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. 

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