Tag Archives: reader questions

Sunny Spring walks and answers to reader questions

We are in week number six of the coronavirus lockdown here in Michigan. A time in our life that will never be forgotten. The fact that we are having a few days of rainy weather doesn’t do much to improve the mood. But oh how much more we appreciate those nice sunny days! We cannot control the weather so we accept what God sends and try to do our best!

April always reminds us of my husband Joe’s dear parents, who both passed away in this month. His mother Salome was only 54 years old and it has been 25 years now since she passed away. At the time, we only had one child, Elizabeth, who was a little over 10 months old. None of our children will know Grandma Eicher, but we cannot question God’s plan.

Joe’s father passed away 11 years ago at the age of 70. We lived in the same community for five years before his passing so our children were able to see him more often, although our two youngest were still three and four at the time so they really don’t remember much about having a grandparent. My parents both had died before they were born.

I remember all my grandparents very well, so it’s sad when some never meet theirs. Again, God knows best even though we question why at times. Trust and have faith!

The boys have been hauling lots of manure into the fields and the barn is being kept extra clean, since we are still waiting for church services to be continued. We will host them here in our pole barn once they decide it’s safe to meet again because of the virus.

Sunday afternoon our family went for a walk. It was a nice sunny, warm day and very enjoyable to get out of the house for a while. My sisters Verena and Susan were sitting out on their patio so we stopped and chatted with them. The walk did wonders and refreshed us all! We played several board games after coming home.

Since news is scarce, I will answer more questions from readers. My editors copy them from the website and send them to me as I don’t see them otherwise.

A reader asks about heating our homes with coal and if it causes problems health wise. We have a hopper-fed coal stove in our basement, which has vents in the floor where the heat comes up to heat the main floor and travels up our open staircase to heat the bedrooms upstairs as well. We have a vent installed to take the carbon monoxide out. We add coal twice a day and I never smell coal. The stove is very tight and doesn’t let out any fumes. None of our family has respiratory problems, but when we burned wood it bothered a few of our children when they were younger, which is why we changed to coal.

Another reader asks what laundry disinfectant I use. I used to use Germ Clean, but I haven’t been able to get it anymore from Stanley, so now I use Lysol laundry sanitizer and it seems to do well.

A reader asked if we make our own cheese and butter. I did when we had a cow but since we sold her, I buy our cheese. I buy Colby cheese by the horn from our neighbor’s store. We love Colby cheese. We use a cheese slicer and slice it off the horn. We eat cheese with our sandwiches, with crackers, and with our meals.

Now I must get this column off to my editors.

My husband Joe and I made horseradish this week from our own horseradish plant. Joe’s Uncle Solomon gave us the horseradish root so we could try growing it ourselves. I will share Uncle Solomon’s recipe. It has become a favorite side dish to have with hard-boiled eggs in this household! Add additional salt and sugar to your own taste.

God bless you!


In today’s column, Lovina shares a family recipe for horseradish, pictured here. Photo provided.

Uncle Solomon’s Homemade Horseradish

1 (6- to 8-inch) piece horseradish root
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt

Clean and very finely chop the horseradish root. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a small bowl, adding only enough horseradish to make it the thickness and spiciness you like. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


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 now 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.

Late summer garden harvest and tomato bread recipe

Last week I wrote about how chilly it was, and now this week we are wishing we had some of that cool air. It has been a warm muggy week. We had a thunderstorm and quite a bit of rain during the night. Maybe this rain will cool it down. It seems it’s human nature to never be quite satisfied. We will accept the weather however God sends it.

Son Kevin, 14, just left for school. It’s quite dark outside when he leaves at 6:50 a.m. I love sitting by the east windows and writing or reading at this time of the morning. The sunrise is awesome to watch. Last night daughter Verena told me to come see the sunset. Only our amazing creator could paint the sky like that.

Today son Joseph, 17, has the day off from work. He was glad for a break. He needs new shoes for construction work so he will go to town with Kevin and me. Kevin has a doctor appointment. He is having trouble with ingrown toenails which make him not like doing some of his therapy due to pain from the nails. He’s been soaking them in Epsom salts every night and putting an ointment on them as prescribed by the doctor. He also took an antibiotic for infection. Now, two weeks later, we will see what the doctor thinks. They look and feel much better but are not healed yet.

September 10 (Tuesday) was granddaughter Abigail’s third birthday. We all went for her birthday celebration. She was so excited to blow out her three candles and for all the attention and gifts she received.

Daughter Elizabeth is enjoying the extra space since son-in-law Tim has been working on remodeling their house, taking out some walls and closets to make more space in the living room and dining room. It looks so good with much more space. Baby T.J. loves it when he’s in his walker. He can get around better with the open space.

My husband Joe, son Joseph, son-in-law Mose, and daughter Loretta’s special friend Dustin assisted Tim with the remodeling one Saturday. They had to put in a support beam to replace some of the walls that came out.

While we were there for Abigail’s birthday, Tim came in from the garden with a 36-pound watermelon. It is huge! He sent it home with us. He also picked their serrano, Hungarian and sweet banana peppers to send home with us. I want to can the serranos, but we will stuff and wrap the others with bacon before cooking them on the grill.

Lovina and Joe have a bountiful supply of tomatoes from their garden. Many quarts of vegetable juice and pizza sauce are canned and shared with family for the winter months ahead. Photo provided.

My husband Joe has cleared out a lot of the garden. We are still getting lots of tomatoes. We have canned a total of 115 quarts of vegetable juice and 32 pints of pizza sauce. I’ll use the rest of the tomatoes when I help daughter Susan can tomato and vegetable juice.

Yesterday I finally made it back to my sewing machine. The mending piles up, but I did sew Verena a new dress that had been cut out for awhile already. I don’t mind sewing when time allows.

Now to answer a few questions from readers. A reader wanted to know where the Amish communities are in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They are in Sault Ste. Marie and Engadine.

Another reader asked if the name Dustin is common where we live. There are a few in this community but it is not as common as some other names. A lot of names seem to be changing amongst the Amish. When I was growing up babies were named after someone, but it can get confusing after many generations of the same names to remember which person someone is talking about.

A reader also commented that she has read the column since my mother Elizabeth Coblentz began writing it. Mother wrote for 11 years and I have been writing for 17 years, for a total of 28 years. Next week it will be 17 years since dear Mother passed away so suddenly. She left a legacy of love and great memories.

For those of you with lots of tomatoes, try this tomato bread recipe.

God’s blessings to all!


Tomato Bread

2 cups tomato juice
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup catsup
1 tablespoon pizza seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
7 cups bread flour (separated)

Heat tomato juice and butter until butter is melted. Add sugar, catsup, pizza seasoning, salt, and warm water. Cook until lukewarm. Add yeast and 3 cups flour. Beat well, then add remaining 4 cups flour. Knead. Let rise for 1/2 to 1 hour, then place in two 9×5-inch loaf pans and let rise again. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.


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.