Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Precious Ones

Some of you have asked about the family. Jacob and I have ten children; five boys and five girls. They are

Jacob Jr. - Age 14
John Levi- Age 13
Ruth Ann - Age 12
David Jay - Age 10
Jed Monroe - Age 9
Malon Josiah - Age 8
Sarah Jo - Age 6
Esther Sue - Age 4
Lora Lee - Age 3
Gracie Kay - Age 2

Well, as today is Wednesday, I've got yard work to tend too and a basketful of trousers that need mending.

God Bless,

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday Worship

Yesterday we had Church and it went just fine. We had 4 ministers and 2 bishops come. Taking Bunny's advice I plan to explain a little bit about our church, though I don't expect it will make sense to all of you.

The church goers start to arrive around 8am. We sing from our Ausbund. During the singing, the ministers and bishops will decide amongst themselves who will give the two sermons that day.

Our ministers are different than in most churches. They do not write their sermons out ahead of time, they simply preach by inspiration and include mostly teachings from the Old Testament.

About 8:30 the first sermon will start. This is the shorter of the two sermons, lasting about 30 minutes. Then there is more scripture and prayer before the second sermon, which is the main sermon. This sermon is usually about an hour long. Following the main sermon, the other ministers and bishops add a few of their words to help emphasize the two sermons. We usually spend about another 20 or 30 minutes singing and praying. It is not uncommon for church to last for three hours.

Yesterday the ministers who preached were very emotional and powerful as they preached about loving our neighbors as Christ loved everyone and judge not that ye be judged.

Following the service we held the luncheon. Even though it is a lot of work to get ready for church, I feel blessed that we are able to welcome our friends and neighbors to come and worship. Though, I will also admit that I am glad it will about another year yet before we have church again.

I am sure there is a lot more to tell, but that is the basics. I hope you all enjoyed your Sunday worship as well.

God Bless,

Friday, April 24, 2009

Final Church Preparations

Well, it has been a busy week and we have worked our fingers to the bone. I am so grateful for the cousins and my sisters, and of course Mommie who have been here all week to help me get ready for church.

Tomorrow will be the final preparations. The boys will help Jacob unload the church wagon and set up the benches in the garage while Mommie and I will see to the food preparations. Gracie Kay had a slight fever this morning, so I put her down straight away after breakfast. I have Ruth Ann watching after her and the other little ones while we finish up.

The almanac says the weather will be overcast with a chance of showers. I hope the rain holds off until we can at least get everyone fed and on their way back home.

God Bless,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Planting Today

Yesterday we got all of the wash off the line and finished the ironing. We also washed all of the walls, baseboards and floors. Mommie came again to help and said her arthritis was a little better. My other sister Josie came along with Caroline too.

Usually, Wednesdays are my sewing days and during the spring and summer my gardening days too. However, we will forego the sewing today.

Today we plan to spend time turning the soil in my vegetable garden. I've got to get my seeds in and the last few weeks the ground has just been too cold and too hard. Today is a perfect day and I've enough hands to help. We must finish the planting today as tomorrow we plan to give the garage a thorough cleaning and that will take just about all day. Good thing the cousins will come to help tomorrow.

Friday we will bake the pies and the church cookies and finish any cleaning. Then Saturday we will make the final food preparations with the sandwiches and such, while the men and boys unload the church wagon and set up all of the benches and tables.

God Bless,

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wash Day

Mondays around here are wash day. Today I must wash all of the clothes and bedding not to mention the curtains and rugs to get ready for church.

My sister Caroline is coming in the forenoon to help. The scholars will be at school of course, but she'll have her two small ones in tow. They play nicely with my little ones, and Mommie will come to help as well. Her arthritis is flaring up, so I will mostly keep her busy with the children and making dinner (what you call lunch) for the men when they come in from choring.

Mondays are also the days I make bread. I will start the dough as soon as I get in from milking. Then it can rise while we do the wash and be ready for baking just after lunch. I usually make six loaves per week for my family, but with church we will be making an additional twelve.

God Bless,

Saturday, April 18, 2009

New Bicycles

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my very own eyes. Jonas & Mary Lehman from the next farm bought brand new shiny bicycles for all thirteen of their children! It wasn't enough that they got their brand new pony cart for Christmas, they had to get new bicycles too!

I am trying really hard not to covet. However, it puts a real bee in my bonnet when I see the Lehman's with their fancy new pony cart, new work boots, and now new bicycles and our farm is struggling. Some months it seems it's all we can do to buy new tablets for the children's school work.

I'm feeling sort of guilty about spending my egg money now. Jacob would really think me foolish if I confessed. Bunny said I should remember now that thing which I always tell her: "This too shall pass". Bunny says I am a kept woman, kept by this farm and the laptop was a gift to myself and well-deserved. I don't completely agree, but either way, I can't so much as return it now. After all, I've been hiding it in the barn and it sort of carries that smell of hay and cow-patties. I will admit, that writing has helped me feel a little more sane this past week.

At least we have our dairy cows that still provide us with an income. In the meantime, no more fancy lotions and the boys will just have to wear patches on their work pants a little longer. I am grateful that I am richly blessed with my own family. These ten kids are precious to me. I reckon who needs new bicycles when I have my family?

God Bless,

Friday, April 17, 2009

Getting Ready For Church

This next week will be a busy one for me as we will have church at our house a week from Sunday. Bunny said I should explain about our church, since many of you might not know how the Amish do.

Amish church services are held every other Sunday. We are divided geographically by where we live into church districts. Since church services are held in homes, not in church buildings, each family normally hosts church about once, maybe twice a year. Currently our district has 25 families. We will have about 150 people here for church.

In order to prepare, I need to wash walls, wash floors and all baseboards. I need to clean all of the curtains and wash all of the windows. The bathroom needs a good scrub down as does the kitchen. The furniture needs to be arranged to make room for tables and extra benches. This is all in addition to our regular chores. Two of my sisters and three of my cousins will come to help me this coming week.

We will have to move the buggies out from the garage and give it a good scrub-down too. A typical Amish garage is much larger than an English garage or carriage house. Bunny says it would be like a 4 or 5 car garage, whatever that means. Anyway, Jacob built the new garage last year and made it big enough so we could hold church there when it was our turn. This is where the benches will go for the church service. Then following that, we will move some tables in and have a light lunch. Some with small babies and children will eat in the house while most will stay out in the garage (buggy barn).

Lunch is usually a simple light meal so that it can be prepared ahead of time. We will probably have the usual bologna or lunch meat, breads, traditional "Amish Peanut Butter Spread", jams including apple butter, cheese, pickles, pickled red beets, cookies and probably some snitz pies.

Here is the recipe for the Amish Peanut Butter Spread if interested:

1 C light Karo syrup
½ C peanut butter
¼ C marshmallow crème

Mix all ingredients until smooth. Store in airtight container. May refrigerate; let sit at room temperature a few minutes before using for sandwiches.

God Bless,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Trip to Town

Today I went to town with the horse and buggy. Thunder, the black horse had a spook and started to take off. Oh my word! I thought for certain we'd have a wheel break. I am thankful to the good Lord that didn't happen. Esther, Lora and Gracie were frightened. I daren't let on that I was a little frightened too. I just grabbed the reigns tighter, said a quick prayer and luckily Thunder calmed down.

Esther's eye glasses were ready, so we picked those up. Also picked up Jacob's new work boots and whilst in the drug store, I found a bottle of lovely smelling lotion. I bought some. I think Jacob won't mind too much as it was only $1.99. It was just a little splurge, and my hands tend to get so dry after washing dishes nearly four or five times per day.

It was a fun trip to town and the little girls enjoyed coming along.

God Bless,

Monday, April 13, 2009

Church News

At church yesterday Eli-Johanna gave me a new recipe for Sunshine Rolls. I think these will be perfect for Jacob and the boys in the mornings to go along with their breakfast when they come in from choring. There is a hint of orange zest in the frosting.

Updates and News. Samuel "Stubby" Frey's barn burnt down last month. They announced yesterday in church the new barn raising to take place in 3 weeks.

God Bless,

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Today it Rained

Today it rained. I wasn't able to make the ground ready for planting.

Churned butter. Baked bread. Darned Jacob's socks.

Today's Tip: When churning butter, really get your hips into it. It takes the pressure and stress off of your upper arms and lower back. Churn until you think it is creamy enough. Then churn a bit longer, give or take.

God Bless,