We’ve now spent three weeks in our primitive dry cabin with no electricity… I thought this would be a quiet escape; no hum from lights, from the fridge, microwave, TV, traffic, and people. But I definitely would not use the word QUIET to describe this little clearing settled deep in Northern Minnesota’s lake country.

I wake up in the morning and ohhhhh I’ve got to pee, because I’ve been holding it until the sun decided to welcome the new day. You know I imagine all these critters lurking just outside the cabin, waiting for me to come outside so they can attack. (This is obviously not realistic and why I’m not a fan of scary movies; they only fuel the imagination). But with the first sign of morning light glowing orange through the dense vegetation, the threat of the unknown and unseen evaporates. All the imaginary haunts have left the yard for the day.

With every good dry cabin, there is an outhouse. I decide to leave the door wide open to take in my surroundings… and it is SO LOUD!!!

What is “peace and quiet” anyway? I ponder the noice and focus my senses to register what is going on around me.

I see a peliated woodpecker swoop from one perch to another 20 feet up in an old budding oak tree. Then hear it POUND away in its new spot looking for its prize.

I hear, “THUMP… THUMP… Thump… Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump. Starting off slow, each thump gains speed before fading off. I don’t see the culprit, but I know exactly what it is from growing up as a outdoorsy kid. It’s a grouse thumping its wings on a fallen log. This goes on all day, LOUD, and just out of sight.

There! The peliated woodpecker swoops again and sings its taunting call. Is he laughing?

And the songbirds. I’m not sure if I can decipher how many different tunes I hear; I think maybe 5. What could they really be gossiping about so early this morning?! The sun is just barely peeking over the horizon and lighting up the forest.

Oooooo what’s that?! A group of wood ducks fly by. They have a funny call, but it’s familiar to me from growing up on the Mississippi River; a flyway byway for migrating birds from around the world. I am no birder, but I am starting to appreciate my childhood and the small wonders I have picked up from half listening to my parents, the amateur naturalists who raised me.

Don’t forget the bees and other bugs, buzzing around finding the flowers that have already bloomed saying “Hello summer!”


I walk around the yard and look up to see three turkey vultures gliding steadily with the light wind that is picking up for the day. I know they are a bit ugly up close, but they look timeless soaring around above as they look for their next scavenged meal.

And my next thought before going back inside, “I MUST find a way to teach these things to my children someday.”

I challenge you to enjoy this spring and summer like it would be your last. School is already out for some, and the adventures begin. Go outside and breath in the moment. Listen and actually hear the differences between songbirds, frogs, crickets, or whatever your habitat provides.

There’s a lot more to come from our experiences this summer as we live “up north”.

With no electricity, you might have already figured out that we do not have internet service so I will do my best to sum up our experiences worth sharing and get them out to you.

You might already know we’ve had a prickly situation between Beast and a porcupine. It was a rough night yanking quills out of his snout at 1:30am by flashlight. But rest assured, Beast is doing great! Other than being a bit traumatized and hesitant for us to poke around his gums, he acts as if he’s 100 percent happy dog.

We had family surprise us last weekend by coming up to visit and enjoy the area in their traveling van. We are so gracious to be close to family in Minnesota and had a blast catching up with Mary, Jim, and Goodie.


And how about these 90 degree days?! How have you been finding fun in the heat? We’ve been forced to head straight to the lake after work to cool off. Again, without electricity we are beating the heat the old fashioned way. All three of us find refreshment in jumping in nearby lakes and then lounging waterside until the day cools off into dusk. This is “the life”!

Luckily mosquitos have not yet been an issue, but I will be testing some homemade bug repellent soon enough. Wood ticks on the other hand… oofta! Watch out for these blood sucking disease spreading buggers. I found one on myself that was as small as a poppy seed!!

That is all for right now. As always, wishing you happy and healthy trails from the woods…