Wistful

I always feel this way in November. The gray clouds billow across the sky, the cold seeps under the door , crosses the room and engulfs my heart.

If you’re missing your swans- they came here

I try to analyze my feelings as I hurry to help get the last of the crops into storage before the snow flies. I give myself a stern talking to: “ ok, KH what’s up?! We’ve had a wonderful year- God has blessed us with a strong growing season, and a safe harvest-the grain bins are all slam full. Your health is the best it’s been in awhile. You’ve got some exciting things coming up. Why the wistful feelings?”

Photo credit: Emily

But I know the answer: Winter.

Don’t get me wrong- I love a good snow. I love the ice skating parties that happen occasionally. I really do enjoy the slower pace.

But somehow the winter blues always hit me the month of thanksgiving. I look back at the beauty of seasons past and I look at the empty calendar days ahead and I wonder…

My 91 year old Grandmother is well past the fall season of her life and yet I get the same feeling of wistfulness from her too.

She looks back at the beauty in seasons that she’s experienced and looks at the bleak winter ahead of her. And she wonders…

My mom recently found a sweet poem written by my Great Grandmother Stella Good about her feelings about my Great Grandfather. Her wistfulness is quite obvious.

To my Husband

Honest, dependable, kind and true

These are fitting words for you,

Working hard from morn till night

To make anothers burden light

Lifes hard struggles, but endears

And love grows stronger through the years

 

Years have gone by, more than a few

Since these lines were penned to you

And vast the changes we have seen

In the long years that intervene

And our Infinite God has planned

Much that we cannot understand.

 

He knows why sorrow strikes us all

Sad partings come and teardrops fall.

For more then two and sixty years

We’ve share each other’s smiles and tears

But the time has come that we must part.

And I am left with a sorrowing heart.

 

Now my beloved, you have gone.

But memories sweet and love live on

You cannot return to me ‘tis true

But praise God, I can come to you

O the blessed hope, of Eternal years

With no more partings and no more tears.

May the winters ahead be gentle on us all, as we live our lives carefully, looking forward to the Eternal Years where the seasons never change

Be Blessed,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

Recently Em helped me drive all night to get a family home for a funeral. We stopped by Gatlinburg, TN after we had our passengers delivered and Em insisted that I walk the 600 foot swinging bridge with her. I’m still not a big fan of heights, but I didn’t die this round- so that’s positive 😂 super thankful for her flexibility and willingness to travel with me and turn a big job into an adventure

I Shall Not Pass This Way Again//New York 10.19

My mom has a favorite quote that I can count on her saying about every time travel takes her to a new area.

“I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” Etienne de Grellet

Recent travels found me in upper state NY right along the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

We enjoyed a wide variety of sights- like this freighter heading through a lock.

This restored schoolhouse from 1845 was on the property of a farm visited.

The original boyhood home of Almanzo Wilder was another place of interest.

I even visited Trout Creek. Don’t know how familiar you are with the stories of “Farmer Boy” but Almanzo and his family ran their sheep flock through Trout Creek to wash their wool before shearing them. Apparently Almanzo’s job was to take the fleeces to the upper storage in the barn, and the shearers kept kidding him that they were going to get done before him. So during lunch break, he smuggled a ewe upstairs so that he could officially have the fleece upstairs before the shearers job was completed 😂 anyhow. The leaves were just starting to change. Beautiful!

The end of our stay in New England found us in Vermont in a cable car at Jay’s Peak

What a view!!

As I stood there overlooking the land before me, my mom’s quote came to me again. I don’t know if I’ll be back to this mountain top. But that’s not what counts- it just matters how I respond to the less scenic/ more everyday (and slightly annoying) encounters in my journey, and how I make the people I cross paths with feel. Do they see the love of Christ in my reactions?

One chance- because I won’t pass through today again.

Be Blessed,

Kendra

KH eats Crow

Warning complete harvest post forthcoming:

“If you’re not living on the edge you’re taking up too much room”

Somehow this quote keeps entering my life encouraging me to get out of my same ol same and shake the norm up a little.

Idk what norm looks like to you- but this time of year- I’ve done the same routine 1000s of times. Load up my “farming without a cab” starter kit (sunscreen, rain coat, sunglasses, earplugs, battery pack, etc) and jump on my faithful 7330 John Deere and hit the field. From there the dust and the silage and the good times roll until the end of the day and I drag home a filthy, exhausted, completely happy wreck. Repeat the next day.

But something happened this week that will forever change the tint in my rose colored glasses.

I tasted life on the other side of the tracks.

I’ve lost count how many years/ how many conversations have happened because of the differing opinions on equipment. But we’ve burned up a fair amount of energy on the subject, particularly with our friends at Shen Valley Custom. Invariably the conversation happens and it usually follows the same outline. It’s all in fun- the banter between John Deere and Claas (my dad wrote a few poems on this subject) or John Deere and Fendt tractors or John Deere and Case combines… but at the end of the day we go home completely satisfied with our continued #deereseason. In short, we run Deere equipment and are living happily ever after. More of a lengthy discussion would be that most of our cart tractors are open station tractors (without cabs) meaning that we eat dust and bake in the sunshine and live happily ever after- rocking that farmer’s tan.

This week we had a fairly lengthy road haul from the field to the farm, and we had 3 Shen Valley outfits on the job. The one cart operator had to leave, so my dad looked at me “Ken, go run that JCB”

Wait, what?!

One of the other guys gave me a quick run down of the tractor and with a “you’re going to end up writing a blog about this” he left me to my own devices.

What happened next is the shocking part: I had a blast. We flew down the road over 40 mph.

The sun shone in the cab and I turned up the AC. The sun set and I turned up the heat. Music kept me company. The gravel road dirt hung in the air and hit my windshield and I cleaned it off with Windex.

“Cabs are certainly unnecessary” I told myself as I reached into the fridge to retrieve my cold drink.

“Still not necessary” I told myself as I followed the cutter around the field and the silage rained down on the top of the hood, and I stayed perfectly clean.

But who am I kidding? I smiled so much that my face hurt.

As I tore along in my little yellow JCB sunbeam, I was just reminded again to make my words sweet.

Because sometimes when you’re super opinionated and vocal about it- those words return to haunt you.

But it’s ok- as long as I’m traveling down the road 40+ mph- maybe they won’t catch up with me.

If this is life on the edge- I think it agrees with me 🤷🏻‍♀️😂😂

Grinny Kenny

Dog Tales: Part 2- Literally Chewed Up 🐾

Well, I’m back in town. Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza who doesn’t show up for a year, then is writing 2 weeks in a row. But here I am, story in toe. (No, I did not misspell that.)

Last time I was ranting about being chewed out. You won’t believe what got chewed up this round. Yep- me! A much lesser dog wouldn’t have survived-but here I am. Regardless- hide your eyes because it was a terrible, horrible fight. Here’s the facts:

The Harvest Monster comes to call this time of year. I can always sense it’s arrival. My human family walks a little faster. They are gone a lot more, but when they are around, they talk a little louder and laugh a little more. This Harvest Monster is not something to be feared, only respected. And managed within an inch of its life. That’s the part where I shine.

“Get ready” I told my assistant Rolo “it’s show time this week.”

And it was. I rode down the road on the tractor with KH carefully planning my day.

Things went well, the first day of Paradise Lane Chopping Season.

The other dogs rode with the cart operators some, but not me. I was in charge of air traffic control in at the trench, and I manned the control tower like someone’s life depended on it.

Day 2 went equally as smoothly. Finally I decided I just had to get to the field, the trench was filling up and there was decisions to be made with what to do with the rest of the corn (PTL for this problem!) so I ran out to check the chopping progress.

What happened next I will never tell. But the Farmer was riding across the open field on his trusty four wheeler when I met him with a feeble salute. He stopped and I climbed on his fourwheeler before he knew what happened. “Medic” I mumbled “I need a medic”

There’s a wide range of guesses as to what happened to me. In short- My foot looked like it got in a losing fight with a meat grinder. Basically I’ll give you all of them and you can go with whichever logic you like best :

The Farmers guess: that I was in the standing corn and forgot that the chopper ate 10 rows at a time instead of 8. And somehow those vicious knives on the head managed to mangle 2 of my toes. (KH was running the cutter and she does not like this option, and can argue it away in about 5 seconds) I am tough as nails- maybe I was just too much for that ol beast to munch on.

Mr Good’s version: that I was going for a pedicure and got trimmed a little closely. (Ummm Hello- does he really think I’m that high maintenance?)

The Farmer’s Daughters ideas: maybe a trap or a sharp corn stalk or something caught my poor toes as I rushed past and yanked the pad off… (what kind of a dunce would blunder into a trap? And are freshly chopped corn stubble really a lethal weapon?)

But like I said- I will never tell.

In the end EMT Em wrapped my wounded paw up and held me close as KH drove the getaway vehicle to Ashby Vet Clinic where a very nice man gave me the opportunity to sleep really soundly while they stitched me up.

I’ve got a beautiful purple bandage that’s driving my crazy- but hey I’ll take the Purple Heart I definitely earned.

So anyhow- message me if you need an address to send get well soon cards, steak, balloons, steak, roses or steak. I’m going to need some cheering up while I wait this one out.

Farm Manager, currently on sick leave,

Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza

Dog Tales: Chewed Out For Being Chewed Up 🐾

It’s me again- Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza, the Farm Manager around here. It’s been forever since you’ve heard from me. Honestly there’s been so many things to keep track of, that writing has not been a priority. I’m no stranger to the pen, you might say- I do keep careful records of crops, spray, weather, and traffic that goes past our place- so there’s lots of data to be had. But anyhow. Here I am, back again on the blog smog

I just don’t get my human family. The girls all rush in and out and show up with varying levels of worthless dogflesh and I’m supposed to be in charge of training them to help around here. Sweet. 😏 And then when these pure bred dogs don’t meet expectations- guess who gets yelled at? The one with the high profile expensive papers? Or your humble servant mutt? It’s unbelievable!

This weekend was another round of training with the youngest member on the force. Pagosa White has been around for over a year now, but she’s only under my tutelage occasionally. (Most of the time she’s employed at the neighbors dairy) The family left us at home for a few hours and returned to see that the extension cord somebody forgot to put away was in about 500 pieces.

The adorable blonde not so innocent Pegs

I met them at the lane with my tail engaged in the slow “I’m so glad you’re home and you won’t believe what happened” wag. They got out of the truck in disbelief and after Pagosa fell all over herself exclaiming about how good it was to see them, they calmly said “Pegs! Bad dog!” And that was it.

I followed KH around the corner of the house and watched as she put a few things up out of reach of the chewing monster. It seemed a little fishy that Pagosa climbed up on the picnic table to inspect what all KH put there- but hey-what do I know?

I’m more of a morning dog, so I headed to bed in decent time leaving the night patrol to Rolo and the assistants assistant- the chewing maniac. Wrong move.

Rolo pretending to sleep in the midst of turmoil

As the sun slipped over the mountains, and shone its merry rays on our back yard, you wouldn’t believe the war zone that greeted us: plants had been uprooted, flower pots chewed to pieces, the rain gauge is no longer accurate, and everything that was on the picnic table was all over the yard in pieces.

Pegs and the not guilty Farm Manager

KH assessed the damage and said some stern things to Pagosa, but what happened next is what I couldn’t believe- she looked at me and said “Detroit! Why didn’t you stop her?” My heart crushed into as many pieces as that rain gauge and my tail gave about two thumps. What me?! It’s punishment enough to have to spend most of the night listening to the chewing, let alone being responsible to stop it. What about Rolo? She was sure as involved with this mess as I am.

So I’ve had it. I’m sick of being chewed out for things being chewed up.

Next thing that gets destroyed might be me going after those fancy spancy pedigree papers. Maybe that would slow down the crunching.

Your humble mutt and farm manager,

Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza

I Sure Could Use A Little Rain…

Thick dark clouds hung over the road ahead of me as I hurried home. They were unmistakably en route for my hometown. I smiled and drove a little faster. “Yes!” I thought “Thank you, Jesus! You know how badly we need rain.”

My smile widened as I rolled through Singers Glen. The little side ditches were filled to the brim, as the water rushed along. “At last!” I thought “Hallelujah!”

But then, as has became the pattern in the last little while, the rains stopped basically at our property line. I drove in our dusty lane, and discovered my very discouraged Dad cleaning the bus. (To be totally honest, cleaning the bus is discouraging on a good day) “It just missed us.” He reported “It stopped just south of us, and took off just north of us.” ( I didn’t tell him about the rain that had just skirted to the east of our farm. 🤔

As I stopped at the edge of our fields and watched the rapidly disappearing rain head on up the Valley, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad. The grass crunched beneath my feet. The wind rustled through our once super promising crop of soybeans. “Water?” They seemed to plead “Water? Water?” But not today.

I don’t think it would be so hard if the rain wasn’t almost within reach. If the storms weren’t visibly turning and skipping our little Valley. If the neighbors grass wasn’t literally greener… All around us are reminders of the tremendous start to the year, but with the lack of moisture- the bean crop just won’t become as bountiful as it started out to be.

Can you identify with the dry spell? Does it seem like all the blessings, answered prayers, and exciting discovers are all at the neighbors? Or maybe what started out as looking so promising is ending up withering into a cactus while the sun beats down.

I’m so thankful that God is there through every season. And even when the questions and challenges seem to stretch on and on- He knows when to send the rain.

Ask Him for rain. And don’t doubt His provision.

It rained this afternoon. Already the world is a greener place.

Bring on the rain. I’m sure ready.

Kendra

Bonus pics:

Favorite pic from Family vacation…

It’s that time of year already 🤩 Excitement is slightly elevated around here- you might say. ☺️

Snaps of Summertime

I love summertime. Last week I got in on 3 shrimp suppers in a row. As I watched my week disappear in a trail of shrimp tails- I couldn’t help but smile. As I said- I love summertime!

There are plenty of adventures going on around here. Father and his childhood bestie, Leon caught a flight to LAX and drove a bus home as fast as they could go. It took them about 3 days and a steak meal in Amarillo, TX. We are excited to have an updated bus for Valley Christian Churches.

I made a discovery in the garden last week:

And just a few days later:

It seems like our family is all about babies right now- and I don’t foresee that obsession becoming any less in the near future. God is so good!

I found this quote on a piece of wall art and it spoke my heart throb so well- I went on line to see if I could find it. So here it is: the author certainly understands the love of farming 💞

It is what I know –

And what I love.  Up before the crack of dawn with a morning ritual that includes a strong cup of joe, a quick glance at the weather and always a check on the market because

I was born to be a FARMER.

It’s overlooking the beauty…

Of the earth and the smell of freshly tilled soil, entrusted to the vastness of what we call a field.  It’s watching and waiting to see all of those millions of little seeds start to sprout through the ground in rows as straight as a ruler, bringing great satisfaction, because

I was born to be a FARMER.

It’s having great faith…

As the storm comes in, knowing that the green, tender plants could be wiped out in a matter of seconds.  Or, when the rain simply doesn’t come and watching the plants wither until, at the last minute of almost losing hope, a rain cloud comes.  And the sky opens right at that moment, with just enough to get a little relief and a renewed faith because

I was born to be a FARMER.

It’s keeping up

With technology, realizing that it’s a sure necessity. But always looking back with the fondest of memories and great admiration of how Dad and Grandpa did things, because

I was born to be a FARMER.

It’s a partnership…

A working partnership with the good Lord Almighty.  Without Him, it could not be done.  It is His divine guidance that gets me through each season from planting to the harvest.  Through the storms and the drought, the highs, and the lows.  Some say it’s a gamble, but to me, it’s a way of life, because

I was born to be a FARMER.

By Marla Rae Anders

Hope your week is blessed. I’m enjoying some quality time with a few of my favorites and God’s beautiful creation.

Kendra

Through the Fire

We crowded against the window mesmerized by the action on the floor below us. The intense heat rose up and up. It ooozed through the glass, making it impossible for the AC to keep up, and threatened to stifle us. I took my hard hat off and tried to create a bit of air movement for me. But I still couldn’t tear myself away.

We were touring the Caterpillar Foundery in Mapleton, IL. Our enthusiastic guide explained thoroughly the entire process of creating engine blocks, etc (thanks to him for the pics of this tour) So here it goes to the best of my memory/understanding (both of which can be pretty limited 🤔)

We watched each step carefully: Recycled metal is dumped into a giant furnace and heated to a red hot lava (it’s much more scientific than that 😏). The giant oven opens and pours out the red hot lava into a container.

Slowly- a giant hook lowers from the crane above and lifts the container carrying tons of liquid metal into the sky and moves purposely towards the next stop- the bright red/ heat reflects on the operators face as he moves along the ceiling of the building. The next oven opens and the liquid is poured in. From there the temp is maintained in these “waiting ovens” as the large batch is divided into smaller batches (four blocks/pour)

Just like clockwork- a smaller batch is poured into a smaller container. It moves on a track to where workers check the temp (2645°F) the slag is drawn off and then- another crane operator carries it over and meticulously pours the next 4 molds. These new molds/blocks move to the next stage, and the process repeats.

As I referenced- it was uncomfortably warm, but still I stayed. My mind raced- I thought about the familiar Bible story where the King demanded his subjects worship him instead of God. When Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego refused, the King heated the furnace so hot that it killed the people standing around outside. He threw the men inside and was shocked by the fact that there were suddenly 4 men in the fire, walking around. Long story short- an angel joined the men and protected them so that they didn’t even have a hair singed.

As the fire continued- I kept thinking about the verse that’s talking about eternal punishment “where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched” and it hurt my heart to think of someone deliberately making choices against God that would lead to suffering in hell forever and ever and ever.

And then I thought of another facet of fire: difficult experiences. It’s incredible how the metals are all thrown into the fire and purged- the junk slag is lifted off and in the end- they come out beautifully. But that’s not the end. After the refining process, and the proper degassing time, the newly formed piece of metal again enters the oven to be retempered- making sure that it’s ready for work. The return to the heat removes any weaknesses and eliminates future issues.

I don’t know what fire your story includes. I don’t know if you’re in the initial refining fire, or if you’re in the recurring heat treatment. But I’m currently studying the life of Joseph and I’m so challenged with his response during his conversation with his brothers as he reflected on the unfair events of his life (being sold as a teenager, being imprisoned, but finally being promoted to grain manager during a terrible drought in Eygpt) “God did send me” (Gen 45.) Life includes tough times. But if God is in control- the end results can be a blessing.

May God give you a glimpse of the ministry the furnace times are preparing you for.

Blessings,

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

A few more pics from our travels last week.

Lake Superior where the water is cold, but the view is beautiful.

Enjoyed visiting a Hutterite Colony in Minnesota. These people were very gracious with allowing us a glimpse into their lives. I brought home a recipe in case you were wishing to bake cookies for a crowd:

We found some of my mom’s family scattered here and there.

Beautiful countryside

As always so thankful for protection along the way on each adventure. Glad to explore, but so glad to be home 💞

Quick Photo Tour of Canada

I don’t know if you’ve noticed- but my posts follow a definite pattern: travel, harvest, travel, harvest…

Wheat harvest was a wonderful flurry of busy days, late nights, grain trucks, and wheat dust. And in typical form- I was looking in my rearview mirror as the dust settled and the little soybeans popped out of the ground in beautiful green rows.

I jumped out of the combine, grabbed my passport and spent the last 13 days touring the Northland. So here goes: a quick photo tour of my favorites from Canada 🇨🇦

Reportedly the water levels at the Great Lakes are feet above normal. The green waters RUSHED over Niagara Falls and it was something to see.

Totally enamored by the little carts at the end of everybody’s lanes where you could buy anything from firewood to butter tarts to fresh cut bouquets.

Enjoyed watching a wide range of farming activities:

Pretty impressed with the goat dairy- not even kidding 😆

Saw more lakes and trees than you could possibly count. Even took a kayak out to chase a loon.

Stayed up late enough to watch the sunset.

Watched a polar bear swim after his moose rib breakfast.

Got a new understanding of the Canada Shield ( super hard rock outcroppings all over the northern part of Canada- pictures directly behind the cattle)

Even made up a few lame jokes- Did you know that in Massey, ON they occasionally write the town name on the side of their tractors? 🤷🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️

But most outstanding were the acres and acres of Lupine we saw in the ditches along the way.

I love the reminder that if God tends the flowers along the way- how MUCH more does He care for you and me?

And that, my friends, is a 90 second tour of Canada minus summer sausage and Tim Hortons coffee. Added bonus of no mosquitoes or black flies.

Be Blessed, eh?

Kendra

God Promises to Care for His Children

Me: I think I’m going to blog

My mom: do you think throwing your voice into the frenzy will make a difference?

Me: I’ll feel better


My first introduction to Christian Aid Ministries was in the mid 90s. My dad took tractor and trailer loads of used clothes to CAM clothing center in Shipshewana, Indiana. Annoyingly, we girls had to take turns going with him, but the adventure was always worth it. We’d return home and compare notes on who had spotted the most barges on the rivers between here and there, what food (or lack of it -because my dad forgets to eat when he’s busy🙄) had been consumed, and all the latest stories from Felty the Amishman. I remember wandering up and down the aisles in the sorting room and staring at the big posters on the walls. The dark eyes of innocent children in a far away land burned themselves into my heart.

And CAM continues to touch my heart as they reach out to the world around them.

And I find them everywhere. I’ve spent countless days in their warehouses in PA sorting clothes and packing food (thanks in part to my job as a van driver). I watched the ladies at sewing circle spending hours assembling layette kits, and new clothing kits.

I’ve spent a number of nights at their base in Nicaragua, and appreciated the carefully organized boxes preparing to head into the mountains to provide for the less fortunate.

I even found them in the boondocks of Cambodia surrounded by water buffalo- helping establish safe water sources for people in desperate need.

If there’s a flood, a fire, or a refugee crisis-you can count on them being among the first responders. I love being a part of being “the hands and feet of Jesus” by supporting this Ministry.

And then all the blogs and posts started filtering into my life. Someone somewhere let the organization down. Satan is leading a huge attack on the work of the church and people are reacting. Sometimes I hate social media. The comments run wild and I finally quit reading. Sin is not ok. This is not an accurate representation of “conservative Anabaptists” or “CAM” as the accusations indicate. None of us would support the heinous things that happened. Trust has been broken.

This makes me so sad.

“This has potential to be big” everyone says, and my heart sinks as I think about the millions of lives touched that would be affected if “BIG” is indeed the foreboding dark cloud on the horizon.

But as I’m praying over the situation, God starts reminding me “don’t you remember my promises to the widows and the fatherless? What about “once I was young, but now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread.” I care more about the people affected by this then you do. Trust me. I will provide.”

And so I just want to stop for a moment on this beautiful Monday morning to praise our Amazing Heavenly Father for His goodness and grace, and the fact that He holds His Children in the palm of His Almighty Hand.

He will provide 💞

Praise Him,

Kendra