WEEEOoooWEEooo WEEOoo… The persistent noise shattered the stillness of our house. Bouncing of the walls and slowly penetrated into the deep recesses of my foggy brain… Instinctively I reached for my phone to shut off my alarm… As it dawned on me that this was  this was my morning to sleep in… Uh Oh.. Houston we have a problem… The noise continued. I could hear it bouncing off the walls upstairs. Since I am currently “man of the house” (in lieu of the migration to Florida by my parents) It was up to me to put a stop to our bi- annual fire drill.  Somehow our smoke alarm system only has batteries go bad and erupt with this shrieking in the night-time hours. I was convinced that to be the problem and was sorely tempted to pull the battery nearest my room and head back to bed. But really- how sad would that be for the fire department to come upon my crispy remains clutching a smoke alarm battery… So the quest continued. The house was dark-and other than the sporadic alarm- silent. I was convinced there was no fire- but just for good measure- I called to the barn to ask Julia if I could live with them if the place went up in flames. Satisfied, I pulled the offending battery and returned from whence I’d come… And the chirping began. Every minute and a half from that offending smoke alarm , this little niggling chirp. Sigh… I got out of bed again to investigate. There were two wire running from the ceiling mounted on to a little plastic piece that I was pretty sure I could break off without any trouble… Some days I can wake up really rapidly and be ready to roll asap. This apparently was not one of those mornings, but the thought did  register that it was going to be a lot harder to replace the entire alarm versus figuring out how to ignore the chirp… So I let it live. After all, this was the alarm beside our wood stove which is a really good place to have a smoke alarm..

So in between chirps my mind ran through a lot of things. It really is incredible that my first instinct was to smash the offender.  I envisioned someone kayaking down the river and getting out and smashing down any signs that warned of dangerous water ahead… Hello.

But then the thought pattern went a little further. How easy is it to ignore little signs of danger ahead. As long as the water is deep and calm where I am now- and the air smoke free- it’s no fun to hear those words of warning… “Hey- are you thinking about the consequences of your choices?” Instead it’s a lot easier to smash those well-meaning words of wisdom…

Deep things to ponder in the early morning hours.  And after thoroughly stepping on my own toes- I drifted back to sleep..

Blessings on your week,


Bonus Pics:

More from our mutts:


O for On site Inspection Agents


P for Picnic Crasher


Q for Queen of the Backyard


R for Recycle


And random extra- our dogs are NOT impressed with the new variety of dog food around here… But apparently it’s still worth fighting over

There is Beauty Here

Everything has beauty- but not everyone see it. -Confucius

Never lose the opportunity of seeing something beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams. -Ashley Smith

Hmmm… Life is full of beauty- notice it… I like that. The last little while I’ve been attempting to perfect that art. It is easy to see beauty when it’s the flamboyant colors of the sunrise or the sunset ( We live at the foot of a mountain- thus blocking all our sunsets, and I’m pretty sure I have a deficiency… I can’t get used to that varied color stretching across the sky… Amazing!! )We haven’t had many snow days this year- but when everything is covered in a pure white blanket- the air is crisp- the sky is blue- there is beauty.

I can see beauty the rest of the year without making an effort. It’s everywhere- I could testify that all day long. The green grass- my mom’s variety of flowers, the crops growing in the field… We smile and say “what a great day to be alive!” But it’s hard for me to apply that theory to regular dreary winter.

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Winter vs Summertime on Paradise Lane

My optimistic brother-in-law is the one that got me thinking. We just experienced a cold snap and as I was shivering in the house- I noticed he updated his facebook status as he was slaving away at the barn “I’m sure when breaking watering troughs in the 5 degrees at 4 am tomorrow, I’ll regret this, but I’m enjoying old man winter! #fourseasonclimate” That’s awesome really- even if I did make all kinds of comments about him being in the early stages of hypothermia, etc.  He was truly enjoying what was at hand. The beauty that  TODAY has to offer…

Notice it. So I’ve been looking. Who knew there were so many shades of brown or gray? But then the sun shines and the rays play along the ridges of the mountain and it creates quite the effect… The bright colored birds are a constant flash of color as they dart here and there- we don’t notice that with all the foliage in the summer… The evergreens are laden with pinecones- if you think about it. There is beauty here. But it’s up to me to put the effort forth to enjoy it. Almost like I have to pursue it rather than it pursuing me…


And I think this applies to life as well. Sometimes I find myself in circumstances that really aren’t that glamorous or exciting, and it’s easy to look back or look forward and think “If only..” But today is the day to rejoice in and be inspired about! There is beauty here… “for beauty is God’s handwriting”

I will go on, bravely, Doubting not that morning shall be fair.

For what is life if it is spent in hopeless pursuit of nothing

But dreaded passage?

Then let me lift my daily flask to my soul’s lips

And drink it calmly, Boldly, Joyously!

And in the drinking, I shall drink with God! – Edith S. Witmer

Enjoy today!! Blessings, Kendra

Bonus Pics:

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A  bit of chilly recreation 🙂 and it was beautiful to be out and about… 🙂


Emily’s contribution to the beauty around here 🙂


Ok- so the family around here gets all excited the entire month of December. They race in and out our mile long lane to the mailbox. They return home smiling with all these pictures and letters from near and far. They say it’s a great time to catch up with everybody. “So”- says I-” how are y’all getting along telling people what’s up on Paradise Lane?”

Boy- you coulda heard a pin drop. Kendra looked all sheepish and mumbled something about her blogging habit at paradisemtnmusings. Hello- that’s not enough! SOoo I just patiently waited. And surprise- no one heeded my advice- so looks like it’s up to me to take over yet another job around here… I tell you… Good thing I enjoy writing!

Twenty-Fourteen  -written by Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza  PhD in Ranch Security

Last winter was incredible. Kendra retired as a dairy farmer and purchased a bit of cropland. Deborah headed off to Bible School… Snow and more snow!

Valentine’s Day sure got a lot of attention. I had my work cut out trying to understand what the big deal was- but apparently the guy with the fancy Ford pickup that spent so much time here decided to become one of the family. There was a huge snow the day before- 18 inches and I can’t for the life of my figure out why everyone stayed in the house and looked stressed out! They should’ve came out and built snowmen and went sledding and four-wheeling like usual- that would’ve killed the blues! But none the less- apparently Julia changed her name to Showalter and everybody is excited about finally having a brother.. Welcome to the Ranch, Sherman! (They moved into a house about a mile from the farm bought Kendra’s cows and a German Shepherd named Kalila, and are milking here)

Emily has been nose to the grindstone all year! I  don’t know how many nights when I’m out on patrol- I see the garage door go up and that Dodge Dart dart out the lane in response to some emergency crisis… It’s a bit of a mystery to me- but I keep hearing “paramedic class” I think she’s almost completed her studies- but it sure has made her busy.  I think maybe there’s something about a duck hunter/roofer that also makes her schedule more hectic- but I CAN NOT figure out how that ties in with her class… But maybe if I cozy up to him- he’ll take me hunting with him sometime. I do love birds- does that qualify me to be a duck dog?? 🙂 Ha 😉 just throwing out a hint there, Kerry Weaver!

Springtime with all of its glory showed up at long last-( I think maybe Eldon and Joyce brought it back with them on the bus. They took a group to Florida and were gone for awhile after the wedding…)  The winter seemed so long and cold! Beautiful springtime. Planting and spring harvest went well- what a beautiful time of year.

…Which ran into summer… June found the harvest crew running full swing when suddenly! Deborah left for SMBI’s  WATER program and spent a month in Nicaragua and Kendra deserted to spend the rest of the summer going West with two different van trips… 17,000+ miles later, she claims there’s no place like the Shenandoah Valley- I could’ve told her that in the first place.

Meanwhile- back at the ranch- My assistant Rolo had a batch of pure bred lab pups (personally I think pure bred is over rated- but that’s just this mutt talking) So that was exciting. Except I had to work overtime while she was on maternity leave-plus screen all the applicants that came dragging in here from DC area with hopes to take one of these beauties home. Running an adoption agency is, like it is- but it will look good on my resume 🙂

And that’s how we came across Benelli Isabelli. Em adopted her and she is the cutest pup ever! Everybody dotes over her and I get quite tired of it. But I must remember- this season will soon be past.

Once everyone finally returned from their running around- equipment started rolling out of the shed and Fall Harvest 2014 was underway. What a year! I helped as much as possible, which usually includes just managing from the back of the pickup- but occasionally I ride on the tractor and give instructions…

Sept 19 marked a huge day around here. It started so normally- the crew was here refilling the 24×80 stave silo. Eldon was up in the top of the silo preparing to level it off, when Sherman started shouting that it was going over. The next hour stretched on and on, and yet tore past in a blur- as everybody ran to move the dairy herd to safety, and Eldon took the JCB and started crushing staves on the side opposite of which the silo was falling. The Hand of God was visible when the 1000 tons of silage and staves crashed to the ground 180 degrees opposite of the direction it was initially heading and landed in the parking lot- sparing all of our buildings. We felt the love of the community as volunteers rolled in the lane to help, and again as the huge plastic silo sheet was spread across the pile of sorted silage less than 30 hours after the nightmare unfolded. God is so good!!!

And I had a near death experience. The family bought a little house near here- along with some acreage, and I went along to check out the remodel project. And I happened to run across the road right in front of a neighbor. Kendra was in PA on a van run- so they all took turns calling her, with progress reports on my health, and who all was crying over my sorry hide. And then Eldon got the repair bill from the guy’s car and he really cried… “Ok, ok- I’ll work overtime”

That’s about it for the year- Julia got her first deer with a bow.  The bins are full and we are so thankful! Deborah and Kendra went to LA for Jesus for street meetings.  Possibly the most shocking thing was when Kendra took the plunge and got both Facebook and Instagram… Sherman got the game Settlers of Catan for Christmas and I think that’s going to be a hit. (The game before that was a form of a Rook Game (Black 7) and Kendra has terrible luck and loses EVERY TIME. Let’s hope she never decides to take up gambling! lol) Oh and in less than a week- our entire security network got trapped. Each one of us. Benelli and I, in foot traps, and Rolo in a snare…But we were each rescued and life goes on.

We face 2015 with excitement! (Well- kind of- Emily has another major shoulder surgery coming up as soon as she’s graduated..) Deborah is leaving for Nicaragua with Olive Branch in April for 2 years- we sure will miss her… But it is a beautiful thing to be where God has called you!

2014 has reminded us of what 2015 will teach us again- God, in His Omniscience, is in control and will work out the specifics of each life. So we rejoice!

Praying that this finds you and yours doing well, and that you- along with us- will find that “The One who calls you is faithful, and He WILL continue to be faithful” 1 Thes 5:24

Happy New Year,

Detroit (with some thoughts from Kendra) and the rest of the Eldon Horst gang

Bonus Pic: 

More from the Versatile Canines around here


I for Ice Queen



J for Joker



K for Kayaker



L for Laundry Lady



M for Medical Professional



N for Neighbor


And random bonus- we enjoyed a brief reprieve at the Boar’s Head… Quite the place!!

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