www.OasisNewsfeatures.com | The Amish Cook | The Kitchen Scientist | Family Daze | Guest Writer

HOME | ABOUT ON | CONTACT | NEWSPAPERS | WRITERS | LICENSING

THE SUMMER DRAWS TO A CLOSE

Summer is a time of slow solitude on the Coblentz farm. The season contrasts greatly with spring, a high-energy time of preparing the garden for planting, sowing seeds, gathering dandelion greens, anticipating June weddings, cleaning the house, and re-awakening after winter. Meanwhile, fall is an equally busy time of canning, harvesting, collecting firewood and stocking up for the long winter that the Amish of northern Indiana usually endure. So summer can be a time to relax a little, to wait for the fruits of Mays labor to blossom into a bountiful garden. As evening arrives, distant lightning flickers on the horizon, and the stillness of day succumbs to a chorus of cicadas at night. These were the images of my most recent visit to Elizabeth. Sometimes I just want to pitch a tent on their lawn and never leave, thats how serene and peaceful it can be.

I am not sure if summers restful relaxation includes grandchildren or not. But if it does, Elizabeth was very relaxed on Sunday, August 24, when 17 of her grandchildren and daughters Emma, Lovina and son Albert gathered to spend the day. For regular readers of The Amish Cook newspaper column, these are familiar names. Lovinas oldest daughter, Elizabeth, seemed excited about the start of a new school year the following day. A few of the grandchildren came into the house soaking wet, yet another outdoor "water battle" to take the edge off an August afternoon.

Whenever I visit The Amish Cook, I always come away wishing that I had brought my camera. Most of the time I pack a little disposable one, but on this day I had neglected to do so. Its not to take photos of people - thats prohibited according to Amish religious doctrine. But there are other images from this peaceful place that I could capture with a camera.

On Sunday, the sunset was a gentle glory of crimson red slipping below the fields. A perfect photograph. And then there were the kittens.

"There are four big kittens in the barn," exclaimed Lovinas Elizabeth. Im a sucker for kittens, so I bounded out to the barn, racing Elizabeth to the century-old wooden building. When I got to the barn, Elizabeth pointed to a spot in the hay. Sure enough there were four kittens, not newborns, but definitely kittens, scurrying around. One was jet black, the others were black and white.
"Black ones and tiger kittens make the best mousers," said Joe, Lovinas husband, as he also accompanied us to the barn.

Dinner was leftover melt-in-your mouth mashed potatoes. A common method of preparing mashed potatoes among the Indiana Amish is to add some cream cheese to your recipe. The cream cheese, Elizabeth says, keeps the potatoes softer and fresher tasting longer. I can believe it, since the mashed potato dinner was delicious. And I brought in some pizza from town, a treat for the Coblentzes. While we ate, Susan showed off one of her "calling cards." Click HERE to see the image. Just like many business professionals carry business cards, many Amish carry "calling cards", not Sprint or AT&T, but just personal cards that they can leave with someone after visiting. They are a charming vestige of an earlier American era.

I was joined in my trip to Elizabeths by my girlfriend, Rachel, and two of our friends, Brian and Jessica. It was Brian and Jessicas first journey into Amish country, and it proved to be an enjoyable day.

Come cooler weather, Elizabeth plans to paint a couple of her rooms and remove the towering windmill outside of her home. The windmill is no longer in use, replaced long ago by a more efficient water pump, and were worried a swift January blizzard could send the tower tumbling. Sometime soon, the cicadas will silence themselves for the season and the first hints of crisp morning air will tinge a September morning. The garden will beckon and the season will change. Life goes on.

Kevin Williams
Executive Editor
Oasis Newsfeatures

CLICK HERE FOR NEW PHOTOS IN THE SCRAPBOOK

CLICK HERE FOR THE READER'S Q&A SECTION, ASK ELIZABETH

CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE OF THE WEEK