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Amish Kitchen: A (busy) day in the life of Lovina Eicher

Lovina Eicher and daughter Susan tackled the big job of cleaning the can room in their basement where they have shelves storing their canned food.
Lovina Eicher and daughter Susan tackled the big job of cleaning the can room in their basement where they have shelves storing their canned food. Provided photo

A day in the life of Lovina Eicher ...

4 a.m.: I get up to pack lunch for son Joseph, 16, and make him breakfast before he leaves for work. They are working an hour away so they will start out earlier than usual.

4:30 a.m.: Joseph leaves for work. I go back to bed until I need to get up to wake the children for school.

6 a.m.: Alarm rings again. Daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, start getting ready. They eat breakfast at school, as the school serves free breakfasts to all students each morning.

6:45 a.m.: Lovina leaves for school.

7:15 a.m.: Kevin’s bus is here to pick him up. Kevin can now wheel his wheelchair down our ramp to the bus, so no one needs to help him. Coming home it’s harder for him to wheel his wheelchair up the ramp, so someone usually pushes him in.

8 a.m.: Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and children arrive with horse and buggy. Elizabeth is driving this week. They take turns each week. Son Benjamin, 19, goes out to take care of the horse for them. I help carry in the little ones. Abigail is awake but just too tired to walk so she still wants Grandma to carry her in the house. Jennifer is smiling and in a good mood. Baby Timothy is 4 months old today and is as lively as ever. He is so active and rolls over and over. He’s not safe on a bed and moves all over already. He looks like his daddy and is always smiling. So precious when he reaches his little hands out to come to Grandma. My husband Joe is home, so he gets to enjoy the grandchildren, too. Benjamin is off work this week as the RV factory he works for is shut down this week. He has been hauling manure out to the fields every day.

8:45 a.m.: We are ready to eat breakfast, which consists of fried eggs and potatoes, ham, cheese, toast, butter and jelly, and coffee and grape juice. Daughters Verena and Loretta help get the little girls fed. Abigail and Jennifer love their aunts.

9:30 a.m.: Verena and Loretta wash dishes and watch the little ones while Elizabeth, Susan and I go down to the basement to start cleaning. On Monday, Susan was here and we cleaned the can room where we have shelves of all our canned food. That is a big job done. Susan cleans the windows and Elizabeth helps me organize and mop the floors, dust, etc. With our coal stove in the basement, it causes a lot of dust down there.

Joe and Benjamin are cleaning out our pole barn where we will have church services. It seems somehow things accumulate over winter. On Monday, son-in-law Mose and Loretta’s boyfriend Dustin helped Joe run new water lines in the pole barn where we have cabinets and a kitchen sink, and also to the bathroom. This winter a pipe froze, breaking the hot water line, so we didn’t have any water out there. They ran a new pipe and did better insulating. I’m glad that is done. It will be nice to do my canning out there this summer.

1 p.m.: Verena and Loretta have lunch ready so we gather in the kitchen to eat. We have chicken noodle soup and leftover pizza from supper the previous night.

2 p.m.: We all go back to our work. Verena and Loretta rock the little girls for their naps. Elizabeth fed baby Timothy and he is sleeping.

3:15 p.m.: Kevin is home from school.

3:30 p.m.: Lovina is home from school and gives Abigail a swing ride. Jennifer is taking a walk with Verena. She’s still learning how to walk good over bumpy surfaces.

4:30 p.m.: The girls leave for home.

5:30 p.m.: Joseph is home from work. Benjamin has evening chores done.

6:30 p.m.: Supper is ready. Campfire stew, cheese and crackers are on the menu.

7:30 p.m.: Dishes are washed and everyone is getting cleaned up for the day.

9:30 p.m.: Everyone has gone to bed. Good night to all. God bless.

Rhubarb cheesecake bars

Crumbs:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks margarine

Filling:

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (8-ounce) cream cheese
  • 1 (16-ounce) rhubarb filling (any kind of fruit filling is good; see recipe below)

Crumbs: Mix ingredients together, reserving 1 1/2 cups; put the rest into a 13 x 9-inch pan, pressing flat. Bake 15 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.

Filling: Mix cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk and pour over baked crust. Top with rhubarb filling (see below) and add the reserved crumbs on top. Bake 20-40 minutes.

Rhubarb filling:

  • 3 cups rhubarb
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook together on medium heat.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

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