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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.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Merry Christmas and

best wishes for your happiness in the New Year" (this is printed on the card)

(The rest of the card is handwritten.)

"To Mrs. Bowen

From Emily Reynolds Greever"

The above is the front of the card, a trifle smaller than a post card yet a trifle larger than a calling card. Mrs. Bowen is her maiden name and she's Dave's mother and Emily Reynolds Greever a friend from, I believe, the Burkes Garden Greevers.

The back of the card reads:

"She lives near. We never knew her until we moved into our present quarters. She captured us at once. I forget how. It seems we had always known her.

Friends you make for yourself. Neighbors are the gifts of God.

Our neighbor knows how to receive. It is a joy to give to her. She knows how to give. It is done with supreme tact. She lends and borrows in just the right spirit. She is not beautiful, she is charming. She is not pretty, she is lovely.

She is our neighbor."How absolutely delightful! To have received such a card, to have such wonderful things said about one. How many of us receive enough compliments, words of encouragement or just a smile and a warm hello? I found this card while looking through a book; just now, I can't remember the name of the book.

The world strives to tear us apart and a part from one another and from Him. The world strives to belittle us, say we're not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough or not something enough.

STOP! Take a deep breath and repeat after me, "He made me in His image, therefore I am enough." Oh, I'm not denying we have to work on our health or weight or eating habits, thought habits, what we watch and all sorts of things. We are not children of the universe; we're children of God. For the past few days, I've been struggling...yet again...with some old hurts, some words that were spoken about me that simply aren't true; lies, actually, that others chose to believe. Other Christians chose to say hurtful things and other Christians believed them. That hurts more. People could have come to me and asked but they chose not to. It hurt then and, sometimes, it still hurts. Then I put it into perspective. I'm not called to live their life, I'm called to live my life and I choose to live it in Christ. To be the best me I can be, to forgive them for hurting me, to forgive me for becoming weary in the remembering. I choose, again, to forgive them and to forgive me. Even though they have no idea, God knows and it still hurts, but less. The pain is being replaced by the love of Christ and I'm starting to feel whole again.

Being a Christian is difficult, sometimes downright hard. At least it is so for me; perhaps not for others, I don't know. Again, I remember that pesky Velveteen Rabbit. He asks, "what is real?" Real is Christ. Real is allowing Him to do His work in me. Real is being willing to lay aside me so others can see Him.

Blessings ~ Please God, give me the strength to do the work You have set before me. Amen ~

Monday, April 27, 2009

Since The Late Unpleasantness

We're the third owners of Thistle Cove Farm, at least, since The Late Unpleasantness as Leslie Shelor once told me. I've always called it The War of Northern Aggression but I do believe I'll change my mind and, henceforth, it shall be called The Late Unpleasantness. But I digress. Sometime in the late 1860's or early 1870's this farm and some few thousand acres, with barns, stables, smokehouse, slave quarters and home were sold for $300. That princely sum reflects the back taxes owed at that time and an Ohio carpetbagger named Shadrach Meshach Abednego White bought the whole kitncabootle and moved his family south to the Promised Land.

They resided here, in a brick house, until that home caught fire Christmas holidays of 1899. When Mr. White was found, playing poker at the neighboring Joe Black Store, he said, "Let 'er burn! I'll build me another one, bigger and better." Or, so the story is told.

Build he did and what he built was a white frame house because, as he put it, "a brick house would burn." It's not recorded if someone asked about a frame, or clapboard, house burning but I do wonder.

Until 1948 this farm was owned by the White family but was then sold to the Gillespie family. The Gillespie family came here, to the Cove, when a Lt. Gillespie...sorry, can't remember his first name...brought a kinsman of Dave's, a Bowen, back from the Battle of King's Mountain. Mr. Bowen...sorry can't remember his name nor his title...was wounded at King's Mountain and was brought home to either die or be buried.

Gosh, I'm terrible tonight, can't remember squat.

So. The Gillespie feller brings the Bowen feller back home and Gillespie meets a Bowen daughter. Wedding bells, banjer picking and the scene fades.

I don't believe the Gillespie's ever lived here but rented out the farm and homestead. From 1948 until we bought it in 1995, it was never owner occupied. Consequently, the farm became "community property" and was used by anyone, anytime for almost any reason.This I was told when we first moved here and someone said they would "be by later 'cause they needed to do something." Needless to say, that ended. Rather abruptly some would say but it did end. I could see all sorts of contentious, possibly litigious, situations arising and "No Tresspassing" signs were put up immediately.

As we've become better acquainted with our neighbors, and distant kin, we've abated our stance. As long as someone asks permission or it's an emergency, some of the lots are allowed to be used by folks as needed.

Whew! Did you get all that? Stay with me, I'm getting to my point.

Such was the case recently. Bill, a neighbor and distant kin, has a huge, huge operation. How huge? I'm not sure but in the neighborhood of thousands and thousands and thousands of acres. Just like darn near everyone else around here...thousands and thousands and thousands of acres. Most folks are cattle farmers and some keep sheep as well. Everyone has horses as horses are ridden to round up cattle.This little feller was constipated, hadn't had his first poop yet and that's a not so good, very bad, terrible thing. Life threatening as a matter of fact. So, he came via a sled and Mom was walked to our driveway and then Mom was loaded onto the trailer and little one decided It was Not All Right with his little world! He rallied and then climbed out of the sled but I managed to catch him with one hand and take our picture with the other hand.
Red, a neighbor, gives little one a sled ride to their farm so little one can be given an enema. Better you than me, little feller!

I once asked Bill how many cattle he owned and he replied, "Do you means cows, yearlings, heifers, bulls or calves?" I looked at him and said, "Bill, how many moo-moos do you own?" We've both laughed about it because, at that time, it simply never dawned on me to distinguish between them.

But, as many cattle as anyone tends to, it all belongs, ultimately, to God. Psalm 50:10 says, "For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills."

Blessings ~ beef, it's what's for dinner! ~ neighbors ~ legacy ~ and, some would enema ~

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cove Life

Today was breathtakingly beautiful. The sky reminded me of New Mexico, with wide sweeping vistas, white white clouds and the only sounds were song birds, horses, cattle, sheep, dogs and, rarely, a vehicle going from there to somewhere else. We're so blessed to live here, to be surrounded by the beauty of God's creation and the sounds of His universe. And nothing else. How many people live with so much noise in their lives? How do they stand it? Have they become so immune to noise they don't realize it threatens to drown out His voice? I shudder.

The Eastern bluebirds have been nesting for several weeks and I delight in watching them. Unfortunately, they don't realize I mean no harm and, even though I'm some distance from them, they still dive bomb me.
Here, they bring food to either their young or, most probably, the mother on the nest; I'm not sure because I won't look in the box. Time will tell. Evenings find us on the front porch to relax, enjoy the evening, catch up with each other and drink a glass of wine or port. This has been a tradition for many years and the dogs have always enjoyed the day's end as well. Abbie watches over her kingdom, making sure all is well in her world.
The hummingbirds have been back for a couple of days so today I put out feed for them. We enjoy watching their antics, listening to their chatter and keeping out of their way as they race around the porch. Generally, we'll have half a dozen, perhaps more, by early summer. Today, we have two but anticipate more.The two feeders hang on the front porch and I'm entertaining notions of hanging more. Aunt Esther has half dozen feeders, some are liter soda bottles, and she has three dozen hummingbirds visit her every year. Hmmm...more feeders, more hummng birds...that sounds about right.

On the way into the Cove today, we came upon some horses being moved from pasture to pasture. The older boy, riding bareback, was at the back of the herd while a younger boy was walking at the front of the herd. For a while, all was calm as Dave and I slowed to a crawl to stop traffic from racing up on the lads. As they neared the curve of the road, where you see the curved dirt road in the distance, they came upon another pasture of horses. Mayhem ensured as the horses in the road began racing to and fro, calling out to their kin. The pastured horses raced along the fence line and I was concerned the boy leading the herd would be trampled. He had one horse with bridle and halter but the rest of the horses were loose and excited. The older boy motioned us past so we didn't see "the rest of the story." I do know how timid I am in a herd of horses; after all, they are animals and even when handled daily, can become excited and knock each other about. A small human doesn't stand much chance.
Life in the Cove means seeing something different, yet much the same, daily. No matter how much time we give ourselves to get to town, something can always happen to slow us down and remind us what little control, really, we have over this thing called life. Sheep, horses, cattle moved from pasture to pasture mean we creep and crawl until it's safe to pass or the animals have reached their new pasture. Deer or other wildlife crossing the road mean we slow to allow safe passage, tractors driven on their appointed rounds also cause us to drive more slowly.

Farm time is, I believe, more closely aligned to God's time than any other time. People living in cities or urban areas race by the clock while we move to the seasons. Country people have a rhythm that's dictated by the calendar and, pretty much, we have certain things that need to be done on calendar time, not clock time. I don't get very excited about clock time as there's very little I do that's dictated by the clock. As long as I get to the feed store, post office, library...iow, town, between 8 and 5, Monday through Friday, I'm good to go. Church is always Sunday and every now and again there's something special like a community meeting or supper. Generally, I awaken when it's light and go to bed a couple of hours after dark. Unless, of course, like last night when I drank half a gallon of iced tea during the day and the caffeine kept me awake all hours. -smile-

Because Dave and I choose to keep farm time, we have time for ourselves, for contemplation, reflection and enjoyment of our blessings. My days are spent doing those things that give Dave and I an excellent quality of life - gardening, working in the studio, quilting, knitting, spinning, working the horses and sheep, keeping house, baking, cooking - all things that bring not only good food but also enjoyment and pleasure into our lives. Time is made to write notes and letters, telephone and e-mail family and friends and, yes, enjoy a glass of wine on the front porch.

Blessings ~ farm time ~ Cove life ~ horses ~ birds ~ wine ~ calendar time ~

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fiber Arts Friday Carnival

Mary Martin, Lost Arts Guild member and friend, made this AAAdorable felted sheep. She gave it to me when she came to Sheep Shearing Day and I love it. From the heart on either side to the tiny bell to the tiny, tiny braided nose's Beautiful! Mary has alpacas and shearing day is coming up for her. I've seen alpacas sheared but never Mary's alpacas and am looking forward to visiting in early May.
Above, another felted sweater tea cozy; this one with Mickey Mouse on the upper right hand corner. The felted cut out hearts are being tethered, like balloons, with rickrack. Needless to say, it's a work in progress because I'm still not sure where it's headed.

The back side has stars in the top and the lower piece of tulle is being held in place with sea shells sewn on with yellow thread and different colored beads. The sea turtle is nose to button bearing a yellow star and held in place, again, with colored beads.

The piece needs a lot more work before I'm happy, I'm just not sure of the direction it wants to go. Time will tell. In the meantime, I'm working on baby quilts and have half dozen to finish and get to the babies. I've also got a bed size quilt that needs to be finished by end of April, a couple of pairs of pants to hem and more flowers, apple and other fruit trees and the herb and vegetable gardens to plant.

Thanks to hard work, sunny days and clean air I'm sleeping well these nights.

Blessings ~ friends ~ sheep ~ fiber arts ~ work ~ orchard ~ gardens ~ good sleep ~

Photography Meme

Kate, over at Chronicles of a Country Girl, has a photography meme and I've decided to play. If you'd like more details, check out her blog entry for 12 November 08.

Bud Thompson, a Lost Arts Guild member, is our resident blacksmith, farrier and iron worker who has a bunch of stories he tells while he's working at his forge. He was here on Sheep Shearing Day but not dressed in his "pioneer clothes". He's also a low, very low -smile-, tech geek with no computer skills whatsoever so this photo will have to do ya. But, the iron courtn' candle story is a hoot and a holler!

Blessings ~ blogland ~ photography ~ friends ~ Lost Arts Guild ~

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jenny and Heritage Apple Trees

"Jenny, with a J, ta very much," says the new one. She's made herself at home, holds her own against Miss Hattie Cat, the teenage terror and, for the most part, side steps around Miss Kitty. Abigail and Gracie give her plenty of room especially after she smacked Abigail for coming too close to her nether regions. She smacked me as well but, as with Abigail, her claws were drawn.

It amuses me how the cats will claim each others' space. "Oh, you're sleeping on the wool sweater on top of the ledge? No problem, I'll go into the office and sleep on the woolen pad on the chair."

Thus far, everyone is adjusting, humans and animals and that's a good thing.

Boscoe is doing better and he's been turned outside again. His paw looks better and habit tells him to come when called so he's getting his meds twice a day. I think he's going to have to have a second schedule of meds and if I were braver, I'd catch him and pour peroxide on his paw. Perhaps I'll wait for the Cat Sack before attempting such a painful manuover...potentially painful for both of us.

Today was just lovely for being outside and getting outside chores accomplished, so I spent the day planting flowers and fruit trees. The two apple trees are Grimes Golden and Rusty Coat. Grimes Golden is an old West Virginia apple tree found by Thomas Grimes in Brooke County, WV in 1790 although some say later. It's such a beloved apple, a granite monument still stands in Brooke County in its honor. Nearby neighbor, John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, established a nursery and while he's famous for planting apples, not many know the kind of apples he planted were called "spitters". They were so called because of their extreme tartness, even bitter taste to some. Colonial America was founded on cider; it's what people drank in copious quantities and the best apples for cider are tart apples with some sweet apples to offset the tart flavor. IOW, spitters.

Some believe Grimes Golden to be one of the parents of Golden Delicious and is a small to medium sized apple with clean yellow skin when ripe. Sometimes it has russet spots and the apple has a spicy, sweet flavor with a crisp, tender flesh. It's a good all-purpose apple, used for apple sauce, apple butter, fried apples and cider. Grimes Golden is an excellent pollinator, also known as "self-fertile" and the fruit ripesn in late September and over winters quite well.

Golden Delicious, also known as Yellow Delicious, is another West Virginia apple. It was found on the Anderson Mullins Farm in Clay County in 1912 and it's widely accepted that it's from a Grimes Golden pollinated by an unknown pollen parent. One source says the Golden Reinette. Mr. Mullins sold the tree to Stark Brothers Nursery in 1914 for $5,000 to Stark Brothers Nursery and Stark Brothers immediately put up a steel cage around the tree to prevent folks from stealing scionwood for propagation.

Like it's offspring, Golden Delicious is self-fertile and an excellent pollinator. It has multiple blooming periods and the fruit ripes in September but is not a good keeper. It bruises easily, does not store well and is best eaten in hand. Contrary to popular belief, is kin to Red Delicious in name only. Since 1955, Golden Delicious is the official state fruit of West Virginia and since 1972, the Clay County Golden Delicious Festival has been drawing crowds.

The Rusty Coat may also be the Sweet Rusty Coat and is an old Southern apple with a nutty, sweet flavor. The fruit has a very dark yellow skin with red striping and russet coat combination. The man who sold me the apple trees has a box of Rusty Coat's he'd overwintered and the fruit still looked firm albeit going to soft. But, after six or seven months in storage the fruit was remarkable in both looks and flavor. Rusty Coat ripens September October and is good for drying and desserts.

Both my trees are semi-dwarf three year old trees and should reach fifteen to twenty feet at maturity and should begin to bear fruit within two, certainly three, years. Good news, certainly, as I enjoy baking pies, making cider, apple sauce, drying apples and eating out of hand. My brother makes excellent cider using as many as half dozen varieties. His cider keeps well and I've some in the refrigerator that has a nice twang as well as a probable high alcoholic content. It should, it's been in storage for more than a year -smile-.

Blessings ~ apples ~ semi-dwarf trees ~ orchards ~ heritage fruit ~ keeping the past for future generations ~

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Blustery Cold and Snowy Day

It's been a day, several actually, but there's no way to catch up, only to say a few words before getting back into harness and tracks. Boscoe, our little studless muffin back porch cat hurt himself. God, and Boscoe, only know how or when. His front left paw is injured, the nail pulled ??? torn ???? Anyway, it's gone. I bundled him up for a trip to Dr. Anne but forgot the camera so all you've got is my word for it.

At Dr. Anne's office, we bundled Boscoe into a "Cat Sack" so she could examine him closely without the two of us being torn into. That Cat Sack is a nifty thing and I've ordered one. The cat is stuffed into the sack and it zips up, complete with a little muzzle, and velcro on either side allow a front leg to poke out. The top zipper zips both forward and backward so rear legs can poke out...which leg is needed. Poor Ole Boscoe, he was a comical sight although his attitude said there was nothing funny about it!

Upon examination she confirmed my diagnosis...claw gone, infection set in, swelling, pus...the whole nine yards. She gave him a pain shot, upon my request because I figure why should he be in pain, and then cleaned him up. She stuffed antibiotics down his throat and we loaded him in the carrier to bring him home.

Ahem. We also loaded a little orange and white "dreamcicle" female cat to bring home. Someone brought her to Dr. Anne's office and after being spayed, vaccinated and vetted upon, she's ready for a new home. She's somewhere north of five years and south of ten years but she's no spring chicken plus she's small for her age. She's a bony little thing too but I've already started fattening her up. She's been called Honey but that's just not her name. I think it's either Ginger or Ginny but Dave's not sure. So, we wait until she tells us her name; sometimes that can be a day or two, sometimes a week or two. Patience, patience. Whoever she is, she's a good fit with the household...not afraid of anyone, human nor animal and willing to hold her own. In time, she'll provide to be a good companion to all.When Dave got Boscoe home, he was turned loose. We figured he'd be here this morning for breakfast. It took some time and a lot of calling but he finally showed up and now he's locked in the front parlor with cream, water, food, litter box and snuggly bed. He's staying inside until he finishes his meds and I'm sure he's healed nicely. If I could have gotten my hands on him last night, I would have given him another dost of antibiotics just to jump start him.

Here's Boscie, licking his chops after having cream. He's a funny little feller, doesn't want the nice comfy, snuggly bed fixed for him. He wants a nice, quiet, dark corner.We saw snow flakes this morning, high howling winds that threatened to steal the breath from my throat. I set out hay this morning, the horses have pasture, somewhat, but it's not growing in as well as it will be this time next month and they are hungry. My attitude is if they waste a small bit of hay while they are eating to keep warm, that's okay too.

It's too early for Blackberry Winter, that's generally around the tenth of May. I've checked the Almanac and there's nothing on for today but it's sure strange weather. The wind threatens to tear the windows from the frames, the studio is rattling, the studio bell is clanging. It's a harsh day, frightening in it's intensity. It's Earth Day although I'm sure Mother Earth laughs at the idea. Isn't everyday Earth Day? For God, for whom a days is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day...isn't every day "earth day"? It's His creation and, until man and woman stumbled and fell, God was doing a grand job of things. For sure, He loves us a lot.

Blustery cold and snowy day
April's not laying down for May
Wind screams down the chimney to toss curtains aside
Giving rise to the thought of ghoasties and goblins
In the dark, dark ideas arise but banished in the light.
I stand at the window, hoping, hoping for calm
outside, Wind howls, tugs my hair
Wind laughs at my hat and hurls sunshine into heaven
The animals are panicked, horses running on air
Sheep crowded on a hillside
bustling each other for green along the fence
None wanting nor willing to be on the outside line.
Cats huddled in the barn, curled into hay
Cats huddled in chairs, curled into cushions
Dogs at my feet.
We all hunker down, waiting out the storm.

Blessings ~ storms ~ heat ~ strong houses ~ healthy animals ~ sunshine ~ new, to us, family members ~ Dr. Anne ~

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sabbath Keeping

"What I do is me, for that I came..."

There are words that catch our souls on fire, that light the light within, that cause us to tremble, tremble. "What I do is me, for that I came" does that for me. To know my purpose, even to do it with failing strength, with cloudy vision, to stumble, fall and rise to try again...what I do is me, for that I came.

For that I was sent...a likeness in His image to do His will after, first, stumbling along to discern His will. To see through a glass darkly. To know I am righteous because of salvation through Jesus Christ, His Son and not through anything I've ever done, thought or said. To know He loves me with a love that cost His life.

Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, proclaim peace, bring glad tidings of good things, proclaim salvation, and proclaim to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves - goes itself, myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came."

I say more, the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is -
Christ - for Christ plays in ten thousand places,

Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces." Gerard Manley Hopkins

"Faith and doubt both are needed - not as antagonists, but working side by side to take us around the unknown curve."
Lillian Smith

Blessings ~ my little country church ~ doubt ~ faith ~ love ~ Blessed Sabbath ~

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Millie, a Very Dear Friend is a Master Knitter. She probably wouldn't claim that title but she doesn't have to; I bestow it upon her. She's so talented in many ways and this amulet is another example.

Millie made this beaded amulet and it's in a favorite color, purple, with a thistle button. I simply cannot imagine how long it took her, patiently putting beads on a beading needle, following the instructions and finishing with this beautiful piece! She's one of those people who use their time to Make Things and doesn't have a blog. When I see what Millie's been up to lately, I question whether or not I should keep up my blog...but I enjoy my blog so will stay the course. I'll blog about Millie though and sing her praises; she's not going to. -smile-

THANK YOU MILLIE! You know how I adore hand made things and especially when it comes from someone I love so much.

Blessings ~ Millie ~ beads ~ amulets ~ purple ~ thistles ~ friendship ~

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday is Laundry Day

In day's gone by, there was a rhythm and schedule to life that we seem to have lost and our lives, certainly my life, is the poorer. I enjoy having days of the week that certain chores are assigned. While people may have had a different schedule, they still managed to get the same things accomplished.

Monday was laundry day and now it always makes me happy when Monday is bright and sunny so the laundry can be hung on the line. Sunshine serves not only to dry my clothes but also to freshen and disinfect them. There's nothing like sunshine to make things bright and smell wonderful! I try to keep Monday's as laundry but sometimes life intervenes and laundry day is another day.

Tuesday was ironing day; does anyone remember the glass soft drink bottle with the holes punched in the metal top? That was used for sprinkling clothes just prior to ironing them. I love the way clothes smell when misted with lightly scented water. I use a linen, cotton or lavender scent depending upon what I'm ironing and it always smells so crisp. Mom had stretchers and she would put Daddy's work pants on those stretchers to dry without too many wrinkles. She would also keep a bit of moistened laundry, wrapped in plastic, in the bottom of the refrigerator. When she was ready to iron, out could come the pre-moistened laundry. There always seemed to be plenty of room in the refrigerator for the laundry because Mom always made our meals from scratch. With five hungry people at the table, there was little in the way of leftovers. She also had a good sized pantry where the freezer was kept as well as all the canned goods from the summer garden.

Years ago someone was visiting from NYC and looked in my pantry. She saw rows of beans, tomatoes, peaches and other good things. She asked what they were? I asked, "what does it look like?" She told me peaches, tomatoes, etc. and I said, "you're right. I canned those from Daddy's garden and orchard and will eat them this coming winter." She turned to me, eyes wide open and asked, "Is that LEGAL!?"

While it is funny, it's also sad. I fear people don't know what fresh food tastes like anymore and haven't a clue how to can food. Recently, at the thrift store, I found a Blue Ball canner with all accessories in an unopened box. The price was $20 and I was over the moon to find it all. I don't think it's possible to have too many canning kettles and jars.

Wednesday was mending day and all the buttons and torn hems or pants were sewn on this day. I like those iron on patches as well because they lend toughness to the pants, especially jeans. I've heard of adults and children who wouldn't wear patched jeans and I wonder, "why?". Are they so uppity they think patched jeans beneath them? Then I think, "how sad for you and those around you that you, in my opinion, are so falsely proud." I'm talking about wearing jeans for work or play although I'm not above going to town in work clothes. Sometimes the days are so full, it's all I can do to get to town much less worry about my clothes.

I've got a basket of torn and ripped jeans that are headed for a quilt. The jeans are about worn out but still could keep a body warm when quilted with love and prayers. I know another woman who made a blue jean quilt and she says it's quite heavy and extremely warm; I hope mine turns out as well.

Wednesday evening we attended "prayer meeting" at church and stayed for a little while to visit and catch up with folks we hadn't seen since Sunday.

Thursday...I can't remember what happened Thursday other than the usual...meals, homework, etc.

Friday was grocery shopping day and the coupons from the newspaper would be gathered and used. I don't remember the grocery store name but I can remember going there with Mom.

On Saturday, Mom cleaned house and the girls pitched in to help. Daddy and my brother worked the garden, mowed the lawn and did other, manly, chores. I never could figure out why Mom would waste a perfectly good Saturday on cleaning house; now that I'm older, I understand. It was then she had her children there to help and as we all helped dirty the house, it seemed fair we all helped clean the house. Ditto for the food out of the garden.

We children were allowed to watch Saturday morning television, can't remember if before or after cleaning, and I well remember Sky King and of my very favorites! My brother enjoyed police and detective shows and all made an impression on him because he's a retired County Deputy Sheriff.

Sunday we went to Sunday School and church then home for a meal that was already cooking in the oven. We didn't have crock pots so Mom would put the roast in the oven on a low temperature and when we got home three hours later, it was ready and delicious. Sunday evening we headed back to church but sometimes stopped at the Dairy Queen for a soft serve after the service. What a wonderful treat!

On Sunday, we children were allowed to play but not rough house; we were allowed to ride our bikes, jump rope or other similar activities.

Monday though Thursday we came home from school and were allowed to go outside and play before supper. After supper and helping to clean up, we did homework. On Friday, we could put off homework until Sunday evening but had to have it finished before Disney or we couldn't watch Tinkerbelle. Not watching Tinkerbelle *rarely* happened! -smile-

So, back to laundry. Recently on Mary Janes Farm, I asked if anyone would like to swap a clothes pin bag for some vintage aprons. Terri responded and the bag at the beginning of this post is the one she made. It's just beautiful and made of heavy duty material that should last me many years. I like the bright, cheerful colors that sing Laundry Day! Terri is an amazing seamstress and farmer, check out both of her sites, each linked to her name.

I like laundry days and last year Zen Habits had a great suggestion to use a "laundry day" to purge oneself of old tasks, chores, etc. In other words, get that to-do list in a bit more ship-shape order. It doesn't quite accomplish having a daily schedule, but it does help get one in gear and tackle the jobs that seem to pile up. I think I'm going to go back to a schedule, both weekly and monthly and I'm going to use the Zen Habit of one laundry day a month to purge.
I'm also going to arrange the weekly schedule to suit me but I'll keep Monday as laundry day; that just seems right.

Blessings ~ laundry and laundry day ~ clothes pin bags ~ memories ~ family ~ chores ~ slowing down ~

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sabbath Keeping

Why do you look for the living among the dead?

Blessings ~ God ~ Jesus Christ ~ the Resurrection ~ the Comforter ~ Salvation ~ Life Everlasting ~

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Birthday!

"Give me my flowers while I live." Grandmother had this saying on her living room wall and it's always meant the world to me. Why do we wait until someone has passed to send flowers? Let people know you love them NOW, not later. Later may be too late both for them and for you.

Sisters and teachers Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill wrote Good Morning to All which later became more well known as the music for Happy Birthday To You. Patty was born in Anchorage, Kentucky!...I mean, who even knew there was an Anchorage in Kentucky?! and Mildred was born in Louisville and we all know where Louisville is located...right?

Anyway, Mildred specialized in the study of Negro spirituals and, along with her sisters, was honored at the 1893 Chicago's World Fair for their work in progressive education. All three sisters, there was a Jessica as well, were kindergarten teachers and Mildred also a Sunday School teacher.

Patty was key founder of the National Association Nursery Education (NANE), now known as National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

The Hill sisters first wrote the song "Good Morning to All" as a welcome song for children to sing to their teachers. Mildred wrote the melody and Patty the lyrics and the song first published in 1893 in Song Stories for the Kindergarten.

In 1912 Happy Birthday To You first appeared in print and is the most well-known song in the English language. He's a Jolly Good Fellow follows and Auld Lang Syne is third most well-known.

In 1996 the sister's were inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame and about time too!

So, today is my birthday and I want to honor the sisters, Patty and Mildred. Because of you people all over the world sing Happy Birthday To You and, hopefully, someone will sing it to me today.

Blessings ~ Patty and Mildred ~ birthdays ~ music ~ flowers ~ love ~

Friday, April 10, 2009

Project Blogway Challenge

Lisa Swifka and Terisa Brooks-Huddleston have come up with a great idea. You may recall Lisa's name from the One World One Heart blog event and Terisa's blog, Running with Scissors, tickles my funny bone. Visit her to see the "diaper cake" she put together for her brother and sister-in-love's first child...TOO CUTE!

So, the Project Blogway Challenge is creating a "green" garment, all recycled materials and you don't even have to know how to sew! How cool it that! Plenty cool baby! The runway show is May 1 so there's not all that much time to get cracking.

Check it out; you may want to enter. If you do enter, hope you win!

Blessings ~ cool Blogland stuff ~ recycling ~ diaper cakes ~ babies ~ cats ~

Post Script, April 10

Have you read/heard about the 98 year old Italian woman, buried underneath rubble for thirty hours and rescued yesterday?

Seriously, this is no joke. Recently, there was a terrible earthquake in L'Aquila, Italy, a city of about 70,000. L'Aquila is in central Italy and the name means "the Eagle". It's a college town within medieval walls in the wide valley of the Aterno River and surrounded by the Apennine Mountains.

Marie D'Antuono, age 98!, lay beneath the rubble of her home for thirty hours. Her home was a few miles from the epicentre in the village of Tempera. While waiting to be rescued, she kept her hands, and mind, occupied with crochet. No, make that crochet! After being pulled from the rubble, she answered questions and then, before leaving for hospital, asked for a comb as her hair was a mess.

Yes, I can only imagine! -smile- The Italians have a saying "bella figura" which means, roughly, keeping up appearances. I wonder if Mrs. Bucket could have done as well? Do you get the reference?

Blessings ~ Marie D'Antuono ~ crochet ~ rescue workers ~

Friday Fiber Arts Carnival

I've finished a few projects and am posting photos. My apologies to my swap partners because I am, woefully, late in mailing. All of us were late in the exchange but that's still no excuse and I apologize to my textile post cards folks. Next time, I'll have the cards made and *then* join in the exchange.

This post card is encased in plastic wrap, ready to be mailed. There's an opening on the backside for the stamp so it can be hand cancelled. It's entiled M is for blue Monday. Frankly, I have few blue Mondays but the exchange was "M" and I liked the way the blues came together. I especially like the rainbow ribbon around the card. Like Dolly Parton always says, "I figure if you wanna have a rainbow, you've got to have the rain." She recently released "Backwoods Barbie", for sale at Cracker Barrel, and I figure it's got to be great. It's Dolly, right!? I absolutely know she'd make a fabulous Galfriend, doncha think?
The rotten truth be known...? Basically, I'm self taught, using magazines and the i-net to teach myself. The rural area of Appalchia where I live is lacking in classes in the textile arts. There are some quilting classes and I love the little group that has taken me under their wing. They are Teachers, one and all. There's no competition, no rivalry, no oneupmanship. Jut a very real and very basic desire to pass the craft along. I've been to other quilting groups that were a tad "frozen" in their approach. Their words of "praise" were, somewhat sadly, lacking in real enthusiasm. Somehow, "that's nice, dear" lacks the ring of conviction of what we hear in our little group, "HOW BEAUTIFUL! Look at how those colors are put together." Or, "just look at that stitching, how tidy!" These women can find beauty in the simply fact that someone t-r-i-e-d. What a gift, the gift of enthusiasm, of kind words spoken in season. How Very Real!

It's obvious I was on a Blue Monday kick, haven't any idea why, really, but here it is. But, back to the rotten truth. My textile postcards aren't like the textile post cards I received. Those are stunning. They have this stitched edge that's even and goes all around the card; there's, probably, a word for that stitch and a special sewing machine that does that stitch, but I haven't a clue what either is.

My work is, to put it nicely, primitive. Maybe not even that; it's "me" though and I thoroughly enjoy what I do. I just hope the other women enjoy them and, hopefully, have kind words to bestow.

The post card with the yellow felt bird is for my friend, Mary Lois. She and I have been friends for almost thirty years, have seen good times and difficult times, but have been friends throughout. She's a wonderful person and my life has been greatly enriched by her friendship. I know she'll be pleased to receive this little card; she has a grateful heart and is genuinely appreciative.

The bottom card is the M series and this one is for mask, moon, mirror, me in the mirror. Gosh, I was really on an M kick there, eh?

Anna Mary Robertson Moses, aka Grandma Moses is probably one of the best know folk artists and she began painting in her seventies. Few people know she already had a career in embroidery that she gave up due to arthritis. She was self-taught and that gives me courage to keep in the direction I'm headed. I love fiddling around with textiles and fibers and I love seeing how I can take a bit of cloth or sweater and make something useful and pretty. Grandma Moses is a pretty woman, even in old age, and reminds me of Dave's mother. They both have that "grandma" look although Mrs. Bricker wasn't keen on being a great-grandma, however she was proud of having taught hard science at the college level. Both women have that early to mid 20th century "look" pillbox hat with veil, gloves and both have that spark that translates to a love of life, what the French call joie de vie.

Here's to LIFE; may you live it out loud with a grateful heart!

Blessings ~ life ~ laughter ~ the work of our hands ~ love ~ rainbows ~ Grandma's ~

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

One World One Heart

I am late. Woefully late but, hopefully, as it's said, better late than never. I'm a self taught person in, just about, everything I do. While it's true I do have an undergrad degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Recreation, Parks and Tourism, it's also true that program no longer exists at VCU. Why, you ask? Good question. Some person, somewhere along the line decided it was no longer useful or needed. Frankly, that boggles my mind. Tourism is the Number One industry in Virginia, and just about every other state as well, and it amazes me people have no vision. Proverbs 29:18 says, "without a vision the people perish" and it's just as true today as it was some few thousand years ago.This tea cozy is my offering in the One World One Heart 2009 event. Using wool sweaters, bought from thrift stores, I felt them and then use them for various projects. Tea cozies are one of my favorites. They offer a large canvas that's forgiving and easy on my poor hands. My hands take a beating and, right now, I'm still suffering from a fall in January of last year. My left hand broke, somewhat, my fall but it still pains me and there are days it's, virtually, unusable. Lately there have been many such days. I've been getting ready for sheep shearing and my hands have taken a beating and have given me pain in return, especially the left one.

The tea cozy is a felted wool sweater embellished with ribbons, beads, felted flowers, wire ribbon, rick rack, embroidery, angel pin and whatever else I turned my hand to. It's going to Katie S. in Springfield, MO and I'm sure she's wondering if it was all a bad joke. Nope, Katie, it's not a bad joke and you should receive it by early week. I hope you enjoy.

My work in fiber and textiles is from trial and error. I did try taking spinning lessons, once, but the "teacher" was abrupt, hasty and lacking you think I've gotten that across yet? -smile- so I took the one "lesson", left and never returned. I like my work, I enjoy my work and others have told me they do as well. Still and all, there are times I question what I do but then...don't we all at times?The back of the tea cozy has a small, felted heart button. I could have tarted it up a bit more but felt this little heart button said what I wanted to say. The tea cozy was made with love and prayers in the hopes it will get lots of use. Perhaps Katie will even say a prayer for me when she uses it. I hope so.

Blessings ~ OWOH ~ felted sweaters ~ the fits of our hands and heart as well as the work of our hands and hearts ~

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sabbath Keeping

Yesterday, April 4, was Sheep Shearing Day.

Clinton Bell, is shearing one of my Shetland sheep while, in the background, the crowd watches in terror. My sheep are tame, pets all but still aren't crazy about being tipped on their rears in public. They would actually rather lead quiet lives where they only have to see me, preferably with treats of corn or alfalfa. Clinton also de-worms them, gives them their rabies vaccination and, if necessary trims feet. He usually only has to trim feet on a couple of sheep. Clinton says the less stress a sheep has, the less their feet need trimming. One thing my sheep are NOT is stressed! Except on Sheep Shearing Day and then they stand around, stomping their little feet at everyone. Sheep have no defenses except flight and, with pounds and pounds of wool, they aren't all that fast so they stomp their little feet. It's kinda cute to see them angry.
I wonder if that's what it's like with God when He sees us get angry. We stomp our little feet, throw our little tantrums and, basically, can't do much about anything. Except we don't know that or have yet to come to grips with it. About the only thing we're in control of is ourselves and, sometimes, spill the milk with our attitudes.

Anyway, until each sheep was sheared, they would stand around, stomping their little feet and snorting. Poor little dears. They were sheared anyway and felt all the better for it but just wouldn't think it so beforehand.

Daniel Miller, our catcher, is a soft spoken man with a wry sense of humor. He told me earlier today, he slept on the floor last night and woke up stiff as a board today. Shearing and catching is Very Hard Work and I'm indebted to both men for the great job they did. Daniel wears gloves because his hands get very sore when he's catching sheep all day. It's better than being at a rodeo because there's generally no injury in shearing but there's still a lot of 'rassling, tugging and struggling on the part of the men. Some of the sheep weigh more than, a lot more actually, two hundred pounds and Daniel simply has to manhandle them to get them to the shearing floor; they don't go willing, no not one.

Some person, perhaps in desperate circumstances or that's what I want to think, dropped these two beautiful dogs up the road. Friday afternoon, I picked them up, brought them home and fed them. They spent the night in the farm office bathroom, with water and heat, and Saturday spent the morning charming all who saw them. The little black and white smooth coated dog was shivering so I let her borrow one of Abigail's sweaters. Apparently, she loved the sweater and both dogs curled up on the straw bale, close to where they could smell ham biscuits.

At day's end, they went home to live with Fran and she'll spoil them just like they should be spoiled. Happy, happy dogs.

Today is, in a word, beautiful! The temps are in the high 60's, a gentle breeze and the sun to
warm old bones. The sheep are nekkid and happy. My sweet Zacheous is having himself a fine
time and a Big Day. He's not carrying around a weighty fleece, his nails are trimmed, he's had his
rabies shot and de-wormer and all's right with his little world. He's traveled far today, all the
way to the far end of the hillside pasture and is right pleased with himself. It's been a long, long while since he was able to travel so far. Most of the winter he's been kept in the barn with his mates, Buster Brown and Thomas, both of whom are now gone to the Great Shepherd. Zach has surprised me with how well he's done. Yesterday, he wasn't all that pleased with being sheared; he's terribly arthritic and it hurt his old bones to be turned on his arse. After he was sheared, he stumbled around, fell a few times, struggled to his feet but, finally and fortunately, made his way upright and then stayed there. I fed him some cracked corn and that gave him some strength to carry on. Today, his little world was turned upside down when he ventured to parts not seen in months and months.

HURRAH Zacheous! You're doing just dandy!

Blogland has brought many wonderful people into my life; this is June and, with her daughter, came from North Carolina. She's a talented woman and weaves, knits, quilts, long arm quilts and loves Traditional Japanese music. She's the only person I've ever known who loves this music; she also loves Celtic and classical but that's not nearly so esoteric as Traditional Japanese. Thanks for coming, June; loved meeting you, and Kathleen, in person!

Lura is also from NC and a friend of many years. She's a talented woman whose latest interest is making looms. She's doing a great job and soon I'll photo her two of her looms and post here.

Mary gives one of the Suffolk lambs his last bottle of the afternoon. The lambs were a huge hit and loved the attention...especially the bottles of lamb milk.

Leslie Shelor
, Fiber Friend of long standing. We've known each other many years and it was fiber, fleece, and all things textile that brought us together. My life has been greatly enriched by her friendship and I'm blessed by her friendship. Having said all that, this is the first time we've ever had our photo taken together! I suppose we're always too buy "doing" that we don't stop to think "photo". That's now been remedied and I'll enjoy this memory for a very long time.

Leslie always wears dresses or skirts, never pants and I "usually" wear dresses or skirts. Come Sheep Shearing Day though, I wear pants as I'm not partial to showing J. Q. Public the color of my undies. Trust me, the way I twist and turn to pick up fleeces, something is going to show so I want it well covered with pants on this day. I wear aprons a lot as they are So Handy. All those pockets plus keep my clothes clean. Grandmother Bennett was on to a good thing when she wore aprons all her life. Just wish she hadn't worn them out so I could have a bit of Apron Memory.

Gaynell D., Quilt Maker Friend, was caught unawares. She, like most of us, hates having her photo taken but I wanted to show her with her beautiful quilts.

Dr. Anne, our vet, is talking with Bud, Blacksmith Farrier Ironworker. Bud is a Showman Extraordinaire! He tells stories as he's pounding his anvil, making iron courtn' candles, fireplace equipment and other useful tools.

Mary M., yes the same Mary feeding the lamb, is Shearing Day Resident Basket Maker and her work is excellent. You can see her work more closely at Lost Arts Guild and I'm hoping, apparently against hope -smile-, she'll soon start her own blog!

Other LAG folks here were Linda Wright, Sue Shelor and Charlie Butcher who makes lap dulcimers and other Fine musical instruments.

Birds of the air make their nests all over the world but here, at Thistle Cove Farm, they use wool to line their nests. The cow skull is a good place to stick some fleece for the birds to gather. It amuses me to see the skull even useful in death. Bluebirds are nesting a hundred feet, or so, from this skull. Perhaps they will use some of this wool? I hope so!

Blessings ~ another safe, happy, wonderful Sheep Shearing Day come and gone! ~ friends ~ lambs ~ fleece ~

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Farm Life This Week

It's been a week! We've had a bit of snow, a lot of rain and the sun was able to break through the clouds once or twice but never for very long.

This photo taken off the back porch, looking toward the upper pasture and Morris Knob in the distance. The Knob is the tallest mountain in our county and stands about 3400 feet; our house is about 2400 feet. Just over the rooftop you can see specks...those specks are my horses and six of the eight are taking a lie-down. It may be unusual for horses to take a lie-down all together but it's rather usual for mine. They enjoy warm, sunny days and know how to take advantage of them.
The zoom is used here so you can see, left to right, Izzabella, Tumbleweed, Bo, Dani Girl, HayJ and Lightly. The other two, Peaches and Dandy Man are walking the fenceline, to the right. Dandy Man is Peaches' shadow until I go to the pasture and then he'll run to me for pets and kisses. What sweet horses, all!

I'm gearing down, Sheep Shearing is Saturday and I'm almost ready. Every year I fret over weather...why, I do NOT know other than that's the only thing I can do is fret. Yes, I do pray but when I forget, I fall back into fretting. Saturday is supposed to be hot, 70F or thereabouts, and sunny...hurrah! But today the sheep are in barn prison and not atall happy about it. Zach has his own cell, off and separate from the others as they were about to wool him to death. I found him cast on his side, feet and legs pumping mightily in his struggle to right himself as his flock mates bumped into him mercilessly.

Poor dear! I moved him to another shelter and he looked so grateful, as if to say, "thanks, Mom, thought I was a goner there for a while!" Sheep, like most animals, are herd or flock animals. They prefer being with their own kind but will accept the companionship of other animals should their own kind not be available. Zach seems to enjoy being by himself; he gets pets, kisses and love daily, cracked corn and sweet alfalfa to eat and I carry him fresh water twice a day. He seems quite happy and I'm sure he feels much safer!

The animals enjoy sunny days but the sheep suffer due to their heavy wool coats. Even though there's snow on the mountains, they still struggle when the temps get much above 70 F.

Yesterday there was a cow break; about 40 yearlings got loose and decided to look for greener pastures. Abbie and I had gone down the road and were able to help get them back in their, correct, pasture.

We're the first farm on Cove Road which dead-ends at Ward's Cove. The head of the Cove, in recent years, was owned by Smiley Ratliff, now deceased. At one time, he was on the cover of Time Magazine and made his multimillions in strip coal mining. Strip coal mining has a lot of controversy surrounding it and I don't claim to know the particulars. One thing I do know is, a lot of folks have bread on the table due to paychecks from those mining companies and a lot of non-profits have benefited as well. Just last year, the local community college was given $150K by the Ratliff Foundation.

Smiley was one of the first to welcome us to the Cove and invite us to his house. For that, we'll always be grateful. He was a character, a legend in southwest Virginia but also a WWII and Korean war hero, bank founder and, at one time, was the largest land owner east of the Mississippi. He tried to buy Henderson Island, off the New Zealand coast, which you've, likely, never heard of but the name Pitcairn should ring a bell. Henderson is one of the three with the other two being Pitcairn and Mangareva Islands. First he attempted to buy, then lease, and word has it around here the Queen eventually nixed the idea. She was in good company because Captain Paul Watson thought the idea rather dreadful as well.

Smiley was a well-rounded, self-made man who had, what to me were, confusing ideas about Christianity. We talked about religion and he, just as I, held strong opinions on what was required for a person to go to heaven. I found Smiley to be a gentlemen and though we never agreed on that topic it didn't stop us from having other interesting conversations.

The sign says, "end state maintenance" and, sometimes, even our road doesn't get scraped in the winter. It all depends upon how much snow and how stretched the DOT employees. After all, thee are only two, maybe three, houses where folks live full time. In all, there are less than six people living on Cove Road.

Blessings ~ healthy animals ~ neighbors ~ the Cove ~ weather ~ Sheep Shearing Day ~ happiness ~
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