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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 03, 2015

And So It Begins...2015

~ red tail hawk ~
We're three days into 2015 and it seems the year has already put on skates...and wings. If this year goes any more quickly than last year, I'll probably fall off the globe!
~ red tail hawk in flight ~
I cannot begin to believe y'all are interested in farm chores and, these days, seems farm chores are about all I do. Today was beautiful in that it was above freezing and, sometimes, the sun peeped through the clouds while rain waited until late afternoon to begin. Advantage was taken to re-arrange the portion of the barn that holds my wood pile. (yawn) It needed doing to make it safer and easier to get the wood then vehicles were started and moved about so I would have better use of space. A bit of mucking the lot to make it more pleasant for Lightly, square hay bales thrown down from the loft,

~ Lightly, breakfast in bed ~
talked to Daddy and Mom, then made home made chicken noodle soup and...ta da! the farm blog for year 2012 was made into a soft cover book. Due to the encouragement of Leslie at Greenberry House, I started blogging in May 2005 and blogging has brought un-imagined happiness and joy into my life. I've met people from all over the world - Timi in Hungary, Jane and Lance in Hungary, Mags in N. Ireland and MK in North Carolina. The good news is the blog to print book prices have dropped; I'll give you a peek when the newest one, number 6!, arrives later this month. Since Dave's death, my blog books have been such a comfort and worth every penny spent! I've finally signed up for their rewards program and will blog about that sometime this month.
~ back photo of TCF 2012 blog book ~
Surely, though, I'm due to meet many more folks from the www of the i-net. Today I joined Sisters on the Fly and am expecting to soon "have more fun than anyone". If camping isn't appealing to you, I'll never be able to explain the allure. Especially the allure of camping with women who have similar interests, haven't lost their sense of adventure and wonder and are excited about life. I'm still traveling solo and expect to, hopefully, travel to one of the ABC islands this year. A friend and I have talked about taking a Viking River Cruise and another friend and I are talking about going back to the UK, specifically Cumbria, Miss Potter's home and...since I'm in the area...Scotland. For those times that wheels on the ground are needed, it'll be Sisters on the Fly and my 'lil Serro Scotty Sportsman camper or.........soon to be announced acquisition.

While I was working I thought about work, working and am a firm believer parents should give their children three life long gifts...teach them how to go to sleep, how to enjoy their own company and the deep satisfaction of work. Today, the weather was mild and rainy, perfect for doing outdoor chores around the farm and house. Lightly's middling better, she does better in the warmer temps than the cold and, frankly, I'm looking forward to getting us both into warmer climes. (Please God, soon!) No offense to Appalachia but, without Dave, the thrill has gone leaving only chill.

~ thistle shortbread mold and shortbread ~
One of the best things to come out of my kitchen is Thistle Cove Farm shortbread. Early days, I bought a thistle baking mold and, over the course of these past almost twenty years, have made hundreds, if not thousands, of pans of shortbread. Dave always encouraged me to buy another mold; he was concerned about breakage and then...OH NO!...there'd be no more Thistle Cove Farm shortbread. Well, that was something I never got around to doing but a short while ago I found another exact a thrift a great price! JOY! 

The receipt is very simple...2 sticks melted butter, glug of pure vanilla extract, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 2 cups of flour. Mix well, push into mold, bake at 350 F, about 20 minutes or until brown around edges. Let sit for 10 minutes then flip out of mold; it's wonderful while warm and with a cold glass of milk!
~ Gray Tom ~
About a year and half or two years ago, Gray Tom walked in from the cold and said, "I'm here to make your life better." And so he has. New Year's Day was spent, among other things, doing some outside work and Tom ended up being locked in the garage. I was frantic! I looked all over the house, went to the barn thinking he was locked in the tack room and, walking back up the driveway, saw this pitiful little face in the garage window. Tom was not amused but forgave quickly, especially when I sat down and he got a quick snuggle and cuddle to get warm.
~ Kitten ~
Remember this little feller? He came to live here in September, blogged about here and here and never told his name until suggestions were made. I tried out those suggestions but he refuses to respond to anything other than "Kitten". So be it. Only two more months before he's neutered!
~ Daisy Mae ~
is a Redbone Coon Hound and came to live here in September as well. I'd still LOVE to find her a good great home but she looks like she's found it...wry smile. She's had vaccinations, is spayed, house broken and essentially a love bug who gives wonderful hugs and slobbery kisses.

What are your plans for 2015? I'm planning on doing a lot of living this year; it's been more than three years since Dave's death and I truly feel the worst of the grief is over. People have given advice, some good and some not so good, but the only way for me to deal with his death was to go through it. Through the grief...not around, or over or bury it or get over it but through it. I plowed through it, step after painful step, tear after buckets full of tears, until God brought me through the grief. Yes, it was worth it; yes, I still miss him and yes, I am going to move forward.

I've been working on the Prep Book and if you're interested in helping out, please send me a private e-mail. Sometime this month, I'll send you a rough draft so you may read it and give your opinion, advice, comments, etc. If I cannot find a publisher, I'll spiral bind it and sell it myself. There's so much to do to prepare those who are left behind; taking those steps of preparation now means less money wasted later, more money saved and people aren't left wondering how, why, when... I'm still working on Dave's mothers' estate (she died in 11/08) and on Dave's estate (he died 11/11). I want my affairs left in much better order so my sister and nephews will do what I want and not what they think I'd want done. If those things aren't important to you, that's fine but they are important to me...important enough to leave a record and notebook.

Thank you, dearest ones, for the gift of your time in reading and commenting on my blog. Some of you have said exactly the right thing at exactly the right time to give me the encouragement to keep going. Living isn't easy and death is even more difficult; your sweet and kind comments have been a balm in Gilead to me. God bless you richly! I am woefully slow in commenting to your comments; that's due, in part, to my work load, in part to my physical slowness, but, mostly, because when I see your comment, I stop and tuck you into prayer. By the way, while you're praying, please remember Donna, whose beloved husband passed away the day after Christmas.

May God keep you safely tucked in the palm of His hand now and through 2015. You are so loved!

Blessings ~ each of you who read and each of you who comment ~ my animals and farm ~ this beautiful valley ~ wild life ~ shortbread ~ Dave ~


  1. There is so much here I'd like to chat about! I loved camping with the family; looking back I can see what a huge thing it became in our children's lives, camping for two weeks every summer, all over the country. But I haven't camped without at least my husband along. It would be a whole new experience for me.
    I may come back to chat about other things. :-)

  2. Wonderful plans, Sandra! Sounds like your 2015 is going to be FABULOUS!
    If I lived nearby I'd offer to critter-sit for you while you're on your travels, but I'm sure you've already got that's always a huge part of any travel planning I've ever done, and I know your gang of critters is bigger than mine, and just as loved :)

  3. Great post Sandra ~ I love your two recent family members. You and they are loved and comfortable with each other.

    I also have grown through grief. The missing of our dear husbands will never go away, but the grief has lessened and we can move ahead and do more living.

    I am so glad to have 'found' you here in blogland.

    Have a wonderful 2015

  4. This was such an amazing post! You are such a busy and beautiful lady. I can't imagine your grief loosing Dave and taking on the farm. The chores alone would fill my So glad you will be enjoying life outside the farm this year. My blessings to you!!

  5. Good for you with plans and moving forward. I DO understand and would love to do the Sisters On The Fly...on the list. Good to know about the Blog Book. That also on my 2015 list with Tracks of My Georgia Ancestors. We will be busy, huh, but that is what we do thanks to the 3 gifts from our parents...sleep, self, work. Thanks for sharing that thought.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

  6. Camping in your sweet trailer will be so much fun , and your future adventures into lands I would love to travel make me want to remind you to post about your travels ! ( "Inquiring minds want to know" )

    You've so much to offer in your encouragement and excitement about all God puts in your life. Even the every day chores and maintenance of Thistle Cove are interesting .

    Thank-you Sandra. I know you know God is in control and He works all things out for His glory. He also loves you more than anyone else does. He has left you there at Thistle Cove for reasons maybe only He knows, but I am excited to see what new adventures He has in store for you !

  7. I love your writing, Sandra...always full of life...good and bad. Our lives went in a direction I never would have seen 10 years ago, life really is an adventure. Wishing you a wonderful 2015!

  8. I'm glad we share blogs, and one of my biggest regrets is that I was unable to reach you last Fall when I was in your area to visit. Now that I have a kid out thataway, perhaps we'll get another chance.
    I envy you that little trailer. I loved the one we had many years ago, and I would enjoy camping. That a whole nother hobby I can't afford. Since I've become an empty nester friendships have become very important to me. Blogging has helped me discover who I am after parenting, homeschooling, etc. I've met many women in the same place and it's good to make friends. I've even met a few in person. Fun!
    Looking forward to following you as you go all over the place.

  9. I can only imagine just how busy you are on a daily basis. I would imagine that having to continue on with the farm and all the chores certainly helped you in the healing process. It is good to stay busy and to have a purpose. Everyone deals with loss in their own way and no one can tell you how to handle it. Certainly sounds like you have come to the other side of it and now can find joy in outside interests. I hope you are able to take those trips. Blessings for the new year, Tammy

  10. Of COURSE I'm interested in farm chores; those are my favorite tasks of every day!

  11. It has been such a joy for me to have found your blog...I need to remember that quote by Rilke. And I'm so glad you have made blog books, I do hope you share a few pictures. I'm wondering if I should switch publishers! God bless you too, in the year to come!

  12. I'm here to PROCLAIM TO THE WORLD that Sandra's Thistle Cove short bread is absolutely delicious! Best I've ever eaten. Now ... I may need to try a batch, except I don't have a mold, sorry to say. I'm so glad you found a second one! And at a thrift! Amazing serendipity :)

    I've wondered about those blog books. I'm tempted. I'll be interested to see yours and hear what you think. I was sure the price would be prohibitive, but maybe not if the prices are dropping on them.

    May this fresh year give you new vistas, new joys, new relationships, new blessings with God, new love from Him to spread around.

  13. Hi Sandra, love this post and the pics to go with your writing. The short bread has to be incredible.
    You live a very interesting life. I know it is hard work but you make it look easy and exciting. Thank you for always inspiring.
    Wishing you a wonderful new year.
    Blessings Be Yours!

  14. I love shortbread and plan to make your recipe tomorrow. Is a glug something like a teaspoon or two? I'm ignorant with that word. ha The dictionary definition is not the glug to which you refer. Can I make it in a small cast iron skillet? I don't have a mold and have no idea where to get one.

    I laughed at Grey Tom's picture. His expression says clearly he finds no humor in being locked in the garage. Kitten looks so sweet and soft. I was worried when I had my male cat neutered because my female had a terrible healing time when she was spayed. Neutering requires almost no healing time. I wish I could take Daisy May for you. She looks like the perfect friend. I've been around horses all my life and never have I seen one eat like Lightly. haha I love that picture.

    I enjoy reading your blog. Thistle Cove Farm is a land of enchantment; it's just so beautiful. I'm sorry for what you've endured since your husband's passing. I pray you do not have the physical exhaustion and strain you had last winter with the farm work. The Lord put you on my heart and I even woke in the middle of the night to pray for you and your comfort.

    May your 2015 be overflowing with blessings.

  15. I'd love to hear more about putting the blog into print. When I'd looked at years ago, it was very expensive. I'd like to do my mom's blog to preserve it.

    Happy New Year to you, dear Sandra.

  16. Just realizing that you aren't in my Bloglovin . . . I am taking care of that, RIGHT NOW! No wonder I have missed you!

  17. Gosh what a positive post this is! I am so glad to hear about all your thoughts and plans, you are such an inspriation. Your cat in the window looks very sad, glad you found him! isnt it true that animals pick their own names :) My hubby has been doing a lot of geneology and Cumbria is a place he dearly wants to visit, so I look forward to hearing about your trip there. Blessings to you, and I hope 2015 is an awesome year!


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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