Saturday, June 30, 2018


Our cow Jenny was getting too old to keep our family in milk so Daddy visited some of the area dairies to see if someone would have a friendly little Jersey they would be willing to sell. When he came home he was happy to have found someone who said they had just the cow for us. Gentle, sweet disposition and a great milker who would be sure to provide all the milk we could possibly have use for. He had paid for her and they would deliver her free of charge sometime the following day.

The next forenoon John, David and I were playing outside when we saw the man come with the cow and unloading her in our pasture. We ran inside to tell Mom about it. She came outside as the man went on his way. We joined Mom to go to the pasture to have a look at our new cow. When we got close to her we saw why they wanted to sell her. Not only did she look older and more worn out than Jenny but her udder was practically dragging on the ground.

Daddy had gone to a lumber kiln to get more lumber for our woodworking shop and we knew he would be disappointed once he saw the cow the farmer had tried to give us. Once he came home and we told him about it we all went back outside to have another look at the cow. As we expected Daddy wasn't happy. There wasn't much we could do about it though and the cow obviously needed to be milked. He asked us to bring the milk pail and a cake pan. I ran to the house to get what he needed wondering what he would use a cake pan for.

After giving it to Daddy, he slid the cake pan under her udder and started milking. It was a slow process of sliding the cake pan in and milking a little bit until the pan was full then emptying it into the milk pail. After chores were done Daddy went to the pay phone at the corner store in the village and called a cattle dealer and told him we have a cow to sell and that we want a good one to replace her.

Several days later the dealer came and unloaded a pretty little fawn colored Jersey and took the old cow the farmer had sold us. We all admired her as she lay under our apple tree and chewed her cud. once chore time arrived we once again followed Daddy to the barn. This time there was nothing wrong and it didn't take long for the pail to be filled with frothy milk. As we were finishing up the chores we discussed what we would call our new cow. We didn't want to call her Jenny like the family cow before her, as we turned her back out to pasture Mom stood there watching her graze and turned to Daddy and asked. "How about Pansy?"

"Pansy sounds fine to me." was his reply. I said the name to myself a few times and decided I really liked it. A pretty little cow like that was perfect to be named after Mom's favorite flower.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Reading ... In the Bible, I'm enjoying reading through Matthew again. In fiction, nothing for myself at the moment. I have a big stack of children's library books here that I am reading to Steven. He has found himself a new favorite. Digger Dog. I've lost track how often I've read it to him. He's been reading it to me, and he has had the rest of the family each read it to him several times. I love how excited he gets about the ending every single time, even though he know exactly what is going to happen. In non fiction I've been reading books we'll be doing in school to help me better prepare the extras I want to add to their lesson plans. In other reading there have been letters, emails, and several blog posts.

Writing ... My writing so far this week has been blog posts, emails, and text messages. Nothing that great or exciting.

Playing ... Mancala. Steven has been on a kick of playing round after round. I enjoy it a lot so I don't mind.

Watching ... we recorded Food Network Star, but I find it so cringe worthy that I'm not even sure why I watch it. There's no one competing that I would really love watching if they got their own show, so maybe I just need to quit watching it now. I can think of a lot of better ways to use my time.

Listening ... to an Eastern Towhee sing loudly, right outside my window. So pretty!

Cooking ... I have some lovely bell peppers in the refrigerator waiting to be used. I'm thinking, for supper tonight, I may stuff them with a meat, rice, and cheese mixture. Lunch is looking like a surprise casserole where I take all the recent leftovers and create something new and yummy with them.

Eating ... Rosie Mae has been experimenting with brownies, tweaking things here and there trying to find something that comes close to being as fudgy as the ones that come from a mix has been challenging. She tried another batch yesterday. They were definitely the closest she's ever come to matching them, and she already knows what she wants to try to do differently next time.

Drinking ... still water. Sweet, fresh, cold water from our well is still my favorite.

Crafting ... nothing at the moment, though I have been gathering some things together for our next day of crafts. Really looking forward to it.

Wearing ... a maxi dress. I had bought it online in hopes to wear it to my brother's wedding, but when it arrived and I tried it on, it was not at all what I had envisioned. It's super comfortable though and perfect for wearing around the house.

Loving ... wild strawberries. We discovered a huge patch of them. Even though they're tiny and ever so time consuming to pick and prepare, fresh strawberries and shortcake can't be beat.


Monday, June 25, 2018

In Which a Pin Comes in Handy

It was our in-between Sunday and as usual we got up late. We were almost ready to sit at the table to have our breakfast when we heard a car drive in the lane. When we got up to see who it was we saw an elderly man who did a lot of taxi work for the Amish. Daddy went outside to see what he wanted. It wasn't long before we heard the car leave and Daddy came back inside. We immediately sensed that something was wrong. When Daddy said that Grandpa died we all started crying.

I didn't know this Grandpa all that well since we lived so far away, but I still wasn't prepared to hear that he had passed on. I had been working on a scrapbook for his birthday and now I would never get to give it to him. No one was hungry for breakfast anymore so Daddy hitched our horse to the buggy and went to see if he could find someone to take care of our chores while we went to the funeral. Mahlon wasn't quite two years old yet so they asked Grandpa Masts if they could take care of him till we got back.

By mid afternoon we had the suitcase packed and all the arrangements made and were ready to go. Our driver arrived in an old green clunker car. daddy sat in front and John, David, and I sat in the back with Mom. Once we got to Canada where the speed limit was posted by kilometers he got all excited and went speeding down the road. We passed everyone else and Daddy's explanation that kilometers and miles were different apparently didn't make any sense to the driver as we rushed on into the night.

Once we got to Grandpa's house a few men came out of the house to welcome us inside. As was customary, several families had volunteered to take turns to sit up all night until after the funeral. We were shown to a room where we settled down and slept the rest of the night.

When morning arrived we had breakfast with Grandma. There were lots of neighboring women and girls there cleaning the house and cooking and baking in preparation of the funeral. After we were done eating we sat in the living room where there were rows of chairs and benches set up. Since we were family we got to sit on the chairs close to Grandma. Other families from neighboring churches stopped by for a few hours to share their condolences and sit and visit quietly for a few hours. I had never been so bored in my life as the day dragged by.

Finally by evening Daddy's other siblings started arriving and all the cousins arrived with them. Our parents gave us permission to sit together. It was much more fun to have someone our own age to talk to. The next day we were still sitting in the living room and by now we children were all getting fidgety and so when our parents gave us permission we all went outside to play. We had so much fun that it didn't seem possible that everyone was gathered for a sad reason.

The day of the funeral arrived. As buggies started pouring in the driveway and lots of sober faced women and children dressed all in black made their way to the house I wished I would be young enough to sit with Mom and Daddy like John and David were doing. There was an older man telling everyone where to sit and when it was finally time for the grandchildren to sit down I wasn't very pleased to see I was sitting right behind cousin John.

Cousin John was big and enjoyed nothing as much as being mean to younger children. I always tried to keep my distance from him. I comforted myself with the thought that he would surely not try anything during services.

As the first minister stood up and started preaching cousin John shifted back until he was sitting on my knees. I squirmed and he sat forward a little. It wasn't long before he was on my knees again. His sister was sitting beside me, nudged him and hissed "Behave yourself!" He sat back even farther to annoy her, so she leaned over and told me to use a pin and stick it into him. he overheard and sat forward, but I prepared myself. I removed a pin from my apron belt and held it ready. The next time he would sit on my lap there would be a surprise waiting for him.

It didn't take long. As he shifted back I held the pin firmly and felt triumphant when he jumped forward. His parents happened to see the disturbance and his Dad made him go sit beside him for the rest of the services so my victory was even better.

Once services were over and everyone filed past the casket we all headed in a long procession of buggies that made their way slowly to the little graveyard. The horses walked the whole way and I thought we would never get there. Once everything was over we headed back to the house where the women from the community had prepared a big meal. It seemed nice to have everyone talking and visiting in normal tones once again. Once we were done eating it was time for us to go home again. We said good-bye to Grandma and the rest of the aunts, uncles, and cousins and started on our long trip home.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Summer is upon us this week in the Northern hemisphere. Tell us three things on your summer bucket list.

Three things on my summer bucket list are:

Visit Coopers Rock, WV
Spend more time outdoors, hiking.
Schedule and prepare as much of our upcoming school year as possible.

We have checked Coopers Rock off our list already. It was breathtakingly beautiful, but the sheer height made me dizzy even though I was completely safe.

The hiking part will have to wait to be checked off until fall, because I want to get as much of that done as possible.

I'm really enjoying the last part, even though it is labor intensive. It is so nice to be able to see at a glance exactly what I will need for a week of school. The library books I'll have to get, the craft supplies I'll need, and the things to do science experiments. Plus as usual all the extras I add to the curriculum in order to dig deeper.

2. Something fun you used to do as a kid in the summertime?

Summertime was busy with all the gardening and food preserving we did, but there was always some time for fun. We used to love riding down our long hill on our wagon. Summer wagon riding was more fun than sledding in winter.

3. Rooftop or backyard? Why?

Definitely backyard.

Heights make me really dizzy, no matter how safe they are.

4. Do you read food labels? Place importance on them? Make an effort to find out/care about where your food comes from?

I read some food labels, and depending what I'm looking to avoid I place quite a bit of importance on them. 

5. A song you'll have on repeat this summer?

I don't know. Usually I wake up with a song playing in my mind. It lasts all day, no matter what else I listen to. I will catch myself humming, whistling, and singing it throughout the entire day. Thankfully each day has its own song.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Since I mentioned our recent visit to Coopers Rock I thought I'd share a picture even though it doesn't begin to do it justice.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Good-bye Jim

John and I were walking home from school. The snow banks beside the road had dwindled down to sad dirty piles. The melting snow created a creek in what was usually an empty ditch. We dawdled along floating twigs in the stream and watched as the current carried them away, when we heard a horse and buggy approaching.

We looked up and were surprised to see Mom driving Jim. She stopped beside us and we climbed on the buggy wondering where we were going to, since a ride home from school was unheard of unless it was raining.

It didn't take long for us to notice that Mom seemed sad. When we asked her what was wrong she said a man was coming by that evening to buy Jim, and that she had wanted to drive him for one last time yet before he left us.

John and I weren't happy to hear that we would have to sell Jim. Mom assured us he was going to go to a good home and that he deserved to spend the rest of his life in a nice place where he would no longer have to pull our heavy buggy up and down those long hills.

Once we got home Daddy came out of the shop to unhitch Jim. Mom stood there stroking Jim and talking to him for a long time and then turned to go to the house. Her cheeks looked wet from tears and that was the last straw for me. The sobs I had been trying to choke back came. I went to pat Jim's velvety nose and tell him good-bye. He had been our faithful horse ever since I could remember and the thought that he would no longer be in the barn or out in his pasture to welcome us with his gentle whinny was almost more than I could bear to think about.

I went to the house to help Mom prepare supper. After we had eaten we heard a truck and trailer pull into the driveway. Daddy went outside to help load Jim. When he came back inside we got ready for bed.

The following days seemed a little sad when ever we went to the barn and saw Jim's stall with out Jim there waiting for us. Several weeks later we got a picture in the mail of Jim in a nice green pasture. He looked happy and it made me feel a lot better to know that he really was doing fine.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Picture My Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

I enjoyed the other flowers that were blooming.

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Never slam doors." 

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

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

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

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

6. Insert your own random thought here.

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

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

So many emotions!

Monday, June 11, 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

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

So many changes, most of them good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Life with teenagers is never boring ...

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

Monday, June 4, 2018

Withdraw Thy Foot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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