A Sunday Afternoon Drive

Walking out of church today Gene said, “Do you want to go on a Sunday afternoon drive?”  Of course I did.  We haven’t done that for years and years and years; to just drive for the fun of driving and seeing new country.  We went home, changed our clothes and hit the road heading west. Now Gene did have a destination in mind; I saw him browsing the internet before leaving for church even though he made no mention of what he was doing. He wanted to find one of our beef customers in Nelson County.

We took scenic Route 60 west and stopped at Pino’s, a country diner in Buckingham County, for lunch. The food was superb and the variety on the menu was exceptional.  We then drove past another beef customer  a short distance down the road before heading north on Route 56 towards Nelson County. The rolling countryside was beautiful and there are a lot of cattle farms in Buckingham.  Only a farmer can truly understand the beauty of cattle grazing in lush, green fields.

After driving the main road for about thirteen miles, we turned off on a side road at Wingina and wound on a curvy road along the bluffs and foothills.  We admired the river bottom pastures and homesteads nestled against the ridge or perched high on the bluff  overlooking the James River and railroad tracks. We knew “sort of” where the farm was but was not able to identify it.  We knew he usually wasn’t at the farm on the weekends so this was not a business visit.  Because it was raining the only picture I took was this train trestle over the Tye River about 400 yards before it empties into the James, from the car window.  Otherwise, we still might not be home as I would be along the road or river somewhere taking pictures!

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We eventually meandered our way to Route 29, headed north towards Charlottesville before catching Route 6 east towards home, with a brief stop at Walton’s Mountain museum in Schuyler.  It was neat driving through quaint towns of yester years; many of which are still thriving with pop and mom businesses.  Many towns I knew the names of but had never been through;  Lovingston, Scottsville, Fort Union, Columbia and George’s Tavern.  It made me appreciate a customer that regularly comes from Scottsville for his horse hay and shavings and now I can’t wait to tell him so.

I remember as a child a favorite Sunday afternoon activity was when our family took a leisurely drive. If you want to really learn to know an area, see where the locals live, figure out how roads connect and where they go; take a Sunday afternoon drive.  Time almost stands still as you cruise along without having to be at a destination in a hurry. It was five hours of pure pleasure!

Spring is Bursting New Life

Signs of spring are everywhere and it is so wonderful, so refreshing and so beautiful. We love riding the golf cart over the farm, admiring the cows and newborn calves.  The woods are just bursting with new life, flowers are blooming and birds are singing. How grateful I am to live in a part of the country that we get to enjoy spring. God is so good.

Take a ride with me…..

 

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Red tulips

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Strawberries are blooming. I can hardly wait.

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The lettuce and onions will soon be ready to eat.

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The Maple trees are blooming. As kids we called them “helicopters” because of the way the twirled as they flurried to the ground.

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The poison ivy is growing well.

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The pear tree is full of fragrant blossoms. Do you see the busy wasp collecting nectar?

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Can you believe that in one month, right around Mother’s Day, these peonies will be full-grown and laden with sweet smelling flowers?

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IMG_7894Lots of baby calves.

IMG_7901If a calf is red or has a white face it is the offspring of our Red Hereford bull.

IMG_7906Some of the cute faces of the calves.

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Noah says his grandpa has 60 hundred thousand million jillion cows.

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Curious cows and Noah is scared to death of them.

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Gene used his hat to hold the fence down so that he could climb over the fence.

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He went over and sat on the ground to show Noah how to be very still and speak quietly to the cows and they will come up to you.

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The cows looking at Gene and working their way to him.

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The cows were grazing and also enjoying the warm sunny afternoon.

I am reminded of God’s promise to Noah when he stepped off the ark and the earth was springing forth new life. It was fresh and clean and invigorating after months in the dark, cramped, smelly ark.

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease”.

Genesis 8:22

Two more pictures….I took these several days ago.

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A hazy, full moon.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. :)

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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.

 

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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.

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Monday evening…

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

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

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Helped a customer find the baby chick room.

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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.

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

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Karla and I cleaning the mud off the golf cart.

P.S. I did the cleaning basically.

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

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I saw Spot snooping around under the fence.

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How the marbles start

 

Tonight’s View From My Deck

This is tonight’s view from my deck.

The Mr. checking on his young stock.

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And to the west….God’s magnificent, amazing, glorious artwork, free for the viewing.

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See the bird flying into the sunset.

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It just kept getting grand”er”!

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The sky looked like a rolling wave of fire.

Doesn’t it remind you of the wave of water I took in Maui?

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“Be exalted, O God above the heavens, and your glory above all the earth.”

Psalms 108:5

Pigeons

Pigeons are everywhere. It is probably the most popular, unwanted bird in the city and they can also be a messy nuisance on the farm. But, I love pigeons.  I love to watch them, I love the cooing noise they make and I love their colorful feathering.

Pigeons will make a mess in an old discarded barn or silo. I remember as a child daddy would occasionally find a nest of pigeons in the hay barn.  We would have pigeon rice soup for supper.  Just in case you don’t know, pigeon is very good to eat!

I have occasionally photographed our wild pigeons here on the farm.

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I also have a pen of Tumblers-have had them for years. Tumblers fly in circles and then do a head over heel tumble or somersault out of the sky. Just between hitting the ground they soar to fly again. It is so neat to watch. I used to fly my birds but I had difficulty in retrieving them all back to the pen because of the wild pigeons. If you notice in the flock of wild pigeons on top of the silo there are some brown hues. I had a brown Tumbler that would not come back to the pen but was attracted to the “wild side” of town!  The effect is still noticeable.  Now I  just enjoy the beauty of their colorings of blue, brown, white and everything in between and listening to them coo.

Short clip of my Tumblers cooing and protecting their nesting area from other intruders.

 http://youtu.be/dnWCFVWE_z0

Baby pigeons nurse by inserting their beaks into the throats of their parents-yes, male and female. As you could see in the video clip the adults are very protective of their nesting area and when another pigeon invades the area will peck at it until it leaves.

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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

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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.

http://youtu.be/wiJ5cf7oB_c

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!

http://youtu.be/jKup-eNS1Sw

I love the counting and head bobbing on this video.

http://youtu.be/nsEpPJtzGqg

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.

Hometown USA

Recently another local family-owned business passed down through two generations, Davis-Merchant Equipment, was sold. We started thinking about the hometown businesses that are left in Powhatan. One by one they are quietly disappearing and in their place is Haley Chevolet, Wal-Mart, Tractor Supply, Food Lion, Advanced Auto, McDonalds, Wendys, Sheetz (Powhatan now seems to need 2 of them), Pizza Hut, Subway, C&F Bank, Essex Bank and the list goes on.  All the local gas stations have been sold to foreigners.

I remember when Al’s Market was owned by a real Powhatanian, Al, and Red Barn by Larry and Juanita Adams. There was May’s Hardware and May’s Grocery where they knew you by name and the meat was actually cut and packaged in the store. Remember…. The Bank of Powhatan, Yates Ford, Maxey’s Store,  Adam’s Pontiac, Nichol’s Store, Powhatan Farm Supply, Dr. Bradley, Powhatan Locker Plant, Bloxton’s Pharmacy, Gene’s Auto Parts and there was a Chevrolet car dealer… I can’t remember the name.  Did you notice how many of these business carried family names?

Bloxton’s Pharmacy was sold to another Powhatan Family, Jim and Carol Gregg, and morphed into Powhatan Pharmacy and Powhatan Plaza Pharmacy.  Yates Oil was sold to the Adams family-another Powhatan long-time name, but one by one, most have simply disappeared.

Have you ever stopped to count how many family-owned businesses are left?  Goodwyn’s Lumber was started in 1932 and is now managed by the third generation of Goodwyns.  Frisby’s Convenience Store was started by the Moore family in 1978 and about five years later their daughter opened the side-door restaurant. This is a favorite hangout of the locals. The chicken & dumplings and fried chicken can not be beat by Wendys or McDonalds. Hertzler Farm and Feed had it’s humble beginnings in an old dairy barn in 1983 and has grown into a full-fledged retail store.  Henry’s Market was started by Henry Ford Harris in the mid 80’s along with Powhatan Station Shopping Center which is filled with local-owned businesses: Sign Design, Country Food and Furniture and Flat Rock Glass.   The County Seat Restaurant, featuring southern style home cooking and hospitality, is run by 4 generations of family members and Dr. Spaur is still a small one-man dentistry in the village of Powhatan.  There are numerous other local-owned businesses but the well-known older businesses are quietly slipping away, replaced by box stores and national name brands.

Time moves on and change comes to every community but is sad to see the big, mega and national names replacing hometown.  Please remember to shop and support the local businesses and let them know you appreciate their contribution to the community.

Note: There are numerous other family-owned businesses that are making a significant impact on Powhatan community.  I can not list them all but if you send me names I will add them to this list.

  • Byerly’s Auto Mart
  • Higley’s Chiropractic
  • Napa (owned by Rick Barden)
  • Ollie’s Computer

Spot’s Birth Annoucement

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Spot, one of our favorite cows because of her unique coloring and personality, has a newborn calf born yesterday afternoon, March 9. Spot is part Simmental, part Angus and part…. who knows what.  She looks like a Holstein but according to Gene, her mother was black Angus and so was her daddy.  It amazes me how he knows and remembers all this. He doesn’t keep records; he just knows. She was bred to a Hereford; thus the white face on the calf, and this is her sixth.

Congratulations Mrs. Spot!

To read more about Spot check out my blog post: Spot

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