We are into the first week of March which is unbelievable. It makes us think of spring but the weather outside is telling us something a whole lot different. All morning it has been snowing. Just a nice scenic snow with not much of a wind blowing. It is a relaxing kind of snow and the flakes are clinging to the trees. The thermometer shows 18 degrees which almost seems like spring to us after all the sub-zero temperatures we have had this year. Monday morning the temperature was -5 so we like the 18 degrees this morning.

Daughter Susan, 18, started a new job on Monday morning at the same RV factory where daughter Elizabeth has worked for close to two years. I miss Susan’s good help here at home but I can understand that she wants a job too.

It is a peaceful quiet morning so I decided to get this column done for the week. Daughter Verena wasn’t feeling too well this morning so I told her she should take a nap on the recliner and maybe that will help. My husband Joe is at work and the five youngest are in school.

I am planning to slice the hams and bacon as soon as I finish this column. We were done butchering the four hogs by 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. The sausage was ground and bagged for the freezer; and 18 gallons of “pon hoss” was made in the big black kettle outside. It is made from adding flour and salt and pepper to the juice and meat cooked from the pork bones. The lard was rendered in the kettle too. The cracklings were enjoyed by all after the lard was done. Helping us besides Jacob’s were our three oldest daughters special friends: Timothy, Mose, and Larry and also my sisters Susan and Verena. There was a job for everyone and the younger children helped cut the lard into small pieces while some cut the sausage into small pieces for the grinder. Others trimmed bones so there was something for everyone to do. I was really surprised how fast all the work went with so many willing helpers. We done all the work in the shed so the house didn’t get messed up too much.

Our lunch menu consisted of fresh fried tenderloin, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, mixed vegetables, corn, lettuce salad, homemade bread, butter, strawberry jam, cheese, hot peppers, apple delight, cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, and chocolate pie.

Later in the evening our three oldest daughters and their friends and Jacob and Emma’s two daughters went to my sisters Verena and Susan’s house to play games. Joe and I were ready to call it a day. We must not be so young anymore as we were ready for an early bedtime. The younger children were all ready for bed early as well. It was relaxing to think pork butchering day was done for another year. How blessed we feel to have more meat in the freezer.

Sunday wasn’t our church Sunday so we just stayed home and rested. The children knew right away what they wanted for breakfast Sunday morning: fried pon hoss and coffee soup. I also made scrambled eggs.

Sunday our clocks will go ahead an hour. It is daylight when the children leave for school now, but come Monday morning it will be dark again when they leave.

Blessings to all. I want to make bean soup with the ham bone one evening. Try this recipe:

Bean soup with ham

1 pound navy or pinto beans 5 1 /2 cups water 1 ham bone with some meat on it (you may use 1/4 pound of bacon ends instead of ham bone) 1 /2 cup chopped onion 1 /2 chopped celery 1 /2 cup chopped carrots 1 1 /2 teaspoons salt 1 /4 teaspoon black pepper 1 /4 teaspoon oregano or other seasoning Several drops of liquid smoke (optional) 2 chicken bouillon cubes (crushed)

Combine beans and water in a large saucepan. Heat to boiling. Turn burner off, keeping tightly covered. Let sit one hour. Add the ham bone, onion, celery, and carrots. Heat to boiling and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until tender. Add the rest of the seasonings about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, stirring well. Remove bone, trim off meat, and add to soup. Yield 10 to 12 servings.

Lovina Eicher is Old Order Amish and lives in Michigan. Readers with culinary or cultural questions can write to Lovina at: PO BOX 2144, Middletown, Ohio 45042. © OASIS NEWSfeatures