We are in week No. 6 of the coronavirus lockdown here in Michigan. A time in our life that will never be forgotten. The fact that we are having a few days of rainy weather doesn’t do much to improve the mood. But, oh how much more we appreciate those nice sunny days! We cannot control the weather, so we accept what God sends and try to do our best!

April always reminds us of my husband Joe’s dear parents, who both passed away in this month. His mother, Salome, was only 54 years old, and it has been 25 years now since she passed away. At the time, we only had one child, Elizabeth, who was a little over 10 months old. None of our children will know Grandma Eicher, but we cannot question God’s plan.

Joe’s father passed away 11 years ago at the age of 70. We lived in the same community for five years before his passing, so our children were able to see him more often, although our two youngest were still 3 and 4 at the time, so they really don’t remember much about having a grandparent. My parents both had died before they were born.

I remember all my grandparents very well, so it’s sad when some never meet theirs. Again, God knows best, even though we question why at times. Trust and have faith!

The boys have been hauling lots of manure into the fields, and the barn is being kept extra clean, since we are still waiting for church services to be continued. We will host them here in our pole barn once they decide it’s safe to meet again because of the virus.

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On Sunday afternoon, our family went for a walk. It was a nice sunny, warm day and very enjoyable to get out of the house for a while. My sisters Verena and Susan were sitting out on their patio, so we stopped and chatted with them. The walk did wonders and refreshed us all! We played several board games after coming home.

Since news is scarce, I will answer more questions from readers. My editors copy them from the website and send them to me, as I don’t see them otherwise.

A reader asks about heating our homes with coal and if it causes problems health-wise. We have a hopper-fed coal stove in our basement, which has vents in the floor where the heat comes up to heat the main floor and travels up our open staircase to heat the bedrooms upstairs, too. We have a vent installed to take the carbon monoxide out. We add coal twice a day, and I never smell coal. The stove is very tight and doesn’t let out any fumes. None of our family has respiratory problems, but when we burned wood, it bothered a few of our children when they were younger, which is why we changed to coal.

Another reader asks which laundry disinfectant I use. I used to use Germ Clean, but I haven’t been able to get it anymore from Stanley, so now I use Lysol laundry sanitizer, and it seems to do well.

A reader asked if we make our own cheese and butter. I did when we had a cow, but since we sold her, I buy our cheese. I buy colby cheese by the horn from our neighbor’s store. We love colby cheese. We use a cheese slicer and slice it off the horn. We eat cheese with our sandwiches, with crackers, and with our meals.

My husband, Joe, and I made horseradish this week from our own horseradish plant. Joe’s Uncle Solomon gave us the horseradish root so we could try growing it ourselves. I will share Uncle Solomon’s recipe. It has become a favorite side dish to have with hard-boiled eggs in this household! Add additional salt and sugar to your own taste.

God bless you!

Uncle Solomon’s Homemade Horseradish

1 (6- to 8-inch) piece horseradish root

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon sugar

Pinch of salt

Clean and very finely chop the horseradish root. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a small bowl, adding only enough horseradish to make it the thickness and spiciness you like. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Readers can write to her at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her.