We are still having temperatures below zero on some mornings. We also received a few more inches of snow. The local paper said we have had 41.5 inches of snow this year and the average temperature has been zero. We are getting an idea of what life feels like in Alaska. There have been very few days that the temperature was warm enough for the children to go outside to enjoy the snow. On days that were warm enough they enjoyed sledding, building igloos, etc. The boys had Stormy the pony pulling several sleds. Lovina uses Minnie, our miniature pony, to pull her sled. Pulling a sled is a good way to exercise the ponies in the winter months.
Benjamin and Joseph built a wooden sled and now are getting to enjoy it. I think the sled will outlast the plastic store bought ones. This seems to be more like the winters we had when I was growing up. I have fond memories of going places with the big bobsled hitched to our team of Belgian work horses or two of the driving horses. I remember sometimes on a Sunday morning uncle Chris and family would come driving in to pick us up with their bobsled to go to church. Sometimes another family on the way to church would be picked up also. We didn’t mind being crowded on those cold rides. Bales of straw were placed in the bobsled to make seats and some of the smaller children would sit on the floor wrapped in thick buggy robes. It was always such a cozy ride. Uncle Chris would stand at the front of the bobsled dressed in a big, long thick coat to protect him from the cold wind as he drove the team of horses down the snow covered roads.
I can remember when the 1978 blizzard hit us. It took an hour for the road in front of the house to be plowed out. There wasn’t any traffic for a week. The milk truck couldn’t come to pick up milk, but we still had to milk the cows. We milked cows and ran out of milk cans so every container and bucket that could be filled was full of milk. The kitchen was shut off to help keep the rest of the house warmer. The milk was stored in the cold kitchen and the dining room was used for our kitchen. We would go outside and could walk over the fence posts and mailbox. We could walk up to the roof of the sheds and write our name on the roof in the snow. I was almost 7 years old and remember when the bus finally came to pick up my older siblings. I would stand on top of this huge snow pile to wave good-bye. I was young enough to not have the worries that I imagine my parents had until the roads were opened. I do remember that when we went out to do the milking dad told us to hold on to one of our older brothers. It was hard to see in the dark with the blowing snow.
Our highlight this week was daughter Verena’s return from Florida. We missed her being gone eight days. The children made a big “Welcome Home Verena” sign with balloons on it. They hung it on the shed door so she could see it when they arrived home. She had a nice, memorable trip. It was nice to all be together again to eat supper that night. This was the first time to have one of our children be away from us that long. God bless you all. I will share a new pizza crust recipe I received from a friend.
1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115)
1 packet of yeast
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornmeal
Place 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over water; stir in sugar. Let stand 5 minutes.
Add remaining water, oil, and salt. Stir in flour until dough pulls away from the side of bowl.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, 8-10 minutes.
Coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place until almost double in size, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Punch down dough.
Coat two 12 pinch pizza pans with cooking spray. Sprinkle pans with cornmeal.
Divide dough in half. Roll dough to fit prepared pans.
Hint: Letting the dough rest for 10 minutes after it is about half the size will help it stretch easily the rest of the way.
Press dough against edge to form rim. Bake crust for 10 minutes.
Remove crust from oven and top with pizza sauce and your favorite toppings. Once you have your toppings on bake for another 15-20 minutes.
Readers with culinary or cultural questions or to share recipes write Lovina at: Lovina Eicher, c/o Oasis Newsfeatures, P.O. Box 157, Middletown, OH 45042. To learn more about Amish culture and the Amish Cook column and to sign up for the twice weekly newsletter, visit www.amishcookonline.com or “The Amish Cook Fan Page” on Facebook.