes, spending time in fellowship and rejoicing in His goodness.  The trips are about much more than swapping goodies.  (I usually bring home-baked cookies I’ve made, and travel home with such things as fresh milk, bacon, cheese, apples, pears, salads, and more.)  But what I really savor is the fellowship.  It’s so simple, just like their lives.  It’s holding a newborn baby, bowing my head during prayer – surrounded by a family filling the entire table space, having a little 3-year old ask if he can go home with me – as we have become so close, waving to a beloved friend as he turns a hilly corner tilling with a trio of Belgians in the spring-warmed dirt, seeing the smile on a youngster’s joy-lit face as he arrives at Grandma’s in his pony cart, cooking a hearty meal surrounded by willing children – wanting to assist.  The list is endless…and makes for many memories and wonderful days.  And it feels right.  {And they have running water…smile…}

But when I travel home, I find the closer I get to our ‘40’, I feel almost a physical spiritual need to be there.  Back home.  Back to my tiny, but adequate home.  Back to our sled dogs.  Back to our roaming rabbits.  Back to our land-raised chickens.  Back to my husband, who always welcomes me and wants to hear about my day's journey. 

I feel an urgency to “get it right”.  Time seems to fly by, as seasons turn into years.  But I know I just need to take one day at a time.  One hour at a time.  And listen for that still, small voice.  The voice of God, who directs my path.

Until next time,

Lord willing…