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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 31, 2014

Thank You, God, it's Friday!

~ x marks the spot ~
oops. forgot to say, my contribution to Vicki's Grow Your Blog party is here and there are two giveaways.

One reason I don't blog very often is due to exhaustion. After doing the physical labor necessary to keep us all going on a daily basis, at night, all I want to do is collapse and wait for dark so I can go to bed. 
 Yesterday morning the temp was 18 degrees below zero F; during the night it was much colder and the trough water was frozen...again.
 The crowbar and pitchfork are the tools needed for this job...the crowbar to break the ice 
and the pitchfork to lift out the larger pieces. The smaller pieces get left behind, I've learned the hard way gloves tend to freeze immediately in such low temps when they get wet. Then, gloves freeze to iron and metal as do fingers and that hurts. Best not to happen. 
Twice a day, I carry water and food to Blind Harry Shetland and put it under his nose. He and Sophie have joined Carly in receiving arthritis meds and Harry and Sophie are doing lots better. Sophie is able to get to her feet on her own, her appetite has improved and she's feeling much better. Great news for both Sophie and my back.
 The smaller water trough, the one that's fitted to the sheep has been frozen solid for more than a week. They've been able to drink from the overflow but I wanted them to have a larger water supply.
This ice is eight or ten inches thick and, even using a crow bar, was enormously difficult to chip away at even a corner. Today, I did the best I could and walked away; it's better than they had. If you're wondering if welding the crowbar against eight inches of ice rings my bells, the answer is yes, it rings my bells and everything else.
When smoke rise straight up, it's a good sign and means we're in for a bit of better weather. No storms expected until Sunday and, perhaps, God willing, that storm will pass us by. 

Today I received terribly news; my Mom called to say her best friend's son killed himself. That family has had more than their share of tragedy; in the last three years, their Mother, Father and youngest son are now gone. Our families were connected for generations and in a variety of ways; their sons and my siblings and I grew up together, played together and shared family holidays. Doug's wife passed away a year after Dave died and he battled depression every day; he could never overcome nor accept her death. He was totally bereft. 

The March after Dave died, I contemplated taking my life. Everything was totally overwhelming, I felt so adrift and couldn't begin to dream of continuing life without him. The only reason it didn't happen was God whispered in my ear, "But Sandra, if you do kill yourself, you'll miss all the blessings I have in store for you." I almost couldn't believe it... blessings for me, life could go on, I could live again? It's taken some time, Dave died in 11/11 and each day has been a struggle but one I'm beginning to win, with God's help. 

The reason I'm telling you this is, look around you. You know someone who would love to receive a note, who needs a kind word, a helping hand, an invitation to lunch, supper or even for a coffee. Someone needs you and if you're a Christian and you're ignoring their need, you're rebelling against God; remember, obedience is better than sacrifice.

On a recent Sabbath Keeping, I quoted Soren Kierkegaard, "The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly." 

ouch.

Yes, it's far easier to talk about being a Christian than actually be a Christian but, as you are able, make those phone calls, send those notes, take someone to a meal or coffee. Be a friend because one day, hopefully not too soon, you're going to need a friend.

Blessings ~ Kierkegaard ~ Friday ~ the strength to do the work God allows me to have ~ after a good night's sleep...rejuvenation ~ God ~

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Baked Oatmeal and Chopping Ice

~ baked oatmeal with almonds and blueberries ~
My contribution to Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party is here; there are two giveaways.

There are some mornings that call out for baked oatmeal; today was such a morning. At dawn, around 7:00, it was about 10 below zero; at 1:30'ish a.m., it was about 15 below zero. When it's this cold (and I remember), I like to have breakfast waiting on me when I return to the house from barn chores. I also don't go to the barn before the sun is well and truly up. If there is an accident, it's a tad warmer after the sun comes up and I've a better chance of crawling back to the house. I don't want to think about these things, but I do think about them, now that Dave has passed. I've always planned out "what if" and pondering "what if" kept me from being raped and murdered some decades back but that's a story for another time.

Baked oatmeal is wonderful! I'll give you my recipe and if you're one of those cooks who do it by feel, you'll love this recipe. If not, trial and error is your new best friend. I'll give you measurements but I don't measure, not this dish anyway. I just throw it all together, add whatever fruit and nuts I have on hand and call it breakfast.

1.5 cups oats - I use the real deal, you can use quick
1 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
dash of ground cinnamon
1/4 cup veg oil - I use corn oil, none of that machine oil canola for me, ta very much
1/4 cup sugar - white, brown, or couple tablespoons of honey
1 large egg unless all I've got are smalls or mediums and then I'll use 2
1 tsp vanilla - again, the real deal, no artificial stuff, please and I use about 1 tbl.
1/2 cup milk or cream - whole or half 'n half - please, just eat less but eat real
blueberries - maybe a cup, maybe more...what I had
almonds - what was left in a 2 ounce package

Oil a baking dish, about a 2 quart size or whatever you've got. Seriously, it's going to bake in anything so don't go out and buy the "right size dish". Puhleez.

In small bowl, mix oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients, fruit, nuts and sugar then mix with dried ingredients. Pour into baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F until golden with crackly surface. To serve, I heat some milk and pour over the top. 

I use a convection oven and bake for about 20 minutes at 325...perfection!

This is some serious eats and will hold you until you're hungry again. No, really, I'm serious!

Sophie Shetland was on her feet this morning; thank You, God! Of course, this afternoon she was cast but hey...this morning she was on her feet after a particularly viciously cold night. I'd love to get some of Carly's arthritis meds into her but she's not eating all that well. I think she's checking out but, because she's a primitive breed, it's going to take her some time to actually leave this veil of toil and tears. 
Harry Shetland was on his feet and stumbling around, blind, and that's not intended to be a joke. My heart goes out to him, not being able to see where he's going, yet he still manages to be mobile within his confined space. He has fresh, warmish water, food and shelter so he has the basics. I'll keep him as long as he's breathing; I don't throw something away because it's "inconvenient"; never have understood that attitude. God willing, we'll all get old one day and I want to think someone will love me until the last breath.
The temps are cold, very cold, and even with a de-icer the water trough is freezing almost solid. There's no way the horses can get a drink of water so that means...
getting out the pitchfork and crowbar and busting ice. Yeah, I know you're supposed to say breaking ice but, trust me, busting is more what it feels like. 
Even with the de-icer, the ice is close to three inches thick and this is just overnight. I'll go down, just before dark, and break what's formed since mid-day. It's a lot easier to do it piecemeal than let it get ahead of me although, overnight, it freezes rather solid.
Yes! Now a water trough the horses and alpacas can drink from; the sheep have a smaller trough and I'll break that ice as soon as I finish posting this. I've still got to get in wood for the stove; it's going to be a long night and far safer to do it now, while it's light. 
Another little something to make my life easier...when the big plants need watering (and they need water constantly due to the wood stove), I put them in the shower and give them a huge drink. When it over runs it doesn't get on the floor. 
Yesterday, when the dogs and I used the Ranger to go get mail, a fellow up the road left me some Christmas trees. He has a lawn service in the summer and a Christmas tree service in winter and noticed me picking up cast off trees in town. Apparently, he asked around and someone said, "Yeah, that's crazy old Sandra; she picks up trees to give to her sheep." So, he called and said, "I've got some left over, want them?" Well heck yeah and now I'm going to bake him some shortbread to say, "thanks!"
 Daniel Jones threw these trees over the gate...
 I loaded them into the Ranger...two trips...
and took them to the sheep lot. My wooly babies say, "Thanks Daniel Jones!"
So, here's looking at you and hoping you're having a warm day. BTW, I just received a telephone call from someone who is now absolutely positive I'm a cantankerous old biddy. She's right but I feel I have good reason. The call starts out, "Hello, may I speak to Sandra." "Yep" because I already know it's someone I don't know and, more than likely, don't want to know. "My name is (whatever she said because I knew I wasn't going to have to remember) and I'm calling you because of a very important bill that concerns our environment."
"Okay," says I, "read it to me."
"Um, what?"
"Read it to me, please."
"Well mam, I don't have it."
"So you're asking me to call my Senator and Congressional Rep to talk to them about a bill I don't know anything about just on your say so?" 
Well mam, I'm just trying to make some money and help our environment."
"Thank you for working for a living and not being on the government dole but it still remains.  You want me to do what you want me to do on your word? No offence, but I don't know you from Adam's cat, and the inference you're making is, because I won't do what you want me to do then I don't care about "our" environment? You need to tell whoever hired you to get that bill in front of you so you're not caught flatfooted."
"Uh, mam, I'm sorry to have disturbed you. You have a nice evening."
"Yeah, you too, good-bye."

That is so not right! Please, do not call me, ask me to do something simply on your word and then get all offended because I call your hand. Hey, I'm happy you're not sucking the government tit but be prepared...is that too much to ask? Besides, it's probably some dang liberal organization and we all know how well that goes over with me. I'm so conservative I make Ronald Reagan look like a tree hugger and I care about the environment but not to the exclusion or detriment of human beings. God calls us to be stewards of HIS earth; we're to worship the Creator, not HIS creation. Don't go all Al Gore on me, I don't think much of him; have you seen his nine million dollar Southern California house?  Wonder how big that carbon footprint is?

It sucks pond water, as someone recently told me about something else. I won't give her credit because she might be a liberal and I don't want to offend her personally. That should prove I have a limit to being cantankerous, don't you think?

ROTFLAM which translates, "rolling on the floor laughing at myself".

Oh lawz, cabin fever might be setting in, ya think? 

Blessings ~ the strength to do the work God sets before me ~ sunshine ~ we're one day closer to spring ~

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Chhhhaaaattttiiinnnggg with frozen lips


My Grow Your Blog Part post is here and there are two giveaways.

Time again for Patrice and her Chats on the Farmhouse Porch although, since it's frigid cold she's moved inside...don't let anyone tell you she's not bright as a copper penny! First, Q&A, then a catch-up with farm happenings.
~ white out conditions ~
1. Have you tried any DIY cleaning products or skin care products from the i-net? I did make laundry detergent but it's in need of a boost due to limestone, iow very hard, water here on the farm. I usually throw in a handful of baking soda to boost my home made detergent. Our well is 650 feet deep and gives 75 GPM (gallons per minute); we think we hit an artesian well and it's the sweetest, coldest, clearest water I've ever drank.
I make my own cleaning fluid for kitchen and bath and, to clean windows, I buy the cheapest vehicle window fluid and put it in a spray bottle.
As to skin care products, if it's good enough for MFK Fisher, it's good enough for me and I use the butter wrapper to moisturize my face. I also use EVOO on my face and body and it works wonders, especially in winter but the downside is the dogs love to lick me. Also using a humidifier in the bedroom helps a ton.
It's been so cold the dogs are wearing two sweaters and still shivering. It's 12:30 p.m. and the high for today is around 8 above zero F.

2. Do you like to enter sweepstakes, giveaways or prize drawings. Not so much but I'll enter a giveaway on a blog; that's total fun. I'm participating in Vicki's, 2 Bags Full,  Grow Your Blog Party and, for the second year in a row, it's fun. It'll take me a while to visit all the blogs, there are almost 600, but I've enjoyed those I've visited thus far. I start at the top and work my way down.

3. How often do you visit your library? It's almost 20 miles, one way, from the farm and I'm there, usually, once a week. I figure my county taxes buy me the county library, law enforcement as in sheriff's department and the landfill and I pay a private contractor to pick up trash weekly. Other than that...what, pray tell, do I get for the thou$and$ of dollars the county charges me?
The 'pacas are able to get to the same hay bale as the sheep. As you can see, it's also in the same small lot where the Christmas trees were placed; sheep and 'pacas alike enjoyed having a bit of green in their diet. This time of year, it's a real treat.

4. Do you have a simple mobile phone? It's a straight talk from WalMart, does that give you a clue? There are a lot of advantages to living in a rural area, having mobile phone service isn't one of them. When I move to central VA, I'll go on my sister's plan and buy a smart phone. I said it before, "smart cars for dumb people" and now it's going to be "smart phone for a dumb user...me!" Dave was the high tech geek and I'm still the low tech geek. I'm not as bad as I used to be, I'm now able to watch DVD's on the television. When he was alive it was easier to say, "Pretty please...". Now, if it does, or doesn't, get done around here the person to blame is the one in the mirror.

5. Tell Patrice something new or interesting. Hmmm, I've been knitting hats and scarves to take to a neighbor's restaurant. Ashley and Daddy John have opened Fisher and Co. Restaurant and I wish them well. They have great food and, after getting their sea legs under them, are to a terrific start.
I just ordered the year 2011 of my blog to be printed; should arrive next week, if not sooner. Next to be printed is 2012 and I'll be caught up. If you've never had your blog printed into a book, you should consider it. It took me years to make the decision and now I wonder what took me so long? Especially since Dave died, my soft cover blog books have been such a pleasure for me. That first year is still a total blank, the shock was tremendous and I haven't a clue how I functioned. The only thing I know is God kept me each and every step. Blog2Book has printed 4 books for me and I'm quite happy; what can I say, I started blogging back in the dark ages.
~ corn field ~
We're in the midst of a winter storm, extremely low temps, wind and it's taking a lot of me to keep chores and the wood stove burning. People talk natter a lot about vortex, global warming and the like but all I can say is weather records have only been kept since 1880, according to this site. Who can say, with any degree of certainty, they know squat about the last few million, few thousand or even few hundred years? No one, that's who! Especially those who have made Billion$ off their brand of an inconvenient truth to a kool aid drinking public. If ever there was a man who liked to hear himself talk, it's this one or this one. They're twins from different parents. I do know...when politicians talk, I'm watching what they do and, mostly, the talk is all lies in order to line their pockets. Good luck buying ice water in hell, you bunch of shysters.
~ frozen Maiden Springs cave ~
We've been having a typical Appalachian winter...snow, wind, ice, low temps and it's made chores extremely difficult. Carly Shetland is still eating, drinking and taking her meds twice a day, blind Harry Shetland (sounds like a blues musician) is eating and drinking well (and should be since I carry it to him and put it under his nose twice a day) but poor Sophie Shetland isn't doing all that well at all. She lies down, rolls over, gets cast and can't get to her feet. I'm going to the barn 3 or 4 times a day to get her to her feet where she stands, stunned, until she can move around a bit. She and Harry both have warm water to drink because I bought another electric water bucket. It was just too hard on me, trying to break ice out of black rubber buckets and was less expensive to buy another electric bucket. I'm going to take some of Carly's meds to Sophie and see if they'll help. It's the last thing I know to do.
It's time to get the mail; in order to do that, the Ranger will be put into use. When it's this cold, I'm tentative about walking farther than the barn. It's about a football field walk, one way, to the mailbox and it's cold enough my gloved fingers begin to turn numb before I get down the driveway. Plus, I'm not crazy about the dogs walking on the road as I'm not sure what the highway department has laid down. While I'm out, I'll check on Sophie Shetland and, probably, pull her to her feet. Yes, my back does constantly hurt, now that you mention it.

My brother wanted to know what I do all day so I told him I tend to animals, keep a fire in the wood stove as well as clean it of spent ashes, clean house, do laundry, dishes, am packing stuff to move, sell and giveaway, working on a marketing plan to sell the farm and take copious rest breaks. The older I get, the harder it is for me to recover from the tremendous cold so rest breaks are urgently necessary. On the GYBP someone made the comment reference me and the farm, "...a piece of the simple (ha ha) life" and it made me smile. I think the main difference between me and urban dwellers is, I'm more focused on food, shelter, clothing. Sure, I'd love to live closer to an urban area, say an hour away (book stores, coffee shops, thrift stores), but I'd still spend most of my time at home. Home is where I'm happiest, it's where my animals are and it's where I want to be. I've spent a lifetime getting to this stage and I don't want to miss a second. Other than the name of Jesus, home is the most beautiful word in the world.

Blessings ~ Patrice ~ my animals ~ Thistle Cove Farm ~ home ~

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sabbath Keeping


"Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path."

"When you fear God, you fear nothing else." 
"I am a Bible-bigot.
I follow it in all things, both great and small."
"The secret of my success? It is simple. It is found in the Bible, "In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths." ~ George Washington Carver ~
"The Bible is the Constitution of Christianity."
"Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face." ~ Ronald Reagan ~
"The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly." ~ Soren Kierkegaard ~
"Sin will keep you from this Book.
This Book will keep you from sin."
"There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. ... Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God's Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hands upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord. ..." ~ Charles H. Spurgeon ~
"God brings men into deep waters not to drown them,
but to cleanse them."
"So great is my veneration for the Bible, that the earlier my children begin to read it, the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens to their country and respectable members of society." ~ John Quincy Adams ~
"We are, 
because 
God is."
"No lawyer can afford to be ignorant of the Bible." ~ Rufus Choate ~
"Other books were given for our information,
the Bible was given for our transformation."
~ unknown ~
"The Scriptures teach us the best way of living,
the noblest way of suffering,
and the most comfortable way of dying."
"It is necessary for the welfare of the nation that men's lives be based on the principles of the Bible. No man, educated or uneducated, can afford to be ignorant of the Bible." ~ Theodore Roosevelt ~
"Faith is not a sense, not a sight, not reason, but taking God at his Word."
~ Arthur Benoni Evans ~
"The Mohammedans have ninety-nine names for God, 
but among them all they have not 'Our Father' ." 
~ unknown ~
"No one ever said at the end of his days, "I have read my Bible too much, I have thought of God too much, I have prayed too much, I have been too careful with my soul." ~ J. C. Ryle ~
"A little faith will bring your soul to heaven,
a great faith will bring heaven to your soul."
"The Bible grows more beautiful, as we grow in our understanding of it." ~ Goethe ~
"The Bible is the Rock upon which this Republic rests." 
"The existence of the Bible, as a book for the people, is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle it is a crime against humanity." ~ Immanuel Kant ~
"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." 
"This Book (the Bible) had to be written by one of three people: good men, bad men or God. It couldn't have been written by good men because they said it was inspired by the revelation of God. Good men don't lie and deceive. It couldn't have been written by bad men because bad men would not write something that would condemn themselves. It leaves only one conclusion. It was given by divine inspiration of God." ~ John Wesley ~
"It is impossible to mentally or socially enslave a Bible reading people.
The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom."

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, 
for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 
that the man of God may be competent, 
equipped for every good work."

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Names will be kept for one week; around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Miki and Timi ~ Maxine ~ Sandra ~

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! ~ 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Winner, Random 5 Friday

~ two barn owls roost in my hay loft ~
Lately, a lot of folks have been saying, "Can you believe it's the end of January already?!" That's what happens when you blink and breath...tempus fugit with skates on winged feet. Pretend with me...it's Wednesday and the winner of the $50 Visa gift card is being announced. To mimic Susan Branch, "Oh Vanna! Vanna, Dahling, please, would you come here a moment? Your adoring audience beckons because they want to know whose name you'll choose." Vanna comes schlepping through my house, dodging the ball of yarn that the cats captured, unrolled on the floor and now all over the kitchen, into the living room where she comments, "Ah, that wood stove feels DiViNe!" as she reaches into the dog basket.

Hey, around here we used what's available; remember Fat Charlie going under the knife...as in Leatherman?

Vanna taps her toe, delicately, against the Persian carpet, glances around the room (Hey Vanna, the vacuum cleaner fits all hands!) and draws a name...Lynne of Irish Garden House! Right after Dave died and I was all over the place, emotionally, spiritually, physically, Lynne would write notes of encouragement because she knew what I was going through; she'd "been there, done that" and was one of the people who showed me such great kindness and love. She blessed me greatly, many thanks, Lynne! I'm glad you won and hope you enjoy the Visa card, spend it wisely -grin-. And, no, Vanna didn't actually draw the Lynne's name, that was done by random generator...Vanna just makes a better story.
~ saw this young buck on the way home today ~
Random 5 Friday is by Nancy at A Rural Journal. Wonder of wonders I remembered it was today and there's even barely enough time left in the day to join in. It's been a COLD day today and chores were accomplished but left my bones achy. After I eat my meatballs and pasta, I'm going to have a lovely tot of B&B...just because I'm finally an adult and old enough to drink legally. so there!

Nancy's guidelines are (1) link up a blog post with 5 random facts about you, your day, pets, whatever; (2) posts must contain 5 random facts; (3) visit other participants; (4) wait a minute...only 3 guidelines that even a idiot could follow...right? Yeah, well, we'll see...

1. I gave up sat television as in Direct TV. I put pencil to paper and figured out I was paying almost $160 per television show I enjoyed. I really loved watching NCIS, Elementary, PBS and a couple of others but not $1,000 worth per year. I decided that money would be better spent on a sunny, Caribbean island...St. Lucia or Bonaire or even going to Puerto Rico (no passport needed) and take a Southern Caribbean cruise and visit many islands...that's the ticket...yeah! As for television, the county library has a lot of PBS shows and tonight I'm watching Dame Margaret Rutherford as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple in Murder She Said...delightful! A little tidbit...Mr. Stringer, Miss Marple's "friend" is, in real life, Dame Rutherford's husband. Click on Dame Margaret's name and read some true hair raising facts about her and her family.
A number of very fine actresses have played Miss Marple - Angela Lansbury, Joan Hickson, Geraldine McEwan (oh my, another favorite!), Julia McKenzie (liked her better in Cranford), Helen Hayes, Margaret Rutherford and others, but my favorite is Dame Margaret. She knows she's over the top and plays the entire role tongue in cheek always and with great aplomb.

If you think you could write as well as Agatha Christie (HA!), try your hand here; entries for Chapter 4 are now being accepted.
~ Black Angus cattle country ~
2. And speaking of Vanna (she was born in Myrtle Beach, SC)...this past week, I went on a road trip to my condo at Cherry Grove, North Myrtle Beach, SC. Folks are renting it for February and March and I wanted it to be ready for them and also wanted to escape the frigid cold but that didn't happen. There, it was 18 above zero one night, 28 above zero another night but got into the high 50's during the day. One day I saw 61 on a bank thermometer but we all know how unreliable those things can be.  My week was work, work and more work just different location which is turning into the story of my life. Or, perhaps it's just that time of year when it takes everything I've got, plus some, to get the work done. Today, after doing town errands, I came home to throw out square bales for the horses, take food and water to Harry and Sophie, meds and food to Carly and load up the Ranger with a load of work wood (oops) which I'll bring to the house tomorrow. It's supposed to warm up to 32 - glory! - but will snow; Sunday it'll be 42 but rain and Monday is more snow. I'd rather deal with snow, it's not as much misery on my old bones but considering I've got to get out the tractor to put out round bales of hay, what difference do it make? Animals have got to be fed so work has got to be done.

3. Carly Shetland is 20 and still loving her groceries; Harry Shetland is up there and also enjoy his groceries. Today I found Sophie Shetland, cast, and heaved her to her feet. I'm not sure how long she'd been down but, judging from the spot, it'd been a while. Now, she's in the small lot with blind Harry where they'll both receive grain, corn, hay and water twice a day. "Good grief, Pa, but I do love my critters!", says Ellie Mae nee Sandra Bennett. -grin-
~ snow drifts of 3+ feet ~
4. Gosh, it's imperative I come up with 5 random things and it's harder than it looks. Hmmm, there's a fire in the wood stove and it feels wonderbar! It's a boatload of hard work but it warms me thrice...bringing it to the house, bringing it into the house and carrying ashes out. Have I ever mentioned I dislike boring people or people who say, "I'm bored" suggests a decided lack of imagination! There's always something to do even when we don't want to do it. I've developed a bone spur on the bottom of my heel; any ideas on how to make it go away? I'm figuring a huge, family sized KJV and have someone smash it against my heel...yes or no?

5. I'm fixing meatballs and pasta for supper. Not very exciting but it's what I want...protein and carbs with a glass of red is just what I want/need. I'll fix it, bring it into the living room where the wood fire is blazing and watch Dame Margaret Rutherford as she careens through Murder She Said. This evening is my idea of bliss!

Whew! These things are more difficult than they first appeared. My hat's off to Nancy, she comes up with this week after week. The only thing I come up with, week after week, is dirty laundry.

Don't forget, Vicki's Blog Party is happening tomorrow; I'm excited!

Now, go out there, be safe and make it a week to remember wonderfully!

Blessings ~ warmth ~ Nancy, A Rural Journal ~ Dame Margaret Rutherford ~ Lynn, Irish Garden House ~ my critters, beasts and varmints ~ 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sabbath Keeping


"So God created mankind in His own image.
in the image of God He created them;
Male and female He created them."

"The ultimate end of all revolutionary social change is to establish the sanctity of human life, the dignity of man, , the right of every human being to liberty and well-being."
 ~ Emma Goldman ~

"Cowardice ask the question, "Is it safe?"; expediency ask the question, "is it politic?"; vanity asks the question, "is it popular?"; but conscience ask the question, "is it right?"; and there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic nor popular but because conscience tells one what is right." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. 

"Abortion kills the life of the baby after it has begun." ~ 1963 Planned Parenthood pamphlet ~

"Any nation that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want."
"Today...the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion...because if a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for me to kill you and you to kill me - there is nothing in between." ~ Mother Teresa ~

"They (the women) are never allowed to look at the ultrasound because we knew that if they so much as heard the heart beat, they wouldn't want to have an abortion." ~ Dr. Randall, former abortionist ~
"The care of human life and happiness, 
and not their destruction,
 is the first and only objective of good government."

"When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." 
~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton

"Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women." ~ Alice Paul

"I have come that you may life and have it more abundantly." 

If you've had an abortion, help is available. Please, see here, here or here or send me a private note. God loves me, He loves you; He doesn't love our actions but He loves us.

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. names will be kept for one week; around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping - women who have had abortions or are thinking about it ~ medical personnel  and staff who assist in abortions ~ 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Don't Waste Today

Why do we waste today by worrying about tomorrow? 
Tomorrow never comes; 
it's always and forever...simply today.

"Use your eyes as if tomorrow you would be stricken blind. ... Hear the music of voices, the song of the bird, the mighty strains of an orchestra, as if you would be stricken deaf tomorrow. Touch each object as if tomorrow your tactile sense would fail. Smell the perfume of the flowers, taste with relish each morsel, as if tomorrow you could never smell and taste again. Make the most of every sense; glory in all the facets of pleasure and beauty which the world reveals to you." ~ Helen Keller ~
~ Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent ~
"Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities 
no doubt have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.

Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely
and with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with 
your old nonsense.

This day is all that is
good and fair.
It is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on yesterdays.

"We should live each day with a gentleness, a vigor, and a keeness of appreciation which are often lost when time stretches before us in the constant panorama of more days and months and years to
come." ~ Helen Keller ~
Spend it wisely,
time is money.

"If everything is under control, you're going too slow." ~ Mario Andretti ~

"No pressure,
no diamonds."
~ Mary Case ~

~ my paca nation ~
"Be not the slave of your own past. Plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

"The largest living land mammal is the absent mind." 

~ Abigail, my heartbeat ~
"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of those." ~ George Washington Carver ~

"The beginning is always today." 
~ play like you mean it ~
"A very small percentage of the people in this world will actually experience and live today. So many people will be stuck on another day, another time that traumatized them and caused them to spiritually stutter so they miss out on this day." ~ Steve Maraboli ~

Once the question of why we're here has been settled, we can focus on while we're here. Today, each of us is one step closer to death. Make today count, live like you meant it knowing God's blessings surround you.

If you're looking for the Visa card give away, please click here.

Blessings ~ the gift of today ~ promise ~ hope ~ family ~ companions ~

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fat Charlie, Deer and Visa card Giveaway


It's not as cold as it has been but we've got snow, as evidenced by frozen laundry on the line. Yesterday, I took advantage, or so I thought, of the afternoon's clear skies, sun and mild breeze, to pin a load of laundry to the line. I detest using the dryer for a variety of reasons, the main one being, I'm cheap frugal thrifty Appalachian to the core, love the smell of sun drenched laundry and I'm cheap. Oh, sorry, been there, done that.  I thought there was time (don't we all, wry smile) to finish the day, get in the laundry and then get to my evening meeting.

No, to all the above. Oh I finished the day, but it was simply by being so far behind, I gave up. I fed the dogs and Carly, then raced out the door to do errands, take Charlie (story follows) to Mary, eat and attend the aforementioned meeting.

Bills mailed at the post office, Charlie delivered to Mary and then me to Italian Village to have hot chicken salad for supper. If there's anyone in town who makes a better chicken salad, please tell me who it is and I'll go eat there...but there isn't, so don't bother. Anyway, as I finished supper, I kept one eye on the encroaching twilight; the darker it gets, the slower I drive because of all the wild life. Yep, I left the restaurant and was within a mile of home when it dawned on me...I'd missed the meeting! Fortunately, it wasn't critical but apologies must be made and, hopefully, accepted.
~ Fat Charlie, knocked out and ready ~
Yesterday morning, about 7:10, Dr. Anne showed up to cut Fat Charlie because I believe very strongly in spaying and neutering. Fat Charlie is a barn cat, rescued, given another chance in life and I told Mary, "If you'll take him, I'll pay to have him cut." Happy, happy all around with the, probable exception of Fat Charlie -smile-. However, he'll live longer and healthier and, possibly, happier because he'll never know what he's missed in life.

Dr. Anne arrives to find the "operating theatre" all set up...table in front of the window, bright lights with towel spread over table. She gives Fat Charlie his "go to sleep" shot, arranges her vet supplies and says, "Dang! I have twenty scalpels  at home and didn't bring a one. Do you have a sharp knife?"
"Yes," I replied, "do you want a kitchen knife or pocket knife...?" "Hmmm, I think pocket would work." So, I hand her my Coleman hunting knife and Leatherman. It turns out the Leatherman is as sharp as a scapel so she proceeds and finishes in five minutes. By noon, Fat Charlie was fine although, due to meds, still staggering around a bit but by the time I got him to Mary, late afternoon, he was ready to leave me...ungrateful cuss!  I would show photos but last time I did that, folks got squeamish.
A few days ago, coming home, I saw this mama doe with her fawn. The field behind them held a dozen, p'raps more, deer of all ages although I didn't see a buck, only does and fawns. Beautiful!
A week ago, this was the sight...Dry Run creek was frozen, not solid, but enough to put a shield of ice over the top...again, beautiful!
The cave at Maiden Spring is frozen as well; this is where the Little River begins as it meanders down to the Holston River in Tennessee.

Thank you, Folks, for following Thistle Cove Farm; you are the reason I blog. It continues to amaze me that people find life on the farm interesting but I bless you for the gift. Someone once told me, "You're such an interesting person" to which I replied, "Not really but I do interesting things." I still think that true; God has blessed me (well beyond my deserving!) and I honour Him by giving Him credit and my life. He's getting the short end of the stick but it's what He wants and within my power to give.

A few weeks ago, I said when the follower count reached 500, I'd give away a Visa $50 gift card; that goal number has been reached. Would that I could to each, but I cannot, but to one follower, leaving a comment, you'll receive a $50 Visa gift card. Next week, Wednesday, January 22 at noon, the winner will be chosen by random generator and announced.

Blessings ~ Dr. Anne ~ Fat Charlie ~ Maiden Spring ~ the Cove ~ Dry Run ~ you followers, greatest folks on the planet! ~

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sabbath Keeping


"How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? 
How long will you mockers relish your mocking?
How long will you fools hate knowledge?

"He who buys what he does not need steals from himself." ~ proverb ~
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." ~ Leonardo da Vinci
"I recommend to you holy simplicity." ~ Francis de Sales ~
"Seldom or never do we hear anything about simplicity as an essential discipline of the spiritual life. Most of us have only a vague idea of the meaning of the world.  ...Simplicity means "absence of artificial ornamentation, pretentious styles, or luxury. It is "artlessness, lack of cunning or duplicity." 
"Where there is simplicity, words can be taken at their face value. There are no hidden or double meanings. One says what one means and means what one says. There is no "joker" concealed in the language to nullify its obvious intent. Simplicity does not mean "easy to understand." Paul was not always easy to understand. Nor was Jesus. Men are still wrestling with their great utterances. But both Jesus and Paul are characterized by simplity. Their intention was not to confuse to deceive but to clarify and illumine.
Where there is simplicity there is no artificiality. One does not try to appear younger, or wiser, or richer than one is--or more saintly! Moffatt's translation of 1 Corinthians 13:4 hits it exactly, when it says: "Love makes no parade, gives itself no airs." ~ Albert E. Day ~
"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." ~ Hans Hofmann ~
"Beware the barrenness of an empty life." ~ Socrates
"The more you have, the more you are occupied. 
The less you have, the more free you are."
"When you have cleared all of your clutter, you can be of greater service to those around you." ~ Michael B. Kitson ~
"The greatest step towards a life of simplicity is to learn to let go." 
~ Steve Maraboli
"In order to seek one's own direction, one must simplify the mechanics of ordinary, everyday life." ~ Plato
"Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them." ~ Peace Pilgrim ~
The waste of life occasioned by trying to do too many things at once is appalling." 
~ Orison Marden ~
"It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. 
Hack away at the inessentials." 
"It is vain to do with more what can be done with less." ~ William of Occam ~
"Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials." 
~ Lin Yutang ~
"the art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook." ~ William James ~
"Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough." 
~ Charles Warner ~
"Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; 
wisdom lies in their simplification." 
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius...and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." ~ E. F. Schumacher ~
"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be 
beautiful." ~ William Morris ~
"Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art." ~ Frederic Chopin ~
"How many things are there which I do not want." ~ Socrates ~
"Dress to enjoy your day, not so that others can enjoy you." ~ Courtney Carver ~
"Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." ~ Will Rogers
"To be simple is to fix one's eyes solely on the simple truth of God at a time when all concepts are being confused, distorted, and turned upside down." 
~ Deitrich Bonhoeffer ~
"To poke a wood fire is more solid enjoyment than almost anything else in the 
world." ~ Charles Dudley Warner ~
"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery ~
Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more."  ~ John Kabat-Zinn ~
"The cost of a thing is the amount of life which is required to be exchanged for it."
~ Henry David Thoreau


"And he said to them all, 
if any man will come after me, 
let him deny himself, 
and take up his cross daily, 
and follow me."

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know. Names will be kept for one week, around the world, people are praying.

Sabbath Keeping ~ Miki and Timi ~ Max ~ Rui Mota ~ Debbie ~ Sandra ~ 
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