Friday, May 20, 2016

Spring has Sprung - Again...

Well, I did it.  I came out the other side of winter, in one piece, and no frozen toes.  Cold…yes.  But not frozen.  The cabin fared well, but I will reiterate what I said last year at this time.  Never again.  And this time, I mean it.  If you wish to see why I'm so adamant, please read the previous post. 

It’s the end of May here in northern lower Michigan.  Just this past Sunday, I traveled with a snow-covered truck to church.  Awoke to the ground covered in white.  It stayed on the truck nearly the entire hour it takes to get there.  {I told one of the boys (Japheth) I had planned to toss a snowball at him if I still had enough snow on the hood upon arrival and the men were still standing near the barn before entering the church.  His blue eyes became as big as saucers…and then I assured him I would not do such a thing…especially on Sunday.  Smile… }.  

So things are back in Spring mode.  One exciting aspect is the 2-yard waste container that will be onsite until October.  Yes, we splurged.  It is emptied every two weeks, which means it gets to be filled every two weeks.  Our “never-done-farm” is shaping up. 

I’m back roaming about in the woods.  

It calls me daily.  A solo walk in the morning starts my day.  {A walk in the evening with Russ ends my day.}  It’s so good to hear the wood sounds again.  Woodpeckers…and the beautiful trill of the hermit thrush {who always returns Mother’s Day weekend or before} and a host of other feathered companions, especially the crows.  The greenery is growing before my eyes.  I’ve been particularly interested in scouting out coyote dens.  No such luck.  But what a sight it would be to see the young coy-pups frisking about.  Last night, we came upon a big doe.  That's always a pleasure.  One depletion I’ve noticed in my favorite woodlot is a black squirrel who resided there last year.  Big as a cat.  So far, not one in sight.  I will miss that squirrel this fall – it kept me entertained during hunting season. 
Speaking of depletion…it’s been over a month since Zip left us.  

After weeks of doctoring and forcing meds (eyes and mouth), it was apparent that life wasn’t going well for her.  Or us.  It is so hard to watch a dog suffer a malady, looking to you for comfort, knowing there is no end in sight.  We sadly made the decision to put an end to her suffering, with the gentle guidance of our vet, who has also been a friend over the years, and my employer for several years as I filled in part-time to offset our kennel expenses.  

So in April, Zip, obedient as always, meekly obeyed as she was told to “load up” one last time in her beloved truck.  Oh how our hearts broke, and tears were boldly shed.
Zip.  The Zipster.  Zip-dog.  Age 12…never wore a collar or was restrained.  Obedient and loyal.
Looking back, it was a blessing that Saturday morning, 11 years ago at the local feed store when we saw an ad for a filly.  We were going to pursue the horse, but as a side bar, I told Russ I wanted to also check out one of the dogs that were “free” and being given away at the same farm.  Upon arriving to check out the filly, I saw Zip by a tree.  {She went by a different name back then…}  Next to her was a large breed dog looming over her.  I learned later, it was a pup from her first litter, who had grown large in the last six months.  {Needless to say, we had her spayed within days of her arrival.} 

We brought the filly home, but Russ went back the next day to get Zip.  I anxiously awaited their return.  I remember him coming back to our 40 acres, with her in the front seat next to him.  Russ opened her truck door.  She jumped out, no collar, looked about at the 40-some sled dogs, nodded approval and was on our heels ever since.  I could walk downtown Chicago with her if I wished - off lead.  She walked when I walked/stopped when I stopped/turned when I turned. 

She was a good dog.  An excellent companion.  A good farm dog.  A good hunter.  She assisted Russ many times in his hunts.  Or herding tasks.  {cows/goats/roosters/cats!}  On our walks in the woods, she would stop with every stop I made.  Even mid-stride.  We listened together…and enjoyed the woods immensely.  She was my “girl”.  Whenever I was gone, she waited for my return.  Russ said she would hear the truck coming, well before he would.  She would run up the lane with glee, making me nervous that she was so close to the truck tires.  Many times, if I had room in the front seat, I would stop and give her a ride the rest of the way. 

So many memories.  So much love.  So much obedience.  I learned a lot from her.  I will miss her.  I DO miss her.  And I will be writing more about her…with many more photos of her times on our farm.  She was a fixture.  And now she is laid to rest within view of all our activities.  She’ll always be here.  What more could we ask for?  How about a grandson with obedience of a different kind?  

This is a conversation with my 8-year old grandson, David, this April.  He and his father {son Charlie} were visiting Michigan, leaving the remaining family of 2 sisters and Mom, Kristina, back in California.  As for David and I... we broke away from a family gathering to lean on a railing, overlooking a field and marshland in northern lower Michigan at dusk.

Note:  The last time I saw David was over 4 years ago…so this was a rare treat. 

And proved to be quite an uplifting one.
It goes like this  - David spoke quietly and with conviction: 
Me:  It’s hard to believe there was snow covering the ground just days ago.  It disappeared right before you flew to Michigan.
David:  God is like that.
Me:  Yes…He is…{sputter…and amazement at his candor…}  He does amazing things.  I’m so happy that you have God in your life and know Him.
David:  I not only know Him, I trust Him.
Me:  Yes!  {…me speechless?  But before I could respond, there was  more…}
David:  He gave me the Holy Spirit.
Me:  Ahhh yes.  And the Holy Spirit helps you make decisions in life… 
David:  And I can go to heaven…
Me:  Yes…sighheaven. 

And the conversation ended there, as four deer carefully stepped out of the treeline and into the clearing.  What a beautiful way to end the day.  And more so, it’s easy to see the kind of home my son is providing for this wife/helpmeet and children {with another one on the way}.   Praise God, for the glory belongs to Him.

Until next time, Lord willing, when I will reveal what obedience we {Russ and I} have been dealing with, and the joy of knowing we are pleasing God with OUR obedience.  It's monumental, but joyful.