We are having a blessed, busy week. Daniel’s parents from the Amish community in Danville, Ohio, came for a visit last week and have now spent the weekend with us. What is more special than a visit from grandparents, whether living near or far? Much to the children’s delight, Grandma came with books for each of them. It’s like I told Grandpa this morning, “Only God knows how many stories he and grandma have read to them the last couple days!”
They plan to spend several days with Daniel’s brother John and his family before returning to our house for the following weekend. Tuesday and Wednesday will be the big butchering days for our church. There are 21 hogs to be turned to sausage, bologna, bacon, kielbasa, liverwurst, and the likes. It’s a major undertaking, yet many hands make work light.
The assortment of jobs is large enough that most folks can find something they are comfortable with doing, even if they aren’t fond of butchering itself. Besides the actual butchering, there is mixing pork with seasoning, then packaging the seemingly endless stream of huge bowls and totes of sausage or marking packages. Then there is always a need of hearts who are willing to scrub sticky canners and totes for hours — literally! Then there is always the need for serving the food we ladies had prepared the days before.
Oh yes, I think I forgot to mention the butchering event is hosted here at our woodworking shop since it has the needed space for all the grinders, stuffers, our 80 church folks, and so on.
The day is a highlight for all of us. Yet, somehow, as a mother of five little ones, including a few that have had a tendency to get stressed out when things get kicked out of their routine, perhaps (and maybe I shouldn’t even be so honest) the best part of the day is when the last of the meat has been processed, the final grit and grime washed down from the sticky shop floor, and the last buggy taillights have gone blinking out the driveway, and the foster children’s whose world has come back together.
It all happened so quickly, almost too swiftly. We had a big butchering day, processing about 4,500 pounds of meat. This count includes the venison that was brought to be mixed with pork to make hot dogs and bologna. Things went exceptionally well. Even though I’ve helped for 17 years, I was once more fascinated and amazed to watch the large home-fabricated stuffers stuff pound after pound of kielbasa to watch it go through the smoking process, then quickly cooled down before passing the skillful hands that placed them into vacuum seal bags and distributed to the owners. Every bowl was marked with the owner’s name and a description of the type of sausage. I admire the ones who keep the large mixers going with each individual’s sausage, their proper seasonings, and the prescribed amount of ice water and the likes. My brain frazzles as I watch hubby help figure up all the little details of who owes for what. Ya, I’m glad I get to be a mom!
Considering it all, the children did well even though the girls got hit by another flu bug before the day was past. I admit, I was a bit tired, yet I am honestly thankful for these tougher times, they make you see more how much we need Jesus.
Okay, so this week, I’ll be passing on a recipe that our non-Amish friends shared with us. Terry Hoke does taxi work for us Amish people and helps in our butcherings. Terry and his wife report having made four batches of these bars, which had been set out along with other cookies and bars, coffee, and tea to be enjoyed throughout the two butchering days. It was a hit by all, and I called them candy bars, they are way too good and sweet not to call them candy!
Scrumptious Peanut Butter Bars
• 1 cup butter, softened
• 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
• 2 cups powdered sugar
• 1 cup peanut butter
Mix. Press into a nine by 13-inch pan, lined with wax paper. This mixture will be sticky; using a hot spoon will help spread it out evenly.
• 1 ½ cup chocolate chips
• ¼ cup peanut butter
Melt together over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread over the first layer. Refrigerate one hour before cutting. Cut into small squares.
Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427