The sun is shining and the temperature is more than 60 degrees this morning. It looks like it will be another gorgeous day and spring only officially begins tomorrow.
All signs of spring are here: first among them, the rhubarb is peeping through and winter onions are up. Also, the horseradish and tea plants are starting to grow. Trees are budding and the grass is extra green for this time of the year.
We had our first meal of dandelion greens last night. Last year it was about a month later before we found enough for a meal. I steamed some potatoes and boiled some eggs to mix with the dandelion greens and sour cream. The sour cream I make uses Miracle Whip salad dressing, vinegar, milk and salt. Joe grilled T-bone steaks to go along with the meal.
We also had sliced Colby cheese, which is a favorite around here. I buy the Colby cheese by the horn, which is usually 15 to 16 pounds. It is so much cheaper to do it that way than to buy a few pounds at a time. A horn of cheese does not last long around here with our size family. We eat cheese in sandwiches, casseroles, soups or just with crackers for a snack. I think the cheese doesn't taste dried-out as much as the small packages in grocery stores. If we need shredded cheese we shred just the Colby cheese, which tastes so much better than the prepackaged kind you buy in stores. Years ago when we had cows and sold milk we would always order our horn of cheese from the milkman.
We took advantage of the nice weather this week and washed all our curtains, cleaned the windows and put in the screens. It looks so much more refreshing to see the white, crisp curtains on the clean windows.
A few weeks ago one of the big oak trees in our yard uprooted knocking down one-half of two smaller pine trees. Joe and some of the children worked on cutting the wood and burning the branches on Saturday. The bigger logs we might be able to sell to the local sawmill. The rest we will keep for firewood. Our neighbor, Steve, brought his larger chainsaw to help Joe cut the bigger area by the stump. Joe's chainsaws were not long enough to cut all the way through.
On Saturday we also carried the patio table, chairs and rockers out of the basement to put on the front porch again. Last night we already enjoyed eating supper on the porch. We let our coal stove go out a week ago. We hope the nice weather is here to stay.
Joe wants to till the garden this week so we can plant some of the early things like peas, potatoes, radishes and so forth.
On our list to do this week is raking the yard. The grass is really growing fast and I don't think it will be long before we have to mow it. Our solar-powered freezer is staying charged well with all the sunshine. It even charges some on cloudy days.
With spring weather here it is time to start thinking about rhubarb. Mom would make rhubarb pie and rhubarb shortcake. We'd eat the shortcake warm and pour milk over it. My children like to eat it with ice cream. We didn't have ice cream around the house when I was growing up since we didn't have freezers. Rhubarb-custard pie is another favorite around here. Our children also love rhubarb juice; we just finished our last quart this week so we'll be eager to make more this spring. This is another delicious way to use the early rhubarb. Give it a try!
1&⅓ c. brown sugar
⅔ c. vegetable oil
1 beaten egg
1 t. vanilla
1 c. sour milk
2½ c. flour
¾ t. salt
1 t. baking soda
½ t. cinnamon
2 c. chopped rhubarb
½ c. nuts, optional
Mix everything together and pour batter into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until done.
Lovina Eicher is Old Order Amish. She hand-writes this column from her home in southern Michigan. Anyone with cultural or cooking questions can send them to: Lovina Eicher, The Amish Cook, P.O. Box 2144, Middletown, OH 45042.