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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.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Grow Your Blog

Welcome to Vicki's (2 Bags Full) Grow Your Blog Party; I'm so glad you're here! It's all pleasure to help Vicki with her party; she's a fantastic woman and has blessed my life greatly. On an update, Vicki said there are 596 bloggers participating, possibly more by now, so it's going to be a grand party...again, welcome to Grow Your Blog Party and Thistle Cove Farm.
~ some of my little flock ~
I'm Sandra and live at Thistle Cove Farm in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia. Dave, my husband, and I renovated this old farm house and farm, bred and raised rare breed American Curly horses, rare breed Shetland sheep along with Merino and Romney sheep and now have alpacas. Dave passed away in November 2011 and the resulting time has been spent getting my bearings, learning about finances and remembering to breath. It's been an incredible learning experience, the curve has been enormously difficult but I think, perhaps, I'm doing better. Thank God. 

For a short period of time I stepped away but am now back to writing a book, click here to see the beginnings, explaining to others how best to prepare for their own, or a loved one's, demise. There's so much one can do now to lessen the burden on whomever is left behind. It's a book everyone can use - marrieds or singles, those with children, those without, because someone is going to have to deal with aftermath. Do you really want a government employee deciding where your toddler or child is going to live or, even worse in my opinion, having to go into foster care? Have you thought about where your pets will live? God forbid they be dumped at an "animal shelter"! There are many ways to decrease the financial impact at a time when money is, possibly, scarce because of huge burial bills. Yes, it's a subject perhaps most would rather deny, but taking care of business now ensures your loved ones will have fewer burdens later. 
~ my paca nation ~
With God's help, I've kept the farm going...horses, sheep, alpacas, dogs, cats, guinea's, dogs, cats and me. The work is hard but, every summer, neighbor "Daddy John" puts up my hay and I'm able to hire Andy in the summer to help with the stuff that needs a man's strength and more farmer's knowledge. The farm is going on the market late February and I'm hopeful God will bring a buyer who will love this place as much as Dave and I have loved it. 
~ American Curly horses ~
I enjoy knitting, spinning, quilting, baking, cooking and reading. Each day is begun with Bible devotions because it takes a lot of work for me to get nice grin. Dave and I loved to travel, and either with him or solo, I've either taught agri-tourism or visited as a tourist most of eastern Europe, Russia, a lot of the Caribbean, 3/5 of the United Kingdom and all of North America. 
Thistle Cove Farm is on the cover of the movie, Lassie Come Home and was filmed in this valley in 1994. Above, the farm can be seen between Lassie and the yellow sub-title.
I have two gifts to give away, one international and the other domestic, please leave a comment and a way for me to contact you should you win. The first domestic gift (photo later) is a Bagallini Bag which is great for travel. It can be used as a purse or as a carry-all and unfolds from a smaller bag into a larger. The color is brown, trimmed with red, and is unobtrusive...a decided plus while traveling, I think.

The second international gift is a Thomas Joseph coaster, purchased in Dublin, The Republic of Ireland. It's delightful (click on coaster) and shows a sheep, driving a cart pushed by a donkey in harness, with the caption, “Form-ewe-la One”..., it's a pun on car racing in the USA. I adore puns, don't you?

Winners will be announced 15 February at noon; please visit then to see the names of the two people who'll receive the gifts.

If you'd like to follow me, the button is at the bottom of this page and thank you for your kindness. Should you wish to send a note, my e-mail address is on the left sidebar, about four down.

Thanks to Vicki and her long, arduous hours of work to organize the 2014 GYBP and you, for visiting. You're welcome here any time so come back soon, ya hear?

Blessings ~ Vicki and her Grow Your Blog party ~ my animals ~ Thistle Cove Farm ~ visitors...YOU! ~ 

92 comments:

  1. Well, hello there. I've not been blogging lately and learned a few new things on my visit here. I did not know that Lassie was filmed at your famous farm! How exciting! I didn't know either that you were putting the farm on the market either. Tough decision but it sounds like all the work there is overwhelming. I know you must love it there... good luck with your party - hope to visit again soon!

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  2. Sandra, what a beautiful farm and story you have about how you got there. Blogging is an enjoyment for me, because I walk full time as a Realtor. I understand, that a farm can be a lot for you to handle and I wish you the best in selling it and finding the perfect new place for you to settle. Your blog is so interesting and I am continued to read several of your post. I hope to come back often and see what is happening with you. This is my first time to participate in this blog party and hope that you will come by my blog one day. Teresa at www.foxhollowtales.com. Blessings to you!

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  3. Happy blog party, Sandra! :)

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  4. Hi Sandra, I'm one of Vicki's helpers in the GYB party. Welcome to this fabulous event and I hope heaps of people pop by to say hello. Your farm is very beautiful and I'm sure it will be very hard to leave. I've read few a few of your posts and find them very beautiful with many wise quotes. I will certainly visit again Hugs from Melody in Melbourne

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  5. Happy day and I always enjoy your view.

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  6. Although I feel I knew some of who you are, and of your life . . . this post introduced me to even more.

    I loved your interest and care of all the animals.

    Loved the Lassie reference and Thistle Cove fame.

    Most of all I love the 'you of you', authentic, real, honest, full of grit and determination and a soul of love, faith and joy!

    Enjoy your party . . .
    Loving you, Lynne

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  7. Thanks for sharing your beautiful farm. I still have that Lassie movie...I'm glad to know of Thistle Cove's involvement. Your animals are truly wonderful creatures in their own right! Best wishes to you as you move forward. Enjoy the Blog Party...and, yes, love the bag! Aloha

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  8. What a wonderful post. I'm happy to know more about you. Sorry about your dear husband and sorry about you putting your wonderful farm on the market. You are one lady full of life and I know you'll be entering lots of new stages in life after your farm sells. Take care.

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  9. I will be praying for the Lord to lead someone very special to buy your beloved farm.

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  10. It is so wonderful to meet you, and will definitely be a new follower. Hoping that you will also stop by my blog. My days are also started with a devotional. I am so glad that you are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel after the loss of your husband. How could any of us do that without the lord walking there beside us , one step at a time. How awesome to write a book to help others with this! Looking forward to getting to know you better.

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  11. I'm excited to have found your blog. Especially since your live not far from me. You have yourself a new follower. :)

    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

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  12. Hi, I'm Linda from craftygardener.ca and I found your site from the Grow Your Blog event. What a gorgeous place you live in. I'd love to be entered into your international give away. Hope you have time to stop by my site and enter my give away. It has been nice browsing through your blog.

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  13. Goodness, Sandra, I had no idea you were thinking of selling and moving.
    This is big news! I know you've thought it through and have a "plan" for moving forward. Keep writing, this is also important for your "soul food." I wish you all the best, as you know, and am sending a big big hug from Houston. Kiss the animals for me. xx's

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  14. Sandra, I didn't realize you were planning on selling either. Bittersweet, I am sure. I admire how you've kept it all together after losing your Dave.

    Lassie - always loved Lassie.

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  15. Hi Sandra,

    I'm not new to your blog, but I am visiting today from the Grow Your Blog party. Enjoying visiting all the wonderful blogs. Please stop by to enter my giveaway.

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  16. Ggood day!
    Did not realize you were listing your farm, I may have missed that one, but can see why you might choose to. I have seen that Lassie cover, it felt vaguely familiar, but did not place it, now you mentioned it, I can see it clearly. Hopes for all for future plans! I wish you joy in the coming days. Yes, toss my name in the pot! More snow here today!

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  17. Those photos are soooo inviting! I am blog hopping for the party too! Please hop on by! I have a little giveaway and would love to be in yours!

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  18. Hi Sandra, I love reading about you and your farm life-what awesome giveaways too-thanks for the chance.
    Have fun at the party!
    Kathy

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  19. Hello from another 'grow your blog' participant. I hope you're enjoying this party as much as I do. It's so nice to see 'familiar faces' :)
    Evalina, This and that...

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  20. So sorry to hear you are selling your farm. I'll be praying for a wonderful buyer if this must come to pass. Take care.

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  21. Dear Sandra, you are such a breath of fresh air! As always, it is a joy to read your posts. I do hope you get the perfect buyer for the farm and that you go on to more wonderful and joyous experiences. I'll miss your farm tours but I know there will be more happiness in your new future. Hugs from Australia.

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  22. Thank you for your comments.
    You live in such a beautiful place. I love your header photo.
    I wish you well with selling the farm and your future move.

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  23. Hi Sandra! Just stopped by a la blogger, seeing you'd written a new post - how nice to find the 'grow your blog' event. I'll be sure to visit all your new/old friends who've commented here.

    Wonderful post as always - both pictures & words. It was amazing to learn that the farm you and your DH loved, saved and lived in was the farm featured on the Lassie cover.

    I hope the bittersweet step of passing the farm forward to the next family goes easily for you (paperwork/packing etc). No matter where you live, the memories and love from the years shared at the farm will go with you....

    Hugs Issy PS I wondered if the email I sent you on 1/16 (in reply to a comment you kindly left on my blog) arrived? Perhaps not, or perhaps I rambled too much lol (or it could have looked like spam & was deleted as it occurs to me know you'd not have recognized my email) :-)

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  24. Hi, dear. I don't think I'd seen the Lassie picture before -- that's pretty cool! Glad you're home safely, and Carly's doing well.

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  25. The place is just gorgeous! I too am selling our property and relocating. But I wouldn't call our place a farm--just 28 acres in Oklahoma. Not nearly as gorgeous. Good luck with the GYB party and thanks for stopping by my blog.

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  26. The animals are adorable!

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  27. I've seen Bagallini bags and they look very clever!

    I've been a follower for awhile now and enjoy you and Thistle Cove Farm very much. :-)

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  28. Sandra -- ohhh that view - it gets me everytime I see it! I swear everytine I come hee I learn something amazing about your farm --- Lassie --are you kidding me??? That is such a great piece of trivia!

    Thank you for participating and for helping me to check all the blogs --- I could not have done this without your help.

    I hope you make lots of new friends here at your beautiful blog -- a place that I love so much~
    Vicki

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  29. Ah, the farm is for sale now. I wondered how soon it would be, after you mentioned it in an earlier post. Best wishes with the entire process.

    ". . .Because it takes a lot of work for me to get nice" made me laugh. I reread Little Women, one of my all-time favorite books, last week, and that sounds like that could have been written by Alcott for it. :)

    Thank you for your sweet comment over at my blog. ♥

    And no need to enter me in the giveaway. 'Hope you have a good week, Sandra.

    Love,

    Val ♥

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  30. I am having fun finding new bloggers to follow...love sewing and quilting. Greetings from Oklahoma, USA. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

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  31. i know you - so glad to see you at this party as well. happy weekend.

    hi there. i'm Beth from E. Lizard Breath Speaks - so nice to meet you through the Grow Your Blog get together/party. ( :
    elizardbreathspeaks@gmail.com

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  32. Lovely to meet you through the GYB party and thank you for leaving a lovely comment :)
    You live in such a beautiful place - thank you for sharing snapshots with us!

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  33. Love visiting all your animals there on the farm!

    ;-}

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  34. I am so happy to have found your blog. You mentioned how cold it is and then I realized you lived in a place that should be a bit warmer. Like you I love Celtic music. I look forward to visiting more often and enjoying your insights.

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  35. Hello,

    Nice to meet you.:)
    I would like to participate in your giveaway.
    petitearmoire2@gmail.com

    Greetings.

    Bernadett

    I am not domestic.:)

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  36. Thank you for visiting my blog. love your pictures, they are beUtiful

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  37. Thanks for visiting my redwork/ embroidery blog yesterday. My follow button is working now if you would like to stop back...

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  38. Hi Sandra...what a wonderful blog and farm you have. I am so very sorry to hear of the death of your husband...many of my friends have faced the same thing already (as I am 65)...young but old enough to understand. I wish you the best of luck with the farm (selling it if that is what you need) and I send my love and prayers to you. TY for visiting my blog.

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  39. A beautiful post - I am visiting from Australia and I am a follower by email.

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  40. Hi Sandra, I love "visiting" your beautiful farm! Sending you the best of luck as you put it on the market, and hoping all of that goes smoothly and successfully. The place sure seems like it is a part of your heart and soul -- it must be very bittersweet to think of leaving it. But exciting, too, that you will start a new chapter in your life.

    Best wishes to you!!

    xoxo,
    Maggie

    p.s.I've loved it when you've stopped by my blog in the past, but I am terrible with following up with a note. Glad you visited for the GYB party :-)

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  41. Hi Vicki, Firstly thanks for coming over to visit one of my blogs, it was lovely to have you visit! I love your blog post and look forward to spending more time travelling through it.
    Hugs Sharm
    www.countryfragrance.blogspot.com
    www.the7pillarshome.blogspot.com

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  42. Hello Sandra- Condolences on your loss and all warm wishes for your future. I am visiting from gyb. What a lovely, scenic place you live in. I enjoyed seeing your blog and think your advice about preparing ahead is wise.

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  43. Hi,
    Nice too meet you!
    I hoped you enjoyed Portugal on your visits. I've actually never been to Azores, and I heard is breathtaking!
    Sara
    http://asvoltasnomundo.blogspot.pt/

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  44. Nice to meet you. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    Judy in Colorado
    judy@atticraggedys.com

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  45. Wow I don't know what to say. I too had to sell my land with a log house that my husband and I built our self. My husband did not pass but became disabled. I was not able to keep it up, plus work. I will follow to see where your journey takes you next.

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  46. Lovely photos, lovely farm, lovely critters! I enjoyed watching Lassie as a little girl so it is neat to find out there is a connection to your farm. The Merino sheep are my favourite - especially because their woolly loveliness is perfect for keeping me warm on hikes! I enjoyed getting to know you from your post. I shall visit again!

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  47. Your farm looks wonderful, a piece of the simple (ha ha) life. I quilt and scrapbook myself and chase after children...two of four are still home but now in school full time allowing me to quilt more. Someday, when I grow up and get a passport I want to go to England and Ireland to get back to my Celt roots and see the places genealogy says my family came from!

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  48. Stopping by through the blog hop...so sorry to read of your loss, but do admire your strength to carry on your dream...I have never been to Virginia, but plan to someday...my hubby has been there several times and is always telling me how beautiful it is...lovely animals on your farm...I know its cold there this time of year...we live in the south so no snow for us...hope you are having a blessed and peaceful day.

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  49. Stopping by from the GYB party to say hello Sandra. Lovely to have a peek at your farm, and wishing you all the best. Good luck with the book - I agree there is a great need.

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  50. Hello Sandra, thank you for visiting my blog. What a wonderful place Thistle Cove Farm sounds, I really enjoyed reading about you and the farm.
    Jackie

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  51. Thistle Cove Farm sounds lovely! My family loves puns, too. They make for interesting dinner conversations in our home sometimes!

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  52. Hello, I'm visiting from the GYB party, and I have been to your blog before. I'm a new follower and thank you for the link to 'Wife to Widow', I plan to read it carefully as one never knows!

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  53. Oh my it looks soooo cold. Hop on over for a visit to Singapore where we are always hot! It must be so fascinating living with all your animals and a lot to keep going on our own. I look forward to reading more of your blog. If by chance I win your contest - I have a US mailbox : )

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  54. Just signed up to receive your email blogs. I am not a widow, but my best friend is. I need to send this on to her. God bless you as you walk your path.

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  55. Hello Sandra,
    Blog hopping through the enormous list on the GYBP. I just love the photos and description of your farm. It was always a dream of mine to do that (run away to a small holding) but life got in the way and it is way too late now. Good on you for doing it. Hugs from Oz.

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  56. how cool is it that your farm is on Lassie? I love it!

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  57. Dear Sandra ~ You are such an inspiration to me, another widow since 9 Dec 2012. I pray that your farm will sell quickly and for a good price for you and that someone will love it as you and your husband did.

    How neat that your farm was on Lassie!! That is a wonderful story from your farm, your life.

    Hope your day is filled with much peace.

    Love and hugs ~ FloweLady

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  58. Good Morning Sandra dear.
    The day is frigid it was -12° AT 2 AM
    O° when I rolled out of bed at 7 am
    Stay warm and keep writing it's food for the soul not just yours but mine.
    Love you
    Mary

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  59. Thanks for stopping in from GYB and for your nice comments. Now following you, and my friend has one of those bags for traveling and I am so jealous! Would love to win!

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  60. I didnt make it to the GYBP this year, gosh almost 600! that is amazing. Take care and stay warm.

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  61. What a stunning part of the world you call home Sandra. Would love to visit one day. Great blog too :)

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  62. I'm so glad to connect with you again! And how wonderful that you are writing a book! Loved learning more about you! Hugs, Diane

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  63. Hello Sandra,
    Happy to meet you.
    I'm impressed by everything you write about yourself
    and how you live your life after loosing your dear husband.
    I'm learning a lot !!
    Following you now on both of your blogs. Thank you for sharing your faith and your life !
    Thank you also for your visit on my blog and your comment.

    Blessings to you,
    Wilma, Shabby Royale.

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  64. Thistle Cove Farm sounds lovely. When you do move away, you will be taking so many beautiful memories.
    I will be following your blog and look forward to getting to know you more.
    Liz,
    www.rambling--prose.blogspot.com

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  65. Sandra, it's very nice to meet you! You have a lovely blog. I love your banner photo and well all the other photos on your blog post are fantastic too. I am a new follower via GFC. Thanks for sharing your beautiful farm and sharing your story about the love of your life. You are a very talented and strong women. I look forward to reading more of your blog post.

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  66. BRRRRRRRR! Glad I'm not doing any ice-busting!

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  67. Hello Dear Sandra
    I had to chuckle when I read your comment! I really DO understand and I think we do the best we can to help as many newbee blogers as we can by whatever means we can in connecting people.
    I always love to read your blog and I think you are really ready for a well earned rest after the incredibly hard work you do every single day without a break from the continued stresses of running your magnificent farm with your precious animals. I know as we have a small farm of angora goats here but our farming conditions make yours look like a walk through the park!
    Take care sweet woman and may you be continued to be cared for until you can let go into a more relaxed lifestyle. You have earned it!
    Love and blessings,
    Suzy

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  68. Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier this week--I'm enjoying a few minutes this morning catching up on my GYB visits.

    I read several of your recent posts--you are one busy lady!--no wonder you are tired at night. Still, it seems you've made a way for yourself, a lifestyle that is uniquely you. I also copied out your recipe for baked oatmeal and can hardly wait to try it.

    Thanks too for the very generous giveaways you are offering. I would very much like to be entered for the Bagallini bag--I live in Florida.

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  69. Hello Sandra Thank you for taking your precious time to pop in and visit my blog from the GYB party.
    What a wonderful place you live it makes my rural abode look like I live in a town, even though our nearest neighbour is 1km away. I've spent most of the morning reading your posts old & recent ones. I hope you will find someone to buy your beautiful farm to love it as much as you do. I'd like to be entered in your give away. Your name will go in the hat for my give away. I'm just going to sign up to follow you.

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  70. II'm visiting through the Grow Your Blog hop. What a beautiful farm--I know it will be difficult to part with it. I own my Grandmother's hand crafted spinning wheel and hope to learn how to use it someday.

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  71. visiting your blog from the GYB party. Love all the pictures of your farm. sounds like you have had some interesting adventures. so sorry you lost your dear husband. will be following you, Deborah

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  72. Hi Sandra, thank you so much for visiting my blog and your kind comment. What a beautiful place you call home, I can just imagine how hard it will be to part with it. I enjoyed very much looking around and reading your posts.
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Diana

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  73. Hi there, I've been looking through your latest posts. Your farm is really lovely although all that snow is making me go brrrrr! It does look very cold!
    Many thanks for visiting my blog - GYB is such a great idea.
    Hope you have a great week. :)

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  74. Hi Sandra- thanks for visiting my blog ( TTE Designs). I appreciate your kind comments. Your blog is very interesting and I look forward to following you. Warm Regards, Tammie

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  75. Hi! Stopping in from GYB, and thanks for stopping by mine! Looks like you live in a very beautiful area, a place we've not yet visited, but surely want to.

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  76. What a beautiful post Sandra. I am so sorry you lost your husband and I am sorry you are selling your beautiful farm too. I had a look around your blog, you certainly take beautiful pictures. Looks so wonderfully cold to me! I miss snow. It's still ludicrously hot over here Australia. Too hot for my delicate English heritage!

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  77. Waving all the way from Bonnie Scotland Sandra, as part of Vicki's GYB party ;D
    It sounds like you've been having a tough time and what a hard decision you must have gone through in deciding to sell the farm.
    It all looks and sounds fascinating although not much fun and pure hard work on your own.
    I'm your latest follower because I need to see how you get on plus I'm surrounded by farmland and countryside too]although we're not having such harsh conditions...well not yet anyway!
    How cool to have your farm on the Lassie video! ;D
    I hope life gets easier for you but there's a lot of friends ready to give you support by the sound of it.
    Enjoy the party and I'm heading back into your posts to see more!
    Have a great week.

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  78. I know I already visited….but what an amazing place to live….I have been peeking around a bit! And how cool about the Lassie cover. I am so sorry about your husband.

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  79. HI
    I admire you a lot, I have been reading your blog for a while, and I want to keep reading it...
    Nice week xx

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  80. Hi Sandra, What a very interesting blog. Amazing farm but so much work. I´m returning your visit to my blog via the GYB hop. I´m making my way through the list and shall be back to read more. best wishes from Spain.

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  81. I am sure glad I stopped by for a visit. You live on a beautiful farm with animals I love , I love horses and have wanted to own alpacas but realistically I can't but it doesn't hurt to dream . It is too bad you are selling but I can imagine owning a farm alone would be a lot of hard work .

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  82. Love your pictures. Nice to meet you.

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  83. Very glad you stopped by my blog, because then I found yours. I follow mostly quilting blogs but am looking forward to following yours and adding something new to my world.

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  84. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I hope you get a great buyer for your farm and everything goes well for you.
    Gillx

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  85. I've always loved visiting Thistle Cove Farm blog and I thank you for visiting Plum Hollow. I'm sorry you're selling. I'm sure it's a difficult decision and I'm praying that God will direct the right person to make the purchase.

    I love all your animals and we do have quite a bit in common with crafts.

    Thank you for the opportunity of winning a great giveaway.


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  86. I'm sorry for your loss, Sandra. And will pray for just the right buyer of your lovely farm. That book is sure to be of great help to people. Glad to have met you via GYB. And thank you for helping Vicki with this great endeavor.

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  87. Greetings from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. Nice to meet you. Great photos. Thanks for sharing.

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  88. Thank you so much for visiting me with GYB - would love to enter your giveaway and I will be back!

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  89. Thanks, Sandra, so much for visiting me via the GYBP :) You have led such an interesting, full life--I loved reading about it. How neat that your farm is on the Lassie video cover!! I love that you share your faith; I enjoy that too. So glad to be getting to know you. Blessings, Diana

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  90. It is so nice to meet you - you have an optimistic spirit so I hope each day is better than the last- the book you are writing sounds very useful - I agree with you that planning for the inevitable is the best thing you can do for your loved ones. Thank you for sharing.

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  91. Love your Farm! and your Blog! I just signed up thru email, to Follow!

    Valentine Wishes from Ohio!! Stay warm and safe in all the weather we've all been having!

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  92. Wow Sandra! What an amazing and spirited gal you must be! I'm sorry now that during the 32 yrs I spent in Richmond that I never made it to Tazwell County. Floyd County, yes, (awwww, soooo lovely!) is about as for south/west as I've been, (except for maybe once years ago when I missed the ramp to 64W off 81S on my way to visit family in Charleson (WV). Oh, but I can visit you "virtually" here in Blogland now! So glad you visited my blog so I could follow your here! Cindy from TheCranesNest.com

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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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