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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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Full Day

These old Appalachian Mountains are supposed to be some of the oldest on earth; perhaps so but I do know they are among the most beautiful!

Our mornings are foggy and the mist hangs heavy in the air. I enjoy these mornings just as I enjoy all other mornings at Thistle Cove Farm. Each are special and beautiful and a reminder of God's overwhelming love, grace and mercy.

A lone pigeon watches over the feeder. I think it's going to be a hard winter; I'm filling the bird feeders once a day although they would like it to be more frequent. I enjoy feeding the birds, watching them and listening to their song. It soothes me and brings great joy to my day and life.
Looking back toward the house you can see the fog hanging heavy. It's a beautiful time, when the fog is heavy. There's a peaceful holiness and everything is so quiet you can hear the Earth sigh as she draws her blanket of wet close 'round her.
This deer was in the road, undecided which way to go. I stopped the car and waited until his mind was made up and he bounded up the hillside. Usually, deer travel in pairs or groups but I saw no other deer, just this solitary deer as he went about his business.I made the most wonderful brown molasses bread with dried cranberries. It's really tasty especially with some Philly cream cheese! If anyone is interested, I'll give the recipe later this week. It's a quick bread, takes about ten minutes to make and another thirty or so to bake. I've eaten it for breakfast, lunch and as a snack and it seems to taste even better as it ages.
Early evening saw us at the County Courthouse listening to representatives from Americans For Prosperity and The Social Security Institute discuss "Obamacare".

It was extremely interesting, doubly so because the key note speaker, Lawrence A. Hunter, Ph.D. has worked with several administrations including Regan and Clinton and has a non-partisan viewpoint that is refreshingly clear and was able to succinctly explain why, in his opinion, the proposed "Obamacare" is wrong for the USA.

He's one of the few speakers I've ever heard who was able to get his point across, stick to his topics and all in a matter of a few minutes AND without bashing. He's made his entire presentation without letting it be known if he was Democrat or Republican and, truthfully, I didn't really care. What I do care about are the issues and the clear presentation of same. Thank you, Dr. Hunter, for being a clear and succinct speaker.

The Americans For Prosperity is an organization "...committed to educating citizens about economic policy... and whose members advocate for public policies that champion the principles of entrepreneurship and fiscal and regulatory restraint." The Americans For Prosperity Foundation "is committed to educating citizens about economic policy and a return of the federal government to its Constitional limits."

Well! I'm all for that as a small acreage farmer; iow, an entrepreneur, I am totally against government intervention in my life and business. I believe the job of government is to govern and not to become intrusive in the lives of citizens; and, for one thing, not dictate to me how I should and when I should die.

I have several problems with the proposed Obamacare and the primary problem is why are the President, Congress and Senate exempting themselves from this proposed health care system? If it's so wonderful for the rest of us, why aren't they buying into it? I find that disturbing and raises questions that, thus far, no one will answer. That's even more frightening because when no answers are given, the thoughts one chases might be even worse than the answers.

Another problem I have is the dictate that Everyone age 65 and older MUST have "end of life counseling" with a "certified government practitioner" for "end of life options". WHAT THE...??? Again, the lack of answers to specific questions such as, "Please tell me exactly what that really means" is highly disturbing and leads me to thoughts of "assisted euthanasia" as opposed to expensive medical care for the elder. HEY! I'm fast becoming one of the "elder" and I don't like what I'm hearing...or not as the case may be!

All in all, the 1,000 page document reads like 1984 only a few years later. Uncle Sam is now Big Brother as well and in the Commonwealth of VA incest is against the law but I suppose federal supercedes state law, eh?
The crowd was, overwhelming, seniors. The only "young folks" where those who came with the speaker or the lone teenage girl who was there with her reporter mother. Here, people sign petitions and they hope to have 10,000 names to take to representatives and Senators in Virginia.
Dr. Hunter addresses the crowd and then gave time for questions and answers.

These two groups are traveling across the country in a red bus and a blue bus. Their aim is to educate people on just what the Obamacare program means in black and white and, let me tell you, from what I heard and, now from what I've researched, it's not pretty and it's also not safe for the majority of people living in the USA. The vast majority of USA citizenry are now age 60 and above and at a time when a lot of folks think they can retire and enjoy the benefits of a life well lived and worked...think again. It's just not going to happen if this "health care" plan is passed.

Please feel free to check the sites above and form your own opinion. I've also got a "cheat sheet" of facts on the 1,000 page document where one and two-sentence explanations are given about every page and/or section. If you want, I'm happy to forward it to you especially if "you're of an age...".
The view above looks toward Rt 91, aka Maiden Springs Road.

Do not be deceived as were the local "experts" who declared Maiden Spring to be plural. Where they got that idea is still a mystery to me. There's only one Maiden Spring so that makes it singular; at least it did when I went to school.

We live on Cove Road, a hard surface road of a bit over two miles then the dirt road begins.
Our road had macadam applied in the late 1960's, or so I've been told. It's a beautiful view and, in the past, when I had dogs and not puppies -smile- we would walk the road but only a mile or so. Our neighbor puts out coyote snares and I'd rather not have to rescue the dogs from one of those nasty things. They are a necessary evil and if you don't think so, then you've never seen a lamb in death throes from having its kidney ripped out by a coyote. Coyotes are not native to this region, having been brought here in the late 1950's as a deterrent to "pest animal control". I've never really been sure what that means but, perhaps, one day someone who knows will tell me.

This view is toward the head of the Cove where it dead ends in about 5,000 acres that was deeded to the Nature Conservancy.
The day ended with this beautiful rainbow, then double rainbow, where both began and ended in our pastures!

I've never seen a double rainbow begin and end in our pastures, always in our valley. It was beautiful and I'm reminded of the promise God made to Noah in Genesis 9:11 "And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth." God set the rainbow in the clouds as a promise to Noah and to following generations. And think, today I've seen a double rainbow! What a wonderful gift, thank you, God.
As always, may the Good Lord take a liking to you...but not too soon!

Blessings ~ rain ~ rainbows ~ home made bread ~ a free country ~ a great view, no matter the direction ~ the scent of air after the rain ~

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Good Morning

It's a well known fact...smile...at Thistle Cove Farm it's perfect one day and beautiful the next. If the sun is shining, it's streaming from the east, over the valley, and cast its light into the kitchen, mudroom and pantry. It reminds me of the old hymn, "The Eastern Gate" by I. G. Martin:

I will meet you in the morning,
Just inside the Eastern Gate;
Then be ready, faithful pilgrim,
Lest with you it be too late.

Refrain

I will meet you in the morning
I will meet you in the morning
Just inside the Eastern Gate over there;
I will meet you in the morning
I will meet you in the morning
I will meet you in the morning over there.

I will meet you!
I will meet you!
I will meet you over there,
I will meet you!
I will meet you!
I will meet you over there.

If you hasten off to glory,
Linger near the Eastern Gate,
For I'm coming in the morning,
So you'll not have long to wait.

Refrain

Keep your lamps all trimmed and burning,
For the Bridgroom watch and wait;
He'll be with us at the meeting,
Just inside the Eastern Gate.

Refrain

O, the joy of that glad meeting,
With the saints who for us wait!
What a blessed, happy meeting,
Just inside the Eastern Gate.

Refrain

It was my privilege to hear Aunt Bonnie sing this, acapello, at her little country church one Sunday many years ago. It's one of my sweetest memories, hearing her now, in my mind, giving her gift of song to her Lord and Redeemer. She sang all the verses, just as it's written and it's one of the most holy moments and memories of my life.

BTW, sorry about the large font size on the above song, if indeed it is large. It seems to be different on every computer I've checked thus far. I've changed it to "normal" several times but, for whatever reason, it refused to be "normal". God must want it to be large, eh? Perhaps someone needs this as a Balm in Gilead.

Refrain

There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin sick soul.

Some times I feel discouraged,
And think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit
Revives my soul again.

Refrain

If you can’t preach like Peter,
If you can’t pray like Paul,
Just tell the love of Jesus,
And say He died for all.

Refrain

Jeremiah said in chapter 8, verse 22, "Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?" I think, to have no 'balm in Gilead' is to have a soul that mews piteously and, as Augustine said, "our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee."

Joan of Arc, in a carefully preserved book, said the following, copied in part. It's an interesting read and well worth your time, especially if you find the story of Joan of Arc fascinating.

IX. 203

"Had wrought unwonted sternness. From the dome
They past in silence, when with hasty steps,
Sent by the assembled Chieftains, one they met
Seeking of the msision*d virgin, as alamVd,
The herald of ill tidings.

Holy Maid P
He cried, "they ask thy counsel. Burdundy
Comes in the cause of England, and his troops
Scarce three leagues from our walls, a fearful power
Rest tented for the night.

Say to the Chiefs,
At morn I will be with them, *she replied.
Meantime their welfare well shall occupy
My nightly thoughts.

So saying on she past
Thoughtful and silent. A brief while she mus'd,
Brief, but sufficing to impel the soul,
As with a strange and irresistible force,
To loftiest daring. Conrade P she exclaim'd
I pray thee meet me at the eastern gate"Sadie Lady and Abigail cavorting in the back yard. The little shed in the background is the old chicken house, now the garden shed.
Sam Spade checking out the morning and, probably, the kittens. The cans of Kilz are being used on the house restoration. Are we almost finished? I know I certainly am but the house has a way to go -smile-. It seems we take three steps forward and two steps back but how fortunate we are that we're able to restore the damage. Some folks are living under bridges and eating at soup kitchens. Thank you, Lord, for my home.
Sadie Lady says hello to Miss Emma and Maddie; Maggie is somewhere else, I believe. Maddie and Maggie are sisters; remember the half drowned kittens of a couple months ago? They have sure cleaned up nicely!
To some, milkweed is, simply, a weed. For the monarch butterfly, it is life itself. Dave and I encourage milkweed to grow on our farm even though we're treading uphill. Most farmers consider it a weed and must be eradicated. Not so the monarch butterfly as it's the food source that keeps them alive and well. When we first moved to Thistle Cove Farm, there were hundred of milkweed plants and, that first Autumn, thousands of monarch butterflies. We've watched them become fewer and fewer over the years and have decided to dedicate a patch of yard to the growing of milkweed and other plants that feed both hummingbirds and butterflies.
What would Thistle Cove Farm be without the thistle? Half again less, I'd say.

This beautiful snowball bush, also known as mophead hydrangea, is from Grandmother's funeral. She passed away on my birthday several years ago and I was blessed to receive this plant after services. It grows simply, sturdily and is still small but it always has the most beautiful bloom or, in some years, blooms.

Three of our four dogs are checking out the front of the yard. During the night, other critters make their way across the property, leaving their scent, marking territory and it drives the dogs bonkers. We have the yard...securely, we hope!...enclosed with double fencing and give the dogs free rein to do their dog stuff. Even though we live in the country, there are still many hazards for the animals. Should they get out of the yard and explore across the pastures, there are mountains in which to be lost, coyotes to threaten their lives, snares to entangle them, poison and the list goes on and on. It's simply best to contain them and, as our yard is an acre in size, there's simply not that much hardship on the dogs. Oh, if you'd ask them, they would say they are being contained against their will. If you ask me, I say, "too stinkin' bad!" -grin- I'd rather have them put out because they only have an acre than put down because they were lost on thousands of acres.
Isn't this view of the hemlock tree beautiful? Unfortunately, the hemlock is being killed off by the wooly adelgid but, thus far, ours seems to be all right. We have several old tree species and have planted others. This Autumn it's my intention to plant more trees - fruit, shade and nut. Work is never done but it is waiting on me now; make your day the best you can and as Roy Rogers said,

"May the Good Lord take a liking to you!"

Blessings ~ trees ~ morning ~ Joan of Arc ~ "weeds" ~ songs to uplift us and praise God ~ dogs ~ cats ~ plants ~Roy Rogers ~ the Eastern Gate ~ ready to go but not homesick yet! ~

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sabbath Keeping


This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.
I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.

This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.

This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.

Malthie D. Babcock, 1901

Blessings ~ Sabbath ~ rain ~ a little country church ~ a great cloud of witnesses ~ saints gone on before ~ saints in the pew ~

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day is Begun and Done

Sunrise at Thistle Cove Farm, at this time of year, generally means fog. This morning was no exception and the fog was thick, heavy and wet but, usually, burns off by mid to late morning. It makes for an interesting walk in the pastures but, most of the time, I wait until the fog has burned off to walk. You just never know when some buck ejiit is going to decide to hunt from the road. Sure, it's illegal but we've sit and watched them do it, especially in deer season. Sometimes, someone will fire their gun from their vehicle if they see a groundhog and, if they manage to kill the groundhog, will come and tell you they "did you a favor". No, buck ejiit, the favor you'd do me is to leave here and never come back.
After the fog burns off, the dogs and I go to the upper pasture. It's good exercise for everyone and Sam Spade and Sadie Lady manage to get in their fair share of fun as well. Abbie is, as usual, running and sniffing and doing dog things. She has little time for play when there's Work to be done! This view is looking back toward the house and toward the head of the Cove. On the map, it's called Ward's Cove but locals shorten it to the Cove.Sam is always good for Big Puppy Eyes. Surely he has Spaniel in him, don't you think? Those are Spaniel bedroom eyes if I've ever seen them!It's canning season and the canner has been busy with green beans and peaches. From a bushel of stringless green beans, I canned 28 quart jars.
My mother taught me to can the summer I was 13. I found some wild fox grapes, large white grapes, and brought them home. She said you can either eat them now or I'll teach you to make jelly. Jelly won out and that useful skill she taught me has stood me well all these years since.
I enjoy canning produce because I enjoy having a full pantry of nutritious, CLEAN food. When you purchase a can of green beans at the grocery store, the USDA allows so many "foreign parts" per million in a vat of green beans. What that really means is, the USDA allows so many roach bits or rat feces or the like in XX million parts of canned goods. Yes, and this are the same people who inspect our kitchens and proclaim them "unsafe" if we have dogs or cats in the kitchen!

I mean...is it ME or does there seem to be a Severe Disconnect here? As in brain cells are firing but gathering no purchase??Three of my twenty-eight jars of green beans ready to be placed in the pantry and eaten once the snowballs start falling. I do a lot of my canning on the gas grill as it keeps the house much cooler as well as lower humidity inside.

For Dave and I, nothing says "summer" quite like fried green tomatoes. He thinks I make the best fried green tomatoes he's ever tasted and, I do agree, they are quite tasty; we'll have them several times a week, if not twice a day until we tire of them or, what generally happens, we run out of them.
I use equal parts white, wheat, rice, buckwheat flour and toasted wheat germ. If I have other flours, I'll use that as well. As to seasoning, I let folks do that at the table as it's easier and they can add exactly what they like. Seasonings on the table include sea salt and cracked peppercorns.

First the sliced tomatoes are slipped into milk to prep them for the flour mixture coating.

The tomatoes are dipped into the flour mixture and coated well on both sides.

The hot oil is virgin olive oil, heated to a high temperature in an iron skillet. I believe this is the skillet Aunt Bonnie gave me and it's one she was given as a wedding gift back in the 1930's. I use iron cook wear as I'm not entirely satisfied that coated cook wear is safe. Besides, the extra little iron in my diet is a good thing.Fried green tomatoes, liberally anointed with cracked peppercorns and sea salt is YUMMYLICIOUS! When we have fried green tomatoes for a meal...that's what we have and nothing else. Anything else seems a bit over the top and, let's face it, nothing...Absolutely Nothing...can top fried green tomatoes!

Another beautiful sunset over Thistle Cove Farm; and the Day is Done by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

"The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me
That my soul cannot resist;

A feeling of sadness and longing
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.

Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.

For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life's endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.

Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start.

Who, through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music,
Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet,
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.

Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhythm of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs,
And as silently, steal away."

Blessings ~ fried green tomatoes ~ canned green beans ~ puppies ~ more love than one heart is able to hold ~ a night's rest well earned by a day's work ~ walks in the pasture ~ poetry ~

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Fiber Arts Carnival

In Marrakesh the dyers of yarn hang heavy skeins overhead in order to dry in the hot, bright sunlight. As we walked in the souk amazing sights were on all sides and above!

It's been mentioned before, Dave and I love to travel and one of our favorite places is Morocco. We've spent many happy times there and in various places including Marrakesh, Tanjer, Ouarzazate -pronounced wherezitat or "where is it at" said rather quickly - Zagora and Mhamid which was our jumping off point for our camping trip into the Sahara Desert with the Bedouin and the Touaregs sometimes know as the Blue Men although that's not quite factually correct. At any rate, we had fabulous times, great memories and if you're interested in hearing some traditional music played by Touareg nomands, click here. We didn't travel with this particular company, the Blue Men link, but they look interesting and bring back lots of my own memories.

Yarn is not precious, the way some consider it here in the USA or ooo-sa as it's pronounced around the world. This yarn looked to be a down breed type yarn and took heavy abuse of all sorts. I bought some skeins in a deep brown shade. Above, it's piled up outside the shop, spilling onto the path so visitors and shoppers had to side step around the pile. This shopkeeper also sold scarves and other pieces of material.

The first time we went to Morocco, we spent time in Marrakesh before heading to parts south and east...specifically, Ouarzazate, Zagora and Mhamid and then into the Sahara Desert about nine -9!- miles from the Algerian border. We did not get as far as Timbuktu but are saving that for another visit...or perhaps not as that area tends to be a bit dicey. Wikipedia call the Tuareg nomands a "pastorial" people but other sites call them warriors, They are nomads, perhaps the most nomadic of all tribes left and have a favorite saying, "houses are the coffins of the living". More truth than beauty there, especially if one has spent time in the company of nomads, living amongst them even if for a short time.

Dave and I live in an area where the night sky stretches into where the horizon meets the earth but is not truly visible due to the mountains. The Sahara Desert is where the horizon meets the earth and the stars tumble into the sand dunes. In a word: AMAZING. Or incredible, tremendous, awesome...and I've never, ever used the word 'awesome' lightly...the sight is, literally, breath taking. There, in the company of Bedouin and Blue Men, Muslims all, I felt as close to God as I've ever felt. Remember the Sistine Chapel where Michelangelo painted the finger of God touching the finger of Adam? That's what I thought of, standing in the Sahara Desert...if I stretched up my hand, toward heaven, God Himself would reach down and touch His finger to mine. Corrie ten Boom was right, paraphrased, "there is no place, God is not there".

There, in the Sahara Desert we had delightful discussion about my God, their Allah and how we individually worship, how we see other religions and other people. We found out we're not all that different. We want to live our lives, worship as we see fit, raise our families, celebrate weddings and birthdays and bury our dead. We talked about how the fanatics around the world make the world an unsafe place for everyone...this especially interesting as we were SO close to the Algerian border!

Some of their concerns included the encroachment of the Sahara Desert and how their nomadic lifestyle was being threatened by change, desert and oil cartels. How much their world had already changed since they were toddlers, only a couple of decades ago. I was a bit older than the mothers of several of the young men and listened as their voices held a tone of sadness as they recounted changes come and yet to come.

Even though we were in the desert a short time, when we returned to Marrakesh it was culture shock. The women wore clothing that was suggestive, especially the tourist women, and even some of the Moroccan women were smoking and wearing mini-skirts. It was strange how I became, in such a short period of time, so used to modest clothing and behavior. Marrakesh is an old, modern city where Muslims, Christians and Jews live together peaceably. One can hear church bells and the call to prayer within minutes of each other; I found it pleasing. While I am a Christian and truly believe heaven is through salvation in Jesus Christ, I enjoy learning about other religions because I enjoy people and am not threatened by other religions nor cultures.

Remember the abuse I alluded to earlier? The dyer has a large pot over a wood fire and the yarn is poured into boiling water...yes, boiling!...and left to boil the dye into the yarn. All I'd ever heard about hot water, friction and wool came to a screeching halt. This stuff was NOT felting, it was having the dye boiled into the yarn; mind enlarging indeed!

I keep getting closer and closer to the dye pot, my eyes unwilling to see, my mind unwilling to comprehend the Boiling Water!

I remember walking out of the little shop...really, no more than a stall about six by eight or, at the most, eight by eight feet, and saying to Dave, "He's BOILING the yarn!"

The hand carved wooden spoon is for swishing the yarn around so it can absorb all the dye, then for lifting the yarn out of the pot and sitting it aside so it can begin draining.

I wanted to buy a skein of this orange yarn but it was several, several thousand yards and luggage space was limited. Next trip, I'm sure...


More lovely yarn hanging overhead, partially blocking the hot sun.


Yet another shop keeper with dozens upon dozens skeins of yarn spilling out of his shop. Again, you can see the yarn is simply laid on the street, not put delicately into a crate where it can be fondled by hoitey toitey knitters -smiling and poking fun at myself here-.

I have no idea what the pink dye material is but the red is, I believe, henna as cochineal is native to the western hemisphere.

These skeins of yarn combat the sun for beauty while the blue yarn may be purchased by a Blue Men tribal woman.

Above a typical aisle in a souk which is, essentially, a small village within a village...a shopping mall, if you will.There are places to purchase clothing, footwear, food, drink, leather goods, silk thread, head gear, bags, rugs, carpets, antiques, kitchen supplies, home decor...the list is endless! I'd never, ever been in such a place and loved, loved, LOVED it! The sights, smells, sounds...the haggling, bargaining, the hot tea and the ceremony wherein it's poured out for guests, the noise, the tactileness...yeah, yeah, I now that's not a word-before now! smile- The souk is the heart of the old part of the city and was steps away from our riad or bread and breakfast as it's otherwise known. Dave was a Master Haggler and haggling is something that's expected when shopping in a souk. The better haggler one is, the more respect the merchant shows; basically, it's just a big game one engages in, although I always "hid behind Dave's trousers" and watched him at work -smile-. The shop owners had more respect for both of us as I was a "proper, traditional wife" and let the husband conduct the business. I strive to show respect when we travel and generally wear a scarf, keep arms and chest covered and, when possible, wear long skirts. When I show my "host" country respect, I find they treat me as a valued guest as opposed to an "ugly American".

As we left the souk we saw this fellow pulling a cart loaded with yarn. He was taking it into the souk to various dyers and we were amazed at the load he was pulling. We had scarcely finished talking about this fellow when we left the souk, entered into the center hub of Marrakesh and saw this fellow pulling his own heavy load of yarn. He would steady the load from behind as it would, sometimes, shift and come perilously close to upsetting.

Have I mentioned how much I love Morocco and the Moroccan people? -smile- We've visited the southern part of Morocco once but have been to Tanjer -using the old spelling- two times and that's because we were in Spain on holiday. Tanjer is only a thirty minute ferry ride across the Strait of Gibraltar and is fairly exotic in itself as it seems all of Europe goes to Northern Africa via the inexpensive ferry. There's a lotta world left to see but another trip to Morocco still ranks pretty high up on my "bucket list"; I find too much of a good thing is Simply Wonderful! -smile-

Blessings ~ travel ~ Morocco ~ yarn ~ Dave haggling ~ souks ~ riads ~

Thursday, July 16, 2009

There Shall be Showers of Blessing

“There Shall be Showers of Blessing”

There shall be showers of blessing:

This is the promise of love;

There shall be seasons refreshing,

Sent from the Savior above.

Refrain

Showers of blessing,

Showers of blessing we need:

Mercy drops round us are falling,

But for the showers we plead.

There shall be showers of blessing,

Precious reviving again;

Over the hills and the valleys,

Sound of abundance of rain.

Refrain

There shall be showers of blessing;

Send them upon us, O Lord;

Grant to us now a refreshing,

Come, and now honor Thy Word.

Refrain

There shall be showers of blessing:

Oh, that today they might fall,

Now as to God we’re confessing,

Now as on Jesus we call!

Refrain

There shall be showers of blessing,

If we but trust and obey;

There shall be seasons refreshing,

If we let God have His way.

Refrain

Blessings ~ rain ~ rain ~ rain ~ rain ~ rain ~ rain ~ rain ~ rain ~ rain ~ rain ~ rain ~ rain ~

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Not Finished Yet...

Well, of course I'm supposed to be doing something else...that's why I'm updating my blog!

Early this morning, sunrise, I watched as six deer fed in Rees' alfalfa field down the road from our house. At least one of the deer is a buck, with a pretty full set of antlers and he's the one on the far right, staring toward me. They are about 1,000 yards away so the detail is slim but you can see three on the far left, in rather a triangle with two more center and the buck on the right. They fed until the sun came above the horizon and then moved back to the cover of the mountains.
While I was out photographing the deer, I noticed the sunlight on the Queen Anne's lace. I love to dry this flower and then use it for note cards. Yes, I still do the old fashioned thing and send lots of snail mail. Who doesn't enjoy receiving a handwritten note...or, sad to say, even a card with just a signature...in this day of i-mail.
When I turned around, the rising sun was pouring across the valley and the little studio looked quite happy.
The back of the studio with the hand crafted Celtic cross. Bud, the farrier blacksmith, uses his forge to pound out iron offerings and I especially like Celtic crosses; must be the Scots Irish in me.
The little quilt frame on the left is just the right size for pillow cases, hand towels, table cloths and the like. The little chest on the right is a hand crafted sewing chest and was made by an uncle of someone I know in West Virginia.
This is the little chest opened wide; can't you just see all the spools of thread, bobbins, knitting needles, etc. that are going to find a home here? This sewing chest, with the Aladdin type sides and carrier, is in the parlor and while the parlor isn't finished, it's looking much, much closer to being ready for use. I spent the morning cleaning everything of the sawdust from floor refinishing, then hanging curtains...drapes to come later when the rods are installed...putting down the Persian rug and moving in some furniture and other treasures.

The two chairs in the background will stay in place while the smaller rocking chair may, or may not, be moved around. The chair cushion on the floor, between the two chairs is for a dog. As time passes, more cushions will be moved in so, perhaps, the dogs won't get on the furniture. But, if they do, the furniture will be covered with sheets. Dave and I are both people who love using our things and who love our animals. We try and keep the furniture covered so when company comes the covers may be whipped off and things look a bit nicer. I just really don't get riled about muddy paws or accidents. Heck, I've reached the age when I have accidents so how could I possibly complain about the animals?

The small fireplace bench was made by Richard, the same man who made our cherry king sized bed; it looks nice by the fireplace and the fireplace candles will, sometimes, be lit for further enjoyment. The Singer treadle sewing machine, given to me by girlfriend, Marti, is dated 1887 and was owned by Marti's Grandmother. Although it lacks the coffin top, thanks to Mr. Huff, the machine works well and it's my intention to make myself a quilt on this machine...perhaps this winter...time will tell.

The cedar blanket chest has a spinning wheel carved on the side and I placed one of my spinning wheels against the chest. When the flood damage happened in December, things were grabbed and tossed in order to get them away from the water and my wheel needs a new drive band but that's a small thing. Eventually, a bookcase will be placed against the wall where the chest is now located; the wheel will, probably, remain where it is and I think the chest will be put into double use as a coffee table. A loveseat is being recovered in red cotton with yellow piping and the blanket chest will be placed in front of the loveseat. I think the rocking chair will, eventually, be used at the spinning wheel and the sewing machine.

When I had this chair and ottoman recovered, Dave thought the fabric "rather loud". Perhaps so but it pleases me and is a spark of immense color in this solid color, except for the rug, room. Most of our furniture is antique...OH! excuse me...vintage -smile- and we've had it donkeys' years. Some belonged to Dave's mother...such as the two-tiered table, the small table in front of the window and the small rocker while other stuff was given to us, bought at auction or thrift stores. I think the only new things we own are appliances; all the furniture is, at the very least, second hand. Some of it has been around the block several times. Both of us love things with a history and a heritage and it tickled us when I found out those types things are now called "vintage" and not "antique".
The left door is a closet, quite rare in houses as old as this one. The door on the right leads to the downstairs bedroom where Dave's mother used to sleep. The ceilings are ten feet tall and the windows are nine feet by three feet. There is not One Single Wall in this house that doesn't have a door, window or fireplace and in some rooms...as evidenced above...there are two doors and a fireplace.

I'll take better photos later of some of our favorite things, for example, the antique hand hammered pieces on the mantle. Dave bought those at an antique shop in Marrakesh, Morocco; it was a sight to behold...Dave in bargaining action. Dave has enormous experience at bargaining and haggling and the poor shop owners will never be the same! Other loved items include the pink depression glass bowl, the thistle tea set and candle sticks, vases Dave's father brought home from Nippon in the 1950's.

Like other people, we have many little treasures we've been given or bought and all bring us so much pleasure...both in the receiving and in the remembering. While the room isn't completed, it's looking much better and is a nice place to enjoy a cuppa or thimble of port. Next, we have to re-arrange other downstairs rooms so we can begin work on the dining room. That requires SO much work as Dave's mother collected things made of glass and there are several hutches Absolutely Filled with glass pretties. It's going to be a mammoth undertaking to get everything ready for the next phase and I pale at the prospect. Perhaps this is the time to start an ebay account for antique glass...hmmm?

Blessings ~ sunrise ~ paint on the walls ~ refinished floor ~ deer in the pasture ~ Queen Anne's lace ~ treadle sewing machines ~ candle light ~