Friday, July 6, 2018

Deer of the Russian Swamp

Russian Swamp, you say?

I grew up in this area, and have returned for the summer months to care for family.

What a blessing it is to have the deer comfortable in my presence.

They come to the corner of the city, spilling out into the yard, from the Russian Swamp.

This area was named after the Abraham Seibert family, who moved here from the Ukraine in the late 1800's.  They battled many things, but loneliness took hold.  (More on this family later...)

So these deer are special to me.

They feel protected.  And they are...

This allows me to access them, and have nightly "chats", and early morning "hello's".

But lately, the doe is showing more caution.  Stomping her feet a bit.  I wonder why? didn't take long to get an answer.

She's got 2 on her tail.  Keeping up with Mama.  {One peeked in my sliding glass door...very curious.)

And soon, these will grow and continue the herd (Lord willing...) of the Russian Swamp.

Until next time...


As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God... Psalm 42

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Clinging to HIM

It’s official.  Warm spring breezes and lots of sun, with a touch of rain to bring on the budding of trees finally occurred.  In addition, the deer have emerged from the “deer yards” further north on the Cedar River.  I saw the buck who has “hung out” the last 3 years, return.  I’ve also seen other tracks on the lane, and under my bird feeders, but haven’t visually spied them…yet. 

Spring is officially here, as evidenced by a trip to Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel with a dear friend to attend a women's conference.  Win-Some Women.

But I’m saddened.  The fox that went from being fun to watch all winter, went to being feared.  He/she snatched my beloved rooster, Stewie, carried him to the edge of the woods and violently ended his short life.  After Stewie came up missing, it took several days to piece together the story of his demise, clever fox that he is.

Stewie, aka “Stewpot” was a special rooster.  He was a gift from my Amish friends last fall.   It was a pleasure watching him blossom into a full-fledged rooster.  He came from good stock.  Days before he was killed I was telling my Amish friend that he loved to strut around the property with his 5 “girls” and crow and crow.  And now, he is gone.  Silence dominates the property.  Only the hens remain, with their protector slain.  A sad day indeed.

It’s spring.  A time of renewal.  But my mind is on things eternal.  As with Stewie the rooster, the vapor of life is evident. 

“Trust in Him who will not leave you, whatsoever years may bring.  If by earthly friends forsaken, still more closely to Him cling.  Hold to God’s unchanging hand, Hold to God’s unchanging hand.  Build your hopes on things eternal.  Hold to God’s unchanging hand.”

It’s easy to focus on the “things” that we all face.  Aging dogs, foxes that kill our beloved farm animals, medical issues of those we love... or just getting through a day without strife.   It can bring us to our knees.  And it should.  We should be on our knees – in prayer.  Being close to our Heavenly Father is what makes this all doable. 

As for me, I’m clinging to Him.  Clutching Him.  I’m grabbing at the hem of Jesus, dragging along. 

I have had so much change these past few years since having my eyes opened to the teachings and Words of Jesus.  The whole counsel of God. 

In our case, after 15 years, we have accepted the fact we are in a “marriage” not pleasing to God.  (See “The Seeker”.) 

The vow of my first “and two shall become one” marriage, taken at age 20…still stands, putting my 2nd marriage in an adulterous state.  Luke 16:18 – Jesus said:  Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.”

Simply put, there is no Biblical option for remarriage as long as your first one-flesh covenant spouse is still alive.  None

And so, to be obedient to my heavenly Father, our Creator, the separation has taken place over these past few years.   Russ and Sherry are no more.  Actually, we never were in God’s eyes, as my Maker has always seen me united in marriage to my first husband, until death. 

But.. through it all…the shock, the loss, the pain, the tears (oh-so-many tears), and the remorse and repentance {brought on by Biblical knowledge}, I am still thankful

I am closer to God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  I hold that “unchanging Hand” every waking hour.  And I know He will not let go.  I have that blessed assurance.

Having lived in my little cabin for over the last year, I’m starting to settle in.  Last autumn I finally gave in to the acceptance of my new surroundings.  It took one question to make me realize that fact.  Upon being invited to join in at a quilt gathering at a nearby Amish community, I was telling the women around the quilt how small my cabin was…when this wise woman said {in her Pennsylvania Deutsch accent}…”but does it feel like home?”  The question caught me off guard.  I had to stop and think.  “Well…yes, I suppose it does...” is how I replied.  And since then, contentment has crept in.  My little cabin in the woods is “HOME”.

For now, I am living on a separate 10 acre parcel that isn’t even connected to the other 30.  It feels right. 

The separation has occurred in stages, like s-l-o-w-l-y ripping off a worn out - still sticking BandAid…  And through it all, we have felt God’s presence and patience and direction.   We know Christ is returning for His Bride (the church) soon and we want to be receptive to what God has in store for us – individually. 

But for now, I’m here.  On the land that I know.  And love. 

I know that on the 4th of July, I can walk in the woods on a magical path, lit by fireflies.

By the 22nd of July, the clover turns the land into a purple haze of beauty. 

By the end of October, the color literally takes my breath away.

I don’t know where this path of obedience will lead, but I do know this.  God, our Creator of the universe, the Author and Finisher of our faith, is the same;  yesterday, today and tomorrow.

He never changes. 

And I will hold on to His unchanging hand as I figure this out. 

Many blessings to you and yours.

More soon…Lord willing,


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

1st Year of Berean Bush Living

Welcome Friends.  I wonder what your life is like…as spring emerges.

I was at an outdoor Auction this past weekend (up north, not far from the Mackinac Bridge) when I felt like I had emerged from a long winter.  Call me “Ursa” (Latin word for Bear).  I don’t travel in the winter, so my outings are few and far between over the long winter months, with only local travel.  Even so, the winter went by fast... until a week ago. 

Excited to spend time with my beloved visiting son and his sweet sweet girlfriend last week, I “poo poo’ed” the warnings of a storm.  Everyone was talking about it, but I didn’t hear it.  It even escalated to Severe warnings on my weather radio, but I showed casual interest…as my calendar showed mid-April.  J   But late Friday night when I stoked my woodstove and laid my head down to peer at the moon out my small “south” window, I drifted off to sleep with warm thoughts of a day well spent with my loved ones.  Then…it happened.  I woke to a “rush of heavy snow” sliding crashing off the metal roof to the ground.  Oh my…I haven’t heard anything quite like that all winter.  I reached over to stoke the stove, and slipped back down deep into my sleeping bag.  Then it happened again.  Woosh!  THUMP.

All night long it continued…Woosh…THUMP, and again….Woosh, THUMP.  Upon awakening Saturday morning, I thought “this can’t be good”.  The night before, I had pulled my truck deep into the woods, not heeding the warnings of the impending storm.  The truck was now “buried” – going nowhere, no time soon.  In the next 24-36 hours we would have 22” of snow.  (Actually, I believe that is a conservative figure.)  Short story is…I couldn’t get out of the woods, with the truck, OR on foot.  I tried…but the snow was SO DEEP I couldn’t walk in it without snow shoes.  It didn’t help that the snow had the consistency of sugar/sand.  This had landed on previous snow, and so far this month alone we have had 39”.  (A local record was said to be broken…)  I headed back to the cabin, struggling through the snow, and settled in.  The classical story of the boy with his grandfather and the goat...buried in their cabin…came to mind.  "Buried in the Snow" by Franz Hoffmann.

It was later in the day that Russ showed up to “rescue me”.  Good thing…as I was low on H20 and “substantial” food.  (I usually head up mid-day to tend to the dogs and when I didn’t that day, he knew there was a problem.)  We don’t use phones for such things.  Wouldn’t work anyway, since only one of us has one.  But I’m only ½ mile away… {And yes...I could have melted snow...) 
On the way out to the main lane, which was also sketchy, I stepped off the narrow path and went down nearly to my hip on one leg.  Unless a friend, or tree, {or a thick-coated-eager-to-please canine} is near to grab hold of, it’s difficult to get free as the snow holds you firm.  Like quicksand.  {Sidebar:  I had just watched Pilgrim’s Progress several days prior, and know full well the dangers of straying from “the narrow path”.  During the movie, I kept thinking…Christiandon’t get off the path again!!  Isn’t that how life is…we can see it so clearly when it’s someone else who is “in trouble”…or making wrong choices.}

Well, the next five days were rough.  I won’t bore you with the details, but after five days, an angel was finally dispatched to come and plow me out, at what I felt was minimal cost.  {When one is desperate, you are willing to pay dearly.}  This was in addition to the usual front-end loader driver who had tried on Sunday night, but couldn’t get in the woods due to too much snow.  My truck finally got out, and I felt such a relief.  It still isn’t easy getting around, a week later.  But having the wind stop blowing, and the sun shining brightly…sure makes trudging through a wintery slop in my knee-high MUCK boots bearable.

But the best thing of all was the “wake up call” I received in this storm.  Some of the plans I had for next year, including moving the sled dogs deep in the woods, are scratched.  Bottom line, I need them near the water source.  I truly would have had an impossible time getting water for that many critters, plus me. 

And I know one thing…I’m getting a new-fangled pair of snowshoes.  I do treasure the old ones, but need something lightweight to skitter over the snow.  {Catching your tips and falling in snowshoes is no picnic either…}

So in a week’s time, the weather went from deadly to drop-dead gorgeous.  At the Auction, exactly one week later, the sun glistened off the remaining snow on the auctioned-off property.  Temps climbed into the 50’s.  You saw sheer enjoyment in all you came in contact with – people came out in droves to enjoy the sounds of the auction rings and announcers and visit with their neighbors.  Spring is near!   I even ended up with a sunburn! My Amish friends did too…as they were working the food booth at the Auction.  (YUM…I headed home with a pan of cinnamon rolls, a groaningly delicious loaf of bread, and chocolate-ty whoopee pies…YUM indeed.)  I also loaded up a couple of newly constructed Bluebird houses, sold by the bright-eyed smiling Amish boys at the Auction.  Perfect timing, as I plan to set up a Bluebird trail on my “ten”.  (Days before the big storm I saw a bright blue male BB checking out an old BB house, near the Wee.) 

In addition, it was so good to be up in my “old stomping grounds” and view Little Traverse Bay (Lake Michigan) half open, half covered with ice.  Beautiful country…northern lower Michigan.

As I headed south at the end of a long day of auction and errands (oil change for my truck/critter feed at Tractor Supply, etc.) I felt renewed.  I had survived the winter.  I was looking forward to getting back to my little cabin in the woods. 

In addition, I am looking forward to the summer and preparation for another winter (firewood, etc.).  Twelve cord served me well this year.  This morning, “Woody”, my Pileated Woodpecker was thrilled to find 2 new suet cakes right outside my window in the cake feeder.  He is such a fixture – visits daily.  One of my many “day brighteners”.

This morning I enjoyed my morning cabin coffee (with water heated with a foldable Sterno Camp stove) while watching the riotous antics at my bird feeder.  Besides Woody, I have goldfinches, a bevy of other woodpeckers, 3 black squirrels, several red squirrels, emerging chipmunks, chickadees (of course) and more.  I’ve also had a tall red fox visit several times, one time almost crossing paths with me!  Who can blame him for wanting to check out the flurry of activity?  Of course there are more critters, such as the raccoon that raided my birdfeeder one moonlit evening.  And I look forward to the return of the deer, (and yes, even porkies and skunks…) 

How about you?  Did you survive the winter?  I hope so…J

Until next time…Lord willing,

P.S.  If you are wondering why I moved out to my little cabin on April 23, 2017, a year ago, here’s the beginning of the story back in April of 2015...  The SEEKER.   

The rest of the story, my story… is forthcoming.  Woosh…THUMP. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Woodsy Winter

Yep...I'm here.  Winter is in full swing.

And my little woodstove is firing hot.  All is well.  Lots of firewood remains to swing into spring.

The chickadees aren't even waiting for me to get to the cabin before they come land on my head.  Are they beggars... or do they like me?  I won't answer that...

I'll check in soon.  I'm writing, but have to go from pen to paper, to lap top, to thumb drive, to local Library.  It takes some doing, but I'm committed.  Lots to tell...stay tuned.

Miss you all..."see" you soon, should the Lord tarry.


P.S.  No cabin fever...yet.

P.S.S.  Coyotes a plenty - view in broad daylight.  They don't give me a second thought.