A Colorado, Rocky Mountain High

“So you visited Colorado recently?” A friend asked “Did you tour around the state?”

“Not really” I said “just mainly stayed local..”

So if any of you, Dear Readers, live within 2-4 hours of the Shenandoah Valley, according to my Colorado measuring stick, I consider you “local”.

Since Nate is teaching school, he and Deb grabbed the chance over summer vacation to spend most of it with his family in CO.

And since tickets are cheaper, Ben and I grabbed the chance to travel out and experience Nate’s Colorado with the tour guide himself.

We were not disappointed.

Our week was packed to the brim with hairpin corners, treacherous mountain rides, breathtakingly beautiful views, good people, delicious food, and lots of good humor.

We camped under the stars and shivered in the brisk 47° air. Had we known, at that point, the bear history of the place where we camped; the guys in the hammocks may have shivered from more than just cold. 😂

We traveled into Silverton and enjoyed the town before catching a gravel road out of town and starting the 12 mile drive to the Animas Fork Ghost town.

I had discovered this place while I was researching for one of my western adventures and it’s been on my bucket list ever set since.

Animas Forks was founded in 1875. At an altitude of 11,200 ft, it’s 450 occupants made it the largest city, that high, in the west.

With the rise and fall of the mining industry, as well as 2 major fires, the town experienced a roller coaster of fluctuating number of residents until it became a ghost town around 1920.

And yet the legends remain.

I wonder who sipped their coffee as they stood and watched the men hurry off to the mines to work… or if these windows were completely covered when the town experienced a 23 day, 25 foot blizzard…

The remaining buildings are so well preserved… I just wish these walls could talk.

But they are silent, and leave us to our own musings and unanswered questions.


The Adobe Hills are such a vast marvel of wilderness. Ben and I spent some time exploring them, wondering at how many acres they are and how desolate.

Another highlight was a day on Grand Mesa. We loved all the different lakes. (Supposedly there are 200 up there, I’m guessing we didn’t see quite all of them. 😝

The views were excellent.

And the wildflowers splashing color everywhere were priceless.

Good thing I thought the flowers were so valuable, because when I knelt down to take this pic, my faithful Maui Jim sunglasses slipped off, and a very large elephant (me) stepped on them and broke them to bits. So please enjoy this pic for the $180 it’s going to cost me 🙄 still mad at my clumsy self.

But why stay mad when there’s hilarious little chipmunks to feed peanuts, and I’m enjoying such fun company?

Why stay mad when the sunset is on fire and lights up a rainbow on the other side of the sky?


Our final day in Delta, was jammed full. We enjoyed a farm tour, complete with watching crews of 30 workers efficiently harvesting the famous “Olathe Sweet” sweet corn

We made it from the Gunnison River at the bottom of the Black Canyon to the top of the Canyon were the river flows 2700 feet below.

And we finished off our exotic trip with a good ol rodeo. So much fun.

What a whirlwind, wonderful experience. Thanks Nate, Deb and the rest of the Kennell family who went above and beyond to make us feel at home (notice they remain unpictured because “we have to give you written permission if you’re gonna post a pic of us on the blog” so sorry for your loss after the sunglass incident, I couldn’t afford the lawyer fees 🤷🏻‍♀️ 😉) luv y’all

God is the best travel agent and He worked out some details for our trip beyond what I could’ve every dreamed up. Such a rich time. Praise Him.

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

Deb and Nate bought the twins these outfits back in the early spring… the boys have long outgrown them… but since Nate’s waited to tell his family until they were in person ( 😅) I waited until now to share this pic.

We are all excited to meet Baby Kennell, Lord willing, October 2020 ❤️

Summer Sentiments

To our friends scattered to and fro,

Hello from the beautiful Shenandoah Valley!

We are all thoroughly enjoying a day of rest in the midst of beautiful summer harvest.

Here are a few pics from my last several weeks.

We are experimenting with some soybeans in West Virginia… this is my Ben friend pulling the tanker for our spray unit over the mountain.

Riv exemplifies how we all feel about summertime wheat harvest ❤️

As with every wheat harvest, we stood around on pins and needles waiting for the crop to ripen… and once it did, we flew across the acres and are hoping to be done the first part of this week.

I keep thinking of the verses from 1 Cor 3 that says “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”

This years crop reminded us once again how much everything comes from God. This crop was a pretty big disappointment for some of our farmers. He gives, He takes, He provides. Blessed be His name.

Carry out in the combine cab with one of our grain haulers 😉

This crazy hectic whirlwind season leaves me exhausted, but so so thankful.

One more farm of soybeans to plant, and I’ll be ready to sit back and pray for rain ☺️

May you see God at work in your summertime too,

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

There’s full time boarders living at the cabin these days… They seem to think that if they are in charge of mosquito control, they don’t need to pay rent 🤷🏻‍♀️

Thoroughly enjoying being able to host at the pond this summer… let us know when you’re coming to visit 😉

The Quest for the Perfect Birthday Gift for My Ben Friend

I love birthdays and the chance to celebrate the blessing of life in the people that God has surrounded me with.

I love finding the perfect gift that is a small token reminder that says “ you’re special and you mean a lot to me”

But Help! what do you get a boyfriend?


Ever since our Christmas gift exchange, I knew today was gonna be the next big deal, so I’ve been on the lookout for the appropriate gift for my Ben friend.

Don’t misunderstand- Gift giving is pretty high on my love language charts, I love giving- but until the gift is happily in the hands of the recipient, I’m always second guessing if it’s the best option 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

In April when Ben and crew emptied our pit at the dairy, I was riding shotgun at the end of the day and I watched as Ben serviced the tank before shutting down for the night- he clamped his pocket flashlight in his teeth and ran his grease gun with confidence.

Several days later, my dad and I stopped at a local tire shop and the owner couldn’t get done bragging about the new rechargeable battery headlamp he’d just purchased in town.

And a light came on in my brain. Ben could really use a handsfree light!

So when my dad and I stopped at that same store later that day, you can imagine how pleased I was to secure a headlamp for Ben’s birthday.

I knew Ben could use the light immediately, so I gave him his gift 2 months early (*note: not the best plan- but I was so afraid he’d get the same tire shop sales pitch and purchase one himself.) Only to have my dad swoop in after Ben was done opening the gift and say “hey what exactly is that? I’m gonna look on the internet and see how bad Ken got took”

Long story short- my dad proudly found the exact same headlamps for $34 less than the original one I’d purchased and he’s been mass ordering them ever since and giving away Ben’s birthday gift to everyone and his brother.

So Happiest of Birthdays, Ben. The world is brighter because of you (and not just because there’s 25 more 350,000 Lumen LED headlamps shining out into the darkness) 😂😂😂 I’m so thankful for you! ❤️

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matt 5:16

Blessings,

Kendra

This is My Father’s World

Sunday afternoon found Ben and I out for a Jeep ramble. The weather was perfect and the sun smiled on us as we meandered up the side of the mountain.

There’s such a variety of wild flowers blooming right now, they waved gently in the breezes as we eased past.

A pair of Grouse (incidentally what do you call two Grouse? Grice? 🤷🏻‍♀️😂) didn’t seem at all in a hurry to get out of our way. A mama Whitetail and her fawn ignored us as we passed. It was gorgeous.

After getting distracted by several mud puddles and a rock pile or two along the trail, we eventually made it to a lookout at Bald Knob. Wow.

We stood on the edge of the world and looked as far as we could see. The low humidity made it to where we could easily see the mountain range that stops just below Stevens City. How far is that- 60 miles? Maybe further.

We paused for a moment and enjoyed the hustle of the forest- the sounds of the wind and the birds and a random bee that floated past.

As we looked out into the wild blue yonder, Ben mentioned how small a view like that makes you feel.

And it does- in the midst of this crazy season of emotional ups and downs that this chaotic world is throwing at us, it did my heart wonders to stop, and recognize how microscopic my problems and perspective really is. God is on the throne and in control.

My hearts been singing these lyrics ever since:

This is my Father’s world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world:
The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world:
He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world:
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let earth be glad!

Blessings,

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

Hosted our first out of town guests at the cabin… I loved the photo feed of what all critters these adorable boys discovered here . Come again, Beth and family ❤️

We had a pretty major freeze a month ago and we’ve been carefully monitoring our wheat for damage… pretty crazy that it’s just now showing up… the head on the left is healthy. Notice how the other two only have 2 or 3 healthy kernels per head

It’s so fascinating how many variables come into play with growing and harvesting a crop… I’m so thankful that this is my Fathers World and I can trust Him to provide what we need ❤️

The Cairn Challenge

Last week when it was a little more sunny, but still not very warm, we looked at the forecast and hurried to get seeds in the ground.

In the middle of the planting fun, there went out a decree that all the rocks should be picked. This is not an uncommon springtime activity, but our one rental field runs beside a little river and has thousands of river rocks which is a fairly daunting task when one is picking rocks alone.

So the troops were rallied. Mr Good, Em, a trusty John Deere tractor and I set out to take the rocks by storm.

In the middle of our rock picking marathon, Mr Good and the tractor got summoned to load a seed truck, so Em and I were left to entertain ourselves until they returned.

We systematically moved across the field creating piles of rocks to be thrown into the bucket and hauled to the edge of the field once we were full staffed again.

I went one way and Em went another. And suddenly appeared a tower on the horizon.

Em was at work. (Photo credit to her for a number of these pics)

I didn’t feel threatened by her Leaning Tower of Pisa, but soon I found a legit beam in my rock gathering and immediately the perfect photo opportunity idea starting growing in my mind.

But since everything turns into a competition…

Em came over to look at my work and as luck would have it, my artwork collapsed as she arrived and she has multiple videos of a somewhat harried KH frantically attempting to prop up her rock tower.

Em said mine ended up more of a rock pile instead of a rock stack. But I didn’t agree to any rules at the beginning of this contest, so I wasn’t actually disqualified. And I got my pic:

Within minutes, the tractor was back from its seed run and Em ceremoniously drove over my little construction site. And we both laughed at how much fun grown women can having stacking rocks. I guess it’s up to you to judge who won, because I can’t give an unbiased opinion here.

Our rock stacks brought back to mind the rocks I’ve seen along trails, and roads, and just all over the place whenever I travel. So I looked it up and this is what google informed me:

Stacked rocks, more commonly known as Cairns, placed along the trail signify that you are on the right track. It is a marker guiding you to the correct path or trail in cases where navigation becomes difficult and the trail may be easily lost.

There are people in my life who are legit “cairns” who carefully, boldly place the stones from their story to erect a skyscraper to remind me that I’m on the right trail.

“I was there, but for grace, I’m here… carry on” they call out encouragingly.

I hope I’m faithful to use the rocks in my life to testify. If the lessons that life is teaching me can encourage others to stay focused on the right trail, there’s so much to be gained by being willing to share.

Thank you, Jesus, for grace.

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

Me: it’s almost like there’s the outline of fingers in the clouds this morn
My dad: maybe Gods reminding us He has us in the palm of His Hand

First official grill out was a success and Deb even grabbed a pic to prove it.

And us, every time our fam gets together… thanks Ben for the photo 😂

A Woman of Noble Character, 2020 Edition; Proverbs 31

10Who can find a virtuous and capable woman in a pandemic? She is more precious than gold.

11Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.

12She brings him good, not harm,all the days of her life.

13She finds her children’s school assignments and carefully reviews it with them.

14She is like a merchant’s ship, ordering her supplies from afar. (Thanks Amazon Prime) she fears no food shortage, her pantry is full.

15She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s activities for her family.

16She’s does careful research before investing in the stock market, with her earnings she plants a garden.

17She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.

18She’s not afraid to purchase large quantities of chicken offered by local poultry growers; her lamp burns late into the night. No one goes hungry on her watch

19Her hands are busy with quarantine projects, her fingers aren’t afraid to try something new. (Like learning a new crochet pattern)

20She extends a helping hand to the poor at the food pantry; notices and befriends the one who needs encouragement; and opens her arms to make masks for the needy.

21She has no fear of the May winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes;the most vulnerable plants in her garden are covered; and she trusts in God to protect the rest.

22She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns although all social events are canceled.

23Her husband is well known in the town, even when social distancing keeps him away.

24 She keeps an eye on Facebook Marketplace when the options for thrifting and yardsaling for her children’s clothes aren’t possible this year. She makes belted linen garments and sashes for her family, they dress well.

25She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she shrugs at the conspiracy theories around her; laughs without fear of the future.

26When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. Her life is full of peace.

27She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.

28Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:

29“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”

30Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.

31Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend to the numerous ladies who’ve blessed my life, but especially my darling Mother- I’m so thankful for you ❤️

Student Ray and Career Day

Years ago, Mother gifted one of my sisters with a Fisher-Price barn set. Lancaster Co didn’t have anything on us after that- as we created the most pristine farm scenes on the kitchen floor. Our animals were well fed with Cheerios or whatever cereal mother had on hand.. We were the best farmers around.

The farm set doesn’t get quite as much use these days- our little visitors don’t hesitate to get the animals out and set up shop whenever they get a chance, and I’ve been know to get it out occasionally

That accident-prone Farmer Stan was one good reason. (More about that book here) My sisters were pretty sure that the tractor rollover and ambulance scene in this one would traumatize children. But I don’t think we realized how tough children are. I’ve even enjoyed watching my cousin and his adorable daughter in his living room acting out Farm Stan’s ambulance ride to the hospital 😂 I sure hated to tell my fam about that video 😉😂

Round 2 happened when Farmer Stan waded into an equipment war via poetry and tried to decide which brand of equipment was best. That post is here.

And so Farmer Stan is well established. But it so happens that I have an adorable nephew named Isaiah Stan AND an adorable nephew named Uriah Ray. See my predicament?

Enter my bargain shark sister Julia who discovered an entire Fisher-Price gold mine in the Bargain Buys in the newspaper and proceeded to buy herself multiple sets as well as a different one for each of her sisters. And my need to “even the score on the book” detail.

The stage is set to introduce to you: Student Ray.

Student Ray is a schoolboy with an assignment to select a profession for Dress Up/ Career Day. He interviews everybody and their brother to get a variety of ideas for job opportunities.

Aunt Em has advice…

And Grandfather has advice…

Aunt Deb even speaks in Spanish… (and yes I did actually drag these toys the entire way to Nicaragua for this pic 🙈)

He gets the plus side on custom harvesting, roofing, becoming a pilot, and a number of other jobs.

But in the end Mama sings him a little song ( found here ) which may or may not have been the foundation for this entire book 😉

I won’t ruin the punch line by telling you who Reader Ray decides to be. But Em declares the ending “cheesy” 😂 and it is.

But the truth is- no matter what life brings to my little men- I pray that they chose to be what this world needs most- another godly man ❤️

Luv you buddies,

Aunt Ken

Bonus Pics:

I had so much help with this project. Occasionally more help than I wished for:

And Jul insisted that I include her sneaky photography too… so this is her addition to my project 😝

And on a completely unrelated note- we enjoyed our first radishes from the garden. I get all starry-eyed over that initial toast, butter, radishes, salt and pepper sandwiches 😍

My mom: I never could grow decent radishes until I learned about German Radishes. These came from Berlin.

My dad crunching away in his sandwich: East Berlin or West Berlin?

My mom looking confused: Ohio! Berlin Seeds 🤷🏻‍♀️

Us: Ooooooh

So much for German Cuisine 😂

And finally I made the picture perfect s’more the other eve… Expectation:

vs Reality 😩 Dumb dog rocketed in out of nowhere🤷🏻‍♀️

 

April’s (few) Activities

To our friend scattered to and fro

Hello from the beautiful Shenandoah Valley where March was May and April was March 😅

We’ve enjoyed the cold and the wind and battled the drear as best we could.

The rye came off at our home place and we are thankful.

Our replacement help made their first appearance on the crew. They didn’t last very long, but at least they’ve showed up. 😉

My friend Ben arrived just as we finished chopping and proceeded to empty our pit. This injector rig is something different for our farm.

Doesn’t it look good? We’re excited to see what yield increases we get from injecting all the nutrients directly in the ground. Now we are ready to plant corn if it ever warms up.

I enjoyed a small get together with several of my cousins at my little cabin. A tiny group in a tiny house with a couch full of tiny people, haha. Family is such a blessing.

We also had a tailgate party with the Bible Reading Accountability Group I’m a part of. We are reading thru the Bible in a year and using the Bible Recap. I’m loving it. Each day after the Scripture reading there’s a 6-8 minute podcast where Tara Leigh Cobble explains different things about the daily reading. She has a way of clarifying the Old Testament and pointing out different truths and explaining Jewish traditions and describing geographical regions. Each day she points us to a truth of God’s character and reminds us that “ He’s where the Joy is.” It’s been a real source of encouragement to me. And knowing my friends are gonna check in with me keeps my feet to the fire.

Basically the cold has slowed down the farming, and the quarantine has slowed down my traveling. (Who are we kidding- my traveling habit has been killed dead as a doornail.) So I’m spending my days housecleaning and checking in on my cute little nephews.

Lone fisherman at the neighbors pond

Today on the way to our tailgate party, I laughed at how excited I was to see people. I think that’s one of the gifts that Quarantine will leave me with- a deep appreciation for the opportunity to spend time with friends. I hope I don’t forget that soon.

I’m on a quest to see what all positive things this Quarantine time is gifting me. May you discover gifts from Q too. No matter how long this lasts- just remember “He’s where the joy is.”

Praise Him,

Kendra

Let Us Remember

Joel 1:3 Tell your children about it in the years to come, and let your children tell their children. Pass the story down from generation to generation.

Every now and then I see this post show up in my Facebook feed:

“Just so I NEVER forget….. April 13, 2020: Gas price a mile from home was $1.70
School cancelled – yes cancelled
Self-distancing measures on the rise.
Tape on the floors at grocery stores and others to help distance shoppers (6ft) from each other.
Limited number of people inside stores, therefore, lineups outside the store doors.
Non-essential stores and businesses mandated closed.
Parks, trails, entire cities locked up.
Entire sports seasons cancelled.
Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events – cancelled.
Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings – cancelled.
No masses, churches are closed.
No gatherings of 50 or more, then 20 or more, now 10 or less.
Don’t socialize with anyone outside of your home.
Children’s outdoor play parks are closed.
We are to distance from each other.
Shortage of masks, gowns, gloves for our front-line workers.
Shortage of ventilators for the critically ill.
Panic buying sets in and we have no toilet paper, no disinfecting supplies, no paper towel no laundry soap, no hand sanitizer.
Shelves are bare.
Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks, hand sanitizer and PPE.
Fines are established for breaking the rules.
Stadiums and recreation facilities open up for the overflow of Covid-19 patients.
Government incentives to stay home.
Barely anyone on the roads.
People wearing masks and gloves outside. This is the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic, declared March 11th, 2020. Why, you ask, do I write this status? One day it will show up in my memory feed, and it will be a yearly reminder that life is precious and not to take the things we dearly love for granted We have so much!
Be thankful. Be grateful.
Be kind to each other – love one another – support everyone.”


We enjoyed a very nontraditional Easter Celebration this year. Our little town had a drive in church service, where the preacher walked around with a dust mask on ahead of the service waving at all of us as we sat in our cars. It rained and he dug out his umbrella and preached courageously from the back of a pickup.

His message was so perfect: God can bring good from hard times.

What a mighty God we serve. It was really special to celebrate His triumph over death as we each grapple with the uncertainty of today. He is able.

And so, I hope this isn’t an Easter I soon forget. The bizarre things we are seeing currently isn’t anything like the trauma of the suffering and death of my Savior, but it is a good time for me to stop, and rest in the fact that He will provide for his children.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Kendra

Bonus pics:

Spring work has started so that gives me reason to get out a little. Even though I nearly froze to death in the process. It legit snowed on us one day last week. Those of us who were running the open station tractors soldiered on. But atleast Father took us out for ice cream afterwards “to warm up” lol

Ben took me on a Sunday afternoon ramble. The redbuds are extra beautiful this year

And the apple orchards 😍 I’ve had this yen to see them in bloom for years… and it happened. I had no idea they smelled so sweet!

“Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of Spring?” Neltje Blancan

Legit Cabin Fever

I’ve honestly had cabin fever for a year now. Well actually longer than that, but a year ago, I got down to business and started to order my little cabin for our pond from a cousin who works at a local Storage Building Shop.

My dad and Uncle put the pad in exactly a year ago and I was on Cloud 9.

I was so excited the day it arrived all folded down like a little box for easy transport. I thought that it wouldn’t be long until I was sitting on the front porch watching the world go by. Ha

My original idea included my ingenious, hardworking sisters and an occasional accommodating brother-in-law… BUT everyone got busy with their own projects and what I thought I had lined up fell thru… and my little project sat in its forlorn little shell for days and weeks. Eventually I hired a few men and slowly the face of my project changed.

And finally- at long last, Lowe’s delivered the fridge today, wrapping up the last of my major purchases.

Even though this didn’t end up being a project completely conquered by our fam- everywhere I look I see details that my sweet patient family (and boyfriend😉) helped me bring into reality.

So Quarantining isn’t looking very bleak these days. Eventually I’m excited to host parties here, but for now- you just find a few of us keeping our distance and enjoying God’s beautiful creation and our little cabin getaway.

Ben- who’s learning all about KH and her constant projects (🙈) asked me recently: “sooooo what’s your next project after your cabin is finished?”

I honestly don’t know- this one ended up being way more extensive/expensive than what I’d expected. I learned a pile during the process. But I think I need a break from my education.

I’m definitely going for that glass of iced tea on the front porch.

Have a peaceful Sunday,

Kendra

Bonus:

Just in case you missed my dad’s poem about COVID-19 you can watch it here.