My fingers were stiff with the chilly January weather as I pinned the last pair of homemade pants onto the wash line before hurrying back into the house. Even though I had bundled up before going outside, the cold chill of winter felt quite nippy until I got back inside.
Hanging clothes on the wash line and watching them dry is always a satisfaction but especially so in January with a blanket of fresh snow on the ground. I love the scent of fresh air and the softness of the clothes that were hung out, frozen stiff, then thawed and dried.
Using cloth diapers is something I enjoy. The best part of it watching a long line of them merrily flapping in the breeze, airing out and soaking up sunshine. I also use disposable diapers, but there is a satisfaction in knowing that our diapers aren’t adding to the pile of garbage but will be reused again and again.
My 4-year-old daughter, Julia, is my helper when it comes to hanging up small articles of clothing. We have two clothespin wheels that we use. Have you ever seen any of them? It’s an actual rim from a bicycle wheel with clothespins fastened to it around the rim. There are about 36 clothespins on one wheel. It’s one of those things that, once you get started, you won’t want to do without them. (At least it is like that for us Amish ladies.) The wheels can easily be taken indoors to pin the laundry onto it and then hung out to dry. In case of a sudden rain shower, it can quickly be brought inside again.
Julia does well in helping pin clothes onto the wheels and then taking them back off again after they have dried. There are times when she gets tired of it, though, especially if we have an extra large Monday morning laundry pile. I keep reminding her that if she learns perseverance at home, it’ll help her once she is in school or perhaps be a dedicated mother someday.
Julia really likes helping with household chores. She has plenty of time for fun and just being a 4-year-old but, to us, it’s almost important to teach children at an early age the importance of pitching in with the work of running a home. It makes her feel grown up to help carry the laundry by taking hold of one end of the laundry basket, while I grab the other. We enjoy working together, calling ourselves a team
I don’t hang out all of our laundry during the winter months. We don’t have a dryer. We have a stove that can burn wood or coal. I call it my dryer. I never cease to be amazed at how fast the laundry dries when it is hung close to the stove. This past fall we used wood, but we recently switched to coal for a while. The coal is purchased from Daniel’s father in Danville, Ohio. We really like our stove. It does an excellent job keeping us warm during blustery winter weather.
Julia has adopted her daddy’s love for cold or even rainy, dreary days. When it’s snowing or raining outside, it is not unusual for her to say: “It’s cozy in here. Let’s light a candle.”
There are not many things that my husband Daniel enjoys more than watching the birds feasting at the feeder as he sits at the kitchen table with his wife and children, sipping hot chocolate or latte and munching on a homemade cookie.
Join us as we relax at the kitchen table and watch our feathered friends enjoying Daniel’s liberal servings of bird feed?
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/3 cup sugar
1 quart of milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla
Mix water, cocoa and sugar well over medium heat and then add milk, stirring constantly while heating. Add vanilla. Serve with a dab of whipped cream in each mug or serve with mini marshmallows.
Reheats well but boils over easily.
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.