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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.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Likely Yarn

Prior to this month, the nearest yarn shop was located more than one hundred miles from Thistle Cove Farm. All that has changed with the opening of A Likely Yarn in Abingdon, VA. At only fifty miles, it's a real uptick for me and means I can, God willing and the creek don't rise, visit more than once or twice a year.

It's always a delight to catch up with Jane Plaugher who was the featured spinner on opening day. I met Jane several years ago at the first Shenandoah Fiber Festival when Leslie Shelor, Linda Wright and I went away for a fibery weekend.

Janet Woolwine, the owner, is a delightful woman and has built a lovely shop in Zazzy's, a locally owned coffee shop with computers for customer use. The location is great and the atmosphere is conducive to lingering with friends and new friends. I believe there's going to be a knit-in every Tuesday evening and this weekend there's a discount for all eco or green yarns.

She also carries the Omega Shawl pattern by Chris Bylsma; it's a moebius type shawl and goes over the head to wrap around the shoulders. It should be quite the thing to ward off chills yet keep my hands free for tasks. A LYS trip is in the making!
I'm so pleased there's a new yarn shop at a, relatively speaking, close distance to me. A Likely Yarn's website isn't up yet but promises to be wonderful with design work by Blonde Chicken. Speaking of Blonde Chicken, she's spinning up some pretty yarn based on her adventures to the Johnson City, TN Farmers' Market. It's a really cute idea, you should check it out.

Speaking of yarn, I've got some white yarn that needs dyeing but Lord only knows when I'll find time to dye. My mother-in-law will be 95 next week and we're planning a birthday picnic for her on the 28th of June; all my "spare" time is going toward getting the house clean and the farm looking spiffy. Heck, my knitting needles have lain dormant for a while now; tempus fugit and it's all I can do to keep up. Run, rabbit, run!

Blessings ~ a new yarn shop ~ knitting ~ cooler days ~ yarn to dye ~ a clean house ~

Monday, June 16, 2008

Spring in The Cove

In order to get anywhere we have to leave our valley, affectionately and simply called "The Cove" but, officially called "Ward's Cove". The Ward family settled here generations ago, back in the 1700's closely followed by the Bowen's, Dave's mothers' family. They got here in the mid-1700's and staked their claim via a land grant...or so the story goes.

Anyway, the photo above is what we rest our eyes upon when we return from a shopping expedition. That's Thistle Cove Farm in the far distance, the smallest farm in the valley at a little fewer than thirty acres. The next largest farm is a few thousand acres and we're all bordered, on the backside, by a national forest. It's a lovely place to live and I never, never tire of gazing upon God's beauty.

This is one of the ways we can drive home; I love the canopy of trees and the filtered sunlight speckling the roads reminding me of a speckled hen. We often see deer on this road and, sometimes, a sow or her cub. We have bald eagles nesting in our valley, contrary to what the Game and Inland Fisheries Department says. They say no bald eagles nest here but they are wrong and wrong is, quite often, what one is when one relies upon books instead of first hand observation.

Daddy and Robert were gathering honey a few days ago. It was So Hot the bees were gathered on the outside of the hive, using their wings to cool down the inside of the hive. This time of year poplar honey is what the bees are making and it's a rich, dark, sensuous honey that lingers on the tongue. Next month bees will be making linden, aka basswood, honey, an almost clear honey that's as delicate in flavor as a bride's wedding veil.

A lot of bee keepers will use gloves, hat and suit to collect the honey but if a person is calm, quiet and gentle around the bees they will, generally, not sting. A honey bee only has one sting and once that sting has been used, the bee dies. How unlike a wasp or bumblebee...those can sting over and over and over and...UGH!
Anyway, I've grown up around honey bees and their hives and have never been stung while collecting honey. I've never known Daddy nor Robert to wear "protective gear" and they only times they have been stung is when they've done something stupid. Robert put his arm down on the hive and crushed a bee between his arm and the hive; ergo, the bee stung him. It was a clear case of self defense. Steve, my brother, has been keeping bees for decades and is allergic but has never been stung by a willful bee. Bees are gentle creatures, even when someone is robbing their hive of their hard gained honey. A bee will travel more than five miles to collect nectar to bring back to the hive for the worker bees to turn into honey.

This is honey in the comb and once the bees are "smoked" off the honey can be cut out and slathered on home made biscuits...YUMALICIOUS! Oh and if there's home churned butter as well...then you have a little preview of heaven!
Bee keepers use a smoker, into which they place a little paper and a bit of burlap bag. This makes the bee lethargic and calmer, in turn, they fly back to the hive and give up their claims on the honey in hand. It's a humane way to manage bees and bee keepers have done so for generations.

We had a storm yesterday and today and the rain is most welcome even though it's hay cutting season. We need to have our hay cut and had contracted with a neighbor to cut today. Fortunately, the rain came before he could cut so, hopefully, the next few days will be sunny and warm. We're keeping all our hay this year; in year's past we've contracted on halves with other horse owners. Last year's drought meant we had to buy hay out of North Dakota...expensive! we're keeping our hay this year. We should, please God, have enough to feed our horses and, perhaps sell a bit as well.
Back to the storm...the winds were horrific and blew over the hammock stand. That stand is heavy, made of steel and the wind blew it over like it weighed nothing.
In the photo below you can see the bird feeder swaying to the left as the wind blows. Even now, hours later, water is pouring from the skies and the thirsty earth is drinking her fill.

Blessings ~ rain ~ honey ~ beauty ~ home made food ~ health ~ a hot shower ~

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Happy Sabbath

"May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths and superficial relationships so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may wish for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done."

A Franciscan blessing

Blessings ~ Sundays, a day of relaxation & recreation ~ wise words ~ rain for a thirsty Earth ~ our Pastor, a good, decent & honorable man ~ stout hearts
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