Summertime is in full swing in the Yoder household. The hot summer sun is producing bountiful supplies of garden goodies such as beans, onions, lettuce and, as always, more cucumbers and zucchini than we are able to eat.
Not only is the garden doing well this summer, so are our pets and animals. They keep reproducing! Our buggy horse, Sapphire, is about to have her first colt. Our 4-year-old daughter, Julia, is all excited about it. Last fall, when we told her that Sapphire was going to have a colt, she was absolutely thrilled and kept it a secret for awhile. (Just like Amish ladies do. They keep it a secret the first several months.)
My husband, Daniel, is planning to put up another fence to keep her in the front section of the pasture right behind our house so he can keep close tabs on her the next couple of weeks.
Our pony, Sassy Sundae, is also very dear to Julia. Sometimes she goes out and affectionately talks to her just like she does to little babies. This summer we hope to train her to be hitched to a pony cart. Julia has big plans of being able to drive her. We’ll wait and see; she might have a little more growing up to do before then. Maybe more than she realizes.
Several weeks ago a new pet joined our farm. One evening Julia’s beloved Aunt Keturah knocked on the door with an adorable kitten. It was a gift from my brother, Javin, and his family who had several extra kittens. They decided to give both Keturah and Julia one. Keturah was the one to deliver Julia’s new pet.
The first evening Julia had her kitten, she was like a concerned mama, worried if her dear little kitten would be alright. In her bedtime prayer, she added a little prayer on behalf of her new little kitten, asking God to give it a good night’s sleep in her new home.
When Austin saw the kitten, the first thing he said was “Aye-Aye-Aye.” Somehow that stuck. He refuses to call the kitten anything other than Aye-Aye-Aye. When he wakes up from a nap, one of the first things on his mind is to go find Aye-Aye-Aye.
The children both spend hours playing with their precious little kitten. At 20 months old, Austin has a tough time understanding that kittens do have feelings like anyone or anything else and that it is not kind to squeeze them or chase them with a stick. Meanwhile, Julia is the sensitive type and keeps informing me of his ornery antics. She tenderly and carefully cares for her kitten, sometimes even wrapping it in a pink blanket as she rocks and sings to it.
Julia chose to name her Sprinkles after another cat that her Aunt Keturah used to have. Time will tell whether Sprinkles or Aye-Aye-Aye sticks.
Besides playing outdoors and spending time with their kitten, the children enjoy helping me with whatever I am doing. Today Julia was delighted to help make a double batch of Vanilla Crumb Bars. They freeze well and they’re one of Daddy’s favorites so we decided to stock up in the freezer so we could have an easy summer pastry. We enjoy them frozen or at room temperature. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
VANILLA CRUMB BARS
2½ cups flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup maple syrup
5 tablespoons flour
2 cups water
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup butter softened
½ teaspoon baking soda
For the crust: Mix all together. Put in greased, rimmed 10 by 15 cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until it looks dry but not browned.
Filling: Combine filling ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened.
Pour onto crust.
Crumb topping: Mix until crumbly, then put crumbs on top of filling.
Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes till crumbs are lightly browned.
Cool and cut into bars.
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.