The Grand Tetons

I had heard so many things about the Grand Tetons: how beautiful they are, how much fun it is there, so many things to do. We only allowed one weekend there and were ready to explore. On Saturday, we went to the one place I had heard the most about, the Chapel of the Transfiguration

Grand Tetons photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Even though it looked lovely nestled below the mountains, an inside window allows a glorious view of the majestic creation of God while you pray.

Grand Tetons photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

There are over 200 miles of trails in those gorgeous mountains and I would have liked to hike about a bit. But I was exhausted from Yellowstone National Park and so we drove to various spots around the mountain loop.

Grand Tetons photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I was interested to see this sign about Ansel Adams at one pull off. Seeing his dramatic black and white photos of some national parks was one of the things that urged me to visit the parks for myself.

Grand Tetons photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

It’s not possible to get the same shot that he did because of tree growth.

Grand Tetons photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

At one spot, we saw a mother moose with her baby. It was one baby I hadn’t seen yet on this westward trip!

Grand Tetons photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

There are a couple of barns along the drive that are famous photo spots. Of course, they are best in the morning light. Why are all the best photos early in the morning?! lol. But I did the best with the lighting I had…along with some post processing to lighten up the barn which by this time was in shadow.

Grand Tetons photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

This was a new duck sighting for Matt and me. I still don’t know what it is since we seem to have lost our bird book.

Grand Tetons photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Beauty was at every turn.

Grand Tetons photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Grand Tetons photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Grand Tetons photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I was a bit disappointed that we only had one more day there and that day it rained. I never got to see the mountains with white puffy clouds behind them. But with all the gorgeous weather we had had thus far on our trip, I couldn’t complain. Besides, I still felt that I needed time to process all I had seen in Yellowstone. We enjoyed our day of rest as we camped near the Tetons which were enshrouded in clouds. We’ll just have to visit the famous mountains for hiking another time!

Grand Tetons photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

See more posts about our Great Westward Trip! Starting on the trip, Badlands, Mt Rushmore, Devils Tower, Yellowstone- Day One, Yellowstone- Dangerous Beauty

More Badlands Photos

Oh my, the Badlands are such a gorgeous place! I know I shared some photos in my last post from there, but I just had to share some that we took yesterday. We drove the whole Badlands loop and hiked all over. Plus, we saw some animals. We thought the prairie dogs were cute, but then we saw a sign that said they carry the plague! So, we decided they weren’t that cute after all. It was amazing to camp right there amidst the Badlands formations and I was a bit sad to leave. But today we drove to the Black Hills and will be staying there a few days. Hopefully, the rain will stop so we can see Mt Rushmore. I can’t wait to find out what inspires someone to carve president’s faces on a mountain. Well, here are more photos I took at the Badlands in South Dakota!

Badlands, SD Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com DSC_8335 DSC_8345 DSC_8347 DSC_8350 a DSC_8351 DSC_8366 DSC_8385 DSC_8401 2-001 DSC_8405 DSC_8420 3 DSC_8427 DSC_8432 DSC_8435 DSC_8458 DSC_8461 DSC_8465

Hope you enjoyed the pics! I love hearing from you! I’ll let you know what adventures we have at our next stop!

Matt and I at the Badlands, SD

Italy 2015 #3: Mosaics to Palatial Grandeur

You’d think by our third trip to Italy that we would have the phone situation figured out, but it confuses us every time. This time we went to the Vodaphone store on base and got Italian SIM cards for our phones. That way, when Matt was away from me working, he could text me to let me know if he would be later than he thought. We got our SIMs and bought what we thought were enough minutes to allow Matt to use his phone for work and for my phone to have a few texts sent. But in one day, all the money on the cards was almost gone! Oh yes, this sounded familiar. We still aren’t sure where all that money goes, but it seems that something happens and it disappears. So back on base we went to put more money on the phones. Of course, since it was Sunday, the store was closed, so the next adventure was finding a shopping mall with a Vodaphone store.  That being accomplished, we had a couple hours to be tourists and off we went to see ancient mosaics.

Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with their GPS? I don’t know how we would accomplish what we do in Italy without it, but sometimes it takes us on some whopper roads. We were headed to the middle of Sicily to Piazza Armerina, a small village in the middle of farm land. There didn’t seem to be any straight forward way to get to this little gem, but there were highways. Our GPS preferred smaller roads and at one time had us turn on what looked like a path through farmer’s field. This dirt road got smaller and smaller and started going up and down hills. I smelled something hot and was beginning to be concerned about the brakes on our rental car. Then we saw that the fields were burning on either side of us. The road got even worse with huge ruts. At one point our car bottomed out and started slipping going up the hill. I pictured me having to push the car up the hill! But we got through it somehow and onto a rather nice road on the other side of the hill. How crazy! Thankfully, this paved road took us the rest of the way to Piazza Armerina.

Just outside this village, there was an ancient Roman villa called Villa Romana Del Casale.Villa Romana Del Casale, Sicily www.joyfulwonder.com

It is thought that this villa was the hunting lodge of an emperor.Villa Romana Del Casale, Sicily www.joyfulwonder.com

More than 50 rooms were preserved by a landslide in the 12th century.Villa Romana Del Casale, Sicily www.joyfulwonder.com

The beautiful floors are one of the largest collections of unspoiled Roman mosaics.Villa Romana Del Casale, Sicily www.joyfulwonder.com

I kept looking at the designs thinking of incorporating some of them into rug designs.Villa Romana Del Casale, Sicily www.joyfulwonder.com

These women athletes are one of the most famous of the mosaics.Villa Romana Del Casale, Sicily www.joyfulwonder.com

Even the servant’s work rooms had gorgeous mosaics on the floor. I just can’t imagine having that much wealth.Villa Romana Del Casale, Sicily www.joyfulwonder.com

I kept thinking of all the talent of the mosaic artists. And all the time spent on these floors.Villa Romana Del Casale, Sicily www.joyfulwonder.com

After the mosaics we drove back to our agriturismo. This time, the GPS took us on only major roads. I was thankful, but wondered why she was mad at us earlier in the day. After a tiring day in the heat, we were glad for a good bed.

Matt worked the next day while I did laundry in the sink and wrote a blog. Our time in Sicily was over and we had a flight to catch to the mainland of Italy. The next morning, we went to the airport with lots of extra time. But everything always seems to take longer in a different country. Lines were long but we got to our gate in time. Matt and I discussed what sort of plane it would be to take us to Naples from Sicily. I thought a prop plane, but Matt pictured a larger plane. We saw a plane come to the gate and it was a jet, so I thought I lost. However, when it came time to board, we were put on a shuttle to take us to the plane. The bus drove right past what we thought was our jet and headed towards a smaller prop plane. I was grinning as a victor, but then the crew on the ground shooed our shuttle away. We drove a bit away and wondered what was going on now. As we watched, a police van drove to our plane and proceeded to board people. Would we be flying with prisoners? Sure enough, as we boarded at the back of the plane, all of us passengers had to pass by handcuffed men that each had an armed escort. I sure would be glad when that flight was over!

The next day, Matt didn’t need to go into work until evening. And since this was a large amount of work, another person had come over to do the work with him. We met Scott and his wife, Linda at the hotel and had dinner together. It was fun for each couple to share our Italian experiences thus far. And I was excited that I would have a new friend to spend time with as the men worked.  First, we had a morning and afternoon to fill, so we visited the Palace in Caserta, Palazzo Reale.Palazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy www.joyfulwonder.com

Palazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy www.joyfulwonder.comAgain, I was amazed by the opulence.Palazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy www.joyfulwonder.com

This palace boasts of being Italy’s largest palace with over 1000 rooms and 94 staircases.Palazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy www.joyfulwonder.comPalazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy www.joyfulwonder.com

The palace gardens are huge as well so we splurged on a buggy ride. Our driver was proud that he had the best carriage and the prettiest horse. And indeed he did! It was great fun to share the ride with Scott and Linda.Palazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy www.joyfulwonder.comPalazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy www.joyfulwonder.comPalazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy www.joyfulwonder.com

But it was time for the men to go to work. Linda and I explored Caserta, but soon found that the town was closed for siesta time in the afternoon and didn’t come back to life until around 6 pm. Dinner is never before 8 pm, so we relaxed and chatted until it was time to eat. What a joy to share the time with a friend. God supplied as He always does. Our hardworking men came safely back ot us and we were glad to see their tired but happy faces. It was off to bed as we would be driving part way to the next work stop. But first, an over night in Florence!

Don’t miss the other posts from this Italy trip! Italy 2015 #1   Italy 2015 #2   Italy 2015 #4

 

10 Things I Have Learned From My Flower Garden

  1. Don’t trust other gardeners. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the yellow flowers my mom gave me, assuring me that they grow easily. They are beautiful, cheerful and lush. They are also TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL! I’ve had flowers given to me by other gardeners too. They are always given by lovely ladies with a big smile. But you need to watch out for the twinkle in their eyes meaning that actually they are giving you flowers that they want OUT OF THEIR GARDENS! Okay. Not really. I know my friends were only trying to help me get started. Just think twice when they offer you something that “won’t fail to grow.”

    This is my garden after being away for 2 months

    This is my garden after being away for 2 months

  2. Be ruthless. You know those lovely yellow flowers? Yep, I have to pull a LOT every year. It seems so awful to pull out gorgeous plants of cheer. But if I didn’t, they would choke out all the other pretty things that I’ve planted, especially those that I paid money for. Those plants never seem to grow easily or just take off. Hmmm… there must be a lesson there. Oh, and mint! Think twice before you start an herb garden. Those, too, seem to love growing in my garden. At least they smell yummy as I pull them… all summer.Butterfly in my garden
  3. Know when to stop planting. Okay, I haven’t learned this one yet. But it seems like a rule I may need to apply in the near future. It’s just difficult while walking around the gorgeous nursery in my home town. All those amazingly beautiful flowers calling my name…Butterfly in my garden
  4. Plants grow at different heights. My plants seem to grow much taller than what I’m told they’ll do. Are they trying to keep up with me? Do I exude height to my plants? Lol. I read the labels and listen to those grinning gardeners that give me plants. But, oy! My garden is simply not laid out as I envisioned. This leads to #5.Butterfly in my garden
  5. Decide if you want a manicured look or an artistic look. Yes, that’s what I’ll call it, artistic. This seems to be a reoccurring theme in our household. I love things to be artistic, asymmetrical and homey (also known as a bit out of control). But the other person in the house, who won’t be named but is extremely handsome, likes things to be organized and neat.  I look at my flower garden and see bright colorful flowers with butterflies flitting about. He sees the mismatched plant heights and the weeds. This has yet to be resolved.Butterfly in my garden
  6. Water is a must. Recently, I was having a conversation with my 5 year old granddaughter discussing the merits of water. She had a hard time believing me when I said we couldn’t live without it. But it’s true! Make sure you drink a lot of water while gardening. I know as you persistently weed and pull out that mint that the sweat falling off your face lands in the garden, but your flowers need water too. Lots of it. This may be a problem if you travel. You’ll have to make friends with other maniacal flower gardeners that are willing to water your jungle, I mean, garden oasis, while you gallivant.Butterfly in my garden
  7. If it grows abundantly, it’s a weed. This is one thing that still befuddles me. Of course, I’ve only been attempting this gardening thing for 3 years, but each spring I am totally confused as I stare into my garden. Which one of the green things growing is a flower that I want to keep and which is a mean old weed? I’m still trying to figure this one out. I suppose as I continue this project, I’ll get to know my plants. But, today as I tried to make sense of the mess that confronted me after being away for 2 months, I decided that if it looked like it was growing easily that it was most likely a weed. Either that or it was one of those plants from my lovely gardening friends. Butterfly in my garden
  8. Gardening gives you something to talk about. I think there is a secret bond between flower gardeners. We know that to those that don’t garden, we seem amazing. I mean, look at those beautiful flowers! So, when gardeners get together, secrets are shared: what’s growing this year, how to kill those bugs, and what the bunnies are eating. And when you are around non-gardeners, they admire your attempts and ask all sorts of questions you may or may not know how to answer. Either way, it’s a fun topic.Butterfly in my garden
  9. It’ll be messy, but worth it. I don’t like to get messy. I hate it when my hands are dirty. This makes being an artist interesting and I have to battle it all the time. So, with gardening I get the best gloves I can find, but I still get dirty hands. Ugh. Isn’t that how life is, though? It seems everything worth doing is messy. And gardening, dirt under my nails and sweat on my brow, yes, those flowers and butterflies are totally worth it.Butterfly in my garden by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com
  10. Don’t give up. This gardening thing is quite a teacher. I thought my mom had it completely figured out. Her amazing garden brings joy to all that see it and it is the complete inspiration for my efforts. Yet, every year she tells me new things that she is learning from her garden. So, I think I’ll keep plugging away at my messy, out of control, oasis of beauty. It has much more to teach me!

    This is my beautiful mom, Shirley Updyke, in her lovely garden. Check out her blog: www.shirlandyou.com

    This is my beautiful mom, Shirley Updyke, in her lovely garden. Check out her blog: www.shirlandyou.com

Hope you enjoyed all the photos of butterflies that I have taken in my garden. My garden looks a bit wild, but the butterflies love it! What has your garden taught you?

DIY Shell Frame Project

How many times have you collected beautiful objects during an outing and never do anything with them? After finding so many gorgeous shells last weekend at Gasparilla State Park, Florida, I wanted to make sure that I made a keepsake using them.My shells

I wanted it to be something that I would see often and that would remind me of the lovely time we had at that beach. So, off to the craft store I went. At first, I thought I would glue the shells onto a wooden plaque that would hang on the wall. But you know my love of photos. And Michaels has a perfect wooden frame for $1.00! I knew I had some acrylic paint back in the camper, so all I needed was a sponge brush. After sanding with 220 sand paper, I gave the frame one quick coat of paint.Shell Frame Project by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Acrylic craft paint would have been a bit easier to use and less expensive. Lately, I’ve been trying to limit my spending, but I think 50 cents would have been okay to spend on craft paint. Also, in that theme of trying to spend less money, I bought some cheap tacky glue for the project. But after researching projects like this online, I decided that I should use a hot glue gun. Of course, we have about three of them at home, but not one down here in the camper. I asked several neighbors and friends here in the RV park and did not find one. This time Walmart had just what I needed, including satin finish sealer.Shell Frame Project by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

After the paint dried, I put down a layer of the most flat shells. I wonder if the frame would have looked better with an all white shell bottom layer or all black shells. But I didn’t have enough of just one color so the first layer looked like this.Shell Frame Project by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I may still paint the back of the frame with some craft paint. But until I do, I wrote on the back so I won’t forget where the shells came from. Shell Frame Project by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

The frame looked pretty with just the first layer of shells, but I had lots of shells so I just kept going. I haven’t had much experience with hot glue guns and I’ve come to realize that the ones at home must be low temp. Gee, that was hot! I do have a blister on one of my fingers now. It I ever make another shell frame, I will use tweezers to help place the little shells. Yep, I have a great pair of tweezers at home that I was wishing I had. After 3 hours of gluing, I determined that the frame was finished! I gave it two quick sprays with the sealer. Shell Frame Project by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Of course, I had to take it to the beach for a photo.Shell Frame Project by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

And that photo of Matt and me at the beach, well, I boosted colors and made it look just right to stand out in that colorful frame.Shell Frame Project by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Hope this inspires you to make something with your treasures from special events. Happy crafting!Shell Frame Project by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Never Bored

Recently, while chatting with a fellow artist, she said, “With all the fun things out there to create, how do people get bored?” I totally agree! There is never enough time in the day to create all the things I want to make. I’ve been enjoying several different creative avenues lately.

I met Caroline from Eagles Nest Woolens during Oktoberfest at the Schifferstadt Museum in Frederick, MD and  I admired her beautiful rugs and watched her as she hooked a rug. I’ve always been interested in rug hooking and she had a small kit for sale. I just HAD to try it!DSC_9649 3

It did take me a bit to get the hang of pulling the stips of wool fabric through the backing cloth, but as I continued, it got easier and easier. I finished hooking the design and steamed it. Now I just need to figure out how to finish off my pumpkin rug mat.DSC_9706 2

When I wasn’t rug hooking, I was finishing a doily. I almost always have one in the making. This one is special because it reminds me of my doily making beginnings. After teaching myself how to crochet, I made afghans and pot holders. Then, while at a star party with my hubby, I saw a woman sitting outside her camper creating something beautiful. I thought she must have been tatting but she explained that it was crochet but with thread. Anne was working from a book of designs from nature.DSC_9724 3

Of course, I ran right out and bought thread, a smaller hook and the book! Well, okay, several doily books. And I ended up making LOTS of doilies but for some reason none from that book. Finally, I have completed the butterfly doily from Anne’s book. Isn’t it gorgeous?! Can you see the profiles of butterflies?DSC_9696 2

Of course, I always have my camera handy and every year I make a calendar. It takes quite some time to choose the photos and edit them for the calendar. But I got it done! And they are available for purchase here: 2015 Calendars. These high quality wall calendars feature photos from our trip to England and Bible verses. I hope you enjoy them!DSC_9657 3

This time of year I always have jewelry projects. I was kept quite busy getting ready for a show. Here is one pendant that sold just hours after I posted it. Abalone is so beautiful.DSC_9548 5

Creating with Sterling Silver wire is one of my favorite things to do. Add my favorite stone, Labradorite, and how could I not love it? This labradorite pendant is still available!DSC_9670 4

Swirls and turquoise are an unbeatable combo too! This turquoise pendant is here on my website.DSC_9684 6

So, yes, I’ve kept myself contently occupied creating! No boredom here! I’m always happy to see another sunrise and create during another day. What keeps you contentedly occupied?DSC_9667 2

Golden Cotswolds: England 3

Often when asked of my favorite color, I will reply orange. Or maybe yellow or green. Well, our next place in England was full of lovely colors. It was Matt’s birthday and we headed to the Cotswolds. This area in central England has been dubbed an “Area of Outstanding Beauty” and it lives up to the title. Some people when we told them that we were going to the Cotswolds, would say, “Oh, that is very chocolate box.” I had never heard that term but one man described it as a lovely scene like one that you would see on a chocolate box.  So Matt got a box of chocolates for his birthday, well at least the beauty.

On our way to the next B&B, we stopped at The Duke of Cumberland’s Head for lunch. Our waitress explained that the pub was named after Prince Rupert. When I asked why it was only named after his head, she said (insert accent here) “Well, we can’t accommodate the rest of the body, really.”DSC_4468 2

Here is the birthday boy while waiting for his lunch.DSC_4464 2

I’m not sure how many times I asked Matt to stop so I could take photos of the yellow fields. It seemed so difficult to get a photo I liked to show their bright loveliness. This one almost does it.DSC_4471 2

We stopped at a place called Rollright Stones. They were prehistoric stones placed in different configurations. There were several that formed a circle and these stood together on what is thought to be an ancient burial place. The stones really showed off the yellow fields which we learned were crops of rape grown for their oil. We were told that they only plant it every third year. I was so glad that we came on a yellow fields year!DSC_4499 2

When we arrived at our next destination, Corsham Field Farmhouse, I was thrilled with the view.DSC_4990 2

Our hosts, Robert and Julie Anne, were such gracious people and lots of help to figure out what sights to see.  DSC_5220 2And there is so much to see in the Cotswolds, rolling hills, sheep farms, ancient churches, beautiful palaces and yellow stone villages. It seemed difficult to capture its beauty with the camera. But I certainly gave it a try on the few days we were blessed to be there. I’ll always fondly think of this area as the Golden Cotswolds.

Read the rest of the adventure: England 1, England 2

Or start from the beginning with the portion of our trip in Italy: Italy 1

Enjoy some more photos from the Cotswolds! Please share my blog with others and I’d love for you to subscribe!

This shows the beautiful yellow fields and the stone houses of the the Cotswolds.

This shows the beautiful yellow fields and the stone houses of the the Cotswolds.

This pair of wild pheasants ate seed from under the bird feeder at our B&B.

This pair of wild pheasants ate seed from under the bird feeder at our B&B.

Larry and Cindy, who were from Minnesota and in their 70's, were walking on the public footpaths across the Cotswolds. We met them in an ancient church and then had dinner together.

Larry and Cindy, who were from Minnesota and in their 70’s, were walking on the public footpaths across the Cotswolds. We met them in an ancient church and then had dinner together.

We happened upon a cricket game and watched for awhile.

We happened upon a cricket game and watched for awhile.

Our hosts told us that gypsies were coming into town and not to be concerned. Sure enough, a field was filling up with campers, caravans and horses. Once a year they come to do horse trading.

Our hosts told us that gypsies were coming into town and not to be concerned. Sure enough, a field was filling up with campers, caravans and horses. Once a year they come to do horse trading.

A lady we met on the street told us how to get to "Bluebell Wood." What a glorious sight!

A lady we met on the street told us how to get to “Bluebell Wood.” What a glorious sight!

My view as I took a walk one morning while Matt was away working.

My view as I took a walk one morning while Matt was away working.

The skies in England can be so dramatic! I loved how it looked with the sun shining on these building with the clouds building up behind them. I hurried my walk back so I wouldn't get caught in the rain.

The skies in England can be so dramatic! I loved how it looked with the sun shining on these building with the clouds building up behind them. I hurried my walk back so I wouldn’t get caught in the rain.

It seemed every home had a sign with a name on it.

It seemed every home had a sign with a name on it.

St Edward's Church in Stow on the Wold looks other-worldly with the yew trees growing right next to the door.

St Edward’s Church in Stow on the Wold looks other-worldly with the yew trees growing right next to the door.

Chipping Campden.

Chipping Campden.

Most of the houses in the areas we visited had slate roofs. But this one looked so interesting with its thatched roof.

Most of the houses in the areas we visited had slate roofs. But this one looked so interesting with its thatched roof.

There are stone walls everywhere! But some are falling apart. Mike told us that volunteers are rebuilding the walls in some areas. They are using the dry stonewall method.

There are stone walls everywhere! But some are falling apart. Mike told us that volunteers are rebuilding the walls in some areas. They are using the dry stonewall method.

Broadway Tower was built as a folly. But it has a beautiful view from atop it and has an interesting history.

Broadway Tower was built as a folly. But it has a beautiful view from atop it and has an interesting history.

Part of the view from Broadway Tower.

Part of the view from Broadway Tower.

There are still red telephone booths all over. Matt found a geocache here.

There are still red telephone booths all over. Matt found a geocache here.

I kept trying to get scenic, chocolate box, photos without cars in them. But this shows how it is. Modern people living in quaint, yellow stone villages putting up with tourists taking photos. :-)

I kept trying to get scenic, chocolate box, photos without cars in them. But this shows how it is. Modern people living in quaint, yellow stone villages putting up with tourists taking photos. 🙂

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Every little town has at least one old church. They are called “sheep churches” because they were built during a time of prosperity because of sheep farming.

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When I saw this, all I could think of was Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd….He leads me beside quiet waters.”

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I’ve loved all the tiny wildflowers of the English countryside.

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England has public footpaths all over the place.We met several hikers.

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It was difficult to tell which buildings were really old and which ones were fairly new. There are regulations for building in the area. New buildings have to use the Cotswold stone too.

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These are the Cotswold sheep. Their wool is exceedingly strong.

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It was lovely walking along the water to the mill. We ate in a restaurant just behind it. We did so many things in Cotswold. I’ll have to write more posts about them!