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705 B Street, Minong, WI 54859

Look no further. I found this home 12 years ago in Minong, WI. Minong (means it’s a good place in Ojibwe) is also called Pleasant Valley by locals. The house was built in 1956, when materials were real. The house is redwood. The garage is cedar. I absolutely loved it.  Home to prairie, red and white pine, aspen, maple and birch. Native trees, shrubs and vines grow here. Native wildflowers grow here too. Wildlife is everywhere. From the house I have seen fox, deer, bear, coyote and wolf stroll through the back yard and field next to house. The birds are too numerous to count. Folks here like to feed them too.

If you are looking for a great get away in retirement, this could be it. Check out the listing at http://www.coldwellbanker.com/property?propertyId=270610286&mode=detail&brandType=CB

The bathroom has been remodeled to incorporate a handicap shower and gentle rain door, new hi rise toilet and sink. This room boasts a window that no one can see in. A warm color was chosen to accent the bathroom and hallway.

New bathroom

New bathroom

All the woodwork inside was done by Bob Kuehn. He is a master woodworker, artist, craftsman, and handy man. Rodney Wilcox, prepared the wood into board feet at his sawmill in Minong. It was a pleasure to work with both of them. One bedroom has been redone with all wood floors and walls. Minong experienced a blow down with winds over 100 mpg in 2011. The very trees that fell are now inside the house. I was in the house when the flash storm hit. I can tell you, this older home stood up well in the storm. I felt completely safe within.

Knotty pine bedroom with red pine walls and floor

Knotty pine bedroom with red pine walls and floor

Built in cabinets and new knotty pine accent wall and red pine plank floors.

Built in cabinets and new knotty pine accent wall and red pine plank floors.

Check out the porch on the front of the house. Someone could enjoy sitting on the front porch with its knotty pine ceiling. The view overlooks the whole south side to the hills in the distance that surround the valley.

The kitchen is a good size with lots of cabinets. Both the kitchen and pantry have new floors. The pantry is a bedroom if new owner chooses.

Bedroom used as pantry

Bedroom used as pantry

Kitchen with new floor

Kitchen with new floor

Front porch. Knotty pine ceiling. Ramp on one side and steps on the other.

Front porch. Knotty pine ceiling. Ramp on one side and steps on the other.

There are lots of gardens here with native shrubs, fruit trees and grape arbor.

Rest awhile in the wood gazebo, hand-built in 2012. I had planned to grow wild grapes up the sides.  There are vegetable gardens front and south side of house. Two outdoor water outlets on house. I used rain barrels to water the gardens.

Grape arbor gazebo

Grape arbor gazebo

The Minong Senior Center is next door. Tai chi class on Monday. Sheila is the cook and she is a great cook. No need to cook main meal if you don’t want to.

ATV and snowmobile trail within two blocks. Folks live casually out here. They love to garden, gather wild edibles and mushrooms, hunt and fish.  You can ride an ATV or snowmobile from house to trail. Minong Trails Club within a few blocks.

If you like dogs, you can let your dog off the leash 1/2 block from the house. This used to be the old industrial park nearby. It is pretty quiet there these days. There is a dirt road that your animal can go venturing on. No need to worry, there is a fence to keep your buddy close enough.

From the front of house you can see the predawn rise up over the hills.

Nowhere as beautiful in photo as in life

Nowhere as beautiful in photo as in life

Sunsets are too beautiful to describe in words. There is a magnificent rose light that touches the back yard trees and this unique light hits the pine trees across the street when the sun sets. It is absolutely the most radiant light I have ever seen. After it rains, often when the sun comes out there is a rainbow to the south-east of front of house. Who ever said there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow must have meant this home and property. It was my husband’s and my retirement home. I was left alone after my husband’s death in 2010. It really is time for me to move back to East Coast, closer to family and life long friends.

If you know of someone who is looking for that great escape, please tell them about this dreamscape. The house and 1/2 acre property deserves someone special. After all, she is filled with love and more.

Meditation Walk

Today, I received an email from Worth Cooley-Prost, an artist in Alexandria, VA. She asked me to send thoughts to her of what I see and she asked that I pray for her Glass Exhibit called Portals. In response, I went on a Meditation Walk around the loop, a dirt road near my property. Along the way, I stepped off the beaten path into the sand dunes where we hold Water Ceremony in Northwest Wisconsin in season. The first thing I noticed was beautiful miniature soldier moss with their dainty little red hats. Some moss was already laden with the first signs of frost. As I strolled into this sacred space, I encountered deer foot prints and possible wolf scat. As I approached the sacred circle where we hold ceremony I saw a female adult deer near Jack pine who casually walked away and hid among fur trees and hard wood forest to the south. Then from the west,  I heard a crow at about the same time as I smelled the aroma of sweet fern that was a dense colony and climbing over the dunes from the west.

It was here that I whispered Worth’s intentions for the Art Exhibit – Portals. Thinking on the meaning of portals I thought of  dimensions, doors or gateways. First I realized that a female deer silently passed though a portal between Jack pines; an unseen crow flew through the air through a space portal and signified sound as it cawed. The sweet fern that now was growing over the sand dune came though another portal. They came through soil and aroma portals. There are all kinds of portals above us, below us, around us and within us if we open sacred space within, around and beyond us. We can even pass through portals to other dimensions that exist in the Universe. We can be thankful to those beings whom we can not see.  There are portals beyond our understanding. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Sometimes in our human existence we can be hindered by our own thoughts. I pray that all my portals or gateways are open and that I am a conduit of understanding.

As a parting thought, I gathered a few sprigs of sweet fern to represent aroma, a dash of white sage to represent the sacred and furry native small bluestem seed to represent the feral cat I also saw as I walked around the loop a little later. Black and white, it paused long enough to gaze at me from a safe distance resting on a downed tree and camouflaged by leaves. I talked to the cat and told the animal that I loved him/her. I said a prayer that the creature would find food, warmth and shelter this winter. I hope to encounter the cat again. I will start to carry some dry cat food as I walk this way again in another Meditation Walk.

Now I will package the nature gift and mail it to Worth. She deserves my thoughts, reflections and intention.

Be happy insectamonarca friends where ever you are.

Water Ceremony September 27 in Minong, WI

Purple milkweed and Pond, Minong, WI

Purple milkweed and Pond, Minong, WI

Water Ceremony, September 27, 2011, 6 p.m.

 Weather permitting we will hold Water Ceremony outside in the Sand Dunes.
Afterwards we will dance in circle
around a rescued pine tree on the property at Hospitality House.

Before dancing, Jackie / Godarvi will teach us a simple chant that we will sing and dance to. Jackie says, “I’d like to read what qualities the names of God we’ll be chanting refer to and just give a brief statement or 2 about Siddha Yoga chanting.”  Description: “I would be happy to introduce you to a form of chanting that can induce the experience of the divinity within each of us, the source of universal Oneness. In the tradition I follow, Siddha Yoga (which originated in India), chanting is
a key spiritual practice. It can purify our surroundings, fill us with love and joy, free us from worry, bring us supreme contentment, and let us experience the divinity that lies inside. We chant different names for God, each evoking certain qualities of the one God.”

Community meal follows.

Please RSVP 715 466-5349. Thank you. Miigwetch!

Let’s share books that promote women’s advocacy to action.  Like a Tree by Jean Shinoda Bolen. How trees, women, and tree people can save the planet.

Animal totem: Turtle faces west September.

Beautiful intention:  Danka Brewer, Mother Earth Water Walkers,
“Maja awi mino niiban, sweet dreams May the Creator keep you safely in his loving arms and grant that we might rise and greet the dawning of a new day and each other spirits tomorrow. May The Dawning of a New Day bring you to a better place to start from and a bright path to travel tomorrow.”

August Deer Medicine: “When deer show up in your life it is time to be gentle with yourself and others. A new innocence and freshness is about to be awakened or born. There is going to be a gentle, enticing lure of new adventures. Ask yourself important questions.  Are you trying to force things? Are others? Are you being too critical and uncaring of yourself? When deer show up there is an opportunity to express gentle love that will open new doors to adventure for you.

Weather outside too hot to enjoy but what a moon

sky
sky

I am listening to Gong music on Heart of Space this morning. Bought hamburger
and steak to cook outside today. Last night I waited for the full moon. It was
a mosquito annoying time at first. But up she came. I lit the candles and
earlier had filled the kids pool. It was still pretty cold but refreshing
after being so sticky all afternoon.  All by myself. How I revel in these
free times with the full moon.

I never made it to Shell Lake yesterday. It was simply too
hot and I am not pushing it. Rode my bike over to the motel. Gary and I sat on
his bench outside and enjoyed his dog Toby who is now my new friend. Gary and
I laugh because life here is even better than the TV show Northern Lights. Then
I rode to Stony’s. Neat I can put my bike on his deck so I don’t have to worry
about some kid taking it. Had an ice tea and then it was time to come home and
wait. The moon how glorious she was. Came up orange and like a
big oriental lantern light. Rising quickly in the night’s sky. Every moment
precious as I joined my heart to hers.
Two days ago a beautiful black bear walked through the
field next to back property and then casually walked over to Erv’s. Beautiful
creature. So rounded and black. The neighbor was just out taking a
stroll.
Stay cool. Hope tomorrow cools down or I probably won’t
want to venture out. Talk later.
The heat zaps
me.
Good thoughts coming your way,

Snowshoeing makes me happy

Today it warmed; I headed out on my snowshoes this afternoon. Sunshine on my face was so warm and inviting. Recently a General Dollar store opened in Minong. I was looking for the wild asparagus stand but I didn’t find it. Surely I thought the dead heads would be sticking up through the snow. It looks like the builders may have plowed them under while bulldozing the site. I will go back there in early spring to see if perhaps the deep roots survived and new shoots hopefully will brighten my day with nature’s wild edibles.

I did see some trees that look like they may be cherry. I hadn’t discovered them before when I trekked through this land. I will explore more closely this spring. I love where I live. I saw lots of deer tracks and at least one fox trail on the back property. There were some pretty big foot prints on the front property and I think it may have been a wolf.  The field that I normally walk out to had no deer tracks. This is unusual because there are usually deer tracks out there. It was a blessing to be out and about on snowshoes all by myself. I absolutely love to be alone in nature.  It is a walking meditation to me and I am revived when I am outside with wind, sun and snow.

Winter appears to be leaving us

Hello insectamonarca friends,

Today I saw a robin across the street in a field. This is a sign that winter is leaving Wisconsin. Frankly, I could stand a little more winter because it passed too quickly for me. This is my retreat time. This past week I  observed two pigeons, a family of deer with their sweet yearling and a red fox. These interludes of happy times with nature sustain me.

Be well insectamonarca friends where ever you are.

Eco Adventure in Wisconsin – day five

It is Tuesday.

Today is the day I am going to the little village of Minong, home to 561 souls.  It is the first day in five that I have seen a person.  My husband came to take me shopping.  I need to buy bread, a new brush for Sadie and eggnog with nutmeg for Christmas morning.  

This morning was truly a winter wonderland.  Sadie and I saw at least a hundred birds on the side of the country road nibbling grass and flower seed and I suspect spotted knapweed seedhead. 

Flower seed incapsulated in down

Flower seed incapsulated in down.

Knapweed seedhead

Spotted knapweed seedhead.

  Knapweed is an invasive species.  Each flower head has 20,000 seeds.  The seeds are eaten by birds and then deposited in another unsuspecting native habitat.

Then while washing dishes, I saw the birds on the slope of the hill where some native grasses were not completely covered with snow.  Again they were feasting.  I put out two handfuls (daily) of sunflower seed.  The migrating sparrows ate from our supplies.  They were close enough to identify from the cabin.  After the sparrows left the chickadee and nut thrash flew in to enjoy a feast too.  By the way I need a bird book out here and I think binoculars would be a great aid too.  Even squirrels get along with the small birds and no one was greedy as they all enjoyed a fresh supply of sunflower seeds.

 I could hardly wait to go out snowshoeing later in the morning.  As I started through the old field I noticed all the plants were covered with a coating of magical snow dusting.  Each and every one glistened.  Even the trees looked like they were kissed with hoarfrost.  The sun hit the branches and they twinkled like stars.  As I walked across the field on my snowshoes the snow sparkled in the sunlight.  This is my favorite time of snow time when the snow and every living plant glistens.

I saw the large boulder yesterday.

Grandfather boulder

Grandfather boulder.

  It was at least three moraines back from the road.  I was anxious to see the boulder and learn if it was on my land.  This is a new interesting leap in faith.  As soon as I ascended the hill, I saw that indeed it was on the property that is for sale.

A halo of oak leaves

A halo of oak leaves.

  Oak leaves on an old growth oak tree started to sing as I neared grandfather boulder.  I felt the tree was happy I was there.  I know I was.

I noticed that a deer or some other creature scrapped the snow from the boulder and had eaten some of the moss.

Moss on large boulder

Moss on large boulder.

  I wish I had a moss book so I could identify the moss.  Is it too a medicinal?  Animals are smart.  They know what to eat.

Birch bark

Birch bark with peeled bark.

  There was a white birch growing nearby and I rubbed my glove over the bark and applied the powder to  my face.  The powder contains a sunblock equivalent to synthetic sunscreen.

My elder Ojibwe friend Soaring Woman told me, “Let nature teach you.”  Believe me, nature is the best teacher.  I decided to wander back beyond the moraine and see what was out there.  In a flat area I found where the deer had slept last night under the moonlight.  The ground was flattened out.  Oak leaves abounded on the surface and the deer bedded down on them.

The plants changed to goldenrod, river birch, and what looks like some kind of bramble.  Again I won’t know till spring.  There is something calling me to this land.  My father owned a gentleman’s farm in Upper New York State, which I loved.  It was 17 acres.  I can feel my father laughing and I am happy on this land in Wisconsin.  It reminds me of our own family land back east which is long gone to an outsider.  The farm had rolling hills and a wooded forest.  This is 15 acres and somehow it feels very familiar to me. 

I hinted to my husband how I felt about the land and my memories of the farm back east.  As we drove to the cabin he said, “The land is for sale.”  I said yes as I bide him goodbye.  First things first.  I need to talk with a forest man in spring and have him walk the land with me and let me know what he thinks about the standing timber.  It may turn out to be an investment in years to come. 

I am singing the land to me.

Be happy readers where ever you are.

Eco Adventure in Wisconsin – day one by Mary Ellen Ryall

Happy Tonics husband and wife team left today for Costa Rica.  They are staying at Rancho Margot, a self-supporting working ranch in Central America. 

Sadie the corge

Our first walk

 I am staying at their cabin in the woods with Sadie the dog for the next ten days.

Looking out at bird feeders from cabin

Before the storm.

The first thing I notice when I look out the windows is that there are little woodpeckers and chick-a-dees flying to the porch and window boxes.  Then I see the nut-hatch climbing down the tree backwards.  It’s a winter wonderland of little birds.  All of a sudden I am transported into the silence of winter.

A slow cook pot is on.  Within the pot are lentils, organic onions and carrots, potatoes and cabbage.  I added lots of cumin, a medicinal spice used for indigestion and a dash of smart balance for some fat.  A teaspoon of powdered Turkey tail mushroom was added.  It is a medicinal mushroom that has been researched as a  cancer treatment.

After Sadie had her walk and a roll in the fresh snow, we headed back to the cabin for a good brush on the porch.  She is a corgi and in winter Sadie sheds. 

Even with the beauty of winter and being isolated in my retreat setting, there was a sad moment.  Earlier I noticed a sweet little mole in the kitchen.  When I went over to it I saw that it was barely alive.  His little leg was broken.  There appeared to be a few punctures in the little creature’s neck.  I wrapped him up in some cabbage leaves and carried him out to the porch.  I knew the cold temperatures would help end his life more quickly than letting Sadie experiment with her little pet.

When I went out to the porch to check on the little dear, it had already walked on.  I already had my snowshoes on so I gathered oak leaves from the woods and picked him up while I sang him an honor song.  There was a nice wood pile with a sheltered opening and I placed the little mole in a bed of oak leaves.  I put down tobacco leaves to honor his life and to thank him for the gift he was giving me.

He may be preparing me for an experience that will call me into grief at some point.  I felt stronger for knowing that we must all pass through different stages of life and each stage should be honored.

Deer trail through the wooded trail

The road less traveled

  I photographed deer trails that wander along the woodland path.

Blue berries on red stem

Blue berries on red stem.

 I saw blue berries hanging from red stems and cotton soft down covering flower seed that wafts on the wind. 

The sun was setting to the west.  This is a little journal of my days in the woods.  I thought you might enjoy reading about Sadie and my eco adventure in the Great North Woods of Wisconsin.  Talk with you tomorrow afternoon.

Stay happy readers wherever you are.

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