It has truly been a beautiful time of year here in Amish Land.  The children have been spending much time outside in the fluffy white snow building snowmen and forts, sledding and sleigh riding.  The crisp air and blue skies make an almost dreamy feel.  When the sun shines, it glistens over the snow making a sea of white diamonds for our eyes.  For the first snowfall, the children woke early in the morning and peered through the window with an eager hope of all the play they will have.  All the things they will do now that the season was changing before their very eyes.  After, what seemed to be a long morning of school, the children bundled up for the snow.

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Rolling big boulders of snow across the blanket of snow out in the front yard, slowly the images of snow people emerged.  Heaving boulders one over the other to make a family.  Joe's wife, Anna Mae, asked the little boys to make her a snow family.  After she saw the children happily creating them on our side of the road, it was a neighborly thing to share in.  They made a mommy, a daddy, and two little boys.  It was so cute.  We later saw little Anna Mae all bundled up and sticking a orange hat on daddy snowman, calling him "Enos Lee".  She placed a shovel on is arm branch with blaze orange mittens and coal for the eyes.  She named his wife, "Martha", as she placed a scarf and tied it about her head and under her chin.  The tiny snowboys were decked with little blue caps and they all had coal for their eyes and mouth and a carrot for their noses.  It was so cute to watch her scurry around in the frosty weather to decorate her snow family.  What fun to share as friends and neighbors.

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Miles built a shaft that could fit onto the harness setup on his painted pony. I was sitting near the coal stove when I heard the laughter outside.  I peered out the window to see this wonderful site.  Miles was happily giving sled rides to his little brothers and sisters all through the fields on his pony.  It just thrilled my heart to see them working together, building things and making fun from almost nothing.  That is the beauty of raising kids in the country. They have room to be creative in ways we never knew were possible.  After Joe saw the setup Miles created, he had the boys pull all the buggies out of the shed until they came upon the sleigh!!!!  The SLEIGH!!!  Joe fetched our "Abby" and hitched her to the sleigh.  Away he sailed loaded down with all of our children.  They went all the way, way, way back at the end of the field, until all we could see was just a small black spot moving along the horizon.  You could faintly hear the giggles and squeals of happy children.

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Joe then began to tie big long ropes to the children's sleds and then tied them to the back of the sleigh.  Miles drove the pack of sleds behind the sleigh round and round the field.  The little boys zoomed back and forth and once in a while they jerked off around the corner.  No one was hurt, for the laughter and smiles were almost endless in the joy of the one horse open sleigh.

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The girls were enjoying making cookies and candies for their were lots of community butchering bees and the school program.  We wanted to have nice things to share.  The girls favorite candy to make is the bacon and eggs.  You just melt white chocolate, make a circular blob on parchment paper, press a yellow m&m in the middle and finally press stick pretzles into the side of each "yoke" as pictured below.  Once they cool, they harden and last a long time in a cookie tin.  Fun for folks of all ages.

Tastes Like "Home"~Making Memory Foods.

Did you ever smell something that smelled like Grandma's house and it would take you on a journey in your mind back to a simpler time?  Or taste something that brought your mind to a sensation of traveling back in time?Sometimes a song or photo can bring you back, and even a taste at times!  This year I wanted to make some "memory foods".  I made my Grandmother Julia's homemade bread that she taught me before she died.  It uses white flour which is something I typically never buy or have in my home since Molly is so alergic to it and because I know better than that, of course!  But, I was thrilled to make it and give my mother a loaf and her brother because he was never married and always lived at home.  He always had fresh baked bread and now that Grandma is gone, I was sure that this would fill his heart and belly.  I also made her cutout cookies which are more like a pie dough recipe.  You roll them out super thin and bake them.  We frosted them with a cream cheese frosting.  Just use your favorite pie crust recipe and try it sometime.  It is really light, crisp and flakey.  Finally, the girls and I made my Grandma Isla's chocolate eclairs.  Oh, were those delightful.  My grandma Isla always made those eclairs any time we came to visit.  I wanted to give my dad some because it was something he really loved about "home".

Grandma Isla's Chocolate Eclairs

1/2 cup butter melted in 1 cup boiling water
1 cup white flour mixed in all at once
1/2 t. salt
Remove from heat
4 eggs, adding one at a time and mixing well into the batter.
Make oblong balls on parchment paper.

Bake for 30 minutes on 425º F
Another 10 minutes on 350º F
Watch so they puff up and get golden brown.  Allow to cool.  Cut open and dig all the excess fluff out of the pastries.  Fill with vanilla pudding.
spread chocolate frosting on the tops.  Chill and serve.  Yummy!

 

Let It Snow!

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As the sun sets over the snowy yard, we see figures of snowy little boys and girls dancing and digging in the snow.  Some come out of holes in the snow and others scurry around the tops.  The golden sun cascades over the treetops in Amish land.  It is time for butchering in the community.  This season we had two butchering bees.  They all happened the same weekend.  Harry's butchered a couple hogs and so did Floyds.  Sausages were ground and baked before canning and smells were so warm and delicious.  Hams were cured and smoked to keep for the long winter.  Lard was rendered and canned up for pie baking and soap making.  Liver worst was boiled and ground for canning.  Best of all, it was more time in fellowship with community.  Men, women, and children all cutting, shaving, and grinding the meat together as a family.  Can anything be more productive while being fun.  It sounds like it would be hard but many hands make light work.  As a community shares in these "big work days", it makes a lot of work seem nothing and besides, all the meat the family will enjoy for months to come is very rewarding, indeed.  Many of the Amish have gone gluten free to help with some health issues and I can say it has been fun to talk about. It is that topic most discussed at our gatherings these chilly days.  I enjoy sharing what little I know but all along the way, as they speak in German, I enjoy learning more and more each time.  We were invited to the Christmas program at the little Amish school house and that was such a treat.  We all got dressed up and met at the school house.  It was a blizzard that day, so we took the suburban because we are beginners at horse carriage driving and did not want to end up in a ditch for lack of experience.  We did find out that when it is very cold, they will usually heat up bricks and place them along the floor to keep warm.  That is good to know!  The way my foot is so dreadful cold, I sure appreciate that piece of wisdom.  The women sat on one side and the men on the other.  The children lined up to sing songs of the birth of Christ and poems of good character building.  After the children were done, we all went down to the basement for a "finger food feast".  There were cold sandwiches, cookies, pies, bars, and lots of snacks.  The children all bundled up for play outside.  For hours they chase and run and play snowball fights.  It was a great time of community life!  Making the most of our wintery wonderland!

Just for a reminder…

Tea Time Talk Show Tuesday Upcoming Schedule:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018  at 10 am CST will feature Co-Host Owen Newman

  • The following Tuesday will be featuring Owen Newman from the hills of TN talking about homesteading and the simple life.  He has a lot of wisdom and experience living with less and making the most of each and every resource they are given.  If you have any specific questions, please leave a comment below or send us an email or message on Facebook from the Keeper of the Homestead page.  

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0 thoughts on “In a One Horse Open Sleigh!

  1. I am thoroughly enjoying reading about your acceptance into the Amish community!!!! I love how they live and work and grow, it’s always fascinated me every since I was little. We see several Amish families every so often in our local Wal-Mart and I stare and then realize I’m doing so and feel ashamed and embarrassed, I just have so many questions and curious thoughts when it comes to the Amish and thanks to you and your blog some are being answered! I have always said I should have been born in a different time or a different community such as an Amish one 🙂 Thank you again for sharing all that you do, it makes my heart swell with seeing all the love, selflessness, work, simplicity, and faith…..

  2. I’m so happy I found your blog and Homestead Store website. I found it because I subscribe to another site and get daily e-mail from them.
    I have always had a deep love and respect of the Amish way of life, ever since my family took me to Lancaster as a child. You are so fortunate to be able live the life you do. I’m going to be visiting your blog daily to read of your daily adventures. In some small way your blog will enable me to live the life I have always wanted to live.Thank you for such a wonderful blog.

  3. Hello! I am appreciating reading your blog! It inspires and motivates me! I yearn for the community and fellowship you write about and I think I will try to find some like-minded families to join in with me. The community cleaning, harvesting, butchering and canning would be miraculous, but a girl can dream, right? I found your blog by way of “New Life On A Homestead” and the dryer rack giveaway. That would be such a wonderful gift to this household! We are far from off the grid, but we are striving to be as self-reliant (or as I say God-reliant) as possible. My two children are still small so most of the work lands on me. My husband works outside of the home, but someday, we are preparing our greenhouse to become our sole means of income by way of aquaponics. Thank you and God bless

  4. Love what I’m reading here. It’s inspirational to read and learn from those who are living everyday. 🙂
    Happy New Year and God Bless You and your Family! 🙂

  5. Erin, I just love your blog and read it every day. Would you mind answering a question for me? How did you manage to gain acceptance in an Amish community? I’ve heard it is not an easy thing to do. I would love to find an Amish community to move to but don;t know if it possible.

    • It is actually extremely difficult to be accepted by the Amish. Even for us. About half of the community here would rather not “bother” with us. We have to just stay positive and ignore the persecutions we do get from the Amish here who just do not know better. It is really nice that there are some here that really love our family but even then they have to be careful. We just appreciate that we are here and are gaining acceptance little by little. You have to remember, this is very very unusual for “the English” to choose to live this way and it could take years to win the acceptance of the group as a whole. We are in effect, proving ourselves to them. They have to learn to trust and love us, too. We have known certain families in this community now for 10 plus years, so it has been a very slow process. Nothing that just anyone could jump into. I still think it is worth the try. I would just patiently introduce yourself and state your intentions. They do admire it when an “English” wants to step outside the box. They will warm up quickly under that pretense. Hope this helps you. Anytime you need help, just let us know. ~Erin

    • Anything is possible, just keep that in mind! That is what we always have trusted in. That with God all things are possible.

  6. What a beautiful site. I have enjoyed reading the many articles and i have learned so much. Even copied a couple recipes to make today. Thank you.

  7. I am so glad that I came upon your blog. I found you by way of New Life on a Homestead. I have enjoyed reading about your family, the adventures and how you work to simplify life. We have been working at simplifying our lives for the last 3 years and have found great joy in it. Many of your stories bring fond memories- my mother grew up in a conservative Mennonite home and I have many happy memories of playing on the farm, the sleigh rides and dressing up the kittens in the barn. 🙂 Blessings to you and your family in this New Year.

  8. Isn’t it so wonderful to know that when you start to focus on the “simple life”, starting with small changes, you do not want to go back. I highly recommend Erin’s, Mark’s, and their children’s DVD set. You will thoroughly enjoy and be moved to make a change in your life. They have inspired me to “the better”, they are a blessing.

  9. I am so blessed to hear from others that enjoy the simple life. Thanks for the kind and thoughtful comments. Have a wonderful day!

  10. The description given brings a feeling in almost everyone to visit that place. I myself am inspired a lot by those words to visit a place like this where it snows. I will surely come to that place to spend my holiday at the least. Thanks a lot for the post.

  11. The tiny snowboys were decked with little blue caps and they all had coal for their eyes and mouth and a carrot for their noses. It was so cute to watch her scurry around in the frosty weather to decorate her snow family.

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