Monthly Archives: February 2010

Saturday, February 13th, the rare opportunity presented itself of having most of our children home for breakfast.
Middle Daughter was still in Chad, but the rest of the crew was here.

Including our grandbaby, Charis.
Isn’t she growing up?
(Way too fast on one hand, but I can’t wait to hear how she says “Grammy”.)   Her favorite word so far is “Hey!”  but often drawn out to be two syllables as in “He-ey.”  “So cute!!!” Says this unbiased Grammy.

The Yoders were getting together for breakfast at Smiths, and I am often not able to be there, but Daniel had said I should plan to go.  After I had my plans laid, I discovered that the kids wanted to have breakfast here.  “You don’t have to be here, Mom,” they insisted.  “We can get along without you.”  I was so torn, because I did, of course, want to be here with my family.  But I really wanted to go to be with my extended family, too.  Especially since my “almost a twin” cousin, Gloria Diener and her husband, Gene, were coming from Virginia, bringing my Uncle Paul along.  So I made baked oatmeal for my family, and got things around here, and when I left, this is what I left behind:

At the far end of the table is Oldest Son, Raph with his wife, Regina (clockwise, here).
Beside Regina is Rachel’s friend, Bethany Barkdoll and then Rachel.

At this side of the table is Christina, Jesse, Jessica and Lem.


At the other end of the table was
Certain Man,
Our little Love Bug,
and Christina and Jesse again.

It was really hard to leave.  But I had such good company waiting:

My brother, Clint, his wife, Frieda, Gene, Gloria, my cousin, Becky,
Uncle Dan, Uncle Paul, Uncle Jesse, Aunt Gladys,  |(and where you can’t see her, My Sweet Mama)

Here is a better pictures of the three uncles.
Uncle Daniel, Uncle Paul, Uncle Jesse.
Uncle Amos and Uncle David weren’t there.
Uncle John, Uncle Luke and My Daddy may have been watching from Heaven.


My brother, Mark, jr., and cousin, Joe Bontrager.
These two had plenty to discuss.  It seems like Mark had broken his toe and didn’t think he was getting the sympathy he deserved.  (Maybe he should have a Xanga page, and he could have written a story!)

Dave and Ilva.
There were sitting up by me.
They are always good company.


Just before we broke up, Gloria asked if we could sing the song, “I owe the Lord a Morning Song.” and of course, being Yoder’s, we did.  it bounced off the walls of the restaurant, and sounded so good.  I listened to my Uncle Jesse’s tenor, and heard the strong altos, tenors and basses.  Becky, down at the other end, was singing her heart out, too.  It settled into my heart and comforted me.  And then Gloria and I got a picture, like we try to do when we are together, but goodness, me, Gloria-girl! Is that really us???  How did we get to be so —???  (I won’t write it, then it might not be quite so true.)

All too soon, it was over, and some of the family was hurrying to Vivian Beachy’s funeral, and the rest of us went our separate ways.  Good memories of good times together — until we meet again.

And this afternoon, Certain Man and I are heading for Baltimore to pick up Middle Daughter.  Yes, she is to be arriving HOME today.  I am so excited.  It will be wonderful to have her home again.



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Certain Man’s Wife Copes with the Big Snow

Certain Man’s Wife has long been a fan of a Big Snow. Although being instructed often in the inconvenience of it, and even having some first hand experience with how difficult it makes things for the man in her life, she still LIKES it. Even after having an awful lot of it, and having been housebound nearly continuously for a week, and having her ladies home 24/7, and having Certain Man fussing around, she still LIKES IT!!! Even with the snow covered paths and difficulty getting to the bird feeders, and the snow tracked in and extra laundry and extra cooking, and even having to carry bags of pellets to the stove in the absence of Certain Man, she still LIKES IT!!! And even now, after confessing to such and expecting the avalanche of objections that are sure to follow, and knowing that Certain Man will quite possibly be wroth with her, and will heap upon her ears the reasonable objections and arguments, She does, and probably WILL CONTINUE TO — LIKE SNOW.

The week has been incredibly special to CMW. Her beloved Certain Man has only had to work two of the days, and having him around home is a real boost to the atmosphere around Shady Acres. He is so adept and has so many ingenious ideas about how to fix things when they go wrong. He has a rapport with the neighbors that cause them to call CMW and gush on and on about how helpful he is with his tractor and loader and blade, extolling his virtues and intelligence and neighborliness. Beings that most of our neighbors are either elderly or have serious health problems, they find him a ready help for all sorts of things. I am so proud of him, even though he doesn’t share my great love for a Big Snow. Besides, it is no secret that opposites attract—and besides being MALE, he really is quite my opposite in many things.

So, we’ve been muddling through, he and I, and actually we’ve been pretty good friends through most of it. We’ve worked together to get the birds fed, he has done more than his share of shoveling and such. The one thing he has been vocal about involved me going out in the snow.

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a dozen times. “Hon, what do you think you’re doing?”

“I’m just making a little path here so I can get to my bird feeder.”

“You are going to slip and fall, and I’m going to have to fix the new knee again and the other one, too. I don’t think you should be out here.”

“But Mr. Yutzy, I like to be out here. My knee doesn’t hurt, and I’m being careful.”

“You are going to hit a slippery spot and down you’ll go, and you are going to really be in trouble.”

“I know that I need to be careful, and I’m not doing a lot of stuff. Just shoveling a little and feeding my birds. Besides, I think my boots must have pretty good grip, because I hardly ever have even a little slip.”

He would shake his head and sometimes grin at what he thought was my stubbornness, but he didn’t forbid me to shovel a little here and there. So I cleaned off a path on the deck, and I cleared a path to my squirrel feeder, and I tromped through the snow with some cob corn for another feeder that I thought I could reach pretty well. I re-cleared some areas after the second storm and he pretended to be cross with me, but his eyes were smiley. So I didn’t think I was in too much trouble. Besides. I WAS being careful.

Today was the day that I was to go back to my orthopedic surgeon. I was supposed to see his assistant, but earlier this week they called me and said that they had changed things, and I was supposed to see Dr. Choy because he wanted to evaluate whether I was truly ready to have the second knee replaced. He was going to check on my broken toe, do an evaluation, and then, if he decided that it was okay to go ahead with my surgery, I was going to do the pre-op paper work. This morning, before Certain Man left for work I said, “I really wish you were going along with me today. I wish you were driving and if Dr. Choy decides that I am not ready for the surgery, you could talk him into it.” He thought that I would be just fine by myself, and he was almost certain that he was going to be the only Plumbing Inspector in on this snowy day, so he went forth to his job and I got ready to go to Lewes. I decided to wear my boots with the good grip.

The drive to Dr. Choy’s office usually takes only 30 minutes, but this morning, it took me almost 20 just to get out of Milford. The streets I chose to get to Route 1 South were ones that I thought would be clear, but alas, were not. I had left extra time, and Route 1 was pretty good, but was still mightily relieved when I pulled into the parking lot with five minutes to spare. There was a great traffic jam in the parking lot. There was an ambulance in front of the entrance, and four cars waiting to get past. So instead of trying to go in front of the office to park, I swung around the other side where I saw a parking place. I pulled in, and collected my purse and phone.

The area around where I parked was relatively clear, and I thought how blessed I was to be able to walk without pain. There was no need to use my handicapped parking permit. Besides, I had those boots on with a really good grip. I locked the car and came around the end of the car towards the entrance to the parking lot where I would make a turn and walk down the parking lot in the other direction. The macadam was slushy at places, and there was lots of melting. I stopped as a car went through the slush in front of me, and made long tracks in the slush. I was on a mission! I walked purposefully through the slush, my boots holding their tight grip, my knee working beautifully, no pain, just easy, free movements.

Well, maybe too free. Suddenly, my feet went out from under me. There was no watching this fall in slow motion the way I have sometimes been able to. One moment, I was on my feet. The next, I was flat on the blacktop on my left hip, in the slush, with my purse beyond reach and some of its contents spilling out. The first thing I evaluated, of course was my new knee. It seemed to be in wondrously good shape – still no pain, no twisting. No significant pain anywhere else, no blood, so I decided to try to get up. I am still not sure how I did that. I must have gotten on my knees and pushed myself up with my hands, but I don’t really remember.

There was a terrified little man who came over and stood there helplessly wondering if he could help. I remember telling him that I was fine, and that I thought I could get myself up, even as I was doing it, and he was worriedly trying to get things back into my purse. Somehow, I was suddenly in an upright position and all in one piece. I collected my purse and thanked the kind gentleman,  who was looking relieved.  Then I headed across the parking lot towards the office entrance, not nearly as free and easy. Indeed, it was with great picking of the place to put my foot down.  Slush was dripping off my skirt and the sleeve of my coat with every step, and I felt the cold wetness soaking through my clothes to my skin.

When I was about twenty feet away from the entrance, I was suddenly stooped short by the sound of great shouting going on behind the emergency vehicle that was beginning to move from its place where it had been unloading a patient (and making the great upheaval with the parking lot).

“STOP!!!” Screamed someone from behind the vehicle. “STOP!!! Don’t back up any more!!! STOP!!!” The young female driver brought the large ambulance to a lumbering stop. “Someone is right behind you!” Scolded someone from the office staff who had come out to help with the patient. “You almost ran over this couple.” she said loudly, indignantly.   Visibly shaken, two elderly people came out from behind the vehicle. Snow had been piled up over the sidewalk, and they were headed to the door on the shortest possible route, never realizing that the ambulance was getting ready to move.

The driver was more than a little disgruntled, too. “I didn’t know they were back there!” I heard her say defensively to no one in particular. “There was no way I could have known they were back there!  Everything is in such a mess!”

My little spill on the driveway certainly paled in comparison to being backed over by an ambulance, but I was still very embarrassed, very dirty from landing in the grimy slush, cold and wet. When I signed in, I told the receptionist that I had taken a tumble in the parking lot. I needed some paper towels to clean up the area where my coat had left water all over the counter, and I did want to clean myself up as well.

A nurse came out with a hand full of paper towels for me, and said solicitously, “We need to file an incident report and someone needs to look you over to make sure you’re okay.”

“I’m fine,” I insisted. “Really. Nothing seems to be hurting overly much at all.”

She eyed me dubiously. “We still need to check it out.”

I went into the restroom to dry off, and that is where I discovered that both knees were soaking wet. (That was when I decided that I must have gotten up on my knees when I was trying to get up. That is still a miracle to me.) They didn’t hurt, they weren’t bruised or skinned, and my nylons weren’t even torn. I took stock of the rest of my body. My right hip was starting feel like it was going to have a bruise, my right shoulder was beginning to ache a little, and my hands were bright red. I thought that was pretty small consequence for a woman of my (ahem)
social standing who had such an ungraceful fall.

But you would have thought that I was broken and bleeding. The office staff was galvanized into action. This fall certainly expedited things as far as getting me in and evaluated. The waiting room was full, but the next patient they called was “Mrs. Yutzy”. They had their service rep come in and do an accident report, complete with little drawings. I had to sign a paper saying that what she said on the report was true. I insisted that everything was fine. I was fine. My knee was fine. My wrists were not broken. My hip was okay. I mean, I landed on my most padded part, and had a heavy coat on to boot.So they finally decided that they would let the doctor do a brief evaluation when he got in, and went on with the program.

My broken toe was x-rayed and found to be healing, and then Dr. Choy made his appearance. He checked hip, hands, both knees and found nothing amiss. “You’ll be really sore tomorrow,” he said cheerfully. He grinned with delight over the range of motion of the new knee, and pronounced the progress there “outstanding.” I told him that I had been shoveling snow over the past few days and that my husband was so afraid that it wasn’t good for me.

“It’s very good for you,” he said, laughing. “It is excellent exercise. Falling isn’t the best idea, but shoveling is just fine. Getting out in the fresh air makes you feel better.” 

Then he checked the knee that hadn’t been replaced, and put it through a short range of motion.  It didn’t take him long to agree that it should be done as soon as possible.  He answered a few questions that I had, and suddenly, the paper work was finished, and I was going through the waiting room.  The elderly couple was sitting there, still talking about their frightening experience.

“Yeah, she almost ran over us!  We were right behind the ambulance and all the sudden it started coming back.  If that lady hadn’t hollered, she would have run right over us.  We were right behind it.  It was scary!”  Listening to their account made my heart lurch with thanksgiving as I was reminded again that things could have been so much worse. 

And then, I was on my way home. All in less than an hour after I had pulled into the parking lot. That has to be some sort of record for that office.

There is one thing, though, that I’m a little bit puzzled by. That business about being “really sore tomorrow” must not have been any sort of guarantee. At least something appears to have set in already, making me wish for some sort of diversion.

However, Youngest Daughter is on her way home from college for a week, and Youngest Son and His Wife just called and said they are coming home for the weekend, too. If plans carry, Middle Daughter will be back home on Monday night. How much more of a diversion could a gal want?

Methinks it will serve me well.



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Everyone is putting on pictures of the snow

So, here are some from Shady Acres


Just out my front door, during the storm, I was trying to take some pictures of our poor Magnolia when I realized that I was in danger of being dumped on by what was hanging from the gutter just over my head.  Certain Man says the gutter is done for.


This is my little refuge for the birds after about a foot of snow had fallen, and Certain man dug a path in and replenished the seed.  It has been a very popular place, and we are glad that we were able to provide a safe haven for our feathered friends.

028snow 004

This is our Magnolia by the light of the morning after our lane had been plowed as compared to the same tree after the beautiful snow earlier last week.
Certain Man thinks he will wait until spring, trim it back,
and see if he can possibly save it.
“It’s going to look pretty beat up for a while,”
He said cheerfully, “but I think it will come back.”
(How very much I hope he is right!)


This is Our Girl Nettie’s bird feeder that is right outside her window.  I cleared it off from her window yesterday, put warm water in the bird bath, and that lasted about an hour until it was froze over.  I knew that warm water freezes faster than cold (why is that???  I know that it is true, though because I have tested the theory over the years with back yard chicken flocks and such!) but I wanted the birds to have a brief respite with some warm water.
However, none ever came (that I saw, anyhow!).


This is the farmhouse at Shady Acres
all staunch and steady in this cold, cold snow.
We are bracing for another possible Nor’easter
coming in sometime tomorrow night
and lasting until Wednesday evening.
I don’t know what to think.

Check it out here:

That Mr. fly_rod  keeps calling (from Branson, MO, where he is safely at a Conklin gathering of some sort) and telling me that I need to stop praying for snow. NOW.
I am going on record right here
for the information of all to note. 

 I am not permitted to pray for snow.

Certain Man hath forbidden it almost to a condition of our marriage.  So I do not pray for snow.  I am not even allowed to enjoy it with any obvious pleasure.  To be honest, I try to honor not only the letter, but the spirit of THE LAW and contain any postitive feelings I have.  This was especially reinforced after riehlfarmwife ‘s husband of few words used some of those few words to comment about females who — well, you will just have to read the comments after my Saturday post.  He certainly endeared himself to Certain Man, and a few other males of like precious faith.  Oh, dear. 

I will grant you that things would look different if I was responsible for all the outdoor things that need doing as well as digging all the people out whom Certain Man likes to help.  I think he may even be helping to clear Bontrager Road even as I write.  He really is a Man of incredible skills and unusual strength and ability.  He got down to his friend, Jake Bender’s, ranch yesterday, got his bolt welded and it has been holding steady through the many projects he has undertaken since.  Eldest Son and His Fair Regina made it home yesterday (and spent the night here, to my great delight) so that was one less thing for him to be concerned about, and I could tell that it improved his outlook greatly.  The State of Delaware is shut down today, so he is rejoicing in that, as well.  He isn’t likely to spend the day reposing on his chair, and I have a feeling he will be one tired guy when this day is done.

Keep warm, you all, and if anyone needs a place to be, give us a call!!!


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Long newsy letter from Deborah

Dear Daddy, Mama, and all the homefolks,


As you know, our work here remains very similar from day to day. Our stories may change . . . Eden smiled today. . . We did crafts with the younger children. . . We did crafts with the older children. . .  but our basic day does not. We stayed busy and were having a wonderful time. However, we were all excited about the weekend. Because of everything here, there is a large wall around the compound. This means that it is safe for us and even the children to be outside after dark. However, because of how busy we have been, and rules about people being outside alone, we have not left the compound.


So. . . our weekend started off by sleeping in, followed by our first walk outside of the compound. We went to the bakery to buy bread. It tastes just like Olive Garden’s bread, but it’s quite a bit bigger, and must be flamed (toasted slightly over the open flame) before it is safe to eat. We stepped out of the compound onto a gravel road. The road was dirt when we arrived. They are in the process of refinishing it. There were little children staring at us, and dogs wandering all over the place. The adults acted as though if we ignored them, they would ignore us. It was about a fifteen minute walk to the bakery. We walked over dirt roads most of the way.


N’Djamena is sometimes referred to as a “large village”, rather than a “city”, and that is the way it felt. In this capital city, we were walking down the middle of the road, beside an open sewage system. There were bricks being made of dirt and probably manure sitting beside the road. There is litter everywhere, but unlike most countries, it is half buried by the dirt. In the dry season, winds blow the sand down from the Sahara and everything is covered with the dust. We are told that when the winds come, it is so thick that the sun looks like the moon. The people live in compounds with one opening onto the street, but when you looked past the threshold, you could see that there is a large open space with many families living inside. There were donkeys and goats and even a few guinea fowl that seemed to be taking their morning stroll without anyone bothering to accompany them.


A policeman stopped us, which is usually a scary occasion, but he only wanted to practice his English, and when we told him where we were going, he told us that we couldn’t miss it, and left. (And since none of us had our papers with us, that was a major God-thing.

We came home, safe and sound, to find Ampila, our “house help”, – the center asked her to make us lunch since we still don’t have the hang of shopping for our groceries – telling us that we were out of gas. We went to Thomas and Anita’s and let them know, and a very nice national came and put in the new tank.


We were outside on the porch so we would be out of Ampila’s way while she finished cooking when we heard a very loud noise.  Our stove had kaboomed, and there were flames coming from the back of the stove. Our house help was singed, but okay. Each house is supposed to have a bucket of sand to put out a gas fire, but ours does –did –not. I was scared that the cupboards would catch on fire, so I dumped some water on it. I know, it wasn’t what you are supposed to do, but things were hectic, and oh, well. . . I turned off the electricity and the gas, and had yelled to the rest of the team to get help and they came running with the sand from next door. We threw the sand behind the stove, and the fire stopped. Another team member had run for the doctor, and she was there by the time the fire was out. She sprayed stuff in Ampila’s eyes, and I gave here my small bottle of aloevera gel, since she got what appeared to be first degree burns on her face. Her eyelashes were singed –but not all the way off –and the lace on her dress was melted. The doctor thinks that she will be fine.


So our weekend started off with a bang. Literally. After lunch, which was good even if the rice was a little hard, we had siesta and then Anita took us to market. Market is similar wherever you go –loud, smelly, and generally overwhelming. We each were able to get a Chadian outfit, but when I tried my loose “home” dress, I realized that the tag read “Made in Indonesia”.

The meat market was filled with flies. All the meat, including some with the hide still attached, lay in the sun, uncovered, surrounded by flies. I’m not sure I feel safe eating meat here anymore. Then again, it’s cooked. . . And the peanut butter! They grind up the peanuts and the flies buzz around there, too. The dark peanut butter that looks “American” is roasted. Unroasted peanuts make a whiter peanut butter.


Anita asked if we were done, and we decided that even though there were other things we wanted, we were done. There is only a certain amount of time that I can stand going to market with five other people, only one of whom can speak the language. I think this must be nearly universal, because we women started to tire at the same time.


Home safely, we went to dinner with the family downstairs (Eden and Jason’s family, the Avilez’). The story of our fire is now a joke. (“We’re telling everyone that they need to have you over to keep you from cooking.”) Supper was yummy, and we stayed until bedtime, playing with the children, and talking to the parents.


Sunday was again off the base. We met at 07:15 to head for the beach. . . The beach is the sand that is left behind by the river during dry season. It was cold this morning, nice for Delaware at this time of year, but very cold for Chad! We went out of the city, past tents of nomads, finally saw a camel, and eventually ended up at the beach. We spread our mats under three trees, some of us in the sun and others in the shade, and walked down to the river. We could not have asked for a nicer day –warm sun, cool breeze, and not a cloud in the sky.


After the walk, we ate breakfast. Thomas and Anita invited us to join them. We had brought bananas, tomatoes, cheese, cucumbers, hardboiled eggs, and the bread from yesterday. Anita had coffee, tea, cereal, and banana cake! We were happy to share.


Next came Church. The “Big Boss” (Director of SIL International) spoke. We had Bible reading in English and French, and singing in English and French. We also had a small audience watching us. Maybe they got something out of it, but I doubt it, because I think they spoke Arabic.


After church, a nomad came by with his camel, and offered rides. He wanted too much money for the ride, but the two women who work with the nomads bargained him down to a fairer price, and all of us but Jennifer got to ride the camel. It really wasn’t that great, since he didn’t let us ride for long, and the camel wasn’t happy. He complained each time the man made him kneel down to let anyone get off or on him. He also kept a full mouth of green spit which seemed ready to go if anyone got to close. We made sure that we weren’t anywhere near his head while he was complaining. After almost everyone had gotten a ride, two more nomads (looking like you would expect nomads to look) came up, and offered their camels for rides. We could have ridden for even cheaper. *Sigh*


Just as we were getting ready to leave, we noticed a caravan of camels getting ready to cross. As we watched, more and more camels started to cross the river, usually in groups of 50-60. There were white camels, and brown camels, loaded camels and empty camels, big camels and baby camels, close to 200 all together! We took pictures as they came, but left before they got too close.


On the way back, as we crossed a bridge over the river, we even got to see nine hippos in a group, sunning themselves. At first we thought that there were rocks with a hippo or two beside them. Then we got closer and realized that the rocks themselves were hippos. . .and then we remembered that there are no rocks in the river here. We’re not the sharpest crayons in the box. J


Just over the river, we came to a police checkpoint. One guard made eye-contact with our driver, and waved him through. The guard on the other side didn’t see him, and he waved his gun at us as we went by. Thomas and Anita were in front of us, and they were stopped, but they said it wasn’t very bad. We pulled over to wait for them. It didn’t take more than two or three minutes until we were back on the road.


As we merged into traffic, we were almost immediately stopped by a very bad accident that had just happened. Michaela (the doctor) and I got out of our car and went over to see if we could help. There was one lady lying by the road with women screaming and crying over her. She was not moving, and at first I thought she might be dead. However, she started to mumble, so she might have just been knocked out. She had a good pulse –which showed a good heart rate and an adequate blood pressure –and her respirations were good, too. I thought that she might have been just walking beside the road, since the women around her were grieving so loudly. Another woman was walking around, wailing, holding a little baby-toddler. The baby seemed to be fine, but the woman had a minor head wound. There was some blood on the baby, but that seemed to be more from the woman. The baby wasn’t crying. The car was mangled; the windshield shattered. There was a man still inside, trapped under the wheel. Three to five men took hold of the side of the car (The door was gone already.) and pulled and pulled. They were able to bend the metal far enough that others were able to remove the man from the car. Hopefully, his neck and back were okay, because they tugged him out by his boots. One of other vehicles from the center transported the man, the bloody woman, and the baby to the hospital. They seemed to be a family unit. Michaela went with them.


We found out later that afternoon that they had to go to three hospitals before they found one that would take the man. He was wearing a military uniform, and the first hospital said they must take him to the military hospital, but the military hospital said he needed to go to another hospital because of his injuries. We may never know what happened. The people here told us that this may be a good thing. Here, if you try to help someone and they die, you can be sued. Please pray for everyone involved.


As I thought about this series of events, I realized that the police checkpoint may have saved our lives. If we had not stopped those two minutes, we would have very likely been on that stretch of road when the accident happened.


We are back on our side of the wall, and the day is almost over. I think all of us agree that if we have nothing more exciting happen, we would be okay with that.


And now it’s time to head off for dinner.


Love you all,




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My Sweet Mama is without electricity — has been since two this afternoon,  and things are cold.  She is very, very tired tonight, and has company.  People from the nursing home staff who can’t make it home are camped out in her beds.  (Every bed was full last night), and she told me this evening that Mark, Jr was sacked out on the couch, all wrapped up against the chill. 
It is no longer snowing in Delaware, in fact, the stars are out, but oh, what a mess of snow, and the temps are falling.  It worries me somewhat to think of Mama without light and heat.!  I wish that I had insisted that she come home with me last night.  She was pretty sure that she was having guests and decided to stay put.  Those of us in Milford haven’t even lost our electric, but I guess there is still the night to get through and anything could happen yet.  They seem to think the next twelve hours could be dangerous because of the heavy, wet snow and the falling temperatures.
I made a big pot of chicken corn noodle soup and baked bread.  Certain Man is putting his village away without waiting on Deborah to get home from Chad.  She usually organizes the putting away of boxes, but he has been severely mistreated today, and is taking his energy out on the village dismantling.  You see, he sheared a pin on his tractor loader, and couldn’t dig us out in his usual fashion, and he was quite troubled by the fact that the snow was getting deeper and deeper.  He had gone out to make a second round throurgh all paths he had cleared earlier, and was back in long before he should have been, carrying a broken u-bolt.  He cast about for solutions, and then I heard him talking to his “almost a brother,” Gary Burlingame around 4:30 this afternoon.  “Go ahead and see if you have enough to weld this, and I’m gonna; come on up.”  (silence) “I’m going to have to walk up there.”   (silence again)  “I don’t have any other choice.  I can’t get my tractor out, and I can’t dig myself out unless I have this pin, so I’ve got to walk up there, and get it welded and then walk home.”  (silence again)  “Alright, you check, and I’ll be up.” 
     The mistreatment came when he got of the phone.  “You are NOT going to walk up to Gary’s, are you???”  I looked out at the blowing snow and noted the temp was 24 degrees.
     “Hon, I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.  There’s no other way.”
     “Daniel, you do not have to be dug out today.  There’s tomorrow, and even Monday.”  I don’t know why, but this was unacceptable.  For some reason, if he waited until later, it would be too late.  “Daniel, be logical, here.”  (Wrong thing to say — why can’t I learn???) ” It is snowing and blowing.  The temperature is dropping.  You’ll be too cold till you get there and back.”
      “I’m not going to come right back.  I will warm up up there.  It’s only a mile or two, and there is no other way.”
      “But Daniel, it will be dark till you get back. I don’t think you should go!”
       Somewhere in the middle of all this, he went to the phone and called Gary.  “Gary.  Don’t even bother to go check on whether you have enough stuff to weld this.  My wife threw a fit when she heard I was going to walk up there, so I guess I’ll just stay home.  Don’t make no sense, but–”  He hung up.
       I said, “Daniel, do you understand why I don’t want you to go????”
       “Don’t make no sense to me.  I’m just walking up to Gary’s so I can do what I’ve gotta do.  I didn’t think it would be such a big deal.”  There was none of his usual good humor. smiley eyes, nothing.  Quite a bit of fire in those grey eyes that I like so much.
      “Because I’m afraid!!!” I wailed.  “I’m afraid something will happen to you in this storm.  It just doesn’t seem safe to me.”  That was really a strange thing for a wife to feel, given the quiet summer afternoon we were having, and I finally went back to my soup and my bread and he attacked his village and has all the houses boxed up and quite a few of the accessories.  I made him his special “dumpf knepf” from some of the left over bread dough as a peace offering, and he ate it all up.  He looked at my pot of soup and wondered what in the world we are going to do with it, and worried about his eldest son and wife, stranded in Philly.  He was restless and irritable most of the afternoon.  But tonight he found out that Gary’s tank was pretty much empty and wouldn’t have been enough to weld anything, so he is mollified a bit.  He thinks he might try to get down the road in the other direction to his friend, Jake Bender, tomorrow.  I have a feeling that he is out there with his snow shovel trying to move some snow right now by hand.  I’d better go and see if I can offend him again by trying to stop him.
    And that’s the news from snowy Shady Acres.  Where Certain Man’s Wife is reminded once again that there are some things she will never really figure out about Certain Man.  One thing for sure.  Snowy days do strange things to the male temper(ament).


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snow 004

Remember this picture?

I hope to have a picture soon, but we are losing branches out of this stately old Magnolia tree at an alarming rate.
I really wonder if we will be able to save it.




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Snowy Evening

What is this???


During our last snow, I saw birds taking refuge under this table, though there was not much shelter to be had.  So today I went out there, put some protection up, and shoved the table against the railing and put down some thick cardboard.  Certain Man brought me some feed flats from the chicken house, and I put some sunflower seeds and peanuts under there just about the time the snow started.


It is really snowing, and things are covering up fast, but under the table, it is pretty much free of snow.  There is some moisture coming up through the card board, but the double thickness in the feed flat is keeping the birdseed dry.  I shall have to see what the morning brings.

We are doing okay so far in this snug house.  Certain Man is out running around trying to get some last minute things done, then hopefully he won’t need to go anywhere tomorrow.  He topped off the fuel tank to the farm’s generator and made sure it comes on in the event of a power failure.  I hope that if there are people who need a place to go, they won’t hesitate to come to Shady Acres. 



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The sunrise this morning was a brief, red glow in the eastern sky. 

I looked out and remembered the words of Jesus,  in Matthew 16, 2-3 NCV

“At sunset you say we will have good weather, because the sky is red. 3 And in the morning you say that it will be a rainy day, because the sky is dark and red. You see these signs in the sky and know what they mean. In the same way, you see the things that I am doing now, but you don’t know their meaning.”

Listen to this, too, in Luke 21:9-11 NCV

9 When you hear about wars and riots, don’t be afraid, because these things must happen first, but the end will come later.”

 10 Then he said to them, “Nations will fight against other nations, and kingdoms against other kingdoms. 11 In various places there will be great earthquakes, sicknesses, and a lack of food. Fearful events and great signs will come from heaven.  

We live in exciting times, and we ought to be watching for His soon return.  We have the good news that the rest of the world needs in times like these — not just the hope of Heaven, but the guidelines of how we should treat our fellow men; how we should respond to things like disasters and things that are out of our control; what we should do with the things within our control to change.

Brothers and Sisters, live confidently, joyfully and prayerfully.  The world needs the message, and we need each other. 

What we all need most is Jesus.



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A Grammy Morning

Charis’s Daddy and Mommy had dentist appointments this morning, and when I decided not to go to Mama’s this morning since Our Girl Nettie was home from Center with no transportation, Oldest Daughter brought Charis for an hour or so.  She was so sleepy, but fought sleep with the determination only a small child can muster.  At one time she wriggled her way off my lap and crawled towards the living room with great purpose.  I let her go and then followed to find that she has a new game:




It made me laugh.  And reminded me of her mama.  When Christina was a baby, we could never leave those old round canisters of pop-up wet ones that were so popular back in the late 70’s on the dressing table beside her crib.  If she could reach them, we could expect that the whole thing would be on a pile inside her crib — all piece by piece.  She was fascinated with pulling one out until it would tear off, then pulling the little tiny piece that was poking up through the X shaped opening until it tore off.  It didn’t take too many of those things for us to learn to put it out of reach!!! 

Oh, my.  Good memories, Great new ones being made!


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