Cheery spring greetings from our house to yours. We thoroughly enjoy spring days in the quiet countryside outside Flat Rock, Illinois. Julia and Austin both relish the opportunity of going outside quite frequently on these sunny days. Soaking up the spring sunshine as I work in the garden or flowerbed feels like the best tonic on earth after the winter months of being indoors most of the time.
At 18 months old, Austin certainly is an outdoorsman. Recently, he started saying “go, go” when he wants to go outside. I was baffled. We generally use the German word “geh,” instead of the English word “go.” Several days later, it clicked. I hadn’t given it a thought that once everyone was bundled up and ready to go this winter, I’d say, “Let’s go!”
When I tell him to go get his Crocs to go outside, he gets all wound up and excited, a sure sign of spring. To him, any shoes or sandals are called Crocs.
Yesterday Austin was allowed to go outside and watch the schoolchildren next door play their running game at recess time. He was impressed especially with two of his aunts being among the students and another aunt who was teaching, On top of that, his grandpa is also a teacher at the school. Austin stood with outstretched arms “like a little bird,” Grandpa said. Several of the children ran up to him, giving him bites of the salty snacks they were munching on.
My husband, Daniel, also enjoys working outdoors after working in the shop all day. I’ve greatly appreciated all his help with gardening this spring. It’s always interesting to see what he reels out of his superb imagination to try out next. This year he came up with the idea of using three-foot black plastic strips for each row in the garden. Next he decided to cover the narrow strips of soil between the plastic rows with straw to keep the weeds from showing their faces. Hopefully we’ll have more of a fuss-free garden with no tilling and a very minimal amount of weeding to do. The plastic also does an outstanding job of keeping the roots of the vegetables nice and moist. I’ll let you know later in the summer how this experiment worked.
Julia enjoyed being able to help with dropping seeds into the soil as we poked holes into the plastic. It took some extra time to do the planting on plastic, yet Daniel and I both agreed that we’d much rather spend more time now and have less weeding and hoeing in the hot summer sun.
As you can imagine, Austin was serious about being in the midst of everything. Why aren’t 1½-year-olds allowed to help plant those colorful seeds? Or why doesn’t Mother allow them to scatter these attractive seeds all over the garden by the handful? And how about those long strips of black plastic? Wouldn’t those be perfect runways for little feet to run up and down? Yes, gardening with children can be challenging and quite stretching when it comes to patience levels. These trying times have been a reminder of God’s love and patience towards me even when I fail and repeatedly ask him for forgiveness. I can’t help but stand in awe of God’s loving provision to us in spite of our failures and weaknesses.
Daniel’s favorite foods during these spring days is anything that comes off the grill. We’d love to hear from any of you who might have a favorite grilling recipe to share.
I’m a bit spoiled, Daniel loves grilling so he is the one who does the grilling over the open fire. In the meanwhile, I get the remaining supper items on the table. We’ve found that bacon adds flavor to numerous grilled items. This week Daniel’s brother, John, served their specialty straight from the grill. If you have access to a grill, you’ll find this to be amazingly simple, yet tasty.
Seasoning salt to taste
Steaks, sliced ½-inch thick
Marinate sliced steaks in Italian dressing, mixed with seasoning salt, for 24 hours. Use enough dressing to cover the steaks. Wrap bacon slices around steak. Grill both sides until no longer pink on the inside, approximately 10-15 minutes.
Readers with culinary or cultural questions or stories can write to Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427-2019. To see more on the Amish, go to www.amish365.com.