Celebrating Birthdays and Putting Puzzles Together with Family

The mercury on our thermometer has dipped down to the single digits this morning with a reading of 5 degrees. The wind chill is below 0, so son Joseph wasn’t looking too forward to working outside today. They are building a pole barn close to Lake Michigan. He said they have even more snow there than what we have.

Son-in-law Dustin cleaned our drive out with his skid-loader then also went over to clean out daughter Susan’s driveway.

Our plans are to butcher four hogs this weekend. The men will dress and hang them Friday night, and then we will cut up the meat on Saturday, grind the sausage, and make pon hoss. (For new readers to the column: pon hoss is made by cooking the pork off the bones, grinding it, and putting it back into the pork broth along with flour, salt, and pepper. It is then cooked in the big black kettle outdoors until it’s thickened then poured into pans. Once the pon hoss is cooled, it can be sliced and fried to eat. We eat ours with eggs and potatoes or with coffee soup.) One hog is for us, one for Dustin and Loretta, one for Tim and Elizabeth and family, and one for Susan and the children. It is good to just do it all here and have one mess to clean up after. We still want to butcher a beef yet.

We need to go out to the pole barn and clean up a lot of things. Joe bought out a meat processing outfit along with the big walk-in cooler, but it’s not set up yet. It came with lots of containers, saws, grinders, and slicers that are used in a meat processing place. All this has to be cleaned, organized, etc. Joe always wanted to have something like this, but it all takes time and money to get set up. Hopefully, in the future we can accomplish it, so son Kevin has something to work with at home and also daughter Lovina. Joe enjoys butchering meat, cutting, slicing, and grinding it. As for me, I’m usually tired of it by the time we get our year’s supply in the freezer.

Sunday night, Joe and I, sons Benjamin (and special friend Amanda), Joseph (and special friend Grace), Kevin, daughter Lovina (and special friend Daniel), Dustin and Loretta, and Tim and Elizabeth and children all gathered at daughter Susan’s house in honor of Susan’s 26th birthday and granddaughter Jennifer’s 4th birthday. Daughters Susan and Verena had filled a pinata with candy for the children to enjoy. On the menu for supper was tater tot casserole, barbequed chicken, chicken lettuce salad, sliced cheese, cupcakes, dirt pudding, and tapioca pudding. It was a delicious meal. Afterward, games were played, and we just enjoyed family time together. As always, son-in-law Mose was greatly missed.

Lovina and her family enjoy putting together jigsaw puzzles in their spare time. Photo provided.

We have a 1,000-piece Amish Country puzzle called “Early Snow” that we are putting together whenever we have spare time. I enjoy working on the puzzle after everything is done at night. It’s a great way to rewind and a good time to think. I sometimes work on it mornings after everyone leaves for work. When the children come home, they like to work on it. Saturday night, Joe and I were working on it, although I found pieces pushed in the wrong places. It gave me a good laugh! It can be confusing when all of the pieces look similar.

God’s blessings to all!

Tapioca Pudding
5 cups boiling water
1 cup tapioca
dash salt
1 (3-ounce) package Jell-O (any flavor)
1 scant cup sugar
fruit, if desired

Soak tapioca in enough cold water to cover for an hour or more. Drain water and add to 5 cups boiling water and salt. Boil for 1/2 hour or until tapioca is clear. Stir often. Remove from heat. Keep covered at least 10 minutes. Add the rest of ingredients. When cold, mix in whipped topping (to your own taste).


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. 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.

6 thoughts on “Celebrating Birthdays and Putting Puzzles Together with Family”

  1. That is great that you can butcher hogs for whole family. That is awesome. Dad loved to put puzzles together. He would be sitting at the table with a puzzle a lot of times. I never really cared for it. But some of my siblings like it. Yes Mose will always be missed. Can not imagine how Susan must feel. Never know what life will bring

  2. Enjoy reading about what everyone is doing! We too enjoy puzzles during the winter time, also Uno and Yahtzee. We are retired and our children all within a mile of us, so we are very fortunate to see them almost daily!

  3. I’m a little confused about the tapioca pudding recipe.
    What kind and size of tapioca do you use and is the jello the gelatin kind or the pudding ?


  4. I just love reading Lovina’s column. Can hardly wait for it to be published each week. Their life is so interesting to me with all the butchering and family get togethers for birthdays or just to be together. Love this family.

  5. Is the meat your talking about called scrapple? I live in Pennsylvania and that is what the Amish call it here.

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