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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 21, 2017

The Air is Heavy and Scent Hangs Deep

~ Girly loves Sam with Gray Lady (rear) and Smudge Moonbeam ~

For a good portion of the last two weeks, we've had warm weather...very warm weather which is in direct conflict with snow, high wind chills of below zero double digits and temps of -5 degrees F we had Sunday, January 8 which caused this. It's been an epic, chaotic mess and had you asked me last night if I was up to it (after almost two weeks) I would have said, "NO!" Today, after a sleep of ten hours, I'm saying, "With God's continued help...". 

But I'm ahead of myself...every morning the air is heavy, pregnant with moisture, some days pouring buckets, other days only misty. The dogs are ecstatic as they chase scent after scent that hangs deep over the ground's surface. Even I see evidence of skunk, raccoon and, many times, startle the o'possum stealing eating cat food on the back porch. 

~ evidence of skunk activity ~

Let's get one thing straight...no, I do not feed the possum, the possum is a thief and contrary to what you see on face book...possums are dangerous critters, carrying in their feces protozoan that can cause Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis or EPM which can kill a horse. So, I allow the possum to steal cat food because it keeps him/her close to the house and not in the pasture; I'm choosing my evil, so to speak. What I'd really like to do is capture the thing and take them for a nice, long drive across the mountain!

This morning before dawn, at 0:dark thirty, I heard the far away call of Canada Geese. This is a surprise because they aren't due back for another couple of months; apparently, the warm weather is confusing a lot of us. My daffodils are pushing through the ground, trees are budding and all sorts of spring mischief is happening. Even I can smell the scent of fusty, furry little bodies and it drives the dogs in a tizzy as they wander from grass to shrubs to bush. 


The house is, slowly, being put back to right; the dining room is cleared of insulation, sheet rocks, staples, nails, heavy heating and de-humidifying machines (as an aside...cannot say enough great things about Jeff, Tyler and ServPro...I hope you'll NEVER need their services but the Kingsport ServPro is marvelous!) while the floor has been swept (many times), mopped (many times) and the dining room table is upside down, on mats, while Eddie is gluing legs together. The legs need to be attached so the table can be turned right side up in order to determine if the top can be restored. As of now, the top is white, due to water damage...this dining room suite was purchased by my mother-in-law and her husband when they began housekeeping in the mid 1930's and I want it restored along with the rest of the damaged furniture.

When the table is finished, the other pieces will be moved into the room and work started on them but it's impossible to know, yet, how much or what damage has been done. 

~ corner knee braces ~


~ joins to strengthen the length of support beam ~

It's been delightful to see, again, the hand hewn construction of this lovely old home! Dave and I looked at, then purchased this farm in 1995 and the real estate agent told us the house was built in 1900, but as she was wrong about so many other things, I now know she was wrong about this as well. I've been in touch with an employee of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources who says he's convinced this house was built 1850 to 1875 and others brought in to see my home concur. In the National Register of Historic Places registration paperwork for the 1879 St. Claire home, the then owner of my home, Mr. A. (Abindigo) White is referenced proving my home pre-dates the St. Claire home. 


In this photo, the center board has been notched to hang over the support beam below it which adds strength that is unattainable with mere nails. The nails appear to be hand cut.


The technique used above, showing the small piece jutting through the left side board is called mortise and tenon. Woodworkers have used this technique for thousands of years to join wood pieces, adding strength and security.


In the ceiling, original X braces add stability while Dave had the carpenter add other long boards, screwing and bolting them to their adjacent neighbor. The under floor of my bedroom is as beautiful as the top...more so since the top has had the stain boiled away. (The heating system is a boiler system, oil fueled hot water and when the pipes froze, burst and thawed, the hot water was fierce.)


Early days, when we were renovating, we found a piece of wood signed Thomas Hawkins, who was the original builder. We placed it behind the wall and in keeping with his sentiments, I labeled the inside clapboard with this: 

Thistle Cove Farm
Bought May 1995
To God be the glory
F. Dave Bricker
Sandra K. Bennett
married front lawn 
July 22, 1995
Dave died Nov 5, 2011 @ home

Now, not only will I leave my heart here, I'll leave this little testimony.


My hand knitted stockings are hung by the fireplace, adding to the home spun simplicity of candle lanterns, churns and small, wooden box. Probably, it's too much for some but it suits me and brings pleasure every time I see it, especially when there's a fire lit. 


Some spinning wheels are damaged but can be repaired, some Persian wool rugs are a total loss (hand spun, hand dyed, hand woven) while other modern poly are just about good as new and could, probably, survive the Tribulation


When the situation overwhelms, the dogs and I go for a Ranger ride and we see amazing sights, like the eagle above, that restore soul sanity. The peace spoken of here remains although tears have broken through twice. Still, that's not too bad and the men told me, "You're handling this extremely well!" I guess they've seen it all and my attitude is, "Why add to a stressful situation?" That's not going to help and might even hurt, if not me then others and certainly the "little Christ" I strive to be. I'm happy the animals and I escaped injury, I'm happy to have Mary as a BFF, I'm happy to have insurance, I'm happy to have good health, I'm happy Eddie and Faith have been able to help, I'm happy God has a plan.

 I'm happy.

Ponder this ~ God doesn't abandon His plans and made you as He planned in order to use you as He planned ~ 

30 comments:

  1. It's good to see you content in your circumstances. I've reached that point in my life where I can always think of worse things that could have happened. Tough times will come and my theories will be tried. But my faith will have to carry me through. Yes happy God has a plan.

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    1. Yes to it could always be worse but God always has a plan.

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  2. I see His hands all over you Sandra. His grace is covering you as you've walked(continue to)through this. It isn't fun going through the valley, but joy on the other side when we see what He planned.
    Sending warm hugs and prayers your way.
    Noreen

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    1. going thru the valley is easier when one has the view I've got...haha! Noreen, thank you...I've wanted to lay down and quit but keep on to see the blessings He has in store.

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  3. So amazing to watch this all unfold. God has a plan.... you truly are managing this all so well. Soon you will look back on this and marvel at all that has been done. Sending love..
    Vicki

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    1. at least I'm watching it unfold from the warm side of the window, Vicki -smile- . y'all have a great time.

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  4. Wow- What a process! I am sorry you have had to go through this--but---just think---when you DO sell you can guarantee that the wiring is new-that it is insulated and that things have been done right. You can show the new owners pictures of the guts of the house -that it is sturdy and strong. So, behind every grey cloud is a silver lining, I believe.

    Thank you for sharing a bit of your life with us here. I know this is a bittersweet experience and time for you and you are handling it in an admirable manner. xo Diana

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    1. welllll...the wiring was new, in 1995 we began restoring the house, barns, buildings, farm. now it will be all new, again. folks have been here, looking at the construction and they love it!

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  5. Hallo, dear Sandra, trying to find out the text in German, I hear, that it is crazy warm in your region, and there are crazy animals around your house and crazy dogs sniffing after them and a fool in Christ, who is happy, because she knows, that the Lord has a plan, better than crazy! The needlework-socks are soooo beautiful! Artist Sandra, always in a good fight and victory through God's help and blessed with a huge pot of energy and LOVE!

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    1. it is crazy warm...very strange but helping with the new construction, etc. Dori, you are LOVED!

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  6. I find that the "little Christ" I strive to be often falters even with the day-to-day irritations at work. You're doing well. Interesting to see the innards of your home and I love the idea of writing an inscription inside the walls. All will be good as new soon!

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    1. yes, I falter, even fail, but my success is that I get up and continue. God is faithful to forgive, as far as the east from the west, when we ask.

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  7. I guess some blessings (like the bones of your wonderful old house) can only be seen through crisis. Sad about the Persian rugs; hopefully all the wooden items can be restored to usability if not previous beauty. I know you treasure them but you also realize we aren't taking any things with us.

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    1. this is the second time the old bones have been seen...first in 1995 when we moved and began restoration. I do know we're not taking anything with us and believe we arrive in heaven with empty hands to worship God. I also believe we're called to be good stewards of what He allows us to have and that's my intent while here. I'm ready to go but I'm not homesick...lol

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  8. Dearest Sandra ~ You are a testimony of God's love and grace.

    It is wonderful, except for the circumstances, to see the beauty of the work that went into building your home. A work of art.

    Love, hugs & continued prayers for you ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Rainey, thank you, there are days I wonder. the old house is beautiful, yes, a work of art.

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  9. I liked hearing some history of your home and seeing some of the photos. They certainly don't construct houses like that anymore. I liked hearing, seeing the words and history you have tucked in amongst the support beams. The damage is overwhelming . . . making me feel your loss and sadness. I also sense your resilient spirit . . .

    January springtime has arrived here too. 61 degrees hadn't been heard of since 1906 . . . I heard a Robin when I stepped outdoors yesterday to walk Snickers. We saw someone walking in shorts, no shirt . . . The sun was shinning after weeks of bitter cold, snow, then rain and more rain. And sky was brilliant with stars. A beautiful day indeed. (And the weather man is reminding us that winter will be returning soon!). I have never seen a January thaw quite like this!

    Thanksgiving for sure for your wonderful friends, family during your disaster. Be tender with yourself Sandra . . .

    God Bess You . . .

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    1. this week more warm...hurrah...making it easier to keep the house warm with no heat in one quarter. tender with myself... yes, that I need to do.

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  10. Dear Friend - very informative blog entry - glad to hear things are progressing and you are not the first person I've heard praise ServPro for their restoration work.
    So proud for you - good witnessing by a dear woman who puts on her big girl panties and gits it done! Love and prayers for you my friend

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    1. is there any other viable choice, LindaSue? I don't think so but would there were...I'd take it!

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  11. You're an inspiration Sandra. xo

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    1. Deborah, thank you but...truthfully...I'd rather be enjoying life than working so dang hard.

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  12. Good to see things are moving forward and it's interesting to see the innards of your wonderfully built home. May God continue to give you peace and strength and joy in the midst.

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    1. Ellen, may God continue to give me an abundance of those things...I am well and truly tuckered out.

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  13. Well I am happy you are happy but more than that I am happy that you landed on both paws or hooves as the case may be. I would never have expected anything else take a deep breath and press on. Love the little time capsule you have left. It will be a treat in someone's journey to find.

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    1. "Most of us are as happy as we make up our minds to be" so said A. Lincoln. He's probably right.

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    2. I always loved that quote

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    3. It's certainly a keeper!

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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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