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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, September 29, 2009

Studio Tour

One of my favorite magazines, Quilting Arts, is having a blog studio tour. I figure this is a great time to show y'all my studio, inquiring minds -smile-. The Studio Tour takes place 3 October, in the meantime, this is a teaser post.

They say you don't have to get your studio cleaned up. Good thing as mine needs to be vacuumed and the vacuum is broken; wonder if a broom will sweep a rug clean?

If you're not familiar with Cloth, Paper, Scissors or Quilting Arts magazines, you're in for a treat. Both are excellent publications, now owned by Interweave Press the same folks who print Knits, Spin Off, Beads and other textile, fiber related magazines. If you have a studio, go to Cate's blog and sign up; it's going to be rather like a round -blog- robin of studio tours.

Until next time,

Blessings ~ studios ~ excellent magazines ~ blog tours, such Fun! ~ Cate ~

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sabbath Keeping

~ Sharks swimming amongst little fishes at aquarium ~

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Jesus, John 14:27

"In a world filled with causes for worry and anxiety...we need the peace of God standing guard over our hearts and minds." Jerry W. McCant

"When at night you cannot sleep, talk to the Shepherd and stop counting sheep'. Anonymous

"The peace is won by accompanying God into battle." Eivind Josef Berggrav

"I do not want the peace that passeth understanding, I want the understanding that bringeth peace." Helen Keller

"You can never be happily married to another until you get a divorce from yourself. A successful marriage demands a certain death to self." Jerry W. McCant

"There may be those on this earth who dress better or eat better but those who enjoy the peace of God sleep better." L. Thomas Holdcroft

"And He answered and said unto them, I tell you that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." Jesus, Luke 19:40

~ It Is Well With My Soul ~

~ shark swims above Dave's head ~

Until next time,

Blessings ~ a good and restful sleep ~ the Shepherd ~ a peaceful Spirit ~ a peaceful heart ~ a courageous tongue that speaks truth and peace ~

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ocean for Mountains and Hand Crank Singer

~ Surfside Beach, SC sand dunes ~

~ Beach at Surfside Beach, SC ~

~ Condo away from home, lower right ~

We've been missing from the farm for a few days; we're in Surfside Beach, SC and having a lovely time. It's been splendid to sleep past the sun's awakening, to wander at will, find shells on the beach, eat delicious seafood, find bargains, and, best of all, visit with friend Sandra. Mom always told me if a person died with a handful of True Friends, they would die the most fortunate of folks. I've got just a bit fewer than a handful and all distant but these women make up for any loss I might think I have. Sandra is one of those friends and sometime later this week I'll blog about her amazing life and artwork.

When Dave and I travel, we usually find accommodations via VRBO or Holiday Lettings. We've found some incredible places to stay and have never, Thank God, been ripped off. We stayed at a 14th century apartment in Tarifa, Spain and never met nor spoke with the owner; every bit of our business was accomplished via i-net and Paypal. Our keys were left under the mat although we did have a "go to gal" in Tarifa should any problems arise. This time, we did speak with the owner as she lives in Ohio but we've never met her. We retrieved our keys from a rental agency so it's been just as pleasant but different. A good thing as the a.c. broke the second day and we had to have an emergency fix.

Sandra and I have a number of interests in common and one of the most exciting is frequenting thrift, consignment and antique stores. We both value old things and love to drag home our latest finds to, lovingly, restore to use and loveliness. Thus far this trip my Find has been this old Singer sewing machine. The box has some sadness but is still in, relatively, good shape considering it was made in either the late 1800's or early 1900's. I'm still not sure because I've done only preliminary research but did find a similar machine, circa early 1900's with rather dear price of $1200. OUCH!

~ Hand crank Singer Sewing Machine ~

~ Side view, showing hand crank and original attachment box ~

~ Original box of attachments including extra bobbins ~

~ Oil can held in slot in box top ~

~ Back view ~

This sewing machine is in excellent condition; the box has a bit of damage, probably due to heat as the wood is veneer and has popped loose a bit. Nothing that can't be fixed with a bit of glue. The gold detailing isn't worn at all and the silver plate on the back is practically pristine. I'm over the moon with my Find especially as it cost $30! The gent at the consignment shop was grateful to be rid of it, tried to sell me a few others as well, including a wonderful little Featherweight and metal table but, for me, this hand crank Singer was the one that needed to go home with me. Thank You, God!

Until next time,

Blessings ~ friends ~ sewing machines ~ vacations ~ ocean ~ sea shells ~ slow living ~ seafood ~

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sabbath Keeping

~ Morning casts a long shadow ~

"Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Jesus, Luke 12:32

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult." Seneca

"Do not be afraid to throw yourself on the Lord!
He will not draw back and let you fall!
Put your worries aside and throw yourself on him,
He will welcome you and heal you."

St. Augustine

"Someone was hurt before you; wronged before you; beaten before you; humiliated before you; raped before you; yet, someone SURVIVED. Maya Angelou

"If you are not living on the edge, you take up too much room." Native American saying

"To sit quiet and think, is the hardest thing a person can do, for when he does, all the demons of the universe show up and try to keep him from the truth. But these demons must be faced, then slayed, in order to live a life worth living." R. H. Lascelle

"Do the thing you are afraid to do and the death of fear is certain." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Perfect valour consists in doing without witnesses that which we would be capable of doing before everyone." Francois Duc De La Rouchefoucauld

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
II Timothy 1:7

Until next time,

Blessings ~ God's spirit ~ quiet time ~ courage ~ love ~ time to ponder ~ Our Father's good pleasure ~ a place to be alone ~

Friday, September 18, 2009

Alaska, A Year Ago, Part I

~ University of Alaska, Museum of the North, Fairbanks, Alaska ~

Soft adventure...we're too old for any other kind -smile- but we do enjoy taking smallish risks, being on the road, seeing what's around the next bend, over the next hill. We enjoy meeting people, engaging in conversation on how they live, what they think, what's important to them. A year ago, Dave and I flew to Fairbanks, Alaska where we spent a couple of days before flying to Barrow.
~ Two Musk Oxen stot ~

In Fairbanks, we visited the musk oxen program at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and learned how they are saving these incredible "leftovers" from the dinosaur age. We were unable to visit the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer but the UAF provided us with a lot of information, a warm, hooded sweatshirt I still wear on the farm and some qiviut yarn and a throat wrap. Musk oxen and buffalo amaze and enthrall me; I don't tire of seeing them in the wild and even enjoy seeing them in captivity. I see a distance past where only God, truly, knows what was going on in this ole world and how He evolved this everything from nothingness into something incredible. He said it and it was so...isn't that simply awesome?!

The Oominqmak Musk Ox Producers' Co-operative is owned by around 250 Native Alaskan women who live in remote coastal villages. Qiviut fiber is eight times warmer than wool, more lightweight and is shed naturally in the spring and collected by hand; highly labor intensive. The Native Alaskan women have their own signature patterns, determined by their village and the patterns represent village life and Eskimo culture. Qiviut fiber won't shrink and is delightfully warm and evidenced by me when we traveled further north to Barrow, the northernmost city in all of the USA.

~ A great cap for anyone who enjoys fishing! ~

Barrow was first known as Ukpeagvik, the "place where snowy owls are hunted." It was cold and we saw icebergs in the ocean but even the frigid temps didn't keep me from dipping hands and feet into the water. I guess that makes me a member of the semi-polar bear club.

Fewer than 5,000 folks live in Barrow and some of those aren't permanent residents. A majority of the residents are Inupiat Eskimo, who speak Inupiaq, and still live by subsistence hunting, fishing and whaling. Almost every residence has sled dogs on a run. Nearby is the Pigniq archaeological site, containing dwelling mounds of a culture some believe from around 500-900 AD.

~ Official Welcome to Barrow sign ~

~ Paglagivsi, aka Barrow, Alaska ~

~ 551 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska ~

~Barrow, Alaska ~

~These boats are retired, having proved their mettle in the past ~

~ Umiak ~

Umiak is an open Eskimo boat used for whale hunting. When it's time to hunt whales, the Eskimo's cover the boat in seal skin which allows it to easily float.

~ Young Inuits demonstrate traditional dance, music and clothing ~

A large portion of Barrow income derives from tourism and we were fortunate to have these young adults and children demonstrate native dances and music. So much of their dance revolves around the hunt; understandable as "food, shelter, clothing" meant life in its most basic form.

~ This proud family sang along as they watched their young perform ~

~ Grandmother reliving days past as she participates from the audience ~

~ Grandmother and Grandson ~

While we only spent two days in Barrow, those two days were packed with activity. Below, whale bones form an arch where someone keeps their umiaks and other fishing materials.

~ Dave and I, standing beneath the whale bone arch ~

~ the Arctic Ocean meets the Bering Sea ~

This is the northernmost point one can go in the USA and is north of Barrow. If you look closely, you can see the line where the two bodies of water meet. There's nothing here but ocean, sea, beach, icebergs, sea gulls and polar bears. We didn't see a polar bear and that's okay with me; polar bears are totally unsafe because they have No Fear. Of anything. Each other, other animals, humans...nothing! It made for interesting foot travel as we walked around Barrow and we were told to Always Be Aware of our surroundings. A polar bear had been seen in Barrow the day before and we were told to give them wide berth...for good reason.

The Arctic Ocean, pretty much, lies above the Arctic Circle, 66.5 degrees N, and is almost entirely surround by land. The Arctic Circle is the southern point at which the sun does not rise on the winter solstice nor set on the summer solstice. The central part of the Arctic Ocean is permanently covered in about ten feet of ice and we saw icebergs being batted between the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea. The Bering Sea is one of the largest ecosystems in the world and home to huge mammal and bird populations as well as marine life.

~ New Zealand traveling companions ~

~ In a eight-seater Cesna, headed for Deadhorse, Alaska ~

Our bush pilot got the most out of a tank of petrol. As we were flying over the tundra, the gas gauge, disturbingly, kept showing a lower and lower supply of petrol. Eventually, the pilot, very casually, reached over and flipped a switch to his second tank. WHEW! Thank God for extra tanks and bush pilots who are absolute pros and don't want to crash any more than do we.

Tundra is the world's youngest biome and is calculated at only 10,000 years old. Now, I'm one of those people who don't have any problem with someone saying, "the earth was formed 50 million years ago" or "tundra is the world's youngest biome at only 10,000 years old". I figure God has made things as He sees fit and one day, beyond the veil, all will be revealed. Heck, I don't understand grass and don't expect to until the other side of death!

The Finnish word "tunturia" means a barren land and that's where we get the word tundra. The ground is permanently frozen from ten inches to three feet, or thereabouts, and no trees grow. In winter, it's frozen, cold and dark and in summer it's soggy, light and covered with marshes, lakes, bodies of water and attracts birds, insects...lots and lots and lots and lots of insects...and provides food or food sources for moose, musk ox, arctic fox and other wildlife.

We flew out of Barrow, headed for Prudhoe Bay where we would spend a couple of nights at a Deadhorse oil workers camp. We spent quite some time in Alaska so the Alaska trip posts will be spread out over a week or three; hopefully, you'll enjoy.

Until next time...

Blessings ~ soft adventure ~ oil workers ~ tundra ~ oceans and seas ~ icebergs ~ heritage ~ bush pilots ~ congenial traveling companions ~

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday Waddle

~ Thistle Cove Farm where it's beautiful one day and perfect the next! ~

~Canada Geese flying in line ~

Can you see the line of Canada geese flying right to left? They stretch for most of the picture frame...just incredible! I've been so excited this week...the Canada Geese have been spending nights in our upper pasture...can you just see my silly grin?! When they fly in the late afternoon, I stand outside, arm stretched toward them, welcoming them home. They fly so close I can hear the strong whomp, whomp, whomp of their wings, hear their soft voices and, almost, feel their pulse. What an absolute gift!

~ Canada Geese camping in our upper pasture ~

~ Canada Geese numbering sixty or more! ~

I was late to Zumba and Yoga this morning because I had to take photos. This morning the Canada Geese were waddling amongst the sheep, not a care in the world, sharing breakfast and talking quietly to each other. Neither geese nor sheep seemed frightened but then, I wasn't all that close. If I had walked any closer, I'm sure they would have gathered themselves and taken to the air.

~ They would waddle first to the left, then to the right ~

~ Beautiful Canada Geese ~

~ So, I was a little more late... ~

~Watching Sam watch us ~

Sadie, at five months, is still a puppy in spirit though not in body and loves to climb in my lap for lovin'. Abigail thinks we're being silly, she's probably right, but it's a small thing to bring such JOY into our lives! We're looking at Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent, who is on the floor, and wondering why he's been left out of the cuddle.

~ Sam, explaining why the wrong dog is on my lap ~

~ Ever watchful Sadie ~

Sadie is a registered Rhodesian Ridgeback and, originally, bred in South Africa to hunt lions, guard the farm and herd cattle. Keniba Kennels is her breeder and they have excellent examples of the breed and breed for conformation and health. They haven't been breeders quite as long as we've had a Ridge but we found them to be quality folks with incredible Ridges and we're thinking of another Ridge in the spring. Krazy. Yes, I know. But, once you've had a Ridge all other dogs are simply canines. Even my beloved Abigail, a Jack Russel Terror, with her huge heart cannot compare to a Ridge. In a word, a well bred Ridge is simply magnificent and Sadie is all that and more! At five months, every fiber in her body screams Champion but we're not show people. We don't care about showing, we hate the politics, nor are we interested in breeding; we only want Sadie as a beloved family member. We've been blessed with two such Ridges, Shaddie was a Champion and, more than once, protected me and the farm from what could have been a bad situation. Shaddie was willing to attack for me and, eventually, Sadie will do the same. God willing, she'll never be called upon to do more than stand her ground and protect us but there's no doubt in my mind, should she be called upon to do more than that, she'll be ready.

~ Thistle Cove Farm, a great place to be a dog! ~

I surely hope you don't tire of my farm photos; I know I never tired of the scenery and it's just outside my door. Our lives are, pretty much, contained on these few acres. My charity work is such that I can make things on the farm and then give them away either in the community or via mail. I leave the farm for Thursday evening quilting bee, Sunday church and exercise classes; other than that, it's, mostly, home. Perhaps once or twice a month I'll make a wild trip to Joann Fabric for sewing supplies or Wal-Mart for groceries or go to the feed store in town for salt minerals for the horses or sheep. Usually, during the year we'll have a vacation but, thus far, that hasn't happened this year. Both our families live quite a distance away and the majority of our years were spent elsewhere so we're not quite as connected in the community as folks who have always lived here. Nor did we have children so were never involved in school activities. My dearest friend lives six hours away and I bemoan we're not close enough to spend time together even monthly. Still and all, Thistle Cove Farm is the right place at the right time for Dave and I now. And I am ever grateful

Until next time,

Blessings ~ Ridgebacks ~ Canada Geese ~ ears to hear the flying geese ~ family ~ friends ~ rural traffic jams ~ puppies ~ dogs ~

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Living and Dying

~ Sugar maple leaves, forecasting autumn ~

Earlier this week, I stepped outside one morning to find the above. It's still summer, for a few days anyway, but the maple tree, apparently, doesn't know or either doesn't care, perhaps both. Leaves are beginning to turn, indicating autumn is on its way and in a hurry. I believe we're going to have a short autumn with a harsh winter to follow. I also believe we're going to get more snow and colder temps than we have in years. A lot of people said last winter was cold but that's not how I remember it. I remember a few cold days but not much in the way of extremely low temperatures. This winter, prepare for cold and a lot of precipitation. That's how I'm approaching it anyway and every trip to the grocery store has me buying more dried beans, rice, flour, coffee and other staples. We have to cross two mountains to get to the grocery and while we have four wheel drive in most of our vehicles, I'd rather be prepared than have to make an emergency run. There are folks who have to be on the roads in inclement weather, I see no need to add to the mix if I don't have to.

Today has been a flurry of activity. Ron and Bill are still here, preparing our heating pipes for winter and in doing so, have moved furniture and shown me dust bunnies I've not known about and, therefore, neglected to name. So much of our days are taken up with necessary busy work to keep hearth, home and farm together. I had to go to town today, so many errands on the to-do list and it's never a quick trip even when there are only a couple of places to visit or things to do. I was gone for almost three hours and still didn't get everything accomplished. Dave was having cabin fever so I sent him back to town with the remainder of the list. I've got a basket class tonight, with Mary M., and need to gather my things for that class. I'm also making shortbread as a snack for all of us.

~Mary with one of her alpaca "boys" ~

Peaches is lame, still, and we've decided to dry lot her so we can feed her hoof "meds" in a grain mix. I'm not quite sure why she's lame, there doesn't seem to be a ready stone bruise or something similar, yet she's tender in both her back feet. One of her front feet has always had a crack and we're trying to strengthen her hooves before attempting more serious measures. Peaches will be placed in a dry lot, along with her daughter, Lightly.

~Peaches, a Sabino American Curly horse, in the foreground ~

Lightly is my "easy keeper" mare and gains weight at the mere mention of the word "food" and is a roly poly kinda gal who needs to be ridden, daily, and that would help with the weight problem. Perhaps I could find someone who is willing to work with all the horses, daily, to keep them friendly and easier to handle. Because they are American Curly horses, or cross breeds, they are all easier than other breeds but still, animals need to be touched daily or they forget their manners.

~Lightly likes attention, second only to food ~

Barbara, at the feed store, is celebrating a birthday today. She's always so cheerful and friendly with a quiet demeanor and soft smile. She always has a pin, it's her 'fashion statement' and I always enjoy seeing what new, to me, pin she's wearing. You know how some women wear hats or scarves? With Barbara it's always a beautiful pin that matches her beautiful smile. I sang her Happy Birthday and she rewarded me with a hug; greatly appreciated as I'm not known for being able to hold a tune. As in my Christianity, I tend to make a joyful noise and hope that covers a multitude of situations. -smile-

~Barbara, the Birthday Gal ~

Mary M., basket maker and alpaca wrangler above, has been involved in hospice this past while. Bob McGraw passed away yesterday and will be sorely missed by a tremendous number of people. His wife, Anita, kept an online journal and it is heart searing and uplifting all at the same time. Please put Anita, family and friends in your prayers for a little while. Bob and I were friendly acquaintances and if we met on our various errands, would always stop and share a few words. He was kind and gracious and, somehow, kin to Dave; both shared the same Grandfather, eight generations ago. He told us once that was why he was involved in War Between the States reenactments; he felt a kinship with his blood and wanted to honor them and a shared way of life. It will be strange not seeing him around town, at reenactments with his hand crafted canon. God Speed, Bob.

Earlier today, I told Mary if I was ever in need of hospice, it was she I'd want by my side, just after family. Mary is gracious, kind, soft spoken and a family nurse practitioner. In fact, she was the first health care professional I saw when first we moved to Tazewell County. In the intervening years, she'd moved on, as had I, and our paths didn't cross again for a long time. She's teaching a basket making class tonight and I am greatly looking forward to this time.

Until next time,

Blessings ~ caring health care and hospice professionals ~ Barbara ~ birthdays ~ Bob and Anita McGraw ~ summer ~ autumn ~ Mary ~
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