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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, March 26, 2018

A Splendidly Perfectly Beautiful Day

~ Hello Spring, Welcome Winter ~

Every morning, after tending to cats and dogs then having devotions, I sit and think. I ponder the day, consider the weather and decide what needs attention on my to-do list. There are times I simply rush into the day and put out the fire that's needing the most attention but as that's not such a judicious use of my time, I usually sit and think.

Lists are my best friend as are notebooks and this morning my to-do list got a good deal of attention. By 9:30 I was at the barn (not such a big deal considering I was up at 5:30), feeding cats and horses. The to-do list was left in the house so I took a gander and decided to ride up the driveway. I like to take a quick ride every morning, check out the pond, shed, land, etc. and make sure things are good and nothing needs immediate attention. I noticed a few tree branches that needed lopping then rode to the shed and noticed some branches behind the shed were rubbing the shed. It's easier to take care of problems before they get worse so I returned to the barn for my Fiskars 24 inch Titanium Anvil Ratchet Lopper.

When I saw these in the store, I had to talk myself into buying them; at almost $50 (not including tax) these babies aren't inexpensive (not to my way of thinking anyway). Now that I've used them for a while...I'd gladly hand over $50! The packaging says it'll handle branches of 2 inches but I know for a fact it'll do better than 2 inches! It has a ratchet, meaning once the titanium blade bites into the branch, I open the blade, let it back up until it clicks (yeah, you've loving this tech talk, aincha?! ) and bear down again. I keep doing this until the branch is cut and falls to the ground. 


This is about half the brush I cut and it'll stay here until I can get help; I don't like to burn by myself, too dangerous. While cutting brush, I discovered a 14' galvanized gate someone had pushed to the side; it still has the hinges attached and brand new costs more than $300! I mention prices because it absolutely amazes me someone would leave $300 on the ground; essentially, that's what they did by not putting this gate under shelter, taking care of it. Fortunately, galvanized steel is strong and lasts; this gate is going to be put to use at the shed where it'll keep tractor and equipment (blade, bucket, mower deck, hay spear, pallet forks) behind lock.


While I had the tractor out, I decided to move the plastic pallets from behind the barn to the shed. I eyeballed the HayHut and noticed the horses were finished their hay bale so moving hay was the next chore. Perhaps I've mentioned the HayHut before, but if not and you have horses, this thing is a gem! The HayHut covers an entire round role, preventing rot from weather and giving the horses some measure of protection while they're chomping down.


Nothing is ever easy, is it? This 800 pound hay bale is mostly off the pallet so....I had to get in front and push that sucker onto the pallet. Fortunately, round is easy to push...lol.


Some days I take a lot of photos...in case there's an accident, I want to be as much help as possible in assisting the law in figuring out what happened. (gallows humor)

Ready to roll!


Using the pallet forks, I lift the HayHut off the old bales and move it to the new bale. (The black line, lower left, is some dumb thing I managed to do...please ignore.)


Please note the terrified beast standing left of the HayHut as it's being lowered over the new bale. Dandy Man decided he HAD to begin eating and was severely put out the HayHut made him move. No Fear Farm is our new name.


HayHut positioned over bale as pallet forks are lowered so I can back away. Dandy Man is still totally unconcerned with entire process. Later, I misplaced (lost...haha!) some keys and searched for them in this pasture. Dandy Man decided we hadn't had much lovin' so he followed me so he could rest his head on my shoulder while I whispered sweet nothings in his ear. The keys were, eventually, found near the shed in the exact last place I searched.

The rest of the afternoon was spent searching for Pixie and Inky who decided to go walkabout but were both found, crying like lost orphans. Animals aren't encouraged to wander from the house and barn but when they do wander, I look for them until they're found.


This is Ole Bones, Pixie and the Inkspot's mother. About two years ago, Bones wandered up the driveway, malnourished, thin as a whisper and said, "Please take care of me." It took about six months of constant TLC, de-worming, food full of calories, fat and protein (the other cats were jealous!) before she started looking any where near fit. I asked Dr. Anne, "Do you think she's healthy enough to be spayed?" Dr. Anne said, "For 120 years old, she's in pretty good shape!" Now, we all know Bones isn't 120 years but she is ancient; however, ten weeks later she delivered four kittens...three black males and one Siamese female. Those four are Pixie and the Inkspots, aka Inky One, Inky Two and Inky Three because there is NO difference between them!


You know you run a lax household when you find a potato on the floor...apparently, one of the kittens pushed it out of the bowl and was playing with it like it was a ball!


Someone mentioned from a distance, Sadie looks like a fawn. I immediately put this hand knitted blaze orange scarf around her neck. Just before going to the barn, she comes to me, looks up and waits for her scarf to be placed around her neck.


Sam doesn't have a scarf, yet, but both wear sweaters when it's nasty cold. Like it's been this "spring". Ahem. As you can see, Sadie wears both scarf and sweater like to the manner born.

I mentioned my raised beds...Quin at Comptonia is having a seed giveaway. (psssttt...Quinn did the beautiful watercolors on the seed packets!) My plans include ordering apples from Tom Brown in NC from Apple Search. Tom is a lovely man, truly dedicated to finding and saving heritage apples and buying from him aids in saving those apple varieties. Big Horse Creek Farm, in Ashe County, NC, also saves old apple varieties. If you do visit them, be sure and visit Ashe County Cheese for some of the best butter and cheese you'll ever eat!

In Virginia, the Vintage Virginia Apples at Albemarle Cider Works is the place to buy apples and drink cider. I adore cider and, years gone by, my family has gathered to press apples for cider. Remember Johnny Appleseed? He planted spitter's, so called because they were so tart when you bit into one, you'd immediately spit it out. But those spitter's make the BEST cider, ever!

Spring sprung with a (hopefully last) blast from Ole Man Winter. We had three inches of snow, schools and churches were cancelled and I stayed home.


The day after the snow, this heron wandered the pond bank, walking all the way 'round to the upper side. He's a frequent visitor, along with the Canada Geese.


Daffodils are showing their beauty everywhere; spring must be close!

Ponder this ~ "No winter lasts forever. No spring skips its turn." ~ Hal Borland

P. S. Not ONE solitary thing on my to-do list was marked off today. NOT ONE! Note to self...next time, stuff list in pocket.

32 comments:

  1. Seems to me you got lots of good hard work done and valuable care of your farm -- in spite of the to-do list! I can't believe folks left that gorgeous gate lying around! Man, that is a useful thing to have. Your cats and puppers look very happy. Love the sweaters!

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    1. I know I waste money, just differently, but that's a LOT of money to waste! I've already measured where it's going.

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  2. I've got one or maybe two gallons of cider left in my freezer from my annual 8-gallon stock-up at the small apple farm next town over. I thought about panting apples here, but decided to support the woman who reclaimed the old orchard at that farm. What a labor of love - and very hard work!
    Thanks for your nice words about the seed packet paintings - maybe you'll win the drawing! :)

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    1. I always plant a small orchard, it's nice to have fruit for eating in hand, pies, cobblers, etc.

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  3. I don’t even know where to start with comments....love your writing....those black cats? 🖤🖤🖤 We have a “grand- dog” that looks just like a deer too. I make him wear a scarf. Not one flower here yet. The ground is tundra still. We do have wood ducks and eagles. And I know spring won’t skip its turn! Thank goodness!

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    1. Oh thank YOU! My writing is stream of consciousness that follow the photos. Although, as the day wore on, those photos became fewer and fewer. No mention of how many times I walked the long driveway, looking for Pixie and Inky. What we do for love, eh? lol

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  4. Free gate! Wow! :) I think you should write the stuff you DID on your list and then mark it off! I like the HayHut. My daughter should check into getting one. Her huge quarter horse mare is such a hog, I don't think anything would slow her down, but at least it would keep the hay dry. Thanks for the inside look! :)

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    1. Lisa, the HayHut, like the loppers, is expensive but so is hay waste. I try to take the long view when making financial decisions. I like your suggestion; if there was enough room on the to-do list, I could do exactly that! Alas, room, like time, never enough. lol

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  5. All you need in March:

    Heavenly snow, heavenly sun and not-snow, lovely animals, sweet coats for sweet dogs, and the yellow Easter-flowers, and HAY HAY HAY for our beloved hay-eaters!

    Greetings and blessings from your sister in hay :) and Christ

    Dori from the Bavarian Forest!

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    1. Dori, you know too well how important hay is when feeding animals. I've found several folks who sell hay but only one man who sells alfalfa hay which is good quality. The rest was either trash or simply okay.
      Greetings and blessings from your sister in hay :) and <><. Love and prayers!

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  6. I loved this newsy post about your life there at your farm. You inspire me so much dear Sandra. Thank you and Happy Easter ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Rainey, we just keep on keeping on; God will give us His strength and wisdom to do the next thing. Oswald Chambers said, "Trust God and do the next thing."

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  7. A very enjoyable post about your new farm. I love the cats/kittens, of course, and Sadie in her scarf. So happy for you.

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    1. Thank you; it's been wonderful even the not so good bits .

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  8. What a delightful post, all about the things you do on the farm, and the things you find, also! How sweet your three kittens are, don't they know that?!
    I could just do with your lopper in my garden. I have an apple tree which is in dire need of pruning, but it's a bit far away to ask if I can borrow them!

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    1. Those loppers are the BOMB but the only reason I bought them was my last, very old pair, broke. I couldn't find anyone to repair them so had to buy new. When you trim the apple tree, think about using the wood on a fire...smells heavenly!

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  9. I feel consoled, not one single thing marked off your to-do list for the day! It can be frustrating even though I'm busy all day. I've learned to make a "week" list now, with things I hope to accomplish that week. But my word, Sandra, you are Wonder Woman to me with all you do!

    I'm so glad you found Pixie and Inky and what a sweet story of how they came to have a home with you. Our Mason got out a gate a few weeks ago, one my husband had left open, meaning to go back for something else in his truck and then forgetting about it. He disappeared at twilight on a Friday night where it stormed all night. After having gone through Otis and Milo dying so recently, you can imagine our heartache. But the next day around noon after a night and morning of searching, we were home making yard signs when a neighbor came to the door saying his German shepherd was barking at something black under a pile of metal cabinets in his driveway. It was him and he finally came to me out of a 5" opening, muddy and soaked, scared to death. Prayers by family and friends via Facebook answered--for once I was very grateful for FB. So please do keep that orange scarf on Sadie, what a good idea.

    Is your heron a blue heron? RH says that's what ours is and he tries desperately to join the two Canadian geese that make their home on the pond next door to us. They try to drive him away, or her as the case may be. They also drive away any other geese but don't bother the few mallards that visit. I thought the geese liked to be among other geese? Our neighbor says they used to raise a family here each year but they haven't since we moved here.

    Snow here too, two or three times in March but only a pretty inch or two each time. Still very cool for the month but our neighbor's purple martins have come back this week. Their home, which he thoroughly maintains, stands near our property and we sit out and watch them hunting every afternoon, soaring over our heads, a lovely sight.

    A blessed Easter week to you, Sandra,
    Dewena

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    1. Hi Dewena and glad to see you! Yes, blue heron but s/he's not mingling with the geese who have, I think, made a nest on the small island in the pond middle. Recently one morning I heard a forlorn honk...and saw 1 Canada geese which broke my heart. You know they mate for life and I've always had pairs; then, today, there are ten geese again...happy surprise!
      Speaking of happy surprises...GO GLAD you found Mason. Nothing like a good fright to get the old heart pounding, eh? When first I realize anything might be wrong, someone missing, etc. I begin praying. I STORM heaven with prayer and do NOT let up. Between losing my Ranger key (and house key which *really* frightened me!) then Pixie and Inky, I was in a turmoil. Thank God it all turned out all right!
      I hope the snow is over for the season; today we're having rain and I've been inside working. My sister came over, with her 7 mo. old grandson, and the ensuing ruckus with dogs and cats was a wonder! It's all good though.
      Blessed Easter week to you as well; He is holy.

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  10. You totally made my DAY Sandra. I thoroughly enjoyed every line of this blog. Thank you for coming to see Katie Isabella today at her bloggie. I have one too...what I call my Human One when I refer to it.

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    1. And thank YOU, Katie Isabella, for visiting Thistle Cove Farm. The kitties say Hello and please tell Mom to give us some of her salmon next time she fixes it for supper!

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  11. Anonymous4:06 PM EDT

    Here's a "hello" from the suburbs of Los Angeles. I am the granddaughter of Japanese farmers who arrived here before WWII.
    Love reading your words and recalling the flower farm they nurtured in what is now NW Los Angeles county. I remember the outhouse, horses, chickens, and the bonnets my grandmother and aunts wore while working in the fields. Such good memories...
    I know they would be proud to know their great-grandson is the Lead Pastor of a Harvest Bible Chapel in Southern California.
    Charlene H

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    1. Thank you, Charlene H, for your kind visit to the farm. I am *positive* people, past, present and future are proud of their great-grandson who is Lead Pastor of a Harvest Bible Chapel. I'm proud of him and don't even know him! Fight the good fight, keep the faith!

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  12. An excellent read here Sandra again today! You are a marvel at what you achieve and a great inspiration to so many. Love your gorgeous kittens!
    Lovely to see you visiting me again too!
    Hugs,
    Suzy

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    1. Hi Suzy, the older I get, the slower I go! lol Your work is beautiful and the felines say, thanks and we know we're beautiful...rascals!

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  13. Sandra, for a gal that doesn't follow her list, you accomplished a ton of work! I have that ratcheting lopper myself--Amazing to be able to cut a good sized branch without calling my husband. Your kitties are darling and I love the sweet photo of your pups all dressed warmly. Spring will come when she gets good and ready. I do hope it's soon! ♥

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    1. Martha Ellen, that lopper is amazing and I use it constantly; some of the best $ I ever spent! Spring came today and it was LoVeRlY!

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  14. "Walking" with you through your day was so pleasant and relaxing! Just my kind of life; alone with animals in the country. :-)

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    1. That's pretty much my daily life...farm work and animals. Every now and again a human comes by and I say (in the spirit of Dave)..."What news of the outside world, Pilgrim?" The preacher's wife HOWLS with laughter when she receives that greeting.

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  15. Sounds like you had a wonderful day, and that life is so good for you. That makes my heart happy. You seem at peace, which is a true gift from God. Blessings from Missouri sweet lady!

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    1. Oh I AM! and it's good. Such a long time coming but if I weren't such a slow learner, God wouldn't have need to take so long with me, eh? I still miss Dave but it's not nearly as hard. Not nearly as hard.
      Love you and tuck you in prayer when God brings you to mind.

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  16. delightful post! (said the cat lady) lol

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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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