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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Out Like a Lion

Since Thursday, March has been determined to go out like a lion. As you can see from the photo at left, March has pretty well succeeded. In the background some of the Thistle Cove Farm woolies can be seen as they graze the pasture adjacent to the house.

I like keeping seed for the birds but Dave tells me if avian influenza comes to our area, bird feeding will cease. I've read the pros and cons about "bird flu" and some say it probably won't happen while others say people will die by the millions.

Frankly I don't know whom to believe but just like Y2K, I'm prepared. The worst that happened with Y2K was people laughed at me for being prepared....all the while munching lovely home made bread, eating wonderful soup canned straight from the garden and drinking coffee we had put by in a half dozen containers.

Yep, when we've had major power outages around here, we've been able to make sure some folks had a little care basket with life's necessities - coffee (instant because they didn't have a working cook stove), cookies, bread and the like. Whether it was because my folks grew up during the depression or because they were Appalachian, or both, we've always tried to be prepared. It's a good thing no matter if a person lives in rural or urban America...maybe especially urban areas. If we're caught in a major crises in this Country, rural folks can always go out and shoot wild game.

I enjoy hanging clothes on the line, as long as it's a sunny and/or windy day. At times, however, I slip up and my clothes are still hanging on the line during a snow storm. The clothes hanging on the line here are not merely hanging...they are frozen stiff. It looks like the wind is blowing and it is...a little bit...but the majority of that stiffness is from being frozen. I thought it made a great photo and keep it around to remind me to not take life so seriously.

For the past few weeks I've been laid up with a recurring back injury which has resulted in being partially paralyzed in my left leg, walking with a stick and dragging my leg. The chiropractor has put me, more or less, to rights again and I'm in much less pain and able to stay out of bed for longer periods of time. Right now though, I'm so far behind in my chores and duties and I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever get caught up. I've got a couple of orders that need to be boxed up and mailed; I was supposed to go to Leslie's this Friday past for a dye day but Ole Man Winter took care of all those plans. On Saturday, I was supposed to go to Blacksburg for a knitting sock making class; Ole Man Winter stopped those plans as well. Today, it's still snowing, sleeting and there's a sheet of ice on everything. It takes me longer to do my chores but the Workhorse makes it easier. Like one of the farriers tells me, "that's a right sexy little golf cart you've got there Missy". I tell him it's not a golf cart but he enjoys teasing me so we're caught up in playing this yes, it is and no, it isn't game. I think I've gotten the last word though...I've never seen a golf cart with rear wheel differential and a hydraulic six cubic foot bed on back. And, even if I don't, he's a cutie and I enjoy our bantering.

We ran out of bird seed so I've put out whole sunflower seeds. The noise at the feeder is deafening and flocks of various birds swoope in and out as they claim territority. Sometimes it's hundreds of red-wing blackbirds, other times, it's sparrows and house wrens. Always the red birds (cardinals), doves, snow birds (junkoes) and now robins hang around. Whenever the noise level ceases, it's usually because a hawk has come for a visit. Like the cats, hawks enjoy a warm meal and when it's a buffet that makes their life even easier.

There are those who decry nature's ways saying it's not a good thing for cats to kill birds. Perhaps they tend to forget it's not a good thing for nature to get out of balance either. Nature is a harsh mistress and humans would do well to watch and learn her ways. For in the end, it's just as likely that everything will be gone except Mother Nature and Father Time. In those two eternity stretches out behind and before longer than the mind's eye can imagine.

God's blessings on you, yours and the work of your hands.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


March has come in like a lamb so I'm waiting, with baited breath, for the "out like a lion" part. We're having beautiful weather in southwestern Virginia...sunny days with blue skies, fluffy white clouds but not much rain. I'd give up a lot for about a week of rain where we got 1/8 inch every hour for about a week. We're headed into spring in a drought situation and usually, what happens on the equinox is what we'll get for the next few weeks to months. Around March 21 is when I'll be anxiously watching the weather and yet, the Good Book tells us to be anxious for nothing. Our times, our lives, our weather is in His hands.

Do you find faith to be the easiest thing in the world to have...until it's needed?

Yesterday a friend and I were talking about the unseasonably warm weather. He's a neighbor farmer and as concerned about the drought as I. He asked me if I'd seen any robins yet. Nope, I answered, and haven't seen any vultures either. The geese have only been back two weeks or thereabouts. We continued talking and all of a sudden he sat upright and yelled, "THERE'S A ROBIN!" Sure enough, a robin was walking around the yard trying to pull up worms. Lotsa luck Robin. Pulling up worms around here is like trying to pluck a piece of grass from concrete.

Today I saw four vultures riding the wind currents so if I'm confused about this unseasonably warm weather, I'm not the only one. I've in the good company of robins and vultures.

One of my last memories of autum was taking the dogs for a walk and then going into the alfalfa field so they could sniff the ground hog holes. I decided to lie on my back and do some serious cloud watching. All of a sudden I noticed vultures circling. That gave me pause! It's a strange thing to watch vultures circle above one's head while they dip lower and lower trying to figure out if I'm eatable or not. Anyway, I figured with the dogs running about I was safe. The dogs hate it when vultures invade the dogs space and I've yet to see a vulture actually land in our pastures.

There are lambs galore in our valley, calves as well and some foals. Probably some kittens as well but I can't find them. They are well hidden in our barn; their feral mothers will keep them hidden until the kittens stumble outside one day. I just hope I find the kittens before our Jack Russell finds them.

This past week I visited Clinton, my farmer neighbor, and found him feeding bottle lambs. He has quite the crop this year and some of the ewe's didn't live so the lambs have to be bottle fed. He also has kids whose mothers didn't live and they are bottle babies as well. I enjoy bottle feeding lambs and have done my share in the past. I think late this year I want to put a ram in with my ewes so I can have lambs next spring; I really miss not having lambs.

The above photo of Carly and her twins, Mills and Ketta, was taken last year. If it's too cold, I always put wool sweaters on my lambs. Yes, I'm the talk of the valley but as long as I don't hurt anyone, I'm tolerated .

I spent part of today walking the dogs and watching the sheep and lambs in Clinton's pasture. He has several ewes that have twins and a few that have triplets. Sheep and lambs like to go where they aren't supposed to go and I'm always concerned for them. I like my sheep close to the house at night; I don't want them in my fartherest pastures. I don't want a coyote passing by to harm my flock so, every evening at dusk, I go forth and call, "HERE SHEEP! HERE SHEEPIE, SHEEPIE, SHEEPIE. COME SHEEP!" And they come. Everyone thinks it's the craziest see my flock racing across the pastures to come to the house for bed. To me it just makes good sense; why should I race after them? After all, they have twice as many legs as I.

Speaking of's that time again. Sleep is a major miracle that happens every night, night in and night out...sleep is the great healer and restorer. Every night as I'm snuggling into my wonderful bed I say a prayer of thanks to God for His great gift of a warm bed in a safe home. Too many people don't have either; my heart rends for them.

Psalm 23 - if you haven't read it in a while...please do and let it bring comfort to your soul.

God's blessings on you, yours and the work of your hands.
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