Tag Archives: tomatoes

That time the toddler conspired to free the baby from the playpen . . .

Another week has gone by, and it’s time to get another column on its way. This will wrap up June already. Half of 2017 is now history.

We are invited to a wedding in Berne, Ind., tomorrow for Lana, the daughter of one of Joe’s cousins. She is getting married to my cousin’s son, Abe. It doesn’t look like it will work for us to go. It will be Joe’s last day of work before a week’s vacation. We appreciated the invitation, though.

Saturday will bring us into July. Daughter Loretta was born to us on July 1, 2000. Her birthday goes with the year, so it’s always easy to remember her age! She will be 17. Son Benjamin is 17 until July 14, when he turns 18. Loretta always teases Benjamin that she caught up with him in age—although that only lasts for two weeks.

That was a few rough years when those two were toddlers! Growing up that close in age meant there was a lot of competition between the two.

I remember one day when Loretta and Benjamin were young and we were still living in Indiana. We had an attached garage, where I did my laundry. Back then I had to heat all my water on the stove in the house and carry it to the washing machine in the garage. Joe would fill up big garbage cans with cold water for me so I didn’t have to carry all the cold water. At first we had a washing machine without a motor, so it had to be operated by hand. But that is what I had grown up with, so I was used to that.

Still, I was pretty excited the day Joe brought me home a Maytag washing machine with a motor. We had only one motor, so Joe would take it off the pump jack that pumped the water from our well and hook it up to my washing machine. So if I decided I wanted to do laundry when Joe wasn’t home, I couldn’t. Finally, I figured out how to switch it myself. If there’s a will, there’s a way!

Now to get back to the story I started: on laundry day, I would put Loretta in the playpen while I carried hot water. She could crawl by that time, and I didn’t want her to get in the way. She didn’t like not being able to get out of the playpen. One day I went in to check on her and Benjamin. He had climbed up on a chair, reached my scissors in my desk and cut a hole in the playpen netting so Loretta could crawl out.

It still makes me shudder to think how easily he could have cut himself or Loretta doing that! Loretta was all smiles about the fact that her big brother helped her escape. Needless to say, the playpen didn’t work very well after that, what with a hole in it.

Another time, after we moved to Michigan and Loretta was three and Benjamin four, I was hanging out laundry. It was chilly that day, and I thought Benjamin and Loretta were entertained enough with their toys. Joseph was taking a nap, and the three oldest were in school. I would hang out one basket of laundry and then come in the house to check on the little ones. That day I found Benjamin and Loretta scrubbing my brand-new oak kitchen table with dish soap and scouring powder! They told me they wanted to “help” me. They had managed to use up almost a bottle of dish soap and a big can of scouring powder. I caught it before it did too much damage to the finishing on the table.

Lovina shares a delicious recipe for Italian Cucumber Salad—great for using ample fresh garden cukes!

I must say that Benjamin and Loretta have both grown up to be kindhearted young teenagers. But they are typical teenagers, so life still isn’t dull with the two of them. We have five teenagers in the house, so there’s never a dull moment!

So a happy birthday to Loretta! We wish her many more happy years. We plan to get together somewhere for pizza with the family of Dustin, Loretta’s special friend, in honor of Loretta’s birthday.

My daily prayer is that God will give Joe and me guidance to show our children a good example of serving such a wonderful God that we have, in good times and bad times.

May God bless all of you!

Italian Cucumber Salad

2 cups cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup onions, sliced
1/2 cup green peppers, chopped
1/2 cup Italian dressing

Mix vegetables together. Add dressing and toss.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.


Whew! No time to catch breath after wedding when you host church the next week

Another week has passed, and it is time to write another column.

The Eichers set up benches for church services in their new pole barn.
The Eichers set up benches for church services in their new pole barn.

Church services were held here Sunday in our new pole barn. Made a lot more room than when we had it in the basement. Benches were all filled, even though some of our church families were attending baptismal services in another church district. We had quite a few visitors from northern Indiana.

Our menu for lunch consisted of homemade wheat and white bread (out of 50 loaves, we had only a few left), smoked sausage links (which we heated up in the oven before serving), cheese spread, peanut butter spread, dill pickles, freezer pickles, red beets, hot peppers, butter, strawberry jam, coffee, iced tea and cookies. We had butterscotch, chocolate chip, sugar and ranger cookies.

We served seven tables at one time and four of them were reset, so we had eleven tables to serve altogether. I didn’t have anyone back for the evening meal like we usually do. We were all worn out from having Elizabeth’s wedding here a week before!

This week we are busy canning. Yesterday we canned 34 pints of salsa. We still have more tomatoes that need to be canned into something. I would like to make pizza and spaghetti sauce, and I also want to can some salsa for daughter Elizabeth, who just got married. She went back to work and is working ten-hour days. It wears her out to get much done in the evenings.

Our cabbage heads are ready to be harvested. We made coleslaw and chili soup for our supper last night. Sons Benjamin, 16, and Joseph, 13, took some garden goodies over to Timothy and Elizabeth. They don’t have a garden, so we want to share with them. We have green beans and hot peppers waiting here to be put into jars. I might freeze the green beans. Also have peaches coming next week.

I did take a half-day break and went to neighbor Barbara’s for a Tupperware party one day. It was a Tupperware shower for neighbor Susie, who was married on June 4. They served lunch to us before we left. Sometimes getting away from home for a while boosts your energy.

Tomorrow we plan to attend the wedding of Leander and Karen. The wedding will be about six miles from our house. Leander is a son of Joe’s cousin Leander and his wife Rosina. Son Leander recently moved to our community.

School doors will open on September 8. Our three youngest are ready for that day. Joseph will be in seventh grade, Lovina in fifth (and in middle school), and Kevin will be in fourth grade (his last year in elementary). The years keep going by way too fast!

This week Lovina shares a recipe for homemade salsa. Her recipe makes 15 pints of canned salsa.
This week Lovina shares a recipe for homemade salsa. Her recipe makes 15 pints of canned salsa.

This week I’ll share my salsa recipe with you readers. God’s blessings to all!


14 pounds tomatoes, scalded, peeled, and diced
5 cups onions, chopped
10 green peppers, chopped
4–6 jalapeño peppers, chopped
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1/4 cup salt
2 teaspoons oregano flakes
3 teaspoons chili powder
10–12 tablespoons Clear Jel (not instant)

Mix all of the ingredients except Clear Jel in a big pot. After the mixture boils, cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then mix Clear Jel with 1–2 cups of water before adding to the rest of the ingredients to thicken. More jalepeño peppers can be added to desired taste, and more Clear Jel can be added for a thicker salsa. Cold pack according to your canner’s instructions. Makes about 15 pints.

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.