Amish

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Spring plowing.

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We have wild ducks living in our woods. I hope that means baby ducks!!!

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We’re going to have to take our walks in other directions. I want the ducks to stay.

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Why did the ducks cross the road?

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To get to the pond on the other side.

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Tadpoles. I hope they eat EVERY single mosquito larvae.

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Mama, baby and LOTS of spring grass.

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Spring violets.

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I am not sure what kind of flower this is. We have a lot of them.

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There is a possum has living in the old graundhog hole. Buster and Abby are thrilled.

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Kitty is as happy for sunshine as I am.

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The People’s Exchange is an “advertising paper” serving the Amish communities in Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan. It has a circulation of 10,500. It’s printed every two weeks. And, it is FREE. 

In The People’s Exchange you can find a “Charming Spinner” to get your clothes “50 to 90% dry” or a “woman safe” driving horse. There are ads for “certified organic” Jersey cattle, for race ponies and for farms. Every issue also contains a “favorite” sent-in-by-reader recipe.

Last week they had  the best tasting cake recipe ever. It came out light, fluffy and moist with a wonderful sugary crust. Yummmmmmm…

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Last week, The Peoples Exchange had 136 pages.

AMISH POUND CAKE

1 box yellow cake mix (2 layer box)

4 eggs

8 oz. cream cheese

1/2 cup milk

1 pkg.instant vanilla pudding (The recipe didn’t say which size. I used the small box)

brown sugar

cinnamon

Mix together the cake mix, eggs, cream cheese milk and pudding. Pour batter into 2 loaf pans and top with brown sugar and cinnamon. (I was pretty generous.)

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Yes, the recipe does use mixes. But, you end up with a cake, fresh from your oven, that TASTES made-from-scratch.dsc01927.JPG
I wish I had some just “picked-from-the-garden” strawberries.

SUBSCRIPTION FORM FOR

    THE PEOPLE’S EXCHANGE

(courtesy of The People’s Exchange)

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Our neighborhood grocery has hitching posts and shelter for horses.

This is one of my favorite recipes. Perfect for special holidays, it looks and tastes wonderful. It is easy to make too.

I have also included my pie crust recipe.

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My, oh my…this pie is SO GOOD!

Amish Sour Cream Apple Pie with Brown Sugar Topping

FILLING:

Mix:

2/3 cup sugar

2 tblsp. flour

1/4 tsp salt

ADD:

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

Stir in 3 cups of apples. If apples are not tart add 1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice to apples before adding them to the sour cream mixture.

Put filling into unbaked pie and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Remove pie from oven and sprinkle with Brown Sugar Crumb topping. Bake for an additional 20 more minutes.

BROWN SUGAR CRUMB TOPPING

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup butter (room temperature)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix together all ingredients until they become course and crumbly.

COOL PIE FOR AN HOUR BEFORE SERVING.

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Be sure to cool for an hour before serving.

PERFECT PIE CRUST

Mix together

2 cups all-purpose flour (I use Gold Meadow)

1 tsp salt

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Cut butter and shortening into flour mixture with a fork until it is cumbly. Don’t worry about overmixing at this stage.

 Cut in with fork :

 2/3 cup chilled lard or shortening (I use Crisco)

2 tbsp. chilled butter

Sprinkle dough with:

4 tbsp. water

Blend the water lightly into the dough. You may lift the ingredients with a fork, allowing the moisture to hold the ingredients together. You may add up to 1 more tablespoon of water if needed.

Gather the dough up  into two balls. Chill until ready to roll out.

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Once you have sprinkled your dough with water, mix and handle the dough as little as possible. This crust has been rolled out and is ready to be crimped.

STILL LOOKING FOR APPLE RECIPES? The Rocky Road of Love has an Apple Cake said to be so rich, moist and full of tangy apples you can have it for breakfast, the next day: http://rockyroadoflove.wordpress.com/2007/09/28/fresh-apple-cake/#comment-939

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Looking for Holiday Recipes? Be sure to visit Overwhelmed With Joy’s 2nd Edition of, “Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style”  at:

http://overwhelmedwithjoy.blogspot.com/

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Many of my friends and neighbors hitch up their horses to go shopping.

In my neighborhood, women aren’t judged by the size of their diamonds. That would be prideful.

Nor are they judged by designer labels or gowns. Most wear calico dresses they make themselves. Veiled buns are the hairstyle of choice. A luxury car is rarer than a hen’s tooth. Ladies around here hitch up and head for town in buggies.

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Wildflowers in a field.

But, those same women whose manner of dress and way of living is known as plain…in their gardens create artistic masterpieces worthy of display in any museum. Beds of lavender phlox spring up through silvery rocks in contrast to pink spring tulips. Clumps of blue salva alternate with red geraniums. Tubs and old wagons overflow with colorful pansies. Red petunias then white petunias then purple ones line long, winding drives. Wildflowers abound in uncultivated fields.

drive-through-the-country-025.jpg A Mennonite Buggy takes the family to town.

A ride to town through the country is one of my greatest pleasures. It’s also the source of intimidation and pressure. Because I want to fit in. And before I met DH, the only flower I ever planted was a marigold.

It died.

To avoid failure, I bought expensive already done-up hanging baskets. And the prettiest flowers the greenhouse had. Mission accomplished. A piece of cake.

Only I didn’t know you were supposed to deadhead blooms once they’d wilted. I had no idea how much water impatiens drink. Or that they don’t do well in direct sun. Or that they should be fertilized.

blog-pictures-007.jpg Birdseeds fall from the feeder and grow into flowers that attract bees, butterflies and lots and lots of goldfinches.

I put my geraniums on my porch in the shade because I thought they were the nicest looking of my flowers and I wanted the people driving by our house to see them.

“Your flowers are looking wilted,” DH would say. But, I’d watered them the day before. They didn’t need water every day.

It is amazing how long and stringy and dried out toward the bottom petunias can get if they are never deadheaded. Or how soon geraniums quit flowering. And then there were the weeds in the front flower bed.

I didn’t take pictures of my flowers the first year.

blog-pictures-073.jpg My favorite lilies. There is only one bloom now, but more are budding and on the way.

The next summer I did better. Because I didn’t want to take chances, I still bought expensive already-done hanging baskets. But, I read the directions on the flower tabs. (Before buying, even.) My mother explained deadheading and gave me starts. On one happy day a lady at the greenhouse complimented me on my flowers after I told her where I lived.

That was two years ago.

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“Meet me at my garden gate.”

This spring, I did my own hanging basket arrangements. Some were even from $5 flats of “not such good looking” flowers and $1.25 geraniums purchased from kids raising funds for their 4-H club.

There were mistakes.

I accidently pulled out a bunch of what I thought were weeds. Except, the one weed I missed grew into a tall, lovely and out of place looking, lone flower, right in the middle of the bed. I didn’t have the heart to pull it.

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Another flower picture.

My beds are kind of haphazard because I forgot what I planted where last year and perennials have popped up unexpectedly between annuals on sale I couldn’t resist. But, my new flower hobby is colorful, challenging and outdoors. Digging in dirt, strangely enough, gives me the same feeling I used to have when I painted on canvas.

I am an artist living among many great masters. As religiously as any apprentice, I study their technique. And, I dream and aspire…

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The cat’s favorite napping place is under the bench. Wonder why?

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Touching up my Thyme sign in anticipation of spring and summer.

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Our trumpet vine will soon be blooming. Two years ago, before we rearranged our fencing, the horses ate it.

blog-pictures-005.jpg The trumpet vine eaters.

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