A “Beary” Far-out Tale

Late in the Month of November 2011, as the full Beaver’s moon, slipped up over the Blue Ridge Mountains, and began his silent assent over the Beautiful Shenandoah Valley, He noticed immediately that something was amiss on Paradise Mountain.. He watched with growing concern as his forest friends scurried to the great meeting place.. Something was indeed wrong.. No one was there to make the grand entrance from Bearingham Palace.. Where was the King of the Forest? Second in Command- a beautiful Buck was calling the meeting to order.. “Has anyone seen His Majesty- the Bear?” All was quiet.. Finally Israel the Rabbit spoke- his nose twitching as he did.. “Well, we all saw that pickup.. And I’m fairly confident he was on the back.. Now you Know I was never a big fan of His Majesty- Those huge claws scared me to death.. But  what’s to become of us now?!” Tears welled up in his big eyes and one rolled down his cheek. At this point Valiant, the blaze orange collar wearing deer, injected some wisdom.. “I feel like I know the people family.. I have their heart.. There must be some detail we are missing..” Someone at this point moved that there be a detective deputized to research the case, and before the meeting was adjourned- Sherlock the Owl- was hired.. He accepted his new position with the regalness that only a trained private eye could.. And the animals of the forest silently slipped out into the darkness.. No one slept much that night..  What could’ve gone wrong?

The next night, same place.. An apprehensive group of animals gathered.. And Mr Sherlock presented all the cold hard facts.. “Years ago, before most of you were born, this kingdom was ruled by a deer- Mr Monroe.. He was gentle and kind and we all loved him.. But one cold day, He was feeding in the cornfield, and he never returned. Our friend- the Bear- was only a young cub at that point- but showed such promise as a leader, that we voted him into command immediately.. thus changing the name of the Palace from Buckingham to Bearingham.. One change with the new leadership, was he proposed that we pass a law that the cornfield was off limits in the fall.. This was a really hard ruling for a lot of the animal kingdom, but he worked tirelessly to get it passed. And eventually he prevailed. This worked well. There is plenty of food for us here in the forest anyways. But in more recent years, there’s been a change come over His Majesty.. His eyes seemed a little more shifty if you ask me.. And his nights are largely unaccounted for.. We considered having His palace bugged, but the grubs that we hired, he feasted on.. So there went that.. More than one report came in this fall of spotting him staggering along the edge of the forest, singing to himself in a drunken sort of way.. The smell of corn distinctly on his breath.. And so in conclusion, I propose that Mr Bear was spending time in the cornfield.. He seemed to be longing for that for years, even though he’d made the law himself.. And I believe the people family caught him there.. How can we prevent this in the future? Realize that Crime doesn’t pay.. You reap what you sow.. The corn may be greener on the other side of the forest, but greed ends in casualty.. Don’t expect out of others what you aren’t willing to do yourself.. I regret to inform you, from all my research, it is apparent that Mr Bear will no longer rule the forest. I move that we crown the Second in Command, and learn from Mr Bear’s mistake.. Stay away from the farmer’s cornfield..”
So thus began a new chapter in the history of Paradise Mountain.. The animals adjusted quickly and all lived happily ever after..

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We are “beary” excited to have Em’s bear home after spending a long time away at the taxidermist.. He was indeed bagged Nov of 2011 thanks to a damage permit and a friend’s 30-06 at 260 yards during harvest at our place.. He was a healthy fellow dressed weight being 258 lbs. We were a little apprehensive about all this bear meat, as the reports we had on bear feasts were not that favorable- but he was very obviously corn fed for a long time and the meat was fantastic.. My favorite memory was the hours Emily put into making jerky for my trip to Guatemala and the expression on the native’s faces as they attempted to understand what kind of meat this was..

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So now I can’t wait until this evening when Detroit scratches on our patio door asking for attention.. I’ve got a little friend I want to introduce him to.. And He’s gonna be excited.. 🙂 So if  when he barks tonight, Mother, it may be to warn you of the half mount in your livingroom.. 🙂

Blessings on your week,


The Giving

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Who gives this woman to be wed?

Her mother and I.

We gave her dawn.

We gave her grace.

We stamped our image

On her face.

We gave her books,

And through the years

We calmed her early

Childhood fears.

We gave her faith.

We gave her prayer.

She walked our road.

She climbed our stairs.

And now in solemn truth

We do declare,

We can not give.

We only share.

– Max Ellison

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And like that its over.. A very lovely day.. The weather was perfect. Especially considering the blizzard-like weather the day before. One of my favorite memories will be taking pictures at Silver Lake Mill and “faking” a snowball fight.. Which lasted as “fake” for about 2 throws and suddenly the battle exploded.. And I could hear the photographer’s wife pleading with us.. “Okay, you can stop now.. We have enough pictures.. Ok, please stop..” And other than the fact that Emily got nailed by a snowball on her arm and it bruised-it was all innocent fun.. And I’m pretty sure the bride’s team won.. 🙂

And we didn’t dissolve into tears, but a little.. And I guess that’s understandable.. What a special time..

So anyhow, Thanks for patiently enduring all the wedding posts.. I’m really excited to move on to other things.. 🙂 Blessings to you, Kendra

Bonus Pics:


Strawberry Spinach Salad served at Julia’s wedding

6oz fresh baby spinach

3 cups spring mix (assorted salad greens)

1 cup cucumber slices, quartered

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup strawberries, quartered

1 cup almond crunch:

1 1/2 cup slivered almonds toasted in 2 Tbsp butter until brown, then add 1 pkg Chicken flavored Ramen noodles seasoned slightly with seasoning package

Poppy Seed Dressing:

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

1/8 cup water

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

3/8 cup canola oil

1 tsp poppy seed

1/4 cup raspberry vinaigrette

In blender combine sugar, vinegar, water, mayo, salt, and pepper.  While processing gradually add canola oil in a steady stream. Blend until thick in creamy. Slowly add vinaigrette and blend. Add poppy seeds

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Decorations.. We borrowed milk cans from different of the families.. I thought it was appropriate to have milk cans that the 4 granddad’s, and 1 great granddad used at the wedding of 2 dairy farmers..

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Whoever penned “Many hands make work light” must have been involved in a wedding.. Bless you to all who help with set up and clean up.. Pretty sure we couldn’t have done it without you.. The last pic is the afternoon of rehearsal.. Trying to unearth the church’s parking lot..


The Horst girls and Father #rehearsal


Photo Fun.. Thanks Kervin and Erma for doing a great job!

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Dear William and Keturah, Please come again to help with chores and entertain us- soon.. Oh and remember to bring your parents.. 😉

Reflections of the Maid of Honor…

Once upon a time there lived a farmer, his wife and oldest daughter on a dairy farm along the mountain.. They lived happily working hard and milking cows, until one exciting day- a princess was born to the famiy.. The oldest daughter was not very old and not overly talkative (if that is even possible-lol) but the story goes that as soon as she saw the new arrival she said “eye, nose, mouth-I wanna hold it!!” She was so fascinating.. Shortly thereafter- Mrs Farmer heard screams coming from the baby’s room.. Apparently the daughter was peering over the bassinet at the princess, and toppled everything over on to herself and floor.. Baby, crib, and everything.. So thus began the journey.. Two girls- 20 months apart.. If we were both like me, we would’ve been double trouble.. I have the tendency to be impulsive, and a bit unrealistic as I get caught up in my latest big idea.. Julia is the opposite- a bit reserved until she gets to know you, sensible- the voice of reason that I need upon occasion, with a splendid sense of humor..


So we spent hours roaming our farm- building wigwams in the back yard, turning our play house into a museum to display all the artifacts we found while digging a hole to China in our garden.. (I remember we used to dig so deep- that I was sure we were going to hit that middle layer of the Earths Center)


Two more girls made the family complete.. The “big girls” and the “little girls”.. Life was not always smooth sailing.. I remember one time our parents finally told Julia and I that if we couldn’t figure out how to get along- they were going to send one of us to live with our grandparents.. Since I was convinced that I was not the problem- I was sure Julia would be packing her bags shortly.. Fortunately- we listened and with time- saw the amazing blessing that a sister really is.. 🙂

So we did basically everything together.. Time with friends- it was always “our friends”.. Milking cows.. Cleaning house- we usually were a pretty good team.. One problem we faced was that Julia loved to read way into the night.. And the sleepy head in me was of the opinion that night hours are for sleeping.. A birthday gift of a head lamp solved that issue..


Julia is a homebody- I love to travel.. So inevitably I’d be dragging her off, and we’d have a blast until- BAM- it was time for her to head home.. I have some great memories of volunteer projects after Hurricane Katrina, traveling all over the US to marry off our friends, traveling “just because”..

The last number of years, we learned how to work together in a partnership, and although that was a learning curve- it was a really good experience.. Swapping tales with the vet, working heifers-and being glad whenever Detroit(the willing/not so intelligent canine) showed up to help, because then we had someone to holler at whenever things didn’t go as planned, and we didn’t have to beg forgiveness from each other.. 🙂


And then almost 2 years ago, a Prince roared in the lane in his fancy King Ranch Ford.. And thus brought a whole new round of adjustments.. Some easier than others, but its been a good experience.. Sherman is a good guy..


And so tonight, my dear little sister, as Father walks you down the aisle, and your expressive brown eyes are sparkling as you join heart and hand with the  one you love.. I’m afraid I’m going to cry.. Not tears of sorrow or regret.. I really wouldn’t change a thing.. We had the best sister relationship/friendship that we could, and even though it will never be quite the same-I’m confident that we will continue to be- what always was .. In a crazy way it’ll be tears of joy and thanksgiving.. Praise to the Almighty who works all things for our good.. Who thought up this relationship before time began.. And who smiles upon it.. I trust Sherman, and I know that he will take much MUCH better care of you, than a protective older sister ever could..

Sherman, Julia.. what can I say? Go with God.. I love you, Kendra

Bonus Pics:


Love never fails.. Where but where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled, knowledge, pass away.. But Love will continue- thru a huge snowstorm that drifts and cause piles of complications.. Love never fails..


A gift that truly warms the heart.. 🙂 Meet my latest heart throb- Tanner..

Memory’s Treasure Chest

Obviously the best time to go through old treasures, is when you’re moving.. So this week found Julia sorting.. Things she forgotten she had.. Apparently when Julia was 11, She got into a poetic feud with Grandmother Rhodes over who’s dog was the best. I wish you could have met Dusty Sedrick Weehunt.. She was our best friend for 15 years.. A little brown mutt that had a great personality. She was a ferocious hunter and was known to kill  skunks, squirrels and groundhogs with lightning speed.. Whenever the animal would prove too much, she’d drag them down to the creek and drown them. This worked splendidly until she attempted to drown a snapping turtle.. Frustration!! In later years, she slowed down remarkably, yet she still had those huge brown eyes that could look right through you and speak volumes.. She passed away on a June Sunday, almost 3 years ago.. Deborah still cries when she thinks about her.


Grandmother and Pappy had a Cocker Spaniel that Grandmother loved.. Somehow Satin never really won over the rest of us.. I’m really not sure what got this controversy started.. But I can just envision my Grandmother mulling away over these spitfire poems over a curly haired dog vs an amazing farm dog.. When in reality- the dogs made little difference.. It was the relationship with her brown eyed granddaughter that mattered..That knowledge and the flood of memories make me smile..

A Dog’s Lament -Margaret G. Rhodes

We enjoyed your letter so very much,Each line had a special “Julia” touch.

We will answer it in poetic form,Even though it won’t come up to norm.

The duel you wrote of, made my hair rise-But dearie, you’re in for a big surprise!

That skunk had rabies, we all think so,Or he would’t have walked so poky and slow.

A dog with brains, we thought Dusy had,Would have known that a rabied skunk is bad.

Any dog could shake a skunk that is sick,There are few who haven’t learned that trick..

Dusty should have ran with all her might-If she would have done what is wise and bright.

Too bad your canine had never been told,Or she wouldn’t have acted so smart and bold.

You think that Dusty is so very “tough”-To us she is nothing but a great big bluff.

If you want a dog that is faithful and true,Get a Cocker Spaniel that will stick by you.


Dusty’s Pups -Julia Margaret Horst

‘Twas March, the eleventh day,When there nestled in th hay,

Six cute little puppies were born to Dusty, We hope they’ll be like her, reliable and trusty.

Dusty’s pups are a beautiful sight-Four of them are black and white

The other two that are nestled down,Are a soft, beautiful brown.

Dusty’s pups are very cute,Most of them have white on their snoot

So if you like we’ll gladly give-A puppy to come to your house to live

To Satin you could say “good-bye” And then you could try

To get rid of that lazy dog,And get one that is frisky as a frog

But if you don’t wish to comply-I’m sure you’ll be sorry, by and by.

Dusty is not purebred. But she is better than all, it has been said.


Thank You, but No Thanks -Margaret G. Rhodes

To offer us a pup of yours T’was sweetness from you heart-

But your kindness is rejected, We knew it from the start.

You can’t replace our Satin, dear, With a pup that’s not pure bred.

Don’t ever think we’ll go for yours-And get ideas’s in your head.

A half bear pup would be so mean, I’m sure as sure can be

He’d have all the little children-Climbing up a tree.

Your pups are not of pedigree, Mongrels are poor stuff

They’d have one running all around- We’d think them very rough.

A dog like Satin, we will keep,To guard us and to play.

To have around for company, too. We like her more each day.

The Homestead

In 1766, a 300 acre tract of land-including natural mineral springs- was granted to Captain Thomas Bulitt. Captain Bulitt spent time overseeing the clearing of the land, and 2 years later, an 18 room hotel was open for business.  The place was called “The Homestead” in honor of the Homesteaders who built the structure and bathhouses.

Over the next 250 years, the place saw a number of changes including a fire that burned the main building to the ground and construction of a tower, east and west wing and the entire complex in the early 1920’s..

At least 22 US President’s have spent time there, dining in the Great Dining Hall, soaking in the pool fed by the hot springs, enjoying the ski slope, or whatever it is that Presidents do for entertianment..

So why am I putting you thru this history lesson? This week found four countrified Horst ladies attempting to play our way through high society living.. And what an experience it was..


The Homestead is huge, and beautiful. As the lady at the front desk was introducing us to our bellhop, she said “Which one of you is Miss Horst?” And we laughed and said “Thats all of us..” And Julia said “For 2 more weeks..” So that was the excuse for the occasion.. One last trip before Julia switches loyalties..

Before long, we were settled in our room in the tower, and attempting to figure out how to best use our time.. We packed in lunch, a self guided tour of the pools and ice rink (Kinda interesting that they were side by side, out of door..) and a trip to the ski slope where we spent an hour snow tubing..

That’s a no risk sport, right? There’s deep walls of snow on both sides of the track, assuring that everything stays in order on a downhill ride.. Huge bumper pads at the end were in place to stop you, and if that didn’t work, a huge pile of snow.. The first trip down, I watched Julia in one lane, Emily in the other. Em stopped, no problem. But Julia and her tube, missed the bright blue stopper, shot up on top of the snow pile, took a sharp right turn and she disappeared down the mountian. Deborah and I could hardly believe our eyes.. Somehow she managed to bail off, and was shortly visible again scrambling back up the mountianside. Pretty much immediately, they put a staff member down at the bottom of the hill. But he didn’t amount to alot. He kept getting his feet knocked out from underneath him by snowtubers.. Poor guy.. I guess the job description was, if they miss the blue stop, and the snow pile- be willing to take one for the team, or resort or whatever.. And I think my job is rough sometimes.. 🙂


We were warned that dinner was a high class affair.. Wow.. So I think I’ve got a bit of manners and etiquette.. But do you circle the table from the right? And when the host seats you, you stand on which side of the chair? Emily Post- I need your etiquette book!! The meal was fantastic. It was such a treat.. There were fresh flowers- white roses and tulips, and blue hydrangeas on the table for us.. Wow.. We all laughed when a piece of chicken got away from one of my sisters, and the waiter-very discreetly cleaned the table cloth with something magical he whipped out of his pocket..

Another waiter came over and asked if we were sisters. “We sure are.” “Really?! I was right?” “Yes,sir, We are sisters..” Hmm, what’s so surprising about that- I thought we all look alike.. But then a little while later, he returned to our table.. “Will you please pray for me? My name is Owen.. Please pray for me..” So I’m left to wonder.. Does “Sisters” mean blood family? or part of a Convent?  Either way, I made sure to mention Owen to the Father.. 🙂


Breakfast was another very enjoyable experience. So much good food.. My taste buds did a constant happy dance.. A little less pressure with this meal, but still very nice.. A buffet with a huge selection.. I loved the Southern cuisine.. Grits and Gravy.. Song of the South.. 🙂 And their pastries.. Wow..

And then another leisurely swim-before we gathered everything together, summoned our bellhop, spent a little bit of time shopping in the “in house” mall, and headed out the the drive..

What a capital experience.. Truly a magical memory.. Family is such a blessing.. I love you, girls.. And to our parents and Sherman who covered so we could take off- Thank you.. And to the one who introduced us to the Homestead, and treated us so generously.. Thank you seems very inadequate..

So today, again.. I feel so blessed..

Bonus Pics:

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Still enjoying the challenges of a winter wonderland.. 🙂