Bye Mommy

When loved ones are dying, it changes our life perspective and makes us think about heaven… a lot. We watch them cling to the earthly while the heavenly begins to pull stronger.

I was reminded recently of a blog post I wrote about my granddaughter Lauren in January 2004. It seems appropriate to post now.

Lauren was running as fast as her little legs could carry her to my house.  But every few steps she would stop, turn back towards Mommy standing on her front porch just across the drive, clinch and unclench her fist to wave, and say, “Bye Mommy.”  The pull to the comfort and love of Grandma’s house was huge, but to leave Mommy for even a small time was also a big deal. The moment she was in the door she no longer looked back.

It reminds me of our life struggle. My desire to see Jesus and to live with Him forever has me running full steam ahead while the love of the present has me strongly anchored to earth’s soil.  God has prepared a heavenly city with precious stones.  A mansion is waiting with streets of gold.  There is a river of life flowing with crystal clear, nourishing, everlasting water.  The banquet table, laden with food, is set. There is a tree bearing life-giving fruit every month.  The heavenly garments are washed pure white.  But my shoestrings are firmly knotted to my anchors. 

How can one say goodbye to loved ones?

How could my family get along without me?

Who will complete my unfinished work? 

Who will cherish my treasures?

I want to see my granddaughters grow up and hold their babies.

I love my husband and cherish our time together.

I still have things to do, places to go and words to say.

The pull towards the comfort of my heaven home is huge.  Father God is there. I often look to the sky and wonder when Jesus will return.  To leave earth is also a big deal even though Scripture reminds us over and over that our time here is temporal and fleeting. I am strongly rooted and attached to the things of this earth. God has created within us a desire for fellowship and belonging.  God blessed the creation of male and female and commanded us to be stewards of the earth, to be fruitful and multiply.  Jesus commanded us to make disciples in every nation.   I am grateful it is not for me to decide when my task is done.

Titus challenges us to keep a proper perspective while on earth, “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)  When God beckons, my shoelaces will snap and I will go; I will not look back for I shall see His face.

Going to Kindergarten

When a five year old gets ready to enter kindergarten, it is a big deal for Mommy and especially when it is your first child.  Our daughter Jill was having a talk with Karla about this new grand adventure she could hardly wait to begin.  The conversation went like this.

Jill:  “Now you know that when you go to school, Mommy will stay home but you are a big girl and will go all by yourself….”

Karla:  “That’s ok.  Jesus will go with me.”

Jill:  “That’s right, but what about Mommy?  She will be home all by herself.”

Karla thought for a moment and said, “Well, you can have Moses!”

Moses!  Karla gets Jesus but Mommy has to settle for Moses!  Maybe she thought Mommy needed someone to lead her around so she wouldn’t get lost!

Later in the day Jill decided to pursue the conversation a little further and explain how Jesus could be with Karla at kindergarten and home with her all at the same time.  After listening to her mom’s theological explanation of the omnipresence of Jesus, Karla said, “that’s okay, Mommy.  I’ll take Jesus for two hours and then you can have Him for two hours.”

October 14, 2008

2021

And now, all of a sudden, this lovely girl is getting ready to graduate from high school and on to bigger and better things. Where have the years gone? Jesus has been and will continue to go with her. It is exciting to watch her mature into a young lady who has a passion and heart for God.

Blessings to you, Karla.

Love Grandma

Cute Sayings by the Grandkids

When my grandkids were little I wrote down some of the cute things they said.

I love this picture with my three granddaughters

Caught pictures of Emily, Lauren, Karla and Ryan playing Hide and Seek. They were so cute. (2008).

Counting…playing hide and seek.
Anticipating …ready or not, here I come

This is my collection from granddaughter, Emily Nicole:

  • Emily had just completed a week of Chorale Camp at Rosedale Bible School and her mother took her out for breakfast to have some mother & daughter time alone.  She asked Emily how she enjoyed camp.  Emily responded, “Didn’t I tell you about it last year?”  That was the end of that conversation-there was nothing more Emily had to say.  July 2009

This is my collection from granddaughter, Lauren Anne:

  • Lauren was riding with us to church and out of the blue she said, “Grandpa, will you forgive me for not being your grandson?”  We were just stunned at her question and on further questioning her mother had written in her baby book that grandpa was hoping for a grandson!!!!  July 2009

This is my collection from granddaughter, Karla Grace:

  • July 2009: Karla to Lauren after a tiff with Emily: “I don’t think you’re very good sisters. I really like it when you’re GOOD sisters.” 
  • August 7, 2009 According to Karla, “The beach is lots of fun. But coming home is even MORE fun.”  
  • May 3, 2010 Obe said, “When I don’t know the answer to a question, Karla just tells me she will ask God. She is quiet for a while and then tells me what she thought God said…..
  • November 2011: The following email was sent to Karla’s daddy from her teacher at public school: “HI Obe.  I just love Karla… she has a heart of gold!  While the kids were talking about their lists for Christmas gifts, of course everyone has such materialistic items.  But Karla just asks for Jesus to forgive her of her sins.  She has a very special heart and relationship with the Lord. Great for her!” 
  • September 7, 2011: Jill posted on facebook….Karla was chosen to be on the bus safety committee. She gets to learn how to use the 2-way radio, set the parking brake and all kinds of cool stuff so she can help in case of an emergency. Today her duty was to keep order on the bus for the substitute driver and let him know where to stop. Hah. She came home and said, “Mom, I had to use my SERIOUS voice and some of the boys STILL didn’t listen.” It’s only beginning, hon, it’s only beginning.

This is my collection from grandson Ryan Darrel:

  • January, 2009: Karla (5) and Ryan (3) were arguing about what happened to the snow. Finally Ryan figured it out and adamantly explained, “I know!  God ate it!”  Of course, he insists he is right.
  • May 18, 2010  Ryan told his daddy….that God helps lift him up so he could jump higher (on the trampoline) . He asked me to watch as he jumped high and can now see over our neighbor’s fence.
  • May 29, 2010  Ryan graduated from pre K yesterday. Today he wanted to know when Church stops. Does he graduate from Church?
  • June 25, 2010: Ryan spent several days at our house.  The first night when I was tucking him in bed he said, “there are monsters in your house-there they are (pointing out the door) and they are very scary! 
  • June 27, 2010:  When I tucked him in bed he said, “I don’t need to say my prayers. God came down out of the sky today and talked to me and I prayed then.”
  • August 2010:  Ryan’s great-grandma Heatwole took him shopping for his “resting blanket” for Pre-K.  As they looking at the blankets, grandmother asked him which one he wanted.  He said, “let me get my list.”  He reached into his pocket and pulled out a piece of paper on which he had written the colors  he wanted in his blanket with crayon marks of the color beside the word.  He said, “…Red, check, blue, check, green, check…till he named all the colors.  Then he pointed to the rainbow blanket and said, “that is the one I want.”  He had done the paper totally on his own and unbeknown to his mother!  Later in the van with his mother and his new rest blanket for pre-K, she heard Ryan say, “abracadabra, put us in Daddy’s car. Bam!” and then, a very disappointed, “Mom, it didn’t work. I picked the rainbow blanket because rainbows are supposed to be magic!”
  • September 8, 2010 Mom’s report on Ryan at PreK:  Ryan was SO excited about his new underwear that he just had to share the excitement with his classmates. According to Ry, this led to a “show-and-tell” and at least one little boy dropped his drawers to show off his undies. Which of course led to a lesson in modesty from the teacher. Ms. Michaels, I am SO sorry (and SO glad it was you and not me!)
  • November 3, 2010:  Ryan announced this evening to his mother… “Mommy, my pants keep falling down. You need to buy me a butt.”
  • November 22, 2010:  Ryan’s theology: I asked God why he made thorns and he said, “It’s part of nature.” and I said, but why? and God said, “It’s so people remember to wear shoes!”
  • September 4, 2011: When Ryan grows up, he wants to go to a church with children’s church, “so my children do not annoy me.”
  • October 5, 2011: Ryan is such a care-giver. At school, it is his responsibility to take classmates to the the school nurse (he knows the way all too well). But he’s added a new twist. His teacher says he prays for each one when he takes them…… “And a little child will lead them” Isaiah 11:6
  • September 9, 2012 on Jill Hostetter’s blog…This morning I experienced 15 of the most scary moments of my life as a Mommy. Ryan disappeared. I need to start with a disclaimer: I don’t panic easily when my kids are “missing”. Because honestly I have lost them too many times before. There was the day in JCPenny when Ryan walked off because I practically dared him, “You stay right there!” and turned my back to make the point. Yeah. I counted to ten, turned around and he was gone. I will say JCPenny amazed me with their rapid response, with all entrances sealed, and he was back at my side in 2 minutes. Or the time in Kohls when Karla was about 3. She was easier to find, because the sales clerk a few rows over in lingerie was giggling uncontrollably. Karla had a triple D bra over her head like a hat. And yes the cup was larger than her tiny head. And there was the time in Powhatan on the farm that we lost track of Karla, only to find her headed out to pasture with the cows. She crawled under the electric fence and headed off to see the bull. Good thing she had a bright red sweater on. Sheesh! I think she was 2 1/2 that time. I’m really not a bad parent, I just like to give my kids the freedom to explore a little. This morning was different. Obe got up and left for a men’s group at 7 a.m. I came downstairs about 2 minutes before he left and Karla was packing her lunch. As soon as he left, I started looking for Ryan. His book bag was packed by the door, but he was nowhere to be found. After the third search through the house, I asked Karla to help. This time, we checked in the closets and under the beds and our calls demanded that, “If he could hear me, you need to answer NOW.” You know, just in case he was sulking somewhere. On the fourth search, I’m calling Obe, repeatedly, on his cell. Of course he doesn’t answer. This time, I include smaller places that Ryan might have gone into and gotten trapped. The attic, for example. We searched outside, too. I stepped outside to think a minute. Karla was starting to panic and went to the backyard one more time to check the playhouse. Our neighbor was walking to his car and I called out to see if he had seen Ry anywhere. He quickly responded that he would search outside for me. I went back in to look one more time. I couldn’t put the pieces together quickly enough. Karla insisted Ryan was in the living room this morning. How does a kid disappear FROM HIS OWN HOME that fast? Loosing them in a store or on the farm, it’s easy to loose track for a few minutes but on our little lot? It just didn’t make sense. There was no where to go!Next thing I know, Ryan is standing on the doorstep, wide-eyed. “Daddy said I could go to the neighbor’s on the other side of our neighbor to sell my fundraiser.”And just like that I hugged him.We went straight to find Karla and she burst into tears. It had been a long 10-15 minutes of searching. I couldn’t fault Ryan. He thought Daddy would tell me where he went. But bless his little heart, he wrapped an arm around my shoulder and said, “You don’t ever have to worry if you can’t find me. I’ll come back. I have to. I can’t leave you.”And that my friends, is how one of the scariest moments turned into one of the best.

This is my collection from Noah Stephen:

Noah was a cute little fella but I never collected any sayings from him as he was more of a question asker….question after question after question. I guess I should have written down his questions!

I Tell You the Truth

When someone says, “I tell you the truth” you have one of two thoughts; either they haven’t been telling the truth and now are or they want you to listen up, this is very important.

There are 76 times in the New Testament Jesus says, “I tell you the truth…” (NIV).  Depending on the translation, it may say “Verily, verily I say unto you…” (KJ) or “most assuredly I say unto you…”  (NKJ). A number of years ago, Bill Iazzi preached a message on some of Jesus’ statements of “I tell you the truth…” This became a challenge to me; I decided to find and write all 76 down. It makes an interesting read. Jesus is telling us to listen up, what I am saying is very important. Let Jesus’ words speak…..

Matthew:

  1. (5:18) I tell you the truth, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one title will by no means pass from the law till it is fulfilled.
  2. (5:25-26) ….I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
  3. (6:2) So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men.  I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
  4. (6:5) And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.  I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
  5. (6:16) When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have their reward in full.
  6. (8:10-12) I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel which such great faith.  I say to you that many will come from the east and the west and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.  But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where their will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  7. (10:15) I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
  8. (10:23) When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another.  I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
  9. (10:42) And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.
  10. (11:11) I tell you the truth:  Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
  11. (13:17) I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
  12. (16:28) I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.
  13. (17:20)  Because you have so little faith, I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.
  14. (18:3) I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
  15. (18:18) I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
  16. (19:23) I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
  17. (19:28) I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
  18. (21:21-22) I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, nor only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.  If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
  19. (21:31-32) I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.  For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did.
  20. (23:35-36) And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.
  21. (24:2) I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another, everyone will be thrown down.
  22. (24:33-35) Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
  23. (24:46-47) It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
  24. (25:11-12) Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’  But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
  25. (25:40) “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
  26. (25:45) “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
  27. (26:13) I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.
  28. (26:34)” I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

Mark:

  1.  (3:28-29) I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them.  But whosoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.
  2. (8:12) He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.”
  3. (9:1) And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”
  4. (9:41) I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.
  5. (10:15) I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.
  6. (10:29-30) “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in the present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields-and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.
  7. (11:22-23) “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself in the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.
  8. (12:43-44) Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on.”
  9. (13:30-31) “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things happened.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
  10. (14:9) I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.
  11. (14:25) I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.
  12. (14:30) “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “today-yes, tonight-before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”

Luke:

  1. (4:24) “I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.”
  2. (9:27) I tell you the truth, some of you who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.
  3. (12:37) It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.
  4. (12:43-44) It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
  5. (18:17) I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.
  6. (18:29) “I tell you the truth, Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”
  7. (21:3) “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others.
  8. (21:32-33) I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
  9. (23:43) Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

John:

  1. (1:51) I tell you the truth, hereafter you will see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.
  2. (3:3) I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless one is born again.
  3. (3:5) I tell you the truth, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
  4. (3:11) I tell you the truth, we speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.
  5. (5:19) I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
  6. (5:24) I tell you the truth, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
  7. (5:25) I tell you the truth, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.
  8. (6:26) I tell you the truth, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
  9. (6:32) I tell you the truth, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
  10. (6:47-48) I tell you the truth, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.  I am the bread of heaven.
  11. (6:53-54) I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats My flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
  12. (8:34) I tell you the truth, whoever commits sin is a slave to sin.
  13. (8:45-47) But because I tell you the truth, you do not believe Me.  Which of you convicts Me of sin?  And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?  He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore, you do not hear, because you are not of God.
  14. (8:51) I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps My Word, he shall never see death.
  15. (8:58) I tell you the truth, before Abraham was, I AM.
  16. (10:1-2) I tell you the truth, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.  But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
  17. (10:7) I tell you the truth, I am the door of the sheep.
  18. (12:24) I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.
  19. (13:16) I tell you the truth, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.
  20. (13:20) I tell you the truth, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
  21. (13:21) I tell you the truth, one of you will betray Me.
  22. (13:38) Will you lay down your life for My sake?  I tell you the truth, the rooster will shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.
  23. (14:12) I tell you the truth, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
  24. (16:7) Nevertheless I tell you the truth.  It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
  25. (16:20) I tell you the truth, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.
  26. (16:23) … I tell you the truth, what you ask of the Father in My name He will give you.
  27.  (21:18) I tell you the truth, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.

Hebrews-Old & New Testament Covenants

The book of Hebrews in the Bible is rich in theology. Theology may sound like a big, intimating word that is just for scholars but it is really just an explanation of the foundation and meaning of our faith.

Hebrews 1:1-2

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son (Jesus), whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom al He made the worlds….

Augustine said, “The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed, the Old is in the New revealed.” In early history, God revealed Himself to man through the law, rituals and the sacrifice of animals. In the New, God completed his revelation through grace by laying down his life as the ultimate sacrifice for sin. Hebrews brings together the Old and New Testaments in a way that makes sense. The Old Testament has rich mean and foreshadows the coming of Jesus the Messiah.

I love reading and studying Hebrews. Hebrews is the story of faith, the faith of our spiritual forefathers, many who struggled unimaginably hard circumstances and some even died for their faith, but in the end were overcomers, listed as men and women of faith.

Hebrews presents to us Jesus, the Son of God, who is our High Priest interceding to the Father on our behalf. It challenges us to faith, believing in what we can’t see but knowing it is true. It exhorts us to be faithful, obedient and to treat one another with brotherly love. It promises that if we endure, we will win the race and have eternal life with Jesus forever and ever and ever.

Below is a chart I created to help show how the New Testament reveals the fulfilment of the Old.

Hay Season Has Begun

Spring on the farm means fertilizing and harvesting the hay crop. Gene says all spring and summer he makes hay and in the fall and winter he feeds hay! His whole work load seems to center around hay one way or another.

Making hay is a three day process. This week, on Tuesday, Gene laid the first hay on the ground. This week was a narrow window for hay. They were calling for rain on Thursday evening so he cut a small amount. He also has some new equipment he has to get used to.

Can’t you just smell that freshly mowed hay?

Last fall Gene planted Wintergrazer 70 and Passerel Plus Ryegrass. The two mixed together make a really good early crop of hay. After it is harvested, Gene will let it grow back some before turning the beef cattle into the fields to graze.

Wintergrazer 70 is an extensively proven and widely adapted cereal grain rye. As a grain rye, it has superior cold tolerance when compared to other cereal grains such as wheat and oats. With its excellent cold tolerance and upright growth habit, Wintergrazer 70 is well suited for mixing with legumes, brassica, and/or other small grains such as wheat and oats.

Passerel Plus, an annual ryegrass that produces highly palatable and nutritious forage for all classes of livestock. It is excellent for growing cattle producing average daily gains of 2 lbs./head or more. Good late fall and excellent spring growth. It is is a late maturing variety that provides grazing long after many other varieties mature and diminish. Good cold tolerance and rust resistance.

Wednesday morning he tettered the hay, spreading the windrows out so that the sun could dry it faster.

Later in the afternoon he raked it back into windrows for baling.

Thursday, he baled and wrapped the hay. Tonight while it rains he will sleep well, knowing they hay is finished and wrapped.

The bales may look like big marshmallows in the field to the nonfarming community but wrapping the hay has numerous benefits. It saves time as it cuts at least a day out of the process as you want/need more moisture in the hay. Gene constantly monitors the weather patterns during hay season and often deals with narrow windows on good hay making weather. It improves the quality as the hay ferments inside the plastic making silage which the cows love. It improves the preservation as it cuts out spoilage and mold especially when storing the hay outside. In short, you can make hay faster with better quality and lest waste.

Gene bales a lot of hay, last year he made 2200 bales for his beef herd. He has a grinder, mixer wagon that he uses in the winter to grind/shred the hay before feeding it to the cows.

Checking the quality of the bale and hay.

Gene traded balers this spring and the equipment dealer (Spaldings) and the Kubata rep came on site to get him started. There is always a learning curve with a new piece of equipment, especially the computer technology. This baler has a new feature, it cuts the hay into small pieces as it bales. This will cut his grinding time in half this winter which will be a huge time saver.

Sample of the freshly baled hay.

Friday morning update: It was suppose to rain last night but since it didn’t, Gene was able to get the bales out of the field. He likes to move them within a day or two as the bales sitting on the grass soon make a dead spot.

His first cut was 39 bales. By the time the season is over there will be big stacks everywhere!!!

Feeding the Birds

I enjoy feeding the birds. They are actually on welfare and look for the daily free handouts. This spring I have taken pictures of the variety.

I have a Pileated Woodpecker living in my yard-at least I think he is as I see him almost daily. This has been a special treat as they are very elusive. I wrote a blog post about him: Woody Woodpecker.

Blue Jay
Slate Colored Junco
Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Male Cardnial
Hairy Woodpecker (This could be Downy but the Downy has a few barred feathers on the white tail feathers. I need to get another picture to be certain.)
Female Hairy Woodpecker

Sparrow. Maybe a Song Sparrow?
Brownheaded Cowbird
Robin
Evening Grosbeak
Mourning Dove
White Breasted Nuthatch
Redheaded Woodpecker
Purple Finch

And Mr. Squirrel, he may not be a bird but he sure likes to dine at the table and entertain us! I only have two and they are a lot of fun to watch scampering up and down the trees.

Red Got Fred

Remember my blog post on November 11, 2020 about Fred, our Mr. guinea? Click on this link to read his story…. “Fred“.

Fred become a beloved friend around the farm. Every day we looked to make sure he was still with us and at supper we talked about his antics. . We would find him running around the chicken house, feeding in the cow troughs, sitting on a hay bale, scurrying across the chicken house roof or exploring the fields around the barn. One day when Gene was loading calves on the trailer to take to market, Fred went fussing to the loading area and thought he had to get in the mix. He was not a help! Another day our employee, Tim, was running the chain saw behind the store and it was not long until we heard Fred back there just a fussing up a storm. He was not impressed with the chain saw. Fred had a lot of personality; it was loud and quirky but also unique and endearing. I am not a fan of guineas but I became a fan of Fred.

Last fall Red sleeked into the scene. He was the most beautiful, healthy, velvety red fox we had ever seen. It was kind of neat to see him passing through. He was huge, about the size of a German Shepherd dog. He would watch him stroll through our yard early in the morning. He was spotted in the woods during hunting season. We would see him running through the pasture or hunkered down in the grass. We all knew it was Red when we saw him, there was none like him.

I started worrying about Fred. We knew Fred was always on the move and very quick, but he also let it be known where he was at with his constant chatter. At first Red didn’t appear to be concerned with Fred, it seemed he was just passing through on bigger and better hunts.

This winter, especially the past several weeks, Red has become very brazen. He is leery of humans but also doesn’t seem to mind being close by and started hanging out around the barns. We would spot him on the hillside right behind the chicken house, just chilling out as if watching Fred. I became more and more concerned. Every day we made sure Fred was still around but didn’t really know what to do to protect him.

On Friday, February 12, Fred was running around and I warned him about Red. Friday night it snowed. On Saturday morning there was several inches of snow on the ground. All was still and eerily quiet on the farm. There was no good morning squawk from Fred.. I missed him but figured he was hunkered down in one of the barns. By the day’s end, we realized none of us had seen Fred.

Fred has not been seen since. There is a little pile of feathers by the chicken house door.

We have now determined that Red is calling this home. We are pretty sure we know where he is hiding out and it is just behind the chicken house. This evening he was running around the barns when Gene was getting hay for the cows and laid down in the middle of the driveway to watch. This is beginning to not feel to good.

Several days ago he was laying in the field along the driveway just surveying the landscape and looking straight at Tim’s cats.

There is circumstantial evidence….big bad Red, did you eat Fred?

A Valentine’s Day to Treasure

Today was a very special day that almost didn’t happen, but it did. This is the third Sunday in a row that church has been canceled due to snow and/or ice. We had a family day planned and it was looking like the weather might not cooperate but we were able to pull it off. Obe, Jill and family came from Harrisonburg and brought my parents. Keith who lives nearby and his crew all made it.

My parents are getting older and mother is facing some health challenges. We and they wanted one more trip to Powhatan.

I fixed chicken pot pies and toss salad for lunch with apple salad and a tray of homemade cookies and candies for dessert. My dishwasher broke down this week and needs repair so I used paper plates (which I never do) to save on time washing dishes. I spruced up the table with my good set of glasses that go with my china. The casual with a touch of elegance made a fun and interesting table! One of the granddaughters noticed!

Our family
Gene and I with mother and daddy.
Mother with her daughter (me), granddaughter (Jill) and three great-granddaughters (Emily, Lauren & Karla)
Keith and his kids (Emily Lauren & Noah)
Obe, Jill Hostetter, Karla and Ryan
Four generations: Mother, Me (left), Jill and Karla
The Hertzler clan great-grandchildren

After lunch we had a taffy pull. This was a throw-back to the good ole days of the sixties. Taffy pulls made a great dating event for young couples. Mother used to make taffy for special occasions such as youth group socials or when a family of cousins came to visit. I thought mother would enjoy watching us enjoy her tradition. I used her recipe. The grandchildren had a good time, they had never pulled taffy. I apparently didn’t boil the syrup quite long enough even though it was the right temperature on the thermometer, the taffy was a little sticky. But we got ‘er done and had a good time laughing at the sticky globs sticking to our fingers. There is an art to making and pulling taffy and I didn’t quite have mother’s perfection!

Boiling the taffy- Lauren
Susan Johnson
Getting started-sticky mess!
Having fun!

Cheerfully doing dishes.

The day ended with a tour of Keith’s new house.

This picture perfectly sums up the day…..

“Blessed and Beautiful”

Taffy Recipe

(From my mother, Fannie S. Heatwole. It is also in “Mennonite Country-Style Recipes” cookbook by Esther Shank, my aunt)

Mix together and let set to soak until soften: 1-1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin and 1/4 c. cold water

Combine in saucepan: 2 c. sugar, 1 c. dark corn syrup and 1 c. milk and approx. 1-1/2 T. chunk of paraffin. Boil 15 minutes. Add the gelation mix and boil to 250 degrees (Firm Boil stage). Stir frequently. Remove from heat and pour into 2 well-buttered pie pans to cool until it is not to hot to handle with your hands. Butter your hands well and pull with partner. There is a nac to pulling and can be seen in the video clip below. Pull until the taffy turns white and very still. Stretch into long ropes and twist in cords. Snip with a large pair of kitchen shears into desired size pieces on a baking tray sprinkled with powdered sugar. Shake to coat and store in the refrigerator.

Yield: enough for two couples or four people.

Important note: Do NOT use hand lotion or soap on your hands the day of the taffy pull or you will ruin your taffy with the flavor of your lotion or soap. I learned that the hard way back in the day when I was dating a young man and ruined our taffy!

Woody Woodpecker

Woody Woodpecker

I have only seen a Pileated Woodpecker a handful of times in my life and now I think (hope) I have one living in my yard. This is beyond special!

I started catching glimpses of this illusive bird but never long enough to get a picture. Now it is multiple times a week and I have gotten several pictures.

I have a large walnut tree at the edge of the yard that has been trying to die for years. It was rotten and struggling to live when we got married way back yonder. I wanted to cut the tree down but not Gene. He wanted to give the tree a chance. It really was a sorry looking tree and I knew the tree was not going to survive much longer and planted a maple beside it for replacement. (For the story of the tree click on the link at the bottom of the post). For forty-nine years the walnut tree has defied expectations and lived; not only lived but grown. There was no way that black walnut tree was going to bow down to a spindly maple tree. The main trunk is half dead and makes a wonderful woodpecker habitat. I suspect that is where Woody has rented a condo.

Woody spends a fair amount of time sitting in one area of the yard pecking furiously at the ground and tossing the dirt back over his head. It lands several feet behind him.

I goggled information about a Pileated Woodpecker. The female looks like the male except he has a red strip on the side of his cheek right behind its beak. I am wondering when Woody is going to show off his wife! They drill a distinctive rectangle shaped hole in a rotten tree. I will have to check out my tree and see if I can find his home address. They are very fond of carpenter ants and other insects. According to goggle, in the winter each woodpecker excavates its own hole and roosts by itself. The male may hang out the same hole they used for nesting as the young birds have already grown up and dispersed. I am hoping the male likes my yard and will bring his mate to live here.

This is a really cute two minute youtube video of Pileated chicks at the nest. The call of the Pileated is shrill and choppy, reminding me of my male guinea.

The Pileated Woodpecker, measuring 16-19 inches in length, is the largest  woodpecker found in North America. It looks as big as a crow. Their bill, which is as long as its head, acts like a chisel to chip wood away to make their homes in trunks of large, rotten trees. They start nesting at one year of age and will hatch eggs between May 13 and June 15. They rarely use the same nest over again and nest construction takes 3-6 weeks. They may used wood chips but do not use any lining material for the nest. They can live up to nine years if they survive the hawks, coyotes, foxes and other hungry predators.

The Tale of Two Trees

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