Anticipated, but not Expected

Our cabin is located in an area of Michigan that has an unpredictable weather pattern. We are about 100 miles from Lake Michigan which has a great deal of control over our weather. Another factor in our weather is the terrain and the dense canopy inwhich our cabin is located. There are times when the wind is blowing high in the trees and we can hear it coming but never feel it because the terrain is rolling and the trees are tall and thick with leaves in mid-summer. Sometimes when it rains you can hear the drops on the leaves but can’t feel them until the water is so heavy the leaves can no longer bare the weight and it all comes crashing down through the thick foliage. So to say the least about living where we do, it can be challenging. There is a saying that goes something like, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes and it will change”.

I’ve kept a journal since we’ve started our cabin life journey so we have a record of weather patterns and bird migrations and the comings and goings of the wildlife in the area since 2008. Last year in October, we had already had snow, twice! The weather this year has been exceptional. A great growing season for the garden, the woods and the wildlife. Fall was ushered in with the usual rain, cool temperatures, some beautiful sunny warm days and then fantastic displays of color. You can never have enough warm, sunny afternoons in October when the trees are in full color.

We have not been to the Rollin’ Rock on a regular basis since the middle of September. Our obligations to our family were bigger than time would allow and we knew the planning of our daughter’s wedding would take time and energy, and it did. We pulled it all off in the last moments and the time and effort is now just memories in the bank of our history. I’ll have to say, she was a gorgeous bride!! Ok, well anyway, my point was that we have really done nothing in preparation for winter. Time ticks by and the anxiety of knowing it’s coming and you’re not prepared lays heavy on your mind.

We had heard the weather forecast was for some snow showers in our area, but you can never quite trust what you hear. All the factors I mentioned earlier all come in to play. So we sit and wonder, will we get it or not? When you need rain and its forecasted, we are always just on the outer edge, no rain here! So, sometimes with snow, it’s the same. However, this time, they were dead on. We got blasted with heavy wet snow, covering the ground within minutes. It was beautiful…and stressful, at the same time. Beautiful, because the woods is a quiet and peaceful place to be in the winter. Stressful, because we are not prepared. There was so much more we wanted to accomplish before the cold and snow came. Expanding the garden, working on the addition to the cabin, blowing leaves and general cleanup, the list goes on and on. But just like all the other years when we were caught off guard, it will all be there waiting for us.

So, bring on the snow, no more complaining! I’m getting the snowshoes ready. It’ll be a while before I can use them, but I can at least be prepared for when that time comes.

 

Daily Prompt: Rearrange

imageRearrange: It’s A Family Thing

Rearranging is a skill usually passed down through the generations. My mother was a rearranger. So I watched and learned. She could rearrange the furniture or our lives almost equally as well. My father was 37 years old when he got the news that his life would be cut short. Not good news for a young man with a family. But because my mother was a rearranger, she rearranged our lives so my father could have the very best of what he wanted for as long as that could be. We travelled and camped every available weekend and vacation so my father could spend his last days pursuing his love of nature and fishing.

When faced with my first of many crisis’ of my  adult life, I knew I would make it threw because I was trained by the experiences of my childhood. I tried very hard to provide normalcy for my children, but no matter how hard I tried, crisis would always show up on my doorstep and I would transform our situation into the best work of art a starving artist could provide, not always pretty, but a piece of work for sure. Sometimes I’d sit back at the end of the day, and just hope it would all work out. We had all that was neccessary for survival, but most important, we still had each other.

Now, my children are rearrangers. They have learned how to juggle and persevere through even the toughest of times. Even when our lives are rearranged beyond our control we will do what we can to help each other in what ever way we can.  We are family and families rearrange their own lives to help one another.

Daily Prompt: Artificial

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ARTIFICIAL:  insincere, false, unnatural, contrived, put-on, exaggerated, forced, hollow

Many things occur in a day that prompts my brain into sharing a thought. Today’s Daily Prompt reminded me of a conversation I had with one of my adult daughters yesterday.

We were having conversation about her new beau. I was asking about his parents, if they lived in town. She explained that yes, his mother and father both lived in the city and his father was, well, “You know, like dad” (referring to her own father). Oh yes, the now that all the hard work is done dad that comes around just in time to enjoy special events like weddings and grandchildren. The artificial parent.

The artificial parent is usually absent through most of the growing season of your child or children, 0-17 1/2 years, unless perhaps you have boys (or sometimes girls), in sports, which was our case. The father was no where to be found if there was an emergency or a financial crisis. Birthdays, and holidays were no exception, but throw in something like a basketball or football game and you’ve got the most supportive parent in the stands. You would have thought he was out everyday after school coaching and practicing right along with your child. Not! He knows some of the other parents at the event, because they lived in his neighborhood or he went to school with them. Time to show off his kids and what a great dad he is for being there to support them. Ya, right!

Okay, moving onto bigger and better. Let’s talk about graduation. It was almost humiliating to have him there acting as if he put so much hard work and undying energy to get that child through school. Oh my gosh, it was such a struggle, but we finally made it.Ya, right! He doesn’t even realize that all that pomp and circumstance cost a weeks worth of groceries and part of the rent, and nights and nights of crying over homework and last minute credits. What an ass. No clue. But he is big daddy on campus, strutting his stuff and hangin’ with all the other artificial parents who get to step in at a moments notice and try and take credit for a job well done, yes, a job well done by someone else.

And please, when the going gets tough, who gets going? The artificial parent who chooses to disappear just as quickly as he/she appeared to shake hands and smile for the camera. I am so familiar with  artificial parents that I can almost pick them out at any function for kids. They are bigger than life, boasting and reciting all the special events they have missed as if they were there the whole time bustin’ their butts and sweatin’ to work, manage school, after school activities, homework, dinner, puberty, boyfriend and girlfriend issues, drivers training, proms, swirls, and of course, the big one…. weddings. Don’t get me started on that one.  That’s a whole book  entitled, The Articial Parent and their role in YOUR daughter’s (or could be son’s) Wedding.

So, my daughter explained to me that her new beau’s father was just “getting back” in his life after many years. Yessiree, another artificial parent making his way back home, well, how nice. Can’t wait to meet him.

Daily Prompt: Millions

There are 42.2 million American people or 13% of all households in the US that are food insecure.

In 2012, the USDA census reported 915 million acres of farmland in the US with only 4.5 million or 4.5% being used to grow vegetables. There is over 170 million acres of land being used to grow 2 crops, corn and soybeans. Although, both products are used in some food production, primarily they are used for unhealthy processed foods or products that aren’t food at all.

It’s time for people to take action and become food growers on their own. It doesn’t take much space, time or energy. You can grow food on a patio, window ledge, or your kitchen counter. It will save time and money and you will be able to share valuable resources such as experience and knowledge and pass it on to others so they too can become more self-suffient and less reliant on someone else to supply them with nutritious food. 

We started our quest for self-suffiency in 2015, just 1 growing season ago. Our first garden consisted of 2-55 gallon drums cut in half and a couple of shipping crates. Anyone can do this. You provide drainage, some good soil, your seeds or plants, a little water along the way, and you will have enough to eat and share! 

We, here at the Rollin’ Rock, have doubled our garden size this year and plan to increase again for 2017. There are many challenges to our location in the forest, but we are determined to continue gaining in knowledge and experience. It is exciting to be able to share our bounty with family and friends, as do all our good neighbors here in the north country.

Daily Prompt: Waiting

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Dish, The Lone Cowboy

Waiting is measured in relevance to time. The more time you have nothing to do, the more time you have to sit around and wait.

My dog has nothing to do. He is watching my every move just waiting to see if I’m going to get up. If I do, you can bet he will be first out of the chair, yes, you read that right, he is waiting in my chair, and out to the door. He anticipates a walk. He always anticipates a walk. He lives for the three major dog groups. Food, walks, travel, and sleep. All the rest of the time he waits. He has grown patient and willing…….to wait. He is the best!

 

 

 

Daily Prompt: Careful

My mother taught me many things as a child. One of those things was how to brace myself for disappointment. She would tell me that not all the grass is greener on the other side. I did test that theory a few times and usually it proved to be correct, okay?! So, to this, my mom taught me to “be careful what you wish for”. Not so much anymore, but when my kids were growing up, I was always wishing to make our struggles less. I provided what we needed and things were rough. But I would keep my perspectives in check with that saying, “be careful what you wish for”. No matter what we didn’t have…we always had each other, and thanks Mom. You taught me well.

Daily Prompt: Border

So many angles here, where do I go?

Aging is a process…….no scrap that.

After my father passed and I quit hating my mother for trying to move on with her life, we became good friends. Of course this did not happen over night, it took a couple of years. I got married and and she found friendship with her sister. After that relationship began to tire she and I once again reconnected. She and I,  and sometimes my middle sister would take off on day trips or even overnights to ramble through flea markets and antique shops in strange new places she would hear about from co-workers or from brochures she had picked up on previous travels. The comeraderie brought me back time and time again.

Usually on our trips we would travel south and cross the border of our state. Who ever was driving would honk the horn and we would hoot and holler. I don’t even know why, or how that started, but we did it and it became part of the trip. I won’t remember many of those destinations but I will never forget those border crossings!

My mom has been gone now for 4 years. I miss her each and every single day. I can’t go back and right any wrongs but I can say to this day that I would if I could. But, each and every time my husband and I venture out and cross that border, I  pay tribute to my mom with our traditional horn honking, and a little hoot and holler. She will always be held in the highest regard. No one will ever compare!

Growin’ North

 

Despite all of our setbacks this year, our goal for expanding the woodland garden was quite successful. We not only doubled the number of containers we planted, but we doubled our potatoe garden and added a small blueberry patch.

The pallet fence turned out way better than expected but was quite labor intensive. Too bad we are planning on expanding once again!! There just doesn’t seem to ever be quite enough, especially thinking in terms of preserving, eating fresh and selling at market.

This fall we had the hole excavated for our future root cellar. That’s a project for next year. It will have to go to the bottom of the list! I will keep you posted, however.

I almost forgot, Growin’ North is our newest venture. It is our simply grown organic produce and homegoods along with our newly added oyster mushrooms that we take to market during growing season here in the north woods. Next year we hope our learning curve is smaller and our expertise grows larger.

A Walk In The Woods 2/15

While the world was preparing for other things, I was preparing for a walk in the woods with my dog, “Dish”. Dish is about to turn 1 year old. He is  both very smart and very rambunctious. He is large bodied with very long legs and a very long jaw line which makes him look like a land shark when his mouth is open. He loves to chew on my husband. He thinks he is a toy. So a walk in the woods always expels tons of Dish’s energy and I get to enjoy the peaceful bliss that Mother Nature has bestowed upon this earth for me (and you) to enjoy.

As I strapped on my snowshoes Dish keeps me in his eye sight. He wants me to know that there can be no distractions between here and the woods, and that we are going, right now. He is very anxious.

There is about an inch of fluffy new snow. It’s great for our walk. I started off into the wooded10 today, which is actually backwards for us. Dish is a little confused, but changes his course and we’re off. After climbing the first hill and halfway up the second, I stop for a rest and Dish runs ahead a bit. He turns and looks back to make sure I’m coming and then prances off for exploration. As I stand there resting, I close my eyes, taking in the fresh air and listening to the silence. I think about aging. Funny I would be thinking that, but I take care of my mother-in law, so I think about aging alot and I’ve come to terms with the fact that you are the only one that can prepare yourself for what is yet to come. If you are young and don’t think about it much, let me remind you that there will come a time when you will start to lose your strength, flexibility, coordination and your balance if you don’t continue to use it and develop it.  I was pretty active as a martial artist in my 20’s into my 30’s, then I had 3 more kids. In my 40’s, the cartiledge in my knees started breaking down and by 52 I could hardly walk. I lost some of the most productive years of my life due to the fact that I was too young for knee replacement, then lost my insurance coverage and was unable to have the surgery. It wasn’t until in my mid fifties, remarried and re-insured that I was able to finally have both knees replaced. Recovery is still an ongoing process, even 5 years later. So, here I am moving into my 60’s now, with a renewed sense of who I am and where I am going. I know what needs to be done, and it feels good to be working towards that goal.

I can hear Dish breathing heavy right in front of me. I open my eyes and he is sitting there wondering why is it taking me so long to get going again. I give him a treat and explain that I got lost in thought. I’m sure he understood! So, I take off again, and he follows behind me pushing me up the hill stepping on the back of my snowshoes as we go. That is so annoying! I try to explain to him that every time he steps on my snowshoes he throws me off balance. He really doesn’t care. All the better to work on that coordination and balance thing I’ve lost for not being better prepared for aging, right?