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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, March 09, 2009

OWOH, Farming, Sheep, Vintage Antiques

Oh My Goodness! I've been missing from the farm and find myself in a pickle of a hurry to catch up. Today was spent catching up on farming, water pumps, hay, moving animals, closing pastures, laundry and a slew of other things necessary for life as we know it on Thistle Cove Farm.

The day started late...ta very much to DST...which I despise even though it gives extra daylight at the end of the day it confuses my body clock and throws off my stride. I got home late afternoon yesterday, after having been on holiday with a girlfriend. It's a yearly trip and one I always anticipate. She has a timeshare in the Caribbean and, very graciously, invites me to join her.

Sigh. It's a tough job but I feel quite up to the task. -smile- I'll show holiday photos in another blog entry. We snorkled in the only USA national underwater park and I'm hopeful my photos captured some of the sea life...such as the 4 foot long...I kid you NOT!...barracuda or the hundreds and hundreds of angel fish, etc.

While I was gone, my One World One Heart parcels arrived and Boys Howdy are they beeeyoooutiful! Kim's earrings are handmade and I just can't wait to wear them. They were packaged with a piece of silk sari yarn, a bit of tissue paper and the earrings were attached to a tea bag and all were tucked into a butterfly card. Is that AAAdorable or what?!!!
Dave bought me some lovely perfume and I'm sure to feel quite la la wearing both earrings and perfume. Kim, these earrings are so perfect for me...organic, handmade, original and Every Single Time I wear them, I'll not only think of your, I'll tuck your name into prayer.

John at Dajon Designs, sent me some hand crafted, beautifully original note cards. He's included birthday, Christmas and blank cards that are both sophisticated and cute. I especially love the cards using felted materials, but then, you knew I would, right? -smile- I'm always drawn to textiles, fiber, felt and the like as well as pottery. There's something about all of it that begs to be touched, felt -ur, no pun intended-, stroked. I'm one of those dinosaurs that still send hand written notes and letters so the cards are expecially welcome. I am a sorry wretch though because I'll only send these precious cards to people I love or think of Very Highly. No mere acquaintance will receive one of these lovelies!John, many thanks for the work of your hands and heart; God's blessings on you and yours and your name will be spoken in prayer every time I send a note card.

Lisa, the OWOH event coordinate, is simply loaded with both creativity and the willingness to make OWOH happen. This was the event's third year, the second year I've participated and this is an event that gives and gives and gives and... People have made friends in blog land all over the world, been introduced to many, many talented, gifted and creative people; had so many lovely comments posted on so many wonderful sites. Please do visit both Lisa's personal blog and her OWOH blog to read more about this generous, talented woman.

Lisa, thank you So Very Much for hosting this event and for allowing me to participate. God's blessings on you, yours and the work of your hands and heart.

Now it's time to f-a-r-m!
The day started with some up the valley neighbors coming to pick up some hay they bought from me. God blessed us with great hay production last summer and Farmer John, photo shown in an earlier blog, puts up our hay for us. He has a John Deere round baler that puts out HUGE round bales weighing about 1400 pounds each. These hay bales are enormous! We're known for the quality of our hay and at $35 per round bale, they are quite the bargain.

After Darell and Robert finished moving the hay, I opened gates so the horses could get into that particular pasture. They have been off that pasture since last summer so were anxious for a taste test. While the horses were wandering around the pasture, Abigail and I went down the road to close off the alfalfa field to them. Sometime around January 1, I always let the horses and sheep into the alfalfa field to graze. It's wonderful forage for them and they are able to graze until around March 1 when I move them off again. It's about that time the alfalfa starts growing again and it's simply too rich to let the horses graze any longer. It can cause serious health problems and even death so, as much as the horses resent my instrusion, they are moved off the alfalfa and put back on lesser forage.

The water for our horses and sheep comes from an underground river and, invariably, once a year the pump breaks and needs to be replaced. It broke sometime either Saturday or Sunday and the fellows took this afternoon to fix it. There are five farms receiving water from this particular pump so we all share in the expense and upkeep. We've begun discussion on possibly changing to a well as it would be cheaper, in the long run, and a LOT safer for the men who have to climb down into the cave. I sure hope we all can agree on a well as I don't like the men climbing down into the cave; the rocks have begun to loosen, some have already slipped and it seems to be a tradegy waiting to happen. To my mind, it's simply not worth the loss of life or limb to continue with the pump.

Daniel and Alpo, a childhood nickname having to do with a beloved pet, had to climb approximately 40 feet down into the cave. It's rather hazardous but they assure me it's safe...or safe until it's not safe...and a job they especially enjoy during the hot summer months. Caves tend to run around 55 or 56 degrees F all year long and makes the job more welcome during summer. Today was a beautiful day, somewhere in the 70's F so the job wasn't too onerous but it takes a fair number of men to do the job. Someone has to go to Lowe's for parts, two men have to climb down into the cave, one man has to steady the ladder and one man has to run back and forth to the truck to get tools. Some rocks had fallen onto the pump and line so the rocks had to be moved...by hand!...and then the pump and lines had to be "torn apart". That was a difficult job as the rocks had smashed the pump and lines so it all had to be forced apart...the twisted, broken lines and the pump.

I came home and made them shortbread and when it was out of the oven ten minutes, I took them shortbread and bottles of water. I figured a break was in order and when they saw the treats they thought so as well! I love making my Thistle shortbread and people love eating it so it's a match well made.

We had a couple of ripe bananas but I won't eat them unless they are green; I enjoy banana flavor but find the texture objectionable. While I'm thinking of it, I'm not so crazy about hen fruit either but do use eggs for cooking and baking. Anyway, back to bananas...I thought about making some banana bread or cookies but then thought...nope! As much as Carly enjoys bananas, she should have them so that's where they ended up...in Carly; looky here as she enjoys her treat. The other sheep think she's a bit off the rail and Carly thinks they are stupid for not enjoying such a lovely treat...just like us humans, eh?

I moved the sheep into a short lot so they could graze some green, growing stuff. Then I let them in with Zach so he could have some company. Thomas died while I was gone so now I need to figure out who to put in with Zach so they will be company for one another. I'm down to 33 sheep and my heart is breaking but that's what happens when it's a No-Kill Farm. My animals are far to important to both Dave and I so we keep them until they die of old age.

While the guys were working on the pump, Rees asked me about my sheep. I told him I was losing them to old age and he laughed and said, "Only you!" It's good natured kidding but he's right. It's painful to see animals go to the slaughter and Dave and I promised them early days they would Never have to worry about that trip. They reward me by producing such wonderful, luxurious fleeces and I feel they earn their keep in that fashion. Well, that and in nose kisses, head rubs, running to greet me when they see me and eating nasty ripe bananas!

I just received an e-mail that Shaddie's brother, Mac, passed away today. Seeing Mac's photo was like looking at Shaddie and the pain was fresh again. Yes, I do get seriously attached to my animals, my farm, my husband, my family, my friends...I have tremendous loyalty issues meaning I'm loyal to a fault. There have been times past when that loyalty has landed me in trouble because the person to whom I was loyal returned my loyalty with betrayal. Yes, it hurts but that's between them and their God. On Judgement Day, it will be them and God standing alone together just as it will be me and God. It's my job to live my life, as much as possible, in a way that I'll hear, "Well done thou good and faithful servant" when God welcomes me home.

Some more goodies have made their way home with me. I'm constantly amazed at what people don't want; Dave is constantly amazed at what I drag home -smile-. I used to use the word "antique" but find language has changed so the appropriate word is now "vintage". Most of our home is vintage antique; we both find it difficult to throw anything away and love things with a history and story. How cozy and comfortable to sit in a lovely chair, to use a beautiful lamp that has given pleasure in the past and now, again, in the present. Heritage and legacy have strong holds on me, the way I live, the way I enjoy life. I fear for those who forget the past or have no past; how can they kow who they are if they have no idea of whence they've come? One of my treasures is a small pitcher that belonged to my Great Grandmother and one lone table knife that was part of a wedding gift to her daughter, my Grandmother. Another treasure is a green hand knit sweater, knit by my other Grandmother, that's a bit too small but I wear anyway. These things bind me to those women, to that time, just as securely as my feet are bound to this good earth and remind me to treasure my time here, to use it to prepare for my time in eternity. I'm but one of a "great cloud of witnesses" and take my job seriously and count it all joy to encourage and pray for others and myself. Daddy likes to say, "I'm ready to go but I'm not homesick"; that's how I feel. I'm ready for heaven but want to stay here as long as possible, as long as there's work to be done.

These metal, vintage, ramps are great when it's time to sharpen lawnmower blades, change oil or other such jobs. I remember these from my childhood and screamed with joy when I saw them in the thrift store. There were a couple of women wandering around and came to see why I was so excited. When they saw these ramps, they smile that kind of smile that says, "she's *probably* not dangerous."

Huh! They just do NOT know how wanted, how used, how LOVED these things will be on the farm. I showed them to the guys putting in the water pump and they got excited enough to make up for those silly women. Farmers know how welcome a pair of ramps are to a farm and the fellows are already wondering when to borrow them -smile-.
When our power goes off, our electric coffee drip pot doesn't work; it simply draws too much current even for our generator. I found this great glass stove top coffee pot; the same kind my Mother and Daddy have used for their 56+ years of marriage. It makes a good cup of strong coffee but I figure if the power is out, a good cup of strong coffee will be Very Welcome. The glass coffee pot is on top of our 1914 Acorn cook stove, a real beauty. It has seven propane gas burners, three electric ovens and a warming oven. The ovens are one of each - hot for bread and cobblers, medium for meats and casseroles and cool for slow cooking. The tea kettle to the right of the coffee maker is enamel and used to make vast pots of tea.



This chair begs for a couple of cushions but is tremendously comfortable without them. It's a low slung chair but perfect for my short frame. I'm about 5'5", I've begun shrinking, but there's just about the same amount of me on top of the waist as below the waist so I tend to get short sheeted in the chair department. I've found thrift stores to be the perfect place to find furniture fit for my frame and when chairs and ottomans are re-upholstered they are fit for a couple of more generations of life. When I ever get my vintage trailer, this chair will be perfect and no, I don't have one yet but I will...oh yes, I will.

This picnic basket is from Harry and David, a chi chi shop that sells all sorts of delicious goodies as well as things to haul those goodies. This picnic basket has Never Been Used! It's a place setting for four and includes plates, cutlery in the form of forks, knives, spoons, wine goblets, napkins and table cloth. I can just imagine using this as Dave and I sit on the front porch, watching the sun set while the dogs and cats snuffle around in the yard and hummingbirds at the feeders. We usually treat ourselves each afternoon to company with each other while enjoying the beauty of this valley. Everyone should have a time, every day, when they rest, renew, refresh and remember the good in our lives, the many blessings we all have. The English call it tea and it's a joy!

The napkins and tablecloth are drying on the line and will be lovely on the front table. Boscoe waits patiently under the clothes line until I'm finished; he wants me to carry him and knows that I will. What simple pleasures life brings on a daily, if not moment by moment, basis.

This post brings me closer to being caught up; sorry for any mis-spellings, etc. but I'm exhausted and ready for shower and bed. Daylight savings time really wrecks havoc with my internal clock and it takes me days and days to adjust.

Anyway. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! Nighty-night all; sweet dreams.

Blessings ~ OWOH ~ farming ~ vintage antiques ~ neighbors ~ shared time ~ sheep ~

8 comments:

  1. I see from your pictures you have sunny weather. Hmm, it is snowing here in the supposed mild Pacific Northwest and there are at least 2 inches on everything outside. You were in the Carribbean? I hope you do post your pictures.

    Looks like you came home to a full schedule of projects and challenges..isn't it wonderful you had some rest and recreation to give you the energy for the challenges facing you ? When is your home due to be repaired from the damage done in the winter?

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  2. Good Morning Kathy - it's sunny and warm here and the mega storm missed us but covered central VA. Mother and Daddy live in Amelia, just outside Richmond, and they got almost a foot of snow.
    We're having a bit of spring like weather before the next storm gets here this weekend; then there's the spring equinox storm around the 21st.
    Not sure about home repairs, we're still waiting on spring so possibly May, sure hope so anyway.
    I'll post holiday photos soon, need to get the underwater camera film developed.

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  3. HI!! Thanks for visiting my blog at Sagewood! and YES that augur was handy handy handy! We'd still be out there diggin' if it weren't for that! Just wanted to let you know..my whole family (moms side) is from your neck of the woods! I've spent many of hours in the Abigindon/Clintwood area. Still have family there! LOVED all your pics..I've visited with you before..and I'm jealous of your stove..so we're even! LOL Hope to visit again soon!! See you on the blog pages!

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  4. Gosh, what fabulous full, rich days you have!! That was really interesting reading about the hay (1400lbs!!!) and the cave where your horse and sheep water comes from. Unreal pictures of the men heading down into the dark, dangerous cave.

    And congrats on your OWOH goodies!!! Such a wonderful event and I also am so grateful and thankful to Lisa for all the hard work she does every year organizing that festival of giving and togetherness!

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  5. WOW. Your photos are lovely and I enjoy your narratives as well. You really did just miss the snow here in Richmond area, didn't you?! You girls were lucky! Another friend of mine went to the Caribbean too...

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  6. Hi,
    Thank you for stoping by my site. Come again. I seem to have a thrift store obsession among others.
    Boy you came home to some fun mail. Don't you love it when that happens?
    Had fun looking at all your pictures.And all your fluffy animals. Looks to me like you keep pretty busy. A picnic on the porch sounds like a very good thing.
    Nancy Jo

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  7. I love your cook stove! Thanks for stopping by my blog and sending me your well wishes. Living on a farm is life at its purist level...source of food, joy, heartache and contentment and learning to muddle through the ups and downs of it all. And, then there's closing the front gate and just basking in our own little world. Jami

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  8. Hi Sage...so now we're even! -smile-

    Hi Bejeweled - so glad we met thru OWOH, that's been continuing fun.

    Hi Cat - the snow missed us at Thistle Cove Farm and, of course, I missed the snow while in St. Croix.
    -smile-

    Hi Nancy Jo - yep, those thrift stores call my name...

    Hi Jami - farming is the richest, fullest life I've ever had and wouldn't change even the sorrow for any other way of life.

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Thank you for visiting Thistle Cove Farm; may God bless you, yours and the work of your hands and heart. My goal is to respond, here, to your comments although it may take a while.