Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | December 4, 2013

A Early Winter Walk at the Small House

Every day I walk my dog Sassy in the wood lot that sits behind our land and home in SW Michigan. This heavily wooded 15-acre parcel nestles up against our property and belongs to our neighbor.  We have her permission to walk there and in return we pick up wind-blown sticks, put our oak leaves on the paths and mow down the briers once a year. Since my neighbor is elderly and no longer able to keep up her land herself, it’s a win/win for us both!

Long block pathway

We call this the “long block” which is filled with White Oak trees as part of the broader Oak Savannah Forest that surrounds us.

Our walk is also intermixed with a check-in of our bird feeding bed and of my art studio. Typically this walk includes putting out the mail and dumping the compost too. Morning chores!

Today’s walk was a bit on the overcast; misty, gray and rainy side. I am hoping the raindrops did not show up on my camera lens!  There was a couple of inches of snow on the ground from a recent snowfall, though it has been melting.

Birdbath heater close

Today we started by refilling the heated bird bath.

Bucket of seeds on the tray close

And refilled the oiled sunflower seed tray.

Compost on top of bins system

Then we dumped the kitchen compost into our 6-sided compost bin system made from repurposed pallets.

The long block trail starts at the compost bins behind the blacksmith forge.  Note: You can buy a fancy $50.00 metal compost bucket on-line but I use a $1.00 flea market bucket for our compost and birdseed and they work just fine.

By the large bin system

Here is the large chicken wire bin where we compost larger and thicker stems. This process may take up to two years to complete.

We have a couple of roadblocks to climb over on this trail. These are trees that blew down but have not yet met their fate as firewood.

pathway tree opened

It’s a big jump up to get on the large oak tree that came down this fall.

Sassy posing on big tree down

“Up Sassy!”

I’ve been playing with Sassy on our walks and teaching her how to jump up onto the big White oak that came down in a last big wind storm. She is an amazing athlete and can do just about anything I ask her to do. She is a pure-bread Labrador Retriever, just 59 lbs. and she was bred originally for field trials competitions, hence her smaller than typical size.  We have trained her instead as an upland bird and duck and goose hunting retriever as well as our companion dog. She is a sweetie and gives me lots of company.

Jumping over the trees

We climb over these smaller trees too.

Today I added a little woods chore, the cutting and collecting small bought of White Pine boughs. I wanted to put at the base of a small German feather tree decorated by traditional German ornaments given to me by our German relatives, the Schlager’s.

Lastly we checked on the studio making sure the furnace is working correctly and all is well.

Sassy studio door

Studio photo bomb

I hope you enjoyed an early winters walk today at the Small House Under a Big Sky.

Small House / Big Sky Donna



  1. Like!

  2. Loved it! We too have a forest behind our house where we walk with the dogs every day.

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