The Simplicity of Christmas

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Each season my mind focuses on a different aspect of Christmas. Several weeks ago as I was preparing to teach a Sunday School lesson my mind centered on “simplicity”.  Would you believe the next Sunday our pastor focused on the same thought as we started the Advent season.

Jesus was born to simple, ordinary, country folks who were faithfully seeking to follow God. His father was a carpenter and his mother a young peasant maiden approximately fourteen years of age. He walked the hills of Judea as a homeless teacher with a group of ragtag, “chosen” disciples; teaching, healing,  and calling folks to believe that He was the Messiah, the Son of God.  He was loved by a few, but generally misunderstood, doubted, betrayed, mocked, deserted,  and finally condemned to die a horrific criminal’s death.

But, then the extra-ordinary happened. The Son of God arose and became the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Messiah, and Savior. He calls us, simple, ordinary folks, to believe and accept who He is; “The Way, the Truth and the Life”, and to “come” and follow Him.

There is such a tendency to make Christmas glitzy with lights, gifts, trees, and food that we forget the real story of a humble birth in a lowly stable when God became man and dwelt among us so that we can know the Father and live eternally with him.

There is a poem I really like that expresses these thoughts so beautifully.

One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village 
The child of a peasant woman 
He grew up in another obscure village 
Where he worked in a carpenter shop 
Until he was thirty when public opinion turned against him

He never wrote a book 
He never held an office 
He never went to college 
He never visited a big city 
He never travelled more than two hundred miles 
From the place where he was born 
He did none of the things 
Usually associated with greatness 
He had no credentials but himself 

He was only thirty three 

His friends ran away 
One of them denied him 
He was turned over to his enemies 
And went through the mockery of a trial 
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves 
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing 
The only property he had on earth 

When he was dead 
He was laid in a borrowed grave 
Through the pity of a friend 

Nineteen centuries have come and gone 
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race 
And the leader of mankind’s progress 
All the armies that have ever marched 
All the navies that have ever sailed 
All the parliaments that have ever sat 
All the kings that ever reigned put together 
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth 
As powerfully as that one solitary life 

Dr. James Allan Francis © 1926.

The Pearly Gates

I was sitting at the table in my sister-in-law’s house last weekend when I glanced out the patio doors and what I saw made me pause and stare. When I exclaimed, “I see the pearly gates,” everyone jumped with anticipation to catch a glimpse!  There they were; beautiful, decorative, dual arches of pearly gates!

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It took us a moment to figure out where the reflection was coming from. The sun was shining on the front door that  has a decorative glass insert at just the right angle to reflect on the patio doors that were across the living room and dining area. It is not a straight line across the room, but somehow all the right reflectors lined up to give us an imagery of pearly gates!

It was neat even if it was a pathetic simulation of “the heavenly pearly gates”.   I have been thinking about those heavenly gates ever since. One day my eyes are going to lock onto the most spectacular gates of pearl imaginable and I suspect I will gasp at the wonder that is before me.

There are many pearly gate jokes with St. Peter as the keeper of the doorway. You have to convince him that you are worthy for him to unlock the gate and let you slip in.  But scripture gives us a different visual.  In Revelations 21 there is a description of the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven.  It is an immense and beautiful city with a wall built of jasper and twelve foundations of different gems. There are twelve gates, each made from a single pearl and the street of the city is pure gold like transparent glass. (Revelations 21:21).  This city descends from God, out of heaven, down to the new earth (Revelations 21: 1-2).  Contrary to popular belief, the gates do not bar entrance to the city as they are never shut.  However, these gates can only be entered by those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. “Nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelations 21:26-27).

Those pearly gates will be a dazzling sight. I visualize Jesus standing there with arms outstretched before the wide open gate as I run and fall into his embrace.

There is so much about heaven we do not know and understand. We catch glimpses in scripture of its beauty and glory. The details are not important, but what is important is to believe in and know Jesus Christ as your redeemer. Jesus is the only way to the Father and heaven. There is no other. Jesus told us plainly, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6).

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Just a few thoughts for further reflection.

To my surprise when I got studying and looking at scripture on the pearly gates I discovered that I had adopted some of the “religious” myth about the gate. There actually is very little scripture about a gate to heaven.

The “Pearly Gates” are associated with the New Jerusalem which comes down from heaven to a new earth when the present earth is destroyed. There are twelve gates, one for each of the twelve tribes of Jacob (Revelations 21:12) in the walls of the huge city which is shaped as a cube; three gates on each side.  Scriptures says these gates will not be shut at all by day for there is no night there but only those who names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be able to enter.  (Revelations 21:25-27).

The only other reference to a “gate” is in Matthew 7: 13-14. “Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life and there are few who find it.”

To my surprise, I could find no mention of entering a gate to heaven when I die!  People who have had “after life” experiences report seeing a brilliant, intense, bright light and being drawn to it. Most see a beautiful gate with people gathered to welcome them home.  It is beautiful, comforting imagery. Whether or not it is totally true does not matter. We do know heaven is real and beautiful beyond what we can imagine.  Jesus will be there to welcome his loved ones home.

 

 

 

 

The Morning After

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Wow! What a night! Has there ever been an election where so many people had so much raw emotion and passion at stake in an election?

But this morning I want to pause and express a few feelings. I have never before blogged about politics and only once this season did I make a single statement on fb, though I was tempted many times. We are all open to our views and beliefs; that is the beauty of democracy. But now I want to say that I, personally, want to be respective of the opposing “blue” side.  After all, some of you are my friends, customers and relatives. You are real people, with real faces and feelings, who didn’t vote as I did or see the world through the same lens. I love and care about you and your feelings and do not want to arrogantly flaunt our win or your loss with contempt, unkind words or a mean-spirited attitude.

It is time for a change. Will the “Red Team” be perfect? Absolutely not. Is there corruption in their ranks? Unfortunately, yes. Is Donald the perfect candidate? No. Will he make mistakes? Of course? Do I approve of everything “the Donald” says and represents? No. Is he a threat to our nation and the world? Of course not.

Mr. Trump has built his whole platform on taking back America for the people. He understood and heard the call of the people of the heartland. He owes no man anything as he basically funded his own campaign. He triumphed in a historical election against unbelievable odds.

I prayed often and passionately for this election.  God knows and sees the long-view. I can only see the present. So, I prayed for His will for our land.  I prayed for mercy and that people would humble themselves and turn to God so that He could heal our land. I prayed that the God-given right to be born would be protected and cherished. I prayed that the Constitution and laws of our land would once again be honored, obeyed and enforced. I prayed for the right to express our faith without fear and intimidation. I prayed for God-given justice. I prayed that the hidden, dark secrets of corruption would be revealed.

I plea with all of us, me included, that we guard our tongues and that no corrupt, evil, unkind, belittling, untrue words spout from our lips; that we guard against pride and arrogance. I pray that we respect the differing views of others.

Yes, the victory was sweet last night and we celebrate that win. I voted for Trump but not because I approved of everything he has and probably will say and do-far from it.  I voted for him because of his policies. I voted for him because I feel change is desperately needed in this country.  I see him as a man who will stand against the status quo. I see him as a man who can help our country become more fiscally sound. Was he the best that our country could offer? I don’t know. But he prevailed through the vetting process and has come forth as “the man” for this hour and this time in our nation and world.

I want to pray that Trump will have wisdom for the huge, almost insurmountable task before him; that he will be God honoring and humble, not vindictive or careless with his words and actions. I pray for his family and marriage. I pray for God ‘s protection, care and blessing on him as he prepares to lead our nation and navigates the troubled, stormy waters of international affairs and tensions. I pray that he will seek to know and understand the heart of God.

I pray also for Hillary as she is experiencing the disappointing and crushing blow of defeat. I appreciated both her and Obama’s gracious tone this morning. I pray that she will search her soul with the truth of God’s Word and yield to His redemptive work in her life.

A new day has dawned and new opportunities lie before us. As a nation, we will need to come together for our common good or we will stay entangled in a bitter web of confusion and partisan politics.

May God help us.

Endive and Dandelion

These two foods rank extremely high on my list of favorite foods.  I can chow down and make a whole meal of a big bowl of either one. Before you turn up your nose, let me tell you about this delicious, hearty, salad green and I will also share my recipe at the end of this post.

I grew up on both of these salad greens. As a child, we never ate cooked collard, kale, mustard or turnip greens as Mother was more of a “northern” cook! I am finding most people around here have never heard of endive and have no idea they can eat the dandelion weed. Endive salad is a “must have” standard at my (the Heatwole) families Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

Dandelion:

This is an early spring delight. You gather the dandelion BEFORE it shoots a bloom or it will be bitter.  With a knife, very carefully dig up the stalk but not the root.  The hardest thing about dandelion is cleaning as it tends to be fragile and dirty.

Endive:

Endive is planted and grown from a seed just like lettuce. It forms a loose, upright head, a lot like Oakleaf lettuce.  I planted it the end of August and we have been eating on it for weeks. It regrows after it is cut and light frost does not hurt it.

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I plant Green Curled Ruffec Endive from Bfg Supply (Wetsels).

Recipe:

Chop the greens into a bowl. (Maybe 4 packed cups worth)

Add:

  • 1/4 c.  chopped onion,
  • 2 slices of crumbled, fried bacon
  • Two hard-boiled eggs chopped

Warm dressing:

Cook together:

  • 1-2 tsp. bacon grease-put in small skillet

Put in sealed container and shake together until mixed.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 raw egg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. apple vinegar
  • 2 T. All-Purpose flour

Pour in skillet with bacon grease and cook over medium-high heat until thickened.  This only takes a few minutes. Pour warm dressing over greens. Eat immediately.

I have found that if I have some left over, simply refrigerate. I even like it cold the next day for lunch.

Serves 4 or if at our table, 2 people!!!!

One helpful hint: I buy 3 lb. packages of thick-sliced bacon and fry it all up at once. After it cools slightly, I chop it into small pieces and freeze. I save some of the grease in another container and freeze especially when we are in endive season. It doesn’t seem as big of a job to make the salad if you don’t have to fry the bacon every night. I have found it is also really, really handy to have the bacon on hand to add to snaps, scrambled eggs, salads, etc.

So, how many of you know about the “joy” of endive or dandelion salad? Respond in the comment section. I would love to hear your story!

October Day on the Farm

This afternoon I rode around the farm, enjoying the beauty of a warm fall day and looking for photo opportunities.

This is the end of October and there is only a slight tint of color to most of the trees.  The leaves are just turning brown and falling without turning color.  I did find one brilliant red tree.

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The cows were laying in the sun by the edge of woods contentedly enjoying the warm late afternoon sun.

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The Cowbirds were hanging out by the thousands around the cows that were grazing.  They were furiously pecking and eating seeds, bugs and shifting through the manure for goodies.  After a few minutes they would flutter to scavenge by another cow, rotating around the pasture.  It was fascinating to watch. They didn’t seem to bother or annoy the cows.

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A young calf just as curious as I was about what those crazy birds were doing!

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If I got to close they would take wing, circle around and land a short distance away. I wonder how they miss colliding in mid-air!

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 Several weeks ago Gene planted some annual ryegrass in the pastures to give some additional grazing for the cattle.

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A final resting place

Additional October pictures

October seems to be the “month of the spider”!

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Fire side and smores.

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Gene planting fall crops.

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Full moon shining through the boughs of the pine tree.

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Beautiful sunset.

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The beauty of God’s creation is all around us; every year, every season, every day.  The canvas may be the same but the artist’s brush paints a stunning, magnificent, oh so uniquely different, picture.

“O Lord, our God, how excellent is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens”.

Psalms 8:1

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork”.

Psalms 19:1

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Romans 1:20

I Hit the Jackpot!

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I did it.  I did it! I DID IT!!!!! This morning when I stepped on the scales it banged, clanged, jingled and sang (not really but in my mind it did). I had hit my jackpot, the 50 pound weight lost goal!!!!..  I just stood and stared at the scales.  I wiggled around, moved my feet to see if the hand on the dial was stuck. I could hardly believe my eyes even though I was weighing myself every day and knew I was one pound from the goal. I’ve been claiming it for several weeks now as I was within a few pounds but now it official and there is no anticipating the fact. For some reason the last five pounds took a long time to come off.

I started this journey February 7 and I it took me exactly 8 months of daily recording ALL my food and drink intake on myfitnesspal.com to get to this day.

If you are struggling with  weight loss, I highly recommend myfitnesspal.com.  I did not deny myself any food group, go on a diet binge or buy special products. I counted calories, managed portion control and walked the treadmill.  I am so excited to say I went from a tight 14 jeans to size 6.

Now my concern is keeping it off and not letting that sneaky, creepy fat find its way back on. My plan is to stay on myfitnesspal and I anticipate that as long as I make myself accountable to “my pal-my best friend”, I will keep it off.  After all,  I talk to this pal several times a day. It knows my deepest secrets!

When I started this journey, I set my goal for 22 pounds. I didn’t want to feel defeated and said I would be happy IF I got to 165.  The unbelievable part for me now is that I am back to my “before having baby days”.  I never, ever dreamed that was possible.  I know, I’m a woman and I am not suppose to want any one to know my weight or age. But….at 63 I weighted 187 and now I am proud to say one year later I weigh 137.  How many years have I just added to my life? The bottom line is, I feel soooooooo good. This is so different from one year ago.  (See my blogs posted below). Most of my aches and pains are gone. Now when I pick up a 50 lb. bag of feed I can hardly believe I was carrying that albatross around every step I took.  Now it’s all I can do to lift and carry the bag!

For now, I am enjoying the winning of the jackpot. It is sweeter than honey and better than chocolate! (I think!!!)

My Fitness Pal

A Little Less of Me

Local Hertzler Get-Together 2016

There is just something about kinfolk that is extra special.  There are three family lines of Hertzlers living in Cumberland, Powhatan, Buckingham and Prince Edward counties. We all connect to the same genetic pedigree several generations back. We love to visit together, live within easy visiting distance but just don’t get together very often.  We decided it was time to get together for a reunion.

Joe and Norma Hertzler graciously hosted the evening at their lovely, manicured homestead in Cumberland. The evening turned out to be perfect weather after a rainy week and morning and the turnout was great. I even heard something about this being the first annual!!!

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Helen and Tom Hertzler

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Betty and Ray Hertzler

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Tony Hertzler

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Bob Hertzler

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Marie Hertzler

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Norma Hertzler

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Joe Hertzler

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Bobby and Bob Hertzler

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Gene Hertzler

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Annette Hertzler

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Phil Hertzler

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Jeremy Khosropanah

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Lucy Miller

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J.R. Hochstetler

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J.R. Hochstetler and Jesse Hertzler

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Freeman Hertzler grilling his marinated venison tenderloins. They were delicious. This guy knows how to cook.

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Felicia Miller

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Michelle Hertzler

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Allie Hertzler

 

There were lots of things for the children/young folks to do:

Dutch Blitz, volleyball, target shooting, Corn Hole, play set, sandbox, dressup, and chasing bubbles.

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Cassidy played “dress-up”. I wonder how many different times she changed clothes during the evening.

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Allie Hertzler

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The setting and weather was perfect.

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Beef, turkey or sausage dogs and venison tenderloin.

Highlight: Gospel Hoe-Down

Some of the Hertzlers are fortunate to have inherited the music gene and they entertained us by playing their instruments and singing toe-tapping, old-time, gospel favorites. It was a fun, fun time listening and singing along.

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Joe Hertzler

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Paul Hertzler

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Gery Hochstetler

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Joe, Michelle and Phil

Videos

My camera battery died and I missed getting a hilariously funny performance by Joe called “The Tickle Song” and a crazy rendition of  “Black Gold Fever” by Tom.

“Jesus, Tender Shepherd” by Cassidy Miller

Joe shared some thoughts about his “pop” who is 99 years old and in his honor sang “When the Saints Go Marching In”.

 

 This picture taken by Annette Hertzler is my favorite of the evening.

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It is priceless and we dubbed it “The Hertzler Boys”!

 

Attending were:

  • Brothers Phil (Annette)and Tom (Helen) Hertzler from Prince Edward county and some of their children.
    • Phil’s son Freeman (Allison) and son
    • Tom’s daughter Michelle (Karl) & family (Note: Michelle married Joe’s son Karl)
  • First cousins Bob (Marie), Ray (Betty), Joe (Norma) and Gene (Pat) Hertzler from Powhatan and Cumberland counties.
    • Bob’s sons: Bobby and Tony
      • Tony’s son-in-law, Jeremy Khosropanah, and grandson
    • Joe’s children:
      • Veronica (J.R. Hochstetler) & family
      • Lucy (Roy Miller) & family
      • Karl (Michelle) & family
      • Jesse and his children
  • None of the Howard Hertzler line were able to attend.

 

 

Redneck Girl!

So. I sent Summer on a delivery to Chesterfield and she also needed to make some stops to pick up some supplies. She came back to the store carrying her tennis shoes and said, “People in Chesterfield must not know what boots are! They look at you like you are weird”.  It was rainy and I can understand the boots for where she was going on the delivery.  But…

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I said, “You didn’t go into Lowes and Sams looking like that???!!!”

I am sure you can guess her answer…. “Of course!”

I started laughing. The redneck girl went to town to buy, of all things, a chandelier for one of our customers in Bermuda.

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Looking like this!

Maybe sometimes it is just better not to know!!!

Like they say, “You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl”.

 

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time there was a large, white,  two story, clapboard farmhouse sitting in the middle of our lawn.  For those  of you who are “Powhatan old-timers”, it was the John “Booker” and Mary “Lula” Webb homestead. (See note at the bottom of the post for a little bit of info about the Webbs).

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This is one of the Webb boys-I forget which one. It may be Percy.

The leaning walnut tree on the left side of the house is still standing.  From day one, I disliked that tree and wanted it cut down. It was hollow, half dead and  leaning. I wanted to help it out of its misery. Gene saw its potential.  Lightning, storms and disease have taken down all the original trees plus some that we have planted, except for that tree.  Since I wasn’t allowed to get rid of it, I planted a maple beside it to replace it when it succumbed; which I knew would be in the very near future. Instead, it was as if the maple gave it a will to live and thrive. It revived itself, sprouting new growth and has stood the test of 45 years just to prove me wrong!! I do believe it will outlive me.

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We were privileged to know some of the Webb family; Percy and   “Aunt” Susie Worsham (everyone affectionately called her Aunt). One of the granddaughters, Vernelle, (Percy’s daughter), lived in California and a number of years ago stopped in for a “trip down memory lane”. The only remnants of her history are the leaning walnut tree, the broken remains of an old well and the dairy barn portion of the house. I am so sorry I didn’t write down the history she told me.  The dirt road in the foreground  went by the front of the house, down through the back pasture, across Thorntons (our neighbor) and ended up on Rocky Ford Rd.

I am not sure of all the timing, dates and families. Someday I will go to the courthouse and do some browsing.  Sometime along the way, the house burned and the Green family living here added a three-room apartment (kitchen, sitting room, bedroom and bath) as a second story to the cinderblock milking barn sitting on the back corner of the lawn. Their intent was for this to be temporary housing while they built a new house. Instead, in the early 60’s they sold the farm to Mr. Allen who added an addition with three more large rooms around the structure. This addition included a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bath. The milking barn portion was transformed into a laundry and second bedroom or office. The house now resembled a tug boat!!! The house had a square two story on one corner with a cinderblock, tar and gravel, flat-roof addition around it.  The inside was very nicely done but the outside was beyond ugly!!!

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The before…..our “fixer upper”

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In 1967, the O.W. Hertzler family bought the farm and in May of 1968, Gene and his brother moved from Newport News to run the dairy. They brought along the farm name, Quarterfield, and painted the outside of the house.

Around the time we were married in June 1972, the screened front porch was enclosed with sliding glass windows.

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In 1977, Gene’s folks added a full upstairs and a new roof covering the entire structure, completely changing the look.  Through the years we have given the house lots of loving care: painted inside and out, added a deck, shutters, gutters, new windows and landscaping. The house has “evolved” into a decent looking house that we are proud to call home.

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For the house, life keeps getting better and better. Each time it has modeled its new look with style and wonders what its owners might do next.  Only time will tell, but for the little house, it dreams of living happily ever after.

 

After…. transformation!  And yes, it is the same house. and it still has the upstairs apartment!

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This picture shows the leaning walnut tree.

Hertzler Farm and Feed-June 2009-web

 

Additional Farm History

Webb Family

John “Booker” (1853-1934) and Mary “Lula” (1858-1940) had eight children: Annie (Tuohy), John,  Alice (Simpson), Percy, Charles, Susie (Worsham), Arthur, and Bernice (Nicholls).

In the 1910 Powhatan County fair, the Webbs were responsible along with other residents for the huge success of the fair. He was one of the prize winners of the Virginia Burley Tobacco.

John was a very strict with his children about the care of his animals and always wanted to make sure they had water. He would take wagon loads of supplies to the “poor house” and the residents would sit on the porch waiting for him to arrive. Meals were served promptly at 6 a.m., 12 noon, and 6 p.m. in the Webb household.

Information taken from Powhatan Heritage Book printed in 2010 by Powhatan County Heritage Book Committee.

Note: This information tells me that tobacco was probably raised on the farm along with a variety of different crops and animals. The daughter who visited remembers milking cows.

We also know that at some point there was a moonshine still on a knoll across the creek in the back corner pasture.  When the Hertzlers purchased the farm they found remnants of it and numerous quart jars-one of which I still have.

Mr. Green

Mr. Green was a farmer and his wife was a school teacher.

Bernard Allen

Bernard was a plumber and he purchased the farm in the early 60’s. He milked cows and purchased a new line of John Deere equipment which were all sold at auction in 1965 or 66. The Hertzlers had restless feet and wanted to move the dairy out of Newport News as the city was encroaching on the farmers. They came and looked at the farm but did not come to the sale. The farm was sold to Hugh Ownby and Eddie Orange, a big cattle broker and re-estate company. They were planning to turn it into a cattle auction facility. Plans changed and in 1967 the Hertzlers purchased the farm. That fall they planted rye in preparation for moving the dairy herd in May.

The Allen boys loved to race cars and used the quarter mile driveway as their racetrack. For years bits and pieces of their vehicles would work their way to the surface in the driveway.

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If anyone has or remembers tidbits of history on the farm or any of these people I would love to know. Pat

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Additional Blog Links

Remodeling Bathroom

My New Sunroom

Down a Country Lane

The Tale of Two Trees

Heatwole Gathering-2016

This year our family gathering was at the home of Jim and Kendra Landis. They have a beautiful home site nestled on the edge of Shenandoah Mountain with National Forest all around. Jim is very creative and their place was better than a park with a zip line, playground, walking trails and picnic area.  The pictures and video clips will tell the story.

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My parents, siblings and spouses started Saturday morning with a delicious breakfast at the home of Rich and Marj.

Back: Ed & Eileen Heatwole, Marj & Rich Heatwole, Gene & Pat Hertzler

Front: Mother (Fannie Heatwole), Phil & Ev Borntrager and Daddy (Dwight Heatwole)

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Midmorning we begin to gather at the Landis home. The kids had a blast climbing on the monkey bars, swinging and sliding on the play set, and riding their bikes.

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The zip line was a favorite for kids and a few brave adults.  The “take off” perch was on a cliff behind the house.  There was an adult at the station to ensure all safety precautions were followed and the harnesses properly hooked to the cable.

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After putting on the harness,  you had the thrill of a 500 ft. zip across the lawn to the “landing station”. Two adults were there to receive/catch the “zippers” and help them unhook.

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Some of the smaller kids rode tango with another but each had their own harness

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Spectators!

Jase

I think most of us were anxious and excited to see little Jase. It has been awhile since we had an update on him. He is now 14 months old, cute as a button and a specimen of health.

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He had a heart warming smile that made you just want to snatch him up and cuddle on him. He had a strong preference for this parents and preferred you visit from a distance!

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No SMA baby ever dreamed of standing like this.  What does the future hold? No one knows. He is on an experimental drug for two years. Because he has participated in the program and shown huge results, he will be able to continue the drug.  Other kids his age have crawled and are toddling around.  So far he has not achieved that feat. He wants to crawl and rocks himself forward but can’t quite get his body into the right position. Is he just slow? We hope so. But standing on his mom’s lap he definitely has strength in his legs.  The movement in his arms is strong and there is nothing floppy about him. It is truly a miracle and gift from God that modern medicine has gotten this far.

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I had the privilege of holding him while his mom worked with lunch.  Let’s say “he tolerated” me with a whine!  But whenever I got too close after that he would watch me with those huge brown eyes and get that worried look on his face with a hint of a twinkle in his eyes.  What a charmer!!

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I could hardly get enough of the little fella!  He has no idea how unique and special he is.

The Lazy Boy Chair

Gene has had a rough summer with four surgeries (one on his shoulder and three for a kidney stone). He is still trying to get his strength and energy back.  He was struggling this weekend with extreme muscle soreness.

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He started out in his lawn chair but behind the scenes Jake and Jim were busy carrying a recliner from the house and up the hill to the picnic area. When the time came to move to the area for lunch,  Jim offered to carry our chairs and walked with him.

This video clip tells the story!

 

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This was really, really a very thoughtful and much appreciated prank!

A while later the sun popped through the leafy overhang and the guys immediately pulled out a patio umbrella for shade!!! How much more loved and special can you get? Jim and Jake’s mother-in-law wondered aloud if she would be this special and cared for when she was old! (The answer is on the video clip!)

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The Picnic Area

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A funny adornment-I guess just in case you are brave enough!!!

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The Faces of Us!

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The youngest of the clan.

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It was a fun, relaxing and absolutely perfect day with good food, fellowship and weather.

P.S. We missed the families of Keith, Jill, Brian, Jeannette, Aaron and Karmen. One of these couples was in Ireland on vacation and another is expecting their baby any day, any hour!

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