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“Beloved, think not it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as thou some strange thing happened to you, but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you. On their part, he is evil spoken of, but on your part, he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.” 1 Peter 4:12-15

Cold and dreary, windy, cloudy, more like an early-March or even a November day — that is how I describe the weather today. There is even snow in the forecast for this April day. But then, we do occasionally get snow in April.

This is now after lunch, and it is actually snowing. The temperature is 34 degrees. It is a good day to be inside. Ideally, on an easy chair, covered with my fuzzy blanket with a good book to read. If I had the time!

Unfortunately, the chair and a book is not an option. And I’ve basically exhausted our library of books and have resorted to reading the children’s books! Jim Kjelgaard is a pretty good author!

I had to stop by F.D. Miller Feed today and inquire about our horse and what to do for him. He is going bald. Well, not quite, but losing big splotches of hair, and the roots look sort of, well, dandruff-y?! Or something! Devon at F.D. told me he has “Rain Rot,” whatever that means. So he said I need to use a special shampoo, not Head and Shoulders! And give him a bath or shower.

Since neither of our bathrooms can accommodate a horse, I’ll have to use a hose out by the barn. And cold water. I’ll wait until it warms up. Or at least when the sun shines again. I hope his hair won’t all fall off before then. He may look like a Mexican hairless dog! Have you ever seen one of those? They look well, sorry, but yes, disgusting. But that’s just my opinion.

I finally got our yard mowed for the first time this season. And yes, I still love mowing the yard! I cleaned up some flowerbeds. Some of my roses actually survived the winter. Apparently, my asters didn’t fare so well. I have tried and tried to grow asters, to no avail.

I believe the dogs dug out the one plant. Oh well, it was probably dead anyway. I got some of the garden planted — 106 onion plants, some peas and radishes. With this return of winter weather, I may get garden things about as soon as the early birds do.

I saw some strawberry patches covered with plastic. Some were blooming. Our peach tree is loaded with blossoms. I wonder if it will be affected.

The temperature keeps dropping this afternoon. It is 33 degrees now.

This past Thursday, daughter Rachel and I went to help her daughter Cynthia. Jane couldn’t go. She was getting ready for a weekend jaunt to Indiana.

We canned chicken broth and chicken pieces for Cynthia. It is so much easier for the young generation to do chicken broth.

Way back in the day, when I was still a girl, my mom would get these old hens who were past their prime for laying, and we’d butcher them. I seriously did not like that job! They were smelly! Ugh! Their bones were tough, and under their sometimes-sparse old feathers, they were kind of hairy. Those had to be singed off. Another stink!

But you know what? Those old hens made the best broth.

When I was on my own and had a family, we raised fryers. I butchered those at 3-5 pounds for frying and let some get to 10 pounds. Those were my broth chickens. Now you can just buy chicken pieces, however many you want, cook them, and you have broth.

I hadn’t seen Jamin for quite some time. He had his second birthday March 6. He talks a blue streak. I was amazed!

We were done eating lunch but just sitting at the table chatting; Jamin was running hither and yon.

Pretty soon, he runs up between Rachel and me, puts his hands out to each of us and says (in Amish, of course) “two Grandmas”! I was so surprised that he knew the word for “two”!

In closing, obedience to God is the only assurance of living happily ever after.

This recipe is more of a fall or winter thing, but right now, it feels like winter and the need for comfort food.

Bean soup

1/2 cup dried great northern beans

1/2 cup dried kidney beans

1/2 cup dried navy beans

1/2 cup dried lima beans

1/2 cup dried butter beans

1/2 cup dried pinto beans

1/2 cup dried split peas

1/2 cup lentils water

1 meaty ham bone

2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules

1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes with liquid, quartered

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 large onion, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

4 medium carrots, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup minced chives

3 bay leaves

2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Wash all beans thoroughly; drain and place in a large saucepan. Add 5 cups

of water. Bring to a rapid boil; boil for

2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour.

Meanwhile, place ham bone and

3 quarts water in stockpot. Simmer until beans have stood for 1 hour.

Drain beans and add to ham stock; add remaining ingredients. Simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until beans are tender.

Cut meat from ham bone; discard bone. Add additional water to soup if desired.

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