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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.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Turn The Quiet Up

 ~ a quiet spot ~
Sometimes God uses painful lessons as a reminder for me to slow down. Although I seem to forget, He never does, I've got 60 in the headlights and this is one reason I can't do as much as I could do when we moved to the farm back in '95.

Well, do ya think?! Yeah, it constantly catches me off guard surprises me as well. -smile-

I'm taking an e-class called Blogging Your Way and it's been good for me, very good. At first, I thought it was light years away from how I live even though there are some similarities. Holly, at Decor8, is a Southern gal married to a nice German fellow and now living in Germany so we have the Southern and female thing in common. Her blog focuses on home decoration, has lush photographs and seems to have a lot of pink and frilly. I am so not pink and frilly -smile- nor do I focus on decorating our home although I'm beginning to use a lot of the antiquities, textiles, rugs, etc. we've picked up in our travels to display in our home; blog entry on those to come later.

Holly has given us lots of homework, which works for me, as I like to engage my mind as much as I enjoy working with my hands. I've been taking photos that are unusual out of the ordinary for me. There are close-ups, which I rarely do as the eye candy around this farm speaks volumes; I love the broad, sweeping vistas and find them soothing, comfortable and a balm in Gilead, so to speak.
~ roadside harvest ~
One of our assignments was to make a floral display. I do this with great regularity but, usually, find my flowers alongside the road. Dave, Abigail and I went on a forty minute Ranger ride so I could collect whatever I found. There's a bit of tickseed, flox, Queen Anne's lace, rag weed, poke berry, milk weed and other flowers whose names I don't know.
~ ragweed, Queen Anne's lace and candle ~
I'm sure most, if not all, of class participants bought flowers but I'm not traveling thirty plus miles, round trip, and across two mountains, one way, to buy flowers. Dave has taught me well and before starting the vehicle, I estimate how much the trip will cost me both in time, labor and vehicle cost. A ten dollar, US, bunch of flowers would, easily, cost three times that had I crossed the mountains. Very rarely do I make a trip with one errand in mind. Very rarely.
~ milk weed pod with insects ~
This photograph is interesting to me and one of my close-ups. I can see I need to work harder on my close-up photography -wry grin-. Around here, and probably most places, milk weed is considered a weed but I consider it for monarch butterflies. The first autumn we lived here, I remember seeing, literally, thousands of monarch butterflies swarm the yard as they feasted on milk weed. Over the years, milk weed has been, systematically killed and I see fewer and fewer monarchs so I'm determined to plant a milk weed garden in the spring. I'm collecting seed pods, letting them dry and saving the seeds for spring. Go thou and do likewise, okay?

An old blue enamel coffee pitcher serves as the vessel and it was full to overflowing!
~ favorite close-up ~
This photograph is my favorite close-up. The milk weed pods, framed by the rag weed, with the hat, pillows and hammock in the background...nice! Can't you imagine taking a warm afternoon snooze here?

I am enjoying this class - learning, exploring, interacting and all associated with the class. It's stretched me because I've allowed myself to be stretched. At first, all I could see were the differences but when I slowed down and focused, I began to see how Holly's class can be applied to me at Thistle Cove Farm. Now, I doubt I'll do a lot of these styled type photo sessions! It took enormous time, effort and energy and my back was aching with the effort at day's end, but, I see how her class is helping me grow and expand my horizons.

Yesterday was another delightful day. A couple of weeks ago, Crystal came to the farm to interview me for a magazine article on knitting. We hit it off like old friends and the chin wagging commenced big time. Yesterday, we resumed chin wagging at lunch, in Bluefield, and I also did some shopping at Joann's Fabric, The Dollar Tree and Tuesday Morning. At Joann's Fabric, I found a yard and half of 100% wool shirting material which I've run through a few hot water cycles in the washer. It's now in the dryer and will soon be ready to be ironed and cut into felted slippers that I'll embellish. The Dollar Tree had some beautiful hand made paper and cards from Thailand and I found some quilting supplies for my quilting buddies over at Tuesday Morning. We're two days from being three months away from Christmas and I'm feeling the pinch to get things ready. Dave and I are hosting his company Christmas party, again, and we're both looking forward to having the house lit up with candles, carols playing in several rooms and lots of good times with good friends. Everyone who works for or is associated with the company will be invited so we're expecting forty or fifty people to come. WOW! Thank goodness this old farmhouse is able to handle even larger crowds, especially in the warmer months when we can spill out into the yard.

"Turn the quiet up", my post title, is from a song I heard yesterday. I'm  not even sure what the rest of the song was about but "turn the quiet up" sums up Thistle Cove Farm. We have quiet in abundance yet not the quiet one would think. At all hours we're hearing bird song, cattle lowing, sheep bleating, horses neighing, trees rustling, cicadas, frogs, dogs and cats. There's very little man made noise unless it's a tractor in the field or someone cutting corn; someone doing something so the rest of humanity eats.

When I stopped to check out the comfort of the hammock, I thought about turning the quiet up; rest for the soul, peace for the mind, a balm in Gilead. Does it get any better? Not on this side of the veil!

Blessings ~ road side harvest ~ milk weed ~ monarch butterflies ~ Holly ~ Blogging Your Way ~ quiet ~
Grace and Peace,


  1. Sandra - I just love your post today. I also like milkweed, and it brings back many memories of playing in a field up the street in our subdivision - we called it the corn field, but it was just rolling hills of grass. But there was milkweed galore, and we would grab the pods and throw them at each other, or I'd break them open and watch the seeds float away on the wind. I'll have to remember about saving the seeds and planting a milkweed garden, too - such a great idea. And I, too, look for the noisy quiet that I will soon experience. Take care, and glad your back is doing somewhat better, and that you can get around a bit. I'll be 47 this year, and still wonder why I can't do the things I did in my 30s, oh well - that's age for ya. From central KY.

  2. I enjoyed this post very much too. Love the bouquets of flowers and the photos. I can visualize the Monarchs feasting on the milkweed and imagine the quiet of your farm. I hope your back is better - take care and enjoy the evening.

  3. That hammock looks sooo inviting! So you're taking blogging classes and learning photography on the side? Cool! I have a feeling you could use some hammock time yourself, you're always up to something!

  4. Lovely photos, although I'm not sure my allergies would appreciate a closer relationship with the ragweed! We still have milkweed here and I was just commenting yesterday that it has been a "butterfly summer" because I've seen so many varieties of butterflies here this year. Do you ever see the colorful monarch caterpillars? We used to love to find them when we were kids and try to see them weave their winter cocoon.

  5. Wonderful post and beautiful photographs. We are also huge fans of the Monarch butterflies and love watching both the adults and the caterpillars on the milkweed. We read an article last year about spinning milkweed fibers and are longing to try it. Someday...

  6. Sister Sandra, sometimes my mind thinks I'm still 34 but my body is quick to remind me that I'll soon be 64. That reminds me, it's almost time for my nap. :-)

    God bless you and have a great weekend.


  7. absolutely wonderful post, Sandra - the photographs, flowers and thoughts blended perfectly - and don't worry about turning 60 - you don't fall apart immediately - but instead of go go go being the rhythm it is often stitch stitch, mend mend - rest rest

  8. What an awesome post, Sandra. It is truly amazing what we can see if we take the time to look, isn't it? Lovely message. I think you should make an artwork out of those words: Turn the Quiet Up.

  9. A beautiful post, with beautiful pictures. Even your close-ups.

    Your farmlife is like a blog vacation for me - suburbs, raising kids. I love your peaceful place with homey things like knitting and cattle lowing.

    Will try to turn up the quiet. Thanks for the motivation.



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