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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.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Grow Your Blog Party!

Today is The Day! It's Vicki's, at 2 Bags Full, Grow Your Blog Party...WOOHOO! I'm excited, can you tell? What? You forgot to sign up? NO WAY, surely you didn't!? Oh gee, I am so sorry...   Please visit Vicki's blog to see all the participants and to leave a nice comment for Vicki...the hostess with the mostess...yeah, it's cheesy but hey! I'm in a party mood and, down on the farm, it's simple pleasures that please best.

Welcome to Thistle Cove Farm where it's beautiful one day and perfect the next. Yes, the header photo is the view from my window, photos change seasonally, and, yes, I am greatly blessed. Dave, my husband, and I bought and established Thistle Cove Farm in 1995. We've spent our time renovating the house, re-siding the barns with rough cut hemlock and, in early days, I bred and raised rare American Curly horses and Shetland, Merino, Romney and cross bred sheep. The Curly horse link is for information only.

Our lives took a turn when, in 2004, I had an opportunity to teach in Russia and that jump started our traveling adventures. Since then, I've taught in Armenia, Georgia, Morocco, at fiber festivals in the USA, at Concord University in Athens, WV and on the farm where I held workshops and conferences. I'm in process of putting together my curriculum in a book, Increasing Farm and Small Business Income, that teaches how to develop your farm or small business by using tourism and networking and partnering with other folks to increase profits. Essentially, it's a how-to manual to help you succeed.

In November, 2011, Dave passed away and the ensuing months have been spent on a very steep learning curve. He and I were going to sit down, me with a three-ring notebook, and I was going to compile "everything" he needed me to know. He died, very unexpectedly and quite suddenly, two days before. Since then, it's been a Very Steep Learning Curve and my hard earned and hard won experience is going into another book...Putting Your Affairs in Order ~ "death comes to us or for us, it's best to be prepared". I'm not trying to be morbid but there's a ton of stuff to know and it's best knowing it and preparing before you need to so you don't waste or lose so much money. Trust me, the only people who couldn't possible use this information are the Gates or Buffet families! -wry smile-

This blog is about life in general and, in particular, life at Thistle Cove Farm. I try to encourage and enable people to do their best work, live their best life and, whenever possible, prepare for the future. You'll find blog posts on how to DREAM LARGE, PDS or Pretty Darn Smart Goals, and, sometimes, You Just Need to Know where I push you in the direction of other folks who offer excellent advice or simply fun stuff worth knowing.
There are posts to your good health -Coconut Oil and Lower Back Pain Relief
and, every Sunday, there's Sabbath Keeping dedicated to the wise words of other folks and each Sabbath Keeping post ends with Prayer Keeping where we pray, one for another.
I am a practicing Christian and, even so, life is still hard; it's been a lot harder since Dave died. I'm just trying to lighten your load and help us both along life's path. I invite you to sign up on the follower's side bar on the right; you're very welcome here!

Okay, more good stuff...there are 5...FIVE...giveaways on this post! Yep, five people will have their choice of goodies starting with ...
~on the left, a skein of purple, blue, muted red Socka, 75 percent virgin wool with 25 percent polyamid yarn made in Austria! It's 30 meters and would make a lovely pair of baby socks, trim for a pair of adult socks or any number of beautiful things.

~on the right, a skein of red Sunbeam Aran Double Knitting Pure New Wool, made in the Republic of Ireland! There are approximately 1 and 3/4 ounces or 50 grams and it's vintage. It's enough yarn to make a small hat, neck cozy or add some color to a pair or socks or fingerless mitts. Then again, it's your choice as to how you use it.
Creating Keepsakes is a scrapbook magazine from May/June 1997; yep, another vintage prize! Along with great ideas for scrapbook projects, this issue still has the "FREE cut and Copy Insert from Design Originals". The magazine is intact, as far as I'm able to ascertain. 

~Summer Cottage magazine is from Summer 2011 and is lovely. The photographs are beautiful, the recipes are delightful...last week, I went to town to the library so I could copy the tearing out of pages in this Special Collector's Issue! It's from the publishers of Southern Lady Presents Tea Time and Hoffman Media Publications. You will treasure this special treat!
~Quilters...attention, please...the last prize is a Collins Sneak Peek Preview of 5 Charm Shapes. "A charm quilt is traditionally made of pieces all cut from the same shape, and each cut from a different fabric." The Sneak Peek Preview may be used to design quilts by using as is or rotating designs for varied interest and impact. You may also make special effects with border prints, stripes and florals or develop your own patterns by alternating prints and solids or lights and darks. The templates include the following shapes: Tumbler, Hexagon, Diamond, Equilateral Triangle and an Apple Core. You'll have unending fun using this charming collection.

Winners will be notified on February 1 and chosen randomly. These prizes are open to everyone...domestic and internationally; you only have to leave a comment and a way for me to contact you. No anonymous comments and your e-address has to be linked with your name or in your comment. 
You're invited to follow my blog but it's not a requirement to win and your kind, thoughtful comments are most welcome.

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." ~ Albert Einstein ~

Today's Miracles ~ Vicki, 2 Bags Full ~ you, a visitor ~ prizes ~ American Curly horses ~ my wooly sheep ~ Thistle Cove Farm ~ 


  1. yes, please count me in, I loved your bio in the post. We have 6" of snow out there tonight, the first big one of the season. hugs down on the farm! I do follow you, I enjoy your posts!

  2. Hello Sandra:
    We have much enjoyed reading this post although we are not 'linked in' to the general Blog Party. It is fascinating to learn a little more of the early beginnings at Thistle Cove Farm.

    Please do not include our names in the giveaway - Hungarian post and all of that - we think you will know the reasons. But good luck to everyone!

  3. You got the jump on me; it's still the 17th here! Guess I'd better create a post of my own!

  4. Hi girlfriend!!! Beautiful post- everyone who knows you can feel your zest for life. I'm always amazed when I visit here-- to see all that you pack into a full day on your beautiful farm.
    Thank you for participating-- I know you will make lots of new and lasting friends. It was an event like this that brought you into my life-

    My party post goes up early in the morning- the 19th. You'll have lots of visitors then.

    I love you--

  5. We were lucky enough to enjoy one of your classes at MSWF several years ago. We're looking forward to your book. Lovely post, sharing your history!

  6. Good morning, dear friend! I forgot that today was the day of the blog party. Must get over and do a post of some sort, welcoming guests to ye olde blog, as you've done. What generous give-aways! Wow! Love you :)

  7. Good morning, Sandra! How nice of you to have this giveaway! Love that yarn! I'm a yarnaholic!

  8. I'm not a yarn craft person but I've loved your blog (and you!) for a long while now. You bless so many with your honesty, straight forward approach to life and love of beauty - so there ya go! Bless you friend -- "I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. -- "Winston Churchill
    figured you'd get a chuckle from that one!

  9. Sandra, I went over to Vicki's and I didn't find any post about the party for today. Her last post is, I think, last Friday. That's unusual. Have you found anything?

  10. I love your blog. Nice to meet you :) I am following your blog now.

  11. Glad to meet you! I've wandered here a time or two before, but it's nice to stop in and post a comment. What wonderful prizes too!

    I'm participating in the party too, but my post won't load until later on tonight. I hope you'll stop by for a visit!

  12. Hi Sandra, I hope you find a lot of new friends through the blog party!

    Just coming by to see how you're doing.

    Have a super blessed weekend!

  13. Dear Sandra,
    I saw that three people in Vicki's sidebar had posted for the party so you are my second visit, even though I really should be in bed. I am so sorry to hear about your husband's sudden death in 2011. It sounds like you two built a beautiful life and farm together and I'm sure doing what you love has helped with all the learning curves. Wishing you all the best. I look forward to more visits. Best wishes, Tammy

  14. Well, Hello

    I am a fellow blogger participating in this event and I am very happy to make your acquaintance! Yes, count me in on the contests. I plan to follow you as well. Your story is very interesting.

    Stop in and visit with me.

    Take care.

    Retired Knitter

  15. Thistle Cove Farm sounds absolutely wonderful. I am so glad you have it. Thank you for sharing in this post. I will enjoy reading your blog in the future. And I love the CS Lewis quote!

  16. Hello, nice to meet you and I love your blog. Onlu gound out about the blog party this a.m. I am a new follower.

  17. Hi Sandra! I'm participating in GYOB too! But am such a blogging newby I can't figure how to add the badge and I ended up doing my giveaway in a 2nd post...oh well, it's all fun :)

  18. Hello wow it is so nice to finally know more about you. You have quite the story. Hope all is going well.
    Vicki did do a lot of work and even though I did not participate I am looking forward to reading more blogs.
    Take care. B

  19. "Where it's beautiful today and perfect the next!" Love it! Certainly how I feel about my world. As I look out my window as I type this morning, there's a frosty fog that is mystical... every tree and twig is white and of course there's all that snow. But to me it's perfect. Love love love every season. So sorry that your sweetheart has passed on. And so nice to meet a follower of Christ who practices what he preached. So nice to "meet" you!

  20. I love yarn, I knit and cross stitch.

    You have a lovely blog and I'm a new follower! Have fun at the 'Grow Your Blog' party!

    Evalina, This and that...

  21. So happy to meet you thru this blog hop. I enjoyed learning about you. and love love your giveaway too-hugs I am retired in live in Missouri-in the woods-my blog is about my doings, all my crafts,recipes and more Kathy

  22. I am thankful to learn something about your history.

  23. What a lovely giveaway! The Summer Cottage looks so interesting. You have a lovely blog.

    Jocelyn @

  24. I am so sorry to hear of the death of your husband. You are very brave to continue on. So nice to meet you through the Grow Your Blog party. I love yarn and knitting and crocheting.

  25. Just stopped by and love your blog. Signed up for emails! So sorry for your loss! Stop by and see me!

  26. Hi! I followed your blog from

    That's one thing I would love to learn is knitting! I've always been a crochet kinda girl, but some things just look better knitted, don't you agree?

    I am sorry for your loss back in November of 2011, I can offer you friendship and a few laughs! Nice to meet you and hope to see you again! Kelly xoxo

  27. I am envious of that awesome view from your window.
    Although you've had some enriching experiences with teaching, I was sorry to read about your husband passing suddenly. Being prepared is very important.
    Nice to visit your blog and meet you.

  28. please enter me into your giveaway. so fun. i wish you a good day. please stop by my blog when you get a moment. take care. ( :

  29. Oooo, all kinds of fun giveaways, glad I stopped by.

    Popped in from Grow Your Blog hop.

    Give me a visit some time ~

  30. Hi Sandra, I've visited before the GYB hop and I'm so glad I'm here again! The view from your house is breathtaking and I'm so glad your garage is so perfect for you. See you again soon. :)

  31. Thistle Cove Farm sounds so very lovely! I have always wanted to live on a farm, and I am still hoping that one day...I will find my place : )
    Your post is wonderful, and I enjoyed reading about your life. I am so sorry about your husband. Truly. I can't imagine. Your advice is very good, and I will speak with my husband about it. You are very kind to bring it up.

    Wow, so many giveaways! You are generous. I would love an opportunity to win.

    Hugs to you,

  32. What a lovely blog and one I intend to visit again....I feel a connection here and hope to get to know you better. You have lovely giveaways but I don't sew, knit or scrapbook. So it would be best not to include my name so others who do will have the gifts...I am subscribing to your blog right now :)

  33. Im visting from GYB and am inspired by your journey.
    I wish you every success despite your loss. I suspect you have great strength and are bound to make it through.
    Now a garage like yours would make a fine workroom for me!! Would they deliver to the Uk do you think? lol
    Oh wow.........wool or patchworky wonders.......heaven, we are in heaven right???

  34. Having just defended our property and our lives with those dreadful fires I am still gathering myself from the trauma so haven't really had the heart for hopping, however, your beautiful and moving comment bought me here immediately.
    I didn't even know that you had lost Dave and I admire you for coping so self sufficiently with the farm.
    We have a much smaller farm with only 8 angora goats but life is sweet (without the threat of bushfires) and we too like you live in a self sufficient life style and I am also blessed being able to persue my heart of creating.
    Thank you for bringing me here to see all the wonderfulness you do - I so admire you!
    Those magazines I have never seen in Australia and it would be such a present to receive one.
    Sending big warm country hugs looking out into that snow covered country side.

  35. Nice to meet you from the GYB party. Lovely view you have. Love the verses you use. I'll check back often.


  36. I enjoyed reading your post and I am looking forward to reading your future posts. Happy wishes sending your way.

  37. Great post! I love your lovely giveaway...
    Thanks for the chance to win.

  38. Dear Sandra,
    thank you for having visited me. I'm so sorry for your husband but luckily you have a strong faith that can help you and even if I don't know you yet..I think you are a wonderful and strong woman. Be sure I'll come and visit you very very often to know you better.

  39. Fab giveaway idea Sandra -- if I still quilted, I'd be so after this... but you can count me out since I no longer have the patience, it seems.

  40. Hello Sandra,
    I was moved by your honesty and Christian strength evident in your post. It is true that there is a large learning curve for those left after someone passes away. My mother passed away several months ago. I am still recovering. It is not an easy assignment. Bless you for your mission to help and encourage.


  41. Hello,

    Nice to meet you in this party.:)

    There is a giveaway on my blog,too.

    All the best.:)

  42. Hi Sandra, Your post for GYB is beautiful and your blog is always a gentle place to visit. I know our Lord will guide you safely. Your heart is simply precious my friend. Thank you for stopping by my post too. It is because of sweeties like you we all continue. We may miss getting around to visit, but when we do it is always special.
    Have a wonderful week and sending big hugs your way.
    XO Celestina Marie

  43. Thank you for visiting blog through the GYB party! I'm so glad I stopped by to meet you!

  44. Hi Sandra, Thank you for visiting my blog.

    I found out about the blog last week when I found you. I have been following you for about 2 weeks. You really inspire!


    PS I love your garage too!

  45. Thanks for visiting my blog - One Old Goat - I really love your blog - the pic of the goat is just too cute! As is the name of your farm!
    I can't wait to read more of your blog - I live that there are so many Christian women who blog!


  46. Hi Sandra,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I'll be back. I LOVE horses and would like to learn more about American Curly horses.

  47. Thanks for visiting me and lovely to meet you and read about your very rich life experiences.

  48. Love this hop. Have found a few new blogs. would LOVE to win the charm shapes. Very nice of you to have 5 winners.

  49. Hello Sandra

    Thank you for visiting my blog on Vicki's GYB party - I'm glad you enjoyed a little sunshine!

    I'm sorry to hear you lost your husband - you are so right about making plans before it's too late and thank you for making us all aware.

    You're amazing with everything you do and keeping the farm working, not easy.
    I love the garage it reminds me of the movie "The Bridges of Madison County".

    Enjoy the party
    Shane ♥

  50. Hi Sandra, thanks for visiting my blog via Vicky's lovely blog party.
    Sorry to hear about your husband and how hard life must be without him.
    We are never prepared!
    Hugs xx Sami

    (you can leave me out of your giveaway, you must have followers that will use them better than I.)

  51. What a lovely blog, if I can't visit in person, then at least I can enjoy it vicariously!

  52. Fellow Shetland sheep lover here!! you stopped to see me, so I had to get over to your place.
    Another thing we have in common, my husband died unexpectedly when I was 26 yrs old and it was life changing for me, so I know what you mean about preparing. Luckily I have found a wonderful man that treats me like a queen, so the path I've walked was uphill for a bit, but has leveled out since.
    Thanks for stopping to see me, I will back to see you soon!!

  53. Thanks for coming to visit my blog!I know your blog and have visited it many times.....Love the look from your window!Thanks for the great posts and the beautiful giveaways!!

  54. Thanks Sandra for coming over to visit my blog..yours is a very touching story, and being prepared is needed but not always recognized as important..
    Hopefully we will have a chance to visit once again soon.'

  55. Thank you for visiting my blog. It is not easy to move forward, choosing to do so, and sharing your hard won lessons is a beautiful thing to do. Later I may ask your permission to feature you at A Gentle Plan. Your giveaways are lovely but I don't knit much, scrapbook or quilt, what a boring person I am. I would rather someone else win.

  56. Hello Sandra,
    So nice to meet you and enjoy your blog. Thank you for your visit me. I am still making some rounds on my list for the GYB party. Have a great evening.

  57. What a beautiful area you live in!

  58. You are amazing Sandra! Your farm is beautiful! I am a follower now- will be back to see what is new. Thanks for stopping by my blog too!
    hugs from me! Linda

  59. Wow. Reading the story about your husband reminded me of my dad. He managed to give my mom instructions when they were out for supper on Valentine's Day and he died 2 weeks later. He'd been sick for years before that though so it wasn't completely unexpected. Still difficult though.

    Lovely pics off your farm. And thanks for stopping by my blog.

  60. Thanks for coming by to my little corner of blogland. I loved reading your post, you have such an amazing outlook on life. I look forward to following your adventures on the farm in the months to come. Warmest Wishes Angela

  61. Hello Sandra,

    Forgot to tell you Thanks for Thanking my daughter for her AF service- Thanks to your nephew for his!I hope he comes home safely- every night I pray for our soldiers safety! Linda

  62. I am so happy to be your newest follower and to put my name in for this giveaway!

  63. I don't know where to start! Love the view! And love what you have and are doing! Your blog is amazing. A pleasure to meet you and I'll be following...


  64. I truly love your blog. I loved reading your story and your spiritual thoughts AND the quotes on love from the children. I'm so glad you visited my blog, so that I was able to find you. Would you mind if I used some of those quotes on love for a lesson at my church? Thanks again for the sweet comments you left for me. -Derrith

  65. Oh thank you for finding me among all those blogs! How inspiring your blog is, I think I am going to enjoy following along!

  66. I am so happy that I visited here today from the blog hop. I will enjoy coming back to visit your inspiring blog.

  67. I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog (I'm almost finished the hop!).
    I love the purple wool!
    pippirose59 at gmail dot com

  68. Your post for the blog party is wonderful. I am so sorry about your loss of Dave. Steve and I have been married 42 years (come April) and I can't imagine life without my best friend. Fortunately, we have our affairs in order. Steve is an artist and he bartered with an attorney who wanted a painting. He created our living trust.

    I am retiring in June from 32 years of teaching. We were in the Peace Corps 37 years ago and are thinking about doing Crisis Corps. Steve works out of his home studio and he can paint anywhere if we travel to another country.

    I am inspired by all that I read and will be back to see what you are up to.

  69. Hi Sandra,
    Thanks for stopping by Knitalatte and leaving a sweet comment about my blog. It was so nice to find your blog via Vicki's gybp event. Isn't blogging the best?

  70. Hi, Sandra,

    Thank you for stopping by my blog! I loved reading through your posts and seeing your menagerie - your kitties and your dogs and your ponies are all so cute! They look very happy at your farm. I am looking forward to following your posts!

    Less B*tching, More Stitching!

  71. Your farm is wonderful and I really enjoyed looking at the wonderful landscape of it. Thanks for visiting my blog so I could find you. I will be back. Hugs Judy

  72. What a pleasure it was to read some of your posts and "listen" to your teaching and encouragement. I think it is so good when we go through something and choose to use it to help others. You are an inspiration!

  73. so very nice of you to stop by and visit me.. thru Vickie.. GYB

    I will be back soon to look , and stalk and see what all you have going on here...

    have a great day..

  74. I've just been reading some of your posts to get to know you. I'm a bit in awe of your strength and spirit. I'm now following.
    Thanks for finding my blog through the GYB party.

  75. Hello Sandra, I am so glad I visited your beautiful place here - and I will do so in the future as well. Your bio sounds very interesting, you are lucky to have taught in so many different places. What an experience! Thank you also for stopping by my blog.

  76. love, love, loved your post.

    we have a working ranch in the hill country of texas which my husband pretty much runs himself as he is retired and he loves working the ranch.

    so, in some ways i could relate to you and in some ways my heart went out to you.
    i love that you keep the sabbath holy.
    i love that you start your days with a devotional.

    your farm sounds wonderful and i'm going to try and find some pictures of the barns, etc.
    perhaps you could lead the way.

    blessings to you, jan

  77. oh, and i'm happily following you!!

  78. Lovely blog - what a blessing :)
    I found you through the blog party - if you need a giggle - come and visit me at

  79. Hello Sandra,
    It's such a pleasure to meet you and thanks again for popping all the way over to Australia to meet me ;D
    What a wonderful place to live and I'm sure that the time you and Dave spent there together are treasured memories.
    Thank you for sharing...and for joining the party! I'm dashing about today but I will be back to read more soon
    Neesie ♥


Thank you for visiting Thistle Cove Farm; may God bless you, yours and the work of your hands and heart. My goal is to respond, here, to your comments although it may take a while.

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