Monday, July 30, 2012

Misunderstanding ~ Bonnets and Knives

Soon after I started this blog I had written a post and shared some pictures from when we had been back in Somerset County with the rest of LV's family.

Lately I have been hearing from several different sources that my writings are nothing but a bunch of lies and when I asked them what I wrote that wasn't true they all refer back to that post where I had mentioned that the bonnets had to be big enough so that even your nose didn't stick out of the front.

Rules in different Amish communities are different and as far as I know only the Somerset County Amish have such huge bonnets. Sizes vary a lot in other communities.

I grew up in Somerset County and so naturally I write about my experiences of growing up there.Yes, a bishop actually said bonnets should be big enough that a butcher knife could be slid along the front without touching your nose but no, there were never any knife wielding bishops actually testing to see that each bonnet was big enough.

I wanted to get this cleared up before another myth gets started that bishops are armed with knives and go around sliding them along the front of women's bonnets to check that they're big enough. Because that is absolutely not true.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Wacky Cake

We all love chocolate cake and this recipe happens to be one of our favorites and since it is so simple Rosebud doesn't have a problem making it by herself. I think the name suits the cake since everything about making it seems a little wacky but it tastes absolutely delicious!



Wacky Cake

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 cups cold water

In a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Add vegetable oil, vinegar, vanilla, and water. Mix well and pour into a 9 x 13 lightly greased cake pan. Batter will be very thin. Bake in a pre-heated 350º oven for 45 minutes.

Cool and frost.

Frosting

1 cup softened butter
20 oz. powdered sugar
¼ cup milk
1 cup Nesquik chocolate milk mix

In a small bowl combine milk and ¼ of the chocolate milk mix. Add remaining chocolate milk mix ¼ cup at a time whisking well after each addition. Set aside. In a large bowl measure powdered sugar and softened butter. Add chocolate milk mixture. Beat for several minutes until light and fluffy.


This makes enough frosting to frost the sides of the cake as well but Rosebud wasn't really concerned about that so instead we are enjoying a generous layer on top.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. The Summer Olympics officially begin this Friday night...will you be watching? If you could see just one event in person which one would you pick?

As strange as it may sound I'm really not that into the summer Olympics. I would much rather watch the winter Olympics with all the skiing and other winter sports.
2.Do lazy days make you feel rested or unproductive?

Sundays are our lazy days and they always make me feel rested and rejuvenated and ready to tackle another week.
3. July 25th is 'officially' Threading the Needle Day...can you sew? On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being not at all and 10 being Betsy Ross-like, how would you rate your skill with a needle and thread?

I really enjoy sewing. I mastered the ultimate Amish sewing skill; that of making a well fitting mutza which is basically the Amish version of a tuxedo. There are some sewing techniques that I still want to learn and because of that I will rate my skill at an eight.

4. 'Threading the Needle' can also mean to walk a fine line between two things or issues (think awkward social situation). When was the last time you had to 'thread the needle', figuratively speaking?

When the subject of politics comes up I try not to get too involved even though I have strong opinions I don't think every one else needs to know what they are and I don't enjoy getting into arguments.

5. Kidney, pinto, black, or navy...your favorite bean?

Of these four probably pinto and navy. Our family prefers dwarf horticultural beans and I used to raise a lot of them every year.
6. Have you ever hosted a garage sale? Was it more success or bust?

Yes, I hosted a yard sale six years ago and it was very successful.

 
7. What makes you roll your eyes?

I try not to but I often have the urge to do so when Sailor tries to do tricks he read in an ancient Book of Knowledge set.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

I think I'll be glad once the month of July is over. There has been so much hard and less than pleasant things happening.

Yesterday it involved one of my girlhood friends. We have been having a lot of rain and everything is more on the wet side around here so that farmers aren't really able to get into their fields.

Yesterday forenoon Mary, her husband and two little children decided to go pick blackberries. I can only imagine how happy the children were to have the whole family go picking berries and Mary still enjoying one last outing before being confined to the house for six weeks since her baby was due any day.

Mid forenoon a shower popped up like it often does here in the mountains and they stood under some pine trees to seek shelter from the rain. Unfortunately the tree Mary chose was hit by lightening and she was killed.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Home Again

We were gone for a few days helping LV's brother and family  move since they will be taking care of the children who recently lost their mother to cancer.

I had been a little less than enthused about the idea of traveling so far with Buddy but he did really well and hardly cried at all.

Having to fuel up at truck stops isn't on my list of favorite things to do since so often things are dirty and ugly. We have had a dream for quite a while already of someday having a nice truck stop and have it as a welcome clean cheerful place for all those truckers who work so hard so the rest of us can live the life that we do. If it weren't for them grocery and all other stores would be empty. Almost every single thing we have there is a truck driver to thank for making it possible.

On this trip we stopped at the nicest truck stop I have ever been to. When we pulled up to the pumps I was surprised to see a bouquet of flowers next to each pump.

Inside everything was clean and nice as well and for the first time I left with out feeling grimy and icky. They were extremely busy and I can't help but hope they will consider opening more just like it all across our country.

Being stuck in a vehicle for hours and hours can be interesting for our family. We are all firmly in the chatter box family and a huge range of topics usually get thoroughly discussed. One of my favorites on this trip was on the topic of animals which somehow ended up with someone wondering if animals stub their toes too. LV informed them that yes, he knows that cows, horses, and deer sometimes do. And then the question was asked. What about chipmunks?  We had no answer.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Raindrops

We are having rain, rain, and more rain. We are thankful for the moisture it brings but at the same time all these raindrops almost feel like teardrops. A young wife and mother has lost her battle with breast cancer and has left behind six little children ages two months to ten years old. As our tears mingle with the rain we pray that God will comfort and bring peace and healing to those left behind.

~~~~~

On quite another note. This rain also reminds me of an old wives tale I grew up hearing and practicing. And while I no longer believe it I find it hard not to react in the same way with Buddy and try to have him protected from having any raindrops touch him.

We had been taught that a baby shouldn't have any rain drops touching it before its first birthday or they would have freckles and troubles later in life.

I don't think rain can possibly cause freckles and I don't think anyone has a totally trouble free life and rain drops certainly don't dictate the amount of trouble you will have.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Raspberries

Picking berries used to be so much fun when I was a little girl. We would head out early in the morning before the sun got too warm armed with empty ice cream pails. Wearing our coolest clothes and for Mom and me a thin homemade bandanna tied in the back under our hair bun instead of our regular coverings.

I didn't mind all the scratches we got from the thorns on the raspberry and blackberry bushes. Going berry picking was much too special to be concerned about that. As we picked Mom would tell stories from when she was a little girl or we would all sing while we picked.

When our pails were full we would head home to make pie, cobbler, jams, and a special canned pudding to enjoy during the winter.



We have several berry plants behind the house and I was keeping an eye on the berries hoping to get them before the birds do once they ripen.

Turns out I didn't need to worry about the birds. Last week one morning I heard this strange sound and when I went to investigate I found Midnight, a heifer Sailor made his pet leaning over the fence and taking her great big tongue and stripping the berries and leaves off those plants. By the time she got done there wasn't much left of  the berry bushes.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hornet's Nest


I have been keeping my eye on this nest that seems to be growing bigger at a steady rate.  I always have bad reactions when I get stung and it is making me a little nervous but thanks to a poem I learned when I was a little girl I won't be trying to get rid of the nest on my own.

The Hornets Nest

"When I was young," said cousin John
"At the old house that I came from.
A honeysuckle used to grow,
That climbed around the portico.

How sweetly I remembered well
Its yellow blossoms used to smell
And how one summer in its shade
Their great grey nests the hornets made.

Around the rooms they buzzing flew
And wandered all the garden through
With their dull drone and cruel stings
They seemed such idle spiteful things.

"To drive them off," I said one day.
"I'll tear that ugly nest away."
"NO, John," my mother said, "No, no!"
You must not think of doing so.
You foolish boy tis never best
To meddle with a hornets nest.

Her good advice away was thrown
The moment when I was alone
I climbed and hold of it I caught
To pull it down when quick as thought.

Out flew hornets great and small
And full of fury one and all
About my neck and face they clung
Nose, eyelids, ears, and mouth they stung.

I tried to beat them off in vain
And shrieked aloud in fright and pain.
The startled household hurried out
What could the outcry be about?

My burning hands and arms they swathed
With linen cloths and gently bathed
My swollen face and throbbing head
And laid me tenderly in bed.

And then my mother talked to me.
"You've been a naughty boy," said she.
I told you that it is not best,
To meddle with a hornet's nest.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. How often do you check the weather? How do you check the weather?

I can go for months with out checking the weather forecast. The only check I do on weather is looking out the window to see what is is doing at the moment.

LV on the other hand loves tracking and predicting weather and can spend a lot of time reading forecasts and enjoys his MyCast weather app on his phone as well. The first five years after we got married he used to be able to predict weather very accurately for at least three days in advance simply by studying the skies. He can't do that now since we live nestled in a hollow and can't see a distant western horizon.


2. Since this is volume 84 of the Wednesday Hodgepodge, and since I got married in 1984, and since I'm attending a wedding this weekend it only seems right to post something related here.

"Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life."
~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Agree or Disagree. Why?

What a lovely example of why I'm not a fan of Jane Austen.  I absolutely do not agree that happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.  We always have a choice whether or not we are going to be happy.

Let me quote something we heard often while growing up: Happiness is ten percent circumstance and ninety percent attitude.

3. Do you like to dance? Have you ever taken dance lessons?

I don't dance and have never taken dance lessons.

4. Fresh from the oven peach pie or home made peach ice cream? Pick one.

I really like fresh home made peach pie. It's one of our favorites.

5. Should people accept unfairness and learn to make the best of it?

Most of the time, yes.  Life wasn't meant or promised to be fair.

6. The top five all time summer movie blockbusters (released between May and August and grossing at least 100 million dollars) are-Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars (the original), Ghostbusters, and ET. Which one's your favorite?

I haven't seen any of them and have no plans to in the future.

7. If given the chance, would you like to visit the moon?

No, I wouldn't. There are so many breathtakingly beautiful places to visit on earth that I won't ever have time to visit them all and I certainly don't want to waste precious vacation times being hurtled through space to visit the moon.

8. Insert your own random thought here.


This is what I see when I look out our back door.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bits and Pieces

Several years ago I would probably have been amused if someone would have complained how warm upper 80º weather is or that hitting 90º  is cause for near panic, because at that time we were living in daily heat and weren't even surprised to have one day following the next in the triple digits.

It really doesn't take long to get used to not having heat like that especially when nights here usually cool off very pleasantly to the low 60's or even cooler. So the heatwave we have been having has all of us rather grouchy.

~~~~~
As many of you know we love cooking at our house. If we have a recipe with instructions and all the ingredients we need there isn't much that we wouldn't try. Although a Baked Alaska is still on the list of things I admire but never made.

Right now I'm trying to gather recipes from as many different countries as I can. I think it will be a fun way to add something extra when we study other places and cultures. If you have a recipe you would like to recommend I would be happy to hear about it.
~~~~~
How does everything seem to want to link up to Facebook?

I don't think everyone needs to know every article I read online and frankly I don't need or want to know what every one else read or watched either. But when I purchased something online recently and was presented with the opportunity to brag about it on Facebook I had to shake my head as I declined.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Young Companion Winner

After having had the pleasure of reading your comments about the things you used to enjoy doing during the summer I am once again turning to my trusty friend, the random generator, to help me choose a winner for the one year subscription to Young Companion.

Today the winner is comment # 14

Magnolia Tea said........

I loved playing kickball, bike riding and softball. Those were the days. :D

Congratulations!  Please email me with your address and I will order your subscription.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Amish Wisdom

Happy Monday everyone!  I'm happy to be able to tell you to tune in to Amish Wisdom on Thursday at 5 EST where there will be an encore presention of my interview with my co-author Suzanne Woods Fisher. You will be able to listen online.


Be sure to visit the Amish Wisdom website where you can listen to past interviews online and while you are there please enter for a chance to win a copy of Life with Lily.