Tag Archives: gardening

The garden’s bounty begins

We are having great weather this week. It cools down at night for making sleeping comfortable. Very pleasant days so far. Mornings are actually chilly, with temperatures in the upper 50s. It sure beats the heat from last week.

Yesterday we canned pickles. Cucumbers and dill from the garden make such good pickles. Today we plan to can hot peppers. We are also enjoying zucchini, green peppers, and tomatoes from the garden. Also a few meals of potatoes. Sweet corn is almost ready. I love this time of year. It makes meal planning so much easier.

Yesterday was son Joseph’s 17th birthday. Joseph was eight weeks old when my dear mother passed away. I started penning this column then, taking over for my mother. She had written the column for 11 years before she passed away. With my 17 years of writing it makes 28 years of columns altogether. I like reading back through the columns, as it’s like a diary for me. I was 19 years old when Mother started penning the column. She wrote about our wedding and the births of her first six children. We will always have fond memories of her. She is still greatly missed! She did a wonderful job along with my father of raising a family of eight children. Now Joe and I have eight children also. I hope we can raise our children also teaching them the true values in life and always having God as our guide.

Our family was all here last night for supper. We had a big cake in honor of our three children who have July birthdays. Serving cake for each one separate makes too much cake in a few weeks’ time, so we often have the cake on one of their birthdays. Also on the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, cucumber salad, grilled steak, banana peppers, cheese, and ice cream. Daughter Elizabeth also brought zucchini bars.

Elizabeth and children Abigail and baby T.J. and Susan and her daughter Jennifer came for a brunch in the forenoon. Our brunch was pancakes, sausage, and eggs. The girls and Abigail went for a walk to our neighbors while Jennifer and T.J. took naps. They delivered a casserole I made for our neighbors Melvin and Rebecca who have a new little one, and they got to see the new addition. Little Zachary is two and a half weeks old now.

T.J. is seven months old and gets around fast in the walker. He also likes to sit on the floor with toys. He sure is active and always smiling.

Son Benjamin’s place of work (the RV factory) has next week off due to work being slow again. This is also where daughter Loretta’s special friend Dustin works. (A reader asked if I mean boyfriend when I say special friend, and yes, that is what I mean. Just thought I would clarify that.)

Son Kevin is keeping my hanging flowers watered on the front porch. I just reminded him that they are looking a little dry. Most times he remembers to water them when he fills the stock tanks up for the animals with the hose. My flowers do much better when someone else waters them. Although I am wondering if anyone would know if softener salt in the water could affect plants. When I watered the plants I always used water from the kitchen sink. Kevin and my husband Joe always use water from the water hydrant that doesn’t have a softener hooked up to it. I keep telling myself it was the water that never let my flowers do well for me, but maybe they just died of thirst. Smile!

I want to bring this to a close wishing you all God’s blessings! I will share a recipe for zucchini nut chip cookies for those of you who have plenty of zucchini to use up.

 

Zucchini Nut Chip Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup walnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Mix butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla till creamy. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and zucchini. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 375°F for 8–10 minutes.

Notes: May use carrots or sweet potatoes instead of zucchini. A good way to get some veggies into little ones.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. 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.

Grandchildren add fun and happiness

We have entered the month of July. The year 2019 is halfway in the past. July 1 was daughter Loretta’s birthday. She turned 19 years old. Son Benjamin is also 19, until his birthday on July 14. It always brings back memories from that year they were born. My dad passed away at age 69 six weeks before Loretta was born. Then we had church services at our house when Loretta was five weeks old. With Loretta being our fifth child and my oldest only being six at that time, I do not know how I did it. I do remember that I said never again would I host church services with a five-week-old baby. I depended a lot on my mother and five sisters to help out and get my cleaning done for church services.

Loretta’s boyfriend Dustin, Loretta, daughter Verena, and son Kevin went fishing out on a nearby lake on Dustin’s pontoon. On Loretta’s birthday the girls helped get laundry washed before they left. In the evening, Tim, Elizabeth, Abigail, and baby Timothy, Mose, Susan, and Jennifer also came in honor of Loretta’s birthday. Pizza and chicken wings were on the menu.

Tim, Mose, Dustin, and son Benjamin are all on vacation this week. Son Benjamin is gone for three days fishing on Lake Erie with a few friends. They are camping in tents close by the lake. They planned to go walleye fishing out on the lake. I’m sure he’s having an enjoyable time, but the house seems empty without him around.

Yesterday, Tim and Elizabeth left Abigail, age two, and six-month-old baby Timothy (or T.J., as little Abigail calls him) here, as Tim and Elizabeth were heading to town with horse and buggy. We had fun watching them. Abigail likes to follow Kevin around and ask him one question after another. Kevin does pretty good entertaining her.

When she heard Loretta had a birthday, Abigail said, “My birthday is September 10 and I will be three.” I was surprised that she knew that.

The little grandchildren add so much fun and happiness to our life. My dad would always joke around and say if he had known the grandchildren would be that much fun, he would have had them first.

Tomatoes grow tall in Lovina’s garden.

We are having more goodies from the garden, although it seems later than other years. We had quite a few days of 90-degree weather with the humidity really high. Tonight we had a shower, so the rain makes it more bearable. The garden was in need of rain.

Today I went with my husband Joe to the doctor. They did an EKG and found he has fluid around his heart. He has an open wound on his leg that doesn’t want to heal, and his legs and feet are swollen bad. The doctor gave him a few antibiotics and wants to see him in a few days. They also did some more tests and blood work, which will probably let us know more when we go back. But meanwhile, the doctor ordered him to keep his feet elevated and to stay out of the hot sun. Joe sees the garden get more weeds and thinks he should go work out there. A big garden is nice to have, but it requires a lot of labor.

We traveled to Bryant, Indiana, to Aunt Lizzie’s funeral last week. We saw many uncles, aunts, cousins. It was different to not see Uncle Elmer with Aunt Emma. I’m sure it refreshed everything with losing her husband not too long ago.

Cucumber vines begin to stretch across the garden. 

After the funeral the six of us sisters walked through Aunt Lizzie’s house reminiscing of long ago. How well I remember when Uncle Chris and Aunt Lizzie packed up their belongings and we helped them move to this home. Only a pole barn to move into, but now the property has two houses, a big barn, two chicken barns. Their daughter Lovina and husband Pete and family live in the big house. I’m sure with Aunt Lizzie gone the little house will seem really empty.

Life goes on, changes are made—God helps us accept these changes, but it all takes time to heal.

God’s blessings to all!

Old-Fashioned Cucumber Salad

1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1–2 tablespoons sugar, if desired

Combine cucumber, bell pepper, and onion in a bowl. Combine water, vinegar, salt, and optional sugar, and pour over vegetables. Refrigerate for a brief time before eating, or make ahead for the next meal.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. 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.

 

When Mom’s menu ideas run low, the kids can help

It is almost time to start supper. I’m debating what we will make tonight. I’ll ask the children for suggestions. Sometimes that makes it easier!

Last night we came home late after helping at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. Loretta grilled hamburgers and potatoes on the gas grill, so that was an easy supper. It’s nice to have frozen hamburger patties from butchering last winter. When you want to take beef from the freezer to the grill, it’s quick and easy. We had lettuce and green onions from the garden to eat with the hamburgers.

I have lots of leaf lettuce ready in the garden. I would like to cut it and wash it to serve with lunch at Tim and Elizabeth’s house on Sunday. They are hosting church services, which will be held under a tent.

Last Friday sister Emma and her two daughters Elizabeth and Emma and baby Jessica, daughter Susan and Jennifer and my daughters and I assisted daughter Elizabeth with her work. A lot was accomplished. My daughters and I will go help a few more days this week.

Elizabeth will have her 25th birthday on Friday, June 14. It’s hard to believe our firstborn has reached 25! We wish her many more happy, healthy years. Her two little ones keep her busy. Abigail is a little busybody and says she is baby Timothy’s big sister. Jennifer loves to go lie down on Abigail’s bed when we are all there. It is a wooden toddler bed with side rails. One day while we were cleaning, Jennifer laid down on Abigail’s bed and fell asleep. Abigail didn’t care to see Jennifer sleeping in her bed! Mose and Susan hope to get a toddler bed for Jennifer. She likes the idea that she can get out by herself. Her crib is too penned in for her! It seems the grandchildren grow so fast and learn new things as they older.

When I think of the Michigan family that lost their six-year-old daughter and four- and two-year-old sons in the recent buggy accident, my heart aches. Such tender, sweet ages. Our sympathy goes to the parents as they grieve for their three children. May God help them through this tragedy and help them accept the changes in their life. We wish a complete and speedy recovery to the mother and three-year-old. Although I do not personally know them, they are distant relatives of ours. Their names are in our family record book. God makes no mistakes.

I am taking son Kevin to therapy twice a week. This is to help with the surgeries he had. After he learns how to do the exercises here at home, he can quit going to therapy.

Farmers are taking advantage of the weather to get crops out and hay put in. We had a wet and cool spring. My husband Joe and son Joseph finished planting our garden on Saturday. The rains helped what was planted already to grow, but it looks like it will be a later season.

After I began writing this afternoon, Verena started a hamburger-potato skillet cooking on the stove for our supper. She layers hamburger, onions, shredded potatoes and cream of mushroom soup (without milk added). You cover skillet and let cook on low until potatoes are soft, then add cheese of your choice on top and let it melt. Season the potatoes before cooking. It’s a quick, easy meal.

Here is a recipe for potato bars. It’s a good way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.

God bless and stay safe!

Potato Bars

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon mustard
10 medium potatoes
cheese of your choice
2 tablespoons Ranch dressing

Fry and drain ground beef and onions. Add ketchup, water, brown sugar, chili powder and mustard. Simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside and keep hot.

Cook, mash and season potatoes to taste (or use leftover mashed potatoes). Spread in a cake pan and cover with meat mixture. Top with cheese. Drizzle ranch dressing over the top. Bake at 350 degrees until hot.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. 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.

All that goes with preparing for a wedding—and birthdays and Mother’s Day too

We had a nice sunny day in the 70s. That was a welcome change after some cool rainy weather the past week. Yesterday was also nice and sunny, making laundry dry fast. It was rainy on Monday so I spent my day sewing and we postponed washing laundry until Tuesday.

I had a good day with sewing. I sewed daughter Lovina’s dress, cape, and apron for the wedding next week of niece Elizabeth. I also sewed two shirts for son Kevin and gray pants for the wedding. Yesterday I sewed daughter Verena’s dress, cape, and apron for the wedding. Now its daughter Loretta and my suits left to sew. I am hoping to work on that tomorrow.

Today daughter Elizabeth and Susan were home with their sweet little ones. They brought their sewing for the wedding along, so I helped them instead of working on mine. Elizabeth has a two-year-old and five-month-old baby, so I know how many interruptions you can have trying to do extra sewing. Elizabeth and Tim are also hosting church services in June, so she has cleaning that needs done as well. And of course it’s time to plant the gardens.

My husband Joe has been tending to our gardens since he’s not working anywhere yet. He’s planting extra in hopes we can sell some by the road. Radishes, lettuce, and corn are up despite the cooler weather we had. Rhubarb is ready to use, so I need to make rhubarb custard pies sometime. That is one of the pies sister Emma plans to have us make for her daughter’s upcoming May 24th wedding next week. I will take my rhubarb if she needs more.

Saturday, Joe and I will go help at Jacob and Emma’s house to unload the wedding tables and dishes for the wedding. Tables will be set and all that goes with preparing for a wedding.

Last week my daughters and I and sisters Verena and Susan helped sister Emma and her daughters Elizabeth and Emma put 216 eggs into noodles. My husband Joe went along to help brother-in-law Jacob with his work. Working together making noodles is always fun. Of course, many hands make lighter work.

Saturday is also daughter Lovina’s 15th birthday, so a happy birthday goes to her.

Sunday, Jacob and Emma’s family and we and our children all gathered at my sister’s house in honor of sister Susan’s birthday. We enjoyed a haystack brunch and dessert. After dishes were washed, some played croquet outside and the rest of us played Rummikub. This was my first time playing the game. It seems similar to Phase 10 but has tiles instead of cards.

Sunday was also nephew Benjamin’s 17th birthday and Mother’s Day as well. I have some nice hanging flowers on my porch from our children. Daughter Elizabeth and Tim had their flower along in the buggy to give to me Sunday at my sister’s house. When Tim brought it in to give to me, granddaughter Abigail started crying. She said she wanted to keep the flower. She loves flowers, and it was so cute to see her want to keep it. My sister Susan went outside and picked a few flowers for Abigail, which made her happy again.

Before we all left for home, sisters Verena and Susan heated up the leftover haystack, making a casserole of everything that was left over from brunch. Everyone ate before parting ways to go home. It was an enjoyable day together!

God’s blessings to all!

 

Apple Rhubarb Crisp

2 cups apples, cut fine
2 cups rhubarb, cut fine
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Topping:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar

Mix apples, rhubarb, eggs, flour, sugar, and nutmeg together. Place in baking dish.

Topping: Combine butter, flour, and brown sugar to crumbly consistency mixture. Pour over apple-rhubarb mixture. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until done. Serve with milk or ice cream.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. 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.

Guess who’d rather plant garden barefooted?

As I write this, we are almost through March. April 1 is already Friday. Next week our three children will be home from school for spring break. Parent/teacher conferences will be held on Thursday. After spring break there are only nine more weeks of school left. It is hard to believe how fast this term is going.

My husband Joe planted quite a few Red Pontiac seed potatoes on Saturday. We have been wanting to also get some peas and radishes planted. We are hearing that we will have another cold week coming with temperatures below freezing. I hope it will miss us but we can’t control the weather and need to accept what God sends.

Joe is always eager to start planting garden. It’s a good thing that he is because I like to put it off as long as possible. I like planting garden when it’s warm and I can go out barefooted to plant.

Daughter Susan has started training her pony, “Tough Boy,” now. He is already two years old. She is line driving him and teaching him the commands. He is almost ready to hitch to the pony cart. Susan works at the RV factory then spends her evenings working with Tough Boy.

NewGrill2015

On Good Friday we had a nice relaxing family day. We set the table for all the family. The men and boys grilled the chicken while the girls and I prepared the rest of the menu.

Our meal consisted of mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, barbequed chicken, corn, taco salad, Easter eggs, dill pickles, hot peppers, celery and carrot sticks, sliced Colby and Swiss cheese, homemade bread, butter and strawberry jam. Also Swiss roll bars (that daughter Elizabeth brought), cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies, and ice cream.

It is always such a good feeling to sit down at the table when the whole family is present. Not everyone can do this and my heart goes out to broken families and also to families that have had loved ones that passed on before. God has given us so many blessings and so much to be thankful for. Do we thank God enough for all he provides for us?

Our five daughters fixed a tray of food to take over to our 88-year-old neighbor Irene. They walked it over to her house before we started eating. We also made mashed potatoes for our neighbor Joe’s little daughter Jaylyn. She had her tonsils removed and is only allowed soft foods. She loves mashed potatoes and we had more than enough for us. It is nice to have good neighbors.

Our afternoon was spent playing games. Joe has a croquet set that eight people can play but outside the wind was chilly so it was decided to play games indoors.

Daughter Susan is still only working four days at the factory so she will be home on Friday. Daughter Elizabeth has plans to come home on Friday. It’s always enjoyable to work with the girls.

Son-in-law Timothy is allowed to start putting weight on his foot. He is slowly getting around but still relies on his crutches at times.

This week I’ll share the recipe for Ho Ho Cake, which is kind of like a giant Hostess Ho Ho if you’re familiar with those. Several readers have requested it.

God’s blessings to all!

Ho Ho Cake

Bake one chocolate cake in a 9×13 inch pan. Let cool.

Topping 1:
5 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oleo
1 cup shortening

Mix flour and milk in saucepan and cook until thick, stirring constantly. Cream together sugar, oleo, and shortening. Add flour mixture, beat well and put on cake.

Topping 2:

1/2 cup oleo
1 egg
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 1/2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Melt oleo and cocoa together. Cool. Beat egg, vanilla, and water; add powdered sugar, blending well. Stir with oleo/cocoa mixture. Pour this topping over first topping on cake and refrigerate.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.