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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, July 17, 2008

Summer Afternoon, Summer Afternoon

Since mid-June when I started preparations for my MIL's 95th birthday party, it's been a roller coaster ride. Her birthday was the 23rd but we celebrated on the 28th and had about fifty people with all save seven near or distant kin. The birthday girl is seated on the right and her friend, playmate and cousin since birth, Tece, is seated on her left. Tece is one family name and "Sitter" is the other; seems like "sitter" was the only way another family member could pronounce "sister". Don't you love old family stories and connections?

This is the newest member of the clan, Nicholas, son of Beth and Michael. Nicholas, hopefully never to be known as Nick, is almost a year old and a delight. But then, he would be. He has the Very Nicest parents and two of my favorite people in Dave's family.

Dave and I took a couple of days off and headed to Winston Salem for some Much Needed R&R. Along the way, we saw these two-humped camels next door in Bland County. The landowner moved here from Florida, or so I've been told, and bought or brought camels. They appear to be molting so perhaps he doesn't know the fiber is desired amongst hand spinners.

There are two hummingbird feeders on the front porch and it's one of our daily joys to sit on the front porch, catch up on our day, watch the humming birds and drink a glass of wine. I've found two humming bird nests and brought them to the house where they rest in our sunroom and are a delight. Both nests are made from fiber, some call it horsehair, from our American Curly horses and are tiny, perfect examples of God's creation doing what it does best...glorying God by doing what He intended.
Like the poet Henry James said, "Summer afternoon, summer afternoon. The two most beautiful words in the English language." And I agree even though summer afternoons, and mornings, are filled with work. I awake at, or near, dawn, listen to the birds for a while, think over my day, pray a bit, then roll out of bed. House animals need to be let out, fed and quieted with a treat then I head to the barn to tend to the barn cats and kittens, feed the stallion, check the mineral buckets, eyeball all the sheep and horses, walk the barn lot and, in general, eyeball the immediate area for anything that looks out of place.

Today I headed back to the house and started making lime pickles and will post photos and a recipe later. I've only been home a few days and am playing catch up with my own work, family and farm. Mother had knee surgery and I went to cook, clean and help with the garden. While I was there I did a bit of spring cleaning as well as visited with Mom and Daddy. Both are still very active, Daddy is the Board of Supervisor member for his Amelia district and Mom is on the library board. They instilled in all three of their children a Very Strong Work Ethic and it pains us to "sit and do nothing". Idle hands are the devils' tools so we tend to keep busy. In the summer we have gardens and can, freeze or dry food for the winter; in the winter we quilt, do needlework, knit or keep busy with church work. Daddy takes seriously the Biblical admonition to "help widows and orphans" and gives generously from his garden and orchard produce.

I feel sorry for people who don't have meaningful work in their lives. Meaningful work is a blessing and a gift, both to oneself and to others, keeps one healthy, makes one wealthy and staves off trouble.

Blessings ~ meaningful work ~ family ~ God's creation ~ garden produce ~ rest ~ Summer afternoon, summer afternoon ~

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