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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.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

(so beautiful, had to use it again)

"I will lift up my eyes unto the hills
from whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth."
~ Psalm 121:1-2 ~

"We rise by lifting others."

"No one has ever become poor by giving." ~ Anne Frank ~

"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well." ~ Emerson ~

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another." ~ Charles Dickens ~

"Helping someone might not change the world but it may change the world for that person."

"We can't help everyone
But everyone can help someone."
~ Ronald Reagan ~

"Power is the ability to do good things for others."  ~ Brooke Astor ~

"You have not lived today unless you can do something for someone who can never repay you."
~ John Bunyan ~

"A kind gesture can reach a wound only compassion can heal." ~ Steve Maraboli ~

"The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served." ~ Gordon B. Hinckley ~

"Give your hands to serve
and your hearts to love."
~ Mother Teresa

"Never underestimate the difference YOU can make in the lives of others. Step forward, reach out and help. This week reach to someone who might need a lift." ~ Pablo ~

"I don't want to live in the kind of world where we don't look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can't change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit." ~ Charles de Lint ~

"Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves." ~ Horace Mann ~

"You have to life a person up before you can really put them in their place." ~ Criss Jami ~

"Non nobis solum nati sumus."
~ Cicero ~

"We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; 
we are perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken;
struck down, but not destroyed."
~ 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ~

"And if you give even a cup of cold water 
to one of the least of my followers,
you will surely be rewarded."

Keep in prayer - WV citizens and helpers as they recover from the devastating flood ~ 

For the small community of Bergoo, Webster County, WV, near the head waters of the Elk River, I am collecting water and cleaning supplies. If you'd like to help, please send me an e-mail.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cool Mornings, Warm Fires, Sitting in the Catbird Seat and Sex at TCF

These June mornings have been fabulous; a cool night ends with still a hint of chill in the air so logs were laid in the kitchen fireplace. When we first moved to the farm, the kitchen fireplace needed to be rebuilt so, using original slave made on the farm bricks, George, a friend of Dave's, and his helper Everett, came to the farm, lived here and started construction by lining the fireplaces to make them safer. The house has fireplaces in almost every room and was the only method of heat in the 1800's, up until the mid 1900's. That first winter of 1995-96, in January, Dave and I moved our bed three feet from the Vermont soap stone wood stove and slept warmly. Since then, storm windows, doors, and insulation have rendered the house toasty, especially when the soap stone wood stove is put into service. The only thing warmer than wood heat is coal heat but wood heat is a lot cleaner, especially when black locust and other hard wood is used.

Let me back up a bit...the house that was here originally, was a brick house, made with slave made bricks on the farm. Now, before you get your panties in a twist, neither Dave nor I had anything to do with any of was long before our time and, for your PC environmentally correct types, we made do with what we had. In Appalachia, it's always been about reduce, reuse, recycle, re-purpose so we used what was here and it's beautiful! Some of the crocks are hand me downs from Aunt Bonnie, Daddy's oldest sister, who got them from her Grandmother, Delilah. From the left, that crock is used for making pickles and kraut, the next crock is used for churning a gallon of cream into butter, the next crock is not used and the other two crocks are used when I've got more than a couple of gallons of cream. I only have one dasher and it's been repaired more times than Carter has liver pills so I handle it with extreme care. If you know of anyone who makes dashers, that information would be greatly appreciated!

The mornings are quiet but with doors and windows open, I can hear bird song, cattle lowing, the bleat of lambs and horses neighing all contributing to the cacophony that is bliss for me. Others may need television or radio but I find that particular noise overwhelming and entirely unwelcoming. More than two years ago I gave up television and my life has been richer, deeper, more meaningful and just plain full.

I feel a little like Tasha Tudor, sitting in my rocking chair, beside the crackling fire, knitting in hand, cuppa coffee close by. Or even Gladys Taber, a favorite author from the late 1950's through 1970's who wrote of the advantages of home, how it succors one and, when done correctly, envelopes one in a cocoon of coziness, preparing for those times when the outside world intrudes or one has to go to the world. I find as I age, I keep close to hearth and home with no apologies for venturing much away. As Susan Branch says, "the kitchen is the heart of the home" and mine is beautiful...especially when a fire is lit in the fireplace, good cooking smells are coming from the re-furbished 1914 Acorn cook stove and, scattered around the room, dogs and cats are snuggled in their comfortable beds.

Delilah Hamrick, was the mother of Sampson...yes, true! Sampson hand carved, from a solid piece of poplar, this rolling pin and gave it to his mother...perhaps as a Christmas gift but I don't really know. Sampson is credited for taking the Methodist religion into Webster County, WV and was a fine fiddle player while his Mother was known as being a Godly woman. I have a mighty fine heritage.

On May 23rd, I rescued this kitten, at the time approximately five weeks old and, perhaps, 48 hours from starvation. Now, at nine or ten weeks old, with needle sharp teeth and claws she rules the household. Her name came to me as she was trying to climb my bare leg as I was preparing her formula..."Good Golly Miss Molly, give it a rest! I'm hurrying as fast as I can!" My words fell on deaf ears. Because she's the youngest member of the household, every morning she eats first and later, Miss Molly takes a nap on my lap as I read my Bible.

Fortunately, the other cats have accepted her and they torment all the way 'round. I'm happy to have the help but Miss Molly is too young to realize ripping into me isn't acceptable. When that happens, she gets a swat and is quickly learning the meaning of the word NO.

When she's tired from all that rough housing, she likes to sleep in the cat condo, beside the window overlooking the bird feeder. This site is known as "sitting in the catbird seat" and the cat condo is used by almost all the cats.

If you've been waiting for the X rated portion of this post, here 'tis. One morning as I opened the house and walked out on the back porch, these two amorous possums greeted me by hissing and snarling. Hey...get a room, you two! They stayed for about thirty minutes, royally disturbing the tenor of the morning and unsettling everyone.

Anna attempted to investigate but was snubbed so she backed off.

On the right is my to-do list for one day while on the left is my errand list; when I leave the farm, I make my trip count by starting at the point furthest and working my way home. It seems errands take up the entire day, no matter how many or how few. Then again, when do I ever have too few? Dark clouds are moving in, I hear thunder and the advertised storms are moving into the valley.

Today, take care of you, do something that brings you peace and enjoy the day the Lord has made.

Ponder this ~ to be rewarded with good health, treat your body like a temple, not a tent ~

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

"For you have been a shelter for me,
a strong tower from the enemy."
~ Psalm 61:3 ~

"God's covenantal promises are as real and secure as any truth we can imagine. When God makes a promise to us, it is not only certain but irrevocable. And he loves making covenants with His children.
But God's promises demand action on our part. He doesn't make covenants with idle, double-minded people. He wants people who will trust Him, obey Him, engage with Him on a daily basis. God wants to speak with us, and He wants us to speak back. To listen, to ask questions, and to answer when He speaks. God isn't passive, and He doesn't want passive followers! ...
When God speaks, He wants us to respond. To do something. To acknowledge His voice and speak back. And He only speaks to people who are willing to listen." ~ Nicky Cruz ~

""God has promised forgiveness to your repentance,
but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination."
~ Augustine of Hippo ~

"Let God's promises shine on your problems." ~ Corrie ten Boom ~

"One of the most poisonous of all Satan's whispers is simply, "Things will never change." That lie kills expectation, trapping our heart forever in the present. To keep desire alive and flourishing, we must renew our vision for what lies ahead. Things will not always be like this. Jesus has promised to "make all things new." Eye has not seen, ear has not heard all that God has in store for his lovers, which does not mean "we have no clue so don't even try to imagine," but rather, you cannot outdream God. Desire is kept alive by imagination, the antidote to resignation. We will need imagination, which is to say, we will need hope." ~ John Eldridge ~

"I had a choice: I could believe the lies of the devil, in which case I was on my way to suicide, or I could believe in the promises of God, and be taken through my time of trial."
~ Angus Buchan, Faith Like Potatoes: The Story of a Farmer Who Risked Everything for God ~

"True faith means holding nothing back. 
It means putting every hope in God's fidelity to His Promises."
~ Francis Chan ~

"When our trials come, when we feel pain and suffering, when our tears flow again, it is our joy and comfort to lift our faces heavenward and to go on, standing on the promises of God."
~ W. A. Criswell ~

"God never made a promise that was too good to be true."
~ D. L. Moody ~

"Every promise of Scripture is a writing of God, which may be pleaded before Him with this reasonable request: 'Do as Thou has said." The Heavenly Father will not break His Word to His own child." ~ Charles H. Spurgeon ~

"We can't, and we should not, compare sufferings. We come together as a family of God, hand in hand. And then coming together and standing upon the promises of God, knowing that no matter who you are, no matter what you're going through, that od knows it, He is with you, He is going to pull you through." ~ Nick Vujicic ~

"The Lord may delay His promises but He will never deny them."

"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, 
and His ears are open to their prayers, 
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. 
And who is he who will harm you 
if you become followers of what is good?"
~ 1 Peter 3:12, 13

Do not lose heart; while the battle rages, the outcome is victorious for those who call Jesus Savior. So many of you come to mind then tucked in I'm on the tractor, mowing a field or weed eating or trimming bushes and trees. God loves you with an everlasting love and He carries you in His strong arms, next to His heart. Stay true, call on His name, He will not fail. He may delay His promises to you but He will never deny them...He is incapable of telling a lie. Stay true...

Keep in Prayer - Patty and daughters ~ Anita ~ Jim ~ Steve ~ Maxine and family ~ Sara and family ~ Nancy and Julie ~ Bonnie Jean and family ~ Mildred and John ~ Sandra ~

Friday, June 10, 2016

Thistle Cove Poppet


As promised, some photos of my 1965 Serro Scotty camper, or trailer as some call it. In February, when camping in Tennessee, someone asked me what kind of trailer I had and I replied, "2-horse" and they looked at me...huh? Then it dawned on me, they meant The 3-tier metal table is from the 1960's, or maybe 1950's, and is used to hold cook stove, charcoal grill and a metal basket of kitchen necessities. I know I've had the Coleman 2-burner cook stove for about 45 years; there's something to be said for hanging onto stuff, eh? The white wicker table goes nicely with the white wicker rocking chair, soon to be added, while the sunflower wreath adds cheer and color. Fortunately, I found kitchen curtains with sunflowers (and French verbiage) to hang in the front and side windows. I had to hem them, twice, but they do look pretty and cheerful.

When showing off Poppet, but not wanting anyone to step inside, the doorway is 'blocked' by this hand crochet apron, circa 1940.

The dirt catcher mats, just inside the door and in camper center, continue the sunflower theme. The wooden box contains candle burning lanterns for the outside and small Vornado fan to the left.

The aforementioned front window sunflower curtains.

Safety first...

A few years back, I embroidered these pillow cases but never used them...until now. Usually, I give my hand made stuff away but think I'll start giving stuff to Poppet.

A quick snap shot of the bed...the princess would never feel the pea in this bed! The bottom layer is a five inch piece of foam, topped with the original mattress (still in excellent condition), topped with a three inch memory foam mattress and finished off with a feather topper. Sheets are four hundred thread count and the Ralph Lauren duvet encloses a feather down comforter top. Should temps drop, a couple of wool blankets stand ready to ward off the chill. I don't have a heater because I don't really think I'll need one. I'm not planning on camping with temps much below freezing and the bed will keep me comfortably warm as it's made. When it's warm/hot, I do have a hearty (Vornado) fan and should provide ample cross ventilation with windows and roof vent open.

The sheer embroidered rose curtains (please don't note they aren't centered) give a feeling similar to a four poster canopy bed with curtains. Originally, curtains were used to keep noise and cold out of the bed but these sheers are for beauty alone. The rear window curtains are beaded velvet (in color, the side curtains are burgundy and red while the rear velvet curtain has red and amber panels) and designed to keep out noise and light and work just dandy. Perhaps, eventually, I'll use different curtains or sheers but for now, I like Poppet just fine. The overwhelming majority of most everything you see was purchased at thrift stores and will be changed out as new goodies are found. Often, I 'go shopping' around my house and find new things to add that bring a smile or pleasure.

My little bedside table with a red walking stick holding it in place when camper is in motion. One of the red velvet, beaded curtains is seen in the background and, eventually, the pink paint will become a creamy white. I'm not a fan of pastels, especially pink, and was actually reprimanded on Facebook once for saying, "I detest pink." Apparently some sad soul found that to be such a negative statement she had vapors. In turn, I found her sad state to be so devastating, I waited two weeks and, quietly, left the group, saving each of us from the other.

This week has been enormously full; my family found out late Friday, Dad had to have tests on Monday and surgery on Tuesday. I made a mad dash to central VA to be with he and Mom and got home last evening. We're praying this surgery corrected the problem caused by last year's surgery; time will tell.

Ponder this ~ if not your own, whose life are you living? ~

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Sabbath Keeping

The grass withers,
the flower fades,
but the word of our God stands forever."
~ Isaiah 40: 8 ~

"I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven." ~ A. W. Tozer ~

"Reading the Bible without meditating on it
is like trying to eat without swallowing."
~ unknown ~

"The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed." ~ Patrick Henry ~

"You may as well quit reading and hearing the Word of God, and give it to the devil, if you do not desire to live according to it." ~ Martin Luther ~

"The Bible teaches that there will be a famine of the Word of God in the last days...spiritual starvation leads to spiritual death." ~ Billy Graham ~

"Here, then, is the real problem of our negligence. We fail in our duty to study God's Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion.
Our problem is that we are lazy."  ~ R. C. Sproul ~

"One of these days some simple soul will pick up the Book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed." ~ Leonard Ravenhill ~

"I am a creature of a day. I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God. I want to know one thing: the way to heaven. God himself has condescended to teach me the way. He has written it down in a book. Oh, give me that book! At any price give me the book of God. Let me be a man of one book." ~ John Wesley ~

"The word of God hidden in the heart is a stubborn voice to suppress." ~ Billy Graham ~

"No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: 
he is always convinced that it says what he means."
~ George Bernard Shaw

"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 of their country and respectable members of society. I have for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year." ~ John Quincy Adams ~

"If there is anything in my thoughts or style to commend, the credit is due to my parents for instilling in me an early love of the Scriptures." ~ Daniel Webster ~

"It is a mistake to look to the Bible to close a discussion;
the Bible seeks to open one."
~ William Sloane Coffin ~

"The Holy Book of the living God suffers more from its exponents today than from it's opponents."
~ Leonard Ravenhill ~

"Never place a period where God has placed a comma.
God is still speaking."
~ Gracie Allen

"When you read God's Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, "It is talking to me, and about me. " ~ Soren Kierkegaard ~

"I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount." ~ Martin Luther ~ 

"Heaven and earth will pass away ,
but my words will be no means pass away."
~ Matthew 24:35 ~

Please pray for ~ Jim ~ Steph and Walt ~ Patty and daughters ~ Nancy and Julie ~ Bonnie Jean and family ~ Diana and her Hero ~ Anita ~ Mildred and John ~ Sandra ~ 

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

From the Crown to the Sole to the Roots at Thistle Cove Farm

MERCY! The photo options are set on 320 dpi, lowest I can get it, and it still takes between 2 and 3 MINUTES to load a photo...lordy! I'm thinking this post will be heavy on verbiage and light on sights.

Recently, my old house needed new gutters. It needed new gutters because the company who put on the gutters in 1997 either didn't know what they were doing or didn't know what they were doing...choose one. So, I checked around, had some, mostly scary, folks come out to give estimates then decided on William Gillespie Construction Company. William is the son of Ron, whom I've known for 20 years or more. When Dave and I first moved to the farm, Ron was starting out in business and we gave him all we could. Ron is a fine man, raised a fine son and both of them are the kind of men I can say, "Here are the house and farm keys; I need to be away for a week...make yourself at home, fix the ____ (fill in the blank) and send me a bill." I know two things...1. in the house, everything will be as it was when I left and 2. the job will be done correctly and well.

Due to the age of my house, there aren't ready made gutters fasteners so William fabricated them. He did an outstanding job and I'm over the moon pleased! William has done other work on the farm and house and always, always, always I've been pleased with William, his men and his work. Come to think of it, when he and his men put the gutters on the house, I was away. They came, they worked, they left and I never saw them...only the lovely finished job. If you're in need of construction, call William; he's honorable, has integrity and does a fine job.

Next up...the boundary fence between a neighbor and I needed replacing. My guess is the original fence had been in place since the 1940's when my farm changed hands. A little history...In the late 1760's a hunting party was asked to also be a scouting party with the promise of l.a.n.d. which is enough to make almost anyone's heart flutter, at least it does mine. This hunting party had one of Dave's umpty ump great-grandpaps in it and that's how they ended up in this valley. Down the road a piece, is Fort Maiden Spring (then singular, now plural due to the mistake of some government employee who refused to correct his mistake..true story!) also known as Rees Bowen Fort after the Bowen who also named Maiden Spring. Dave's mother always said her umpty-ump grandpap was hunting, became weary, took a nap and upon awakening, spied a maiden deer (young doe) drinking from the spring. Dave always said it was because his umpty-ump grandpap was hunting and killed a maiden deer at the spring...both stories are plausible.

Anyway, the Bowen's settled this valley, as did the Ward's and after The Late Great Unpleasantness, my farm, with original holdings consisting of thousands of acres, was sold to Shadrach White for $300 which was the amount owed in back taxes. I've been told different versions re. Shadrach White - the realtor who showed/sold us the farm said Shad was a carpetbagger from OH, others have said he came here from Russel County and others said he was born in Tazewell County. I haven't a clue but he owned this farm until 1948, when he sold to Dave's cousin's grand-pap. In due season, the farm came to Dave's cousin and we bought it in 1995.

It needed fences. whew...back to the point, eh? In Virginia, a border/boundary fence is to be shared by both land owners 50/50. I found a fencing company, Waddle Fencing, from over in Chilhowie and, in due time, he sent his men to construct a border/boundary fence. The road from Chilhowie, Rt 91, is the only dirt primary road in the Commonwealth of VA and, generally, folks, especially tractor trailer drivers, don't pay much attention to the "no trucks over XXX in length" sign. They look at a map or listen to GPS and think (if they do think), "Well, this is a primary road, it's got to be good and it's a short cut." Wrong, wrong, wrong. Okay, it is a primary road and it is a short's especially short when their rig fails to make the S or U turn and goes over the mountain. Seems like every summer someone thinks they know better than the sign and look out Dudley, it's all over but the cursing.

Anyway, there aren't any stores, not even a Mom/Pop store and most of these fellers don't pack a lunch. The first morning, I made them sausage biscuits, the second day I made the sugar cookies and the third day I made them more sausage biscuits (morning) and also gave them bottled water (afternoon). I'm pretty sure they didn't mind working here...grin...although I told them their photo would be on the blog last week. Sorry!

Not only did they build a border/boundary fence, I had them replace a section of fence along the L of Maiden Springs Road and Cove Road. Probably, it could have stood a few more years but it seemed the prudent thing to do as the men and equipment were here. Good looking bunch of young men! Matthew, second from left, was one of the equipment operators and he could moonwalk that machine...WOW! All the men had nicknames but I can't remember, then or now, but do remember Matthew because his name means 'gift from God'.

Their fences were straight and true...a thing of beauty and a joy for many years to come. I do love tending, and making beautiful, this old farm!

Now I get to the roots part of the's dang difficult to make a straight line, as evidenced by:

There are two rows of tomato plants, one ending in sweet peppers and am getting ready to put in a few rows of sweet corn and Roma beans. Some squash and pumpkins would be nice as well. And, no, the rows don't get much straighter than this...but I bet the stuff will still grow...grin.

This is why I didn't blog about the fence fellers last week...little over a week ago, coming home, I rounded a curve and this bit of fluff was in the road. I just sighed. "God, I'll stop but I'm not chasing it. If I call and it comes, I'll take it home and do my best to save it."

Looky, looky who comes when called. I should name him Samuel but Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent/Angel might get in a huff. My guess is...s/he was about 5 weeks old; still had blue eyes, was so thin every rib was visible but had a voice like a hog caller. S/he gets feed warm kitten formula, made fresh each time, about every 2 to 3 hours then, a few times a day, has a little nap while tucked inside my shirt. Over the years, I've found rescued kittens do better when they get some heartbeat time and it doesn't hurt me to take a break either. No clue what the name is...has yet to say but it'll come... in time.

No, I really didn't want another mouth to feed or something else to take care of but...God has a plan. Mom asked me, "Why do you rescue so many animals? They must cost you a fortune!" My reply, "Why does God keep sending them to me?" and no, I haven't a clue but when He puts them right in front of me, I do my part. I'll grow this one far enough so s/he can have vaccinations and be spayed or neutered then find it another home. That's my plan, anyway.

So, God...while You're up there tending to business, how about finding...and sending...the next steward of this farm? Please God, work that plan and thanks.

Thank you for visiting; next post I'll show photos of Poppet...I've been tarting her up and she's right purty now.

Ponder this ~ carry your happy with you ~
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