Things we’ve learned about life in the woods

  • We recently put a birdfeeder just outside our kitchen window. Close enough to the house to hopefully discourage bears from pursuing a snack, but easily able to attract some of the birds that frequent the area. We’ve enjoyed watching them from the kitchen as they have found this new source of food. But this feeder also means that we have a stash of birdseed to store somewhere. We don’t have a closable outdoor storage building that is near enough the house to make it practical for retrieving birdseed. We do have a shed right near the house that stores many things, but it has an open doorway so critters have free access to go in and out. With our new stash of birdseed I figured I would try an experiment and put it in a closed plastic bin to see if that was sufficient to keep unwanted critters out. A couple of days later I went outside and as I walked past the shed I was startled by a scurrying noise inside. As I got closer a small red squirrel came firing past me anxious to escape being caught in his thievery. Good news was that I discovered it before he had gotten all the way in to the seed. Bad news was that I discovered squirrels will persistently chew their way through plastic bins to get at the forbidden treasure inside. So we now have a bin full of seed with a hole chewed in the lid sitting inside in our entryway…for now. Of course if I leave it there very long then I will likely tempt mice or other friends to come in and make themselves at home as well. Thanks to the advice of our experienced neighbors, I know a solution that is time tested and seems reliable. New on the list of things to acquire: a metal can with a lid, and a cement block or other heavy item to hold the lid on!
  • As many of you may know, about a week ago was opening day of deer season in Michigan. As non-hunters, this is not something we paid a whole lot of attention to in the past. But up here it was talked about, anticipated, and even warned about for weeks in advance. Turns out, it’s a pretty big deal when you live up north in the woods! Towns get busy with travelers, cars park along the roads where hunters venture into the woods, even the schools close for the day. So as we are getting used to the various nuances of having Huron National Forest border our backyard, we have learned another one: when it is deer season, one is safest not to venture too far away from their house toward that forest, and one is also safest to wear bright colors when they do so!  Another new item on the list of things to acquire: some orange safety vests to wear while walking!
  • As we all changed our clocks recently and adjusted to the fall time change, we all feel the difference as the days shorten and we have more hours of darkness. It’s a normal part of fall heading into winter. But this year, being just a little further north on Earth’s lines of latitude, we have noticed an actual difference in the hours of daylight and angle of the sun compared to life just a few hours south. The way I described it recently was that I was aware each day that the sun felt like it was in slightly the wrong place at the wrong time, and the sunlight coming in my kitchen window was at entirely the wrong angle. My houseplants agree with my slight irritation at this change. New item to acquire: a growing light for our poor struggling houseplants!

It is interesting how each new season in a new place brings those small details that we have to learn as “normal.” Thank you for your prayers and support as we continue to adjust to the new details of life.

Rachel, for the Bennetts