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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.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sabbath Keeping

 ~ Mama Bird's three efforts ~
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." ~ I Peter 4:8-9 ~

"There is no hospitality like understanding." ~ proverb ~

 "When hospitality becomes an art, it loses its very soul." ~ Max Beerbohm ~

"Who practices hospitality entertains God himself." ~ proverb ~

"It is a sin against hospitality, to open your doors and darken your countenance." ~ proverb ~

"There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us. Tis good to give a stranger a meal, or a night's lodging. Tis better to be hospitable to his good meaning and thought and give courage to a companion. We must be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality."
~ John 15:14 ~

Blessings ~ a cup of water given in Jesus' name ~ hospitality ~ guests ~  courtesy ~

Dei Gratia,

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Over the Mountain or Where's Bossie?

 ~ Foggy mountain morn ~
Foggy mornings continue here in the Cove and this morning was exceptionally beautiful. We, meaning the dogs and I, went downstairs a bit before 6 and the madness started! The kitten is still living in Sadie's dog crate which frustrates Sadie no end, and she, the kitten, has decided she's had enough of jail.
 ~ Let me out...NOW! ~
Fabric has been hung so she'll play and start using her eye/paw coordination. She is let out, several times a day which is good for both she and I. She gets to interact with the family and I have to settle down and be the negotiator should conflict arise. After about thirty-six hours of captivity, she began purring and that was a sign she was beginning to trust; now, she's totally gentled. Little ones have such short memories at this age, it doesn't take long to "change their minds".
~ Sam, Sadie, Abigail ~
Sam, Sadie and Abigail stayed on the porch as I wandered into the side yard; I wanted to take the first picture you see and they didn't want to get their paws wet. Heavy fog means heavy dew and these little prima donas move but little except for food.

We needed groceries and that takes up the entire morning. There's no need to cross the mountain for one errand so I also went to the post office and mailed a package to my nephew serving in Afghanistan. Then Lowe's beckoned and I bought paint for the farm office bathroom and smaller officer; after, it was finally time to go to the big box grocery store.
~ Maiden Springs ~
Do you see Bossie? How about the ducks? Okay, do you see the heron? In the following three photographs, you'll see all three. This photograph is at the bridge at Maiden Springs and the beginning of the Little River where it springs from the underground cave.
~ Bossie at lone tree, upper left of center ~
 ~ M R 2 Ducks; No, 'em not ~
 ~ Heron ~
 ~ the long and winding road... ~
 It's not quite fifteen miles across the mountains and most of it is like the above...twisting, turning, curvy, U's and switchbacks. The first ten miles is two-lane road, notice the lack of painted lines, and today I saw a total of eleven vehicles both going and coming...busy day. If I drive the speed limit, it's about a twenty-five minute drive, unless, of course, there's a cattle, sheep or horse drive; then, it can take an hour to get across the mountain.
~ not real, doncha know? ~
 The first little while the homeowner put this stuffed bear up the tree, people just about drove off the mountain. At dusk and dawn it's especially hard to tell this isn't a real bear, even now.
~ Ditch Lilies ~
While it's true there are more spectacular flowers, to my mind, the ditch lily is among the happiest. It grows where other flowers are called weeds and, while its life is short, it is beautifully happy. Surely there's a life lesson, eh?
~ Volunteers...all ~
 On the way home, I stopped to chat with the folks who were picking up trash. The inmates volunteer to do this as it gets them out of the jail cell, into some fresh air and, sometimes a happy stop to pass the time of day and say thanks. The Deputy Sheriff was also a volunteer as this was his day off and he was driving the inmates around the valley so they could pick up trash. Thanks, Guys; you're appreciated!
~ almost home ~
All told, the trip took about three hours which is about normal for grocery shopping. If I go to town, the trip takes a bit longer as there are more errands to run. There's nothing ever easy or fast once I leave the farm.

Dave called from Bluefield and said Sam's had raspberries on sale for $1.50 for twelve ounces. He picked up enough to make a couple of turns of jam and that's on the stove now. Tonight is quilting but don't think I'll make it as the jam will take the next couple of hours. That's okay though, the jam will taste good when the snowballs fly.
~ kitten and Sadie ~
Shaddie, our first Ridgeback, had a very strong mothering instinct. She'd try to steal lambs from their mothers, she'd steal kittens; she simply loved to mother. I'm not sure if Sadie will have as strong a mothering instinct but, for now, it's enough they explore each other without injury.

Peace at Thistle Cove Farm...and all will be well.

Blessings ~ raspberries ~ groceries ~ my babies ~ volunteers ~ ditch lilies ~ a valley with a view ~

Dei Gratia,

Monday, June 21, 2010


 ~ Samuel, son of Carly Shetland and Zacheous Romney ~
 The storms may now, officially, be called summer storms and our hay is still uncut. There's nothing for it and the feller we've retained to cut says it's still better than his hay. Tonight the weather called for "summer storms" with high winds of thirty mph and lighting strikes from cloud to ground. Fortunately, that's the storm, thus far, about fifty or sixty miles away. I'm good with just rain, ta very much! The sheep are suffering and that's one reason I wait until April to shear. It leaves them with a short coat but, even so, as the summer wears on, it's still a wool coat and it's still in the 80's and 90's. I don't even want to try to imagine wearing a wool coat on days that hot!
~ Mama Bird ~
Mama Bird has built her nest just to the upper right of the studio door. That means we have to be very quiet with no slamming of the door when we use the studio. By we, of course I mean Abbie, Sadie and Sam, my very artistic companions.  Right now, they are outside playing while Dave watches from the comfort of the back porch. That's where I need and want to be but also wanted to let you know about the latest orphan here on the farm.
~ studio door ~
You're right, this isn't a particularly great, not even good, photo but it, for whatever reason, pleases me. I haven't the slightest idea why it should, but it does.
~ Miss Feisty ~
Yesterday morning, this is what I found at the barn. She is a poor, pitiful scrap who fought me tooth and nail as I captured her and brought her to the house. Her eyes were matted shut so she was blind and couldn't see a thing; God alone knows how she managed to crawl up to and into the manger where I feed the barn cats. I haven't any idea if she's the only one in her litter and, sad to say, I generally can only catch the kittens if they are sick and can't run very fast. Then, it's a struggle to gentle them and get them to the healthy and well stage.
~ not too shy to eat ~
She's wrapped in a towel to keep her from scratching me bloody. We keep kitten milk replacement on hand and it only took a moment or two to mix with water and begin feeding. At first, she was a bit tentative but, once she tasted the milk, was a willing and eager partaker.
~ it's not Mother's but it will do ~
~ Abbie wants to help but I'm, kinda, afraid of her "help" ~
After she, or he, who knows when they are this young...eats, I take a washcloth that's been soaked in warm water and wash her face. She's almost purred, once, and when she does, that will mean a corner turned and she'll be on her way to accepting "captivity" and will settle down.

So, who wants a genuine, bona fide Thistle Cove Farm kitten?


Blessings ~ kitten seems to be growing stronger and healthier ~ summer rain ~ Samuel ~ Abbie ~ Mama Bird ~ Miss Feisty ~ kitten milk replacement formula ~

Dei Gratia,

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sabbath Keeping

 ~ Kensington Gardens, London ~
 "Our Father, who are in heaven..."

"My grandfather always said that living is like licking honey off a thorn." ~ Louis Adamic ~

"The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men." ... "What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use -- men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not annoint plans, but men -- men of prayer." ~ E. M. Bounds ~

" I don't know who my grandfather was: I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be."
~ Abraham Lincoln ~

"When I was a kid, I said to my father one afternoon, 'Daddy, will you take me to the zoo?' He answered, 'If the zoo wants you, let them come and get you."' ~ Jerry Lewis ~

"When Charles first saw our child Mary, he said all the proper things for a new father. He looked upon the poor little red thing and blurted, 'She's more beautiful than the Brooklyn Bridge."'  ~ Helen Hayes ~

You say, "my father wasn't all he could have been; he did...thus and so... Or, my mother wasn't all she could have been; she did...thus and so... ." For your sake, not theirs, please forgive them for real and imagined wrong doings. I beg you, permit the healing to begin and become the parent to your children you wanted your parents to be to you. Be the generation that stops "the sins of the fathers...". ~ skb ~

"There's one sad truth in life I've found
While journeying east and west -
The only folks we really wound
Are those we love the best.
We flatter those we scarcely know,
We please the fleeting guest,
And deal full many a thoughtless blow
To those who love us best."

"A man's children and his garden both reflect the amount of weeding done during the growing season."
~ author unknown ~

A Godly father is "prophet, priest, protector, provider".

"Covenant to Pray For America..." 

"Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." ~ Exodus 20:12 ~

Blessings ~ Our Father ~ fathers ~ Daddy ~ Mom ~ prayer ~ Godly men and women ~

Dei Gratia,

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Days of Reckoning

~ foggy sunrise ~
 We've had a foggy morning just about every day this month of June and we're sliding, quickly, into that day of reckoning, the 21st, when Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year precludes the time of lessoning light. I dislike days of shortened light but, even more, dislike man's tampering with sun time, aka daylight saving time. Pretty much, everything man has tampered with has been a complete and total failure and I fail to see why Ben Franklin thought he could improve upon sun time. Perhaps that electrical bolt of lightening sparked his brain when he was flying that kite, do you think? -grin-
  ~ foggy mountain morn ~

Rain continues to fall and hay still hasn't been cut. John, the young feller who usually cuts our hay, has had an equipment breakdown and he's unsure, exactly, when he'll be able to get here. We've someone else who is interested and, if the weather cooperates, we'll hopefully get hay cut first of the week. John is still our go-to guy but it's nice others want to cut on shares. We, meaning God and He lets us help, do grow some mighty fine hay and this first cutting will be made into 4x4 round bales. That means each round bale will be 4 feet x 4 feet; John bales a 5x5 bale so there's a tad bit of difference. Someone with a calculator and a mind for math want to work up what that difference is, please and thanks?
 ~ Lightly, looking a bit of a shadow of her former self ~
It's been a week of work and my mares, Peach and Lightly, are doing a lot better. They still aren't happy about the short rations and up in the morning Peach took a kick at Sadie. I've been trying to teach and train the dogs to stay out from under the horses' feet but, until this morning, the lesson didn't take. Peach gave a warning squeal and then kicked out with her right hind foot. She pulled back on her kick, it wasn't full force and didn't connect but it frightened Sadie half to death and I'm glad of it! Sadie ran behind me and stood there while I finished mucking out the barn. All the dogs seemed a tad opened eyed and wary; it's just a lesson that needs teaching and not an injury and I'm hoping this is a lesson learned. Like Daddy and Mother used to say and still say, "You'll learn the hard way or you'll learn the easy way but you will learn." As usual, they were right.
~ Sadie, ducking Peach ~
Carly is a Shetland sheep and one of my oldest ewes, somewhere north of ten, I believe. None of the girls need worry about pregnancy as all the rams are now wethers and everyone earns their keep by providing fleeces and love. She's as tame  as a puppy and one of the first to come for pets, nose kisses and corn. School children love her and she loves the attention.
~ Carly Shetland ~
~ teasel ~
Teasel is a mountain plant we see a lot around here. Someone told me in days gone by, women would use teasel to tease sheep fleeces into alignment so they could be spun into yarn and the mentioned linked site said the Romans were the first to so use teasel. I'm not really sure I believe this as the teasel I've seen doesn't seem to be strong enough to handle teasing fleeces. Like thistle, teasel is a bi-annual and its medicinal uses include treating warts, curing jaundice, a diuretic and made into wine. Thankfully, I've never had to find out if any of this is true. Still and all, it's a pretty plant albeit a prickly plant and will scratch blood if one isn't careful. It gets in the horses manes and tails and wrecks more than its share of havoc and it's a pain, literally, getting them out of the manes and tails.
~ Maiden Springs Fort ~
 Down the road is this sign at the site of the Anglo fort, Maiden Springs. Dave's family settled here a ways back and his cousins, the eighth and ninth R. Bowen's yet live at the home place. While we all have our place in history, it's nice, sometimes, knowing the lineage. It's nice being able to say, these were our kith and kin, they settled here and now, we are settled here, being stewards of what God has entrusted us as we make our mark for God and on the land.

Blessings ~ kith and kin ~ horses ~ sheep ~ dogs ~ family ~ hay season ~ birds of the air ~

Dei Gratia,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010




Click on JOY!

Please, pass it on.......

Blessings ~ JOY! ~

Dei Gratia,

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sabbath Keeping

 "...This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
~ Nehemiah 8:10 ~

A joy shared is a joy doubled.

"Joy is not the absence of suffering. It is the presence of God." ~ Robert Schuller ~

"The beating heart of the universe is holy joy." ~ Martin Buber ~

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If  you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, aiarless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable."
~ C. S. Lewis ~

"In thy presence is fullness of joy." ~ Psalms 16:11 ~

Blessings ~ JOY! ~

Dei Gratia,

Friday, June 11, 2010


                                           ~ rainstorm coming from the head of the Cove ~
Be sure to look at my side bar for KC Willis' workshop: I Send You Wings.

I hear the rolling thunder so there's a chance another storm is on the way. We've had storms almost daily this week and looks like we're going to end the week with another one. We've hay in the field that needs cutting, raking, kicking and baling but it's not going to happen any time soon; storms are predicted for the next few days.

In the photo above, you can see the sheet of rain coming down the valley; it's coming from the head of the Cove. I've stood in the yard, arms outstretched while the rain covers me, first one outstretched arm and fingertips, crosses over my torso and then on to the other arm and finger tips. It's a very delicious feeling!

This week has been full, very full of house repair, re-doing the farm office bathroom and smaller office, spring cleaning and tidying the studio, housecleaning, crocheting rag rugs and helping mend horses. I've two mares, mother and daughter, who are both foundered. They need to lose about 100 pounds each, maybe a tad more and they aren't, even a little bit, happy about it. Just about as happy as I'd be if I had to lose weight and someone put me in a locked room with nothing but crackers and water.  Their feet were trimmed last week by a man who has been trimming horse feet for quite some time but not as long as my regular farrier who has been working for thirty years. He's a hoof specialist and has, just about, seen it all in his career. The first man did a really good job but he didn't take off as much as, perhaps, he could have. He didn't want to make their feet any more tender than already in evidence which I greatly appreciated.

The farrier came yesterday, at my behest, because I was concerned both mares still had tender feet. I've only had horses about 14 years and am a, relative, newcomer to horses; sheep too, for that matter. Most of what I've learned has been taught to me by the farrier, vets and OJT - on the job training. I'm still timid though, when it comes to trusting my gut. The farrier told me yesterday, "You know more than you think you your gut and, yes, they are both foundered!"

He trimmed another inch, perhaps a bit more, off the front feet of both mares and they were extremely tender footed for most of the rest of the day. Lightly, the daughter, and Peach, the mother, are put up in a "short lot" where they are totally dependent upon me for food. They have free choice water and shelter but the food is slim pickings.

When we returned from grocery shopping, Lightly was feeling better. I could tell because she was playing in the water trough; splashing herself and anyone else who was close enough to get wet. She had a grand time!
                                             ~ Lightly and her half brother, Dandy Man ~

They are separated by a gate and fence because Dandy isn't on a diet. He's still unhappy though, because he's a Momma's Boy and loves being with the girls.

                                   ~ Lightly, readying for another total water dispersement ~

                                                      ~ she's having SO much fun! ~

                                                         ~ up to her eyeballs in water ~

                                                            ~ just about finished ~
Lightly and Peach need to be tended to twice a day. I clean their feet, clean the barn and the lot and, usually, give them a small handful of hay just to let them know they are loved. Today I also picked a lot of the rocks out of the lot so they would have, mostly, grass to walk upon. Some of the rocks can't be the one in the right of the photos. That's the placement of the waterline, going from this trough to another trough and needs to stay in place. I also gave them de-wormer today; when they are on a short lot , I like to keep them as healthy as I possible can.

We have exceptional pasture in our region; one of the top two or three in the world, and it's very rich. American Curly horses are extremely easy keepers and it's a juggling act keeping them from gaining weight. So, for the next three months, I'll keep them on short rations and, slowly, very slowly, re-introduce them back into the pastures. But there's a stretch of time between then and now; in the meantime, they pout -grin-.

Wash needs to be gathered off the line, studio needs to be closed, barns need to be locked and then there's porch furniture to be held down. I'll show you the rag rugs later and explain how I crocheted them. It's been a learning experience and the second one looks better than the first but they both look good. I've already got the colors picked out for the third one which will go in the farm office bathroom. One of the rugs I'll send to my sister for her deck; that should keep her feet toasty when it turns cooler weather. Speaking of, please forgive me for whining about the cold this past winter; today was in the 80's and it's supposed to be in the mid 90's on Sunday. We're in the Appalachian Mountains, it's not supposed to be that HOT this SOON!


Blessings ~ healthy animals ~ the strength to tend to the ones not so healthy ~ rag rugs ~ fresh laundry ~

Dei Gratia,

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Sabbath Keeping

 ~ the island life ~
"Loners who care only for themselves spit on the common good.
Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse; all they do is run off at the mouth.
When wickedness arrives, shame's not far behind; contempt for life is contemptible.
Many words rush along like rivers in flood, but deep wisdom flows up from atesian springs.
It's not right to go easy on the guilty, or come down hard on the innocent.
The words of a fool start fights; do him a favor and gag him.
Fools are undone by their big mouths; their souls are crushed by their words.
Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly?
Slack habits and sloppy work are as bad as vandalism.
GOD's name is a place of protection--good people can run there and be safe.
The rich think their wealth protects them; they imagine themselves safe behind it.
Pride first, then the crash, but humility is precursor to honor.
Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.
A healthy spirit conquers adversity, but what can you do when the spirit is crushed?
Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights."
~ Proverbs 18:1-15, the Message ~
"You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you." ~ John Wooden ~

"A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew." 
~ Herb Caen ~

"Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.

"He who devotes sixteen hours a day to hard study may become at sixty as wise as he thought himself at twenty." ~ Mary Wilson Little
"Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers." ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

"Patience is the companion of wisdom." ~ Saint Augustine ~

"Some folks are wise and some are otherwise." ~ Tobias Smollet ~

 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." ~ James 1:5 ~ 

Blessings ~ wisdom ~ Sunday ~  wise men and women ~
Dei Gratia,

Thursday, June 03, 2010

"I Send You Wings"

 ~ the Cove ~
Fantastic news: the weekend of September 24-25, 2010, here at Thistle Cove Farm, we're hosting the fabulous KC Willis and her workshop, I Send You Wings! For those of you who are new to fabric and textile work, KC's workshop will introduce you to the realms of beauty and possibility. For those who are old hands, you'll be inspired not only by her immense talent but by the beautiful surroundings of Thistle Cove Farm, snugged in the Cove, where Lassie was filmed a few years ago. If you've ever seen a copy of the video, the boy and Lassie are tramping the hills with Thistle Cove Farm in the background.

As KC puts it, "And at what better place than a remote farm nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia can you remove yourself from the fast-paced world and immerse yourself in art and "flying." You will be moved, motivated and entertained by KC's storytelling and you will learn all her secrets for creating worn and wonderful pieces of textured art.

Here you and 7 other artistic souls will immerse yourself in the wonderful "vibe" of this very special place and you will leave with a changed attitude and a renewed motivation for art and for life."

Do I hear an "Amen"?!

I understand she already has two participants signed up so that means there are only six spaces left. The workshop price also includes snacks and lunch so there's no precious time lost from learning, being creative, exploring and having a marvelous time.

KC's Colorado studio is featured in the May/June issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors Summer 2010 issue.  If you're not familiar with this magazine, quite's the bomb. Her blog has more of her amazing work and all the links listed here will give you more information either about KC, her workshops, studio, the magazine or Thistle Cove Farm. Well worth your time to visit all of them.

As to the remote comment; yep, we're remote, rural, mountain and pretty darn secluded! You'll have to drive about twenty minutes to hotel and restaurant locations but once you get to the farm, you'll have to be forced to leave -grin-. Our choral cacophony includes bird song, horses, donkeys, cattle and sheep; dogs and cats round out the mix. What you won't hear is man made noise such as television and radio.  Why? you may ask. Because at the TCF workshop building, there's no reception! There will be nothing between you, KC and your own inner creativeness as you broaden your horizons and expand your world and mind. If you're of a mind to, there will be time to visit on the porches and soak up God's beauty; talk is optional -grin-.

If you're interested in observing the Sabbath with us, you're more than welcome to share in worship services at our little country church. And, if you do stay for worship service, you're invited back to the farm for lunch!

Please join us; it won't be the same without YOU!

Blessings ~ KC ~ I Send You Wings ~ TCF ~ a little country church ~ the Cove ~

Dei Gratia,
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