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“Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a door keeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.” Psalm 83:9-12

This is late Tuesday afternoon as I try to make my tired brain put together sentences. It really is a beautiful day, although this afternoon, it is quite windy. But it is warm and sunny, yes!

I finally have the garden planted. We put our tomato plants out when it was still quite wet. I just dug a hole and set them in. It was high time. I hope they survive.

We’ve been eating green onions and radishes out of the garden. But now I broke my partial plate, so chewing doesn’t go so well. If I shred the radishes, I can eat them.

We Otto siblings had coffee break with sister Sarah Ann Helmuth and her daughters today. There were lots of goodies there, but I didn’t eat any. For one thing, most were sugary, but mostly, it was because of my chewing problem. It just isn’t pretty, and when I try to be polite, I bite my cheek. So I just had coffee. Sarah Ann always has the best coffee.

Daughter Jane and Milton Yoder and their girls came over Sunday evening. I wonder if they just wanted to show off their new wagon.

They got it at the Jonas Hershberger Estate sale Saturday. Milton said there was a lot of stuff there and antiques, too. He saw this one tool and didn’t know what it was. He had to ask an older grandpa. He said it was a nail puller.

Anyway, we were talking about how things have changed and the “good old days,” and we got on the subject of milking cows by hand. That was an art I never mastered. But then, we weren’t farmers. My dad was a carpenter.

I was always fascinated by farm life and especially milking cows. We spent a lot of time at neighbor Bill Miller’s farm. His grandson Eldon Miller lives on that farm now, which is just east of us.

When I was just a mere tot, we lived east of that farm and south, barely a mile. We would walk over to Bill’s at milking time. I thoroughly loved watching them milk. And the cats! They sat close, waiting until one of the boys aimed a squirt their way. They didn’t miss the cat’s mouth.

We carried our fresh-from-the-cow milk in a little gallon pail that looked like a miniature 10-gallon milk can. How I would love to get one of those!

Back in the day, when I was probably a ’tween and we lived at the Martin place, our landlord, Clifford, had two cows in our barn. For whatever reason, we got our milk for free. My dad milked those cows, then he broke his leg — not while he was milking — and couldn’t do it, so sis Louise did. Just thinking about that now totally amazes me. Sorry, Sis, but you just seem the type! Just kidding!

I tried, but I just couldn’t. Must be my hands were too small! I’m sure I had the strength. I had to do all the wood and cob hauling for our heating stove and the kettle to heat the wash water!

We didn’t have any brothers then, so I had to do the boys’ work. Not that I minded. I was an outdoor girl.

I don’t think anybody milks by hand anymore. Not in our area, anyway. You can get an easy milker that is operated by a rechargeable battery. My husband gets magazines that have ads for them.

I wish we would have had those magazines years ago. They are full of ideas on how to live off the grid, do small backyard farming, etc. They have really interesting recipes for healthier eating. Of course, a lot of ingredients aren’t found in an ordinary cupboard.

In closing, a good rule for talking is one used for flour — sift first!

This week’s recipe comes from one of those magazines. I definitely want to try it.

ROTEL-STYLE TOMATOES

1 gallon diced tomatoes

8 hot peppers, diced

2 bell peppers, diced

3 medium onions, diced

3/4 cup 5 percent vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt per pint

1/2 teaspoon sugar per pint

Mix all ingredients in stainless-steel pot (do not use aluminum pots when processing tomatoes). Boil for 15 minutes.

Ladle into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/2 inch at top. Wipe rim with damp rag. Place new lid on and tighten with band.

Process in hot water for 15 minutes.