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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.

Monday, February 23, 2009

New to me teapot

This is the aforementioned, new to me, teapot. Isn't it adorable? I enjoy a pot of tea, as well as a pot of coffee, but tea settles me more, makes me slow down and take stock in a way that coffee does not.

I mentioned it in the post where I had trouble entering photos, thought I'd catch up a bit.

Blessings ~ tea ~ new to me teapot ~ lovely cups ~ friends to share ~ thrift stores ~




I figured out what I've done wrong, have now corrected it and have posted photos and links on the 21 February 2009 entry just below.


Blessings ~ well, you read it here! ~

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Goofin' Off - UPDATED!


I AM EXASPERATED! Blogger isn't allowing me to post photos nor to post links. When I attempt to do will only show the HTML code but NOT the photo nor highlight the name so the reader can click and be directed to the link. Does anyone know what's going on???

BTW, on the page where one posts an entry...the top of the post has been, somehow, shortened. Instead of stretching across the top, it's now only a seven blocks long. IOW, it begins with b for bold, i for italic...and continues to the symbol for add video. What happened to the rest of it??? I can't even italicize the 'Blessings' at the end of my just comes up as HTML code but not italicized!

PLEASE, are you able to help me???

Photos to come later...perhaps much, much later. Blogger is being naughty and I'm tired of being nice.

Ever had one of those days when you're swamped, have a ton and a half of things to do yet find sitting at the computer way more satisfying or, at least, more fun? That's today, Saturday, I've already been to the feed store and bought cracked corn for the old sheep, stopped at the grocery and bought food for the humans, came home and unloaded everything then thought about all the work I had yet to do. Then I hightailed it to the office to sit in front of the computer and play. Which is okay except I'll wreck havoc on myself playing catchup later. Like someone once told Dave, "goofing off is no fun unless there's something else you're supposed to be doing." If I wasn't so close to finishing this entry...note...that's been several hours ago now because for Some Unknown Reason this entry keeps getting rejected!...scowl, hiss, moan...I've taken a leave and am now back, trying again for the umptenth time...I'd go downstairs and make a pot of tea in my 'new to me' thrift store find teapot. I adore things that are beautiful and functional as well. I suppose too many years of hearing, "pretty is as pretty does" makes me think form without function is wasteful.

Check out Faith Folk blog where Pam Warden is having a fun giveaway. While you're there, visit for a while and calm yourself; you'll be glad you did!

Robin, at the Knittin' Coop, talks about Mary Draper Ingles who lived in Draper, VA down around Wytheville. So, in the re-telling a portion of the story, I thought I'd show some arrowheads and other tools I found here in the Cove. The story goes there was an Indian village here and when the field is plowed, artifacts may be found. Some of these flint pieces who definite signs of being chipped, as in someone making tools.

Back to Mary...her story is, in a word, incredible. On a 1775 July Sunday morning, Mary, nine months pregnant, and four others were kidnapped from Draper's Meadows by the Shawnee's after a raid that left four dead. Three adults and one infant were killed presumably because the adults were too old and the infant too young to make the trip back to the Shawnee village. They would have made slow going for the rest of the war party. The raid was gruesome but, truth be told, probably no more so than what Anglo settlers had done to the native folks. In Tazewell County, when we first moved here, there was a Virginia Department of Highways sign posted that read "Indian Outrage" and detailed the Indian killing some of the Anglo settlers. Shortly thereafter, that sign was removed and a new sign now reads, "Settler and Indian Conflict" which is more truthful. Ah well, history was/is written by the winners and unless/until people protest, nothing gets changed.

From somewhere west of what is now Cincinnati, OH, it took Mary Draper Ingles 43 days to walk 800 miles home to Draper's Meadows. When she arrived in late November, 1775 she was skeletal, naked, had white hair and was only 23 years old. Click on her name to see a map of her amazing walk and read more of her incredible story. Through her Mother's Mother, Dave's mother, Mary Crockett Bowen Bricker, was kin to Mary Draper Ingles so that makes the tale even more me at least. Through the same line, Dave is also kin to the Crockett's of Dave Crockett fame. He and his brother made their way to southwest Virginia and the brother stayed while Davy continued west.

Just about two miles down the road, this barn is on the Bowen family homeplace and, with its limestone foundation and metal roof, looks as if it will stand the test of time.

Crock, as his mother was nicknamed, loved to tell family stories and, most of the time, I loved listening. I tried to get her to write them down or to record them but she wouldn't and now those stories are, just about, lost. My family has such stories and I'm thinking I should take a tape recorder next time I'm with Daddy and Mother and tape our family stories. Daddy's maternal line is Hamrick and there's a bronze statue of Rimfire Hamrick standing at the West Virginia state capital. Rimfire is known as the typical Mountaineer, an example of the sturdy pioneers who built the New World. All the Hamricks are descendants of Patrick who came here from Ireland, landing in Fredericksburg, VA in 1654, and whose sons made their way to Appalachia. Rimfire claimed 4,000 relatives and when he ran as a Republican for House of Representatives in Webster County, WV, told potential voters, "You have me there in bronze, now send me there in person." Rimfire died Easter Day, 1945 and my Daddy can remember him still.

I'm a pretty dab hand in the kitchen, can keep a fair garden and consider myself no slouch when it comes to survival. But, I don't kid myself that I could do what our forefathers and -mothers did for survival. It seems each generation loses a bit of what it takes both physically and in knowledge. How many among us know how to hunt for ramps in the spring or 'sang in the autumn? Why, there are millions who don't even know what those things are and, sad to say, they probably don't care. Come hard times though and people will go back to hunting for wild food including branch lettuce and morels. Come to think of it, some mountain people have never stopped wild food hunting and we eat well, mighty well. There's almost nothing better than a branch lettuce sandwich with a little mayo. Too bad tomatoes aren't in season.

Looky here what the Father gave me last week ~

Blessings ~ family ~ stories ~ beauty ~ wild food ~ heritage ~ legacy ~

Friday, February 20, 2009

Weather, Horses and more Weather!

The weather has been, typically, both spring and winter like recently. One day we'll have snow, blowing snow, high winds; the next day we'll have sunshine, high winds; the next we'll have high winds, snow, sunshine...a little mix of everything but the one constant is mud. Mud cakes the horses but I don't clean them because the mud also acts as insulation, just like the snow when it falls upon their backs. They stay warmer during these nasty, bone chilling below zero winds that have been blowing recently.

American Curly horses are a rare breed horse who are, usually, hypoallergenic for those suffering from horse allergies. Curly horses don't have dander which causes a lot of sneezing, wheezing, sniffling and snorting in humans with horse allergies. The earliest account of American Curly horses is by the Lakota Sioux who wrote of them in their 1800 Winter Count, aka calendar. Curly horses were ridden by the winning side in the battle of the Little Big Horn and were always the horse of choice for warriors, chiefs and medicine men. It's unknown where the Curly originated. All things being possible, they could have come across the land bridge prior to the big split between Alaska and Russia. They could have been here already, a "natural" occurrance in Nature. One thing is for certain, they are totally unlike the Russian Bashkir Curly of the Ural Mountains. Those Curly horses have curls, are smaller in stature but have a seriously nasty disposition; not the calm, curious, kind nature of the American Curly horses. In all the years of having Curly horses, I've never had one person who could specifically say they were allergic to the Curly's. The one man who was sneezing, snuffling, snorting, etc. said he could have been allergic to the sheep, the grass, the hay, the dogs, cats even the air. Poor guy; his wife was Absolutely Adamant he Would Overcome His Allergies so he could Ride Horseback With Her.
WHEW! Sometimes I wonder how that marriage turned out.
Meri Go Lightly leads the herd as they race to get the choicest flakes of alfalfa I'll throw across the fence. These horses are 'easy keepers' and I don't feed them a lot of rich hay which could cause colic and even worse health problems. They get a flake, or bat as they are sometimes called, every day and free choice hay as they want. The free choice hay is in one pasture and I feed alfalfa in another pasture so they get plenty of exercise. Dandy Man, a close second, races along the fence line, wondering just where I'll stop to throw hay.
Horse Speak:
Dani Girl: Hey Big Feller! Would you like to rub noses?HayJ: Ah, not so much.Peaches: I'LL SAY WHO CAN RUB NOSES AND WHO CAN'T RUB NOSES! I'M ALPHA MARE OF THIS HERD!
Peaches is now backing into HayJ to let him know he can either 'immediately move!' or risk a kick to the chest. Now, even though HayJ is a bigun, he knows enough to know a chest kick will hurt like the dickens. He moves away while Dani Girl is wondering who died and left Peaches in charge.
This week we've had snow one day and clear weather the next...all week long. The clouds have been so low, the mountains have been blocked from view.
Every morning I count heads, both horses and sheep, to make sure everyone is on their feet. Then, and only then, do I allow myself a cup of coffee. If there are problems, I dress and head out to the barn and/or pasture before coffee.
Yesterday, all day long, it snowed like it was never going to stop. Abigail and I took a ride down the road in Ranger, our Man Magnet, and found several opportunities to take photos. The above photo is coming back home, down Cove Road, looking toward the end of the valley.
Abbie, wearing her Army green sweater, takes her job of shotgun quite seriously.
When I'm standing in our driveway, down at the barn lot, I can usually see quite a distance. Not yesterday though; visibility wasn't good at all. This is the same view of the photo after the horses, above.
Usually, looking towards the barns, I can see Morris Knob in the distance. Morris Knob is the tallest mountain in our County and stands at about 3400 feet. Thistle Cove Farm is about 2400 feet and the coldest recorded spot in the county. Makes me shiver just writing the words! Our expected weather for the next week is snow, snow and more snow. God alone knows how much snow we'll get but I'm trying to get ready for anything.
I love this sign! Whenever we go to Abingdon, Bristol or beyond, we pass by this market where the folks who have written bad checks are given a, very public, opportunity to make amends. The name always changes so perhaps amends are made. I hope so; how unfortunate the circumstances that would cause one to have their name on such a sign.

When we've left this old world, the only thing we truly leave behind is our name. Everything else is something we've only held onto for a while, things that belonged to someone else before us and will belong to someone else after us. It's our name, our good name, we leave for all posterity. Live so your name will be uttered fondly with kindness; live so your legacy is a good name.
Proverbs 22:1 "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."

Blessings ~ a good name ~ weather ~ horses ~ Abigail ~ signs ~

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I Am Angry...

and don't really know how to, effectively, say my piece so I'll let two other women tell you what's so disturbing.

Pam Warden brought it to my attention when she published Heidi's, at Mom's Ministry and More Valentine's day post about child pornography and President Obama's nomination for Deputy Attorney General Mr. David Ogden. A Voice for Mom's post, yesterday, puts forth more information about why Mr. Ogden is not the best nominee and what he's supported in the past that leads any sane person to question why President Obama thinks Mr. Ogden should even be considered much less nominated for Deputy Attorney General.

So much for platitudes like "the children are our future".

If you find this as disturbing, please contact your Senator and let him/her know you do not support Mr. Ogden for Deputy Attorney General and why you don't support him. Senators, legislative records, committees and more information may be found here.

Blessings ~ vigilant women and men ~

Monday, February 16, 2009

Blogland Free Stuff

Doncha just love free stuff? Hey, Jennifer...I'm talking to YOU -smile- 'cause you've already said you love free stuff. Okay, here's my secret... Blog Giveaways. Yep, as a hobby, this wonderful woman has a blog called Blog Giveaways where she lists bloggers and what they are giving away. She also tells the suspense date so you know to skeedaddle or stroll; what an AAAbsolutely nice thing to do!

Quilting on a Budget is giving away an OTT light. Yep, you read that OTT light! Those things are fabulous, especially for 'older eyes' but any eyes will benefit from this full spectrum light. I've bought other 'full spectrum lights' but they aren't anywhere nearly as good as OTT lights.

East Coast Tropics
is giving away some beautiful hand crafted soap that looks like it should be eaten, not used in the bath.

Rose is giving away THREE pendants to three lucky winners. I just love that fused glass jewlery but have no clue how to make it. It is beautiful though.

Jersey Bites is giving away Tahitian vanilla beans...oh gosh, I do love vanilla flavor. Around here when I asked at the grocery, "do you carry vanilla beans?" I was told, "vanilla isn't a bean, it's a liquid." Gosh. Who knew?

Cherish Collages
is giving away a photo story book...wonderful gift...check it out.

If you win anything, please let me know so I can share in your joy.

Blessings ~ kind folks who give away gifts ~ blogland ~ jewlery ~ Blog Giveaways Woman ~

Grosgrain Fabulous

There's an incredible RED 'Conservatory Overcoat' giveaway at Grosgrain Fabulous; go visit to see the photo and sign up. This woman is **self-taught** and that simply blows my mind. Probably because I can still remember the wicked home ec teacher of 9th grade who made me rip out NINE TIMES...yes, as a matter of fact I CAN still remember the number...the skirt zipper because, "it's just not quite right, dear."

Well, she never wore the skirt, I did and, trust me, it was okay with me by about the third rip out. Even though I'm the first born in the family, I've never had that pesky "perfectionist" attitude that troubles so many first born children. I mean, there's a TON of stuff to do in this old world, why waste A Single Mo on perfection when that's God's department in the first place?

Blessings ~ bloggers who give great stuff away ~ good self esteem without negative tendencies such as perfectionism ~ time to surf the blog and run across wonderful folks doing fabulous things ~

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sabbath Keeping

This weekend has been very quiet...too quiet. We miss the happy sounds of family and are, fast and furious, talking ourselves into more house companions. I didn't get to Dr. Bill's office to get kittens last week but, I think, this needs to be done asap. On the way home from church, we saw an older kitten with a younger kitten...mother and child kitten...playing alongside the road. Dave stopped so I could try and catch them but no, they were wild as march hares and streaked away. Needless to say, I didn't get a photo of the cats but did get a photo of my 'up the road' neighbor's sheep; don't they look all wise and mysterious?
Also, on the way many deer do you see?

Yes, I've come to a lowly end...trying to chase cats through the brush while I'm in my Sunday church clothes. I'm sure people passing by had a good laugh. Many, many years ago our truck was parked in the middle of the road, emergency flashers and lights blazing, door left open and I'm crawling on my belly like a reptile, trying to catch two puppies someone had dumped on the side of the road. Mind you, this was about 9 or 10 at night and I was not going home without those puppies!

Another truck came around the curve and slowed down. "Uh oh, dear Lord please protect me, your ejit daughter." I got up, went to the truck and saw two men and a little girl. The driver asked, "what in the world are you doing?" I explained and he said, "okay, I'm helping you 'cause there's no way I'm leaving you here by yourself." He did and between the two of us we managed to catch both puppies and I brought them home and, eventually, found homes for them.

Flash forward a few years and I meet a woman named Esther who invites me to Thursday night quilting group. I go and, eventually, meet one of her sons, Brian, his wife Donna and little girl, Miss K.

Brian takes a good look at me and says, "OH, you're that CRAZY woman picking up dogs by the side of the road!" Yep, those many years ago, it was Brian who stopped to help me catch the puppies. We've had, several, good laughs about it and, for him, it's nice to put a name to the face. For me also, although, I must admit I was so focused on those dratted puppies, I paid little attention to the people in the truck. Miss Hattie Cat, licking her chops, after being fed. She's another rescue from the barn and is about three years old now. She's a thug and best enjoys hiding, then pouncing on whomever happens by, but not all of us appreciate her sense of humor.Sorry this photo of Carly is so terrible but it's difficult to take her photo. When Carly wants corn, any treat for that matter, she'll come up behind me and paw my leg until I pay attention and give her what she wants. She's a persistent little thing with sharp hooves and has taught her sons, Samuel and Simon, her wicked trick. It used to be a lot funnier...those three coming up behind me and pawing me with their sharp little hooves. I've, almost, gotten used to all the little hoof bruises. When I first got animals, people would look at me like I was an abused wife. I tend to bruise very easily and if someone looks at me hard, there's a bruise. Well, it's not quite that bad but I do bruise easily. Now, I think people are used to seeing me black and blue and Miss K., the child mentioned above, will circle around me, counting bruises and laughing hysterically. Trust me, it's always a lot funnier counting than being the one counted but I'm not giving up my animals, I don't care how many bruises I collect.

Full moon earlier this week and I love to roam the pastures, with the dogs, sheep and cats, when it's a full moon. It was also warmish for this time of the year and simply BEEEYOOOUTIFUL! Cold weather is coming and it will be soup and bread later this week, beef bones are roasting in the oven now and tomorrow I'll make beef stock for soup. My to-do list seems to grow, not shrink and this week is full of chores in the house, in the barn and in the studio.

Before I know it, it will be Sheep Shearing Day and we're expecting a big crowd this year. In the past, I've always had hot dogs...which I hate but they are easy, fast and cheap...but this year I'm fixing a huge pot of soup and several loaves of bread. That should hold us and anyone else who shows up.

Time for sleep; are you getting enough rest? Probably not and you really should remedy that situation. Are you overweight? If so, please lose a few pounds. Remember this - the more baggage the shorter the trip so eat nutritious foods, get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water and stay away from people who make you cranky. Life is short, do your best to make it a great trip.

Blessings ~ friends ~ good food ~ restful sleep ~ God's creation ~ my critters, beasts and varmints ~ a full moon ~

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Feet Have Wings

Most days I go like my feet have wings. I wake up when the sun wakes up, usually, although lately I've been sleeping in...a lot. When Dave's mother was alive, I slept lightly because I needed to make sure she got back to bed, safely, when she awoke during the night to use the loo. An overwhelming majority of elderly, break a hip then they fall but Mrs. B. had the bone density of an 18 year old so my concern was she would stumble and fall, then break a bone. I slept lightly.

In addition, Shaddie would wake me during the night. As an older girl, she had to use the bathroom about every four hours and I needed to awaken to make sure she got outside. I slept lightly.

So, for years and years, I've not had an uninterrupted night's sleep at home. Dave will tell anyone who will listen I am the most sensitive person he's ever known to sleep depravitation and missing a meal. In both cases, I tend to hit the wall fast and hard and "cranky" doesn't even begin to define me. I've really enjoyed my l-o-n-g restful nightly sleep lately but know it's coming to a shorter end. As days lengthen and the sun comes up earlier, I'll get up earlier as well. I enjoy being awake during daylight hours and, just as much, enjoy being asleep during dark hours.I found this praying mantis cocoon yesterday, when I was clearing out the flower bed. It was so beautiful and I'd spent a lot of the day writing a magazine article, with photos, and I, desperately, needed a break. Thirty minutes of physical labor soon restored my head to rights.

Grace, left, and Abigail, right, are showering me with LUV. Gracie is the one who always wants to snuggle up, kiss and tell me her thoughts while Abigail is the jealous one who wants to push Grace out of the way. They are both foundlings who have been with us almost twelve years but God alone knows their real ages.
Gracie loves to tell me about her day and with those adoring brown eyes she always looks part human.
We've had extremely high winds as evidenced by our metal sign blowing to and fro. The weather report called for 60 to 75 mph and I think it must have been that bad during the 0 dark thirty hours. A goodly portion of our oak tree was broken off and this is the spring we'll need to plant some new trees in the front yarn. Dave wants some white birch so I think I'll plant seven in a little group in the corner of the yarn. That should look beautiful as time goes by. I want to plant another oak and perhaps another maple while fruit and nut trees will be planted in the garden.
The stables are old, pre-War of Northern Aggression and have a lovely patina. Someone hung up this bit and horseshoe years ago and I've left them because I enjoy the way they look.
You can see in this photo where someone has leaned their left hand against the railing as they used their right hand to open the door. Signs are all around us if we stop, look and think but, unfortunately, most of us are too busy to take the time. Hard to understand, that, when time is all we've got anyway.
When I got to the barn, Thomas was cast...meaning he'd laid down but couldn't get back up without help. He's on a slight incline and was a bit off-balance and all he could do was wave his legs, helplessly, in the air. Zacheous, his steadfast friend, had settled near Thomas' head so Thomas would know he wasn't alone. It took me a while to get Thomas to his feet and hold him steady so he could regain his balance and barn legs. Other than being ancient, he's none the worse for the wear and, eagerly, ate his cracked corn and hay. The water bucket is a bit low so I know they are drinking and that's a good thing as well.

Proverbs 18:24 says, "...there is a friend that stickedth closer than a brother." Zacheous couldn't do much but he did what he could do. Shouldn't this be the case with us? Even when it's nigh impossible for us to do much of anything, we can lend an ear, say a prayer, make food, offer to clean house...there's so much we can do other than say, "call me if you need anything." Love is a verb, isn't it? This is the bookmark I'm sending to Bethel in Australia; it's one-third of my obligation to OWOH 2009 Event. The photo is a bit dark but is still a good representation.

A neighbor stopped by to tell me friend Anne has been placed in a nursing home; she's my oldest friend in Tazewell and older than me by a year. She has Alzheimer's and has reached the point where full time nursing care is required. It's difficult watching someone you love slip into the twilight, knowing there's nothing to be done to restore wholeness, nothing that will break through the dusk to tell her she's still loved, nothing to save the years. In these last years, I've done what I could but now she's been moved and we may never visit together again, the memories will have to suffice.

Ah well, so much we'll never know this side of the veil.

Blessings ~ Anne ~ Nature's Wonders ~ Proverbs ~ OWOH ~ Grace and Abigail ~ A Lovely Day ~

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

You're All Winners!

One World One Heart 2009 is now over...all except for the naming of the giftees.

It's been delightful meeting so many new people, visiting so many new blogs. It's also been a wild day; we've had rain and winds of 50 to 65 miles per hour which will continue until tomorrow. Or, so I'm told. I've spent much of my day battening down the to speak.

The following will receive gifts and tomorrow, Thursday, barring unexpected happenings, I'll post photos and finish bringing up to date.

KJ won the yarn.
Bethel of Bethania in Australia won the bookmark.
Ragamuffin Gal won the tea cozy.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Sabbath Keeping

The recent snowstorm is nothing more than memories and photographs; perhaps a skiff of snow on the tallest peak in Tazewell County, Morris Knob, pictured above. Here, I'm looking from the alfalfa field, looking across the side and lower pastures, across Rt 91 and then to the Knob, as it's called around here.
Clinton has begun lambing and this is one of the first. It's a down breed mix, primarily Suffolk is my guess and just a few days old. Somehow he managed to get outside the fence so I picked him up, held him for a few squirmming moments and then placed him back inside the fence. He's wild and hated being held but that's the price he has to paid to be put back with Mama. At least I loved on him a bit, Clinton would have tossed him through the fence and said, "get tough!" Yes, Clinton thinks I'm a softie as well as a "hobby farmer"...strong words indeed! And, he's right -smile-.
Psalm 50:10, "For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills."
Buster Brown passed away this weekend and was buried in his clothes. People have asked me if I shear them when they die and have fleeces this lovely. The answer is, "I simply can't." I just cannot send them to their grave nekkid. I know, I's tremendously foolish of me but, for me, it's just wrong. Buster Brown was a good friend for a good many years. I have so many fond memories of nose kisses, head rubs, warm sheepy breath with the smell of alfalfa as he would rub his head against my cheek. He would stand with his head raised when it was time to take his de-worming medicine; not many will stand quietly. He would, slowly but steadfastly, come when he was called. He would allow me to love on him as he stood, patiently, accepting my love with his unwavering heart. He returned that love, unconditionally and always with calm acceptance.

I'm not a good farmer; however, I am a good steward of my animals and that which God has entrusted to me. I'm given the privilege of caring for these "beasts of the field", for tending to their physical needs -food, water, shelter- and I count it all joy. I do realize they aren't humans, truly I do, but I also realize this is the work of my hands as well as my heart and in order for me to stand in the face of God and have Him say, "well done thou good and faithful servant", I must do those things necessary to take extremely good care of His creation.
Zacheous is one of Buster Brown's barn buddies and is almost as ancient as Buster. He's slowing down rapidly but still loves to eat cracked corn out of my hand, drinks his warm water and, if I'm seated, will come to be loved, hugged and kissed.

These are the days that make up the moments that make up my life and, surely, my cup overflows.

We've been off the farm since Thursday past; Dave had a biz meeting in Richmond and I tagged along to use the hotel "heated"...and I use the word loosely...pool, hot tub and other facilities. Truthfully, it was a chance to visit friends and family in central Virginia.

As usual we got a late start but managed to get to RIC with a few moments to spare before city folks call supper...on Thursday night. Friday was spent running errands, lunch with friend Peggy, back to the hotel to use the pool, etc. before getting ready for another biz dinner with Dave's associates and friends. Saturday was spent with friend, Mary Lois, and we had a blitz run at the Goodwill store. I found some absolutely lovely things, will post a photo later, and enjoyed my girlfriend time. We finished up the weekend by visiting my Beloved Sistah then Mother and Daddy before heading home early today, Sunday.

This week will be spent getting ready for the One World One Heart finish, will complete some textile postcards...much overdo to be mailed...will mail out a couple of Ravelry swaps and deal with whatever crops up at the last moment. Something always does and I've found it pays to be, a bit, prepared. HAHAHAHA!!! rolling on the floor, madly laughing because LIFE HAPPENS and all I can do is, mainly, hang on...

Also this week, I'm headed to Dr. Bill's Princeton vet's office to pick up a couple of kittens. It's awfully quiet around here and we need some young blood. Although, Miss Kitty is now biting my fingers as I'm typing because my hands are busy but NOT PETTING HER! My animals only wish I knew my place as well as they know my place -smile-.

There are some folks who have decided this blog worth being a touchstone and I am grateful. I adore net-meeting people, seeing what they are doing, how they are living their lives and faith...when you make an opportunity, share the love and please visit Pam Warden, an incredible artist who melds her Christian faith with her artwork...AAAmazing!, Jaime, Rapunzle, Cowgirltazz, Jeweled Elegance, too cool work, KathyB, Jacob sheep aplenty, Penny, lovely visit, Gail, ---and please remember Gail and hers in your prayers...God is allowing them to go through some really rough times---, Leslie my Meadows of Dan neighbor and Robin my near Roanoke neighbor.

We're all in this thing called "life" pays to hold hands, treat others the way we want to be treated, forgive each others and ourselves and to keep the faith but, especially, cultivate praying friends for those times you're too exhausted to pray for youself!

Blessings ~ beautiful places ~ love for one another ~ prayer ~ praying friends ~ blogland and blog friends ~

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Cove Snow Storm

My square hay is kept in the barn loft which is accessible from three different doors, all of which are kept locked. When we first moved here nothing was locked up but times are hard and these are different days; now, everything is kept under lock and key. Here, I'm standing in the loft, staring down into the tack room where I keep cracked corn, sweet feed, cat food and other animal essentials.

I'm standing in the loft door facing the front of the barn, where I back the Polaris Ranger into place so I can load hay. Today I loaded eight square bales...yeah, yeah, I can see they are truly rectangle but farmers call them square bales...which weigh between 65 and 75 pounds each. My neck and shoulder muscles are crying like babies and as soon as evening chores are over, I'm headed to a deep tub of HOT water.
This is the hay loft; ain't it just BEEYOUTIFUL!? I truly adore barns and think we've got one of the prettiest I've ever seen. It was built prior to the War of Northern Aggression, has a limestone foundation and is built with pegs and handmade nails.
Our road, Cove Road, probably, won't be cleared today as we're a secondary road and only three families live here full time. There are a couple of other houses but they are empty. Cove Road is also a dead end road and the road into which Cove Road empties is called Maiden Springs Road which is incorrect as there's only one spring but try telling that to the folks who named it. They named it incorrectly and, now, won't change it because "it's too much trouble". It's also Route 91, the only dirt primary road in the Commonwealth of VA. Strong men have been known to weep and saintly women to curse upon driving Rt. 91 across the mountain. There aren't any guardrails and a fair number of S turns, U turns, switchbacks and sheer drops into mountain air. Generally, we have a tractor trailer, or three, try and go across the mountain...even though the signs say, "NO tractor trailers" because, "the map says it's a primary road." I don't believe even one tractor trailer has made it around the first S curve; usually, they go over the side of the mountain and then tie up "traffic" all day. Hey! We call tractors traffic, don't you?
This is silage which is corn and corn stalks that have been cut in the summer heat, churned up into a "mash" and then piled into keeping areas. It ferments and, eventually, smells a bit like sour mash which I think smells good. A lot of non-farming types, including Dave, think it stinks. The birds won't visit my bird feeder in the winter because they'd rather eat silage. They swoop around, alight on the fence, fly down into the's fun watching them do their aerials.
Abigail and I headed down Cove Road today because we wanted to enjoy the beautiful day and I wanted to take some photos. Our nearest Cove Road neighbor, about two miles down the road, has one of the largest sheep flocks in the Commonwealth. The sheep had worked a gate loose and were in the road, eating spilled silage. I love the old barn, what character!
This constitutes a traffic jam. I waited until this car passed and then I parked my Polaris Ranger and managed to get the sheep back into their pasture. It's just being a good neighbor and Clinton has done similar for me. He knows my flock is ancient and, sometimes, he'll see a sheep that's cast...meaning, the sheep is lying down and can't get to its feet...and Clinton will climb my fence to right the sheep. I went to Clinton's house and told him what I'd done. I also wanted to check on his Mama, she's been ailing but is coming home today. I know she'll be happy to sleep in her own bed tonight!
This is John and he's feeding out silage to his cattle. He's the brother to Dr. Anne, our vet, and such a good young man. He and his wife have a beautiful baby boy...he's the little boy I made the John Deere tractor quilt for...and I love catching up with the news in their lives. John's wife, Miss A., works for Dr. Anne so we're accustomed to telling one family member something to pass along to another family member. We all live in a very small valley so it pays to establish good ties with each other; we all depend upon each other, one way or another.
This is Trouble, doing what she does best...eating. She'll stand and chew hay, apparently delighted with herself, thinking she's doing something wonderful. My sheep tickle me.
And, Carly, pretending she's a camel. Carly is one of the matriarchs of the flock and loves to come when I call her. She knows there's generally a small treat of cracked or whole corn, a cookie or some other goodie.
My Polaris Ranger, aka my Man Magnet. This is The Most Fabulous Utility Terrain Vehicle EVER! It starts, it goes, it has four wheel drive, independent suspension on every tire, a load leveling capability, will go far faster than I'll ever need to, will carry +1,000 pounds, will pull about the same and looks like a Moon Buggy. Every time I drive this thing, meaning every day, some guy will stop me and talk about what a great vehicle it is. I told John this morning, "this Ranger is my Man Magnet. You know how guys drive cars that are chick magnets? Well, this Polaris Ranger is a Man Magnet." I think he was as amused hearing about it as I was in the telling.

Hey Polaris --- THANKS for making the Ranger; it makes my farming life a whole lot easier!
Buster Brown getting his morning feed of cracked corn. He wouldn't drink any warm water this morning and I think he's getting closer to saying good-bye. He's had a great life, has been petted and loved on more than a lot of people...sad commentary on how we humans treat each other...but I think he'll be ready to cross over and be with our other beloved animals. Look at that Roman nose, how very Romney!
The driveway had drifts of three feet, perhaps more. It was an interesting morning, walking down to the barn.

The snowstorm is a humdigger...about ten inches on the ground and more coming down, hard and fast. Thank God we didn't have the wind chill we were folks were calling for somewhere around fifteen below zero F and that's enough to suck the life right out of my lungs!

It took a while to do chores this morning because the snow drifts are anywhere from two to three feet deep. Abigail looked like a deer as she was pronging from drift to drift. I made her wear her Army green sweater, which she hates, but it keeps her warm. She's at an age...aren't we all?...that she needs to retain as much body heat as possible, stay as warm as possible but still have a good time doing it. She acts like she think she looks goofy and doesn't seem to care that I look even goofier in my Goofy hat, sweatpants and five layers of clothing. I'm warm and don't really care what I look like and neither do the animals...they just care the hay is coming at a fast and furious pace.

I adore tending to my animals, taking care of this farm. It's a blessing to have the strength to do the work God has set before me and I'm so very grateful.

Blessings ~ strength ~ Polaris Ranger ~ Buster Brown ~ Abigail ~ Carly ~ Trouble ~ neighbors ~ snow ~ our valley ~

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Winter Storm

We're in the midst of a winter storm, had about six or eight inches of snow last night and it's still snowing. The wind is calm so the 26 degrees F feels like ten degrees warmer and it's not long before I'm shedding layers of clothing. When it's frigid cold, nothing says comfort like being warm whether layers of clothing, a hand made throw or home made soup. Work is my panacea for just about everything that ills me, no matter physical, emotional or spiritual.

I've heard it said that Appalachians fight, pray, work and drink just about better than anyone and me and my near kin are no strangers to the middle two. We're not much on fighting or drinking but I've sit, fairly enthralled, as an older cousin told tales of his exploits as he ran the roads in his younger days. Why is it some of us waste so much of our youth on craziness? I fairly weep when I think of all those days I could have been doing some good as opposed to being a layabout and gadabout. Oh, I never did anything tremendously wrong but youth was such a complete and total waste on me. Perhaps that's one reason I so enjoy being productive now.

The rooster throw, above, is for my Beloved Sistah; she has a rooster themed kitchen and it's never been a problem finding gifts because I focus on roosters and chickens. When I found this fleece material, I knew immediately it was for a throw for Beloved Sistah. The throw back is a bright yellow that beautifully complements the rich colors on the front.

This baby quilt is ready to be birthed then hand quilted and finished. I've never been one to use pastels for babies...simply too drab...and I really like this flannel material that depicts travel. The lime green adds a bright touch and the flannel material will keep baby warm. I haven't a clue where this quilt will go but there's always a need and it always seems to find me; at least, now I'm one quilt readier.
John Deere fleece throw is for my BIL who is retiring soon from a corporation and then wants to farm his family farm. This throw, probably, isn't large enough but it will keep his torso warm as he's napping in his recliner.
Maiden Spring is underground until it emerges here, down the road about two miles. It's our water source and as pure and sweet as only limestone water can be.
Round hay bales remind me of Shredded Wheat cereal sprinkled with sugar.
Every morning I feed the horses a small bit of alfalfa. They have round hay bales to eat whenever they want but I enjoy giving them a bit of a treat. Also, it allows me to eyeball them, making sure everyone is well, on their feet with no problems.
Abigail, my rough coat Jack Russell, is my constant companion and helps with farm chores by making sure everything is all right. She gets from pasture to pasture, lot to lot by jumping through the fence. She looks like a pole vaulter as she leaves the ground, twists her body as she clears between the two fence rungs.
Our stables is also our hay barn and where we store square bales of sweet smelling alfalfa hay. The barns and other outbuildings are sided in rough cut hemlock which we'll allow to age naturally. These old barns were here prior to the War of Northern Aggression and will be here long after we've gone.
Boscoe, our back porch cat, enjoys slumming; he goes to the barn in the mornings to make sure the barn cats are kept in their place and he gets a bit of Meow Mix as a treat. The barn cats get Meow Mix cat food and, up at the house, Boscoe gets Purina One. The Meow Mix must be more highly flavored because TC also used to enjoy slumming and would insist on being given Meow Mix when she visited the barn.
Goldy, the gold fish, swims in the water trough where s/he keeps algae at manageable levels. S/he was purchased in a 5 for $1 group about ten years ago but is the only survivor. Frankly, I think s/he ate the rest of the bunch. He gets a bit of cracked corn or sweet feed as a treat but seems to have done quite nicely on algae. Dandy Man, one of my American Curly horses, is looking into the trough, probably trying to figure out if it's worth trying to get those bits of cracked corn.
This is Thomas; poor old, trembly, frail, fragile, toddery Thomas. But, he still loves to eat cracked corn, sweet hay, minerals and drink warmish water so I still tend to him. I have huge loyalty issues, have you guessed?
Taken from the upstairs window, at dusk, looking toward the support buildings. The far right is the run in shelter for the horses combination storage barn; the middle building is the stable/hay loft/tractor bay; the far building on the left is the farm office building; the middle building on the left is the grainery and the smaller, near building on the left is our livestock scales.
Until we purchased the electric water bucket, this is what I had to look forward to every morning.
The walnut tree in the back pasture looks lovely against the skyline.
So, this is my day at Thistle Cove Farm. After chores, I head to the studio where I work on projects and enjoy my day. In the winter I listen to books on CD but in the summer the windows and doors are kept open so I can hear God's voice in nature. The crock pot is full of soup, there's cheese and garlic bread waiting for the toaster and all's right with my world. Hopefully, it's the same with your world.

Blessings ~ soup ~ bread ~ chores ~ fleece throws ~ comfort ~ Beloved Sistah ~
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