Saturday, May 30, 2009

Of Blog Hopping and Home Dentistry

I can't remember when the last time was I felt so tired! I just finished a marathon blog hopping event thanks to Sew, Mama, Sew! I found and entered a few great giveaways. The girls enjoyed spending time in their "house" eating popcorn while I was thus occupied.

My husband has a tooth that was acting very unkindly to him, and so he decided the offender has to be removed. He called a few of his brothers that live in the area to see if they would be willing to step up to the task. They weren't brave enough so as a last ditch effort of avoiding the dentist he called his brother that lives a hundred miles west of us, and he agreed to give it a try if we were willing to drive all the way to their house.
So after work last evening we headed out. The children were excited to get to play with their cousins again, since they have eight children there is never a dull moment around them! We arrived and we had to catch up on all the latest news before we got down to the nasty reason we were there. Once his brother had the instruments of torture in his hand I headed outside, I'll admit I'm a coward, but I just could not bear to actually see the grizzly event unfold. My sister-in-law had no such qualms though and happily took a lot of pictures.
I felt much better outside listening to all the night time sounds and admiring the vast amount of fireflies that were flitting about across the fields.
The children were much too busy to all gather together somewhere for a picture, but I did manage to get one of the girls.
The attempt of at home dentistry was not successful. So an appointment will be made with a professional. For anyone brave enough I am including one little picture that shows just a little of their painful attempts. If you're not brave you might want to find something a little safer to look at.















I had warned you.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mom's Apron

I was cleaning and doing some general de-cluttering today when I came across one of my Mom's old aprons. It isn't what anyone could call pretty, its a worn faded royal blue with several scorch marks on it. It still feels soft like her aprons always did. (To me it feels like love.)I sat there for a while just holding it and allowing many good memories to come back.
Mom always wore an apron. Usually it was several shades lighter than the color of dress she was wearing.
As a child, her apron was as much a part of her as her smile, or her gentle hands. If I hurt myself and had to cry her apron was always there to dry my tears.
In the evenings after supper, Mom and Daddy would often walk out to the garden to see how everything was growing, and often times it would be filled with various vegetables by the time we got back to the house.
Her apron served as a pot holder on the occasions when a pot was threatening to boil over on the stove.
It served as a towel to dry her hands when ever she had to leave in the middle of washing the dishes to answer the door or help us children with something.
It was used as a blanket when we sat on the porch swing in the evening and one of us would be chilly.
It was removed and snapped at stray dogs to chase them out of our yard and away from her frightened children.
It was used to fan her face on summer days when the kitchen was hot from canning.
Every once in a while she would let us hold the apron strings and pretend to be driving a horse.
Often when she spied something dusty, the corner of her apron would be used to wipe it off.

I gently folded the apron and put it into one of my drawers. I'll never use it, but every once in a while when I'm missing my Mom I can go hold that apron and once again be a carefree little girl skipping beside my mother.

Blogging Friends

Thanks to Valerie from Val's Diary and the Ungourmet for presenting me with this award. I have chosen several other blogs to pass it on to. It was hard to narrow it down to only four, but here we go...
  1. Katie at My Pinecraft World
  2. Bethrusso at Snoozin' Pooches
  3. Robynn at Robynn's Ravings
  4. Janie at Janie & Steve's Utah Trails

I enjoy visiting these blogs among many others too. You might want to check them out too.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Of Fruit and Fish

Summer time in the Dundee was filled to the brim. With many different orchards in the area it seemed that every other week we would be picking a different fruit.
Mom would hitch Jim to our spring wagon and we would go to Grandpa Mast's and Aunt Emma and Vernie would join us. Aunt Emma would sit on the seat beside Mom, holding David and Vernie would join John and me in the back on our blanket nests. Grandpa would give us each a handful of long Timothy grass and we would hold it against the wheel spokes. It made a funny noise as Jim trotted down the road to Gibson's Orchard.
Once we were there Mom would hand each of us an empty peanut butter pail and we would help her pick blueberries, or raspberries. Emma and Mom would pick fast and soon had their pails full and dump them into the berry boxes. John and I barely had the bottoms covered in our little pails. Mom never seemed to mind how slow we picked and would encourage us by saying every berry we pick she won't have to. By afternoon we would pay for the berries we picked and drive home. Vernie, John and I would snack on the berries all the way home.
Cherry picking was even more fun. Grandpa would put several ladders in the back of the spring wagon and then sit in the back with us. Once we got to the orchard he would set up the ladders and Emma, Mom, and he would climb up into the trees to pick cherries. Vernie, John and I would pick everything we could reach from the ground.
Once we got home we would have to pull the stems off all the cherries and wash them and put them in jars. Mom would mix a sugar syrup and pour it over them. It was fun watching as the canning shelves filled up with row after row of fruits for the winter.
We saved a big bowlful to eat fresh. When Daddy came home from work he suggested we pack a picnic supper including plenty of fresh cherries and we could go to Grandpa's pond and go out on their big row boat and do some fishing while we eat our supper. We hurried and packed everything we needed and headed for Grandpa's with our spring wagon.
Uncle David helped Daddy get the boat into the water and helped all of us in and then took David back to the house so we won't have to worry about him tumbling into the water. It was great fun eating our sandwiches as we drifted across the pond. We ate our cherries and tried to see who could spit their pits the farthest. Daddy could make his go an impressive distance, Mom and John weren't too bad at it either, but the only way I got mine in the water was if I leaned over the edge of the boat.
Once we were done eating we settled back to do some fishing. We caught quite a few and decided it's time to head for home. We picked David up from the house, Grandpa came out to admire the fish we caught and gave us a bigger more shallow container to use to take the fish home in hopes the water wouldn't slosh as bad.
On the way home we hit a bump and I put my hand out for balance and happened to put it right into the bowl of fish. They were still alive and felt really weird. I still shiver when I think how it felt!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Like Father, Like Son

Last spring Sailor became the happy owner of one of the sweetest and most loyal little Beagles I had ever met. He named him Jack and spent hours with him every day roaming our land. A few months later someone abandoned another Beagle at the end of our driveway. Jack made her feel right at home and Sailor gave her a name. Jack and Jill were one happy couple. Last fall they had six little puppies.
Sailor spent all of his free moments with them, and grieved every time one of them found a new home. Finally there was only one puppy left. He had named him Waggy Tail but we called him Wags for short. We found a place for Jill too, that left only Wags and his daddy, Jack. And then Jack disappeared for several weeks we were afraid something bad might have happened and then one morning when Sailor was outside playing with Wags they heard a strange noise. It was Jack minus his eyes sniffing his way back home to his beloved Sailor.
The tears that flowed then! The children sobbed and petted and cried and hugged that poor little dog, his head looked terrible as there was obvious infection too.
The vet couldn't do anything and we were left with only one option. They call it humane. We called it heartbreaking!
We were very glad we still had not found a home for Wags. He really helped Sailor to not hurt as badly as he would have otherwise.

Jack inspecting a turtle that came wandering along.
And exactly one year later Wags is telling a turtle exactly what he thinks.

He got right up in his face, and put all his vocal energy into his message of no trespassing on his guard. The snapper finally got tired of it and snapped him.

Wags retreated to a safer distance to voice his grievances. In the meantime the girls got a little closer for a better look.

Monday, May 25, 2009

"Ordnungs" Church

Since the Amish community in Dundee was still young, they didn't have their own bishop yet. And so a bishop from a nearby community would come whenever there was something going in the church that required a bishop to be there.
Every spring and fall there were two special church services that lasted all day. The first one was called "ordnungs" church. I used to love these services. They were one long Bible story that would start at the Garden of Eden and included Noah and his ark, Lot and his family, Abraham and Isaac, then how Jacob married and finally moved back to his homeland. I would shiver through the story of how Joseph was sold to the Egyptians and how God used his life, I could see baby Moses in his basket floating on the river and thrilled when the daughter of Pharaoh wanted him for her son. But my favorite part was when Moses was supposed to lead the children of Israel back to Canaan I used to envision all the plagues that came and imagined how scary and yet exciting it would have been to have been there and watch as Daddy would stroke blood over the door frames so that the angel would pass over our house. I marvelled at how the Red Sea parted and everyone got to the other side and rejoiced when the waters swallowed the entire Egyptian army. I enjoyed the stories of their journey through the wilderness and the many things that happened while they were there. My mouth would water when Joshua and Caleb came back from spying in Canaan carrying huge clusters of grapes. I used to envision the grapes to be the size of apples. I thrilled when Joshua and his army marched around Jericho and how the walls tumbled down, and only Rahab and her house were saved.
Somewhere close to the story of Joseph it would be time to eat lunch. The lady of the home where church was being held would come and dismiss one bench of women at a time to go eat. It seemed a little strange to only have a few people eating the normal church peanut butter sandwiches in a very hushed atmosphere. We would hurry and then file back to our seats and the next bench full would leave.
When the minister was finally done telling all the Bible stories the bishop would announce that after the closing song was sung the children would be dismissed and everyone that is a member please stay seated.
This used to be lots of fun. I used to be really curious what happens behind those closed doors, but it was good to be able go play after sitting on a backless bench for six hours.
This time the entire Dundee Amish church had joined the Prattsburg community to save the ministers from having to go through that long service twice.
After we children were dismissed we were told to go to a certain room. When we entered I could hardly believe my eyes. Never had I seen so many toys. There was a child sized china cupboard, a sink with real running water, a stove, and everything else you could dream of. The Prattsburg children, John, our cousins, and I stood and looked at it. It seemed too good to be true. The lady of the house smiled at us and told us to enjoy ourselves and then left closing the door behind her.
We turned to go play with all the wonderful things, but there was a beautiful little girl with black curly hair standing in front of the little china cupboard with her arms crossed stating emphatically that no one is allowed to touch her toys, and then proceeded to start playing by herself, we were all dumbfounded for a moment, but cousin Emma soon lost her awe of the little "Queen" and went to join her. It was not a good idea. She grabbed the dishes out of her hands and slapped and scratched Emma's face. Stating, "NO ONE is allowed to touch my toys!" We all stood against the wall and watched her in amazement, we had never met anyone even remotely like her before. After a while she looked us all over and announced that she doesn't mind if that little boy helps her play, pointing at John.
John went to join her, and faithfully followed her instructions. But after they had set her little table for two he made the mistake of offering me a drink from one of her little teacups. She grabbed his hair and snatched the cup away from him. And he was once more reduced to the lot of the rest of us standing and watching a selfish little girl trying to play with her lovely toys.
That hour and a half shut in that room was one of the longest I ever had. We were so happy when our parents came saying it is time to go home now.
On the way home we had to to tell Mom and Daddy all about that little girl. Daddy told us that we should feel sorry for her, because she doesn't have any friends, and that friends are much more important than anything else we can have.
Two weeks later we went back to the same place for communion church. I enjoyed the sermon that touched a little on the same subjects as they had two weeks prior, and then the birth and life of Jesus, His crucifixion and resurrection and finally at 3:00 when they served communion to all the members. I enjoyed watching as the women washed each others feet, but what I was really looking forward to was once church was over I could give that little girl a pack of balloons and some of Mom's delicious chocolate chip cookies that John and I had helped to make the day before.
Once the last notes of the parting song faded away and people started visiting Mom nodded at me and I got the package and gave it to the little girl. She opened it and ate the cookies and put the pack of balloons safely in her room where no one could get them.
We left for home. I never saw that little girl again, but have to think of her occasionally and wonder how life is treating her.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Random Thoughts

This morning we opened a new box of cereal for breakfast. As a rule we always read everything on the box and this morning was no exception, but now we're at a loss why they chose to pair Pampers® with Cheerios® It is a little disturbing to be eating a bowl of cereal from a box that is telling you how Pampers Baby Dry™ help lock wetness away for up to 9 hours.

Living in the country you never know what to expect to find in your yard when you look out the window. We've had our share of visiting animals, sometimes they belonged to one of our neighbors and other times they just wander from their homes in the woods.
There is nothing that I know of that is more frustrating than the sound of a low moo outside your bedroom window in the middle of the night and the louder somewhat envious moos coming from a distant field. Especially if your husband is out of the area on business.
I had to wake Sailor to help me guide the straying bovine back to where it had left it's friends. Armed with a flashlight and for the lack of something better, a mop, we actually managed to get it back where it belonged.
I tried to tell myself that I'll sleep much better for the rest of the night since I was out in the fresh night air at 1:00 A.M.
For the past several days we kept seeing a visiting horse in the yard. We would lead him back to his own pasture but he kept jumping the fence and coming back. Sailor would have loved to keep him since it seemed determined to live here. But this morning his owner finally came to get him, and tied him to the back of his little car and drove slowly home. He is a lovely and gentle horse. Sailor will miss him.
It's that time of year again when having all the windows open still doesn't bring relief from the heat and seems to only add misery by allowing the high humidity inside.
We finally turned the air conditioner on several days ago and the girls are having fun standing or in this case crouching over the vents and pretending to be wearing hoop skirts.

Yesterday we were at a wedding. I really enjoy weddings, even though I always end up weepy for some odd reason. Men have it so nice. They don't worry about that emotion unless they're the Daddy of the bride. Otherwise it's more of a, can you imagine what this cost, type of feeling.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another Glimpse

Today the children and I were invited to an all day birthday celebration for one of my best friend's little girl. We had a great time. I went armed with my camera because there never fails to be something there that is photo worthy.
It kind of backfired on me though when Sailor stole a picture of me holding her little dog.

Now there's something you might not know about me........... I really, really don't enjoy being in front of a camera. Well actually that part isn't as bad as seeing the results of me being in front of a camera.

I can't believe that I'm actually doing this and hope I don't lose too many readers because of this. But here I am enjoying my friend's little dog "Skipper"

And don't worry it will be a long time before I post another picture of me.

I'll be attending a wedding tomorrow. I had planned to take the camera along but I'm rethinking
it now.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

School Books and Shop Lofts

One late summer day John and Sue Coffer stopped in for a short visit. Amid the course of conversation they were having over chocolate milk and cookies they mentioned the fact that one of their acquaintances was a teacher at a school that was getting rid of a lot of their older books that were no longer being used, and wondered if we'd be interested in them or at least storing them in the loft of our shop until they found someone who might be interested in them.

Daddy and Mom agreed and several days later several vehicles came loaded with books and other school supplies. They carried everything up to the loft and then stayed for a few hours yet to visit and enjoy fresh peaches and cream.

After they left we all went up into the loft and started digging through all the boxes. I had never seen so many books in my life and was thrilled with everything, there were boxes with paints, pastels, construction paper, microscopes, and any other school supply you could dream of.

We took some of the things into the house and Mom got us started on some art projects. It was so exciting thinking of all the things we could do with everything we had.

A few days later John, David, and I were playing in the sandbox when we decided to go up in the loft and look at more of the books and things that were waiting on us. We were soon settled contentedly amid the piles of boxes, looking at the pictures in the reading books, David soon got bored and started playing with the door knob. John and I didn't pay him any mind, the books and microscopes were much more interesting.

After a while we noticed several wasps flying around and I told John to go get a fly swatter, he ran to the door but couldn't open it. I went to help him but couldn't turn the knob either. We tried to unlock it without success. The loft suddenly didn't look inviting as we started calling for Mom. She didn't answer and we started crying, the wasps kept buzzing around, the sun started going down, we were getting to be very warm, and our voices almost hoarse from crying by the time Mom heard us. She came with a key and released us from our prison.

We were so happy to get back into fresh air again..

We still enjoyed the days when Mom would say, lets go to the loft children. We would select some things to take into the house. We enjoyed the introduction of using a microscope and marvelled at the way our hair looks and exclaimed over what was revealed when you looked at a drop of water. But we were never tempted to go to the loft without Mom.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Long Weekend

We just got done with a four day weekend that we took to drive to Pennsylvania. Since our vehicle doesn't really have room for luggage we try to travel as lightly as possible.

We got everything tucked in as good as we could and started off. We planned on stopping in Indiana for the night at a friends house. So we took the northern and most boring route. Since we all enjoy traveling we kept our eyes open for anything we could find that is odd, or happens to strike our funny bone. It didn't take long at all. First up was an elderly couple sitting on lawn chairs in the middle of a pasture along 63 each holding a rope so their horses can graze.

And before long we caught up with 9 bikers out enjoying their Harley's. Trust me there were nine of them. I counted them as they rounded a curve in front of us then again as they went up a hill, and again around the next curve. You get the picture.... Once I start counting something I can't stop. And so I counted them over and over and over again until they finally pulled off at a gas station.

Going through St. Louis the children wanted to stop at the arch, but since we had already rode to the top of it once we kept on going. We had to contend with a lot of road construction which slowed us down and really heavy rain through Illinois and Indiana. We were amazed at how many people travel with their dogs. In one 6 mile stretch of road construction there was no fewer than five vehicles stopped with a dog that needed to get outside and it's owner waiting rather impatiently with an umbrella until they could continue on their way safely.

At the Indiana, Kentucky line we saw a field with hundreds of barrels that were converted into rooster hutches. Each with a rooster tied to it by it's leg. We are still puzzling over the sight. What is the purpose of raising them like that and what will they do with them?

We enjoyed our visit with our friends in Indiana and then headed on to Pennsylvania, back to the beautiful Appalachian mountains.
We met with the guy that wanted us to come in and see his farm and then drove around the old familiar roads. We wanted to fuel up again and went to the nearest town, but their gas station had closed and the other was under construction and the only one that was open didn't have diesel so we headed for the next town only to discover there is no diesel there either our low fuel light came on and we were getting desperate, we ended up going clear to Fuel City (a place with nothing but truck stops and fuel stations) I had forgotten how almost nobody back there drives diesel vehicles.
We stopped at one of the shopping centers and stocked up on Snyder Cheese Curls, which in our humble opinion are the best in the U.S. and unfortunately can only be bought in the east. I thoroughly enjoyed the vast quantity and quality of businesses and stores once again. Things I used to take for granted before we moved to the middle of nowhere.
We then headed for my husbands cousin where we stayed for two nights. It is impossible to not enjoy your stay there. We all enjoyed it very much, but early Monday morning we started for home taking the southern route.

Once we left the mountains behind things got boring and since we wanted to drive home without stopping for anything except to fuel up, it got tiresome and we started getting goofy. We have approximately two hundred pictures to prove it. Everything from my husbands Hillstrand brothers impersonation to some of us waving at whoever passed us and lots of other things too. I'll have to go through all of them and delete the majority.

I'm off to do that now.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Chain Saws and Worries

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

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

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Italian Salad

Our family enjoys trying new salads, and have discovered some delicious ones along the way. One of my sister-in-laws gave me this recipe and last night I made it. (If you're reading this Emma, Thank-you so much for sharing) Since it has to marinade overnight I didn't get to taste it until today. I loved it, my husband asked for seconds which is always a good sign, the girls didn't care for the olives, and Sailor emphatically does not care for it at all.

Italian Salad
1 box (16 oz) medium shell pasta
4 oz. hard salami, cubed
6 oz. sliced pepperoni, quartered
12 cheese sticks, halved and cut in 1/4" pieces
3 medium tomatoes seeded and chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
1/2 cup sliced stuffed olives
1 cup Zesty Italian salad dressing
1 tsp. oregano

Cook pasta shells according to directions on box. Rinse in cold water and drain. Place in a big bowl then add your salami, pepperoni, cheese, olives, tomatoes, and pepper.
In a smaller bowl combine the Italian dressing and oregano and mix with a wire whisk or fork. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate over night to let the flavors blend.
Serves approximately 16. It keeps well for several days if kept refrigerated.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sunset and Blessings

There are some days, like today when everything is going direct opposite of what you had planned, that I have to take a moment and relax and reflect on the many good things in life.
  • a family that is everything to me
  • true friends, ( they truly are precious and rare)
  • good health
  • and if I try to think there are countless other little blessings if I just look for them.

So I'll not complain and just go ahead and try to enjoy my chaotic life. With sunsets like this that we had this weekend a person doesn't have much of a choice, except to drink it in and enjoy it!

I realize Thanksgiving is still a ways off, but what are you thankful for when you take the time to stop and think?

Monday, May 11, 2009


My Mom's sister Lydia, and her family lived on a farm along 14 A. They also had a small bulkfood store, and so whenever we needed flour or sugar Mom would hitch up Jim to the top buggy and we would drive over to them. John and I liked when the weather was warm enough that Mom put the storm front up and we could stand in the front of the buggy holding onto the dashboard. It was fun watching Jim's feet on the road and try to catch his tail when ever he swished it.
We usually stayed for a few hours as Mom helped Lydia with whatever she had going, and John and I played with our cousins. Since there was only a few months difference in our ages, we had some of the best times whenever we got together.
Then one day on our way home John and I were chattering away in our normal fashion, but Mom was not joining in as usual. When we turned around we noticed tears on her cheeks and we of-course wanted to know what was wrong. She said "Lydia has cancer."
We had no idea what cancer was, but if it made Mom cry it must be bad.
From then on we went over several times a week, Mom would do whatever work she could and make meals and do the laundry for them as Lydia got very weak and couldn't work at all.
Cousin Emma was no longer as much fun. She always looked sad, often we would arrive and she had her dress on backwards and Mom would first make sure that all their children were clean and properly dressed before doing the days work.
Then late one night uncle Alvin stopped in. He was carrying a tiny baby boy. He handed him to Mom, he talked a little and then went off into the night again. We fixed up the bassinet for the baby and Mom let me help fix his bottles. He was the cutest little baby.
Alvin stopped in once a day with their children to see the baby, on their way to Grandpa Mast's where they would stay while he went to the hospital to be with Lydia. Since she had her baby the doctor's could finally do something for the cancer.
By the time baby Reuben was three months old Lydia had won the battle with cancer and we had to give the baby back to his rightful home. That was hard as we were all quite attached to him by then. But we were very happy that Lydia was going to be fine.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Family Life

As a child one of the highlights of the month was when our issue of the Family Life came. It contained a section of children's stories that Mom would read to us before we went to bed and the cover had hand drawn pictures that we liked to color.
We saved all the issues and as we grew older we enjoyed reading all the stories. My grandparents had every issue of the Pathway magazines (Family Life, Young Companion, and Blackboard Bulletin) from the time the first one rolled of the press in the 60's. It was a special treat to borrow their back issues. They had a continued children's story that was written in German which only Mom could read fluently. And Sunday afternoon we would all sit around the kitchen table eating popcorn and apples while she read it to us.

For some reason my husband and I never had the urge to subscribe to it after we got married. However last fall someone gave us a gift subscription and now our children enjoy them too. And since they're laying around the house, I usually end up reading them from cover to cover too.
We got the May issue this week. I had to look twice at the picture they chose for the cover. And I'm still puzzling over why they used it.

I like an egg for breakfast occasionally. I think baby chicks are cute. And it's something of a miracle how they hatch. But please! the eggs in a carton setting on a table are not supposed to be in danger of doing that.

Maybe I'm a little weird or something, but I have not had an egg for breakfast since this came.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Springtime Storms

I have discovered that you can never tell what a day may bring.When we got up this morning my husband had plans to go to his job and I had plans for another uneventful day at home. But at the breakfast table we started getting severe storm warnings and soon got a call from his boss that logging is out of the question today and to just take the day off.

It wasn't long before the weather hit and the power went off. Since we don't have a storm shelter our neighbor called and offered to let us huddle in hers, we watched out the windows to see how bad things are looking, and kept checking the radar on our cell phone. The worst of the storm just missed us.

Some of our friends and neighbors lost buildings, and there were of course trees down everywhere. We were fortunate to have only minimal damage. A few shingles loose on the roof of our house and some banged up calf hutches is really not worthy of being complained about.

Sailor wanted to get a picture of Daddy fixing the roof, saying that from his perch he has an excellent view. I gave him the camera but grabbed a quick picture of him first.

I was pleased with the results of Sailors photography efforts. Looks like his Daddy is walking on the clouds.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cheese Bars

Everybody should get to eat these Cheese Bars at least once in their lifetime. They are so good! And since I'm in a generous mood right now I'll share the recipe with you.

Cheese Bars

1 box yellow cake mix
1 beaten egg
1 stick softened butter

Mix the crust ingredients well and then pat into the bottom and about a 1/4" up the sides of an ungreased 9"x13" pan. You will want to dip your spoon in water every once in a while as you pat it in so it doesn't stick and make a frustrating mess. If you're feeling a little less than proper go ahead and just use your hand, it's much easier that way, but be sure to dip it in water occasionally.

Cheese Filling:
2 beaten eggs
1- 8 oz package softened cream cheese
2-3/4 cup powdered sugar

Beat it all together and pour into crust.
Bake at 325 for 40-45 minutes.
Let it cool and cut in squares. I know the picture I'm showing I would have been able to get four squares out of it, but trust me, once you've tasted this you will want a piece at least this big.
These are so hard to share, but if you do you'll be sure to be rewarded with happy people.
Very simple, yet oh so yummy. Good Luck!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Barn Raising

Daddy and Mom managed to save up enough money to build a small woodworking shop, where he hoped to build furniture to sell and be able to work at home with his growing family.
They bought all the lumber and supplies needed and then let all the Amish in the area know that they will be having a frolic on Saturday.( The Amish call barn and house raising's a frolic. Why? I have no idea.)
We got up while it was still dark and hurried with our breakfast. By the time the sun was coming up, buggies were coming in the lane. The women and children came into the house and the men after they had unhitched their horse and tied it to a tree went to see what they could do to help.
Before long the sounds of hammers and saws filled the air as the men tackled the job at hand, the women were visiting as they started preparing the huge noon meal, and we children couldn't decide where it was the most fun to be. In the house watching as vast amounts of food was being prepared or outside watching the shop grow under the steady pounding of hammers.
Someone had brought the church benches to set up tables and provide enough seats for everyone. Daddy came and set up a few of them for us to slide on. That was so much fun!
At noon Mom sent some of the older children to tell Daddy that lunch was ready. And had us set out a row of bowls on a bench and then fill them with cold water from the garden hose. We laid a big clean towel beside each bowl and then watched as the men lined up and sloshed the water over their faces and arms, water dripped off their long beards as they reached for the towel to dry off.
After everyone was washed up a few of the women quickly hung the towels on the clothes line until everyone was seated at the tables. Big platters of fried chicken and bowls heaped with steaming mashed potatoes and gravy, there was sweet corn and applesauce, stacks of fresh homemade bread, and plates filled with sliced tomatoes from the garden. And several kinds of pie for dessert.
After the silent prayer was over everyone started filling their plates and visiting, the food soon disappeared and the men went back to work while the women cleared away the mess.
By evening the shop was done. It looked beautiful with its white sides and green hip roof. There were stairs at the back on the outside that led up to an attic/loft that could be used for storage or an extra sleeping area when we got overnight guests.
We were tired and happy as we got ready for bed, we couldn't wait to play in the shop and watch Daddy make things with wood.

A Day in Our Life

Yesterday turned out to be quite interesting. We had a friend over and spent all afternoon baking. After seeing cheese cake, chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls, and sweet raisin bread all afternoon and of- course taste testing everything, I'm in need of some salty and definitely not dessert type recipes.

Everything turned out really good and so we kept coming back to make sure it actually tasted as good as we think it did.

It always did.

I think I'll go have some chicken noodle soup.


Last evening Sunbeam came to show me a picture she drew of a horse and buggy. I admired it then asked what she wrote along the top of her board.

Her answer: I don't know Mom, I can't read yet!


I will be posting another memory about being an Amish child, later today.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cheesy Garlic Bites

I have a very busy day planned.
  • Thinking of all I'll be doing makes me hungry.
  • Being hungry makes me think of good food.
  • Good food makes me think of Cheesy Garlic Bites.
  • Cheesy Garlic Bites make me feel like sharing the recipe

Cheesy Garlic Bites
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp yeast
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2-1/4 cup flour
Mix water, vegetable oil, sugar, and salt. Add 1 cup flour and yeast. Mix until smooth. Add Parmesan cheese and mix again. Add another cup of flour. Mix well. Add remaining 1/4 cup of flour and knead by hand.
Cover with a cloth and set aside for 45 minutes.
On a greased surface roll out this dough to a 12"x20" rectangle. It's a good idea to grease your rolling pin too.
Spread with 2 tablespoons of softened butter. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of fresh minced garlic and 1 cup of your choice of shredded cheese. (I used cheddar this time) and 1 tablespoon parsley flakes. Roll up and cut in 1 inch slices and place sliced side down on a greased or parchment paper lined pan (I like to use my airbake cookie sheet) bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve. Yield approximately 24
These never fail to make any meal better! They are so good I always have a hard time stopping with just one or two.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Quilt Rachel

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

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Of Puppies and Naptime

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

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Mailbox

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