Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. On this first official day of spring tell us something (besides the weather) you're looking forward to in this season of the year.

Spring is such a pleasant time of year. I'm looking forward to not having to wear a coat every time I step outside the door, and being able to make lovely bouquets with our spring flowers.

2. When it comes to spring cleaning would you rather wash windows or wash baseboards? Clean out closets or clean out the garage? Dust ceiling fans or dust bookcases? Wipe down the patio furniture outside or wipe down the light fixtures inside? Any of these tasks recently completed?

I don't mind washing windows, but having to crawl on hands and knees in order to get baseboards washed is not my idea of fun.
The garage is not my territory, and I'll happily clean the closets and let someone else care for the garage.
We don't have any outside furniture, but wiping it down doesn't sound horrible. Maybe because I've never had to do it. I don't mind cleaning light fixtures.
We're in the middle of our spring cleaning right now. I've been focusing on the bookshelves recently.

3. Your favorite thing to make/eat that calls for cream cheese? Sour cream? Whipped cream?

Cheesecakes, cheese bars, spinach dip, Thanksgiving pudding all take cream cheese, and I love them all equally.
We're big fans of sour cream. I don't necessarily have something I make with it, but we like dollops of it on salads, meats, anything spicy, and more. There's not much that isn't good with sour cream added.
Whipped cream... on the other hand isn't such a big deal, and we rarely ever use it. Though we did make some last evening in order to make our favorite no churn ice cream.

4. I read here a list of commonly mispronounced words. What is a word that gives you trouble when it comes to pronunciation?

I read the list of words and wanted to curl up and whimper at a word that I have apparently always pronounced wrong. I will continue pronouncing it wrong though, because pronouncing 'gif' correctly makes my skin crawl.

5. What's a song you love with the word 'rain' in the title or lyrics?

I can't say I love this song, but these are the first rain related lyrics that popped into my head when I read this question.

Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Every once in a while something happens that reminds me of one of my all time favorite book series. (Anne of Green Gables) It happened again. A stray cat wandered in all scraggly and ugly, and I mean ugly. It looked exactly how I used to picture Rusty from Anne of the Island. Apparently I'm not the only one who thought that because Rosie Mae looked out the window and asked if I had seen Rusty.

We both got a chuckle out of how we immediately knew the poor thing. Thankfully it will not have to worry about any badly executed chloroform attempts with us.

It has been the easiest animal to name. There really was no other choice besides Rusty.

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.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Picture my Week

   The girls and I went shopping one afternoon. After we got home I wanted to make room in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator for some of the frozen things we had bought. There was a full bag of peas on the shelf. I got it to put it the freezer door, and that was the moment when I discovered it was not a full bag of peas. Peas went flying in a sweeping arc across the kitchen, and into the two adjacent rooms. I stood there, momentarily speechless as I tried to come to grips with what had just happened.
     Meanwhile the girls burst out laughing, while dashing off to grab a camera to properly document another one of Mom's messes.

    Rosie Mae has been sick. Yesterday the only thing she wanted was a cup of tea. A storm had passed through our area the previous night knocking out our power. I had to get creative as I tried to figure out a way to make some tea. This little candle setup took a while to heat the water, but it worked!

I thought the ice formations by the waterfall this morning were pretty.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. Are you currently operating at 100% capacity? If not, what % are you? What's keeping you there?

I wish I could say I'm operating at 100% capacity, but I don't think I can. I'm somewhere in the 90's though, but there's always something more I could have squeezed into my day if I had simply made myself do it.

What's keeping me there? I simply don't have the energy I used to have when I was younger. This getting old business isn't as great as I used to think it would be, and I'm not even old yet.

2.  Have you done your taxes? Planned/booked a summer holiday? Thought about or started your 'spring cleaning'? Besides what's listed here, tell us one task that needs doing before spring rolls around.

We have gotten all of our tax info to our tax preparer weeks ago already, but haven't heard when she's going to get them finished.

Holiday/vacation ... what's that? We haven't had an actual vacation in over ten years. I don't see it happening this year either.

We have started our spring cleaning. We're taking out time to it, but so far I'm enjoying it. It's satisfying somehow to know by the end everything you own will be as clean as possible. Though at the speed we're going the first items we cleaned could very well need to be cleaned again.

3. What's a favorite food from your part of the country?

I don't like maple syrup, maple candy, or really maple anything, though that's a big thing in our part of the country.

4. This isn't a leap year, but let's run with it anyway...look before you leap, a leap of faith, grow by leaps and bounds, leap to conclusions, leap at the opportunity...which phrase might best be applied to your life currently (or recently)? Explain.

Hmm ... I'm not exactly sure. Though being in the passenger seat while trying to teach a teenager how to drive takes a certain leap of faith. And I keep hoping her driving skills will grow by leaps and bounds.  She is doing well, it's just one of those things that takes patience and practice.

5. As the month draws to a close list five fun and/or fabulous things (large or small) you noticed or experienced in February.

Some of the things I've enjoyed during the month of February are:
  • Working in the kitchen with our children.
  • Listening to good music.
  • Getting to work on some craft projects.
  • Seeing the spring flowers begin growing in our front yard.
  • Playing games, doing puzzles, and reading.
6. Insert your own random thought here.

On the warmer sunny afternoons Steven has managed to convince Sharon to go outside with him and help him build a log cabin. It's been fun watching them work/play together like this.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Pink vs. Yellow

   One day our teacher arrived at school with her arms filled with seed catalogs. She plopped them on her desk at the front of the room. When all of us little girls crowded around her asking what we would be doing with them she just smiled and told us we would have to wait and see.
    Before math classes started for the day she handed out pieces of paper. On the top she had written.
  • 100  = yellow
  • 90's = red
  • 80's = pink
  • 70's = green
  • Below 70 = brown or black
    We all stared at it slightly confused until she explained that every day when we got our math scores we could cut a picture out of a seed catalog and glue it to the paper. The color of the picture we got would depend on our grade.
    I usually got a hundred percent, and I envisioned my piece of paper filled with sweetcorn, yellow beans, and if I was lucky enough to get there before someone else took it, maybe a yellow rose or two.
     I didn't particularly care for the color yellow to begin with, so I came to the perfect solution. I would simply have to get some wrong every time and hopefully be able to have my grade fall in the 80's and be able to fill my piece of paper with pink flowers.
    I got a few reds to begin with until I learned I need to get more answers wrong in order to get my desired pink. Somehow it didn't register that good grades were more desirable than pink pictures.
    I got quite a few pinks until the day when I miscalculated and had too many wrong and got a much dreaded brown picture.
    When report card time rolled around Daddy and Mom noticed the significant drop in my math grades and finally found out what I was doing.
    From that day forward my papers no longer looked pretty. It was just as I had feared. Pictures of sweet corn were the main thing on them.

Saturday, February 24, 2018


    Our barn walls had cracks between every board and Daddy wanted to close them up before winter came. He bought a lot of 1 x 4's and started nailing them over the cracks. It made the barn resemble a cherry pie. With its red sides and the narrow white strips that were nailed over the cracks.

    Daddy gave us children each a hammer and several nails to help nail the strips to the barn. It took several days to get it done since Daddy only worked on it in the evenings after he got home from work.

     Once it was done it was nice and snug inside for our horse Jim, and Jenny the cow.

     David was having problems with a hiatal hernia and some one had recommended using goat milk would help him, so Daddy built a pen to keep several milking goats. There was an elderly man in the neighborhood that enjoyed going to livestock auctions, Daddy asked him to buy several goats for us.

    Several days later he drove up with two nannies and a billy. We put the nannies in the pen Daddy had built and tied the billy to a post until Daddy could build a pen for him too. John and I used to run home from school and go to the barn to feed the goats. It was fun letting them nibble grain and bits of hay from our hands.

     One afternoon we were once again feeding the goats. I was bending over to gather bits of hay from the floor, when to my dismay the billy bumped into me. I wanted to quickly get out of his way but was horrified to discover that I couldn't because his horns had slid up inside the back of my coat. By now the billy wanted to get away from me as much as I wanted to get away from him. He was bleating loudly, but my cries were even louder as I dangled helplessly from his horns. I couldn't touch the floor with my feet or my hands as he swung his head wildly trying to get rid of the unwelcome burden.

     John had run inside to get Mom and she hurried out to my rescue. She managed to open my coat and I tumbled to the floor as the billy goat hurried in the opposite direction still shaking his head and voicing his grievances. Mom checked to make sure that I was alright and then sat on a bale of hay and laughed. I had never seen her quite so amused before as she sat there rocking with laughter. I wasn't quite able to see what was so hilarious but seeing her laugh like that soon had us children laughing too as we headed for the house to prepare supper before Daddy got home from work.

    Mom told Daddy all about it at the supper table that evening and everyone laughed again. But from that day forward the billy and I mutually avoided each other as much as possible.

    The barn looks forlorn and sad and very weather beaten 30+ years later. The new owners cut a hole in the side and moved my little playhouse to the side of the barn.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

New Meeting House

     By fall of our first year in Somerset County the meeting house in the Pocahontas area was completed and everyone was looking forward to having services there.

    The finished meeting house was very similar to the other two that were being shared by the four other districts. Since the Amish only have church services every other week, one meeting house could easily be shared by two congregations.

     The first meeting house had been built in 1881. The story behind it was that the coal miners used to show up after church to enjoy church dinner. It got to be overwhelming trying to feed all of them so the Amish decided to build a meeting house and have services there instead of in homes. It worked well and they wanted to keep everything the same throughout the Somerset County Amish therefore we got a meeting house too even though there hadn't been any hungry miners showing up for the past century.
     The shutters are always closed during the week and only opened whenever services are to be held there. Buggies drive up to the porch where the woman get off and stand in one of the two little rooms at the front of the church until it's time for services to begin. It is always a solemn occasion with no more than a few whispered conversations until it is time to file to your seat.

     This is the small table in front of the ministers bench. It had several songbooks and the New Testament laying on it. Plus a water pitcher and two glasses in case the ministers would happen to need it. Right across the table from the ministers was a bench where the main song leaders sat. Behind them were three benches for single boys, and directly behind them were four benches for single girls.

     Standing at the back of the meeting house you can see the doorways for the two little rooms. The one on the right is where the ministers would go into for their meetings while the rest of the congregation sang the slow church songs. The men sat along the right side of the church house and the women on the left.

     Part of the horse barn where horses were kept while services were being held. I'm not sure how many horses it could hold, but I do know it was a lot.
     These humble buildings were the place where a lot of things would happen and milestones reached over the next twenty years, but for now I was happy to sit beside Mom and help sing the songs. It was nice to have a back to lean against instead of the backless benches we had been used to. I could see Daddy from where I was sitting. John and David sat beside him. I would listen intently to the sermons most of the time, although there was one preacher who when it was his turn to preach I would count all the knots in the boards on the walls and ceiling rather than try to figure out what he was trying to say. It was years before I found out that Daddy and Mom could never follow his ramblings either.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Picture my Week

Rosie Mae tried her hand at creating a Neapolitan type cupcake. They turned out well.
Early one morning just as the sun was coming up, we looked out the back door to see this.

The girls and I have been making slow progress on the spring house cleaning. This week that included my sewing machine cabinet, the sewing boxes, and some of the sewing notions. Sharon couldn't resist modeling a pair of googly eyes for us.

The book shelf Kenneth made was moved inside, and before it could be placed on top of the cupboard where we wanted it Steven had to check it out in his own way.

LV managed to bring this bouquet in and set it on the table as I was working. Much to his amusement I walked past it multiple times before I noticed it. Apparently if you want to hide something from me all you have to do is plop it in plain sight.

We had some really nice spring like weather for a little more than a day. Steven took the opportunity to take one of his science related things outside to do. He had been waiting weeks to finally be able to so.

Friday, February 16, 2018

School Begins

     John and I were excited about starting back to school. The summer had been busy for all of us. We had spent a lot of time pinching off all the blossoms from the strawberry plants. That took a long time since we had an acre to cover and they bloomed profusely. The new garden had a lot of stones that we had to pick up and pile on the wheelbarrow for Daddy to dump once he got home from work.

    Daddy piled all the stones beside the barn for future use. Once he had more time he would take them one by one and smash them with his sledge hammer to make gravel for the driveway in the barnyard.

     But today we didn't have to worry about picking rocks, pulling weeds, or any of the other things we were used to doing. It was time to go to school. Mom had sewed new clothes for us and we each had a brand new lunch box. Mine was yellow with flowers around the edges and a little elf girl sitting on a lily pad with the words "Herself the Elf" Elf fun is for everyone.

     We each had a pack of new crayons and a ruler. The school would supply anything else we needed.

     We started off early. We no longer needed anyone to walk with us. The morning was beautiful as we said good-bye to Mom and David on the front porch and started up the road. We turned into the small dirt road and turned to wave one last time before we rounded the bend. Black Eyed Susan's were growing in the ditch and we gathered a handful to give to the teacher. We were talking and thoroughly enjoying ourselves when our peaceful morning got disrupted by the barking of three huge dogs as they came flying out a neighbors driveway. We dropped the flowers we had picked and ran as fast as we could go. The dogs followed us for a short distance and then turned around and loped back.

    We managed to catch our breath and hurried on to school. We arrived in plenty of time and we got to explore the new schoolhouse before the bell rang. It was situated on top of a steep hill. The front door was a nice walk in without any steps. At the back of the schoolhouse there was a fire escape with ten steps and a basement door. There was a big sandbox in the basement for rainy days and a furnace. In a little side room there was a big pile of coal and an area to stack firewood.

     School started with everyone saying the Lord's Prayer and singing three songs. As soon as that was done we got our arithmetic assignments. The forenoon passed quickly and it was time for lunch. Mom had fixed an egg sandwich and a small bowl of peaches for our lunch. I closed my lunch box as I was eating my sandwich so I could admire the picture on the front. LV  was sitting across the aisle and happened to see what it said and called out to one of his friends "Hey Norman, MaryAnn's lunch box says Herself the Elf, Elf fun is for everyone." Everyone laughed as I cringed in my seat and wished I could disappear.

     I hurriedly finished my lunch and ran outside. I was still in the entrance when LV and some of the other boys came out and gathered around me chanting "Elf, elf, elf. Herself the elf." I felt like crying and managed to get away and run to the girls outhouse where I vowed to stay  until recess was over.

The school house is still in use 30 years later.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Currently I'm ...

Opting not to participate in the usual Wednesday Hodgepodge and instead do a post about various other things in my life right now.

Reading ... I just finished The Lady in the Attic by Tara Randel. It was such a waste of time. I started reading it at one of Sharon's piano lessons. The first few pages intrigued me as Annie inherited her grandmother's house. It had the prospects of being great. By page 37 I was beginning to get bored, but I kept reading because it was praised as being a cozy mystery. Surely something mysterious and exciting had to happen soon, right? Wrong. Reading about a needlepoint club was almost as bad as having to be in one. The mystery became all about trying to figure out who could the lady be, in a cross stitch piece found in the attic. Boring! I kept going, thinking that surely it has to get better, but it didn't. The entire book was flat, dull, and so boring. If it wouldn't have been a library book I would have given it to Rosie Mae to butcher and up-cycle in one of her many craft projects. Since it was a library book it went back yesterday for the next unsuspecting reader, who will hopefully either enjoy it a great deal more than I did, or be smart enough to not read the entire thing if they're bored.

Playing ... round after round of The Old Shoe Game with Steven. He loves it, probably because he wins 90% of the time.

Watching ... some of the Olympic games in the evenings after supper. I'm fast losing interest in them though so I don't know how much longer we'll be doing that.

Cooking ... Mexican rice, chicken, and salad was on the menu last evening. I had been wanting to make guacamole to go with it, but my avocadoes, while lovely on the outside, turned out to be streaked with black on the inside so I had to do without.

Eating ... for lunch I enjoyed leftovers from last evening.

Drinking ... water, water, and water. I've been taking apple cider vinegar in a little water before and after we go out where it's people-y. But that's not so much drinking as it is taking a gulp or two. It hasn't worked to keep the stomach virus away, but at least it has kept us from getting a cold.

Calling ... the last call I made was to schedule an appointment for Rosie Mae's physical. It's a requirement in our state before teens can get a driving permit.

Crafting ... a beaded mobile / wind chime thing-y that a friend ordered. I have made many already, but this is the first time I'm doing one in solid red. A ruby red, which I think will actually look quite pretty once it's done.

Loving ... the weather right now. It has really warmed up and all the treacherous ice appears to have melted. As much as I love winter, there's something about spring in the air that I really love.

Disliking ... all the mud involved in this warmer weather. As much as we try to be careful, somehow it seems some always manages to get tracked inside.

Celebrating ... I should probably say, Valentine's Day given that today is February the 14th, but we don't do much for it. I'm planning to make some heart shaped krispie treats, but other than that it's like any other day around here.

Feeling ... tired. The stomach bug, though long gone, has left me feeling easily tired.

Listening ... to the refrigerator humming in the kitchen, the furnace humming even louder in the basement. Rosie Mae chattering on about zippers and possible ways to try to fix one on a favorite purse. Sharon singing in the kitchen as she puts the last of the dishes away, and Steven playing with a truck.

Considering ... some possible blog posts that have been rolling around in my head for a while already. I almost did a running diary type post yesterday, I may one of these days.

Wanting ... to get the book shelf Kenneth made for me, filled up later today. It finally got moved into the house this morning.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Summer of Building

    The first summer in Somerset County was very busy. Not only were we trying to get our 15 acres  looking better, there was a large garden to take care of, and a new one acre strawberry patch to start and keep weeded. We also were adding a large L shaped addition to the house that was almost twice as big as the house was right now. The blue back porch was torn away a number of fruit trees and lilac bushes removed and a neighbor came over with his bulldozer and started digging away at the ground behind the house to make a basement. John, David, and I enjoyed watching as the earth was moved from the ever increasing hole in the ground to a big pile in the pasture.

     Once it was finally deep enough Daddy dug a footer by hand and the cement truck came. Uncle David came to help pour the concrete for the footer and then the basement floor. As soon as the cement had dried we played on it with our wagon. Daddy did the cement work, laying the blocks by himself. He gave John and me each a small tool to smooth the concrete that showed between the blocks. Once the walls were too high for us to reach he did it by himself.

     Once the blocks were all laid we had a frolic to get the floor, walls and roof on. We soon learned that the Somerset Amish were true to their farming roots and really had no idea what to do unless they were told. It was a very frustrating day with only a fraction of the things done that we had been hoping to get accomplished in one day.

     Once chore time came and everyone went home to milk their cows Enos Lee stayed behind a little longer and offered that his oldest son could help out as long as Daddy needed him. We were very glad to accept the offer. The following days Edwin would arrive right after breakfast and help with what ever Daddy had planned. The addition progressed slowly, there were quite a number of days that nothing was done at it until evenings because there were lots of other frolics going that summer and Daddy always went. One was to build a new school house and the other one was to build a church house.

     The church house was painfully slow in getting built since most of the older men thought it had to be built exactly like the ones in the other districts that had been built in 1881. They had a big fuss about finding square nails and old windows and who knows what kind of siding. They finally compromised somehow and our church house got vinyl siding and normal nails. They managed to find old windows somewhere and ancient stoves to heat it. Daddy used to come home from a frolic at the church house and when Mom asked him how his day went he would just shake his head. We children knew they wouldn't talk about it in front of us but if we managed to stay awake long enough we could hear them talk about everything once they thought we were asleep.

     Our addition finally got done and we move our kitchen sink and cupboards into our new kitchen. It looked strange with it's bright orange counter top since there were no matching orange doors and walls any longer. We also had a large pantry now and so the refrigerator could be moved in from the front porch and into the pantry. The rule in the Somerset Amish is that you can not have a refrigerator in your kitchen. So for seven months we had to go outside whenever we needed something. It seemed really nice to have it indoors once again.

     There was a nice sewing room at the one end of the addition. A really big kitchen and then a cement porch. It was supposed to be turned into a laundry room in the future but for now it would be enjoyed as a porch.

     Our old kitchen was turned into the master bedroom. So now I had a room of my own upstairs and no longer had to sleep in the hallway. It seemed really great. The new school house was done too and John and I were looking forward to starting back in a few weeks. The church house still wasn't completed but we were looking forward to that too. I had never been inside of a church house before and could hardly wait to see how it would seem.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Grandpa and the Tractor

    When spring finally came to stay Daddy and Mom spent the evenings clearing off an area beside the house for a garden. Since there were plants and trees growing everywhere, it took some planning to decide where the perfect spot would be.

     They picked out the spot and proceeded to remove several old crab apple trees and all the other bushes and plants that were in the way.

     The Amish in Somerset County use tractors for most of their farm work, and one evening when John and I were walking home from school we could see that there was a little blue tractor with a harrow behind it working up the area for our garden. As we got closer we could see it was Daddy driving the tractor. Mom and David were outside watching him. Once we got there we stood beside them and watched in amazement as Daddy drove back and forth across our new garden turning the overgrown patch of yard into a patch of rich fertile soil perfect for growing vegetables.

    Once he was done he jumped down and said with a big smile, "Well, what do you think of our new tractor?" John wanted to sit on the seat right away and Daddy let him climb up to see how it is. Not to be outdone by my little brother I had to have a turn too. After we looked at everything Daddy lectured us on the importance of never playing with it.

     Several days later Grandpa Mast came to use our tractor and harrow to work up a garden plot for them. Mom asked him if he knows how to operate it and he assured her that he does. John and I ran outside with him as he climbed on the tractor and started it. He started off very slowly and then stopped and asked us if we know how to make it go faster. John and I helpfully climbed up and pointed out the levers and tried to tell him how. And then stood under a tree to watch him try it again. He started the tractor and pulled and pushed at levers and went flying backwards. He stopped the tractor and laughed a little shakily and said "I guess I'll just have to drive slowly."

     We watched as the tractor inched slowly up the road. Until Grandpa drove that tractor I had no idea it was possible to have it move so slowly.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. February can be a little bit tricky given the weather and the winter and the whatnot. I read a list (here) of things you can do to make your February brighter which included-start planning your next trip, take more baths, make your own chocolate covered strawberries, and exercise in preparation for swimsuit season. Anything on the list you might try? Which suggestion on the list appeals to you most? Tell us something not on the list that helps make your February brighter.

Making my own chocolate covered strawberries sounds the best to me. I love strawberries and chocolate. And strawberries dipped in melted milk chocolate are somewhere near the top of the list of yummy treats I enjoy occasionally. I don't like the chocolate fountain chocolate though. Any event I've ever been to that had one of those, the chocolate was sadly lacking in being chocolate-y.

February doesn't bother me. I love being able to dig out crafts and sewing projects to work on that stay tucked away during warmer weather. Then there are books, and games, and puzzles, and coloring that we get to enjoy in the evenings. It's also the perfect time to get creative in the kitchen.  Actually the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that I'm a big fan of February.

2. Tell us about something you've seen or done recently that you'd say was 'super'?

For years already I've been wishfully thinking and dreaming of a bookshelf of sorts that I could set on top of an existing cupboard we have. On Monday Kenneth invited me out to the garage to see something he's been working on. I knew he was working on a tractor, it's not something I get all that excited about, but I do try to cheer on his projects. He opened the garage door, and there in front of me was a lovely shelf he built. It still needs paint, but I think it's super! Having a teenaged son building it is pretty super as well.

3. Best thing you ate in a 'bowl' last week?

The best thing I ate in a bowl last week was a spinach artichoke dip. The recipe I use is supposedly a copycat of Applebee's and it's ridiculously delicious.

4. Something you're 'cheering' for right now?

I'm cheering for my children as they continue to try out their wings and pursue their goals and dreams.

5. The Winter Olympics begin Friday, February 9th in Pyeong Chang, South Korea. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being all in and 1 being no interest whatsoever) how interested are you in the games? Which event do you most want to see (you'll find a list here).

I enjoy watching the skiing, and will probably watch some. I don't really know what number to assign to my interest level though.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

When I signed up for Pinterest a number of years ago, I selected the option to have them send me suggestions of boards I like based on the things I have pinned. I have enjoyed those weekly emails and have found a lot of good things because of them, but the latest one has left me scratching my head.

Pinterest in all of it's Pinterest-y wisdom sent me an email suggesting boards filled with cowboy hats that they're sure I will love. Um ... no. I'm not interested in cowboy hats in the least. It's like they don't know me at all.

Monday, February 5, 2018

New Covering

    One of the things I admired the most after moving to Somerset County was the coverings the girls wore. The fabric was a shiny black satin and the strings to tie them were wide black satin ribbon which, when tied, produced lovely big bows under their chins.
     I looked forward to the day when I could trade in my dull, thin covering for one of these new ones.
     After Mom found out that Emmy was giving me a hard time at school because of the covering I was wearing, she took time out of her busy schedule to make a new one for me according to the rules of the churches in Somerset.
     One day John and I got home from school to our regular after school snacks waiting on the kitchen table. I starting eating mine, but when Mom told me she has a new covering waiting for me to try on as soon as I'm done, my hunger vanished. I handed my snacks to John, who happily munched them down, and ran to try on this beautiful new creation.
      Mom placed the covering on my head and tied the ribbons. It felt weird. For starters it was much heavier than the one I had been used to, but even worse it was noisy. Coverings weren't supposed to make noise, but this one did. A weird rattling, rustling, squeaky type of noise. Every move of my head caused it to make a sound. Talking, chewing food, any little movement and I could hear it.
     "How do you like it?" Mom asked.
     How could I tell her it was awful? She had taken the time to make it, and I had so desperately wanted one just like the others girls.
      "It rattles," I said.
       She looked puzzled and then lifted it up to her ears. "You can hear it," she chuckled. "I think you'll get used to it soon."
       I wasn't convinced about that as I wore it to go to school the next day. It rattled, and rustled, and squeaked all day long. By the time the school day was over I was ready to throw it away. Not wearing anything wouldn't be as terrible as having to listen to it for the rest of my life.
      I don't remember how long it took, but Mom was right. I got used to it, and the sounds it made no longer registered and I was able to enjoy life again.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Settling In

     The snow melted before long and signs of spring started to appear. The walks to and from school were more pleasant since we no longer had to trudge through the snow and the wind had lost its icy bite.

     School was beginning to be something we looked forward to everyday since we had learned to know the other children. Nancy Summy and Simon Lee were the other children in my grade. Nancy was a very sweet little girl and we became very good friends almost immediately. In the next grade was Daniel Lee, LV, Emma (pronounced Emmy)Hostetler, and Susie Kinsinger.

     Susie was lots of fun but somehow Emma and I didn't start out very well. One of the first days she informed me that she is very glad she doesn't have my name. She would much rather have a nice humble name like she does. She made fun of my clothes. There was nothing wrong with them except they were the ones I used to wear in the community we had moved from, so they looked different from the Somerset ones. If it wouldn't have been for Nancy and Susie, school life would have been miserable those first few weeks.

      Things were also starting to feel right in our new home. John and I were always glad when we rounded that last bend in the road on the way home from school and could see our house. It was an ugly olive green with yellow gables. Along the front there was a green porch. There was a black wrought iron railing all the way around and along the sides of the steps. I knew the railing must have been intended for us since there were large "S" s every few feet and made it seem personalized since our last name started with an S. In the front yard there were two very tall Arborvitae trees and an huge old chestnut tree. There was a spruce tree and several apple and pear trees. At the back of the house there was a bright blue porch. We used this one the most since it was only a few inches off the ground compared to the ten feet of the front porch. A few yards from the back porch there were 60 pine trees growing in a double row. Their branches almost touched the ground. If we slipped through them it was nice between the two rows of trees. The branches didn't grow there and the ground was covered with pine needles. It made a perfect playhouse. At the end of this double row of trees there was a real playhouse and a sandbox.

     Beside our house there was a very old house. It was full of antiques and things that former owners had left behind. There was a loft with a rickety old stairway leading up to it. There were old dust laden bunches of dried herbs hanging from the rafters. They had obviously been there for years. There were lots of other old curious things there too. We had lots of fun exploring this building when ever we had permission to do so.

     In front of this old house the yard was filled with flowers. There were roses bushes, mountain laurels, lilacs, lilies, rhododendrons, bleeding hearts and many more. It seemed there was something growing everywhere you looked on those 15 acres.

      Things were getting into a routine and we were enjoying our new home very much.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. Speaking of your wit's end, at loose ends, a dead end, burn the candle at both ends, all's well that end's well, or no end in sight...which 'end' phrase might best be applied to your life lately? Explain.

Burn the candle at both ends.

Early mornings, and late nights and still not enough time to get everything done.
2. What was a must have accessory when you were growing up? Did you own one? If so tell us what you remember about it.

I have no idea what any must have accessories were during my growing up years. I was peacefully unaffected by trends, fads, and must haves.  One of the perks of being Amish.

3. Something that made you smile yesterday?

My children make me smile every single day.

4. January 30th is National Croissant Day. Do you like croissants? Sweet or savory? We're having chicken salad for lunch...would you rather have yours served on a croissant, a wrap, a bagel, bread, or a roll of some sort?

I like croissants, both sweet and savory, but the savory probably a little more.

Chicken salad on a Parker House roll is one of my favorite ways to eat it.

5. Sum up your January in fifteen words or less.

A long month, multiple dental appointments, cold, warm, muddy, and busy.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

There's a 1,500 piece puzzle spread out on our school table by an overly ambitious daughter who thought she could complete it in one evening. As it turns out she couldn't which has made school time interesting this morning as we found other places to sit. The kitchen table, curled up on the sofa, and sprawled out on the living room floor.

On the schedule for this afternoon, get the puzzle completed. Change is okay once in a while, but we all like school in our school room best.

Monday, January 29, 2018

First Day of School

     The semi had been unloaded and after the last people left for their homes, Mom told us we can explore the house while she starts making supper.

     There wasn't much to see downstairs since there were only two rooms. A kitchen/dining room and a living room. We went upstairs and found two bedrooms a large hallway and a bathroom. In the one bedroom there was a door, when we opened it we found a stairway that lead to the attic. We walked up the steps and then stood there and looked. There were piles of boxes and baskets of every shape, size, and color. We started looking at everything and long before we were ready Daddy came to find us and it was time to go eat. The attic would have to wait until some other day when he and Mom had time to sort through everything the previous owner had left behind.

     After supper they tucked us in bed. John and David had a room but my twin size bed was in the hallway so that it where I had to sleep. Mom said she would make curtains to go around my bed later but for now this was the best they could do.

     Morning came before I was ready. Mom packed a lunch for John and me and made sure our faces were clean. A few minutes later there was a knock at the door. Mom went to answer it, three boys were standing there each holding a lunch pail and wearing a straw hat. Their ears were bright red from the cold. Mom invited them inside and they introduced themselves. The oldest was Melvin, then Vernon, and the youngest LV.  Melvin visited politely with Mom as she got us ready for our cold walk to school. John wore his stocking cap and looked warm and cozy compared to the straw hats the boys were wearing.

     We started for school. The wind was cold but the sun was bright and almost hurt my eyes with the brightness of the fresh white snow. John and I were getting tired. A mile seemed like a long distance especially since we weren't used to it. Melvin and Vernon walked with us but after a few minutes LV gave us a disdainful look and marched on ahead.

     After what seemed like a long time we finally arrived just as the last bell was ringing. We hurried into the schoolhouse and hung our wraps on hooks the teacher pointed out to us. As everyone else found their seats John and I stood at the back not knowing what to do. The teacher smiled at us and said "My name is Hannah. We are all very happy to have you in school today. I have two desks that are waiting for a boy and girl to use." I liked her immediately and we followed her to our desks. I sat at the end of a long row and John sat at the very front. Right across the aisle from me sat LV. Since he was no longer wearing his hat I could see his hair and almost had to giggle. It was extremely curly and resembled a shelf. I looked around at the other children and then had to look at that hair again. LV must have realized I was looking at him more than necessary because he looked over and made a face and then went back to the project he was working on.

     When it was time to go home Melvin and Vernon once again walked patiently with us. LV didn't even bother trying but ran all the way and by the time we were on the top of the first little hill he was already disappearing from sight on a small dirt road almost half a mile ahead of us.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

A New Home

     During the night Daddy and John started for Pennsylvania, riding in the semi. Once morning arrived so did a station wagon pulling a horse trailer. Uncle Alvin helped load Jim and Jenny. We all said our good-byes and Mom helped David and me into our seats and we were on our way.

     After driving for six hours we arrived at our new home, in the middle of a typical Somerset County snow storm. The semi was parked beside the road in front of our house. There were horses and buggies everywhere and men were carrying boxes and furniture through the snow into the house.

     Daddy came and unloaded our horse and cow and lead them into a small red barn. Mom and we children went into the house. There were women everywhere, opening boxes and putting things into cupboards and where ever they felt was a good place.

     I stood inside the door and watched. I felt so small and I wanted desperately to go home. A little girl was sitting on our couch playing with our toys. Men were coming up the porch steps with more things and tracking snow into the house that melted into dirty puddles on the floor. A friendly teen aged girl stood at the door and opened and closed it for the men and tried to start a conversation with me, but I was too overwhelmed to respond. Finally I caught a glimpse of Grandma Mast in the kitchen. I hurried over to her and she got a drink of water for me and let me help her unpack a box of dishes. It felt good to be a part of the activity instead of only watching from the sidelines.

     When the semi was empty everyone started to go home. Finally there was only Grandpa Masts and one other family there. The lady was short and very friendly, she helped Mom get things into order in the kitchen and living room chatting pleasantly the entire time. I didn't pay too much attention to the conversation until I heard her state matter of factly that John and I should start school the next day and that her three boys would stop in the next morning and we can walk with them.

     In the excitement of moving I had completely forgotten that we would have to go to a new school and I was not thrilled at the prospect of doing so. Mom thanked the lady and assured her we would be ready by the time the boys came the next morning.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. January 24th is National Compliment Day. Is it easy or not so easy for you to accept a compliment? Share a recent compliment you've given or received.

I'm much better at accepting compliments than I used to be..

A recent compliment I received was from Steven, telling me that I'm a great cook. I love how at six, he is already great at dishing out compliments.

2. Ten little things you are loving right now.
  1. My favorite pen ... the way it feels in my hand, the color of the ink, and the ease that it travels across the page as I write.
  2. My notebooks/idea books/planners.
  3. My pretty Pioneer Woman water bottle that a dear friend gave to me for Christmas.
  4. Our house plants that I somehow managed to keep thriving so far.
  5. Goodnight hugs from the children.
  6. My waffle iron. It was something I wanted for a long time, and finally, 11+ years after leaving the Amish I have one.
  7. Story time with Steven, whether I'm reading to him or he's reading to me, either way, love it!
  8. Pretty teacups. There aren't a lot of teas I truly enjoy, but any tea is made better when served in a pretty cup.
  9. Seeing your children achieve goals, watching them reach milestone moments, and witnessing their dreams come true.
  10. Lists, all kinds of lists. This one could have been much longer, but since Joyce asked for ten things, I'll stop here.

3. Would people describe you as a positive person? Do you see yourself that way?

I hope people would describe me as a positive person. Yes, I see myself that way.

I read here  a list/description of eight things positive people do differently.

Positive people find something to look forward to every day, they celebrate the small stuff, they're kind, they stay busy, accept responsibility for their actions, forgive themselves, know when to move on, and resist comparisons

Which action on the list would you say you do regularly? Which action could you add to your life to give you a more positive outlook? If you're a positive person, what's something you do regularly that's not on the list?

I'm good at most of those things. An area where I could improve on is forgiving myself. It can be hard at times when you wish with everything in you that you  could turn back time and do something totally different.

Something I do regularly that's not on the list. Express gratitude to God, and to others. I like to write things down that I'm grateful for.

I think there's a whole lot of truth in the saying, Happiness is 10% circumstance and 90% attitude.

4. Homemade chicken soup, beef stew, or a bowl of chili...what's your pleasure on a cold winter's day?

The homemade chicken soup would be my soup of choice. I make Chicken ~n~ Dumpling soup regularly. It's a family favorite.

5. The best part of my day is....

This is hard!

I love getting up in the morning and starting my day in a quiet house.
I also love when the rest of the family gets up to join me for breakfast an hour later.
I love sitting down with the children and do our schoolwork.
I love when we get done with school for the day and we get to focus on other things.
I love when it's time to cook up a meal, and when everyone sits at the table to partake of the things I cooked.
I love the time after dinner when we relax and enjoy family time before bed.
At night I'm always so glad to have a comfortable bed to get into and fall asleep.

Really, my days are filled with best parts. I'd be sad to miss out on any of them.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

I mentioned my waffle iron as one of the ten things I'm loving right now. Updating my kitchen with non-Amish things has been a long drawn out affair. In fact I'm not nearly done yet. So my question to you is, What kitchen tool, gadget, or small appliance is your favorite? What should I put on my list to get next?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Moving Day

     John, David, and I watched as a semi-trailer was being backed up in front of our house. Mom was hurriedly packing the last few boxes of things. She gave a box to us and told us it's time to pack all our toys.

     We carefully packed everything, and Mom taped the box shut and then lets us write "TOYS" on it. Before long the few remaining Amish families in the community came to help us load all our belongings. Cousin Emma and I watched from the living room window as the men carried all the furniture out followed by the boxes and finally our heavy Pioneer Maid cook stove. Once all the household things were on the trailer they hitched several Belgian work horses to a hay wagon and backed it up to the shop and lifted all the woodworking machinery on it and then drove over to the trailer where they unloaded it unto the trailer. After that they pulled our buggies over to the trailer and with everyone helping they lifted them up and maneuvered them inside. Finally they stacked in the hay and our pile of firewood, and shut the door.

     Once there was nothing more to watch we looked around the house. It looked forlorn and sad. The emptiness nearly made me shiver. Uncle Alvin's were waiting in their buggy in front of the house so we tied Jim behind the buggy and Mom and we children climbed inside. Daddy was going to walk and lead our cow Jenny. For once no one had much to say as we drove away. I looked out the back window and saw Daddy standing in the middle of the road looking at our property and the buildings they had built with dreams of raising their family there.

     Alvin's horse kept on trotting and soon I couldn't see Daddy anymore. We arrived at Alvin's and Mom helped Lydia make supper. It was dark before Daddy finally came. We ate supper and went to bed. Cousin Emma gave her stuffed bunny to me to sleep with, but it felt lumpy and all I wanted was my own bed, in our own house with everything the way it was supposed to be.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Auction at Grandpa's

     Excitement filled the air as Daddy came home from work everyday with empty boxes. The next day Mom would work on packing everything thing that we didn't need for a few days. Some days we would go to Grandpa Masts and help them pack since they were also planning to move to Somerset County, as were uncle Eli's and John Henry's.

     One Saturday we all got up very early and climbed on the spring wagon. The back was filled with boxes and a few pieces of furniture so John and I sat curled up on a blanket in front of Mom's feet and we went clip clopping down the road in the dark to go to Grandpas. After we got there I stood beside the spring wagon as Daddy unhitched Jim and lead him into the barn. There were several vans parked beside the harness shop and it looked like every room in the house was well lit. There were people everywhere. Mom gathered David and a few bags and things into her arms and started for the house. When we got inside I was delighted to see that all the cousins from Canada were there. Everyone was trying to catch up on the latest news as the women started making big bowls full of dough to make donuts.

     As the sun started to rise the men busied themselves with setting out furniture and lots of other things and double checked to make sure all the farm machinery was situated where they wanted it.

     Mom and the aunts started frying donuts and glazing them. Before long vehicles started driving in and people started coming to the area where the women were making food. Almost everyone got a fresh donut and a cup of coffee. I sat on a bench with my cousins as we watched our mothers fry donuts and make sandwiches and take care of hungry customers. My mouth was watering at the sight of all the good food, so I was delighted when Grandpa came and gave us each a dollar and said we could go buy anything we want from the food stand. Getting to walk up to the stand and buy my own sandwich, donut, and a cup of hot chocolate seemed extremely special, Mom played along pretending I was an important customer.

    Before long the sound of auctioneers filled the air as they started selling the things that would no longer be needed once we moved to Somerset. It was cold outside so we didn't spend too much time watching the things being sold. We did go to the barn to see the cows for one last time.

    Uncle David had a pony and a cart and was giving people a ride for a quarter. He allowed us cousins to each have one ride. Once my turn came I sat beside him on the cart. It was great to be riding with him all by myself as the others waited for their turn. I adored uncle David. He was ten years older than me and I was sure that no one compared to him. He always took time to talk and play with me when ever we visited Grandpas. And now as I sat proudly beside him as we headed down the field lane for our ride, he asked quietly. You think we could cross the bridge with the cart? I of course agreed so once we got to the point where he normally turned around he continued going and crossed the bridge over the ravine and circled John Henry's house before turning around and heading back again. The pony's feet made such dainty sounds compared to the clip clop of our horse, Jim. A little before we got back he told me not to tell the others because he doesn't have time to give everyone a long ride like that. I was almost too happy to even nod my head. Uncle David had given me the longest ride of all, I would never forget that!

     By late afternoon everything was sold and people were heading home. we stayed long enough to help with the clean up and then went home to finish our Saturday work. On Monday we would go back to help them load a big truck with their belongings for their move to Somerset.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Instead of participating in the usual Wednesday Hodgepodge today, I thought I would do something a little different and talk about some of the things that are happening in my life currently.

Reading ... I finished Corinthians this morning and am ready to start Galatians tomorrow. It's one of my favorite books in the New Testament and I'm looking forward to reading it again. Besides the Bible, I'm reading several other books. In the non fiction category there's a book I got from the library on herbs and remedies. I had high hopes for it, but it's been a disappointment. I already know more than it does. In fiction I'm reading The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray. I'm enjoying it so far.  Then there are the books we're doing for school which includes getting to listen and read along as Steven carefully reads each new chapter in his reading books.

Writing ... I have several different things I'm writing. Letters, journal, blog, and a story that I don't know whether or not it will ever see the light of day, but it's one that insists on being written. I'm enjoying it, and can't wait until it's done so that I get to read it.

Listening ... to the children discuss the proper pronunciation of a word. One of them is having a difficult time trying to say it correctly so it includes a lot of laughter.

Thinking ... of everything that I want to get done today. We're deep cleaning the kitchen again. The girls and I were working on it the past two days already, but hope to finish up today. I love when everything sparkles and gleams as if it were brand new.

Wishing ... a number of different things. Right now though I'm wishing I could be planning a nice big garden. The seed catalogs that are arriving in the mail are really awakening the desire to garden again.

Hoping ... that no cavities will be found at the children's dentist appointments later this week.

Wearing ... a soft fuchsia top and a teal swirly patterned skirt. The colors clash horribly, but it's what my hands found in the dark this morning when I got up. I'll head upstairs to change after Steven wakes up.

Loving ... the nice cozy heat our furnace produces. It may be bitterly cold outside, but I'm toasty warm.

Wanting ... a new pastry brush after mine got ruined. Funny story behind that. I may or may not share it some day.

Needing ... to plan the menu for next week and create the grocery shopping list. I enjoy menu planning so it's something I always look forward to doing.

Feeling ... incredibly blessed. My husband, our children, our happy home, and most importantly our loving Saviour.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Of Songs and Properties

     Several weeks after our first trip to Somerset County, Daddy and Mom went back to do some land shopping. They left the three of us children at Uncle Eli's.

     Eli and Sadie never had any children of their own and were happy to have us stay with them. Sadie had a lot of fun things for us to play with. The first day was very enjoyable, by the second day we had already played with everything they had and were beginning to miss Mom and Daddy.

      By the third day we were bored and very homesick. I was sitting on their little rocking chair, rocking my doll and singing cute little children's songs to it, but my heart wasn't in it. And so I started singing a song that I had heard Mom sing occasionally. "Tell me why my Daddy don't come home" I started singing it lustily, but the words were too real as I sang the next line, "I know I'm much to big to cry" my eyes started burning a little and my voice started quavering. I went on. "Why don't he come and play with me again" Tears were rolling down my cheeks and I could hardly go on. "Mommy, why did Daddy say good-bye?" By the time I got done all three of us were crying. And we immediately started singing it again though we were sobbing as we wailed out the words.

     Sadie had been ironing but came to try to see what all the crying was about, and tried to cheer us up. We weren't in the mood to smile and be happy as all three of us wailed out the words again "Mommy, why did Daddy say good-bye?" And then paused to cry loudly again. Finally Sadie told us we aren't allowed to sing that song again since we have to cry and got us occupied with something else.

    After supper that evening Daddy and Mom came to get us and got to go home. It seemed wonderful to be with them again. After we got home they told us that they bought a property in Pennsylvania and we would be moving once springtime came. We were very excited at the prospect of a new adventure and went to bed happy to be safe with Daddy and Mom and eager to see what would happen once spring came.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. January is National Mentoring Month. Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? How would you rate the experience?

I've never had an official mentor, but there have been people in my life that have helped me in a mentoring type of way.

I've never claimed the title of being a mentor either, though I have shared, encouraged, and helped many people who have come to me for advice and help.

2. What current trend makes no sense to you?

Man buns is the first trend that pops in my mind when it comes to being something that doesn't make any sense to me. I can't tell how often I envisioned the satisfying snip, snip of a pair of scissors when I see a man bun.

3. I saw a cartoon on facebook highlighting a few 'weird' things that make you happy as an adult. The list included-writing with a nice pen, having plans cancelled, freshly cleaned sheets, eating the corner brownie, cleaning the dryer lint screen, and sipping coffee in that brief time before anyone else wakes up. (Credit for the cartoon goes here) Of the 'weird' things listed which one makes you happiest? What is one more 'weird' thing you'd add to the list?

Of the things on the list, a nice pen makes me the happiest.

I've never understood why anyone would prefer the corner brownie. Cleaning the dryer lint screen always makes me more sad than happy, as I try not to think how much the things wore out while drying.

Something not on the list that makes me happy is kneading bread dough. Somehow it's relaxing and satisfying to me.

4. What's the last good thing you ate?

The last good thing I ate was a twice baked loaded potato casserole that the girls prepared for lunch today.

5. Describe life in your 20's in one sentence.

I don't see how I can possibly describe my twenties in only one sentence since there were SO many changes and events and life lived.

Marriage, babies, faith, and more all contributed to a lot of growth during my twenties.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

The reason the girls were the ones making lunch today was because I was at the dentist again. I had broken a tooth last week and today was my second appointment which unfortunately was still not my last.