Thursday, September 27, 2012

Special guest writer Martha: In this post Martha discusses old order quiting bee's and what goes into making a quilt. With a recipe for Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Snacking Cake.

Martha and Joseph are old order Mennonites who live on a farm in New York state with their family, and like the Amish use horse and buggy when traveling.

Thank you for all your comments and questions on my past post's.  I really enjoyed and appreciated them.  To answer your question-yes we still have quilting bees.  Most of the time quilting bees are held are in the fall or winter after all the crops are harvested and things have sort of settled down-but we do have one going now for the former teacher and her husband. 

As their marriage came as such a surprise to us without an advance notice-we are now making their wedding quilt. We hope to surprise them with it. Quilting bee is what the men call: "The ladies day out."  We get ready ahead of quilting bee day so we get all chores done.  Also, we make sure that the men have a lunch ready for them at noon time plus a few snacks.  Also, we defrost and make up what we can for supper the night before so when we get home from quilting we can put it in the oven.  Us ladies also each bring a snack or finger dish to the quilting so we have something to snack on.

After we get our breakfast dishes done - we leave for quilting.  Those that have small children or babies bring them along.  One or two of the older girls watch the little ones while the rest of us quilt.  Our children are taught quilting at a very young age.  My girls are older, but like Jean's Susan is age 6-learning how to do quilting. She still has a lot to learn but we let her put a few of her stitches in the quilt as it is her former teachers.  We are trying to let each of her former girl students that lives locally put in a few stitches-but I am getting ahead of myself.

At the quilting bee we can have as many as 20 to 30 ladies or as small as 3 to 4 ladies.  It all depends on who can come.  Right now we are getting about 5 or 6 ladies at a time.  With the planting, harvest, Farmers Markets, etc. some are really busy right now.  The quilt is laid out in one persons house. It stays there until we get it done.  When we first come, we sit and chat until we have a group of us there and start working on the quilt.  As we work, we chat.  

At mid -morning we stop for coffee or tea and part of our snacks-then continue on until lunch time.  The woman's whose house it is at puts on lunch-after which we get back to working again.  In the afternoon, we have a mid-snack-then back to work.  We usually end working about 3 or 4 so we can get home when our children come home for school (which is not a problem now) and we can start dinner. 

During our current season-some of us come and go as we must because of harvesting, etc. that I previously mentioned.  As it is staying at this woman's house-we bring snacks plus , sometimes, a dish to pass for lunch so she doesn't have to do that for all the quilting's.  We want her to enjoy our company and help on the quilt-not spending all her time making food for us. All of us have a really enjoyable time at quilting.  Some of us are better than others at quilting, but we all work together.  

Sometimes I have to take out what I put in and do it over as I haven't done this as long as the other ladies have.  We all have certain things we are better at than others. Most of us are either Old Order Mennonite or Amish.  Once in a while we have a local lady join us who is an Englisher.  They either know the person who the quilt is being made for or they want to learn quilting. Canning is similar to quilting in some ways.  We all show up at whose ever house it is with our children.  

Again we have as many as 10 to 15 or as few as 3 or 4.  After a cup of coffee or tea with a roll or brisket - we start in. It looks like we have a lot of canning to do, but with us all together makes time pass faster.  Each person has a job to do and we get it done.  Also, we have our breaks and lunch depending on how much someone has to get done.  Sometimes we switch jobs after lunch so we aren't doing the same thing all the time.  Once the canning is done, labeled and on the shelf-we plan whose house will be next and back home we go. 

Sometimes we do two canning's at one house.  As Jean is not quite up to par yet-we did strawberry canning at Jean's.  I also brought some of our strawberries over so we did her canning and mine at the same time.  We all bought a dish to pass and snacks so Jean's maude (maid) didn't have to prepare us lunch.  We all had a great time.  Now to the next house.

Funny you should ask if we have a canning workshop.  As I said in another post a while back, we have youth groups (Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, etc.) plus adults come to our home to see how we make apple butter, cider, pies, etc.  We also do this same thing at maple syrup time.  People have asked us if we have canning workshops.  In past years we haven't-but are thinking of starting it this year.  

We thought we might try with a Girl Scout Troop first and see how it goes.  Also, we would sign up a group of maybe 5 adults for another canning group.  Then we could see how these work out.  If adults and young folks really like it, we may make it a regular every year.  Just so you know men adults have asked to learn as well as women.  Please feel free to ask me any questions.  I would be glad to answer them for you,
Be With the Lord, Martha
            Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Snacking Cake    
3 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon                  
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cinnamon chips
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. If you are using a dark pan, preheat to 300 degrees.

1. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice tighter in a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. Cream the shortening and sugars together. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Beat the mixture until light and fluffy.

3. Add the maple and pumpkin and combine.

4. Alternately add the flour in three additions and the milk in two, starting with the flour. (Adding the flour and milk in stages will better balance the batter.) Add the chips. Scrape the batter into a well-greased 8 1/2 x 13-inch pan.

5. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the cake tests done. Cool on a wire rack.

6. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating. Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Add just enough water to bring the frosting to a spreadable consistency. Frost the cake after it has cooled. Recipe from www.recipegoldmine.com


I've created this website out of my own interest in the Amish/Mennonite culture and of living in the country. Its a place for people who are interested in the Amish like myself, and its also a place to share Images of the beautiful country side that is all around me. my name is Richard, and I live very close to an Amish settlement here in Pennsylvania. This site is dedicated to my mother, who had started all of this by taking me as a child to Lancaster,pa from our apartment in the Bronx projects..........THANK YOU MOM............... Richard