Tuesday, April 27, 2021

W ~ Water Witching

     School work was laid aside for a while as the teacher allowed all of us to gather at the window and watch the man who was walking around the schoolyard carrying a forked stick.
    He held the ends of the forks in his hands and walked with slow measured steps back and forth across the schoolyard. Finally about ten feet from the west side of the schoolhouse the stick started turning in his hands. He stopped and counted the revolutions until it became still again.
    Taking a stake he had tucked in the side pocket of his pants, he pounded it into the ground. Water would be found at around 300 feet he said.
    The next week well drillers moved in and started drilling. The teacher wasn't nearly as excited about it as we were and pulled the blinds to keep us from being distracted from our work.
    Strangely enough water was struck at the depth the water witcher had said it would be found. 
    I don't understand how it worked, and haven't really delved into trying to understand either. I do have some opinions about the whole thing, but I'll save them for another day.

Monday, April 26, 2021

V ~ Vacuum

     Having a vacuum cleaner was a thing of immense interest to our children when we first got one.
    Kenneth really wanted to use it too, so I let him try. He did a great job on the living room. Nearly every day he would ask if he could run the vacuum.  Often more than once a day. He liked the lines it made on the carpet for his fields as he played with his farm toys.
    I didn't mind have a nice clean floor, until one day I noticed some smoke coming from the vacuum cleaner when he was done. I grabbed it and threw it out the door where it lay in the grass smoldering away.
    Kenneth watched me wide eyed, "I guess I shouldn't have vacuumed the ashes from the fireplace," he said.
    Somehow during our fire safety lessons, I had never thought it would be necessary to add the caution of never using a vacuum cleaner to remove ashes from a burning fireplace.
    We got a new one to replace the one that was ruined. Kenneth still enjoyed running it, but now only in the way it was meant to be used.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

S ~ Spring Snow

     After days of enjoying lovely warm weather, mowing the yard, and listening to the spring peepers it's a bit of an adjustment waking up to twenty degree weather and a layer of fresh snow on the ground.

    At least it melted already, but the flowers are still a little worse for the experience. They're still pretty though even as they shiver under their dusting of snow.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

R ~ Rooster

    We got new neighbors. They came complete with a noisy rooster.
    Waking up at two in the morning to a noisily crowing rooster is not my idea of a good time.  
    This particular rooster doesn't seem to get adequate rest. He crows at every opportunity he has.
    Lying in bed awake in the middle of the night, listening to him crowing away has me menu planning for the neighbor lady. I won't do it, but the thought of mailing recipes to her is a delightful little distraction as the crowing continues.
        Recipes would include:
        Rooster Pot Pie
        Rooster Noodle Soup
        Crispy Fried Rooster
        Rooster and Dumplings
        Sesame Crusted Rooster
        Rooster Tenders
    And the list could go on for a while.
    I've tried praying blessings on the neighbors and their rooster. But mostly he's just super annoying.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Q ~ Quiet

     Quiet, hush ... the baby sleeps.

    Meet our brand new grandson.  I'll refer to him as Baby T  here on my blog.


    I'm completely smitten with him, and so in love! Who knew being a Grandma could be this great?!!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

M ~ Meal Planning

     Every week I take a little time to plan out a menu before I make my grocery shopping list. I like how it prevents that block of wondering what I'm going to be cooking for supper. I also like how it helps me incorporate new recipes knowing that I'll have the necessary ingredients on hand. 
    I keep each week's menu in one of my "idea books" and I enjoy looking back over previous menus to see what our favorites had been.
    This week I had planned a different sort of menu because one of us was scheduled for oral surgery yesterday, and I wanted the food to still be able to be enjoyed by all.


Korean BBQ wraps
Purple Slaw


Chile Relleno Casserole


Cream of Chicken Soup (from scratch)
Dinner rolls


Creamy Potato Soup
Leftover pudding


Mashed Potatoes
Onion Fritters
Tuna Balls


Mangos and Cottage Cheese


Rosie Mae cooks - surprise menu

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

L ~ Lamps

     Saturdays used to be the day to take care of all our lamps.
    I'd gather them from every room in the house and set them on the kitchen counter, remove the chimneys, and then take the bowls to the basement to top them off with kerosene.
    Once they were filled, I returned them to the kitchen and wash the outside with hot soapy water and trim the wicks. The chimneys were washed and dried until they gleamed and then they were returned to their proper places.
    I could always tell who stayed up the latest by the amount of kerosene that had been used that week.
    My lamp used to be up there at the top spot of kerosene use. 
    Even though the light from those lamps was dim I read many books, wrote countless letters, and jotted my days' events and thoughts in my journals by the cozy light my lamp provided.
    I wouldn't say I miss taking care of oil lamps every week, and I certainly don't miss the dim light, but I always enjoyed the weekly task of caring for the lamps.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

K ~ Knife Sharpening

     Every two weeks the knife sharpening guy would stop in to pick up all the knives and blades we used in our woodworking shop to have them sharpened, and drop off the ones he had picked up the previous week.
    After some time Mom wondered if they could also sharpen our kitchen knives. Daddy checked it out for her, and finding that they were willing to do them as well we sent half of our knives along.
    The joy of using them when they came back super sharp was great, and we sent the other half of our knives the next time he stopped in.
    From that day on we always had sharp knives. They did so much better at sharpening than we could do with our little whet stone.
    Every once in a while as I use one of my knives I'll think wistfully of that knife sharpening guy and wish I could send some of mine off to be professionally sharpened.

Monday, April 12, 2021

J ~ Jokes

    Several years ago Steven went through a phase where he loved making up knock - knock jokes. Only problem was that they were truly awful.
    After weeks of enduring the torture of listening to them, I grabbed a pen and started jotting them down. I decided to create a small book with them someday and gift it to him. It only seemed right that he gets to fully appreciate them someday.
    Last week as I was looking for something  in one of my idea books I found them again. Steven was with me so I started reading them to him.

    Me: Knock knock
    Steven: Who's there?
    Me: Grasshopper
    Steven: Grasshopper who?
    Me: Grasshopper book.

    Steven: Well that's not funny! It doesn't even make sense!
    Me: These are all jokes you made up when you were five or so. 

    We read them together and had to laugh at how terrible they were. This time around they weren't as painful though. Somehow time made the memory of those days sweet. I'm still planning on getting a little book made with them, complete with illustrations. Only now I think I may want to keep it instead of giving it to him.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

I ~ Ink Holes

     Sitting in my desk for the first time in a new school room filled with children I didn't know, I tried to busy myself to avoid meeting the curious stares.
    The new books were interesting, but what really caught my attention was the little hole in the top right hand corner of my desk.
    I decided it must have been designed as a clever way to dispose of my paper scraps and pencil shavings. I carefully designed a little basket out of construction paper and situated it beneath the hole to hold any trash I dropped through the hole.
    It wasn't until the following year when I lamented the fact that my new desk didn't come with the same trash hole feature that my desk in my previous grade had, that I found out they weren't designed for trash, but to hold little ink wells.
    I couldn't quite wrap my mind around having to use an ink well to write, and was glad I got to use it as a hole to pass my trash through instead of a hole to hold my ink.

Friday, April 9, 2021

H ~ Hiking

     I have traipsed over way more rugged terrain, hiked more trails, and seen more breathtaking views than I ever imagined I would. Thanks to LV and his love of the outdoors, and his love of having me enjoy it with him.
    Just between you and me ... I'm more of a houseplant and can happily spend my days at home. However I always end up really enjoying our hikes and time spent together outdoors.

    I don't think I'll ever get tired of views like these.

And then there are times when I'm glad I have a good zoom feature on my camera.

The waterfall at Moore's Cove was worth the hike back to it.

    Through all the seasons, when ever LV says, "Grab your camera, and let's go exploring." I get my camera and happily go with him, wondering what new adventures we'll experience this time, and what photo opportunities await me. 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

G ~ Great is Thy Faithfulness

     Though I had always loved singing, my world of hymns really expanded once we left the Amish church. 
    One of the first hymns I learned after leaving was "Great is Thy Faithfulness" 
    Hearing it, or singing it always transports me back to a little Mennonite church in Missouri, and the feeling of overwhelming gratefulness at the goodness of God and how He had saved us.
    I was singing it today and on a whim decided to see if Youtube has a nice version to listen to.
    I tried several, but this one is my favorite.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

F ~ Forty Years

     We had traveled several hundred miles to the little Amish community where my paternal grandparents lived. Usually it was a joyous occasion when we went to see them, but this time was different. Everyone was gathered to say our final good-byes to Grandpa.
    The morning of the funeral arrived. There was a more somber air at the farm. All the fun the big group of us cousins had the day before was pushed aside as we focused on what this day held. Mom had woke us up early, and while she was getting my brothers ready for the day I slipped outside to use the "facilities" (This particular community did not allow indoor bathrooms)
    As I was ready to return to the house Grandma met me on the little path. "You're up early," she said.
    I agreed. The dew was still heavy on the grass and the first signs of a sunrise were just peaking over the eastern horizon.
    We stood side by side and watched the sunrise quietly. I wished with all my little ten year old self I would know what to say to her now that she no longer had Grandpa. But I didn't, so I simply stood there next to her in silence watching a new day dawn.
    Once the sun was up Grandma said, "Forty years."
    I looked at her, confused.
    She must have read the confusion on my face. "We were married for forty years," she clarified.
    "Oh," was my brilliant response.
    We parted then, and I went back into the house to get ready for the funeral.

    It may not be a lot, but it is now a memory I treasure.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

E ~ Email

     Sometime in 2020 I became aware that some emails weren't reaching me, when someone asked if I minded getting some info to them that they had asked for in an email they had sent.
    I checked my email. Nothing. I check the junk folder, the stuff I had deleted, and the blocked address list and still nothing. I asked Rosie Mae and Sharon to send me an email. Those didn't show up either.
    I went trouble shooting, and discovered that a lot of people using outlook/msn/live for their email were no longer receiving anything sent to them via gmail accounts. Super frustrating!
    I wondered how many people were waiting for a reply from me, and I had never received what they had sent. On gmail users end, they never get notified that their email was not delivered.
    If you're one of them. I'm so sorry! 
    Here is my new email address you can use. kinsingermaryann(at)gmail(dot)com

Monday, April 5, 2021

D ~ Daffodil Selfie

     Coming home from running some errands I stopped by one of our flowerbeds to take a picture of the happy little daffodils. The skies were so blue and the cows were laying in the field contently chewing their cud, so I decided to try to capture it all in the picture.
    As I lowered my phone into the flowers, the leaves of one of the daffodils touched the screen and switched it to selfie mode just as I took the picture.
    It amused me, which is why I'm sharing it today, even though selfies or appearing anywhere in front of a camera is way out of my comfort zone.
    Deep breaths ... here we go ... my very first daffodil selfie.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

C ~ Chickens

     Feeding the chickens and gathering eggs used to be one of my favorite things to do as a child.
    Mom would save stale bread and choice food scraps for us to feed them, but my favorite of all was feeding them wild grapes from the vines that twisted their way up the trees behind the barn. 
They were much too tangy for us to eat, but the chickens viewed them as the best treat.                                
    I would hold the corners of my apron while John and David would scramble up the tree to retrieve those tiny grapes and drop them down to me. Once we had what we deemed as a sufficient amount we'd run to the chicken pen and stand outside the fence. One by one we would throw the grapes in and watch the chickens race to get to it.
    Mom didn't want us to feed them too many in one day, so after we fed them everything we had harvested we'd find something else to do and leave the chickens to their regular food.
    I often wondered why we couldn't feed them as much as we wanted to, but then one year the neighbors cows got into a lot of ramps (spring onions/garlic) and it made their milk taste garlicky. They couldn't sell garlic flavored milk and asked us if we want it. We took a lot of it. Mom saved the cream and we fed the rest to our pigs and our calf.
    Once the butter was made we tried eating it, but the over powering garlic flavor proved to be too much. John and I were sent to feed it to the pigs, but we detoured and fed it to the chickens instead. They seemed super excited and pecked away at it until they had it cleaned up.
    We didn't tell Mom we opted to feed the chickens instead of the pigs, but then several days later the breakfast eggs tasted oddly of garlic. Mom was mystified until we told her we had fed the chickens all that garlicky butter.
    After that I understood why Mom didn't want us to feed an abundance of those tangy wild grapes to the chickens at one time.

Friday, April 2, 2021

B ~ Borrowing

    We used to live in walking distance to my grandparents and several aunts and uncles. It wasn't unusual for one of them to appear at our door to see if they could borrow something. A cup of sugar, a special kind of saw, the lawn mower when theirs broke down, anything they happened to need, and the most popular by far ... books.
    We were always happy to help them out if we could. They were always willing to return the favor.
    We had the same type of borrowing relationship with other nearby Amish families.
    Borrowing from neighbors is a thing of the past now for us. Some days I miss that.
    Days like today, when I had a sewing order I needed to complete to get in the mail, and my old faithful treadle sewing machine would not cooperate at all. 
    If it would have been twenty years ago I would have gathered up all my things and gone to my parents house and used my Mom's sewing machine. 
    I briefly thought of going to our closet Amish neighbors to see if I can use her machine and then laughed at that errant thought. I can only imagine how horrified she would have been to have someone they have to shun ask for something like that. Technically they're supposed to give us what ever we want or need, and never accept anything from us in return. But I wasn't about to put her into such an uncomfortable position. 
    Every once in a while I miss the simplicity and sense of community we used to have while we were Amish. Borrowing and lending is one of those things I do miss.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

A ~ Add Water

     One of the first things I learned to do after LV and I got married was how to make coffee. 
     Having grown up in a family that didn't drink coffee I never had the opportunity to learn how before we were married.
    LV showed me how he liked his coffee and it became part of our daily breakfast. I found some degree of satisfaction being able to make it just how he liked it. Black and strong, and percolated the right amount of time to bring out all the flavor he enjoyed.
    Several months later we received our first overnight guests. I made the coffee as usual and the visiting lady requested to have hers black while others wanted cream and sugar for theirs.
    She took one sip and exclaimed the coffee is much too strong and asked if I can make a new pot for her. 
    I suggested she add some water to hers, to which she vehemently declared, "You DON'T add water to coffee!"
    I got up from the table to make a new and much weaker pot for her. Somehow I didn't have the courage to ask her what the main ingredient is in a cup of coffee.
    I don't remember much else of that visit, but I regularly think of her when I make coffee as I pour water into the pot.