Gardening and games at home

Today was such a beautiful sunny day with the temperature around 60 degrees. Everyone is home due to the coronavirus precautions. It seems so different to not set an alarm. Of course, we sleep later since no one is leaving home.

The boys took advantage of the nice day and hauled a lot of manure out to the fields. My husband Joe tilled up both gardens. The soil looks so nice and black. We also did a lot of raking outside such as flower beds beside the buildings, etc.

We would like to make one of our gardens into raised garden beds to plant vegetables. We thought this would be a way our children with handicaps could help with the gardening. They could sit in the mobility scooter and plant, pick, or weed the vegetables. With Joe and I also getting older it would be nice to not bend down to weed and harvest the vegetables.

We would like to use something affordable, but we are not sure what to use. I know some use wood but are bothered with lots of ants and bugs in the plants. We would like to use vinyl boards, but our budget couldn’t afford to that. It would last a lifetime though. Joe measured that we would need 16-foot rows and would make them 4 feet wide and two and a half feet deep. To fill our one garden we would need eight of these. Maybe we will figure something out before planting season. It would work out so well if we could somehow make it work. I am wondering if any of you readers have suggestions about what to use. Joe says he doesn’t want to have to mow under them and wants something neat in appearance. We will see, but we would appreciate any suggestions from you.

I hope to go searching for dandelion greens tomorrow. My sisters Susan and Verena found enough already to make a meal of them. Yum! Looking forward to that!

One night our family sat around the table after we ate supper looking in Country and Country Extra magazines searching for the needles they hide in there. It was a challenge to see who would find it first. The girls also had tricks for us to do with picking a chair up somehow with our head touching the wall bent halfway down. We seem to find enough to entertain us while everyone is home. Some things seem silly but as a family we need to live, laugh, and love!

Most of all, let us read from our Bibles for encouragement and pray that God will be with us during this time of trial. It’s something most people have never seen. Our hearts and prayers go to those affected by the virus. God is in control even though the road ahead looks overwhelming. I try not to think about our income not coming in like so many others also are experiencing. I am thankful for the meat in our freezers and all the vegetables we canned last year from our garden. The fruits of our labor are worth all the hard work put in the gardens. Not everyone has a garden so it’s not as easy. Our biggest challenge is getting enough supply of toilet tissue to have on hand. Every time we make a trip into town, which is sometimes longer than a week apart, the shelves are empty already.

Let us be considerate of others. Stay healthy and safe everyone. This too shall pass.

Daughter Elizabeth says she is trying out recipes from my new cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, published by Herald Press. She loves making new dishes and trying different recipes. In my cookbook I try to stay with recipes that are simple and made with ingredients you have in your kitchen. You can find the cookbook online from various booksellers.

God’s blessings to all!


Potato Chowder

4 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup grated carrot
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon parsley
4 chicken bouillon cubes
6 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
Optional: shredded cheese

In a large kettle, combine potatoes, onion, carrots, salt, pepper, parsley, and bouillon. Add enough water to just cover the vegetables and cook until tender. Do not drain. In a separate pan, scald milk until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan. With a wire whisk, mix butter and flour with 1-1/2 cup scalded milk. Add remaining milk to vegetables, then stir in thickened milk mixture until blended. Simmer a few minutes on low heat. Yield: 8-10 servings.


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 now 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 and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

9 thoughts on “Gardening and games at home”

  1. In my part of Australia people use old water tanks for garden beds. Even an old bath tub with added drainage holes could be used. That would probably look too scrappy though.

  2. Hello, you have lovely post! I’m sorry I have no idea about raised bed gardening. Wanted to say I enjoyed the picture of your ducks (or geese?) Here is something that might be helpful- i cashier at walmart where i live and heard several times that some are buying inexpensive washcloths to use to replace toilet paper, then putting in a bleach bucket then washing them. I know it is hard, every time when my shift is over by 2 or 3 in afternoon, all shelves are bare of the paper. My husband and would love to have adequate space for a few hens and garden as we live in a town. You are blessed! Stay safe!

  3. You could use plain tin roofing for your raised beds. Use wood bracing on the outside to hold it together. Its would be very cost effective. Or one could also use bricks, or cement blocks.

  4. The wood would be beautiful. Cement blocks, brick or rock work too. It is certainly much easier for us Seniors to have them raised up and a little place to sit on as we work them.

  5. About the raised garden beds– your best material is still wood– specifically (and only) cedar will last and deter bugs. It will be more expensive than other woods, but not in the long run when you consider rot. With a bed that deep, you could line the sides of it (inside) with plastic sheeting to further increase its longevity. Raised beds have so many advantages. Not the least of which is Filling them with compost.

  6. Using cedar post for legs of planters might decrease insects. I know they are not cheap but than you could use regular up top.
    Just a thought

  7. We used old patio pavers stacked – roughly the size of a brick in size but flat. They came from a patio that was in the yard when we moved in and did not want. We dug it out and used it to build the vegetable box. We also have purchased four inexpensive cedar board kits for smaller beds from the local Menards store. They work well and were very affordable.

    My cousin used the topper from a pickup truck up on old saw horses for herself – she is disabled, has an almost impossible time walking and cannot bend over at all. She grows lettuce, radishes, carrots, and a few other things in her innovative bed and then planted tomatoes and peppers in large pots which are mostly old buckets with holes drilled in the bottom. It works for her!

    As always, thank you for sharing your life and recipes for us.
    I appreciate it so much,

  8. I always enjoy your blog and I LOVE your cookbooks! We have a large raised bed garden that is made out of cinderblock. We love being able to fill the cinderblock beds with composted leaves and soil. We find that our harvest is bigger in the raised beds than in the traditional in-ground garden. The cinderblock also help “warm” the soil up. Another bonus is that you can sit on the edge to weed/harvest. I can send you a picture or two of our cinderblock beds if you are interested.

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