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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.

Friday, August 31, 2007

One Little Secret

There's a contest on Darlene Schachts blog that's promoting the book One Little Secret by Allison Bottke . Tell one little secret about yourself and enter into a chance to win an Ipod - or ever what's it's called. I'd love to win one but that would take me **right out of my comfort zone**! /LOL/ I'm such an electronic ejit but I do like listening to books on tape, music, etc. and it would be lovely to have my comfort zone jolted just a tad.

My secret is I've aided many a ewe and one mare in the birthing process. When I finally got back to the house, poor Dave took one look at me and said, "where did you get stabbed?!"

Hurry on over and tell a wee secret about yourself.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Farm Life

It's been HOTTTTTT, hot. For several days it's been in the mid 90's and, for this part of Appalachian, that hot! It's so hot it's hard to breath; the humidity is horrid and the air is heavy wet. Even for those with no breathing difficulties, it's been a terrible week. Just about the only thing doing well is my orchid, it's simply beautiful.

The watermelons and cantelopes are doing well and are tasty! We ate one of each on Friday and have more for supper Sunday. My little gardens are doing well, tomatos are lovely and lucious, melons are wonderfully sweet and, like most of the gardening world, we're overwhelmed with squash and zucchini. People have taken to locking their car doors when they go to the library or they'll find a bag full of either/both upon their return.

My beautiful American Curly x Percheron horse, HayJ, is standing in "his" barn. He's a lovely boy and, for his size, has a very agreeable disposition. He's still a stallion but that's due to change with the cooler weather. I have no need of a stallion and don't really want to part with him so will geld him and keep him. If Oprah wanted to buy him, I'd certainly consider that a good home but both Dave and I are picky about where our horses most of them don't. We're horse poor and they are, mostly, pasture ornaments but it's our money and our choice so we love them, they love us and it's a happy place at Thistle Cove Farm.

We, FINALLY, got our magnificant cherry bed put in place. Now we have to buy a mattress and box spring and we'll be ready to move back into our bedroom. This has been a Very Long Time Coming and it's exciting to watch this unfold. Richard V., a friend, made this bed for us and didn't use any electricity but used all hand tools and a tree he felled himself. It truly is MAGNIFICANT!

Blessings ~ rain - 9/10 of an inch! ~ healthy animals ~ lovely gardens ~ a country church with excellent pastor ~ bountiful work to consume both hands and heart ~ a most gracious and merciful Father

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The work of many hands

My studio is in disarray and empty - as in complete, total and devoid of
every thing! The floor was painted last week so we carried everything out of the building and put it on our back porch. UGH! Just when everything was looking so Very Good too. I haven't been able to craft and it's getting on my nerves although I have finished a silk shawlet - to be shown in another post. The floor paint color is very soft and neutral and serves to visually expand the size of the room. A couple of rugs on the floor will make it easier on my feet, keeps the room warmer in winter and gives the dogs a warm, soft place to lie down. At least, the dogs that don't claim the cushiony dog bed first.

The studio still needs electrical wiring installed and then walls nailed up. We're using the rough cut hemlock that was used for the barns and other outbuildings which should age beautifully and provide an excellent back-drop for bulletin boards, etc.

I keep saying "studio" but it's really just an old building that was once used to cure meat. At one point, it had electricity but with a little "lipstick on the pig" it's almost ready for me to use as a retreat and escape. We'll just have to move furniture around when it's time to put up walls.

I've finished this flannel baby blanket and have two more to finish just like it. The front is various nursery rhyme figures - Little Bo Peep, Cat and the Fiddle and others - while the back is bright red. Hand quilted hearts and stars fix the three layers together and add some visual interest to the back side.

A baby quilt takes about one and one-quarter yards of material, front and back plus the batting. I didn't know that when I purchased enough of this cute fabric for three quilts. When I started cutting them into baby size quilts, I had no idea who would receive any of them.

I think babies are God's opinion the world should go on and the babies keep on coming. Tina, at church, is expecting as is Dave's neice so there go two quilts. I suppose the plain ones could always be used as lap blankets to keep someone's knees and lap warm.

WHOOPS! News flash...I just found out friend Frank's daughter, Samatha, is expecting so there goes another baby blanket.

The two, below, are quilted panels and only need hemming to be ready to give away. The first is a delightful Mary Engelbreit nursery rhyme pattern...So Very Cute!

This is simply a yellow quilted panel and I'll either turn under the edges and hem or use a border and hem. It all depends upon my time.

Next is a full sized quilt on the frame and hand quilting has begun. The lower left corner is turned so you can see the bright yellow quilt back.

Yellow seems to be in a lot of quilts I make. It's such a cheerful, bright color and acceptable for both boys and girls. I don't like pastel colors...too insipid for my tastes. Give me **bright** every day or at least enough brightness to off-set paler colors.
I think this quilt will go to friends who have recently married.
I hand quilt, generally in the mornings when the light is good but the heat of the sun isn't, yet, shining in the windows.

The mountains are usually cool but we're experiencing a heat wave this week and temps are supposed to climb close to 100 F. It's dreadful and I just cannot cope with the heat. The cold doesn't bother me as much; I can always put on another sweater or jacket but one can only get so nekkid before folks start complaining. My heart goes out to the poor sheep but they have places under the shade trees and in the dog run of the barn. Both places are cool but they still suffer in their wool fleeces. That's one reason I shear in late Spring, so the sheep won't be in full coat until late Autumn and won't suffer nearly as badly as if they were wearing heavier fleeces. All the animals have free choice minerals, salt and cool mountain spring water to drink so their suffering is kept at a minimum.

We've had some winners over at Fiber Femmes and their names will be posted on the FF blog tomorrow. It seems I'm always running at full tilt boogy and trying to get caught up with life in general. Anyone else have that challenge?
As always, there are enough hours in the day; my trouble is, I fill them too full.

Blessings ~ air conditioning! ~ productive work resulting in blessings for others ~ Fiber Femmes readers - many, many thanks to YOU! ~ ice tea, Southern style ~ produce from my small garden patch ~ dresses...SO much cooler...and feminine...than slacks!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Interweave Press No Sheep Skein Swap

Interweave Press has been hosting a No Sheep Secret Pal Yarn Swap where partners send send skeins of non-animal fiber yarn. The various reasons people joined this swap have been interesting...some joined because they have animal fiber allergies, others because they are vegan, others because they feel humans shouldn't use animal fiber. And me? I joined because I thought it would be fun.

Fortunately, I've been paired on the up and down side with people who seem to have no problem with animal fiber. After all, if not for my vocation and avocation of shepherd and farmer, my small hand spinner's flock would not live better than 70% of the world's population! But they better than 70% of the world's population and I rejoice in that fact. My animals live a life of ease and freedom from the stresses of sheep coming and going. No one ends up on the dinner plate, no one is shipped to market. The only thing my dear little boys and ewes have to do is grow delicious fleece and let me love on them. Everyone's life should be so good!

Someone in California sent me a skein of Debbie Bliss 80% cotton 20% silk aran in royal blue. It's lovely but judge for yourself...

We've been busy at Thistle Cove Farm, working on the house, my studio and landscaping. My studio has been emptied so the floor can be painted, our bedroom paint job is completed and the wildflower patch at the kitchen porch back door is almost finished. I'll have to show you photos later, we're in a burning rush to ready ourselves for a drive across the mountain to the Town House Grill. It's a delightful restaurant where the chef takes extra care to not only prepare delicious food but to present it beautifully as well.

I'll leave you with a photo of a deer that was wandering around near Anne's house last week. I caught a glimpse of the deer through the hedgeso knew to get out the camera. Still, I almost managed to mess up the shot because my settings has been switched whilst in my purse.

Be cool, it's a hot August.

Blessings ~ the anticipation of an excellent dinner ~ a bedroom almost finished ~ a studio almost finished ~ a wildflower garden almost finished ~ meaningful work

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