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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, August 30, 2011

The Work of Jill's Hands!

 ~ hand crafted by Jill ~
Untie the Ribbons...tell me now, didn't you just smile when you read Untie The Ribbons? I do every time I read the words; they bring smiles into my life because I think of the possibilities, the memories and Jill. Several years ago, she and I met through the One World One Heart blog tour and have kept in touch via each other's blogs. Jill was one of many who prayed for Dave and I when we moved to Richmond for his cancer treatment and then, returned to the farm for healing and rest. She's a talented artist, working in many fields - fiber, textiles, floor cloths, dolls...if I didn't like her so much, I'd be jealous (smile).
~ side two ~
Jill used Proverbs 31:31 as her focus for this box; it fits me perfectly because I keep sheep. I've yet to spin flax, probably never will for that matter, because my sheep keep me abundantly supplied. No matter, my hands are busy and that helps keep me out of trouble and being productive.
 ~ willing hands ~
Please note the cute, and appropriate, adornments - the small hand, the buttons, yarn edging on the box, and, on top, the wooden thread spool wrapped with more yarn and embellished with beads . No detail is too small and Jill has overlooked nothing; she has a great eye!
~ a pear shaped woman figure ~
So, this is where it gets spooky...how did Jill know I'm pear shaped? (grin) I'm not sure, yet, what I'll keep in the box...perhaps the pear shaped woman figure or, perhaps, something else. I do know it will be a part of my life until my life is over. It will be a daily reminder of "the work of Jill's hands" and how she has encouraged me greatly. So much so, I would like to pass it forward and am going to try to, once a month, make and send something to someone. Life is frosty and anytime we can spread a bit of warmth and cheer, that's a feel good situation times two. Jill, you have encouraged and inspired me to "go thou and do likewise"; thank you and thank you for the beautiful work of your hands.

Darlene, over at Time-Warp-Wife, hosts {Titus2}SDAYS to "encourage women to joyfully live out their roles as wives and keepers of their homes." When people ask me what I do, I respond either farmer, shepherd or home maker; I'm happy, over the moon, happy with any of those titles. Today, I'm joining in because I want to encourage people to do what they can to help someone. Sometimes folks needing the most help are living in our own household or community or church. Sometimes, it's a stranger. No matter, do what you can with what you've got and God will bless you and it.

You may remember my post about homeless folks living in our national forests and me knitting and buying hats, gloves and scarves to send to ministries that give assistance, clothing and food to those people. I'm getting closer to my goal of having fifty hats, scarves and pairs of gloves but the problem is...I can't locate the ministry! Their website isn't viable and the only other like ministry I can find is in Florida. I'm sure the folks in Florida need help but I'd rather give my things to people who will need warmth in cold winter, so, if I can't find the ministry, I'll donate to the women and children's shelter. I'm pretty sure they can use what I've collected and if winter is going to be as harsh as I think, hats, scarves and gloves will come in mighty handy.

You are blessed so be a blessing and thank you for visiting Thistle Cove Farm. You have blessed me with the gift of your presence.

Blessings ~ Jill ~ the work of her, and our, hands ~ hats ~ scarves ~ gloves ~ home ~

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sabbath Keeping

 ~ curious, both ~
"Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." 
~ 1 Samuel 3:9 ~   

"Anything allowed in the heart which is contrary to the will of God, let it seem ever so insignificant, or be ever so deeply hidden, will cause us to fall before our enemies. Any root of bitterness cherished towards another, any self-seeking, any harsh judgments indulged in, any slackness in obeying the voice of the Lord, any doubtful habits or surroundings, any one of these things will effectually cripple and paralyze our spiritual life. I believe our blessed Guide, the indwelling Holy Spirit, is always secretly discovering these things to us by continual little twinges and pangs of conscience, so that we are left without excuse." ~ H. W. S. ~
  "Christ was the Word that spake it;
He took the bread and brake it;
And what the Word did make it,
That I believe and take it."
~ Anonymous, published 1535 ~

"When therefore the smallest instinct or desire of thy heart calleth thee towards God, and a newness of life, give it time and leave to speak; and take care thou refuse not Him that speaketh... Be retired, silent, passive, and humbly attentive to this new risen light within thee." ~ William Law ~ 



"See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks."
~ Hebrews 12:25 ~

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Daniel ~ Wanda ~ Morgan ~ Susan ~ Stephanie ~ Winnie ~Steve ~ Angela ~ Leslie ~ William and Catherine Becky ~ Rick ~ Misha ~ J ~  Linda and Skip ~ Ryan ~ Roy ~ Tonya ~ Dave ~ me ~

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Honey, I'm Home...!

Like the Canada Geese, I have returned to Thistle Cove Farm and am, mostly, recovered from both vacationing to Eastern Europe and from jet lag. Let me tell you, that jet lag like to have whupped me! Yes, I still have to finish the travel blog on Ukraine and Slovakia and will finish next week; in the meantime, thought I'd pop in and say hello, you were missed and what's been happening with you?
 ~ Sadie ~
Dave, the fur babies and various farm sitters did really well but were delighted to have me home. The dogs were allowed to see me but two at a time - Abbie and Sam first, followed by Sadie and Gracie - so they wouldn't have heart attacks or fall over in amazement I was still alive and well. We've settled into our routine and have spent the past week plus seeing to it hay was put up, pastures mowed, flowers and veggies were planted, garden produce was canned, dried, frozen as well as a modicum of porch sitting and wine drinking going on. Actually, I've been thinking, but a lot, about putting up food and am planning on doing just that this coming week. Beans first then pickles, tomatoes, corn and so it goes.
~ Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent ~
Sam has told me, in no uncertain terms, I'm not to leave for so long again and he's right. So long away from the farm and I lose my center, my true north, my compass point, my reason for living. This farm is what keeps my feet firmly planted on terra firma with my head in the clouds. We weathered the central Virginia earthquake with only minor trembles and are seeing mild winds from Hurricane Irene.

By the way, I'd like to "thank" those folks in DC and the northeast for trying to steal the thunder away from the earthquake's epicenter, in Mineral, VA. I'm pretty sure I could hear the disappointment in various radio and television announcer's voices when the whole thing turned out to be pretty much of not a whole lot. Get over yourselves, people. Am I the first person to say, imo, the world does not revolve around DC and NYC and the earthquake was, in fact, our founding fathers rolling in their graves at the shenanigans going on in our nation's capital? Oh yeah...and we lost our AAA credit rating??? What is it you idiots don't realize about spending more than you make? If we did that as citizens, the law would have us in jail, post haste. You elected "representatives" do it and when we lose our AAA credit rating, you go what tha...??? Sheesh. Excuse me. I shouldn't call you idiots; after all, we elected you...so, who is the idiot? Nice to see nothing much has changed since I've been gone. I think.
~ Abbie ~
Grace, like Dave, isn't much on having her likeness captured so pretend you're seeing them both. -smile-
Holiday was fabulous...met some amazing and wonderful people, Timi, Jane and Lance in Hungary and just missed meeting a blogger in Serbia. I'm in process of catching up with you and appreciate, greatly, all your wonderful comments on my travel entries. At some point, I've got a couple of little give away gifties from the travels so stay turned for those and, yes, I am still disjointed from jet lag...it's been frustrating, trying to motivate myself when all I feel like doing is laying around and drinking copious amounts of water. Thankfully, the hurricane has brought us lower temperatures and it's so much easier to move about when it's not so humid.

Bless you, each and every one!

Blessings ~ travels ~ home ~ hay ~ loved ones ~ gifties ~ rain ~ bloggers ~

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sabbath Keeping

~ thistle and Queen Anne's Lace ~
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and 
with all your soul and with all your strength." 
~ Deuteronomy 6:5 ~
"It is no great matter to associate with the good and gentle, for this is naturally pleasing to all, and every one willing enjoyeth peace, and loveth those best that agree with him. But to be able to live peaceably with hard and perverse persons, or with the disorderly, or with such as go contrary to us, is a great grace, and a most commendable and manly thing." ~ St. Thomas A. Kempis ~

"Thou shalt love the Lord the God with thy whole heart, with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind." This is the commandment of the great God, and He cannot command the impossible. Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand." ~ Mother Teresa ~

"Be diligent, after thy power, to do deeds of love, Think nothing too little, nothing too low, to do lovingly for the sake of God. Bear with infirmities, ungentle tempers, contradictions, visit, if thou mayest, the sick; relieve the poor, forego thyself and thine own ways for love, and He whom in them thou lovest, to whom in them thou ministerest, will own thy love, and will pour His own love into thee." ~ E. B. Pusey ~
"Will is to grace as the horse is to the rider."   
~ St. Augustine ~

Anyone who does not love remains in death. 
Anyone who hates his brother, is a murderer, 
and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him." 
~ I John 3:14-15

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~  Morgan ~ Susan ~ Stephanie ~ Winnie ~Steve ~ Angela ~ Liz and her sons ~ Leslie ~ William and Catherine Becky ~ Rick ~ Misha ~ J ~  Linda and Skip ~ Ryan ~ Roy ~ Tonya ~ Dave ~ me ~

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sabbath Keeping in Romania

~ scythe sharpening ~
"Then saith he unto his disciples, 
The harvest truly is plenteous,
but the labourers are few; 
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest,
that he will send forth labourers into his harvest."
~ Matthew 9:37-38 ~
~ starting the swing ~
"But when the fruit is brought forth, 
immediately he putteth in the sickle, 
because the harvest is come."
~ Mark 4:29 ~
~ middle of swing ~
"Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food 
will also supply and increase your store of seed and 
will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness."
~ 2 Corinthians 9:10 ~
 ~ swing completed ~
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
~ Galatians 6:9 ~
Blessings ~ harvest ~ sharpened blade ~ laborers ~ strength to do the work He has set before us ~

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Romanian Market Life

Thank y'all for bearing with me while I've been traveling. I-net access has been sparse and, generally,it  takes a lot of time to update when i-net is available. Rarely have I commented on your blogs but that's due to time and resource constraints and not lack of interest. I have two days left before I fly back to the States and am packing like a mad woman, trying to get everything in suitcases. I had to go out and buy a suitcase, five actually because there were "nested", so I could get things home. I didn't buy that much but what I bought eats huge amounts of space and UPS wanted 800 EU's to ship eleven kilos, less than twenty-five pounds! 800 EU's is about $1200 and DHL wanted 500 EU's...I don't even think so! I can pay the extra suitcase fee on USAir for under $50...guess what I'm doing? Right now, I'm in Piestany, Slovakia and trying, madly, to update the blog but it's slow going. Time is compressing and there's lots to be done before I leave for the Vienna Airport tomorrow at noon. I've been here since Tuesday, when our tour group was delivered here and not Bratislava as the original agenda indicated. There's been a lot of deviation from that original agenda and most tour goers have been in varying stages of upset, myself included. That's another story for another time but I left the tour group on Wednesday and moved to a different hotel...a spaaaaaah hotel -smile- and have been, happily ensconced ever since. My tired, exhausted body has had treatments every day and I am, finally, beginning to throw off the negative energy that surrounded the last few days of the tour. That's not to say it was bad because it was a great vacation   but it was stressful and consumed vast amounts of energy leaving me in an emotional state not conducive to peace and harmony. Fortunately, the spaaaaaah hotel has changed all that and I am rested, content and ready to return home and to whatever lies ahead. I hear the garden is going gangbusters so that means I'll be canning, drying, preserving and, generally, putting up food for the next few weeks. Bliss! In the meantime...

would you like to see some photos of market life in Romania?
~ cheese maker and seller ~
~ catching up on news ~
~ passing the day ~
~ bee my honey? ~
~ sellers spread goods on concrete floor ~
~ take my picture, please ~
This feller saw me taking photos and chased me down, tapped me on the shoulder and mimed, "take my photo"...so I did and made a new friend.
~ potatoes ~
This reminds me...wonder if I'll have this many potatoes to dig when I get home? I hear the garden is fabulous!
~ seller of brooms ~
~ maker and seller of saws ~
~ saw seller's friend ~
The saw seller and this dapper gentleman were talking when I approached. I hated taking one's photo and not the other; both were kindly accommodating.
~ bees on watermelon ~
~ headed home ~
It was a good market day no matter which market we visited and we visited more than a few. I love markets - farmers, flea, junk, antique - you name it and I love it. There's a vibrancy to people buying and selling, produce on display, saws, clothing, shoes; whatever people need, it can be found at a market.


Blessings ~ markets ~ makers and sellers ~ fruit ~ produce ~ products ~ stuff I don't even know what it is like what's in the bottle this woman is carrying ~ watermelon ~ potatoes ~

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Romania - Sapanta, Merry Cemetery

~ nesting storkes ~
Along the road, we had lots of stork sightings - nesting, eating in fields, flying through the air. Storks are amazing birds; they are mute, and cannot call, but rather clatter their bills to each other in order to communicate. Two frequently used terms to identify groups of storks are a muster of storks or a phalanx of storks. They tend to glide and not fly, thus relying on air currents and I was told they migrate to winter in Africa. Birdlife says storks migrate to both western Africa and Spain and if you'd like to see a huge phalanx of migrating storks, click here for an amazing video.
~ teenage drivers ~
The next time your teenager complains to you about not having a car, show him or her this photo. These boys have transportation but when they get home at night, they have to put away the wagon, un-harness the horses, groom the horses, feed the horses...and all before the boys sit down to supper. They probably have to unload the wagon as well, depending upon their day.
~ drinking may be dangerous to your health ~
We passed through a village where torrential rains had damaged businesses, homes and roads. These gents were drinking and smoking at their local bar, seemingly, not too impressed by the fact the foundation was gone...wiped away from rains and a flooding creek. 
~ my new best friend ~
One afternoon, while others wandered around a church and graveyard, I wandered around the village. Please don't misunderstand, I honor the past but I don't ancestor worship. Trust me, if folks could have it better in their lives, they would have it better...lots better. I've carried water, shoveled snow from inside the house to outside the house, cooked on a wood stove and over an open fire, thrown snow off the bed covers when I awoke in the morning. When life is hard, it ages a person and when life is this hard, there's, generally, little enough money to go 'round.  This gentleman was coming home from work, it was late afternoon, and he spoke. Usually what I do when I don't understand the language is smile, nod my head and, sometimes, give a little curtsy. This is what I did to this man, then gestured to my camera and "asked" if I could take his photo. He smile and nodded "yes"; this is one of the shots I took. He thanked me, I thanked him and gave a little curtsy then, he kissed me on the check; another sweet and precious memory!
By the way, his hat is their version of our baseball caps -smile-.
~ harvest season ~
All over the northern hemisphere, it's hay making time; no different in Romania.
~ two shepherds ~
Sorry for the poor photo but I wanted a photo of me and the deceased shepherd's grave marker. Merry Cemetery is an UNESCO site and a great testament to working with what you've got. Sometime during the mid-1930's, local folk artist Stan Ioan Patras began carving and painting wooden crosses to commemorate the lives of villagers. Shepherds, woodworkers, farmers, home makers, spinners, weavers, foresters...no matter what the deceased did in life, their death was captured in their cross. Mr. Patras passed away in 1977 and his apprentice, Dumitru Pop Tincu, carries on his work and people travel from all over the world to visit Sapanta, Merry Cemetery, the grave markers and the village crafters and artisans.
~ Mr. Tincu ~
~ drop spindle spinner ~
This woman sold me two balls of hand spun yarn; I'm not sure what I'll make with it but love knowing the spinner and the story. No, we didn't speak each others language but we got along just fine. She had me try my hand at her drop spindle and laughed when I proved to be not very handy. I mimicked spinning on a wheel and she said, "Ahhhh, a machina." Yikes! I need to go back to basic skills, it appears.
~ my spinning friend ~
Mercy, we've put almost 4,000 kms, or 2,000 miles, on the vehicles and our bodies in two weeks. I am exhausted but the trip is almost over and soon, time to go home. Next stop, Ukraine!

Blessings ~ friends, old and new ~ Merry Cemetery ~ spinners ~ safe drivers, thanks Inez and Jozef ~ great weather, most of the time ~ storks ~

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Sibiu, Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania

 ~ Sibiu eyebrow windows ~
Remember the Grandfather in Moonstruck? At one point, conversation going on like a tennis match and he looks around the table..."I'm so confused!" That's me. I'm so confused.  It's day something or other, I'm not sure which so, for the title, I've just give the name of one of the places we visited today. We're actually staying in Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania and the Ukraine border is very near here. We'll cross tomorrow, hopefully, it will only take a few hours but who knows?
 ~ where we ate one night ~
I'm not sure many people would be happy with the way we're traveling. We have a destination, generally, but getting there is, usually, exciting. The first night we left Serbia for Romania, we had no idea where we would eat supper; additionally, we were driving about 400 kms...or 'clicks' as Dave likes to say... and it was beginning to edge on toward night with a long distance left to travel. At a rather good pace, we passed the above restaurant and Jozef, in the lead, slammed on brakes and whipped left. Our driver, Inez, slammed on brakes and pulled to the shoulder; we waited while Jozef went to investigate. A few minutes he came out, pronounced the place satisfactory and we all pulled in to eat.
~ bride and groom at Bridge of Lies, Sibiu ~
So, what did we eat? The wedding party's soup! Yes, folks were being married at the village church and we were eating their supper...I kid you not; it was good too...smile. After soup, they fed us grilled pork and french fries and we were happy, happy, happy to get that food.As we were leaving the restaurant, they were busy making more soup! We arrived at our hotel in Sibiu at midnight, exhausted, and happy, happy, happy to be there safely as well! 

Next day, I saw the above bride and groom having their photographs taken at the Bridge of Lies, so called, I was told, because it's a favorite place for young lovers to stroll. Apparently, young lovers like to tell things that aren't true; or is it they simply confuse lust with love?
~ Sibiu square with fountain ~
I adore the squares of old European cities and towns. Sibiu is quite old,built in the 12th century, the largest and wealthiest of seven walled cities built by German settlers called Transylvanian Saxons. It's home to the first hospital in Romania in 1292, the oldest museum in1817 and the first book published in Romania was published in Sibiu in 1544. In 2007, when Dave and I were last in Sibiu, it was named a European Cultural City; it's easy to see why!
~ sacred music acapella ~
 A highlight was going to this church and hearing beautiful music sung acapella. Magnificent!
 ~ transportation, horse and cart style ~
I've been told horse and cart almost equal auto and driver in numbers; something like 1 to 2. Horse and carts or wagons are used for family transportation as well as work related.

So much of the old ways still exist...there are still shepherds who live with their flocks and men who go out in the morning with their cows and all return home at night where the cows will be milked. Who do you know who could be alone with their own thoughts day in and day out and not go crazy? I like love the solitude but a few in our group shake their heads; perhaps not liking or not understanding.
~ old Grandma ~
Every now and again, I'd see an old woman, bent over with age and, probably, arthritis, walking purposefully on her way from somewhere to somewhere else. I hope she found family and love when she arrived.
~ maker and seller of cheeses ~
In Sighetu Marmatiei, we found the market, a never ending fount of photo opportunities!
~ you looking at me?! ~
~ gypsy musicians ~
Later, in the afternoon, this group of musicians came to the market to play music, engage folks in dance, song and donations. Can you see the Grandma in the left? She's looking askance at the whole thing, perhaps wondering where their family is and why are these young people, boys and girls, traveling together?
 ~ women work... ~
~ and men drink ~
~ mushroom seller ~
~ Grandma's in the making ~
These two were busy, running up and down the park, pretending to push their baby, purse hanging off the side of the stroller...Grandma's in the making, a few decades hence.  I spent a goodly portion of the afternoon in the park, simply people watching. I did a sketch or two but I get so caught up in the people that I'm happy to simply "be".

Still to come, Sapanta, Merry Cemetery and the photo of the spinner and myself, the weaver and myself and me in the Cemetery with the headstones of spinners, shepherds, weavers gone on before. Stayed tuned, it will be well worth it!

Blessings ~ Sighetu Mrmatiei ~ markets ~ Grandma's ~ horses, carts, wagons ~ music ~ Grandma's in the making ~