The more, the merrier


This week I’d like to introduce you to our two new pets at the Yoder household.

Gumdrop has captured all of our hearts. We were all eagerly waiting for the day when Gracie, our Toy Poodle, would have her puppies. At last several months ago, at midnight, the children’s dream came true. Yes, our family pet had babies, which brought more decisions to make. Finally, after much debating Julia, who was the primary caretaker for Gracie, helped Daddy decide that the smallest of the three girls, which has a soft white coat with spots, would be kept as our house pet while Gracie would stay in the garage.

Now, if you know me, you also probably know that I never thought we’d have a pet dog like that — no, not a dog in the house. You know how time has a way of changing things. Why before I knew it I had five children who all adored puppies and ya, this Mama also learned that dogs, when properly cared for, can actually be as clean as any of the rest of us.

Now little Gumdrop, as Julia named her, even won my heart. At three months old, she weighs only 2 1/2 pounds and will never grow to be bigger than 5 or 6 pounds.

With me being a busy mother, I have been excused from any responsibility of caring for her; that is besides letting her out when the children have all been put down for naps, and she keeps whining for Julia, who is outside with Daddy. Really now, she is a big baby when it comes to tracking Julia. Literally, she’ll go anywhere we possibly allow her, as long as she can be on Julia’s heels.

Last week we had a wonderful time with family in Ohio; when Julia joined her aunt Mary and cousins in a peddle boat on the pond Gumdrop couldn’t bear the thought of being left behind. Braving the deep waters, the teeny little thing swam clear out to the boat where she was scooped up as she came close enough.

We get a kick out of Gumdrop when it’s time for Julia to wash the dishes. We have a little step stool the children constantly use to do dishes, which has graciously been made and given by readers, Tom and Betty from Monroe, Ohio. Now in all loyalty to her beloved Julia, Gumdrop hops onto the little shelf on the step stool, right under Julia’s feet. Patiently she’ll wait right there until Julia’s job has been completed.

Julia really does get an A-plus for taking the primary responsibility with caring for her, including potty training and such.

The children all enjoy holding her, especially so when they are waking in the morning and want something to snuggle with. It’s not unusual to have them walking out in the living room, blinking sleepily, asking, “Where is Gumdrop?”

One of Gumdrop’s sisters has been adopted to a friend of ours and the other one is still waiting on a good home.

Now for our latest pet. If I’m really honest, I’ll have to admit that at first I wasn’t particularly excited about the idea of buying it. I’m an animal lover and enjoy adding various animals to our little farm, but this time I just wasn’t so sure. Nonetheless, I didn’t mention my qualms to anyone, why dampen other’s excitement?

So when we went to Ohio last week we brought it along back with us, the children were all up in the air as we unloaded “Daisy” in the front yard. It really looked so cute, and it was closer to the children’s size than our old faithful milk cow. Thankfully it had been de-horned and seemed quite safe with even the littlest children.

Yes, the new pet is a nanny goat! And believe it or not, I am as pleased with it as anyone else. Why, it gives good milk, in fact I have to admit that I cannot even taste a trace of goat in her milk! The milk is delicious and is easier for little children to digest. She gives just the right amount for our family so we will no longer be selling milk like we had been earlier with our Jersey cow. As much as I hated to see our cow go, I was thankful that she only went a mile down the gravel road to my brother’s house. I trust that they will now be able to enjoy her and her milk for yogurt, butter, cheese, or whatever their family enjoys the most.

Tonight I plan to make ice cream for the first time with the new milk and serve it with fresh chopped strawberries and chocolate cake. Mmm… I can already taste it. As a young girl I recall this being a favorite combination for my dad. Funny how those memories just stay etched in one’s brain. Now as I make it for my family I feel like I’m serving a king’s meal, even if it is quite simple!

Moist chocolate cake

2 cups flour

2 cups white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons soda

3/4 cup cocoa

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup milk

1 cup hot coffee

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Double mocha frosting:

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup cocoa

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Cake: Mix dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients. Beat well. Pour into a greased 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean. When cooled spread frosting on top. Yields 20 pieces.

Frosting: Combine melted butter, cocoa, salt and coffee. Then add milk, vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat well.

Quick and Shlick Ice Cream

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup instant clear jel

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 to 3 cups cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 quart frozen, chopped strawberries (optional)

whole milk

Stir the sugars, clear jel, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add cream, stir vigorously. Add vanilla and several cups milk. Pour into a 6-quart ice cream freezer. Add milk until freezer is 3 inches close to being filled. Freeze with ice cream freezer.

Note: We like dividing the recipe into small batches and making it in a blender by using frozen milk cubes to freeze it.

It then has a consistency similar to shakes or smoothies.

We also prefer using less sugar and replacing it with maple syrup.

By Gloria Yoder

The Amish Cook

Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427

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