Friday, March 27, 2020

Little Peeks of Springtime

Has spring come to your world yet? Spring has slowly been making its way to our little corner of the world. 

My windowsill stays lined with pretty pops of color in early spring until color arrives in our world outside. 
Someone else is enjoying the warm sunshine streaming through the window too! 
Pulling into the grocery store one sunshine-filled afternoon, I spotted these happy dogs in the back of the pickup, enjoying a nice day to town!  It was the cutest thing to see, but I just can't imagine having that many big dogs! 
 
The rest of the world has increasingly become a cauldron of chaos,
but I'm thankful for the chance I have every morning and night
to walk and see the splendor in the skies, and the world around me.   

After a cloudy day with little to no sunshine, the skies opened up to this
purple and pink decadent display. 
A late winter snowstorm moved through our area last week. It was a wild, windy and bitter cold day.  We didn't get much snow, but our temps dipped down into the low teens.  We walked anyway, bundled up.  The dogs were the only ones who were truly thrilled with the change in the weather! 

I'm sure the grocery shelves in your area have looked like this as well.  Thankfully the shelves in our local stores here have been restocked after the initial mass panic. Our home was not in panic, we have everything we need.  We've been stocking back extra for years, and I'm thankful we have.  It is in times like this that you appreciate having lots of canned goods, paper supplies, and plenty of wild game to eat!
We took a small hike a couple of weeks ago, and this was the view that met us at the top of the rocky outcrop - magnificent! 
We hiked at a friend's place, and also got to visit with their animals.  Meet Mr. Llama! Isn't he handsome!
I think he was even smiling for the camera!
Our friend showed how they like to get right up in your face space!  They don't know what #socialdistancing is! {smiles} 

Feeding the alpacas was such fun! Our friends showed us how much they loved their treats! 
I think I'm officially smitten with the alpacas!  They have the cutest personalities! 
Beyond adorable! They have the funniest personalities too... 

This beautiful butterfly flew by my window recently. I was able to capture a few pictures of it.  It was sitting, preening on a rock outside by the bird feeders.  I looked it up and found out it is a mourning cloak butterfly. It is one of the longest living butterflies, living 11-12 months! Wow!  
Another beautiful sign of spring in our area is the emergence of the buttercup.  Tiny and poisonous, yet these beautiful little flowers populate the hillsides with their bright yellow blooms. 
Always exciting to find them growing, usually next to a mound of snow! 


I've been making homemade kombucha for many years.  Kombucha is a fermented tea with probiotics and is a wonderful immune system builder.  Below I will share my kombucha recipe.  It is quite easy to make, and much cheaper than buying it! I make my kombucha with green tea but black tea works great too. 

BASIC KOMBUCHA
Makes 1 gallon

3 quarts water (filtered if desired)
4-5 tea bags (green or black tea, NO HERBAL TEA)
1 cup sugar (can add ¼ cup more if desired)
1 scoby
1 cup fermented tea

·         Wash all utensils with hot soapy water and rinse well.
·         Bring water to a boil, then add sugar, gently boil for 5 minutes.
·         Turn off heat, and add tea bags.  Let steep 30 minutes, then remove.
·         Cool tea for about 30 minutes, and then pour into clean 1 gallon glass jar. Add enough cold water to the tea mixture leaving room for scoby and tea starter. 
·         Add starter and then scoby.  More cold water can be added so that the scoby sits just at the mouth/opening of the jar.
·         Place a breathable cloth over the top of the jar (I use a tea towel that has no lint), secure with a rubber band.
·         Let the gallon of tea sit undisturbed at room temperature (best between 65-90 F) from anywhere from 6 to 15 days. (l let mine sit a week). You can taste the kombucha every couple days starting at the fourth day until the kombucha tastes tart, not sweet, and not overtly sour or vinegary (which can happen if it sits too long).
·         To enjoy kombucha, remove scoby from the jar.  Place scoby in a clean glass bowl, and add 1 cup fermented starter tea.  Pour remaining kombucha into glass bottles with plastic lids.  Store in refrigerator. 

Notes: After several months of regular feeding, the scoby will grow in size.  You can now separate it and give away the bottom layer of the scoby if desired.  If the scoby gets too big, you can always wait less time between fermenting periods, or you can separate it, and feed it to the chickens. They love it ๐Ÿ˜Š

·       Never use metal utensils, bowls or jars with kombucha. It is always best if plastic lids are used on the bottles as well. If you don't have a scoby, please see this link to   Make your own scoby

I

Recently our bible study ladies put together care packages for the local nursing home.  On the day I was to deliver them, the Activities Director contacted me and advised that they are no longer accepting care packages per new guidelines.  We still had fun putting them together, and will look forward to the day when we can deliver them to the residents. 
 
While on the phone with the nursing home activities director, she asked if our group would make face masks for their health care workers.  I told her we would do our best, and we delivered 20+ masks to the nursing home,
 and plan to make more.... if we can get more elastic.  Local stores are out.
 It is amazing in the world we live in what things overnight become a hot commodity!  
I'm sure all of us have been affected by the recent Covid-19 virus that has crippled our world.  Since making the masks for the nursing home, I decided to make some masks for our family too.  In this world where fear is rapidly making inroads into our lives and homes, I want to encourage each of you that in the midst of all this fear, our faith will sustain us and get us through these days, and yet it is also good to protect ourselves as best we can. 

Our state is currently in a "shelter-in-place" mode, and it is strange to see businesses that were thriving even a week ago, closed for 3 weeks.  Store shelves have plenty for the most part, although there are a few items that are now hard to obtain, but thankfully we have been blessed to have a full pantry and our needs are supplied.

My prayer is that the Lord will bless and encourage each one of your hearts and give you wisdom, protection, and guidance to safely navigate through this situation we are all facing. Our God is able to sustain us through it all.  Many blessings to each of you!

65 comments:

  1. So much wonderful in your post Marilyn. I, too, love alpacas. They and the llama do look as if they're smiling at you. The stores here in town are still scarce on a lot of things...or so I've been told. I have't gone to any for well over a week now and have no need to go to one for awhile. Like you, I try to keep a well stocked pantry at all times thanks to my Mom who grew up in the depression era. She always taught us to be prepared.
    I love that you made masks for the nurses. Thank you for doing that. It looks as though we have rain coming for the next week. Oh well, it's good for the grass and we didn't have a lot of snow this year so I know it's a good thing. The sunshine does lift my spirits though when I'm inside all day, every day.
    Wishing you a wonderful Saturday my friend.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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    1. Hello there sweet friend! It is always so lovely to see your comment pop up! You are such a dear precious friend, and I'm thankful for your visits! Isn't the snow today just something! It seems it just doesn't want to quit, lol! I'm anxious to get busy in my garden, but that might be a few days longer. The grocery stores here are doing fine. I think most of our issues were from people from out of town coming in to stock up. We have plenty here, and only need just a few fresh items a week, which my husband picks up. I've enjoyed making the masks. It has been good to feel like we are making a difference for those who are serving so tirelessly. My neighbor is one of them, and she was thrilled to get her first mask that we made for her. Many blessings to you sweet friend! May we continue to encourage ourselves in the Lord!

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  2. It's really tough times in nursing homes. Our friend's son who had a massive stroke a year ago in in one. He's only in his 40s but needs nursing care. I can't imagine not being able to visit and I'm sure he doesn't understand why his parents aren't there like they've been every day. - Margy

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    1. It is such a terrible time for so many Margy. My prayers go out continually for those around me, for our nation, and around the world. Only our Lord has the answer to the situation we face. It must be so very hard for your friends, I can't imagine! Stay safe where you are, and many blessings to you sweet friend!

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  3. this is beautiful sharing dear Marilyn

    how kind of of all friends to not just keep praising Lord and prying for all fellow people but help them what is in your approach ,how serene and lovely this world will be my dear friend if many people think alike you all ,hats off to you!!!

    everything thing is closed here either except grocery stores and army is trying to make it happen by standing on ways everywhere in the country
    your window blooms are cheerful and so pretty ,i hope you get so many delightful smiles of nature in surrounding asap :)
    these lama images made my day :) so nicely taken ,they are cute creatures indeed :)
    thank you for sharing interesting recipe of tea
    i share each word of your prayer my friend!
    may lord keep you and family safe and healthy amen!
    hugs!

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    1. Thank you sweet Baili, your visits are so precious to me, and your sweet attitude always such a blessing! I'm sorry that your country is suffering as well with this virus. I pray you continue to do well, and stay healthy and safe. It is lovely to be able to visit with others around the world, even as we cannot leave our homes. Our blogs are such a haven of rest. Many blessings to you sweet friend, I pray for you too!

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  4. Lovely to see the signs of Spring in your beautiful corner of the world. This side, the weather is turning quite chilly. I do so love this time of year! Today is a truly perfect day...we were just thinking how wonderful it would be to go for an Autumn ramble in the forest, but unfortunately we are in strict lockdown in South Africa, and no is allowed out their homes unless something essential is needed.

    It was good to visit with you today and smile over the pictures you shared of the alpacas and Llamas and of the snowy walk you were able to go on...
    Praying that we as Believers would keep our eyes fixed on the Lord and draw closer to Him during this time.
    Blessings to you...sending much love across the many miles!

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    1. It always amazes me as we are such different ends of the spectrum with our climate. However, it is still winter here, oh my! It has snowed here all day long! I know the snow will melt, and that is a good thing, and they say it is the poor man's fertilizer. I see green popping up in my garden, so I know it won't be long before I'll be able to enjoy blooms again :) Praying for you there, how are things with you? Are you on lock down? Prayers for you and your family to be safe, healthy and well during this difficult time. Much love to you sweet friend!

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  5. A joy to visit your blog today and be so uplifted by the beauty of your walks. The alpacas were a joy to see too. We are blessed with a good store cupboard too which certainly gives a peace of mind. It is a delight to be able to listen to our church services via computer, the wonders of technology. Stay safe.

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    1. Aren't the alpacas just the cutest? I love their beautiful inquisitive little faces! They stole my heart :) I'm thankful to hear you are faring well there with a fully stocked pantry. That is truly such a blessing! Thankful for our blogs, that we can travel around the world, and encourage each other, without ever leaving home. God is so good! Much love to you sweet friend!

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  6. Such a beautiful and inspiring post. Beautiful photos that remind us to be thankful of the world around us. Such joy in that you are able to help the medical workers at this time. My daughter works in a home, but in the beauty shop, and is off work. However, we just learned that there are 10 confirmed cases at that home.

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    1. Oh I'm so sorry to hear about the confirmed cases in the home that your daughter works in! How is she doing? I pray for her and for all our healthcare workers. There is so much to be praying for as we are in the midst of this crisis. Thank you for your visit, and I will continue to pray! Much love to you :)

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  7. I thought those alpacas were darned cute, too, Marilyn! It's not every day you get to be up close and personal with such unique creatures. And what a shame about the gifts for the nursing home residents. At this time, I feel especially sorry for the elderly who are being kept under strict isolation, and cannot even see family members. As cooped up as the rest of us feel right now, I can't begin to imagine how lonely they must feel. Hope you can deliver the gifts soon!
    In the meantime, I'm glad you are well-stocked for the time being, and let's hope this mess is over sooner than later.
    Blessings!

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    1. Aren't the alpacas just the cutest? I love their beautiful inquisitive little faces! They stole my heart :) In this difficult time, I am thankful for our blogs, that we can travel around the world, and encourage each other, without ever leaving home. God is so good! Much love to you sweet friend! May the Lord bless you abundantly :)

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  8. Your gorgeous spring colors are a sight for sore eyes, friend! And oh that alpaca!

    Too sweet ... made me smile outloud!

    Enjoy the weekend ...

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    1. Aren't the alpacas just the cutest? I love their beautiful inquisitive little faces! They stole my heart :) Thankful for our blogs, that we can travel around the world, and encourage each other, without ever leaving home. God is so good! Much love to you sweet friend!

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  9. I've often thought that I would love to have an Alpaca...I just dont have a big enough garden!

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    1. I am really thinking about it Barbara, they are such sweet creatures! I need a fence for them though. That would be my problem. Blessings to you!

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  10. Lots of things to smile about reading your post. Glad you have everything you need during this time. Who knew elastic would be something hard to find? Those are great masks! I should look in my mother in laws sewing stash and see if there is any elastic. Might be to old to stretch anymore. Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Ellen, they have found elastic breaking down in the sanitation process, and now are hoping folks will make the masks using ties, shoe laces, bias tape, or fabric ties. So I am switching gears to do that now. Blessings to you!

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  11. The truck full of dog was a fun discovery. The llama is such a beautiful animal.

    I hope you and your family stay safe, Marilyn.

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    1. It was so fun to see those dogs, they were so happy! The llama was a delight to watch! So funny! Thank you as always for your visit Marie! Many blessings!

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  12. I have that exact same pot with a finished amaryllis in from earlier in the winter. I will plant it somewhere in my garden. Sometimes they come back & bloom in June.

    Our stores are fairly well stocked as well. It's much better now that the stores have put limits on the number of things we can buy.

    We saw our first butterfly this past week... a question mark butterfly. I was with my two yr old grandson (I'm his caregiver while his parents work) &we were both so excited.

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    1. Things are definitely better since the initial panic has worn off, thankfully. How wonderful you got to see a butterfly too! It is a promise of spring! I've never seen a question mark butterfly, how wonderful! Many blessings to you!

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  13. Thank you for that sweet prayer. I see that you’re doing very well and getting fresh air and sunshine and llama kisses as you can. What a thoughtful thing for your prayer group to do and my prayer is that it won’t be too much longer before you can bless the folks you intended to bless.

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    1. Yes Vee, I do hope that we can deliver those packages soon. I can only imagine how they will bless the hearts of those who have been shut-in. My nurse friend tells me some of the residents haven't been out of their rooms since February. Can you imagine? I can't. I pray for the poor dear souls. At least we can leave our homes and get outside for exercise and necessities. Such strange times we are living in. Blessings to you sweet friend!

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  14. What an adorable post...God bless you all.

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    1. Thank you my friend! Many blessings to you as well :)

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  15. I love your photos. We have an alpaca farm here and we love going by. They are so cute! Spring has spring here but the weather is not sure. Yesterday it snowed briefly and today it's cold.
    I've been hearing about shortages of elastic. You might try a mail order place but I can't think of any that would have any. I looked up Herschenners ( probably spelled that wrong) and they are out.

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    1. Thank you for your visit Regina, always a blessing! Yes, it seems elastic is now a difficult commodity to find. People are taking apart old bedsheets and using that elastic. I've just heard of a new way to make masks using shoelaces and a bead. So many innovative ways it seems that we can do this. Many blessings to you sweet friend!

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  16. Marilyn, your masks are gorgeous! I am sure they were much appreciated!! Love all your photographs as always. My eyes are bad and I thought those dogs in the trucks were goats at first. I am glad that you and your family are well. Praying with you for God's healing touch. xo

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    1. My eyes played a trick on me too when I first saw all those dogs in that truck bed! Thank you always for your visits Gina, they are a blessing to me!

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  17. It is so nice to see those early signs of spring all around us. I love that gorgeous sky scene.Stay well.

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    1. Thank you Ruth, I pray you are doing well too! Hoping that spring has blessed your world already :) Many blessings to you!

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  18. Such happy photos beaming spring! Those pretty flowerpots on the windowsill are cheery. Sweet pups in the pickup truck and those alpacas.....such sweet faces. I love their long-lashed, dreamy eyes. Take care, lovely Marilyn.

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    1. Thank you sweet Kim, always a delight to have you visit! Spring is meandering its way here, slowly but surely! I trust that you are doing well. Much love to you sweet friend!

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  19. Loved all of your photos and especially your prayer for all of us. It's a good one for us all to be praying right now.

    Not sure what size elastic you need, but Home-Sew may have it in stock: Elastic. I have purchased from them often and they are great to work with.

    We are under a "Stay at home" order here and it is not as strict as it could be, so we're thankful for that. Lots of businesses fall in the "essential" category. Not being able to meet for church is the hardest part for us, but thankfully we have many great online options.

    Thanks for this cheerful spring post. The only signs of spring I've seen here so far are a few pussy willows, some robins and red-winged blackbirds, and lots and lots of ugly mud. Spring is my least favorite season, but I've said that before ...

    Kombucha... I made my own for a couple of years and am grateful for your advice on making my own scoby. Are you familiar with Michelle Visser at SoulyRested? She has written a book called Sweet Maple and she makes Maple kombucha. I'm definitely trying that!

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    1. Thank you sweet Sarah for your lovely comment and helpful info about the elastic. I've since learned that many hospitals are asking for masks made with ties because the elastic is not holding up in their sanitation process. My nurse friend has shown me how to make masks using shoe laces and a bead. I hope to perhaps do a tutorial post on that in the next day or two. It is really an easy process that solves a lot of sourcing issues, as parachute cord, or any kind of cord or tie could be used. I have not heard of Souly Rested, and went to visit her site, she has a lot of wonderful encouragement and tutorials! Thank you! Many blessings to you sweet friend, praying you stay safe in these difficult times.

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  20. Another Beautiful posting my friend. Thank you so much for sharing, I love your new best friend the Alpaca :)

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    1. They were SOO cute! I really would love to have a couple of them. Who knows, maybe someday! Thank you for your visits, always a blessing!!!

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  21. Such beautiful encouragement here, sweet friend! I loved seeing all the photos and also reading how to make kombucha. I have heard about it but never tasted or made it. It is so sad that you weren't able to deliver the care packages. I can't imagine how grateful they were for the masks, though, and so wonderful that you made them so pretty! God bless you - I am praying for you and your family and sending hugs!

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    1. I think you would love kombucha if you could try it. Most stores are selling it now, even Walmart. It really soothes my tummy. It was very sad to not be able to deliver our care packages. However, we are going to keep adding to them, so whenever they allow us to deliver them, it will be like Christmas for them! Thank you for your prayers, you are such an encourager, and a dear friend! Much love to you!

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  22. Thank you for the pretty post, Marilyn. It made me smile and I really needed one today. Stay well...

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    1. Thank you Kim, I always smile when I visit with you as well. Your posts are always so fun to read. I pray for you and your family, stay well! Much love to you!

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  23. Love the photos. They are lovely. How nice to make gift bags for the nursing home.
    Marilyn

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    1. Thank you Marilyn, always a joy to have you visit :)

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  24. Wonderful beautiful times in nature! The Lord really quiets the soul in times spent in nature. How sweet also that you could visit the alpacas. They really are sweet creatures with great personality! I'm not good with fermented things so I've not become a fan of kombucha. This whole virus thing has caused lots of changes. So glad that you have been able to help in this way!

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    1. Someday I'd love to have alpacas, they are just so cute, but I would need a fully fenced in yard, which I don't have. I understand that many people can't enjoy fermented foods, it is a personal preference for sure. I trust that you are all doing well there, and that the virus has not disrupted your life too much. Much love to you!

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  25. Love this post and oh girl...your ladies sure a being a HOPE to others. I know that when the activities director can accept those lovely gifts it will be accepted with much thanks. I love it! Love all of your pictures as always. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. I feel so sorry for those in nursing homes Cindy. They truly are the ones really hurting during this time, as they can't get to see their loved ones, which is the highlight of their life there. My prayers go out to them! Its always a blessing to have a visit from you, dear friend! Much love :)

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  26. Sending prayers my friend. I love what you and your friends/bible study group are doing for your community.
    Stay well,
    Carla

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    1. I feel so sorry for those in nursing homes Carla. They truly are the ones really hurting during this time, as they can't get to see their loved ones, which is the highlight of their life there. My prayers go out to them! You stay well too :) Its always a blessing to have a visit from you, dear friend! Much love :)

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  27. The masks are so pretty! Your photos uplift me today, Marilyn! You are one upbeat gal.

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    1. The masks are so needed these days, but elastic being hard to come by. I am making as many as I can. Now we all really need to wear them. I'm glad that my pictures blessed you! Much love to you sweet friend!

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  28. Oh Marilyn, you are so lucky to be getting some signs of Spring there! Looks like you've been on some lovely excursions and walks! Your colors there in nature are just stunning. We owned a little alpaca farm for about 5 years. I loved those little critters and especially the babies. They were more snuggleable... as they get older, they get very standoffish.. unless of course, you have treats! How nice of you to make the treat sacks and too bad they couldn't be delivered. people have been doing that and I'm wondering if the businesses and homes really want "foreign" bags brought into their places, due to not knowing if the people who worked on them had any germs or the virus. Hospitals around here though, as asking for handmade masks, and they aren't steralized either, but they still want them. I'm making some too..have about 5 made and more to go. I happened to have alot of elastic, but you can also put ties on them, about 16-18" on all 4 corners. That's what our hospital wanted, was the ties and not elastic. It's more work, but not that bad. I guess they are using them more for patients who come into ER without the virus... but to protect them from others who may have it. There is also a tuck spot to put additional coverage inside.

    I got your wonderful package and will send you a separate email on that! Thank you so much!
    xoxoxo Marilyn

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    1. I need to talk to you some more about the alpacas! They stole my heart with their cuteness! I know they are probably a lot of work, and I don't have a fence for them... but still.... I talked to my neighbor about getting some as she has the fences. We shall see... :) So you are making masks too! After we made the masks with elastic, hospitals began to say they really needed something that would hold up better to sanitization. So my nurse friend has shown me a new way to make the masks, using shoelaces and beads! I hope to share a picture of them soon. There are so many different styles and ways to do it.

      I trust you are doing well, and look forward to hearing from you when you can. These are strange days we are living in, but I remain quite encouraged that God is going to do something great in the midst of all the issues we face.

      Much love to you sweet friend!!!!

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  29. The grocery store shelves are empty here in Seattle too. Your spring flowers are gorgeous! And that view on your walk is absolutely stunning!

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    1. Our grocery stores here have no problems now, except with staples. It seems people are still mass buying those. Spring is definitely trying to make its way here, although this past week, we had snow every day! I do have some crocuses blooming now, which is exciting! Many blessings to you!

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  30. Such a beautiful post always...love the scenery in your part of the world. You are blessed. Thank you for your work to make masks for the nurses, etc. What a wonderful gift. I don't know what a "scoby" is. I will have to look that up. I am afraid that doesn't sound very good to me, but if you say it is, I will take your word for it. LOL. I guess I'm a puritan when it comes to my tea. But thank you for sharing that with us. Maybe I will get brave some day and try some. Praying for you and your family to stay safe and well. So far so good for us here in Florida. Our stores look like yours. But we are fine. And thankful. Amen.!

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    1. Kombucha is a fermented tea. It really tastes pretty amazing, and soothes your stomach. You can buy it at Wal-Mart now too. Give it a try :) I like the GTE brand the best, although others are good too. Praying for you there in Florida, and thank you for praying for us! We are doing well here, stores are pretty much fully stocked, and we have no issues. Praying that you and your family stay well. Much love to you sweet friend!

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  31. So nice to catch up on all your news, Marilyn. I love your colorful windowsill and all your other photos. We've been in lockdown for a couple of weeks now, I miss being outside. Take good care!
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Oh Amalia! You can't go outside? Oh that would be horrible! I'm blessed beyond measure. Our state is on lockdown, businesses are closed, but we are able to still go about and do anything we need to be doing. I pray that things lift and change for you soon! And its springtime too... such a beautiful time of year. I will keep you and my family in my prayers!!!! I'm sure you have some great projects underway :)

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  32. You inspired me to go and make some masks...and I did!
    Bless you!

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    1. That's awesome Christine! So many masks are needed it seems. Many blessings to you!

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