Archive for Grandkids

Drivers Ed on the Farm

Grandkids, Karla and Ryan, are here with us for several days while their folks are celebrating their anniversary in Cancun. My instructions from her mom was to teach Karla to drive. She can get her learners in March but has zero driving experience nor a good place to learn. The biggest and fastest vehicle she has driven has been my golf cart.


Lesson 1: I drove the pickup across the cattle guard to the driveway into the cattle pasture. I turned off the truck, hopped out and said, “Let’s change sides.”

K: Grandma, I’m terrified.  I don’t think I can do this.

G: Yes, you can. It’s not hard.

I told her how to start the truck, what the letters (P, R, N, D, L) meant and what the brake and accelerator were. Immediately the right foot went on the “go” pedal (according to her) and the left on the brake.  I smiled to myself but didn’t say anything. Sitting on the front of her seat, she grasped the steering wheel for dear life and started the truck.  It immediately started moving forward very slowly.

K; Grandma. It’s moving. How do I stop? I’m terrified!

I think she used the terrified word at least two dozen times!

G:  You are doing just fine. But you can push the brake to stop.

Her left foot instantly pushed the brake to the floor.  We were probably going one mph but we also immediately lurked to a stop! By now we are both laughing so hard she can hardly drive.  The next lesson is on using only the right foot for both petals and pushing the pedal evenly.

K: “But grandma, what if my foot is on the “go” pedal when I need to stop?”

G:  “Your foot can move from one pedal to another”.

The concept of only using one foot seemed totally unrealistic to her. After all, you have two feet and two pedals! I explained the safety issue involved with using two feet. You don’t want to push both petals at the same time!

Karla did a great job. She made it to the end of the field and back several times at the neck-breaking speed of 4 mph. I assured her she was not going fast and that on interstate you go 70 mph and that eventually she would have confidence and experience.  Suddenly going 70 mph and entering traffic on interstate seemed like an paralysising feat and she just did not know how her dad did it.

When we were done, I had her drive over the sixteen foot wide cattle guard back to the yard and park beside our car.  She was sure she was going to hit the side post of the gateway but she did it perfectly.

This was a hilariously funny event. I laughed and laughed at her crazy thoughts and expressions.

Lesson 2:  We had a lesson on reverse, signaling, the horn and windshield wipers. This time I let her drive to the field which meant she had to back out of the parking space beside our car.

K: “But, grandma, I can’t see behind and I might hit something!”

We talked about how to see behind using the mirrors or turning your head and looking. She just knew there was going to be something in the wide open space behind her that she couldn’t see and was going to hit! We made it to the pasture and this time went further; through a second gate opening into the back pasture.  We saw two wild turkeys and a coyote which was an extra little bonus.  She loved the turn signal. When we came to the end of the road and she had to turn around in the pasture, she stopped and put on her signal. We did squares in the pasture and at each turn, she signaled. But she had to stop in order to signal. I explained that when she is driving on the road, she will use the signal to let other drivers know she is planning to make a turn. This also means you have to turn it on while you are driving and before you get to where you are going to turn.

The cows were out grazing in the field and several crossed the driveway we were on. She pretended it was a pedestrian crossing. Again, she was sure she was going to hit one of them but I showed her how to keep easing forward very slow and they would move. On the last lap back to the house she reached the unfathomable speed of 10 mph. She beamed with pride!

Lesson 3: This time there was a big improvement in her confidence. She adjusted the seat and leaned back. She maneuvered the truck out of the parking spot and into the field. This time we went exploring across the pastures. She had to ford a small creek with a somewhat narrow opening and was astounded that I thought she could do it. The cattle were also out moving around and at the same time they were wanting to cross the same creek. We had to sit and wait until the last cow had crossed so that she could go. One cow was being stubborn and was standing in the way, facing the truck and still eating the grass hanging out her mouth. Karla beeped the horn and the cow, with a defiant posture and stern look, immediately responded with several loud moos. We laughed and laughed. I just wish I had my camera! Grandpa had driven in the field that morning checking the cows and left tire tracks across the field. She had great fun following them as they wandered across several different pastures.

Lesson 4: This time I handed her the keys to the car. Her eyes got as big as saucers. This was very different from the pickup. It sits lower, is smoother driving, the wipers are on a different lever and the lever to put the car in gear is on the console. She was sure she might hit something but took to the change with ease. She eased up to 20 mph for a few brief moments. This time after driving the pasture driveway, we went out and back the driveway. I noticed she actually turned on the signal while driving.

Karla is going to do just fine. We will have several more lessons tomorrow before she goes home. Each time we drove, I could see her gaining confidence and that she was very happy and pleased with herself.  It was a priceless privilege to be the one to share this first time experience with her. I will always treasure the memory.  I just wish I could have taped all her comments.

Ryan, who is two years younger was just yearning for the privilege of driving.  I told him yesterday that if he helped to complete the mulching job we were working on, I would let him drive. I had a very hard-working, willing worker! Where Karla was cautious and unsure of herself, Ryan was bubbling with eagerness and anticipation.

When we had completed our lesson, he hopped out of the truck and with a huge smile said, “that was awesome!”

Farm kids have a huge advantage over others in learning to drive. They are privileged to the open land and learn at a young age to drive a lawn mover, four-wheeler, motorcycle, trucks and other farm equipment. By the time they reach driving age, they have accumulated a vast variety of  experiences, including; backing trailers, maneuvering narrow spaces and different weather and terrain conditions.

I remember learning to drive. Daddy had an old stick-shift dodge truck that shifted hard that he let me roam the pastures in. It was almost impossible to put into gear without grinding at least a little.  The truck was parked in a narrow lean-to on the side of the bank barn that was on a downhill slope. I had to learn to back the truck into the shed which had about 12 inches (or less!) to spare on each side of the rear view mirrors and pull out of the shed without coasting backwards. Only those who have driven a stick shift can appreciate how truly difficult that was. I am still amazed I learned to do it without ever hitting the barn or coasting backwards.

Ryan’s Baptism

Today we rejoiced with Ryan on his baptism into the family of God and we were so glad to join other family members and Lindale Mennonite Church in celebrating this special day.


Ryan sharing his testimony which he wrote himself. It was amazing. He said he is taking a stand for Jesus!

Ryan’s Testimony:

“My name is Ryan Hostetter. I am going to be baptized today. I have already been baptized by my sister when I was little.  Karla saw a baptism and proceeded to baptize me with water. I want to be baptized because I want to show that I love God and want to honor Him.  I have accepted Jesus as my personal Savior and I have given my life to him.

We have all sinned and need God’s love, grace and forgiveness.  In the Bible even Jesus got baptized. We know that because it says so in Matthew 3: 4. At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John but John tried to change his mind.  I think we should honor God by all we do and say.”

That’s what it is all about.


Gathering at the creek.


Pastor Duane Yoder asking Ryan his baptismal vows.



The creek is so lovely but not very deep.


Each one knelt in the creek and they poured water over their heads. They were given the pitchers as a memorial to their baptism.

Cropped picture

‘I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and the Holy Spirit”.

Praying over him.

“Arise and walk in newness of life”.

One happy fella!

Ryan’s baptism:


In his testimony, Ryan mentioned that he was baptized once by his sister. Here is my blog post about that story.

A Dear “Lorded” Baptism

Even though our worship services are usually adult-oriented, they are also a vital part of a young child’s spiritual training.  In between the wiggling, coloring, eating, pouting and playing, they hear the songs of praise, sense the spirit of worship, and observe the adults giving testimony to their faith.   Sometimes weary parents feel that it almost isn’t worth the effort to battle another Sunday until they observe their little ones at play.

Karla, almost three, and Ryan, almost one, were in the living room playing when their mother who was in the kitchen suddenly became aware of what they were imitating.  Karla had her hands cupped above Ryan’s head and she was praying in earnest…

Dear Lord….(this was followed by jibberish that her mommy could not understand)….Amen.” 

Then she carefully poured the pretend water over Ryan’s head and gently pressed her hands on top of his head.  Finished, she went to the kitchen and announced to her mother, “Mommy, I dear Lorded Ryan!”

August 27, 2006


Fun Week at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s Farm

This is written by guest blogger, Karla Hostetter.  She and her brother, Ryan, have spent 5 days here over spring break. Karla is in 6th grade and loves to write.

The first full day I was here was Sunday. Noah came over and he had fun playing with Ryan and me. We first biked on the side of the driveway, but then decided to go into the cow pasture because Noah was having trouble biking on so much gravel. Ryan got tired of biking so he drove the golf cart beside Noah and me. Noah’s bike’s tire was starting to get flat so Ryan and I had to take his bike to Grandma to get the tire pumped up. I took my bike back to the house while Ryan got Noah’s bike. Ryan held the bike onto the back of the golf cart while I drove carefully and slowly to the shop. Noah’s tire got fixed by Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma pumped up the first tire, but could not get the second tire to pump up. That was because the tire slid out of its place. Grandpa put the tire back in place and got it pumped up. While Grandpa was fixing Noah’s bike, we went to play indoors. We had lots of fun. It was finally time for Noah to go home. His bike was fixed and he had fun.


The second full day was Monday. Monday was the day where I went to the back of the store with Ryan and Grandma to hold the baby ducks. I watched them for a little bit and got brave enough to hold one. He was a cute brown and black duck. I was just saying how cute he was to grandma when he did it. I didn’t realize at first but when I put him back in the cage and looked down at my hands, I spotted it. I spotted the poop on my hands. “ewww” was what I said. When I spotted the poop, Grandma did too. The entire time, from when I looked at my hands and walked back to the store counter where you check out, Grandma was laughing and laughing. That is a memory I do not miss.

Another thing that I did Monday was help clear the sticks from a certain spot across from the house. Grandma wanted to mow there so Ryan and I helped clear sticks for an hour or so.


We also drove the golf cart around the cow pasture which isn’t new, but getting the golf cart stuck was new. Ryan and I took turns on the golf cart and it was Ryan’s turn. He took the wheel and drove down to the bottom of the hill where it was muddy. The first time he drove over it just fine, but when we were going over it again he got stuck. I don’t blame him completely because I did tell him to go in through that spot, but I also did tell him to stop. I just said it a little too late. Ryan put the golf cart in neutral and then he got off the golf cart and tried to pull. I did the same. We pulled as much as we could pull and then we pushed as hard as we could, but it was no use. It would not budge. Ryan  started the engine again. The golf cart just got deeper and deeper into the mud. Ryan and I needed help. We walked all the way back to the store and told grandma. Grandma said that it was ok because they would get it out. Later Ryan and I hopped into Grandpa’s tractor and went with him to push it out. Grandpa didn’t stop the tractor for us to get out. He kept going until he pushed the golf cart out of the mud with the tractor’s “spikes”.

The last exciting thing I did that day was ride a horse! I biked to the horse stable and asked if I could ride. When they said yes,  my heart leaped with excitement. They told me that I would be riding Taz. I kept my bike helmet on and they saddled him up and I climbed up on the stairs and hopped on her because she was so big. I felt like I was so high in the air as I rode around the pen. It felt so magical. Taz. This was the most exciting day this week.


Tuesday was the day that Lauren came over. All three of us hung around for a while then rode on the golf cart. We drove the golf cart on the driveway and into the pasture. We eventually got tired of doing that and went back into the house.

Grandma said we could make cookies, so we decided to do so. We made Molasses Crinkles. We mixed the ingredients and then baked them. Some were a little crispy, but they were still good.


Lauren and I hung around and talked the rest of the time. Later, after Lauren left, I went biking in the cow pasture. I biked along the road until the pasture stopped and another one began. When I was pretty far down I saw out of the corner of my eye a cow laying in some wire. When I got close, it stood up scared. I noticed that it was tangled in the wire and stuck, so it couldn’t go very far. I wasn’t sure if I should help it myself or not, but I decided to leave that business to Grandpa. I raced back to the house, parked my bike, and walked up the driveway on the left side to get the golf cart from Ryan. I met him near the horse stable. He picked me up wondering why I was up that far up the driveway. I gave him a brief summery of what happened, then told him to take me to the store so I could tell Grandma and Grandpa. I found Grandma at the store and told her about the situation. She said she would go look in a minute. I went out to wait in the golf cart. Grandpa walked by the golf cart and went into the store. Then he came out and sat in the driver’s seat and asked me where I saw this stuck cow. I told him that it was on top of the hill and in the first pasture or the one you enter when you first go into the cow pastures. We took off to help the cow. When we arrived at our destination, Grandpa told Ryan and I to be very quiet. We were quieter than a lamb. Grandpa was amazing at getting the cow untangled. He first snapped the wire and pulled gently. Next he stepped on the wire to keep it still. Last of all he pulled a little more and the wire came off. The cow helped himself at the end by pulling away from the wire. Grandpa wrapped up the wire and put it on the fence post so it wouldn’t happen again. Ryan was going to take a picture, but he missed it. He had three to five minutes to take it and he completely missed it!

Wednesday, our last full day, and Lauren came over again but for a shorter amount of time. We started out by going to the store. Grandma had some chicks in the store and they were super cute! I decided to hold one. I enjoyed holding him lots. It was then when I decided to hold more chicks. I had held lots when a chick did it to me, again! I said, “Why does this always happen to me?” Grandma said, “I thought you wanted a farm?” I gave her a look that made her laugh. This pooping business has got me twice this week, and I didn’t come down here to get that!

Lauren and I played a game in the yard together. We would start a ways from the house. One person would close their eyes, spin around, and find their way to the house. The other person would tell them if they were close to something. Lauren and I played that game for thirty minutes or so. After we both had a chance to find our way to the house, it was time for Lauren to leave.

Later that evening I went on the tractor with Grandpa. During our “trip” I accidently said straw instead of hay. Grandpa told me the difference, which I was amazed at. I always thought that they were the same thing, but apparently hay is just dried grass. Straw is green, but turns yellow when ripe. When wheat turns yellow it looses some of its protein and the cows would still be hungry if they ate it, but with the dried grass, it will fill them up. I figured that I don’t need school with Grandpa around to teach me. 🙂


Ryan’s Spring Break at Grandpa and Grandmas

This is written by guest blogger, Ryan Hostetter. Ryan is in the third grade. Ryan and his sister, Karla, spent 5 days at our place over spring break.



Monday Morning…

Karla and I went to the horse stable to find out when Karla could ride a horse. The lady said” Come another day when it’s not windy”. While we were at the stable we saw some cats.




Monday evening…


When  we were driving in the cow pasture I saw a bull’s head-bone and the horns were still on!


In the morning, (Monday) I took a video of the cows chasing us with the hay bale.


Helped a customer find the baby chick room.


I was driving the golf cart (with Karla) and we went exploring in the cow pasture.  Karla thought it wasn’t muddy there so when we came back around Karla said, “STOP!” but it was too late. We were stuck and we tried pushing and pulling but it was really stuck.


How dirty the golf cart was after it was out of the ditch.


Karla and I cleaning the mud off the golf cart.

P.S. I did the cleaning basically.



One day it was so windy the barn at the horse stable flipped over.



I saw Spot snooping around under the fence.


How the marbles start


Wanta Shoot Basketball?

I was barely in the door yesterday when Ryan wanted to know if I wanted to shoot basketball. Now I haven’t played basketball for years upon years upon years. It gave me flashbacks of Junior-High PE at John C. Myers School in Broadway!  My knee was hurting like crazy but I bravely said, “sure”.  His next comment was, “Do you wanta play horse, pigs, grandma or….”.  Now I realize we were not just shooting baskets, we are playing a game and knowing Ryan, he will be very competitive!  I chose pigs-I decided it was the safest as it was the shortest.  Maybe I could make it through. My strategy was to get this game over quick and then I could go act like a grandma with a swollen knee.

When we got to the concrete pad outside the garage door I was given detailed instructions on how to dribble, do layups and shoot. I told him I used to love to play basketball and I was pretty good but it had been a long time since I had played.

His first instructions were to practice shoot a few balls and I could choose my ball. We both bounced our ball and randomly shot numerous balls “towards” the hoop. All missed.  He decided to lower the basket so I could do better! He showed me how to aim for the top of the square painted on the backboard and it would go in. His didn’t.

All of a sudden I hit my groove and we decided to start playing. It did not matter if I shot from the left or right, straight up or a layup of sorts, I was sinking the ball and he was missing more than he got.  I smiled to myself when he decided he needed to raise the basket!  We had fun and he was a good sport even though I skunked him at “p-i-g-s”.   As we put the balls away he said, “Grandma, you are better than I thought!”  I felt a twinge of guilt for beating him so bad but it did feel good at the ripe old age of 63 to still be able to sink the ball in the hoop.

Budding Musicians


Today we spent the afternoon with our Hostetter grandkids. They love playing with Legos and have been collecting sets for quite a few years. They have put together quite an impressive spread.

They both are taking music lessons; Karla the piano and Ryan the drums. And the best thing is these kids do not have to be prompted to practice! This grandma was very impressed!

Karla showing me her piano playing skills. Her goal is to play for the Jazz band at school in two years.

Ryan showing me how he is learning to play the drums.  You can hear him humming along as he plays.  I do believe this boy has budding talent!

I love the counting and head bobbing on this video.

Lindale Mennonite, here are some future worship leaders!!!

Once in a while a grandma just has to brag on her grandkids!  Way to go, Karla and Ryan. Keep up the good work.

Ice Cream Cake and Pumpkin Pie


I love Valentine’s Day. Yes, that commercial, Hallmark, lovey-dovey day with flowers and chocolate and cards that say “I love you”. It is so special to be remembered and appreciated in special ways.  Sometimes the normal becomes mundane and the specialness of a friendship is taken for granted.  Of course our love in more than one day a year. But that one day reminds me to do something special for the one I love the most. I spend some time thinking and planning something special to do for the man I love and he for me.

Yesterday we received two cards in the mail……

Dear Grandma,

I want to say how much I love you and appreciate you on Valentine’s Day. I love you more than I love ice-cream cake and I love your hard-working skills to keep the farm nice. You’re a great grandma. Have a great day! Love, Karla

Ice Cream Cake


Dear Grandpa,

I want to tell you how much I love and appreciate you on Valentine’s Day. I love you more than I love pumpkin pie and I appreciate your hard work keeping the farm straight and in working order. Your a great grandpa!  Have a great day! Love, Karla


Pumpkin Pie

How do you beat that? We are loved more than ice-cream cake and pumpkin pie!!! Now that is special! We are truly blessed.


Thanksgiving Letter from Ryan

Today we received a very special letter in the mail from our grandson. As a happy grandma, I just have to share it-just as he wrote it.


(This picture is from the memory he refers to in his letter. His face is just glowing with pride!)


November 24, 2014

Dear Grandma,

At school we’re writing a letter to someone we’re thankful for and I chose you. I want to thank you for teaching me on how to drive the golf cart. I enjoyed it so much I wrote about it for “The First Time I” story. I also remember the time you made the storage room into a room that I felt very comfortable in.

This year Thanksgiving is going to be partly Christmas to me because the other half of my family is having Christmas at my house. I can’t wait for spring break to come, so Karla and I could possibly stay a week at your house. (Not like last time.)

Grandma, How’s the store going? Are you selling a lot?


Dear Grandpa,

At school we’re writing a letter to someone we’re thankful for and I chose you.

I want to thank you for when you took me on a tractor ride in the morning. Also when we were on the hay ride and we saw the new born calf. (At least we thought.)

Scan-Ryan (2)

Grandpa, how’s the farm going? Are the cows going well?


Ryan Hostetter

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.

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