Saturday, June 16, 2018

Picture My Week

We knew we had a litter of kittens somewhere, and Sharon spent a lot of time hunting for them. She finally found them this week. They're the cutest little things, but so wild. This was the only one they were able to hold.

There's a deer that keeps strolling across the hill behind the house. The picture isn't the greatest, but it's the best I've been able to do. Apparently it has not received the memo that holding still would produce a better photo.

I spy blueberries! Can't wait until they ripen and we get to enjoy freshly baked blueberry treats.

I spotted this book in the library and had to get it because ... Pioneer Woman! As it happened Steven loved it too. The illustrations amused him greatly.

We spent a few hours at one of our favorite outdoors spots. Steven had to check on the tadpoles that he hoped were still there, but had already grown up and hopped away.

I had been hoping the wild roses will be in full bloom, but sadly it appears I missed them this year. All that was left was one plant with several rain washed blooms.

I enjoyed the other flowers that were blooming.

Rosie Mae and one of her dear friend went off the beaten path and found an old stone house and had to sit in the window opening for a picture.

One afternoon we enjoyed wading near the edge of the lake and skipping rocks across the surface. 

Home made pizzas are the best! With LV and Kenneth gone for the day the four of us at home each made our own pizzas. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. What happens to the mail at your house?

Mail time is one of our favorite parts of the day. As the time approaches for the mailman to arrive the children tend to keep one eye on the window and then there's a race to be the first one out the door to get it.

Letters will be read, passed around for the rest of the family to read, and then tucked away to be read and reread as the years pass.

Bills are placed in their designated spot in our roll-top desk.

Catalogs are paged through, and then words and pictures harvested from them for future scrapbooking.

Junk mail has a variety of things happen to it. Pictures can be drawn on the blank backs of pieces of paper. Little notes are often scrawled on the backs of the envelopes. Paper airplanes are made and flown around the house, but ultimately it will end in the trash.

2. Something you always splurge on? Any guilt associated with the splurge?

Something I splurge on.  I'm not really a splurge-y kind of person. The only thing that comes to mind is butter. For years I cooked and baked with margarine instead of butter, but a little over a year ago I made the switch to all butter. It still feels a little splurge-y when I buy several pounds of butter every time we go grocery shopping, but there is no guilt involved.

3. There are many, but what are two important questions you think every bride and groom should ask/answer before they plan their walk down the aisle?

The biggest one to me would be that they are "equally yoked", making sure that both of them have a good relationship with God.

The second would have to do with their views on money ... how they spend and save it.

4. What's the best advice your father ever gave you?

"Never slam doors." 

There was a lot of things he told my siblings and me, but that's the first thing that popped in my mind, and probably the one thing that makes me think of him most often.

Not slamming doors was bigger than just the not slamming part. It involved respect, check of emotions, and more. I could probably make an entire blog post out of it.

5. Your favorite movie where a father features heavily in the storyline?

Apparently I don't watch enough movies, because I can't think of a single one. If the question included TV shows I would mention Little House on the Prairie.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Last week we attended the wedding of my youngest brother. It was the first time in over ten years that all my siblings were together.

The wedding was lovely, and I liked the fact that the same Amish bishop who had married us also married them.

So many emotions!

Monday, June 11, 2018


One day when we came home from school and went out to the barn to help Daddy with the chores we were surprised to see a new horse standing beside Jim. I didn't particularly care for the new horse. He was a burnt orange color and next to faithful Jim he looked awkward and out of place.

Daddy explained that he bought this two year old to train so Jim would no longer have to work so hard pulling our buggy up all these Somerset County hills. The horse didn't have a name so we got to help choose it. We went through a whole list of names and finally settled on Bob.

We used to hurry home from school to watch Daddy train Bob. He spent a lot of time talking and currying him and rubbing him down with old feed sacks. He explained that the feed sacks actually felt good to Bob and he needed to get used to seeing white things flutter close to him so he doesn't head for the ditch or try to run away if anything should happen to flap beside the road while he was hitched to the buggy. Bob's training progressed nicely. Once no part of the feed sack made him jumpy at all Daddy told us to bring an umbrella and open it right in front of Bob.

John and I ran to the house to get our big old black umbrella and took it out to the barn. Standing in front of Bob we opened it. It startled him and he jumped back. Daddy spoke calmly to him and then told us to do it again. It took a little while before Bob stood with out flinching the slightest bit as the umbrella opened and closed right in front of him.

Daddy was pleased at his progress because it would never do to have a skittish horse hitched to the buggy with the rest of his family at risk.

The day came when he tried a harness on him. Bob calmly accepted it and his training continued as Daddy walked behind him in the pasture holding the reins on the harness teaching him everything he needed to know to be a safe buggy horse.

Once Daddy was satisfied that he understood what was expected of him he hitched Jim to the buggy and tied Bob along side of him and took them for a drive down the road. When they came back Daddy was all smiles saying that Bob did really well and with several more weeks of running along beside Jim, Bob would be ready to go solo.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1.Describe your 30's in one sentence. If you're not yet 30 tell us one thing you hope to accomplish once you hit that particular decade.

So many changes, most of them good.

2. Is it harder for you to exercise or eat healthy?

Probably eating healthy presents the bigger challenge to me, though exercising isn't exactly my cup of tea either.

3. June 7th is National VCR Day. Huh? Anyway this reminded me of something I saw on Facebook listing household items we no longer have and the VCR was on it. I couldn't put my hands on that list, but found another list here of 21 items we all had ten years ago, but which are now obsolete-

bookshelves (WHAT!!???), drip coffee makers, alarm clocks, file cabinets, desktop computers, printers, printed phone books, answering machines, fax machines, paper shredders, a Rolodex, CD racks, CD burners, china cabinets, home phones, entertainment consoles, DVD players, calculators, takeout menus, incandescent light bulbs, and cable TV

Your thoughts? How many on the list do you still have? Still use?

I still have and use bookshelves. I can't imagine ever doing without them. My alarm clock gets me up every morning. Love our desktop computer, and our printer when it behaves properly. Our answering machine still collects messages when I don't answer the home phone, and my china cabinet is filled with pretty dishes. The rest of the things on the list I don't have. My method of making coffee is even more primitive than a drip coffee maker.

4. What's something you see disappearing in the next ten years?

I see checks disappearing. Credit cards and online bill pay already seem to be most popular.

5. How did you celebrate your birthday this past year? Is that typical?

This year we had a visitor arriving on my birthday so we waited to celebrate until he left over a week later.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Life with teenagers is never boring ...

The three oldest and I were out and about last evening. Rosie Mae drove to come home and as we bumped across the railroad tracks she apologized. "Sorry to turn you into a tossed salad."
Kenneth: Like waves on the ocean.
Rosie Mae: Salads do not belong in oceans.
Kenneth: Tell that to the seaweed.
Sharon: Oh ... kelp me!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Withdraw Thy Foot

Teacher Hannah had each of us students in school memorize a verse from the Bible each week and required us to recite it on Friday afternoon. Anyone who could do it perfectly would get a small prize. I used to spend lots of time rehearsing and practicing to make sure I would get my weekly prize.

One week we had to memorize a verse out of Proverbs. I brought the reference home and Mom helped me find it in the Bible and after she had read it she said something about what a nice verse it was and that we should have it on our wall.

That was all I needed to hear. I got a piece of paper and a blue permanent marker. I carefully copied the verse and tacked it on the wall above the kitchen table. After I was done I read a little more and was intrigued how each verse in Proverbs had it's own little nugget of wisdom and asked Mom if she minds if I find more verses to copy then we could rotate them and not be tired of any of them.

She gave me permission and I set to work to find verses that I especially liked. When Saturday came I happily removed my first verse and tacked up a new one. I noticed Mom and Daddy seemed a little amused at my choice but they didn't say anything.

The next day was our inbetween Sunday and much to our delight Mom's younger brother John Henry and his family came. He was a very special uncle and visits from them were always a treat. We were all having a good time when Mom suggested we all move to the kitchen for snacks and popcorn. As we settled on our chairs and resumed visiting John Henry got to his feet and said, "Well, I think it's time we head for home."

We were all surprised and then Mom noticed that he was reading the verse I had tacked to the wall which read. "Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbors house lest he grow weary of thee and so hate thee." She quickly assured him that we weren't tired of their company and that I had chosen that verse for this weeks motto.

He settled back in his chair and the rest of the afternoon passed swiftly. And once they were heading home Mom suggested that I find another verse that wouldn't risk offending anyone.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Canning Time

Summer days were filled to the brim. With a growing family Mom had planted a bigger garden and days were filled with picking up any stones we could find between the rows of vegetables and piling them beside the garden for Daddy to use on one of his many projects. I enjoyed picking stones much more than pulling weeds which also thrived in abundance.

It was always fun to start the canning season. Peas were always the first vegetables ready to harvest. Shelling peas was a tiresome job. With several five gallon buckets heaped full, we would get bowls and sit on the front porch swing and start shelling them. To make a boring job more fun we often played guessing games while we worked or sang songs.

Once we were done shelling them Mom would wash them to remove any of the dirt that happened to get into the bowls of peas while John and I went to the attic to find the jars Mom needed. Once we found the jars, they needed to be scrubbed in hot soapy water, which I thought was a total waste of time since they looked clean already.

Once the jars were scrubbed to Mom's specifications we would fill them with peas and carefully measure a teaspoon of salt into each jar and then filled them with water and turned the lids on tightly. Mom would set the filled jars in a canner and cover them with water and light the burner under the canner. Once we saw a few puffs of steam escape from the canner we would check the clock and calculate the time the peas could be removed from the canner three hours later.

Several days later another batch of peas would be ready to can and we would go through the whole process again. And so it continued all summer long, as one vegetable ended another one started and by fall it seemed everything wanted to ripen before the first frost and days were hectically busy with piles of sweetcorn and bushels of tomatoes and green beans plus the fruit, peaches, pears, and early apples. We would no longer have time to pick rocks and the weeds used to wave victoriously at us as we worked from morning till night everyday canning food to take us through until the next summer.

Every once in a while after a particularly warm and tiring day Mom would send John and me to the corner grocery store in the village to buy a box of ice cream for a treat for supper. The half mile walk was worth it as we stood in McLaughlin's Store and Mr. McLaughlin would open the freezer and let us choose a box of ice-cream. He was a kindly old man and would often give us each a Popsicle to eat on the way home. We never could make those Popsicles last until we got home as we thoroughly enjoyed the refreshing cold sweetness they provided after working all day.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

A Wedding

The first wedding to be held in our new church house was scheduled to happen in less than a week. I was looking forward to it since we were also invited to the reception.

Mom went to help get ready a few days before the wedding. There was a lot of baking and food preparation to do to get ready for all the guests. Since we lived close to the bride's home they borrowed our fine china too in order to have all the tables set with pretty dishes.

Once the day of the wedding came we went to church. Everything seemed like a regular church service except the first bench facing the preachers was reserved for the bridal party which was still hidden away in one of the coatrooms in front of the church house.

The first song was finally done being sung and the 'Lob Lied' started. After the usual twenty minutes of singing it, it was time to sing the third song. Mom had told me to watch the door of the coat room carefully once they start singing the third line of the third song. I had been waiting for that line all morning and now as the first drawn out word faded and the next one followed all eyes were glued to the door as it opened and the bridal party came walking carefully into the room. I watched as they all stood in front of the bench and sat down at the same time. The bride looked very happy but I wasn't thinking about her happy face. I had happened to see that the girls all had to have their hand held by the boy that was escorting them, I nearly shuddered at the thought that I would ever have to do that and vowed I would never get married.

After two regular length sermons the bishop told them if they still wanted to be married they could come stand before him. He had a long row of questions to ask them to which they answered with a soft little yes. The rest of the church stood for a prayer and then the bishop joined their hands and pronounced them man and wife. They returned to their seats while the rest of the preachers gave them words of advice and commented on the sermons. The closing song was sung and it was finally time to go to the reception.

As we got to the home of the brides parents I looked in awe at all the tables that had been set with pretty dishes. There were lots of girls hurrying from the kitchen to the tables carrying bowls filled with steaming food. Everything looked really good and I looked forward to sitting down at one of those long pretty tables. I followed Mom upstairs where she placed our wedding gift on a bed that was heaped with gifts for the happy couple.

The brides father was in charge of seating the people. Close relatives got to be seated first and closest to the bridal table. Once we were seated I was happy to see that we had an excellent view of the bridal party from where we were sitting. Sitting right next to me was a little girl about my age. Once silent prayer was over and everyone started passing the food we started talking. Her name was Effie and she was a sister to the groom. Her mother was one of the cooks so she had to sit at the same table we were at, but she was happy to be able to see her big brother from where she was sitting.

It didn't take her long to eat everything on her plate and then she sat there gazing into the living room at all the other people. Directly across the table from us was a little three year old who was misbehaving and in a fit of anger threw his bread crust that his mother was trying to get him to eat right into Effie's plate. A little later Effie happened to notice the crust and hurriedly picked it up and ate it looking mortified that she still had a crust on her plate.

I felt sorry for her that she ate someone else's crust but I didn't tell her that it hadn't been hers. And as much as I had looked forward to that wedding it is the bread crust I remember the most vividly.