Archive for the ‘Old order Mennonites’ Category

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.

   Thought I would answer some of questions this month:

          Please keep the questions coming.  

Yes, we do buy a lot of things in bulk and I do use coupons.  With three men and David Junior plus Susan and I, we go through a lot of groceries.  We grow as much as we can, but we still have to buy items from the grocery store.  Also, I try to buy at stores that have lower prices like Wal-Mart, Tops and more.  Monday morning, I go through the Sunday paper for any coupons on food products or home products that we need.  If buying the bulk price is less, but we won’t use it all in a reasonable time, we share with my parents or David’s parents and they do the same with us. 

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens –Bright copper kettles -and warm woolen mittens- Brown paper packages tied up with strings- These are a few of my favorite things.

I don’t know of any Old Order Mennonite that grow tobacco.  I’m not saying that there aren’t any, but not in our area.  Many of the Old Order Mennonite grew it, at one time, but since cigarettes, cigars, etc. have been found to be a health hazard, they don’t grow it anymore in our area.  Do any smoke tobacco?  Both religious wise and health wise tobacco is an evil and we should not use it.  My Grandfather though started smoking a pipe before it was found bad.  He use to smoke one all the time.  

Now, we can tell when he is upset because he lights up his pipe.  Most people do not smoke.  Maybe some smoke like my  grandfather, in the barn where most people can’t see him smoking.  He forgets though that my Grandmother can smell it on him when he comes into the house. It is consider an evil regarding our religion as it is a waste of money like liquor.  There are many places the money could be better used than in tobacco and liquor.  Also, both can lead you to do things that you wouldn’t other wise. 

Regarding the book “Fifty Shades of Gray” neither I or Marilyn have read that book so we can’t tell you about that book.  I take care in reading books especially novels.  I don’t want anything in my house that I would be embarrassed for someone to come into my home to read or see.  No violence, nothing that should be kept in the bedroom.  My feeling is if I wouldn’t allow Susan to read it – I won’t read it.  Many times I have started reading a book and stopped because I did not think it was presentable.  

I know that some Amish are stricter  than we are.  Some of them will not read books like Beverly Lewis and other authors because it is not a true story, it is not really a religious book in their eyes.  Again, I don’t know what others have in their home.  I can only tell about ours.  Michael and Edward get a little upset with David and I because there are certain books in the world that we do not allow them to read or bring into our home. World wide there is no problem, but in our home they are.
 Be With God,


           Make your own Homemade liquid Soap
                                                      From reader Renee
1 1/2 cups of boiling water
1 Tbs shredded bar of soap that has low suds (trust me learned this one the hard way) like castile, ivory, or homemade soap!
1 Tbs washing soda
1 Tbs vinegar
1/8 tsp of tea tree oil
a few drops of other essential oil (optional)

In a bowl add the shredded bar of soap, washing soda, and vinegar. Then pour boiling water over mixture and stir/whisk until everything is well blended and has dissolved. Let mixture cool on the counter stirring occasionally for at least 8 hours. After it cools add tea tree oil (since its an anti-bacterial, anti-fugal, and anti-microbial) and any other essential oils you would like. Transfer into an old dish soap container or a cute oil dispenser container.
Also you know those little pouches for dish washers, I have took one and put in an empty dish soap bottle, put in Hot water,let dissolve, and shake before each use  Works GREAT!,and you get a lot of refills out of one bag of those.

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Martha and Joseph are old order Mennonites who live on a farm in New York state with their family, and like the Amish use horse and buggy when traveling.

Thank you for all your comments and questions on my past post’s.  I really enjoyed and appreciated them.  To answer your question-yes we still have quilting bees.  Most of the time quilting bees are held are in the fall or winter after all the crops are harvested and things have sort of settled down-but we do have one going now for the former teacher and her husband. 

As their marriage came as such a surprise to us without an advance notice-we are now making their wedding quilt. We hope to surprise them with it. Quilting bee is what the men call: “The ladies day out.”  We get ready ahead of quilting bee day so we get all chores done.  Also, we make sure that the men have a lunch ready for them at noon time plus a few snacks.  Also, we defrost and make up what we can for supper the night before so when we get home from quilting we can put it in the oven.  Us ladies also each bring a snack or finger dish to the quilting so we have something to snack on.

After we get our breakfast dishes done – we leave for quilting.  Those that have small children or babies bring them along.  One or two of the older girls watch the little ones while the rest of us quilt.  Our children are taught quilting at a very young age.  My girls are older, but like Jean’s Susan is age 6-learning how to do quilting. She still has a lot to learn but we let her put a few of her stitches in the quilt as it is her former teachers.  We are trying to let each of her former girl students that lives locally put in a few stitches-but I am getting ahead of myself.

At the quilting bee we can have as many as 20 to 30 ladies or as small as 3 to 4 ladies.  It all depends on who can come.  Right now we are getting about 5 or 6 ladies at a time.  With the planting, harvest, Farmers Markets, etc. some are really busy right now.  The quilt is laid out in one persons house. It stays there until we get it done.  When we first come, we sit and chat until we have a group of us there and start working on the quilt.  As we work, we chat.  

At mid -morning we stop for coffee or tea and part of our snacks-then continue on until lunch time.  The woman’s whose house it is at puts on lunch-after which we get back to working again.  In the afternoon, we have a mid-snack-then back to work.  We usually end working about 3 or 4 so we can get home when our children come home for school (which is not a problem now) and we can start dinner. 

During our current season-some of us come and go as we must because of harvesting, etc. that I previously mentioned.  As it is staying at this woman’s house-we bring snacks plus , sometimes, a dish to pass for lunch so she doesn’t have to do that for all the quilting’s.  We want her to enjoy our company and help on the quilt-not spending all her time making food for us. All of us have a really enjoyable time at quilting.  Some of us are better than others at quilting, but we all work together.  

Sometimes I have to take out what I put in and do it over as I haven’t done this as long as the other ladies have.  We all have certain things we are better at than others. Most of us are either Old Order Mennonite or Amish.  Once in a while we have a local lady join us who is an Englisher.  They either know the person who the quilt is being made for or they want to learn quilting. Canning is similar to quilting in some ways.  We all show up at whose ever house it is with our children.  

Again we have as many as 10 to 15 or as few as 3 or 4.  After a cup of coffee or tea with a roll or brisket – we start in. It looks like we have a lot of canning to do, but with us all together makes time pass faster.  Each person has a job to do and we get it done.  Also, we have our breaks and lunch depending on how much someone has to get done.  Sometimes we switch jobs after lunch so we aren’t doing the same thing all the time.  Once the canning is done, labeled and on the shelf-we plan whose house will be next and back home we go. 

Sometimes we do two canning’s at one house.  As Jean is not quite up to par yet-we did strawberry canning at Jean’s.  I also brought some of our strawberries over so we did her canning and mine at the same time.  We all bought a dish to pass and snacks so Jean’s maude (maid) didn’t have to prepare us lunch.  We all had a great time.  Now to the next house.

Funny you should ask if we have a canning workshop.  As I said in another post a while back, we have youth groups (Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, etc.) plus adults come to our home to see how we make apple butter, cider, pies, etc.  We also do this same thing at maple syrup time.  People have asked us if we have canning workshops.  In past years we haven’t-but are thinking of starting it this year.  

We thought we might try with a Girl Scout Troop first and see how it goes.  Also, we would sign up a group of maybe 5 adults for another canning group.  Then we could see how these work out.  If adults and young folks really like it, we may make it a regular every year.  Just so you know men adults have asked to learn as well as women.  Please feel free to ask me any questions.  I would be glad to answer them for you,
Be With the Lord, Martha

            Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Snacking Cake    


3 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon                  
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cinnamon chips
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. If you are using a dark pan, preheat to 300 degrees.

1. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice tighter in a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. Cream the shortening and sugars together. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Beat the mixture until light and fluffy.

3. Add the maple and pumpkin and combine.

4. Alternately add the flour in three additions and the milk in two, starting with the flour. (Adding the flour and milk in stages will better balance the batter.) Add the chips. Scrape the batter into a well-greased 8 1/2 x 13-inch pan.

5. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the cake tests done. Cool on a wire rack.

6. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating. Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Add just enough water to bring the frosting to a spreadable consistency. Frost the cake after it has cooled. Recipe from

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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.

Susan had her Birthday,  She is now seven years old.  This year we had a small party of family a few of her closest friends. 
Happy Birthday Susan from Amish Stories

Edward also had his birthday and turned 15 as Michael will in October.  As Edward did not want a large party, we had a party of his closest friends and another with the family.  Clothes was not a problem as he had them, but he did not have any activity items.  His friends gave him a fishing tackle box.  Michael knew it was coming so we added to what money he had to buy Edward a fishing rod and reel.  David and I got him a gift certificate for ice skates and snow skies along with boots, “etc”  From David Jr. And Susan he got a new chess game.  

My parents bought Edward a new rifle.  Michael told Edward you will get a lecture and my Dad did tell Edward about safety and use of a rifle-the same he gave Michael when he bought him his.  David’s parents bought him a year pass to Bristol Ski Resort like they will probably Michael on his.  Now let’s hope we get snow this year better than last year.

Edward wanted to go see his Mother’s grave so we let him and Michael take the bus into Rochester, New York where she is buried.  It took about half a day to go up there and back, but it was worth it because Edward felt better.  He also said, that he felt like a man without a country as he had no real home. 

David and I talked about this, and we had a family meeting.  We asked Edward if he would like to be adopted into our family.  David explained that means you are member of our family-through the good times and the bad times.  He gets chores like everyone else, but goes fishing, hunting, ice skating and more.  He was surprised, but said “yes, yes, yes”.  We asked the family if there were any negative reasons no.  No one had any.  If fact, Michael was thrilled.  We voted and all agreed.  

The only thing is Edward would like to keep his family name so say his last name was Jones and ours Smith (not our real names)-his new name would be Edward Jones-Smith.  We are just starting the adoption process.  Part of what is cutting red tape is our adoption is going through on Michael.  Social Services has sent letters to his relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) explaining that we have applied for adoption.  So far they haven’t had any negative replies.

So this year Michael will legally become our son-hopefully next year Edward will be an addition to our family.  Susan is happy that both Michael and Edward are coming big brothers, but still adds the next one we adopt better me a girl.
Be With God, Jean
Art Image by Amish Stories. Old order Mennonite buggy from Lancaster county.


        Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake

  Cream the sugar, butter and eggs until fluffy. Mix in the buttermilk. Combine the cocoa and coffee in a saucepan, adding the liquid very slowly to prevent lumping, then mix into the creamed mixture. Moisten the baking soda with the vinegar and stir in with the salt and vanilla. Gradually mix in the flour, beating until smooth. Pour into a greased and floured 13″ x 9″ cake pan. Bake the cake in a preheated 350° F. oven for approx. 45 minutes. Cool Ice with your favorite icing. 2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 c. boiling hot, strong coffee
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cider vinegar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
2½ c. sifted all-purpose flour

Up-Home, Down-Home represents the cultural development of recipes from the most intimate, formal setting to the easy-going, spur-of -the-moment family dinner. Quick, easy to prepare dishes include many favorites from the Chefs at the Groff’s Farm Restaurant. Fully illustrated, some in color, 208 pages. Hard-cover edition. Betty Groff’s Up. To order Betty’s book please go to

 Don’t miss a Special post from old order Mennonite Martha this Friday folks, as she discusses how she and the other old order woman get together to quilt and what goes into making one. With a recipe for Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Snacking Cake 

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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.

One of the questions I was asked is “does Old Order Mennonite have rummsprings”?  No we do not practice Rumspringa  like the Amish, but again young folks will be young folks. The Old Order Mennonites have dinners where all the young folks between the ages of 16 and older attend.  They are usually games like soft ball and volley ball there.  Also, they do singing.  Once in a while they may go on day trips like to Niagara Falls, Corning Glass Works, and others.  Also they have maybe get a group together to go fishing.  

It use to be that just the boys went fishing, but now some girls go also.  During the winter they may go skiing or sledding.  What I have told you is just a few of the things the Old Order Mennonite have for their young folks.  They do this so the young folk will stay away from the ways of the world. Parents or newly married keep an eye on these activities. Many of the young folks meet their future spouse’s here and do not go out in the world.

Not all of them. Recently one of Martha and Joseph’s son’s, who had bought a car, took some of his friends to Niagara Falls to see the man walk the tight rope across the falls.  He told them where he was going, who was with him and when he would be back.  David was telling me he would never let David Jr. do that when he got older.  I couldn’t help but laugh as David owned a car and had his drivers license when I first met him.  We also smoked cigarettes, went to movies and friends parties that parents never knew about-or so we thought.  At one time or another we had at least one drink.  

When David and I started courting – he sold the car, and turned in his drivers license.  We stopped going to those places.  No smoking.  No movies.  No more parties without parents there and more.  The funny part is that after we were married, David’s parents told us they knew what we were doing including the car.  We had our time in the outside world.

What worries us is there are worse things in the world today.  Drugs were only in the big cities when we were young, now it is everywhere.  Violent people are also another we will have to watch when our children getting older.  We have guns for hunting, but that is the only time we use them.  We watch over Michael and Edward more because of these.  

Be With God,

Ground Cherry Pie

Ground cherries, also known as husk tomatoes, produce tiny tomato-like fruits in papery husks on low, lanky bushes. This is an old Mennonite recipe with a crumb topping.

2 1/2 cups pitted ground cherries
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon water
1 (9-inch) pie shell
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

Wash ground cherries and place in unbaked pie shell.

Mix brown sugar and 1 tablespoon flour and sprinkle over cherries. Sprinkle water over top.

Mix together the 3 tablespoons flour and 3 tablespoons sugar. Cut butter in until crumbly. Top cherry mixture with crumbs.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F and continue to bake for 25 minutes. Recipe from

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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 would love to answer more of your questions folks, so please ask away any questions that you may have regarding her old order Mennonite lifestyle. Richard

Thought this time I would answer a couple of questions that were asked. Just remember questions are always welcome. What do I like to read?  With farming, bake sales, etc. this time of year I don’t usually read much, but because of my surgery I did get a lot of reading done. My first daily reading is the Bible.   In our home we read the Budget, Family Life, Young Companion and Blackboard Bulletin.  Also, we get the local daily paper Daily Messenger.  I did get a few novels in my Beverly Lewis and Wanda Brunstetter.  Also I read children’s stories to Susan and David. 

Do Old Mennonites divorce?  When we marry – we marry until death do us part.  That is why we are advised to pray especially when we were courting to make sure that we are doing what God wants-that we are the right ones for each other.  Not our will be done, but God’s will be done.  Which leads to answer the question, that divorces are very rare.  David and I have known couples who have separated from each other-but even that is a rare thing. 

What would happen if a couple did get divorced?  If a couple gets divorced they can not remarry until the spouse passes. In a situation where say a man divorces his wife for another woman –  neither his first wife or the man that left can remarry.  If he does remarry while his first wife is alive, he would be shunned from the church.  His first wife can not remarry unless he passes (dies).   It is not a fast decision made.  It goes before the Bishop, ministers and deacons first.  In that case where a husband leaves his wife and remarries-most of the time they move from the area and join another religion. 

The first wife stays among us, but does not remarry.  Of course a lot of things enter into whether say a person beats their spouse and children.  David and I know only of two couples that have divorced.  One a man left his wife to marry another woman.  He and his second wife moved away.  His first wife lives among us and has never remarried.  The second couple, as far as we know, neither have remarried.  Again, one moved away and the other still lives in our area and has never remarried. 

When we have shunning in our church, it is different from the Amish.  If someone is shunned, they can still come to meetings (church), we can still speak to them, do business with them and more.  They are not allowed to come to communion meetings that are held twice a year. 
Regarding a divorce among us, I am sure I have not given you everything in Old Order Mennonite views and handling.  It just is something that is very rare.
Be With God,

Wedding Cake Recipe: From Jean

1 lb. butter

1 lb. sugar

12 eggs separated                                   
1 1b. flour

2  tsp each of cinnamon and mace

1 tsp each of nutmeg and allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
2 lbs raisins
2 lbs currants                   
1 lb citron
1 lb almonds or finely chopped figs
1/4 cup brandy
2 tbsp lemon juice and rind of mone lemon

Citron should be cut in uniform pieces of about 1/8 inch thick.  If almonds are used, they should be balanced and chopped fine.  Mix the fruit and almonds or figs but not the citron and dust the fruit mixture with some of the flour.  Also the citron in a separate bowl.

In a separate bowl cream butter and sugar thoroughly and mix spices well into mixture.  Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored and blend into sugar and better mixture.  Mix in flour, lemon juice, rind and brandy.  Beat egg whites until stiff and dry and add to batter and fold in.  Next add the fruit mixture. 

If the cake is to be maked only line the pan  with two thickness of brown paper and butter the one coming in contact with the batter.  Alternate layers of butter and a layer of citron, beginning and ending with the batter.

If steaming butter pan well and layer as above.  Steam for 3 hours and then bake one and one half hours in a slow oven of 275 degrees.  If baking solely bake three hours in a preheated oven set at 325 degrees, if several small pans used baking time will be less.                 Jean

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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.

Please keep your questions for Jean coming folks, she really enjoys answering them!  Richard 

Time has sure flown by this summer.  It hardly seems that Susan will be back to school on August 13th.  She just had her birthday and she is 7 and going into second grade.  My she is growing so fast.  Michael and Edward are in the public school and don’t go back until September 5th. They will be grade 10 or sophomores.  The Mennonite School that Susan goes too starts earlier than the public school, but it ends earlier like the end of April next year. 

Michael and Edward feel sorry that Susan starts so soon, but then again she only has to go to the eighth grade and they have to go until 12-or at least that’s how it stands now.  Maybe when Michael’s adoption goes through that might change. As like most farmers in our area, we took a bad loss in the crops and fruit this year.  It was a combination of early blooming do to early warm temperatures and the loss of crops due to the little rain and hot temperatures.  Because of this, we have decided not to build a new house.  

David believes that we can complete our attic and that will give us another two or three bedrooms.  That is a winter project from David, Michael and Edward. Michael and Edward would like the attic for their bedrooms-we will see.  David says with the fire, my surgery and the crop loss-it would be best to wait on the house-unless I really wanted it.  I told him another year or two doesn’t matter.  We did make enough crops for what we sell to the government to help feed the armed forces.  

Also, we have enough for my canning for the winter.  I have some canned goods that I am sending to Farmers Market, but not like we have had sent in previous years. Also, not as good as previous years. We thank the Lord that we have enough to meet our needs. We also thank the Lord, that we made out better than many others did.  David is hoping that maybe he can find a job for this winter-that would help.

Edward and Michael enjoyed the work they did down state helping repair houses that were damaged by Hurricane Irene.  This was Edward’s first time on anything like that.  He really enjoyed it.  They worked Monday Thru Friday and on Saturday there was a picnic for all the work they did.  Recently there was a wind and rain storm here that David, Michael, Edward, and myself went just east of here. We did not get damaged but an area near by did. The men cut trees, and did emergency work on the houses.  

The ladies provided the meals for the workers and people whose houses were damaged.  It was hard work, but we really enjoyed it. Michael and Edward are getting their main birthday present a little early.  David and I told them that David was taking them to a Yankees game in New York City.  They were both shocked and happy.  Michael tried to tell David we couldn’t afford it, but David insisted.  This was separate money that David and I had set aside for this.  

Also, this is the one and only Yankee’s trip they will make as it is not something Old Order Mennonite usually do.  David got permission from our Bishop.  As they are foster children we are allowed to do this on this one time basis.  David has the trip all booked.  They will be going before the boys go back to school.

Edward is doing much better reading do to our retired teacher helping this summer.  At prayer time now, David rotates the Bible between Edward, Michael and himself for the readings of the day.  That also has helped to improve Edward’s reading.  He will continue to go to our retired teacher even when school starts. 
My letter is a long this week, so I will end now.  I plan on answering more of your questions in my next post. Be with God.         Jean

Banana Milk Shake
1 1/2 cups milk                              
2 bananas, sliced and frozen
2 teaspoons honey                                 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in container of an electric blender; blend until smooth. Serve immediately. Recipe from

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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.

Some of the questions this month are about tourists and Old Order Mennonite personalities.  We have different personalities like all people do.  Some people like having tourists and people buy from them.  Some act like they are doing you a favor for selling you something.  Also, we all have bad days.

Please keep your questions coming for Jean

For instance my Father is worried about the expenses that David and I have had because of the fire, my being hospital, taking on another child and more.  My Father wanted me to be released from the hospital a few days earlier than the doctor did because of the expenses.  David put a stop to that.  It is not that my Father is a mean man-he is not, but he had to raise many children and money was tight. Also, my Father’s personality is stricter than David’s.  That was the way he was brought up and the way he is.  On the other hand, at a time of need, my Father would be the first one there.

So if you are a tourist some place and you stop at an Old Order Mennonite or Amish place of business-all people are different.  We don’t have many tourists at our home because it is off the main highways.  Although I have dealt with many tourists at the Farmers Market and Veteran’s Farmer’s Market.  I have always tried to be friendly.  Even then they are some customers who really test your patience.  Not very often, but some.

I think most, if not all, of the Old Order Mennonite try to be friendly with tourists.  There purchases are part of our income.  Women, I think, are more friendly with tourists than men because men don’t deal with tourists as much as women. But there are exceptions to the rule.  David can be kinder to a person giving us a hard time that I am.  Also, some men go to Farmers Markets to sell their goods and women are at home. 

Marilyn has told me of a case where she was buying from an Amish lady who was very cold to her.  She wouldn’t talk unless she had to.  Again, in another place there was a lady who was very nice and willing to go out of her way to help her.  Different people, different personalities. 

We do have some people stop at the stand we have in front of our house.  Most of the people that buy there are people that have know us for many years.  I am teaching Susan to be nice to people that stop.  If I am busy David or Michael or Edward will sell to the people that stop.  Most of the time we have jar and the people pay for what they buy by putting money in the car. Yes, we have had the jar stolen, but we put it in God’s hands.  It has happened very often. 

We do not really care for the media when they come around to take pictures.  We will turn our backs or explain that we do not want our pictures taken whether media or tourists.  Most people understand, but some don’t. 

So if you go some place and meet either Old Order Mennonite or Amish that are not as kind as you feel they should be.  It could be their personality or they are having a bad day.  Say a little prayer for them.
Be With God,

Home made recipe from Jean        

Rhubarb Custard Kuchen

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg white plus 2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cream (sweet or sour)
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups rhubarb, cut up

Crust: Cream butter, 1/4 cup sugar: add egg yolk and mix well.  Add flour and salt; mix well.  Press into bottom and up side of 9X13″ pan.  Sprinkle crust with 1 Tbsp flour, and 1 Tbsp sugar mixed together.  Cover with 4 cups rhubarb, cut up. 
Custard: Beat 1 egg white plus 2 eggs; add 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup cream, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional).  Pour over rhubarb and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

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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.

I was asked several questions about our horses, so I thought I would do a post on our horses and buggies. And please feel free to ask me your  questions, and I will try and answer them.  

Most of our horses come from horse adoption agencies.  A while back a local adoption agency had to close a horse farm because the horses were not being taken care of.  It was on television and Marilyn called us after she saw it on TV . We contacted the agency and found that they needed several people, like ourselves  to take some of them in and care for them-they just didn’t have the room for all the horses.  David, myself and a few other farmers went to the agency to check the horses out.  We ended up having three delivered to our farm for us to take care of.  One of the horses was all brown with a black main and tail-that was my favorite.  All the other farmers took some, also.

They had all been examined by the vet, but needed care-mostly to be fed correctly as they were all starving.  We fed the horses, walked the horses, brushed the horses (hadn’t been done for a long time),  and more.  Finally it came time to return them to the agency for adoption.  They never got back to the agency-we bought all three of them.  David trained two of them to pull a buggy.  The brown one is a riding horse.  It was trained before we got it.  David, Michael and myself have ridden the brown horse.  We are in the process of teaching Edward how to ride a horse. 

As we had three buggy pulling horses, after David trained them, someone that lives near us needed one, so we sold it.  Now we can use either of the horses for our buggy or both of them for our hauling buggy.  Our riding horse is for us to ride.  I haven’t ridden it since my operation but David, Michael, Susan and now Edward ride it.  I hope to be able to ride it soon.  We have more people to ride than we do horses, so we are thinking of getting another riding horse.

Are our horses members of the family?  Yes, I would say that they sure are.  We take of them, they have names and when the times come to put them down Susan and I cry over them.  It is hard on the men, too. 

It seems that I have always known how to drive a buggy.  The first I remember is sitting on my Grandfather’s lap and holding the reins.  I thought I was driving the buggy, but I wasn’t.  My grandfather firmly had the reins and was driving it.  The first I remember driving was a small cart that we had.  Either my Mother or Father were with me when I first drove it around our farm yard.  I was about 7 or 8 when I first took the buggy out on the road.  Again, one of my parents was with me.  

When I was a year or two older I drove the cart on the road by myself to school and back,  When I learned to drive the cart back and forth to school my parents taught me how to drive the bigger buggy.  Again, they were with me.  I was about 9 or 10 when I drove the big buggy alone.  We are now teaching Susan to drive the cart.  As we are close to the road we are teaching her on David’s parents farm.  It has more room off the road.

First buggy David owned was the courting buggy that his parents had made for him in Romulus, New York.  There was a man there that made them.  When we married our buggy was given to us by David’s parents and they bought a new one from a man that makes them in Clyde, New York.  We are going to have to get a bigger buggy as we have more people that room in our buggy.  Some how we fit in-but room is very tight.  David and Michael thought of making one, but with farming season we wouldn’t get it made very fast.  

Right now we are looking to buy a used bigger buggy.  We change buggies like Englishers trade cars.  Some people with a big buggy want a smaller one as their children have grown, married and left home.  Then there are people like us that have a small buggy, but need a bigger one because we have more people in our home now.  So we will buy a bigger buggy and sell our smaller one.  Like I said, we would like to buy a used one as a new one is very expensive. 
I hope this gives you more information about our horses and buggy.
Be With God, Jean

Renee’s  Home made gardeners soap

          From reader Renee

                              You will need:
Dish soap or hand soap
Corn meal
An empty container

Fill an empty container with dish soap – enough for one hand washing or enough to wash your hands a bunch of times. The choice is yours.
Then, add corn meal to the soap – just a sprinkle for a small batch and as much as a tablespoon for a big batch.
Stir the mixture up, and rub a bit between your fingers to test the grittiness.
Add corn meal (if needed) until you reach the right consistency.
Use immediately, or store in an air-tight container for future

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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.

Some people asked if we observe the Fourth of July.  We are glad to be Americans and pray for the soldiers.  Also, we know of those that fought for our freedom and Declaration of Independence.  Some of the crops that we grow go to the soldiers, sailors and all troops of  America’s military.  We do not hang flags, or celebrate non-religious holidays by doing anything special outside.  When we have our prayers, we thank God for the freedom He has provided us.  We pray for those that gave their lives for our freedom.  Also, we pray for those who are currently in the military. 

When David and I were courting we would go to Canandaigua to see the fire works, but we don’t do that anymore.  Michael, Edward and a couple of friends of theirs are going to see fire works this year.  Neither Michael or Edward are Old Order Mennonite so  one of the parents (Michael’s Friends) is driving. 

Edward is having problems reading.  We took him to the eye doctor to see if he needed glasses or had any problem like dyslexia, but they were not shown.  At school, he had taken special courses in reading, but they didn’t seem to help.  Our retired school teacher is going to help him this summer.  Her method is the old fashion teaching program.  

She doesn’t have fancy machines, or lessons on the computer, etc.  She and he went the library for him to pick out books on subjects he’s interested in.  He goes to her home for an hour or two every day.  He didn’t like the idea at first, but is getting use to it.  She said he is improving slowly, but is getting there. 
I believe that there are two many students in public school classes-teachers don’t have time to  give special attention to children with problems.  

They offer special classes for readers, but still there are so many students.  Then they keep pushing them ahead a year.  Somewhere someone has to take the time to help.  In our school this would have been caught and helped long ago.  The reason he doesn’t like to read is he can’t read as well or as fast as others.  We hope to improve his reading this summer.

One of the questions, I received is what happens if the teacher has to take time off in our school for illness, etc. When this happens one of the parents comes to fill in for the teacher.  It is usually one of the students mothers, but it could be one of the fathers.  Sometimes the fathers like to come especially one of the school board members to see how things are at school.  Most of the time though it is a student’s mother.

What did the children get David for Father’s Day was another question that was asked.  Susan, David Jr. and I got David are pair of Nike shoes-the first he ever had.  He has wanted a pair ever since he bought Michael the first pair, but kept saying it was too expensive for him to wear around the farm.  I, laughing, told him not to wear them in the fields or when he is cleaning out the barns.  Michael got David a fishing box like the one Michael got for his birthday.  David had always liked that fishing box but used the old, falling apart one he had.  

Every once in a while when he was carrying the old fishing box by the handle, it would pop open and all his fishing lures would fall out.
David is a very giving man.  He would rather see that the children or myself got something before he will buy for himself. He takes after his father-who is the same way.   So this year was a buy for David’s,  Father’s Day gifts that he wants,  but won’t buy for himself.

For Mother’s Day, Susan David Jr. and my husband David got me a new mixer that I wanted as my old one was on it’s last days.  For Christmas Michael had made me a serving plate that turned.  For Mother’s Day he made me matching salt and pepper shakers on a wooden stand plus a sugar bowl and top. 

So I think David and I got some really nice gifts this year! 
Be With God,

 Jeans home made: Chicken Pot Pie

Pastry for 2 9-inch pie crusts
2 Tablespoon butter/margarine
2 Tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 Cup chicken broth
1/2 Cup light cream (20%)
2 Cups cubed chicken or turkey
1 can peas and carrotts, drained or 1 pkg. frozen peas and carrots, cooked and drained or fresh peas and carrots cooked and drained
1 can (8 oz) small whole onions, drained

Heat oven to 425.  Prepare pastry as directed except-roll 2/3 of pastry for bottom crust; fit into 9 inch pie pan.  Roll remainer into rectangle, about 10×6 inch.  Cut rectangle into 12 strips, each 1/2 inch wide.

Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat.  Blend in flour, salt, pepper and thyme.  Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in chicken broth and cream.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir 1 minute.  Stir into chicken and vegetables.

Pour into pastry-lined pie pan.  Place 7 strips of pastry across filling; arrange remaining strips crisscross to make lattice top.

Trim; turn edge of bottom crust over strips.  Seal and flute.  Cover edge with 2 to 3 inch strip of aluminum foil to prevent excess browning; remove foil last 15 minutes of baking.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Serves 6

NOTE: You can divide the pastry to smaller containers and made smaller pot pies.  Watching baking time until crust is golden brown.

                                                                   Enjoy. Jean  

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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.

Thought I would tell you about the new member to our family we have now.  His name is Edward (not his real name).  We were having our evening prayers when the phone rang.  Because of David being with the Fire Department, even though we are having prayers, we answer the phone.  We never know when it could be a fire.  On the phone was a friend of Michael’s who asked if he could speak to him.  It was very important.  Usually I explain that we are in prayer and say he will call him back, but I didn’t-I gave Michael the phone.

Edward’s lives with his grandmother and she was taken to the hospital.  The Policeman was going to take him to a Foster home and he wanted to know what it was like and what should he do.  Michael talked with him a minute then laid down the phone and came to us.  He explained Edward’s situation and at first asked if we were prejudice as Edward is black.  David explained that we believe all men are created equal.  Edward had been to our house many times and I asked if we had been prejudice against him.  Michael said no and explained Edward’s situation. 

David spoke with Edward and told him to give the phone to the policeman.  Edward said he was suppose to be packing to leave but he was calling us.  Again, David told him to give the phone to the policeman.  When he did-David explained to the policeman that we are Foster Parents and that Michael and Edward are friends. We would be glad to take Edward into our home.  The policeman asked David to come to the house.  We sent Michael to get a driver and he wanted to go too, but I told him no.

After David left I had asked Michael to move all his ski equipment, fishing equipment and whatever else he had out of the guest room.  As he did that I put sheets on the bed and tided up the room.  After hours David called to tell me he and Edward were coming home.  I fixed something for them and us to snack on when they got home.

When you take on a Foster Child they have to have a physical examination when they remove a child from one home to another.  So Edward and David went to the hospital with the policeman to have Edward examined before he came to our house.  The policeman and us knew Edward’s Grandmother would never hurt him, but rules are rules.  Michael and Edward were happy to see each other.  Edward thanked us for taking him in.  We told him, we were glad to do it.

Edward’s Grandmother had taken care of him since he was about four or five. His father and Mother had not married.  The Father left when he found his Mother was with child.  His Mother had gotten into drugs, and more. Because of this his Mother had left (died) in a city a way from here (not Canandaigua) so his Grandmother had raised him since.    She sold her house in the city and bought one out here to raise him in.  His Grandmother had cancer for a few years, which we thought was in recession-but had spread.  Edward used to go to school, work at his job on a farm and then come home to take care of his Grandmother-plus do his homework-he is only 14 years old.  We did not know this was happening or we would have helped them,

We all went to see Edward’s grandmother at the hospital.  One day we got a call that she wanted to see David and I without Edward or Michael.  When we got there she explained that her lawyer had been to the hospital and if it was all right with us, she was signing so we would be Edward’s guardians.  We asked to talk it over with Edward.  When we got home we asked Edward alone to come into the living room and explained what his Grandmother had told us.  He looked at us and said she is dying.  We told him we weren’t saying that but until she got better.  He said she is dying and he would really like to stay with us.  The next day we took Edward with us to the hospital.  She spoke with him alone-we went down the hall so she could be alone with him.  We came back and the next day she signed the papers.  Two days later she left (passed away). 

We thought all the relatives would give us a hard time about what his Grandmother had signed, but none of them did. David and I invited them over to our house after the funeral, burial and dinner.  We explained what Edward’s Grandmother had done. They all had a reason why they couldn’t take him so David and I are glad she signed him over to us.  Edward and Michael were in the barn doing chores when we told the relatives what she had done.  Michael and Edward knew, but we didn’t want them there if there were any problems.  There were no problems.

Edward is now a member of our household.  He is getting use to the buggy instead of a car, no nightly TV or computer and other changes.  The farm he works at is down the road from ours, so we have let him keep working there.  Like I said he and Michael are close friends-Michael just said best friends and that helps.  Having been to our home many times to see Michael, Edward knew us before he moved here.  With is Grandmother;s passing it has been hard on Edward, but we understand this.  Not only did he lose his grandmother but he was with a different family.  Edward is not Old Order Mennonite or Amish. He does know the Lord, reads his Bible daily and attends meetings (church) with us.  As yet, he hasn’t worn our dress at meetings-he wears a suit-which is fine with us and Bishop and members.  Also he comes to our prayers at home.

His Grandmother taught him to cook.  He has some very delicious recipes that he has cooked for us that I would like.  I asked him what he wanted for dinner one evening and he wanted collard greens.  I guess he didn’t think I knew how to cook them.  He was surprised that I had collard greens as one of our vegetables.

So I have told you some of our new resident.  Susan asked if we were going to adopt him.  I told her we have to wait a while and see how things go like we did  with Michael. She wants us to adopt Edward, too.  She also said that the next one that comes into our household has to be a girl.  There are four men and two ladies-we need more ladies according to Susan.

She has a double bedroom.  When David’s parents owned the house they made two bedrooms into one.  We put Susan in the double bedroom, but now has come the time we have to divide it so we have a guest room or if we get another Foster child.  If things got tight in our house, we could put Michael and David together in one bedroom as we have two single beds in Michael’s room.  David and I are talking again about maybe we should build that house that we were thinking about.  We will see.
Be With God,
Jeans homemade recipe for Root beer

Root Beer

1 teaspoon dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 quart hot water
4 teaspoons root beer extract                   
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.
Dissolve sugar in 1 quart hot water.
Mix together dissolved yeast, sugar and root beer extract in gallon jar.
Fill jar with warm water and stir until all ingredients are well combined
Seal Jar
Set in warm sun for 3 to 4 hours
Refrigerate 12-24 hours
Serve cold


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