Celebrating Bob and Marie Hertzler

This is the story of Bob and Marie moving to Powhatan in June 1960 that I shared at Powhatan Mennonite on June 26, 2022 when we reflected on and celebrated their move from Denbigh (Newport News), Virginia to Powhatan where they knew no one.

Today we want to recognize Bob and Marie Hertzler for moving from the close knit Mennonite colony in Newport News to Powhatan 62 years ago.  Because of that move, a seed was planted for a Mennonite church, our church, right here, five years later.

Bob met Marie when he went to Eastern Mennonite High School. He recalls the day clearly. He was standing in line with his cousin to register as a junior. A beautiful girl with big brown eyes opened the door and looked in. It was a heart pounding, wow moment for Bob. He turned to his cousin and said, “Who is that girl?”  His cousin said, “Marie Kuhns”. It didn’t take long for Bob to meet Marie!

I have to tell one story from their dating.  On one of their dates Bob stopped the car on the bank of the James River. He turned to Marie and said, “Do you mind if I kiss you?” Marie responded, “I don’t care.” Bob said, “Then I won’t!” Marie said, “I never said that again!!!”

Bob was raised on a dairy farm in Denbigh and was working there when they got married. They soon moved to Fishersville, VA where he served his IW (Military Alternate Service). Moving back to Newport News, he drove a milk route. He kept smelling the earthy farming smells of tilled land, mowed hay and cows and he longed to get back into farming.

It was no longer feasible to farm in rapidly growing Newport News and those with interest in farming were setting their sights on more rural land to the west.  Bob found acreage on Mill Quarter Rd. called Fighting Creek Farm where he could build a dairy.  In June 1960, he and Marie with their two sons, Bobby and Tony, left the close-knit Mennonite Colony of Newport News and settled in a very rural Powhatan County where they knew no one. Bob said he was always impressed that Marie was willing to leave her new three-bedroom brick rancher that they built. Bob says they were very welcomed into the county and soon began to build friendships with neighbors and became an integral part of community life.

Tucked back in the woods with an almost mile long driveway they set up housekeeping in an 1800’s style Plantation House. Marie never liked the house. She felt isolated and the driveway would get very muddy. The house had very high ceilings and was impossible to heat. That fall Bob sent Marie to Richmond to buy a heater. She found a deal on a used Sieger heater with a blower. It only really kept one room somewhat warm. It was so cold in the winter and very hard with two little boys to keep warm.  

A first they alternated between First Mennonite Church in Richmond and May Memorial Baptist Church in the village where they felt very welcomed. But they longed for a local Mennonite church fellowship.  It wasn’t long until other Mennonites began moving into the area. 

Jim and Miriam Tennafoss Family

About the same time that the Hertzlers were settling in Powhatan, Jim and Miriam Tennafoss from Chesapeake moved to Amelia. They became close friends.

 In 1957, newlyweds Wally and Dorcas Schaefer had already left Denbigh and settled on a farm in Middlesex County, east of Richmond. They often traveled to Powhatan in their white Cadillac to spend the night and visit with Bob and Marie. They, too, were longing for a church fellowship. Wally was also feeling the urge to try his hand at dairy farming.

Wally, Dorcas, Trish and Carol Schaefer

In early 1961 Lloyd Weaver bought a farm on Brauer Rd and Byron and Mary Alice Hertzler moved up to farm.  The farm later was managed by the Ranck family.  In 1962, Bob’s brother, Ray, who had been in volunteer service in Florida, came to help on the farm. He later bought into the business and became a faithful, loyal partner.  By 1962, baby Cheryl had joined their family and the number of families had increased to four when Wally and Dorcas decided to move from Middlesex to Powhatan. This was an exciting time for Bob and Marie. Marie says they planned their lives together; it was wonderful to have the fellowship of kindred spirits and playmates for the children.   It became a natural thing to want to fellowship together in church.

In April of 1962 Bishop Truman Brunk from in Newport News visited the community to investigate plans to start a church. Truman was encouraged and appointed a local committee, Bryon Hertzler, Bob Hertzler and Jim Tennefoss. Marie Hertzler was appointed to keep records of the proceedings. They now had the blessing of their home church, Warwick River Mennonite, to move forward.

They found a plot of land across the road from our current location but when they went to the lawyer to sign the papers, the seller said that an addendum would be added that no black person would ever be allowed to attend the church. This was still during the time of racial segregation and tension. Bob in his wisdom and foresight said, “That will not work” and the men walked away from the purchase.

A short time later Bob was telling a neighbor about the ordeal and the neighbor said that he thought the plot across the road, our current location, might be for sale. The owner, Warner H. Ragland lived in New Jersey and had planned to move to Powhatan, but those plans fell through. They contacted Mr. Ragland and he agreed to sell. The deed was signed August 23, 1962.

On March 31, 1963, a group of 29 people including children met at Byron Hertzler’s’ home for the first Sunday School. This was a momentous occasion for the group and was the first official meeting of PMC.  At first, they rotated in homes but were anxious to have a permanent place to worship.

Drawing with names of the above picture. #1 name that is cut off is Mary Alice Hertzler.
First meeting place on Schroeder Road.

In May 1963 the group started meeting in a small cinderblock building on Schroeder Rd. owned by Bob’s dad and grandpa Hertzler. Lewis Burkholder Jr. was appointed pastor. He was a dairy farmer in Newport News and he and Helen could travel to Powhatan on Sundays between milkings to pastor the congregation. Later (June 15, 1966) they purchased a farm on Rocky Ford Road and the Burkholders moved to Powhatan.

Digging the foundation for the first church.
The women also helped.
First service was held March 28, 1965

It would be a year and a half (September 4, 1964) until the foundation was dug and construction begun. In that period of time, numerous other families had arrived; Marvin and Fern Hertzler, Nathan and Laura Layman, Sam and Dorothy Powell and their children, and Harold Alderfer. Seven months later, on March 28, 1965, the first service was held in their new building which consisted of a meeting room and six Sunday School classes. Bob and Marie’s longing and vision for a church fellowship had become a reality.

In the next three years more families and their children arrived including Art and Phoebe Ranck, Bill and Bertha Schaefer, Eli & Irene Miller, Sylvanus and Mildred Moyer which included Ronnie and Dave, and Gene Hertzler creating a vibrant, growing congregation with children and youth.

The next two pictures showing the growth and building additions of PMC.

1982: The new addition totally enclosed the original structure and included a new sanctuary, three additional classrooms, pastor’s office and bathrooms.
2013: Atrium and Gym were added.

Fortunately, Bob and Marie had the blessing and support of their family, friends, and home church, and it was natural for others to be attracted to their community. Bob and Marie, today we thank you for sensing God’s leading and following your dream. It is because of your daring and adventuresome spirit we can worship together as a church community here in Powhatan.

Bob finally got to have that kiss! He never dreamed on that long ago day that he would have many opportunities to sit on the banks of the James River with his sweetheart, just 100 miles upstream and also have a cabin there.

 I would like to end with the verse on the front of your bulletin. I think it very fitting as we reflect on the impact of Bob and Marie’s life and the future of PMC. This is not their church and I have never heard them claim it to be. They had a longing and vision, and that vision will continue long after they are gone.

2017

He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6

When Life Throws A Curve Ball

Sometime life reminds me of the games we used to play. Remember in “Monopoly” how we tried to buy and improve our status in life and not go to jail! We even borrowed money from the bank!!! In “Candy Land” we rolled the dice to move forward and then, oops, we’d slide backward. In “Uncle Wiggly” we moaned when we had to go back to the start. “Rook” betted on a successful partner and being dealt a good hand or having the skill to make a bad hand good. In “Sorry” you joyfully moved forward by pretending you were so sorry to send the other players back to home base. In all games your goal is to win, come out the champ, even at the expense of others! How we win depends on a strange mixture of skill and luck.

In baseball, a pitcher throws a curve ball in the middle of a series of good pitches to throw the batter off balance. It is slower than a fast pitch and curves downward before reaching home plate making the batter swing too early or over the top of the curveball. It usually does not end well for the batter. Life is full of curve balls. Sometimes they come out of nowhere catching us off guard and sometimes we see it happening and try to stop the ploy. Sometimes it is easy to go with the swing and other times it sends us sprawling.

Our Curve Balls

Gene Got Covid:

This has been a difficult spring for us. It started mid-January with Gene getting covid. It didn’t go well for him and he ended up with pneumonia in the hospital. He is still dealing with some long-term covid issues but is steadily improving.

Pat’s First Fall:

In mid-March on a rainy Saturday morning, I stepped out of the house with my umbrella to walk to our store to work. I usually ride the golf cart but it was raining to hard and I thought I’d stay drier walking with an umbrella. I slipped on the wet grass and after a few very undignified acrobatic maneuvers stumbled over my umbrella which had ended upside down in front of me. My left foot flew forward, hyper-extending my leg and tearing my ham string and calf muscle. It was an extremely painful fall and I had to have help getting up and back into the house. That fall resulted in a trip to the Ortho Emergency Center, a full leg brace, two huge black bruises and weeks of therapy.

On May 12 (Thursday), I completed my physical therapy with a certificate from my therapist. I had spent most of the winter in therapy due to issues with my arthritic feet. Their last words to me as I went out the door was “We love seeing you, but be careful and don’t come back”! I happily walked out the door, never to return.

Mother’s Day

Three days later on Sunday, May 15, (Mother’s Day) my husband planned a surprise for me. We went to Charlottesville after church and ate lunch with our daughter Jill and family at the Michie Tavern on the road leading up the mountain to Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. It was a cold, fun day filled with a delicious buffet lunch and family time. I felt loved and blessed.

Michie Tavern

Pat’s Second Fall:

Arriving home I had a few things to carry into the house; a grocery bag full of puzzles, a stack of empty egg cartons and two small packages that were in our mailbox. Nothing heavy, just an arm full of stuff! I proceeded to take them straight to the laundry which is down two steps from the kitchen so that they would be ready to take to the store in the morning.

Life threw a wild curve ball and I did not see it coming. I am not sure exactly what happened but I fell down those steps with my legs straight out in front of me. Gene heard the commotion and said, “Did you fall?” What was I too say? I am laying there on the floor moaning!

The pain was excruciating and my ankle immediately swelled. I could not stand for him to touch the skin on my foot. He finally was able to get me up to sit on the bottom step. I instantly felt sick on my stomach and passed out. I awoke to him saying, “Are you awake”?

It was quite the ordeal to get me to my lazy boy in the living room. He thought my ankle was badly sprained because of the way it swelled so fast but I wasn’t so sure. The ortho practice that we go to has an emergency center twelve miles down the road. We really wanted to go there instead of the ER at the hospital. They are so much more efficient and they have access to my history and ortho doctor. After checking the hours on the internet we discovered they had already closed for the evening so we decided to wait until morning and I hopped with a broom handle to bed.

Long story short, I broke my ankle and needed to have two screws surgically implanted. The pictures below are the before and after surgery.

Break is to the right of the plus sign on the left
Look at those two long bad boy screws!

I have six weeks of non-weight bearing and four additional weeks of a walking boot. To my great embarrassment I had to contact my physical therapist and let him know I would be coming back to see him.

My real cast after my post -op surgery visit.

Fall Risk:

I was laying on the bed being prepped for ankle surgery and the nurse asked, “Have you fallen any other time in the last six month?” After my answer, she quickly left the room and came back with a bright yellow arm band that said, “Fall Risk”! Fall risk-now I am labeled and banded along with being handicapped! I wonder if it will help to wear it all the time?

The Restrictions:

I am to prop up my leg as much as possible and no weight bearing for six weeks. That means the injured foot is not to touch the ground. That has taken some figuring out. I can not use the leg buggy as I had a double knee replacement three years ago and I can not bear to kneel or put weight on my knees.

The Consequences:

How was I going to deal with such a handicap during our busy season in the store, a newly planted garden, a yard to mow, a house to care for and all the other things I do???? After some trial and error, I finally got it figured out. I use a combination of walker and crutches in the house but when I go to our store or away from the house I use the wheelchair. I have two wheelchairs; one I keep in the trunk of my car and the other in the store.

Gene built me a ramp into the side of the store. I can drive the golf cart up the ramp and into the feed room where I have a wheelchair parked and waiting. I do not have to navigate steps inside the store which would be impossible for me. A few other adjustments had to be made but it is a very workable situation and I can do it by myself.

Those who have experienced this can identify. When you can’t put weight on one foot, you can’t carry things or do steps. The walker and crutches is extremely tiring and makes my arm muscles ache.

Caring Family and Friends:

I have been blessed with caring family and friends who have come to my aide. I suddenly have felt very needy. There are so many things that I need help with or that need to be done. Our church family and friends have brought food. Our daughter Jill came for several days and worked on the flower beds and garden. My brother Rich Heatwole came twice for several days and so did friends Dwight and Linda Burkholder. They helped to make deliveries, fix a concrete dock, replaced broken stair trend in the house from where I fell, fixed meals, went grocery shopping, replaced my bird feeder, and numerous other projects. Gene had a to-do-list and every single thing on it got done!

Jill hoeing the garden
Dwight replacing stair tread that broke when I fell.
Rich and Dwight fixing a dock at the store that needed repairs.
Dwight replacing a broken bird feeder post
Fixing supper

Memorial Day:

Over Memorial Day week, Obe and Jill and most of the grandkids came and pulled weeds in the garden, flower beds, trimmed the roses, weeded the blackberries, weeded, picked and mulched the asparagus, mulched and pruned the tomatoes, picked strawberries, mowed the lawn, got the patio furniture out of the storage building and power washed it. It was a good day and so much got done.

Jill trimming the roses.
Obe power washing the patio furniture
Ryan working on the blackberries
kitchen crew
More kitchen crew
Grandkids and someone special!
Jill wanted some railroad ties.
The Hostetters went home with a trailer load of railroad ties to redo her raised garden beds.
All I could do was haul the gang around and watch!

Karla Hostetter stayed for the week and helped me in the store and did a thousand other small jobs. When you have to have someone else do everything you do, it seems like so much work; water the plants, pick up stuff, take out trash, pick strawberries, lettuce, onions and wash them, go to the mailbox, run to the grocery store, run Gene Hertzler between fields with equipment , empty the dishwasher, do the laundry, fix a meal, gather eggs, wind the grandfather clock, and the list goes on and on. It is things I just do and don’t give it a second thought. I don’t consider it work but as I watched others do it, it felt different!!!!!

One evening Karla and Lauren make chocolate truffles, a family favorite.

Grandson Ryan

Four days after I broke my ankle, Ryan broke his big toe playing soccer. I could hardly believe it when I got the call! The break looked very similar to mine but he only has to wear a walking boot as it is not weight bearing. I am very jealous of him. It hasn’t slowed him down except he can’t drive! For him, that is a real big bummer!!!

Another Curve Ball Complication:

In the midst of my ordeal, my main and faithful employee, Summer, had to have surgery to remove her thyroid. This was a much needed, must do surgery that had been scheduled for several months. This really had us scrapping for help. Two of our granddaughters, Lauren and Karla, and a friend Amy have graciously come to help in the store. It is working out well and we are making it. Fortunately I had ten days after surgery to recuperate before Summer had her surgery.

From A Grandma’s Perspective:

When our grandchildren were little they said and did the cutest things. I wrote some of them down and called them “Grandma’s Perspective”. I applied a spiritual perspective to most of them. This reminded me of “The Game of Life” post I wrote about our granddaughter Karla on February 15, 2004. It is a different take than the above but I felt this was a good time to share it.

“The Game of Life”

Jill and I were playing a game and Karla did not want to play with her toys on the floor or sit in her musical swing. She did however want to be on our laps where she was in the middle of the activity and was very intrigued with the colorful houses and cards.    At four months of age, she has no concept of a game or the ability to play in a grownup way.   Houses are to throw on the floor and cards are intended to be low calorie food. Karla is learning and does not miss much her observant eyes. 

Children learn from what they are taught, observe what they see and repeat what they hear. Habits are acquired, attitudes learned, morals developed, and values imitated. 

Life is like a game.  Sometimes my game plan does not work.  Sometimes my move sends me back to go or down a slide. Sometimes the throw of dice is not what I wanted.  Sometimes I draw the winning card.  The important thing is not the game but how I played.

Did I have fun?

Did I rejoice when someone else succeeded?

Did I cheat?

Did I get mad if I lost? 

Did I have a good attitude when things did not go my way? 

Did I get arrogant when I won?

Want to know how you are doing?  Watch your children play.

May I say with the writer of Proverbs 4: 10-13….. “ Hear, my son (child), and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many.  I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths.  When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble.  Take firm hold of instruction; do not let her go; keep her, for she is your life.”

Pickles is a Mommy

This morning was the anticipated day. Pickles became the mommy of three little kittens. We had been watching her full, rounded belly and knew it would be any day.

One is yellow and looks like Pickles, one is a calico with spots of yellow on its head and the third one is mostly black. It is obviously that she had a visit from the neighbors male cat!
One is yellow and looks like Pickles, one is a calico

She had snuck into one of the feed rooms in the store, found the perfect spot-a narrow box sitting on its side on the top shelf. When Summer opened up the room this morning and turned on the light she made herself known. Bubble wrap in the box made a soft cushiony pillow for her little fluff balls.

Pickles was obviously pleased with herself and wanted us to know about the kitts. She let us hold them with some fussing, meowing that we be very careful and under the glare of her watchful eye. Gene was going to turn her box over so that she had more room and put it on the bottom shelf but she made it clear that she was not going to allow that.

For now she is in a safe place and at a spot we can keep watch over her and love on her kittens. That is until she decides to move them!

Congratulations Pickles. You did a good job.

David and Goliath

Earlier this week (February 23, 2022) Fox News had a very insightful comparison between the military might of Russia and Ukraine. The graph speaks for itself, but I instantly thought, this is like David and Goliath! All week I have been praying with that thought in mind. Today I have heard several news reporters use the same comparison and at church today one of the men shared his concern for the situation and asked for prayer, referring to it as like David and Goliath.

The story of David and Goliath in I Samuel 17 is fascinating. David was anointed king of Israel by Samuel at a very young age, but it would be fifteen years before he was inauguration King of Israel. In the meantime, he tended his father’s sheep and went to Saul’s palace to play the harp whenever an evil spirit came over Saul. The Israelites were preparing for war as the Philistines had surrounded their nation and was threatening to attack.

One day Jesse, David’s father, sent him to check on his three older brothers who were in Saul’s army and deliver a care package from home of dried grain and ten loaves of bread and ten cheeses for the captains of the army. When David arrived, he found the army hyped, shouting, and ready to attack in battle formation with the Philistines on one mountain and the Israelites on another with a valley in between.

The champion of the Philistine army was a tyrant, a giant named Goliath, who stood between 9-10 feet tall. He stood on the Philistine’s side of the mountain dressed in a full body bronze armor yelling taunts and challenging the Israelites to a fight. His spear was approximately 13′ long and weighed about 33 lbs. Whoever lost would be the servants of the other. The Israelites were dreadfully afraid and quaking in their army boots.

The young lad David saw Goliath’s insults as defying the armies of the Living God. David’s words were reported to Saul who asked to speak with David. David presented his case and said, “Let no man’s heart fail because of that giant. I will go and fight him.”

Saul was horrified. He said, “You are a youth and this man has been a warrior since his youth”. I don’t know how David managed to convince King Saul but God was with David and Saul finally let him go. Suddenly the whole future of Israel was squarely on the shoulders of a young lad versus a menacing giant.

David took his shepherd’s bag, staff and sling and on his way stopped by a brook and picked up five smooth stones.

Gebhard Fugel (1863-1939), “David and Goliath” (photo: Public Domain)

When Goliath saw David coming, he was filled with rage and disdain. Goliath yelled, “Am I just a dog that you come to me with a stick. Come on, I will feed your flesh to the birds and wild beasts”. And David said, “I come to you in the name of the Lord of host, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have defied. This day God will deliver you into my hand and I will strike you.”

I think of the song we sang as children…. “Only A Boy Named David”. David put one little stone in the sling and it went round and round and the giant came tumbling down. It only took one stone!

Is this a David and Goliath situation? I am praying for the people of Ukraine to trust in God and stand even when it seems impossible. I saw a picture of Christians in Ukraine kneeling in front of their capital praying.

I saw a video on fb of Ukrainian Christians in Kiev who sought protection in an underground subway tunnel singing hymns. I read a clip on that said Ukraine sends out more missionaries to other European countries and Eastern Asia than any other country.

The military facts are startling and there seems no way Ukraine can humanly win against the haughty, mighty Russian army unless…. unless they (we) call on the name of the Lord against the one who has defied Him before the whole world.

David versus Goliath. It’s not just a cute children’s story. We know Ukraine is a corrupt country but so is every nation in the world. What if the impossible could happen and the name of God could be lifted high for the world to see. What if the tyrant could fall because of the prayers of Christians? What if….

Some things I ponder:

  • What is the heart of Jesus in all this conflict and aggression.
  • How do I respond to and pray for the Russian people who are against the position of their leader and the aggression against the Ukraine?
  • How would I respond to war in my land, against our home and government?
  • As a Christian who believes Jesus taught peace respond when a tyrant boldly attacks innocent people and destroys their homes and livelihoods?

These and others are hard questions. We need to seek the heart of Jesus, maybe not so much to seek our answers but to seek his response. I pray especially for the Christians on both sides of the conflict.

Kat Has A New Name

Kat is developing the habit of getting herself into pickles, precarious situations that she can’t get herself out of that are usually high off the ground. Today Summer again heard the distressed call…”meow, meow” and went looking for her.

And there she was, up in the eaves of a shed with no way to get down. She kept looking for a way down but the rafters prevented her from going to the next eave. Poor pitiful Kat was meowing for help!

Again we got the ladder out and rescued our the little fraidy cat! She really wasn’t up that high-maybe seven or eight feet but it was high enough she wasn’t going to jump. The only way we could see that she got up there was to climb one of the posts but she appeared unable to go to the next eave and there was no eave close to her!

When Kat appeared at our doorstep we couldn’t figure out what to call her and until we could up with a name we called her Kat. The name has stuck until today. I have now decided she is Pickles. Pickles Kat.

We had a book when the children were little called “The Fire Cat” by Esther Averill. It was about a cat named Pickles that climbed a tree and couldn’t get down. His owner, Mrs. Goodkind, had to call the fire department to rescue him. He ended up going to the fire house to live. He learned to slide down the pole, ride on the fire truck, helped unroll the fire hose and rode on the seat with the fire chief. The children loved the book and I read it many, many times. I think the name seems rather fitting to me!

Other adventures of Kat:

The Pecan Man

This was a good pecan producing year. Some years are, some years aren’t. We picked up buckets and buckets of pecans. Summer and I shelled at least one 5-gallon bucket full. Over Christmas a bunch of the family went out and in a short time gathered six more 5-gallon buckets full. Suddenly the task looked overwhelming.

We have one tree that produces small pecans. They are good and meaty but difficult to crack. Years ago I had gotten an electric table top cracker which I liked but back then we had three trees and the nuts were larger. The cracker can not be adjusted down for the small size of these nuts.

When mama starts thinking watch out! I have some cousins in South Carolina who grow grooves of pecans and have a large nut cracker. I talked to them about paying them a visit and cracking my nuts. But before I got that accomplished, a friend (sales rep) from North Carolina was here and mentioned one of his neighbors has a nut cracker and did some nuts for him. Wilson, NC is a lot closer than Denmark, SC.

So today my friend, Donna, and I took a road trip to Wilson, North Carolina to the “Pecan Man” with 111 pounds of homegrown pecans in tow. It was a fun day and made for an interesting “field trip”.

Jr. Etheridge has two crackers. One for large nuts and one for small. Surprisingly, mine qualified for the large cracker.

He poured the nuts into metal baskets and then set them into hot water for a few minutes until they came to a full boil.
After boiling, they set the basket aside to drain a few minutes before pouring them into the cracker.

I found it very interesting that they boiled the pecans before cracking. They said it makes them crack better. I had never heard that in all our years of raising pecans.

The inside of the cracker. A motor turns the shaft and the beaters break open the nuts. It is amazing they leave the nuts whole.
The Pecan Man’s helper. The crackers are inside those wooden boxes. Large on the left, small on the right.

The pecan’s drop into the chute after they are cracked and take the elevator ride up to the sifter which separates most of the shells from the nut. I still will have to sort out the rest of the shells-every tiny little piece.

Cracked pecans coming out the chute.
Beautiful. The Pecan Man said the end yield is about 60%.
The trash!
I ended up with three of these boxes almost full. 65 pounds of nuts.

There are still pieces pf shells in the nuts and we will have to pick through them and clean out the trash. It was suggested to pour the nuts on a bath towel to sort out the trash from the nuts. The little pieces of shell will stick to the towel making it easier! Oh how sweet those little tidbits of info were! When I was cracking the nuts at home, we had a hard time getting them out as halves. I was amazed how big my halves looked!

They told me a true story, just in case I didn’t know! One person took their nuts home and made a pie just like you see them in the box! They discovered the horror of shells in their pie!!!

The Pecan Man’s waiting bench. It really did not take long. We were probably there an hour.
Jr. Etheridge the Pecan Man!

I enjoyed our short visit with these two guys. They were interesting characters and had a funny sense of humor. It was obvious they love what they do and their hangout was full of interesting signs.

It was obvious we were in Dale Earnhardt country.

Going home Donna got thinking and asked me how much these pecans ended up costing me. It was two hour, 20 minute ride one way so my gas bill was $39.00. He charges 50 cents a pound to crack. I also had to feed Donna! I figure they ended up costing me about $1.50 a pound. We had a fun day, I went home happy with 65 pounds of shelled nuts and I was saved a lot of work. It was so worth it and I will go back again next pecan harvest!

When Covid Hits Home

I guess it is time to write this post. I just didn’t have it in me to write earlier. Gene has Covid and has been really sick but I am so very grateful he is now improving. Here is our story….. it has been quite a trip.

This past Thursday Gene was admitted to St. Francis Hospital with pneumonia in both lungs and low oxygen levels due to Covid. We knew he had Covid, he was under a doctor’s care and had tested positive, but he just didn’t seem to be getting better. During the ten Covid days, he had two different rounds of antibiotics for the fluid in his lungs which was settling into pneumonia. It turned out he had viral pneumonia and the antibiotics were doing no good. He was running fever, coughing, had congestion, and no energy. They were trying to keep him out of the hospital. He was watching his oxygen levels and on Thursday morning it was 82. Under 90 is danger. It was time to be admitted to the hospital.

We have now experienced the current state of the art health care experience! After checking him in I had to leave. It is hard leaving when your man looks so rough. The staff was really nice and did their best but there were no rooms available. He spent Thursday morning until Saturday evening in his “suite” in the ER. That had its own challenges and was not pleasant but at least he did have medical care. The bed in the ER is not comfortable, there are no personal toilets, you are under the care of emergency care staff not experienced Covid professionals and there was almost no room for your personal belongings. Your personal stuff had to lay on your bed. He was tattered to the bed so trying to use a laptop or keep his phone charged was challenging. The ER is equipped for stabilizing emergencies and getting the patient into the hands of the proper medical professionals. By Thursday evening they had not given him anything to eat. His blood sugar spiked because of the steroids they were giving him and lack of food. I went to Arbys and got him two roast beef sandwiches and curly fries. They don’t normally feed patients in the ER and weren’t in any hurry to find him some! I slipped into the ER and asked the staff to give Gene my care package which they did. I was not allowed into the hospital so I could not stay with or help him. I mostly understand but hate the policy as it is so vital for a family member to help loved ones with their care. They need an advocate, encourager and someone to pick up the Gatorade that just fell off his bed or plug in the lap top to charge.

Finally, on Saturday evening he was given a room on the Covid floor. That was so much better. The nurses actually had answers to questions and were not evasive. They knew the symptoms they were looking for and what to do. They were reassuring and encouraging. His nurse said, “I have never lost a patient that was vaccinated. I have lost some who weren’t.” It was amazing how positive that statement sounded. Gene had his vaccinations.

This afternoon oxygen was delivered to the house and I got to bring him home. He has to quarantine for twenty-one days. We think most of that is to protect him because I do not have to quarantine any more.

Meanwhile, I was at home answering the phone, text messages, emails, and keeping the home fires burning. It is amazing how many extra small things I had to do or think about. Tim is having to adjust his time to feed the cows, Steve took calves to the livestock market and beef to Farmville to be butchered. Daughter Jill came to keep me company and be my moral support. We played “Splendor” and put several puzzles together.

Mom’s Pantry-1000 piece puzzle
Yoga Cats-1000 piece puzzle

The ironical thing is there are nine people in my immediate family that have Covid right now. None of our three families have been together.

Getting Covid leaves its own set of questions with few answers. All are affected differently, all have different symptoms even within family units. The vaccinated and unvaccinated, masked and unmasked, young and old all get it. Health status, gender or age does not seem to matter. And would you believe, it does not know the difference between a Republican and a Democrat!!! Was Gene’s serious case lessened because he was vaccinated? Why haven’t I gotten it from Gene? Now we wonder if the sinus congestion I had five days before he got sick was Covid. It is very suspicious, especially since I haven’t gotten it from him. If I did, no one else who was around me got it. We wonder why we have been sick more this winter than we have in years and years. Several weeks ago we both had a Covid scare but tested positive for Type A Flu. I was even vaccinated for the flu and pneumonia for the first time this year. Did they make a difference? In September I had Cough Asthma. I have never had Asthma. Why now? The questions are many and the answers are few. Who knows? Who knows?

There is one thing for which I am so grateful and that is a loving supportive family, friends and church family. When we are ill, we pray for one another. There is so much comfort and strength that comes from the care of other people. When Gene was admitted to the hospital our family and church was very concerned. Our church called for a time of prayer at 2 that afternoon for him. I was amazed how quickly that information spread and I heard from friends from all over Virginia and Pennsylvania and beyond who joined the call to pray. God hears, He knows even before we pray. Things don’t always work out the way we wish even when we pray, but that doesn’t mean God has turned a deaf ear. God tells us to bring our petitions, desires and needs to Him. Yahweh God, the great “I Am that I Am” is also the God Who Sees and Hears. (Genesis 16: 11-14)

In my devotions this year I am centering on names and attributes of God, Jesus, and their meaning. This week I have read the following script multiple times, soaking in the truth and reality of who God is. I reaffirmed my trust, faith and praise in the eternal God, my Heavenly Father. I expressed my desire for total healing for Gene. But if that was not to be, I said I would still trust, praise and have faith.

I can not claim authorship of this piece or even give credit to who wrote it, but I can claim its truth. I did find it on the Bible.org website; no author is attributed to it.

God is….

God is Lord Almighty, Omnipotent King, Lion of Judah, Rock of Ages, Prince of Peace, Kings of Kings, Lord of Lords, Provider, Protector, Paternal Leader, Ruling Lord and Reigning King of all the universe.

He is Father, Helper, Guardian, and God. He is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End. He is the keeper of creation and the Creator of all He keeps. The architect of the universe and the Manager of all times.

He always was, is, and will be: Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and never Undone. He was bruised and brought healing. He was pierced and eased pain. He was persecuted and brought freedom, He was dead and brought life, He is risen and brings power. he reigns and brings peace.

The world can not understand Him, the armies can not defeat Him, the schools can not explain Him and the leaders can not ignore Him. Herod could not kill Him, the Pharisees could not confuse Him, the people could not hold Him! Negro could not crush Him, Hitler could not silence Him, the New Age can not replace Him and Donahue cannot explain Him away!

He is light, love, longevity, and Lord. He is goodness, kindness, gentleness, and God. He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure. His ways are right, His word is eternal, His will is unchanging, and His mind is on me! He is my Redeemer, He is my Savior, He is my guide, He is my peace, He is my joy, He is my comfort, He is my Lord and He rules my life.

I serve Him because His bond is love, His burden is light, and His goal for me is abundant life. I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise, the power of the powerful, the ancient of days, the ruler of rulers, the leader of leaders, the overseer of the overcomes, and the sovereign Lord of all that was, is, and is to come.

And if that seems impressive to you, try this for size. His goal is a relationship with ME! He will never leave me, forsake me, mislead me, forget me, overlook me, and never cancel my appointment in His appointment book!

When I fall, He lifts me up. When I fail, He forgives me. When I am weak, He is strong. When I am lost, He is the Way. When I am afraid, He is my courage. When I stumble, He steadies me. When I am hurt, He heals me. When I am broken, He mends me. When I am blind, He leads me. When I am hungry, He feeds me. When I face trials, He is with me. When I face persecution, He stills me. When I face problems, he comforts me. When I face loss, He provides for me. When I face death, he carries me home!

He is everything for everybody, everywhere, every time, and in every way. He is God. He is faithful, I am His, and He is mine. My Father in heaven can whip the father of this world, and so, if you’re wondering why I feel so secure, understand this: He said, I believe it, and that settles it.

God is in control, I am on His side, and that means all is well with my soul.

Kat Rides in the Tractor

Gene went out to feed the cows and there was Kat sleeping on the tractor seat. Gene had left the back window part way open and she apparently scampered up the back tire and scouted out this thing that daddy seems to like to ride off in every day. Kat can be no where around but if Gene comes in and stops by the house in the tractor, Kat comes running. She knows she will get rubbed and fed.

During the day when the sun is shining, she likes to bask in the sun on the upstairs door stoop where she can scope out the land and watch what is happening on the farm and when her daddy comes home for lunch. She seems to be partial to high places!

Your Royal Highness!

Gene shut the window and took Kat on a ride with him to feed the cows. She looked out the window and messed around on the floor. When Gene opened the window so he could see to back up, Kat escaped and off she scampered on adventure.

After feeding the cows, Gene walked around checking on the cows. It wasn’t long until Kat came tip toeing back through the cow lot looking for him.

I wish I had pictures of Kat’s adventure, but I didn’t know about it until later.

The other adventures of Kat:

Kat On the Tin Roof
Kat On the Tin Roof-Part 2

Cornbread

This is a cornbread recipe you can’t stop eating!

I usually date the recipes I get from friends but I did not record that interesting info on my card. Years ago (probably in the late 80’s or early 90’s) we were invited to Peter and Jean Biehn’s home for supper one bitter cold, snowy, windy evening. It was all you could do to want to go out, but out we went. They lived in a big older style farm house in the village of Cartersville. The main heat in the house was a roaring fire in the fireplace. I remember it as being cold but the fellowship was wonderful and the food scrumptious. Jean fixed chili bean soup and cornbread for supper. I was never a fan of cornbread but that night I could not stop eating. I had to have that recipe! I have been a fan of cornbread ever since!

Jean shared it with me and I have been making it every winter ever since. It was worth going out to get that recipe. Thanks Jean. I think of you every time I make this recipe and your precious family.

Tonight I made beef stew and cornbread for supper. It is a cold night, but not like the night mentioned above. It was a wonderful, satisfying supper.

Print Recipe
The Best Cornbread Ever
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. 9"x13" rectangle cake pan (greased).
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Butter Cream sugar and softened butter together.
  • 2 Eggs Add one at a time and beat well.
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder Add
  • 1/2 tsp Salt Add
  • 1-1/2 ` cup cornmeal
  • 1-1/2 cup flour
  • 1-1/2 cup milk Add the cornmeal, flour and milk and beat until smoth.
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Butter Cream sugar and softened butter together.
  • 2 Eggs Add one at a time and beat well.
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder Add
  • 1/2 tsp Salt Add
  • 1-1/2 ` cup cornmeal
  • 1-1/2 cup flour
  • 1-1/2 cup milk Add the cornmeal, flour and milk and beat until smoth.
Instructions
  1. Half recipe will do an 8"x8" pan.

Puzzles: 2020-2021

I think I have become addicted to puzzles! For me they are not only fun, but also very relaxing. When I start one, I can hardly stop until it is put together. I have sleeked off to bed in the wee hours of the night quite a few times.

Let the fun begin!!!

Last year the ladies at church had a puzzle table where we all contributed our puzzles and shared them around. We had to have some kind of entertainment during covid!!! It was a lot of fun and we collected a significate amount of puzzles. This spring when it was time to move them out, I took them home and made a puzzle shelf in our store as most did not want their puzzles back. You can borrow a puzzle just like checking out a book in the library. Feel free to stop by the store and help yourself.

2021 Puzzles

This was a gorgeous picture when I finally got it done. It almost stumped me as there was too much birch tree!
General Store
Map of Virginia
Butterfilies
Farm Country Eggs

Ice-Cream Parlor
Flock of hens in barnyard

Cabin with water wheel
The Presidents
Horse and buggy with covered bridge and cows
Horse, barn and picket fence
Log Cabin

Puzzles from 2020

Shaped puzzle-Cabin with wild animals
Market with quilts and ducks
Valley Farm with Amish children
House on pond with geese and dogs-Sunset
Horse Farm
Sweet Corn and Summer Dreams

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