Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sabbath Keeping

"As for God, His way is perfect;
The Word of the Lord is tried:
He is a buckler to all them who trust in Him."

"The most important lesson that I have learned is to trust God in every circumstance. Lots of times we go through different trials and following God's plan seems like it doesn't make any sense at all. God is always in control and He will never leave us."  
~ Allyson Felix ~
"Calmness is how we show we're trusting God." ~ SKB ~
"Disappointment is inevitable. But to become discouraged, there's a choice I make. God would never discourage me. He would always point me to Himself to trust Him. Therefore, my discouragement is from Satan. As you go through the emotions that we have, hostility is not from God, bitterness, unforgiveness, all of these are attacks from Satan." ~ Charles Stanley ~
"I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much." ~ Mother Teresa ~
"I trust God with my life.
After all, He gave it to me."
~ unknown ~
"It's not about me telling Him what I want. It's about trusting Him to do things the way He wants me to do them." ~ Shawneda ~
"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." ~ Corrie ten Boom ~
"Love people but put your trust in God. Love people but put your full trust only in God."
 ~ Lawrence Welk ~
"Trust in God and keep your powder dry." ~ Oliver Cromwell ~
"Trust is not a passive state of mind. It is a vigorous act of the soul by which we choose to lay hold on the promises of God and cling to them despite the adversity that at times seeks to overwhelm us." ~ Jerry Bridges
"I trust in God, especially in silence." ~ SKB ~
"It's not can you trust God, it's whether you can trust Him in His timing. "
~ Liz Curtis Higgs ~
"Trust God. Father knows best." ~ SKB ~

"Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God; trust also in me."
~ Jesus, John 14:1-4 ~

If you have a name for the prayer list, please let me know. Around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Jim ~ Sue ~ Donna ~ Jim ~ Petal ~ Maas ~ Sandra ~

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

10 Things Thistle Cove Farm Has Taught Me

~ Sandra and Sadie ~
I've been churning butter since last Thursday; finally finished Sunday afternoon. In case you're wondering, there's a little more than eight pounds to a gallon of cream. One pound of cream yields around one-half pound of butter and ten gallons of Jersey cream made somewhere between around forty+ pounds of butter. Maybe more but, frankly, I am so tired my brain stopped working sometime Friday. Maybe Thursday night; it's all a blur.

Suffice it to say, I will never, ever, as God is my witness (shades of Scarlet), be talked into buying ten gallons of Jersey cream again. At least not at one time. Nor will I never, ever churn more than two gallons at one time. Ever. Unless there's serious money involved which means I'm probably safe.

I'll blog about Churning 101 later but it needs to be told, at two separate times, my dasher broke and I churned with my right hand only. I never knew it could be done either but, it's been said, necessity is the mother of invention, and I proved that right.

P. S. NOTE: I lied. Not intentionally but lied nonetheless. Tonight, I was putting the kitchen to rights, before taking my shower so I could then pass out which is what I call sleep after such a bone crushing day, and found the gallon enamel covered bowl containing whipping cream. O lawz. I thought I was done and finished but noooooo. It took an extra hour but I made another four pounds of butter...by hand and by hand, I mean working the whipped cream like making bread until it separated into buttermilk and butter. Another four pounds of butter. I swear, the first ten people who call me will gifted with one-half pound of home churned butter. 

It's been raining since Saturday morning and today, in the middle of the day, we had 3 hours of sunshine. I took advantage of sunshine to climb on the tractor and move hay from the middle to the edge of the field. I hate for hay to stand where it was baled; it makes dead places in the pasture and every dead place means nothing will grow...except weeds which aren't wanted. Moving hay bales gave me time to think and what I thought about was what I've learned on the farm. Many, many lessons but these ten are worthy to be told now...imho...grin!

1.  Chores get me out of bed.

2.  Farm work is hard but it keeps me strong and moving forward.

3.  When I'm prepared for the storm, I can sleep through the night.

4.  Nature is the supreme white noise.

5.  God is stronger than my tears or fears.

6.  Each dawn begins a new day to get it right.

7.  Schemes and dreams are very different.

8.  Solitude is golden.

9.  The perfect ratio: 6 days for work, 1 day for rest.

10. It's easier to step in manure than get it off my boots.

Sure hope you've enjoyed these ten things and, perhaps, some of them might apply to you and your situation. If they do, let me know which and how, 'k?

Blessings ~ chores, nature ~ dawn ~ God ~ churning ~ butter milk ~ butter ~

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sabbath Keeping

~ HayJ, American Curly horse x Percheron ~
"He counts the number of the stars
He calls them all by name."

"When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~
"I will love the light for it shows me the way
yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars."
"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars and change the world."
~ Harriet Tubman ~
"Yours is the light by which my spirit's born:
-you are my sun, my moon, and all my stars."
"Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars.
~ J. R. R. Tolkien ~
"Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels."
"Shoot for the moon and if you miss, you'll still be among the stars." ~ unknown ~
"Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night."
"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream." ~ Vincent Van Gogh ~
"God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees and in the flowers and clouds and stars." ~ Martin Luther ~
"Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground." ~ Teddy Roosevelt
"Jump into the middle of things, get your hands dirty, fall flat on your face, and then reach for the stars." ~ Ben Stein
"Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the mind of thought is drawn to them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me." ~ Immanuel Kant ~
"stars are the scars of the universe." ~ Ricky Maye
"What wretched poverty of language! To compare stars to diamonds!"
~ Gustave Flaubert ~
"Art is everywhere you look for it, hail the twinkling stars for they are God's careless splatters." ~ El Greco ~
"Just remember this, my girl, when you look up in the sky you can see the stars and still not see the light." ~ Jack Tempchin ~


"so that you may be blameless and pure,
children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverse generation.
among whom you shine like stars in the world."

Blessings ~ tonight: Perigee Moon ~ August 10-13 Perseid Meteor Shower ~

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Jim ~ Donna ~ Evey ~Sandra ~ 

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Time is Fleeting...Wear Purple Now

~ turkey vulture or buzzard ~

"Time is fleeting and I'm not waiting to wear purple
Or red or kiwi or orange or magenta or any other color

I'll spend my time sitting under the sunflowers while 
the mares snuffle my hair and kittens play in my lap

Today I'll take my knitting to the pasture and 
chance a wet bottom when I sit on the ground
Samuel and Carly will nuzzle my pockets for treats of corn 
while the other sheep bleat at their boldness

My needles will lie quietly as I watch birds float 
on unseen columns of wind
The barn swallows and goldfinches and robins and 
even the buzzards will bring me joy on their outstretched wings

Tonight at midnight the dogs and I will walk in the pasture
I'll whisper secrets to the horses and sheep
I'll look for falling stars and the big and little dipper and will nail Orion's belt with the north star

I'll drink good wine and strong beer and sweet water
I'll eat chocolate for breakfast and pastry for lunch
mix cream in my flavored coffee and turn up my nose at 
powdered milk and ill mannered people

Tomorrow I'll give compliments to perfect strangers and 
speak to people on the street just to watch their reactions 
as I grin at my silly self

I've worn hats for over thirty years and see no need to stop
I'll not waste happiness on tomorrow but spend it willy nilly today
Time is fleeting and I'm wearing purple now."

Sandra Bennett, copyright 2004 and first published June 20, 2005 and here, May 21, 2009.

As you can see, I wrote this poem in 2004 and it seems donkey's years ago! My point is, don't wait. Don't wait for "someday" or "when I have time" or "when I retire" or "when I don't have anything else to do". That day will never come, I promise you and, in the meantime, life is fleeting. With each and ever breath we're getting closer to our end and happiness, joy, contentment, peace, satisfaction, love, life can't wait. It won't wait so you might as well jump on the bandwagon and make a joyful noise.
Turkey vultures are a common warm weather sight around here. In the winter, I think the scavengers are foxes, coyotes, bobcats and the like. They are the Hoovers of the animal world and do road kill clean up and, I think, are sorely under-appreciated by a lot of folks. 
While perched, they like to steady their balance by outstretching their wings and, in the early mornings, they hold their wings thusly in order to dry the dew from their bodies.
Even though they have one of the most detestable jobs on the planet, I find them beautiful. They soar on the wind thermals but aren't as graceful when they fly and smaller birds torment them by chasing them around the sky. It's truly comical.
I always honk my horn when I come upon one in the road. I hate to disturb someone when they're working and, even worse, hate to kill something. I'll invite gents here to shoot groundhogs all day long but I'll go out of my way not to kill one with the car. 
Yeah, I know, it makes no sense a'tall.

The day is wearing thin and the car is packed with my butter churning equipment. Soon, I need to grab a few ice packs, the camera and a few other dribs and drabs and skeedaddle out of here. When I get home tomorrow afternoon, I'll make some buttermilk cat head biscuits, get out the home made 'lasses and serve it all with fresh churned butter. If I remember, I'll make some fresh cottage cheese as well. Don't you know I'll have more "friends" than Warren Buffet tomorrow!

Blessings ~ turkey vultures or buzzards ~ home churned fresh butter ~ buttermilk ~ cottage cheese ~ wearing purple now ~ life ~

Monday, August 04, 2014

The Prep Work is the Hardest

~ my love hate relationship with the beautiful thistle ~
Before starting on the day, I wanted to ask a favor for a blog friend. Patrice, she of Everyday Ruralty and Chats on the Farmhouse Porch, wants to take a course on Nutritional Psychology Coaching. Along with being a wife, mother and farmer alongside her husband, Patrice is also a chef. She's learned the hard way about food allergies, in her video she states one of their daughters could only eat five foods! Patrice is asking folks to "like" her video, click here for her post and, if you're so inclined, please vote/like Patrice's video. It's for a scholarship to take the course. Thanks!
~ Primary Route 91 ~
I've been calling Duchess Dairy for days but to no avail...until this morning around 8:30 when they answered the telephone. I told them I needed cream in order to demonstrate churning at the Tazewell County Fair and they said, "Sure, not a problem. We milk on Mondays and Thursdays so today is good." By "milk" they meant they put milk in jugs for retail sales. There's no easy way to get to Rural Retreat from where I live...a week ago Friday, I-77 was shut down due to a tractor trailer catching fire in the tunnel so I decided to go the back way. Route 91 is the only primary dirt road in the Commonwealth of VA. As you can see, it's narrow although two vehicles may, very carefully, pass each other. When it's a big truck with a 24 foot livestock trailer, I just pull over and sit very still and quietly and give them the total right of way. We also don't waste a lot of tax dollars on such nonsense as guard rails. -grin-
Thistle Cove Farm, 3.3 miles away 
Kudzu is Very Invasive and is taking over the world, tree by tree. When the blooms are open, they smell exactly like grape juice. Some enterprising folks are making beautiful baskets from kudzu and I applaud them! 
A little over the top of our portion of the Clinch Mountain Range and here is Dogpatch. Don't even ask if it's available for rent because there's no electricity, toilet, running water or much of anything. It is a sweet little cabin though and the folks that own it, at times, still stay there. 
~ beautiful stone wall, generations old ~
~ cute mailbox design ~
~ perhaps part of a plane? ~
Some time back Little Tumbling was named one of the top ten trout streams in the USA. 
Part of my journey took me on both Saltville Highway and Possum Hollow Road, over in Smythe County, our next door neighbor. 
This lovely 360+ acre farm in Rich Valley is going to be auctioned off, regardless of price, August 23rd by Albert Burney. I've read their website information and it bothers me they're saying "Blue Ridge Mountains". I hear that a lot from folks who live around here and it's simply not true. While it's true the Blue Ridge Mountains lie in the Appalachian chain, it is not true the Appalachian chain is the Blue Ridge Mountains. It bothers me because it's the "you ain't from around here" and "we'uns just as good as anybody else" mentality. If you believe you're as good as everyone else, you don't have to beat others over the head, just go do the best you can. Many years ago, during church youth service a young man proclaimed, "I'm going to go to XXXU and prove it doesn't matter we're from Appalachia, we're just as good as anybody else!" After the service, I whispered to him, "No one cares where you're from, they care what kind of man you are, and by the way, that university you're headed to...it's in Appalachia too." I'm not sure but I think he's still shaking his head over my comments. At any rate, this property is breathtaking! The homestead sits on a little peninsula and the North Fork Holston River meanders by in a U formation. But hey! what do you expect boys from Huntsville, 'bama to know anyway? "You'uns ain't from around here r ye?" -grin-
My drive took me by Hungry Mother State Park (twice) where it's said generations ago, some Anglo settlements were destroyed on the New River, south of the park, and Molly Marley and her young child were some of the survivors taken to the the raiders base. Molly and her child escaped but she, eventually collapsed, and her child was found but could only say the words "hungry mother". The search party found Molly where she'd fallen and died; the mountain where she was found is called Molly's Knob and the creek is Hungry Mother Creek.
After more than two hours of driving, I arrived at Duchess Dairy Products, in Rural Retreat, where only milk from Jersey cows are bottled. Aunt Bonnie, Daddy's oldest sister, had a Jersey and a Guernsey cow that she milked twice a day then churned a few times a week to make butter, buttermilk and cottage cheese. She taught me how to do all of that and then she gave me her churn which had come from her mother and, possibly, her mother before. Aunt Bonnie knew out of all the children, nieces and nephews, I was the only one who would ever keep the tradition alive and I do proudly. Some in my family think I've a screw loose but I love keeping the old ways alive and, when the butter is ready, they love eating it. 
~ the Duchess men ~
It really does make a difference when Jersey cows are milk vs. Holstein. Jersey milk has a butterfat content of around 34% while Holstein is around 9-12%. Jersey milk has 17% more calcium, is higher in protein and has a 20% smaller footprint than her black and white cousin. A Jersey will take 32% less water and 11% less land to produce cheese from her milk and, if you're ever able to do a taste test, you'll find the Jersey milk is superior in flavor as well and their disposition is calm and gentle, the perfect milk cow for someone starting out.

It took another two plus hours to drive home and yes, I am exhausted! Part of the way over and all the way home, I drove Rt. 16 which is nothing but two lanes of switchbacks, U's which make for beautiful scenery but my poor hands are aching from gripping the steering wheel! 

Now you see why it takes me for.ev.er. to do almost everything once I leave the farm. There's no easy way to get from here to most anywhere else and it takes hours to get the most menial errands accomplished. Still and all, I love my farm and the surrounding valleys. Appalachian is the home of my heart (until I get to heaven anyway), my roots go deep and wide and I've never lived anywhere I've been happier. Yes, I am sorry to say good-bye (when that time comes) but it's time to move forward. Like I told Dave the other day, "Just because I'm moving on doesn't mean I'm forgetting you." (I'm not sure but if I could put that to country music, I could make a small fortune!)

Blessings ~ safe trip across those mountains ~ Jersey cows ~ Holstein cows ~ Duchess Dairy ~ Appalachia ~

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Sabbath Keeping

~ Cove dawn ~

"...but the righteous shall live by his faith."

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else." ~ C. S. Lewis ~

"Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens." 

"All the world is made of faith, and trust and pixie dust." ~ J. M. Barrie ~

"God will not look over you for medals, degrees or diplomas but for scars." 
~ Elbert Hubbard ~

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." ~ Corrie ten Boom ~

"Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want.
It is the belief that God will do what is right."

"All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen." 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

"Sometimes God allows what He hates in order to accomplish what He loves." 
~ Joni Eareckson Tada ~
"I am not moved by what I see. 
I am not moved by what I feel.
I am moved only by what I believe."

"Faith is confidence in the veracity of what God has said." ~ Larry Huggins ~

"Faith obliterates time, annihilates distance, and brings future things at once into its possession."  ~ Charles Spurgeon ~

"The Bible is not supposed to make sense, it is supposed to make faith." ~ Kamran Karimi ~

"You get faith by studying the Word. Study that Word until something in you "knows that you know" and that you do not just hope that you know." ~ Carrie Judd Montgomery ~

"The whole being of any Christian is faith and love. Faith brings the person to God, love brings the person to people." ~ Martin Luther ~

"A little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but a lot of faith will bring heaven to your soul."
~ Dwight L. Moody ~

"Faith is believing that God is going to take you places before you even get there."
~ Matthew Barnett

"Weave in faith and God will find the thread." ~ proverb ~

"Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led." 
~ Oswald Chambers

"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; 
for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; 
to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: 
as it is written, the just shall live by faith."

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Pam ~ Richard ~ Jencourt ~ Donna ~ Jim ~ Stephanie ~ Sandra ~ 

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Farm Life Scenes

~ Queen Anne's Lace bud ~
Daucus Carota is a biennial belonging to the carrot family, is also known as Queen Anne's Lace and, along with Protea, my favorite flowers. Legend has it Queen Anne of England (1665-1714) pricked her finger and a blood drop fell on the white lace she was making.
~ Queen Anne's Lace flower ~
Queen Anne's Lace, the flower, was eaten by the Romans as a vegetable and the early Colonists boiled the root with water as a drinkable treat. That might sound bitter except Queen Anne's Lace sugar content is second only to the beet in root vegetables. Other folks such as Irish, Jews and Hindus have been known to use it to sweeten their food and the open flower heads may be tempura fried or, raw, tossed in a salad.
~ millet ~
The area around the bird feeder has grown up into a mare's nest but I like it that way. Once winter has arrived, the weeds will be pulled or cut, but the millet will be left to re-seed and provide cover for the birds. Most folks think of millet as only bird seed but it's also a delicious grain that can be prepared roasted, creamy like mashed potatoes or like rice. It's heart healthy and has goodly amounts of copper, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium. This site says magnesium is known to reduce the severity of asthma attacks, lower blood pressure, reduce frequency of migraine attacks and reduce risks of heart attack. Not bad for "bird seed"!
~ chickory ~
My mother-in-law called these little blue flowers "blue bonnets" or "blue bells" but they're also known as chickory plants. The roots are roasted and added to coffee while the above ground portion may be eaten in salads or as a veg. Mrs. B. also said the reason Bluefield, WV was called Bluefield was due to the early Anglo settlers. When they arrived to the area, they could see hundreds of thousands of these flowers and exclaimed at the blue fields; thus the name.

Days begin early around here, sometimes before 5:00 a.m. but it's, usually, lights out by 9 or 10 at night. From one day to the next, I make sure the horses are on their feet with food, water and shelter so if I do sleep in until 6 or 7, everyone should be all right. I gave up sat t.v. in January and thought I'd miss it dreadfully but I don't, there's simply too much that fills that time.
~ Sadie and Tom ~
Sadie has no clue how big huge she is and can hardly ever understand why the smaller animals don't want to play with her. The cats, when they see her coming, will simply lie on the ground and wait for Sadie to lose interest. I've often wondered at the courage and faith it takes for such a small animal not to panic when they see their natural enemy, weighing ten times more, rushing at them.
Sam weighs a little less than half Sadie's weight so is more evenly matched...at least more evenly matched than the cats!
~ sunny and cloudy ~
Today, it's really cloudy and the keeps playing peek-a-boo. Some of the animals and I have already been to the pasture to chop thistles and one water tank to clean. I took photos of the hay bales John and Daniel bales and rejoiced there are 22.5 of them.
~ hay pasture with house on hill ~
Sadie and I took a break and I sat on the ground and she sat on my lap...she prefers my lap when I'm available...and you can see how the wind was blowing because her ear is lifted.

When I'd return from a trip to the grocery, Dave would ask, "Did you get the dogs their seegars?" The dogs take their chews and carry them around the farm as we do chores. When hanging out of their mouths, they resemble cigars...yes, small humor but clean humor...counts for a lot, doncha know?

I finished a boatload of paperwork this week...that's the good news and the bad news is...there's a boatload of paperwork left to finish. I also have to go across the mountains to buy cream to churn for the county fair on Thursday. Faith and her sister are helping me and then they're going to wander the fair for a bit...it should be a good day...please God! Right now, I'm going to close out this post, go get the mail and then...attack paperwork...charge!

Blessings ~ dogs ~ cats ~ hay ~ flowers ~ birds ~ farm life scenes ~
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