Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Rooster and Red Buttons

      We used to have a chicken coop filled with 24 hens and one big rooster. Daddy had built rows of nesting boxes for them and everyday John and I would go out to gather the eggs. It used to be a lot of fun.
     We would try to pet the chickens and we'd talk and sing to them, occasionally Mom would give us stale bread and we would break off crumbs and throw it to them. It used to be really fun watching them run after the crumbs as we threw one piece at a time to make it last longer.
     One day Grandma came and brought a new dress for me. It was a light tan with a row of bright red buttons down the back. I thought it was very pretty and wanted to wear it right away. When it was time to go gather the eggs I went skipping to the chicken coop still happily wearing my new dress.
As we were gathering the eggs our big friendly rooster, turned into a huge mean rooster. I was happily gathering eggs when he flew at my back and knocked me down, my basket of eggs went flying and all the hens went running to happily peck at the broken mess. The rooster wasn't enticed by the sight of broken eggs and kept right on attacking me. I started crying and John ran to get Mom.
     She came running to my aid and shooed the rooster away, and helped me back to my feet. Once we got into the house and I got changed into a clean dress she held up the dress that was dirty from laying on the floor of the chicken coop and told me that the rooster didn't mean to hurt you he just saw the bright red buttons and wanted to eat them.
     I never again wore that dress while gathering eggs and the rooster was the gentle sane rooster he was supposed to be.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1.  What's something blogging has taught you about yourself?

I have learned that I keep changing. When I read back over the first year or two of blogging there are quite a variety of things that no longer really apply to me. One is the utter loathing with which I used to view shrimp, and now I love them.

2.  Leftovers...are you in the 'reheat and eat' camp or the 'put them in the fridge until they spoil and then toss them' camp? What's your favorite thing to have leftover? What can you not abide as a leftover?

We try to reheat and eat all our leftovers, but there are occasional ones that slip through the cracks and end up being tossed. I always feel bad when that happens.

3. 'Me time'...your thoughts?

Tell me, what is that foreign concept of which you speak? Me time isn't really a thing for me unless you count blogging and writing as such. Though I do enjoy the few moments of quiet I have every morning before the rest of the family gets up.

4. When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?

The three main things people approach me with for help are:

1. Writing/publishing
2. Homeschooling
3. Child training

I don't feel all that qualified to answer any of those questions, though I do try to always do my best.

5. If your childhood had a smell what would it be? Tell us why.

The smell of fresh wood shavings. My Dad had a woodworking shop in our basement where he made lovely dining room furniture. Our days were filled with the noisy hum of his machinery, and during Christmas season, the nights did as well.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

My daily walks and hikes have been reduced to staying close to the buildings. Making laps around the outside of the house or walking to the barn and back several times is as much as I feel safe doing during deer hunting season. I don't want to risk being mistaken for a deer.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thanksgiving Potatoes

    For our family, no Thanksgiving is complete without these potatoes. We dream of them all year, but only indulge on this one special day.

Thanksgiving Potatoes
8 medium potatoes
1 - 8 oz package cream cheese (softened)
4 - Tbsp butter + small dollop
1 package Wind & Willow Bacon Stuffed Mushroom Appetizer Mix
½ cup heavy whipping cream
Peel and chunk potatoes, rinse in cold water and drain. Place in cooking pot. Personally, I prefer using my dutch oven. Cover potatoes with water, add half a teaspoon of salt, and a small dollop of butter. Bring to a boil. Cook until soft. Drain off water, and mash the potatoes thoroughly. Add cream cheese, butter, and the Wind & Willow mixture. Mix thouroughly. Add cream and mix again. Add milk a little at a time until the potatoes have reached your desired consistency. Taste to see if you need more salt ... adjust to suit your taste. Return to stove and heat, while stirring constantly. Dish out, serve and enjoy!

Monday, November 27, 2017

School Books and Shop Lofts

     One late summer day John and Sue Coffer stopped in for a short visit. Amid the course of conversation they were having over chocolate milk and cookies they mentioned the fact that one of their acquaintances was a teacher at a school that was getting rid of a lot of their older books that were no longer being used, and wondered if we'd be interested in them or at least storing them in the loft of our shop until they found someone who might be interested in them.
     Daddy and Mom agreed and several days later several vehicles came loaded with books and other school supplies. They carried everything up to the loft and then stayed for a few hours yet to visit and enjoy fresh peaches and cream.
     After they left we all went up into the loft and started digging through all the boxes. I had never seen so many books in my life and was thrilled with everything, there were boxes with paints, pastels, construction paper, microscopes, and any other school supply you could dream of.
     We took some of the things into the house and Mom got us started on some art projects. It was so exciting thinking of all the things we could do with everything we had.
     A few days later John, David, and I were playing in the sandbox when we decided to go up in the loft and look at more of the books and things that were waiting on us. We were soon settled contentedly amid the piles of boxes, looking at the pictures in the reading books, David soon got bored and started playing with the door knob. John and I didn't pay him any mind, the books and microscopes were much more interesting.
     After a while we noticed several wasps flying around and I told John to go get a fly swatter, he ran to the door but couldn't open it. I went to help him but couldn't turn the knob either. We tried to unlock it without success. The loft suddenly didn't look inviting as we started calling for Mom. She didn't answer and we started crying, the wasps kept buzzing around, the sun started going down, we were getting to be very warm, and our voices almost hoarse from crying by the time Mom heard us. She came with a key and released us from our prison.
     We were so happy to get back into fresh air again..
     We still enjoyed the days when Mom would say, lets go to the loft children. We would select some things to take into the house. We enjoyed the introduction of using a microscope and marveled at the way our hair looked and exclaimed over what was revealed when you looked at a drop of water. But we were never tempted to go to the loft without Mom.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Picture my Week

     Can you believe I didn't get any pictures of our Thanksgiving Day?! I don't know why other than I was too busy enjoying our day.

    Here are a few of my favorites from our week.
    One of our neighbors dumped off their fall decoration pumpkins to the cows. They absolutely loved them.

When trying to dig out our Christmas tree from the back of the storage room I saw all of our German books were covered in green mold. Nothing else was. Strange! I brought them down and cleaned them and laid them out to make sure they dry properly before returning to the storage room. Steven was fascinated with the weird squiggly letters.

We got our Christmas trees set up. So far I haven't been able to decide which one I like the best. The lights on the one in the girl's room don't work, but I love all the homemade ornaments.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Quilt Rachel

      One afternoon there was knock at the door and when Mom went to see who it was, there was a friendly lady standing there. She introduced herself as Rachel _____ and said she heard that Mom does odd jobs such as mending and baking and various other things for other people and wondered if she would be interested in quilting a quilt for her.
      Mom looked at the quilt she had brought along and agreed at a price of 35 cents for each yard of thread used.
      That was the start of a steady income. Mom would hand quilt a quilt every two to three weeks. John and I liked drawing up chairs beside her and watch as she made her needle fly in and out of the quilt. She showed us how to measure off yard long pieces of thread for her and taught us how to help wrap in the quilt frame whenever she had quilted everything she could reach.
      Another favorite was sitting under the quilt and pretending it's our house. We would arrange all our toys and had the grandest times living in our own little world under a quilt that day by day grew smaller until the day it was time to take the quilt from the frame.
      Mom would loosen the clamps that were holding the frame together and unwrap the quilt. Then she would give us each a small bowl and we would each choose a side and start pulling pins out. John and I would try our best to get our side done before Mom but usually she had to help us with the last few pins on our side.
      Mom would fold the quilt and the next day "Quilt Rachel" would be back with a new one to be quilted. It was always exciting to pin them into the frame and see what pretty colors and designs it would be this time. No two were ever the same.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. tightly do you cling to tradition when it comes to holiday gatherings and celebrations? For instance do you always do the cooking, never eat at home, always go to grandma's, never miss the parade, always watch football, never change the menu, always eat at 2 PM, etc.? Have you ever celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving away from hearth, home, and family? How did that feel?

While we like our traditions, we have flexibility to change things up and maybe even start a new one or two along the way and drop those that don't necessarily mean that much to our family. We're able to adjust to what ever works for us each year.

The girls and I do all the cooking. We have a small kitchen so having the entire family working in there is too much and we just get into each other's way. LV and Kenneth will help dish out the food though and help put the finishing touches on the meal.

We record the parade, but fast forward through most of it when we watch it.  Football isn't important to me at all, but yes, LV will watch it between napping after our big meal.

We usually add a something new to our menu each year. If we all love it we'll make it again the next year, otherwise it gets dropped. We have eleven dishes that always appear on our Thanksgiving menu, but the rest is more flexible.

We have celebrated Christmas and Thanksgiving away from home already. We don't care for it.

2. it easy for you to ask for help or are you a do-it-yourselfer? How is that a good/bad thing?

I am more of a do-it-yourselfer. I don't like bothering other people with my things. I know everyone has plenty to do without having to help me. There are times ... few and far between ... when I will ask for help if I really need it.

3. Abundance...what is there an abundance of in your kitchen?

At the moment there is an abundance of dirty dishes in the kitchen. Rosie Mae wanted to try a new recipe for breakfast this morning and the kitchen bears the tale.

Though yesterday I discovered I have not three, not four, but five containers of cottage cheese in the refrigerator! How does that even happen?

4. Name...the smallest thing you're thankful for? the biggest?

The smallest ... light switches. I love the ease of having light, and how it's bright enough to fill an entire room. I was recently reminded of just how much I like to have light when I was by some Amish people and even though twilight was approaching and it was hard to see anything properly they wouldn't light their lamps until it was too dark to see. (I do NOT miss that part of being Amish!)

The biggest ... salvation. Need I say more? I'm thankful everyday for my loving Saviour and what He has done for me.

5. Key...What do you think is the key to living a more grateful life?

Choosing to be grateful no matter what is the key to living a grateful happy life. Works for me at least.

6. State your own random thought here.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

May your turkey behave as a Thanksgiving turkey should. If you wonder what I mean by that click here to read a funny poem of a turkey that did not. It's a poem the girls memorized several years ago and it still brings a smile to my face when ever I hear it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Chainsaws and Worries

      We used to have a big couch covered with a slippery brown cover, setting inside our living room windows. John, David, and I used to spend a lot of time on it playing church or looking at story books. It also provided an excellent view of the barnyard if we knelt on it to look out the windows.
     One snowy morning a pick-up pulling a cattle trailer pulled into the driveway and a man got out and came to the door. Mom went to see what he wanted and then came into the living room and told us to play nicely while she goes out to the barn to help him get our fattened steer loaded.
     We quickly scrambled onto the couch and watched out the window as Mom walked out to the barn and the man backed his trailer down behind the barn and out of sight of the house. Before long Mom and the man appeared as they walked to the shop, we were trying to discern what they could want in there when they appeared again. This time the man was carrying one of Daddy's chain saws.
     They walked back to the barn and disappeared behind it. And then we heard the chain saw.
John and David were contentedly watching out the window for the next time Mom appears when I announced with all my six year old authority that "I think that man is cutting Mom's legs off." and then promptly started crying.
      John and David looked at me with wide eyed consternation. The thought of Mom having her legs cut off was too overwhelming and they joined me in crying. Howling would describe it better.
We forgot all about watching out the window, as we sat on the floor holding each other and crying at the top of our lungs at the dreadful thing that was happening to Mom when all of a sudden she was standing in front of us demanding to know what is wrong.
       Her legs appeared to be fine and I started to feel sheepish. John had no such problem though and announced that I said the man was cutting her legs off.
      She seemed flabbergasted with me and explained that there had been a tree branch in the way that had to be cut so the trailer could be backed up to the barn door.

      I think of this episode at times when I am tempted to worry about things. It is a perfect reminder how silly it is to waste time thinking of all the dreadful things that might happen.

Monday, November 20, 2017


      My Mom's sister Lydia and her family lived on a farm not too far from us. They also had a small bulkfood store, and whenever we needed flour or sugar Mom would hitch up Jim to the top buggy and we would drive over to them. John and I liked when the weather was warm enough that Mom put the storm front up and we could stand in the front of the buggy holding onto the dashboard. It was fun watching Jim's feet on the road and try to catch his tail when ever he swished it.
      We usually stayed for a few hours as Mom helped Lydia with whatever she had going, and John and I played with our cousins. Since there was only a few months difference in our ages, we had some of the best times whenever we got together.
      One day on our way home John and I were chattering away in our normal fashion, but Mom was not joining in as usual. When we turned around we noticed tears on her cheeks and we of-course wanted to know what was wrong. She said "Lydia has cancer."
      We had no idea what cancer was, but if it made Mom cry it must be bad.
      From then on we went over several times a week, Mom would do whatever work she could and make meals and do the laundry for them as Lydia got very weak and couldn't work at all.
      Cousin Emma was no longer as much fun. She always looked sad, and often when we arrived she had her dress on backwards so that she could button it herself. Mom would first make sure that all their children were clean and properly dressed before doing the days work.
     Then late one night uncle Alvin stopped in. He was carrying a tiny baby boy. He handed him to Mom. He talked a little and then went off into the night again. We fixed up the bassinet for the baby and Mom let me help fix his bottles. He was the cutest little baby.
      Alvin stopped in once a day with their children to see the baby, on their way to Grandpas where they would stay while he went to the hospital to be with Lydia. Since she had her baby the doctor's could finally do something for the cancer.
     By the time baby Reuben was three months old Lydia had won the battle with cancer and we had to give the baby back to his rightful home. That was hard as we were all quite attached to him by then. But we were all very happy that Lydia was going to be fine.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Picture my Week

I was thrilled to find this gorgeous splash of color on an otherwise drab November day. I never even knew a briar bush can become such a thing of beauty.

I have been trying to create the healthy habit of going on a walk every day. The girls and Steven made great walking companions, and I somehow even managed to get them to pose for me willingly.

We went to a different area every day for our walk. This one was one of my favorites of the week.

The girls gave me a tour of their childhood "country". We stopped to admire their general store/trading post/giant tree.

Steven's cat loves going on walks with us.

The most brilliant of sunrises was enjoyed this morning. I stayed in the house to take a picture of it through my dirty windows.

While the eastern sky was brilliant, Kenneth came in and announced that there's an equally brilliant rainbow in the western sky. LV ran out to get a picture of it. The picture doesn't do it justice. Who knew rainbows appear before 7 A.M. in the middle of November.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Fragrant Whiffs of Joy ~ Winner

     Reading all your comments of things that bring you joy, was such fun. I've come to the conclusion that the little things are actually, really not that little.

     Now for the next step, let's head over to the random generator and see who the winner is for the book, Fragrant Whiffs of Joy.

     And drumroll please ....

     The winner is ...

     Comment #39

     butterflywoman57 said ... Sweet memories of my husband

Congratulations! Please email your mailing address to me and I will get the book sent to you. I hope you'll enjoy the book as much as I did.

I wish I could have given everyone a book, but since that's not possible I'm happy to be able to tell you that it is available for $12 per book plus $2 postage.  You can mail a check to Dorcas Smucker, 31148 Substation Drive, Harrisburg, OR 97446.  Or PayPal

Thursday, November 16, 2017

John Coffer

     One afternoon in early fall John and I were playing in the sandbox when the phone rang. Mom came hurrying outside to the "phone shanty" to answer it. It was Grandpa saying they had just witnessed a strange sight. A small covered wagon drawn by a team of oxen, an old fashioned "different" buggy hitched to a big slow horse, a cow, and two people that looked as if they had stepped right out of the pages of a "Little House on the Prairie" book had just passed their farm along 14 A and turned up Crawford Road and if we watch we should be able to see them soon.
      We all sat on the swing under our cedar trees and looked down the road to where Crawford Rd crossed our road. It wasn't long before a team of oxen appeared with a tall man and his wife and a black dog walking beside them. We could hardly believe our eyes. A covered wagon with a yellow chicken perched on the back, a cow and a horse and buggy that looked different from any buggy we had ever seen. Walking slowly along the road.
      They soon disappeared out of sight and we went back to the house, wondering who they were and where they were going.
      That evening when Daddy came home we told him all about it. Daddy said he saw smoke that appears as if someone would have a campfire and that they're probably camping along the road. So right after supper he asked Mom to wrap up some fresh homemade bread and we would all walk over to meet them.
      They were camped in a field beside the road cooking supper in a cast iron pot they had dangling above the fire. When they saw us coming they came to welcome us and introduced themselves as John and Sue Coffer. They had spent years travelling across America in this fashion and finally decided to settle down somewhere and had just purchased a piece of land that had a lot of timber and also a few meadows but no buildings or a well. They were hoping to build a cabin and dig a well yet before winter.
      Daddy offered to help, but Mr. Coffer turned it down wanting to do it all by themselves with a crosscut saw and an axe.
      It wasn't long before the sound of an axe filled the days and their little cabin progressed nicely. After they had moved in the next thing to do was get a well dug. Mr. Coffer did accept help for this as someone needed to be on the ground to pull up full buckets of dirt and then let the empty bucket back down to be filled up again. It took quite a long time but once he struck water it was worth it!
      John was intrigued with the whole pioneer thing and Mr. Coffer on one of their many visits to our house whittled a tiny yoke for him to play with his toy cows.
       The Amish settlement in Dundee eventually failed, but Mr. Coffer still lives there, still living the pioneer lifestyle.

John Coffer sitting in front of his cabin.

The side of his cabin also works as a place to hang the harnesses for his horses.

The cabin.
John Coffer with one of his beloved oxen.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. What takes you out of your comfort zone?

I feel very uncomfortable, uneasy, and decidedly out of my comfort zone when I hear women speak badly of their husband.

2. Your least favorite spice?

This was a hard question since I love cooking and using all kinds of spices. Curry in moderation is good, but is the one spice that I don't really get excited about using.

3. What's a small change you'd like to make?

A small change I want to make before long is rearranging the contents of our desk, filing cabinet, and a cupboard. I'm looking forward to having it done, it will be so much better all around, but the thought of having to do it isn't quite as pleasant.

4. Do you enjoy visiting historic homes? If so, of the homes you've visited which one was your favorite? What historic home near you is open to visitors? Have you been? Southern Living rounded up eleven of the best in the southern part of the US and they're as follows-

Monticello (Jefferson's home in Virginia), Nathaniel Russel House (Charleston SC), Swan House (Atlanta), Ernest Hemingway's home (Key West), The Biltmore (Vanderbilt home in Asheville NC), Mount Vernon (Washington's home in Virgina), San Francisco Plantation (Garyville, Louisiana), Windsor Ruins (Port Gibson Mississippi), Longue Vue House and Gardens (New Orleans), Whitehall (Palm Beach FL), and Pebble Hill Plantation (Thomasville GA)

Have you been to any on the list? Of the homes listed which would you most like to visit?

I haven't been to any historical homes, but would really like to see all the ones on the list, especially Biltmore.

5. What's something you think will be obsolete in ten years? Does that make you sad or glad?

Writing checks, maybe? Online bill pay and credit and debit cards seem to already be the preferred way to handle money for many people. I only see it getting more so over the next ten years.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Instead of my usual Picture my Week post on Saturday, I opted to do a giveaway instead. (You still have time to enter it here.) 

A picture from last week is of LV and Kenneth escorting a bull back to his pasture after he came to visit us, right up next to the house. If you look closely you can see some of the holes he poked in our yard.

I'm not a fan of bulls wandering about our yard, but thankfully he wasn't feeling mean, and didn't present a huge challenge to get him back where he belonged. The owner has now taken him to a different field, so hopefully we won't have to deal with him again.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Mailbox

     Mail time was always looked forward to. Most days once the mailman left the mailbox and disappeared down the road John and I would run out to see what he left this time. Most of the time there was a letter or two, but what we really liked was the day the weekly grocery and K-Mart fliers would come.
      We would sit on the floor and study and dream about all the good food, and then we'd look at the toy section of the K-Mart flier. It was my dream to have a doll with a real face and hair, even though I loved my rag doll "Sally" very much.
     Then one week the mailman didn't stop and John and I were perplexed and troubled that we no longer get mail. We asked Mom why he no longer stops and she told us he would if we would put the flag up. We wanted to run out and put the flag up right away, but she told us we can't do that unless we put something in the mailbox first.
      We went on with our day with that new bit of information stored inside our little heads, and when the next day the mailman still didn't stop we took our own steps to rectify the problem. We dug a few carrots from the garden, gathered some pine cones, and selected a few of our favorite rocks from our collection and placed them in the mailbox and put the flag up.
      The next morning we waited anxiously for the mailman to come, we were sure with all the great things we put in the mailbox he would be sure to leave us a lot of mail in return. When he finally went we ran to the mailbox only to discover that not only didn't he leave any mail, he didn't like what we had put in the mailbox for him. He had scraped the whole mess out on the ground.
      We ran in to tell Mom all about it. That was the day we learned how the postal system worked, she explained everything and then helped us write a letter for Grandma. The next morning she helped us put it in the mailbox correctly and let us put up the flag. The mailman took our letter and several weeks later John and I got a letter of our own from Grandma.
      The system really worked just like Mom said it would.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Puppies and Naptime

      One evening after Daddy came home from work he told us to come outside to our shed and see something.
      We all followed him outside to find our dog Smokey in a corner proudly looking at and feeding ten little puppies. They were so cute. She didn't mind us oohing and ahhing over them, but Daddy told us not to hold them until they're several weeks old.
      We would go outside everyday to see them and finally we were allowed to hold and play with them. It was this event that finally got us totally over our fear of Smokey. She let us play with the puppies and we even got to the point where we'd pet and talk to her.
      One day we were all supposed to take a nap. Mom tucked John and me into our beds and then took David into her bedroom and put him in his crib and laid on her bed until he fell asleep. I thought naps were a waste of time and being five I no longer had to take one everyday.
     The sun was shining brightly and I could hear the puppies outside, I sat up and leaned over the edge and peeked into the bottom bunk of the bunk bed. John was already sleeping, so I pushed my covers off and climbed quietly down and tiptoed out through the kitchen and out the door. I found my three favorite puppies, gathered them up in my arms and ran to the shed and sat in a corner and played with them. It was so much more fun than taking a nap.
      After a while I heard Mom calling my name. I didn't want to have to go back to bed and a idea popped into my head. "If I don't answer, she won't know where I am , and I won't have to go to bed."
She called and called and finally came into the shed and found me hiding in the corner. She was crying by that time and I felt bad about that. I hadn't meant to make her cry, I just really didn't want a nap.
     She told me she thought she had heard a car start in our driveway and when she went to see who it was, nobody was there and when she looked in my bed I was no longer there either, and she was very worried. And that I may never go outside without telling her first.
     We got back to the house and she told me I have to spend the afternoon in my bed, so that next time I'll remember to answer when she calls and stay in bed if she tells me too.
     That was the longest afternoon I ever had. I could hear Mom sewing and talking to John and David. It sounded like everyone was having a great time and I had to lay there until Daddy got home from work.
     Daddy wasn't impressed about the scare I had given Mom either, and so I was admonished again. It was good to be with the others again and have supper and a little time to play before bedtime. But I learned my lesson well. If Mom calls. I answer. Spending all afternoon in bed is no fun!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Fragrant Whiffs of Joy ~ Giveaway

    In our living room we have a huge oak cupboard. It was built by my oldest brother seventeen years ago after I had voiced my dream version of an "Amish entertainment center". A section of it holds our favorite books. These books are selected carefully and each one of them has to earn their right to call this cupboard their home.
    I just tucked a new book inside its doors. Fragrant Whiffs of Joy by one of my all time favorite authors, Dorcas Smucker. She cleverly weaves beautiful stories from her often touched by humor, ordinary life.

Fragrant Whiffs of Joy is a collection of short stories or essays if you will, which makes it a perfect book to pick up and read when you have a few minutes. Each chapter is sure to encourage, inspire, and maybe give you a new view on life, with a healthy amount of chuckles mixed in.

From outings to the beach that don't go as planned, serving food to loved ones, a heartfelt glimpse into the little known life of her son's birth Mom, and everything in between. I enjoyed every minute of reading this book.
I think you would enjoy it too, and I'm happy to be able to give away an autographed copy. If you would like a chance to win one, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me about something that gives you a whiff of joy.
For a second entry share a link to this post on your blog or Facebook and then come back and tell me about in another comment.
I will be using the random generator to choose a winner on Friday, November 17th.
If you are eager to start reading this book you can order it now.
Fragrant Whiffs of Joy is available for $12 per book plus $2 postage.  You can mail a check to Dorcas Smucker, 31148 Substation Drive, Harrisburg, OR 97446.  Or PayPal
Giveaway is now closed and a winner has been chosen.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Barn Raising

      Daddy and Mom managed to save up enough money to build a small woodworking shop, where he hoped to build furniture to sell and be able to work at home with his growing family.
      They bought all the lumber and supplies needed and then let all the Amish in the area know that they will be having a frolic on Saturday.
      We got up while it was still dark and hurried with our breakfast. By the time the sun was coming up, buggies were driving in the lane. The women and children came into the house and the men, after they had unhitched their horse and tied it to a tree, went to see what they could do to help.
      Before long the sounds of hammers and saws filled the air as the men tackled the job at hand, the women were visiting as they started preparing the huge noon meal, and we children couldn't decide where it was the most fun to be. In the house watching as vast amounts of food was being prepared or outside watching the shop grow under the steady pounding of hammers.
       Someone had brought the church benches to set up tables and provide enough seats for everyone. Daddy came and set up a few of them for us to slide on. That gave us something fun and out of the way of those who were working.
      At noon Mom sent some of the older children to tell Daddy that lunch was ready. She had us set out a row of bowls on a bench and then fill them with cold water from the garden hose. We laid a big clean towel beside each bowl and then watched as the men lined up and sloshed the water over their faces and arms, water dripped off their long beards as they reached for the towel to dry off.
      After everyone was washed up a few of the women quickly hung the towels on the clothes line until everyone was seated at the tables. Big platters of fried chicken and bowls heaped with steaming mashed potatoes and gravy, there was sweet corn and applesauce, stacks of fresh homemade bread, and plates filled with sliced tomatoes from the garden. And several kinds of pie for dessert.
       After the silent prayer was over everyone started filling their plates and visiting, the food soon disappeared and the men went back to work while the women cleared away the mess.
       By evening the shop was done. It looked beautiful with its white sides and green hip roof. There were stairs at the back on the outside that led up to an attic/loft that could be used for storage or an extra sleeping area when we got overnight guests.
      We were tired and happy as we got ready for bed. It had been a day filled to the brim with wonder and excitement and fun with friends.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Buttercup aka Jenny

     The Jersey cow that Grandpas had given Mom on her birthday was very sweet natured. We named her Buttercup.
     Every evening Mom would get the milk pail and announce. "Okay children, let's go milk Buttercup." We would head for the barn and scoop some grain into the feeding trough while Mom took a rope and headed for the pasture to lead the cow inside.
     Once she was tied in her pen John or I would stand behind her and hold her tail so she wouldn't swat Mom's face while she was milking her. Mom would get a little stool and sit down beside her and say "Easy Jenny" and then start milking. The ping ping of milk hitting the stainless steel pail soon changed to the sound of streams of milk being added to a pail of foamy milk. The cats would be sitting nearby waiting for their daily dish of fresh milk.
     When we were done Mom would give the cats their milk, and set the pail in a safe spot while she let Buttercup back out to pasture. Then we would head back to the house where she would strain the milk into a gallon jar and set it into the sink with cold water to cool it off before putting it into the refrigerator.
      Somewhere along the line we stopped calling the cow Buttercup at all and switched to only Jenny.
      Then one day a neighbor stopped in and said they think they just saw Jenny down the road in someone's Alfalfa field, and if she wants to, she can ride with her down to the field and bring her back. Mom looked into the pasture and saw that Jenny was indeed missing, so she fetched her lead rope and then told John and me to take care of David if he wakes up and be good until she gets back.
      We stood by the window and watched her leave. We were soon bored in the house waiting for her and went outside to sit on the swing under the cedar trees so we can see when she's coming home. After what seemed like a long time we saw her coming with Jenny walking slowly behind her. They reached our land and Jenny decided it's time to head for the barn, and fast. She started off at a gallop with Mom dragging over the ground behind her trying to get the rope untangled from around her hands. When she finally got loose Jenny ran straight for the barn and Mom got up with bad rope burns and all bloody from being dragged over the ground.
     John and I were crying, and by the time she limped into the house so was David. She sat on a rocking chair to take care of him while John and I tried to wash the blood off her arms and get her all patched up.
     She didn't work for the rest of the day. And called us her little heroes for doctoring and taking care of her till Daddy came home.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1.  In a rut, in a jam, in the groove, out of synch, off balance, out of touch...which saying best fits some area of your life currently (or recently)? Explain.

In the groove seems to fit my life quite well. School is going smoothly and our daily schedules seem to be flowing nicely. Most of 2017 had been in somewhat of a topsy turvy state, so to finally be in more of a groove feels lovely.

2. What is it about somebody else's style of work (coworker/employee/shared volunteer project/household chore) that makes you crazy? Why?

A certain child of mine who shall remain nameless drives me a little "crazy" by the way he/she holds a pencil when doing school work. Not the way I taught that a pencil should be held, but the work gets done so it continues being held uncomfortably.

3. What's a tradition that always makes you feel at home?

A daily tradition ... having the entire family gathered at the table to eat.

Holiday traditions ... we've made so many of our own, but one thing I've carried over from our previous life aka Amish is having our traditional Thanksgiving pudding. It's still my favorite Thanksgiving dessert.

4. A favorite song with a girl's name in the title or lyrics? Any reason why this is a particular favorite?

Mary did you Know, by the Pentatonix
Yes, it's a Christmas song, but I love it any time of the year. It gives me shivers, just listening to it, and the Pentatonix sing it beautifully.

5. Share a favorite quote, verse, or saying relating to gratitude or thanksgiving.

Gratitude helps us see what is; instead of what isn't.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Speaking of tradition. Every year I make a 45 Day Fruitcake. Every year I wonder why I mess with the aggravation of making it. Every year once it's time to eat it I think it was worth it. I'm at day 12 of 45 right now. At the beginning of the phase where I ask myself why I do this every year.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Buggy Ride of a Lifetime

      Grandpa Masts lived on a large dairy farm along a busy highway. Their driveway went up a steep grade and ran along side of the highway. It was fun looking down from the buggy and seeing the cars on the road.
     Uncle Eli and his wife Sadie lived in a trailer on Grandpa's farm and helped with the crops and some of the chores and then had a large sawmill yet.
     Uncle John Henry and his family lived on the same farm but on the other side of a ravine. There was a nice wooden bridge built across it that was fun to cross if my hand was firmly tucked inside my Mom's or one of the other grownups.
       Most times when Mom drove over to Grandpas we would take their field lane off of a small side road rather than face the traffic on the highway or the steep driveway.
       One rainy day Mom had to go to town, so she dropped the three of us children off at Grandpas while she did the errands on her own. We had fun playing with Grandma's rainy day toys and Grandpa sat on his rocking chair and let us comb his hair and his long beard.
       When Mom got back from town Grandpa helped all three of us into the front seat beside Mom because there were a few 100 lb bags of feed in the back and then advised her to take the driveway instead of the field lane since it was really muddy.
      We said our good-byes and started down the driveway. At the end we had to stop and wait for traffic. The buggy didn't have brakes and Mom kept an extra firm grip on the lines so Jim wouldn't start out in front of a vehicle. A semi passed, showering us with water and Jim eager to get home out of the rain didn't care for it at all, and started backing. Mom yelled whoa but then a milk truck passed and we got another shower and Jim backed faster. He didn't really care how or where he was backing, he just wanted out of there. The back wheel bumped over the edge and the buggy tipped precariously John, David, and I were starting to cry Jim backed a little more and we all went over the edge and down on our side right beside the highway. Mom was against the door and we three children landed on top of her. We started howling on the top of our lungs, somehow she convinced us to be quiet so as not to scare Jim and get him started kicking.
      Fortunately for us someone had seen us fall and stopped to help, and soon there were a lot of people there trying to lend a hand, Uncle Eli had realized something seemed amiss and came to see what was going on. He opened the storm front and lifted us out and took us back to the house to Grandma. Jim lay there quietly until they had him unhitched and then stood up and stood there waiting to see what 's next almost as if he was apologizing for the mess he got us into.
      Somehow the men got the buggy back on its wheels and Jim hitched up again and we went home bumped, and a little bruised, but what an exciting story to tell Daddy when he got home from work.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Playing Church

     After the garden slowed down a bit Mom starting looking for ways to help earn money. There was a store in our small town that said they'd be happy to buy all the baked goods she could make. Our little kitchen turned into a bakery where Mom would spend hours baking bread, cinnamon rolls, and pecan tarts.
     The first few days it was exciting to watch as she made all the delicious looking things, but after a while it became tiresome as she made the same things again and again. We would watch for a while but since it had to be perfect to sell, John and I couldn't help and we soon wandered off to find other things to occupy our time.
     We enjoyed pretending to play church. I would get my doll all wrapped up in blankets and then we would sit on Mom's rocking chair and rock as hard as we could, pretending it's our buggy. After we rocked long enough we would arrive at "church" and go into our little bedroom and sit in the lower bunk of the bunkbed and sing loud and long trying to imitate the songs we'd sing in church. After that John would get up and preach for awhile, usually some silly little sermon that ended up with us giggling and laughing. (which was a part we did not copy from Amish church services where you wouldn't even think of smiling.)
     We did this nearly everyday, and then one day after we had our rocking chair ride to church and got into our room I had the wonderful idea to open the bottom drawer of our dresser and use it for a church bench. We pulled it open and sat in it. Our weight was too much and the dresser tipped forward pinning us underneath, sending the kerosene lamp and everything else that had been setting on top crashing to the floor and breaking into pieces. We cried at the top of our lungs and Mom came hurrying in and lifted the dresser off of us. Amazingly we weren't hurt. Only frightened.
     She had us sit in the bunkbed while she cleaned up the mess so we wouldn't step on any broken glass. Once everything was back in order she got us settled at our little table with our coloring books and went back to her baking.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Memorable Moments

    I just got home, so today's post is a little late in getting posted. Not only that, but when pawing through this week's pictures and finding most of them lacking in what I deem to be in the worthy to be shared category I've decided to simply dub my post Memorable Moments and give y'all a glimpse into my week.

    We were serenaded every day by Sharon practicing on her keyboard. The video is from earlier this summer. It's still one of my favorite songs that she plays, though she is progressing beyond it.

      Rosie Mae whipped up treats in the kitchen, a batch of donuts on one day, chocolate chip cookies on another, and then topped it off with several dozen Cookies & Cream cupcakes that she shared with a group of friends.
     I displayed my skills at being a klutz in a rather spectacular fashion.
     It all started when I was rummaging through the refrigerator looking for something extra to add to our salad for lunch one day and found half of a pomegranate that I had forgotten we have. Usually we prepare the entire one, but hey, having pomegranate seeds to sprinkle on our salad would be a treat. Unfortunately it turned out to not look very appetizing so I went to pitch it over the fence into the cow pasture.
       The fence isn't far from the back door so instead of walking to the fence I tried to throw it as far into the pasture as I could without leaving the house, Exerting all the strength I could muster I smashed that poor thing into the door frame. I was stunned for a few seconds as pomegranate seeds showered everywhere and red juice went flying. My entire kitchen looked as if something horrible happened there.
      The girls and I looked at each other, utterly speechless and then burst into shrieks of laughter as we proceeded to clean up the mess.
      In the years to come I'm sure it will be the one memorable moment from this week that we will still remember.
      We made another library run, just in the nick of time to avoid paying fines on a book we had accidently missed getting back last week when we had been there. Steven was pleased to be able to see the ducks that congregate at the pond next to library parking lot. I have to remember to take some stale bread along next time so he can feed them like we've seen others do.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Sunday Trains

     Church Sunday had come once again, and we were all up bright and early. The drive there was going to be a little farther than usual, but I was excited, because that meant it was finally time to have church at my friend Becky's house.
      Her home was extra special in that it had a pond, weeping willow trees, and a railroad track that went through the edge of their back yard. All three were things I viewed with a certain amount of awe.
       Church services took equally as long as usual, though it seemed a touch longer to me as I sat there thinking of all the wonderful things we would get to do that afternoon. I had visions of feeding the ducks at the pond and playing with our dolls under the sweeping branches of the weeping willows, and hopefully getting to watch a train or two rumble by.
       After the regular meal of peanut butter sandwiches all the little girls ran to play. Becky had plenty of dolls for us to play with and after we had bundled them up we headed outside.
      Instead of heading for the weeping willows Becky led us behind the house. "We can sit on the railroad ties and pretend they're church benches," she said.
      It seemed a little dangerous, but after she assured us that engineers all go to church on Sundays and trains won't be using the tracks that day the rest of us little girls all joined her.
       It was fun digging my toes into the gravel by the tracks as we sat down to proceed playing church with our dolls.
       In the middle of this we started to hear something. The noise grew louder and louder and we got up.
      "TRAIN!!" the little girls yelled and dashed off to safety.
       My legs wouldn't move and I stood frozen watching as a big blue engine rounded a bend and came directly toward me. The engineer blew his whistle, it was deafening loud, but even so I could hear the screams of my friends.
       The next thing I knew I was being swept through the air and was on the opposite side of the tracks being held securely in Daddy's arms as the train thundered by.
       When the train disappeared he walked back across the tracks and carried me into the house to Mom. "Let's go home," he told her.
       It was still early, but we all went out to the buggy as Daddy hitched up Jim and we left for home, driving past a group of somber faced little girls. As disappointed as I was to have what should have been a lovely afternoon cut short, it felt wonderful being in the safety of the buggy with the rest of my family, far away from any train.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

"An Gewachsen"

      David was only four months old when one of Daddy's sisters got married and we all went to the wedding. It was a thrill to be able to travel several hundred miles to the community where they lived and to see Grandpa And Grandma and all the aunts and uncles once again.
      The only draw back was that is was cold and the ride to church was especially so since the community where Grandpas lived did not have storm fronts in their buggies.
      Mom tried to keep David from getting too cold but the wind kept blowing into the buggy and by the time we got to the place where the wedding services were held we were all thoroughly chilled.
      After church started David was very cranky and Mom and I went into one of the bedrooms where she tried to comfort him, but nothing seemed to work and he kept crying lustily.
      Finally an older woman came to see if she could help. With twelve grown children she had lots of experience with children already. She asked Mom what seems to be the matter and she tried to explain how his little belly seems to be very tight. The lady reached for David and felt him and calmly stated that he is "An Gewachsen" Mom agreed that he had all the symptoms of the dreaded ailment that occasionally afflicts Amish babies between the ages of 6 weeks and 8 months usually after a long buggy ride.
       The lady said that there is something she could do to help him. I watched in horror as she took a firm hold at his ankles and held him upside down and gave him three hard shakes. Now instead of only crying he started howling and kept on until he was totally worn out and fell into a fitful sleep. From that point on he was a very fussy baby. And no wonder because the treatment he had received gave him a hiatal hernia at that young age.

      I grew up with a fear that babies can get the ailment of "An Gewachsen". It wasn't until after I had several of my own that I realized that it is only an old wives tale.
      The Amish definition of "An Gewachsen"... a condition in which a young child's intestines grows to the liver after an especially bumpy ride.
      In reality it is nothing more than a bad case of gas/indigestion from swallowing too much air.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. What does/did Halloween look like at your house this year? Did you decorate? Pick pumpkins? Carve pumpkins? Expect trick or treaters? Wear a costume to a party or event? Make a costume? Feel glad you didn't have to come up with a costume? Cook a Halloween themed treat? Eat all the leftover candy?

It looks like any other normal day. We don't do anything to observe or celebrate it in any way. I'm glad I don't have to come up with costumes, and as far as candy goes I'm actually glad I don't have a whole pile of it here. We've been trying to scale back some on our sugar intake and having a lot of candy wouldn't help that cause.

2. What are you waiting for? Elaborate

For our ship to come in. :)

More realistically, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other celebrations. It's been years since we've done it, but we're considering doing the 12 Days of Christmas this year, or at least our version of it. We're on a bit of a countdown while waiting to kick things off.

3. Do you wish you were friendlier, braver, more creative, more athletic, or something else? Explain.

Friendlier ... I'd like to think I'm friendly. I feel that way inside, but does it translate to everyone I meet? I hope so.
Braver ... I suppose I could use a dash or two of added bravery in my life. I've surprised myself in certain circumstances of how brave I can be, but then I spy a mouse somewhere and am reduced to a pathetic pile of shrieks and shivers.
More creative ... I have quite a bit of creativity, actually more than I have the time to actually do something with it all.
More athletic ... That would be great. I'm not very athletic at all.
Something else ... there seems to always be room for growth and improvement in my life.

4. When it comes time to paint are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you hire someone? What was the last paint job completed at your house? What room most needs painting now? How do you feel about wallpaper?

I'm a do-it-yourselfer. The last paint job I did was seven years ago when I painted our entire house just a little before we moved. The room in our house that most needs painting is probably our school/dining room. I don't care for wallpaper. Our kitchen, living room, and laundry corner all have wallpaper. I can live with it, but I would never choose to wallpaper anything.

5. What is one specific thing you felt gratitude for in the month of October?

The lovely fall colors.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

I earned several blisters yesterday when I sharpened, by hand, all 181 of our pencil colors. Yes, I counted.