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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 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 ~


  1. Dearest Sandra!
    I'm sitting here looking at the sweet sweet wall hanging you mailed me. I luv her!

    THANK YOU for blessing me with this prize.
    I'll be blogging about this in the near future.

    God Bless and thank you again!

  2. basket making- what a wonderful art to learn!
    i love your photo of the horses, i too can gain weight at hearing the word "food". oh who am i kidding it is only when i eat "food"! which is way to often that the weight comes on.

  3. Sandra...I am afraid I have a LOT in common with Lightly! EEKS!
    Like you, I believe we are in for a harsh winter. West Michigan is known for some serious winter, with "lake effect" being a phrase tossed around by our weathermen on a daily basis! I am already stocking up, and plan on a few more serious purchases before the snow flies.

  4. hey! looks like you are staying busy eh?

    where do I buy your wool?

  5. As usual a interesting post, great pics and WoW you all are so busy.
    Prayers for Peaches too.

  6. hello. i ran across your blog. i've never been to a real farm before.... except for the psp game harvest moon that my son and i play. haha. anyways, i sooo love animals and i enjoy the zoo. nice farm you've got and the pics are great! god bless!

  7. Basket making, sounds like a pleasant skill to learn and a nice evening out in spite of all the busy-ness.

    I am hoping winter is not too harsh here, but so many things are different this year in the Pacific Northwest...very different. I like to keep some tings stocked up in our pantry too...but town is not so far away keeps growing and getting closer, a blessing for you that town is NOT so close!

    Hope Peaches' feet are better soon, a horse is her feet.

  8. oops, I don't have any "tings" in my pantry that I know of, but I do like to keep some THINGS stocked up in my pantry.

  9. Lovely post. Leaves will not change at my house for some time, but did see a hint of orange in leaves while visiting Wisconsin last week.

  10. You said, "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."

    I think you're right. Last winter was very mild with hardly any real precipitation. We didn't even have any below zero temps like we often do each year. But already, we are feeling winter's chill here in New Mexico at 7,000ft elevation. Today it didn't even get above 60 degrees, and last night it got down to 43 degrees! Brrr!
    We've had snow here in September and October so I won't be surprised if it happens, but I miss summer already. I, too think our autumn is going to be short or even non-existant.
    I also need to stock up on the pantry essentials, so thanks for that reminder.

    I hope Peaches gets better soon. Peaches is pretty pudgey, too. Is she on that lush grass of yours 24/7? That might be part of the problem. My mare is getting quite pudgey as well, but when she nickers for apples from our apple orchard it's hard to ignore her and say no. lol!



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