In her latest, Lovina Eicher, an Amish mother of eight who writes the Lovina’s Amish Kitchen column, explains a challenge of everyday Amish life – making sure the water pump is working reliably enough for a shower.

Lovina’s household’s water pump is run by a battery, in this case a solar powered-one. Lately in her Michigan community the sun hasn’t been doing its job, which means the gas-powered generator needs to be fired up to charge that battery. Lovina describes what they needed to do next, and why she was holding off on a shower until they got it done:

We had a few cloudy, rainy days and now our solar battery alarm is beeping out in the pole barn. That means the generator has to be started in order to recharge the battery pack. Our water pump is run by our solar battery. So far, we have water, but as soon as it gets to be daylight, someone needs to go get gas at the gas station. Yes, at 11 p.m. last night, after everyone was already in bed, daughter Loretta could hear the battery beeping.

It was too late for anyone to go get gas, the gas stations near us were closed, and we didn’t have any gas left in the jugs. Of course, during the night hours no one was using water, so it was okay until this morning when activity began again. I am waiting to take a shower until the gas is here. I do not want to risk running out of water in the middle of a shower. Hopefully once it’s daylight, the sun will come out, but the generator still needs to be started to help get the charge back in the battery pack.

Just a reality of this life when living off the grid. Lovina also gives us another interesting slice of life in this week’s column – on the food and people logistics of the baptismal service which was held in her community this past Sunday.

I appreciate that she shares the numbers, which gives a sense for how much food gets eaten at an extra-large church meal. Going by Lovina’s estimates, this baptismal service had probably double the turnout of the average Amish Sunday service:

On Sunday, Mose and Susan hosted baptismal services in a big tent at their place for daughter Loretta, nephew Jacob, and another young boy in our church district, Jeremiah. They prepared for extra people and had borrowed another bench wagon from a neighboring church district. I’m doing a rough estimate, but according to how many times we had to reset the tables, I would think almost 300 people were there in honor of the three young souls being baptized. Mose and Susan were well prepared with extra food, and we had enough for everyone. I made around two and a half big pots of coffee and we still almost ran out. This would probably total 200 cups. We also had 12 gallons of iced tea, but it was a cool day, so people wanted more coffee instead.

Also on the menu were ham, cheese, homemade wheat and white bread (60 loaves but we had some left), pickles, hot peppers, red beets, peanut butter spread, butter, rhubarb jam, and cookies (four different kinds). Popcorn was served while dishes were being washed.

Finally, Lovina shares a recipe for “Amish Wedding Nothings” – a sugar-sprinkled thin pastry.

Photo: Lovina’s Amish Kitchen

These are also called elephant ears or knee patches, she explains, and “are almost always served” in her home community of Berne, Indiana at weddings. Read the full column, and get the recipe here.

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