Hey, how about taking a moment and joining our family as we go back to the woods to gather some stones at the creek?
I really didn’t expect that I’d have the chance to go along with our five little ones, but when my husband, Daniel, told me that he’d really like for me to join them, I knew there would be a way. I was delighted; I’ve always had a special liking for stones, and here, at our new property, we actually have a nice little creek loaded with stones, promising endless possibilities.
Besides my liking for stones there’s also the sentimental part of going back through the horses’ pasture and following the winding path through the woods, down to the sandy creek banks. You see, that’s where my brothers and I spent countless hours, playing in the sand, catching minnows and crabs, or simply splashing in the water.
Only now, instead of being a carefree little girl, I was mom of the house and had the responsibility of caring for little ones. Today, I was thankful for my sister, Keturah, who was there to help as needed. Before long, the children, Keturah and I were following the tractor down the shady path to the creek. In no time, the children were merrily splashing away. Julia, our little “weather forecaster” who has a tendency of “predicting” tornadoes and thunderstorms, periodically glanced at the cloudy sky. To Daniel and I the clouds gave cover as we picked up stones, keeping the weather from becoming brutally hot in this Southern Illinois region where it can get quite toasty.
Eight-month-old Jesse was having the time of his life in the sand, that is, until Keturah discovered him trying to eat it. Oh no. The dear little fellow had no idea why that wasn’t allowed as he shrieked his protest. Rayni, who just turned 2 years old, is a water lover and happily splashed until she was soaked through. Austin used to be more scared of water and was excited to keep showing me how he made himself soaking wet as well. Little Elijah took a short nap on a blanket before waking and watching everyone scurry here and there.
After 45 minutes or so, we had a tractor bucket full of stones and were ready to head back. As I passed the wild blackberry bushes, I glanced over them for some ripe berries, but found none. Perhaps Julia and Austin can some day go pick berries like my brothers and I did back in the day.
Soon Daniel was unloading our prized stones in front of the flower bed. First he put down a barrier in the narrow strip between the flower bed and sidewalks, then covered it with stones. I was delighted with the end result. Not only does it look pretty, it’ll also lessen the amount of work with not having to pull weeds like we used to when it was only covered with mulch.
Our next stone project will probably be similar, only this time it’ll be putting them around the large grasses along the side of the shop. While I do enjoy working outside, I am very aware that the more things I have to look after outside, the less time I’ll have with the babies. So for now we’ll keep looking for shortcuts, such as putting down barriers for the weeds and spreading stones, and keep in mind what Aunt Edna taught me: “Your flowers are running around.”
That’s right, I’m blessed with five adorable little flowers (children) blooming in our midst and one sturdy handsome one that keeps everything together. Thank you, Daniel.
Now how about joining our family as we enjoy onion rings for supper? These delicious candy onions come straight from neighbor Nate Zehr’s garden, and thanks to Sarellen for sharing her onion ring recipe with us.
Crunchy onion rings
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Combine flour, baking powder and seasonings. Beat egg; add milk and oil; then stir in flour mixture. Cut onions in 1/4-inch rings. Separate rings and dip into batter, one at a time. Drain briefly; then drop into hot oil, about 375 degrees. Fry until golden brown; flip and continue to fry other side. Place onto a paper towel-lined platter and enjoy. This is a family favorite at our house. I’m sure it will be a hit at your house as well.
Readers with culinary or cultural questions or stories can write Gloria directly at her new address: Gloria Yoder, 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427-2019. To see more on the Amish, go to www.amish365.com.