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!!

IMG_1273 DSC_0071-001


One thought on “Year-in-Review

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