Cold Settles in at the Eicher Homestead

It is Saturday evening here at the Eicher homestead. It is 7 p.m. and the mercury on the thermometer is down to 33 degrees. We are having snow flurries all day, with no accumulation though. I think our warm weather is history for 2022. Last Saturday I was out without a coat raking leaves, and now today, with a high of 36 degrees, I limited outdoor work to only the necessity.

It is a quiet night here. The three boys and Lovina all had plans tonight, and all left before supper. My husband Joe is showering now, and we will call it an early night. Our church services are hosted by a family that lives 11 miles from here. Everyone will need to make an early start.

Last night we had our whole family here for supper. It has been awhile since everyone was home, at least at the same time. The menfolk grilled 20 pounds of chicken as well as some wings. We made mashed potatoes and noodles along with cheese and then brownies, jello cake, and ice cream for dessert.

The grandchildren had a great time with Grandma’s new toys (from Karen in Kansas). They were quite entertained all night. After supper we all gathered around the table and sang songs. Making memories as a family is so very precious to me. The little grandchildren enjoyed listening to all of us singing. And when Grandpa Joe started playing the harmonica, they were amazed and sat there and stared at him. Joe doesn’t often play it anymore, so he had to get some practice, but they enjoyed it just the same. Joe has some very talented harmonica players in his family. I never could get the hang of it, so I would always tease Joe that I’m not windy enough to play it.

Today the boys and Joe tackled the job of organizing our pole barn, on the tool shed side and the side where we have church and large gatherings, etc. It looks quite a lot better. Joe started the coal stove in there, and it’s much cooler than the house it but keeps the water from freezing. Also the battery pack from our solar power needs a little heat in the cold months.

Sister Verena was here a few days and nights. She went home today. I think she likes to leave once in a while for a change of mind. It’s lonely for her, living alone. Last Sunday our family had brunch at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. Sister Verena joined us there, too.

Tim and Elizabeth had a delicious meal of ham and cheese oven omelet, biscuits, sausage gravy, etc. I took cherry, pumpkin, and apple pies. Dessert also was ice cream and gelatin.

We played games in the afternoon and were served good snacks, with one being venison summer sausage that Tim made. It is very good! He also made good jerky.

Son-in-law Dustin harvested an eight-point buck this week. It helps fill the freezer for them.

This is now Monday. Grandson Denzel is now four months old. He’s around 15 pounds. He sure is a happy baby. He giggles so easy. Yesterday I was holding him in church, and he looked over towards the men and spotted his daddy (Dustin). He started grinning and reaching to want to go there. Dustin came to get him, and I could hear him giggling over there. Granddaughter Andrea (daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s) is now nine months. I held her during church, too. She’s very active and pushes the push toy around and gets around walking by furniture or crawling. They grow so fast.

I will share the recipe for my dressing that I use for Thanksgiving dinner.

God bless!

2 tablespoons chicken-flavored soup base
2 cups hot water (use potato water, if you have some)
10 slices bread, crumbled
4 eggs
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup diced celery or celery leaves
1/4 cup chopped onions

Dissolve soup base in hot water, then add rest of ingredients and mix well. Pour into a greased casserole dish or cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Daughter Lovina Welcomes the New Babies

Dear Readers,

I’m daughter Lovina (18) and I will be writing the column for this week. Congratulations to my cousin Emma and her husband Menno, who had a baby girl on November 2. Her name is Jazlyn Grace, and I am going to go see her tonight—can’t wait!

Dustin and Loretta’s little boy Denzel is doing great, and he’s growing by the minute. I think he’s trying to put on extra weight to stay warm for the winter. He’s also a picky eater and only likes formula, and only certain kinds. I tried to give him a bite of my bologna sandwich, but apparently he’s not very fond of that, either. (All jokes!)

I’ve been staying with Loretta on some mornings after Dustin goes to work to help her with the baby, and some mornings she comes over here. I’ve seen Denzel almost every day since he was born, and I have still managed to avoid ever changing his diaper. One day when I have children of my own, I’ll have to endure the suffering of changing diapers, but not today. This morning he had a messy diaper, and I think there were more contents on the outside of the diaper than there were inside.

Quite a while ago I was helping Mom make V-8 juice and the carrots reminded me of a time when Kevin (17) and I were just around seven years old. Mom used to tell us that eating carrots was good for our eyes. Even though that’s true, I think she said it mostly so we would eat our vegetables. Anyway, I remember we were trying to see a deer out in the field but we couldn’t see it so well because it was so far away, so I told Kevin to grab the bag of carrots out of the fridge, and we stood there by the window staring into the field, eating one carrot after another waiting until we could see the deer better. We could have used binoculars, but we used carrots instead. I think we somehow actually convinced ourselves that we could see the deer more clearly.

For breakfast this morning I made sausage, egg, and cheese griddles for Mom, Loretta, Kevin, and myself. I got the idea from when I used to work at McDonald’s. Although if I must say it myself, mine taste better. I know it sounds like I’m bragging, but that’s only because I am.

Thanksgiving is coming up, and then Christmas. Daniel (my special friend) told me to start making a list of things that he could get me for Christmas. I was more than happy to, but I think the list was a little longer than he expected. He said, “Girlfriends are expensive,” but the smile on his face says, “It’s totally worth it.” I already have ideas of what I’m going to get him for Christmas. I like to get him things that I think I could use too, sometimes. It’s like getting myself presents, but in a sneaky way. I always remember that Jesus is the reason for Christmas, the gifts are only a bonus.

I’m pretty excited for sister Susan and her fiancé Ervin’s wedding on December 30. Daniel and I will be serving the bride, groom, and the witnesses at the wedding. I’m sure it will be a fun day, especially since I’ll be there (the last part was a joke).

Daniel bought a horse off my brother Ben. Her name is Lightning, and she’s a Dutch Harness/Standardbred mixed. She couldn’t be more opposite than his other horse, named Buddy, who’s a Haflinger. Buddy is short, stalky, with light colored hair, and he’s slower than some horses, but he’s strong. Daniel doesn’t like when I call Buddy slow, so hopefully he doesn’t read this. Lightning is tall and skinny with dark hair, and she’s very fast but she can’t pull as much weight as Buddy.

On weekends when we spend time together, we use one horse or the other, depending on what mood we are in. If we want to actually get somewhere on time, we use Lightning, but if we want a relaxing buggy ride, then we use Buddy. Daniel also uses Buddy in the field for making hay, raking hay, and baling it. Daniel’s teaching Buddy how to horseback ride right now.

The other day Mom washed clothes, and I went around to gather all the dirty clothes from everyone’s rooms. They each have a clothes hamper in their room, but Ben’s clothes were anywhere but in the hamper. Some by his bed, by his couch, by his closet, under his cart table, and zero clothes in the hamper. Ben’s room is always the messiest—he could care less how it looks as long as he can get to the bed to sleep at night. Joseph and Kevin share a room, and I always hear Joseph bossing Kevin because Kevin messes the room up after Joseph has it cleaned. My room stays clean until laundry day, and then once the laundry starts adding up on the couch I give up and stop cleaning it until the next week.

Well, I better go get my work done. I enjoyed writing the column again and hope you all will enjoy reading. Hope everyone has a fantastic week, God bless!

The sausage, egg, and cheese griddle has two pancakes, a sausage patty, egg, and cheese. And below is a recipe for the pancakes.

Delicious Pancake
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 well beaten eggs
5 tablespoons salad oil or melted butter
2 cups milk

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, oil or butter, and milk, and stir to combine. Spoon batter onto a hot griddle or pan. Cook two to three minutes, until surface of pancakes have some bubbles, then flip. Continue cooking until brown on both sides.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Susan and Ervin Set a Wedding Date

November is here. Today, November 1, would have been my brother-in-law Jacob’s 50th birthday. He is greatly missed by his family and friends. We have many precious memories of the years we spent together. Jacob’s wife Emma is my sister, and he was a first cousin to my husband Joe. Rest in peace, Jacob. You will be remembered always!

And now, on a happier note, I want to announce the exciting news of daughter Susan and Ervin’s wedding date. The couple has picked December 30 for their wedding. Both have lost their first love, and what a great God we have that they were able to find love again. They will never forget their first loves, and we know God has a reason for everything.

So now there is lots of wedding planning going on. Susan and her two children, Jennifer and Ryan, will move in with Ervin and his three children, Kaitlyn, Isaiah, and Curtis, after they are married. As far as I know, daughter Verena will continue living in Susan’s house. We would love to have her move back home, but I understand she likes her independence.

The wedding will be different from our usual weddings. The service will begin at 9 a.m., with the couple being married by around 11:30 a.m. Only one meal will be served. Usually, we have two meals served for weddings. This is the second wedding for both, so they preferred a smaller wedding. The church, uncles, aunts, the bride and groom’s families, and their deceased partners’ families will be invited, which already brings the total up more than they anticipated. The wedding meal will be served cafeteria style except for the bride and groom and their families. Tables will be set for them, and they will have table waiters to wait on them. The wedding will be held at our local community building, which already makes it much easier.

Ervin and Susan very much appreciate every act of kindness that was done for them in the two years since they lost their loved ones.

Please continue praying for them as they join hands together with their five children. I will keep you posted as we prepare for this wedding.

Ervin’s mother Esther has been so kind in her offer to help sew for our family for the wedding clothes. This is a great help to Susan and some of my other daughters. She is a great sewer and has done so much to help Susan sew clothes for the five children. Sewing was never one of Susan’s favorite things, so she’s so happy to have someone help her. I remember when Susan was still at home and would come home from work. I asked her if she wanted to sew her dress. She said no and that she was very tired. The next thing I knew, she was line driving one of the ponies she was training. I soon figured out that her energy came when there was something she enjoyed doing. I remember asking her if she would rather move her sewing machine to the barn so she would feel more like sewing. Haha!

Tomorrow, sister Verena and I plan to help Susan at Ervin’s house. Susan is moving over some of her things she doesn’t need before the wedding. It’s easier to move it while it’s warmer and before the snow starts flying. Her cupboard was emptied, and now we want to set it up in Ervin’s house and put the china dishes back in.

I have finally caught up with reader mail. I sent out letters (answering letters) to eight different states the other day. I don’t thank you readers often enough for all the kind letters of encouragement. A big thank you to Karen from Kansas for the nice box of things you sent. So many useful items, and my grandchildren are so excited about Grandma’s new toys. They often get bored with the same toys I have, so they are very excited.

We have leaves, leaves, leaves. Saturday, we raked a lot of leaves, but the grass is already getting covered with lots more.

Son Joseph is working with the rest of his construction crew this week in Hart, Michigan. They don’t often go overnight. We miss him being home at night, but this hardly ever happens. They wanted less driving time. It is bedtime—good night, sweet dreams, and God’s blessings!

Macaroni Chicken Salad
2 1/2 cups macaroni, uncooked
2 cups diced chicken
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced carrots
1/2 cup sweet relish
1/2 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and drain well; cool. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well, chill.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Cherishing Time and Memories of Loved Ones

It’s 5 a.m., and the temperature is 39 degrees. Yesterday we had a cold, rainy autumn day. We also had a few snow flurries and a little ice this week. Old Man Winter is just around the corner, it seems. Our tomato and pepper plants still didn’t get a killing frost, so we are still harvesting what’s left of them. Hopefully, there will be a nice day soon so we can clear out the beds and prep them for the winter. I really like having the raised beds this year and think we will appreciate them in years to come.

My husband Joe and son Joseph, 20, both left for work already. Son Benjamin, 23, is out in the barn harnessing our horse Midnight for me before he leaves for work. Daughter Loretta and I plan to attend the Pampered Chef shower niece Emma is hosting for Crystal (nephew Benjamin’s wife). This will be held at niece Emma’s house. Loretta and baby Denzel, three months, are here already. Dustin came over with them before he left for work. Now they are both asleep on the recliner. Denzel loves to cuddle up to his mama. He smiles a lot in his sleep. Such a precious little angel!

The Pampered Chef shower is at 10 a.m. then lunch will be served afterward. It’s a nice time to visit with friends and family. The shower helps a young bride fill her kitchen.

One afternoon last week, granddaughters Abigail, Jennifer, and Kaitlyn came here from school and spent the night here. They left for school again the next morning. We had so much fun with them. Daughter Verena came home for the night as well and helped entertain the little girls. They colored, listened to someone read books, put puzzles together, and played with play dough. We made fried chicken and french fries for supper and had ice cream cones for dessert. Their evening was full, and they were tired little girls when bedtime came around. They slept with Verena in her bedroom she still has here. The next morning, they were all cheerful and willing to get dressed for school. Their little goodbye hugs and saying “Bye, Grandma—I love you” made my day.

Saturday, the family gathering was well attended at brother Albert and Sarah Irene’s house. My parents have 42 living grandchildren. Nieces Mary (daughter of Paul and sister Leah) and Marilyn (daughter of sister Emma and Jacob) both died at a young age. Mary was five, and Marilyn was eight and a half months. Out of the 42 grandchildren, only four couldn’t make it. It was a good turnout!

Alberts had grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn, and green beans for the hot food. Then there were different kinds of salads, desserts, cakes, fruit pies, and more by everyone else. There is more than enough food by the time everyone brings something. I made three chocolate pies, a big bowl of taco salad, a pudding, and fruit mixed with fruit dip using eight ounces of cream cheese, eight ounces of whipped topping, a cup of powdered sugar, and two teaspoons of vanilla. Then after that is all mixed well, I add grapes, pineapple chunks, and apple slices.

Everyone brought snacks to enjoy before we all left for home. It was good to see everyone again, but our loved ones that passed were greatly missed. Rest in peace, dear parents, brother Amos, sister Susan, brother-in-law Jacob, son-in-law Mose, and nieces Mary and Marilyn. You will always be remembered, and we have many memories of you.

We do not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.

God’s blessings to all!

Chicken Casserole
12 slices bread
2–3 cups cooked and diced chicken
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
4 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
salt and pepper
8 ounces shredded or sliced cheese, desired variety
1 can cream of chicken soup, diluted according to instructions on the can
cracker or cornflake crumbs

Arrange bread slices in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Cover with chicken. Mix chicken broth, milk, eggs, butter, salt, and pepper. Pour over the chicken. Add a layer of cheese on top, then pour one can of diluted cream of chicken soup on top of the cheese. Top with cracker or cornflake crumbs. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35 minutes till bubbly. It can be made a day ahead and refrigerated if needed.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina Answers Readers’ Questions

It’s hard to believe that it’s Wednesday already. This week is going much faster than I would like. I could hear the rain during the night, as it was warm enough in our house to have a window open in our bedroom. We have had absolutely gorgeous weather lately, and then last night, it started raining. Many leaves have fallen from the trees in our yard. The autumn scenery is so beautiful, and all created by our master artist. Are we thankful enough for all his blessings?

Sunday, our family had lunch at daughter Loretta and Dustin’s house across the road from us. The menu was mashed potatoes, beef and noodles, mixed vegetables, grilled hamburgers (and all the toppings for hamburger sandwiches), lettuce salad, fruit dip and sliced apples, and ice cream. It was delicious! We played Phase 10 in the afternoon and spent time outside since it was sunny and 75 degrees.

Tim and daughter Elizabeth and their four children stopped in on their way home from spending the day with his parents and sister and family. They had lunch there. Tim hitched their black horses Prince and Dusty double to their surrey buggy. A surrey is a two-seated buggy. Prince and Dusty are father and son and look very much alike. They look really nice running together.

Monday, sister Verena and I went to daughter Susan’s house. She had surgery to remove her wisdom teeth. Her friend Ervin went with her. She has a very painful mouth now, but I’m sure it will feel better after it’s all healed.

Sister Verena and I helped daughter Verena with the children, laundry, and cleaning up the house. Of course, dishes always accumulate, so sister Verena spent much of the day washing dishes. Daughter Verena and I washed Susan’s, Ervin’s, and the children’s laundry. The three little boys have shirts and pants that look all the same size. There are lots of little items to hang up with laundry for five little children. I am amazed at how well the children get along; to think they only knew each other since May. Ryan enjoys having little “brothers” to play with. Jennifer and Kaitlyn have become close “sisters” and are good at entertaining their little brothers.

Yesterday, we did our laundry. Both days were great for doing laundry.

Tim and Elizabeth left Allison, two, and Andrea, eight months, here while they took T.J. (Timothy) to get checked out. His asthma had fired up, and he was coughing all night. He could hardly talk without coughing and wheezing. They had been giving him nebulizer mist treatments. The doctor said they needed a different medicine for the nebulizer. He said doing what they had been kept T.J. from getting worse and from being admitted to the hospital. Hopefully, he’s doing better. I want to call Elizabeth this morning to see how he is doing.

This brings me to a question from a reader wondering about the calls and voicemails I wrote in an earlier column. Our community allows us to have a home phone in a building outside the house. Some have a loud ringer outside, so that the phone can be heard ringing. We can leave a voicemail to call back at a certain time to connect. Our phone is in our pole barn, not far from the house. I hope this answers your questions. Also, the pictures from the benefit were taken by an Amish driver Sue, so thanks to her, you got a glimpse of all the food.

Back to having Allison and Andrea here. . . Andrea gets around everywhere, pulls herself up, and walks behind a push toy. She has the biggest brown eyes, and her smile melts your heart. Allison is blonde-haired and has bright blue eyes (her daddy’s eyes). She came down to the basement with me while I was washing laundry. She’s good at entertaining herself. While I hung laundry out, she was swinging or riding the tricycle.

I always wanted to say congratulations to Vernon and Marsha. I hope they had a nice wedding day. We are sorry we were unable to attend. There was just too much happening on October 14. We appreciated the invite.

Last night we had vegetable soup and venison summer sausage (made by son-in-law Tim) for our supper. I’ll share my vegetable soup recipe. Enjoy! God bless!

Lovina and her family had vegetable soup and venison summer sausage for supper one evening. Photo provided.

Vegetable Soup
1 pint canned beef chunks
1 small onion (left whole)
1 quart tomato juice
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 pint canned or frozen corn
1 pint canned or frozen mixed vegetables
salt and black pepper to taste

Put beef chunks, small onion, tomato juice, and potatoes in a 4-quart pot. Cook until potatoes are soft. Add corn and mixed vegetables and heat until boiling. Onion can be taken out since it’s only for flavor. Or, if you prefer, you can dice it before adding and leave it in soup to eat.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina’s Community Pulls Together for Benefit Dinner

Our house feels nice and cozy since Joe started our coal stove in the basement. With the temperature outside at 61 degrees, it’s almost too warm, so I have some windows open. It’s too cold in here without heat and too warm with heat. I imagine it won’t be long before we will be needing the coal stove going full blast.

Saturday we plan to attend my family gathering at brother Albert’s.

Yesterday I spent the day at Susan’s friend Ervin’s house. Susan and I washed off walls and ceilings, cabinets, etc. Ervin has most of his belongings there but has a lot of unpacking to do. The children were excited to show me their bedrooms.

All five children had a disappointment on Sunday night. Ervin and Susan had bought them a miniature pony that had just been weaned from his mom. They led this pony everywhere and became attached to him fast. He was a calm little pony, just perfect to entertain five little children. On Sunday night they saw it wasn’t acting right and called the vet. But before he came out, the pony died. The vet thinks it had something to do with being away from his mom and maybe developing parasites. He said weanlings have been known to do this. Well, little four-year-old Jennifer’s explanation was, “We need to get a pony that’s not allergic to our food.” She thinks the pony was allergic.

A small portion of the 1200 pounds of grilled chicken prepared for this week’s benefit dinner. Photo provided.

We had a good outcome with the benefit grilled chicken and pulled pork dinner on Friday evening, to help Dustin and Loretta with hospital and ongoing medical expenses. We appreciated everyone that helped in any way. It takes many hands to do a benefit like this.

The menu was pulled pork, grilled chicken, chicken noodle soup, baked beans, potato salad, peanut butter, strawberry, pecan, and pumpkin pies, lemonade, and coffee. To prepare for this we had one hog roasted, but we ran out so we could’ve had two. We had 1200 pounds of grilled chicken and it took 700 pounds. (The rest was taken around to places in a nearby community for donation.) It is so hard to know how much to have as you don’t have any idea how many people will show up, and we had carry-outs available, too. We bought 80 pounds of noodles from an Amish bulk food store, and 75 quarts of chicken broth were donated by the local families. There were 23 kettles (12-quart size) of chicken noodle soup made. It took 21 kettles. Women in the community made 30 gallons of potato salad and 30 gallons of baked beans. We had more than enough of that. Close to 130 pies came in, and we ran out of strawberry and peanut butter pies.

Son-in-law Dustin had a birthday on Saturday, October 8 (the day after the benefit). Loretta baked him a cake and brought it here Sunday for our noon meal. Daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and four children, daughter Susan and two children, Ervin and three children, daughter Verena, and sister Verena were all here. We had mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken noodles, chicken, baked beans, potato salad, pecan and pumpkin pies, and cake. A lot of the food was leftovers from the benefit so the meal was easy.

Deer hunting season is in (bow season). Son-in-law Tim shot two and daughter Lovina’s special friend Daniel shot two, also. One was an eight-point buck. Tim is making jerky with some of his deer.

Sister Verena spent a few nights here. Her heat wasn’t on yet so her house was quite chilly.

God’s blessings to all!

Glazed Sweet Potatoes
2 pounds medium sweet potatoes or 2 (18-ounce cans) sweet potatoes, drained
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup maple-flavored syrup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

If using fresh sweet potatoes, place in a kettle; cover with water and cook, covered for 25–35 minutes or just until tender. Drain; cool slightly. Peel and cut into chunks. Place cooked or canned sweet potatoes in a 2-quart baking dish. In a small saucepan, combine butter, syrup, brown sugar, and cinnamon; cook and stir until mixture boils. Pour over potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30–40 minutes.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina and Family Take a Trip to the Orchard

Last week we went to the orchard to pick grapes. All the households in our family went along, and our driver pulled an enclosed trailer so we could all get our grapes home. We take along 5-gallon buckets, and that is counted as a half-bushel. Some picked Niagara grapes, which make a light-colored juice. I prefer the Concord, so that was what we picked for us. Daughter Susan mixes the Niagara and Concord for her juice. The Niagara grapes were easy picking, but the Concord were more of a challenge and time-consuming, because of wet weather and hail earlier this year.

Friday we canned grape juice using steamers. I helped daughter Loretta with hers. We also brought cider home from the orchard, so we are enjoying that with popcorn and apples (we also bought those at the orchard). The orchard is a 30-minute drive away with a vehicle, so that’s why we all go at the same time.

While filling the jars from the hose of the steamer, I had an accident. The hose slipped from the jar and the boiling grape juice went over my hand. I have a pretty big burn from it. It is sore, but I get relief when I put a burdock leaf on it along with B&W salve. It’s just unhandy, since it’s my right hand and I’m right-handed. It hurts to write, and I feel sorry for my editor that has to try to read my handwriting. I need to get after my daughters to see if they will take a turn writing again. It’s a busy time of the year for the young mothers.

We also canned hot peppers, and I’ll share my recipe this week. We like the Serrano peppers. They seem to stay crisper after canned.

We also like to grow the sweet banana peppers to stuff with cream cheese and shredded cheese then wrap with bacon, using round toothpicks to hold it on. We put them on the grill until the bacon is cooked. I don’t can those peppers but like to keep some for as long as I can after the frost. We pick them and keep them in our back porch where it’s cool on days like this. Some places have had a frost, but my garden plants still didn’t get frosted.

October 2 was brother Albert and Sarah Irene’s 36th anniversary. I was 15 when they were married. Alberts are hosting our family gathering on October 15. Our family is almost to the 200 count when we are all together. One of the siblings hosts the family each year. They furnish the hot food and everything else is brought in. It accumulates to quite a bit of food.

October 1 was daughter Loretta and Dustin’s first anniversary. October 4 was sister Liz and Levi’s 30th anniversary. They were married the year before Joe and I, so next year will be Joe and my 30th anniversary—Lord willing!

We wish all three couples many more happy and healthy years together and God’s blessings always!

Also, congratulations to niece Rosemary and Josiah as they were united in marriage on October 1. May God bless them through their married life together.

And as I bring this to a close, I want to sign off wishing you much good health and happiness as we travel into the unknown future! God bless!

This week Lovina canned pickled hot peppers, and shares her recipe. Photo provided.

Pickled Hot Peppers
Hot peppers, sliced
3 cups vinegar (white)
3 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt

Fill jars with sliced hot peppers. Heat vinegar and water, bringing to a boil. Add sugar and salt, stirring until dissolved. Pour brine over peppers and seal jars. Process in a boiling-water bath canner according to USDA guidelines suggested by your local extension office or the National Center for Home Preservation website. Makes enough brine for 5–6 pints.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina Visits Family as Nights Turn Cold

It’s 5 a.m. and the thermometer shows that the mercury dipped down to 46 degrees. Brrr! The gas lights feel good this morning since we don’t have any heat yet. I only light the gas lights when extra heat is needed—otherwise we use the cordless battery lights. It’s surprising how much heat the propane lights throw.

We have ordered our winter’s supply of hard coal. I don’t know why we were so surprised at how much the price of coal has gone up, with everything else going up in price. Seems groceries cost so much more too, and then a lot of work is low so that doesn’t help. God is above all and we need to trust Him.

My husband Joe left for work 15 minutes ago. Son Joseph will leave around 5:30, so I need to go make him breakfast and pack his lunch before I finish this.

Joseph just left for his construction job. Son Benjamin is off work this week from the RV factory. He is planning to go work a few days on construction with a friend of his.

Tomorrow morning I hope we can finally do our laundry. It has been rainy all week, then today I’m leaving. My plans are to go with Dustin and daughter Loretta to town. Dustin is also off work this week from the RV factory.

Friday night most of our family gathered here for a taco supper in honor of daughter Lovina’s special friend Daniel’s 21st birthday, which was September 26.

Saturday our family went to help sister Emma and family. Her son Benjamin and Crystal are making living quarters in her pole barn. It is coming along nicely and will make a nice place for the young couple to start out. It seems so different to not see brother-in-law Jacob around there. I’m sure it gets very overwhelming for Emma at times to have to look after everything. She made a good breakfast and lunch for all of us. Her married daughters and family were there helping as well.

Sunday around 12:30 p.m. Joe and I, with our horse Midnight and buggy, and Dustin, Loretta, and baby Denzel and daughter Verena with Dustin’s horse Spirit and their buggy following us, headed south. First we traveled the twelve miles to visit Joe’s sister MaryAnn and Jake. Jake is still in quite a bit of pain from a fall he had in July. He fell when trimming trees and broke his back. Jake is 58 and was always active, so this is very hard on him to not be able to get around much. MaryAnn is Joe’s oldest sister. She is 60 and is a great nurse to Jake.

After a couple hours of visiting, we headed back north and stopped to visit Joe’s second oldest sister Ruth and Chris. Chris has also had a lot of doctoring with his health and been laid up a lot. He is also used to be active, so the slowing down has not been easy. Chris and Ruth are in the process of building a new house since they moved from Oklahoma. They are now living in their son Chris Jr’s house. Joe’s sisters MaryAnn and Ruth married brothers (Jake and Chris).

Ruth made supper for us, which was very good. It was nice to get to visit with all of them, as we don’t often see each other. We used to all be in the same church district years ago. Ruth helped me out a lot when my children were younger. MaryAnn did a lot of sewing for me also, years ago. So it was really nice to catch up. We arrived home around 7 p.m. It was an enjoyable drive!

Sister Verena is spending a week with my sister Liz and family. She probably gets to help spoil sister Liz and Levi’s tenth grandchild, Lamar Michael. Niece Rosa and Menno were blessed with their third son last week.

Tomorrow our plans are to go to the U-Pick and pick grapes to put into juice. Hopefully that will bring an end to this year’s canning.

God’s blessings to all!

Pecan Pie Brownies

1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cocoa
1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon flour (for tossing with chocolate chips)

1/3 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 1/2 cups pecans

Sift flour, salt, and cocoa and set aside. Add butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs to a large bowl and mix together. Add flour mixture and mix well. In a small bowl, sprinkle the teaspoon of flour over the chocolate chips and toss. Add the chocolate chips to the mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Set aside.

For topping, mix together the corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, and melted butter in a bowl. Add the pecans and stir until all are covered. Pour over the brownies and spread out gently. Bake again for 25–30 minutes until done.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina Marks 20 Years of Column Writing

This week brings us into autumn already. This week always takes me back to twenty years ago when my dear mother so suddenly passed away. She died September 17 but was in Blue Springs, Missouri, at the time of her death. The funeral wasn’t until September 23. My mother penned this column for eleven years, and after her death I started writing. Joe and I had six children at the time, and Joseph was eight weeks old. Where have all the years gone to? Time does not stand still. I have many precious memories of my sweet mother. She far outdid me in cooking/baking.

Yesterday we did laundry and I had everything hung outside, then I heard thunder in the distance. I gradually took off the clothes as they dried, but the storm kept getting closer. I hung what fit on the lines on the porch, then brought the rest in baskets inside. We didn’t get too much thunder and lightning, but some rain. After it was over, I hung what was wet outside again. I could’ve left it out in the rain, but the towels were halfway dry, and although it took more physical labor, I decided to take them off until after the rain. All the laundry was dry and could be folded and put away by nighttime. I really hope I can someday get those wash lines that you can put on your porch ceilings and fold back up after you’re done using them. On rainy days when you don’t have heat in the house, that would be so nice to hang laundry out there. We have a big wrap-around porch that would be great for that.

Daughter Loretta and baby Denzel came here for the day. She brought their tomatoes, and I had several five-gallon buckets out of my garden that son Joseph had picked the evening before. We canned thirty quarts of tomato juice for Dustin and Loretta from all the tomatoes. Loretta started washing and cutting up the tomatoes while we did laundry. She was glad when Dustin came home from work and helped her. This will be a nice supply for them this winter.

My hot pepper plants are loaded again, so I will have son Kevin pick the peppers this week and get those in jars. The raised garden beds make it easier for Kevin to help pick the vegetables.

Church services were held at niece Emma and Menno’s on Sunday, which was also council meeting. Everyone comes in for lunch two tables at a time, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or until everyone is fed. Church services were held under a tent. The lunch was served in their pole barn. They had a good lunch consisting of chicken noodle soup, homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese, peanut butter spread, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, butter, strawberry jam, a variety of cookies, coffee, and iced tea.

Services were over around 2:30 p.m. and everyone left for home. Our family stayed, and Emma made supper for us. Corn hole was being played while supper was being prepared. Nephew Jacob, 22, has muscular dystrophy also, and corn hole games are one thing he makes for income.

We are working on having a benefit supper at our Community Youth Center on October 7. We will be serving a barbecue chicken and pulled pork meal from 4–8 p.m. I wrote out slips of paper with pies, potato salad, etc. to pass out to the ladies that want to help bring the food. The benefit is to help Dustin and Loretta with hospital and ongoing medical bills. Dustin is raising pigs for this winter to butcher, so they will roast one of those for the benefit. There is a lot of work involved, but there are a lot of willing people wanting to help. Many hands make lighter work!

Loretta will have an ultrasound done in mid-October on both legs to see what is causing the clots. We pray it will be something simple that can be fixed.

Denzel is 10 1/2 weeks old and drew a lot of attention in church when he decided to giggle out loud. Loretta was making faces at him and he just giggled and giggled. He is such a cutie!

I will share the cookie recipe that daughter Lovina tried and everyone loved. Hope you will enjoy them, too. God’s blessings to all!

This week Lovina shares the recipe for Chewy Chocolate Cookies that daughter Lovina tried and everyone loved. Photo provided.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies
1 1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (1 12-ounce package) peanut butter chips or chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt and then blend into creamed mixture. Stir in chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 9 minutes (do not overbake). Cookies will be soft. They will puff while baking and flatten when they are cooling.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina Remembers Baby Marilyn

Thirteen years ago today—September 14—sister Emma and Jacob were blessed with a daughter Marilyn. She died eight and a half months later, leaving heartbroken parents and siblings. We were so close to her—how hard it was to go tell Jacob and Emma’s children and my own in school that day that their little sister/cousin had gone to be with Jesus. Often through the years, when we have seen girls her age, we wonder how Marilyn would look at that age. But it was God’s will. From the sidelines, though, I know how Emma and Jacob hurt. Such an angel! Emma was still breastfeeding her, and her arms felt so empty. Marilyn’s stay on earth was short, but she received lots of love in that time. Emma miscarried twins a few years later but wasn’t able to have more children. She is blessed with two girls and three boys. She misses her dear husband, Jacob.

We found our 18 1/2-year-old horse Ginger dead in the field one morning. Ginger put in a lot of miles pulling our family through the years. We have her daughter Midnight for our main horse. Joe trained Ginger and Midnight. Son Benjamin has her half sister Beauty for his horse.

Ginger was born six days after we moved to Michigan. Her mother, Itty Bit, was also a good horse. It’s always hard to part with a horse that has been around a long time, and you grow attached to them. She was a leader in our group of horses, so they all looked a little lost for awhile.

Our garden is all cleared out and ready to till. The garden beds still have tomatoes, green peppers, sweet banana peppers, serrano peppers, and cucumbers. We plan to can serrano peppers today, along with more pickles. We canned twenty quarts of pickled red beets on Monday—ten quarts for us and ten for Dustin and Loretta. We serve these red beets at our church lunches when we host the services.

Niece Emma and Menno are hosting church on Sunday, at which we will be having council meeting (preparatory services for communion). Lunch is usually served during the services, as the service lasts until early afternoon. A couple dozen people at a time will go in to eat until everyone has eaten. Tomorrow my daughter and I have plans to go assist Emma with whatever she needs help with for church services on Sunday.

Saturday evening we went to daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house for Abigail’s birthday supper. She was excited to have everyone come for her sixth birthday. Elizabeth made cupcakes and had six candles for her to blow out. Supper menu was grilled hamburgers (along with all the add-ons such as lettuce, tomatoes, etc.), potatoes (cooked on the grill), cupcakes, cookies, and ice cream. We played games after supper.

Granddaughter Jennifer (Susan’s daughter) started school this week. She seems to like it. Abigail (Elizabeth’s daughter) said she’ll take care of Jennifer if she’s scared. Abigail, Jennifer, and Kaitlyn (Ervin’s daughter) all seem to be enjoying school.

Yesterday I attended a Tupperware party hosted by daughter Verena’s friend Laura. She’s a neighbor to Susan and Verena. I took our horse Midnight and our buggy to the party. Afterwards I went to daughter Susan’s house for a few hours. I wanted to be there when Kaitlyn and Jennifer came home from school. Abigail had been dropped off already. Isaiah (Ervin’s son), 4, said he goes to school, too. When they asked him what his teacher’s name is, he said Jesus. He sees the others going to school and wants to go, too.

Ervin (Susan’s friend) is now a homeowner here in Michigan. He bought the farm around the corner from Susan’s house, around a half mile from there. Next month will probably be busy, getting his things all packed again and moved to his new place. This will be so much easier for Susan and Verena to watch the children while he’s at work.

I’ll share the recipe for pickled red beets for those interested in canning.

God’s blessings to all!

This week Lovina canned 20 quarts of pickled red beets, to serve at church lunches when they host. Photo provided.

Pickled Red Beets
10 quarts raw beets
5 cups white vinegar
12 cups water
6 cups sugar
4 teaspoons salt

Boil beets until tender, 10–15 minutes, then drain, peel, and cut into chunks. Mix together vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Pour brine over beets and cook for 10 minutes. Put in jars and seal. Process in a boiling-water bath canner according to USDA guidelines suggested by your local extension office or the National Center for Home Preservation website.

This recipe makes a brine for 10 quarts of beets. If the vinegar is strong, you may adjust the brine ratio to 1 cup of vinegar to every 3 cups of water.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.