I’ve always classified myself as a farm girl. I’d romp in the hay with my brothers, help dad milk the goats and dream of marrying a farmer.
I now enjoy all the animals on our little farm. There was one thing, however, that I would not do. I would not touch the steering wheel of a tractor. Accident scenes about to happen, would flash through my mind. Nope! Driving a tractor was not for me.
Being Amish we drove horse and buggy for transportation unless we hired a driver, and for times we had a bigger load to transport we used tractor and trailer. Now, since I had never driven a vehicle in my life, I was convinced driving a tractor wouldn’t fit to me either.
A dream I had some time ago, got me recalculating a bit. In my dream I was whipping around the tractor as if it was nothing but a confident skill. Hmm, maybe someday.
Then it so happened that my beloved went home to be with Jesus in Heaven. No more hubby driving the tractor through the chestnut field as he’d keep an eye on them, re-staking them as needed, or stripping off the dead leaves.
In recent years since I have overcome much of my childhood timidness, I’m learning to enjoy trying new things, but driving a tractor — I was not convinced.
Then a couple of weeks ago I told Julia, “Let’s do it.” Taking my seat on Daniel’s Yanmar tractor, I racked my brain for every tip and detail Daniel had told me a few years before. Soon Julia and I were cruising down the field of green grass with chestnut trees in exact rows on either side. I saw it really was possible. To be honest, I was relieved.
A couple days later I figured out how to hook up the trailer to the faithful Yanmar. Daniel had built the trailer on winter evenings as all of us accompanied him, admiring his skill. It was the perfect size for family projects. The sides are made with cedar boards, sturdy and high enough to keep children safe while escorting them through the field.
Now as all of our six precious children trustingly sat on the trailer along with a picnic basket of snacks, the tractor made its way down the field minus daddy; my heart bled. These had been some of our best times together. It was an ache I could not mend. I had a choice to make once more, would I retreat into the cave of “it’s not fair,” or would I again hand it all over to God?
By God’s grace, joy filled our hearts, as each took a row and made our way to the far end of the grove, placing a moth ball in each tube containing a sapling. These strong smelling pieces would ward off the field mice that have been digging around in the mulch around the trees and even chewing off some of the trees.
As the project was nearing completion, Julia and Austin told me about a spot they found at the edge of the woods that may be perfect for us to enjoy our snack. I agreed to it and soon they were building a fire which we huddled around to warm up.
Our snack or supper, call it what you want, was basic. I go for the most simple, fuss-free ideas in hopes that we can get more picnics and special events in that way. After a song of thanks to God, Elijah passed out hard-boiled duck eggs, followed by our newest favorite vegetable — avocados. Julia cut them in half and passed them out. Everyone salted their own and held them like a bowl spooning it out of the peelings. When those were finished we each had an orange and a healthy cookie made by Austin.
We marveled how we were back yonder on the edge of the field; no one but God knew where we were at, and surely He is also the one who gives us all we need.
As the sun set behind the tree line the children were getting chilly and it was time to head for the house. I dropped the children off by the house then parked the tractor before going back to the cabin to turn off the heater.
In my little sanctuary, I paused a moment as I stuck my nose deep into the bouquet of red roses, given by friends. As I did so, an excerpt from my book, “Jesus Calling,” caught my attention. It spoke volumes to my heart. It was written from Jesus’ perspective, “Many people spend a lifetime or a small fortune searching for someone who understands them. Yet I am freely available to all who call upon my name, who open their hearts to receive me as their Savior. This simple act of faith is the beginning of a life long love story.”
Amazing, nothing will ever, ever take the perfect Lover of my soul, from me — or you! It is up to us as individuals, to accept his love and leading.
Okay, I had wanted to give you one of our favorite avocado recipes, but there is too much to tell about it in the bit of space remaining, so we’ll go with our layered potato casserole. My dear mother made a pan full for our supper tonight. Enjoy!
Taco Potato Casserole
2 1/2 lbs. potatoes
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
2 lbs. hamburger
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 package taco seasoning
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 – 4 cups cheese sauce
Nacho or tortilla chips, crushed
Peel, cook and shred potatoes. Mix with Ranch dressing mix, sour cream and milk. Put in the bottom of a casserole dish.
Fry hamburger with onions and seasonings. Layer on top of potatoes. Top with cheese sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes or until hot.
Top with chips and serve.
Optional: You can also serve the cheese sauce and chips separately and layer them on top of the meat and potatoes when you fix your plate.
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