Living the Dream: Are you a dreamer?

Reader Contribution by Sherry And Russ Sutherby

This story is about my best friend. My husband. A dreamer and a doer.

Rustic Russ and I were married six years ago, New Year’s Day, by this sign on our property.

We had met three years prior – our first date was sitting at the Big Boy restaurant in Petoskey, Michigan, looking over maps and planning our dog sled outing for the next day in the beautiful, pristine Jordan Valley.

Rustic Russ provided the dogs, sled, and enthusiasm.

I provided awe, wonder, and amazement of this incredible way of life.

After a day with an 8-dog team, I was hooked. On the dogs, and also on Rustic Russ.

From the beginning, Rustic Russ’s mantra has been “less is more”.

He was a master at living within his means – very simply.

However, when you blend two people who love animals and love to fill their farm and kennel to the brim, “less is more” sometimes takes a back seat.

Horses were purchased and procured. Saddles, tack, and … another vet on our speed dial.

“Hogs and Dogz Piggery” was established.

We began processing our own pork.

Dexter cows were selected. We began processing our own beef.

Berries were picked and frozen.

Goats were purchased, bred, and milked.

Sheep sheared and processed for lamb.

Heritage rabbits were purchased and released, to graze freely.

Maple syrup was bottled.

Heritage chickens began their task of providing daily eggs.

Our kennel grew to 50 dogs. Fast. We began to carefully re-home the rescues we had taken into our care.

In addition, our clear land began to take shape.

The main cabin, the Wee House, the Bear’s Den, the “new” Mill, the “old” Mill, the Barn, the Feed Shed, the Round Pen, the Kennel and the Chicken Coop were all made lovingly by Rustic Russ – and Rustic Russ alone.

Fencing for the animals was put up.

In addition, “Russ-Stick Furniture” was born.

Trails were put in, campsites were fashioned.

Lessons were given. Chaps became daily wear.

Horses were trained.

Rustic Russ has a life that now revolves around our forty acres.

His one departure from home ~ Cow Camp.

He’s my moral compass. He believes in lifting up others. No gossip from those lips.

No drama. Most everything is black and white.

Days are filled with chores, hard work, sore backs, and satisfaction.

The next day, it all starts again. I thank God I’m along for the ride.

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

– 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

See you tomorrow ~ God willing,


  • Published on Apr 1, 2009
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