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.

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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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 thought you might be interested in our Maude (maid).  All girls are taught jobs around the house as soon as you can teach them-put their toys away, bring down their clothes, etc.  The older they get  more jobs and responsibilities like: setting the table, doing dishes, cleaning their rooms, and more.  The same for boys learning men’s work.  When they leave school, at age 14, girls should know how to cook, clean, sew, do laundry, work in the garden – everything one should know to take care of a house and garden.  

 Also girls know how to do farm work like milking cows, cleaning the barn, helping in the fields, etc.  Also at 14 they can do small jobs outside the home, if it is with someone  who is Old Order Mennonite or someone known really well among her family who is an outsider.  At age 15 or 16 girls, if allowed, can work outside the home as a maude, sometimes in restaurants, bake sales, etc.-if the family allows.

Bridget (named changed at her request) has been my maude.  She is 17 years old.  Usually the maude comes a day or two before they start to see what has to be done and how I like it done, but because of my emergency she came and did whatever, and she saw what was needed to be done.  When I got out of the hospital and stayed with David’s parents, Bridget cleaned the house from top to bottom-better than we did after the fire.  She did all the laundry, watered the plants, mended all the items I had in the sewing basket and made sure the men had meals while working in the farm fields.  She would come in during  the morning and go home in the evening as her parents live a couple of miles down the road.

After my arrival home from the hospital, Bridget would come on Monday morning and stay until she left on Saturday evening.  Bridget would be up before we were every day starting breakfast, packing Susan and Michael’s lunches for school.  After David and Michael came in from chores we would all eat.  Bridge ate with as, but some people who have maudes like her to eat before or after they do, but we treat Bridget like a member of our family while she’s in our house-she eats her meals with us.  She makes sure David Jr. is up, bathed and dressed when he comes to breakfast.  After doing the dishes after we eat, she made all the beds, straightened the bedrooms and bathrooms-brought down any clothing or towels that needed to be washed. 

 She would do the laundry after which she would do the baking, and somehow she fit in playing with David Jr.  At noon time was lunch which she prepared.  After dishes she would go through the house and do any dusting, cleaning the bathroom, sewing, watering my plants, etc. She would see that David Jr. was put to bed for his nap.  Also, we would decide on the evening meal which she would start.  When Susan and Michael came from school, she would have milk and cookies or a piece of pie or cake for them before they did their chores. 

After evening milking, we had dinner after which she would do the dishes.  After prayers, she would put David Jr. to bed and help Susan to bed if she needed any help.  The rest of the evening she would sit with us talking, sewing, quilting, knitting-whatever she wanted to work on.  Of course during all this she was taking care of me-helping me around the house when I needed it, putting David Jr. on my lap and talking him off, changing my hospital dressings-anything I needed done. 

Right now, we are back to her coming every morning and going home every evening.  I am up and able to do some of the cooking and baking.  Lifting the laundry is still too heavy for me so she does that. she still Takes care of David Jr as I can’t lift him right now and more.  Now sometimes she and I sit and have a cup of tea and just chat.  She is also planting some of my flowers for me and weeding my garden.  She doesn’t stop.  She is almost always going unless I order her to sit down and have a cup of tea,lol. 

The best  part is that she gets along with the whole family.  I worried about Susan and David Jr., but they really love her, too.  Sometimes they mind her better than they do me.  LOL   After my next visit to the doctor, I think we will be able to let her go, but I am not sure.  David says he would rather have her on a little  longer than we need than to let her go and have to try to get her back.  We were just lucky to get her when we did as she is a hard worker and many people have  tried to hire her. 

Marilyn asked me to put in how much we pay a maude.  The running price in our Old Order Mennonite is between $10.00 and $15.00 a DAY.  (Note that is not by the hour, but the day-Marilyn).  As Bridget does such a great job and handles the children so well, David and I decided to pay her $20.00 a day which she wanted to refuse, but we insisted.  So we pay her $120.00 a week which we pay every Saturday before she goes home. 

Some Old Order Mennonites take the money from their children, but Bridget’s parent don’t.  Bridget has a savings account at the bank where she puts a least half of her money every week.  The other half is her spending money-although it is very rare that she spends that much money  a week except at Christmas, and Birthdays.  She does give part of her money to the church when they come-but her parents do not tell her what to give-she decides on her own.  From her Mother, Bridget is as generous as they come!

So I hope that I was able to fill you in more about Bridget  our maude (maid),  She is a great help and an outstanding worker.
Be With God,

Red white and blue chocolate cup cakes

2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa or Hershey’s European style cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder                          
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt                                                                                                
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract        
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line (2 1/2 inch diameter) muffin cups with paper bake cups.

In large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be very thin).

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely.

Frost cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. Garnish with blueberries and strawberries.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

5 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract                          
Fresh blueberries and strawberries

In medium bowl, cream together the butter and confectioners’ sugar. Add the milk and vanilla extract, beating until frosting is of spreading consistency.

Makes about 2 cups of frosting.    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 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

I don’t remember if I told you about our Ascension Thursdays or not, so I will in this post. Ascension Thursday is on the 40th day after Easter Sunday. We believe Ascension to honor Jesus rising into heaven.  We do not do any work on that day except to feed the animals, milk the cows, etc.-work we must do.  Michael was kept home from the public school that day.  Susan’s school is closed for the school year, but if it wasn’t – it would be on that day.

We have a large dinner on Wednesday evening.  Later in the evening we have snacks. At prayers David reads the bible about Jesus crucifixion-dying on the cross for us and his rising from the dead.  On Ascension Day David, I and now Michael , has also done is,  fast until our noon meal.  Michael does not have to do this until age 15, but he wanted to so we let him.  On Ascension Thursday morning, we do what chores we have to.  I also feed Susan and David Jr. their breakfast.  After that we get ready to attend meeting (church).

Meeting and our evening prayers are Jesus Ascension into heaven and that He will come again to this earth.  Also spoken of in meeting is that we also will be taken from this earth and we must be prepared because we will not know the day, the hour or the time when we will leave.  That our stay on earth is only for a time.  It is not meant to scare us, but for us to think and pray about why we are here.  Are we doing as the Lord wants us to?  Do we put our problems and questions in our hands or God hands ?  When someone passes (dies) we should realize that they are going to be judged for their life and works on earth. We hope that God will see to let them in heaven.

After meeting, we went to David’s parents, along with my parents, and many of my brothers, sisters, and our nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. for dinner.  After dinner the children played baseball, some played other games as we adults sat and talked.  Some neighbors and friends came to visit us while we were there.  On the way home, we stopped to visit a couple of folks.  With the big dinner that we had at David’s parents we had sandwiches  and salad for dinner.  During prayers that evening David read in the Bible about we have no right to judge others as others have no right to judge us-only God has that right.  We should forgive when others offend us, insult us, and alike.  He explained to the children that we must forgive others as we are also sinners

Since we had kept Michael out of school on Thursday, he thought it would be a good idea if we kept him off Friday.  We did not agree, so he went to school on Friday.  This is plowing and planting season and David could use the help, but Michael’s education is worth more right now.  As Michael is fourteen and we are adopting him we will  try  to see if this can be his last year of schooling, but it looks like we will have to wait until the adoption goes through before we can take him out.

Some of the farmers, especially older farmers, feel that certain crops should be planted at only certain times. Like some believe tomatoes should be planted only after Mother’s Day.  Other crops should only be planted after Ascension Thursday.  Some go by planting of certain crops by the moon-but we don’t. 

Be with God, Jean

Strawberry pie
1 1/2 c. water
3/4 C sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 (3oz) pkg Strawberry Jello
Fresh Strawberries (1 quart whole or halves)
Use baked 9 inch pie shell.  Cook water, sugar and cornstarch until thick and clear.  Add Jello, stir and pour over fruit in pie shell.  Cool 2-3 hours.  Top with whip cream when serving.                                    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.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers.  I greatly appreciate them.  It is so kind of you.  My health is improving slowly.  I have been able to cook a few meals and do some sewing.  Between my parents, my grandparents, David parents, our maude (maid) and David I’m not allowed to do too much.  I have been to some of the rummage sales, though.  I will be writing the next post, but David is doing the rest of this one-so I turn it over to him-but I do want to thank you for being so kind and thought full.  Jean

 David: Times are getting so fewer people are volunteering less for the Fire Department or the ambulance crew.  One of the towns near us is closing their volunteer ambulance service.  They just don’t have as many volunteers as they use to.  Also most of the volunteers are free in the evening and night, but work outside the home and can not provide service during the day.  There area is now going to be serviced by Finger Lakes Ambulance.  The difference is that the volunteer ambulance takes what you can pay-if you can’t pay they take you anyway.  Finger Lakes Ambulacnnance  is not volunteer-these people are full time ambulance employees so that means Finger Lakes Ambulance charges.  I am not putting Finger Lakes Ambulance down as they have filled in for us if we have our ambulance out on a call and someone else calls in and needs one.  It is sad to see a volunteer ambulance close.

 As yet, we have enough volunteers for day and night.  How long this will last we don’t know as some are getting older.  Also our Fire Department is volunteer and we are always looking for more.  Many of us have taken courses and are qualified for both Fire Department and ambulance.  Being that some of us are Old Order Mennonite or Amish, and don’t drive, we need one of our volunteers that does drive, but so far that hasn’t been a problem.  So if you are looking for something to volunteer for, if your Fire Department and/or Ambulance is volunteer, please consider there.

The Old Order Mennonites and the Amish have approved for us to have cell phones for the Fire Department and Ambulance calls.  So now I can be out in the fields plowing and still get the call.  In fact, I can be anywhere and get the call.  Old Order Mennonites charge the cell phones for our Amish Firemen.  It sure came in handy when we had our kitchen fire.

Our Woman fire fighter does as well as us men at a fire.  She was at the fire at our house.  It is still kind of different for us Old Order Mennonite and Amish that we have a woman on the Fire Department.  It is our way not to allow our wives or daughters to do this-we consider it men’s work.  At a fire we all do the work and it does matter if we are working with a man or a woman.  Also, we have gotten two more men on the Fire Department.  They have completed their courses and have worked at the fires.

The worse ambulance call I have been on, of course, was that accident down state where those Amish passed (were killed).  Outside of my own house fire-you always consider that the worse one-it’s your house, the worse I have been on was a house hit my lightening.  It was a frame house and burned to the group pretty fast.  Everyone got out of that house, but they lost their house and contents.  Along with houses we also consider a barn fire a major fire.  This has happened a few times, also.  We have also been to business fires-stores, business buildings, etc.  Our village is small, most of our area are farms. Someone asked if there have been an Amish fires that we have been too-not yet and we hope not. Having been in some of their homes, I think they are more careful than other people are.  They keep their chimneys clear, careful of their lamps, watch their wood stoves, etc.  The worse Amish we had was when the man’s  barn roof caved in on their cows during that winter.  I mentioned that in a previous post. 

 We don’t have any problems with the Amish as farming neighbors or firemen.  One helps another as needed.  They really helped us out both food wise, work wise, chore wise and more when we had our house fire.  They even brought foods they had canned to fill up Jean’s shelves. At a fire, we work side by side.  After a fire we have even been known to pray together. 

 I hope I have answered all that you wanted to know.  If you have any questions, please put your questions in the comment section and I or Jean will answer them.  Jean will be back with the next post telling about Susan’s school closing for the school year. 

Be With God, David

Potato Doughnuts with Frosting

2 cups hot mashed potatoes (mashed with milk and butter)

2 1/2 cups sugar

2 cups buttermilk

2 eggs, slightly beaten

2 Tbsp butter or margarine melted

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp nut meg

1/2 tsp salt

6 1/2 to 7 cups flour

Cooking oil

In large bowl combine potatoes, sugar, buttermilk, and eggs; stir in butter, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, salt and enough of the flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and pat  to 3/4″ thickness. Cut with 2 1/2″ doughnut cutter. In a skillet heat 1′ of oil at 350 degrees. Fry doughnuts 2 min. per side or until browned. Place on paper towels.

Frosting for Potato Donuts

4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup boiling water

1/3 cup butter or margarine

1 tsp vanilla

Sift sugar, cocoa and salt into a large bowl. Stir in hot water, butter and vanilla. Dip tops of warm doughnuts in frosting.

Makes 4 dozen                                                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.

We have started planting our new crops for the year.  While we were at David’s parents house they planted the field behind it that had not been planted in about 10 years.  As the weather has been changing from the 80’s to the 40’s and back-we wanted to plant something that the change in temperature wouldn’t hurt.  After discussion potatoes were planted in this field.  It can take the change in temperature and make it.
Because of the freezes we have lost about half of out strawberries for this year.  Others have lost a lot more strawberries than we have so we are thankful that we have the half we have.  With the freeze coming this week, we hope we can save what we have left.


David, Michael, my Father and David’s Father are all working the fields. Of course Michael still goes to his public school so he works the fields when he can. Susan’s Old Order Mennonite school will be ending the school year in two weeks. Her school closes sooner because they started earlier and don’t take all the holiday’s that the public school does. I will tell you about the activities we go to when the school closes. Hardly seems it is that time of year already.
                                                                                                                                                                  I am not use to a maude (maid) in my home. She does all the laundry, cleaning, cooking, looks after David Jr. and more. I can do the sewing without any problems, so I do that. In fact, I think I could do more in our home, but David doesn’t want me to over do it. David won’t even let me plant my garden. David, Michael and I were out there the other day. David and Michael planted what and where I told them to put in. We still have to wait on some vegetables until the weather warms up and stays.

Last Sunday was my first meeting (church) since my operation. Everyone was glad to see how well I am doing. When we got home there were breakfast, lunch and dinner on our porch. I think they were left from different families. We don’t know who left, but will next week when I bring the dishes to meeting next week so I can return them. Our maude does not work on Sunday-it is the day of rest-the Lord’s Day. So these unknown people wanted to make sure we had meals to eat today. I didn’t want to say that our maude cooked us meals for Sunday before she left on Saturday. I know the food came from our Old Order Mennonite’s. None of the food will go to waste – we will eat it all !

I am feeling better and getting my strength back. Sewing and reading are mostly my activities lately. Oh yes and rummage sale’s. David said I must go to the next doctors appointment before he will let me do anymore work. It is hard to see someone else cooking in my new kitchen and cleaning my home.

Hope to have more for you soon.

Be With God, Jean

Recipe from old order Mennonite Martha

                                      Someone had asked for the recipe of rye bread. There are several different recipes for it like: Rye Sour, Old Milwaukee Rye, Russian Black Bread, Triple Rye Bread and more. I am giving the recipe for the Triple Rye Bread as this is the one I use the most for my family and for selling at my roadside stand. Martha

Triple Rye Bread


2 cups rye flour

1 cup rye flakes

2 packages dry yeast

2 cups hot water (120 degrees – 130 degrees)


1/2 cup of rye berries (seeds)

3 cups water


1 cup hot water (120 degrees – 130 degrees)

1/4 cup molasses

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup rye flour

3 1/2 cups bread or all-purpose flour, approximately

1 egg, beaten, mixed with 1 tablespoon milk

Baking Sheet: 1 baking sheet greased pan for conventional loaves.

To make the sour, 2 days before mixing the dough pour the rye flour and flakes into a medium bowl. Add the yeast and hot water. Mix well and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside to ferment. To grow the sprouts, measure the rye berries into a medium bowl and cover with the water. Put aside to soak for 8 to 12 hours. Drain. Cover the bowl with tight-fitting plastic wrap and leave to sprout for 24 hours. The sprouts will be small, just peeking out.

To make the dough, pour all of the sour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the hot water and molasses. Add the sprouts, salt, and rye flour. Beat with a wooden spoon or a mixer flat beater to combine thoroughly. Add the white flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to form a shaggy mass that can be lifted to the work surface, or until a mixer dough hook can move the dough in a piece. If the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, add small sprinkles of flour.

Kneading by hand: Knead the dough with a strong push-turn-fold motion until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If under a dough hook, knead at low to medium speed, adding sprinkles of flour if necessary, until the hook moves the dough cleanly around the bowl. If it does not, add a bit more flour. Knead for 10 minutes.

First Rising: Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. (If prepared with a new fast-rising yeast and at the recommended higher temperature, reduce the rising times by about half.)

To make the dough into round loaves, divide into 2 pieces and with your hands, push and pat into smooth balls. Press on the top lightly to flatten the loaves somewhat. If the breads are to be made in a pan, press each piece into an oval the length of the bread pan, fold down the middle, pinch the seam to seal, and tuck in its ends. Drop into the pan and press into the corners.

Second Rising: Cover the loaves lightly with wax paper or a Teflon Sheet, and leave at room temperature to double the bulk, about 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees about 20 minutes before baking-if using a conventional oven.

With a razor, cut a design on the hearth loaves and slashes down the lengths of the other loaves and slashes down the lengths of the other loaves. Brush with the egg-milk wash and place the loaves in the hot oven. Midway during baking, turn the loaves end for end to equalize the heat on each loaf. The loaves should be baked in 35 to 40 minutes. Turn one over and tap the bottom. If the loaf feels hard and crusty, the bread is done.

Remove the bread from the oven and place on a metal rack to cool.

Recipe makes two large loaves.

This recipe is for called Pan Paint. It’s to cover your pans when you make cakes, muffins, etc.

Pan Paint


vegetable oil


Mix equal amounts of all ingredients together until smooth. Store in plastic container on cupboard shelf. Keeps indefinitely. Use pastry brush to coat cake pans, muffin tins, etc.
Enjoy: Martha

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