August has arrived and the sun is shining this morning as I sit writing at the desk. I am by the east window, but the wraparound porch keeps the sun from shining in the windows. It makes nice sleeping with the cool evenings.
First, I want to share our wonderful news of the birth of our fourth grandchild. Ryan Isaiah Bontrager was born to daughter Susan and son-in-law Mose on July 27 at 1:56 a.m. Ryan weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces and was 22 inches long.
He joins his sister, Jennifer, who is 18 months old. Jennifer loves Ryan but she doesn’t like when we hold him before we hold her. And Mose isn’t allowed to hold Ryan; Jennifer thinks he’s only her daddy. It’s hard for her to understand she’s not the only child anymore.
Susan is doing as well as expected. Daughters Verena and Lovina have been helping with household duties at Mose and Susan’s.
Mose brought Susan and the children here for the day while he’s at work. Daughter Verena was there the last few days and came back home with them this morning. It’s nice to have her back home. She enjoys helping out with the little ones.
I closed our windows to make the house warmer for the baby. The temperature was in the 60s, so with all our windows open there was a chill in the house.
It is now later and the breakfast dishes are washed. Susan and Ryan are resting. Daughter Elizabeth and children Abigail and T.J. joined us for the day. The house is full of action with all the grandchildren. I love every minute of it, but this grandmother needs to finish this column. I moved out on the porch to finish writing. I need to concentrate, and with all these sweet babies, it’s hard to do so.
We want to can pickles today. I didn’t have enough fresh dill, so neighbor Susan said I could have some of hers. Elizabeth and I went over and cut a bagful, so now we can get started. Sure appreciate neighbors who are willing to loan or share with each other.
We are also enjoying tomatoes and had a few meals of sweet corn. I’m disappointed that my green beans didn’t come up. Husband Joe planted them twice, so I am not sure why they didn’t grow. Zucchini are more than plentiful. I’m also getting a lot of cucumbers.
The tomato plants are loaded, so I think we should be canning tomato juice soon. We love it with our breakfast.
I must get busy now. It’s so nice out here, but those pickles need to be canned.
This week I’ll share the recipe for vegetable juice. Process it according to your canning instructions.
Homemade vegetable juice
- 15 pounds tomatoes, cut into chunks
- 4 onions, diced
- 4 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
- 6 large jalapenos, diced
- 6 small potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 cucumbers, sliced
- 2–3 teaspoons garlic powder
Instructions: Combine all ingredients except the salt in a 3-gallon stainless steel pot over medium-high heat. Cook about 30 minutes or until softened enough to go through a food mill or strainer. Strain and put into sterilized quart jars and add one teaspoon salt to every jar. Makes 14 quarts.
Note: You can add whatever vegetables you want. There is no rule on how much of anything to put in. I always put in more tomatoes than anything else. I like to add a lot of extra jalapenos, as we like the spicy flavor they give.
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.