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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.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Appalachian Winter Approaches

A while back, I purchased this dandy ole timey pick ax for $4.94. As I walked through the thrift store, a man asked me, "Do you know how to use that thing?" I laughed and said, "Well, I live on a farm so yeah, I do know how to use it." On Friday past, said pick ax came in handy when the water in the horse trough froze during the 8 degree F above zero overnight weather. Of course, I went to the barn before learning about the frozen water so spent considerable time walking back and forth from barn to garage. (Yes, the pick ax is now housed at the Eventually, brain cells thawed and kicked in and the Ranger was put to use, making the dogs very, very happy.

The de-icer should be working except the electricity isn't but Donald said he'd come by tomorrow to fix it and says he has the parts! In the photo above, if you peer closely, you can see the water spigot isn't flowing because it's frozen as well.

Back to the house to boil a kettle of water which was poured over the brass spigot and TaDa! the water began flowing immediately. Thank You, God!

Using the pick ax head, I heaved it up and down until the ice began breaking then cleared the middle all around the trough to allow the horses free access. Even so, by later afternoon, ice had formed again and the process repeated. And again, the next morning but by Saturday afternoon, it was thawed enough it could be plucked out by hand.

Yes, to hard work but yes, as to feeling alive as well! Wool socks and sweater, LLBean boots, scarf wrapped around my throat, warm gloves and Elmer Fudd hat meant I was warm as toast.

The same winter storm that brought the snow and ice also tore tarps off the farm truck, the air conditioner and the camper. The wind was fierce, bringing temps down to wind chills below zero.

This is the road I take when going to the grocery store and farm store. Fortunately, no one was following me so no one got upset when I was driving 15 miles per hour on the right side which is the north side and nothing but a sheet of ice.

By the time I returned home, the snow was already melting.

Saturday, after clearing the trough of ice, someone came to pick up hay and bought all the bales so I gave them one bale free. Rather like lagniappe, eh? lol This was the first time I'd double stacked the bales and felt rather proud of myself.

Many years ago, someone crocheted my farm name, Thistle Cove Farm, in white thread. I mentioned to Eddie, my helper, I'd love to have it put on a piece of old barn or fence wood. Eddie said, "I can do that" and this is the result...fabulous, isn't it?! I simply love it and Eddie said he appreciated the opportunity to "be creative". Hmmm. He may regret saying that; I've bent his ear rather well with tales of what I'd like to do next with farm buildings. Now, to find The Lord's Prayer which the same woman also crocheted for me; Eddie will frame that in old barn/fence wood as well.

Remember the blog books I've had printed each year? This one is 2015 and they all brings me so much pleasure. After Dave died, I started printing these books as a memorial and a visual journal of our lives on the farm. I've been blogging more than ten years and these books are a fabulous reminder of the best one third of my life.

Until tomorrow, Blog 2 Print has a 30% off deal where you can have your own blog printed. I chose to have each year, individually, printed in order to have a dated journal. If you'd like to have your blog printed, use GIFT as the code to receive 30% off. A tip...don't have your comments printed in order to save a ton of money. Not having my comments printed, meant fewer than 200 pages as opposed to about 450 pages and saved a lot of money.

The full moon is the 14th but the moon tonight looks like it's struggling to be full. Temps are supposed to be in the 40's, most of this week, with a 15 degree dip on Wednesday. Time enough to clean ashes from the wood stove, lay a fire and prepare for winter's next storm.

So, nothing much but farm and house work going on; it's all good. What's going on in your world?

Ponder this ~ "It's what you do when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." ~ Oscar Wilde ~ 


  1. We've had some single-digits here lately but not much wind. Last night there was another snow; enough that the driveway got plowed. Fortunately I was out feeding when the plowman showed up, so I was able to move my car and get the top of the driveway done as well. The first plowing sets the edges of every subsequent plowing for the season, and it's nice to start off with as much space as possible, as it can only get narrower if we get a lot of storms. Somehow, I think we might this year. Once I get some medical apptmts out of the way, I'm hoping to be set up to Just Stay Home for a couple of weeks at a time if need be. Peace and work.
    Take care, Sandra.

  2. I loved this reminiscent of when we had a stable full of horses growing up in the NC mountains...and breaking the ice on their trough...

    ...wishing you a blessed Advent season...

    ~Have a lovely day!

  3. I always love to read about your farm work. I can relate to the satisfaction of accomplishing a string of chores to prepare for weather coming in, as I just did today. It felt so good -- because this time my back didn't go out! I like it when I go out in several layers and actually get warm enough from using my muscles that I have to take off a layer or two before I'm done.

    We are expecting a few days of rain and then I won't be able to do much in the way of gardening, or stacking firewood. I figure I will have earned my "reward" of being able to sit by the fire and write Christmas cards, or if my feet aren't too tired, to bake more cookies for Christmas Eve. :-)

    God bless you, Dear Sandra!

  4. All of your hard work amazes me, especially the breaking of the ice several times a day so that the horses will be able to drink.

    You inspire me to do the best I can right here on my little 1/4 acre.

    I love your crocheted farm name mounted to the wooden background. Just wonderful and so perfect for your home.

    Happy Christmas holidays dear Sandra ~ FlowerLady

  5. You had Snow already, Wow, My dogs water dish is less deep but they prefer it to the inside water. I keep stones in it and they must like the taste better than our old rusty inside water. Great use for the pick ax, I can use one too for digging my garden holes through our stones, I go around them! LOL!
    Smiles, Cyndi

  6. Remember getting my first post hole digger. Remember proudly, learning to use it, on my own-no help from a man, with precision.


    Work in Nature is the grace of life.

    Never do I 'work' in my garden. Instead, I know it is the washing of the servants feet.

    Hmm. Your 'weather'. Hmm.

    Moving to Atlanta over 30 years ago, was moving far north, for me.

    Grew up 11' above sea level at Galveston Bay.

    Hmm. Your 'weather' !!

    Garden & Be Well, XOT

  7. brrr - I'm NOT a cold weather kinda gal any more. We just got back from the tropics. You are a stalwart soul and carrying on the Gladys Taber tradition of journaling about life in the country. I loved it when I did it - different season now in my life.
    Love visiting the beauty of your spot of Appalachia

  8. But, all that aside for a moment, HOW ARE YOU ?

    email me, please.
    sending love & wishes for a very Merry Christmas

  9. This cold weather was even more shocking after the long warm Autumn we had. I mean LONG! Maybe it will make this winter seem a little shorter, reckon?

  10. I swear, Sandra, all this farm worker is extending our lives, don't ya think? :-) What I hate most about winter water chores at the barn is when it dumps on me accidentally.. uuuugh that cold miserable misery.

    Happy Holidays, friend...

  11. It looks VERY cold! Brave!

    Our winter is soft until now. Too soft?? For me driving with car 15 minutes every day to my small farm it's easier, but sometimes less romantic :)

  12. I'm always amazed by your posts....the water? Or lack of it...loved your remedy. And that beautiful crocheted You are prayed for. It's snowing a lot dog won't go out, but we have a little heater in our birdbath for the birds to drink out of. So far so good...the heater is working.


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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