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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.

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 ~


  1. possums are SO ugly - not my favorite critters but they have a place in the world too I suppose. I used to love to read Gladys Taber articles - she made being the keeper of a home sound so fulfilling and meaningful.
    Our two adopted kittens are just a bit older than Good Golly Miss Molly - Megabyte and Gigabyte are almost 5 months old and definitely are being taught the lesson of biting or scratching the hand (or other tender parts!) is a big No No. We call the spot in living room patio window Cat TV - a nest of barn swallows gives 24/7 entertainment possibilities for the kitties.
    love to check in with you - beautiful restoration of the fireplace -

  2. The fire is a real heart of your home!

  3. So that is what a possum looks like! None of those in England.

  4. Aw, Sandra! Can I have Molly? Why don't you bring her out to me? She's SO sweet, little scratcher!
    I love your description of home and hearth. I love home, too. LOVE it so much!
    It is SO hot here at the moment, so no fire. The AC makes me want to curl up and take a nap. See? I need Molly to curl up with me!

  5. Love the image of you knitting while all the critters are snuggled up in their favorite corners. Bliss, indeed! And "AMEN" to no TV!

  6. Sometimes these posts are just so hard to read, because I am SURE I would instantly be at home there! Alas, there is no way to uproot the whole family from here....

  7. Thank you for sharing the kitten, Miss Molly had a rough start, but has landed on her adorable feet :)
    I think those possums might have experienced a gentle shower from my garden hose. A little misting doesn't hurt anybody, but can make a lot of critters pack up their picnic baskets and head for more comfortable accomodations.

  8. Sitting here this morning, (a day late when I receive you) I am experiencing another cool morning.
    Although not a wood fire to keep me cozy like you . . .
    Love the crocks . . . Cleaning up the garden house this past week
    I decided it was time for me to find a new home for my crocks.
    I have one inside that I will always stay with me.
    Looks like "Good Golly, Miss Molly" is full of sweetness, once she settles near you.
    Nice view " from the condo" she has. . . .
    Enjoyed the "Thistle Read" message this morning . . .
    Excellent "ponder" .. . .

  9. Good morning, ah I loved your post-I love home too-I have farm girl roots too and they will always be with me. Love all your fireplaces in each room-especially the kitchen-does that one have a hearth so you can do dutch oven cooking? I have taken on that project on myself to make me happy-building a little outdoor cooking area so I can use more of my cast iron pots.

  10. A nice interesting post of your life there at Thistle Cove. It was a great read. Your life-style sounds great to me.

    Miss Molly is a cutie and now has a wonderful life.

    Enjoy this new day ~ Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

  11. Such pretty photos. And I'm astounded by your to-do list. (jaw hanging open)

  12. Wish the fragrance of all you mention could come thru social media.

    Merely smelling the breeze coming across one of your pastures would be enough.

    I adore staying in my home/garden, must leave for the day job of designing or installing gardens. Enjoying the layers of relationship developing in our new home/garden. 1 year this month, much done, more to do.

    Have found several crock shards in the woodland. A few pieces of coal, this house built with 4 coal fireplaces, none working now. Their beautiful mantels & iron fire covers remain.

    Miss Molly, I know the leg climbing kittens well !

    Garden & Be Well, XOT

  13. What a beautiful post. Cool mornings and evenings are heavenly and I envy you that my friend. We are in the throes of summertime here in Missouri, and it is hot first thing in the morning and gets warmer throughout the day. Hate to wish my life away, but I too will welcome those first cool evenings of the fall. Then wintertime hits and I'm dreaming of summer again. God knew what He was doing when He made four different seasons, each has its own kind of beauty. Glad to know that all is well. Blessings to you!!

  14. I am not fond of tv either. My hubby has it on all the time because of his illness. He has to sleep in the recliner and I sneak the remote out of his hands and shut it off when he nods off. Oh for peace and quiet, ahhhh... I love your posts as they are so beautifully written. Hugs, LJ

  15. Hi Sandra, A beautifully written, warm and cozy post. You are surrounded with beauty and warmth and history. I appreciate you sharing with us. Sending hugs. Love the kitten, of course.

  16. What a wonderful post to read before bed.cand the kitty is purfecf!

  17. Love this post! I am a long time fan of Gladys Taber and am a friend of anyone else who is!

    Oh, those opossums...I have them under our shed and living in a box in an alcove off our garage. Thankfully they aren't aggressive unless confronted. Still, I worry about one of my smaller pups.

    Just love your blog!


  18. Your fire looks beautiful, but it's HOT HOT HOT here! I'm so thankful for the A/C when it chooses to be 98 or 100. Sweet kitty! And unusual oppossoms (we don't have them here).

  19. Molly is adorable and I'm so glad you adopted her sweet self! June sounds lovely there with your cool nights and mornings. I'm trying not to think of our blistering heat ahead!! Blessings to you on your farm -- your lists do look wearying!

  20. Miss Molly, perfect for your sweet kitty! Your lists are incredibly long, so praying for continuing energy for you.


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