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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, June 30, 2009

Fixer-Upper

Remember the water damage from our heating pipes freezing, bursting, thawing back in January? We're finally getting around to fixing that part of the house...HURRAH! It's been a huge job, taking weeks and weeks as it has to be repaired as people have time. I choose a wall color called "Amber" and love how it warms up the room as the sun moves across the sky. Every single wall in this house has, at the bare minimum, one opening and some have two or even three openings. Every wall has either a window or door and some walls have a fireplace and a door...or even two doors! The windows are 9 feet tall by 3 feet wide and the rooms are 10 feet tall. The floors are pine, sometimes heart pine and are all beautiful.





The dogs and I get up early, not as early as the dogs would like but I feel 6:00 a.m. is plenty early enough, especially as I'm not getting to bed until late...or what poses as late for me. Not enough sleep at any rate and I feel always drained, always tired, exhausted even, and during the worst of times, stumbling around on my feet. Dogs don't care though so I try and catch up as I can.

Last night I made a pallet on the sun room floor where I attempted to sleep but, at 2:00 a.m. I gave up and moved to a bedroom. The floors had their second coat of poly yesterday and the stench was amazing! It closed up our throats and choked us so Dave, the dogs and I all tried to sleep in the sunroom as it's the room fartherest away from the parlor. Even so, the smell was truly amazing. We had windows and doors open and around 2:00 the smell had either dissapated enough for me to stand going to the bedroom next door to the parlor or my hips just couldn't take any more of the hard floor.










This is the hall, loaded with stuff that's been moved around and around and around...in preparation for the fix-up. I've given a lot of things away and have yet more to unload on someone. One man's trash is another man's treasure, eh?





Sadie Hawkins loves me

Sadie wanted to be close this morning as we watched the kittens play. I had dropped onto the small flower bed timbers and was sitting there, fair stunned from lack of sleep and energetic play. Sadie just said, "it's okay Mom, I've got your back." -smile- She's a good-un and I'm enjoying watching her grow up.

This little kitten came up from the barn; she's one of the kittens I bathed when they were drowned in our neighbor's truck. She's doing fine and seems to enjoy visiting, especially now that Miss Emma is here. This little girl has yet to be named; any ideas?









Sam Spade and Sadie Hawkins

Sam is the terror of Sadie's life! He absolutely delights in pouncing on her, growling like a little lion and making her life miserable. And Sadie? She adores it! Thus far the only blood drawn has been mine so all's well.





Sam Spade and Miss Emma


Sam Spade adores making everyone toe the line. He pounces on Miss Emma like she's a big girl and here, Miss Emma is boxing Sam's nose for his trouble.







Marti, a friend from Richmond, gave me her Great Grandmother's Singer treadle sewing machine. It's long been my desire to make a quilt on this machine but it needed some fixing. Mr. H. is my Go-To sewing machine repair man and as he put it, "I can fix anything."
He can too. It's not bragging when it's true.
He fixed this machine for me and it works like a charm and will go into the parlor when the time is right. The Singer is dated 1887 and Mr. H. said the cabinet is the best he's ever seen. It needs a little TLC but nothing that can't be put right.

There's a quiche ready to come out of the oven; lunch is overdue. I've been cleaning all morning and needed a break so took some time for the computer. I want to get to the YMCA for a swim and workout today as well as work in the studio. There's always something to do and I'm never bored but figured out, early days, the work will always be there so it's best to just find a stopping place and then...stop. Stop to eat or rest or drink some water; stop to play with a kitten or love on Miss Kitty. Stop to cuddle with a puppy or give Abbie or Gracie some loving. Stop to share a glass of wine with Dave. Stop is one of my favorite four letter words!Blessings ~ sewing machine repair man ~ sewing machine ~ beautiful new to me room ~ lunch shared with friends and family ~ digital cameras ~

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sabbath Keeping

Happy Sabbath to one and all.

I haven't a clue how to add a video...please, someone, feel free to teach me -smile-...but, in the meantime, visit Spot on Cedar Pond to hear Selah sing their version of "All Our Tears Will Be Washed Away" from their Bless the Broken Road album. I've long said I wanted "It Is Well With My Soul" sung at my memorial service...to be held in the distant, very distant -smile-, future and now I want this song sung as well.

This haunting song, writtern by Julie Miller, is a memorial to Mark Heard. The words are below but do yourself a favor...visit Spot and listen to Selah. Your soul will be glad you did.

When I go don't cry for me
In my fathers arms I'll be
The wounds this world left on my soul
Will all be healed and I'll be whole
Sun and moon will be replaced
With the light of Jesus' face
And I will not be ashamed
For my savior knows my name
It don't matter where you bury me
I'll be home and I'll be free
All my tears be washed away
Gold and silver blind the eye
Temporary riches lie
Come and eat from heaven's store
Come and drink and thirst no more
So weep not for me my friend
When my time below does end
For my life belongs to Him
Who will raise the dead again
It don't matter where you bury me
I'll be home and I'll be free
It don't matter where I lay
All my tears be washed away

Blessings ~ the Word ~ the Promise ~ the Life Everlasting ~ Come, join me, please ~

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Womenwise Marketing Seal of Approval

Kelly Watson, at Womenwise Marketing, is someone I've read for quite a while. I suppose I'm the perennial student in that there's always something I can learn...every day. I enjoy reading how other women are running their businesses and what they are doing to market, promote and publicize themselves and their businesses.

Mark Twain said, "Every man is my superior in that I may learn from him". How true. Each of us have something to teach the world and each of us have much to learn from each other. He also said...and I insert this because I have a small flock of sheep -smile- ... "To create man was a quaint and original idea, but to add the sheep was tautology. How absolutely funny!

Twain was quite pithy, worthy of reading and while his life held joy it held much sorrow too.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Every man I meet is in some way my superior." This also is true in that each and every one of us are made in the image of God. That boggles my mind, especially when someone is being rude, mean, angry or, just in general, a donkey's rear end. Or, cringing here, when it's me being rude, mean, angry or, just in general, a donkey's rear end. That's when I remember it's not through my will, strength, mercy, grace, love, etc. but through His.

Kelly teaches me something each time I read her newsletter, website or blog. Recently, she had a loss and I sent her a condolence note but also shared how County Magazine had honored me with a four page diary article. That note led to discussion on how I market, promote and publicize Thistle Cove Farm. She was interested and, being a clever woman, came up with the Womenwise Marketing Seal of Approval Award. I'm the first receipient of this award and honored Kelly would find my story interesting.

She says some really nice things about me...and I'm grateful for those comments as well...but one thing she said really struck my ear. "Many business owners are afraid to reveal their personality, fearing it will make them look unprofessional."

What a shame! I know there are crazies who take advantage of folks and putting myself "out there" in blogland is, somewhat, dangerous but...but...how dare I not LIVE this one wild precious...and I add perfect...life God has given me! Perfect because it is a gift from God and not because of anything I do or have done.

From A Summer's Day by Mary Oliver ~

"I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?"

Thistle Cove Farm is me and I'm Thistle Cove Farm. This is where my heart has found a home, where my life has meaning, where God gives me the strength to do the work He has set before me. I see no separation between Thistle Cove Farm and Sandra. When I die, my request is to be cremeted and the ashes scattered on the pasture, to be united in "body" with this farm united in sprit with God.
To live on this farm, in this valley, to scrabble gardens in the dirt, to tend to the animals, our home, ourselves...this is heaven on earth. To quilt, sew, spin yarn, knit, felt, cook, bake...yes, even clean house and iron...is my gift to Dave and to myself but, ultimately, to God. To honor Him in the small ways as well as the large; to try...as opposed to being trying -smile-...to be a good wife, daughter, sister, friend, steward.

Kelly, thank you for being a visitor to this blog and for the Womenwise Marketing Seal of Approval. I am honored. Please forgive me for being a low tech geek but I don't know how to put the button award on this post but have but it in my sidebar; thanks!

I am honored when each of your read this blog, even more joyous when you comment. It's enjoyable connecting with "like-minded" women, to know we're united in ways that matter, to know we're praying one for another or, at the very least, thinking good thoughts. Thanks to each of you, know you're tucked into prayer. It's the most I can do for you and counts in all the right ways.

Blessings ~ Kelly ~ Womenwise Marketing ~ Thistle Cove Farm ~ awards ~ readers ~ commenters ~

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Verizon...Can you hear me now?

POST SCRIPT ~ It's now 9:32 and nope, Verizon is a no show. Mama and Daddy taught me when I gave my word but then went back on my word, that made me a liar. Have times changed? Does giving your word, then breaking your word no longer mean you're a liar?

Naughty Verizon.

BTW, folks about 10 or 12 miles down the road, in the next valley, had their phone go out in the same storm...last Wednesday...and Verizon managed to fix their phone the Very Next Day!

Dave just handed me information he printed off the Verizon website for our account which states (a) Assigned to a technician and (b) waiting to be assigned to a technician. These are separate Verizon posts, dated the exact same day...today...and the exact same time...7:00 p.m.

Does this mean a Verizon employee has a grudge against us and is attempting to make our lives miserable? Very definitely, there's a Verizon employee...perhaps the woman who called and left a message stating, "this is Mrs. ____, a Verizon clown, and I'm calling to say we won't repair your phone until July"...who, perhaps, thinks she's being cute, vengeful or ??? Sad, Mrs. ____, Very, Very Sad. It's at times like these I struggle to see that we're all made in the image of Christ 'cause truth be told Mrs. ____, it's just a tad difficult to see the Jesus in you right now.

Hear this Verizon employee...every major religion in the world says something along the lines of "karma", "what goes round comes round" or, in the Christian faith, "cast your bread upon the water". What you're putting "out there", into the universe, is bad karma and moldy bread. So, when things start going south for you...and they will, trust me. Oh yes, they will...look back upon the lies and dastardly deeds you've done and know...the birds have come home to roost.

Original Post:

Verizon is the land line telephone service provider at Thistle Cove Farm and, most of the time, things work well. That is to say, things work well until they don't and then it's a SNAFU...to use an old Army term...of enormous magnitude.

Last Wednesday we had a huge thunder storm here and our phone lines went out. Out as in completely and totally so Dave used his cell phone to report the problem. We live in an extremely rural area, in a deep, long valley and have almost no cell phone service. We have no television nor radio service either before we opted to purchase television satellite and XM radio. Our cell phone service is obtained by either standing, face pressed against the sun room window or standing in the side yard just outside the sun room window facing in a southerly direction. If it's overcast, extremely cloudy or inclement weather there's no cell service at all.

Except for our names, for this story, I'll omit Verizon employee names although we have them. Oh yes, we have them because the Verizon employees gave us their names..

Dave called Verizon last Wednesday evening to report the storm. The Verizon employee took the information and proceeded to tell Dave what he needed to do to ascertain the problem. Dave told the Verizon employee he had checked and it was the line that was malfunctioning, not our telephones but, in any case, we do pay the monthly premium for "inside service line repair" as per Verizon's dictate. The Verizon employee seemed none too impressed and said, "A Verizon repair employee would be at the house sometime between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 23. Ummm...that's 6...SIX...days hence. When Dave asked if there could be an earlier repair date, the Verizon employee said, "No, that's the earliest we can be there."

Okay. Dave told the Verizon employee we're not paying for these 6...SIX...days of no phone service which may, or may not have ruffled the Verizon employee's feathers.

Dave was a bit, understandbly, upset so he placed a message on our incoming answer phone service that said, "The clowns at Verizon won't fix our phones for another week so if you'd like to leave us a message, we'll try to check our answer machine messages."

A Verizon employee called and left a phone message that said, "This is xxxxx, a Verizon clown and we're moving your service repair call to July 1."

Dave called Verizon and the Verizon employee with whom he spoke said, "Verizon employees cannot leave a message stating your repair call will be moved to a later date. The Verizon repair person must stay with the original date and will still be at your house on June 23 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m."

All the above took place prior to today, June 23rd.

However, today, June 23rd brought some interesting changes. Dave called Verizon to ascertain if we were still on the repair list for today, June 23rd between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The Verizon employee said, "yes". Dave replied, "We have to go to a wake tonight. Are you SURE the repair person will be here by 7 p.m. and not show up at 7:15, after we've left for the funeral home?"

The Verizon employee said, "Well, he might be a little bit late." Dave said, "that's not what the repair order states. It states the Verizon repair person will be here BETWEEN 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Now you're saying "he may be a few minutes late". Does that mean we'll get pushed to the end of the line for Verizon repair service?"

The Verizon employee vaccillated and never really gave a definite answer so we're in limbo. It's now 4:06 p.m. and the Verizon repair person has a bit less than three hours to show...if indeed s/he's going to show at all.

Oh...almost forgot to mention this...when Dave checked our phone answer machine messages, he found his message has been removed and, indeed, there's no response at all. So now if you should happen to call us, you'll get Nothing. Nada. Zip. No automated Verizon message stating the phone line is broken, no Dave message stating, "The Verizon clowns...etc."

So, Verizon...we're also not paying for the answer machine "service" since Verizon, apparently, deleted it. At least, when we checked our messages this morning, we got them but this afternoon...POOF!...all gone.

Dave has been doing some research on Verizon and find they have The Absolute Worst track record for customer relations. People hate them. With A Passion. Dave told me to type in "Verizon sucks" and see what happens. What happens is 184,000 hits! Amazing! All those people, and more, are writing their own accounts of how Verizon has rolled them and taken them for the proverbial ride. Along with their money. Lots and Lots of lovely lolly.

From that bit of research, it doesn't appear Verizon's track record is very good. I know for sure it's not that good with us. Not now. Their attitude is, "we're the telephone company and we don't give a rip." Verizon, probably others as well, know they have the customer over a barrel and there's not much, really, we can do about lousy service. Except I'm calling Congressman Boucher and Senator Puckett to complain, especially if the Verizon service repair person doesn't show up by 7 p.m.

Anyone have better ideas? My ears are wide open.

One more thing...if you're still reading -smile-...last week, June 19th, in northern VA, an elderly man was in a confrontation with a Verizon employee. There's always, at least, two sides to every story but, unfortunately, we'll always and forever, only have one side to this story...the Verizon employee's story. The 79 year old man is dead.

Blessings ~ we haven't had any medical emergencies that would require using our Verizon telephone ~ no one in our families...we hope...have had any medical emergencies that would rquire calling us on our...non-existent...Verizon telephone line ~ no one has been killed or injured by a Verizon employee ~

Monday, June 22, 2009

Making Hay While the Sun Shines

We have a window of opportunity for hay making; it's not supposed to rain until Friday so say your prayers and live right! Our alfalfa field is not quite ten acres but it's plenty for my eight horses and thirty-three sheep. Usually we even have enough to sell and John, our neighbor and Dr. Anne's brother, is the farmer driving the tractor and cutting our hay. He's a great young man and his wife, Ashley, works for Dr. Anne as well as tends their home and young son, John, Jr.
No matter how busy I am, there's always time to take pictures of the critters! Sam Spade, or Stubby Sam Spade as some are calling him, is the smallest and youngest...we think...dog and weighs just about ten pounds, perhaps less. He keeps up with the rest of us but gets tired rather quickly and will run to me and look up at me with those beautiful light brown eyes and say, "Please carry me!" Of course I do, how could anyone resist those soft eyes? He's a love bug and we've had a lot of people...after the fact, of course -smile-...say, "Oh, I would have given him a home." Well, too late people; Sam Spade has a home and it's in my heart; he's not going anywhere except with me and he looks plenty happy about it!

A great deal of Sam's time is spent playing with Sadiekins and I don't intervene unless I hear extreme yelps and growls. Usually, Sam Spade is the one egging Sadie on and Sam Spade is the one generally getting into trouble. Perhaps he knows he's the littlest and can get away with more. Sadie is, for the most part, gentle with him but even she has her limitations. Generally, when she's wanting a nap that's when Sam Spade says, "PLAY TIME!" Ole Sadie is patient and long suffering, for the most part.
Three of the four dogs are always with me; Gracie has old bones and she's more comfortable resting in the shade. I'll try and get a photo of her but, in the meantime, here's Abbie, close by as I'm hanging clothes on the line. Yes, as a matter of fact, I DO carry a camera in my pocket. I just never know when something will grab my atention and I'll need to record the moment.

We've been getting up around 5:00 a.m. but not heading down to the barn until around 7. When we first get up, the dogs all go outside, do their bidness and then it's breakfast for the youngins'. After breakfast, I'll either sit on the back porch and let the dogs play while I read or we'll go to the sunroom and they will play while I listen to Alexander Begg and others on the radio.

When we head to the barn, Ole Yeller and her kittens come to meet us. As you can see, no one is afraid of the dogs although I watch everyone carefully. The puppies aren't as aware of their strength and I don't want the kittens injured. Sadie and Ole Yeller say 'Good Morning' and it confuses Sadie when Ole Yeller won't run or hiss. Sadie is becoming used to the idea of a Flying Unicorn at Thistle Cove Farm so, thus far, things are working out quite well between all the animals.
Sam Spade, in classic play mode, wants the kitten to play chase. The kitten wasn't interested in chase; the kitten was interested in hugs and kisses.
Miss Fluff watches over all and is fairely disgusted with the idea of breakfast being late...again.
This is my usual view as we head to the barn...nothing but monkey butts!

Sam Spade knows a good lap when he sees it! He's tuckered out and needing some zzzzzz's so he can get into the game again.

On Monday morning there's a flea market at the livestock market and Abbie and I usually go. We'll head to Hardee's first, share a ham biscuit then head down the road to buy veggies and see what other wonders are available. Today, Dave went with us and we were able to go to Hardees, the flea market and Dr. Anne's office before heading home. I picked up some kitten de-wormer and am thinking Miss Emma will benefit, greatly, from being de-wormed. I know Sam Spade has just about tripled his weight after de-worming and all in two weeks. I also got some kitten formula and will warm that for her; she's been eating tuna in water and drinking half 'n half but the de-worming and kitten formula should work a small miracle in her life.

It's a beautiful day - bright, sunny and hot and I've washed and dried half dozen loads of laundry. There's still a load or two to be done as well as vetting on the kitten and I want to clean up my old Singer treadle sewing machine table. The sewing machine itself is being fixed by my wonderful sewing machine repair man. A friend gave me the machine and it needs some work but Mr. H. said, "Bring it to me, I can fix it." I believe he can, too, as he's fixed two others for me. I wish I were a better seamstress...and indeed, that's giving me a grand title to make you think I'm a seamstress at all!...but, even so, I enjoy sewing. I don't sew great things, I sew with great love, to paraphrase Mother Teresa. Great love and great prayers that whomever receives one of my quilts or other offerings will be blessed by God in ways they won't even realize. Isn't that the case with all of us? We're all blessed by God in ways we don't even realize but, sassy us, sometimes think because we remember to say "thanks" for a blessing or two, we've done something big. It's humbling, isn't it? How blessed we are, all of us.

Blessings ~ great hay making weather ~ sewing machines ~ fresh produce ~ wonderful repair man ~ kittens ~ puppies ~ laps ~ wonderful John ~

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sabbath Keeping

The beginning of another week and pray requests abound as well as thanks to God for answered prayer.

A Joyful Chaos' daughter was involved in a vehicle accident; please, remember her, her family and the person driving the vehicle in your prayers. Sunbeam is amazingly well, considering it was a serious, very serious, accident.

A blogger friend in Washington state requests prayer for her four granddaughters and the rest of the family. It seems the judge, in all her 'wisdom', has decided the girls need to return to a living situation that is not only morally corrupt but their lives will actually be endangered. The four granddaughters are now living with their father and his parents in a secure living arrangement. It boggles the mind as to WHY a judge, female at that!, would place the girls in a dangerous, potentially life-threatening environment...??? Please pray for the family and, perhaps more importantly, for the judge to regain some sembalence of a brain.

A close friend and her husband are attempting to adopt their three grandchildren as the parent's have gone completely off the rails. Those children were rescued from a dangerous environment and have only had a safe, secure life since the grandparents intervened. Please keep them in your prayers.

Jim, our pastor, was bitten by a brown recluse spider and is in a bad way. Pray for him to make a full recovery as well as keep his family in your prayers.

Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts; all are welcome. John Donne wrote,

"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated...As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness....No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

It's true there's been no death except the death of, perhaps, innocence and dreams but we are all connected. While Christ serves to connect us, the i-net has made the world a much smaller place and the 'six degrees of separation' are, increasingly, more relevant in all our lives.

"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good unto all people..." Galatians 6:10

Blessings ~ pray for one another ~ Good News ~ wisdom ~ grace ~ mercy ~

Friday, June 19, 2009

Week's End

We've been in Richmond on a business trip for Dave. Fortunately, we have an excellent farm sitter and leave the farm knowing things will be well tended. Not, of course, as well as I tend to things but then this farm is my life's blood and work. I count it all joy to live and work here, even when times call for drastic measures such as putting an animal down. We're getting closer and closer to that time and I'm not sure if it will be Gracie or Miss Kitty who goes next. Statistically speaking because God alone knows if accidents are in the future.

Miss Kitty is resting on my lap as I'm at the computer and is having, mostly, good days. Last week, when the field across the road was cut, Miss Kitty spent the better portion of one day there hunting. Yes, she gets fed all the kibbles she wants, along with tuna and other snacks, but she's a hunter and is good at her job. She's always leaving little gifts to say "thanks" for the room and board.
This little one was found in the middle of the road as I came home from quilting last night. She's fairly healthy, near as I can tell, but she's starved and nothing by skin and bones. She's in a dog carrier now, in the front room, with tuna, water, kitty litter and a towel to sleep upon. She's a beautiful kitten and will make a dandy house and, hopefully, lap kitty...if she lives. I'm doing everything I can do to make that happen so time will tell. She's visited several times a day so she can acclimate to me and Abbie; the puppies are too rambunctious to meet her yet. At least, Sadie is too rambunctious.


Do you think she looks like an Emma? Somehow I think so...This morning Abigail Ron Rotten, Sadie Hawkins and Sam Spade went for a walk in the yard. They have to explore, do their "bidness" and make sure the farm is safe yet another night. Sam, on his stubby little legs, can barely keep up but he makes a gallant effort. Lisa, in Texas, said she thought Sam Spade was a Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen. Ummm...probably not but hope springs eternal. I think Sam Spade is a Spaniel mix of sorts, emphasis on the "mix of sorts". Whatever he is, he's AAAdorable! Dr. Anne calls him a 'boob dog' and I knew exactly what she meant when she said it! Can't you just see those women who carry little dogs held high, under their arm and against their breast? Boob dog indeed! rolling on the floor laughing madly out loud! I do hope Sam Spade grows into a twenty or thirty pounder or he'll be kept a boob dog if only to be constantly rescued from Sadie Hawkin's playfulness.

Last night, after quilting, Dave and I were in the sun room talking over the day. It's where and how we, generally, start and end our days. Abbie was on the right, her usual spot. with Sadie Hawkins to my left...where Shaddie used to lie...Miss Kitty on my lap and Sam Spade on my back, stretched out across my shoulder with his head hanging down. Everyone was happy and peacefully snoozing...all the animals, that is to say.

All of a sudden, poor ole Sam Spade started s-l-i-d-i-n-g downdowndown until he landed atop Sadie Hawkins. His snoring, nor her snoring, never interrupted, they both slipped deeper into Sleepytown until it was time for all of us to go to bed. Ahh...the sleep of babies, no matter how many, or few, legs they have, is blissful and sweet.

Good-night Sadie Hawkins. Good-night Sam Spade. Good-night Abigail Von Rotten. Good-night Miss Kitty. Good-night Grandma Gracie. Good-night Miss Emma. Good-night Dave.

Sweet dreams, all.

Blessings ~ All my animals ~ sweet sleep ~ a safe journey ~ new kitten ~ and, always...Dave ~

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sabbath Keeping

O Lord, who art as the Shadow of a great Rock in a weary land, who beholdest Thy weak creatures weary of labor, weary of pleasure, weary of hope deferred, weary of self, in Thine abundant compassion and unutterable tenderness, bring us, I pray Thee, unto Thy rest. Amen.

~ Christina G. Rossetti

When I consider how my light is spent Ere half my days in this dark world are wide, And that one Talent which is death to hide Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, lest He returning chide, "Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?" I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed, And post o'er land and ocean without rest; THEY ALSO SERVE WHO ONLY STAND AND WAIT."

~ John Milton, On His Blindness

Thou has made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee.

~ St. Augustine

Blessings ~ God's patience, mercy, love, abundant compassion ~ unutterable tenderness ~ grace ~ wisdom ~ justice ~

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sam Spade and Sadie Hawkins

This week, I've been counting my blessings between naps or, to be more accurate, long sleeps. I've been sick with a cold or something resembling a cold and it has taken its toll. The animals, particularly the dogs, have been most unsympathetic with my plight. They still expect to be fed, given treats, let in and out of the house, walked and all the other duties our dogs think humans are put upon this earth to perform. When I've been unable to perform, according to their satisfaction, they give me these long, doleful looks that say, "Are we not the least bit important in your life? Is it asking too much for you to come play with us?"

Somehow, going to the barn to do chores, just isn't quite the same as actual playing. Who knew? I was certainly fooled!

One huge blessings is Sam Spade; he's living with us as companion and, it appears, has found his home. Sadie Hawkins thinks so but the other two older girls, Abbie and Gracie, still need some convincing. I thing perhaps a year or two might convince them but, certainly, no less. They, like so many of us, have become set in their ways and the least bit of interruption in their schedule is not to their liking. Every now and again, I see in Abbie the beginnings of acceptance but Gracie still snarls and bares her teeth should the youngins' get too rambunctious too close to her.


Here, Sadie waits for Sam to catch up and Abbie is gone to yonder and back. Abbie is always the point and seldom, if ever, waits on the rest of us. Goodness! There might actually be a ground hog or rabbit someone else might sniff out first and then, there goes Abbie's reputation. She can't have that!

Sadie and Sam will play with virtually anything. Which is, yet another, blessing as it takes some of the responsibility off me. I'm one of those people who believe the best way to socialize a puppy is lots and lots and lots, as in round the clock, human interaction. I like using firm commands, interspersed with yelps of pain and, I'm sorry to admit this but God already knows anyway...a few choice curse words when blood, my blood, is brought forth. Sadie and Sam both have puppy teeth, which means shark sharp teeth, but their teeth have been, somewhat blunted with age and my skin. They are both getting better about biting though and it only takes a firm, "No Bite" for either of them to get the message, "Don't bite the human" and return to biting each other. Unless I see blood, I seldom interfere and, truth be told, I've yet to see blood, at least their blood. I, on the other hand, don't have much vitamin K and am a free bleeder. Makes it interesting in church...I'm sitting there, listening to the sermon, thinking how it applies to my life and Dave will lean over to me and say, "Do you realize there's blood dripping down your arm?"

Sheesh.

All those expensive toys we bought them and they play with a basil plant wrapper. King Kong toys...a complete and total waste of money as they are simply Not Interested! They figure if they hold out long enough their human will give them a treat free and clear...no working for it. Just like Uncle, eh?

One of those rare, peaceful moments where Sam found the, heretofore, cat basket, and claimed it as his own. Poor baby, he'd worn himself out playing tug with Sadie.
Even though Abbie will snarl, growl and run from Sadie and Sam she does have a soft side. It's to be found when she's sleeping and Sam claimed a soft spot on her flank to take a morning nap.
There are times when both puppies will curl up in the dog basket and noodle. That lasts all of a few seconds and then it's back to puppy play which is loud, boisterous and lively. As to the cold...it's some better due to Sambucol, cough drops, copious amounts of water, as much sleep as I can stand and time. As Daddy likes to say, "Father Time and Mother Earth will take care of everything...one way or the other."

Blessings ~ Sadie ~ Sam ~ Abigail ~ Grace ~ the humans ~ good health ~ natural remedies ~

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

One Thousand Gifts

If you're unfamiliar with Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience, please, do visit quickly. Her blog has such insight and wisdom that connects the plainest of life...if there IS such a thing...on every level with God's wonder.

"Earth is crammed with heaven and every common bush afire with God" is Elizabeth Browning's quote at Ann's header. It's true, you know. God is in the details as well as every breath and for those who live plain lives, we know it well. By plain lives, I mean lives that aren't filled with the minutia of life...the noise of television or radio, the busyness of too many meetings or activities associated with children's school life or even church life. It's all too easy to fall into the busyness of life and then become overwhelmed with it all. To forget that silence is the most peaceful and restorative of all "white noises"; to forget, or become so busy, we don't break bread, together, at the beginning or end of the day; to put catching up on chores around the house before coming together to worship on Sunday and, worst of all, to forget it's all, ALL, a gift from God. Every breath we take, every dollar we make, the food in the pantry, the books on the shelves, cars in the driveway, animals at our feet or in the pastures, clothes on our backs, every blade of grass or rug on the floor. Make your own endless list.

For some years I've ended each blog entry with a small list of blessings. It serves to ground me in a tiny way, to remind me...perhaps others...of things I...we?...sometimes overlook.

When I found A Holy Experience, I found it lush with God's grace, Ann's beautiful photographs, words of wisdom...all gifts in themselves...and began, slowly reading it, pondering her words, seeing similarities and differences in our lives, seeing a vein of gratitude that runs through each and every entry. God has given her an attitude of gratitude and has blessed me with that same gift.

In November 2006, Ann suggests keeping a journal of gratitude, A List of a Thousand Things. When I first ran across One Thousand Gifts, I thought, "I already do this when I list blessings at the end of every post." Then, I tucked this thought away in my mind and, every so often, would pull it to the fore front and ponder it. Yesterday, the light...Light...dawned and I realized why I should begin A List of a Thousand Things. Not for God. He already knows the gazallion blessings He bestowes upon me in an hour. No, A List of a Thousand Things is for me. To see things I never saw, to hear things I never heard, to taste things I never tasted, to feel things I never felt, to smell things I never smelled. To bring Awareness to me in a way never experienced. To bring a dimension to my 'practicing Christianity' that will bring me closer to Him, the Giver of all gifts.

I'm sure to miss writing down things because the List won't be with me at all times. But I'm also sure to expand my Attitude of Gratitude, my wonder and awe at His loving care over me and all of us at Thistle Cove Farm.

Oh, I won't give up my small blessings at entry end; that will always be a part of each entry. I do have a small notebook that, today, begins my journal journey, A List of a Thousand Things.

Earth is crammed with heaven and every common bush afire with God. But only he who sees takes off his shoes. The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.”


Blessings ~ journal journey ~ YOU ~ A Holy Experience ~ Ann Voskamp ~ attitude of gratitude ~ His gifts ~

Fat Quarters SEWN Winner

Along the blog way, I've read that random.org generator "never" picks number one but I know that God has His ways higher than our ways, thoughts higher than our thoughts.

Kathy at Spot on Cedar Pond has been a Thistle Cove Farm blog reader for some years. I know I've come to rely on seeing her notes of encouragement, wit, wisdom, just to say Good Morning and always keep her tucked in prayer. Actually, I tuck all folks who comment into prayer; it's my way of doing something nice for you and I believe God brings each of you into my -blog- life for a reason. I don't have to know the reason either -smile-.

Anyway, Kathy was the first to comment on the SEWN fat quarter give-away and random.org picked number one out of all thirty-three entries!

So, Kathy, please let me know of you want the fat quarters and, if so, send me a PM with your snail mail address.

Thank you, all, for entering my little contest. I hope you enjoyed your visit to Thistle Cove Farm and found it soothing to your busy life. Please come back soon.

Blessings ~ Kathy ~ all folks who gave their gift of time to enter my giveaway ~ blog land ~ fat quarters ~ SEWN ~

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sabbath Keeping

How could someone POSSIBLY have thrown this beautiful little puppy by the side of the road? We figure there must have been others, who didn't make it, and this little feller was the only one left. He was running around, absolutely panicked and came straight to me when I called him. Right now, he's living in our outside kennel rug over the dog house to protect him from the elements,towel in the dog house for warmth and fresh water and puppy chow. He's liking this better than last night. God alone knows what happened last night.

See how his little...er, perhaps not so little...belly looks like a Budda Belly? He's just had his second meal of the day and is feeling full but he does NOT like the kennel and I don't blame him. He's young enough that he's, maybe, just, barely weaned and misses his litter mates and his mother. When I pick him up and cradle him, his cries turn to little sobs until he, finally, quietens and snuggles against my heartbeat. Little things enjoy being nestled against your heart; it lessons their fears, gives them warmth and quietens them into being calm.

He's not likeing the bars but until Dr. Anne comes tomorrow, that's where he'll stay. I'm going to try and find a good home and have someone in mind so pray, pray, pray Mike will want this little feller.Lat night was the Thompson Valley community supper and a fine time was had by all. The weather has been rainy, rainy, rainy all week and people were starved to be outside. Good food and good music, along with a silent auction, made the evening just about perfect. This week we had rain and tremendous storms. Here, the clouds are just beginning to roll over the mountains, into the valley and soon covered everything in a wet fog. Going across the mountain we found this little one, stuck in the middle of the road, going from here to there or there to here. Whichever. Dave stopped so I could pick him up and move him into the pasture, behind a fence. For reasons unknown to me, some folks like to run over things and would have considered this 'fair game'. Although, imo, there's nothing fair nor game about it. Did you ever have a box turtle? As a child, I was forever bringing home animals or animals were forever following me home...box turtles, cats, kittens, puppies, dogs, birds. When I was about 9, I nursed a barn owl back to health; when I was about 13, I raised six five-week old kittens on a bottle until they were strong enough to be given away...their mother had been killed in an accident.

My mother has a soft heart for animals so I get my soft heart from her. Dave, as well, has a soft heart for animals and he's as bad as I about stopping for a stray. Folks at church simply figure, when we're late, it must involve an animal.

Like today.

Sundays are supposed to be reflective, quiet, full of grace and mercy, tender, gentle and s-l-o-w.
Right?

Well, someone needs to tell who ever is in charge that my Sunday was anything but! The dogs and I woke early, as usual, and took dogs outside to potty, check out the smells of the skunk who comes to steal cat food and then back inside so I could slip on some shoes to head to the barn. I checked on barn cats, fed and watered them; sheep counted; horses counted and locks checked.

Back to the house where Sadie was fed breakfast which, btw, sorely puzzles Gracie and Abbie because they don't get breakfast. Although I am going to start feeding them twice a day, just half their rations each time. That's one of "those things"...Daddy always fed once a day, at night, and so have we but, since having Sadie, I'm thinking twice a day might be better. Sadie gets fed three times a day because that's what her breeder recommended. What about you? How do you feed your dog or dogs?

I headed to the shower and revel in the face it's the only place in the house I can be totally alone. At least, totally alone as in there's no one else in the shower with me. There are dogs, sometimes cats, in the bathroom when I get out of the shower but IN the shower...AHHHH, it's just me.

Flash forward, I'm dressed, hair dried and headed out the door when a neighbor comes up the driveway. He suggests we moved horses from one lot, across the barn lot, to another lot. Sounds easy peasy. HA! Why is it that anything that sounds easy peasy ends up being tough as nails?

As soon as the gate was opened the horses made a break for it, where ever 'it' is; I'm not sure but from the way they took off, they must have had a pretty good idea. I chased those dratted horses, lead rope whistling in the wind, up one side and down the other of the barn lot until they were cornered into the correct lot. The reason they are away from the other horses is...they are F-A-T and need to lose weight. Lightly is my first foal and she's now about 6 or 7 and gains weight on bread and water. Seriously. She has the metabolism of...well, of nothing. She eats and gains weight, that's what she does and she does it really well. Daniel is coming by tomorrow to trim her feet and then Lightly and I have a standing appointment, during the cool of the day, to work in the round pen. One way or another that girl as GOT to drop some weight. She's probably saying the same thing about me, ya think?

Hmmm...now that I'm rubbing a couple of brain cells together I'm thinking this is God's way of answering my prayer to lose weight. Blast! What I really wanted was for Him just to melt it off by Himself. I didn't want to actually sweat or anything.

So, now I look like the shower was merely a suggestion; formerly washed and blown dry hair is plastered to my face and head, I'm sweating like a pig and gasping for air like someone stuck my head under water. Oh yeah, I'm gonna look and feel my best when I get to church this morning.

Not.

Dave says, "do you want to still go?" I just look at him while I'm gasping for air, "Yes, I do" so we climb in the car with extra minutes still to spare. See, we're usually walking in just as they start service or a few seconds before. We seem to have a knack for being not quite late or barely late. It drives Dave crazy but I'm just glad to be there...finally.

We're headed to church when something catches both our eyes and he slams on the breaks. It's The Puppy. The one above...Budda Belly who looks like he might have Golden Retriever in him. Someone has thrown that precious little puppy away.

Once, I was talking to an older gentleman who was giving one of my foundlings a home. This older man's dog has passed away and the man had open heart surgery and was supposed to walk every day. He just couldn't bring himself to go walking without his companion so God put the three of us together. Anyway, this gent and I were talking about people who threw away animals. He looked at the elderly Chihuahua on my lap and said, "Well, sir. I figure if I saw someone throwing this little girl, or any dog, out on the road...they might get a meal but I'd at least get a sandwich!"

YES! A man after my own heart! Someone who doesn't want to see anything, animal or human, thrown away, abused or hurt. There's entirely too much of that in this frosty old world and I know, truly I do, that I can't save them all. But, God willing, I can save those He puts before me. Thank God, Dave feels the same way.
So, would you like a puppy? After tomorrow he'll have his first shots, be de-wormed with his first physical. He's a lovely little thing, full of personality and love galore and it's all waiting just for YOU. I'll even let you name him.

Blessings ~ puppies ~ Dave who will stop for puppies ~ church members who think we're crazy but love us anyway or, at least, pretend they love us anyway ~ community suppers ~ turtles ~ rain ~ fog ~

Friday, June 05, 2009

SEWN

Sarah Fielke, the new creative director of SEWN, is having a fabulous giveaway on her blog, The Last Piece. Sarah is, among other things, a quilter and as you may...or may not -smile-...know, I call myself a quilter in that I make bed and baby quilts. I'd love to branch off into art quilts, and will one day, but for now am struggling to keep up with the babies and people to whom I've promised a quilt.

Don't get me wrong. I am not an excellent quilter. At best, I am a good quilter but my quilts are made with a LOTTA love and prayers and I reckon that makes up for a few wonky stitches and seams. Please, tell me you agree -smile-.

In the spirit of the Grand Opening of SEWN, I am joining in with a giveaway of five fat quarters as shown above. I'm a little confused, as usual, but think all that's necessary for someone to win is to leave a comment at this entry. At least, that's my story and, for now, I'm sticking to it.

Blessings ~ blogland because SEWN is located in Australia ~ quilting ~ quilts ~ fat quarters ~ fun stuff ~

Daily Health Habits

The Fat Lady is Singing blog has some good suggestions and Deanna graciously allowed me to copy and post here. Please do visit her blog as other good info abounds.

"What are the important things we should include in our daily habits pertaining to health?

1) live as much of a stress-free life as possible which includes obligations, responsibilities, paying bills, daily chores.
2) drink purified or distilled water.
3) take a multi-vitamin.
4) groom oneself.
5) wear clean, cotton underwear.
6) eat when not upset three square meals a day with healthy snacks along the way that don't let your blood sugar spin out of control.
7) live in a clean and organized environment that has a place for everything and everything in it's place.
8) sleep in clean pajamas and on clean bedding.
9) wash hands with warm sudsy water and rinse before preparing foods, handling dishes, after handling foods, using the toilet or changing diapers.
10) keep current with paperwork, laundry and housecleaning.
11) pray often.
12) make godly choices and live with a clear conscience.
13) live below your means.
14) pay your bills.
15) honor your word.
16) tell the truth in a gentle way.
17) don't tell everything you know.
18) get your rest.
19) gentle slow stretches for exercise.
20) have a easy to fix hairstyle that flatters your face and is in proportion to body frame.
21) like yourself.
22) speak life over yourself.
23) wear clothing that flatter your build and feel good to wear.
24) wear a perfume/cologne that enhances your body chemistry.
25) use white, not recycled toilet paper without perfumes.
26) toilet 101: females wipe front to back and use cleansing clothes to freshen up."

Blessings ~ shared wisdom ~ excellent advice ~ blogland ~

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Spring into Summer

This has been one of the wettest springs in recent memory and yet, our water table is still, dreadfully, low. Perhaps as much as twenty inches low. In May it rained all but about five days; some days it simply poured so fast the water rain off the earth's surface. Other days, it was a slow, gentle soaking rain that restored lushness and moisture to the parched earth.

Yesterday it rained one-half inch in a short period of time and today, it's a slow, soaking rain that will help heal the earth and restore water to the underground rivers and creeks.

My studio is on my left and I'm standing under the small eave, somewhat protected, watching the storm move down the valley. The dogs and I went to the studio so I could quilt and they could rest quietly; each of us doing what brought us happiness. My clothesline is an L shape and leads from the studio corner to a pole where it turns and goes right, making the longer part of the L shape. I've always used a clothes line and believe it's responsible for blissful sleep when sheets are dried on a bright, sunny day.

Looking down the valley, from the side pasture, shows how the rain clouds move from the head of the Cove down to our end. I've actually stood in the yard, arms outstretched and watched the rain moved from one side of my fingertips to the other, drenching me like I was moving along in a car wash rather than standing still. I've done the same thing with a snow storm and the weather never fails to amaze me. It's an always changing scenery that's somehow always the same.
I love it.














This is my view as I sit at the sewing machine. I'm able to keep an eye on the horses and the sheep, although it's only a horse, HayJ, now visible. Usually, in the distance, there are cattle but I think my neighbor is letting that pasture grow so he can cut hay later in the season.














Here's the work of an afternoon: a group of eight baby quilts sewn together, ready, some of them, to be hemmed, others to be hand quilted but, soon, very soon, all to go to their new home. Most of the quilts are for boys which is silly because I know more girl babies. I do believe boy babies have cuter material though; girl babies have those insipid colors, pastels, that do absolutely nothing to stimulate mental growth. I think mother's like those colors but I sure don't. -smile-


The quilt that's second from left is a John Deere quilt and the two quilts on the far right are a purple Laura Ashley material, that reads "baby" all over one side. It's an excellent fabric and I'm sure the babies will feel quite loved and tucked into prayer once they are sent to their new homes. Jenny is at the lower right; she felt she had to inspect my work and, at the same time, drive the new puppy, Sadie, crazy just by being in the vicinity.

The work of a woman's hands is, almost always, doomed to a short life. We sew, quilt, make a nourishing meal, clean house, do laundry, iron, put a bandage on a hurt knee...all those things that are so important to our daily lives, so important to both ourselves and to our loved ones and yet, so fleeting. All of those things that, in day's past, we were told weren't nearly as important as having a "corporate job". Well, Sister's, I've had a corporate job, several of them actually, and they aren't nearly all they are cracked up to be. I'll take being a homemaker, wife, farmer, shepherd, mother to my critters, beasts, varmints; good neighbor, baker, friend, maker of nourishing meals, quilter, knitter, spinner, practicing Christian...all of those things that spell L-I-F-E to me. In those roles, I'm good to go as long as I'm able; in a corporate job I'm good to go as soon as they can push me out the door.

Ah, let's see...and people think that's a difficult choice?! Not hardly as the smart money is on living a life well lived over work and patching life in somehow. I have a friend who recently left a 'corporate job' and is now making a go of it on her small homestead. She has plans to make a life with her hands and her brain...brawn too...and feels what she's given up pales in comparison to what she's gained and is gaining. I believe the same thing and am trying to be as supportive as possible. I applaud her decision and feel she's absolutely made the right one for her life. Another friend has given up her corporate job to make a home for her family and I believe her family, and she, will be the richer for her decision. Yes, both are difficult decisions as it means income will be reduced but the quality of life, er...make that lives...will be richly increased.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose...it's amazing how one can make quality, nourishing meals on a small amount of money when one learns the basics. It's amazing how making a simple quilt adds so much to one's being...both in the making and the receiving and in the sleeping under. It's amazing how much L-I-F-E one adds to their lives when difficult decisions are made to live more simply. It's amazing how good life can be when lived with courage.

Blessings ~ courage ~ life ~ gardens ~ rain ~ quilts ~ sunny days ~ blissful sleep ~

Monday, June 01, 2009

Keniba Thistle Cove Sadie

The huge hole left in our hearts by Shaddie's passing in January, is, slowly, being filled by Sadie. Her registered name is Keniba Thistle Cove Sadie but she's known simply as Sadie or, sometimes, in a moment of weakness, Sadie Mae. Dave doesn't like Sadie Mae but I'm not crazy about him calling her Killer, Fang or other such nicknames. I feel Sadie or Sadie Mae fits her. Sadie is a nickname for Sarah, Hebrew for Princess, and is a good, strong Appalachian moniker. She'll grow into a good, strong dog, probably seventy to eighty pounds and we've already bonded.

She has started going to the barn, can climb up the porch stairs, comes when called...when she wants -smile-...and does a multitude of other, wonderful things that only people who have had dogs as puppies can appreciate.

We spent most of this afternoon in the studio where I quilted and Sadie napped. I think she's better at her job than I am at my job.
Someone, I believe Edith Wharton, once said, "My dog, a heartbeat at my feet." She's almost right as I believe, "My dogs, heartbeats at my heart." There's something special about companion animals and, more specifically, a dog. People who think animals are dumb are people who have never had companion animals. Once you've lived with a dog, in the house, at your side, you realize animals are not dumb. If anything, it's the other way around, it's we humans who are, sometimes, dumb.

Abigail and Sadie are still working out their roles; Abbie as big sister and Sadie as tag along. Even in sleep, they know their roles. Gracie is Grandma and just wants to be left alone. She's patient with Sadie but doesn't put up with a lot of puppy stuff. That's Abbie's role as we believe she's younger, by a few months, years...who really knows?
Here's we're headed to the barn to feed cats and horses. Sadie didn't know to go around mud puddles but she's a fast learner. Now she avoids them unless she wants to splash or, like Abbie, flops down into the puddles to cool off. Most of the barn cats are okay with the dogs and now with Sadie. All the animals here at Thistle Cove Farm must live together peaceably; it's a fore taste of what's to come...the other side of the veil.

Blessings ~ Sadie ~ Abbie ~ Gracie ~ puppies ~

Collage Camp

Now that I'm an adult, I find I want to go back and do some fun stuff I did as a child. For one thing, I think I'd appreciate it more and better. For another, I can now choose what I want to do. Camp, for example. Did you know there are adult FUN camps? Well, I never until I ran across some listed in some art magazines or, where I really, really, really want to go...Collage Camp.

Collage Camp
is held at Lipstick Ranch. Just the name sounds like a great time AND I'd learn plenty! KC Willis runs Collage Camp out in the Wild, Wild West but for those of us east of the Mississip she offers Collage Camp on DVD's. Her list of copyrighted quotes are fabulous and seems like we shoulda heard of 'em before. Gosh, they do sound familiar! Maybe it's just my inner cowgirl trying to surface, ya think?

Check out her sites and wish along with me. Dreams don't have a chance of coming true if they aren't dreamed!

Blessings ~ nice folks I've met via the i-net and blog land ~ camp ~ cowgirls ~