Archive for August, 2013

Daddy’s Hands

Our dads are special men in our lives.  They gave us life, nurtured, provided for, taught, and disciplined us. In this blog I  want to pay special tribute to Gene’s and my dad, two godly men, who taught us God’s Word, took us to church and Sunday School, prayed for us and lived the Christian life as an example.  It was not religion that they modeled but a real, living faith in a personal God.

Gene’s dad: Oliver W. Hertzler was born on September 26, 1918. He has a twin sister, Osie Ziegler, who is also still living.  Daddy had nine siblings and they lived on a dairy farm in Denbigh, VA.  Tragedy struck their family when he was 16 years old. An older brother drown in a tragic accident on the Warwick River. On September 30, 1939 he married Anna Mae Keffer who is also still living.  Daddy and Mama will be married 74 years and had 3 children.  They were dairy farmers and when the boys left home, moving the dairy operation to Powhatan, they turned the barns and land into a horse boarding stable.  At 95, he is still boarding horses!


Daddy enjoyed hand-craving wooden ducks, collecting antiques and rooting plants and trees.

Daddy loves studying the Word and has written notebooks full of his spiritual ponderings, his life journey and prayers.  In his younger years he taught a Sunday School class of sixth grade boys and then later turned his shop into a “men’s den” for weekly Bible Studies.


Pat’s dad: Dwight S. Heatwole was born on June 24, 1930.  He has 12 siblings.  When he was 17 tragedy struck his family. His parents took a trip to Florida which was a very special and rare opportunity. While they were gone his one-year old brother died from a heart disease. There was no way to contact his folks and they didn’t call home.  They didn’t know their little son had died until they arrived home three days later.


Daddy grew up on a dairy farm.  On December 6, 1950 he married Fannie Showalter, his mate of 63 years.  Daddy and Mother were also dairy farmers and had 4 children.

In his retirement years, daddy blessed his family and friends through his skillful woodworking; making grandfather clocks, footstools, plant stands, high chairs, and other beautiful pieces of furniture.

Daddy loved teaching and preaching the Word and was very active in church as Sunday School teacher, superintendent, youth leader, and later as pastor.


Here is a fitting tribute to our dads…..lyrics to the song

Daddy’s Hands

By Holly Dunn


Dad Hertzler’s hands


Dad Heatwole’s hands


I remember Daddy´s hands, folded silently in prayer.
And reaching out to hold me, when I had a nightmare.
You could read quite a story, in the callouses and lines.
Years of work and worry had left their mark behind.
I remember Daddy´s hands, how they held my Mama tight,
And patted my back, for something done right.
There are things that I´ve forgotten, that I loved about the man,
But I´ll always remember the love in Daddy´s hands.

Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin´.
Daddy´s hands, were hard as steel when I´d done wrong.
Daddy´s hands, weren´t always gentle
But I´ve come to understand.
There was always love in Daddy´s hands.

I remember Daddy´s hands, working ’til they bled.
Sacrificed unselfishly, just to keep us all fed.
If I could do things over, I´d live my life again.
And never take for granted the love in Daddy´s hands.

Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin´.
Daddy´s hands, were hard as steel when I´d done wrong.
Daddy´s hands, weren´t always gentle
But I´ve come to understand.
There was always love in Daddy´s hands.

Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin´.
Daddy´s hands, were hard as steel when I´d done wrong.
Daddy´s hands, weren´t always gentle
But I´ve come to understand.
There was always love …..
In Daddy´s hands.

August 2013

What a delightful month! When have we ever had green grass to mow in July and August? When has there been plentiful grazing for the cattle all summer? When have we had so many rainy days in the middle of the summer that we almost dare to complain? When would a farmer fret at the end of August because he is still working on the first cutting of hay?

You are right…in the year of our Lord, 2013!

The month in pictures.


Working and selling some cattle.



Dozens of Tiger Swallowtail butterflies on the thistle.



Black Swallowtail Butterfly


Zinnias blooming their hearts out!




Enjoying the grandkids and golf cart rides.


Okra, a beautiful flowering plant, producing in abundance.

What vegetable can top fried okra and onions with fresh tomatoes?


Rose of Sharon bush in full bloom.


Cattle grazing in the fields.  They seek refuge from the heat in the woods during the day and come out to graze in the late afternoon and evening.



The flies were really bothering the bull -not like that on the other cows.






Gene checking on his cattle.



We have a donkey boarding at the stable. I have been trying to record his braying!

So far no luck but it is a sound like no other!!!  The first time I heard it I wondered, what in the world was that!



Mushrooms growing in the field.




Buckwheat planted in the garden for a cover crop and also for the bees this fall.


Fall crop of Blue Lake Snaps.


Looks like we have septic problems!


Contented, happy bees hard at work!


A few pretty spots left in my garden!


Walking in the rain…..this way….

or this way



There are lots of geese this year grazing in the pastures.




Up and away…there they go….honking as they go….too many to count and that is only a portion of them. The next group took flight a few seconds later!


Putting air in the tire on the car.


Noah measuring his foot against grandpa!


The dogwood tree in the fall.


Beautiful skies during the day and also at night….


They called it “Blue Moon”.


Fried onions and peppers for brisket sandwiches at the Farmers Market.


Added funnel cakes to the items we sell.


Dad Hertzler’s hands…at 95 they are worn and tired….


but his spirit is still strong!

And my favorite photo for the month…..


This photo is not altered or trimmed. It is just as I took it and I had no idea I had this keeper!

August has been a good and full month. It has been a delight and now the temperatures are getting cooler and the days shorter.  Fall is coming fast.

Ryan-the Charmer

Ryan never misses an opportunity to talk to adults. It is so much fun to watch him.  He will choose an adult any day over another kid. At Keith and Alivia’s wedding he disappeared and we found talking with the waiter serving drinks.  Today he and his dad paid a visit to the farm. He told his dad on the way here that when he got older he was going to come and help us in the store but he would have to find a place to live!


Some of Ryan’s favorite things to do here is drive the golf cart , hand out lollipops to children in the store and push the feed cart around.  Today an older couple came to the store as I was riding with Ryan while he took a spin on the golf cart.  Mr. Burley was very impressed with 8-year old Ryan skill in driving the golf cart and he and Ryan quickly struck up a conversation. By the time the couple left, Mr. Burley was offered a ride with Ryan on the cart which he accepted.  He learned quite a few things, including, Ryan’s desire to work in the store, that this was where we lived, that Ryan’s mommy was our daughter, about his Christmas money jug and how after he saves $100 dollars I will match the funds for his college fund, and that he lives 2 hours away.

Mr. Burley purchased a 25 lb. bag of sunflower seeds. He got down on Ryan’s level and said, “Ryan, I just drove a long ways to buy this bag of sunflower seeds. I think I should get $5 a bag off for coming so far. Since you want to help manage this store, what do you think. Should I get $5 off?”  Ryan thought a moment and said, “$1.00 off.”  Mr. Burley was just floored at Ryan’s wit.

Mr. Burley pulled out a business card and handed it to Ryan. He said, “Ryan, when you graduate from 5th grade (Ryan is now in 2nd) I want you to call me and tell me who you are. I have a special gift I want to give you. You remind me who you are-that you were the boy in the feed store and I will remember you.  Now don’t you forget. I want you to call me.”

I gave Ryan one of our cards and had him write his name on the back so that he could give it to Mr. Burley.

It was fun and so neat to watch the spunky interaction.  Ryan’s daddy has the card safely tucked in his wallet for future reference.  The little charmer… this time he hit a winner!

It Was All About Grandpa

Noah was here for several hours this afternoon while his mommy slept trying to recover from a kidney infection.  I barely existed-it was all about Grandpa.  Noah talked non-stop to his grandpa for two solid hours about cows, tractors, baseball and other little boy stuff. It was so funny to listen to.  We learned that his daddy tickled him this morning and that he had on new shoes. He likes baseball better than football, wants a cow at his house and he is a big boy!  He asked lots of questions that started with “why” and “what”.  I did get to do the “potty-thing” and that was because Grandpa knew I existed!!!

Grandpa helped him put on his softball gear and showed him which hand the glove went on.



I had to post this picture for the Cooper grandparents!


I caught him putting his foot up against grandpas. I wondered what he was thinking.


What a privilege it is to have grandchildren to enjoy.  Each one is unique and special and each one is a joy. Thank you God for the gift of grandchildren.


I have been served as a four-course banquet feast  for at least 100 hungry chiggers. They feasted and dined while dancing jigs all over my body.  I have so many bites on my belly they are impossible to count, plus my arms, neck, back and behind my knees.  I have been itching and scratching and have yet to see one of those nasty critters so that I can take due revenge.  I have been suffering several days from them and it seems like new welts are still appearing in spite of repeated hot, soapy showers, lotions and even rubbing myself with hand sanitizer, hoping it would kill them. Last night I was miserable and kept waking up to scratch.


(Magnified Chigger)

“Chiggers are extremely tiny, and it is very unlikely you will “see” one unless you are looking for them. You will need a hand lens or microscope to see them well. Their presence is best known, instead, by the intensely itchy welts they leave behind, usually where your skin is thin and tender (ankles, backs of knees, about the crotch, under the beltline, and in the armpits) and where tight clothing proves an obstacle to them (as where a belt or elastic band limits their wanderings). (Mosquito bites, by contrast, are usually in exposed places where those flying insects can easily land.) Chigger bites sometimes have a tiny red dot at the center, which is the remains of a scablike tube your body formed in response to the chigger’s irritating saliva.

Larval chiggers are red and have 6 legs. They are 1/150 of an inch. A cluster of them can sometimes be seen on your skin because of their reddish color. After a blood meal, chiggers look yellowish. Adult chiggers have 8 legs and are 1/60th of an inch and look like several other types of mites”.  (

I don’t know where I go into them. Over the weekend I sprayed weeds with Eraser and there were some thistles I wanted to get in one of the pastures. I didn’t want to open the gate so I laid on the ground and rolled under the electric fence. I was only on the ground a few seconds.  I must have chosen a nest to roll over and they must have screamed “lunch”!

Today I washed my sheets just in case they are regrouping there waiting for me to come back to bed so they can have another banquet, however, Gene hasn’t gotten any bites.

So for now, I have been dined on and I know exactly where each bite is missing!  Itch, itch!


I was working in the kitchen and I heard the familiar, sickening “thud” of a bird crashing into the patio doors. I looked out and there laid a juvenile cardinal, sprawled on the deck on his back with its feet in the air.

I gently picked him up and  rubbed his back, smoothing his ruffled feathers. His piercing black eyes were open , but his feet stayed  tightly curled into balls and he didn’t flinch a muscle.  I sat and held him.  After a few minutes I gently set Mr. Cardinal on the deck railing.  He chirped several times and I settled in my chair with my camera to watch.  He remained upright, resting on his back hunches  with curled toes and open beak.  I thought, I believe this young lad has a chance. He seemed to be badly stunned but not injured. There was no blood oozing from his beak.


For maybe ten minutes we sat and watched each other.  He pooped a very watery mess twice and once when I let my gaze stray and glanced back, my little friend was gone; without a sound or cheery good-bye.  I glanced at the nearby branches but didn’t see him. It was such a satisfying feeling to have helped Mr. Cardinal, possibly even saving his life.

I glanced at the patio doors and marveled at the almost perfect reflection of the yard in the tinted glass.  I have a suncatcher hanging to help deflect but realized it does not do a thing, doesn’t even show up.  The edging of the curtains are the only clue that this is a barrier.  Almost every time I am in the kitchen in the middle of the day I heard the dull thud of another victim of the mirage.


The picture of the reflection does not show the clarity of of the actual mirage.

I started thinking about sin and how easily we are “fooled” into thinking it doesn’t matter, it is ok, or there is nothing wrong with it.  It may allure and look good until we crash head first into it’s wall and crash.  We are stunned. How did we get here, why did we fail to recognize it for what it was.  Satan always has his image stamped in the mirage.  We do not have to be deceived.

The Bible warns over and over and over to “be not deceived”.  That tells me that I need to be on guard, for I can be deceived. Wrong can look and feel right.  Mr. Cardinal did not look carefully. He thought he was flying through wide open spaces until his head crashed on the glass.  He never saw it coming, He never even had a moment to duck.  I remember one time a group of us gals were at a hotel, walking from one area to another when one of the girls turned and walked smack, nose first,  into a large glass pane.  She thought it was an open door. We laughed like fools at her ridiculous plight as it stopped her instantly in her tracks with a loud crash.  What she thought she saw in front of her was not the truth!

II Timothy 3 warns us that evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. Timothy also reminds us to remember what we were taught from the Holy Scriptures for it can make us wise for staying on course with our salvation.  “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness”.  (II Timothy 3:16)  In other words, scripture shows us the truth.  We can put our actions and thoughts against the inspired Word of God for guidance and  discernment.

Mr. Cardinal needed help. Left upside down on his back on the patio he probably would have died. But helping him back on his feet, giving him love and encouragement, he was able to fly free again.  We also need help. We need a fellowship of believers to encourage, correct, teach and lift us up when we fall down.

Lord, help me not to be deceived or fooled.

A Healthy Hive

I am thoroughly enjoying my bees. It is amazing how they function as a busy, thriving community.  Last evening I noticed something different at the hive.  The front of the hive was covered with bees and there was a 6-8″ “beard” of bees hanging down from the entrance.  I wasn’t sure if they were just “chillin’ out” on the front porch after a hot, humid day or getting ready to swarm.  I called Bill Kimmich, the owner of the hive, and left a message on his answering machine-just to be safe.



The “beard” is a solid mass of buzzing, crawling bees all attached to each other. Can you imagine the weight of that mass on the bees at the lip of the entrance. How do they hang on?  It is also amazing they don’t suffocate the ones underneathe.  Looks like a lot of “togetherness” to me, not much cooling off!

This morning I checked the hive and everything looked “normal” again.


A little later in the morning, Bill and his wife stopped by and checked on the hive.  After suiting up and lighting the smoker, he took the telescoping top and top feeder off and examined the super. It is almost full of honey.  The frames and foundations were covered with busy bees who almost didn’t even seem to be bothered by being lifted from the hive and examined.



Smoker lit and ready to use.

Bill carefully lifted each frame out of the hive, turning each over and examined them, looking for the queen and signs of trouble such as hive beetles or mites.  To clear bees off of a spot he wanted to examine he would use the smoker to put a poof of smoke in the area. The bees immediately cleared the spot.




Notice the full cells of honey.


Cleaning the tops of the frames off

After finishing the super, he looked into the hive body and after pulling out several frames, he found the queen.  She was busy laying eggs in each cell. The eggs looked like a grain of rice.


A frame is the wood piece that holds a foundation.  Foundations are flexible, fragile pieces that the bees build the honey on.  A standard hive body or super holds 10 frames with foundations.


In the picture below the queen is the bee in the center with the red dot. Mrs. Kimmich showed me the little cage that they put the queen in to hold her just right so that she can be marked for easy spotting.


The hive body is the larger box on the bottom of the hive.  You do not harvest the honey from it as that is food for the bees for the winter. When the hive body is full, you add supers.  The supers are for harvesting.  Bill made the comment that he needed to add the second super!!!  That sounded like great news to me.

Bill worked without gloves as it is easier to maneuver and I only heard him say “ouch” once.  His wife said she likes and even tries  to get stung occasionally. She has arthritis in her hands and bee “poison” is suppose to help.  She said after she is stung, her hands won’t hurt for weeks. Hum!  I also have arthritis in my fingers and now I know the solution; pick up several bees and make one mad!

The Kimmichs said the hive was healthy and there were no signs of hive beetles in this hive.  He has beetles in some of his other hives.  Hive beetles can destroy a hive if they get out of control.

It is amazing to me that you can open the hive, disturb the peace by lifting out each frame, put it back together and the bees keep on working. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few mad ones buzzing around and it pays for the casual observer to stand off to the side. I had one land on my head and get tangled in my hair but I did not get stung.

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