Celebrating Mother’s 90th Birthday

Happy birthday, Mother. It was fun celebrating with you on Sunday. Here are a few pictures of the day for you to enjoy.

We celebrated mother’s birthday at our annual Showalter (Mother’s side of the family) Christmas luncheon.


Mark Showalter Jr & Dorothy…Mother’s brother

Rhoda Wenger…Mother’s Sister

George Brenneman Jr. ….Mother’s first cousin


We had lots of good food. This is the beautiful dessert table.

I can see someone was in the tray of truffles….before we even started to eat!!!

You know Robert and Lois Wenger are in house when a huge platter of delicious,  freshly made, melt-in-your mouth, homemade doughnuts arrive! I broke one in half-you know, thinking I would be “good”. That was gone before I could get back to the table so I went right back and got the other half. No diet for today!


We had two beautiful cakes….

Creation by Rhonda Borntrager.

A masterpeice by Eric Blosser.

A few thoughts about “Home” by Pat Hertzler.

Some old pictures.

Two special songs dedicated to mother by Micah Heatwole, Marj & Rich Heatwole, Phil & Evelyn Borntrager.

Words and prayer of blessing over Mother by Ed and Eileen Heatwole.

The great-grandchildren singing “Happy Birthday”.

Aren’t they aging well?


by Pat Hertzler

Happy birthday Mother. 90 years. Wow!

I was talking to mother last week and she said, “I can’t believe I am ninety.” We talked a little bit about how blessed she and daddy were to be this age and to be as healthy as they are. And yes, they need more help than they used to, but they are still independent and doing amazingly well.

As I thought about a few words to share today, I centered on the word “Home”.

When I think of home, I think of three stages in life.

  1. The home we are born into-one you did not choose.
  2. The home we choose to make.
  3. And our final eternal home.

The word “home” can conjure many different feelings and emotions for folks. Hopefully for you, your thoughts of home bring back good memories.

I think all of us here today in this room are benefits of the home mother, along with all her siblings, were born into; the family of Mark and Amanda Showalter.

Granddaddy Showalter was an enterprising, successful business man. He started a feed mill on the farm and later moved it down the road by the railroad tracks in Broadway. He established Broadway Metal Works, was instrumental in starting Virginia Mennonite Retirement Home and was very active in church work. (example: Stephens City). How many of you worked in one of these businesses through the years? Before I was married, I worked at Virginia Mennonite Retirement  Home-in food services. Mother remembers that Granddaddy-or her daddy-was a very busy man and he and grandmother were very dependent on their children for labor. Grandmother was a supportive wife and mother.

Mother had to stay out of school two years to help on their farm which put her behind at EMHS and in the class of a handsome young man by the name of Dwight Heatwole.

Daddy and Mother, after dating several years, decided to get married and create their own home. This was a home they could chose to create. Richard, Evelyn, Ed and I are privileged to call them mother and daddy.

For us kids, it was a place of security, belonging and comfort. Mother and daddy worked hard and instilled in us a strong work ethic, honesty and obedience. These things are still important to me today.

When I think about our home, several things stand out in my memory. I will focus mostly on mother.

  • She kept a neat, clean house. She was not a perfectionist, but things had their place and order. Dishes were always done, beds always made (and yes, us kids made our own), laundry was always folded and put away as soon as it was completed. At bedtime, toys, books, sewing or whatever we were doing was put in its place. We went to bed with a picked-up house.
  • Mother operated on a schedule-daddy had a lot of influence in that:
    • Monday and Wednesday: Laundry
    • Meals were at a specific time. Daddy seldom was late.
    • Bedtime.
    • Saturdays we cleaned and polished our shoes.
    • Spring-cleaning, fall cleaning.
    • Arrived at church ½ hour or more early. We were never late.
  • Mother was diligent in teaching us (particularly Evelyn and I) life skills: cooking, sewing, canning, mending, making bread, gardening, butchering and the list could go on and on.
  • Mother taught Evelyn and I extra creative things of homemaking such as how to crochet, quilt, make curtains, potato chips, doughnuts and candy.
  • We learned a work ethic. There was time to play but also a time to work and work we did.
  • Mother was active in church, teaching Sunday School and she and daddy were youth leaders for years.
  • Mother loved to entertain guests and we often had Sunday company. Some of her specialty dessert dishes were cinnamon buns, chocolate ice-cream pie, caramel custard, pies, and Graham Cracker Fluff.
  • I remember mother reading to us kids at bedtime in the winter. She would sit in her rocking chair, send one of us to the basement for apples which she could core, and then read while we enjoyed our treat. Incidentally, as a general rule, we did not eat between meals. But there was candy,  particularly chocolate candy in our home.

I asked mother recently what she thinks about now that she is 90. Without hesitation she said, “Heaven.” There was a pause and then she said, “the things of this earth are growing strangely dim.” She’s not there yet, just dreaming of that wonderful homegoing, and in the meantime, we are celebrating birthdays. Happy 90th birthday, Mother. Thank you for a life well-lived, well-shared, and well-managed. But thank you most of all for a life centered on Jesus.

Favorite Pictures-2018

A few pictures from 2018….

February-A “tunnel” cloud


March- the Robin just thought it was spring!

The cows have to be fed: snow, rain, cold or hot!

Memories of warm evenings


April-Last years Milk Weed seed pod


April-Momma and her baby


May-A wet season produced lots of wild mushrooms

May-A view through a decorative storm door


May-Memorial Day

June-Bubblebee on the onions.

A father with his boys.

June-the bees “bearded” on a hot summer day.

June-Queen Anne’s Lace


June- Baby wrens

August-Bee harvesting pollen on a sunflower




November-Sunrise from my kitchen window



Is There Room in Your Heart?

I was very touched and challenged today by a song that was sung as a prelude to worship, “Is There Room in Your Heart” written by Matt Maher and recorded by Casting Crowns.

[Verse 1]
Family hiding from the storm
Found no place at the keeper’s door
It was for this a Child was born
To save a world so cold and hollow

[Verse 2]
The sleeping town did not know
That lying in a manger low
A Savior King who had no home
Has come to heal our sorrows

[Chorus 1]
Is there room in your heart?
Is there room in your heart?
Is there room in your heart
For God to write His story?

[Verse 3]
Shepherds counting sheep in the night
Do not fear the glory light
You are precious in His sight
God has come to raise the lowly

[Chorus 2]
Is there room in your heart?
Is there room in your heart?
Is there room in your heart
For God to write His story?
You can come as you are
But it may set you apart
When you make room in your heart
And trade your dreams for His glory


It’s the Christmas season and we have been reading and reflecting on the story of Jesus birth in Luke 2.  It’s amazing how the well-known story can be so fresh, relevant and inspiring.

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Mary and Joseph were a young couple weary from traveling, in a city one hundred miles from home, desperately needing the privacy of a room. You see, Mary was not only tired but the tightening of muscles across her belly indicated that her baby would be born very soon. They urgently needed a room and there was none.

The sympathetic innkeeper gave what he thought he could, a resting place in the stable. He did not know that he would be hosting the Son of God or he may have made room in his already crowded home.  He could have boosted to his friends his part in the marvelous story that unfolded that night. Instead, the animals shared their space and gave silent witness of God’s miracle, their manger filled with their evening meal of hay became his bed.

Every person on planet earth is faced with the question, is there room in your heart for Jesus?  Revelations 3:20 says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

Will you allow the Son of God to live in your heart? You have to answer that question.  The Son of God wants to dwell in your heart. Jesus does not push his way in, He only comes when invited and you have to open the latch. Living in your heart means that Jesus dwells there. He is a part of everything you do. He will feed your hungry soul with the bread of life and satisfy your thirst with living water.

The Bible is the Word of God and tells us how to know and receive God.  The Bible is divided into two sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is the story of creation and God revealing himself to sinful man. It foretells the coming of the Messiah, the Son of God. The New Testament is the fulfillment of God coming to earth. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell the story of Jesus birth, life, death and resurrection.  The rest of the books explain the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth and growth of the early church. It gives divine guidance for Christians today and points to the time when Jesus will come again in the grand finale of history, redeeming the church. The words are true, living and offer eternal life. Jesus said, I am the Bread of Life and the source of Living Water. Come to me and I will satisfy your deepest longings and thirst for eternal life.

Is there room in your heart for God to write his story?


The Day Jesus Came

It was a day that started out like the other days of the journey. There was nothing in the air that signaled that today was the day that a special surprise was going to happen, a visit from Almighty God by His son, Jesus. The ancient word of the prophets had long predicted the event, but there was no word to indicate the day except for a longing expectation in the hearts of a few faithful saints.

As Joseph and Mary stirred that morning, there was a sense of urgency to get to Bethlehem before darkness fell that evening. They were on their last leg of a long, difficult, walking journey of approximately 100 miles depending on which route they took from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  Their ruler, Caesar Augustus, had sent out a decree that all the world was to be taxed and each man had to return to his hometown to register. Because Joseph was in Mary’s hometown of Nazareth, and he was of the lineage of David, he had to return to Bethlehem.

Scripture doesn’t tell us all the details, but it does give us clues, so I am going to do some surmising as to what took place. Usually people traveled on foot or donkeys and in groups for safety from bandits, especially for such a long trip that took 7-10 days over rough terrain. Historians suggest that this journey most likely took place in September. (Some say it could have been early spring). September would be after the hot summer months of July and August and before the cold winter season set in. Shepherds would still be grazing their flocks of sheep in the fields.

Joseph was faced with a difficult dilemma. Mary was in her ninth month of pregnancy and heavy with child.  Her baby could be born any day. He had to pay his taxes or face heavy penalty or punishment and a group from Nazareth was preparing to go. He could not bear the thought of leaving Mary alone.  After weighing their options, they decided they had to go, together.  Joseph secured a donkey for Mary to ride (scripture does not give us this detail) and with nervous apprehension they joined the group of other travelers heading south.

Mary did not complain but the trip was all she could handle.  She was weary, sore and her back hurt. They struggled to keep up with the group. And then, finally, they were starting their last day, Bethlehem was within reach. They attempted to keep up with the group but as the day progressed they lagged further and further behind. Mary suspected she was in labor.  Joseph’s jaw tightened as he nervously watched Mary shifting on the donkey’s back, holding her back and silently rubbing her tightening belly.  He quietly urge the donkey forward, as he glanced at the sun setting over the western sky. Their group had long disappeared from view. Many thoughts tumbled through his mind as he began to question the wisdom of their decision, unaware they were plodding towards a divine appointment under the guidance and protection of the Almighty God. The ancient prophets had long foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

It was dark when the exhausted couple stumbled into Bethlehem. Joseph knew they were in urgent need of a place of rest and privacy. There were only a few guest rooms available in town for weary travelers.  Usually the locals would take travelers into their homes for the night. The little town was bustling with people, scurrying around caring for their families and animals. Lively chatter echoed from the rooftops as locals entertained their overnight guests. No where was there an extra room. The town was full to overflowing, their travel companions had beat them there. Finally, one sympathetic  innkeeper offered them a spot in the stable with his animals. It was all he had. He never dreamed he would soon be hosting the Son of God.

Joseph and Mary eagerly accepted his offer and a few hours later in the quietness of a dimly lit, earthy, smelly, stable, Emmanuel was born.

Emmanuel means “God with us” but no one seemed to notice or care that God had come. The exhausted couple was quietly resting on a pile of hay when suddenly they became aware of men cautiously and slowly inching towards them in the dimly lit, shadowy darkness. Humbly and reverently, the shepherds approached with awe.  It was just as the angels had told them, “You will find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

With excitement they told Joseph and Mary about their evening: how they were sitting in the field when suddenly a whole host of angels had joyfully visited them, praising God, and with the news that a Savior had been born. and where to find him. The never doubted it was God who had revealed the very special news to them and left their flocks immediately to go to Bethlehem. They left the stable excited with what they had seen and told everyone they met what they had just witnessed.

After the shepherds left, Joseph pulled Mary close and held her tight as they soaked in the significance of what had just happened. They had never doubted what God had told them about the baby but the circumstances had been so overwhelming, confusing and difficult. They had faced tremendous pressure, criticism and slander.  Only a few believed and supported them.

After the angel had confirmed to Joseph early in the pregnancy that Mary was indeed pregnant by the Holy Spirit and he was to take her as his wife as planned, he did so. Joseph tenderly loved and cared for her but did not consummate the marriage until after the period of purification following the birth of their son. Scripture was fulfilled, Jesus was born of a virgin.

An extra-ordinary day. Joseph and Mary knew without doubt that their precious baby was the Son of God. Their hearts swelled with joy at the needed reminder and confirmation from the shepherds. God was with truly with them. Emmanuel had come. They called him Jesus.


Scripture references for the birth of Jesus:

  • Matthew 1
  • Luke 2


Other Christmas blog posts:

The Magi’s Star

Light One Star

The Star







The Bible records the story but not the day.

A Farmer and His Tractor

(A really cute statuary that I bought for Gene one Christmas)

When we refer to “a man and his toys”, we usually are talking about something that makes noise and has wheels, something he enjoys doing in his recreational time. For a farmer, his “toys” are usually very crucial to his trade, something he can’t do without, namely his tractors. I am not sure anything defines a farmer quite like his tractors.

Most farmers pretended to farm with their toy tractors when they were young, imitating their dads (and moms). They in turn gave their children toy tractors and equipment for Christmas and birthday gifts.

This was probably the only green toy tractor that our son ever had. His grandma Hertzler gave it to him for Christmas one year.

She wanted a red one but they had sold out.


Even little farm girls liked to pretend play with farm equipment-Jill 1980

Farmers spend hours and hours and hours behind the wheel of their tractor. Now let me explain…… a tractor is not just a tractor to a farmer. Oh no. “Some like them red, some like them green and some like any color in between”.  A Case/IH man like my hubby, wouldn’t be caught owning a John Deere. Some of his tractors earned names such as “Big Red”, “Queen”, “Princess”and “King”.  Tractors have specific jobs. In a pinch, when one is down for maintenance, they can cross over but the tractor that does the baling has monitors installed for baling in the summer and runs the vertical feed mixer in the winter. The front-end loader tractor has a bracket on the front for the scoop. There is one tractor that always does the raking, or scraping or feeding hay.

I remember how pleased I was when we were dating and learned Gene was an IH man. So was my dad, and I knew he would fit right into my International farming family without being the blunt of much teasing.

When the Hertzlers moved the farming operation from Denbigh to Powhatan in 1969 they were still using the old Farmall M tractor. But they discovered things were different in Powhatan. The farm was bigger and the soil was hard red clay instead of a loamy, sandy black.

(Gene-1969 shortly after he moved to Powhatan)

Fast forward to September 2014….. This is Gene on one of his dad’s tractor’s at his estate sale.

The 70’s also brought rapid changes in the technology of tractors and equipment.  The old was quickly being laid aside for newer, bigger, better and faster equipment. The first tractor Gene bought was a used Oliver 1800 tractor.  It was his start into upgrading his tractor needs. Besides a blue Landtrac later on, they are the only tractors he has owned that weren’t red.

In the early years of our marriage, especially the late 70’s and 80’s, Powhatan was a bustling farming community and there were quite a few farmers in our church. There was a significant group of young couples our age who were taking over the family farms or venturing out on their own and they were all John Deere guys, except for Gene. He was the lone red ranger among his peers.  I remember the friendly, fun competition among the guys as they talked about their tractors, compared who was buying what and competing in tractor pulls.

I remember our children loved to ride with their daddy on the tractor and he would take them when he felt it was appropriate. It was much safer when he had tractors with a cab.

Jill riding with her daddy on the tractor.


IH 806

Keith wanting to be a big boy like his daddy. He figured out by sitting on the edge of the seat he could stretch his feet and touch the pedals. He had watched his daddy and he knew what you were suppose to do.

I remember when we got a new phone number and the last four digits were 4021. John Deere had just come out with the 4020 series. One of our close friends, a die-hard John Deere fan loved to tease us about our phone number. He was sure we were close to converting!  At least he had no trouble remembering our number.

It is fun to look back at old pictures and see the progression through the years as tractor changed from the Farmalls and Putt-Putts to real workhorses with cabs, air-conditioning, state-of-the-art computer monitors and increased horse power.  For the farmer his tractor is not a toy, but his work horse, vital to sustaining his business.


(IH 574)




2012 JX75

There have been other tractors through the years and I am fairly sure I have taken pictures of all his tractors even though I was not able to find them.

This final picture is one of Gene’s dad on his old tractor-of course it is an IH.






The Bridge to the Other Side

A bridge has one purpose; a means to get you across a creek, river, ravine or vast expanse to the other side. Today Gene put a bridge across one of our small creeks so that the cows can have easier access to the pasture on the other side.  We are in the process of fencing our cattle out of the creeks so some changes had to be made in how the cattle can access certain fields.

Gene is a genius at repurposing old or unused “stuff” into something useful.  He had an old flatbed truck bed with a steel frame and floor that years ago he had put onto a wagon frame but now is no longer using. He saw the potential!  It could be a bridge! Like a cat with nine lives, the truck bed is now on it’s third life.

The wagon.

Using a torch to cut the front head board off.

Ready to go to the woods.

Pulling and pushing into place.


It works!

I went down later to check on the project. The “bridge” was anchored in place and the fence posts on each side are ready to be strung with wire. Two cows were checking it out.

I sat and watched to see what the cows would do. When they were done snooping, one went to the left and crossed the creek and the other went to the right, down a steep bank and jumped across! In a few days their old crossings will be fenced off and they will have to use the bridge.

Sometimes I get so frustrated with some of the old stuff sitting around and then Gene amazes me with what he does with it. Like they say, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” A worn out wagon once again has new life. And the cows, they have a bridge to the other side.

Cuisinart Ice-Cream Maker

My daddy has always loved chocolate and ice-cream and I think he gave the gene for both to most of us kids and grandkids. I remember as a child (way back in the late 50’s) my folks making homemade ice-cream on Saturday mornings in the basement. They would make one or two freezers so that we had enough to last us for the week. Flavors included peach, vanilla, chocolate and butterscotch. Daddy had rigged the freezer to make it electric-he had a knack for figuring out creative labor-saving tricks.  We lived on the farm and mother always fixed a hot sit-down meal for both lunch and supper, complete with dessert which was often ice-cream or a candy bar.

When I was in first grade I received a five cent allowance per week that I could spend on ice-cream at school.  With five cents I could only buy ice-cream once a week as that was the cost of a Dream-Sicle (Vanilla/Orange Serbet Popsicle) or an Eskimo Pie (A chocolate covered vanilla bar on a stick. The decision of which to buy was so hard as I loved them both equally. And believe me, we did not have this store-bought treat at home.

My next ice-cream memory was us kids going by ourselves to see our Aunt Doris Heatwole who lived in the tenant house across the road. Aunt Doris and Uncle Charles were newlyweds and one day she served us kids store-bought Hershey’s vanilla ice-cream.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I had never eaten anything so lusciously smooth and tasty. I can still remember how wonderfully delicious it was and am still very partial to the Hershey’s brand even though it is not easily available.

I remember one time when we were kids, I would guess I was around 8 or 9 years old, and we had worked extra hard one Saturday cleaning the chicken house and then harvested the potatoes out of the garden. Daddy and Mother treated us to a trip to Kline’s Ice-Cream. That was a reward better than money (which was precious) and it was so hard to decide which flavor to choose.

My next ice-cream memory would have been some years later when I was an adolescence or young teen. Our family still ate ice-cream, it was still the dessert of choice, but now my folks were purchasing it in the store!  Mother would buy multiple boxes of wonderful exotic Sealtest flavors; Butter Brickle, Peppermint, Butter Pecan, Chocolate Chip, Black Cherry, Chocolate Marshmallow, etc. every week.  I can remember going with mother to the grocery store when it was on sale and she had me go through another check-out lane with some of the tubs as she was embarrassed with how many she bought. My memory was 10 or 12 boxes though mother disagrees with me on the number!!!! But we’ll just let it be our little secret, I know I am right!!!!

By the time we were married, homemade ice-cream was back in vogue. Through the years I have made ice-cream for special occasions and we even hosted an annual church homemade ice-cream social at our home for many years.  Finally, last year one of my two freezers (6 quart) broke and I decided to downsize and replace it with the newfangled, state-of-the-art freezer that does not require ice or salt to freeze.

After doing some research, I settled on the Cuisinart 2-quart freezer from Bed, Bath and Beyond. This little freezer works like a charm. Instead of ice and salt, you freeze the thick-walled bowl for 5-6 hours and in 25-30 minutes you have homemade ice-cream to serve.

It is fun, easy to use, easy to clean, low mess, quiet, sits on your counter, and you don’t have to take it apart to add fruit or candy chips at the end, just pour it in the top. I also like that it makes a small quantity.  If you keep the tub in the freezer it is ready to use on a whim provided you have the whipping cream on hand!


There is only one problem…. because it is so easy to use, combined with that little ice-cream gene that begs to be fed, I want to make it more often that I should!  I have a recipe I really like to use that came from my friend Mary Long that is gelatin based instead of custard based. That helps with ease of making and the calories count!  Someday I am sure that nutritionists will make a special spot for ice-cream on the food chart as one of the essential food groups.

“Dairy Queen Ice-Cream” (for 2 quart freezer)

  • 1 envelope plain Knox gelatin, soaked in 1/4 cup cold water for several minutes

Add and refrigerate several hours:

  • 1-1/2 cup milk (I like to use whole or 4%-can use 2%)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • For chocolate ice-cream add 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Just before pouring into your freezer bowl/tub add 2 cups whipping cream (can substitute evaporated milk) and stir until well blended.

It takes 25-30 minutes for it to set up nice and firm.  Between 20-25 minutes add chopped fresh fruit or candy pieces if you desire.

Yield: 15-16 ice-cream scoop servings- 1/2 cup each.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup


  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup: add 3 packages (1 cup) of chopped peanut butter cups to chocolate ice-cream at the end.
  • Butterfinger or Kit Kat Ice-Cream: Add 1 c. chopped butterfinger or Kit Kat candy bars to vanilla ice-cream at the end.
  • Cookies n Creme: Add 1 cup crushed oreos to vanilla ice-cream at the end.
  • Heath Bit: Add 1 cup Heath Bits (Baking Bits) to vanilla ice-cream at the end.
  • Fruit Flavors: Add 1 cup crushed fruit to vanilla ice-cream at the end.

Note: One downside to homemade ice-cream is how rock hard the leftover ice-cream freezes when put in the freezer.  I have discovered that this gelatin based is different and you can actually dip it right out just like the store bought ice-cream.






3rd Annual Local Hertzler Gathering-2018

For the last three years the local Hertzlers have been getting together. This represents different family lines but if you have Hertzler DNA and you want to come, you are invited. This year was a little smaller group but we really had a wonderful time at the lovely home of our hosts, Joe and Norma Hertzler in Cumberland.

First cousins, Joe Hertzler, Howard Wenger, Bob Hertzler and Gene Hertzler.

Growing up, all four of their families (the above cousins) lived in Denbigh (Newport News), Virginia, and their families were close. Howard now lives south of Roanoke in Pilot, VA but when he heard about the party, he decided to come. Joe announced that Howard was his FAVORITE cousin. Gene immediately piped up, “Well, Bob is MY favorite”. That became the joke of the evening.  So there they are, four, good-natured, crazy Hertzler boys sitting by their favorite cousin!!! Oh the stories they can tell! Joe and Howard were born four days apart and they really were best buds growing up.

The younger generation having a good time.

Bobby Hertzler and Gerald Hochstetler.

Sister-in-laws, Michelle Hertzler and Lucy Miller.

Lucy Miller, Helen Hertzler and Michelle Hertzler.

A game of volleyball.

Some of Norma’s beautiful Cock’s Comb.

Rhubarb Cherry Pie made by Helen Hertzler.

Grilled pork chops and chicken.

Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.

Plenty of good food.

It was a perfect, peaceful and lovely evening sitting around the fire pit visiting, singing and listening to the music.


A family tree showing how we are all related.

Note: I wish I had gotten a few more pictures of the people who were there.  Sorry Tom, I missed getting your picture and one of the happy young couple who told us that as of that day, they were engaged. Congratulations Ryan Hertzler (Bobby Hertzler’s son) and Jennalee Zlotknowski.

Any Hertzler, doesn’t matter the family line, who would like to come next year, reply in the comments or send me a note (pathertzler@gmail.com) and I will be sure you are invited.

A Staggering Tale

Early Sunday morning Gene got up to go to the bathroom. He was so “dizzy” he could hardly walk. He staggered there holding on to furniture and the walls. He felt ok: he wasn’t flushed or upset on his stomach.  He didn’t have a headache. He thought maybe he had vertigo but he wasn’t really light-headed as in dizzy.

By the time I was up, he was feeling some better but still not right. He had to be careful how he stood up and wasn’t sure what or if he wanted to eat.

Something was not right, but what was it.  It was worrying him. I took his blood pressure, it was normal. He had not eaten anything unusual or different on Saturday. He had not changed, omitted or doubled up any medications that he knew of. He had removed a tick several days before but that had left only a small red spot. He checked out some things on the web, but nothing resonated.  By the time we went to church he was better, but still not totally right.

Saturday morning he had worked around the farm and then we went to see Sight and Sound’s “Moses” movie in the afternoon. He had only done one thing different……

A new, just opened brewery in the village had given him the discard waste from making moonshine to feed his cows.  It was a corn mash slurry with a lot of water.

He and Tim had worked with it trying to figure out the best way to feed it.  They tried to drain the water off so he could feed just the mash. It didn’t work. He remember that had his hands in the stuff a little and began to wonder if that could possibly be what affected him?

Gene and Tim

Tim stirring the brew!

Yesterday evening he had a chance to talk to Tim and asked him if he had any side effects. Tim said Saturday evening when he tried to watch a game on TV he couldn’t focus.

I went to my friend “google”, and searched “can the fumes of moonshine make you drunk”? The result….

When alcohol vapor is inhaled, it goes straight from the lungs to the brain and bloodstream, getting the individual drunk very quickly. Because the alcohol bypasses the stomach and liver, it isn’t metabolized, and the alcohol doesn’t lose any of its potency.

Folks, my hubby, who has never taken one sip of alcohol of any kind, had gotten drunk on the fumes from the moonshine!!!  Moonshine!

Let me tell you, we do not drink and getting drunk is not one bit funny, but Summer and I rolled with laughter.  This “staggering” tale is just too good to keep so now you know. It makes me wonder what a breathalyzer test would have showed. Fortunately, he wasn’t drunk-drunk, just drunk enough to stagger.  Now I sure wish I had seen the early morning “stagger” show!!!

Remnants of Florence Passing Through

5:30 p.m.

We are getting hammered right now in Powhatan County (Central Virginia)  with rain. We are having heavy bands of rain and it was eerily dark all day. This evening there is a lot of thunder and lightning with storm clouds boiling.  Within the last hour a funnel cloud was spotted at Flatrock-2 miles east of us and one hit a farm on Petersburg Rd. about 10 miles away.  The Bowlin farm lost a number of trees and a hay barn was damaged. In Chesterfield a tornado hit in the shopping area off 360 and as the reporter was broadcasting live the roof blew off a business as if a bomb went off. It was amazing to watch. They are saying one person was killed.

Just a few pictures of our very minor flooding here on the farm this evening.

View out my front door. Rivers running across the pastures.

The cows were out grazing and paying no attention to the rain.


The driveway is a river.

The ditches are full.

Front horse pasture.

7 p.m.

A little bit ago the sun broke through while it was still pouring rain. A huge, beautiful rainbow circled the eastern sky behind the house but it was too faint to get a good picture. One end looked as if it was touching the ground on this side of the woods.

To the south the fog is rising and storm clouds are still floating by.

To the west the sky is clearing and the remaining dark clouds are lined with the brilliant glory of the setting sun.

(This picture doesn’t do justice to the beauty).

After the world-wide flood in the time of Noah, God made a covenant with him and said, “Never shall all flesh be destroyed again by the waters of a flood, neither shall a flood destroy the whole earth again. I am setting my bow (rainbow) in the sky as a reminder of this covenant…..when I see the bow, I will remember.” Genesis 9:11-16

But today is nothing compared to what the residents of North Carolina are experiencing. Today we had 4.2 inches plus the 1.3 inches we had Saturday and Sunday. I don’t want to even imagine what 20-30 plus inches would be like. We are on a ridge and there are no rivers close by. We are blessed. In a few hours life will be back to normal and Florence will have waved good-bye as she hustles north.

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