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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Morning Meet-up

Karen, at This Old House,  is hosting Project 24. For 24 hours, beginning at midnight, October 31, until midnight November 1, volunteers take photos that represents something about them. Here, the power has been off with brief spurts of on, making it a challenge to send Karen my photo. This morning, the power is on so, in a scurry, I'm fulfilling my obligation. 
My mornings begin with basic necessities, followed by my morning meet-up.
All my life I've watched Daddy read five chapters of the Bible each and every day. He has a slip of paper where he records yearly when he's finished his Bible reading and he's now been reading his Bible about forty-five years! I've also watched as Mom studied the Bible, sometimes with a study guide on a particular book, other times the Word alone.
Joyce Meyer said, "Spending time with God is the key to our strength and success in all areas of life. Be sure that you never try and work God into your schedule, but always work your schedule around him." Wise words indeed! I don't know if my day goes any easier or smoother when I meet with God in the early morning but I do know I'm better equipped to handle my day. 
So, most mornings, I have a meet-up with God..reading His Word, praying, listening to His Word via radio. There are some mornings, I'm sorry to say, I miss our meeting but, mostly, He and I spend morning time together. In the mornings, I read five chapters of the Bible and am currently reading about David and Saul's contentious relationship and David and Jonathan's loving friendship. Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening is included in my morning read as is a devotional from Joel Osteen's book Be A Better You. If your're unfamiliar with Spurgeon's Farm Sermons, please click here to read them...priceless!...but then, all his work is priceless!
Perhaps you can tell I, mostly, like "meat and 'taters" but I also like a little dessert thrown in the mix. smile
I'm not sure how Karen fared in this storm so keep checking her blog for Project 24 progress. It was fun joining in and I'm curious to see the other 23 hours. Thanks Karen!

Blessings ~ Karen ~ Project 24 ~ God's word ~ Spurgeon ~ Osteen ~ God ~

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Grow Your Blog Party

Vicki, 2 Bags Full, has opened up the sign-up for her Grow Your Blog Party. The party is January 19, 2013 and sign up is here. I'm joining in and will give away three gifts...to be announced later.
Just thought you'd like to know -smile-!

Blessings ~ Vicki ~ Grow Your Blog Party ~ gifts ~ 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Car Tip

You've got jumper cables...right? Jumper cables have always been a staple in my vehicles, even when said vehicles are newish or with low mileage. You never know when you can do someone a kindness by using cables to jump start their car battery.  
Since April, I've run the car battery down twice; stupid mistake but it happens. The first time, was at the Pruitt's fire and Ashley, using my jumper cables, gave me a jump. The second time, after lunch out and in a pouring rain, a kind gentleman gave me a jump using the Stanley tool pictured above.
He advised, "If a woman drives a car, she needs one of these babies!" He then told me how unsafe the world was, suppose it was after dark and I was on the side of the road, etc. Little does he know, I'm so seldom out after dark, it's almost considered a miracle when dark finds me not home! 
There are several very fine features...this booster has a plug to charge or use a phone, GPS, etc. as well as a USB port...although I'm not sure what a USB port does...? smile
There's a light which can be twisted and aimed to either side, up or down.
On the back, an air hose and gauge allows for a tire to be pumped up. 
All in all, this is an amazing tool and less than $100 US. Within a week, I purchased one at Lowe's for around $80, not including tax, and it's been in my vehicle ever since. Each month, I top off the charge to ensure it's always in working order if and when it's needed. 
Almost the best thing? It's American made in New Britain, Connecticut!
Joining in with the Homestead Barn Hop Number 85.

Blessings ~ Stanley tools ~ auto battery jumper ~ American made ~ 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

"...there is a future for the man of peace." 
~ Psalm 37:37 


"God send that there may be an end at last;
God send that there may be peace again.
God in heaven send us peace."
~ Diary of Hartich Sherk, a peasant

"Peace is not the absence of conflict, 
but the ability to cope with it." 
~ anonymous ~

"In the heart's depths a peace serene and holy
Abides, and when pain seems to have its will,
Or we despair,-oh, may that peace rise slowly,
Stronger than agony, and we be still."

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, 
the world will know peace."

"O Lord, calm the waves of this heart; calm its tempests. Calm thyself, O my soul, so that the divine can act in thee. Calm thyself, O my soul, so that God is able to repose in thee, so that his peace may cover thee. Yes, Father in heaven, often have we found that the world cannot give us peace, O but make us feel that thou art able to give peace; let us know the truth of thy promise; that the whole world may not be able to take away thy peace." ~ Soren Kierkegaard


"Peace begins with a smile." 

"My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace 
is to finish what I start. So far today, I've finished 
2 bags of M&M's and a chocolate cake. 
I feel better already."

"Peace is always beautiful." ~ Walt Whitman ~

"The Simple Path
Silence is Prayer
Prayer is Faith
Faith is Love
Love is Service
The fruit of service is Peace"

"Peace is the only battle worth waging." 

"If war is ever lawful, the peace is sometimes sinful." 


"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace 
at all times and in every way."
~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16 ~

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Names will be kept a month, unless notified otherwise. Around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Lizzy ~ Pamela ~ Debbie ~ Sandy ~ Katie ~ Geoffrey and Terry ~ Misha and J ~ Jane and Lance ~ Linda Sue ~ Raeann ~ Stephanie and family ~ Quesenberry family ~ Smith family ~ Mike ~ Wayne ~ Maryann and family ~ Greg ~ Ethan ~ Billy ~ Charles and Cassie ~ Ally Belle ~ Evan ~ Claudie ~ Minnie ~ LaShon ~ Patty ~ me ~

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I'm not voting for Mr. Romney...

I'm voting against Mr. Obama.

Blessings ~ the right to vote ~ wisdom ~ USA ~ 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Three Against The Dark

MKC wrote Three Against the Dark, aka TAD, a few years ago and now wants the sales proceeds to go towards folks who are adopting children. Specifically, children in the Pleven Orphanage in Bulgaria. Pleven is the largest orphanage in Bulgaria and MK wrote about Katie, a girl adopted from Pleven. Katie was adopted by the Mussers, who wrote about the adoption here, and who are now in process of adopting Tommy. The Mussers are raising money to bring Tommy home; visit here for more info.

Orphanages, very often, have a bad reputation and, most often, deserved. Officials at Pleven would underfed the children in order to...wait for it...save money!  Unless they repent, there's a special place in Hell for such people. Hopefully, things are going to change...hopefully.

MK wants to help no surprise there, she's that kinda woman! by donating all Amazon sales proceeds to folks who are adopting children from Pleven Orphanage. TAD costs $2.99 and can be, currently, downloaded to a Kindle or your computer. 

I'm a low-tech geek but, God willing, I'm going to figure out how to download to my Kindle...Dave used to do those sorts of things for me -smile-. How about you? I'm not sure how much coffee costs these days but am pretty sure $2.99 won't break most of us.

Blessings ~ the Musser family ~ Katie ~ Tommy ~ MK ~ 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

"My soul is weary with sorrow, 
strengthen me according to your word."
~ Psalm 119:28 ~

"Better lose your life than your soul."
~ Lousia May Alcott ~

"You don't have a soul.
You are a soul.
You have a body."
~ C. S. Lewis

"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all."
~ Emily Dickinson ~

"Brother Cadfael knew better than to hurry, 
where souls were concerned. 
There was plenty of elbow-room in eternity."
~ Ellis Peters ~

"What can you every really know of other people's souls - 
of their temptations, their opportunities, their struggles? 
One soul in the whole creation you do know; 
and it is the only one whose fate is placed in your hands." 
~ C. S. Lewis

"Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see." 
~ William Newton Clark

"What soup is to the body
laughter is to the soul."
~ Yiddish proverb ~ 

"The soul should always stand ajar
Ready to welcome the ecstatic experience."
~ Emily Dickinson ~ 

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart 
and with all your soul 
and with all your mind  
and with all your strength." 
~ Mark 12: 30

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Names will be kept thirty days unless notified otherwise. Around the world people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Lizzy ~ Pamela ~ Debbie ~ Sandy ~ Katie ~ Geoffrey and Terry ~ Misha and J ~ Jane and Lance ~ LindaSue ~ Raeann ~ Stephanie and family ~ Quesenberry family ~ Smith family ~ Mike ~ Wayne ~ Maryann and family ~ Jessica and Erik ~ Greg ~ Ethan ~ Billy ~ Charles and Cassie ~ Ally Belle ~ Evan ~ Claudie ~ Minnie ~ LaShon ~ me ~ 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Pink Scarf Project

Vicki, at 2 Bags Full, is hosting The Pink Scarf Project, about which she says, "To bring a smile to the face of a woman who is fighting her own battle with breast cancer."  Vicki asks us to either make or buy a scarf for donation. The scarf should be mailed to:


"Pink Scarf Project"
311 West Main Street
Grayson, KY 41143
Everyone who participates will be entered into a drawing for a beautiful, hand crafted wrap on October 1, 2013.
The thing I like best about Vicki's Pink Scarf Project is it helps the women who have battled, or are battling, breast cancer. It's about the women!

Blessings ~ The Pink Scarf Project ~ 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Heaven or Hell ?

While walking down the street one day, a corrupt Senator -redundant!- was hit by a car and died. St. Peter meets the soul of the Senator at the Pearly Gates. 
"Welcome to Heaven," said St. Peter, "but we have a problem. We seldom see elected officials and we're not quite sure what to do with you." 
The Senator responds, "Not a problem, go ahead and let me in. I'm sure it will be fine."
"Well," said St. Peter, "it's not that easy. I've got orders from Higher Ups and they said to let you spend a day in hell and a day in heaven. After, you can decide where you want to spend eternity."
The Senator starts throwing his weight around. "I've decided I want to spend eternity HERE!"
St. Peter walks him to the down elevator. "Sorry, you have to abide by our rules now so you'll first spend a day in hell." 
After going down, down, down the elevator finally stops and the doors open to a lush fairway where some people are playing golf. The Senator looks beyond the green and sees friends, co-workers, other politicians and acquaintances who are having drinks and  dancing to the sound of a live band.
Everyone's having a fabulous time! Some folks see the Senator and run to greet him; they talk and joke about how they spent money that wasn't theirs, made deals to make them even richer, and all at the expense of the "little guy"...the voter. 
Satan comes round the corner and, seeing the Senator, walks up to him, slaps him on the back and gives him a huge welcome and orders the Senator a cocktail. The party continues with food, drink, dancing and good great times all 'round. Everyone is having a wonderful time but soon, it's time to leave. They walk the Senator to the elevator, all the while, telling him how much they'll miss him, come back soon, etc.
The Senator gets into the elevator and it goes up, up, up and when it comes to a stop and the doors open, the Senator is in heaven. 
St. Peter greets him and asks, "So, how was hell?"
The Senator exclaims, "It was fabulous! I knew so many people and we had such a great time; I didn't want to leave!" 
St. Peter nods and says, "Now, it's time to spend 24 hours in heaven."
The people in heaven were singing songs about God, visiting with each other, enthusiastically welcoming new people. The Senator felt a bit uncomfortable; he didn't know the songs nor did he know many of the people in heaven. Essentially, he was on the outside looking in.
Soon, St. Peter finds the Senator and says, "How do you like heaven?" 
The Senator looks thoughtful and replies, "I've really enjoyed my 24 hours yawn in heaven but I know so many more people in hell and think I'd be better off in hell. If you don't mind, I'd rather go to hell." 
Once again St. Peter walks him to the elevator and it goes down, down, down. When the doors open, the Senator sees nothing but a barren wasteland and everyone is dressed in rags, picking up trash that's being dumped continuously.
The Senator gasps as Satan walks over to greet him.
"What's happened?" the Senator asks. "Just yesterday I was here and it was a great party. Everyone was drinking, dancing, eating and playing golf. What's happened?!"
Satan smiles at him and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning. Today you voted." 

VOTE WISELY 11/6/12 

Blessings ~ our military men and women who have found and died for the privilege of voting ~ 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Story in 3 Pictures


~ Sadie, licking her chops ~

                                                  ~ 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese ~







~ Mineral oil, lubricant laxative ~












Blessings ~ a pretty day ~

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chatting on the porch...

~ Miss Lily ~
Today, Patrice of Everyday Ruralty, is hosting her Chats on the Farmhouse Porch; I'm playing along.

1. Who do you look like in your family?  Used to be, I looked like Sam P. Spade; we both have had...which is it?...blonde hair which was is...which is it?...usually rather unkempt. Mine because I forget to brush it, except with my fingers, and his because he's part Spaniel Terrier. Since I've started going gray white, I look like Lily except I'm older than dirt and she's a young'un.
~ Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent ~
2. Would you rather read a novel, poem, magazine or how-to book? Depends. Don't you love those kind of answers? not. I read mysteries for diversion, poems for comfort, and my magazines and how-to books are, usually, along the same genre; I enjoy reading about fiber and textile arts.
~ Sadie Baby ~
3. Is there anything in your future that seems challenging, daunting or larger than life? No, but then I get out of bed and the challenges try to overwhelm me! Actually, since Dave died, each and every day has been a challenge but God has been faithful each and every day so life has worked out well. Currently, I'm getting the farm and house ready for winter and that takes a lot of physical labor. When the days aren't sunny, I spend them inside tagging things I want to sell at an auction house. It's the season of downsizing, selling things, giving things away, deciding what I want to keep. Change is the only constant in our life, save Christ, and I'm dealing with change as best I can.
~ Sophie Lauren Butterball and Miss Lily ~
4. Do you have any big projects for this season? Autumn and winter bring quilting, spinning and working the studio but that's after getting the farm and house ready for winter. For Christmas, I usually make gifts - quilts, knitted hats, scarves, hand warmers - and now is the time to quilt, spin and knit. 
5. Please finish this: It made me so happy to ____...weeeelllll, I'm a contented person, much more so than happy. So many things bring joy into my life...watching the kittens play, looking at the fawn across the fence, watching eagles soar over the valley, walking amongst the sheep, petting the horses, spinning yarn, quilting, drinking a good cup of coffee or tea. Indeed, my middle name, Kay, is Celtic for happy and I suppose my disposition is happy although, like I've said, I think of myself more as contented. So much of my life is spent in solitude; Dave and I were contented to be with each other, to spend most of our time together and that really hasn't changed. I need solitude, probably more so than most, and that solitude also has to come with silence. The noise of the radio or television, mostly, is grating although I do enjoy some programs on both. So, happy...not so much; contented...greatly!

P. S. Hiya Wendell...this is HayJ, I live with Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm. For a little thing, she takes pretty good care of us; she does her best anyway. Not her fault she doesn't have thousands of acres for us to enjoy. I'm an American Curly x Percheron and don't think there are that many in the world. I know of only one other black and white and he's not as big as me; I'm about 18 hands and two thousand pounds. Anyway, just wanted to say hello; hope your day goes as perfectly as I expect mine to go! Sandra always says our farm is "beautiful one day and perfect the next"!

Blessings ~ contentment ~ my family ~ 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

"May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us
establish the work of our hands for us-
establish the work of our hands." 
"When I am assailed with heavy tribulations, I rush out among my pigs rather than remain alone by myself. The human heart is like a millstone in a mill: when you put wheat under it, it turns and grinds and bruises the wheat to flour; if you put no wheat, it still grinds on, but then 'tis itself it grinds and wears away. So the human heart, unless it be occupied with some employment, leaves space for the devil, who wriggles himself in and brings with him a whole host of evil thoughts, temptations, and tribulations, which grind out the heart." ~ Martin Luther ~
"The best way to appreciate your job 
is to imagine yourself without one."
"Happiness is an attitude. 
We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. 
The amount of work is the same." ~ Francesca Reigler ~ 
"Three Rules of Work:
Out of clutter, find simplicity;
From discord find harmony
In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity."
"We often miss opportunity 
because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work."
"Forget about redistribution of wealth,
let's redistribute the work."
~ Sandra Bennett ~
"Nothing is really work 
unless you would rather 
be doing something else." 
"A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. 
There is visible labor and there is invisible labor." 
"Pray as though everything depended upon God.
Work as though everything depended upon you.
"Spending time with God is the key 
to our strength and success in all areas of life. 
Be sure that you never try and work God into your schedule, 
but always work your schedule around him." ~ Joyce Meyer ~
"God sells us all things at the price of labor." 
"What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. 
When we do what we are meant to do, 
money comes to us, doors open to us, we feel useful, 
and the work we do feels like play to us." ~ Julia Cameron
"Work without love is slavery. ~ 
We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, 
in order to make your hope sure. 
We do not want you to become lazy..." 

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Names will be kept thirty days unless notified otherwise. Around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Lizzy ~ Pamela ~ Debbie ~ Sandy ~ Katie ~ Geoffrey and Terry ~ Misha and J ~ Jane and Lance ~ LindaSue ~ Raeann ~ Stephanie and family ~ Smith family ~ Quesenberry family ~ Mike ~ Wayne ~ Maryann and family  ~ Jessica and Erik ~ Greg ~ Billy ~ Ethan ~ Charles and Cassie ~ Ally Belle ~ Evan ~ Claudie ~ Minnie ~ LaShon ~ me ~

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Instant Knitification

It's that time of year, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere to cozy up to something warm. I've a hankering to learn how to rug felt and would love to take a class from Nicole Chazaud Telaar at Festive Fibers...that woman rocks! One little big problem... she's in New Hampshire, I'm in southwest Virginia and there's a lotta asphalt in between. Her class schedule is here and, like I said, I'd love to make a felted rug or an ottoman. Taking one of her classes is on my "goals and dreams" list; does anyone know of a similar teacher in the south, preferably VA, NC, WV or SC? 

All year long, I knit, but this time of year, I'm churning out hats like heads depend upon my needles to keep warm this winter. By the way, is it just me or just anyone else find it mildly amusing that needles is spelled need les. So does that mean if one has knitting, one has enough? Or, one doesn't need to knit...nope, cannot mean that! Perhaps Maslow had it correct...food, shelter, clothing and knitting...ya think?! Hmmm, I look for hidden meanings far too much! smile

In process of going through the house and labeling things to sell, give away and keep, I've found several knitting projects that need some serious attention; as in, finish me now or frog me now or pay someone to finish me now. And, frog means to ripit, ripit, ripit...rip out the knitting...get it? No? Oh well, it's knitting lingo and a lot of knitters find it wildly amusing. 
These knitted and purchased goods were supposed to go to those folks taking shelter in the National Forest. That was last year and my intentions were good but the grief felled me so I just kept knitting and now have even more goodies to give away. I've asked a neighbor preacher to help find a contact person who takes supplies to those forest folks; hopefully, that will happen soon. If not, there are a lot of people locally for whom finances are tough and a small "God loves you" gift will warm them twice. No, I won't wait for Christmas, it's chilly now, especially for those living in their cars or tents.
These huge balls of wool yarn are going to be knitted into a shoulder cowl for me and I'll dye in a jewel color either before, or after, knitting; I'm not sure when. I rarely knit something for myself and have determined to change that. Each year, I'm going to knit something for me; this year it's going to be this cowl and I'll finish the scarf I started while Dave was in cancer treatment. Even though I've been knitting for donkey's years, I'm not an accomplished knitter, perhaps a middling one, at best. The nearest yarn shop  is more than fifty miles away and at the price of gasoline, I just don't jump in the car and go. With not much band width, the i-net is, for the most part, a foreign land to me as well. Pretty much, I'm a self-taught knitter and keep to the simple patterns. Simple patterns are best because I have to steal time from the farm, Dave's estate...still haven't finished that!..., the house and the community. We're all busy, crazy busy, and in order to get my knit fix, I keep it simple, sweetie.
Having said I rarely knit for myself, this mobieus was knit with acrylic wool yarn purchased in Budapest. Dave sent me to Eastern Europe the summer before he died in November, 2011. He wanted me to grow my wings, batten down the fear and not forget how to LIVE just because he wouldn't be around to catch me should I fall. Dave, I'm in process, Beloved and thank you.

Thus, the "instant knitifcation"...cute, eh? Yeah, I like quick, simple, easy projects that I can churn out in a day or even a few hours. Hats, scarves, hand arm warmers, throat cozies, shawls and socks fit that bill, although, I'm still...still...trying to learn how to turn a heel! It's insane! I'm relatively smart, have taught at University and lower levels, taught in Russia and Eastern Europe, navigated this first year without Dave, traveled by myself to foreign climes and I still cannot turn a heel. I'm flummoxed! If I had more time, I'd send out invitations to my pity party. Would you come? Note to self...change your self-talk...begin saying, "I knit wonderful, fabulous, fantastic socks with beautiful heels!"
This yarn needs to be dyed purple...fast! Again, last year, I gave the kit to Millie for a Christmas gift and told her I'd dye it for her. Good intentions...good grief...it's time to DYE! Perhaps I'll dye my white cowl yarn purple at the same time and use one dye pot; come on, good weather! Do you think purple and gold yarn might be nice together?

There's a fine line to walk when I visit knitting blogs of Very Accomplished Knitters. I want to ooohh and aahhh but not compare myself with folks like Vicki at 2 Bags Full. Vicki is one of those Very Accomplished Knitters who has a huge heart as well; visit her Sacred Yarn Room and then, sign up for her Grow Your Blog Party coming mid-January. 

The gas logs are lit, chairs and side table pulled front and center, cozy on a full tea pot, mug waiting, lamp at the ready. Now all that's needed is me and the knitting bag; there's a spare chair, care to join me?

Blessings ~ Dave ~ knitting ~ Millie ~ gas logs ~ Vicki ~ tea ~ good light ~ instant knitification ~

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

"So rend your heart, and not your garments; 
Return to the LORD your God for He is gracious and merciful, 
Slow to anger, and of great kindness; 
And relents from doing harm." 
~ Joel 2:13 ~

An Old English Nun's Prayer
...also known as Sandra's Prayer...

LORD, 

Thou knowest better than I know myself that 
I am growing older and will someday be old. 
Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something 
on every subject and on every occasion.
Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs. 
Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy. 
With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, 
but Thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; 
give me wings to get to the point. 
Seal my lips on my aches and pains. 
They are increasing and love of rehearsing them 
is becoming sweeter as the years go by.  I
 dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others' pains, 
but help me to endure them with patience.
I dare not ask for improved memory 
but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness 
when my memory seems to clash with the memory of others. 
Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.
Make me reasonably sweet; 
I do not want to be a Saint - some of them are so hard to live with - 
but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. 
Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places and 
talents in unexpected people. 
And give me Oh Lord the grace to tell them so.
Amen.

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, 
and we have seen his glory, 
glory as of the only Son from the Father, 
full of grace and truth." 
~ John 1:14

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

Prayer Keeping ~ Maxine ~ Lizzy ~ Pamela ~ Sandy ~ Katie ~ Geoffrey and Terry ~ Misha and J ~ Jane and Lance ~ Raeann ~ Stephanie and family ~ Steve and Gwen ~ Quesenberry family ~ Smith family ~ Debbie ~ Mike ~ Wayne ~ Maryann and family ~ Jessica and Erik ~ Greg ~ Billy ~ Ethan ~ Ally Belle ~ Evan Claudie ~ me ~

Friday, October 05, 2012

More Lily, Please!

Lily, marching to the beat of her own drummer.
Lily, keeping Sada in line.
Lily and Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent, aka Lover Man.
Lily and Tippy, deciding what happens next.
Oh yeah, PLAY!
Not sure if you can see this very clearly, but it's an eagle in my alfalfa field. The day before, the dogs killed a ground hog and the eagle claim it for his/her own.
The eagle flew to the top of a tree, treasure in claws and that was the last I saw the eagle.
It's never dull, never boring on the farm. That's what makes the work so much fun...always something to gaze upon in the midst of toil.

Blessings ~ work ~ eagles ~ Lily ~ Sadie ~ Sam ~ rest ~

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Please, Your Thoughts...

My method of learning is to ponder and sometimes my pondering takes a very long time. Such as what I've been pondering lately and need, please, your thoughts. How do you process information? Whom do you turn to for sage council? How do you plan your goals, achieve your steps and arrive at a satisfactory end?
Time has marched, inexorably, forward; soon, it will be a year since Dave, quite suddenly and very unexpectedly, died and my life, forever changed and suddenly stopped. At first, shock was my constant companion and while I've studied The Five Stages of Grief according to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, and others, my experience has been grief is totally personal. There's no right, nor wrong way, to grieve; there's only "your" way. No one can tell you, "it's time to move forward" or Don't you think it's time you got on with life" or "You're a prickly personality; I'm just trying to help."
Well, okay. They can tell you but you don't have to listen. I'm giving you permission, as nicely as you're able, to tell them to take a long walk off a short pier. Frankly, I don't care if such folks are "well-meaning", they are, in fact, rude and we don't have to allow such rudeness into our lives, especially during such a time as grieving.
Lately, I've been struggling with the idea of dreams...being dreamed, coming to fruition, dying, and new dreams being dreamed, thus the cycle begins anew. 
Thistle Cove Farm has been my dream since I was six years old. Oh, the farm didn't have a name but I knew I wanted to live on a farm, have animals, work hard. When Dave and I met, we spent six years dating before we decided to cast our lot together and started our search for home. My house was too small for us and all our emotional baggage; Dave's house was where he and Cathy had lived and dreamed and he couldn't imagine living there with another wife. That was okay with me; when I met Dave, he was an emotional and physical mess. He handled his grief with too much alcohol, too many cigarettes and burying himself alive with memories. Even so, I knew a man that had loved that deeply and well was a man worth waiting on, no matter how long it took. Dave looked at me and saw a broken woman, hanging on with a wavering yet tenacious grip to her faith, struggling with undiagnosed clinical depression and wanting to believe. Those first six years we spent learning each other's ways, building a foundation as I cleaned out Cathy's things from their home. It was a massive undertaking, second only to what needs to be done on the farm now.
When Dave and I started dancing around the idea of marriage, I told him, "I love you but I won't shack up. If you want another chance at life, you'll have to marry me." In typical Dave fashion, we began looking for a home and found this farm. Dave's house sold immediately and mine went into rental for six months...what is it with the number six???...and we bought the farm in May, 1995. He move here in June, in July I came and we were married on the front lawn at July end.
Dave grew into the notion of being a "mountain man" and, eventually, loved his self-imposed title. Our roots are Appalachian by way of Scotland, Wales and Ireland and, down the road, his kin settled land granted to them by King George, or so I've been told. At any rate, nine generations have called that house home and part of the house is the old cabin first built.
Dave and I spent a decade and half plus building this farm, this home, this life and just at the time it was all getting easier, the marriage stronger our love cemented, he went Home for the final time. I accept with a broken heart, "His ways are not our ways" but I'm still bereft.
As Jack (for I think of him as Jack, having ever so much in common) Lewis said in A Grief Observed, "It was too perfect to last,' so I am tempted to say of our marriage. But it can be meant in two ways. It may be grimly pessimistic - as if God no sooner saw two of His creatures happy than He stopped it ('None of that here!'). As if He were like the Hostess at the sherry-party who separates two guests the moment they show signs of having got into a real conversation. But it could also mean, "This had reached its proper perfection. This had become what it meant to be. Therefore of course it would not be prolonged.' As if God said, 'Good; you have mastered that exercise. I am very pleased with it. And now you are ready to go on to the next."
I will mourn the rest of my life for Dave but the grieving period is coming to an end. Does that make sense? Perhaps it does to some and to others, not so much. I gave myself permission to observe a year of grieving, to do whatever it took to get through still standing. 
God has been gracious, His mercy and love evident daily and in His own inexplicable way, He has guided me through treacherous and deep waters. Like a dumb animal, I have followed not even knowing if willing or unwilling, but I have followed.
He is to be trusted, this Jehovah I serve; He is faithful.

Blessings ~ Jehovah God ~ Dave ~ grief ~ prayer ~ Jack Lewis ~

Monday, October 01, 2012

Making Silage

Daddy John has been making silage which he'll feed his cattle this winter. He's grown the prettiest and tallest crop of corn in the valley; in some places it was 17 feet or taller. Field corn for silage is different than sweet corn for our table and while it's possible to eat it, it's tough to chew and not especially flavorful. The entire corn stalk is used in making silage and generally when the moisture content is around 30 to 40%, according to Virginia Tech.
Daddy John drives the wagon, pulling the machine to cut the corn. As the corn is cut, it's "chewed" don't you love my technical terms? smile into a silo filler and blown, via a silo tower, into the back of an open truck. Cutting corn for silage is a four person job...one person to drive the tractor and cut the corn, 
two truck drivers, here, a full truck leaving as an empty one pulls into place, 
and another man to drive the second tractor and pack down the silage in a silo which is, essentially, a pit, or bunker, built into the side of a hill. It has a bank on three sides, is open on the top and will sit and ferment until it's fed to the cattle. This is a quite different process from the horse drawn wagons and hand cutting that took place before mechanization. 
Silage is fed only to animals with four stomachs...cattle, sheep, goats. Horses cannot eat it as it will make them sick and possibly kill them. Silage is around 7% to 8% in protein and beef cattle need around 10% to 14%. According Mark L. Wahlberg, Ext. Animal Scientist at VA Tech, there are ways of increasing silage protein and I'm pretty sure Daddy John knows them but I won't go into them here. "Cause I don't -smile-  
Silage will ferment, it is after all, corn which is used to make alcohol all over the world. Dave never enjoyed the smell but I do; perhaps, it's because I know it's food for the cattle and that makes it attractive. Dave never liked the smell of wet wool on the sheep either but I told him, "I love that smell; it's the smell of money." Really though, I just like farm smells although I'm not crazy about poultry houses. That's a trifle too much nasty for my nose.
John still has pastures of corn to cut but it's raining this week, so, tomorrow, he's picking me up and we're going to buy gravel for my driveway and garage entry. I've spent two days leveling out the entry, moved half a ton of feed by hand...again!...straightened the garage, am in process of putting my tools away, and have moved wood and metal fence posts to a new storage spot. Tonight, Erik and his twin brother Austin, surprised me by coming by and smoothed my leveling job on the entry ramp. 
We're having a fierce storm from the south...high wind, rain and I've begun feeding hay to the horses and feed to the calves. This weather sucks the life right out of animals and I always like to feed a bit extra to tide them over a stormy night. 
Needless to say, this ole gal is whooped and all this physical labor is why I'm not blog visiting. I'm hustling to get the farm ready for winter and it's in winter I do most of my blog visiting. It will be nice to be able to use the garage; tomorrow is the beginning of the end of that particular chore. Thank God! It's going to be nice to have the car in storage.

Blessings ~ beautiful weather to cut, transport and store corn ~ my garage ~ level ramp ~