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Jean is a old order Mennonite woman from New York state. She shares her personal accounts  on being Old order Mennonite  only on Amish Stories. Please comment and leave Jean a question.

Hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful spring season. Richard has asked to tell you about getting prepared for a bake sale at the Farmers Market. My husband David, started this as he thinks all us ladies do is really like an assembly line. You all asked what I do dailey so I am going to try to put them together.

David and I wake up at 5:00 AM. Before we rise we like to start our day with morning prayer. Maybe he will read a scripture and we pray. If something or someone has been bothering one of during our sleep we pray for that person or situation. (We do this if Baby David doesn’t wake us-if he does – he gets my immediate attention and we try to do this later in the day).

After prayer I go down and put on the pot of coffee while David gets dressed, shaves (our men do not have beards or mustach). When he is dressed we try to get in a cup of coffee together before he goes milking the cows. (Again, Baby David can change this.) When David goes to the barn for milking I go upstairs, get dressed and get Susan our of bed as she is a hard sleeper-nothing wakes her up. She gets dressed and goes out to get the morning eggs. I take care of Baby David, bathing, dressing, feeding, etc. I then go downstairs to start breakfast.

You ask what we have for meals. Just an average breakfast is: a small bowl of oatmeal, either waffles, pancakes or french toast, either bacon, sausage, or ham, glass of juice or a dish of fruit or berries (if in season), sweet rolls if some are made, coffee. We make our own maple syrup from the trees on our property. Sometimes instead of what I previously said we have eggs or omlets, bacon, ham or sausage, potatoes, toast (or rolls) , oatmeal, and juice or fruit. I also make the jams and jellies that go on the rolls or toast. On Sunday mornings we sometimes have a quick cereal, juice, rolls, etc. We always say a brief, silent prayer before and after we eat any meal.

If it is Monday, Wednesday or Saturday I try to put on a load of wash while David is still in the barn. After breakfast Susan and I clean up the dishes. I hang the first load of wash on the line. Susan and I them go through the house looking for items that need washing, straightening, dusting or sweeping. Once all the clothes are on the line and the house cleaned – I check to see if I have enough baking products for this Farmers Market. I also start baking for our home-pies, cakes, cookies, bread, rolls, etc. It seems like I am doing this every day, as they are gone almost as fast as I bake them. If I am having soup or salads for lunch, I start them. Susan helps as much as she can for her age. During the morning, she also goes out and feeds the chickens.

On Monday, about 10:00, my mother-in-law, mother, and sometimes by grandmother and David’s grandmother come over. We have coffee or tea and whatever baked goods I have baked already and discuss what who is going to bake for the Farmers Market. Sometimes one of the ladies calls before coming and tells me she is bringing the treat (baked goods) with her. We also discuss how much of each item we are making. Also, we discuss who needs baking products, how much and whose husband is going to take them (in the buggy) to get the products (usually David and myself-we’re the youngest). If someone else has to go into town for a doctors appointment, get farm tool, etc. -they get all the baking products. Susan is with us doing this “meeting”. She must learn all about this as she will be doing this when she gets older. If the grandmother’s are not there we call them and let them know what they are to bake-unless they would prefer to make something else. If they want to bake what someone else is baking we change things around. They get top choice what to bake. Sometimes one of them or both of them can’t bake – maybe cold weather, not feeling well, etc.-then we get my nieces or David’s nieces to fill in as baker. We also decide which-either my mother or mother-in-law will stay with Susan and baby David and who is going to the Farmers Market with me. The mothers usually switch every other week. Of course everyone plays with Susan and baby David before, after and during this gathering. At about 11:30, the ladies go home and I prepare lunch.

Lunch could be salads, sandwitches, soup and a sandwitch, sandwitches and salads with a dish of fruit. If I make sandwitches it is 99% of the time on my home made bread. Only if I am sick or some emergency comes up do we use store purchased bread. Also are beet eggs, chow chow, pickels, etc-all home made. Before our meal David sometimes reads a short scripture and then we have silent prayer. If we are planting or harvesting and there are several workers there-we just have silent prayer before and after our meal.

In between all the activities I have here, of course, I am feeding Baby David, putting him for his nap, changing him, etc. He is never forgotten or ignored. After his grandmothers have played with him and fussed over him on Monday-he needs a nap. We say they wear him out. I use to have Susan take an afternoon nap, but with her age and school starting in August, she must start staying up from morning until bedtime. If she is really tired, we let her, but we try so hard not to. After we have the dishes done, Susan and I play together, I read her stories (from the Bible), sometimes make a special baked good she likes, play games, etc.

Later in the afternoon, I take down the laundry. Susan and I fold it and she puts her items in her room and baby David’s items in his while looking for any items that may have seams parting or might have hole that needs to be sewed. I take care of husband David’s and my clothes, sheets, towels, etc. Anything that needs to be ironed is done and put away.

If it is Thursday, Susan and I start baking for the Farmers Market right after the breakfast dishes are done. We make the dough for the breads, rolls, etc. and let them rise while we make cookies. After a quick lunch, we bake the breads, and rolls. Supper is usually a caserole, salad, and cookies for desert during baking day. Once the dinner dishes are done, I make the pies, cakes, etc. while David plays with Susan and baby David.

A usual dinner in our home (not on Thursday) is meat, vegetables, salad, rolls, homemade jelly or jams, potatoes, pickels, beet eggs, chow chow, etc. Sometimes we have stews, caseroles, soups and more. Of course we always have deserts such as baked goods or sometimes we make ice cream. During the evening we usually have some sort of a treat-popcorn, cookies, and so on.

On Thursday, David, plays with the children in the evening while I continue baking. When my mother and I did the baking alone we baked all night-but with more bakers we don’t do that anymore. On Thursday I am done around 9:00 or 10:00. They are all wrapped, packed and ready for the driver (van) to pick us up the next morning at 5:00 AM. If we have items from the fields, while I am baking David is packing fruit, vegetables, etc. for him to bring and sell at the Farmers Market. In the fall after canning we sometimes take jams, jellies, chow chow, and alike.

If this is not a bake day, David, the children and myself spend the evening, visitng or visitors come to us, playing games with the children, taking walks, reading, and more. I sometimes do sewing or making clothes in the evening. At 7:30, David, gets out the Bible, reads, after we pray. This lasts for about 15 minutes, then I put Susan to be at 8:00. David and I stay down together until 9:00 afer which we go to bed. I know I have left things out and it sounds like we are always working and not spending times with the children-but it is not. I have never told people what I did before and as I say I left things out. Sometimes, in the afternoon during the seasons are canning days, quilting days, visiting the sick or lonely, working on the house and more.

The Farmers Market is on Friday and Saturday. On Friday while I and either my mother or mother-in-law are at the market-the one who is home taking care of the children also starts baking again for the Saturday Farmers Market. She also fixes dinner. After we eat home, we bake into all hours of the morning to have baked goods for Saturday. If the Farmers Market falls on Monday like for Memorial Day, when we get home on Saturday, we bake for Monday and either store or freeze. We also get up at 12:01 AM on Monday morning and bake, pack the goods and are ready for our 5:00 AM van. We do not bake on Sunday-the Lord’s Day. Jean ………………………………………………………..Watch for Jeans next post on May31.

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