Dr. Jesse Bennett-Known As The Doctor History Almost Missed

Historic marker on Route 42 just south of Edom. His name is on the web two ways: Jessee/ Jesse and Bennet/Bennett. Not sure which is correct but most seem to use Jesse Bennett.

My brother Ed recently asked me if I knew the first Caesarean Section was performed in Edom, a tiny, little, don’t blink, no stop light, blurb between Harrisonburg and Broadway, Virginia. Edom is not a town, it is just a “has been” area that 60 years ago had a filling station and tiny store, long gone, on the first floor of the McKay’s house (It is still standing-the burned out shell of a house). When we were young, we could safely ride our bikes the quarter of a mile to purchase penny and nickel candy from our hard-earned money. We would stand at the counter and gaze and gaze at the candy trying to decide how to spend those precious pennies. I had heard the story about Dr. Bennett sometime through the years, but would not have been able to recall it until Ed mentioned it.

It sparked my curiosity and I started digging for the story. I found several fascinating articles about Dr. Jesse Bennett on the internet. It is a story worth telling.

Bennett was born on July 10, 1769 in Frankford, Pennsylvania near Philadelphia. Historians disagree about his medical education but after completing his studies, decided he wanted to go west. In 1771, he stopped in Rockingham Country and stayed. He built a little log cabin, hung his diploma on the wall and started his medical practice. In the spring of 1793, he married Elizabeth Hogg, the educated and talented daughter of Peter Hogg, a noted attorney in Rockingham County.

Within the first year, Elizabeth became pregnant and Bennett solicited the service of Dr. Humphrey of Staunton, VA to attend to Elizabeth during her delivery. To me this was amazing as Staunton today is a 45 minute drive by car going 70 mph on interstate from Edom. How did the doctor get there on time and how was word gotten to him when she started labor? Did he ride the train to Edom or his horse?

Her labor started January 14, 1794 and after a prolonged, difficult and agonizing labor the two doctors determined the only two options were a caesarian on Elizabeth or a craniotomy (a crushing of the skull) on the unborn infant. They had tried to deliver the baby vaginally with forceps but were unsuccessful. Dr. Humphrey refused to attempt anything else and left as he knew Elizabeth could not survive the operation. The situation was dire and probably meant death for either or both the mother and her infant. (References #5 and #6)

Desperate to save her baby even at the cost of her own life, Elizabeth pleaded for her husband to perform the caesarian. This surgery had been done successfully to save a baby but had never been successful in saving the mother. The twenty-four year old doctor, with only about three years of experience, was faced with a horrendous decision. Weighing the consequences, he remembered his resolution when he first hung out his shingle, “that he would attend the sick, in good or bad weather, night or day, rich or poor, and do all he could to relieve pain and aches.” In an instant, his decision was made, he would save both if possible, and he did. He assembled a crude operating table from two boards supported by barrels and gave his wife Laudanum (opiate drug) to make her sleepy. Her sister, Mrs. Nancy Hawkins, held a tallow candle to light the makeshift operating table and two slaves supported and held her down on the table. (Reference #5)

Using a knife from the kitchen he opened her uterus with one long swipe and extracted his precious infant daughter, Maria. (Source #3 says 2 cuts) He then removed both of her ovaries and placenta saying “he’d not be subjected to such an ordeal again.” Using stout linen thread, the kind used in frontier homes to sew heavy clothing, he sutured the wound closed. When Elizabeth learned he had taken her ovaries, she was not a happy wife. After a month she was able to be up on her feet and on March 1, 1794 Jesse declared his wife healed. He wrote notes on the title page and margins of one of his medical books but refused to publicize the details of the surgery during his life fearing repercussions from the medical world. He said other doctors would never believe a woman could survive such a hazardous operation done in the backwoods of Virginia. He was not going to give them the chance to call him a liar. Elizabeth died in 1836 after living another thirty-six years. (References #2, and #5)

Dr. A. L. Knight, a boyhood neighbor of the Bennetts, remembered hearing the story of Maria’s birth when he was a youth and collected eye-witness testimonies from Mrs. Nancy Hawkins and the surviving African-American slaves after Dr. Bennett’s death and published the story in The Southern Historical Magazine in 1892 as part of “The Life and Times of Dr. Jesse Bennett, M.D. (References #5 and #6)

Jesse Bennett Way is probably half a mile from where I grew up. Route 42 is the main road running north and south between Harrisonburg and Broadway. Some years ago, Route 42 was widen and a mile long stretch of road coming through Edom was cut off to become a side road. It was named Jesse Bennett Way after the doctor. There are only maybe a dozen or so homes on the road and two churches; one home is an old homestead with a small log cabin behind it at the corner where the road turns into the Lindale Mennonite Church parking lot.

I decided to to pay a visit! This past weekend when I was in Harrisonburg, my sister Evelyn and I went by the house and found the occupants at home. I will refer to them as the B’s. The B’s were gracious and let me take pictures. They knew the story but had never had it connected to their place. The current house where they live was built in 1851 (54 years after the Bennetts left the area) by John R. Wenger and he had a broom making shop in the log cabin. This was the history of their place as they knew it.

History records that in 1797, five years after the historic caesarian, Bennett moved his family to his father-in-law’s land in western Mason County, West Virginia. There, he established a large, well-known and popular medical practice. He got involved in politics and helped to establish Mason County’s government and served as their representative in the Virginia Assembly. It is recorded that Aaron Burr tried unsuccessfully to get him to join the Burr conspiracy. Fortunately, he did not as Burr was later convicted of treason When the US and Great Britain began the War of 1812, he served as army surgeon. (References #5 and #6)

Mr. B said that Route 42 was not a road at the time of the Bennetts, it wasn’t built until 1928. The main road going north and south was Route 11 several miles to the east. There were paths connecting the farms to Route 11. They traveled by horse at that time and had to go through the a series of neighboring farmers’ gates to get there. That would make sense with the info in some of the below articles that said the doctor’s log cabin was located in the back woods. In those days doctors usually traveled to homes rather than patients coming to the doctor’s office.

Another reason I found this story so fascinating was my great-great grandmother Lahman was born prematurely, also very close to Edom, just a mile or so down the road on December 2, 1855. Her face was the size of a silver dollar, a kernel of corn covered her hand and she reportedly weighed 1-1/2 lbs. The story is found on my blog post, A Family Story: An Amazing Birth Miracle I had to look to see if by chance Dr. Bennett could have been the doctor attending her birth, but it was 58 years after he had left the area.

I am posting a picture of the log cabin at the B’s house. Was it by chance Dr. Bennetts? I searched and searched the internet and could not connect the dots but it is the only log cabin on a mile long stretch of road named in his honor. It was built in the same era of time. To me it seems highly possible but I do not know. I do know the current house was not his. If anyone has any more insight on the cabin and/or location, I would love to know.

The cabin is currently being used as a dog house. Sometime through the years a concrete floor was poured. The cabin is still weatherproof and the steps going to the loft are sturdy. Regardless of who built the cabin or who it belonged to, it is a step back into time. You can almost feel the history when you stand in the darkened cabin and creep up the stairs to the loft. And to think that one time the successful “factory” of Mr. Wenger or possibly the office of Dr. Bennett.

Quick Reference Time Line From This Post:

  • 1769: July 10, Jesse Bennett was born.
  • 1791: Dr. Bennett moved to Rockingham County and started his medical practice in a log cabin at Edom.
  • 1793: April 8, married Elizabeth Hogg.
  • 1794: January 14, Dr. Bennett performed a successful caesarian on his wife, Elizabeth at the age of 24.
  • 1794: February 9, Elizabeth was out of bed and by the 15th could walk. March 1, he declared her healed.
  • 1797: The Bennetts moved to Mason County, West Virginia.
  • 1812: Dr. Bennett served as surgeon in the War of 1812 against Great Britain.
  • 1836: Elizabeth Bennett died.
  • 1842: July 22, Dr. Bennett died.
  • 1851: Wenger house was built.
  • 1855: December 2, Pat’s Great-great grandmother Lahman was born prematurely.
  • 1928: Route 42 was built.
  • 1956-1972 Pat lived at Edom.

References:

The Amazing Henry B. Ford Museum

This summer Obe and Jill (our daughter) took their family and two nieces on a trip around the Great Lakes. One of their early stops was the Ford F-150 Manufacturing Plant and Henry B. Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, on the outskirts of Detroit. They weren’t prepared for the depth and massiveness of the facility and had only allowed one day. After circling the lakes, they swung back to the museum for another day and decided that we needed to go!

This past weekend they took us to Dearborn. It was a great trip, a lot of fun and an incredible history lesson, parts of which we have lived!

Dearborn is an eight hour drive from Harrisonburg plus however many times you “need” to stop for gas, food and other essential needs. Interstate 81 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike takes you most of the way there.

FORD F-150 TRUCK MANUFACTURING PLANT

Friday morning we had tickets to tour the Ford plant that manufactures F150 pickup trucks. It was in full production and it was fascinating to view the process from the overhead catwalk. If I remember my facts correctly, they produce 600 trucks a day. It takes 93 minutes from start to finish for a truck to come off the assembly line. Right now they are having trouble getting some needed computer chips from China. For a while they shut down but are back building the trucks and will install the chips later. All over the area, there are parking lots full of trucks waiting for chips. It is incredible. We watched a video with the story of Henry Ford. He is well known for making the first car but his innovative skills, knowledge, passion for inventing went way beyond cars. We had no idea. He developed farm equipment, steam engines, worked with innovative ways to use soybeans, built a hospital, two churches, the first assembly manufacturing facility, and had a passion for collecting Americana history.

Ready for the day…here we go. Had to wear masks inside the plant.
Just about everything you see here is part of the Ford Manufacturing Plant. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the plant but this shows the “green” roof. It is a 10.4 acre garden planted with a perennial ground cover known as sedum. It lowers the temperature in the building by 10 degrees, absorbs up to 4 million gallons of rainwater and converts carbon dioxide into oxygen improving the air quality. There are also plants growing up the sides of the plant and the little buildings on top are to let in natural lighting. Ford was a leader in innovative ways save on energy.
Solar panels at the manufacturing plant, and notice the fruit orchard with bee hives. Ford loved his trees, especially fruit trees.
While we were looking out the windows these trucks went down the road. I thought they were so cool and took a picture of them.

HENRY B. FORD MUSEUM

The museum is a display of HIS collection and it is huge. It was hard to wrap your mind around the fact that this was almost all his stuff, his collection. any items that weren’t his were labeled. The whole complex sits on 250 acres. He collected everything; cars (not just Ford), farm equipment, steam engines, horse drawn equipment and stagecoaches, trains, trucks, buses, airplanes, the Weiner hotdog car, household items, violins, guns, houses, barns, full line of Presidential limousines, the bloodstained chair Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot, Thomas Edison’s light bulbs and production equipment, the famous bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and was arrested, telephones, George Washington’s cot he slept on when in the field with his troops, and the list goes on and on. You wondered, how did he acquire all these things? Where did he store them? How did he have the time and energy for his never ending mission? How was HE able to acquire the limousines and Lincoln’s chair?

Henry realized people were not interested in preserving their own American culture and history. They were passionate about Egyptian artifacts, Persian rugs, Victorian period furniture and style, imports from France and Britain and other far away places while he envisioned a museum full of Americana history. Before he died on April 7, 1947, he had realized his dream come true. His museum was attracting thousands of people. Ford’s impact on Dearborn and the surrounding area is evident. There are Ford signs everywhere; schools, a hospital, water towers, manufacturing plants, billboards, a restaurant and too many places to name. He was well-known around the world and one of the richest.

The pictures inside the museum are all things Henry collected. He did not manufacture them all-some items he did. I had to pick and choose my pictures, I couldn’t show you all of them but tried to give you a taste of what it was like.

Entering the Ford museum complex. Everything was done first class.
This was a 1949 car. Gene said it was just like his first car! Ford built this car after World War II and people loved the clean-cut new look and legendary V-8 engine. It sold between $1420-$1638
1949 Coup. 6-cylinder, 95 h.p, top speed was 100 mph and fuel consumption was 20 mph. Price tag: $1420-$1638. Doesn’t look like much as changed on specs except for the price tag!!!
This was an innovative idea for an affordable house kit. All you had to do was put it together. This was the only one that was sold and lived in. The idea never caught on.

A huge steam engine used in his plant. We are standing on top of it. I don’t remember which engine, but one of these was moved to the location and the museum literally built around it.
Thomas Edison’s light bulb producing machine. It was his whole factory!
George Washington’s fold up cot when he was in the fields with his troops. He camped like his men. It fit into the case under his pillow.
The blood stained chair that Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated.
The bus made legendary by the defiance of Rosa Parks to the racial inequity of her time. She chose to be arrested then move to the back of the bus.. We were able to sit on her seat.
President Nixon and Reagan’s 1972 Lincoln Limousine. This was the car Reagan was getting into when he was shot by John Hinkley.
President Kennedy’s 1961 Lincoln
1961 Ford 100 pickup
Teddy Roosevelt’s 1902 Brougham limo! He was not fond of automobiles and preferred to use a horse drawn carriage. It was an elegant carriage for the rich and powerful.
I think this was a replica of the Wright brother’s first aircraft.
DC-3
This and the following three pictures show the progression of the home, especially the kitchen.

GREENFIELD VILLAGE

On Saturday we went to the village. You can easily spent a whole day there. The village encompassed 60 acres. It is huge and designed in an elongated oval. There is a lot of walking but not difficult walking. It is set up as a village with the houses and buildings he acquired; the house he grew up in, the two churches he built, the home of his favorite teacher, his doctor, the houses of Thomas Edison, Wright brothers, Firestone’s house, barn and out buildings, Robert Frost, Webster who wrote the dictionary, George Washington Carver and many more. Each were stocked with housewares, tools, equipment, animals, and information, most were the authentic belongings of each family. We peaked into basements, pantries, bedrooms and kitchens and barns. There was an orchard, gardens, and bee hives. There was a custard shop where they sold frozen custard using a recipe from England. It was so smooth and refreshing. There were working shops; pottery, weaving, glass blowing, printing, and a general store. There were display buildings; saw mill, grist mill, a spinning and cobbler shop, his soybean experiment, the shop where he built his first car, the Wright Brothers shop where they built their airplane, and Thomas Edison’s shop. These guys were all contemporaries and friends. Ford was especially fond of Edison who was older and a great encourager.

Circling the village were two trains; “Edison” is the oldest steam engine still working. Ford loved trains. Draft horses pulling stagecoaches and Model T cars were the only transportation in the village. At the gate you could purchase a ticket giving you access to ride as many times as you wanted. The train stopped at different locations and you could hop on and off or circle the entire village getting an overall view. The stagecoach and Model T’s left and returned at specific locations. The drivers gave a very informative running narrative. We were saving the stagecoach for the afternoon but because of the heat they were forced to discontinue them for the day. We did get to see them munching hay and swatting their tails under the shade trees in their pen. I was disappointed I didn’t get to ride one.

The first thing we did was ride the train around the perimeter of the village.
The Ford homeplace and farm. Henry’s father did not understand young Henry dislike of the farm and wanted him to eventually take it over. His mother recognized her son’s innovative spirit and became his encourager. It rocked his world when she died when he was twelve.


Ford House
Inside the Ford home.
Shop where Ford built his first car.
Wright Brothers House
If I remember correctly, this was the house of Firestone family.
Firestone’s barn.

Weaving
Model T’s waiting in line to pick up their passengers.
Passengers’ loaded!

Glass blowing
Extracting soybean oil.
Incredible. He truly had his fingers in many pots.
I loved the black cherry trees that were in the village. They were different than our cherries and not sure if they were edible.
The General Store. Jill said this would have been our store if we lived back then!

OLD FASHION BASEBALL GAME

We were fortunate that they had a live baseball game the day we were there. Gene especially enjoyed that. It was a beautiful setting, built like an oblong bowl with hillside seating under the trees for fans. The players marched down the street in a processional with a band playing to the field. The train track ran along one side and every 20 minutes a train puffed and chugged, blowing steam and whistled as it rolled by. The players would all pause, stand at attention and lift their hats as they waved to the iron horse as if it was the first time they had seen it. It was such an honoring and respectful sight to witness.

It was a brutally hot day but a gentle breeze was blowing. The players wore antique uniforms, no helmets or gloves, used wooden bats and pitched underhand. They played by the original rules which were somewhat different from today’s highly competitive version. There were no strikes, balls or umpire. If a ball was foul and you could get it on the first balance, it was an out. The announcer walked among the crowd and gave an interesting commentary during the nine inning game. It was a gentleman’s game, played to be fun versus competitive.

Lah-De-Dah Team parading to the field.
Our commentator for the game.
The train passing by and the outfielder saluting.
Pitching underhanded.

RESTAURANTS

In the evenings we ate at two very interesting restaurants; Ford’s Garage and Bone Yard.

The Bone Yard was a barbecue joint and the locals were out in full force. We became intrigued with the take-out line that went on and on and on. We have never seen the likes. It never stopped the entire time we were there. The platters were huge and the barbecue delicious. There was no way we could eat all the food.

Ford’s Garage was an experience, so unique and special. It was everything cars!

A tailgate used for the back of the waiting bench.
Hostess station
Gas nozzles were the handles on the entrance and bathroom doors.
The sinks in the bathrooms
Sign designating the location of the bathrooms.
Grease rags and stainless steel clamps for our napkin and holder.
Onion rings served on a funnel. We didn’t get any as they were out of stock for the evening!
Menu
Sign designating the kitchen
Food!

THE OSCAR MAYER WEINER HOTDOG CAR

The second evening when we came back to our hotel, parked in front was the Oscar Mayer Weiner Hotdog car. After we went up to our room I decided I wanted to see the car closeup and see if by chance I could get a ride!!! Gene and Jill were party poopers and laughed at me but Obe became my partner in crime and giggles. It was so cool. We laughed and laughed at ourselves acting like kids! We talked to the folks at the front desk of the hotel and found out that the car had been there all week, apparently participating in something around town. They said the guys had gone out somewhere for the evening and were not at the hotel. We got paper and pencil and I left a note taped to the windshield with my name and phone number asking it they gave rides.

Here is my proof!

I did not receive a call and the next morning the car was gone and my note was laying in the grass. I think the dew caused it to fall off and they probably did not even see it!! Bummer! But it was fun to just see and touch that iconic car!

LAKE ERIE

One afternoon we took a side jaunt over to Lake Erie. This is the dirtiest of the five freshwater lakes with the big cities like Detroit, Cleveland, Toledo, Erie and Buffalo surrounding it and with that brings nuclear plants and manufacturing. It was neat to dip our toes in the warm water and enjoy the beauty of the lake.

Obe and Jill
Gene and I
Nuclear power plants in the background.

So folks, I hope you enjoyed a peak into our trip and it wet your appetite to go sometime. It was hard choosing pictures but decided against posting all the steam engines, farm equipment, cars and houses. This is a trip worth having on your bucket list. You won’t be disappointed.

Flight 93 Memorial

Coming home from our trip to Detroit, we decided to stop at Shanksville, PA at the site of the crash of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. After 46 minutes of flying over eastern Ohio on that fateful day, hijackers in first class attacked at 9:28 a.m., incapacitating the captain and first officer. They turned the plane southeast, heading for Washington, DC. most likely the US capital. Thirteen of the passengers placed thirty-seven calls to family, friends and authorities and began to piece together the intent and seriousness of the situation. Their plane was part of a planned attack on America. They formed a plan to rush the hijackers, knowing that it would cost them their lives. The struggle lasted six minutes.

At 10 a.m. the plane was spotted flying low and erratic and at 10:03 it crashed, upside-down at 563 miles per hour into this Somerset County farm field. All thirty-three passengers, one unborn baby, seven crew members and four hijackers were instantly killed.

The plane came over the hill above the trees and went down the hill to where it crashed. The wall at the bottom of the hill marks the path and the large boulder sitting along in the field marks the spot of impact.

The Tower of Voices

Just after you turn off of the main road (Route 30-the same road that runs across the state into Lancaster), is the Tower of Voices. It is 93 feet tall in homage to the number of the flight. This is a musical instrument with forty chimes representing the voices of each of the forty passengers and crew members. Each chime has a different tone. It takes 12 mph wind to make the chimes ring and even though it was a very breezy day, only one on of the chimes occasionally chimed it’s sorrowful tone. A young fellow with a wind app on his phone said it was blowing at 7 mph. It was disappointing we didn’t get to hear it. The tour guide on site said she hears them about once a week. Even though it had an open design, the structure seemed to block the wind. There were quite a few visitors that day and it would have been so meaningful to have heard them ring. We were disappointed in the restrictive design and wondered why they chose one so limited.

View of the chimes.

The walls to the right and left of the gate represents the flight path. On the wall are the names of the victims. The gate faces the boulder sitting as a head stone on the crash site. The woods behind the boulder burned and was replanted with spruce. The families of the victims wanted a simple memorial. On that day, an ordinary, obscure farm field became a memorial attracting thousands and thousands of people and yet remains a simple, peaceful, burial site. Only family is allowed to walk to the boulder. No bodies were ever recovered.

if you turn and look back up the hill, there is a visitor center overlooking the site filled with the story and artifacts recovered from the site. There are bits and pieces of the plane and amazingly there are a few things that survived: several bent forks, the black box, and a bank statement of one of the hijackers were a few of the items. The black box was the only one recovered from the four planes involved in the attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and this site. Pieces of the plane were scattered over the forty aces and woods. There were too many people and we were too short on time to see all we wanted at the center. The design of the center also reflects the path of the flight. This site is 18 minutes flying time from Washington, DC. The heroic action of unarmed passengers and crew thwarted and defeated the terrorists’ plan, saving many lives and kept our government intact.

The design and position of the building also reflect the path of the plane.
A walking path goes from the visitor center down to the wall and memorial. There is also a road that circled down on the left side.
The boulder, chosen from the land surrounding the site, became the marker for the site., Note the beauty of the wild flowers growing naturally.
It is wonderful to have a good zoom on my camera!
To the left and through the trees you can catch a glimpse of the farm buildings.
A memorial at the beginning of the walkway to the wall.

I quote from the a plaque in the visitor center…. “A common field one day. A field of honor forever”.

Rest in peace, America will not forget.

A Community Honors Its Own

Today something very emotional and special happened in Powhatan. A community, in droves, lined the main route through the county (Route 60) to welcome home one of their fallen, Caroline Schollaert, who was shot during an attempted car burglary at her home in Florida last week. Her dad’s facebook post reads in part, “…She was an active member of the United States Coast Guard. She served in the elite Hitron unit which conducts drug interdiction ops. A service is being held at her unit hangar Tuesday morning (August 10), then we will be escorted back to Powhatan, VA by an honor guard …….please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.”

Picture of Caroline taken from Pat Schollaert’s fb page.

This post is not so much about Caroline as it is about the community that showed their love, support and care for the Schollaert family. I did not know her but her dad is a customer in our store. I didn’t realize this was happening until this afternoon and I decided I wanted to be a part of it. The family and body landed at the Chesterfield Airport and made their way up Rt. 288 to Route 60 and west to the Bennet-Barden funeral home directly across the road from our farm. We had a front row seat!

Community gathering and waiting.
Lining the road. From what I heard there were people lining the road from the county line up to our road. (8 miles)
Lining the road. Our fields in the background.
Hometown USA-the real America!
ABC News was there. He said to watch at 11 p.m.
This man had his drone ready to fly for aerial pictures as soon as the procession arrived.
Stopping traffic at the crossover for the motorcade.
Lead car. Here they come. Everyone watched in silence.
Respect, honor and patriotism.
And there they are…..
Lots and lots and lots of motorcycles. It was impressive and sets such a respectful atmosphere.
Sobering and sad. Coming home to be laid to rest. Gunned down in a senseless murder in the prime of her youth.
There had to be hundreds of cycles.
The parking lot at the funeral home.

I was impressed with the turn out of people showing their love and care for the Schollaert family. Some were friends and co-workers and some, like me, just wanted to be a part of the community support, honoring and welcoming home one of our own. Something special happens to a community when they come together in times like this.

Piercing High-Pitch Squeal

We have a piercing high-pitch squeal in our house and it is driving me to the crazy house!!! In fact I told Gene the other evening I was getting ready to run away from home!!! Over the weekend we final found the source-the toilet. If you don’t believe me, come hear mine!

It started a week or so ago. I kept hearing this very quiet but very high piercing squeal that you could hardly stand. At first Gene couldn’t hear it which told me what I already knew, he had to be hard of hearing! I would crawl in bed, and off the squeal would go. By the time I was in the living room it would stop. I checked everything I could think of; the computer backup, my blue-tooth, the super-sonic pest repellers I had just brought in from the garden, the door bell, and smoke detectors (they usually chirp). I would sit beside some of the items and wait to no avail. As soon as I was back in bed, off it would go.

The squeal started getting one degree louder, more frequent and lasting a little longer. That is when Gene started hearing it and found the source. The toilet; throne or lowly stool, depending on your view! Who knew a toilet could be so annoying? Closing the bathroom door, pulling the covers over my head and sticking my fingers in my ears did not help. Did you ever try sleeping buried under the covers with your fingers in your ears?

Toilets used to have a simple float system in the back and you could replace pieces. Now they are newfangled contraptions that you can’t fix. The water is not leaking but apparently something on the float has gotten a little worn and it is letting us know! Jingling the lever does not help and neither does flushing. If you tap the float it will stop the squeal until the next squeal.

There will be no peace in this house until one of us makes a trip to the hardware store. How fast can I go!

“Could Life on Mars Be Lurking Deep Underground?”

Mars-The Red Planet from pixabay.com

Oh, really? Do scientists really believe we are that stupid? 

Mindy Weisberger wrote an article, “Could Life Be Lurking Deep Underground” for Live Science that caught my eye as a headliner on a news website. And just to see what she had to say I read the article.

It basically says that since life has not been found on the surface of Mars (how shocking is that?) it must be deep underground.  Is she trying to infer that since there is no life on the surface, aliens or humans, whichever you prefer to say, have morphed into rodent-like creatures that have tunneled deep in the interior of Mars and left not a clue on the surface? Now she didn’t say rodent-like creatures but how else could life get there without leaving a trace of infrastructure on the surface. She actually refers to them as “microbial Martians congregating underground”.  Maybe this microbial life is still evolving and after all these billions of years is still just microbial.  The whole concept would be totally laughable except that it is sad that people actually believe and promote such lies.

Surface of Mars-From pixabay.com

I have no problem believing microbial organisms could be there but she ties it to “a window into our own origins 3.8 billion years ago”.

Depending on your “source” of truth as to how you believe the earth was created.  Science interpreted through the lens of the inspired Word of God sees the Creator God actively speaking and forming the world into existence in six days. If you read Genesis with an open heart you will see that there was a beginning to the heavens and earth. You can see the Spirit of God moved over the vast nothingness and then God spoke and it was created. No billions of years of evolution there!!! You can see God created man differently from the rest of creation; God knelt, formed and breathed into man the breathe of life.

God created Mars and all the other planets to be just that, Mars, Pluto, Saturn, Venus and Jupiter. He created the heavenly galaxies to be just that, galaxy after galaxy of stars and planets light years away. This is not too difficult for my God and neither is it to difficult for me to believe. God created earth to be different; it is the only planet created to sustain life with oxygen, forage, trees, tillable fertile soil, animals, marine life, birds and humans. Why would a human in his right mind trade the beauty of earth for the harsh, barren nothingness of another planet? God created earth ready to live in with everything man needed for survival and to thrive.  It is to earth that He sent His Son Jesus to be the ultimate sacrifice for sin.

The evidence of God’s handiwork is on-going and always presence: the beauty of a sunset, the vastness of the universe, the delicacy of a flower, the minuet detail of an atom, complexity of the human body, the wonder of birth, the vast array of color, detail and variety of plants and animals and the list could go on and on.

You will not physically see the form of God on this earth but by faith you can know, understand and experience the presence of God. Romans 1 says that we can know the unseen attributes of God because they were plainly revealed to us at creation and are clearly seen in observing the amazing creation of God’s hand.  It is so clear that it leaves us without excuse and we can not say we did not know.

….for what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have seen clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse…

Romans 1:19-20

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “let there be light” and there was light….

Genesis 1:1-3a

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Hebrews 11:3

The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens; By His knowledge the depths were broken up and clouds drop down with dew. My son, let them not depart from your eyes, keep sound wisdom and discretion.

Proverbs 3: 19-21

Is there life on Mars? No.

Has there ever been life on Mars? No

Will humans ever populate Mars? Time will tell. They may try for a short period of time but I seriously doubt it will succeed. I can guarantee they will leave their trash behind. Seriously, now tell me, who wants to look at the above picture and say they really want to live there?

Sweet Corn Day

One of my favorite fresh vegetables from the garden is sweet corn. But then maybe tomatoes, cucumbers, beans. limas, spring onions, lettuce all rival for top of the list!!! It is just hard to beat homegrown veggies that you harvest and eat the same day. They are all my favorites. Normally I chose my meat and plan my meal around it. But in the summer I plan my meal around my vegetables, often having multiple vegetables the same meal.

Yesterday was sweet corn day. Jill, Karla and Ryan came and in a little over three hours we harvested, shucked, silked, washed, blanched and froze 5 pints and 34 quarts of Honey Select sweet corn and cleaned up the mess! My favorite for years has been the Incredible variety but I was getting a little disappointed in how it was losing some of its sweetness in the freezer and decided to try something different this year. So far I am very impressed. The ears were large and the flavor excellent. Time will tell how it freezes. That is the real test of quality.

Honey Select Sweet Corn

The last several years we started having deer and coon problems. About two weeks ago, the deer snacked on my tomatoes stripping a significate amount of the leaves off several plants. War was declared! Gene came to my aid and erected a temporary electric fence; high enough to repel deer and low enough to zap the coons. In case you don’t know both deer and coons love sweet corn and can wreck havoc in one night, usually the night before you plan to harvest. I have a gorgeous garden this year and did not want to share with cute eyes and trophy horns!

Beautiful large ears of corn
Hopefully a deer and coon proof fence.
Gene and Karla pulling the corn. We always pick early in the morning.
Ryan carrying the full buckets to the husking table.
The husking table is set up under a shade tree to minimize the hot sun on the corn. We ended up with 185 ears of corn (10 we ate for lunch)
Shucking, silking and trimming off wormy spots.
Washing and removing the remaining silk.
I blanched the corn in boiling water for two minutes and then put into a sink of tap water to cool a few minutes before moving to an ice-cold bath to finish cooling. Blanching is important as it stops the enzyme action which causes loss of flavor, color and texture.
We used a corn cutter. I have it set to make a nice kernel and cream mix.
We cut some off with a knife as Jill wanted whole corn for soups.

Mother always said that you run from the garden with your sweet corn; meaning you process as fast as possible for good quality corn in the freezer. The sugar in the corn starts turning to starch as soon as it is picked so it is important to get it in the freezer as quickly as possible. If you pick your corn in the morning for supper, put it in the refrigerator with the husks on until you are ready to cook it. I never pick one day and process the next.

We had a good assembly line going and it was fun work and not so hard on anyone. The yield was 2.5 ears per pint which is really, really good. I had done the processing of my corn earlier in the week so Jill went home with a good winter supply, maybe 2 winters.

After Ryan finished washing the corn, he went with Grandpa and got to have his first tractor driving experience. I think it was a little intimidating! He has his learners but it is a whole lot different climbing into a “big” tractor and shifting gears! I would have gotten a picture if I had known it was taking place.

Blog Post by Ryan-Minecraft Tutorial

About Ryan: Ryan is our fifteen year old grandson and gets his love of computers and computer challenges and programing honestly-it is in his DNA. His dad is one of the IT technicians for the Rockingham County school system and is a sought after speaker at teacher conferences on training educators on all aspects of technology and how to use it in the classroom.

Ryan asked if I would be open to a post on my blog. I am honored to do so. But to my faithful blog followers, I warn you, you may have no idea what he is talking about!!!! I can tell you I did not contribute to that gene pool!!!! This grandma is also clueless but I am proud of his accomplishments. Several years ago, Ryan joined his dad in speaking to the college students at JMU (James Madison University). Right now he is building his own super computer from scratch.

So here goes….enjoy his post!

It was just another typical day for a teen in April, during COVID quarantine. I was wasting my time once again on YouTube when a Minecraft tutorial popped up in my web browser feed. 

Now for those of you who don’t know about Minecraft, it is a sandbox creative game where the player can build, farm, or explore the infinite world with a whole bunch of other mechanics that would take me forever to explain. Now the game is feasible on any device from IOS, Android, Xbox, PlayStation, and most popular, on the computer. Since the game is so flexible among all the devices, this does mean that there are two different variations of the game, Java (computers only) and Bedrock (all devices including computers). 

So this tutorial caught my eye because it was a tutorial on how to make a complex sorting system in Minecraft, unlike most others that I have seen before. But this is when I realized that it was designed for Minecraft Java not Minecraft Bedrock. The differences in them overall is minor, but when it comes to creating redstone contraptions like sorters, they are completely different. 

I decided to ignore this issue and went ahead and built it to see how difficult it would be to make the sorter work in Minecraft Bedrock. Now this might sound like an easy task but even with my slight experience with redstone and my long history playing the game, it took a solid week of trouble shooting to finally get it to work.

At this point, I felt pretty good about myself so I hopped back onto YouTube and wrote a comment on that video saying,”I’ve gotten it to work on Minecraft Bedrock!” Little did I know that this would be the start of my YouTube channel.

Within days of posting that comment, the creator replied asking if I had made a video on my rendition. Now this YouTube creator had over 20,000 subscribers, so if HE wanted to see my build, then I had to make a tutorial for my version of his contraption. So on April 29, 2020, I published my first YouTube video. I had no expectations, as this was supposed to be a one and done thing, but within the first month after publishing the video, I had had 322 views and had gained 24 subscribers.

It was at this point that I realized just how much I enjoyed making tutorials and since people obviously liked it, I started working on another video. 

Since then, I have published 30 videos and have gained over 45,000 views and over 550 subscribers as well. While this started as a one-off thing, it has now turned into my new favorite hobby and passion. I love creating, filming, and editing Minecraft Bedrock content for my viewers on YouTube. If you want to check me out, just search, Rocket Builder in YouTube or click this link, www.youtube.com/rocketbuilder.

Ryan Hostetter

A Week Later

I was given this beautiful rose at the end of the Memorial Service. Today, one week later, it has hung its head.

Last week at this very moment we were laying mother to rest in a cemetery with friends and family gathered around. It was a sobering moment; quiet, respectful, sad, reflective and yet full of hope that we would see her again one day. Her plot is on a slight hill facing east with the Massanutten Mountain range in the background. My brother Ed spoke about mother’s beautiful garden and how a seed is planted to be resurrected. The grand and greatgrandchildren gathered together and sang, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine”.

The memorial service followed; songs of worship flowed from our hearts; “A Wonderful Savior is Jesus My Lord, Sweet Peace, the Gift of God’s Love and In the Sweet By and By”. There were loving tributes and a message based on her favorite verse, Ephesians 3:20, by another brother, Rich.

I have had a lot of thoughts and emotions this week. I wonder what is she doing? What is she experiencing? What is heaven like? I was mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted. The care for mother took it’s toil but we were so blessed to be able to do it. We did what we wanted to do. One part of me grieves our loss and the other part is so glad and relieved she is free from suffering.

Like the rose at the beginning of the blog, her time had come. She had lived her appointed time and lived it well. I gently lifted the head of the wilted rose and its beauty is still there, lingering on.

My Tribute to Mother (read at the service)

In May, just before mother became bedfast, I convinced her to let me take her for a ride in her wheelchair outside on the driveway. It was a beautiful day; the sun was shining, and the crabapple and cherry trees were in full bloom and the mockingbird was flurrying about. Mother had been resisting the idea of the wheelchair tucked in the corner of the living room, so I called it her chariot.  As we walked, I mentioned to her that Elijah was in a chariot when he went to heaven. She thought a moment and said, “What will you do if I go now?” I said, “I will watch you go and then pick up your coat.” She smiled and said, “That is a good answer.”

I thought what a wonderful way that would be to go.  She didn’t leave me there staring at the sky, but I have thought about it many times.  Mothers’ chariot has now come and gone, and I didn’t get to see her go, so there was no coat to pick up, but her legacy lingers on.

Mother specifically asked that we not talk about all the things that she has done in life, so I want to talk a little about her character; the things she has left us that are far more important than earthly treasures or things she accomplished.  Proverbs 31 talks about a virtuous woman; her characteristics and what she does. But tucked in verse 25 at the end of the chapter it says, “Strength and dignity (or honor) are her clothing. She will rejoice in time to come.”

Words that describe mother are gracious hostess, serving heart, kind, loyal friend and peaceful. She liked things neat, clean and in order. Mother was a quiet woman, never raising her voice.  She spoke with authority, love and respect. When mother spoke, we listened, and we respected her. We knew mother and daddy were a team and we knew better than to try and pit one against the other.  Mother always respected and stood by daddy and her church, doing her best to walk along side and support whatever it was that was happening.  Mother was not an upfront person and mostly served behind the scenes. For over 20 years, she supported daddy in his ministry as a pastor’s wife at Morning View Mennonite Church, encouraging and praying.  She was a gracious hostess and exceptional cook, and many were blessed to sit around her dining room table. Remember her cinnamon buns, doughnuts, hot homemade bread and rolls, dandelion salad, cookie and candy trays at Christmas, homemade potato chips, ginger snaps, pork cake, buckwheat pancakes, and Graham Cracker Fluff?

She knew who liked what and exactly how much to cook for her tribe of 60 plus. It was amazing how she could make the food for a large group come out exactly right, down to the last lima bean. Daddy did not like leftovers.

 One of her few acts of defiance-it may have been her only, was one Christmas some of the moms were complaining about the luscious homemade cookie and candy tray mother had out for the taking before the evening meal that was spoiling the little children’s appetite.  Mother picked the tray up, marched into the living room and as she announced, “I will put it out if I want to,” she stumbled, and cookie and candies went flying across the room. That made an extremely funny, and memorable memory we have all remembered-as it was so unlike her!

Mother made many quilts and baby quilts that were gifted to each of us children and grandchildren. She made many comforters for Christian Aid Ministries. When the granddaddaughters were young, mother made cute dresses for them at Christmas time. They would all line up and have their picture taken with her.

Mother was a disciplined, faithful follower of Jesus. She knew and loved the Word. Mother truly represented a woman of strength and honor. Many of you have mentioned her kind and gracious spirit.  Like the writer of Proverbs said, “Strength and dignity (honor) are her clothing -or the mantle she leaves behind. Her time has now come to rejoice

A few other links:

Graveside Service

Memorial Service

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