Things the Farm Manager Ponders… Deep things… Like Birthdays and Such

There are a few things that’s tough for this ol farm dog to understand. A few- most things I get completely… But… Here goes:

Watermelon: What does that sound like? Something red with seeds all through it? Ummm…. Break that down a little- Water. This brings to mind that amazing swimming hole that Kendra constructed just for us, (She calls it her “water garden” of all original names) and planted all kinds of flowers around. Even turns on the waterfalls occasionally for our swimming pleasure. It’s awesome. So thoughtful of her. I don’t get why she yells every time she catches us drying off on the edge- the water lilies really look a lot happier after we’ve stirred them up a bit… That’s water. Has nothing to do with a juicy fruit. Name it something that applies- like- “green and red thing that grows during the summer” That makes more sense.

Ok next thing- A sheepsfoot. We don’t have sheep around here. I sure wish we did tho- we could have a blast herding those mindless critters… But alas… So last week I overheard Emily telling Kendra and I quote “Jeanette was here running the sheepsfoot today.”  My ears pricked up and a shiver started at my tail and ran the whole way to my neck. Sheep?! Here?! And so I snuck around the corner with nervous anticipation (I did a stealth mission because I didn’t dare notify my assistants until I had properly established what was going on..) And what do you think my eyes should behold? Well if you remember last Sept the place around here was alive with excitement because a silo collapsed? Anyhow the guys have been slaving away getting a spot ready for a trench. And there was Jeanette rolling back and forth on what looked like a motorized bicycle on steroids.  It was no more of a sheep than I am a trackhoe. My heart gave a disappointed lurch and fell to the depths of despair and I went to deal with the tragedy under the shadow of the clothes on the clothes line and mourn the unfairness of life…


And here’s another one- a lightning bug. (I really can’t tell the difference between them and fire flies. Both names are equally confusing…) What about a little critter blundering through the air with a blinking light is fire or lightening… I wish I could understand. Oh the deep things I ponder as I’m out on the back forty on night patrol… If I could understand that name- then I’d ponder a butterfly- but really- my brain is smoldering the way it is- better not overload a genius- or it’s hard on his intelligence.

But what really got me going is-birthdays. I get the day you are born idea. It happens to everyone. And there’s a day to die. But there’s no way to be born once a year. And always the same day whether the person is around or not. Last year- We all went out into the puppy palace and put on our best camera smile for Deb who was not around. Happy day to be born.


This year the prep started early- with a project that involved a bunch of Deb’s friends. There were a bunch of butterfly patches that were sent out to be signed by her support group. I watched through the back door anxiously. My sweet but simple assistant- Rolo- was all bestewed about what she was going to write. I’d hear her out practicing sometimes. “Your gracious ways are surely missed around here- How do you spell gracious?”… I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I was suspicious that they’d forgot to include us in the project… Ummm Hello- we are a fan club all in ourselves.  It sure was a load off of my mind when Laura’s patch rolled in with our names shining beautifully from the one wing. Thank you, Dear Laura, for remembering the important canines. and way to include us, Horst family..  (Editor’s note- bless all you who contributed to the project!)


Now this year- I thought maybe last year’s photo shoot was adequate. But no- next thing I know- here they come with these little cutsie “Happy birthday” signs. I’m usually really suspicious of such things- but I was in a good mood and figured I’d humor the situation. Happy Birthday, Deborah.. Birthday Happy, Deborah. Birthday Deborah Happy. We tried all the options until we settled on which pose we liked best…

But really- there’s no reason to over think this thing. If we are going to celebrate a birthday once a year- as long as there’s cake and ice cream- Why should I complain? In fact- I’d be ok with cake and ice cream once a month. Or once a week even.. 🙂


Regardless- We miss you . Birthday Happy, Deborah!


Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza and the rest of the gang

P.S pssst- I haven’t told my posse yet, because I’m not sure how they’d handle the news… But did the spy network let it slip that we may be seeing you within a month? How about some birthday ice cream then too? 🙂

Oh the versatility of a good dog: (the final pics from this series)


W for Watchdog


X for Xhausted


Y for Yawn (photo credit-DLH)


Z for Zealous Agronomists

Bonus Pic:

Father’s sisters (and their husbands 🙂 ) made the trek to VA last Sunday. It was wonderful to see them again and catch up a bit and share a lot of laughter… Bless you!



And what is a normal childhood?

The only thing more fleeting than summer is childhood -Unknown

What do you think of when you think of childhood? Somehow in the art gallery of my mind- summer and childhood pull up the same scenes… Carefree days of running barefoot in our yard chasing butterflies and looking for praying mantis… Watermelon juice running everywhere as we tried to see who could spit the seeds the farthest… Spending hours and hours roaming over the mountain discovering different forms of wild life- birds and animals and flowers- feeling confident that no one had been there before we were… Searching through the grass for four leaf clovers and then rolling onto our backs and watching the white fluffy clouds sailing on the blue sky… Showing up just in time for supper and Mother commenting “look- girls-at how much of this meal we grew ourselves..” Family devotions before we called it a day, and with a kiss and an “I love you” from both of my parents- I’d head up our curved stairway to our room… And all was at peace in the world. Those were good days. It wasn’t all play. We spent hours in the garden or on that old Snapper mower that maxed out at about 2.5 mph. We HAD to wash dishes sometimes and I was pretty sure that was the worst job ever. We learned to spend time in the field helping with harvest several years before we were teens. And while I had big dreams of the world changer that I was gonna become- I loved my life. A normal childhood.

Or so I thought.
Really what is a normal childhood?


This year, we- again- are a Fresh Air Host Family and I am looking at my word pictures through a city kids eyes… Barefoot in grass? Never. Spitting seeds everywhere? Somebody’s bound to get chewed out. Wild life? Well, there are rumors of coyotes in the one graveyard in the City… Four leaf clover searches? Really- you must stay off the grass. Both parents at home at night? Riiiiight… Responsibility? Sure- my mom works from 7a-11p just trying to make ends meet. So I’ve done my own laundry for forever. I make my own meals. I get myself off to school. I take care of myself when I’m home from school… It’s just how it goes…

And so- for a brief 10 days each year- we have a chance to introduce our version of normal. Karen has visited us for 6 consecutive years and as she gets older- our activities have changed from blowing bubbles and catching frogs to shopping trips and sushi parties (I’d never had sushi before- pretty sure this won’t be something I crave..) But the campfires continue. And Mother goes the second mile to make sure there’s plenty of good food around.

And we talk. Karen’s neighborhood is in the process of gentrification and she is concerned what will happen to them when their rent price goes higher than $1300/mo. She continues to aspire with her art talent, and she is preparing a portfolio of her artwork hoping to get into her choice of an upscale art college. She changed her hair color to purple and likes that. Lots of people have blue- but purple is original. And she had to get rid of her dog because her allergies went crazy…

As we chat- my world perspectives gets a little bit larger. I realize again how blessed I am and how much I take for granted. As Mother wisely stated “We thought when we became a host family- we were going to make a huge different for some inner city child. But instead the greater blessing has been ours as we learned to navigate the waters of racism, social prejudices, peer pressure, and basic human needs from another viewpoint. We’ve been forever changed by what we learned from our NYC guests ..”

Because really- it’s not just summer and childhood, life is fleeting. It’s up to us to make the most of every opportunity to share the love of Christ.
Blessing to you as you apply that to your mission field,

Bonus Pic:

Several of my favorite pics from our last little while:

the random cross cultural experience of the week happened when a native from nothern Irag brought us bread that he had made from the wheat we were combining beside his house. He took me in to meet his family and show me the entire process. And sent me home with an entire bagful of the fresh flat bread. What a treat!


the fishing adventure- Karen caught one of the only catches of the eve (and Benilli thought she needed to be involved with the cleaning- silly dog)

DSC_0883 DSC_0945


an landscape sketching session with two very talented ladies-and I shake my head- this is not my gift. at. all.

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And last but not least- Karen and her coach made a beautiful table runner this week 🙂


P.S special credit to Marj’s adorable children for so delightfully chasing bubbles in the first pics on this post 😉