Category Archives: Vegetables

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.

Lovina Helps Clean to Prepare for Church Services

Today is the last day of August. This summer is flying by so fast, it seems. I have tomatoes, pickles, and red beets to be put in jars. I will probably make salsa with the tomatoes that I have picked. The plants are loaded with more. How thankful we can be for this bountiful harvest. We can now enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Last week we canned 42 quarts of V-8 juice, which makes a good drink. I make ours spicy by adding extra hot peppers, but I also make some that isn’t spicy so I can use it in soups when the grandchildren come home.

Lovina recommends adding hot peppers to make the juice spicy. Photo provided.

Yesterday daughter Lovina and I and daughter Loretta and seven-and-a-half-week-old baby Denzel went to daughter Elizabeth’s to assist her with her cleaning. We used our horse Midnight and Dustin and Loretta’s buggy. Their buggy is pretty neat. It has a lift in the back run by a battery charged by a solar panel on the buggy. So I could push a button, and it lifted Loretta and her mobility scooter into the buggy. There were many times when Loretta didn’t want to leave because she didn’t want us to have to lift her in the buggy. So now she can leave with us when Dustin isn’t along.

Daughters Susan and Verena were also at Tim and Elizabeth’s helping, and so were Susan’s friend Ervin and the children. Ervin mowed the grass, and we cleaned the kitchen, bathroom, and windows. Church services will be held at Tim and Elizabeth’s house on Saturday instead of Sunday. This will be baptismal services for son Benjamin—Lord willing. Services will be held under a tent.

Elizabeth was glad for all our help. With four children ages five and under, it’s hard to get everything done. I want to go help her Friday again.

Granddaughters Abigail and Kaitlyn came home from school together. It was so cute to see them with their backpacks. They are really getting attached to each other.

The little boys enjoyed the day together. They were playing by the window well, and Ryan, three, slipped into the well. There was a toad in there, and he was screaming because he was scared of the big toad. When Loretta went to see why he was crying Isaiah, four, and T.J., three, were pulling Ryan out of the window well. It was so sweet how the two little boys were helping Ryan.

Granddaughter Andrea, six and a half months, gets around everywhere in her walker. I was cleaning the stove, and she kept coming up to the stove, trying to grab the racks I had sitting there. She’s a sweetie and has the biggest eyes and smile.

Jennifer, four, and Allison, two, were playmates and kept each other entertained. Most times, they play doll, and Allison is Jennifer’s little girl. It’s funny how the little girls and little boys have different interests. Curtis, two, likes to hang close to wherever Susan is. He’s really attached to her already. He also likes to play with baby Denzel and Andrea.

Kaitlyn, Isaiah, and Curtis are Ervin’s children, but they already seem like my own grandchildren. They are so easy to love.

Loretta went to see the doctor again, and she still has some blood clots in her leg, so she still needs to take a blood thinner and keep them elevated often. She will have an ultrasound done again in the future.

Meanwhile, Denzel seems to keep growing. He weighs almost 10 pounds already. He really smiles and is very alert.

Friday, September 2, our youngest child Kevin will be 17 already. It’s hard to believe!

God’s blessings to all!

V-8 Juice
15 pounds of tomatoes, cut into chunks
4 celery stalks, cut in half
4 carrots, diced
4 onions, diced
4 cucumbers, sliced
4 green peppers, each cut into about 8 pieces
4–6 hot peppers, jalapeños, or whatever your preference; left whole with stems removed
6 garlic cloves

Combine all ingredients in a 20-quart kettle over medium-high heat. Cook until soft, stirring often (around 30 minutes). Remove celery stalks. Put through a Victorio strainer and pour juice into jars. I add 1 teaspoon of salt to every quart of juice. Seal jars and process them according to recommendations from your county extension office or the National Center for Food Preservation website.

 

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 Her Family Celebrate Two Birthdays

We are in the midst of canning season. Yesterday, we canned 16 quarts of sweet and sour dill pickles. Now I want to make dill spears yet. I’ll use the rest of my cucumbers to can some for daughter Loretta. This way, she’ll have pickles whenever their turn comes to host church services. I am running low in dill, so we will ask the neighbors if anyone has extra. The recipe calls for two dill heads per quart, so that takes quite a few. I use Palace King cucumbers to make my pickles. They are a firm cucumber and make nice crispy canned pickles.

Next on the agenda is to make V-8 juice. My tomato plants are loaded and need to be picked.

Son Joseph, 20, is gone this week. He’s working in Traverse City, Michigan. They never do this, but someone wanted a pole barn built by their crew, so they decided to travel the four hours and stay at a motel while they do the job. Joseph called home, and it sounds like they are ready to finish up today. They will do some sightseeing before heading home on Friday.

It seems empty without Joseph here at night. He does so many errands for me after work on weekdays. He has helped me keep the flowers on the porch watered because he knows I’m bad at keeping them watered. The flowers need water which shows I’ve come to depend on him.

Granddaughters Abigail and Kaitlyn are enjoying going to school. Granddaughter Jennifer came here with daughter Verena yesterday and said she wants to go to school too. She said Kaitlyn brings books from school.

We attended Kaitlyn’s birthday party. We met her grandparents and some aunts/uncles on her mother’s side. We also met more of Ervin’s family. Kaitlyn was so excited to have everyone there for her. Daughter Verena filled a piñata with little toys and candy for the children. They had fun hitting the piñata until it broke.

Before we went, my husband Joe grilled chicken to take along for supper. Also on the menu was tater tot casserole, corn chip salad, peaches, watermelon, mocha pudding, cake, and ice cream.

Monday, August 22, was my sister Verena’s 56th birthday. We took supper to her. Son Benjamin mowed her grass for her. Quite a few of the church people dropped off some goodies for her. She doesn’t have a garden, so the fresh fruits and vegetables are good for her. Someone also had a nicely decorated cake along with other things dropped off at her house. Dustin, Loretta, and baby Denzel also joined us to have supper with her; daughter Verena did too.

The wedding day of Alvin and niece Leanna was a very nice day! My sisters, I, and one of Alvin’s aunts made a lot of gravy for the meals. The menu was barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, green beans topped with bacon bits and cheese sauce (corn was served instead for the evening meal), chicken lettuce salad, homemade bread, butter and strawberry jam, fresh fruit mixture, mocha pudding, pecan, peach and white chocolate pies. The wedding cake was served at night.

I met quite a few readers, which always encourages me. It is interesting to me to meet them. And of course, it was nice to see family again. We wish Alvin and Leanna a long, happy married life together.

We now have an invitation for another niece Rosemary and Josiah. They set their wedding day on October 1. This would be daughter Loretta and Dustin’s first anniversary. Also, another invitation we have and I’m really hoping we can attend is the wedding of Elmer and Wilma. Elmer is cousin Susan’s son, and this wedding would be in Monroe, Indiana. This wedding will be on September 2.

I’ll share the pickle recipe. God bless!

 

Sweet & Sour Dill Pickles
Sliced cucumbers (I slice them about 1/4 inch or a little thicker)
2 cups vinegar (I use white)
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons salt
4 garlic cloves (per quart)
2 dill heads (per quart)
pinch of alum (per quart)

Put sliced cucumbers, dill heads, garlic cloves, and alum in jars. Heat vinegar, sugar, water, and salt until sugar is dissolved, and pour over pickles. Repeat this step until all pickles are covered. Process in a boiling-water canner. Check your county extension office or the National Center for Home Food Preservation website for the current recommended canning time.

 

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 Helps Prepare Pies for a Wedding

It’s Tuesday, and it’s almost time to start supper. I am not sure yet what I’ll make besides sweet corn, cucumber salad, and sliced tomatoes. For me, that is enough. I love the fresh veggies from the garden.

Last week daughter Loretta and I canned peaches for her and Dustin. I also want to can pickled beets for her. Her mother-in-law is canning corn and green beans for them. That will all help them to have vegetables in jars for future use.

Lovina and her daughter Loretta canned peaches together. Photo provided.

Loretta and five-and-a-half-week-old baby Denzel are here right now. She’s elevating her legs and feeding the little sweetie. He weighs eight pounds two ounces now, so he’s gaining well. It is so fun to get him smiling that sweet little smile.

Dustin is mowing hay. It’s nice weather for that right now.

Today, I went to help with preparations for niece Leanna and Alvin’s wedding. It will be at her parent’s (my brother Albert and Sarah Irene) house. Sisters Verena and Emma also went with me to help.

My job was to roll out dough for pie crusts. Two of Alvin’s aunts were also helping me. We rolled out around 70 pie crusts. Some were baked empty, and some were put in the cooler to have ready-to-bake pecan pies tomorrow.

Sisters Liz, Emma, and I will have to make gravy at the wedding.

The tables are all set, and everything looks like it’s coming into place for the wedding Thursday, August 18th.

August 18th is also daughter Susan’s friend Ervin’s daughter Kaitlyn’s sixth birthday. We will go to Ervin’s house for a birthday party for her on Friday night. Kaitlyn is such a sweetheart. She’ll come hug me when she sees me and say, “Grandma—I love you, and I missed you.”

I haven’t met Kaitlyn’s mother’s family yet, but they are planning to be at her birthday party too.

Granddaughter Abigail and Kaitlyn will start kindergarten next week. They are excited about it. Nephew Benjamin and Crystal’s son Isaiah will also be in their class. They all get along really well, so I’m sure they will have fun together.

Sunday, August 14th, was daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s seventh anniversary. Our family went there for lunch in their honor. Tim made fish and fries in the deep fryer outside. Along with that, we also had coleslaw, cheese, watermelon, peaches, chocolate pie, brownies, and ice cream. Everything was delicious!

It is now past my bedtime. Dustin and Loretta left for home. They were here for supper. Daughter Verena also surprised us and came home for supper and will stay here for the night. It’s always good to have her home.

Son Joseph went over to help son-in-law Tim with his hay. Son Benjamin left with his horse and buggy to pick Joseph up and bring him home. I always feel like I need to wait up until everyone is home and in bed.

Daughter Loretta had another stack of cards from readers. This means so much to her. Thank you for all the cards and gifts being sent to her. It is greatly appreciated! May God bless you!

I wanted to get this column written tonight, so I can start sewing in the morning. I still need to sew Lovina’s dress, cape, and apron for the wedding on Thursday.

God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Pie
3 cups finely chopped or grated zucchini
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons flour
3 teaspoons lemon juice
pat of butter
9-inch pie shell, double crust

Mix all ingredients and put in an unbaked pie shell. Place crust on top and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. It tastes like apple pie.

 

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 Verena Shares Her Train Adventures

Hello, this is Lovina’s daughter Verena. It’s Tuesday evening, and I decided to write Mom’s column. The sun is shining nicely, and there’s a nice breeze flowing.

I keep looking back at life at the age of sixteen. I was so excited to turn sixteen, and life seemed to go so slow. Now I am at the age of twenty-four and life seems to be going too fast. I wonder what I will be saying at the age of fifty!

I recently got to experience going on an Amtrak train. I left with friends Samuel and Wilma and their three-month-old daughter Kimberly. I enjoyed the train ride—the only part I didn’t enjoy was trying to sleep. It wasn’t too comfy. We left the morning of July 11. We then arrived in Colorado at Samuel’s brother Freeman and his wife Sarah’s house the evening of July 12. That is where we stayed until July 16. Samuel’s sister Laura and Laura’s friend Liz drove back with us on the train. Laura and I shared a seat. We sure had an enjoyable time.

On July 17, we had to get off and go on another train. While we were waiting at the train station, we decided to go find some food to eat. I saw the escalators and I got a wild idea to try one out with my mobility scooter. Without thinking of any consequences, I took the scooter up the escalator. It did a good job, so I wanted to try going down. So I did, and it worked perfectly. Although it didn’t impress the caretakers of the station. They had to put over the intercom that wheelchairs or any kind or scooters are supposed to take the elevators, not the escalator. It was a fun and funny experience. I do not suggest anyone tries it though!

Around midnight on July 18, we arrived an hour from home—just to discover our driver forgot to pick us up and had been fast asleep. Now we had to find a way to call home and find another driver. We finally were able to do that, and the driver came around 3 a.m.—we arrived home around 4 a.m. I did not sleep right away, either, so I definitely lost a lot of sleep, but it was definitely worth it.

Laundry day at Daughter Susan’s house, where Verena lives. Photo provided.

Sister Susan’s boyfriend Ervin moved up here into a rental house. It’s six miles or so from Susan’s house, which has made life much busier and brought more changes. The changes are good though. I’m very happy for Susan and Ervin. I’m also happy for the children—they sure have adapted well together.

Every morning, Ervin’s work driver picks me up around 3:10 a.m. That means I have to get up by 2:45, at least. Ervin makes sure to have my mobility scooter sitting out there so I can just drive it into the house once I get there. Ervin’s three children are still fast asleep, so I lay down close by them somewhere. They normally get up around 6 or 7 a.m. I then get them breakfast, then I wash the breakfast dishes and of course entertain the children. Around 11:30 we have lunch, and then I put them down for a nap. After they are napping, I wash the dishes, sweep the floors, and mop the floors if needed. Not all that gets done all the time before Ervin gets home. I then have a driver take me back to Susan’s after Ervin is home. Ervin gets home normally around 1­­–2:30 p.m. I also make sure to have supper prepared for him so he doesn’t have much to do.

Today I loaded all three kiddos up on my scooter and we drove to my parents’ house. Mom made breakfast for us, and the children loved it. We then went over to my sister Loretta’s house to see baby Denzel again. He sure is growing, and is doing well.

Wednesday, July 27, my nephew Ryan will be three years old. Ryan is Susan’s son. Ervin offered to have our family there at his rental house for Ryan’s third birthday.

I hope you are all doing well, and God’s many blessings to you all!

 

Garden Salad
3 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup oil

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well to mix. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

 

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.

Celebrating More Summer Birthdays & Anniversaries

On July 15 our family all gathered here for supper in honor of our 29th anniversary. (July 15 is also brother Albert’s 58th birthday.) A delicious supper was made on the grill, including banana poppers, wings, and chicken. Daughter Liz and Tim brought a nice, decorated cake. Abigail, 5, was so excited to give us a big helium balloon with “Happy Anniversary” written on it. Susan’s friend Ervin was here, but his children Kaitlyn, Isaiah, and Curtis were spending a few days with his wife Sarah’s parents. I am so glad they can still have that relationship with their grandchildren and still spend time with them. It can’t be easy to lose a son or daughter.

This week, Lovina and family celebrated her 29th wedding anniversary, along with other family birthdays. Photo provided.

July 19 was sister Emma’s 49th birthday—her first birthday without her dear husband by her side. She needs our prayers. Friday in two weeks will be her son’s wedding, and she won’t have Jacob by her side for that. Memories are all that is left!

On Friday evening, daughter Susan will host Mose’s family for a family night supper. That will also be different without Mose there. I am so glad that she still has a relationship with his family and that Jennifer and Ryan get to see their grandparents. It means a lot if family accepts change and will support it. They all need our prayers.

On Monday, July 18, I had a voicemail from Aunt Lovina, who lives in Ohio. She wanted to let me know that she is thinking of us on my mother’s 86th birthday. Lovina is a sister to my mom. I want to call Lovina back today, as it is her 83rd birthday if I remember correctly. It was nice to hear her voice again. We have many precious memories of times spent with her family.

We recently had a visit from Joe’s brother Benjamin, Miriam, and family from Ohio. It was nice to visit with them. Their children are growing up so fast. Time certainly does not stand still.

Daughter Verena is back home from her Colorado trip. She is staying a few nights with daughter Elizabeth. Son-in-law Tim had the chance to go fishing in New York with his co-workers at the sawmill. It is an expense-paid trip. Grandson T.J. was going to go along but ended up being sick so granddaughter Abigail went instead. They left Sunday afternoon and will start home Wednesday morning. One night when Tim called home, Abigail said, “Mom, I’m catching more fish than Daddy!” I am sure she will have plenty to talk about when she gets home.

Elizabeth, T.J., Allison, and Andrea spent the night here Sunday. Monday morning I made breakfast burritos. Elizabeth and children and I walked over to Dustin and Loretta’s house before she headed home. I took some burritos to Loretta and Lovina for their breakfast. Daughter Lovina is still assisting Loretta with her housework. Of course we had to hold sweet little Denzel. He is doing great. He had a checkup on Monday at the pediatrician and everything seemed to be well.

Yesterday daughter Verena spent a few hours at Dustin and Loretta’s to see Denzel since she hadn’t seen him since he was one day old. I walked over to visit with Verena since I hadn’t seen her since she was back from Colorado.

I will share a recipe this week for Zucchini Egg Bake. It was our supper last night and I used hamburger. I think adding sausage instead would make a good breakfast dish. Everyone loved it, so I’m sure we will have it again with all the zucchini we are getting from our garden. Until next week. God bless!

Zucchini Egg Bake
4 cups zucchini, peeled and shredded
1 pound hamburger or sausage, browned and drained
1 small onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
6 eggs, beaten
seasonings to taste
2 cups shredded cheese of your choice

Mix everything but the cheese and put in a greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set. Add cheese and bake a few additional minutes to melt cheese.

 

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.

Welcoming a new grandchild

I am excited to share the news of the birth of our seventh grandchild. (Although I consider it number 10, as I include Ervin’s three children.)

Daughter Loretta and Dustin were blessed with their first child on July 10, 2022. Denzel Michael was born at the hospital at 3:30 a.m., weighing 6 pounds, 6 ounces and 21 inches long. He has already won our hearts and is the new “boss” at their house. He is such a sweetie!

Loretta and Dustin went to the hospital Saturday morning and I joined them around noon. Denzel took his time coming but he finally arrived at 3:30 a.m. He was born by natural birth. With Loretta having muscular dystrophy, we were thankful that everything went well for her. It went better than I expected and I was glad I could be there with her. It’s amazing how God created us. Loretta did a great job with delivering and Dustin is already in love with his sweet little son. They are experiencing sleepless nights and finding out what parenthood is all about. Daughter Lovina is helping out over there, and I also go help whenever I can.

Last night daughter Elizabeth and Tim and children brought pizza to Dustin’s for all of us. Daughter Susan and children were also there and are spending the night here. Grandson T.J. was so excited when he heard Dustin and Loretta’s baby was a boy. He wants the boys to catch up with the girls. We would have four granddaughters and three grandsons but with Ervin’s three it makes it five of each.

Plans are that Ervin moves all his belongings up here in Michigan on Friday from his parent’s house where he was living. He will actually be our neighbor, renting a house owned by our bishop and his wife. It will be nice to have him closer. Daughter Susan will have his children while he goes to work. Somehow we will make it work.

Ervin and Susan appreciate all the encouragement from everyone. It’s not easy to move on, but life doesn’t stop, and we need to leave everything in God’s protecting hand.

Daughter Verena left early Monday morning with friends and traveled to Colorado by Amtrak train. She is staying with her friends in an RV at their relatives. She will attend a friend’s wedding in Colorado. The RV she sleeps in had a visit from a bear the night before. She is hoping she will get to see a bear while she’s out there.

Verena was able to see baby Denzel before heading for Colorado. She didn’t like that she will miss out on his first days, but there will be time to bond with her new nephew after she’s home.

Last night after we walked home from Dustin’s, Jennifer asked if she could sit on me to go to sleep. I rocked her, and she was soon fast asleep. Allison, 2, cried after we left because she said she wanted to go home with Grandma, too.

Tomorrow, July 14, is son Benjamin’s 23rd birthday. From July 1 to July 14, him and Loretta are the same age.

Benjamin harnessed Susan’s horse up before he left so she doesn’t have to this morning. He might go spend the night over at her house tonight since Verena’s in Colorado. Susan says she’s fine by herself, but I think she likes the company. And of course the children enjoy when Uncle Ben comes. He’s always teasing them.

We are getting lots of zucchini from the garden so I’ll share a zucchini recipe.

God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Relish
10 cups zucchini, peeled and shredded
5 cups onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds red and green pepper, chopped
5 tablespoons salt
2 1/2 cups vinegar
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 1/2 cups sugar

Cover the first 4 ingredients with cool water and let stand overnight. Drain and rinse with water. Mix and heat the remaining ingredients in a large pot. Add chopped veggies and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Seal in jars and process in boiling water bath for 5 to 15 minutes. Makes 6 to 7 pints. Good with roast beef, hamburger, or hot dog sandwiches.

 

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.

Looking Back on a Special Day of Birth

June 14th was the 28th birthday of our first-born daughter Elizabeth. I wish her many more happy and healthy years. She has been married almost seven years to a nice loving husband, Tim, and they have been blessed with four precious children Abigail, five; Timothy (T.J.), three; Allison, two; and Andrea, four months.

This year was hot on June 14th, just like in 1994. That was a very hot night when Elizabeth was born at 9:58 p.m. We were living with my parents, and Joe’s aunt was my midwife. Dr. Osborne was also there just in case there were complications. Dr. Osborne had delivered me in that same house 23 years earlier. He delivered all eight of us siblings.

I had a long labor, and I remember how warm it was. It was warmer than when all my three July babies were born. We didn’t have fans like we do now, except my dad would use a little square fan that ran with batteries when it was that hot. He had asthma and hay fever, and that little fan would help him breathe. I still remember when Dad saw me having all the hard pain; he handed that fan to me and told me to use it for myself.

I was often thankful to have my mother there those next weeks when I tried to take care of our first baby. I had problems getting her to breastfeed, and Mom spent lots of nighttime hours helping me. I have many precious memories of my parents!

On Monday evening, daughters Verena and Susan and grandchildren Jennifer and Ryan spent the night here. It was supposed to storm, and they felt better to be here. We had a lot of wind. Some places had trees down, etc. We were very fortunate that everything here was okay. We have a sitting area in our basement, and with the heat and the storm coming, it was nicer to just sit down there after supper. Our basement is often a nice place to sit in with these days of excessive heat.

As we sat there visiting, it was funny when Jennifer said, “Kevin, you can smile. It will be okay.” Since he wasn’t smiling, she thought he was worried about the storm. Ryan wasn’t too worried. He found the toys down there and was playing, and of course he brought his black hat (his daddy Mose’s hat) and was wearing it again.

This week daughter Loretta and I made strawberry freezer jam from the 16 quarts of strawberries that neighbor Susan and Joas brought over.

Lovina prepared rhubarb juice with her daughter. Photo provided.

We also canned 66 quarts of rhubarb juice from my rhubarb. Now Loretta has jam and rhubarb juice in stock. We also did laundry yesterday, so it was a full day’s work.

It was so warm yesterday that we just had frozen pizzas to heat up for our supper. We ate over at Dustin and Loretta’s house after the last of the rhubarb juice was canned. I am so glad that is done.

Thursday evening through Sunday, our family has plans to go camping. We are renting three cabins and an RV by the lake. We plan to do some fishing, swimming, and just make more memories together. The grandchildren will have a lot of fun. It is also Father’s Day on Sunday. Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there.

June 15th is sister Emma and Jacob’s 27th anniversary. It’s her first anniversary without her dear husband. I’m sure today will be a hard day without him. My thoughts and prayers go to all those that have lost loved ones. May they rest in peace!

God’s blessings to all!

Cheese Broccoli Soup
1 tablespoon salad oil
3/8 cup chopped onion
3 cups water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups (4 ounces) of fine noodles
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (10 ounces) frozen broccoli (may use fresh)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3 cups milk
1/2 pound of American cheese
pepper to taste

Sauté onion in oil, add water and bouillon cubes, and heat to boiling until cubes are dissolved. Gradually add noodles and salt and continue boiling uncovered for 3 minutes. Stir in broccoli and garlic salt and cook for 4 more minutes. Add milk, cheese, and pepper and continue cooking until cheese melts, stirring constantly.

 

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.

Happy Birthday, Lovina!

The grandchildren work on adding 51 candles to Lovina’s birthday cake. Photo provided.

I had a very nice birthday on Sunday, May 22. All my family came for supper, bringing pizza, ice cream cake, and chips. Games were played before and after supper, and I was showered with lovely cards and gifts by all. A “5” and “1” were on my cake, but son Benjamin bought 51 candles and let my sweet little grandchildren help put all the candles on the cake. My daughter had a challenge getting all the candles lit. The children enjoyed watching Grandma try to blow out all 51 candles. I feel so blessed to call all of them family. The cards were so meaningful, and much love was shown. It was a memorable birthday!

On Saturday our new neighbors Levi and Leah moved in. They have two little children. Leah is my cousin Esther’s daughter. Esther stopped in on their way home from helping the couple move in and gave me a birthday gift. She is 10 years older than me and said she remembers well the day I was born. She said they had been doing something out in the field and her younger brother Danny came running really fast, jumped the fence, and ran to them. He was so excited to come tell them Uncle Ben and Aunt Elizabeth had another baby. I was born on the birthday of cousin Chris (their brother). Danny was killed in the same accident brother Amos was in here in Michigan eight years ago, along with another cousin of mine. Amos died a little over five years after the accident. He had ended up in our local hospital after the accident and was treated and released that day. I went to go get Amos and bring him to our house until his wife Nancy and children came to get him. He was shaken up from the accident, having seen one cousin dead and the other dying as he was pinned underneath him. Their construction crew was building a Menard’s close by and their van hit black ice and rolled quite a few times.

Included in the gift Esther gave to me were two pints of apple butter. Esther has her dad’s (Uncle Chris) copper kettle that he always used to cook apple butter. Our family and their family always had apple butter cooking days together. The evening before we would all gather at Uncle Chris and Lizzie’s house. We would all sit around their big kitchen table and snitz (slice) bushels of apples. The next day the apples would be cooked down in the copper kettle. I have never tasted apple butter quite as good as that. I look forward to trying this apple butter. I remember coming home from school and eating apple butter sandwiches. We also like it on corn mush or pancakes.

I neglected to write last week about our visitors we had one night for supper the week before we hosted church services here. It was nephew Michael and his wife Laura from Kentucky. It was nice visiting with the young couple. They were married last September. Michael is Joe’s sister Salome’s son.

On Friday night daughters Verena and Susan are hosting Robert Rogers, with his story to “live a life of no regrets.” Robert experienced a tragedy when he lost his wife and four children in a flash flood in Kansas in 2003. Hs is an accomplished worship leader, pianist, songwriter, and author of Into the Deep, 7 Steps to No Regrets, and Rise Above.

This will be held here in our pole barn with sandwiches and snacks afterwards. Susan and Verena invited our church and more people from the community, so we should have quite a crowd here. We look forward to hearing from Robert after reading his books.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Rhubarb Coffee Cake
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cup + 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup sour milk
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups rhubarb
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Cream shortening, 1 1/4 cup brown sugar, vanilla, and egg; add milk. Add soda, salt, and flour, stirring until all flour is moistened. Dice up rhubarb and mix in. Spread in 9-inch square pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup brown sugar and cinnamon that has been mixed together. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

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.

Caring for each other when family members are ill

The menfolk just left for work so I decided to write this column while all is quiet. Dustin and daughter Loretta and daughters Verena and Susan and grandchildren Jennifer and Ryan spent the night here. Loretta wasn’t feeling the best last night, so they decided to stay. I’ll try to be a nurse to her.

Jennifer and Ryan are also sick, so they have been here the last two nights and we are helping Susan with them. Ryan gave them quite a scare when his temperature went up to high causing him to have a febrile seizure. Our friend Jodi took Susan and Ryan to the ER to see what’s going on. He tested negative for covid and the flu so they think it’s a virus of some sort. His temperature had spiked to 107 degrees and made him a sick little boy. Being here with Grandpa Joe makes him feel good. Susan brought her laundry, bedding, etc. over here and we washed it all yesterday and it’s drying in our basement. She went home a few hours and cleaned her house while we took care of the children.

Verena went to help daughter Elizabeth yesterday as she’s sick too. Their whole family was sick, but Elizabeth is having a harder time getting over it. I will be glad once everyone is feeling well again! I told Elizabeth I’d wash her laundry, but Tim washed it for her one night. It’s hard when the mother gets sick as it seems everyone depends on them.

Jennifer’s fourth birthday is Saturday, January 15th, but Susan might postpone her birthday party until everyone is well again. When the little ones are sick Susan misses the support of her husband Mose. He was always good at “doctoring” the children. Daughter Verena helps out a lot and set her alarm every hour to check on Ryan during the night. He was laying in her arms when he had the seizure and it really scared her.

Joe and I attended the Christmas supper at the metal shop where he works on January 5th. It was nice to see everyone that traveled together to Outer Banks in August. We were served a good supper, entertained by Juggler Yoder from Goshen, Indiana, and then played games afterwards. Juggler Yoder is a very good juggler and if you are looking for clean, fun family entertainment he is it. He kept the crowd laughing and his stories of how God changed his life were interesting.

Lovina’s view of a Michigan sunset is a good reminder of the master artist and creator we have. Photo provided.

Of course, Andrew from the metal shop came up with another game to get us laughing. We stood in a circle, alternating men and women. One woman was given a pillow, as was a man across the circle from her. The women had to pass the pillow around the circle to each other, while the men passed theirs trying to catch up with our pillow. This got to be very exciting!

Our thoughts and prayers are still with the people that were affected by the tornado in Kentucky. Several van loads of volunteers have been going from our community to assist wherever needed. I can’t imagine how they must feel. Losing loved ones isn’t easy and then to also lose all your belongings as well. God makes no mistakes, so we trust that He has a plan. God’s blessings to all!

 

Vegetable Bake Up

1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1 (10 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can mushroom soup

Combine the first four ingredients, and sprinkle in a 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until browned. Combine the vegetables and soup; spoon in a 1-quart dish and top with baked oat mixture. Bake casserole for 25 minutes, until heated through.

 

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. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.