Escaping…

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Wrinkles running happily along

In these past few months I have tried to find happy places to escape to.  These woods are always my greatest escape.

Since I was 6, I have walked in these woods.  That’s 44 years (but who’s counting!!)  There were no trails, less neighbors, and tons of wildlife.  Over the years that has slowly changed, but luckily the “4 mile loop” we have created is land locked.

If I am not walking I am 4 wheeling, horseback riding, or snowmobiling!  I have shared these trails with many animals, most of them gone now, through the years.  My first dog, Daisy.  My first horse, Sugar. My next dogs through the years as a child, Princess, Sheba, Jeopardy, Ginger.  Our second horse, Mandy.

My parents liked to take us 4 kids on Sunday walks.  My dad would always have a big walking stick and I remember being scared we would get lost and he would always say not to worry, the dogs know the way home.

These past few months I have been finding myself wanting to escape this crazy world more and more and enjoy what we have without all of the negativity being thrown at us from every angle in the media, on the internet, in the magazines, etc.

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Even little Sissy has had enough and wants to join us on a walk!!

Coming back up the trails after a nice long walk, the sun has set and the moon is beginning to peak out, I feel refreshed.  img_8597

The snow is glistening and the world is a perfect place again.

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Snow glistens with the moonlight

 

 

Summer Vacation

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Designing Fort Snrub

A few weeks back a neighbor was throwing out an old privacy fence and their trampoline.  Now mind you, they considered this garbage.  As soon as the kids were aware of what was happening, they considered it finding gold and exactly what they needed for a new fort in the woods.

 

They carefully loaded all of the panels onto a trailer and drove them back to their “work” area.

They cleared the perfect area for their fort by driving 4-wheelers and doing donuts in a small area to break down the brush.  Then it was time to drag the trampoline with the 4-wheelers into place.  This is the roof of the fort which is underneath.  The top will be used to place a pop up tent when they want to sleep out there.

They collected old materials from our farm and our neighbors and laid them out so they knew what they had to work with.  They could hardly contain themselves on the eve of our trash night and rode the golf cart down our street to collect more treasures.  They found a few balls, an old hose reel that has been rigged to raise and lower a flag, chairs, old tires and most recently they picked a huge deck umbrella.

It was time to begin construction.  They nailed some boards around the frame.  This is holding the tarp in place which covers the trampoline.  Even the little ones were helping clear brush and design the area.

Some bamboo flooring and old throw rugs have been collected and added as a floor until they can garbage pick another tarp.  The tires are perfect as extra seating!

The name was chosen for the fort using the name of the family who donated the fencing and trampoline spelled backwards.  I thought that was a great choice and very imaginative.

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This picture was Sunday night as they were driving the two and a half miles down our street looking for more treasures for their fort before garbage day. They wear their bathing suits as it’s been so hot here and they can work on the fort, drive up and jump in the pool and head right back out.

These kids have had very little television or computer time as they are up and out the door to work on the fort, swim, and play in the woods!  It’s hard to force them to work on mandatory book reports for the upcoming school year as they are so busy planning, building and having fun.

This is what summer vacation is all about in our world!! 🙂

Turkey Trouble

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This mama turkey has been hanging around our cabin. She has a few babies we have seen running on the trails, but lately she has been hanging out closer and closer to the barn.

If you saw my previous post: Camping on the Farm, I shared that we have a cornhole game by the cabin.  This is a game you play using “corn bags” that are tossed.  The “corn bags” are a felt fabric stuffed with whole kernel corn and sewn shut.

We went back to play the game the other night and could not find the bags.  After a few minutes of searching, we found one empty bag of material, then another and another and so on.  Yep, you guessed it, mama turkey had stolen the bags and put a tiny hole in each one and eaten the corn!!

We have had no rain in almost 2 months.  The ground is hard as concrete and most of the wild vegetation has shriveled up. These poor wild animals are having a hard time finding food sources.  I am finding more and more deer in my pastures picking at leftover hay.  The raccoons are around and in the garbage, the birds are eating and drinking at the feeders and bird bath more than ever.

This picture was from yesterday.  She has now made her way up to the chicken and goat pasture and was eating the chicken scratch feed.  Needless to say, I ran to the feed store today and purchased a bag of corn to put out back in our feeder for her and her babies.

For more of our crazy daily farm living adventures, don’t forget to follow our facebook page: ChasenChanceRanch

 

Camping on the Farm

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Last fall we purchased a small cabin to put on our property.  It was made by the Amish as a “shed”.  We finished the ceilings, floors and insulated it to make it into a cabin our family can use year round!

Living on the farm, it is difficult for us to be away very often.  There are animals to tend to, gardens to be worked, grounds to be maintained, canning of foods etc.  This little cabin is our way of having a vacation feeling while on our own land.

Here is a glimpse into our little Cabin in the Woods now that it is in full swing and being used every day!!

Let’s start with a look inside:

I wanted a total rustic feeling experience.  I love how the exposed wood looks!  The ceiling has been insulated and installed.  We have 2 comfortable chairs on the one side and a kitchenette area on the other.  This cabinet was made by the Man using our old pasture fencing and leftover slate from our woodburner area in the house.  The fabric was from a friend of my mothers who made them for us.  The table pulls into a 5 foot table when fully opened and the loveseat converts into our bed.  The loft has featherbeds on top of foam cushion for extra comfort for the kids and their friends to sleep on.  There is no electricity but a few battery operated fixtures work perfectly.  We have electricity across at the ice shanty, but I don’t want to add it to the cabin!

 

A fire area is set up so we can cook our meals.  We kick it up to get some nice coals to cook over.

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A bug free dining area is also set up to eat under.  While I love the outdoors, I am not a person who likes to eat outdoors with bugs around so this is a perfect solution!

A badminton set and cornhole game has been added for some great family fun.

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A golf cart was added for “faster” access to the main house when needed and for bringing back supplies.  This is the parking area.

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My early morning view with coffee.  I love the horse pasture right behind us.  I can hear the horses softly nuzzle at night.

And while we are on our staycation vacation, we are close enough for our animals to interact with us as normal, I can enjoy my fast paced walks along the river, we can grill at the house if wanted and we can attend local events with the kids and their close friends!

We can drive one street over to where our boat is docked, jump on and enjoy a full day including lunch on the river and head in with a sunset tube ride.

We will do the nightly feeding of the animals and head back under the moonlight to the cabin for some smores or popcorn.

And at the end of a full day we retire into the cabin, play a few card games before getting a great nights rest.

We are beyond blessed and thankful every day for our camping area!!

 

 

 

 

 

A Walk in the Woods

Saturday morning was beautiful for a quick 4 mile walk through the woods on our property and some neighbors.  Below are some pictures to share….

Heading down our main dirt trail and took a trail heading to the west.  It’s a twisty turning trail that heads directly down to the creek.

Heading up the trail from the creek I see a neighbor has put up a new tree stand.  There are make shift bridges along the creek like the one above.  This bridge actually gets moved every year by the creek and they have to reset it, as you can see they have done.  Another neighbors trail that we have helped to maintain for years is in a low spot and is always full of water.  It’s a great spot for polywogs!

After the long low spot you head down to their bridge that is build out of railroad ties.  Perfect for the weight of horses and four wheelers.  Up the hill from the bridge is an old tire marking a property stake.  You can see the spring rains have kept these trails wet!  You continue on this trail and it leads you in a circle back to our property connecting to the open field.

Look closely and you can see the Man and Boy’s double tree stand for hunting.  It’s a special spot where a little boy has gone with his dad to share in a hunting trip!  Just past the stand I saw this poor broken robins egg on the ground on the trail heading back to the middle of our property and the arch where you know to turn.

The old pool deck serves as Grandpa’s tree stand as he can no longer climb into a tree.  We moved it back to an area he can drive to on the 4 wheeler and still enjoy time hunting.  Turning from there to the watery trail leading up to our bridge.  Once across the bridge turning to the east the creek overflows and when it dries up, lush grasses grow.  The bridges in the lush grass serve for 4 wheeler or walking access to the east trails.

Heading up the east trail towards the house completes the “loop” we call it.  There are many little trails that run off the main trail but if you follow the main trail you will come to the opening of our back pasture.  There is an old farm implement that was abandoned back in these woods and when we cleared for the new pasture, I insisted on leaving it where it was put to rest.  I wonder how much work it did and who left it back there in the middle of an over grown field.

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And we have come full circle to the back of our little cabin in the woods heading home.

I’ve walked these trails and woods since 1972 and I was 6 years old.  Each trip is a new adventure with downed trees, new sites, water and animals.  I will never outgrow the excitement of walking in the woods!!

Birds

I admit I have a problem watching our birds at the feeder.  It does cut into my laundry, cleaning and chore time.  I enjoy watching their antics, ways of communicating, colors and freedom they exhibit.  Here is a collection of some of the birds at the feeder.

 

Beaver Dam

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Rohan looking for the beaver

This is a creek that eventually meets up with the Niagara River.  Last summer a beaver made this little area his home.  Every few days the kids would go down and check his progress on building his dam.  Yesterday we took our little nephew there as he wanted to check for the beaver and collect more of the chewed wood for his collection.

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pile of sticks that were once the beaver dam

The town got sight of the dam in the fall and came and removed the dam with a backhoe.  This is all that is left of the dam today.  The kids were very sad but understand the importance of keeping this creek flowing.

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It’s amazing to see how hard this little beaver worked even taking down quite large trees all along this area. These are things you can’t teach in a classroom and so valuable to share with the kids in my mind.

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He is missed but the kids will keep looking for signs of him throughout the next few months to see if he returns.