Birthday Week

The end of July always means party week for our family.

3 birthdays in 6 days is definitely reason to celebrate.

This year we celebrated Deb via Amazon Prime. We borrowed the Ben Friend’s account and he thought he was hilarious sending Deborah Kennell’s packages to Deborah Doghouse. And then we all wondered why the mail carrier had trouble finding that address 😂

Julia’s birthday bash possibly set the record for the earliest party ever. I know it did in our family. We snuck into the house shortly after 5 am with intentions of surprising Jul when she got in from the barn. What we didn’t know was that the birthday girl had the morning off and was spying on our progress from her bedroom. 😂 Em makes a copycat skillet from Perkins that is amazing: sausage, ham, maple bacon, tater tots, scrambled eggs and gravy. My contribution was a blackberry cream cheese coffee cake.

And then the big celebration began.

For Mother’s birthday, Julia planned a night in the mountains nearby. Historically our family isn’t much in the way of campers-but after the incredible success of the event- I can see that changing,

The boys were everywhere and into everything- I love them. After lights out the stillness of the forest was interrupted with my dad snoring and the twins getting freaked out at the pitch dark. And the whine of a drove of mosquitoes. And the call of an unknown bird.

But a good time was had by all.

My mom’s sister and her family are seasoned campers and they joined our party. I hope I learn their ways. I think I could’ve eaten this entire Dutch oven of fresh cinnamon rolls-so delicious.

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. Nathaniel Hawthorne

Another year of the blessing of family. What a gift-thank you Jesus

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

Travel took me to Belleville this week. It’s so beautiful and green there.

It had been about 2 years since I’d seen my cousin Marj and her family. So having most of the day free was the perfect chance to hop across the mountain and catch back up.

I found these awesome flying monkeys on clearance and thought maybe her children needed them. I didn’t think about the fact that these monkeys have a pronounced cry on impact and how impressive 6 monkeys shrieking at once and 6 children laughing at once would be.

I think Marj’s husband will be fine if it’s another 2 years until I return bearing such gifts 😂 What a fun visit though.

And finally- a photo update on Glen Oaks Farm. With chick placement day looming ahead, the Ben Friend has his nose to the grindstone. What an incredible adventure.

I Want to Remember This Drought

I want to remember this summer. The choking dust, the sparse rain, the onion cornfields, the desperation in every farmers heart as another window of opportunity closes with a maximum of 3 drops of rain.

I want to remember this summer of realizing again how good God is and how perfect His timing is and how generous His provisions are.

I can’t wait to look back and remember this summer and to reference it knowing that God is able.

May our eyes be open to see His goodness even in the dry times.

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

My 10 year old friend has the art of hospitality down pat.

My weekend trip to Lancaster did my heart good… pretty much cuteness overload

Life Lessons from the Berry Patch

Things over at Ben’s Glen Oaks Farm are literally the berries right now.

Ben is in the process of remodeling his chicken houses and he made the casual comment “I forgot to tell you-Clarence was working on the fans and he said he’s never seen so many blackberries.”

Immediately my ears perked up. What the Rohrer boys didn’t know is that I come from a long line of gatherers. Some very special summer memories were made climbing into the homemade 3 point hitch cart on my Pappy’s little Massey and heading to the back 40. He’d tie a bucket with baler twine around his waist and pick with both hands. Short snippets of song would interrupt the noises of the forest. He was in his element.

I’m guessing he was reliving memories as he picked. His mom was the queen of fruit pies. Hired girls remembered making 30+ pies a week to feed that hungry Rhodes pack. Apparently Pappy learned his berry picking skills from His dad. 200 quart of canned huckleberries from one season. 😅

My moms blackberry memories were fairly detailed. A neighbor bought a new piece of ground and the family took a tractor and wagon to gather piles of berries. “It wasn’t really fun and I don’t remember thinking the blackberries were all that delicious, but I for sure remember it.”

Today I missed Pappy’s song as I picked my way across Ben’s farm.

But the life lessons of the wild berries struck me again:

1. There’s gonna be some thorns, some rotten (berries) and some bugs along the way. Expect it, don’t let it stop you.

2. Ignore the naysayers. Boone (Ben’s yellow lab) sat in the shade and barked his disapproval at my trespassing. But that didn’t steal my joy.

3. Dress for the occasion . There are times that long sleeves and barn boots are the most appropriate style. Light summer wear has its place too-but not in the berry patch.

4. Get sweeter with age. If you ever have a chance to compare a ripe black berry with one that’s not as advanced-you for sure understand.

This mornings jaunt of rambling around the blackberry patch did my heart good. I caught myself singing the same happy tune that my Pappy Reuben sang.

What a beautiful (and delicious) gift God has given us.

Come see me if you’re hungry for blackberry cobbler 🤩

Kendra

Looking Forward and Back 200 years

What do you know about your family from 200 years ago?

I’ve been on a search recently and I’ll tell you what I’ve found.

Second Mountain

Isreal Rohrer was born in PA in 1820. He got married to Anna and became a miller by trade. Even though they had 14 children, they only saw a 6 of them reach adulthood. Interestingly enough 3 of their children died because one son visited Lancaster City when it was under quarantine for spinal meningitis, and brought the dreaded disease home.

The part about my great-great-great Grandad’s story that I was familiar with was the fact that he contracted a bunch of wheat at a high price and after the market crashed- took the loss in an honorable way, lost his business and moved to VA.

The Rohrer History confirmed this and also added the fact that Great Granddad x 3 Rohrer built a lime kiln on the bank of the Dry River and brought the tired soil around to the productive river ground that we all admire today. Apparently he brought this practice to the Valley and we’ve been spreading lime ever since.

His church efforts were another noteworthy attribute, enough so that it made the history books. “He was cautious about change and raised concern about trends in the church…”


Meanwhile also in Lancaster County, Micheal Horst was born (1824). His family moved to Maryland and he married Annie. They had 8 children- 5 of which survived to adulthood.

My Great Granddad x 3 Horst was a farmer by trade and was ordained a minister at 34 and then a bishop. According to the “Mennonites of the Washington County, MD and Franklin County, PA Conference” book, he was a moving speaker inclined to older customs.

He bought a second farm when an economic slump hit. Thus resulting in financial failure. Because of this, several churches rejected his leadership. His wife died and he moved to Kansas “to get his troubles off his mind”.

Amazingly his story changes because a fellow minister donated $1000 and started a 19th century “Go Fund Me”. Adam Baer worked tirelessly to restore confidence in my Great-great-great Grandad.

He returned from the west, remarried and took back the office of bishop.

He was shaving before a church meeting when he mentioned feeling sick and a few moments later, he had passed away. (Thank you history book for recording such detail 😂)


My parents purchased a farm this spring. The best way to fall in love with a farm is pick rocks on it. (I can’t believe I just said that) The farm was an orchard until a decade or so ago and someone spent hours and days turning it into beautiful crop land- so the rock picking was not very intense. But we came across an old graveyard and gave ourselves a break to get a better idea of who had loved this ground previously.

Immediately the time capsule stuck out to me. And per usual I had about 40 questions. The main one being “how would one expect his descendants to know to return to this spot in 200 years?” (I’ll be instructing the nephews to tell their grandchildren’s children about this) “What sort of thing will people find interesting about me in 200 years?” This began my quest to understand them better. And in turn to figure out a few things about my own people.

I will give the Baughman family credit- they are very organized with their history. I’ve enjoyed learning about the family who loved this land before us (Find that here) I find it noteworthy that like my grandfathers- Henry Jr was forced to sell the property. Apparently Dad had given 2 of the sons the land, but they were required to pay their siblings £300. Henry had to sell his portion of the inheritance to come up with the funds.

Life, Death, Love, Financial Stresses… Isn’t it crazy how it’s all a part of the human experience? It was for them. It is for us. And it will be for future generations as long as the world stands.

But through it all-for the Rohrer’s, the Horst’s, and the Baughman’s. God is good and He provides a way, every.single.time.

May those who come behind us, find us faithful.

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

200 years from now, it won’t matter that the Rhododendron bloomed this week. But wow I sure enjoyed an early morning hike with some of my favorites ❤️

Truly magical

Yay for Summer

Nothing calls for a swim party like a week of 90° F with no rain and lots of blue sky.

Nothing calls for a swim party to be on pins and needles like a red head daredevil who walks of the edge of the pool with full confidence that someone is gonna be paying attention and catching him.

But nothing beats that big grin that follows a tremendous splash from said twin entering the water.

“Yay for summer!” I said and I think Uriah agrees with me.

The twins turned 18 months and in effort to dig them out from under the celebrations of Christmas-Mama threw them a “half birthday party”. Who doesn’t need an excuse to eat cake and homemade black raspberry ice cream in June? Yay for summer!

Stuart’s Draft, VA

Wheat harvest went past in a blur. Father thinks we set a new record. But the rain held off until we were seeding the last field and we are excited to focus on other things.

Such a gorgeous time of year. Need I say it again? Yay for summer

I’ve been on the road some this last month which feels really, really good. We took a ferry to Put-in-Bay, OH and enjoyed a day there.

Ohio is beautiful this time of year… yay for my favorite season.

I enjoyed the Clinic for Special Children Benefit Auction in Shippensburg. The steam engine cranking out steamed shrimp is always a favorite. Also I was reminded on this trip that AC is very necessary this time of year. Thankful to back in business again with a cool van. But still-Yay for summer.

God is good. He is faithful in every season. I’m so grateful for the way I can see His Hand providing this year. Praise Him.

Yay for summer!

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

Did you actually think I could go an entire post without talking about Pondside Paradise? 😂 Apparently we hosted an artist at our Airbnb. Totally amazed by the detail in this sketch.

And because I feel the need to say it once more: Yay for summer!

Papa’s Fan Club

The twins are very communicative these days. And even tho they sometimes fall under the “when necessary use words” camp-there’s usually no question what their agenda is and how they need you to help them achieve it.

Isaiah is definitely the more verbal of the two. And he has a one track mind.

We’re riding along on the side-by-side, the sun is shining and the dog is barking. Isaiah leans his little blonde head against me and all is well in the world. “I bet he’s enjoying this” I hug my little buddy a little closer.
He looks up with big blue eyes searching my face.
“Papa?”
“Papa’s out working” I tell him

Blueberries are the fruit of choice these days and the boys can them by the fistfuls. “Wow, Juls going to need to plant a bigger garden at the rate these boys are eating” I deliver another shipment of blueberries to the high chair cafeteria. Isaiah looks at me with blueberries smeared from ear to ear. He cocks his head at the noise of a faint motor passing by the house.
“Papa?”
“Papa’s coming in a little” I tell him

We visit the swing set and because it’s a huge decision when you’re 18 months old to decide whether to go down the slide first or try out the swings-we start on one side and work our way over trying everything. My little buddy disappears into a piece of pipe and pops out of the other side laughing. “Peek-a-boo” I shout while thinking “ah carefree childhood” but Isaiah has something else on his mind.
“Papa?”
“Papa will be home soon” I tell him.

And so that’s how our time is usually spent. We talk about puppies and tractors and “pretty pretty pretty” flowers. We dream of ducks and pizza and Mama and snuggy bear, But somehow Papa is at the forefront of every apparent thought.

📸: Julia

I’m challenged by my little nephew’s unwavering devotion. Do I stop in the middle of the most exhilarating adventure to long for the presence of my Heavenly Father? Or in the middle of my favorite snack? Or in the middle of every single part of the day to day no matter how busy I am-to constantly direct my thoughts towards Jesus?

Today I took my 92 year old Grandma to her church and the words from this song took my thoughts down the same line.

Little Black Songbook (because I don’t know it’s actually name) Song 180: (side note- this songbook has no notes-only printed words-so the song leader can pick whichever tune he prefers to go with the verses):

Dispensing good where’re he came
The labors of his life were love
Oh if we love the Saviors name
Let his divine example move

But ah! how blind! how weak we are
How frail! How apt to turn aside
Lord, we depend upon Thy Care
And ask Thy Spirit for our guide

Thy fair example may we trace
To teach us what we ought to be
Make us, by Thy transforming grace,
Dear Savior, daily more like Thee

Jesus, all for Jesus

Blessings,

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

The American Trucker Historical Society came to town recently. There was such a wide range in the 1000 trucks at the show 😅 My Ben Friend took me and we only saw a fraction of them during the several hours that we baked in that summer sun.

The winners between the most unique thing at the show were a tie between this decked out rocking chair …

… And this… (Ben thought this was hilarious and so accurate. I’ll just leave it here)

And lastly. I may have started a new obsession. It goes by different names. I called it a “s’more charcuterie board” Jul thought it was a “S’MORgasbord” and the Ben Friend said “what’s a Chattahoochee board?”

Precious Moving Memories

To our friends scattered to and fro,

The last several weeks have been a whirlwind of moving boxes, special moments, and as many Alexander cuddles as possible.

We enjoyed one last sunset from Debs back porch…

Took time off to slip over the mountain into Brandywine to eat at the Brandywine Family Dining… (formerly known as The Cabin) (Locals, we had a great experience here.)

A neighbor hosted a barn party. Growing up, their fam was exactly the same age as us, and we were back and forth through the fields constantly. We’ve added a few to our numbers, but the friendship is just as sweet.

Em and Mr John E pulled out the guitars and had a captive audience. Precious Memories indeed.

Deb and I had been attempting to eat at the Magpie Diner for a year now… and because a blessed rain changed our chopping plans>>thus affecting the time of departure>>we squeaked it in at the 11.59th hour. Baby A’s face speaks for us all.

And before we knew it, the last box was loaded and we were off.

Our convoy sailed down the road-spirits were mostly high and the 2-way chatter was constant. 13 hours later, we pulled into We Care rejoicing.

Lots of people showed up to help unload and piles of food rolled in the door and the warm welcome we received wasn’t just from the southern summer humidity.

Even the neighbors dog extended a hearty welcome. (Ricochet, the yellow lab can’t believe the southern hospitality 😂)

The before mentioned guitar party ended with “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” and I’ll admit those words keep coming back to me…

When we are called to part,
it gives us inward pain;
but we shall still be joined in heart,
and hope to meet again.

Blessed be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like that to that above.

Blessings to y’all,

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

The flowers of the south land 🥰

Alexander’s nursery had the most gigantic giraffe on the wall… with a bit of help we got it moved too. 😅 enjoy your new room, Sweet Baby A ❤️

VA giraffe
Bama Giraffe in progress

And finally, I’ll spare you all the glowing report… but I’m super thankful for my supportive Ben Friend.

Mobile Bay, AL

A Sheep Named after Ewe 🐑

Luke 14:7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table,he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Several months ago my neighbor left me a voicemail:

“Hey friend, just calling to chat while I was doing the dishes. Did you hear Wyatt got 2 sheep? His mom thought he should name them Daffodil and Daisy. But he said he didn’t really like Daffodils. So yeh, I don’t know if you’ll feel extremely honored or extremely slammed, but he named them Daisy and Kendra.”

Oh my! My sweet little buddy Wyatt! Why would I feel slammed? Immediately my mind went to the only lamb experience we’d had growing up- Uncle Galen’s had a lamb (incidentally-I’m thinking it was called “Daffodil”) and it was the cutest, soft little bundle of wool. We loved that little lamb and were terrible jealous of it until it got old enough to stomp on our toes with its sharp pointy hooves while ramming us with its hard head. Nonetheless named after a lamb by a 5 year old was a honor indeed.

Several months passed by and I met up with my young Shepherd friend. “So Mr Wyatt, they tell me you have 2 lambs?”

“Oh no” he said “we have way more than that-it’s more like 50.”

“Have you named all of them?”

“No, just the first two sheep. Daisy and Kendra But they’re in with the other sheep and it’s hard to tell which one Kendra is. But I think for sure she had a baby.”

Wait. What?

I stopped by this week and met the flock myself and it’s indeed true.

Kendra is not a soft fluffy adorable lamb.

Kendra is a big fat ewe.

I’m thinking this piece of humble pie has a pretty strong mutton flavor,

Kendra

Boone’s First Day of School 🐶 #Dogtales

Dear Reader- by way of clarification: There’s a new kid in town! Em’s dog Riv had a litter of pups and the Ben friend ended up with Boone and the Kennell’s adopted Ricochet. They are the most adorable yellow blurs of energy you’ve ever seen. But that’s enough of a spoiler alert. Until next time~KH

Dear Diary,

Today was the bestest day everrrrrr.

Dad got up early and opened my pen and told me to be a good boy as he headed out for a big day of trucking.

I did the usual-went out and peeled around the yard, watched the clouds float by, sniffed a few fence posts and then started in on my morning nap routine.

That was interrupted by Riv and Ricochet rocketing in the lane barking commands at Aunt Ken and her pickup to “go faster, go faster”

Before I knew it, I was loaded and heading for my very first day of school.

Me, looking all scholarly and stuff

I didn’t know what to expect, but when you go visit family-you’re going to see people you’re related to. So wouldn’t going to visit school mean seeing students?

Well I sure saw piles of them. They had taken over the entire pond and were fishing away. Occasionally Mr Kennell would have to go help with getting a fish off the line-so I’d go too. As fast as my little legs could take me.

We played some really cool games like a scavenger hunt where you needed to bring something soft, something rough, a piece of bark, a ladybug… (wait how many times have I heard-“stop buggin the lady!” Wouldn’t that make me a lady-bug?!) C’mon team- here I am-the answer to everything you’re looking for- just carry me to the finish line..

They played a 3 legged race thing that we dogs thought was really insensitive . Especially Detroit because he walks on 3 legs most of the time since his toe injury. But they hooted and laughed and hopped along- so I guess it was great fun.

We ate good food (well they did and we dogs were left to sniff out whatever we could find ). Way to soon it was time to go home.

I really liked that school thing.

Detroit says now that I’m educated, maybe I should consider helping with the reports from ranch security. But I don’t know, I think I’m better at this classroom stuff like giving out fishing instructions.

Yours until the cows come home, (without us having to give them a strong piece of bark)

Master Boone Rohrer M.D. [Main Dog]

Bonus Pics:

The twins came to watch the festivities with Alexander. They all agree that if school is hot dogs and fishing- count them in too.

Reuben Reuben I’ve Been Thinking #TabletoField

“I could eat a Reuben sandwich every day” -Sherman

Not everyone shares Sherms sentiment on this one (in fact Jul can hardly handle making these) but thankfully the harvest crew tends to be fairly open minded when it comes to food, so these have been showing up at the field more frequently.

We don’t always get warm sandwiches delivered to the job-but it certainly is a treat when it happens.

My mom’s sandwich typically follows the traditional Reuben idea: corned beef, swiss cheese, sauerkraut (rinsed and heated on the stove) and thousand island dressing on rye bread and toasted to perfection.

The benevolent wife pulls out Sherms recipe and follows it. I have no idea where that recipe is from other than the A+ cookbook. I’m pretty sure Sherm didn’t create it himself, but I’ve been surprised before. Either way-it’s delicious.

And so healthy-ignore how much butter you’re using and just think about all the benefits from adding sauerkraut into your meal. 😂 Follow me for more diet plans. Haha

“Reuben, Reuben, I’ve been thinking what a sad world this would be. If [your sandwiches] were all transported, far beyond the Northern Sea…“

I never am quite sure how that song goes-is it a “sad world” or a “glad world?” Maybe it depends on which side of the sauerkraut argument you’re on.

Enjoy,

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

Because these little fellows are too precious these days:

Sweet Baby A so proud of himself sitting in his own little rocking chair.

There’s a carrot top who can barely walk
With a sippy cup of milk
A little blue eyed blonde with shoes on wrong
‘Cause he likes to dress himself…
Yeah one view I love the most
Is Jul’s front porch looking in

-Lonestar (with slight editing)