Monday, March 19, 2018


     The winter winds were sweeping across the hills and around the corners of the house when Daddy came upstairs one Saturday morning to wake us up. He told John and me to hurry and get dressed while he helped David. Once we got downstairs he gave us a note and told us to take it to Grandma Mast and then stay there until he comes and gets us.
     He helped us into our coats and we started up the road as the sun was beginning to rise above the trees across the road. We trudged up the hill and made our way slowly to Grandpas where aunt Emma arranged chairs around the kitchen stove for us to warm up. Grandma read the note and handed it to Grandpa, he read it and immediately went and hitched up his horse, Tony, to their buggy while Grandma hurriedly got ready to go with them.
     I was wondering what all the strange commotion was about and suddenly I recalled how they acted similar once before and I all of a sudden grew excited and could hardly wait till Daddy came to get us.
    He came shortly after lunch smiling from ear to ear, and asked if we want to go home and meet someone new. I asked if it's a baby girl and he said "No, we have another baby boy." We hurried out to the buggy and hurried into the house the moment we got home. Grandma was standing at the kitchen sink washing a few dishes and told us to warm our hands while we wait till Daddy gets in to show us the new baby.
    Once Daddy came in we followed him into the bedroom where Mom was in bed and beside her was the wrinkliest, ugliest little baby I had ever seen. I felt like crying. It had been bad enough that I didn't get a sister, but having such an ugly baby was about more than I could bear. Daddy gently lifted the baby and placed him in my arms and said, "Say hello to your brother Mahlon."
    I choked out a whispery hello, just as the baby opened his eyes and his wee little mouth and stuffed his fist in and started making the funniest noise as he started sucking on it. Daddy gave the baby back to Mom and herded us out of the bedroom saying that there is plenty of time to get acquainted with him once he is no longer hungry.
    I ran upstairs and flopped across my bed and cried. I could hear voices downstairs but I didn't even bother to try to listen what they were saying. After a bit I heard the squeal of buggy wheels in the snow and looked out the window to see Daddy, John, and David starting out the driveway and head up the road.
     After what seemed like a long time Grandma came upstairs to find me. She asked what is wrong, but I really didn't know what to say and finally blurted out. "The baby is so ugly!"  She chuckled a little and said "Don't worry, all newborns look like that. He will look a lot better in a few days."
     I went downstairs with her and helped start supper, and before too long Daddy and the boys were at home bringing a neighbor girl along. She would stay with us for the next six weeks and do all the housework while Mom rested and enjoyed her new baby.

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Start of Whispering Pines

      Since we had built a large addition to our house Daddy was working on getting a woodworking shop started in the basement of the new addition, in hopes that he could work at home with his growing family, instead of doing carpentry. It took quite a while to get everything ready. The electric motors had to be removed from the machinery and replaced with either a hydraulic or air motor.
     Once everything was ready to go he started working  in the shop in the evenings. We enjoyed watching him whenever we could. There was something about watching plain boring lumber being turned into something much nicer that sent a thrill through me.
     Besides starting a woodworking shop. Daddy and Mom also bought a fabric store from someone who was going out of business. We moved all of our furniture out of our living-room and sewing-room, and put it into our kitchen. And turned those two rooms into our store. Daddy built shelves along the walls to hold the bolts of fabric and the many other things Amish stores have. They also set up a queen size bed on which to display the many quilts to sell.
     After everything was set up and ready for customers Daddy fastened a small bell to the door so we would be alerted to any customers that came. And Mom painted a sign "Whispering Pines" Quilts, Fabrics and Gifts. After the paint was dry Daddy put it in the front yard, and there was nothing left to do but wait for customers to start coming.
     It wasn't long before people started coming. We children would have loved to be in the store with Mom to watch. But we were told to stay in the kitchen and try to be quiet. We stayed in the kitchen, but pressed our ears to the door to hear what was going on in our store. It wasn't very satisfying not being able to see too. And then a great idea popped into my head. I could climb up on Mom's china cupboard and peep through the vent hole above the door.
     I climbed up. And was delighted to not only be able to hear everything but now I had a birds eye view of the store. I stayed there until the customers were paying for their purchases and then jumped off and went to do something else before Mom came and discovered me there.
     From that day on whenever Mom went into the store I would climb up on my perch to watch, until one day several years later just as I popped my head in front of the vent, the lady Mom was helping look at quilts looked up at me and waved, which made Mom turn around and she saw me before I had time to disappear. After the customer had left Mom had a talk with me about how impolite it is to peep in on people, and that it would be better to sit in the chair behind the desk if I wanted so badly to see everything.
     That was the last time I watched from the cupboard. It was so much better to actually be in the store, even if I wasn't allowed to every-time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. Best place you've been lately?


Recently I've gone grocery shopping, went to church, attended homeschool co-op, went to a birthday party, and took our vehicle to the car wash. Each of those places was something I enjoyed, but none of them as much as I enjoy being at home.

2. What's something you should say yes to today? Or this week? Or even this year?

Today I should say yes to my growing donate pile. The girls and I will be working in the storage room this afternoon, and I'm trying to become more heartless and get rid of the things that do nothing but take up space.
This week I should say yes to writing time.
This year I again should say yes to writing.

3. Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day in any way, shape, or form? If so tell us how. In Western cultures the color green is typically associated with jealousy, nature, good luck, and growth. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word 'green'?

I don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day in any way, shape, or form. I don't even know when it will be this year. Is it always on the same day?
The first thing that comes to mind when ever I hear the word green, is a green crayon. The most coveted and special crayon in the entire box. As a child I wasn't allowed to use it for anything other than coloring trees, even grass was only outlined because it would take too much green to fully color it. I so badly wanted to color the dresses the little girls in the pictures were wearing, green, but I couldn't. Even so the green crayon always became short and stubby long before the rest of the crayons in the box.
Even now when I help Steven color, and I use green for something that wouldn't have to be green I feel somewhat daring and guilty.

4. What's a product or service you love so much you'd happily be their spokesperson? Tell us what makes you such a fan.

Bonne Maman  fruit preserves. I only recently discovered them, and I'm in love. It's all natural with no added ingredients. It also doesn't have that funny after taste that all other commercially produced jams and jellies have. An added bonus is the jar that can then be used for other things once it's been emptied. So far the peach is my favorite flavor, though all of them are delicious!

5. March 14th is Pi Day. How are your math skills? What's the last thing you did that required math of any kind? And most importantly do you like pie? What's your favorite kind? With ice cream, whipped cream, or please hold the cream?

My math skills are average. The last thing I did that required math was when I wanted to make a batch and a half of a certain recipe.

I love pie. Cherry pie is one of my favorites, though I do really like pecan pie as well. I was about to say I've never met a pie I didn't like, but that's not true. I don't care for any store bought pies.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Score ... Boys 12
              Girls  6

The amount of grandchildren my parents have since my brother Ivan and his wife had twin boys yesterday. We're all excited and happy for them.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Winter Evenings

     I loved winter evenings. John and I used to hurry home from school and enjoy the snack that Mom would have waiting for us. Most of the time it was half of an apple with the center filled with peanut butter, but every once in awhile she would have a warm Raisin Oatmeal cookie waiting for us.
     After we had eaten our snack we would quickly do our chores. The wood box had to be filled with enough wood to last until the next evening, and then I would have to peel potatoes while Mom got other things ready for supper.
     Once we had eaten and the dishes were cleared away and any stray crumbs swept from the floor, Mom would start popping popcorn while John and I would go down in the basement with a flashlight and a bowl to get apples from the storage bin. We would all sit around the kitchen while Mom peeled apples and read stories to us.
     After Mom had finished reading, she would work on her knitting or do hand sewing. I would work at cutting out patches for a nine patch quilt. Daddy would help John and David play. A little before 8 o'clock he would say "Time to get things in order." We would put our projects away, and turn our chairs making that if we knelt down we would be facing the east. Daddy would get his little black prayer book and read the evening prayer.
     Afterwards us children would race upstairs, calling out "Last one to bed is the green pig!" The upstairs was chilly as we hurriedly changed and jumped into bed. As I lay there I could hear the murmur of Daddy and Mom's voices, and the whistling of the pine trees around the house as the wind swept through them and piled the snowdrifts deeper. As I snuggled deeper under my covers I was sure winter would always be my favorite time of the year.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Winter Recess

    Recess was my least favorite part of a school day. I loved books and learning knew things, and would happily have skipped recess if possible.
    During the winter there were several different snow games we could play that weren't too bad, but most days they weren't the activity of choice.
    Behind the schoolhouse there was a very long steep hill with a creek in the bottoms. Almost every recess everyone would run outside and get a feedbag that neighboring farmers had supplied for this purpose and slide down the hill on them. I used to stand at the top of the hill and watch the others go flying down, but the sheer size of the hill terrified me and there was no way I wanted to slide down.
     Teacher Hannah was sure I would enjoy it too if I would only try it. I didn't want to disappoint her and she assured me if I didn't like it I wouldn't have to again. She helped me sit on the bag and told me to hold it firmly so it won't get away from me. I sat down and she let go of the bag. The sliding path was worn shiny and slick from the many bags and children that had already been sliding on it for days. The hill was steep enough that as soon as I started off I was flying and my speed only increased the further I went. Halfway down I somehow managed to get my hand between the bag and the snow but the ride was so dizzying fast I had no control of anything. Once I got to the bottom I saw that my mitten was worn through and the back of my hand was bleeding.
     It took a long time to climb back up the hill. Once I got to the top Teacher Hannah looked at my hand and took me inside to bandage it. She never asked me to go sliding again and I never did. That was the first and only ride I ever took during all my school years.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Currently ...

Reading ... In the Bible I finished 2 Peter this morning, and am looking forward to begin reading 1 John tomorrow.  In the fiction world I finished reading  The One who Waits for Me by Lori Copeland. I used to really enjoy her books, but ... I think I may have changed, or at least my taste in books, because even though this was a quick, light read it annoyed me. The only thing that made it kind of fun was that Rosie Mae read it too, and we got to laugh together at the preposterous happenings in the book. Things that would never happen. There was so much going on, and every time you thought that it couldn't get more outlandish, it did. In non-fiction I'm enjoying a cookbook.

Playing ... The girls are wanting to teach me how to play Skip-Bo this afternoon. It's a snowy, stay indoors type of day, so I think it sounds like the perfect plan.

Watching ... Spring training baseball. Well, not really. It's playing in the background in the evenings while we read, play games, and do things way more enjoyable than actually watching spring training baseball.

Cooking ... We had fried chicken and salad on the menu last evening, and for tonight it will be breakfast for dinner, complete with waffles, bacon, chicken sausage, and eggs.

Calling ... I'm not calling anyone, but since Kenneth has his own phone I've been receiving calls from him when ever he starts for home from where ever he is, to let me know he's on the way. The first few days the caller ID always said, Norma Ogletree when ever he called, but we managed to fix that to have his name come up now. Much to the girls' disappointment. They had way too much fun with the whole Norma thing.

Crafting ... the girls and I will be working on sewing aprons this afternoon. That should be a lot of fun. I love sewing, and every time I sit down to sew I always have to ask myself why I don't do it more often.

Loving ... the convenience of having electricity. There's nothing like having the power go out for a while to make you realize just how much you love it, even though it's so easy to simply take it for granted when everything is going as it's supposed to.

Disliking ... when my children aren't feeling the greatest. Everyone seems back to normal now, and for that I'm very thankful.

Celebrating ... each new day. Truly each one is a gift.

Feeling ... content. I don't know what tomorrow holds, but today I'm feeling happy and content with what we have, where we are, and life in general.

Listening ... to the dry boring voice of the teacher on Rosie Mae's Algebra II computer program, as she does her lesson for today.

Wanting ... to take more pictures. I love being able to look back at moments captured by my camera.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Tractor

     John, David, and I loved playing on Daddy's new Leyland tractor. We used to sit on the seat and turn the steering wheel and pretend we were working in fields. The farms we owned and worked on in our imaginations were beautiful.
     Daddy didn't mind if we played on the tractor, but we had been warned not to touch the levers or anything except the steering wheel. One day we were once again playing on it. Daddy had it parked in the potato patch on top of the hill. As I was driving through an imaginary field I pressed my foot on the clutch and the tractor rolled forward slowly. I quickly took my foot off and John and I looked at each other. That had been fun. We had not touched any levers and certainly had not started the tractor so we really weren't doing anything wrong we reasoned.
     John wanted to know how I did it. So I showed him as I pressed my foot on the clutch again. The tractor rolled forward again. It was exciting to be on a tractor that was actually moving. John wanted a turn too, so I switched places with him and he pressed the clutch in and clung to the steering wheel as we rolled further down the hill. I wanted another turn so we switched again and we rode the tractor down the hill almost to the road.
     Once we were there we were presented with a problem. The tractor that had so willingly rolled down the hill for us now sat stubbornly and would not climb back up before Daddy came home and saw what we had done. We were glad for the row of pine trees that had blocked our adventure from Mom's eyes but there was no way we could hide that tractor from Daddy. It would be the first thing he saw as he was coming home from work. Since we couldn't hide the tractor we did the next best thing and hid ourselves. We climbed into the attic of the old house next to ours, but today all the fun antiques didn't even look interesting as we sat in a corner waiting for Daddy to come home.
     After what seemed like a long time we heard him drive into the driveway. We peeked out of the window and watched him go into the house. Before long he came out again with the milk pail and called us.
     We knew we had to go so we climbed down and went to see what he had to say. He just said it is chore time and we followed him out to the barn. I stood and held the cow's tail as Daddy milked her. I usually enjoyed chore time as John, David, and I would tell Daddy everything that had happened that day, but tonight we couldn't think of anything except that tractor and wondering what our punishment would be for driving it down to the road.
     Once the cow was milked and Daddy poured a bowlful of fresh milk for the cats. He set the pail down and looked at us. He asked "Is something bothering you? You have been very quiet tonight."
     John said. "We drove your tractor today." I quickly added that we didn't start it up though.
     Daddy asked how it happened, and we told him all about it. He didn't say much but then warned us to never try something like that again because we could have easily rolled on out onto the road and been hurt.