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August is time for cultivating cucumbers, time with family

Aug. 15 — we are already halfway though August.

Today is my oldest sibling’s birthday; sister Leah is 64. Happy birthday, dear sister, if you happen to read this. Although we are more than 100 miles apart, my thoughts were with you this morning as you turn another year older.

Leah was the oldest of eight children, and I was the third youngest. So I was one of the little squirts who would try to steal Leah’s cookies when she was baking them or mess up the house after she had done the cleaning. Ha-ha! Precious memories!

Baby Byron is doing well and so is Loretta. They came home last Thursday night. He is eight days old now and weighs 6 pounds, 4 ounces. He was 6 pounds, 2 ounces when he left the hospital and 6 pounds, 7.8 ounces at birth. Today they take him for his one-week checkup.

Daughter Verena has been helping Loretta with the two little boys while Dustin goes to work. Daughter Lovina will also help out when they need her.

We are enjoying our new grandbaby. Right now he eats and sleeps, but I’m sure that won’t last too long.

Loretta is still on a blood thinner, so we hope that will prevent her from having a blood clot like she did last year after having Denzel. Good health is so much to be thankful for!

Yesterday, I did laundry and then helped sister Verena and daughter Lovina with the pickles. We canned 40 quarts of sweet dills and made 20 quarts into freezer pickles. They are still in the refrigerator and then tomorrow they will be ready to pack into containers for the freezer. It’s a very easy way to put up pickles if you have freezer space. They taste very crisp.

Happy eighth anniversary to daughter Elizabeth and Tim on Aug. 14. They have four beautiful children — Abigail, 6; Timothy (T.J.), 4; Allison, 3; and Andrea, 18 months.

Andrea just discovered her shadow. She is so scared of it. She looks down and starts to cry because it follows her. It was so cute to us but she was seriously terrified of her shadow.

Sister Verena came here Saturday morning and went home Monday night. She was a good help with the pickles we canned. She sliced all the pickles with the vegetable slicer I have.

I have been enjoying my new bike that my husband, Joe, ordered for my birthday in May. We just got it, and I haven’t biked in quite a few years. We used to always bike as a family but when we had a few children that couldn’t bike anymore I felt guilty to bike when they couldn’t. Now that they have mobility scooters, they can use those.

I decided I would bike again but I can tell I am older now and my muscles have to build up to these hills again. I put Denzel in a seat on my bike and gave him a ride. He really enjoys that. I hope I will be able to bike farther as I keep biking.

Wednesday night our family plans to attend the sixth annual fish fry at our neighbors Joas and Susan’s. This is always enjoyable to visit with the families from our church. They have this for our church district each year.

We are in the middle of canning season, and I want to help Loretta with her canning. Son Joseph and Joe dug up the potatoes from our garden. Also pulled the sweet corn and we are enjoying that. What we don’t use fresh I will freeze.

Daughter Susan and Ervin had a busy weekend. They had a garage sale to be rid of some of the extra things they accumulated. Putting two households in one doubled lots of things.

I will share my recipe for freezer pickles. It can also be found in my cookbook, “The Essential Amish Cookbook.” This cookbook and my other one, “Amish Family Recipes,” can be bought at your local bookstore, on Amazon or by calling 1-800-245-7894.

God’s blessings!

Freezer Pickles

2 quarts fresh pickling cucumbers, unpeeled and sliced

1 large onion, sliced

2 tablespoons salt

1 3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup white vinegar

Put sliced cucumbers, onion, and salt in a large bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Drain after 24 hours. Whisk together sugar and vinegar and pour over cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate 24 more hours.

Pack pickles in freezer-safe containers. Pour pickle syrup over, leaving a little headspace in each container. Freeze.

They will keep in freezer up to six months.

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