Celebrating birthdays and doing puzzles

Lovina's Amish Kitchen

The mercury on our thermometer has dipped down to the single digits this morning with a reading of 5 degrees. The wind chill is below 0, so son Joseph wasn’t looking too forward to working outside. They are building a pole barn close to Lake Michigan. He said they have even more snow there than what we have.

Son-in-law Dustin cleaned our drive out with his skid-loader then also went over to clean out daughter Susan’s driveway.

Our plans are to butcher four hogs this weekend. The men will dress and hang them Friday night, and then we will cut up the meat on Saturday, grind the sausage and make pon hoss.

(For new readers to the column: pon hoss is made by cooking the pork off the bones, grinding it and putting it back into the pork broth along with flour, salt and pepper. It is then cooked in the big black kettle outdoors until it’s thickened then poured into pans. Once the pon hoss is cooled, it can be sliced and fried to eat. We eat ours with eggs and potatoes or with coffee soup.)

One hog is for us, one for Dustin and Loretta, one for Tim and Elizabeth and family, and one for Susan and the children. It is good to do it all here and have one mess to clean up after.

We need to go out to the pole barn and clean up a lot of things. Joe bought out a meat-processing outfit along with the big walk-in cooler, but it’s not set up yet. It came with lots of containers, saws, grinders and slicers.

Joe always wanted to have something like this, but it all takes time and money to get set up. I hope in the future we can accomplish it so son Kevin has something to work with at home and also daughter Lovina. Joe enjoys butchering meat, cutting, slicing and grinding it. As for me, I’m usually tired of it by the time we get our year’s supply in the freezer.

Sunday night, Joe and I, sons Benjamin (and special friend Amanda), Joseph (and special friend Grace), Kevin, daughter Lovina (and special friend Daniel), Dustin and Loretta, and Tim and Elizabeth and children all gathered at daughter Susan’s house in honor of Susan’s 26th birthday and granddaughter Jennifer’s fourth birthday.

Daughters Susan and Verena had filled a pinata with candy for the children to enjoy. On the menu for supper was tater tot casserole, barbecued chicken, chicken lettuce salad, sliced cheese, cupcakes, dirt pudding and tapioca pudding. Afterward, games were played, and we just enjoyed family time together.

We have a 1,000-piece Amish Country puzzle called “Early Snow” that we are putting together whenever we have spare time. I enjoy working on the puzzle after everything is done at night. It’s a great way to unwind and a good time to think. I sometimes work on it mornings after everyone leaves for work. When the children come home, they like to work on it.

Saturday night, Joe and I were working on it, although I found pieces pushed in the wrong places. It gave me a good laugh! It can be confusing when all of the pieces look similar.

God’s blessings to all.

Tapioca Pudding

5 cups boiling water

1 cup tapioca

dash salt

1 (3-ounce) package Jell-O (any flavor)

1 scant cup sugar

fruit, if desired

Soak tapioca in enough cold water to cover for an hour or more. Drain water and add to 5 cups boiling water and salt. Boil for 1/2 hour or until tapioca is clear. Stir often.

Remove from heat. Keep covered at least 10 minutes. Add the rest of ingredients.

When cold, mix in whipped topping (to your own taste).

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight who lives in southeastern Michigan. Readers can write to Eicher at P.O. Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 .


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