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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, August 30, 2012

Quietness Reigns

"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads."
~ Henry David Thoreau ~
Under my feet, my piece of heaven has thistles galore and I spend a lot of time chopping those thistles. I've been told thistles are a bi-annual crop...and I use the word  "crop" loosely...and need to be chopped before their flower goes to seed. I've also read they are deep rooted perennials and I can attest to the deep rooted part! This particular pasture stretches from behind me to the road ahead of me, marked by the tree in the right middle distance and where five of the horses and all the sheep range. 
I'm not sure if this is Canadian thistle or another variety but it's invasive. Dave used chemicals to control kill it and other weeds but I use labor. 
I'm not sure if what I'm using is called a stirrup, hula or collinear hoe or none of those. Yeah, it would help if I had a better photo but the hoe is down at the barn and I'm up at the house and too tired to make a special trip. I was weed chopping for a couple of three hours this morning and I'm plain tuckered out. It is very similar to a stirrup hoe and I can swing left or right which is handy; it means I can get 'em coming and going or until my strength and energy give out. I even checked Lehman's and couldn't find it there so if any of you are that interested, next time I go to the barn, I'll take a better photo and post it. If you're unfamiliar with Lehman's, check out the link. This Amish owned store has been in business since 1955 and offers a very wide variety of non-electric goods for both home and farm. Located in northeastern Ohio they are a mecca to folks who want to live off-grid and to those who simply want a tool they remember Grandpa or Grandma using. I've never visited the store but it's on my bucket list -smile-.
~ Thistle Cove Farm homestead ~
When I stop to take a rest break, it's so very quiet; the quietest I've heard in a long, long time. No cattle, horses, sheep, birds or running farm equipment could be heard. Every so often a vehicle would drive by but quietness reigns today. The dogs pant and I breath heavily, crickets chirp and a breeze is steady but other than that, it's as if Earth and all God's creation is gathering strength, preparing for Autumn's chill which, in turn, brings the cold, deep, welcome sleep of Winter. 
I'm in the middle of the pasture, taking a break from chopping thistles. I've been at it for a few hours and, hopefully, will rid this pasture of thistles before I stop; but, if not, that's okay too. Sweat pours off me, my skin is feeling the sun's rays and there'll be no yoga or Zumba for me today. I watch as buzzards soar overhead, wondering if they are flying wind currents or waiting for something to die.
Dave always cautioned me to take excellent care of my most important and expensive piece of farm equipment.
He'd make sure I had food, water, a hat and would call to me to stop every hour or so and take a breather. Memories, good memories, but I still had a good cry with nothing between me and God save my broken heart. God took my provider and protector, the only one ever between God and I was Dave. Is that why Dave died when he did? Was I leaning too heavily on Dave and not enough on God? I didn't think so but only God knows and He's not saying.
Now I lean totally and heavily upon God; am dependent on Him for protection and provision. Daily, my requests are pretty much the same...Please, Lord, give me wisdom, discernment and protect me and the animals and farm while providing for our needs. It's a daily prayer because it's a daily walk.
In good weather I trudge the pastures, fixing fence, chopping thistles, seeing to the needs of the animals and farm. Daily I do something that will prepare us for Autumn and the deep sleep of Winter.
I tried writing goals for everything but settled on goals for a few main things. The rest is on a to-do list and, again daily, I try to whittle it down. Some days more is added than is whittled and sometimes that's discouraging.
Please, Lord, increase my faith.
The house is a wreck but when weather is good, outdoor chores need to be done. Dave and I met after we'd established households so we each had more than two decades of furniture and goods. Then, his mother moved in with us and she had fifty years of the same. Now is the season of life to decide what to keep, what to give away, what to sell.
Used to be, whenever I'd start work on the house, Dave would say, "Oh, come talk with me." Very rarely did I say, "no" and never regretted saying "yes". Now, I've all the time coming to me to deal with household goods. 
The Canada geese are back, on their way somewhere from somewhere else. Their cries rush me to the door, camera in hand as I stand sentinel and wave to them. They always tug at my heart and today, for whatever reasons, is a day for tears.
Blessings ~ strength to do the work God sets before me ~ Canada Geese ~ hoes ~ work ~ my piece of heaven on earth ~ 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stuff to Make Life Easier

~ colorful carabiner key fobs~
If you live in a household with other folks who drive, do you, often, get your keys confused? Dave and I used to get our keys confused all the time. One day, I finally figured out that if I used colored carabiner key fobs, it was a lot easier to, quickly, find the keys I need. On a farm, there are lots and lots of keys, handfuls of keys and it's so easy to grab the wrong set of keys. These carabiner hooks stop that from happening. The John Deere keys are on a green carabiner; the tack room keys on a silver carabiner and so forth. I'm amazed at how this small thing makes my life so much easier.
~ office in a pouch ~
Some few decades ago, this "office in a pouch" came my way. I think it was a gift from some insurance company and it's ever so handy. It contains tape, staple puller, eraser, pencil, small knife, ruler, stapler, and a few other things. It goes in one of the vehicles and is in constant use. 
~ office in a pouch ~
This little office in a pouch cost less than ten dollars to put together and has all the aforementioned plus some envelopes, note pads, stamps and packing tape. I was so tired of getting some where and didn't have what I need to mail packages. This prevents "emergency" purchases of stuff I've got at home. 
~ broom stick ~
If you have a patio, or slider, door, this is a great, inexpensive method of enhancing security. I took a worn out broom, cut the handle off and the broom handle fits, snugly, into the door tracks of the patio, or slider, door, preventing the patio door from being opened.
~ dowel rod in window ~
This is the same method as the patio door; a dowel rod is cut and fitted into the track of the window, preventing the window from being opened. In both cases, it supplements the  locks on both doors and windows.
~ Schmidt work boots~ 
I'm a huge fan of good, sturdy, comfortable foot wear. Schmidt boots are my work boots of choice and they are comfortable!  Red Wing Shoes makes Schmidt boots for Tractor Supply and Red Wing is well known and respected as makers of excellent foot wear. A comparable pair of Red Wing boots would cost me twice, perhaps more, what these Schmidt's cost, but I'll wear these boots as long as I'm able to work on the farm...years, perhaps decades, God willing. When I'm working cattle, fencing fences or on the tractor, it's so nice to know at the end of the day I won't be crippled because of shoddy footwear.
Hope some of these things are helpful in making your life easier. Let's face it, life is so dang difficult that any time we can ease the load a bit, we're better off.

Blessings ~ better security ~ carabiners ~ office in a pouch ~ sturdy boots ~

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Everyday Ruralty and Economics 101

Patrice and Wendell, or is that Wendell and Patrice?, over at Everyday Ruralty have a blog hop on Tuesdays. They call it Chats on the Farmhouse Porch and ask five questions. 
1. What's the last thing you baked? Bread and have almost given it all away. Each week I bake and then hand out the results to folks. Some weeks it's shortbread, other weeks it's bread, sometimes it's brownies or cupcakes. Anything to put a smile on someone's face or to say "thank you" for a kindness they've done for me. Tonight is our volunteer fire department meeting and I'm baking cookies and brownies to share.
2. What's your favorite thing about fall? The cool temperatures and the colors. Both are so welcome although I do love that acid green that screams growing things. The heat bothers me so the coolness is most welcome.
3. What's your favorite room in the house? This is a toss up between one of the porches, the sun room or my bedroom. The porches mean the weather is wonderful and I'm sitting on a porch with hand work, a book, a lap top, a drink and a pair of spy glasses. I'm easily entertained -smile-. Last night I watched as a doe and her twin fawns grazed the pasture behind the house; such a delight! The sun room means I'm having morning devotions or eating a meal and the bedroom means I'm sleeping...ahhh...wonderful, restorative, restful sleep!
4. Who handles bill paying in your house? Ummmm, since Dave died, that would be me. I paid bills the first half dozen years we lived here and then he took over. Maybe this is a good time to plug my upcoming book...Getting Your Affairs in Order is the working title but that's apt to change. There are so many ways to prepare now for losing a loved one later. So many ways to, legally, keep more of your hard earned money in your pocket and home as opposed to paying death taxes. I've learned via the School of Hard Knocks and want to share my information with others. It doesn't matter what your marital status, your gender or race; one thing we all have in common is death. It will come, eventually, and it's best to be better prepared than not prepared.
5. Tell whatever you like to share with our chatting friends. Well, my post today was going to be on economics, specifically the economics of the US of A. Just you try handling your personal affairs like those folks in Washington handle tax payer slave dollars and you'll be in jail lickety split! Someone sent the following and I thought it worth repeating.
*US Tax Revenue: $2,170,000,000,000.00
*Federal Budget: $3,820,000,000,000.00
*New Debt: $14,271,000,000,000.00
*Recent Budget Cuts: $38,500,000,000.00

Now, let's, remove the eight zero's and pretend it's your household budget:
*Annual Family Income: $21,700.00
*Money the Family Spent: $38,200.00
*New debt on the credit card: $16,500
*Outstanding balance on Credit Card: $142,710.00
*Total Budget Cuts so far: $3.85

Any questions?

Another way to look at the Debt Ceiling: After a long, exhausting day at work, you come home to find there's been a sewer back up in the neighborhood or your own back yard.There's raw, stinky, nasty sewage all the way up to your ceilings!
What do you think you should do?
Raise the ceilings or pump out the crap?
Your choice is coming November 6, 2012; choose wisely.

Blessings ~ Wendell ~ Patrice ~ Everday Ruralty ~ economics ~ wise choices ~ home baking ~ volunteer fire departments ~ sun rooms ~ porches ~ 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

~ double rainbow ~
"For I know the plans I have for you," 
declares the LORD, 
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope,
and a future." 
"Encourage is oxygen for the soul." 
~ George M. Adams ~
"When you feel like giving up,
remember why you held on so long in the first place."
~ Anonymous ~
"How would your life be different if...You walked away from gossip and verbal defamation? Let today be the day...You speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same." ~ Steve Maraboli ~
"You cannot expect victory and plan for defeat." 
"Instruction does much but encouragement everything." 
~ Goethe ~
"But God is the God of the waves and the billows, and they are still His when they come over us; and again and again we have proved that the overwhelming thing does not overwhelm. Once more by His interposition deliverance came. We were cast down, but not destroyed." ~ Amy Carmichael ~
"You can get a thousand no's from people 
and only one yes from God." 
"He is your Father, and His role is to protect you; He will comfort you and guide you. He will feed you; He will carry you when you are weak. He will seek you out when you go astray; He will help you in times of trouble. He will not let your enemies go unpunished; He will cherish you like a father cherishes his daughter. When you fall, He will pick you up; when you don't understand, He will always understand.
When you feel like life is weighing you down, He will life you up. When you feel like giving up, He will encourage you to keep going. When you are sad, He will lighten your spirits. When you need advice, His line is open 24-7. When you feel unsafe, He will be your safety, when you are worried, He will be an ear to your concerns. When you feel burdened, offer your burden to Him and He will take it. Where you have been burnt, He will make you beautiful; where you hurt, He will heal. Whenever you feel lonely, He will always be with you.
Where others have not supported you, He will support you. When you feel discouraged, He will be your encouragement. Where you don't know, He will tell you when the time is right. When you feel unloved, remember that He has always loved you.
You see limitations; God sees opportunities. You see faults; God sees growth. You see problems, God sees solutions. You see limitations; God sees possibilities. You see life; God sees eternity." 
~ Corallie Buchanan
"Never put off writing until you are better at it." 
"When he arrived there and saw the wonderful things God was doing, 
he was filled with excitement and joy, 
and encouraged the believers to stay close to the Lord, 
whatever the cost." 

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Names will stay on the list for one month, unless requested otherwise. Around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Raeann ~ Geoffrey and Terry ~ Kary ~ Stephanie and family ~ Mary and family ~ Jane and Lance ~ Steve and Gwen ~ Misha and J ~ Timi and family ~ Debbie ~ Jill ~ Yvonne ~ Renee ~ Kim ~ me ~

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thistle Cove Cottage

~ morning has broken over the Atlantic Ocean ~
Nancy, over at A Rural Journal, graciously allowed me to post this blatant commercial during her Rural Thursday Blog Hop
As many know, Dave, my husband, died in November 2011 and life has been "interesting"...let's face it, so many adjectives come to mind and all of them pertinent but I'll go with "interesting" for now. -smile- However, life goes on, even in the midst of death, and it's, too often, been a struggle to keep upright. Still and all, I choose happiness even on those days I'm not feeling too happy. Remember the old adage...fake it until you make it? So appropriate! Again, as many know, I'm writing a book to help others prepare for the financial fall-out, some of which can be prevented, that occurs after the death of a loved one. It doesn't matter the marital status, gender or race, death is common to us all. One day, or night, we will die and leave our loved ones to deal with "after" as best they can. Trust me when I say this: it's best to be better prepared than unprepared. 
These past months have found me learning on God more than ever. Since Dave died, God has used this time to strengthen my faith, bolster my courage, has given me wisdom, has been my protector and my provider. Has it been easy? No, it's been hard as nails and, frankly, I'd much rather go back to the way things were! But, I didn't get a vote so I soldier on, daily asking God for wisdom, guidance, protection and what He would have me do. 
~ view from my other window ~
One thing I've done is buy a two bedroom two bath condo in Cherry Grove, North Myrtle Beach, SC. Dave always loved the ocean, could swim like a fish and was a certified scuba diver. Me, I paddle like a dog with three legs but I loved the ocean because Dave loved the ocean. I've learned to snorkel and, while wearing a bell helmet, have walked on the ocean floor at a depth of twenty-five to thirty feet. That's rather amazing to anyone who knows me and my fear of the ocean. Or, rather those things in the ocean!
~ dining and living room ~
Thistle Cove Cottage is available for rent but is not with an agency. I'd much rather rent to family, friends, friends of friends and folks I've met through blogging. The building has an elevator! and is on North Ocean Boulevard with a direct view of the Atlantic Ocean. It's a few blocks from Cherry Grove Pier and only two blocks away, within walking distance, of Boulineau's, another Cherry Grove landmark. For more information on the area, read here, but, please know, I'm not recommending this rental agency.
~ master queen bedroom ~
The master bedroom has access to the balcony, as does the living room. 
~ guest bedroom ~
~ full size kitchen ~
The Thistle Cove Cottage website is under construction and, hopefully, by week's end, all photos and other information will be on site. If you have questions, please send me an e-mail at either gmail account...thistlecovefarms or thistlecovecottage. I'm excited about this new venture which will, hopefully, bless a lot of folks as well as generate income. If you tell someone about Thistle Cove Cottage and they rent from me, you'll receive a monetary compensation as my way of saying "thank you". 
See you at the beach!
Nancy, thank you so very much for your kindness toward me! Readers, please visit those other bloggers who are participating in Rural Thursday Blog Hop; you'll be glad you did!

Blessings ~ Nancy ~ God's hand of providence on my life ~ Thistle Cove Cottage ~ Thistle Cove Farm ~

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Feet Don't Fail Me Now

~ my feet ~
~ Atlantic Ocean ~ 
~ my feet in the Atlantic Ocean ~
~ ahhhhh. breathing deeply ~

Blessings ~ calm ~ peace ~ serenity ~ a welcome respite ~ breathing deeply ~

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

"God is not man that he should lie, 
or a son of man that he should change his mind. 
Has he said, and will he not do it? 
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? 
~ Numbers 23:19 ~

Through the pitch-black night, the Captain sees a light dead ahead on a collision course. He sends a signal, "Change your course 10 degrees east."
The light signals back, "Change yours, 10 degrees west."
Angry, the Captain sends, "I'm a Navy Captain, change your course, sir!"
I'm a seaman, second class," comes the reply. "Change your course, sir."
Now the Captain is furious. "I'm a battleship! I'm not changing course!"
There is one last reply. "I'm a lighthouse. Your call."

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights with whom 
there is no variation or shadow due to change." 
~ James 1:17 ~
If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Unless requested, names will be left for thirty days; all over the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Raeann ~ Geoffrey and Terry ~ Stephanie and family ~ Mary and family ~ Timi, Miki, Mira, Mark ~ Steve and Gwen ~ Linda Sue ~ Jane and Lance ~ Kary ~ Debbie ~ Jill ~ Yvonne ~ Renee ~ me ~

Monday, August 13, 2012

Carly Shetland and Autumn

~ Carly Shetland ~
It's been a week or three of remembering to breath; autumn is in the air, temps are falling, humidity is falling, leaves are starting to turn. Yep, autumn is on the way, although, to be sure, there are still plenty of days with heat left to enjoy. The garden isn't  much and that's okay. It's been a year of being overwhelmed with no back-up and many, too many, people have asked, "How long can you hold out?" The answer is, "I don't know." Recently, I read that married people, especially married people with children should try and work things out; they should stay married and not divorce. One of the primary reasons was economics. A divorced woman's standard of living, almost immediately upon signing the divorce papers, drops by fifty percent. People, that's a huge amount and I don't advocate staying in a marriage where one is abused, but I do think a lot of people get divorced for the silliest of reasons. "I just don't love him or her any more." What does that mean? Did you ever? Anyway, as Tina Turner once said, "what's love got to do with it?" Okay, maybe she wasn't talking about marriage but love is a choice. Someone asked Dave if he'd ever been fallen in love and his reply was, "No, but I think I might have stepped in it once or twice." Only one of them laughed. 
Carly Shetland lives in the yard now and is very happy about it. She's so old, north of 15 and probably closer to 17 and she just toddles about on her poor little arthritic legs, waiting for love, pets and treats. She has a voice like a fog horn and isn't above using it! In the background, Sadie and Sam play.
I took a few photos of the American Curly horses; will do a post on them soon. Dave always said we're running an old age farm and he's right. He never liked the sheep in the yard but it doesn't bother me; I figure it's more pasture and less mowing -smile-
~ Sophie Lauren Butterball ~
Actually Sophie has lost a few pounds and is looking fit and trim, for her anyway. They killed a groundhog today...GOOD DOGS!...and are going to bed pleased as punch with themselves. As am I. Anytime they kill a groundhog it's good news to me.
~ Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent ~
"If you were a man, I'd marry you, Sam!" Dave loved this little feller and I think Sam is the one who misses Dave most, next to me, of course. Sam stood sentry as Melvin gave Dave CPR and Sam watched as the EMT's carried Dave's body out of the house, never to return. Sam is a good 'un and I bless the day Dave and I stopped to pick him up, even if it did make us late for church. We all think it was a great reason!
~ Sadie's best side ~
Now Sadie...what can be said about Sadie except, "she ain't nothing but a hound dog!" See the ridge going up her back; she's a Rhodesian Ridgeback from Keniba Kennels and about a hundred pounds of pure puppy. Yes, at three plus years old, she's still puppy! Here, she sits on her favorite lap because The Empress doesn't like getting her fanny wet on dewy grass. I was seated, petting Carly, when Sadie came up to me, turned around and kept putting her back side down until she felt my lap underneath. Then, and only then, she deigned to lower her butkus onto my lap. It never even occurred to her that might not be what I wanted; you know how puppies are...self-centered, self-focused and it's all about me, me, me. I still love her though and I can see see little signs of her growing into a girl to be reckoned with; a girl who protects her own and doesn't like anyone messing with her human! Good Girl, Sadie!
~ view from my window ~
It's been nine months since Dave died and this month was the first time the fifth came and went without me remembering. Does that mean I'm healing, getting dementia, am overwhelmed with everything...yes, to all the above except, hopefully, not getting dementia. Memory loss can occur anytime there's a shock to the system and, God knows, losing Dave was, and is, a shock to the system. I know several women whose husband's have died since and my heart breaks for them; I know some of what they are going through and nothing but God and time can bring healing and, perhaps, restoration. In the meantime, ennui, though not boredom, is a constant battle; one that, sometimes, I'm just as satisfied to lose. Other words that come to mind: apathetic, lassitude...I'm still trying to figure out the right word; none, really, come to mind. 
For the first few months, I was in shock and, like I've said before, March was a constant struggle to stay alive. It would have been so much easier to just lay it...everything...down and stop living. Dave and I cast our lot together; once we married it was never Dave or Sandra, it was always Dave and Sandra; we were a team, a unit, and, generally, that's how people viewed us. Now, it's just me and I'm off kilter, a whirling dervish that spins unsteadily, unevenly and without the prophetic state following.
I'd love to tell you something grand about why I didn't do that, stop living, but, you know what, it was something simple. I kept thinking, "suppose I do make the decision to stop living and at that very last moment, God lets me see what I would have missed and it was wonderful!" 
Bless His name, He knew what it would take for me to stay on my feet, to keep going. That, plus, what kind of "little Christ" would I be if I couldn't handle this part of life? Death is the natural end; we all know it's coming, a lot of us are preparing best we can and yet, no matter how much we think we're prepared, we're not. It still such a HUGE surprise! Especially when death is sudden. Yesterday, a friend was in a terrible auto accident and his car was totaled but he was unscathed...a miracle! God gave that man a miracle, his very life, and I only hope my friend remembers to say, "thank you", again. 
So, my struggle continues, but not as bitter; life goes on, but a lot emptier; tears still come, but I'm crying in a chair and not curled in a tight little ball on the kitchen floor as the dogs gather 'round and lick my face. 
God is still on His throne and all's well with the world. 
Bless His name forever.

Blessings ~ my little family, Carly, Sadie, Sam, Sophie and all the rest ~ a beautiful place to live ~ miracles ~ the love, mercy and grace of God ~

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

~ Atlantic Ocean, North Myrtle Beach, SC, USA ~
"You will keep Him in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast, 
because he trusts in you."
"The mind never puts forth greater power over itself than when, in great trials, it yields up calmly its desires, affections, interests to God. There are seasons when to be still demands immeasurably higher strength than to act. Composure is often the highest result of power. Think you it demands no power to calm the storm elements of passion, to moderate the vehemence of desire, to throw off the load of dejection, to suppress every repining thought, when the dearest hopes are withered, and to turn the wounded spirit from dangerous reveries and wasting grief, to the quiet discharge of ordinary duties? Is there no power put forth, when a man, stripped of his property, of the fruits of a life's labors, quells discontent and gloomy forebodings, and serenely and patiently returns to the tasks which Providence assigns!" ~ William E. Channing ~
"I've many a cross to take up now,
And many left behind;
But present troubles move me not,
Nor shake my quiet mind. 
And what may be to-morrow's cross
I never seek to find;
My Father says, "Leave that to me,
And keep a quiet mind."
~ Anonymous ~
"The eyes sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend." ~ Robertson Davies ~
"The march of the mind is slow." 
"The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind." 
~ Albert Einstein ~
"Mind your speech a little lest you should mar your fortunes." ~ Shakespeare ~
"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. 
Anyone who keeps learning stays young. 
The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young." 
~ Henry Ford ~
"You will never do anything in this world without courage. 
It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honour." 
~ Aristotle ~
"Always be ready to speak your mind and a base man will avoid you." ~ William Blake ~
"Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you 
as by the attitude you bring to life; 
not so much by what happens to you 
as by the way your mind looks at what happens." 
"Any fool can make a rule
and any fool will mind it."
"Fortune favors the prepared mind." 
"I have sworn upon the alter of God,
eternal hostility 
against every form of tyranny
over the mind of man."
"Jesus replied, "love the Lord with all your heart 
and with all your soul 
and with all your mind."  
If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Unless otherwise requested, names will remain on the list for one month; all over the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Sandy ~ Raeann ~ Geoffrey and Terry ~ Quesenberry Family ~ Stephanie and family ~ Timi, Miki, Mira, Mark ~ Linda Sue ~ Steve and Gwen ~ Kary ~ Jane and Lance ~ Debbie ~ Jill ~ Yvonne ~ me ~ 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Post Turtle

~ Post Kitty ~
"While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old rancher, whose hand was caught in the squeeze gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Obama and his role as our President.
The old rancher said, "Well, ya know, Obama is a 'Post Turtle'".
Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'post turtle' was.
The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a 'post turtle'".
The old rancher saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain. "You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, he's elevated beyond his ability to function, and you just wonder what kind of dumb putz put him up there to begin with."
Best explanation I've heard! 

Blessings ~ Miss Gypsy who can get up...and down...a post on her own ~ 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hummers and Tears

It's difficult to photograph humming birds, even though there are so many. They flit, fly, swoop and all in the blink of an eye! I think there are ten in the above photo but could be one more.
I think there are eleven in both these photos.
The feeders are placed away from trees, bushes, shrubs and the house. The hummingbirds like having open space so they can fly freely as they go between the three feeders, drink, fight with each other.
Mix well 2 cups boiling water with 1 cup plus 2 or 3 tablespoons sugar. Let cool and add enough water to make four cups. Fill feeders and get out of the way!
The days are getting shorter and cooler; it's down in the 50's F at night and has felt like Autumn since the last week of July. The rain continues and that lowers the temps as well meaning great sleeping weather.
For those living in the USA, have you ever watched Undercover Boss? I've seen it two or three times and each time I'm reduced to tears. The gist is the CEO of a corporation goes undercover in their businesses in order to determine if there are problems or situations that need correcting. Each time I've watched, the CEO's have been really great people who go out of their way to help their employees reach their dreams, help their families, make more money, etc. 
Tonight it was the CEO of The Dwyer Group out of Waco, TX and, let me tell you...she was crying, her employees were crying and I was crying. It was a real cry fest. 
So, what kind of good deeds do the CEO's do for their employees? Dina Dwyer gave one, very young employee, a brand new truck so he and his five brothers would have reliable transportation. Their Dad died last year and the twenty-one year old employee was raising his five brothers but his vehicle had died and he was bumming rides.
She gave another employee $25,000 so the woman wouldn't have to get a second job and could spend more time with her family. Plus, the young woman was asked to participate in a new program to benefit other female employees.
I don't know Ms Dwyer from Eve's cat but she strikes me as an up and up true blue type. A good boss who cares about her employees and her company and I wish her, and them, well.
Dave always teased me about the kind of television I watch...when I watch television. I tend to enjoy programs that aren't frightening or gory. I like television that's kind and gentle, encouraging and uplifting, educational or entertaining, like BBC's Rosemary and Thyme
It's been said "garbage in, garbage out" so it's important to not take in garbage, right? When you watch television, what do you watch and why?

Blessings ~ humming birds ~ cooler days ~ good bosses ~ good employees ~ good memories ~ 

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

"A Sacred Journey"

"What I propose to do now is to try listening to my life as a whole, or at least to certain key moments of the first half of my life thus far, for whatever of meaning, of holiness, of God, there may be to hear. My assumption is that the story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all. For the reader, I suppose, it is like looking through someone else's photograph album. What holds you, if nothing else, is the possibility that somewhere among all those shots of people you never knew and places you never saw, you may come across something or someone you recognize. In fact - far more curious things have happened - even in a stranger's album, there is yourself. Even if both of those fail, there is still a third possibility which is perhaps the happiest of them all, and that is that once I have put away my album for good, you may in the privacy of the heart take out the album of your own life and search it for the people and places you have loved and learned from yourself, and for those moments in the past - many of them half forgotten - through which you glimpsed, 
however dimly and fleetingly, 
the sacredness of 
your own journey."

God bless you for sharing a portion of your sacred journey with me!

Blessings ~ a sacred journey, yours and mine ~ Frederick Buechner ~ photographs ~ readers ~ travelers on the narrow road ~ glimpses of eternity spent with God ~

Monday, August 06, 2012


UPDATE: Two of the feeders will take a scant four cups of sugar water, aka syrup, between them. The third feed takes the entire four cups of syrup. The smaller of the two feeders are hanging on a double shepherds hook while the larger of the feeders is hanging on a single shepherds hook. The feeders on the double shepherds hook are only about 2.5 feet apart and the single feeder is about six feet away. I'll sit at a better vantage point and attempt better photos. Oh yes, it's a chore but I'll do it for YOU! -LOL-

I've counted twelve...12!...humming birds at the feeders; those little suckers are eating me out of house and home. smile At a bare minimum, a very bare minimum, they drink four cups of sugar water a day but I usually fill all three feeders in the morning with eight cups of syrup! 
Every evening I make the sugar water, each morning I fill the feeders. Generally, all three are empty, or close to empty, by day's end. 
Using an electric water kettle, twice, I'll boil about two cups plus a couple of tablespoons of water and add it to one cup sugar. That sits overnight, cooling, and, in the morning, I it's added to another scant two cups of water and fill the feeders. The solution is a trifle, but not a lot, heavy and the birds love it. However, if I'm slow, or not as fast as they think I should be, they start dive bombing me. It's crazy, I'm ducking, screaming like a girl, trying to dodge them as they swoop around me, urging me on faster, faster, faster...fill it faster!
"Experts" say to begin feeding humming birds after Memorial Day and take up the feeders Labor Day. "Experts" are wrong; at least, around here, they are wrong. Humming birds show up the first of April and they are hungry. I'm not waiting another two months to begin feeding them, so, I feed from April first to about end of September when the humming birds are gone.
The feeders are out in the open, away from the house or trees or bushes. It may look like those bushes are closer to the feeders but they aren't. I think the birds enjoy being in the open; it gives them room to maneuver as flit, fly, swirl, swoop and carry on.
Aunt Esther had three dozen, sometimes more, show up at her feeders but she used liter soda bottles and would fill them up about every other day. Next year, maybe I'll try the liter bottles and see how many more I can attract. Most of my early evenings and all of my rest breaks are spent on the back porch watching them fight each other, chase each other chattering like monkeys all the while. Such FUN!

Blessings ~ humming birds ~ sugar water ~ pretty days ~ rain ~ 

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

~ love of country ~
"And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; 
and they seemed unto him but a few days,
 for the love he had to her."
~ Genesis 29:20 ~
"Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing it all for love." ~ St. Therese of Lisieux
"A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge." 
"A part of kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve." 
"A woman knows the face of the man she loves
 as a sailor knows the open sea."
"It is better to be hated for what you are
than to be loved for what you are not." 
~ Andre Gide ~
"If you judge people, you have no time to love them." 
"We accept the love we think we deserve." ~ Stephen Chboskey ~
"You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth."
"Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you've never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can't wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasurers kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it's like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn't exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day's work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there's no need for continuous conversation, but you find you're quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who  is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there's a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that's so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life." ~ Bob Marley ~
"Come live in my heart and pay no rent." 
"Do all things with love." ~ Og Mandino ~
"Love is patient, love is kind. 
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts
always hopes, always perseveres."

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Unless otherwise requested, names will remain for one month; around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Raeann ~ Jane and Lance ~ Linda Sue ~ Steve and Gwen ~ Stephanie and family ~ Timi, Miki, Mira, Mark ~ Quesenberry family ~ Kary ~ Debbie ~ Jill ~ Yvonne ~ me ~ 

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Vehicle Tips and "private" note to "Donna"

~ no matter what you drive ~
Have you ever seen a puddle of fluid under your vehicle? It can be a frightening sight but if you know your colors, it can lessen the scare. It's easy enough to check fluids in your vehicle and in doing so, you'll sometimes prevent a small problem from becoming a large problem. Any auto store will have the fluids, except petrol or diesel, needed to operate a vehicle. Once purchased, I keep them all in a box, easily accessible in my mud room and, bi-monthly, check all fluids in all vehicles, street and farm. Make sure to keep fluids in a place where they won't freeze. Don't keep fluids in a unheated garage or outbuilding.
If you garage your vehicle, an old piece of carpet or vinyl flooring under the engine will catch drips and prevent staining of the floor.
Radiator leaks are yellowish green, depending upon the type antifreeze you use. Be diligent about not allowing pets around antifreeze. Dogs, especially, love the taste and if they drink it, they'll die.
Power steering and transmission leaks are reddish in color.
Engine trouble is usually dark brown or black oil. It's easy enough to check your own oil and you should, especially if you have an older car or don't change oil frequently. Oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle and should be changed according to manufactures instructions. I change oil every 3,000 miles and the small shop I use also checks other fluids, tire pressure, etc.
Air conditioner fluid is clear water and in an older vehicle, sometimes the freeon needs to be topped off. If your air conditioner isn't working as well as it used to, have a reputable garage check the freeon levels. If you have this done while you're also having the oil changed, usually, there's no additional charge. 
Keep windshield wiper container full and, in winter, use a fluid that has antifreeze or add a tablespoon or two on your own. Sometimes I'll also wash the windshield with Rain Off, a silicon type wash that allows rain to bead up and run down the windshield. When using Rain Off, I've found it best to not use the wipers unless driving in a hard rain or the windshield will streak. 
Drive safely!

The note, following, is from someone who signed "Donna" but didn't allow me the courtesy of a response. Thus, this public response.

"There's a huge difference between denying a segment of our population their civil rights and expressing ones first amendment rights. Mr. Cathy and the rest of you certainly can have your opinion; no one is denying you that. But when people's opinions discriminate against others and their rights, which is what you are doing, then you are intolerant. In my opinion intolerance is an unforgivable act. You may hid [sic] under the guise of the Bible all you want but you are still intolerant and discriminating against a certain segment of society with your rigid beliefs. What out though one day you may be denied certain rights because a segment of society does not believe you should have them. What goes around always come back around."  [signed] Donna

Dear Donna - If you'd given me the opportunity to send you a private e-mail, I would have taken that route. However, you have no-comment turned on, thus the public response.
The last time I checked, engaging in sexual intercourse, or not, wasn't a matter of "civil rights"; thankfully. In voicing my opinion that I believe marriage is between one man and one woman, I am not denying anyone their "civil rights" nor am I hiding under, nor behind,  the guise of the Bible which, frequently, addresses homosexuality; . Genesis 2:24, Romans 1:26, 27,  I Corinthians 6:9 are some of those Bible verses. If you have a problem with God's word, take it up with Him; I'm sure He'd love to hear from you.
Frequently, I am the only heterosexual person at a party where I've been invited by homosexual friends. Frequently, I take vacations with a dear friend who has an "alternative lifestyle" whom I love dearly and would give her a kidney if she needed one. Perhaps it would surprise you to know, our friendship spans decades. 
Because I believe marriage is between one man and one woman doesn't mean I am intolerant towards homosexuals. Stating that I believe the Bible when it says marriage is between one man and one woman isn't judging; it's a statement. I can't judge; I live in a glass house. 
I'm curious, if you had the courage of your convictions, why are you hiding behind "anonymous"?

P. S. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assembly, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Blessings ~  knowing your vehicle fluids ~ First Amendment Freedom of Speech ~ traditional marriage ~ friends who make life interesting ~

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Summer Vacation Tips

~ Bird Diner ~
Are you going on vacation any time soon? Before you leave on vacation, there are a few things you need to do. 
1.  Make sure someone is coming over to feed the humming birds.
2. If you're not taking your pets, arrange for either a pet sitter or good boarding.
3.  Arrange to have your lawn mowed.
4.  Let family know your schedule and contact information such as hotel name and number
5.  Do not announce your vacation on social media like Facebook, Twitter, your blog.
6.  Give someone you trust your house key so they can check your house every few days.     Ask them to pick up any brochures or fliers that are delivered while you're gone.
7.  Stop the newspaper delivery.
8.  Ask the USPS to hold your mail.
9.  Turn the a.c. up to 78 or thereabouts. If you live in a humid area, consider turning it only two to four degrees above your normal setting. Don't take a chance things will mildew.
10.  Unplug computers, televisions, telephones; don't trust surge protectors in case of storms.
11. Use timers on different lights in the room in early evening, bedroom in late evening, kitchen in early morning.
12. Consider throwing circuit breakers to conserve energy.
13. Turn off water supply under sinks, to washing machine; if a water pipe bursts, it can be a nasty welcome when you return home.
14. If you have an attached garage, make sure to lock it securely before leaving and disconnect the remote control. 
15. Make sure you have strong, secure locks on all windows and doors. 

Blessings ~ vacation ~ strong locks ~ FUN! ~
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