Archive for February, 2012

The Treadmill

I do not care for the treadmill. Dislike. Can’t stand. Disdain. Ok, I hate the treadmill!  Here I am on my mile walk, arms swinging as I stride along to nowhere and hating every minute.  This walk is suppose to be good for me; gets my heart pumping, burns fat calories, stretches and builds  muscle, and cleanses my pores as I sweat.  And no I am not huffing and puffing! I am breathing deeply!  I couldn’t admit that I am that much out of shape!

My (and my husband’s) serious New Year’s resolution was to start anew on the treadmill and lose a few pounds.  It is amazing that the older we get the harder it is to keep weight off.  I sure am glad I am not alone in this class of misfits.  When we went to start the treadmill it needed some repair.  It was so nice to have a good excuse to “unresolve” but then I really did want to do this. Finally, this afternoon (2 month’s after January 1) Gene fixed the problem. Now there is no excuse.

As I walked, I started thinking.  I might be walking to nowhere but my mind is everywhere. I saw the clock that needs to be wound, a throw rug needing to be straighten, a pair of shoes left in the middle of the floor, a screw driver that belongs in the laundry room, dust on the coffee table, remembered an email that needs to be sent and a pack of hamburger I meant to get out of the freezer. Then I….why can’t I just put my mind in neutral and enjoy this walk in the comfort of my temperature controlled living room?  Then I look at the calorie counter and see that my energy spent is worth about one yummy cookie.

After I got past what I saw that needed to be done I thought of some spiritual analogies.  The apostle Paul talked of life being like a race; pressing towards the mark (finish line) with joy and laying aside the sins and cares of this life that weigh us down. (II Timothy 4:7 and Hebrews 12:1)

When I start my mile walk, I program my goal into the treadmill.  20 minutes, 1 mile.  The first quarter mile is easy as I walk with no grade on the incline but the longer I walk the more I increase the incline.  I want to punch as much power into those 20 minutes as I can-make it worthwhile.  But I also have a problem. I watch the digital dials showing how many more minutes I have to walk!!!  This gets me annoyed as time moves so slow and I can’t speed it up.  20 minutes is 20 minutes, one second at time. The little red dots have to go around the track four times for my mile.  It takes forever; ten seconds between each dot.  It is encouraging to watch the calorie and fat calorie counter add up.  And when my stint on the treadmill is complete, I turn it off and step off.  I feel like I am gliding across the floor.  That feeling  happens every time.

My days are programed into this thing called life.  Only God knows the day, hour and second when my walk will be complete, the race done, and I have fulfilled my allotted days on earth.  Life is not easy.  There are many distractions, bumps and bruises along the way. It seems the incline gets steeper the longer I am on this journey.  Sometimes I walk with easy and sometimes I huff and puff.  Sometimes I feel like I am accomplishing my goal with joy and other times I am aimlessly running the laps, just trying to make it to the next one.

My life journey is getting me in shape for my reward. I am looking forward to heaven. Some day I will step off of earth and glide into the presence of Jesus Christ my Savior. I will hear the words “well done good and faithful servant.”  (Matthew 25:21)  I don’t know how many more laps I have. God doesn’t have a digital dial for me to watch my progress but I want to complete this race and win my reward.  Every lap, every step, every second will be worth it all.

Now, may I have a cookie?

The Parable of the Cows

This is calving season and we once again are having trouble with buzzards. They sit in the trees, circle in the sky, and strut on the ground around the cows. This is cause for concern as we have lost calves to these nasty birds.  Several times Gene has had to go to  the pasture and shoot into the air trying to scare them away as it is illegal to shoot them. I am reminded of a parable I wrote in 2008.

This is a true story, we watched it happen.

One of our heifers was in labor. Cows by nature are herd animals which means they tend to stick together in groups. Usually when a cow is in labor, she will wander off from the herd to the side of the pasture to have her calf in private. This particular heifer seemed to be in distress and having trouble. She was in the middle of the field and all seven of the other cows had gathered in a circle around her. We watched as she labored, laid down, stood up, laid down and kicked at her belly.

After an extended period of time Gene began to get concerned. He started pacing the edge of the field watching with binoculars and trying to decide what to do. This group of cows was not very friendly, making it difficult to corral and help her. Another cause for alarm was the flock of buzzards circling above. This spring we’ve had an unusually large number of the black, hooked beak vultures hanging around. So far they have not caused us any trouble but they are birds of prey and have been known to attack a cow in labor; and eating the calf as it is being born. Suddenly as we watched a most amazing thing happened. As we watched the buzzards began landing and strutting towards the cows. And then a most amazing thing happened. One of the cows left leave the circle, ran at the buzzards, and chased them away before coming back and rejoining the circle. This went on until the cow had the calf and both cow and calf were back up on their feet. I noticed that for the rest of the afternoon the herd of cows kept their eye on the buzzards and chased them whenever they landed close by.

Wow! What a picture of the way we function as a church. By nature humans like to be a part of a group. We gather together to worship and fellowship and yet we are individual families doing our own thing. But if one of the group gets in trouble or gets under attack, we will “circle the wagons”, just like the cows, caring and protecting, until the one who is down is back on their feet.

The apostle Peter didn’t mention buzzards but he admonished us to be sober and vigilant because our adversary the devil is on the prowl as a stalking lion, seeking whom he can destroy. He says we are to resist the devil and remain steadfast in faith knowing that as a brotherhood we will experience sufferings and difficulties. (I Peter 5:8-9) Peter also says we are to have fervent love for one another as that will cover a multitude of sins or weaknesses.

Written March 30, 2008

Who We Are/Grandmas Perspective

Evidence That Winter Is Still With Us

This was the perfect snow-just enough and not too much-came fast and is quickly melting!

I love snow; the beauty, the stillness, the purity and the special feeling of life coming to a standstill.

With camera in hand I took some pics to document that winter is still here even though it is sandwiched between spring-like days.

The snow coming down Sunday evening.

The daffodils that were blooming profusely the day before (see “Hints of Spring” blog)

This morning the birds were busy at the bird feeder.

The cows were standing in line waiting to be fed at the bunk!

It is fun looking at tracks to see what animal has passed through. What tracks are these?

This robin found himself trapped inside my greenhouse. He was not happy! I did manage to get his picture before opening the door and he flew to freedom.

The Farmer’s Graveyard!

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

I have found that you don’t mess with a man’s treasures-he just might need them one day!

So…. I will take pictures of the treasures!

Hints of Spring

Today was a warm, balmy 65 degree spring-like day.

With my camera in hand I went looking for hints of spring.

I thought I better snap them quick as they are calling for snow tomorrow- Sunday!

I found daffadils blooming profusely.

A newborn baby calf eating lunch

Day lilies starting to peak through the ground.

Spring onions ready to eat.

A lawn begging to be mowed.

Buds swelling on the Maple trees.

It is breeding season for skunks and they are on the prowl scenting up the neighborhood.

  I caught one in a trap that was visiting my pigeon coop.

The rose bushes are sprouting leaves.

The cows are grazing in the pasture nipping off the green sprigs of tender grass.

The pear tree is pushing buds.


 Maybe tomorrow I will have “Hints that winter is still with us!”


I like order, lists, detail and deadlines. People often comment on my ability to get things accomplished. But I am also a terrible procrastinator. (Horrors. I have just let this little secret out of the bag)!!! Sometimes I think I work better under pressure and at the last minute. I can accomplish lots in a short time then. I also have numerous unfinished projects laying around just begging to be completed; a crocheted coverlet, several sewing projects, reorganizing our office, and some writing projects, to name a few! But when I get lazy, I get very, very lazy. Like today…

I had one, well maybe several things I needed to do this afternoon. Cleaning was one of them. It should have taken me an hour to do this mundane task. Instead it has taken me six hours and I still am not done and I am distracted again. I did feed my chickens and gather eggs. That was a 10 minute job. I sewed up a cloth bag to hang some dried beef I am making. Another 10 minute job. Then I made a solution of borax soap and water and boiled my bags before putting my beef in it to finish curing. This was another 10 minute job. This is supposed to keep bugs and worms from getting into the meat while it is drying. I remember mother and daddy making dried beef after butchering day. For some reason I got a hankering to see if I could do it. Maybe it has something to do with the meat slicer I got at Christmas!

I took two raw sirloin tip roasts and rubbed on a mixture of brown sugar, salt, pepper and saltpeter and let them cure in the refrigerator for about two weeks. Today I brushed on liquid smoke and they are now hanging in the storage building for several weeks to dry. I am anxious to see how they turn out. I wanted to make sure no mice are able to get to the meat so I tied the bags shut with twine and hung them from the overhead door track with wire. And just for caution I put out a couple of bags of rat bait for them to dine on.

Maybe I can blame some of my laziness on Gene. He got sidetracked from his chores this afternoon when a sudden blustery snow shower whipped across the fields. He got caught in it on the forklift at the end of the field feeding cows. He came in to dry off and warm up and has been sitting in his lazy boy chair ever since watching a show on TV about jail breakouts. I even stretched out on the sofa and got involved in it for awhile.

Tonight I don’t have to fix supper as we are going out to O’Charleys to eat and enjoy the gift certificates we were given.

Maybe I will finish my cleaning….another day!

A Cracked Mug

It is a sad day to break a favorite mug or dish, especially when it belongs to a set or has special meaning. One day while putting away the dishes, I bumped a favorite coffee mug against the metal hook in the cupboard where it hung with my set of stoneware. In a split second the deed was done, and the handle lay shattered among the other dishes. As I proceeded to toss the broken mug in the trash, I stopped and thought, I can fix this.

I went shopping and found a glue that could withstand microwave heat. Carefully I glued the pieces together and put the handle back in place. For a number of minutes I applied pressure as the glue bonded the brokenness. For a number of days I let the mug dry and then tested its durability by boiling a cup of coffee in the microwave and savoring every drop. The glue held firm.

A number of weeks later, to my horror, I broke a second mug. This time the handle lay in three pieces. This mended mug is much more fragile. Its brokenness needs more tender care and has required repeated fixing.

In my mind I saw a beautiful analogy of my life in the story of the cracked mug. God created me perfect and beautiful, pure and innocent. But along life’s way I have gotten banged and bumped. It is a sad day and God grieves when I crack, chip and break. God has carefully glued each break and with pressure restored my broken handle. Sometimes my mended cracks have needed repeated fixing.

A cracked mug is not throw-away trash. It has a story to tell. Each time I use the mug my fingers rub over the slightly raised ridge, and I remember the healed brokenness. The scarred mug still hangs on the hook—beautiful, preserved and worthy to be used.

And guess what? On Sunday I sit in a pew with other chipped, cracked and broken mugs. And I see God, the Redeemer that He is, restoring and mending each of His chosen vessels.

Paul understood the frailty of our humanness. He also understood the power of the resurrected life of Jesus at work in our brokenness. He wrote,

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels (*cracked pots),

  that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed;

we are perplexed, but not in despair;

persecuted, but not forsaken;

struck down, but not destroyed–

always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus,

that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

II Corinthians 4: 7-10

*Pat’s interpretation

Pat Hertzler
November 25, 2007

A Touch of Spring

This week I succumbed to the bite of the “spring bug”, well, just a little bit.  If it is not going to be winter it just as well be spring.  The warm days were gorgeous and started stirring that longing for flowers. gardening, and enjoying the lawn.  I did some “yard spring cleaning” ….trimmed the grape vines, a bush, and the dead stalks off the peonies.  Much to my chagrin new peony shoots are starting to peak through the ground already.  I burned a pile of sticks I had been collecting from the yard this winter and cleaned up the asparagus bed.  We started eating some spring onions which I set out the beginning of December.  I never dreamed that would actually make it without freezing!

My daffodils are pushing buds and the roses are starting to sprout leaves and it is only the beginning of February.  Customers are starting to ask for bedding plants, baby chicks, and potatoes.  One customer told me he has sweet corn 6  inches tall in pots in his house!!!

It is great to enjoy the warm days and work on “clean-up” jobs.  Baby chicks will start arriving in March and it is now safe to plant peas. However,  I strongly suggest that the other crops wait until March.  Old man winter is probably not done with us yet.

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