Available for Adoption ASAP

“Every Rose has its thorns…”

Hi- it’s Detroit the Farm Manager and you know how they always say that every cloud has a silver lining? Well, did you know that every silver lining has a cloud?


It was supposed to be our brightest, happiest hour-one that we’d waited on for two years, but it turned into one of devastated rejection. My heart is torn to shreds and I will never recover.

Rolo- my somewhat blonde assistant is the one who discovered it. She came slinking in while I was trying to sleep, and managed to wake me out of one of the most delicious dreams. In my subconscious, pre-coffee state it made it’s way through my fuzzy brain that she kept repeating something in Spanish (she thinks since her Owner is bilingual-she is too) “Chaba somthing”

I rolled over and punched her in the ribs “would you pipe down ?”

She repeated it again “Chabalo… Si Senor, but when Chabalo is King what are you going to do?”

I snorted “what do you mean when somebody else is King?”

She was rapidly heading for the sleep zone, but she managed “When the new pup takes over as farm manager.”

I sat bolt upright in bed. “New pup?!? Who? What? When?”

Rolo just snored- so I finally resorted to the old trick we call “bark-in-the-ear” and I managed to wake her up enough that she squeaked out a full report. And so here it is:

Miss Deborah is finally home. Finally, I say because she’s been gone for basically forever. The best way that we’ve found to make sure that she’s home is by peering into the windows, day and night. The picnic table is lined up with the kitchen window perfectly, and that’s the best vantage point. But anyhow. So Rolo was keeping watch over the place by night, when the door opened and in walked Her Majesty- Miss Deb and that Kennell fellow. Deb was beaming from ear to ear and exclaiming about Mother’s Day,and how she had a “little surprise” for the most wonderful lady- the Mother of the place. Joyce stood there not sure what to expect when Deb pulled out the most worthless piece of dogflesh you’ve ever seen.


Well, ok, so he’s cute and all, and actually really intelligent, but still.

The moment passed rapidly when Joyce was in the “don’t know what to say” stage. And she apparently made up for lost time with “what in the world?!” and “too many dogs already” (what does that mean, and how is it possible?) and “Eldon, come quick” and “Deborah, you can’t be serious..”

Meanwhile the boyfriend- grinning sheepishly- watched the circus, Miss Deborah explained  that a very generous man had gifted her with “Chabalo” (which means little boy in Spanish) as a welcome home gesture. And the Lady of Reason explained as enthusiastically that really we could.not. use another dog around here. (Good point, I might add)

The Father also got involved, but after a quick interview with Miss Deb, determined that it was all a joke- to get a reaction out of the Dear Precious Mother. “And she reacted perfectly in every way.”

I didn’t think much of the joke myself. I mean, adopting a new dog is serious business. The entire future of our farm lies in those tiny paws.


But anyhow, so Chabalo is back in Mt Crawford with his Collie Mother, and I  am still head of Ranch Security, but let this be a lesson to you- Miss Horst. The long arm of the law is watching you, and if you try to upstage us any more- you may find a picture of yourself on the “free to a good home” page.

The Farm Manager has spoken.

And that, my friends, is a true story.


Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza

Bonus Pic:

My soybeans are really close to an emergency swimming lesson…


Springtime beauty 🙂






Pointers from the Pond Progress – told by the Site Manager

The sun had hardly begun to peak over the Blue Ridge Mountains and smile down on Windy Hollow before Detriot was up making his rounds. Today was different. Well at least it was going to be. Nothing different yet.

  •  Complete surveillance of the entire property-✔️
  • Cat nap in the upside down crate until breakfast time ✔️
  • Same insanely irritating ability of the mindless assistant (the chocolate lab-Rolo) to decide to exit the “bedroom” (a.k.a doghouse or upside down crate) at the same instant as the Head of Ranch Security and squeeze his sides into the door frame- annoyingly ✔️

 ” I can feel it in my bones-something is going to happen today. ” Detriot said as he picked up his favorite stick of wood out of the corner of the yard and carried it about 3 laps around the outside of house in the building anticipation. Rolo wasn’t into wood gathering, but not to be left out, she tucked her tail and ran with reckless abandon around the yard to celebrate too-whatever this event could be.

Then the dogs busied themselves as they prepared to wait.

The neighbor drove across his field-the dogs set up a volley of alarms, but he stayed on his side of the fence and after awhile disappeared all together. Nope, that wasn’t it.

Someone rode a bike up the road. More warning barks that were virtually ignored. Still not it.

Then it happened-unloaded at the end of the lane was the biggest yellow truck ever. The truck lumbered slowly along turning its head from side to side. A much lesser dog would have fled the scene and beat a hasty retreat to the bedroom as the smaller of the two suggested. But the Head of Security stood unwaveringly, watching the Beast move up the lane. He stalked emotionlessly across the field to where the Beast stopped and after circling it a few times, he broke the silence “Very good” he barked “welcome to Turleytown, I’ll be your job supervisor, we expect you to report to duty immediately ”

And the great Haul truck did just that. 

She effortlessly made the trip between the pond and the field emptying the pond of silt that had found its way to the pond floor years before. 

The Supervisor was all business-He and His Assistant kept a close eye on the project; kept the work area free from muskrats, mice and lots of other varmits; and occasionally jumped in with the trackhoe operator to give a few pointers.

It was from the vantage point of the trackhoe cab that Detroit saw it all real clear: The Farmer’s Daughter decided to brave the snow squalls and come take pictures of the pond progress. So she donned her father’s oversized barnboots and trudged across the road to the job site. Now, bear in mind, the pond had the water level lowered all winter, so some of the surface had crusted over and dried out. The story goes that someone (who shall remain nameless) discovered that the crust doesn’t hold much weight and sank in well past their knees. The Daughter knew this, and thought about it as she headed towards the excavator, but in an effort to save some time, she cut across the pond. The Supervisor and his workers watched with unbelieving eyes as her boots sank nearly out of sight. She’d work and work to get one boot free only to have it sink in with the next step forward. It apparently was the most comical sight ever as she wrestled first one boot and then the other from the miry clay, and finally gave up on walking and crawled acrossed the mud floor with her father’s boots in hand. (Thankfully there is no photo documentation of this event)

This story took the long route home to bring out several lessons: Extend grace- she knew she had made the wrong decision as soon as her boot started to sink, and the last thing she wanted to hear as she slunk towards shore was “what were you thinking?!” or “I told you so…” (The ear to ear grin on the face of every operator spoke volumes enough). Learn from others mistakes- no one is exempt from gravity-especially on a pond floor. And always, ALWAYS keep the ability to join others in laughing at your own mistakes.


 Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza (Supervisor)  and the muddy mess shivering on the pond bank, KH

The Duel

I hate to say “I told you so”. In fact, I’m a lot more of a dog than that, so I won’t. Especially over such a heartbreaking matter. But on the way to the dairy on Thursday, I saw the black cloud first. We were riding along, like always, I’d let the Farmer drive his big blue truck, while my assistants and I went over our plans for the day.

Benelli was in an especially good mood. She leaned way over the side of the truck and let the wind whip her velvety ears. I leaned out beside her “See that cloud? I’m afraid that today is going to be a bad one. We need to be extra careful” She grinned in her carefree way and jumped off the truck and went right to work helping the German Shepherds with patrol…


And that’s it. I was the one that found her and I’m not ready to talk about it… Today during her last rites, I attempted to wax poetic… But poetry is not my first gift- so take my account for what it’s worth, but I thought y’all should know. She deserves that much.

Hug your dogs, friends, you never know which bark-all-night-athon will be their last…

You were the best man’s best friend possible, Benelli Isabelly Pintwhistle. I speak for all of the gang here on the farm when I say, “We’ll miss you, lil Benelli Puppi”…

Thanks again for your 2 years of faithful service.

Respectfully ,

Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza and the remaining assistant, Rolo Adrianna Rohrer


with credit to Eugene Field and the orginal:

The Duel

THE arrogant Buck and the sweet little Dog eyed each other across the downed log;

‘T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)

Nor one nor t’ other had slept a wink!

The Man in the Moon and the Half Grown Corn

Appeared to feel quite incredibly forlorn

There was going to be a terrible spat.

(I was n’t there; I simply share  

  What was told to me by the Half grown corn!)


The yellow Dog went “bow-wow-woo!”

And the arrogant Buck. he snorted too!”

The air was littered, an hour or so,

With tension so high it did practically glow,

While the Half Grown Corn looked on in fear

Up with its leaves held over its ear,

For it always dreaded a family row!

(Never mind: I ‘m only telling you  

  What the half grown corn declares is true!)


The Man in the Moon looked very blue,

And wailed, “Oh, dear! what shall we do!”

But the sweet little Dog and the arrogant Buck

Wallowed this way til tragedy struck

Employing every antler and claw

In the awfullest way you ever saw—

And, oh! how the snarls and fur flew!

(Don’t fancy I exaggerate—  

  The Man in the Moon did solemnly state!)


Next morning beside that log

They found a brief trace of the Buck and Dog;

But some folks think unto this day

That burglars stole that pair away!

But the truth about this terrible night:

they both died in valiant fight

If I look like crying-I actually might!

(The Man in the Moon He told me so,

  And that is how I came to know.)


The Quick Test of the Farm Manager’s intellegence

“An intelligent dog has a bump on his head and a black mouth” The man patted my head and I tried to look nonchalant but as Kendra got that gleam in her eye- I knew I was sunk.

There are few things I hate- one is medicine of any kind. I don’t care if I’m on deaths door- I would rather pass onto the eternal hunting grounds than swallow a pill. The womenfolk around here think they are so sneaky- they hide pills in bread or peanut butter or all sorts of things. And –hehe- I have discovered with careful investigation- the tongue is a powerful tool that can sort out the wheat from the chaff and the pill from the peanut butter. Sometimes they attempt to force feed me- usually I can sense what they are up too and I hightail it to the far corner of the earth… But every once in a while…


Head of Ranch Security slowing stretching as he takes in his entire surroundings

Anyhow, earlier this week, I’ll admit- the kid life mrisis- I mean the mid life crisis bit was getting to me. And I needed a little bit of affirmation, so I snuck over to Kendra and took my one paw and gently tapped.

“Hey ol pal, whats up?” We chatted for awhile and then suddenly, just as I was feeling so much better about everything, she did it. She pried open my mouth and discovered that incredible secret that I’d been keeping for years. Of course my mouth is black. How in the world did she expect an unintelligent dog to manage this place around her? I was thoroughly shocked and offended. My dignity was completely jeopardized. And not to mention all those” forced pill feeding” feelings came rushing back. My feet were in high gear before the command from my brain even made it to the control station. Forget this!

And on top of that, she and Emily started singing “Happy Birthday” at the top of their lungs. I closed my ears and hit the dusty trail. Hello people was that the sort of thing that makes a sorely offended dog redeem his self esteem? ummm . And guess what else: all of Eastern Rockingham County knew it was my birthday last week- did you see the smoke from all my candles? (Some blamed it on a forest fire… but…) Get your facts straight before you sing!

DSCF4767Back before the Farm realized the Head of Ranch Security had arrived April 2011

Anyhow- So I’ve been an ever faithful servant here for five years. A dog learns a lot in a few years time. The responsibility of running this place is ever before me. This week was amazing tho. I oversaw not only the chopping of the neighbor’s rye, but the mowing, merging and chopping process here. Mainly I stayed in at the bunker, I had an opportunity to ride with Kendra whenever the Lady Joyce and I were delivering food to the crew. The Lady did.not. think it was safe. So with a sinking heart, I followed her back to observe from a safe distance. Later I had another opportunity to ride. And –hehe- may or may not have seized the opportunity. That however is not up for discussion. Case closed.


Then this weekend, the Main Manager and my heartthrob- the Lady Joyce- left things in my capable paws. Well, me and my assistants. Rolo and Benilli were all exhausted from chasing rabbits during chopping- so they weren’t much help. Kendra was marginally better- but we’ll leave that there. Anyhow, while the Main Spokes were gone, Shen Valley Custom rolled in with rigs of every size and were here slaving away most of the night. I spent a lot of time out surveying the scene. “Woa Woa Woa- slow that pump down faster- remember that tanker only holds 5250 not 5252.. Sigh- you’d think after about 100 loads she’d figure that out…”


And these are my assistants 😕

And there were soybeans that needed to be planted… I had my work cut out. All this on top of all my other responsibilities- I sure am thankful for a day of rest.

So today as the rain dripped slowly off the metal roof and I took my time before heading out into the drizzle to survey the farm, My heart swelled a little bit. (Don’t tell Kendra, but a swelled heart is a sign of a happy dog) It is the best feeling in the world to have so much accomplished before the rain comes.


I hope if I hit a mid life crisis and decide I need a career change, that I come to my senses and return to being Farm Manager- what a beautiful life…

Ever the Faithful Servant,

-Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza

Bonus Pics:

The Water at Windy Hollow Farm



What did you think GPS stood for?


I don’t know who the Brain Surgeon is who penned the phrase “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” but I’d like to tell him a thing or too… I guess for this story I may as well start at the very beginning- you know the story, but just in case…

Once upon a time, there was a family of girls who lived on a farm on Paradise Lane.  Life was good, but something was missing. Then sudden through a unique course of events- their hired man bought two pit bull pups to cheer up his daughters who were sad over their cat dying… and when the pups got too big for the girls- he bought a third dog- one that he thought was little- until he saw the pup’s mom… Full blown lab… Long story, short- His wife said 2 dogs were plenty and in effort to help out the situation- the missing piece found a home on Paradise Lane… Yours truly, Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza.


That innocent adoption deal had no idea what a tremendous opportunity was arriving. I soon saw the need for a farm manager and took my role seriously. Through the years, I’ve worked tirelessly day and night, barking out warnings during the shady night hours… Sleeping with one eye open during the day… Ready at an instant whenever there are fields to be checked or any piece of equipment to be moved. I’m just a well-rounded farm manager. (And no- that’s not a fat joke- it takes more food than normal to power this massive brain).

Anyhow, So I worked myself into a tizzy. Finally help came in the form of my assistant- semi blonde- Rolo.  And life was complete. I thought. But no, Julia had to drag in the Boyfriend, and make him a permanent part of the family, which is fine… And Emily decided that’s a good idea too- so Mr W is arrived . Still no major complaints. The new men decide we need more help with homeland security- so Kalila and Benilli show up. I’m getting them trained in- so that’s ok too… But then it happened…


Benilli discovered it first, one afternoon on barn surveillance… She came tearing to the house- her velvet ears flapping the breezes and reported directly to headquarters. I couldn’t fathom it. So I slunk towards the barn to check out the detective work of the little miss. Sure enough, there was a sign on the office door that read “Beware of the Cat” WHAT?!?!

I sounded out the code alarm- three short barks and the entire homeland security crew immediately went into stealth mode, attempting to figure out what was going on. Until I happened to glance in at the house… What I saw made my blood boil. I shot for the house like there was a coyote on my tail.

“Rolo! What on earth! The farm is at stake! We are under attack and you’re sleeping in the backyard!”

She calmly flipped over on her back (honestly, sometimes I think her brain is solar-powered) and said something that sounded like “no compressor” or “comprendo” or something… Sigh… Since Deb is in Nicaragua- Rolo thinks it’s so cool to speak in Spanish… and so I just drove straight to the cold hard truth..

“The barn is under siege- all the milk, the cows, everything… by a (I could hardly make myself utter the words)… a… cat”


“And what do you want to know?’


” You see, Chief, you under-estimate me. You thought I was shirking, but I was just processing info. The cat goes by “Coal” or “Attack Kitty”. The suspect was first located in the back barn as a very small infant and was taken to the office and has responded to the milk crew by scratching and purring at the same time (editor’s note: as trained by the bro-in-law) She has complete run of the place and is welcome to live in the office or go out at her leisure. She is no threat- except-bomb shell alert- you know how they punch all their cow records in on the computer? I know how techie you are, chief… Well, she’s taken over that. Late at night- I hear her purring as she walks back and forth over the computer keyboard, tapping away…”

Wow… I suddenly felt like I needed to join Rolo processing in the sun… But I just kept my cool and said something in an aloof tone like “thanks for your report- officer. I’ll let you know if we need you.” and headed out to sleep- I mean meditate by myself.

This was a crisis!

If they trusted a cat to put in the important info of their herd- very likely she’d weasel her way into everything and turn their hearts against us and BAM it’d be the whole adoption deal over again…

And then- I remembered a conversation I’d overheard between Eldon and the farmer-in law… They are all beside themselves about this new sprayer that just arrived and they were saying things like ” But what about the 2630? We don’t need a new GPS, but the Swath Control and guidance and something something something..” I’d thought at the time that they were talking about the spayer and those were terms for the computer system …


I’d thought… But in the crisis of the moment- new understanding dawned on me and I broke through the code and realized- they were talking about me! About us- the amazing dog network.  I’m not sure when the cat showed up- but I bet she was born about the end of June/first of July (6-30) So clearly a 2630- is code for her. And GPS – that’s Grand Patrol System 🙂 Swath Control and Guidance?  That’s got to be code for me and my tireless crew… What should they do about her? Say “Adios, amigos” and send her to catch mice on some deserted island far far away… I wish I’d known what they were deciding… Maybe we aren’t about to file for unemployment… But I am going to keep an eye on that barn cat- just in case…

And- I’m pretty sure if it comes down to it- I could take over the herd records myself. Keep that in mind- Brain Surgeon-  this ol boy, the Sherlock Holmes of the Canine World would be willing to learn anything.

But just in case- I better keep my options open- does your farm need a GPS system?

Respectfully, Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza and the rest of the pack

Ok- So there was some light reading for a rainy Saturday… 😉

Blessings to you, Kendra

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!



A few issues to be addressed… With luv- Head of Ranch Security

There’s a time to weep, a time to laugh… A time to war against varmints- a time for peace.. A time to bark, and a time for silence…

Ok, I get this. But I have a few things to explain to the folks around here… So here goes a rant from the Head of Ranch Security…

Dear Horst family,

If you notice- there’s a few things I’d like to comment on… So I know that y’all are busy here- I watch you slaving away outside- hello we are getting ready for a wedding here- and I’d just like to call to your attention when my posse and I dig in the yard too and create well-worn trails all through the flowerbeds- WE ARE HELPING! We all want this place to look its best come Aug… There’s a time to dig, and a time to refrain from digging…


Secondly- please don’t be irritated with us- but we are dealing with a heart-break. Now granted it’s not quite as bad for me as it is for Rolo. It would be like that object of my undying devotion- the Mother around here- would disappear… We miss Deb! So if we seem a little short tempered- there is a reason!

And thirdly- please don’t hamper our style… How would you like for us to hire you to do field work, and then not let y’all work except when it’s raining? Our job is ranch security… So when y’all pen us in the garage at night “because we bark”- you are committing a major breach of security. And the stupidest thing I’ve heard yet is you complaining about the whippoorwill who has moved in to holler on the house roof all night long… Ummm hello- you’ve captured the complete branch of National Security and banished them to never never land. Big surprise that the place is being overrun by aliens. Wake up, America!  So please don’t be angry with me whenever I- hee hee– avoid your cunning little plan and stay out at night… No prophet is accepted in his home country… And I realize that the insults hurled my way are based on lack of knowledge… I’m tough- I can handle this..


Fourthly- thank you thank you thank you for getting rid of all of Rolo’s latest family. It’s really stressful having to train in new recruits and I’m glad for the break. Seriously. P.S And I can’t say I hope the farm inherits a bunch of Kalila’s German Shepherd pups either…

And one last thing- remember that lab awareness thing Kendra was posting about? I think it’s time to add a few more pics..

Forever Chief of the Farm Management,

Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza


S for Shoe Shiner


T for Taste Tester


U for Ultimate Stress Reliever


V for Varmint Control


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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The Beauty of Being Versitile – from the Farm Manager

Soo.. It’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me… Not that I haven’t been around, but I’ve been SOOO busy. With the continuing of increase of my troops, My job has only gotten more hectic.. Seriously. I know that they say that the most efficient person is the one who knows how to delegate responsibility… But wow- this place has really gone to the dogs, if you ask me… But it’s nice to have Benelli around and she’s so cute and everyone dotes over her and blah blah blah… Hopefully she will eventually amount to something as far as work goes… Since she’s being trained by the best…

Anyhow, So it’s my job to train her in, and that Kalila (the Showalter German Shepherd) still is only half trained and whenever I’m almost getting through to her, then Sherm takes her to Mt Crawford and we experience a set back… Sigh… And the paperwork that comes with being supervisor… Sigh… I almost need a secretary..

So where was I going with this? Oh, yeah, so here I am again with a very important thought… You see, I don’t often get invited into the house… Mainly whenever Eldon is home and he doesn’t think Joyce is looking… (man, I love that woman, but I can’t understand why she doesn’t like my footprints on her floor, as a reminder of me.. Her devoted friend… Plus these aren’t big footprints and I ALWAYS wipe my paws somewhat before I enter… So it’s just a faint mark.. But then, I guess it’s just impossible to understand women… IDK.. thats just what they say..)

So I snuck into the house one evening and Eldon was reading the newspaper, So I read some too-mainly about about some special that they were running on dog kennels ” aaahHEM, how about we trade papers there and you read up on this bargain, there, Mr Eldon?” But then my eyes fell on the most brilliant book ever. Not sure if Joyce or Deborah bought it.. 101 uses for Labs. Unbelievable…


Now I’m not meaning to sound cocky, but it’s a fact that dogs are very, very useful. And what really amazes me is how versatile we are. Take for example those egotistical heifers got out last week. Clueless. There they were running laps around the house, kicking up their heels- no clue where to go. So the family guided most of them back to the barn, but it was up to Rolo and me to go out into the far field and bring a handful of heifers back into the barn {editor’s note: this was a miracle or else the heifers were ready to come home} and we did it so effortlessly… And I was just struck again with the fact that when do you ever see cows getting dogs in? Umm never??! See cows have no understanding about the operation… They don’t get it, we do…

One of Benelli’s main jobs right now is helping the family get exercise… She’s teaching them to play fetch… Well, mainly her job is to make sure that their throwing arm is in shape. She gets a little tired of running and running, but it’s part of the game, I suppose… We try to encourage her with that…

“You see, each of us has a job that God has given us. A special talent… And you’ve got to understand, little girl, that they aren’t all equal. Some of us are good at managing. Some are better at looking cute and chasing a stuffed duck. Some at barking all night. But what is the most important is that we are doing the best we can, at where we are, now.”

She might not understand that maybe in her future she’ll be required to fetch things that are more important and more impressive… She just needs to be faithful where she is now…

Anyhow, pep talk aside, I’m on the lookout for one job per letter of the alphabet… You’ll see them show up from time to time… I’ll keep ya posted…

Now back to my farm managing, And take heart- whatever job you are called to.. Today is the day to do the best you can…

Detriot Snappenbarker Mendoza


A for Archeologist


B for Border Patrol 


C for Caring, Comforting Canine

Bonus Pic:


Or maybe I should’ve said C for Chauffeur… Some bear dogs tracked a bear onto our back field and their owners put an end to its corn stealing… They were very polite, but Benelli still thought it was safer to climb on the 4-wheeler and observe from a distance. 🙂

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Butcher day 2014-  Really glad to have the pig in the poke once again. 🙂IMG_0905

Many hands pitch in and make work light, you know.. Fresh ponhossIMG_0906

Thanks Kate for the fun pic of the cousins and Uncle 🙂


Dog Days of Summer

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and since I’ve a tendency to wax overly wordy, I’m going to attempt to let these pictures speak for themselves..

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Picnic with Benelli Isabelli


Everything is cute when it’s a puppy.. I may have a weakness for cuteness.. 🙂 #heart_throb

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They also say Love shows up at random places.. 😉

Enjoy your holiday weekend.. Blessings, Kendra