Fall is here and so is a Hurricane

Fall has arrived and with it it is bringing a lot of rain and maybe a visit from Hurricane Joaquin. For the last week we have had endless rain and the ground is now saturated. If Hurricane Joaquin passes nearby, we are assured of 10+ more inches of rain and tropical force winds. Heavily saturated ground with high winds equals trees and power lines down. Not anticipating a fun weekend. Being that I have been through many hurricanes in my life this is nothing new and we are as prepared as we can be. At least I hope to get some interesting photos and videos of the storm which I will post as soon as I can.

As for the other aspects of Fall, the weather is cooling, the leaves are changing colors and falling, and there have been lots of festivals. I am looking forward to all things pumpkin, along with lots of hot cocoa. Our church is having its Fall Bazaar this Sunday and as a part of that we cook and prepare over 400 quarts of Brunswick stew for sale. It is a LOT of work but we always manage to pull it off and everyone enjoys the fellowship. While I can’t give you the exact recipe for the stew (Top Secret), I can give you a list of the ingredients, except for the spices used. (Top Secret).

  • Chicken
  • White Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Lima Beans
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Chicken Stock
  • Bullion cubes
  • Worcester Sauce
  • Water
  • Fatback
  • Butter
  • Top Secret spices

We cook it outside in large pots with wooden paddles over propane burners. It takes 6-7 hours to cook enough batches to fill all the orders. That does not count the pre-cooking of the chicken, peeling and chopping of vegetable, etc. At $7.00 a quart it is a great deal. Wish you could stop by and try some. Now if only Hurricane Joaquin will go away…

Summer is fading

Three more weeks until Labor Day. I hope to make the best of them. The weather has been nice, with the temperatures in the 80’s and the humidity down. I have spent a lot of time in the pool or on the back deck enjoying the day. Life has been good. Our church had three baptisms and five new members. Another church used our bapistry to baptize four people. God is great! Our Vacation Bible School starts Monday and we are hoping for 30 children or more. Our new Pastor will be holding an adult Bible school. Our new Pastor has been great since he answered the call. His sermons are great and if you want to hear them go to our website at Park View Christian Church (DOC).

I took a short trip to Suffolk to visit the Cedar Hill Cemetery.  This 32 acre expanse of hilly terrain and ancient cedar trees has many stories to reveal. Also home to one of Suffolk’s official Virginia Civil War Trail sites, The Confederate Monument. There are an amazing number of unique headstones and grave markers. A lot of the graves date back centuries. It is the most beautiful cemetery I have ever visited. My reason for visiting the cemetery was to view and photograph some of the more famous grave sites. The cemetery is so big I will have to go back another day to see it all.

I am still exploring the capabilities of my new Sony a6000 camera. I bought a book covering all the capabilities of this amazing camera, and it is quite a long book. It is amazing how much capability they can put into such a small camera. I am thinking of getting another lens for it, but am not sure whether to buy a fast 50mm lens or a telephoto lens. Currently I am leaning towards the telephoto. I will be taking a photography class this month or next taught by a professional photographer friend of mine. It will cover sunrise, sunset photography. She is an amazing photographer and I expect I will learn quite a bit from her.

That is about it for now. Have a blessed day and enjoy the summer, or what’s left of it.

Spring Things

Spring is here. No more snow, the flowers are blooming, the bees and butterfly’s are flying, the pollen is in the air, and the days are warmer. Winter wasn’t all that bad, except for some really cold weather and some snow storms. Now that I am able to get out of the house more often I have been busier than during the winter. I have been going to the gym more often, and taking more walks with Max.

Easter season has been busy with an egg hunt for the kids, our 65 annual Maundy Thursday service, Pizza/Movie night, and Easter Sunday Service. I have also become addicted to college basketball. A friend of mine who is an ODU season ticket holder took me to two ODU Monarch basketball games at the Ted Constance Convocation Center and now I am hooked on college ball. I watched almost every game during March Madness using either the ESPN app or the NCAA March Madness app. I was hoping for Wisconsin to take it all but at least they beat Kentucky.

Baseball season is almost upon us and I hope to take in at least a few Norfolk Tides games. We are having our annual family picnic at Woodstock Park in Virginia Beach April 26th. I am looking forward to seeing all my family members. The family has been constantly growing and we have become quite a clan.

On the tech. front, I bought a new HP Stream 13 laptop from Best Buy. It has a 13 inch touch screen, 2 GB of RAM, a 32 GB SSD, card reader, USB ports, and HDMI out port. It is running Windows 8.1. So far so good. I also bought a Netgear Range Extender to extend the range of coverage for our WiFi. It works amazingly well. Did I mention I bought a Raspberry Pi Model B to play around with? I also have a new wrist watch from Fossil. I love it.

Well, enough for now. I think it is going to be a great Spring. I’m getting refunds on my State and Federal taxes, my Social Security is coming in now, and I am on Medicare and a new medical plan with Aetna Blue Cross Blue Shield. All is well.

God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

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Cooking Brunswick Stew

Twice a year our church prepares and cooks Brunswick stew. The proceeds from the sale of the stew go to the Christian Women’s Fellowship where it is then spent on various church activities and community services. The preparation and cooking of the stew is an all-hands, labor intensive effort while at the same time providing fellowship and community outreach. Our Brunswick stew is a best seller and we always sell out. On average we make about 300 quarts for sale in the Spring and even more for the Fall Bazaar and lunch.

The actual preparation, cooking, canning, and sale of the stew is a two day effort. That does not count the time spent shopping for the needed ingredients, advertising, and planning. On the first day the chicken is cooked and then the meat is shredded from the chicken. At the same time, the onions, celery, and potatoes are prepared and diced. The other ingredients have already been purchased and readied.

The list of ingredients is as follows:

  • Cooked, shredded chicken
  • Cooked, diced potatoes
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Lima Beans
  • Butter
  • Worcester sauce
  • Bullion cubes
  • Assorted spices (secret)
  • Chicken stock
  • Bacon, bacon grease
  • Water

Following a very specific order the various ingredients are added to two very large aluminum pots where the stew is cooked over propane burners, being stirred by a team of stirrers using large wooden stirring paddles. This is the most laborious part of the operation. The exact proportion of each ingredient is added in order and cooked to the head cooks specifications. It generally take 10 complete pots to make enough stew to fill the 300 quarts.

The finished stew is them measured into quart mason jars by another team. Sales and pickup of pre-orders takes place as soon as the first batch is complete. This usually takes from 6 am to Noon to complete, not counting final cleanup.

All in all it is a lot of work but well worth it. Everyone has a good time doing it and the proceeds all go to good causes. So tomorrow morning I will be at church at 6 am doing my part. I already helped with the chopping of the celery and potatoes earlier today. We are hoping for good weather for the outdoor cooking.

So if you ever want some really good, homemade Brunswick Stew, give us a call. All the stew for the Spring sale is sold but we will be taking order in the Fall. Our Church is

Park View Christian Church (DOC).

Everyone have a Blessed Day.


It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

NativityChristmas if my favorite holiday and Advent is my favorite time of the year. As a child it was all about Santa, the Christmas tree, decorations, cookies, and the anticipation of Christmas Day and presents. It really was hard to sleep Christmas Eve as the excitement and anticipation was more than a child could handle.

Over the years Christmas has become less about presents, Santa is gone, and my son is all grown up. Now Christmas is more about family and the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I still enjoy decorating the tree, the food, and I wouldn’t mind getting a present or two. My family has grown in some ways and shrunk in others. My Grandparents, Mother, Father, and most of my Aunts and Uncles are gone. But my brothers, my son, and my Church family have made Christmas as joyous as it was when I was a small child. But the biggest joy of the Advent Season and Christmas is God and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

As a child, Jesus was not on my mind during Christmas. There was only Santa, presents, and my family. But today, I have so much more to be grateful for. Looking back over the many Christmases of my life, I can truly say that I have been blessed each time with so much love and happiness. I pray that you and your family will experience the same joy and happiness that I feel every Christmas. Just as long as you remember the real reason for the season, all your Christmases will be joyful, no matter your circumstances.

Merry Christmas and A Blessed New Year to all…

Now if only it would snow.



I have always loved architecture, especially architecture from times gone by. Living in Virginia I am used to seeing many examples of Victorian and Colonial architecture. I am a big fan of Gothic Architecture, mainly that of churches. While traveling in Europe I made it a point to visit as many Gothic churches as I could. Recently, which driving around Norfolk, Virginia, I came across this church and I had to stop and take some photos.

There was a wedding going on complete with an honor guard, with lots of well-heeled people going into the church. Anyway, I thought I would post a few of the pictures I took of it here. I’m not exactly sure what category of architecture to put this church into but I did find it striking. Help me out if you know what type of architecture this church best represents.


Spring Update

Winter is over and Spring is here finally. The weather has improved although not as much as I would have liked. On the news front my new tablet arrived from Pandawill. Overall I am very happy with it. It is a good replacement for my defunct Nexus 7. We had the annual Tefft family picnic at Woodstock Park in Virginia Beach last Sunday. Most everyone was able to make it.  The weather cooperated and everyone had a good time enjoying the food and catching up with everyone on what was going on in their lives. My son Jason was there and he has grown into a man whom I love very much and am proud of. All my brothers seem to be doing well.

Skip is planting a large garden on a plot near where he lives. Speaking of gardens, our church has committed to supporting some local merchants by letting them set up a farmers market every Saturday on our property. There will be eight or nine vendors who will be selling produce, meats, and crafts. I am really looking forward to it as I plan on being one of their customers. I can always use some farm fresh produce. I also plan to go to the farmers market that is held in Williamsburg every weekend. My brothers Jon and Skip want to go with me as well as my son Jason. It should be a fun outing as I have not been to Williamsburg in a long time.

I have been busy at church especially during Lent and Easter. We had our Maundy Thursday portrayal and our cantata. Both were a great success. This Monday I will be a waiter at the annual Mother Daughter Banquet, a long tradition. That is about it for now. Hope to keep you posted more often. May God bless you and yours. Peace.


Brother Jon Family at picnic My son Jason

Summer hanging on

I am still waiting for Fall weather to arrive. Aside from a few seasonal days the weather has mostly been in the 70’s during the day. The leaves have started to turn a little but it will be a while before Fall arrives in her full glory. I bought some pumpkins and gourds to decorate the front porch and am waiting for Halloween. One good think about Halloween is that there are a lot of horror movies on TV.

I have been back to the range to shoot my M4 carbine and my red dot sight is acting weird. I am unable to zero it properly and I think it may be broken. I took it off and using only the iron sights I shot the best groupings I have ever shot. I guess there must have been a reason I was an expert marksman in the Army. Anyway, I had ordered a NcStar 3×9 40 tactical scope with built-in laser and it arrived yesterday. I have mounted it on my M4 and cannot wait to try it out.


In other news, our new pastor seems to be doing very well. We were very fortunate to have found him. I hope he will be the foundation upon which our church will start to grow. I managed to hurt my back by doing absolutely nothing and it has taken the better part of a week for it to get better. Everything seems to take longer to heal when you are older.

I got my flu shot a week or so ago but I do not plan on getting an H1N1 shot. The swine flu seems to hit younger people harder and the nurse who gave my my normal flu shot said people who lived in the 70’s may have a partial immunity. Since there is also a shortage of the vaccine I will let others who are more needy receive theirs first.

That is all.

Guns and church

I got to shoot my new Saiga rifle and I am in love with it. My son Jason and I went to the range in Pungo and shot both the Saiga and my M4 carbine. Jason really enjoyed firing the Saiga. It has quite a kick and a big muzzle flash and ejects the spent cartridges a country mile. Very impressive. And on top of all that it is pretty accurate with just the iron sights. I went by myself later that week and fired the Saiga myself. I still love my M4 but it now has a rival.

The one big gripe I have with all the ranges around here is that they won’t let you rapid fire. You are supposed to only fire a round every 4 seconds. That is not much fun. They will also not let you draw and fire from your holster, which is important to practice for self-defense purposes. Well I found a range that will let you do both things. The range is is in Wakefield and is run by the 4H. It is a private range and I have submitted the paperwork to become a member. You are your own range safety officer and can do whatever you want as long as it is safe. I am looking forward to being able to shoot there.

Our church had our annual bazaar and semi-annual Brunswick stew event recently. As usual I spent 7 hours preparing 380 quarts of stew for sale. It is a lot of hard work but the event and sale raises a lot of money for our church. Speaking of cooking, I am going to prepare a cheeseburger pie for supper tonight. The recipe is from our church cookbook and it sounds delicious. I will find out tonight. That’s it for now.

Summer is almost over

Fall is two days away and I am looking forward to the change of season. Fall is probably my favorite season. Pleasant weather coupled with the changing of the leaves and Halloween are at the top of the list of what makes Fall great.
Not much exciting happening around here. Most of my time has been spent shooting, Twittering, reading, and shooting video with my new camera. I have found that I enjoy shooting video as much as I do taking still shots. I bought some video editing software and have been adding titles and stitching together multiple snippets of video.
I really think our new minister is working out well. I have enjoyed his sermons and at the last ministers cabinet he had some great ideas for outreach and ministry that I think will help our church to grow. He has been emailing me with videos that he wants to use during Sunday services and his choices have been excellent.
I went to a gun show in Hampton yesterday and even though I hadn’t planned on it I bought a rifle. It was not an expensive one though because I really have to watch our finances a lot closer now that Teresa and I are both retired. The rifle is a Saiga 7.62X39mm modified version of an AK-47. The rifle is manufactured by the world famous Izhmash armory of Russia. I called my son Jason yesterday and invited him to go shoot my new rifle next weekend. Should be a lot of fun.
That’s all folks. Off to church in a bit.