Grit Blogs > Russ-Stick Ramblings

As the Deer Panteth

Deer season (rifle) in Michigan came to a close the last day of November.

Deer season to us, doesn't mean going out on our property and bagging a big one.

Our trail cam this fall, on our back 40. 


 Rather, it means a window period of time,

where we can procure meat for our sled dogs to last the entire winter. 


It actually begins with bow season,

crescendos with the rifle season,

and flows into the first days of December,

after all the deer have been processed.


For years, we have been obtaining our venison scraps from two local sources.

This year, we added a third.

An Amish source. 


It was wonderful meeting and growing a friendship with the butcher shop owner,

along with all the family and Amish neighbors within.


I spent many, many days traveling to get meat.

The work is tough at times, hauling and hoisting heavy bags into the back of the truck,

but brings such a sense of satisfaction upon arriving home with the truck laden with the raw,

red, juicy scraps and bones.

Sometimes we even had pork, beef, lamb, moose, etc.

We were so blessed, we were fortunate to share with other mushers too.  


Sometimes the trips could be downright adventurous.

Thanksgiving day, I had an idea.


I ended up going north, to my home town,

for a fancy restaurant dinner with my small family.  

 It was very nice…at the Perry Hotel across from Lake Michigan.     


Before I went to Petoskey, 

I thought I would be smart and combine my dinner, 

with a pick up of meat.   

So I set it up to pick up deer meat (venison) for the sled dogs, 

with the place that we get it from every year. 


So, after the day was done…which was an awesome dinner, 

visiting with our small family at my mother’s beautiful home, 



I left for Mancelona, planning to stop for meat on the way. 

I arrived at the spot when it was pitch dark.  

I pulled into the back of the store.  I was told the meat would be in bags (which always seem to rip) in a trailer.  I thought I would be there in the daylight so I didn’t bring a light.  So I did the next best thing…I shined the truck lights on the trailer and then had to lift the bags out, and then go around the back of the truck (in the dark) and sling the bags into the bed of the truck.  Heavy bags.  Our tailgate doesn’t go down any more so you REALLY have to sling the meat up high and then let it fall in the truck.  Well, this stuff was heavy, and even though I was wearing work gloves (I did remember those…) I was getting blood all over my fancy jacket I wore to dinner.  It was soaked in blood on the arms.  And then a couple bags later, I got it on my pants.  And then my boots.  You just can’t help it, because the bags are all on top of each other, mixed in with the deer carcass.  If you are not a person who is used to this type of stuff, it might be difficult.  But I don’t care.  I didn’t even mind it being on my jacket, because it blended in….    

I did this a couple times, and then I turned off the truck, but left the lights on.   


Once done, I got in the truck, went to turn it on and NOTHING.    

Just a clicking noise.  Rats!   

So here I am, blood on my jacket, pants and boots.   

I didn’t have a cell phone because...I don't like cell phones…and don’t usually carry one.  

 So I realized I would be taking a walk to find someone to help me.  

 I walked around the front of the store, by the road and saw nothing.   

The little lakeside village was very quiet. 

And dark.  

 I knew I would have to walk a little distance and knock on someone’s door 

and interrupt them.   

Possibly interrupt them from their Thanksgiving dinner!! 


So I went into my 911 mode.    

I went back to the truck, bowed my head, and prayed: 


Dear Heavenly Father.   

 I realize this may be what you want me to do tonight.    

There may be someone in one of those houses that you want me to meet tonight.    

So if it is your will, I will go out into the dark, and knock on a door.    

But if not, please help me to get home with my vehicle, and let it start once again.    

In Jesus name we pray…Amen. 


Amazing…I didn’t even get the Amen out of my mouth (yes, I prayed out loud).   

And I saw lights from a larger-sized truck swing into the store parking lot and come up right behind my truck.  I didn’t know who it was (by seeing) but I knew who it was (by instinct).   

It was my younger brother, Craig!!   

He just SHOWED UP.    


It was truly a miracle!    

I had mentioned at dinner, many hours before, 

that I was going to be stopping near his house to get meat at the lakeside General Store.   

And he picked THAT time, right when I prayed, to show up!!  God is good!


I ended up jumping in with Craig, and their little Cocker Spaniel, Lola, 


and went back to his house to get the jumper cables, 

and return to the store to start my truck.  

 It started right up, I thanked Craig 

(and more importantly God, for answering my prayer

and I was on my way home. 


So I don’t know who had the better Thanksgiving…

Russ... who had stayed home and played Santa at a local family gathering?    

Or me, who was covered in blood (there's POWER in the blood...), 

willing to walk a distance and knock on a door, 

only to have a miracle happen instead. 


That was a good segue into the end of this year's meat runs.

As it was, I had one more trip to eek out, for the final haul, when our truck died. 

See previous post, click here.


But all in all, the timing was actually perfect for us, as our Russ-Stick plan of

horse and dog power comes into effect. 


And it is time to slow down...and stop, reflect and thank God from whom all blessings flow. 

Listen to this beautiful hymn... 

As the Deer Panteth. 


 Until next time dear friends, God willing.