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  the hole, sniffing wildly. With a shotgun in one hand, and the light in the other, she held the fort down and finally spooked the bear off, but not without leaving a vivid imprint on them of the new life we were forging.
Bears have been a big part of our life here, and we’ve ad- justed to living with them comfortably. As a Registered Maine Guide, guiding bear hunters has been an impor- tant part of our lives, yet we have the utmost respect and admiration for them. One of our goals was to be an active participant in the food chain, and all of our kids have grown up on wild game meat. Moose, deer, bear, birds, and fish have all been staples at our table, and we appreciate every opportunity to provide for ourselves. We also enjoy sharing this bounty with others.
In addition to wild game, we’ve raised pigs, and added a pair of Holsteins to our single Jersey bull, “Tuff.” One cow will be bred and milked, while the other will supplement our game meat supply. Tuff’s role is simple: eat hay, and make manure, and he takes this job very seriously! Our not-so-fertile soil is slowly improving, and we’re starting to see things growing much better now that we’ve got a steady supply of composted organic matter. We also have a flock of laying hens that have outwitted every fox, weasel, and owl to date. The chickens have a habit of trying to sneak into the house, and if successful, they’ll lay their eggs in just about anything they can find: a pile of laundry, a bath towel, or even a sneaker! We added a handful of turkeys to the mix, and we’ve got a roving, bug-eating, fertilizing colony of birds that mostly rely on eating what they find.
Now that our children are grown, we are fortunate to have grandchildren to share these experiences with. This has added to the excitement of having new ad- ventures, and is a testament to the importance of the life lessons our children learned at an early age. Each has a deep appreciation for the environment, a strong connection to nature, and to each other. They gained resilience and strength from the hurdles and difficul- ties they faced.
Over the years, we have slowly added things back into our lives that we once did without. Each decision is planned and considered beforehand. Regardless of “re- evolving,” it is the story that we always consider first, because, in the end, it’s all about the story. The story of your life. Of how you live, how you treat people, and how you raise your kids. How you face conflicts and challenges is what makes up a life. Our story continues to unfold, and with that, new situations lie ahead. We expect it will be hard at times, but we’re never afraid of changing the direction we’re heading. If you believe in yourself, all is possible. ✶
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