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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.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


~ Phoebe ~

We have a new family member; her name is Phoebe and she's about eight months old. A number of years ago, Dave made me promise I wouldn't pick up any strays on the road. Which is pretty difficult to promise and almost imposible not to do. I wish people could be horsewhipped in public for dropping animals on the road and I absolutely *hate* cleaning someone else's mess. I've heard it all...I'm giving the animal a second chance. Maybe someone else will give it a home. The animal shelter is too depressing.

Yeah. Right. What it amounts to, people, is you're too sorry to do the right thing by the animal. Take it to the shelter where, yes, it might be killed, put down, destroyed or even, GASP! adopted. But At The Very Least it will die a decent death. It won't be torn to pieces by a pack of wild dogs or coyotes. It won't die, slowly, twisting in agony because it ingested poison. It won't die, slowly, painfully because it was hit by a car and unable to find a morsel of food. It won't die, slowly, in anguish because it got caught in a snare and died, in a few days or weeks, of thirst or starvation.


The people who need to read the above are out dropping off dogs; not reading my blog so the rest of you, please forgive the rant.

Phoebe. What a beautiful little girl. She looks a lot like Shaddie, our Ridgeback, but, I don't think, is going to be quite as big. That's a good thing as Shaddie weighs around 110 pounds. Some evil person, perhaps the same one who flung her out on the road, also mistreated her. It took a week of twice daily feedings to gentle her even though her personality said, "I want to be loved, I'm a good dog and want to trust you."

Even when we brought her home, Sunday night, she was cowed and shying away. It took a lot of gentle, slow moving around her; lots of treats, hugs and kisses to bring her around. There's been a small altercation between Poebe and Abigail but that was over a dog bone. Abbie has always been, and will always be, top dog around here and, while she shares, she, sometimes, does so grudingly. Anyway, Abbie snuck around and stole Phoebe's bone and the next thing I knew, the fight was on. Teeth were bared, snarles exchanged but no one used their teeth to bite. Thank God. It was a show of strength and wills and I'm keeping a close eye on both until Phoebe has settled in. That should take a month or so for me to think things are working out.

Yes, I did get out of my sick bed to go with Dave across the mountain. He decided we were going to bring this girl home and wanted me to help. How could I possibly say "no"?

See how much Phoebe resembles Shaddie?

~ Shaddie ~

~ Gracie, foreground; Hattie Cat, background; 91 on lower portion of grill and Boscoe Man on grill lid. This is the grill I use for dyeing my wool and is used as a cat perch the rest of the time. By the way, 91 received her name when I found her, twelve years ago, sitting by the side of Rt. 91. She was a tiny, tiny kitten and was snatched out of a, potentially, deadly situation to come to Thistle Cove Farm.
~ Abigail ~

Blessings - a happy household ~ sunshiney day ~ last night's rain ~ a great life ~ delicious, sweet well water ~ good health, once again ~

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sheep Is Life

There's some sort of epizootics going around and, lucky me, I picked it up. I've been flat on my back and the days have, totally, run together. Today is the first day I've been at the computer in a week, maybe longer, and I'm still weaker than the new kittens playing in the barn loft.

The 12th annual Sheep is Life Celebration is in a few weeks but, alas, I can visit only via i-net. It's one of my dreams to visit this celebration, held at the Greyhills Academy Campus on the Navajo Nation in Tuba City, AZ. It's presented by Diné be’ iiná, Inc., a nonprofit organization and workshops, hands-on demos, vendors, rug auction and sheep and wool show round out the festivities.
Sometimes I think we should have our own sheep is life celebration in the southern Appalachians. Sheep have provided meat and fleece in these old mountains since they were brought over from Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. In days past, sheep gut was used to make condoms and violin strings but was, erroneously, called cat gut. Clinton, neighbor and shearer, has one of the largest sheep flocks in the Commonwealth of VA; probably east of the Mississippi for that matter. He runs about six hundred ewes and lambs in the spring and less than that as he sells to market. He also runs a few goats as there's a large ethnic market for goat meat. Somehow I doubt any of his sheep or goats have names and he looks askance when I say, "oh, that's Sophie you've just finished shearing."

But, differences are what makes us alike and it takes all of us to make the world go 'round. It's only in western, "civilized" countries that we name, tame and keep our animals as pets; in other parts of the world those same animals are knows as "supper". I tell Dave we can't save them all so we save the ones we can.

Did I mention he's gone over the mountan to feed a stray dog? He's been trying to gentle this dog for a week, ever since I've been sick, and feeding it twice a day. Dave thinks she, the dog, would respond to a female voice and as soon as I'm able, I'll ride across the mountain with him. We don't need another dog, our dog girls are in double digit numbers now but Dave says this stray is beautiful and has tugged at his heart. What the hey. We'll do like we do at supper and put another potatoe in the pot. There's always room at the table for a hungry belly.

St. Francis of Assissi would be proud.

Blessings ~ spring ~ well health, coming again soon, hopefully ~ the i-net, keeping us connected ~ good books ~ zinneas ~ animals on the bed, keeping me company as I heal ~

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Blackberry Winter

We're home and had a great time on our cruise although fifteen days on a ship, any ship, is worthy of a medal. My hat is off to those Navy boys and girls, men and heartfelt thanks to each and every one. To all of our military and to family members who are serving near and far...thank you!

A cruise is the absolute best way, probably the least expensive way as well, to see so many countries, cities and countrysides in such a short period of time. We went trans-Atlantic then visited the Azores Islands and Lisbon, Portugal; Cadiz, Andalucia, Malaga, Barcelona, Spain; Corsica, France; Civitavecchia, Tarquinia, Livorno, Pisa and Florence, Italy; Villefranche, Nice, Ese, France and Monte Carlo, Monoco. A great trip, wonderful memories and time well spent...just Dave and I. Well, okay. So there were a few thousand other people on the ship but Dave and I took advantage of every opportunity.
I managed to, almost, finish needlepointing a pair of pillow cases. As soon as I've washed, dried and ironed them photos will be posted. I've got a good early start on Christmas gifts.

We came home to Blackberry Winter and low temps, cold rains, high winds. We've all been wearing sweaters and hats and, some days, jackets to ward off the chill. Blackberry Winter is the reverse of Indian Summer. It's that season in spring, after a warm spell, when blackberry vines are blooming, that the temps revert to winter. Frost is a possibility, although we've not had frost this spring, but cold weather, along with high winds and rain can always be counted upon. We awoke to warmer temps today and the sun is shining; animals are lazing around and birds clustered at the feeder. After almost two weeks of cold, wind, is, suddenly, brighter, more cheerful and full of expectation.

Unfortunately, Blackberry Winter, usually, kills my tulips and other early blooming beauties but that only means summer is closer than it was and soon we'll be thinking about cutting hay.
Life is darn near perfect!
Blessings ~ time with Dave ~ peace on the farm while we were gone ~ Spring ~ Blackberry Winter ~ Summer ~ gardens ~
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