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”And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

“And the Lord, he it is that doeth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee ...” Deuteronomy 6:5-7, 31:8

Another late Tuesday afternoon as I start my epistle. It is a really nice spring-ish day. We’ve had beautiful weather so far into March, but — will it last? Or will we still have a hard freeze? It is still early. It could happen.

I remember quite a few years ago, our Jane was still at home, maybe all three girls for that matter. Jane worked at Stutzman’s Feed Mill, and they sold garden seeds at that time.

It was early March, warm and sunny. I told Jane to bring home some pea seeds. We planted those, and I can’t remember that we ever had a better pea crop than we did that year.

And now I don’t even have any seeds ordered. I don’t even know if the greenhouses or seed places are open yet. I expect they are.

But seriously, I don’t have garden fever yet. I’m still trying to get caught up with my winter projects. Maybe I’m like the person who was so far behind, he thought he was ahead!

And really, I don’t expect to get caught up. I am too slow. Or lazy. Other things keep cropping up. And then there are the everyday mundane things to keep up with.

I recently started another cleaning job. It’s close to home and doesn’t take long. I can do it on a Saturday when I get done with my other cleaning job.

This past Saturday, it was such a nice day. After I got my cleaning jobs done, I couldn’t resist doing laundry when I got home. I had three different batches of cleaning rags, and I wanted to get those washed. I don’t like to have so many dirty rags lying around.

After years and years of using the same laundry detergent, I switched. It seemed like the clothes, especially the whites, were just dingy. The stains were getting tougher to get out, or then they didn’t budge at all.

So yes, I switched. It is natural, organic and, yes, expensive, but it really works! I really like to do laundry now. The towels really do feel cleaner and are so soft. And the whites are slowly losing their dinginess.

We had our workday this past week at daughter Jane’s house. The chicken broth was made, and I even forgot to ask for the salt shaker! Maybe it was because Rachel brought this yummy dip. Oh, my! When Shady Crest opens up again, you ought to try their bacon horseradish dip! That stuff is fit! Downright addictive!

Speaking of Shady Crest, it looked really weird to see a skid parked in the doorway of the older part of the store! I wonder what they did with the foodstuff that was left when they closed.

Anyway, after the chicken broth was made, we cleaned some windows, did some sewing, mending mostly, lengthening dresses for the growing girls. I cut some scraps into blocks to be sewn into comforters. Jane gives the cut blocks to a widow in the area, and she sews them together. Sometimes I dream of having time to do that. But I have too many quilts looming on the horizon for now, and I can’t even get those done.

Too much time is spent on the road. But I don’t want to complain about that. I feel blessed that Erwin is still able and has a place where he can work, even if it is just a half-day. And I am thankful that our horse is behaving. We do have so many blessings, even if my weak humanness wants to whine at times. Shame on me!

The Otto sisters gathered today at Annie Ellen’s house to quilt. It is a beautiful quilt that is to be sold at the Haiti benefit auction this fall.

I could never put together a quilt like that. It was just mind-boggling for me to think about how that was put together. But it was fun quilting and reconnecting with family. It seems we Ottos just don’t get together much anymore. I guess we are all getting old with health issues.

Erwin and I couldn’t stay after lunch. He had to come home and rest, and I had to get this done.

In closing, a true friend is one who knows you’re a good egg ... even if you’re a little cracked.

Do you have some stale store-bought bread to use up? Try these.


4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar, divided

1 egg yolk

10 slices firm white bread

(remove crusts if you desire)

3 tablespoons butter, melted

11/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

Fresh strawberries (optional)

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar and egg yolk until smooth.

Spread 1 tablespoon over each slice of bread. Roll up jellyroll style, starting with long edge.

In a shallow bowl, combine cinnamon and remaining sugar.

Brush roll-ups with melted butter and coat with cinnamon and sugar. Place seam-side-down on a greased baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly toasted.

Serve warm with sour cream and strawberries, if desired. They are good without, too. You can also mix any flavor jam with the cream cheese to spread on the bread.

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