Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Pilgrim

Although my great (x 12) grandparents, John Alden and his bride-upon-landing Priscilla Mullins arrived on the Mayflower, I hesitate to share their sense of adventure. 

I did, however, inherit the love of the land and God.

As I walked our wooded trails yesterday, I pondered why I/we don’t like to leave home.  It’s been over 12 years since we had someone else do our chores while we left our land.  

Perhaps it is because our simple ways provide me with all I need to be content.  What is contentment?  

For years, I was like a animal-on-the-go…always running.  But to where?

Now, I bask in the contentment of His word.  His teachings.  His LOVE.

On that walk yesterday, I stopped at our Bear’s Den cabin and snagged a small one-person-percolator to brew my coffee while up north during my weekly stays.  Yes, I could opt for a Keurig coffee selection every morning, but something tells me I am going to want a little bit of “home” with me, in the form of a camp coffee pot. 

The countdown is on.   See my Blog "Daylight in the Swamp"...

It is 7 days before I begin my trek north each week, only to return home on the weekend.  Even my Mother, the recipient of my travels, was shocked I would leave my lifestyle.  It will be a journey.  A pilgrimage of sorts.

I will miss our broody hens, showing their chicks all the nuances of our property, causing me to alter my walking route each morning. 

I will miss being in the dog yard, handing out their breakfast treats as Russ scoops and waters.  I know they will miss me too…my heart aches before I even leave.

Then there’s Zip.  She’s my daily shadow.  What will she think?

Russ.  He will remain busy from dawn to dusk, as usual.  However, he will miss me showing up with a fresh-popped pan of popcorn at the end of the afternoon, or warm cookies from the oven mid-morning.  And I will miss him also, as we trek each night on our trails, talking over our lives and His promises.

I will miss the land.  My feet connecting each day, feeling drawn to every change, which takes on a new look every day.  Even last night, as it was chilly, I told Russ that as much as I can’t wait until Spring, I’m really looking forward to Fall.  I love it so.

But then, we are just all pilgrims passing through.  

This home, however beautiful or however flawed, is not our home.  Our home awaits, for those who know the Son of Man.

Do you know Him?  I pray you answered “without a doubt”.  

If not, please take time to get to know Him.  The love you will feel will be like nothing you have ever experienced.  The King is Coming.  And He’s coming for you…

Until next time, dear friends.

Lord willing,


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Daylight in the Swamp

All through my childhood, I heard those words – Daylight in the swamp...  They were spoken to me gently - early in the morning, by my father, as he knocked softly on my closed bedroom door.  Upon hearing his “wake-up call”, I would rise to the adventure that would begin well before the sun made its appearance.  

Many times, it was to alert me that the VW station wagon and boat trailer would be leaving soon, heading to the Bay to troll for steelies – steelhead trout.  Sometimes it was just to rouse me for school.  But it didn’t matter, as it was a treasured moment just the same.  

Oh how I miss those days. 

This morning as I woke in my little cabin, I could hear the percolator coffee pot starting its brew.  Hubby Russ is a creature of habit, never deviating from his schedule in the morning, so I knew in a moment, he would be turning down the burner under the coffee pot, and heading outside to wait for it to perk and settle.  As I rose, I thought of my Dad and his way of waking me.  I had to chuckle, as our cabin feels like “daylight in the swamp” – it takes a lot for the light to shine in – as we are in the woods. 

I suppose I’ve been thinking a lot about life growing up on Little Traverse Bay {Lake Michigan} lately.  At the end of the month, I will be starting a new adventure.  Each week, I will be spending the lion’s share of the week days with my Mom, at her beautiful home.  I will come home on weekends, and then head back "up north" each Monday.  This is for the snow-less months.  

Needless to say, this is a huge step for me.  One that I don’t take lightly.  I will miss my mornings with the sled dogs, doling out treats, brushing the Siberians, and doing all the maintenance a dog yard requires.  

I will also miss our daily walks in the woods, my connection to our animals and wildlife.  

I will miss Russ, who will have a quiet existence without me there, to provide meals, laughter and meaningful conversation.  However, that being said, Russ encouraged me to go.  Upon praying on the decision, I felt called to go.  So I will be obedient and do so. 

 Hebrews 5:9 {Regarding Christ}  And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. …”

And so I head my hometown.

It will be an adjustment, to go from a cabin with no running water, and an outhouse, to my Mom’s beautiful home.  I will be living like “royalty” in many ways.  I will have my own private area, and the door leading outside spills out into a wooded area that connects to Bear River – complete with walking trails.  When I was there on Mother’s Day, presenting this idea, a red cardinal kept appearing on the porch railing, and a doe and last year’s fawn stepped out and were a few feet from the door.  {I have always dreaded leaving my 40 acres of wildlife, but it appears I will see more, in this setting!}  Plus, I grew up living one block from her current home, so this is where I spent my childhood playing, dreaming, and growing up.  {This past May would have been my dear Dad’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.}

This new change will start the end of this month, Lord willing.  It is requiring some changes in structure, but I’m optimistic that it will work out as God’s will.

More on that later…

Until next time, Lord willing,


P.S.  Yes, I’m still battling, as I have been for the last two years, the issue of remarriage.  {See “The Seeker” Blog for the entire story.}  I struggle with marriage being a covenant with God, breakable only by death.  Hence, there is no room for a 2nd marriage, if your first spouse is still alive.  And so it goes.  I am praying for clarity to come soon, but I know the Lord will reveal His truth to me when I am ready.  And only then.

P.S.S.  And yes...I will write about May's Amish Auction soon...  I am heading to see my Amish friends this week.  

Friday, June 5, 2015

Prepper or Subsistence?

 Prepper or Subsistence?

Ever wonder how you are living?  Would it be a Prepper…or living a subsistence lifestyle?  Or perhaps something entirely different.  

I assume if you found our online journal, you are either interested in living simply, farm animals, my travel to Amish communities, or are fascinated with living and working with sled dogs.  I’ll try and explain what we are, in the simplest of terms. 

If you look at Webster’s definition, you may not even find the word “prepper”.  But under prepareyou will find “to get ready beforehand”.  That about says it all.

Under “subsistence”, you will find “means of subsisting: the minimum (as of food and clothing) necessary to support life”.  Ahhh…yes.

We are in the latter category.  Not that we don’t try to prepare for what is ahead, i.e. firewood, butchering a hog, putting up hay, etc.  But for the most part, we are subsistence folks, living a minimal lifestyle.  Minimalists, as sometimes referred to.  Or on our way to being…

Jesus told us in Matthew 6: 24-34, that we are not to worry about food and clothing.  He will provide for us.  “But we need to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  {paraphrase}” Hopefully, you can take a peek at the scriptures to see the beauty of this passage, and more.

Speaking of my Bible.  I always have it within reach.  It isn’t hard, as our cabin is only 10 x 15.  But I suppose it wouldn’t matter how small our cabin would be if I didn’t have the desire.  I praise God for that desire…for that hunger.  Of His Word.

I also have my Ruger within reach, although it is secondary as to effectiveness in how to deal with this world.  My Bible wins out.

Today as I checked the game trails for last night’s activity, I pondered on how blessed I am to have the freedom to do so each morning.  It wasn’t always like this…  For years I was plugged in, working many hours and sometimes multiple jobs to buy the finer things in life.  Trinkets, really.  Now I find joy in living with less and less, and seeing the freedom it brings. 

I just noticed I wrote the word freedom twice in that last paragraph.  I seem to do that a lot – refer to my life as being “FREE”.  Freedom comes in many ways.  Let me see if I can share what I mean by this.

As for our lifestyle, we started with 15 acres, and slowly added more land around us until we were at the number of acres we were satisfied with owning.  40.  Russ built every building on our place, himself, using recycled materials mostly, until the acquisition of his portable saw mill.  This cabin, the Bear’s Den, on our “back ten”, was constructed by logs taken from our dog yard, making the way for a kennel in the earlier years.  This is not the cabin we live in, however it makes a nice “get-a-away” and I enjoy stopping daily on my walks and smelling the wood smell that only that cabin can claim.

As for our “main cabin”, in my last post “Deer Camp Livin’”, I had casually mentioned we were living “mortgage free”.  After I posted online, and left the Library and headed for home (we do not have Internet on our property), I wondered if I should have done that…shared that bit of information.  But then I thought it might give others the courage to set out and live a life like we do.  (Or a similar life, since our cabin does not have running water, hence the words “simple life” take on a new meaning when you head to the outhouse at 2:00 a.m., wondering if that is a black and white rabbit, or something more odorous...also black and white.) 

Simply put, we don’t have any mortgage worries, so we don’t have any PMI worries, nor do we have to worry about regular house insurance payments.  Pretty simple.  {That’s not to say we don’t have to pay for the land…} 

And, if we were to lose a cabin due to fire or natural (…or man-made) disaster, we would simply move to another on our property.  Would we be as comfortable?  Perhaps not, but it would be doable. 

You may be thinking…but how would you refurnish all that you lost?  Since Russ makes most of our rustic furniture, he would simply replace what we need.

Everything…is just stuff.  Truly, our treasure is in heaven.  The Lord tells us so.  Once a person truly feels that, it is easy to let go. 

For several years, we thought we would opt out of having a vehicle also, but in training our horses, we found it wasn’t going to be a solution for us.

Side bar:  My Amish friends smile and shake their head at my fear of horse travel, as I'm always refusing to ride along with them, opting for meeting them at our destination by my own mode of travel - my 2002 Ford Ranger truck tooling down the road. 

Here is another way to cut expenses, and bring more freedom to your life.  For years, we have only had one vehicle.  That means one insurance payment – and one registration/plate/license cost that hits us as a yearly "birthday present".  For us, we prefer an older vehicle, with fewer “bells and whistles”. 

Another way to access freedom is to have one phone (we do not own a smart phone) per family.  Yes, only one.  One bill – ours is less than $40 per month.  More on that later… 

I know this may sound peculiar to some folks, but the freedom it gives to be beholden to less, is intoxicating.  The more you do it, the more you will find it to your liking.  And the more creative you will become in doing so.

I had to laugh as I opened a bag of feed this morning and saved the string.  I “pooh pooh’ed” my husband for doing this years ago, but since I’ve been reading about what it was like in war time, such as in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, it makes sense to be “ready”. 

Perhaps we are “preppers” after all…

I’ll go into more depth next time.

Until then, Lord willing,


P.S. turkey for me. May came and went...  Next time... {Is that a smile I see on his face?@!}

P.S.S.  Our two hens hatched out 14 chickens.  One hatched 4, and the other 10.  This bump adds significantly to our original 9 hens with one rooster.  Needless to say, with the worry about Avian Flu coming to Michigan, we will keep our flock closed, as we do not need to acquire any further chickens for our use.

P.S.S.S.  I’ll update soon about the Amish Auction I attended a couple weeks ago.  My Amish friends attended for the first time, as did my “farm friend” who graciously drove us all so we could experience more comfort and leg room.  Thank you Heather!