Journal Entry / Thoughts For Today 08/20/2018

Home Again, Home Again

I was nervous returning home tonite. As I left for the afternoon, I gathered the turkeys and one chick who thinks she’s a turkey and put them in the big run. I searched and searched for my 3 remaining laying hens. They were no where to be found. I left the hen house door propped open with the chance they would be there upon my return.

First thing out of the car, I let my excited dogs out of the cabin, grabbed the flashlight and headed to the garden area.

The dogs, as usual, were running around half crazy, jumping on each other, so happy to be free from the soft bed and pillows they had to endure while I was a away. I do understand that is a hard row to hoe when all you want to do is run and play in an unrestricted environment.

I get out to the hen house and peek around the propped open door with the flashlight and there on the perch are my girls waiting to be secured in their clean and comfy home. I took a breath and locked them in, checked on the baby chicks, and the turkeys and headed back to the cabin.

It’s an extremely dark night. Not many stars, and the moon is obstructed by the intense canopy that covers the compound. I’m thinking as I’m walking about the chickens, because I have one that has been gone for about 2 weeks. I’m sure to predators. I wonder about the secrets that Mother Nature holds and how she has implanted the homing instinct into those chickens and so many other wonderful things that as you live here in the forest you become so aware of, when all of a sudden I am slammed to the ground by 2 rambunctious cowboys. Changed my thought pattern in a hurry, like, am I ok, how’s my back, can I get up? All the while the younger bully boy is licking me and so happy on his level. OK, where’s the flashlight? Can I maneuver around and get up? For those of you who know me, it’s tough getting up off the ground…still, since having both knees replaced. But I do get up, proceed to the cabin, complete my chores and feel blessed that as tough as this life can be here in north woods in trying to live minimally, I know that there has not been one minute that I have regretted leaving the easy life behind. For me, Life is a Journey, and I’m just takin’ it one day at a time. Cabin life, that’s all I need.

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Long Time No See

 

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We are lost in the shuffle of life. Stuck in a time and place that seems to have no end. Rifling through the memories of another. Trying to figure out what should go where and who should get what. A tiring unending job to settle the dust of someone else’s life.

We have been absent from home for months now. One thing after the other seems to be breaking down or just falling apart. It’s the life season of many decisions. Do we sell, rent, buy, replace or struggle along? Notice I didn’t say choices. The options are limited and when you’re in limbo, do you put a bandaide on it or bulldoze ahead and make decisions you may regret later?

Trying to wrap things up and plan our move forward is  overwhelming at times. I think we’re over the fact that you can’t complete this task in 30 days since we’ve gone beyond our expectation. The end is in sight, but there are many steps to get there. This mile of the journey is brutal. There is nothing left here to quench our tired souls.

The freedom of no time tables or caregiving responsibilities leaves a bit of guilt and loss of consistency leaving room for time to just get lost in your own thoughts and dreams and time ticks by and productivity slips away.

We will return home soon regardless, for we have the responsibilities of our future waiting for us to get started. I have garden plans and building projects waiting for my creative energy to once again begin to flow into action. The kitty needs to return home to roam the woods freely and excercise her unbridled need to hunt and play in the underbrush. She has had enough of apartment living. Even the smell of canned food turns her off, when just a short time ago she couldn’t get enough of it. The dog sits in anticipation each time he believes this is the day we’re going back. Anxiously pacing back and forth on the deck just hoping to be loaded into his kennel in the back of the blazer. It’s sad to see his disappointment when he figures out all we’re doing is taking out the trash.

We are all ready to begin our new chapter. We have struggled through the pain and guilt, and the fear of moving on. Now, it’s closing the book on the previous chapter that is so difficult to complete.

Chapter Closed

imageLife is but a journey, and where that journey takes you can only loosely be planned, but never counted on.  It is a mystery novel waiting to unfold. Each chapter bringing about changes in your life both expected and unforeseen.

Today, the matriarch of my husbands family will be laid to rest. It will end my ten year journey of care-giving with her, for others, it has been a lifelong experience. This is something planned as you would expect for an aging parent, but also never counted on. For who ever believes that the one person in your life with all the answers will no longer be there to turn to. Suddenly it’s over, you’re left on your own.

This chapter now closed, and the next one begins.

 

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.

 

A New Blog For A New Year

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Skinner Lodge is an off grid 12×24 Amish built cabin on 30 acres in beautiful northern Michigan. We are off grid currently using solar with a wind turbine waiting for installation. We are miles from the nearest utility pole, so electricity is not an option. Our bathroom remains a nicely built privy with a shower not far from the cabin. No indoor running water, but the well we had drilled in 2011 has been one of our greatest assets so far. As we develop our garden it helps to have available water on site instead of trying to carry it all from the city, which was very painstaking and costly I may add.

Our goal was to retire to the Rollin’ Rock in 2019, but things just haven’t quite worked out that way. My husband has taken an early retirement and as of this writing we are not able to live there full time due to family obligations, but soon, we hope!

I’ve started Cabin Life News for the new “blogging 101” class , to get blogging once again and to gain new tips to become better at what I like to do. I thought this would be a great way to share up to date progress at Skinner Lodge and the Rollin’ Rock in general, some new things I’ve learned over the past year and introduce some very interesting and talented people we’ve met. Most of all, I’d love to promote the beauty of northern Michigan and all it has to offer.

You can also follow our historical journey, in progress, at SkinnerLodge.com.