Boney Fingers

Do you ever sit and ponder life?

Sometimes I sit on the deck in the cool of the evening and wonder; why do I do all this stuff called work?  Why do I work from sun up to sun down and then some?  Does anyone appreciate what I do?  Is it worth anything to have neat flower beds, mowed lawn, and clean floors? I can’t take it with me.  I ponder the brevity of life and then the finality of death. Do the cares of this life matter?

King Solomon pondered this and wrote, “What profit has a man for all his labor which he does under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:3).

Sometimes I look at my hands and the hands of older” folks.  They  often look worn, wrinkled and boney. I am reminded of the song….

Boney Fingers

by Hoyt Axton

“Work your fingers to the bone – whadda ya get?
( Whoo-whoo ) Boney Fingers – Boney Fing-gers”


As Solomon pondered he wrote that life is tiresome, wearisome, unfulfilling, uncontrollable and it is all vanity.  Vanity means useless and meaningless-literally breath of breaths like the wind.  He saw that generations come and go, the sun rises and sets, the wind blows to the south and circles around and blows from the north, all the rivers run into the ocean but they are never full, the eye is not satisfied with seeing or the ear with hearing, a man dies and leaves his heritage to a man who has not labored for it, and the flesh is never satisfied.  He said, “for all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 2:23).

But as Solomon wrote and pondered a change began to happen. These words sprang from the depths of his soul…  “Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God”. He began to see that God had made everything beautiful and there was a season and time for every purpose on earth.  He saw that God requires an accounting of what is past in our lives and there is vanity to selfish toll.  The saw the value and strength of friendships. He gave some warnings; walk prudently when you go to the house of God, do not be rash with your mouth and make hasty vows, the love of silver, gold and abundance is never satisfied and greed is a severe evil and obey the king.  He admonishes us to know our Creator in our youth before the difficult years come. And then he says, “as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him the power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor-this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly all the days of his life because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.”

Then Solomon said death comes to all, rich and poor, wise and foolish. All die and return to dust.

Does it matter what I do in life?  Does it matter how I care for my space of green earth?  Does it matter that I work and toil to feed and provide for my family? Does it matter that sometimes the routine things in life seem mundane?  Absolutely.  Solomon said there is no end to the books we can write and too much study is wearisome to the body but he said, “Here is my conclusion…

Fear God and keep His commandments for this is a man’s all.

For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14

 When I look at wrinkled, worn hands I don’t just see boney fingers.  I see tired fingers from years of  hard work done with a heart of love.

Independence Day


Today I took a drive on Route 60 east and then on Route 13 into the village. I wanted to see how are people were celebrating July 4th-Independence Day.  I took some pictures.








Most of the local businesses were closed.














 Every street light in the village was flying a flag.



The Community Cemetery had quite a few flags by graves.  I wondered…did they die fighting for our freedom?







When you left the main road and drove the side roads where the locals live, flags were flying. There were people in their yards preparing for backyard picnics.   Most of the “pop & mom” local businesses were closed.  Even in the village of Powhatan it was quiet and the restaurants were closed. They dared to have a free day to be with family and friends or to do things at home, travel or just relax.  The “box” stores; Walmart, Tractor Supply, Food Lion, were open for business as usual as well as the national chain stores such as Pizza Hut, Subway, and McDonalds.


It struck us how here on the farm it was so quiet and peaceful.  I grilled hamburgers for lunch and we sat down on the patio to eat and relax instead of grabbing and running.  We worked at numerous projects but also enjoyed a beautiful evening relaxing on the patio with a grilled barbecue chicken supper.

Independence Day is a celebration of who we are as a nation.  We were founded by people of faith, seeking religious freedom.  The Christian faith was important and if you read the speeches, letters, documents of our Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence you will see the importance of faith in God and morality.  The whole back page of section A of the Times Dispatch today has some of these statements.   “In God We Trust” became our national motto and we believed that as long as a nation trusted and believed in God it would prosper.  Psalms 33:12 says “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord“.  Belief in God and Jesus Christ and the Bible as the inspired Word of God was the basis for education, the judicial system and executive powers.  Those who “hate” America today are those who are trying to turn us into a godless nation and they are winning this battle.  As a people we need to repent and return to our Creator, acknowledge Him, honor Him and worship Him.

It also does a community good to pause, reflect, rest, and to take a day off from the usual hustle and bustle, buying and selling.  When businesses are closed people do things together as families.  A big shout out to the businesses that honored the day. It is good for a community to come together and celebrate whether by picnics, fireworks or fun events, It would be good for us as a community to remember our roots and to give thanks for the wisdom of our founding fathers.


Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie

I have always loved this song-just ask my family!  The beat is so catching and the lyrics crack me up. I could just imagine being that girl!

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

(click on the song title to hear the song)

It was written by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss and first released in June 1960 by Brian Hyland with orchestra conducted by John Dixon.

She was afraid to come out of the locker
she was as nervous as she could be
she was afraid to come out of the locker
she was afraid that somebody would see

Two three four
tell the people what she wore

It was an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
that she wore for the first time today
an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
so in the locker she wanted to stay

Two three four
stick around we’ll tell you more

She was afraid to come out in the open
so a blanket around her she wore
she was afraid to come out in the open
and so she sat bundled up on the shore

Two three four
tell the people what she wore

It was an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
that she wore for the first time today
an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
so in the blanket she wanted to stay

Two three four
stick around we”l tell you more

Now shes afraid to come out of the water
and I wonder what she’s gonna do
now she’s afraid to come out of the water
and the poor little girls turning blue

Two three four
tell the people what she wore

It was an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
that she wore for the first time today
an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
so in the water she wanted to stay

From the locker to the blanket
from the blanket to the shore
from the shore to the water
yes there isn’t any more.

I was reminded of this song in a weird sort of way today.   I decided to go take a swim in my son’s swimming pool. They put in an above ground pool this spring and I have been invited to go dip but just hadn’t done so.  Independence Day-our store is closed and I have a day for me and whatever I want to do–let’s go for that coveted swim!

Now, I have not had my swimming suit on for about 10 years. I dug it out of it’s hiding place and proceeded to put it on.  Oops! Something has happened to the suit!  It used to fit and suddenly it felt itsy bitsy teenie weenie.  Thank goodness I have a “modest” one-piece swimsuit but it seemingly has shrunk.  Suddenly this song from the antique files in my brain sprung to my mind.   Here I was struggling to put on 2-size too small suit and singing…it was an itsy bitsy teenie weenie…..  I stuffed, pulled, huffed, puffed, jumped, and lifted and I made it.  Then I was almost afraid to go out of the bedroom!  The coverup was too small so I wrapped a towel around me. I got to their house and there was a note on the door “napping”. Thank goodness no one could see!!! I paddled and floated around for about half an hour and then made a dash back home.

And no, there are none and will be NO pictures.  So, now I have this crazy little song playing over and over in my brain… it was an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini that she wore for the first time today.   An Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini  so in the locker she wanted to stay!  Two, three, four..stick around we’ll tell you more….


A few days later…. at a family get together I was given a gift from my sister-in-law.


In it was…… a size 3X thrift store bikini.


Thanks Marj for the great laugh and gag gift!

42 Years!

Tonight we celebrated our 42nd anniversary with a very pleasant evening at the Bonefish Grill. We reminisced and talked about life.


Way back in the old days, June 24, 1972,  I said “I do, I will, and I take…” to a handsome young man who has become my soul-mate, my friend, my love and my partner.  That day with stars in our eyes we never dreamed where this journey would take us.

Now here we are, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, through lean and success, and we are still looking forward to many more years.

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I am so grateful for a godly husband who shares the same faith and same values in life. I can trust him with my heart and know that he will faithfully stand with me.  He is a good dad and grandpa to his offspring.  I am blessed and look forward to walking into our sunset years together.

Happy 42nd anniversary dear!


Tongue Lickin’ Good!

After the storm this evening I rode with Gene to put Wind & Rain mineral out to the cows.  We pulled up to the gate and Gene revves the motor on the truck. That is his “call” to the cows. Instantly dozens of ears come up, mouths full of grass look towards the gate and across the field they come in a run.








We went to another field and the brood cows with their calves were all standing at the bottom of the hill in a corner. Again he revved the motor and they came running.




Is this the same as “finger lickin’ good’????

They would bury their noses in the mineral and then lick it off their noses.






This poor little calf got his face at the wrong spot at the wrong time. Yes, that is fresh manure all over his face!  His mama will probably lick him off later.



Pet Peeve #1: Vegetarian Fed

Sometimes there are things that get under your skin and pet peeve #1 is one of them.  Take a good look at this egg carton and see if you can tell me what is wrong with it.


Let’s zoom in for a closer look.


Anyone selling eggs should know better but it boils down to being ALL about advertizing and appealing to the consumer’s misguided perceptions.

First of all it is illegal to sell feed with meat, meat by-products  or bone meal in any form to chickens. So by saying it is “vegetarian fed”  implies that some chickens are fed meat.  This is not true. Period.

Secondly,  it shows the stupidity of our world.  Chickens love bugs, flies, crickets, grasshoppers, worms and will even eat a mouse or small snake if one happens to across their path.  There is no way you can  keep a chicken from eating any of the above “meats” unless they are kept in cages with very sterile conditions and use  lots of pesticides.  The customer then cries “foul” (excuse the pun!).  They want cage-free, free-range hens  that are running around outdoors laying their eggs.  Ironically these same customers will  buy meal-worms treats to hand feed their “vegetarian-fed” hens!  The only part of the formula for free-range chickens being  “vegetarian-fed” is what the human puts in their feed trough.  Of course free-range is the most natural and healthiest way to raise chickens but just remember, free-range are technically not just ‘vegetarian-fed”!

It is also amazing to me the use of the word “fresh”.  Webster says “fresh” means “just recently as in recently laid egg”.   Now, really, who wants to eat something old?  But have you noticed you can hard-boil eggs you buy in the store but not freshly laid eggs?  That means means they are at least a week or more old by the time you buy them.   So if “fresh” (farm fresh, country fresh) applies to eggs purchased in a grocery store, what word applies to true “fresh” eggs?  There is nothing wrong with store-purchased eggs but they aren’t really “fresh”.  The eggs in a store come from a poultry farm producing high quality eggs meeting the highest of USDA standards but it takes time to get the eggs from the farm to the consumer. It is amazing it happens as quickly as it does.

Just for the record, I am in no way questioning the quality of store-purchased eggs.  After all, they originate from a hard-working farmer striving to provide a quality product for the consumer to eat. The grocery store is one avenue to get the product to the consumer.  I am “pet-peeved” about the advertizing!

Sometimes I see ads for “vegetarian-fed” beef.  Just for the record;  NO COW EATS MEAT!  Cows only eat grains and legumes or grasses.  Again, it is illegal to put any meat, meat by-products or bone meal in any form in cattle feed.  But the consumer sees the ad blip and translates it into a fact; “this beef is healthier and better for you because it was not fed meat”.

As a beef and egg producer it irritates me how the media is so subtle in how it misguides the consumer. I understand that most consumers are too far removed from the farm to know the “truth” but the same consumers are often a vocal voice and “experts” in their misguided information.



A Sunday Afternoon Drive


My friend Donna and I took a several hour Sunday afternoon meander through the back roads of Powhatan today  just to take pictures.  If you want to touch history, capture the heart and soul of the county, and  catch a glimpse of the photogenic spots, leave the busy, main thoroughfare and cruise the back roads, the roads less traveled.  I condensed my 75 pictures to these….



Come with us on our jaunt and enjoy the pictures.


Flatrock is named after this rock and is on the little side road behind Davis-Merchant Equipment.

Flatrock, Powhatan is named after this rock and it is on the little side road behind Davis-Merchant Equipment.

If someone knows the history of this rock….it would be interesting to post.

See the indentation in the rock. The Indians used this rock for grinding corn.

See the indentation in the rock. If I remember the history correctly, the Indians used this rock for grinding corn.


The second big indentation on the rock.

The second big indentation on the rock.


A large rock on Three Bridge Road by Millview Farm.

A large rock on Three Bridge Road by Millview Farm.

The golf course at the Foundry on 711.

The golf course at the Foundry on Lee’s Landing Road.








Beautiful huge old oak tree on 522. I have always admired it's ability to survive and look so good.

Beautiful huge stately old oak tree on 522. I have always admired it’s ability to survive and look so good.


My friend, Donna.

My friend, Donna.


The Old Cosby Dairy on Cosby Road.

The Old Cosby Dairy on Cosby Road.


An old store run by the Cosbys that they have restored.

An old store run by the Cosbys that they have restored.


Love the stone foundation pillars and big rock for the front step.

Love the stone foundation pillars and big rock for the front step.

Old farm equipment resting in peace on the Cosby Farm.

Old farm equipment resting in peace on the Cosby Farm.



Wheat or barley field.

Wheat or barley field.







Several links about the history:

Belmead on the James

Belmead Mansion

Belmead Stables and Riding Club

St. Francis



Old cemetery at Belmead.

Old cemetery at Belmead.





Historic barns made into a beautiful equine facility.

Historic barns made into a beautiful equine facility.





While taking the above picture of the flower bed I was standing beside this small spruce tree. A startled bird flew from the tree. I looked and found her secret...5 little eggs nestled in the branches.

While taking the above picture of the flower bed I was standing beside this small spruce tree. A startled bird flew from the tree. I looked and found her secret…4 little eggs nestled in the branches.



A crop sprayer sitting by the edge of a corn field.

A crop sprayer sitting by the edge of a corn field.



James River

James River

We call it the "Mighty James" but it is actually a very calm, beautiful river. It is not very deep west of the 522 bridge.  A lot of it is waist deep or less but with a few deeper pockets.

We call it the “Mighty James” but it is actually a very calm, beautiful river. It is not very deep west of the 522 bridge. A lot of it is waist deep or less but with a few deeper pockets.

There are a lot of beautiful rocks protruding from the river at different spots.

There are a lot of beautiful rocks protruding from the river at different spots.








I wish I had looked at the signs, especially at Belmead, and gotten a little of the history. If anyone can fill in any history on these spots please add a comment.


Some comments:

  • Wanda Starke:  We went to Belmead when they had something going on and they had a book with the people who were buried in the graveyard. It was real sad, because most were infants and I can’t remember seeing but one or two over the age of 34. I remember sitting in church there in the 50′s listening to the cadets doing drills. There used to be a row of shops where the men learned a trade. Otto taught the blacksmiths. I remember a tailor, barbershop and I’m not sure about others.
  • Linda Smith:  The original owner and builder of the house was a distant relative of the Cocke family that I work for.  They are and old Virginia family who’s forefather’s immigrated from England in the 1600s.
    It’s lovely that it’s being saved, even though the pace is slow.  My 92 year old neighbor well remembers when it was being used as a trainer center for young men from ‘the north’.


Wrong Question

I am still learning there are some questions you do not ask a hard-working, dawn to dusk farmer.  Did you do anything today?  Is that all you got done?

On Saturday afternoon I went to the hay field to check on my farmer where he was mowing hay and to take him a cool refreshing drink of tea.  He finished his circle around the field and stop by my car.  I innocently asked, “Is that all you got done?”  Sounded like a fair question to me!!  There were quite a few mowed  windrows but still a big uncut block in the center. I had expected him to be about done.  After all, he had been there most of the day.


I got a little lecture about what he had to do before he started mowing, the size of the field, and also pointed out another piece he had cut over the crest of the hill that I had not noticed.  End of conversation.


That evening at supper he informed me that Kenneth, the owner of the farm he was mowing, said that it was a 40-acre field and it takes 69 rounds to get it all mowed.  Hum. Now I know that I not only asked a stupid question but my question was making headline news!  I guess someone needs to give the farmers something to talk about.  After all, going around the field 69 times can be rather boring but who cares. They are counting circles!




There was a stand off in the pasture tonight.  The bulls butted their heads together and pushed each other around.  First one would get the advantage and push the other backwards for a while and then the roles reversed.  I declared their fight a “tie”!



When they were tired they would stop and look away from each other and pant.






Then they were back into attack mode.




It is a fearsome thing to watch two bulls bully each other.

You don’t want to get too close and they decide they need to put you in your place!

Dismanteling Ninety-Five Years

It has struck me this week as we grieve the passing of Gene’s ninety-five year old dad,  how we spend a life time building our own personal empires; collecting, saving, fixing, buying, preserving, working, and with one breathe, life stops and none of it matters any more.  With the stroke of a pen, an executer will disperse the hard-earned cash, a much-loved farm handed-down from previous generations is development opportunity and personal treasures become “bargains” to fill other people’s homes.

O.W. Hertzler-90 years

Even though it has only been a few days since dad Hertzler passed away the process of disposing of his 95 plus years of collecting has begun. The things that consumed his day and made him tired don’t matter any more.  His tools lie unused, food in the fridge is thrown away, and his equipment is parked where he last used it. Family members will treasure family heirlooms that have special meaning, junk will be tossed and the little farm in the middle of the city will be no more.

I wonder who will read the books he treasured, stretch out in his lazy boy chair, drink from his chipped, mismatched coffee mugs, sleep on his wedding bed, or sit at the old well-worn desk.  I wonder who will appreciate the story behind the creaky rocking chair, the worn, stained quilt, cracked platter, or lace tablecloth?  The favorite pillow, blanket, pen, shirt, chair or rug is now ordinary.  I mull over how much is out-dated, worn, and old. A century of memories and stories will only be treasured by the few who remember.

King Solomon mulled over this ….. “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?  One generation passes away and another generation comes…” (Ecclesiastes 1:2b-4a)

Dad was thrifty, honest and hard-working. He was a home-body, and only once took his family on a trip to Florida. He was a small, wiry man but he had a strong, spunky spirit. In the midst of all his living, Dad cultivated a strong faith that was tested and tried. He wrote notebooks full of his spiritual ponderings, and “preached” to everyone who would listen; “repent and be saved.”  He cherished the hymns of old and often sung them from memory. His Bible is worn and tattered from use.  His ministry was mostly out of the spotlight. Through the years his shop became a haven for a men’s Bible study and he cherished meeting weekly with several men at a local restaurant for coffee and fellowship. In his younger years he picked up neighborhood children and took them to church. Those who knew dad received a spiritual treasure. The most valuable things in life can not be bought or sold.


(Sign hanging in the shop)

Dad had his own unique set of challenges in life and some were very painful and difficult but he ran the race, he fought the fight and his dying words were “I am at peace.”

On Sunday there was a message on our answering machine when we got home from church that dad was being” called home”. We immediately headed to Denbigh. He had been in the hospital a week and his lungs were filling with fluid. Time was running out.  On the drive down we didn’t know if he would hold on until we got there. Your mind remembers many things as you process the events taking place. Dad’s mind was clear and we had a precious two hours with him before heading home.  Talking was very difficult and labored for him but he had some things to say. Once I realized he was trying to sing “Amazing Grace”.  We sat by his bed, gently massaging his face and hands and quietly sharing our last moments together on earth. I softly sang numerous beloved old hymns to him. He was looking forward to seeing Jesus and numerous family members.  We assured him that we would see him later in heaven. It is so hard to say your last goodbye, give your last hug and walk out of the room, knowing this is it.  There are no more words to be spoken and the last “I love yous” have been said. We were so grateful that God in His mercy granted us this time together.

Thank-you dad, rest in peace. We love you.


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