North Woods Fever

Taking the Road Less Traveled


I have been a lifelong lover of the outdoors and animals and have spent the past 20 years or so working with horses. Living in a rural part of Michigan and working on the farm gives me many opportunities to see the local wildlife from coyotes, Whitetail deer and turkey to Sand Hill Cranes, Red-Tail hawks and rabbits. As well as the chance to be able to get out and take in the Earth Mother in all her forms, from the warm sun shinning on my face to the breeze blowing my hair and the aroma of the flowers and rustle of the leaves.

As a family we enjoy many outdoor activities together, from off-roading, fishing, camping, hiking and hunting. The last two are often done at the same time!

So enjoy your stay here at my little corner of the web. I'll be posting about the trucks, life and the many adventures we get ourselves into.


"If you talk to the animals they will talk with you

and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them

you will not know them, and what you do not know

you will fear. What one fears one destroys."

~Chief Dan George

Rescue Me!

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Paul Bunyan Day

Posted by Shannon on June 30, 2012 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Today is Paul Bunyan Day! We had the pleasure of visiting Paul and Blue on our way home from of fishing trip this Spring. They are located at the corner of US Hwy 23 and Nicholson Hill Rd. in Ossineke, MI.


Quoted from a postcard, circa 1960: "Paul is 25 1/2 feet tall, and weighs 11 1/2 tons. Babe is 10 1/2 feet tall and weighs 4 1/2 tons."


Paul and Babe were once located across the street from a tavern and a drunk shot off Babe's balls in the '50s. The same gun was used in a murder a week later. Babe's balls were never replaced.


They were moved to their current location in July of 2006.


Paul Bunyan is one of the best-known heroes in American folklore. This legendary lumberjack (and his faithful companion Babe the Blue Ox) starred in many of the “tall tales” told in the Midwest during the 1800s. According to the stories, Bunyan was a giant man with incredible physical strength. He single-handedly established the logging industry, cleared North Dakota of its forests, dug out Lake Superior, and even trained carpenter ants to help his fellow loggers!


A young woman named K. Bernice Stewart was the first person to write down the original Bunyan tales. Stewart collected the stories from local loggers while studying at the University of Wisconsin in 1914. Today, Paul Bunyan is mentioned in more than 1,000 books and has become one of the most widespread icons in American culture.

The kids posing with Paul...not sure they were as excited as me! (May, 2012)

Did You Know? The History of Manistee, MI

Posted by Shannon on June 16, 2012 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Manistee, situated on the east shore of Lake Michigan, is the County seat of Manistee County. Its name is derived from the river which passes through it, and according to legend it is an Indian word meaning "The Spirit of the Woods". The Chippewa and portions of the Tawas and Ottawa tribes are said to have inhabited this region when in its primitive state. It is more than likely that Father Marquette in his explorations over 200 years ago, visited this locality, and was doubtless the first white man who ever trod this soil. A mission house is said to have been built here as early as the year 1826 and continuous European settlement commenced about that time.


The first retail store in what was to become downtown Manistee was the American Fur Company Post, was established here in the 1820's. Around this time Manistee was considered one of the busiest commercial fishing ports on Lake Michigan.


1841, The first permanent settlement of Manistee County. The first mill within the Manistee city limits was situated a little north of the present Dempsey property and was built by James and Adam Stronach in 1841. At this period there were about 1000 Indians here. The government instructed the surveyors to allow them all the land the chief desired and the territory selected extended six miles north and south and twenty-two miles east and west embracing the valley of the Manistee River. In 1849, the Indian Reservation was taken up by treaty, the land placed on sale and the tribal relations of the Indians practically broken up.


1852: The population of Manistee County numbered but 200 persons, the only settlements being at the mouth of the river, a little hamlet about each of the mills and the settlement at Old Stronach. The chief industry was the manufacture of lumber. The sand-bar at the mouth of the river retarded business greatly as it prevented vessels from entering the harbor and necessitated their being loaded by means of rafts.


For this reason, in 1854, it was deemed necessary to change the outlet of the river. In 1854 Sam Potter excavated a ditch across the bar at Lake Michigan and then dammed the old meandering channel forcing the water into his ditch. Piers were then built into Lake Michigan to maintain the deep water harbor entrance, and Manistee quickly became one of the busiest ports on Lake Michigan.


1861: the first physician, Dr. L. S. Ellis and the first lawyer, T. J. Ramsdell arrived. Arrangements were made to bring the mail overland from Grand Haven once a week. The Catholics also organized for regular worship and two years later built their first church, which was on the north side of the river.


Oct. 8, 1871 The Great Fire: Sunday morning the fire alarm sounded. Monday found the busy little city of a few hours before a scene of desolation and ruin. Over 1,000 men, women and children were homeless and without food or clothing. Every house spared by the flames threw open its doors, and not only were the sufferers taken into the homes but into the hearts of their more fortunate townsmen. After rallying from the shock of the great fire everyone seemed to work with redoubled energy to retrieve that which they had lost, and to their strong arms and stronger wills, are we greatly indebted for the Manistee of today. The buildings constructed were of better material and finer architecture than those before and Manistee took on a more metropolitan air. An iron bridge across the river took the place of the one burned and every enterprise seemed to start on a more thrifty and solid foundation.


1872: Telegraph communication established.


1873: Population of 5,000.


1878: Court House built.


1879: First Salt Well drilled by Chas. Reitz and Bros. and in 1881 after drilling into the earth to a depth of 2,000 feet, a strata of rock-salt was found which gave assurance that salt would be produced.


Our early history was a series of eventful struggles but with the spirit of courage and determination with which the people labored to overcome the many obstacles then in their path of progress, seems to have followed us through all succeeding years, and with no fear, we leave the future destiny of Manistee in the hands of the descendants of her pioneers.


In 1885 there were forty sawmills cutting millions of feet of lumber annually and the city of Manistee a roaring, thriving community of 16,000. At one time, Manistee may have been the largest shingle manufacturing center in the world.


Historic Fire Hall built in 1888


The 1900's


"In the early days Manistee was a primitive frontier community whose residents went to Milwaukee to purchase the finer things in life. However, as the 20th century approached, the community enjoyed an excellent and well stocked business district as befitted the 11th largest city in Michigan. " (Steve Harold, Manistee County Museum)


On December 19, 1900, a reporter for the Manistee Daily News walked down River Street and described the extensive assortment of holiday goods he found in shop windows as follows: "Strolling up and down River Street of today an old settler must experience a variety of sensations. In place of wooden shanties are imposing brick buildings but perhaps the most striking change is noticed in the stores. The small many-paned dingy windows have been superseded by speckless sheets of plate glass and the wares exposed to the public gaze are quite in keeping with the exterior improvements."


1934: The Manistee National Forest: Over twenty-five million tree seeds were sown by Federal government establishing the Manistee purchase unit, a vast area to be used for reforestation. Civilian Conservation Corps camps were established. In 1935 better than 30,000 acres of forest had been planted to replace the forests cut during the lumbering era of the 1800's. The Manistee National Forest now comprises 1,287,000 acres and is one of the largest national forests in the central United States. The first Manistee National Forest Festival was celebrated in July, 1936.


The elegant mansions that line the city's streets were built by the lumber barons that once called Manistee home. The town is an architectural delight. Builders in the late 1880's outdid themselves in their design of buildings in the Victorian Italianate, French Chateau, Gothic Revival, and Shingle styles. Victorian homes "Painted Ladies" will be found throughout the city using several colors of paint to highlight the flourishes, in the classic Queen Anne, Gothic, Second Empire, and Greek Revival styles.


The Historic Ramsdell Theatre is in the Central Business District and is as much a center of activity today as it was when completed in 1903. Designed by famed architect Solon S. Beman for local lawyer and philanthropist Thomas Jefferson Ramsdell at a cost of $1000, boasts an act curtain by Walter Burridge, scenic artist who designed the sets for the original stage production of "The Wizard of Oz", one of the finest opera houses still in existence, is home to the Manistee Civic Players. The adjoining Ramsdell Great Hall, once the cultural center of Manistee, is being restored to its former splendor. James Earl Jones began his career in this historic theatre.


Two previously built opera houses were destroyed by fire. The first Scandinavian Opera House was built by the Scandinavian Society "Nordisk Fremskridts Forening" for the purpose of debates, music, dramatics and to keep alive the fraternal social feeling among those of Scandinavia who have come to these shores in search of a home". in 1876 and burned in 1882. The Scandinavians built a new Opera House in 1883 and it also burned in 1900.


*Above article is from Small Town Gems

Some Michigan Trivia

Posted by Shannon on June 13, 2012 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)

State Name: Michigan

Name Origin: Derived from the Indian word Michigama, meaning great or large lake.

Nickname: Wolverine State

Statehood: Jan. 26, 1837 (26th)

Capital: Lansing, since 1847; prior to that, Detroit.

State Motto: Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice, which translates, “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.”

Flower: Apple Blossom

Bird: Robin

Tree: White Pine

Stone: Petoskey Stone

Gem: Chlorastrolite

Fish: Brook Trout

Soil: Kalkaska Soil Series

Reptile: Painted Turtle

Game Mammal: White-tailed Deer

Wildflower: Dwarf Lake Iris

Fossil: Mastodon

First Time Campers Program - Michigan

Posted by Shannon on June 13, 2012 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

I grew up camping every summer. Something that still gets done whenever possible. My parents introduced myself and my brothers to it and we in turn have introduced our own childern to it and one day, hopefully they to their childern and grand-childern. Many stories had been told and many more memories have been stored in our minds and hearts. Michigan offers some of the most amazing camping around. The abundance of wilderness and wildlife to see and enjoy and the many outdoor activities to do - hiking, fishing, bird watching, skiing and many more! When I came across this wonderful program being put on by the Michigan DNR and Gander Mountain, I couldn't resist passing it along to everyone else!


Want to Camp But Don't Know How?


You and your family can now experience camping in Michigan's outdoors without the worry by taking advantage of the Department of Natural Resources' and Gander Mountain's First Time Campers Program. The cost is only $20.

What do I get for my $20?

First Time Camper Informational Welcome Kit
Park ranger to help you set up camp
Two Nights of Camping
Gear provided by Gander Mountain:
Tent ∗
tarp ∗
flashlight ∗
lantern ∗
stove ∗
(4) hot dog /marshmallow cookers ∗
(2) fishing poles ∗


∗ These items are lent to you by Gander Mountain. They must be returned.

How do I participate?

1. Choose a date.
2. Choose one of the state parks or state recreation areas listed below.
3. Contact that park and ask the park supervisor to enroll you as a First Time Camper.


For Participating Parks and Recreation Areas visit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Legend of the Sleeping Bear Dunes

Posted by Shannon on June 13, 2012 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

I found this online earlier and just wanted to share with you this wonderful Legend of the Sleeping Bear Dunes...


On the northwestern shore of the Lower Peninsula is The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The National Lakeshore encompasses over 50,000 acres along Lake Michigan and has a unique legend of how the Dunes came to be.


The Ojibwa tale of the Sleeping Bear Dunes starts with a fire on the western shores of Lake Michigan (Wisconsin). The mother bear and her two cubs dove into Lake Michigan to escape the fire and swim for safety on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan (Michigan). The cubs are young and got tired quickly from the swim. The mother bear made it to shore and stood lookout for her two cubs. They never came. The Great Spirit takes pity on the mother and raises her cubs from the depths of the lake as North and South Manitou islands. The mother bear never left her spot, watching and waiting for the cubs, she became the dunes at Sleeping Bear Point.


For more information on Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, please visit

Spring Garden work

Posted by Shannon on April 6, 2012 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

With the warmer than usual wheater this past winter, spring came early. So throughout March we were busy working in the garden getting the beds ready for all the beautiful veggies that will be growing there this summer. Below are a couple photos of the garden from last week, after we added compost and tilled up the dirt. Beds aren't quite ready, but very soon!

And some of the started seeds that I planted a couple weeks ago. Pictured are pole beans, tomatoes and cucumbers...I don't have the dream grow lights, so I have to rotate the flats every day so they get even light.

Brunch anyone??

Posted by Shannon on January 28, 2012 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)

We were doing some yard work today and were obviously in the way of the local birds that feast at our feeder. As soon as we all went inside for lunch, they lined up on the truck tire to check and see if all was clear! They took turns going to the feeder and heading back to let another go to the feeder. It was the cutest thing I've seen in awhile. Here are a couple of photographs of them.

Pet Burial Rite

Posted by Shannon on December 23, 2011 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Pet Burial Rite

by Paradox
from the Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF) site -

I once conducted a funeral rite for a friend's pet bird. It was done in simplified ADF style. I had a bird shaped candle holder which I brought as the central light of the ceremony. I told my friend that we would burn part of the candle during the rite and that as long as the candle was lit, the spirit of the bird would be with us. When it came time to bid the bird goodbye, she would say her farewell and blow out the candle. By this, she would release the spirit to go on its own way, unencumbered by the owner's desires. However, every time she lit that candle, the animal's spirit would return for a while. She could enjoy its presence and speak to it while it stayed, until the candle was extinguished. Once the candle was totally burned, then the bird and owner would be completely free of all bonds but love.

Consecration of Time

9 bell rings, in sets of three.

Consecration of Space & Participants

Clensing of the place, smudging the people and asperging both.

Consecration of Intent

We are friends of [owner's name] and here to help,

The spirit of [pet's name] reach Summerland.

Release the grief and soothe the soul,

In memoy of a worthy life.

Outdweller Offering

Three pennies thrown outside to appease restless spirits.

Outsiders, you who will not help us

Take these (throw) and leave us in peace!

Opening the Gates

Singing to Heimdall & Mothgud to open the gates, then explaining to them that we wish for the pet's spirit to return, for as long as the central candle burns. Owner lights the candle.

We invite you Heimdall, opener of fiery gate

We invite you Mothgud, opener of icy gate

You will reach us, you will teach us and reveal our fate

You will reach us you will teach us and reveal our fate

(Note: in Norse beliefs, Heimdall is the guardian of the rainbow bridge to the realm of the gods & goddesses, while Mothgud is a female giant who guards the ice bridge to the underworld realm of the dead)

Sumbel (Minnehorn): Horn of Memory

Using organic apple juice as a ritual drink, we passed the drinking horn around the circle, each one talking, taking a gulp and passing the horn. Each would talk about a a memory they had of the pet ("I remember hearing her laughing cries from the other end of the phone and thinking 'what a cheerful bird'"), make a toast to a quality of the pet or its species ("I drink to the freedom that birds and flying have meant to humans"), make a blessing ("Fly free little one. May your wings carry you to a wonderful place"), or anything else that seems appropriate.

Farewell to the Spirit

The owner is asked to speak directly to the pet's spirit, saying everything s/he feels must be said before a final separation. These goodbyes are very intense. When all has been said, the owner must extinguish the candle so that the spirit is released. And the decision must come from the owner, it cannot be rushed. This can take a while, but it allows emotions to be sorted and released.

Closing the Gates

Thank the gatekeepers and ask them to close the gates, sending the pet's spirit on its way to the proper destination.

Final Blessing & Clearcut Ending

May the ways you walk

Bring you again to those you love

And may the cherished past

Never blind you to new loves.

There is a funeral chant that I shared during that sumbel. It came to me years before when I said goodbye to my cat. She was my companion from age 2 to age 19, a siameese named Moustache. I knew she was dying, and I am grateful I had a chance to sing my love to her while she still lived. I cried as I sang and caressed her. If you want me to teach it to you, email me and we'll arrange for a time whan you can call me. Be warned, it brings out all the sadness. My condoleances on the passage of your friend.

Happy Yule and MARE-y Christmas

Posted by Shannon on December 23, 2011 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

A life saved...

Posted by Shannon on November 19, 2011 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (0)

With the loss of our loved Tazz, anothers life is saved. With the need to have another Pitt Bull after loosing Tazz, we located King. A beautiful 13 month old red brindle, with hazel colored eyes. Kings owner was desperate to find him a good home before having to resort to turning him over to the shelter. The shelters in the Detroit area don't give Pitt Bulls a second chance or at least not enough time to get a second chance. Usually after 4 days in their care they are euthinized. We found King online via the site. After calling his owner, we decided to go visit him last night and see if he would fit into our family.

We fell in love with him. We see so much of Tazz in him. He's happy, bouncy and full of energy. He has a healthy respect for our cat Norton and won't even go into Nortons "room". He even got our 13 year old Lab/Golden mix Hunny to actually play and run! Something she hasn't done in a couple of years. He loves everyone and has made himself at home at being a lap dog.

Tazz will never be forgotten and I know he would be very approving of King to help keep his family safe and in line. :)


The loss of a great friend . . .

Posted by Shannon on November 19, 2011 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I give you this one thought to keep-


I am with you still,


I do not sleep.


I am a thousand winds that blow,


I am the diamond glints on the snow,


I am the sunlight on ripened grain,


I am the gentle autumn rain.


When you awaken


in the morning’s hush,


I am the swift, uplifting rush


of quiet birds in circled flight.


I am the soft stars


that shine at night.


Do not think of me as gone-


I am with you still,


in each new dawn.


-Native American Prayer-

TAZZ -RIP 11-18-2011 we LOVE you!!

On 11-18-2011 we had to put our gallant friend Tazz down.  After a battle with extreme arthritis in the hind legs and back, sickness from the med's, he just couldn't go on. He spent the afternoon laying on his afgahn in the sunshine in his favorite spot while we waited for John to come home from up north. The hardest thing we've ever had to do was when we took him to the vet for that last ride. We stayed with him until his last breath. May he rest in peace. He will be very much missed!

North Woods Fever Etsy Shop is OPEN!

Posted by Shannon on July 30, 2011 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)


I offer a wide variety of hand-crafted items made by myself right here in Michigan. From jewelry to leather purses and pouches, vintage items as well as needle felt. The above banner is linked to my shop and you will also find a link in the nav. bar above as well as in the side bar to your right. So come on in, sit a spell and take a look at what I have to offer. There's always a big comfy chair to sit in and a pot of coffee brewing! New items are always being created and added to the store.

Above web graphic and my Etsy web  graphics were made by fellow Etsy shop owner Accentuate.

Our new 1996 Ford Ranger!

Posted by Shannon on May 7, 2011 at 3:54 PM Comments comments (0)

Well, we bit the big one and bought a 1996 Ford Ranger to replace our 1993 Ford Ranger which we have certainly out grown. It's not fun fitting myself and two (still growing) teenagers in a standard cab Ranger with a 5-speed stick, everyone was always sitting on each others laps anymore.

So we found an extended cab Ranger with a 5-speed tranny and 4.0 6 cylinder, only 124,000+ miles on it and it also has AC! I've never owned a vehicle with AC before, so what a treat. And to top it off it's a 4x4 with 32"x11.50" AT's...woot!

Here are a few photos of her.

The Bats are Out

Posted by Shannon on April 10, 2011 at 9:36 PM Comments comments (0)

We had a gorgeous day today, it actually got to about 83* and sunny. It couldn't have been any better. The kids and I worked outside in the yard and garden, getting beds ready for seedlings. I even planted four raspberry bushes yesterday...I can already tatste them! All the grass clumps we pulled out of the garden went right to the hens. They loved them, they couldn't make up their minds which clumps to pick at. lol. The other hens ALWAYS had the better grass clump and they would flip them through the air chasing them was quite intertaining.

This evening after dinner, right at dusk, my daughter and I sat outside and watched the sky...and there they were! Bats! I love bats, watching them dance across the nearly dark sky, weaving in and out of the trees and over the house. They are such a joy. I hope to get a bat house or two put up this year to help encourage them to stay in the neighborhood.

Ducks, ducks and more ducks . . .

Posted by Shannon on April 9, 2011 at 11:31 PM Comments comments (0)

Today I saw for the first time, Canvas-Back Ducks. There were between 40 and 50 of them! It was amazing. There were also around 25 or so Trumpeter Swans on the lake as well. I enjoy looking for the beautiful white birds. The other day there were three Bufflehead Duck pairs on White Lake. I also got the chance to see a pair of Wood Ducks landing in the trees the other day on the way to work. It always amazes me that a duck can actually land and nest in a tree! It is such a treat to be able to experiance this.  I enjoy seeing the vast variety of waterfowl that graces this beautiful state.


This is Me

Michigan, United States
I am a Norse-Celt, Mother, Life Partner, Jewelry Maker, Lover of Nature and the Outdoors, Photographer, Artist and Storyteller.

Woman of the Earth Mother, bonded to wolves, horses and nature.

My Etsy Shop


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Wolf Spirit Wisdom

* Facing the end of one's cycle with dignity and courage
* Death and rebirth
* Spirit teaching
* Guidance in dreams and meditations
* Instinct linked with intelligence
* Social and familial values
* Outwitting enemies
* Ability to pass unseen
* Steadfastness
* Skill in protection of self and family
* Taking advantage of change

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