Monday, August 31, 2009

Grandpa and the Tractor

When spring finally came to stay Daddy and Mom used to spend 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.

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 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 along and went up the road. Until Grandpa drove that tractor I had no idea it was possible to have it move so slowly.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jalapeno Bites

I am always on the lookout for delicious and yet easy to make recipes and have come across another keeper!

Start with fresh Jalapeno peppers. Cut them in half length wise and remove the seeds. You will want to wear latex gloves to do this part.

Next fill each half even full of softened cream cheese. And then wrap a piece of bacon around it and place on a baking sheet, a jelly roll or cake pan work best. Bake at 350 until bacon has reached your desired crispness.

Serve as an appetizer or an addition to make any meal better. They are surprisely mild once the seeds and membrane have been removed. Even the children have a hard time stopping at only one or two.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Random Thoughts

I was browsing through some of my cookbooks to try and get inspired to make a nice dinner tonight. I stumbled across some meatloaf recipes which reminded me of the time my husband and I went to a restaurant soon after we were married and got seated next to a table where a very noisy group of women were sitting. We couldn't help but overhearing their conversation. I have forgotten most of it by now but the one part will probably stick with me for the rest of my life.

This one woman was telling the rest of this wonderful meatloaf she had invented the previous evening. She started with a pound of hamburger and added spices (which I can't remember) then added a pound of butter and a can of Coca-Cola!

We never tried it but it is one recipe that sticks with us, and every once in a while we pull it out of our memory files for another good chuckle. So if you were that woman in Perkins ten years ago trying to impress your friends with the your meatloaf invention. Thank-you we would not remember that evening if it had not been for you.

I have to smile every time I see this picture of my husbands brothers. I can't believe the hats they used to have to wear. And the expressions on their faces...............

Being a Mom is hard work. Recently Sailor came running into the house all dirty and sweaty after being in the woods for several hours. He was all excited as he told me how he discovered a gold mine out in our little patch of woods.

He told me how deep the hole is that he dug and now he needs something to put the gold dust into.

What could I do? There was no way I could make myself dash his dreams and joy by saying there is no gold there. So I handed him a paper bag and a Gatorade instead and let him go back out in the heat to dig a worthless hole in the woods. And later admired the handful of dirt that twinkled every so slightly if the light hit it just right.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Settling In

The snow melted before long and 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 it's 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 Dundee, 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. We were always glad when we rounded then bend 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 the 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.

Friday, August 21, 2009

School Picture

I have a fascination with old pictures. Especially if they include people that I know.

Last week we were at my husbands parents for a few hours. In the course of conversation something reminded my mother-in-law about a picture they have.

I was delighted to see it. It's a school picture from the 50's before the Somerset County Amish had their own schools. They generously allowed us to make a copy for ourselves. We felt like we discovered a treasure! Pictures of your parents when they were children is something very rare for anyone who was raised Amish.

My father-in-law is circled and three of his sisters pointed out.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A New School

After everyone had gone home after unloading the semi, 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.

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 and 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 LV after a few minutes 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. They were extremely curly and resembled a shelf. I looked around at the other children and then had to look at those 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.

(The road to school from the small dirt road. The schoolhouse is hidden from view in the hollow.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A New Home

During the night Daddy and John started for Pennsylvania, riding in the semi. And once morning came so did a 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 whole while. And then stated 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.

Monday, August 17, 2009


This summer has definitely had it's share of ups and downs. We are so happy that Sunbeam has advanced from this.

To this.

She is also very happy, that she can once again take a few unassisted steps. She described her feelings as "twangled." Happy to be able to walk but wishing she could run and jump.

I liked the description and it's one word that I don't let the teacher in me, correct. "Twangled" sounds sweeter than tangled any day!

Friday, August 14, 2009

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 Dundee 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 and with everyone helping they lifted them up into the trailer. 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.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Time for another giveaway. This time I will let you have a peek at some of the things that will be filling a box for the lucky winner.

Two cups, and saucers. Three vintage Junior Elf books.Two doilies, or whatever you want to call them.

And three cute dry erase boards. They have a magnetic back so they would work great on your refrigerator. I would love to have them for my own, but since I'm downsizing I'll let someone else enjoy them.
I will also include a few other surprise goodies.
To enter all you have to do is leave a comment on this post answering at least one of the following questions.
  1. What is your favorite color ?
  2. What is your favorite season?
  3. Where would you like to go for a vacation?
  4. What is your favorite restaurant?
For three more entries post a link on your blog and then come back and let me know you did so I can give you your extra entries.
I will draw the winner on September 1, 2009.
Giveaway is now closed and a winner has been chosen.

Monday, August 10, 2009

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 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 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. A sandwich, a donut, and a cup of hot chocolate seemed almost too good to be true.

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.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Answering Questions Part 3

This will be the last post to answer questions. Who knows I might do another Q. & A. post sometime in the future.

I am wondering what kind of celebrations the Amish have? Do they celebrate Christmas as a celebration of Christ's birth and if so how traditional is it? Thanksgiving?

The Amish celebrate Christmas as a celebration of Christ birth. Usually a few gifts are exchanged, but there is no tree or stockings etc. Extended family usually gather for a big meal and an afternoon filled with visiting and eating candies and snacks that were prepared especially for Christmas.

Thanksgiving is observed differently in different areas. The area we grew up it was treated as a Sunday and everyone went to church. There was no work done on Thanksgiving. Other areas have it as a day of fasting, and still others either have a big turkey dinner or ignore it altogether.

I am wondering if Amish women use birth control?

I am sure some of them do. However it is frowned upon.

What faith or denomination are you now a part of?

We are Christians and attend a non denominational church.

On another topic we had to take Sunbeam to the doctor for another checkup. I had been really hoping that she will be able to run and play like she used to before the accident, but that will have to wait at least another six weeks. She is allowed to use her walker a little bit everyday which is an improvement, it's just not as good as what I was hoping for.

One of my best friends and her daughter were here and brought their little dog along. Sunbeam had fun playing with it and dressing it up in her doll clothes. It is the sweetest little dog and I would be happy to adopt it if it ever needed a new home. (Wishful thinking!)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Answering Questions Part 2

At our lake house we see the Amish boys playing in the water fully clothed. But the girls just stand on the shore and laugh and clap. Are the women not allowed to go in the water?

Different Amish communities are different. In the area where we grew up women did not go into the water. There were a few that waded a bit never more than knee deep but even that was considered scandalous. There are many other communities that when their young people go to the beach there is nothing about them that you would know they are Amish.

Do different churches, like Lancaster, Schwartzentruber, Troyer, Nebraska, etc. intermarry? Is it assumed the couple will be members of the husband's church from then on?

I am not very well acquainted with these groups other than Lancaster. So I asked my friend Katie Troyer if she would be willing to answer this question. She kindly agreed to do it for me.

I know for certain that the Schwartzentruber and Nebraska intermarry, for their gene pool has narrowed down to being related to everyone, first and second cousins. These couples remain Schwartzentruber or Nebraska, depending on where they live after marriage. Each couple has to decide where they will live after marriage. The bride doesn't always move to his group. Most from the Troyer group (young men)that don't marry within their own, leave the Amish altogether and marry outsiders. Their few groups have oodles of single ladies that never marry, simply because there are not enough men to reach around.

Lancaster Amish are so vastly different from other Amish groups that it is almost impossible for their marriage partner to adjust to their way of life. Most of the Lancaster couples that intermarry outside their specific culture have met in Sarasota Florida as wild Amish youth. Although I don't know of any Lancaster girl that is married to a boy from Ohio or Indiana, or what Lancaster call the "Western Amish". It is usually the Lancaster boy that marries outside a bride from another Amish community like Ohio or Indiana. These marriages have problems all their own, for you can get a guy to move out of Lancaster but you can't get Lancaster out of a guy. The same is with the bride, she can move to Lancaster but she will never be a Lancaster woman. Their best solution is to leave the Amish altogether and remain in Florida.

I have cousins in Lancaster and Lancaster daughter settlements and have to agree. They are definitely different from other Amish.

I would be interested to know what books you would recommend to learn true facts about the Amish.

You can write for a free catalog from an Amish bookstore

Pathway Bookstore
2580 N 250 W
LaGrange IN 46761

Do New Order Amish evangelise? If they believe in salvation by grace rather than works, what is the main reason for New Order Amish to leave?

Some New Order Amish try to do their own brand of evangelising. When all is said and done they still have a very hard time not dwelling on works salvation.

What is the quintessential Amish cookbook?

There are many Amish cookbooks. One of the basics is called simply "Amish Cooking" and can be purchased at the bookstore mentioned above.

Do Amish women wear canning aprons outside of the home?

Amish women always wear an apron, no matter where they are. Most communities don't allow full or bib aprons. They occasionally wear another apron on top of the one they are already wearing if they are doing especially dirty work.

What do you think of the movie Silent Witness, realistic or not?

I have never seen this movie so I really can't tell you. Other than unless the Amish actually produced it, it probably is inaccurate.

I have always heard Amish don't want their faces shown in photos, but I noticed you post photos of faces. So is this no longer true?

Amish do not pose for pictures because of the commandment"thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image......" Strange as it may sound they are delighted to find pictures of themselves or friends in newspapers. Most Amish families have an album with clippings of pictures of their friends and family members. The "sin" is in posing, not in having the picture that was taken without their permission.

This is one area that we do not share their convictions.

I'm wondering if you or the Amish would have any questions for us? I suppose we are called the English? On our ways of life.

Maybe someday I can have a post with questions for all of you to answer.

I also seen a documentary a few years back about the Amish in Ohio. They said that when the Amish turn 18 or 16 they go to the dentist and have all of their teeth pulled. Is that true and I just didn't understand that.

I have heard about that story already. And please don't feel bad for Amish teens. Their teeth are quite safe when they turn 16 or 18. They don't normally visit the dentist unless they have a tooth that is bothering them and certainly never to have them pulled as a weird rite of passage or something.

Do any of the Amish go on to college to become doctors?

No, Amish do not go to college. If any Amish person would want to become a doctor they would have to leave the Amish to do so. There are quite a few Amish communities that have "braucha" or as called among non Amish "pow-wow doctors" Now that is some seriously creepy stuff! I might share about some of my experiences with "braucha" sometime.

I am wondering what religion you practice now and how your family (especially your parents) responded to you making a different choice?

My parents were devastated when we left the Amish. They have still not accepted it so that part is hard, but it was one of the things we knew would happen if we make this decision so I'm not angry or bitter because of it. I still love them both so much! My husbands parents accepted it much better and will have us over occasionally and my mother-in-law is always happy to baby-sit on the rare occasion that we need a place for the children to stay.

Are marriages arranged or chosen by parents or is everyone allowed to marry whom ever?

You are allowed to marry whom ever, though it is expected that you first ask for your parents approval and blessing.

What do the Amish do about the great commission left by Jesus about spreading the Gospel to the whole world as in the last of Matthew?

The vast majority totally ignore that. They think somehow their clothes and style of life is the only witnessing they need to do.

Answering Questions Part 1

The response from yesterdays post was interesting! I will be doing several posts to answer all your questions .

Why is it so important and why do all Amish wear head coverings? I don't mind them, just always wondering why they do.

The Amish women and girls wear head coverings because of the passage in 1 Corinthians 11:5 where it says; But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. And in verse ten where it says For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

Do the Amish ever listen to music, or play musical instruments?

Amish churches do not approve or allow listening to music (radios, CD's etc) The only place most of them hear anything is when the ride with a "taxi" Most drivers who haul Amish for any length of time know they love to listen to Country and have their radio turned on for them. New drivers usually didn't to begin with and it was torture trying not to think of what we were missing on a twenty minute drive that could have been filled with George Strait and Alan Jackson. (Funny thing is, since we have our own vehicle and I can listen to anything I want to. I have lost my taste for Country.)

A lot of Amish churches have a no musical instruments rule, including the one I grew up in. But a lot of others allow harmonicas.

I find, what little I know of the Amish way of life, very interesting, comforting, simple. Am I wrong? Why would you want to leave it and do many folks leave that way of life? Do you still practice it at all?

The Amish way of life is so much more than what you can see by just visiting Amish country. The majority of those born Amish will remain Amish until they die. But there are always some who will leave for many different reasons. For some they leave as rebels, others want to see what they are missing in life, others change their religious views, and other similar reasons. We no longer live like the Amish in most ways, but I am sure there are little quirks that we have and some views on different things that our Amish roots show through.

Why did you leave the Amish? Were you shunned?

Since I am chronicling my journey from a little Amish girl to where we are today I will come to the part where we made the hardest decision in our life, that of leaving the Amish. I will share the details then. And yes we were and are still shunned.

Do the kids in the Amish community know about all the stuff as far as technology goes, and have they seen it, and how do they feel about the way other kids dress.

Amish kids know far more about technology than most people give them credit for. They don't think anything about the way others dress. They have seen it ever since they can remember and to them that's just the way non-Amish dress. No big deal to them at all.

How do the Amish view the outside world in general? Do they see the people who do not live as Amish as sinners or just as "others"?

To the Amish the outside world is a dangerous place. Though they would not go as far as to say you have to be Amish to go to heaven they do believe it enhances the chance to get there.

Well, this is something I've always Amish women have home birthing? Do they have one particular lady as a midwife?

In the area I grew up most of them went to the hospital to have their babies, but there were a few brave ones that did home birthing and yes there was one particular lady who enjoyed being a midwife. There are other Amish areas where home birthing is the preferred method.

If a bad farm accident occurred would they utilize an ambulance and ER?

If there is a need, ambulances and ER are welcomed by the Amish. And have been used often.

Do the women gossip? Are their any meddlers?

Gossip, sadly is one thing very common among the Amish, and "oh, yes" there are definitely meddlers.

I always kind of wondered why they weren't supposed to attend professional sporting events?

They used to quote scripture, in German of course to warn us about sports. "For that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God."

What do you still retain from your life as being Amish, like what WON'T you change?

This one is a little harder. One thing we still retain from being Amish is the language. It is still the easiest to speak and the one we use 90% of the time we are at home. Some other things are some of the convictions we have, that we were taught by our parents. We see no reason to throw all such things to the wind just because we are no longer Amish.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Looking For Inquisitive Minds

Inquisitive minds like to learn new things. They enjoy exploring and discovering and finding answers to things they have questions for............ It is something I still possess and find myself looking for answers to things I am curious about.

I'm in the mood to do something different today. Ever since I started blogging I have been getting emails from people who have found my blog and had some questions. I enjoyed reading all of them and try to answer every one but sometimes it takes a while until I have time.

So I'm giving all of you the opportunity now to ask me anything you want to, about the Amish, or anything else you feel like asking me, and tomorrow I will have a post to answer your questions.

Monday, August 3, 2009

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 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 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.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Monster Cookies

Our family enjoys good homemade cookies. I have three recipes that we really like that I usually choose from when I feel like baking cookies. Which is kind of sad considering the fact I have lots of other recipes to choose from.

I was looking through one of my old Amish recipe books recently and found the recipe for Monster Cookies that my Mom used to make when I was a little girl. And last week I finally got to go to a bulk food store and purchased a big bag of M & M's. I forgot to buy peanut butter though so I will have to wait a little longer to bake them, but that doesn't keep me from sharing the recipe with all of you. (I dare you to make a whole batch.)

Monster Cookies
12 eggs
4 cup white sugar
4 cup brown sugar
2 cup softened butter
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 lb peanut butter
18 cup oatmeal
2 cup flour
8 tsp baking soda
1 lb M & M's
1 lb chocolate chips
Beat eggs; add sugars, vanilla, and butter. Mix and add peanut butter. Mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix very well. Shape into 2" balls. Flatten slightly and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

On another note. Rosebud was so excited about all the M & M's that the first thing she told her Daddy when he came home that evening was. "Daddy, Mom bought a lot of enemies today!" It gave us a good chuckle and showed me that I really need to buy M & M's more often since our children don't even know the proper way to call them.