Welcome

Welcome to Lamb Cottage. It's a real place, and this is where I live with my dear husband. We even have lambs. This is a personal blog, especially concerning life as an American expat in Scotland, life as an over-50, life with lambs, and life as an Orthodox Christian. You're most welcome to come and visit awhile. I hope we can be friends!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Do-Over


It looks like there has been a small explosion in our spare room / "everything room". We have taken everything out of the closet and are in the process of turning the closet into an office space. The room sort of determined its own colors. The icon corner is done in a deep royal blue. I had really lovely curtains my mother had made for me in my house in Florida, and they are done in a blue / green / brown toile. I had painted one wall with some leftover VERY pale blue paint. And we have a square pub table in brown, as well as a brown chair from the thrift shop. Et voila! There is our color palette. Plus, there are things in nature around here that echo this palette of yellow, blues, browns, and whites: fields and flowers, the sea and sky, the brown hills and dirt roads, white clouds, snowdrops, snow-in-summer, ACTUAL snow. It just came together perfectly.


And in case you're not convinced, here is a little collage of blues and yellows, with touches of white and brown. Just like our room! So far I have painted the inside of the closet a pale yellow. I have more to go, though, since we bought shelving from B & Q last evening. I have decided the main thing is to get everything in the closet to be the same color, including the desk we moved in there. Then, I can accent it with pretty storage boxes and magazine holders. And lamps! (I love lamps.)

Once the closet is put together, I will paint the rest of the room in the mid-blue color. Then, I will paint the two laminate bookcases in the darker blue color. And shelves. My Dear Husband will be making more shelves for the walls. (He has never made so many shelves in his life!)

Possibly we will get a new armchair, or we will make a window seat, or both...and they will all be done in shades of blue (print). A few pillows. A small carpet in the icon corner. And there's a brand new room which will be able to hold our office, a reading nook, sewing and crafting space, our little domestic church, and even a spare bed for company! 

I have to keep reminding myself of the finished product. At the moment, it's not looking so great. Sigh...
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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Scattered


The bloom on the rapeseed, which is all over this area, is dying off. It looked like this, though. Seriously. There were times when it was so incredibly bright yellow around here that you had to wear your sunglasses! And such a smell. If you've not smelled it, it is hard to describe. It's cloying. Honestly, I imagine we're all allergic to it, as well. Let's a sniffing, coughing, and runny eyes. At the same time the rapeseed is blooming, so are the gorse, dandelions, and some remaining daffodils. It is YELLOW YELLOW YELLOW everywhere!

Patience. This is what I am always trying to cultivate... and always do badly. Life feels very scattered at the moment, with so much going on, and what do I do? In the midst of it all, I decide to tear up our spare room -- which is really our all-purpose room with office, stitching, crafting, storing, and even our prayer corner -- and redo it! The goal: make it more usable, less cluttered, more functional, prettier, and of course, BIGGER, by adding to it! 

Meanwhile, my dear husband is doing a lot of overtime at work. Lambs are a constant care and worry these days. We STILL haven't been to a liturgy. We have lots of plans for our home and garden -- and not enough money. The weather has been still unseasonable -- grey, wet, windy, cold. And... we are headed for America at the end of June! YES! I am going home! Just for a visit, and not to my home state, and completely due to the generosity of dear, dear friends. We are excited. I am excited that, God willing, I will be HOME on the 4th of July!

So... head down, focus, be patient, one day at a time, and work.

What did everyone do on Memorial Day?

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015



This day I am remembering my country, my heritage, all those who have served in the American Armed Forces, all my ancestors and relatives who have gone on, my dear Mom and Dad. I am wistful, tearful, grateful.  I AM PROUD TO BE AMERICAN!

God bless America!

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Breathing


We have a lot going on right now. Some good; some VERY GOOD; some trials. Sometimes I think our bodies do not know the difference between good stress and bad stress. Now is a time when I must simply remember to BREATHE. And to trust God.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

It Has Been 40 Days!


O Christ God, You have ascended in Glory,
Granting joy to Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Through the blessing they were assured
That You are the Son of God,
The Redeemer of the world!

~Troparion for Ascension~

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Hearts and Highlands


It's been another crazy week here. My plan is to catch up with blogging and such tomorrow. Meanwhile, I thought I'd show you a recent addition to my Etsy shop. It is a downloadable, printable digital print and can be yours for only £3.00!

I also want to say:  OUTLANDER IS NOT REAL!  Just in case you thought it was...

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

When It Rains...

It pours. Especially in Scotland! But this is about more than the weather (which, by the way, has been VERY unseasonable :: cold, wet, windy, with hail and even sleet). We've been having some rough time these past couple weeks. Sheesh!

See this guy? Yep, that's Rosebud (no comments on his name, please). Now that he's older, we mostly call him Bud. So it works. Anyway, he's just over seven years old ~ the oldest member of our flock. And suddenly, the youngest member, who just turned two, has gone berserk every time he sees Rosebud, and tries to bash the life out of him, literally. He has drawn blood! We are in the process of trying to set up two fields and divide our tiny flock of four into two flocks of two. We have to. Rosebud gets no peace and could be killed, and the "babies" as we call the two-year-olds are not happy, either. Rosebud is my first pet sheep and he is very special. We have to do everything we can to keep him happy and healthy, and not abused by another sheep. Crikey. We never saw this coming. The thing is, we don't have many resources, and most of the small fields around here are taken either by the farmers (land greed?) or the horse people. Pet sheep are of no account at all. Thankfully, a friend of ours has said we could have another little bit of scrub field which will work for Rosebud and Shermy. That is our task tonight when my dear husband comes home from work: secure the field and its fences, and move Rosebud and Shermy. Again. They do not always cooperate in this! 

Meanwhile, the laptop keyboard is kaput, and I'm working with a usb-connected one. The car has had to have repairs. The bills are especially high and a struggle right now. I'm a bit frustrated with my Etsy shop and how slow it is going to build my little cottage industry (I confess, I do not understand why people who sell filth and trash seem to sell lots of it, and I struggle with my things). We haven't been able to be in church since the week after Pascha (there has been no service up here in the Highlands), and we're feeling it. Yadda yadda yadda.

But... GLORY TO GOD FOR ALL THINGS!
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Friday, May 8, 2015

The Butterfly Lamb


As you know, we have four sheep:  The McLambies. If you read Doodle's blog, you'll know all about them. Snowball is the youngest, along with Doodle. In fact, they both turned two-years-old today! Snowball has the sweetest disposition. He's just like a little nursery rhyme lamb. And he follows us both around like a puppy. It's so sweet. So, it was no surprise and extremely appropriate for him to walk up to us in the little wood yesterday evening, carrying a butterfly! Can you see it above? Look above his right ear.


Here it is, closer. It was brand new, and just beginning to open its wings. We have no idea where Snowball picked up this butterfly, which we found out upon research was a female.


And look at the amazing markings on the underside of her wings! It looks like an owl's eye to me.


We were worried that Snowball would accidentally brush against a tree trunk or fence post or something, and crush his butterfly, so my dear husband let the butterfly walk onto his hand, and then it walked onto my hand...so he could take a photo!


It was so new and fragile. We carefully placed it in the crook of a tree, and it crawled around to the back, out of the wind. 

Both of us have been reading books by Gene Stratton Porter, in which there is much about butterflies and moths, and all kinds of nature found in a northern swamp bordering Indiana and Michigan. These books were written about 100 years ago. They are wonderful, and I plan to write a bit more about them in a later post. But it was wonderful to us that we were able to experience just what she had been writing about!

Leave it to our Baby Snowball to be the one to bring us a butterfly. We now refer to him as our Butterfly Lamb. And, when we came home, we went online to determine what kind of butterfly this was. It was a female Orange Tip, and it was apparently a bit farther north than they are generally found here in Scotland! A treasure, for sure!

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Sad Truth

This is Doodle, and he is happy to have his face scritched.

As I write this post, there are literally thousands of sheep and lambs all around this area who are having to cope with severe weather:  wind, cold rain, NO SHELTER. There is a farmer on this peninsula who has thousands and thousands of sheep.  And in the fields, where they mostly all are: NO SHELTER. No place at all for brand new lambs and nursing mommas to get away from this horrible unseasonable weather.

Sheep are God's creatures. NOT commodities. I am convinced that farmers are some of the most cold-hearted people there are. I hope they will have to answer for it one day. And since I've been here, the shepherds I've met have also been some of the most heartless people I've ever known. Why do people who pretty much don't like animals, and clearly have no faith, tend to be the ones in charge of the care of large flocks and herds of animals?

I guess this is akin to the question, why do women who desperately want to have a baby have empty arms, and those who couldn't care one way or the other have lots of children.  Of course, this is a huge overgeneralization, but still. We've all seen it happen.

My heart aches for the tiny, humpy-backed lambs out there in this horrible weather with no place to shelter. And if I were to approach this farmer, he would laugh at best, and probably spit in my eye.

And yet...this same farmer plans to have a "sheep day" in a month or so. Implying that he cares about the welfare of his animals? Well, we're not all fooled.

I write this post because folks only ever see photos of happy, pastoral sheep and lambs. Folks think it's idyllic and that it must be fabulous to live amongst all these sheep farms.  Fabulous? No, it is not. It is heartbreaking. And of course, even if the little lambs had shelter and a decent chance, the FACT is, these sheep are not being reared for wool. They will reach 6 months old, if they're lucky, then they will be slaughtered. By the thousands. I know of many, MANY people here who say every year how much they love to see the baby lambs in the fields, but they aren't the least bit concerned / bothered / interested in their sad fates.

My heart breaks. I try to take comfort in the knowledge that God knows all, and that if he knows ever sparrow that falls, surely he knows what is going on here.

Our own little flock may have a ticky-tacky, ramshackle house...but at least they have shelter, and they use it.

Lord have mercy on those who can't speak for themselves, and for them, and we, who can do nothing against such a big "industry" as the "sheep factories". 

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Anniversary to Me!


Eight years ago today I arrived in Scotland, landing in Glasgow Airport with my three suitcases and my used-up one-way ticket. I get overwhelmed just thinking about everything that has happened in the past eight years, and the year leading up to my Big Move. I think I am developing some real staying-power!

The flowers are from my dear husband (who, by the way, was NOT in evidence when I arrived in the baggage hall at Glasgow Airport those eight years ago :: he was searching for me in another part of the airport :: good thing Glasgow Airport is small!).

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Plan A


It's Monday. It's already late afternoon. I am busy planning and organizing. And I'm getting completely lost in a sea of planning ideas, planners, schedulers, editors, etc. Help! The goal here is to be more efficient, more productive, but not chained to the computer and desk. I enjoy having several things going at once, but after awhile, I get lost and find I'm not sure which thing to do or think about next. So, the first step ~ I think ~ is to plan for about 3 months, or a season, at a time, and break everything down by month, week, day, hour, project, etc. I would love to hear other people's planning methods. It just seems in this day and age, even when one lives in a fairly remote, fairly rural area, time management is crucial or the days disappear and you have no idea what you've accomplished (if anything). The newness of spring inspires me to a newness of purpose and organization. What about you?
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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Forget Me Nots

Image from freepixels.com

Forget me not, forget me never
Till yonder sun shall set forever.

I only ask this little spot
In which to write Forget Me Not.

How sweet is that? I love the flowers and the verse. The little verse came from a 19th century Autograph book. You can find more verses like these HERE.

The little Forget Me Not flowers are all over the place now. It is lovely, but still, it is really discombobulating to constantly be experiencing such a variety of weather that it swings from sunny and dry and spring-like to cold and windy, wet and snowy! We have lambs and flowers. We sometimes have snow. It wears me out, just like I said in a previous post. At that same time, how can one not just glory in the springtime, even if it does come and go for awhile? Now it's May, I'm hoping it's here to stay, and will slide smoothly into warm, summery weather soon!

Have a happy and blessed weekend!

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