Thursday, January 02, 2020

Deer Cottage, Our Cabin in the Woods

The new year finds Deer Cottage sitting discreetly, and quietly, in the forest among Live Oaks draping with moss. I can end my days here, I think to myself as I walk its hard wood floors and look out the window at the wild turkeys as they gobble by.

But, I’m not ready to settle down for good, yet, so we plan another trip to Utah and I make the empty dates available online. 

If you’re gonna be here April through September, you’re welcome to rent. 

About Deer Cottage: Deer Cottage is a 2 bedroom, 1 bath cottage located in the Osceola Forest of North Florida, that is rented by the day, week, or month.
Just click the link below to go to and rent online. 

Monday, April 01, 2019

An Entrepreneurial life...

I guess I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit.. As a teen, I can remember getting babysitting jobs and having a summer’s worth of income and the spending of it figured out before I drew my first paycheck. By then I would have detailed on a note pad how much I was going to make for the summer, how much I was going to save and how much I was going to spend on school clothes or whatever. I also would have set aside some to use to make more money. Of course, just like in grown-up business, plans did not always go as, well, planned... 

Now, many years later, I’ve had a number of businesses, cake decorating, SCUBA Travel and Instruction, newspaper publishing, vacation rental management, and now, kind of, sorta, retirement. Yes, that can be business, too :-) (read about Workamping :-)

And, I’m still making my lists. My yellow pad is filled daily with ideas and thoughts about how I can make our life/business better. How can I show my guests how much I appreciate them staying with me over the years. How can I increase the guests that return each year to our little cabin in the woods? And, how can I get them to tell their friends?

Then, of course, there's the business end of things; How can I lower my spending on a cell phone, landline, utilities and such? One little tweak and next thing you know I’ve saved hundreds of dollars this year. Yeah! A small mistake in judgment and I’ve spent hundreds I didn’t need to... Tweaking the small stuff can make a huge difference!

With the amazing opportunities now in technology, you can do business almost anywhere and in the blink of an eye. If I have a connection and an iPhone, I’m in business. It doesn’t matter if we’re in the forest at my cabin in Florida, on a boat in Sitka Sound or sitting on the side of the mountain, enjoying an incredible Alaskan sunset, we can take a reservation for a guest and have them start packing for their trip all within a matter of minutes.

This all excites me to no end that we have so many opportunities to us, “even in Alaska” smile, but, in the end, I’ve learned that it’s that friendly voice on the other end of the line telling me what a wonderful trip they had and how much they loved the house that makes it all worthwhile.

I tried once to have an employee take over reservations for me, but what I soon learned was, it’s the connections with people that I love. Business does not appeal to me without it. I love what I do. I love walking through a home and envisioning guests spending their time there with friends and family, enjoying the sunset, cooking a meal. That little tweak, a lamp to where they can read in bed, a table so they can sit their coffee on it while they sit there in the morning admiring the sunrise. I love it!

I love connecting with them on the phone and hearing what their dreams of vacation are and helping them to reach them during their stay, be it through a place to stay, a whale watching trip, or an ATV Alaskan Adventure. And, I love hearing about it after.

Business is just a means to an end. It’s all about “connections”. It’s the people and the connections made along the way that makes it worthwhile.

Ramble on...

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Sharon's Ramblings... Not my words, but a nice reminder that whatever is inside you will eventually spill out, so you want to be careful what you're holding onto.   

This picture at left made me think about myself and what I'm really like.  I think I'm a good person, I try to be. I try to be kind to others and leave them better than I found them.

But, there's another side of me that I don't like much and makes me wonder what's really inside. Is there something from the past hidden, waiting to show the "real me?"

I curse. Not normally, for sure. I wasn't raised that way, although I do recall my mom cursing once when she smashed her finger with the pump handle. Yeah, just once. It was a different world back then. People didn't talk the way they do now. Not that I think it makes it a better world now. It doesn't. 

My point is that I find I curse sometimes when I’m startled, by a snake for example, and I’ll wonder, “ Where did that come from?” The curse, not the snake, it came out of the woods since I live in the woods. But, I do wonder, since I don’t normally curse, why it comes out in those unexpected moments. Is that the real me that I keep hidden, even from myself? I hope not. 

It does make me wonder, though, if there's a different me inside, that, but for my circumstances would be a different person.

Sometimes I'll see someone behave badly, or get themselves in a bad situation and think, well, thank God I'm not like that, but then I'll wonder, if I had to fight the same battles he/or she had to, would I behave that way, too? Who's to know what a person would do if given a different path in life.  There's no real answer to these questions, I guess. All you can do is try to be the best person you can and help those you find struggling along the way. 💓

🙄 my thoughts for the day

Friday, November 10, 2017

Sharon's Rambling... Nov 2017

Here it is November, isn't that crazy? What a busy busy year! 

As most of you know, I sold my business this year and have been adjusting to being a free-agent. Hard adjustment for me as I've always had a business it seems and my last one, managing vacation rentals in Sitka, Alaska, kept me tied to the desk and phone for hours on end. 

Suddenly having all this free time on my hands, you'd think my house would be spotlessly clean, and I'd get around to writing more ramblings, and perhaps, even that book I've talked about for years, but, no, Linda Simmons, my house is still a mess, and the ramblings are written only scatteringly here and there, in between my time in the yard. 

 I have planted.... drumroll... Over 30 new plants in our yard this summer. I have had butterflies coming out the ying-yang, and blooms.. Oh my! This is the first summer I've been here to enjoy my garden, and I really have.

My roses have been amazing, my ginger lilies, my gardenias.. they were wonderful this year! And, my passionflower (right) It's been great!

Oh, and the ducks.. In April, for his birthday, CH wanted chickens, so he got eight chickens, that was good, but while there, I had to resist the temptation of the baby ducks. So... blasted cute. Couple days later, here comes our son, Dan, with two baby ducks.. HeVac and SheVac, they were later named. I love my ducks. 💓 So much so, we tried our hand at incubating and have one that is partially out of its shell right now! Very excited!

It's weird, I've been tied to the computer pretty much since the early 90s when I started the Sitka Soup, but now, I have to beat me to get myself to sit here for very long. Anyway, let me tell you what I've been up to in my time away... 

Let's see... In July CH I went over to St. Augustine for a few days camping, that was fun, and brought back a lot of good memories of our younger days camping on the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia. Then in August, we were lucky enough to get a camping spot at Bahia Honda State Park in Big Pine Key, right on the water, wonderful, wonderful! 

We were sleeping in our van for these camp outs, so decided to  explore buying a camper. We've often talked about buying a teardrop camper, because it cute, yes, but also because it's lightweight so we could still get offroad, like we like to do, so... we found Honey Badger Campers out of Lithia Florida and started checking them out. Next thing we know, he has one that's already detailed and ready to go, so here we are in October, pulling away with our camper. Very excited for the future adventures. 

Next weekend, we'll be going to the Tiny Home Festival in St. Augustine with it, VERY excited about that!

Well, I could talk a lot longer. Love to show you our eggs as the chickens and ducks are laying, some more of my new flowers, and so much more, but can only sit at the computer so long, so off I go till next time! 

Happy Rambling, Everyone!! 

Friday, September 01, 2017

Sharon's Ramblings... Sept 1, 2017

So... for those of you new on the scene, a little bit about me, us/my husband and myself. :-) for there can't be a me without him after 47 years of marriage. We are both from what was small country towns in the south, raised by poor, hardworking farmers and sharecroppers. This is a familiar story when you get to talking to people in the south, but after our marriage, our lives took some interesting turns and twist not common among most of our family.

We married young, really young. I was 16, "almost 17", I'd say proudly when someone asked, and he was 18, almost 19. No, it wasn't a shotgun wedding, although there were many that thought it was. Our son, Mike was born 11 months later. We just met, fell in love and wanted to be together, always, and couldn't think of a single reason we should wait. That's just how it was back then. He'd already been working out of the home at the aircraft plant a couple years, and I, having pretty much raised my much younger siblings, already felt grown. What more can I say.

The night he proposed we decided we wanted two boys and a girl, because boys needed two to play ball and a girl could play with her dolls. Our daughter, Amy, never forgave us for that. And so it happened; We married Feb 6 of 1970, I had Mike, Jan 1, of 1971, then, 16 months later, Amy, a little over 2 years later, Dan.  We wanted kids young so we'd be able to enjoy our grand-kids and so it is, with us now in our mid 60s, 7 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. We are blessed.

We've had a wild and varied life that if I tried to tell it all in one sitting, you'd get lockjaw just from your Ohs of surprise, so I'll give you the short version; in 1976, against family wishes, at least against his mama, we decided to take our small kids to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where we lived for ten years, frequently traveling to foreign countries. In 1987 we moved to Alaska, where we fell in love with the state and lived for over 25 years. I had several businesses there, which I just sold my last one and we have moved back to where we started from, Lake City, Florida, back to the forest, to Sharon's Cabin the Woods.

Here, we live below the towering pines with our two dogs, Pewee and Sugar, our Cat, Melli, and 7 chickens and 2 ducks.

We love to travel and typically take the pups with us, but always miss the rest of our crew when we're gone.

We love our cabin in the woods and spend most of our time coming up with projects to do here, be it a new duck pond (LOVE MY DUCKS) or chicken coop, a screened in porch for our little rental down the road, Deer Cottage, or an arbor for my Cherokee Rose, which we're working on now.

We keep busy for sure. My poor husband gets more exercise now than when he worked. As for me, for the last 12 years I owned a vacation rental business in Sitka, Alaska, and was pretty much glued to the phone and the desk 24/7, so now I revel in being in the yard early morning till the sun gets up, which quickly runs me back inside.

Once inside, after I have my nap and an episode of Columbo, I am typically on the computer facebooking, Pinteresting, or, now, I'll be blogging. "What do I blog about," you ask? Anything that comes to mind as I love to share. My flowers, did I mention I LOVE GARDENING? My ducks, love my ducks, the birds. Country recipes I try. Whatever

Check back this week to see how I come up with a house for my ducks so I can separate them from the chicks as the gander keeps attacking the chickens, plus I"m hoping for baby ducks, and, if you'd like to learn how to make jelly from Beautyberry, I'm gonna give that a try, too and I'll share with you how it came out. Did I mention, I hate cooking.. but, this will be fun!

Thanks Everyone, Let's get it  on! Sharon

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Sharon’s Ramblings... 

I have to admit that for the most part I’m a forgiving person.  A stranger, such as a cashier, or even a family member, can be mean or hateful to me and I usually shake it off, and say to myself that they are having a bad day and try not to take it too personally.

This isn’t to say that I don’t get my feelings hurt easily, because I do, and often these "feelings" result in a teary breakdown, but afterwards I can usually pull myself together and try to backup and figure out what lead to this. I try to remind myself that we don't always know what's going on in that person's life, even if it's a loved one, and that everyone has bad days occasionally that can make us short and mean-tempered.

The one person, though, that I do have a hard time forgiving is myself.  If I’m short tempered and snap at someone or say something I know is hurtful,  I soon find myself in tears of regret.  And, of course, the really bad thing is that once a word is uttered, it's impossible to take it back. I learned this the hard way many years ago when I lashed out at someone with words that I was never able to take back. We made up and spent time together, but it was never the same.

Because of that, I learned over the years to consider my words carefully before saying them. If I'm aggravated at something someone is doing, and feel it should be done another way, I ask myself, will what I'm wanting to say actually make them do it different, or will it just create a rift between us? If the latter, I do my best to hold them back.

Some lessons you just have to learn for yourself, and you can’t pull words back out of the thin air once spoken.

How nice it would be if I had an “undo” button, like on my computer so that with a simple “click” of the mouse, the harm is undone and I can back-up and regroup and find a kinder way to say something, or better yet, keep my mouth shut.

Because of my own feelings and experiences on this, I thought I’d just take today’s “Rambling” and use it as a gentle reminder for us all to be as kind to ourselves as we are to others, forgiving our mistakes as we forgive others, for in the end, we are human, not God.

If He thought we were going to be perfect, He would not have given us trials and tribulations.  With each mistake we make, we learn and we grow into a better person... that’s the way it’s supposed to be... Be kind and forgiving to all-that is His instructions, not mine... Sharon

From a song I heard long ago.. Words can accuse and carry bad news, the seeds of mistrust they may sow, but unless you've made no mistakes in your life, be careful of stones that you throw..

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter 2011 in Sitka..

Nice weekend... Saturday morning found the sun shining and me in the yard looking for spring. It's been so fickle this year with what seems like hourly changes in the weather since March. One minute it's raining, next it's snowing and next it's hailing, all within a morning. Brave blossoms are peeking their heads out, but very cautiously.

My mood for gardening has been as varied as the weather, with me stepping out to see what the temp is before I gather my tools. Bout the time I get outside though, it seems like the teasing sun ducks back behind a cloud with a "fooled you" giggle. Sometimes I stick to it and tackle dandelions, other times, I give way to a warm corner and a magazine that promises blooms untold if I just follow their instructions.

Easter Sunday did find me out looking for wildflowers to coax into my garden. I love the woodland mosses and the tiny flowers that grow there. Tiny pieces of art, peeking from within the soft mound of green. Petals so dainty.

Small treasures of wild Columbine, tiny ferns and wild strawberry made the trip worth it.

So, for now, my gardening is low key, waiting for the magic number of 55 that everyone says is when the plants in our area can grow.. till then, a cup of coffee, a good gardening magazine and a warm blanket over my knees will keep me happy...