Fun, Food and Family

My mom and dad are here! 🙂

You know what that means – lots of laughter, lots of food, and lots of projects!

Pedro and Dad were carrying in a door frame for the boys closet within 2 hours of his arrival yesterday. That frame now has a really cool vintage bead board door in it! He worked himself out of projects this afternoon which gave him time to enjoy some fishing with Buddy.

Today our morning began with the annoying sound of the Amish neighbor’s train whistle at 5:45 AM and ended with an archeological dig in the dishwasher to see why it wasn’t cleaning my dishes. (I’m just glad it wasn’t an autopsy!)

We hit 2 Amish stores, 2 garage sales, 2 grocery stores and 2 thrift stores.

We enjoyed a decadent mocha cream brownie, a spicy rich apple crisp, and a pan of super hot poppers.

We took walks, picked vegetables, and sang along with The Music Man.

And we laughed.

Trust me – grocery shopping is much more fun when Nana is pushing the cart! Who knew she felt so strongly about protecting my lettuce?! She even held it in her lap all the way home! You should have seen her jump when Dagmar pretended to put the ice cream on top of it!

Then there was the Amish woman who sideswiped us at the grocery store in her effort to get to the sale flour before we did. We stared in astonishment as she used her cart and ample back side to block us until she had all the flour she wanted.

When she had backed off a little, I slid in and grabbed 2 bags. I would have taken more – but I was more than a little scared of her!

Couldn’t you just see the headlines?!  “Local Woman Accosted by Amish Grandmother in the Baking Aisle of Neighborhood Grocery Store”.

I’m sure Dagmar, Angel Girl and Nana would have protected me with the bag of sale bananas! 🙂

And the fun’s not over yet! Tomorrow’s agenda includes 2 estate sales, another garage sale, a couple projects, and more time at the pond fishing.

Happy weekend everybody!

The Great Horn Battle of Middlefork Township

It seemed like such a normal Saturday – at first.

I had just returned from a quick trip to town. The kids were all doing their regular Saturday work. Jan was in the workshop. I was standing in my bedroom talking to my sister on the phone when I heard it.

A train horn.

It was so close it sounded like a diesel engine was running through my living room!

My mind raced. We were at least 45 minutes from the nearest still-working railroad. The tracks in the nearest towns had long since been pulled up and bike trails developed.

What in the world could it be?

The sound died as quickly as it started.

I shook my head and tried again to concentrate on what my sister was saying.

Later, as I was walking down the stairs it started again.  I rushed into the kitchen and asked the Angel Girl if she heard it too.

“Oh yeah – it’s been doing that all morning long. We can’t figure it out!”

Again the horn ended but at least now I knew that I wasn’t the only one hearing things.

I pulled on my shoes and went out to the shop to see Jan.

“Did you hear that sound? Where is that coming from?”

He smiled, “The Amish kids must have gotten hold of a train horn somewhere. They’re probably blowing it using an air compressor.”

Mystery solved.

The horn sounded again.

“That is so annoying!” I said.

Jan smiled again – a little sheepishly this time.

“You know,” he said, “I have that old semi horn in the back building.”

I grinned. “Let’s find it!”

By the time their horn ended – we were ready with an answering one.

Honk Honk Honk Honk!


Honk Honk Honk Honk


Honk Honk Honk Honk

And the Great Horn Battle of Middlefork Township continues!

Train photo by Dan Hershman. Semi photo by PRA.

Pipes! Look at Those Pipes!

My husband surprised me the other day when he asked if there was anything I needed at the Scratch and Dent – our name for the local Amish owned discount grocery.

It was no surprise that I needed something – I can always find something I need at that store. The surprise was that he asked me to go with him – since my bill there is almost always in the triple digits! 🙂

I didn’t question his intentions at the time – I just grabbed my coat and ran to the car before he changed his mind.

It wasn’t until we walked into the store that I understood.

There in the front of the store stood about a half dozen men – all gawking over the biggest – baddest-  looking wood stove I had ever seen.

My husband whispered to me  that the Amish guy had designed and built it himself. All the guys at his work were talking about it.

I guess the whole county must be talking about it – judging from the full parking lot and the number of ladies pushing carts while their husbands try to study the monstrosity.

And a monstrosity it was!

It’s base was a barrel  – a large ugly barrel – and was covered with pipes. It looked like a jet engine that was just waiting for take-off.

I immediately thought of Bill Cosby’s 200 MPH routine and whispered “Pipes! Look at those pipes!”

My husband studied it from a distance, straining his ears to hear the men talking about it.

“It’ll burn anything I put in it – crates, boxes, old pallets,” Eli, the Amish proprietor announced while the men around nodded their approval.

My husband paid the triple digit bill without blinking and I thought his curiosity had been appeased.

But I was wrong.

A week later I casually mentioned that I forgot to check for ketchup when we were at the Scratch and Dent. His eyes light up like the 4th of July and he said, “We could run over this afternoon if you’d like!”

I smiled while I grabbed my coat and jumped in the car, knowing this time he wouldn’t change his mind – but he might just leave without me! 🙂

The novelty of the new stove must have worn out because the parking lot and store were much quieter when we got there.

We were all the way over in the toiletries section when we heard the explosion.

We peeked around the corner of the aisle and saw smoke billowing from the stove while the very hot stove pipe was laying on the floor.  Eli was running to the front of the store yelling out orders frantically in Deutsch.

He and another Amish fellow manhandled the stove pipe back on with some – I’m sure – very choice Deutsch words.

It really was a humorous sight – those Amish men with their gray beards flapping trying to re-attach that hot stove pipe!

Meanwhile his wife quietly opened some windows and – when the smoke cleared – we continued shopping.

As we paid yet another triple digit bill and left the store I thought to myself – “It’s back to the drawing board for Eli.”

And boy was I glad I stocked up – it might be a while before our food budget can handle another Amish woodstove!

Weeding and Humility

450px-Blade_grassMy garden has gotten away from me again.

No- it hasn’t run away, but the weeds have totally taken over.

It looks like a lush green pasture that needs to be mowed. Seriously.

Somewhere in that grass there are corn plants – I hope.

It reminds of  the time a few years when the garden had gotten out of control just like this.

Our Amish neighbor had stopped by one evening and saw us out there weeding.

He said, “Got away from you didn’t it? Don’t worry – my kids will come down tomorrow morning and help you weed it.”


The next morning 4 Amish kids showed up at dawn – barefoot, walked out to our garden, and started to weed.

I’m not kidding. We were all still in bed.

I got out to the garden with my children just as quickly as we could and watched in awe as these kids worked.

It was amazing! Two of the kids started at the bottom of the row and pulled the weeds directly around the plants – isolating them.  The other two started working between the rows.

Each child made piles of weeds in the middle of the row.

There was not a weed left.

Those kids worked diligently and quickly until the day heated up. Then they came back in the cool of the evening and worked some more.

I was ready for them though – and had large dishes of ice cream and big glasses of kool-aid waiting.

We tried to help them – but I think we slowed them down more than anything.

It was very humbling to see those kids work so diligently on my garden. It was also very helpful to see how they did it.

My own kids learned how to weed effectively by watching them.

But we obviously haven’t applied that knowledge this summer! I wonder if we can still find the hidden corn plants before it’s to late?!