Monday, February 13, 2012

It Was A Great Day

Things are starting to pick up a little around the farm.  The chickens are in the greenhouse making deposits to the soil and this is a good thing.  Andy is able to move one of the green house so he can naturally fertilize the soil with the help of the chickens.  I think he said they already have tomatoes growing.

I must tell you how much I love this family and how much I enjoy, look forward to and cherish the time I am able to spend with them.  I am always learning something new.  And I know that I make them laugh by the silliness that comes out of my mouth sometimes.  I told Lizzie that I feel like it is home.  I just feel some at peace and comfortable there.  And they make it so easy for me to feel that way.

While we were talking about everything under the sun (things like Andy becoming a deacon in the church...the different ways that we raise our kids...some of the Amish ways...home remedies...the farm and what is coming up for next season...what I like and didn't like (sorry) in the CSA boxes...) Lizzie fixed some little pizzas.  The amazing thing was (and I had tears in my eyes) she made them just like my Mom used us make them for us when we were little...except Lizzie used little round crackers...crackers, pizza sauce, peperoni and some cheese.  They were so good!  Michael had a question and I had actually been wondering about it too.  Where do they go to the bathroom?  I had looked for an outhouse on the property but never found one.  When I asked Lizzie kinda giggles and said (well silly girl) 'it is out back'.  Then she walked me to the back door and pointed to it.  It was very well hidden on the left side of the barn.  Right now it is for the adults to use.  The kids use a chamber pot while they are smaller.  The second question...I knew that they had just slaughtered some beef and hogs.  Where do you store the meat?  I wish I had had the camera.  Andy and Lizzie took me downstairs, in the basement that I know was 20 degrees cooler than their very toasty and warm upstairs.  In one room there was a wall with a shelf that Andy had built totally full of everything thing under the sun that you could can.  All nice and neat, categorized into vegetables, fruits and meats.  That's right I said meat.  I even have a jar of sausage and some kind of beef in our fridge just waiting to be used.  In another room there must have been 10 to 15 hams hanging from the floor joists.  I asked how long all of this would last and Andy assured me that it would last well into the spring.  It was truly amazing.  They hardly ever have to go to the store.  It boggles my mind!

I think I should explain something...didn't like might not have been the best choice for words...didn't much care for might have been a better choice.  You know that little bag of mixed spicy greens...not a fan until today when I ate them like they are supposed to be eaten.  Had I know that I was going to be invited to stay for lunch I just might have said I loved those spicy little green leaves.  Lizzie kinda laughed when she set them on the table and she looked at me out of the corner of her eye.

Let me just try to explain what we had for lunch...First Anna helped set the table.  Each of us had a cereal bowl, a knife, a fork, and a spoon.  Alongside the bowl was a little tin cup of the best well water I have ever had.  Seriously it was ice cold and the most crystal clear water I have ever seen.

Lizzie whipped up what I would call almost like a Sunday dinner...everything homemade, from scratch...field greens salad with a honey dressing that was to die for!  Funny how things taste better when you know how to properly prepare them.  Can't wait until our share comes with that little bags of greens.  I ready now! There was also huge jar of mouth watering sweet peaches, some applesauce, wheat bread and butter and some of the best lasagna that I have ever eaten.  It was all delicious.

Moses wasn't feeling well so I talked Lizzie into letting Anna and I do the dishes.  I think she though 'oh sure you are going to do dishes in my kitchen, the Amish way with no running water.'  I could see all of this going thru her mind and I tried to set her mind at ease by saying it would be just like doing dishes like when I was a kid and we would go camping.  We got everything washed and the table cleaned up just in time for Lizzie to take me to the school. (Read about that in the blog entry below)

I always learn something from Andy and Lizzie.  This time was no exception.  Lizzie shared with me her book on home remedies.  Now that is interesting and we will be trying some of the methods real soon as my book comes.  You will be amazed at some of the things that work.  I asked if they ever went to the doctor.  Andy said that usually they just use remedies but if something came up that was very serious they would go to the doctor.

What a great way to spend a Saturday...literally I had stayed the day but it only seemed like a few minutes.  I really felt bad that I had monopolized their time for so many hours.  Before I left we started talking about birds.  A came home with a bucket of lard and Lizzie's suet  recipe.  She said I could share.


1 cup of lard
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups of quick oats
2 cups of cornmeal
3/4 cup of flour
1/3 cup of sugar
1 cup of sunflowers
1/2 cup of cracked corn

Melt lard and peanut butter in a saucepan.  Remove from heat and add the rest to the mix.  Mix well.  Pour into a wax paper lined cake pan.  Let cool completely and cut into cakes.

I could tell that Andy was missing his afternoon nap and the kids needed one too

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Little Something Different Today

I want to show you something else besides Cedarmore Farm that Andy and Lizzie are working hard on (as well as the rest of the community) since right now not too much is going on at the farm....the lull before the storm I guess you could say.


I don't know why but I am so excited about this little school.  When you are sitting at the kitchen table at Andy and Lizzie's you can see the school on the hill on the other side of the pasture from the house.  I think the last time I was visiting Andy, Lizzie and the kids I remember seeing men putting on the roof.  I have been asking to see the school so today Lizzie surprised me with a visit.  She had to get the okay I guess from the Bishop and the school teacher, who just happens to be the Bishop's 21 year old daughter.  I have had the chance to meet her yet but I hope to really soon.

The front door of the school is actually in the back of the school, just like on Little House on The Prairie.  The back add on is what I would consider a mud room.  If you look really close there is a chair with a white bucket. That is where the children was their hands before lunch.

The wood for the wood stove.  Lizzie says that this should last them until the end of the year.  There is probably this much stacked under the schoolhouse.

There are two children that ride their horses to school.  This is the horse stall that they have for them.  She also told me that the children bring food and water everyday for their horses.  There are lots of buggy tracks in the mud as you enter the gate from the road.  As I was driving home I started to wonder who cleans out the stalls...all the boys do.

And of course the outhouse.  One for the boys and one for the girls...facing opposite directions.

When I walked into the backdoor I felt like I was walking back in time to a one room schoolhouse like the one that I hear my father-in-law describe.  And then the smell.  It smelled like a school...books and clay is what I could smell.  I stood there for the longest time just taking it all in.

The wood burning stove.  It has really two purposes...heating for warmth and heating the children's 'foils' that they bring from home (sandwiches wrapped in foil can be placed on a wire rack on top of the stove).  I must admit I has to ask what the pot was for.  I was thinking that it was for heating water for washing hands.  No...come to find out that it is filled with water and put on the stove to add moisture to the air because the wood stove is so drying.

From the teachers view point.  There are 14 children in the school...grades 2,3,4,5,7, and 8.  School begins at 8:30AM and is out around 2:30PM.  Monday thru Thursday everything is written and spoken in English.  On Friday everything is in German.

I found this chart very interesting...letter combinations written in Gothic style lettering but examples for the sounds were in English using English words and pronunciation.

The floor is 4X8 sheets of plywood finished in oil.  There are window coverings.  Student papers on the walls.  A huge blackboard.  Three different types of lettering...printed alphabet, cursive and Gothic alphabets.  See the small table to the left of the teachers desk.  This is where she calls the individual grades up to explain what their assignments are for the day.  The students are then expected to go back to their desks and get their work finished.

I had a desk just like this when I was in 6th grade.  I loved that desk.  I walked around the room and breathed it all in.  I could have been Laura Engalls.  As  walked by each desk I touched it and prayed for the one sitting in it.  I have a teacher friend and she does that every year before her students enter her room.  And if I know her, she does it throughout the year too.

So today I am going thru all of my 'teacher stuff' and games, puzzles, crayons and markers to see if I have anything that the school could use.  I will put it all in a box and the next time I am out to Cedarmore Farm I will let Andy and Lizzie got thru it to see if the school can use any of it.  Shoot, I might even take an apple to the teacher.