I’m here at my new desk. Well it’s not actually new, only new for me. I picked it up at a garage sale for free. So from this new spot in the office I look out the window and marvel.
Many things have happened in the last week. Daniel and I had plans of replacing our deck on the back side of the house since the years of use took its toll and it was no longer safe.
Sometimes I don’t really have words to express how I feel; that’s where I am at right now. Thanks to kind-hearted church family and my in-laws from Ohio, I now have a brand new deck in the making!
The children are totally impressed with the process and love watching out the kitchen windows as posts are set, floor joists securely fastened and decking put on. Jesse, our little monkey, was convinced he could walk right on top of those 2 by 8 joists. I was horrified one day when Julia told me that when I wasn’t looking he slipped out the window and climbed onto the joists. How can a mom be everywhere she needs to be? Sometimes I just tell myself that all people do grow up eventually! I certainly wouldn’t change his adventurous personality if I could, but he does keep me hopping. It’s like my mom used to say about my youngest sister, “I don’t know if she keeps me young or makes me old!”
Our new deck will be the perfect spot to hosts guests. Make your next stop at our house and relax with us out back. Next spring when the project is completed it will be screened in and have a roof over it. Double doors out from the kitchen will make it easy and accessible for grilling and eating on the deck with larger groups. Julia has an interest in grilling, so I’m hoping to train her in, to go on with Daddy’s grilling, especially when I’m busy fixing other food for guests and taking care of the children. Our children all love having guests, I tell them if they keep growing up and being responsible with helping mom and cleaning up after themselves, we’ll be able to keep hosting more guests; it takes a joint effort.
When the screen is put on the deck we’ll need to figure out a new spot for our bird feeder which is now on the open deck. Remember that big feeder Daniel had made? It’s the one I had kiddingly told him it’s almost big enough for me to use for my own house.
I love watching a wide variety of birds including blue jays, cardinals and wood peckers on the deck and woods beyond, while I stare into space deciding what all I want to tell you about!
I think of the countless 50-pound bags of bird seed Daniel fed them. On my next trip to town I’ll be stocking up.
I can still hear Daniel marveling over the chickadees’ tiny legs not getting cold in the snow and ice. I smile, surely he was dedicated. It was nothing unusual for him to sprint across the deck without bothering to put on a coat in the freezing temperatures to add a scoop of feed onto the feeder before he sat down to eat his own breakfast. From his seat at the head of the table he kept an eye on the birds, reminding the rest of us that if we don’t move around too much, the birds will be more comfortable to flock in for their food. Besides the sunflower seeds he liked keeping them supplied with suet. Thanks to his sister Mary for making a large five gallon bucket full on one of her visits to our house.
Chuckling, I recall making a bowl full of suet some years ago, then I left for the shop where Daniel was working. In the meanwhile my younger brother or cousin, (I’m not sure which) stopped by our house and seeing the bowl with raisins, oatmeal, peanut butter, and such, helped himself to a bite. Ugh. It didn’t taste like he thought it might!
Now I do have this most amazing suet bar recipe introduced to me by my aunt. This suet recipe is not for the birds; no, it’s made for us to enjoy with a mug of latte while we watch the feathered friends enjoy their suet. It’s like my mom said, “The suet bars are better than any store bought candy bar!
Unbelievable Suet Bars
1 ½ cup chocolate chips of your choice
¾ cup Rice Crispies
1 tablespoon chia seeds
¾ cup peanut butter
½ cup honey
½ cup sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
½ cup cashew pieces
¼ cup craisins
½ cup sliced almonds
salt – Kosher is best
Lightly grease a 9 by 13 inch pan and spread chocolate chips on pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 5 minutes. Smooth with a spoon. Sprinkle Rice Crispies and chia seeds on top. Set aside, melt peanut butter and honey over medium heat. Pour evenly on top and gently spread over melted chocolate. Sprinkle half of nuts on top, then seeds and craisins, followed by remaining nuts. Gently roll with a pastry roller. Sprinkle with a bit of salt. Chill and enjoy, one yummy bite at a time.
As always, let your taste buds be your guide. Any of these toppings can be switched with nuts, seeds, or other treats of your choice. Your goal will be to nicely cover the peanut butter layer. Too much will result in having seeds and nuts tumbling off your bars.
Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427