Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Farrier

There was only one farrier in our community. He was the son of a bishop that lived in one of the neighboring church districts. Jake made his rounds through the five districts in our community with his little buggy and his farrier supplies taking care of everyone's horses.

He would show up every six weeks unless something happened that a horse lost a shoe a special appointment could be made.  LV always enjoyed his visits and more time was spent talking than actually shoeing horses. It was always interesting to hear everything about their visit when Jake left and LV and I started with the chores.

Jake had been there for even longer than usual this time and I couldn't help but wonder what subjects they were discussing this time. Once I finally heard his buggy clatter down the driveway I went out to the barn to start getting the milking equipment ready. Our dog was lying on the floor gnawing at the pieces of hoof that Jake had trimmed from the horses feet, and LV was in one of the silo's throwing silage down to feed the cows.

Once we started with the milking LV started talking. Jake had been talking about church things again, there had been an underlying growing rumble throughout his church district but so far it had seemed everyone was trying to ignore it. It really bothered him a lot that lay members weren't supposed to approach God too often. It was considered almost blasphemous to pray too often, by becoming so comfortable and familiar with God. That years ago before LV and I had become members of the church they had voted to allow members who weren't satisfied with only the prayer they heard in church to be able to pray once a day out of the little black prayer book.

We stewed about that for a while. How could anyone tell us how often we were allowed to pray?  Not that we did more than they allowed, but still.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Be Still My Heart

 Looking through some of our folders of older pictures I found these of Sailor and Rosebud taken seven years ago.  There is a story behind the pictures but that will have to wait until I get to that part. I just couldn't wait that long to let you see these photos.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Doubts and Questions

Having a child seemed to put a whole new light on life for us. Knowing that his future in this life and eternity rested largely on what we taught him. It was a sobering thought and we resolved to be the best parents we could possibly be.

Life was great for the most part but more and more we were having feelings deep inside that something wasn't right, that we needed to do more, be more than what we were but were at a total loss on how to figure out exactly what that was and how to go about to find out.

One evening as we were milking we were talking like we always did but this time our conversation turned to more serious things again. Sailor was playing with a few of his toys that I had fastened to the stroller to keep him occupied while we did the chores. He was such a happy little boy, but even the joy we felt at having him didn't outweigh the weight we felt inside.  At a loss on what we could do we decided once chores were done we would go see the bishop and talk to him. He would surely have the advice we needed.

Arriving at the bishops house he invited us into his study which seemed like only an over sized closet. We tried to tell him how we felt, all our feelings of doubt and fear that something was wrong. That the thought of eternity was terrifying.  He sat there and listened to everything. Once we were done talking he said that we really don't have anything to be worried or concerned about because we were really good people.

We went home knowing that what ever it was that was bothering us was still there and now felt totally helpless on how to deal with it.

Every time we started having doubts and questions we now tried to suppress them and buried ourselves in our work and renewed resolve to be the best Amish people we could be. If the bishop didn't have answers there was no where else to turn.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I couldn't quite resist sharing these sweet little posters that Rosebud made for our Anniversary last week.

 It seems like only a little while ago when I was making things like this for my parents. I think I understand now why they used to have it on display in their bedroom for years.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Funeral

LV made arrangements for my brothers to come take care of all our chores while we were gone. I packed our suitcase and by the time our driver came we were ready to leave.

The long ride to their little community seemed even longer than it had earlier that summer when we had gone to visit them.

Arriving at their house we got out of the minivan and went into the house. The yard was full of tractors and funny little trailers that they used for transportation during the week instead of horse and buggies. Inside the house women were hurrying around, busy with all the food preparations that needed to done for the funeral.

We went into the room where Vernon and Fannie were sitting next to a tiny casket. They both looked subdued but peaceful. I wished I knew what to say but felt all choked up. Baby Leona (a Downs Syndrome child) looked so peaceful dressed in all white and wrapped in a blanket. Blinking back tears I followed LV to find a seat with the rest of the family.

It was time to eat before long and afterwards all of LV's siblings gathered at his parents house to spend the night.  The next morning we headed back to Vernon's for the funeral.

The men from the church had set up benches in Vernon's woodworking shop. Once everyone had found a seat one of the ministers got up to preach a short sermon. Once he was done the bishop got up and started rambling, something about rainbows. I couldn't make heads or tails out of what he was trying to say, but then I wasn't used to his style of preaching. I hoped that Vernon and Fannie could find some comfort in his message.

Once everyone had filed past the casket one last time only Vernon and Fannie remained standing next to it with their two little children. LV's Mom got up to stand next to them and then his Dad. Fannie's parents joined them as well. I was so glad to see them with someone who cared instead of having to stand there alone like most Amish funerals. That LV's Mom had taken that initiative made me feel like going to give her a hug.

Once the cover was placed on the casket everyone went outside to go on the long bumpy buggy ride to the graveyard. LV and I rode with his parents in their little top buggy. It was quite crowded but that was fine.

At the graveyard everything went like usual, once the dirt was all piled up in a mound on the new grave and people were turning to leave one of the drivers made his way through the crowd with a single wild flower he had found and laid it on top of the mound. I thought it was such a sweet gesture. We left to go back to the house for the meal the women had prepared. Getting into the buggy I looked across the graveyard one last time. A cold breeze swept across the field and the mound of fresh dirt but the flower remained in place as if it were saying that everything would be okay.

Friday, March 25, 2011


LV's parents came to stay with us for several weeks that fall. His Dad missed the farm and wanted to help with the corn picking and readying everything for winter.

I tried to find enough things to do in the house with his mother but found it quite stressful. Sailor seemed to know that I wasn't as relaxed as usual and became more fussy and took only short naps which didn't help me feel any more relaxed.

Once the day came for them to head home LV called a driver to take them to the bus station, and made sure that the driver was available for the rest of the day to take us celebrating our regained freedom of being alone. After we said our good-byes to his parents we went shopping at a few of our favorite stores. We bought our winter's supply of books and games and then headed to a more upscale restaurant. My Mom was baby sitting Sailor for the day so we didn't linger as long as we could have.

Checking for messages on our voicemail a few days later we had one from his mother telling us that LV's brother Vernon's little six month old baby had passed away. I couldn't imagine the pain they were feeling. I hugged Sailor more closely as we immediately made plans to go to the funeral.
To be continued~

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Few Simple Pleasures

Simple pleasures are the best! Today I am sharing a few pictures of things that bring simple pleasures into my life.
Sunbeam wearing a wreath of flowers that Rosebud wove together for her.
 Rosebud enjoys wearing her apron/sunbonnet. Most day she wears it as an apron, but on days when she pretends to be Laura Ingalls a few buttons on the sides of the apron turn it into a sweet sunbonnet.
 A package filled with delightful things from a blog reader / friend all the way from Scotland.
 Vintage coloring books. I still enjoy sitting down with the children and helping them color, and vintage books are the sweetest!
 Finding a vintage pictures in a forgotten cranny of our ancient farmhouse. Isn't it adorable?!
 Watching it snow. So pretty even if it means more work.

 And I'm looking forward to enjoying this again in a few months.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


LV’s parents had moved a little over a year before we made plans to go visit them in their new home. We hired a driver and made arrangements for my brothers to come take care of our farm and all the animals while we were gone.

It would be the first time they would be seeing Sailor. I was still a little intimidated at the thought of spending a week with them. LV’s family had always had the best of everything, while my family had always tried making do with what we had. And as much as I tried I couldn’t quite feel comfortable around them.

After twenty hours on the road we arrived at their home to a warm welcome. The days passed swiftly and one evening they invited all their married children over for dinner before we left for home again.

The house was filled with noisy fun while we prepared dinner. Once everyone was gathered around the table the visiting continued as we ate the main course.

Once we were done his mother brought cherry and blueberry pie out for dessert. I watched in amazement as they passed the pie and LV and his brothers calmly spooned leftover lukewarm beef gravy over their pie and ate it as if it were delicious.

It was almost a relief to discover that every family has it’s quirks and eating gravy with pie certainly fell in that category. I remembered the time I had been so embarrassed when Daddy had offered to eat the fat from LV’s steak, and realized it really wasn’t all that bad.

And someday Rosy and Sunbeam could very well be mortified when their Daddy offers their friends gravy for their pie.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I never knew a baby could cry as much as Sailor did those first several months. He was colicky and even after everything was done that I possibly knew to do he still cried.

My days and nights were spent walking the floors with him cuddled closely to me in my arms. It seemed to be the only thing that brought any sense of relief to him.

One evening LV and I wanted to make a call to his parents. Sailor was sweetly sleeping in his stroller for a change. the shanty was too small for the stroller so we propped the door open and parked the stroller outside.

In the middle of the call he started crying. I checked to see if he needed a clean diaper or if he was hungry but neither of those were what he needed gathering him up I started started walking around the barnyard, After a little while I noticed another big herd of deer feasting in one of our fields. Crop damage was a big problem and I started walking towards them. I'd let my crying baby scare them away.

It didn't take long for most of the deer to run back into the woods, but one big buck wasn't feeling threatened at all. he stood there watching me walk towards him with my crying baby. Finally he had enough and lowered his head and came charging towards me. Clutching Sailor close to me I ran faster than I ever had before. I burst into the phone shanty breathless, not caring if Sailor disrupted the call.

LV hung up right away and we watched as the buck stood there holding his head proudly, smug and satisfied with himself that he had successfully chased me away. We stayed in the shanty until he turned around and walked back to the woods to join the rest of the herd.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Just because there is no vehicle in the driveway it does not mean there is no one at home.  And if you stop by and walk around our yard taking pictures of our house, our trees, and our flowerbeds I will be inside the house walking from window to window taking pictures of you to post on my blog.

I have twenty more that I could share but this one will do for now.


I got a little creeped out yesterday when a stranger was walking around taking a lot of pictures, and since I have a weird sense of I don't know what I gleefully took pictures of her snooping around taking pictures.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Back to Church

The Sunday morning that I was going to go to church for the first time with our baby seemed like a dream come true. I dressed him in a little green dress and white apron, I thought it was a shame that I had to dress him like a little girl but even worse was the black blanket that had to be used to go to church. After wrapping him in his blanket and then into a "mondli' and a little black bonnet we were ready to go.

The woman all had to take a peek at him as I made my rounds shaking hands with everyone and then went to sit at my usual place. For the first time I got to use one of the little footstools that were kept under the benches for the women to be able to sit, holding their sleeping babies more comfortably during the long services.

Once church was over the bishop announced that all the member were to remain seated for a little while yet. I felt like sighing. It seemed that more often than not, the members had to stay after services to deal with something or the other.

After all the children had gone outside and the doors were closed, he rose and had an update on a previous matter they had been dealing with and then continued. "It has been brought to our attention that there is a family that has a recliner in the home.  We as a church feel that recliners are not something that should be allowed and that they would be giving the offenders several weeks time in which to get rid of it.

I nearly choked but sat there pretending to be totally clueless who they were talking about. I was going to miss our recliner and wondered which of the people who had come to see our baby had snitched on us. We had been unaware that there could be anything wrong with a recliner and weren't looking forward to have to part with ours.

That evening LV called his parents who lived out of state and asked them if they would like to have it. That we would keep it for them until the next time they came to visit.  We moved it out of our living room and up to one of the spare bedrooms. And then went to my parents shop to order several glider rockers complete with gliding ottomans to use as a replacement. 

Somerset County Amish little boys have to wear dresses and bonnets until their second birthday. Why? I have no idea, it's simply the rule.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life Goes On

Having LV's cousin Rhoda staying with us to do all the work while I got to sit around and enjoy our baby boy was rather nice though I did look forward to the day when we could send her home and be by ourselves once again.

I really looked forward to Sunday when my family would be coming to see the baby. I was sure my little brothers would be excited to meet their little nephew and Daddy would get to see his first grandson.

On Saturday afternoon LV came into the house and said that John had left a message on our voicemail that Daddy was in the hospital after a freak accident. He needed emergency surgery and no one would be coming over on Sunday after all.

I was so disappointed, but there wasn't much that could be done about that. Sunday came and friends came to see the baby bringing little gifts along that I would take to church later for him to play with during the long services. Almost everyone told us that Sailor looked just like his uncle Raymond. I couldn't really see that but knew he definitely did look a lot more like my brothers than LV's side of the family.

After staying cooped up in the house for several weeks I convinced LV that I was able to have a buggy ride. He hitched Ridge to the buggy and after packing the diaper bag and bundling Sailor into blankets we climbed on the buggy and were on our way.

Arriving at my parents home I was met with eager little brothers wanting to see the baby. Daddy was laying on a hospital bed in the kitchen. He asked to see Sailor so I laid him in his arms. Sailor slept most of the forenoon. I wished I could have a picture of Daddy and his grandson. He looked almost as proud and happy to be holding him as he used to for his own children.

I enjoyed my day immensely. Riding home I rejoiced that the six weeks would be up and we could send Rhoda home and I would finally be able to go to church again. I had enjoyed staying at home for the usual 8-10 weeks before the baby was born and the six weeks following but it would be nice to be able to be out and about again.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Welcome Little Baby

We had written out all the choring instructions just in-case we needed them to give to my brothers so they could come take care of all our animals until we came home.

Waking up in the middle of the night I was glad we had prepared it. LV ran out to our phone shanty to call a driver to come right away. I looked at all the little clothes and blankets I had made over the past few months and was thrilled that I would soon be able to use them.

The thirty miles to the hospital had never seemed as long before. I was relieved to get there and be surrounded by people who knew what was going on and what to do.

A few hours later when they placed a little baby boy into my arms it felt as if my heart could burst with love and joy. It was the first time I had ever felt a love as strong as I felt for the sweet baby I cradled in my arms. He was red and wrinkly and every bit as ugly as my baby brothers used to be. I felt a little guilty for thinking he didn't look absolutely beautiful, but I didn't care how he looked.  He was so sweet, so helpless, and our very own.

LV called our driver to come pick us up in a few hours and then spent the rest of the time sitting next to my bed holding our little son. For someone who used to be terrified of little babies he looked quite comfortable holding his son.

Once our driver came a nurse accompanied us out to the minivan and made sure we had our baby in his carseat correctly and then we were free to go.

I was happy to see Mom waiting for us when we got home. She was so excited to have a grandson that I almost had to laugh. She carried him everywhere while making sure that I went to bed right away and then fixed some of my favorite foods to eat. She stayed until one of LV's cousins arrived. She would be staying with us for the next six weeks while I rested and enjoyed our new baby.

Mom left after telling me that the whole family would be coming on Sunday to see the baby. I looked forward to that and picked up the baby who had started whimpering hungrily. "Hey there little fellow," I crooned. "It's alright ...... and then I stopped. I couldn't say Mary Ann will take care of you, I was his mother. But having to call myself Mom seemed really weird.

I had known we were going to have a baby, had really looked forward to it for a long time, but somehow had failed to realize we would be a Mom and Daddy until that moment.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Oh my! Reading all of your comments had my mouth watering. There were several different cookies I had never heard of before that I will now have to try to find a recipe.

Using Random Generator to choose the winner here is lucky ........

Comment number 102

Peggy said.......
Oh, my... I LOVE cookies! It would have to be a tossup between Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies and Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies!

It would be fun to win this subscription!

Congratulations Peggy! Please email your address to me and I will get your subscription started. 

If anyone else would like to subscribe to the Family Life send me an email and I will send you information where you can order your subscription.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Family Life

One of the highlights of every month used to be when the mailman delivered our latest issue of the Family Life magazine.  Published in the Old Order Amish community of Aylmer Ontario but well know through out almost all Amish communities.

Written by and for the Amish, each issue contains quite a selection of stories that wives and mothers enjoy, as well as a section devoted to recipes, nature, children's stories, health, and an advice column. There are poems and puzzles sprinkled throughout. A fun publication that the whole family enjoys!

If you would like a chance to win a one year subscription of this magazine leave a comment telling me what your favorite kind of cookies are.

For an additional entry post a link to this giveaway on your blog and come back and leave another comment.

I will draw a winner on Monday March 14th using Random Generator.
Giveaway is now closed.
Disclaimer: The only compensation I get from doing this giveaway is the warm fuzzy feeling I get from knowing someone else will get to enjoy this publication.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Quick Question

So this may be one of my shortest posts ever.  I'm curious, can anyone help me identify this flower?

Thursday, March 10, 2011


In the bottom dresser drawer in our bedroom a pile of tiny garments was growing steadily. I couldn't see how anyone could possibly be happier than I was as I spent my days cutting and sewing clothes for our much anticipated addition to our family.

Mornings and evenings I still helped with all the chores which I also really enjoyed. Finally after more than six months had passed we made an appointment to see someone. I didn't look forward to that visit but agreed that we probably shouldn't push it off any longer.

The morning for my appointment arrived and we were both not thrilled to find we had a cow that needed urgent veterinary care. LV called the vet and then told me he would have to stay at home so that someone would be there when the vet arrived. I was disappointed that I would have to go to that first appointment alone but I understood why he couldn't accompany me and didn't really think anything more about it until I was sitting in that little room at the doctors office and the doctor was asking where LV was.

I told her that he had to stay at home because we had a sick cow. She didn't seem impressed as she started scribbling furiously on her notepad and told me that any decent husband would put the needs of his wife above the needs of a cow.

That was all I needed to hear. I got up from the miserable little table thing I had been sitting on and told her that I had the best husband in the world. That there was nothing wrong with me, but there was a whole lot wrong with the cow. If I would have been sick or needed him in any way he would have been there.

The rest of my visit was quiet as she checked everything she needed to. I was glad to get out of the office and felt slightly sheepish at my outburst. I knew I was probably the first Amish woman who had ever lost it in her office.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Writing Letters

Growing up, I loved writing and receiving letters. During my teenage years hardly a day went by that the mail didn't bring a letter from one of my cousins or friends or one of my circle letters.

I have several big boxes full of letters that I kept, and I still enjoy going back and rereading everything. Mail time isn't nearly as interesting since letters have been exchanged for bills and an occasional catalog.

This morning as I was rooting through our desk I found two of my favorite sets of stationary. I have plenty of others as well but these two were always reserved for special occasions.
Since I can no longer write and receive letters from the people I used to, I'm going to do something a little different today and write a letter to all of you.

Dear (insert your name here)

Sitting here in the living room as I look out the window I can see the delicate grey skies of a winter that is still holding fast to our little corner of the world. It's snowing again which makes everything look so much prettier than the drab browns and greys we had been seeing since most of our snow had melted last week.  The pine trees surrounding the house add a welcome splash of color as well.

We're still hanging onto our crazy schedule, I usually get up around three thirty every morning to have a few minutes of quiet time while LV and Sailor take care of our calves. I try to have breakfast ready by the time they come in from the barn. LV leaves for work a little after six and the rest of my days are filled with the regular daily dozens.  Those dozens seem to take extra time during the winter with all the extra clothes that need to be cared for not to mention the constant dusting and cleaning because of our dirty furnace in the basement.

On Sunday afternoon I decided to make the last of our chicken that I had been saving in the freezer for a special occasion. With my brother here visiting I thought that would qualify and started preparing everything. I always hate cleaning up the mess from frying chicken so this time I covered the empty burners on the stove with foil to keep them from getting spattered with oil. Everything was going great until I added an extra big drumstick to the frying pan causing a big splash of oil to exit the pan and run down into that little bowl under the electric coil thingy. The next minute I was dismayed to see flames licking around the pan. I quickly grabbed a few pot holders and removed the pan and after locating a box of baking soda I dumped it on the flames. The fire was safely extinguished but my kitchen was filled with smoke and a lot of little black floaties. What a mess! That was the first time I ever had a cooking related fire and hopefully the last time. At least most of my stove remained clean thanks to the foil I had placed earlier.

I have a pile of seed catalogs laying here next to me. I have looked at all of them numerous times already and am looking forward to placing an order soon. I'm wanting to try my hand at raised bed gardening this summer, since the place we live at doesn't have a spot big enough to have a regular garden. Our favorite vegetable is sweetcorn but I won't be planting any this year. With all the raccoons that come visiting I'm thinking it would be a lost cause. There are Amish produce auctions nearby so I'm sure I will still be able to get plenty of sweetcorn even if I won't get to grow our own.

The children have been enjoying playing on the hill behind the house after school. They make building little teepee's and running along the cow paths look like a lot of fun I may have to go join them one of these days. But right now it's time to think about making lunch.

Mary Ann

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Flowers on our Farm

Our farm had an abundance of flowerbeds that needed to be cared for and I was experiencing first hand how very much work it took to have the nicest farm in the county. There was a long flowerbed along the entire length of the shop that was filled with red and pink geraniums against a pack ground of taller flowers. Along the end on the shop was another flowerbed, this one filled with tulips, crocus, daffodils and other spring flowers. Both side of the walks leading to the big farmhouse had large flowerbeds, another long one looked pretty in front of the porch. Smaller flowerbeds were on each side of the chimney as well as both sides of the front basement door.

We had a circle drive. In the middle we had what we used to refer to as the island, which had a large oak tree, our hitching rack, and you guessed it another flower bed in the center.

The last flower bed was in front of the barn. Besides the regular flowers it also had two rose bushes. I especially liked those roses. The one bush produced beautiful large yellow roses, and had several sections that had the most delightful pink and yellow tinged roses. The other bush had several different types as well.  I was thrilled to learn that LV as a little boy had been intrigued with grafting and had grafted different kinds of roses into those two bushes which were now thriving with the most unique blend of colors and beauty.

We may no longer live there but this will always be "our" farm.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Our Weekend

My brother Mahlon was working a few hours south of us and rather than staying in a motel room over the weekend he decided to come visit us.

The children went to bed on Friday evening excited at the prospect of having their uncle here for two whole days. When I got up at four on Saturday I discovered Sunbeam in the livingroom, sleeping on the recliner. She had wanted to make sure to be awake when Mahlon comes. 

When he arrived in time for breakfast the children didn't give him much time before they convinced him to help them play a game of pick-up sticks.

The weekend passed much too quickly.  We all had a great time! On Sunday afternoon our Construction game was dug out of the cupboard and Mahlon and LV played a long game, just like the olden days when my brothers used to come see us on Sunday afternoons. I detest playing Construction almost as much as I dislike Chess so I'm always happy when my brothers come and LV can get to play those games with someone who enjoys them as much as he does.

Now if someone would drop by that enjoyed Scrabble or Probe I'd be all set.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Riding with Ridge

I was feeling much better and we had sent our helper home again. The fall apples were ripening and I wanted to can a lot of apple pie filling. There were still way more apples than we needed for ourselves. We offered my parents that they could have how ever many they wanted. Mom suggested that we could spend a day together making pie filling.

I looked forward to spending a day visiting and working with Mom once again. LV hitched our horse, Ridge to the buggy for me and lifted a lot of five gallon pails and bushel boxes of apples in. Lifted the reins I clucked to Ridge and we headed down the driveway.

Once we got out on the road I tried urging him to run but he seemed to think the idea was a joke and walked slowly up the road. I was frustrated that I couldn't get him to listen to me but apparently he thought I was to small to be much of a threat and he could go what ever speed he wanted to.

Once I got to my parents Daddy came to take care of Ridge and unload the apples. I went to the house and we spent all day peeling and cooking apples. By the time came for me to go home I had two five gallon pails full of pie filling. Daddy lifted them into the buggy for me and handed me the reins. Waving good-bye to everyone I told Ridge to go, expecting to have another leisurely ride home.

He started up the road in a brisk trot. I had the storm front and the doors open enjoying the beautiful crisp fall air. Turning down our road Ridge seemed to know he was nearing home and picked up speed. I tried slowing him down to no avail. We kept going faster and faster, my bonnet flap snapped and blew in the wind that was stinging my eyes.

As we neared our driveway I pulled back on the reins as hard as I could trying to get him slowed down.  He turned up our driveway. the buggy tipped over on two wheels and then plopped back down on all four, swaying crazily. Ridge slowed down to a walk up our long winding driveway.  My heart still pounding wildly as I sat limply.

LV came to meet me glad to see that I was still okay after having heard us coming down the road he had been sure we would crash. That was the last time I drove Ridge by myself. He had one master, LV, and would listen only to him.

Friday, March 4, 2011

First Summer

That first summer seemed incredibly busy. My brothers would take turns coming to help LV make hay. I had been looking forward to when haymaking would be over and things could slow down a little, but as soon as first crop was done second cutting was ready to be made which was immediately followed by third with our grain crops and straw baling tucked inbetween.

My garden was producing abundantly and my days were filled weeding the garden and canning vegetables and fruit. We had an orchard with lots of peach trees, as well as pears, plums and apples. They produced way more than we could possibly hope to be able to use so I would pick them and give them to my parents and some of the aunts and uncles.

Blueberries and blackberries were in their prime and I really needed to take care of them but I simply did not have the energy any longer. I was sick, more sick than I had known could be possible. To begin with I forced myself to continue with everything that needed to be done but each new day I felt worse until we both realized we needed help in order to get all our work done.

The last thing I wanted to do was have someone come live with us for a few weeks until I started feeling better, but there wasn't much choice. I was too weak to do anything, unable to keep any food down I was loosing a lot of weight and I really didn't have any to lose being skinny to begin with. (I preferred the word slender but skinny described my condition better.)

We asked one of LV's cousins to come help out for a while. She was happy to come and though we had been best friends I didn't really like having her working in my kitchen cooking food for my husband. I tried to keep on preparing meals but the very sight of food was too much for me.

Even with being as sick as I was, I was so happy at the thought that it was totally worth going through that misery when at the end LV and I would have a precious little bundle to love and care for.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I love words that children make up on their own. Words I could correct but how boring would that be? There are of-course times when we tell them how to pronounce things properly but other times, it's too sweet to think of changing them.

We have a large set of magnetic bars and marbles that have provided hours of enjoyment. Sunbeam used to call them "mars and barbles" and instead of correcting her we all call them mars and barbles now.

After hitting her crazy bone for the first time Rosebud informed me she doesn't like having echoes in her elbow. We all have echoing elbows now.

The other day one of them asked me what an "optomentist" is. Meaning optimist.  One of the older ones heard it and told her an optimist is someone that is always looking on the bright side of things. A pessimist is someone who looks on the dark side, so an optomentist must be someone who cheerfully expects bad things to happen. I loved the definition but don't expect to have very many opportunities to use that word.

Does your family use words that aren't really words?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Good-bye Grandpa

LV's parents had finally moved, the spring plowing and planting was done, the garden was looking great with it's many rows of vegetables marching across it as neatly as possible. The flowerbeds around the house and all the buildings with their hundreds of flower plants were beginning to look really pretty.

LV was trying to control the starling population around the barnyard while I was weeding and primping one of the flowerbeds. Looking up I saw my brother John walking across our cow pasture. I rose from the grass and went to meet him. I was always so happy to have my family drop by. After greeting him with a cheery welcome, I realized something must be wrong by his sober answer.

"Grandpa Mast passed away about an hour ago." he told me. I stood there, numb. "I have to go let some of the other uncles know yet." he continued sympathetically and turned to go. The beauty of the day was lost to me as I stood there with tears streaming down my face. I knew Grandpa had looked forward to being with Jesus but that didn't make me miss him any less. LV came to see what John had wanted and I was so glad that I had someone to draw comfort from.

I went to the house to change into my black Sunday dress while LV went to hitch our horse to the buggy. We would be spending the rest of the day, until chore time, with Grandma, my parents and the rest of the family that lived nearby.

The next two days we spent all our time between chores at Grandma's house. The rest of the aunts, uncles, and cousins from other communities had arrived already. The house was filled with benches for everyone to sit on and Daddy's house had tables set up so everyone would have a place to eat. Women from the church came to cook and bake and take care of the family. It seemed different to be on the receiving end and while I appreciated it I didn't care for it much at all. I wondered who was digging the grave, since Daddy wouldn't be helping with that this time.

The morning of the funeral arrived and we made sure to be at the house around eight o'clock to be able to join the funeral possession to church. After a short supposedly comforting sermon and prayer everyone got ready to go. Some of the youth boys had made sure that every one's horse was ready to go. All we had to do was get into our buggy. The horses walked slowly all the way to the church house.

After all the family was seated the rest of the church people came and found seats. After two short sermons everyone filed past the coffin for one last glimpse of Grandpa. The church people went first followed by Grandpa's nieces and nephews and brothers and sisters. The grandchildren came next. Pausing next to the coffin it seemed unreal that this would be the last time I would ever see Grandpa. Never again would I have the chance to go talk to him, I wouldn't get to hear him talk any longer and I had always loved listening to his voice. It used to sound as if many little chuckles were hiding in it, but it was silenced now.

I had to move on. Others still needed to have their last turn. Finally his nine children gathered round the coffin, Tears flowed silently, and Vernie stood there stroking his hands until one of the men came and told them to sit down. He took a screw driver from his pocket and fastened the lid. Grandpa had requested his grandsons be the pallbearers. They came and carried his coffin out to the buggy where it would take it's final journey to the nearby graveyard.

Everyone else walked to the graveside. We arrived as they were lowering the coffin into the ground. I noticed one of the men from church forcing his way up between family to stand at the edge of the grave. I felt disgusted and repulsed when I realized why he wanted to be there. He along with the majority of the Somerset Amish believed you could know whether or not the deceased was now in heaven by listening to the first shovel full of dirt that was placed into the grave. If it didn't make noise everything was fine, but if it rattled .....

I wished someone would have warned the pallbearers about that stupid superstition. They had never heard anything like it and heedlessly went and plopped a shovel full of dirt noisily on top of the coffin. As the man drew back, surprised, and shaking his head I felt like slugging him. I didn't believe for an instant that Grandpa's future in eternity was determined by that first shovel full of dirt.