Archive for June, 2012

First let me say that I enjoy calling anything  (posts)  with the word “wheels” in it as some of you folks have seen in some previous post’s from myself, so I’ve kind of created a mini franchise of sorts with these, with this one being my latest. 

And in keeping with my personal policy of trying to keep my own post’s from becoming  as long  winded as possible, this one goes out relatively lean with less fat and I hope everyone enjoys that fact. 

And like  the original Rocky staring Sylvester Stallone this series seems to have no end in sight, and  what helps  keep me very interested in doing them is the fact that I never know what ill find or capture along the way. Enjoy folks. Richard              Part 2 next Thursday.

GPS navigation not needed as I go old school, and dont worry I wont be asking for directions as real men ride around  until they run out of gas!

I could stare at that view for hours I really can, but I wonder how long its still going to be there? 

While in Lancaster I stopped at one of my favorite watering holes being Jennies Diner in Ronks, although I’ve noticed in some of my last visits that the place seems to be slipping in its charm. And a few renovations are definitely  in order for this diner, so over-looking those is no longer possible for me and Jennies is slowly working its way from my own list of must “eats”. I do hope that this place gets back on track because the competition is not sleeping, and some folks dont have the patience that I have to wait for these changes to happen! (see my diner review of Jennies on the lower right side of Amish Stories)

Lets see I’m only 2,568 miles from Las Vegas, and who says I’m not really lost! I’m still not asking for directions.
The Amish owners of this horse were inside a hardware store, which by the way were giving out free hot dogs that I can proudly say I took part in. And were they so very happy as I tried to walk off with a full box of cooked and dressed dogs, I know folks I have no shame!

 Does this quilt make my car look fat, I’m just saying but does it really!

Amish farm in the back ground
Since I was in a Mustang it was only natural to stop for a change of horse shoes.

Me and the Mustang take in some fresh air.

A few colorful Amish scooters for sale, and Im just waiting for someone to put a motor on one.

One of my best shots of the day with me getting very lucky capturing this image, I have another gem coming on part 2 of Lancaster on four wheels next Thursday so stay tuned.                                                                         Richard 

Elvis Presley’s Pound Cake

The king supposedly loved this very recipe! 

3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 pound butter, softened
7 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups cake flour, sifted twice, divided
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

Thoroughly cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in half the flour, then the whipping cream, then the other half of the flour. Add vanilla extract. Pour batter into prepared pan. Set in a COLD oven and turn heat to 350 degrees F. Bake 60 to 70 minutes, until a sharp knife inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool thoroughly.  From

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Corn Fritters with Sweet Basil

Thoroughly mix corn, egg, salt, sugar, pepper, flour, and basil in a bowl, blender, or food processor. Heat the butter or shortening in a heavy skillet. Drop the corn mixture by tablespoons into the hot fat. Fry on each side until golden brown. Delicious made in an electric skillet, tableside, and served as soon as they are made. Tasty wit powdered sugar or syrup. Serves 4

1 c. grated uncooked corn
1 egg, beaten
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. sugar
dash freshly ground pepper
1 T. flour
1 t. fresh finely chopped or 1/2 t. dried sweet basil
2 T. butter or shortening
powdered sugar (optional)
syrup (optional)

Betty Groff’s newly revised and illustrated Country Goodness Cookbook is a virtual cornucopia of family recipes and home-spun anecdotes. This 326 page soft-cover edition has seasonal menus, common sense cooking, and microwave ideas. As an added bonus this book is autographed by the author. Betty Groff’s Country. To order just go to 

Please stop by this Thursday folks for my own post: Part one of Lancaster on four wheels.

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Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State. Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.

Since our Old Order Mennonite School is closed for the school year-it is now time for the children’s fathers to go through the school and see what repairs it needs.  Almost every year the men give it a paint job on the inside and the outside.  They also check the roof to see if it needs repair or replacement.  Also check the walls, floors, heater, bathrooms, etc.  Anything that needs to be repaired or replaced is done when the school is closed.  They  want everything in working condition when the school opens.

Also the school books are checked to see if they need any repair or replacement.  Should any special books be ordered in for the school year?  Are there enough books for each student?  Does the teacher have all the books and supplies that she needs?

Our school board is made up of some of the father’s of the students.  We have a school board of eight.  If someone has to leave for one reason or another-another student’s father is asked to come on the school board.  In addition to seeing that the school is checked, they also hire a teacher, if it is necessary.
As Susan’s school teacher left to marry-another teacher had to be chosen. 

 As we had a teacher’s aide she was the first that was offered the position.  She accepted.  If she had been refused the school board would have contacted ladies they thought would be a qualified teacher.  Our teachers do not go to college.  Teacher must have completed the eight grade and be 18 years old to be a teacher. 

Most of the girls that complete eighth grade  that want to be a teacher become a teacher’s aide until they are 18.  If the school board does not have anyone who they feel qualified or willing to accept in our group then they look in other Old Order Mennonites groups or area.  As our teacher’s aide has accepted being a teacher the board must find another teacher’s aide.  Teacher’s aide would usually be between the age of 14-18 who would be interested in becoming a teacher. Most of our teachers are women.  Once in a great while you will find a man teacher-but that is rare in Old Order Mennonite.

Our teachers do not rotate for a year. Once in a while a teacher may switch with another teacher for a day to they can see each others students, classroom and way of teaching, but that is rare.  Sometimes a teacher, after teaching for several years at one school, applies to another school for some place different-but that too is rare.  Usually a teacher is chosen and stays until she marries or retires.

It is considered a treasured position to be a teacher as you are teaching children-gifts from God. The salary the teacher makes is decided by the school board.  Our current starting salary is $5000. a year plus room and board.  As our new teacher lives at home with her parents and attends our meetings (church) no extra money is received.  If she does well in her teaching position which is decided by the board she will get a raise every year.

Every year we pay $500.00 for Susan to attend our school, but Martha and Joseph that have 10 children pay $1,500 for all her children.  I guess the payment is $500.00 for the first child and $1,000 for the rest of the children.  No one pays more than $1,500. a year for their children that go to our school.  If, for some reason, someone could not pay that our meeting would take care of it for them.

  I don’t know anyone in that position, but it would be taken care of, if necessary.  All students mothers help at school when necessary.  It could be helping the student that has problem learning a certain subject, bringing a hot lunch in the winter, chaperoning a school trip, assisting the teacher with some project, cookies or cup cakes for someones birthday and more.  If the teacher had her own home, we make sure she has food, clothes, heat, furniture, etc.  At her birthday, Christmas and end of the year, we see that she gets a gift-a quilt, a cape or coat, books, etc.

If the teacher needs anything from books to building repairs during the school year-she tells the school board and they take care of it.  Should teacher have a problem with a student she goes to their parents and if they don’t help-to the school board.  The teacher that just retired had never brought up a problem child to the school board-if she couldn’t handle the problem-she went to the student’s parents.

Every year we have a yard sale, bake sale, and sometimes even a lunch or dinner for money for the school.  This money goes for any repairs, books, school supplies, teachers books, and more.  If we don’t need all the only money it is put in a school fund where it is held until we need it for the school.  There is a discussion about building a new school.  Our school is old and has had many additions and remodeling that a new one would be less expensive to run electric wise and heat wise.  School Board even has the property to build the new one on-it was donated by a student’s family. 
Be With God, Jean

These two recipes are over 100 years old – have been passed from generation to generation.  They are both very refreshing drinks during the summer months and are well worth making.   Jean

Raspberry Shrub
3 quarts mashed raspberries
1 quart (good vinegar)
Pour vinegar over the raspberries and let stand 24 hours.  To each pint of liquid add 3/4 lb. sugar.  Boil for 1/2 hour.  Remove from heat and skim clear, then in sterilized bottles, seal tightly, and keep in cool place.  When wanting a drink add 1 tablespoon to 8 oz. glass cold water. 
1 gallon water
2 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 tsp. ginger
Stir the ingredients together well and mix with water.  Then keep cool.  NOTE: Try using one cup sugar.  Some people use molasses in place of 1 cup of sugar.
This drink is made for the men working in the fields.  Recipe is easy to make and really refreshing.                   Enjoy. Jean 

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Part Five: The Importance of Religion

It should be obvious that religion is important to the Amish, since their way of dress alone is evidence of a different faith and way of life. The religious function of the family is not only reinforced by prayers at meals, family devotion, etc., but during worship itself.

As the Amish go from house to house for church every other Sunday, their religion remains literally in the home. The family is not split up and sent to different rooms for Sunday School. Indeed, Sunday Schools, which separated children from parents and made “teaching religion” more institutional, were one of the causes behind the formation of the Old Order groups.

At an Amish church service, everyone sits through the three hour plus service together in connecting rooms, although men and women are separated. Small children are passed back and forth, or walk between father and mother during the service. Worship is a family affair in the home.

Children also see their parent’s faith in practice (or not in practice) on a daily basis. Many Amish writings stress the importance of the example set by parents. The Amish often quote Proverbs in the Bible, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

All of this is part of the integration of the religion and family in the personal life of the individual and the community. The ordnung or ordinances of the church, sometimes seem unnecessarily picky to outsiders.

But as Dr. Donald Kraybill notes in his Riddle of Amish Culture, the ordnung…

“regulates private, public, and ceremonial life… Rather than a packet of rules to memorize, the Ordnung is the ‘understood’ behavior by which the Amish are expected to live… Children learn the Ordnung from birth by observing adults and hearing parents and others talk about it. It gradually becomes the definition of reality, ‘the way things are,’ in the child’s mind.”

The pervasiveness of religion and ordnung is so strong that it is sometimes overlooked as the cement that keeps Amish culture together. Some say the Amish, rather than having a religion based on faith, have one of outmoded traditions and ideas, many of which they cannot even explain. Others find shunning unnecessarily harsh. Amish communities sometimes fragment over seemingly trivial issues to the non-Amish outsider. Others see the Amish lifestyle as an idyllic return to “basic values, ” missing the religious order behind it all.

Some have joined the Amish faith from outside, but this attraction often comes from what they see superficially of the Amish and their way of life. Those expecting high theological discussions of the faith are disappointed.

Amish expert Dr. John Hostetler writes in his book Amish Society that…

“the greatest difficulties for those who try to join the Amish are: the hard manual labor, learning to accept responsibility willingly, and developing the ability to understand directions communicated in a nonverbal way. For a young man who is a prospective convert, Amishness begins with the stable and a pitchfork. For the young girl, it begins with the work at hand.”

One discovers what it means to be Amish by being and participating, not by theory and theological discourse. But this simply means that the religion, lifestyle, and culture are so intertwined that by attempting to dissect them, we destroy the concept of the whole.

In Amish life, there is much concern over the submission of the individual to the community and to the Church. Indeed, Dr. Kraybill finds the answers to much the Amish do in the word gelassenheit, which he defines as “submission,” or yielding to a higher authority. The noted Amish expert, Dr. John Hostetler, once noted bluntly in a lecture that among the Amish “self-pride stinks.” One does not find it uncommon to read articles by the Amish about “breaking the will” of small children.

I observed this first-hand when I ate with an Amish family several years ago. The one and a half-year-old boy was being stubborn by not putting his hands under the high chair tray during prayer before and after the meal. Of course, he was too young to know why this was a necessary prelude to eating. Consequently, we sat through periods of screaming fits from time to time. But through patient and determined work by the parents at every meal, which sometimes involved holding him and his hands down, he eventually understood that this had to be done. This was a step in breaking the will, but through it all love and affection were lavished on the children, even amid concern that perhaps they were being spoiled.

What one feels in Amish society is a sense of place, position, and belonging. While some may view aspects of this as stifling or detrimental, others find in it a sense of contentment and security. The Amish speak of the individual subordinating himself to the family, the church, the group. In doing this, however, he also receives much in return. Published with permission from

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        Spareribs and Sauerkraut

Cut ribs and brown in skillet and season. Pour off fat. Place kraut mixed with apples, sugar, caraway and onion in a kettle. Place ribs on top. Pour water around meat and kraut. Cover tightly and simmer 1¼ to 1½ hours or until ribs are very tender. 4 lbs. or 2 sides spareribs
salt and pepper
1 qt. sauerkraut
1 apple, chopped
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. caraway seeds
1 onion, sliced
2 c. water

This excellent collection of authentic Amish recipes will be a treasured addition to any cookbook collection. Includes Amish home remedies. 217 pages, 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″, comb bound, illustrated. To order this book please go to

Part 5 of the Amish series continues
  this Friday

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Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State. Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.

Jean is still accepting more questions folks about her old order Mennonite lifestyle, so please feel free to post your questions and Jean will answer them in future post’s. Thanks.  Richard

As I mentioned in previous posts, Susan’s teacher was getting married.  Her future husband’s son got married the week before.  The next week Susan’s teacher and her husband will get  married.  Usually our marriages (old order Mennonite) are done in the home, but Susan’s teacher and her husband chose to marry at meeting (church) after service.  Their wedding really had people from both families plus many of her students and former students attended.  The reception was held at Martha and Joseph’s house.  We ladies all worked in the baking and cleaning of the house while the men moved the furniture and brought in the tables.  We also had a dishes, pots and pan carriage brought in to set up the tables for the reception. 

Instead of the usual dinner tea sandwiches, salads, vegetable plates, cakes, pies and cookies were serves plus beverages.  Even though it was not a dinner everyone was filled but we had lots of left overs.  It was a very nice reception.  They are moving into her house as he gave his farm to his youngest son. There is going to be a big yard sale as Susan’s teacher wants to get rid some of her things because her husband moved some of his things in.  Her husband wants to sell some of his items that he has no use for.  His son wants to sell some of things he has as his wife brought some new items in the house.  Some of the folks are helping to get ready for the sale which will be at the son’s farm. 

We do not go to the county court house to get a license when we marry.  Our meeting (church) has it’s own marriage licenses.  The license must be signed by the Bishop or minister that preforms the marriage, the bride, groom, and two witnesses.  Once the marriage is performed and the license signed our Bishop or minister must take it to the county seat or court house to have it recorded.  Now this is how we must do it in Ontario County, New York State.  I know it my be different in other states as  it does not have to go to the county seat or court house to be recorded,  but in New York State that’s how it is done. 

Another question asked is “if we do shunning like Amish”.  We do have shunning, but it is not the same way as the Amish.  When someone does something that they are shunned for, we still can talk with them, do business with them, eat with them, etc.  The person that is shunned can still come to our meeting (church).  We have communion service twice a year and someone who is shunned is not allowed to receive communion.  We hope that they are remorse for their actions or what they did- and have repented to be able to receive communion.  If they have not and are still shunned-they may not attend  communion.

Not many people join Old Order Mennonite. The only person I know that applied and stayed in Old Order Mennonite is Martha who wrote a post about it for Amish Stories a while back.  Maybe she will write another if you are interested.  People find it difficult to give up their worldly items such as cars, computers, etc.

You asked do we believe in salvation-I don’t know what you mean in that question.  We do believe that when we die we will go to heaven if we have lived the way the Lord wanted us in Old Order Mennonite.  We also believe we are all sinners.  If you want to know if we are born again-David and I are-we are praying that Michael will receive the Lord.  Are all Old Order Mennonites born again-no that we know of.  Some are.  If this is not what you were asking-please ask again.
Don’t want to use all the questions on one post-so I will sign off for this week.
Be With God, Jean

2 Homemade recipes from Jean 

I have several different Baked Bean recipes.  Here is just one of them:

 Baked Beans

1 can pinto beans
1 can navy beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can pork & beans
1 can Great Northern
1 can Lima beans
1 can green beans
1 can waxed beans
1 lg. hot chili beans
1 can tomato soup
1 small can tomato paste
1 lb meat
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
NOTE: Meat could be hot dogs, hamburger, kielbasa, etc.
Pour everything into large cooking pan.  Mix.  Bake 1 to 3 hours at 375 degrees without lid unless starting to dry out.  This recipe freezes nicely.

Good and Easy Pizza Dough
1 pkg dry yeast
1 c. warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
2 1/2 c flour
Mix yeast with water and let set 5 minutes.  Add other ingredients.  Mix well.  Will form dough.  Cover, let set for 10 to 15 minutes in warm place.  Then press on pizza pan round 14″. Can be doubled for cookie sheet pan.  Cover with sauce and desired toppings.  Bake at 400 degrees until light brown on edges or done.  
  Enjoy. Jean


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Amish school house
Part four: Education at Home & In School

In the traditional family, much of the education took place at home, even the learning of an occupation. In rural America, formal education took place in the one-room school. The Amish resisted the move to large consolidated schools, and have stuck to their community-controlled one-room schoolhouses.

In 1972, a ruling by the United States Supreme Court decided that the Amish could not be forced into compulsory high school education, and sanctioned their system of one-room schools and education through the eighth grade.

In Pennsylvania, nearly twenty years before this ruling, a plan had been worked out whereby the Amish child leaves school after grade eight, but receives some vocational schooling once a week. A journal or diary is usually kept on his or her work at home and on the farm. This “education by doing,” after formal schooling is completed, has been referred to as the “school without walls.”

Children learn about the operation and techniques of farming, or the trade of their father. Girls work with their mother and sisters. Hostetler and Huntington relate in their book Children In Amish Society some of the tasks children perform and then write about in their working diaries…

From Chester’s Diary: Monday–Checked the meadow fence for (electrical) shorts. Shovel-harrowed garden and concreted chicken house.
Tuesday–Chopped wood and cleaned boards.
Wednesday–Made a new door for cow stable in the afternoon.
Thursday–Went to school in forenoon. Filled silo in afternoon.

From Rebecca’s Diary:
Monday–I helped with the Monday work (washing and ironing) and daily chores.
Tuesday–I was mending in the A.M. and unloading wood in the P.M. and culling chickens in the eve.
Wednesday–Sewed in the A.M., washed eggs in the P.M.

Thus, these 14-year-olds are learning the skills important to them when they own their own farm, or run their own household. Perhaps some children miss going to school, but most are probably quite happy to be working at home or on the farm.

Authors Hostetler and Huntington conclude that…

“These young people are learning not only how to do the necessary work but also when to do it, how to incorporate each task with other necessary activities, and how work functions both within their family and within the wider community. They learn to enjoy the work and see it as creative, both in the immediate results and in its contribution to the comfort and happiness of others… The Amish obtain greater emotional satisfaction from manual labor than do most public school graduates.”

In an Amish family I knew, the father made many references to farming and his enjoyment of the work involved with it. He said that being indoors was like being in prison, and he could not imagine himself going to college. He noted that the 15 year-old hired boy who often helped him treated work like play. Boys start helping father at an early age. Indeed, some Amish boys start plowing at the age of eight.

Dr. Donald Erickson, in testifying before the Supreme Court, made some remarks concerning vocational training that are of interest.

“Many public educators would be elated if their programs were as successful in preparing students for productive community life as the Amish system seems to be. In fact, while some public schoolmen strive to outlaw the Amish approach, others are being forced to emulate many of its features.”

Erickson thought the learning-by-doing approach was the ideal system for preparing the Amish child for life as an adult in the Amish community. “I would be inclined to say they do a better job in this than most of the rest of us do.”

The Amish see many evils in the public schools, which is why they prefer their own private ones. In 1965, one Amish writer listed some of the things which concern parents about public schools, including being foreign to the Bible’s teachings; the appropriateness of companions, environment, and teachers; evolution, atheism, patriotism, and the quickly changing trends away from ideas important to the Amish. Today other concerns like the quality of education, drugs, and violence would certainly be added to the list. Amish schools serve to protect children from these influences.

Amish parents are involved with what goes on in school, and are welcome to stop in for unannounced visits. The school is owned, operated, financed, and directed by the parents. The Amish saw modern schools as a threat to the values the family, church, and community try to instill in young people. Indeed, they worried over the result when this educational function was being taken away from them by the government. As author Kraybill noted, “The Amish felt that high school education would separate children from their parents, their traditions, and their values.” Published with permission from

Amish children playing outside of a one room school house

Part 5 of this Amish series continues next Friday

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Oven Barbecued Hamburgers

all ingredients and make medium sized patties. brown in small amount of cooking oil and se aside. Make the sauce.

Barbecue Sauce:
  Mix all ingredients. Place browned patties in baking pan and pour sauce over them. Bake for 1 hour at 350° F. Serve on buns.
1½ lb. ground beef
3/4 c. rolled oats
1 c. milk
3 Tbsp. onion – chopped
1½  tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. vinegar
1/2 c. water
1 c. catsup
6 Tbsp. onion -chopped

This excellent collection of authentic Amish recipes will be a treasured addition to any cookbook collection. Includes Amish home remedies. 217 pages, 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″, comb bound, illustrated.

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Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State. Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.

Jean is now accepting more questions about her old order Mennonite lifestyle, so please feel free to post your questions and Jean will answer them in future post’s. Thanks folks. Richard

One of the questions recently asked  is “why Michael goes to a different school than Susan”.  David and I are Foster Parents and Micheal came to us as a Foster Child.  Being a Foster Child we have to go by the rules of the State of New York which means he must go to public school.  Susan and David Jr are David and mine natural children so she goes to our Old Order Mennonite School.  

David and I are in the process of adopting Michael.  When our adoption goes through, which we believe is in October or November, then we can decide on his education.  Our schools (old order Mennonite/Amish)  go to the 8th grade where the public school goes for 12.  Michael wants us to take him out of school when the adoption goes through as he will be finishing 9th grade in the public school in a few more weeks, but this is a matter we will discuss after the adoption goes through.

We recently got one of Michael’s friends at school to our home as a Foster Child.  His Grandmother went to the hospital.  She has cancer and it does not look well for her right now, but she is in God’s hands so He will decide.  We don’t know how long Michael’s friend will be staying but he is more than welcome here.

When school gets out the children there are chores for them to do.  We have the usual feeding the animals, milking the cows, now we have the planting of the crops and the harvesting of what is ready, which will keep Michael and David busy.  Susan and I will be taking care of our  planting of  the flowers, selling at our stand in front of the house, canning, mowing the lawn, weeding the garden  between the flowers and more.  This in  addition to cleaning the house, washing clothes , sewing, cooking and more.   To start the bake sales season of this year Martha and her girls are taking over for me and I will do some baking at home.

I recently went to the doctor check up and he felt going two the bake sales would be a strain on me.  He does allow me to ride in the buggy.  I tried again just a short way and it still bothers me so right now Im only go on the buggy on short trips.  I can resume some more house chores, but he still doesn’t want me to pick up David Jr.  It is hard on me because David Jr. wants me to lift him and I have to call maude (maid) or Michael or my husband.  I will be doing some of the baking for bake sales, but as I said, Martha and her daughters will go to the Farmers Market and the Veteran’s Bake Sale for me. 

When it comes to my garden Susan helps me pull out what vegetables she can, but Michael or David have to pull the rest.  Sometimes if our maude has time she pulls them.  Soon, we will be into strawberry season and I will not be picking.  David said not to worry about it, but I do.  When I do canning, David’s Mother and my Mother will be here to help maude and I.  What is in our favor is that Michael’s friend that is staying at our home has worked  on farms so he is working with Michael and David.  We also found that he likes to cook-and is very good at it especially considering he is fourteen years old. 

I don’t want you to think we always work.  We brought Michael’s basket ball hoop up from the basement so he and his friends use that. Michael and his friends also play baseball at Martha’s house (they have more room that we do).   We also go on walks. David and Michael have been fishing a few times this year already.  Sometimes we sit on the porch or in the living room eating popcorn and drinking soda.  

We also play some games inside.  Susan plays with her friends-playing house, or school.  They also go to the park and swing on the swings and slide down the slide.  This year David thinks it would be nice if we got a Crockett set.  So we are not always working, we do stop and enjoy ourselves.  
Be With God, Jean


With fishing season in force-I thought you might like this recipe.  Jean

Fish Gumbo
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 medium green pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 28 oz can tomatoes ( I used fresh tomatoes I have canned)
1 15oz can okra
1 cup water
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1 lb fish fillet, cut in bite size pieces
2 cups cooked rice
Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat.  Add onions, green pepper and celery.  Cook until tender (3-4minutes).  Add tomatoes, okra, water, thyme and salt.  Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add fish and cook 10 minutes or until fish is easily flaked.  Spoon 1/2 cup hot rice into bowls and fill with fish mixture.

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Martha and her family are old order Mennonite and live on a farm in upstate New York. She travels the country side using horse and buggy and like the Amish  lives a very conservative lifestyle. Martha shares her story only on Amish Stories.

Richard asked me some questions about my change from car to buggy when I became Old Order Mennonite. I have more faith in the buggy than I did when I first became Old Order Mennonite, but I do feel a car is safer than the buggy. Of course the cars are constructed with steel which not all of the buggy is. After driving a buggy for many years, I have gotten more confidence, but still if the time ever came when the Old Order Mennonite church gave us a choice of a car or buggy-I would take the car. Most of the Old Order Mennonite prefer a buggy over a car because that is what they have grown up with. 

I spoke with some of my Amish friends that live in our area and they feel the same-the buggy is our way-to keep from the ways of the world. If there was an accident I do feel that the car would come out of it better than the buggy would and people who have less of a chance to be injured in a car.

We do have the slow moving signs on the back of our buggies, but sometimes cars don’t pay attention to them. In our area most of the roads are back roads but there is a four lane highway and two lane highway that has a lot of commercial vehicles. Cars don’t always pay attention to us. They come right up in back of us and whip around, or honk several times, and some even use bad language as they pass. Some of us have had cans, eggs or tomatoes thrown at us by young folk. We try to get over to the side of the highway so people can pass, but we can only go so far. Most of the people are nice and as they get close honk once, slow down and pass us, but these other things have happened.

We have had a couple of bad accidents. One car driver said the sun was in her eyes when they hit the buggy. In another accident the driver had been drinking when he hit the buggy. Several people in the buggies were injured and the car drivers came out uninjured. Both of these accidents were during the day-not at night. We do not wish anyone injured car people or people in the buggies. Some of us have putting lights on our buggies at night. One of the things that upset us in this area are there no slow buggy signs. 

We have petitioned the county and state-we still don’t have them. These signs make people more aware of us with these signs. People drive cars fast on these roads not thinking about coming upon a horse and buggy-I didn’t when I drove a car-until I met my now husband, and became Old Order Mennonite. I can’t blame all accidents on car drivers. We have some young Old Order Mennonite folks who sometimes, race the buggies, or drive not thinking like they should. They aren’t careful.

Sometimes we do hire a driver, but it is rare if anyone would hire a driver all the time. Although I do know an Old Order Mennonite lady who hired a driver when she had to go some place for a couple of months. She had broken her leg and it was easier to get to the doctors, physical therapy, etc. in a car. Once she had the cast off and could walk with her cane, she used the buggy. She was not a usual case. Many times when we go into the City of Canandaigua we get a driver, or some place further from our area than we could get with a buggy in reasonable time. Sometimes if there is a group of using going to a wedding, funeral, barn raising, etc. we rent a van and all go together. 

Old Order Mennonite do not drive cars, but people in our other Mennonite divisions do, so we hire them. As I joined the Old Order Mennonite my parents did not and still drive a car so we call on them many times. After discussing with our local Amish friends, they drive as many times in a buggy as we do and also get more drivers then we do. Of course they are Old Order Amish-like Mennonites there several different divisions or groups with the Amish. I know some orders do not have the slow moving signs on their buggies. We don’t have any in our area-we all have the slow moving signs.

Be With the Lord,


Browned Stew with Dumplings

This is an old Amish/Mennonite recipe.

2 pounds cubed beef
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons fat (or vegetable oil)
1 small onion, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Cut meat into small cubes.

Melt fat in a hot skillet or Dutch oven. Brown meat and onion in fat, keep it sizzling hot until nicely browned.

Sprinkle flour, salt and pepper over meat. Add the boiling water and lemon juice. Cover the pan and lower the heat so that meat simmers for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg

2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon solid shortening

Stir quickly together and drop from a spoon onto simmering stew. Cover and allow to cook 12 to 25 minutes. Recipe from http://www.Recipegoldmine.

The Traditional Family & The Amish series  continues next Friday with part 4:  Education at Home & In School.

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