Archive for September, 2014

Family Camping-2014

This was the first time our family did a little vacation together. We went camping at Paradise Lake Campgrounds in Appomattox, Virginia.

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Obe, Jill and family were the true campers and thanks to them we all had a good time sitting around the campfire and eating from the grill over the firepit.

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The rest of us were “sissyfied” or “comfyfied”-and proud of it!

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Keith and Alivia, Noah & Lauren had a cabin. It had a small refrigerator and microwave.

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Gene and I, along with Emily had the only cottage. (Only 4 people were allowed per site). It had a kitchenette with stove, refrigerator, microwave and sink. We also had our own bathroom with shower!!!

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We took the golf cart along and thoroughly enjoyed cruising the trails and grounds.

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Fished all morning, caught no fishes…fished all morning,  caught no fishes….the problem was Jesus didn’t stop by and tell them to cast on the other side of the pier!

(The ladies, except for Lauren, went antique and thrift store shopping in historic downtown Appomattox)

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We celebrated three birthdays, Ryan, Noah and Grandpa.

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The chain goes around and it makes a noise!  He played all afternoon with it, pretending to cut down trees.

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Noah also got his first legos which the children had fun putting together.

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Playing with legos

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Ryan wanted tools and he got a real cordless drill.

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Surprise!  Grandpa got cashews!!!

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Obe, Karla, Ryan and Lauren braved the COLD water.

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Lauren…I think I will, I think I will….

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Karla keeping her head above the water.  She finally after much encouragement took the plunge into the cold!

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Emily

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Grandpa-tuckered out!

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Lauren and Karla

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Lauren, Karla and Noah

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Jill and Ryan

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Obe-I wonder what he is thinking???

I looked around the campfire and liked our feet!

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Fire

November, 2004

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A voice on the phone said, “I just got a call from Denbigh and the homeplace is on fire.”   Suddenly time stands still, horrible images flood the mind, the heart skips two beats and then the mind says “it can’t be true.”

“What do you mean the house IS on fire?”  You suddenly realize it is NOW, right now, happening at this precise moment.  A special house of memories and treasures is burning 90 miles away and you cannot do a thing about it.  Is it a small fire on the kitchen stove or a fully engulfed, raging inferno?  Is everyone safe?  How long has it been burning?  What happened?  Ten minutes later we were on the road racing towards Denbigh.

As we traveled our minds were on one situation. We had few answers.  We were told the fire started around noon. It is now 3 o’clock and the fire is still burning.  The travel conversation became questions that neither of us could answer and reflections on the “what ifs”, and “has beens”.  The useless babblings were somehow soothing to the nerves and unsettling all at the same time.

The house is the Hertzler homeplace. The house was built by H.P. Hertzler  (Gene’s Grandpa) in the heart of what used to be a rural Mennonite colony.  In 1897 Isaac D. Hertzler and D.Z. Yoder bought a 1200-acre run-down plantation.  The land responded to the farmers and a colony of Mennonites farmed, prospered, multiplied and worshipped in a tight-knit community.  As the surrounding city grew, houses and shopping centers began encroaching on the farm community.  In time the colony began to disperse in search of other farming land.  Today there is an urban Mennonite community in the heart of the city.

About a mile from our destination we rolled down the windows and sniffed. A pungent burnt odor permeated the air.  We rolled up the windows and rode in silence.

As we turned on Colony Road we could see the flashing lights of the fire trucks.  Then the house came into view. People were everywhere.  The house was still standing.  It almost looked normal!

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The firemen did a wonderful job of saving the house. It was bad but it could have been so much worse.  It is repairable.  In the midst of the overwhelming devastation there was relief and hope.  It was sad what was lost and amazing what was saved unscathed.  Friends and neighbors were offering words of comfort and help.

Stuff. It is JUST stuff.  But no, it is so much more than meaningless possessions. Pictures, photo albums, family heirlooms, homemade keepsakes, comfy clothes, financial records, handmade quilts, china set, mismatched chairs, refinished furniture, books. That stuff is precious, priceless treasures!

A new chair may look better and fresh pictures may glow but the “sentimental value” can never be replaced. We know God will give strength when we are weary, His grace will be sufficient, and His peace will calm.  We have no claim of tomorrow even though a new day beckons.  We are pilgrims with roots and homes in a foreign land.  Sometimes we discover how fragile life is and yet how settled we have become.

Written: November 18, 2004

Pictures:

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Kitchen

That evening a friend and neighbor, John Henry Brenneman,

 pulled in his camper so that they had a place to call “home” for the next months.

Camper

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Five days later we went down and dad had already begun the work of cleanup and restoration.

Front Door

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Dad had an incredible overcoming spirit. He was 85 years old when the fire happened and he tackled the overwhelming job with determination. Friends rallied to help him but he did a lot of the work himself.  When the job was done, the house had been restored. It was amazing how much was salvaged even though every room in the house suffered some kind of damage. Almost all of the household items sold at the estate sale had survived the fire.

The fire started in the basement from a faulty electrical box and quickly spread to the main floor and then to the second. The third floor had smoke damage. The nic-nac rack I got at the sale survived and was on the wall in the living room where the fire was most intense. It was amazing the old timber-frame house was able to withstand the flames.  It was also amazing how some items could be so close to the “hot-spot” and come through unscathed. But everything-every piece of china, plateware, clothing, etc. had to be cleaned. Amazingly the photo albums also survived and they also were in the center of the fire.

This past weekend at the sale I remembered the fire and had to revisit pictures and my journal post from that day.

Related post: Estate Sale-Bringing Closure

Estate Sale-Bringing Closure

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“Mom, are you alright?  You seem so quiet and don’t have much to say.”

Oh!

I was alright and I didn’t realize I was so quiet but there were many emotions raging in the depths of my soul.  There was deep sadness for the passing of my in-laws who I called mama and daddy, the sense of loss for a generation gone, the unsettledness of watching their hard-earned, well-worn stuff auctioned to the highest bidder,  the joy of seeing people who loved them want a treasured memoir to remember them by,  the thankfulness of strangers and friends saying, “I want to tell you about….”, the satisfaction of being able to purchase the things I really wanted and the emptiness of an empty yard, barren house and stripped barns. When we pulled out of the lane with our loaded truck, I couldn’t look back.

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Bidding on one of the tractors.

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Keeping his number handy!

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 Mimi Leveille, dad and mom’s caregiver for about 2 years. She cared for them with tender love. Thank-you Mimi.IMG_6044

A friend, Wayne Steiner, who was the executor of the estate.  He did a great job. Thank-you Wayne.

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 Wally Schaefer talking to Keith.

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 Keith and Alivia Hertzler.

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 A sign in dad’s shop

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 The glass butter churn.

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Every nook and cranny in the barns and shop were filled with piles and piles of stuff.  Dad could not stand to throw things away. When he would see people leaving “good things” out on the road for the trash truck he would have to pick it up-he just might need it sometime and quite often he did have good use for it.  I remember one time I had put some old clothes in the shop here in Powhatan for Gene to use for rags.  Sometime later they showed up as pieced aprons!  Dad had seen them and taken them home to mama.

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 One of Gene’s toys as a youngster. I missed seeing it sold.

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 A stone dad had at the back door. We are so blessed to receive it.

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This little baby was born several days after daddy passed away.  They named him Oliver!  The Ackermans are related to the Hertzlers and were also friends of dad and mom-even boarding a horse at the stable.

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 Our granddaughter-Lauren Hertzler.

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 Our granddaughter, Emily Hertzler.

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 One of dad’s hobbies was carving wooden ducks.

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 Alivia

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Dad’s collection of arrowheads he found on the farm.

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Part of his collection of license plates he had posted in the shop from his vehicles.

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 Judy Humphrey

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 Loading up our purchases to come home.

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Keith Hertzler, grandson Of Oliver and Anna Mae, with his prized purchase.  He got one of the deals of the day.

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 The Farmall M. When the dairy farm was moved from Denbigh to Powhatan, this was one of the tractors that came up. Within a few years Gene purchased newer equipment and no longer wanted the old tractor. Dad took it back to Denbigh. Now, 40 years later we wanted it. It’s amazing how time changes things!

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 Strapping the wheel to the rim to load it on the trailer.

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Loaded and ready to head for home.

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Rain barrels from years gone by. They were used to collect water to water the horses.

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I liked the sign on the side of this trailer.  It reminded me that dad’s stuff is having a second chance of life and giving joy to lots of new owners.

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Jill Hostetter (granddaughter of Oliver & Anna Mae), with her load of treasures.  She was really pleased she got grandma’s china set.

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Gene with his second and last load of stuff!

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Don’t let looks deceive you!  There is the frame of an old milk wagon on there, a bush hog, scraper blade and numerous other things.

And now as I express these feelings on paper, tears well in my eyes.  The time has come for closure and moving on.  Good-bye mom and dad.  Maybe the farm and all your earthly possessions are gone but you will be remembered by your children, grandchildren and numerous friends and neighbors.  And we will treasure the things we have to remind us of you.

My stash of treasures

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Daddy carved the wooden ducks and they are signed on the bottom. Notice the unfinished one with the parts laying on the floor.  Can’t wait to get them cleaned up.

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The phone is a replica of an old phone but modernized. It hung in Mama’s office above her desk.

And the light fixtures…there is a story. Daddy had four and offered them to me.  At the time I didn’t want them. Years later I decided I did and asked him about them. He gave me two but wanted the other two to put on his house.  I had my two installed on my house and loved them and was hoping some day to be able to get the rest.  I always loved his nick-nac rack and have a special plan for it.

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These were silver napkin rings…these say Mr, Mrs, and Gene

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The bread box was made by Gene and given to them one year for Christmas. I wanted it back!  The glassware and kitchen utensils just came as a package deal.

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One of daddy’s tie clasp that says “Jesus Saves”, another napkin ring and a wood horse he made.

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One of his numerous Bibles (has a metal cover) and prayer book.

 

Related post: Fire-November 15, 2014

Evening on the Lawn-2014

Last evening (September 7)  we had our 5th annual Evening on the Lawn. It is a church (Powhatan Mennonite Church) sponsored event for the community featuring a Christian professional music group. This year we had Southern Grace Country Gospel Band from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

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Pictures of the evening.

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 Scott Crickenberger

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Larry Kyger

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Kenny Williams

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 Scott Crickenberger

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 Tim Nicely

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 Joe Shifflet

 

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 The calves came up to check out what was happening.

 

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Karla Hostetter has a birthday in a few days and we sang “Happy Birthday” to her.

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Everyone had a fun time.  Thank-you Southern Grace.

They can be contacted at http://www.southerngrace-va.com/

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Okra

There are some vegetables people love to hate and okra is one of them.  But, for those of us who love okra, it is simply divine.

 

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According to Wikipedia.org  the word okra is of Nigerian origin and is also referred to as “lady fingers or gumbo” outside of Nigeria. 

“The geographical origin of okra is disputed, with supporters of South Asian, Ethiopian and West African origins. Supporters of a South Asian origin point to the presence of its proposed parents in that region. Supporters of a West African origin point to the greater diversity of okra in that region.

The Egyptians and Moors of the 12th and 13th centuries used the Arabic word for the plant, bamya, suggesting it had come from the east. The plant may have entered southwest Asia across the Red Sea or the Bab-el-Mandeb strait to the Arabian Peninsula, rather than north across the Sahara, or from India. One of the earliest accounts is by a Spanish Moor who visited Egypt in 1216, who described the plant under cultivation by the locals who ate the tender, young pods with meal.

From Arabia, the plant spread around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and eastward. The plant was introduced to the Americas by ships plying the Atlantic slave trade by 1658, when its presence was recorded in Brazil. It was further documented in Suriname in 1686.” 

The plant is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world and is among the most heat and drought tolerant vegetable in the world. It will does well in heavy clay soils and intermittent moisture but frost will kill the plant. Thomas Jefferson noted it was well established in Virginia by 1781.Okra is a popular health food due to its high fiber, vitamin C, and folate content. Okra is also known for being high in antioxidants. Okra is also a good source of calcium and potassium.”  

True southerners love it!

The flowers and pods of the vegetable are very pretty.

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This is one vegetable I love and my husbands dislikes. I will fry a bowlful for myself and I do not have to share. He says he was “scarred” in childhood when his mother ruined fried potatoes by adding okra and making him eat it!!!

Fried Okra: Cut the pods into 1/4″ slices, coat it with cornmeal meal and fry it with a little oil, salt, pepper and onions until crispy and golden brown.  Add some salsa or stewed tomatoes on top when you eat them and they are mouth-watering good!

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I also like okra pickles. In fact I can actually crave these slimy things!

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You can use any dill pickle recipe but here is mine.

Stuff quart or pint jars with small whole okra.

In each quart add

2 T. salt (this is correct)

1 large tsp. mustard seed

1/4 tsp. garlic powder or clove of garlic

1 tsp. dill seed (or 1 large fresh head of dill).

Mix together the following brine, heat to boiling and fill the jars.

1 c. water

1 c. vinegar

Immediately put on “hot” lids and they will seal.

Okra freezes well. I cut into 1/4″ slices, coat it with corn meal and freeze it raw in gallon size Ziploc bags.  By adding the cornmeal it will easily break apart when you are ready to use it and you do not have to use the whole bag at once.

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