Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Hunt

As the new hunting season has emerged, I am thrilled for many reasons.   Exploring the nook and crannies of the woods never gets old.  Autumn brought many new adventures.  See what I mean as I travel back to memories in northern lower Michigan:  (NOTE:  This time frame reflects fall of 2015...when I was still hunting (and trapping).  I'm now a "watcher" instead of a "warrior".)  

...As I opened the door of the cramped cabin to leave, I looked around.  I was leaving it in good stead.  Venison chili simmered hot on the working wood stove, our aging cattle dog, Zip, sighed and gave a look of resignation as I hoisted the crossbow, closed the door and headed out onto the carpet of leaves that would be my path.  Autumn had arrived.  And with it began my quest for our winter meat.

I curved around the back of the cabin, skirting the silhouetting trees that lined the dog yard.  No sled dogs murmured or whined, as they have become accustomed to my daily solo trek. 

I stopped at the same spot where the previous week I had surprised a coyote.  The other morning, as I headed out to do the morning check of our trap line, I walked through a dense area and came out into a clearing overlooking a vista.  I always stop in this particular spot to peruse the land, looking for anything out of place, or perhaps to catch a glimpse of a critter traveling through.  As I was looking, a massive coyote climbed up out of a hollow in front of me.  He also stood, looking about, scanning the perimeter.  As his head was on swivel to the left, he spotted me out of the corner of his eye and jolted with the knowledge.  Upon confirming me standing there, he shot off and sped across the land, making a wide arch, actually returning to our property, in particular the area of our sled dog kennel.  I only had my side arm on me that day.  But this opportunity also gave me time to admire his thick coat, and compare it to several of our thick coated Siberians, which reside in the dog yard.  Coy-dog perhaps?  He was no typical coyote.  Today, however, no coyote in sight.

Although the Barnett crossbow was a heavy tote, I opted to take the long route back to my “blind”.  Rain was spitting, but the threat didn’t appear to be long-suffering.  I had my “hot seat” looped on my belt, so I knew I’d have a dry seat upon arrival.  No worries.

Hearing geese overhead brought a smile.  I stopped to watch.  Today it was two gaggles, flying side by side.  Soon, a couple geese broke off from their original flight and joined a gaggle that split off and headed southwest.  Who knows why.  Perhaps they knew of a good landing zone the others who continued south didn’t appreciate. 
I put the crossbow on my shoulder and trudged on. 

The woods always change…from morning to night, and every hour in between.  The lighting makes the woods a new adventure each time I enter.  Using the sled dog trails from years past, I have a well-traveled path.  Deer and coyote tracks dominate.  As I carefully monitor each step, I feel so blessed.  I am thankful for Russ, who appreciates my love of being in the woods.  Night after night of me coming home in the dark makes for an abnormal dinner hour, but we both embrace this time of year and the opportunities it offers. 

As I walk on, a ruffed grouse whistles, alerting me to the fact that wings will soon explode in flight, creating a startled noise in the quiet of the woods.  Many times, my heart would beat madly when these birds caught me unaware. 

I think back to earlier this August, when checking the trap line was always met with a spider web forming upon my face when going through brush.  So many spider webs I’ve sported this year.  I would always smile when I saw “widow leaves” – those leaves that appear to be dancing on air – spooky – until you realize they are being held by a spider web. 

I finally arrive at my “chair”.  It’s a chair in the woods.  A wooden, hand carved swivel chair, made by Russ.  I had him pull it out of one of our cabins, making a perfect site for me, sitting under a huge beech tree, at the massive base.  We built up the perimeter a bit, and the deer have no problem appearing in the clearing as I sit in the chair. 
As I snuggled in for the long haul, I took inventory of my surroundings.  Many pro hunters don’t factor in wind.  I do. 

Many do factor in scent.  As for me, I have a theory about scent control.  I control it by putting my scent out year ‘round.  Every kernel of the non-GMO corn I feed has run through my hands, putting my scent on feed.  They know me.  They associate me with feed.  I recall hearing about Iditarod Champion, Susan Butcher, feeding her Alaskan pups this way, smooshing her hands into the meaty mixture to get her scent mixed in.  Whatever you do with regard to scent – be consistent. 

I also hunt without any fuss.  I know folks who bring coffee and eats to a blind.  Coffee leads to elimination.  Another issue.  All bring unwanted scent. 

As for cell phones and such.  No.  Never.  If I were to bring anything, it would be a book.  But I can’t even imagine doing that.  I go to the woods to hear and see the sounds that are ever changing.  I delight in the change of noise…the woods are never silent.  Especially if you sit under a beech tree in the fall.  The woods has so much to teach us. 

One last thing.  Look up.  Cougars are here.  You just never know when one might be in your neck of the woods. 

This year, there were less skeeters. 

This fall, in September during the “early Anterless hunt”, I was unsuccessful.  However, I did enjoy an encounter with a young porky as I was heading in for the night.  He was in the lane, nibbling on a dried out clover, unaffected by my moving toward him.  Only when I spoke to him and neared did he turn his back to me and puff up.  He seemed to resent the intrusion and finally toddled off into the woods.  Although I had two firearms at my ready, I let him go, hoping I wouldn’t regret the decision come dog training on the trails. 

Enjoy the woods, and the one who made it.  Mother Nature?  No, Father God.  Another good reason to look up…for Jesus said:
“Surely I am coming quickly”.

Side bar:  Yes, many changes in the last 3 years.  Life never stays dormant.  One big one is submitting to the teachings of Jesus.  More to come on what that looks like.  For both myself and Russ.  

Until tomorrow, Lord willing.  Hope to see you here.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Rooted in Love

What's it like to farm in an unconventional way?

Check out yet another favorite farm family of mine.  

Kip and Carrie Smyth and their children
{Once you watch, you'll hear the nicknames of most...Esther Pie, JJ, Bittle and more.}

Their channel is called 1000's of Roots.

I don't necessarily watch their channel for farming tips. 
I watch because of the love that flows between father and mother,
mother and father,
parent and child,
child and parent,
and sibling for sibling. 
All under the headship of the God of the Bible.

You will be blessed...

And if the video didn't show for those who receive the Blog via email...here's the link:

Until tomorrow, Lord willing.  Hope to see you here.


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Everything Earthquake

Why in the world would I, in northern lower Michigan, care about EQ's?  

Well, even though I'm not a science geek, 
I check in to the reports by Dutchsinse.  (Michael J.)

He packs a lot into his hour+ videos.  
They are visually appealing and his reports are mesmerizing.

In today's video, at the 25 minute mark, you will see why there is
a lot of land available for sale (cheap) in Colorado.  

I've been watching Dutch for over 10 years.  
I think you will enjoy his knowledge and expertise.

{OK...when I got my email update (a day late), I noticed the video was missing, but only from the Blog Post sent by email!  How can that be...?  But it was. 
So if this happened to you, please click on HERE for link.  That should solve it...}

The Bible also talks about earthquakes...and that makes it view worthy.
Luke 21:11 "And great earthquakes shall be in divers places..." KJV

Until tomorrow, Lord willing.  Hope to see you here.
(And thank you for your comments!)


Thursday, November 15, 2018

5 Boys in a Camper

Hitting the road is always exhilarating for me.

Imagine hitting the road, indefinitely, with 5 young boys in tow.

Brackin N Lindsay Kirkland make it work.

I follow this family and support their ministry in several ways.  

I'd like to share their journey with you...
and in this video you will even hear my name mentioned.


To get an idea of their amazing talent, check this out...
the boys even sing in this video.

Until tomorrow, Lord willing.  I hope to see you here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Watcher...Part Two

 Yes, watching is what I do.
Today was humorous, 
as two little button bucks sparred.  
A sign of things to come.

One of the two tried nursing from Mama.  

She wasn't thrilled with that idea. 
The kitchen is closed, as they say.

Instead, she taught them some bad habits.
While the Blue Jays and Chickadees looked on.

And finally, this big guy lumbered in.

I hope he stays safe when rifle season opens in two days.  
If he stays where I am, he'll be just fine.

Until tomorrow, Lord willing.  Hope to see you then.

Monday, November 12, 2018

From Warrior to Watcher

I used to look forward to this time of year.  

The first big snow...right before Opening Day.

The hunt...

And now I just watch.  

And they watch me.

This past summer, they became friendly.

And crept close...

Always around...

And they became my buddies...

Yes, my hunting days are over.  

And I look forward to the future.

Until tomorrow, Lord willing.  Hope to see you here.


Friday, November 9, 2018

Cabin Living

This was my driveway last winter, turning back into the woods.

I lived in the Bear's Den cabin.

No electric.  
No running water.
Only an outhouse.
And I loved it.


But tonight...as I sit 40 miles north,
 in my comfy heated domain (my Mother's home), 
I am once again homesick.

The snow has officially arrived.  
Sure, it snowed earlier this fall. 
But tonight has the feel of a storm.
Snow is falling.
Winds are slamming the sliding glass doors. 
Although oddly, I feel no change in my circumstances.  
I have bare feet.  No cold here.

If I were back at the cabin, 
on my land, 
I would feel connected to the storm.  
A part of it.

Here, I am only a spectator.  
And that saddens me.  

But tomorrow I will visit, Lord willing.  

And once again be a participant.  
With socks on...and warm boots.

Until tomorrow, Lord willing.  Hope to see you here.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Pulling my Homestead Heartstrings

For those who don't know, I'm currently away from my Homestead.  

More on that later...but simply put, I'm 40 miles up north, assisting my Mother.

Since I'm "temporarily" living a "normal" life, in a normal setting, I long for my old lifestyle.

I love living a simple life.  

But for now, I'll settle for videos that mirror my lifestyle.

I'd like to share one with you...Shawn James.  

His videos titled "My Self Reliance" are a big hit.  

If you've enjoyed watching Dick Proenneke over the years, these have a similar style.

You may wish to take a peek and see.  

Sit back and enjoy...

Until tomorrow, Lord willing.  Hope to see you here.


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Fisher

I grew up in a family of fishers.

This is my beloved Dad, Chuck, on the river, with pole in hand and pipe in mouth.

He had the perfect temperament for fishing...never riled.  Never in a hurry.

Always eager to dip a pole.  Or two...or three.

My Dad started fishing in his youth.  He loved it, and lived for it.

As he married and began to have a family, he shared his passion with his children.

When my older brother was young...

And when my youngest brother was older...

 And then there's me. 

His only daughter.

In the summer...

And in winter...

And as I grew older, 
he taught my offspring, 
eldest son Charlie {named after his Grampa}
 to be a 3rd generation "fisher".

My Dad enjoyed the fishing {and hunting} opportunities Michigan had to offer, 
especially living in a town on Lake Michigan.  
But he also enjoyed being dropped by bush plane into the wilds of Canada each spring.

Yes...even snow in spring...

To know my Dad was to love him.
He was active in our lakeside community, in many ways and facets.
He was perfection to me, as a father.

That is why it was so hard to fathom him leaving this earth at age 60,
a mere 6 weeks after a diagnosis of cancer.

To me, the loss was unfathomable.  The pain was raw.  Unending.

That was nearly 30 years ago.

Since then, I have looked to a different Father for comfort.  
One who will never leave me.  
One who calls men to be 
"Fishers of Men".  

The one True God.  
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

I still have the treasured fishing pole of my youth.  
It is perched on the wall in my Bear's Den cabin.  
A Shakespeare "Back Country Special" with a model # 2052 reel.  

I don't use it any more...
but it reminds me of my Dad...and all the treasured adventures we shared.  

 Now...my mind goes to a different type of fishing.  
Jesus said:  "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

My focus is now on the Living Water.  On following Jesus.  

May you also know the peace of doing so.

Until tomorrow, Lord willing.  I hope to see you here. 


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

On the Road...Again

Have you ever wondered what is around the next bend?

I've enjoyed following Brian of AdventureVanMan as he travels about, living on the road. 

I think you will too.  
(And yes, he even answers emails.)

Enjoy...You can begin with a Michigan trip, and travel on from there.

Until tomorrow, Lord willing.  Hope to see you then.


Monday, November 5, 2018

Farewell to Facebook...forever

Yep, it's time.
I'm going back to old-school.

Sure, I'll miss my Facebook birthdays.  

And I'll miss all of my *friends* that I have met over the years.  
{I hope you follow me here...}

But, bottom line, we serve an awesome God.  
And if God wants a person in my life, it will happen, 
without the assistance of Social Media.  
This I know.

After writing about it over the years...
Here...and here...and well, you get my drift.
It's time.

To every thing there is a season...  See Ecclesiastes 3...HERE.

So my world just got a little smaller.  But the quiet beauty remains.

But it's all good.  

So here I'll be, Lord willing.


And there's no looking back.

Like the song we sung yesterday (me with teary blurry eyes due to emotion) 
during worship at my small country Mennonite church ~

Wherever He may guide me, no want shall turn me back.
My Shepherd is beside me, and nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waketh, His sight is never dim.
He knows the way He taketh, and I will walk with Him.
Taken from the Church Hymnal, Hymn 384 "In Heavenly Love Abiding" 2nd verse.

Until tomorrow, Lord willing...hope to see you then.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

City Chick...a-Dee

I never realized I would have a hard sell in the city.  

Last winter, nestled deep in the woods, my birds appreciated me.  
Upon walking in, they would greet me with songs and calls.  
Then, without an invitation, they would land on my head.
I would tell them to wait...but I always had a smile while doing so.
They were my buddies...one of my simple daily joys.

And now, as winter is approaching, it has been decided I will stay in the city, assisting family.

In the city on the bay.

But there's a slight problem.

Although the deer in the city are tame(ish).

The Chickadee's...not so much.

So starts the hard sell.  

I've been trying to win them over for the last couple months.  

I hope they become like my other feathered friends, who live deep in the woods.  

I would venture out of the cabin in the morning and upon my head they would perch.  

One time I drove 1/2 mile away and got out of the truck, and upon my head they landed.  

Sometimes they would sit on the wiper blade, waiting for me to exit the truck, peeking in.

But the city ones?  So far, I've only had one land on my hand.

Now if only I could get the turkey's to show up also.  

Life in the city would get a little better. 

Until tomorrow, Lord willing...


P.S.  I hope my feathered friends in the woods, 40 miles south, will not think I abandoned them this winter.  Who knows, perhaps they will find me if they fly north.  I can only dream.