My Amish Home: Great weather for appreciating birds, flowers

"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Abstain from all appearance of evil." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 22

This is a beautiful summery June day. Very pleasant indeed. I would rather be out mowing the yard, but this epistle must be written. It is not humid, with a slight breeze and fluffy white clouds — just what I've been waiting for since January.

We did get a small shower of rain this past Tuesday evening. And then we had this beautiful rainbow. It rained enough that we couldn't walk to our neighbors for supper. We went with daughter Rachel and Lloyd Yoder. Grandsons Jeffrey and Galen biked between the raindrops.

Our church families were all invited to David Otto's for a haystack supper as a farewell to four families, two of which have already moved out of our church district. Roman Millers moved to the Eli Schlabach district, Darrel Ottos moved to the Ervin Dean Schrock district, Robert Schrocks will move over by Lovington and Marcus Kauffmans will move to Dale. This is out of our community totally. It is about three hours south. We will miss Marcuses, especially his mule team. Right, Marcus?

It was good and enjoyable to get together with our church families through the week. A part of me wished we would do it more often. The other part of me doesn't like to leave nights. I guess I'm getting old or maybe I don't like late nights due to the fact that the morning comes so quickly. But I really did enjoy the fellowship. And the food, too, of course.

Today as we were moseying along home from work with old "Speedy" (as some of the neighbors jokingly call dear old Sparky; Pokealong would be more fitting), I got a whiff of the weeds growing along the side of the road. It took me back years ago when we lived back in a long lane close to the railroad that goes through Cadwell.

At that time, Cadwell had a small grocery store owned by Howard and Mae Siebert. Mom and Dad would often send me to Cadwell to get a few groceries. Sometimes I went willingly, sometimes not — depending on what kind of chore I got out of by going.

Seriously, though, most of the time I went willingly. That is where I developed my interest in birdwatching. There were all kinds of weeds growing in the ditch beside the railroad tracks — wild grapes, wild honeysuckle, trumpet vine — and lots of different birds. That was way back before weed killer sprays were so prevalent.

Sometimes it took me twice as long as it actually should have. I would tarry, watching birds, and if the trumpet vines were flowering, I would get the buds not yet opened. If we squeezed them, they would give a satisfying '"POP." Also there were hollyhocks. We would pick the flowers and buds and make elegant dolls with delicate flared skirts.

My dad gave me a bird book that I treasured. I used it a lot. It is kind of tattery. I still use it occasionally. It is one of my childhood treasures.

Ah yes! Those were the summer days that didn't seem to fly past with record speed.

Why must we hustle and bustle so much? It seems like we have no time to smell the flowers or "pop" the trumpet buds.

And speaking of flowers, my roses are suffering from some malady. My sis Barb Gingerich has some sick ones, too. She said it's black spot, so I'm treating them for that. They really look sad.

Oh dear! I hear a neighbor's lawn mower. The mowing spirit calls. I gotta go!

In closing: For 20 years, our mom served us leftovers. The original meal was never found.

Try these Campfire Potatoes on your grill or your backyard bonfire, or they will work in the oven. It's just more fun in the backyard. And just maybe more tasty!

CAMPFIRE POTATOES

4-6 red-skin potatoes, thinly sliced (unpeeled )

1 small onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced (or 1 tablespoon dried)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

2-3 tablespoons butter, thinly sliced

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Take an 18-inch piece of foil and arrange potato slices on half of it. Add onions, seasonings, butter and cheese. Fold up into a pocket so that no heat can escape. Potatoes will cook more rapidly.

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or grill for 20-22 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Yields 4 servings.

* To add a little flair, serve with green onions, bacon pieces and sour cream.

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