Monday, July 28, 2014

Eagles, Mowing and Farm Sell Update

~ I love this photo! ~
Grace, over at Buttons Thoughts, has been putting up hay; she's at 410 bales and counting. (I am green with envy!) This summer is the wettest in my memory which only goes back almost twenty years in this place so others' mileage may differ. There's good news and bad news...the bad news is, for the first time since living here, hay hasn't been made; it's simply been too wet. The good news is I've planned carefully and have both round bales plus square alfalfa bales and my horses will still eat well this winter. Thank God!
~ upper field ~
On this farm, there are two hay meadows that haven't been cut and, truthfully, I've wanted to fret but every time I'd start to fret, God would whisper, "Trust me, Sandra, trust me..." and remind me of Exodus 14:14 "I will fight for you Sandra, you only need to be still." What He's saying to me is, "Cast your cares upon me because I care for you" and, most importantly, "hold your tongue and I will work everything out for your good. You may not see it, it's the long view but trust me, Sandra, trust me." When I'm able to quiet myself and trust in Him, life has a way of seeming to be smoother and I'm better able to handle the stresses, and those who stress, much better. It's a difficult, daily lesson.

~ mowing the upper field ~
So, after considerable thought (and checking with Daddy) I decided to mow both pastures. the growth is dead, gone to seed and, instead of buying seed to re-seed the fields, mowing it will allow the seeds to go plant and fertilize themselves. Dad said, when possible, it's good to do this every so often; the Bible says to let a field lay fallow every seven years so, once again, God is taking care of me and His creation.
~ frightened doe ~
It takes me a very long time to mow a field and that's due to two things: the first is I drive slowly because I'm not terribly comfortable on a tractor on hills and the other is, I'm always looking ahead for wildlife. This doe was nestled in the tall grass, perhaps with her fawn, and was frightened when I passed by. She stayed close, snorting and stamping her feet, which made me wonder if she had a fawn; I took a lot of time, moving slowly, watching ahead carefully but never saw the baby. After a couple of passes, I decided to mow the upper side, back and forth, back and forth, and not do a complete circle. It took longer, much longer, but no one was injured and that made it worth the extra time.
Several rabbits made their escape.
Difficult to see but all the "dust" are seed heads...lovely, lovely free seed heads. I could have gone to the farm supply store and paid hundreds, if not thousands, for seed but God supplied these.
After mowing the field, six of the horses were turned loose and showed their approval by stretching their legs. Above, Lightly, DaniGirl and Izza took a turn 'round the field, while below, Izza strutted. 
Part of the joy of living here is the wildlife. That's also another reason it takes me so to get stuff done...if there's something to watch, I'm going to take time and watch. I consider it a gift and I'm not one to take gifts for granted.
The eagle was in the top of a tree, about one-half mile away, so the picture is blurry. Still, it's easy to see this is an American bald-head eagle and I watched as this one and a juvenile had a disagreement over carrion. 
While I was writing this post, I noticed John and Daniel, mowing my lower pasture. I hastened to tell them, "don't bother" but John said, "it's good hay" when I said, "I'm going to mow it, let it re-seed and fertilize the field." This is one of those "life lessons" times and, standing there, talking to John, I almost started crying, not due to anger, but simply due to anxiety, frustration, stress and exhaustion. I don't want to put up, nor will sell, crappy hay but John assured me, "it'll still re-seed and there's good stuff underneath" so I said, "all right, go ahead." So, I'm hoping and praying for clear weather enough to get the hay put up.

Farm sale update: I'm not sure why I continue to be amazed at how fast gossip...iow, my business, travels and at how eager people acquaintances people are to give me advice. Lately it's been, "I heard Mr. X was interested in buying your farm. Don't sell it to him, we don't want his kind in Tazewell." Now, I'm not sure what "his kind" means but I think politics plays a role. You see Tazewell is heavily Democrat (because that's how my Daddy voted, that's how my Granddaddy voted, that's how my Great-granddaddy voted and that's how I vote) and Mr. X is Republican. (Yes, boys and girls the playground is full.)

Actually, I'm a registered Republican because when we first moved here and went to the courthouse to register to vote, we were asked, "How do you register?" I replied, "Independent" and was told, "That's not an option, around here it's Democrat or Republican." So I asked which was the largest party and was told, "Democrat" and I said, "I'll register Republican then." (The words of Queen Victoria come to mind..."We are not amused.") 


Anyway, the price on the farm has been lowered and if it doesn't sell by end of September, will be taken off the market. I've got oil and propane, water, food and shelter for all of is good because God is good. Yes, there are frustrations, stresses, anxiousness, exhaustion but...the good news is, it's because it's my (and God's)'s not a cubical with someone lording it over me because they can. When I remember some of the crappy jobs I've held (and some of the crappy men for whom I've worked) a stressful day on the farm beats a great day in the office every time!

Blessings ~ wildlife ~ eagles ~ deer ~ farm life, it's the only life for me! ~

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sabbath Keeping

~ big sky country ~

"For I know the plans I have for you,
My plans are plans for your good,
not to destroy you or bring evil to you.
These plans are for your future, full of hope and promise."
~ Jeremiah 29:11 ~

"Everything we are given and everything we are deprived of is nothing but a finger pointing out the direction of God's hidden promise which we shall taste in full."
"The world is God's language to us."
"One of the hardest lessons we have to learn in this life, and one that many persons never learn, is to see the divine, the celestial, the pure, in the common, the near at hand-to see that heaven lies about us here in this world." ~ John Burroughs ~
"God always gives us strength enough, 
and sense enough, 
for everything He wants us to do."
"If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing you're freedom." ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower ~
"Without risk, faith is impossible."
"Every believer must be a kind of psalmist, either literally or privately. That living itself has been given, at least in part, as a way of knowing God intimately. Every event takes on a significance in that context, for there is no waste in experience."
"Be thine own palace,
or the world's thy jail."
~ John Donne
"The strength and happiness of a man consists in finding out the way in which God is going, and going in that way too." ~ Henry Ward Beecher
"The happiness of life is made up on minute fractions--the little soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable and genial feeling." ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge
"Choice of attention-to pay attention to this and ignore that-is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences." ~ W. H. Auden ~
"Light tomorrow with today." 

"...I have come that they might have life 
and have it more abundantly."
~ Jesus, John 10:10 ~

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Donna ~ Jim ~ Sandra ~

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This Life is Urgent

"One must have the capacity for happiness
 in order to be fully aware of its absence."
~ C. S. Lewis ~

Blessings ~ our 19th wedding anniversary ~ 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sabbath Keeping

~ Sadie, waiting patiently ~

"Wait and trust the LORD,
Don't be upset wen others get rich
or when someone else's plans succeed.
Don't get angry.
Don't be upset; it only leads to trouble."

"It's not what we take up but what we give up that makes us rich." 
"True contentment is a thing as active as agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. It is arduous and it is rare." ~ G. K. Chesterton ~
"Contentment is natural wealth
Luxury is artificial poverty."
~ unknown ~
"The world is full of people looking for spectacular happiness while they snub contentment. 
~ Doug Larson
"You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough." 
~ William Blake ~
"We may pass violets looking for roses.
We may contentment looking for victory."
"If you look for perfection, you'll never be content." ~ Leo Tolstoy ~
"What day is it?" asked Pooh.
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh."
"Help me to have what I want." "Help me to want what I have." ~ unknown ~
"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for." ~ Epicurus
"You act like it's you against the world but it's really just you against yourself." 
~ unknown ~
"Content makes poor men rich.
Discontent makes rich men poor."
"Comparison is the thief of joy." ~ Teddy Roosevelt ~

"For I have learned in whatsoever state I am, 
therewith to be content."

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Donna ~ Quesenberry Family ~ Jim ~ Stephanie ~ Hancock Family ~ Austin ~ Sandra ~ 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ireland: Two Hearts, One Land

Anita, at Castles Crowns and Cottages, is hosting a virtual travel party entitled:

(The blue print says "Europe: Simply Irresistible Link Party July 18-25, 2014")

It's a virtual party and travelogues may be imaginary or places one has visited. Last November I went to Ireland and, in several posts, you'll be introduced to my thoughts and photos. The series will end with an Irish gift giveaway...are you ready? 
These two lads evidently lost their heads over me...LAM! (laughing at myself)

The November day my plane touched down in the Republic of Ireland it was raining. 

Of course it was raining; it's Ireland, therefore it's raining. Fortunately, living on a farm, I'm used to weather and was prepared for chilly, rainy weather so wandering around the terminal, looking for transportation meant a minor inconvenience and not a tragedy. I opted to take the bus as opposed to a taxi; buses meant rubbing elbows with locals and that meant, possibly, good tips and advice. The older woman who sat next to me accepted, with a smile, my apology for my barely controlled suitcase as it skittered hither and thither. She asked if I was from the States and proceeded to tell me what she liked best about her home. For a city woman, she dressed country in sensible walking shoes, tweeds, a raincoat and carrying an umbrella; my kind of woman and we both enjoyed our short visit.

First Irish meal and first Guinness in Dublin.

~ Dublin statues, all alive, save dog ~

Dublin is a cozy city and a walkable one; I was never far from anywhere, especially as I'd opted to stay in a, more or less, central location. 
Not in the Temple Bar area because it's rowdy, busy, filled with neon lights, noise, pubs where drinkers spilled into the streets and more energy than I wanted to either expend or be around. I prefer cities in manageable bites; small portions where one partakes of the culture and the sentiment and where history can be smelled, tasted, touched and felt without being burdened by a crush of humanity.

~ The Long Room ~
At Trinity College, The Long Room was a must see. "Under the 1801 Copyright Act Trinity College was designated as an Irish legal deposit library entitled to a copy of every book published on the two islands. " The Long Room measures 63.7 metres long, 12.2 metres wide and 14.2 metres high and, in a word, is amazing!

At Trinity College, the Book of Kells was also a stop. I always visit as many churches, cathedrals and see as many important works as I can and have been blessed to stand at the alters of the Gutenberg Bible and the Magna Carta in London. To see the Book of Kells was as inspiring and tears were quietly shed; if you'd like to see digital copies, click here.

~ Go Slow and, I add...savor... ~

A couple of days in Dublin and I was ready to hit the road with Vagabond Tours, Discover Ireland tour. The first driver was having a bad day week life while the second driver should be on the "promote Ireland" poster. Day and night, chalk and cheese; the difference between them was unbelievable but both were very safe drivers and Vagabond Tours is recommended with this aware with November ends tourist season. Prior to booking, I asked about visiting Inis Oirr, Aran Islands, a sheep farm and Skellig Michael but, upon arrival was told "closed for the season". Still, Vagabond Tours is recommended and kudos to them for a lovely trip with very comfortable lodgings chock full of charm and with breakfasts to die for. Out of 29 counties in the Republic of Ireland, we traveled through the majority and three of the four provinces: Leinster, Munster and Connacht although I later visited Ulster in Northern Ireland on my own.
~ Vagabond van ~

Going south, one of the first stops was the magnificent hill top setting of Rock of Cashel where the wind was beating a few tears from the clouds. 
It reminded me of home and I knew, better than most, what it would feel like in a few months. What was a chilly, blustery day would become bitterly cold, making the monks earlier decision to leave for warmer climes an understandable one. This group of 12th, 13th and 15th century medieval relic buildings keeps watch across the valley where an Abbey once nestled, protected from the worst of the wind. Even so, when the monks left, the nuns followed.
~ crosses, Rock of Cashel ~

BlarneyCastle was a delight. At least, I'm sure it would have been had I gone but, having no desire to press my lips where hundreds of thousands have pressed their flesh, I bypassed the Castle and had a Murphy's and lunch in
Muskerry Arms pub and also the first place I saw “my people” meaning a farming gent, sitting at the bar, Guinness in hand, barn coat spread open across his body, muddy boots resting on the fender and his newsboy hat pushed off his forehead. He was holding court and I could only imagine the exchange having to do with the weather (of course), harvest, autumn planting, the price of petrol and a dozen other topics peculiar to those living close to the earth and her seasons.

A walk up the road and a little retail therapy meant a wool vest and snood at the Blarney Woolen Mills which were, eventually put into use. In some of the outdoors photos of me, it looks like I'm as round as I am tall and that's due to the enormous number of clothes I have on. I took silk long johns, wool sweaters, Dave's Barrow, Alaska fleece jacket with hood, a rain hat and rainproof jacket and wore Patagonia waterproof boots all of which came in handy when a stop alongside the road meant a visit to the fairy glen. 

Mercy! I'm exhausted and it's just the first day or two and am hopeful you've enjoyed the travelogue and photos thus far and will return for more episodes. I am so grateful to Anita for hosting this little party; it's bringing back so many wonderful memories and I'm enjoying myself...all over again...

Blessings ~ Ireland ~ pubs ~ Guinness ~ Murphy's ~ Blarney Woolen Mills ~ Rock of Cashel, Vagabond Tours ~ Muskerry Arms Pub ~ Dublin ~ Trinity College ~ Book of Kells ~ Anita at Castles Crowns and Cottages ~

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Make Mine Real

When someone gives you a bag of lemons, you make lemonade...right? This wasn't how I was taught to make lemonade but this is how a lazy woman, short on time and long on hand pain makes lemonade. Everything I do requires hand, wrist and arm strength and my hands, etc. take a daily beating. Anything I can do to circumvent or alleviate pain, I do and, sometimes, that means wearing wrist/hand supports on both hands. Truly attractive...not but, a lot of days, so very necessary. 

All the lemons were washed before being cut into quarters. In smallish batches, they were piled into a blender along with a couple of cups of tap water. My tap water is delicious but if I had to drink city tap water...shudder, gag, choke, cough, sputter...ugh. I'd rather use bottled water because I don't like the taste of bleach and no matter where I go, I can always, but always, taste bleach in city tap water. 

Once the lemons were crushed and chopped they were put into a China man's hat which is what I grew up calling this apparatus. At the thrift store, when I was buying it,  a woman said, "Oh, you've got a ricer." I replied, "Well, I've always called it a China man's hat." She looked like one of those prim sorts who had fallen prey to the PC know the type...pursed lips, disapproving look on her face, looked like she'd been sucking lemons. 

Anyway, I digress. I smiled and said, "I started out calling it a China man's hat and since it's going to live at my house, that's what it'll continue to be called. Her eyes looked like Morse code...blink. blink. blink. blink get the idea. 

The lemon water mixture was pushed and pressed to give up all the juicy goodness collected in the glass bowl beneath.

Each time, all the lemon water mixture was encouraged to give up everything except the bare dregs of lemon peel and rind.

There's a couple of pictures missing...the one where more water was added (to taste), the photo where the lemonade was poured into a big round pitcher; the photo where I made simple syrup. Hmmm. What can I say except ooops.

Simple syrup is in the glass jar on the left while the leftover lemonade is in the milk jug on the right. Simple syrup is a nice, easy way to let everyone sweeten their own drink (lemonade or tea) as much as they want. To make simple syrup I mix 2 cups boiled water with one cup of sugar and stir until dissolved. Keeping it in a glass bottle in the refrigerator means it stays fresh and is an easy pour.

The Aladdin plastic drinking vessel is my new favorite. Although I'm not crazy about drinking from plastic, nor am I crazy about broken glass or condensation. This drinking vessel doesn't sweat or break and, when filled with water several times a day, is one way I trick myself into drinking 64 ounces. 

My lemonade isn't as clear as when the lemons are pressed so their juice is released. My version is also a trifle more tart than the other way but, to my taste buds, it's far superior. There's ever so much more flavor and nary a seed to distract the indulgence.  This lemonade was a rare treat and was served with freshly baked shortbread. I would show a photo of the shortbread but it's gone...all gone.

Lemonade is best consumed with friends and this friend is Mary Katherine, from Through a Glass, Darkly. She and her lovely daughter, Julia, stopped at the farm on their way from somewhere to somewhere else. Did it dawn on me to get a photo of she and her daughter? No and I must admit I'm ashamed to admit it. Julia, please forgive me!

Meeting blogging friends is a blessing and for we Christians, gives a taste of what Glory will be like one day. I know most of we happy Christian bloggers will never meet this side of the veil so when it happens, like this visit, it's joyous indeed. Mary Katherine and Julia, many thanks for making me a stop on the way; thank you for your gift of time.

Blessings ~ fresh lemonade ~ simple syrup ~ Christian sisters ~ blogging friends ~ Mary Katherine ~ Julia ~

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sabbath Keeping

"For every animal of the forest is mine, 
and the cattle on a thousand hills. 
I know every bird in the mountains, 
and the insects in the fields are mine."

"In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, Who alone is sovereign, does not declare. 'That is mine!' " ~ Abraham Kuype ~
"The greatness of the man's power is the measure of his surrender." ~ William Booth ~
"Everything we have is really loaned to us; we can't take anything with us when we depart. If we have no use for a thing, we should pass it on to someone else who can use it--now."
 ~ Norma S. Scholl ~
"In our good works nothing is our own."
"There is no such thing as a great man of God, only weak, pitiful, faithless men of a great and merciful God." ~ Paul Washer ~
"Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself. Have you ever considered the deeper implications of the slightest sin, of the most minute peccadillo? What are we saying to our Creator when we disobey Him at the slightest point? We are saying no to the righteousness of God. We are saying, "God, Your law is not good. My judgement is better than Yours. Your authority does not apply to me. 
I am above and beyond Your jurisdiction. I have the right to do what I want to do, not what you command me to do." ~ R. C. Sproul ~
"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." ~ Martin Luther ~
"What defines us as Christians is not most profoundly that we have come to know him but that he took note of us and made us his own." ~ John Piper ~
"One of the greatest missing teachings in the American church today is the reminder to men and women that nothing we have belongs to us." ~ Gordon MacDonald ~
"Stewardship is the act of organizing your life so that God can spend you."
~ Lynn A. Miller ~
"If there is one single reason why good people turn evil, it is because they fail to recognize God's ownership over their kingdom, their vocation, their resources, their abilities, and above all their lives." ~ Erwin W. Lutzer
"It is an anomaly of modern life that many find giving to be a burden. Such persons have omitted a preliminary giving. If one first gives himself to the Lord, all other giving is easy."
~ John S. Bonnell ~
"God is the Lord of human history and of the personal history of every member of His redeemed family." ~ Margaret Clarkson ~
"God is never at a loss because He cannot find someone to cooperate with Him in carrying out His plan. He so moves in the hearts of people - either Christians or non Christians, it makes no difference - that they willingly, of their own free will carry out His plans."
~ Jerry Bridges ~
"Forget happiness.
You were called to a throne.
How will you prepare for it?
That is the question of virtue, Christian style."

"Behind Calvary's cross is the throne of heaven."
~ James Stewart

"But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear not therefore; 
ye are of more value than many sparrows."

If you've a name to be added to the prayer list, please let me know. Around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Austin ~ Dustin ~ Jim ~ Donna ~ Sandra ~ 
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