Friday, February 28, 2014


When I first went to The Violet Barn, I thought African Violets were African Violets - all were alike.  Ma showed me that I was wrong.  I took picture of some of the signs that tell what kind of African Violets they are - along with the price at the store.  I learned, they are not all alike. 

They also ship out LOTS of flowers.  I saw the shipping area but was asked not to take pictures there as it might disturb the people that do the packing.  I stood and watched them pack.  Each plant is carefully packaged and sent.  It is really something to see.

Tomorrow I will show pictures of other flowers they have there and the store.  I hope you enjoy these and more to come.  The Violet Barn

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Welcome to the Violet Barn !!  If you subscribe to African Violet Magazine or have been to an African Violet Show or searched African Violet on the computer,  then you probably know Rob and Olive "Ma" Robinson  who started and own The Violet Barn.  Most of their sales are done through the mail or at shows, but they do sell from their store in Naples, New York.    I would suggest that you go to their blog and read how they met and got into founding The Violet Bran - it is very romantic.

I found them on the computer when I was looking for some special pots for African Violets.  When I found the pots, I called them to see if they would mail them to me.  Ma told me she was sorry, but that particular pot I was looking for was only sold from the store.  So I went to the store.  Being inside an African Violet Store, to me, is like being a child let loose in a candy store. 

When I got New York State of Mind, I thought of them and finally e-mailed Rob asking if they would allow me to  come out and take pictures.  I thank Rob and Ma for allowing me to come in and take all the pictures that I wanted. 

The pictures above are of their sign, two pictures of the building, some of the awards they have received, and the entrance to the store.  African Violets are not the only flowers that they sell, as you will see, but their main sell. 

To get to their blog is .  On their blog they tell of how they got started, what they sell, care of African Violets and lots more.  They are wonderful people to do business with.

Tomorrow, I will show more of the flowers inside the store. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014



2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
juice and grated rind of 1 orange
2 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup fresh blueberries or huckleberries (you can use frozen berries, thawed) washed and dried
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

You can use one large or two small loaf pans, greased or lined with wax paper.

In a large bowl sift together 1 3/4 cups flour and the dry ingredients. 

In a measuring cup pour the juice and orange rind and add to the batter.  Add boiling water to make 3/4 cup.  Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients, mixing well.  In a separate bowl combine the berries, pecans and 3/4 cup flour.  Add berries and pecans to batter-taking care not to mash the berries.  Pour batter into pans.  Bake until bread is a light brown.  Test with a wooden toothpick inserted in loaf comes out clean and dry.  Remove from oven and turn pan on its side.  Carefully remove the bread out of the loaf pan.  Cook on metal rack.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I am not doing a Pinecraft Post today.  As you all know, Jean has stated that she is leaving at least for a while.  Like everyone else, I tried to talk her into staying until Anna said typical man.  Then I started to think, Anna was right.

Got on an Englisher's computer that I know that lives near Pinecraft and looked back on some of Jean's posts on Amish Stories and New York State of Mind.  Jean has given us almost three years of her good times and bad times.  She has spoken about the way Old Order Mennonite life and why.  She has spoken about taking in and adopting Michael, Edward and Katie.  She has spoken about the fire, her serious operation, moving, and much, much more.  Most important she has spoken of the Lord.  Not to get anyone to change their religion nor not to try to force her religion but to help others understand the Lord better.

We owe Jean a thank you for all she has done.  It is not easy to just come up with a post sometimes.  I know.  It has taken Jean many hours over the years coming up with them.  Jean has answered many of the questions you have asked.  She has told of things she thought you would be interested in. 

In looking at her posts, I wonder if we really appreciated what we had when we had her.  I don't think that we realized that sometime it would end, at least for a while. 

So instead of trying to talk her into staying or coming back as I did earlier this morning, I called Jean and thanked her for all she has done.  For the many hours that she had put on the posts.  For sharing her family and life with us.  I hope she enjoys her rest.

Because she asked Martha and myself, we have agreed to take over her posts. We are in no way trying to replace Jean - we can't do that.  Jean is Jean.  Martha is Martha and I am Elmer.   So starting on March 3rd, I will be doing the posts on Monday.  As Martha's husband, Joseph, is Bishop, it is harder for her to get posts on than me.  But, she will be doing posts, too.  Maybe if I can get Anna over her fear of computers, I can get her to put something on, too. 

What you must remember is that we too, are not going to last forever, too.  We don't anticipate leaving anytime soon, but in time, things may change. 

Thank you Jean for all you have done.  We appreciate all you did and you are welcome back  anytime.  God Bless You and Your Family.

Trust God's Wisdom,

Monday, February 24, 2014


When I first wrote on here, I was going to leave.  I didn't mean to shock Marilyn, when I told here I was leaving.  I felt that I was boring to you all.  That I didn't have anymore information for you.  But after Marilyn read me all your comments, I rethought.  I have decided to say, I want some time off to rest, get my writing energy back, be able to come with more posts to give you. 

I thank you all for your comments.  You are all so very kind.  You have all given me so many things to write about.  We have all been together through all my good times and my not so good times.  We seem like more than friends, like family.  I can't leave my family.

So I have still decided to take some time off, but I plan on coming back. But I don't know how long I will be gone.  While I am gone, Edward would like to put on a post about his coming to our home as a foster child and now a member of our family and religion.  Also, he may be putting on some recipes. 

Grandmother Olive still plans on putting canning meat on.  So she will be on when she finds the notes that she had or rewrites them.  They are in the house some place, but got lost during the move. 

Maybe when I come back, I will only come once a month or maybe every week - I am still thinking on that.  I thank Elmer and Martha for taking over while I am gone.  It was decided that Martha and I will both be putting the recipes on and maybe Edward, too. 

Again, thank you for all your kind comments.  I hope you understand my wanting to leave for a while.  I feel I am leaving you in good hands. 

Be With God,

Sunday, February 23, 2014


This is the Palmyra (Dutch) Reformed Church that is located on Canandaigua Street in Palmyra, New York.    I wasn't able to find much history on this church in my search.
The Reformed Dutch Church was founded from the outgrowth of a mission and was organized August 15, 1887 with thirty-four members.  Service was first held in the Western Presbyterian Church.  They moved to another building until their present church was founded.  I couldn't find a date that the church was built, but you can see from the sign on the front of the church, they are celebrating 125 years. If I did my figuring correct with the 125 years, they were founded 1888 or 1889. Today they changed their name to, Palmyra Reformed Church. 
The pictures show the front, side, sign in front of the church and the sign on the church.  The last picture is of their parsonage. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Just thought I would tell you a little about what I will be putting on here.  I still have lots of pictures that I took that I was saving up in case I couldn't get out to take pictures.  So I am going to be putting some of those on Fridays. Some are Amish, Mennonite, but most are from the area around here.

The first, I plan on having starting this coming Thursday.  If you like flowers, especially African Violets, you will like this one.  I was at this business back in October.  It will take more than one post to get it all on - so it will probably Thursday thru Saturday.

Also, plan on putting on a post of the Erie Canal that I was going to put on last summer.  I finally got the pictures of the Canal Museum that is in our town.  That also, will take more than one post.

Last fall, I took pictures of the car show we had for Canal Town Days and still have a lot of those pictures to get on. 

Took pictures of Amish and Mennonite farms that I never got on, so I want to get them on. 

Also have pictures of the moon that I took one afternoon and evening that you might find interesting.

Today, I am going out to take some pictures of churches as I am getting low.  I do have a couple, I am keeping in case I can't get out sometime and need one.  By the way, if any of you have pictures of your church that you would like on here, please let me know.  I would be glad to put them on here.

Some of the pictures that I have, go back to 2012, so I guess it's time that I get them on.  Of course, I will be putting new pictures on as I get them, too.  I just think it's time I cleaned out all the back ones out to give me more room for future pictures. 


I just got a bomb this morning, after I put this post on.  Jean called and she is thinking of leaving New York State of Mind, at least for a while, if not forever.  She believes that she has run out of things to talk about and that she has told us all that would interest us.  I disagreed with her. 
Monday will be Jean's last post for a while.  She thinks that we should have Elmer on, in her place, to tell of his Amish ways.  Many of their ways are similar.  I haven't spoken to Elmer yet.  I am still in shock.  I wasn't expecting this.



Friday, February 21, 2014


Curling is an ancient game on ice founded in Scotland.  Every year the Rochester Curling Club is invited to our town to play.  Out of the ten years they have been invited, the weather has only gone along with them five of those years.  This year is one of them the weather went along.  I had never seen it before so it was interesting to me.

Curling is a winter game or sport in which opposite rinks (teams) take turns delivering their rocks (42 pound polished granite stones) down a 144-foot long sheet (ice alley).  Points are scored in each end (inning) by placing your rinks' rocks closer  to the button of the house (center of the target) than your opponent's rocks.  This gives curling it's nickname of "chess on ice".

Each rink has four players: Lead (throws first rocks), Second (second rocks), Vice-Skip (third rocks) and Skip (the captain who throws fourth rocks).  While one player delivers a rock, two of the teammates follow it with  brooms poised, ready to pounce and sweep in front of the rocks in order to extend its distance and keep its path straighter.  Skips stand at the far end of the sheet reading strategy and calling the shots and sweeping.  Be careful not to hog your rock or burn one with your broom or it will be removed from the play.  It's sounds complicated but is easy to understand it if you see it.

Picture four shows the granite rocks they use.  Picture five shows the brooms. Six shows someone sending off a rock. Seven shows one using their broom.  I really enjoyed being there to see curling. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014



1/2 pound pork loin, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stripes bacon, finely chopped
2 cups canned beef broth
2 cups canned chicken broth
1 cup (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
2 medium carrots, sliced
3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 medium cabbage chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Additional chopped fresh parsley

Cook and stir pork, onion and bacon in 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat until onion is slightly tender.  Remove from heat.  Drain fat. 

Stir in beef broth and chicken broth.  Stir in tomatoes, carrots, marjoram, bay leaf and pepper.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer-uncovered about 30 minutes.  Remove and discard bay leaf.  Skim off fat.

Stir cabbage into soup.  Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes or until cabbage is tender. 

Remove soup from heat; stir in 2 tablespoons parsley.  Ladle into soup bowls and garnish each serving with addition parsley.                                                                 Makes servings for 6

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Well, here I am again telling of our visit to Pinecraft.  Before I do that I would like to add something to Jean's post of yesterday.  Both the Amish and Old Order Mennonite headstones are installed facing the rising run.  They are that way for a couple of reasons.  One, is to remind us, that Jesus was crucified, died and was buried for our sins and rose from the dead.  Jesus is always with us, but when He returns in His body, again, He will come with a rising sun.  So we want to be facing the sun when He comes.

Now, I will answer some of your questions starting with where is worship held. As the cottages are too small to have services in like we do in our houses up north, there is an Amish church here.  There is also a Mennonite Church.  We attend our worship in the Amish church.

I think it is harder for us to get use to using electric here than it will be for us be without it up north.  Something about wanting to light the lights here - and then remembering there are switches.  Of course, when we get back home, the first couple of days, we will be trying to use the light switches we don't have.  As far as it being a hard time either way, not really. 

There are some Amish groups that are not allowed to come here.  I believe the Swartzentruber, is one, that do not allow their people to come here.  But, I may be wrong.  I know certain Amish groups do not allow their people to come here.

As to why we are allowed electric here and we are not allowed at home is a good question.  I know up north we are not allowed electric because we do not want to be attached to the ways of the world.  We do not want to be taken from our family, church, farms and more.  To answer this, I had to call my Bishop to make sure my reason was right and it was.  Part of this had to do with when the city of Sarasota got electric throughout. Part of it is do to the heat.  We get heat to the 80's and 90's up north, but not for as long as they have here.  So down here there were fans and now air conditioning. The cottage we are in has an air conditioner in it.  Not all of the cottages have electric inside their homes.  Some have a little building with their refrigerator, washer and dryer.  Instead of the electric being hooked into the cottage, it is hooked into the little building. 

When the Bishop's cottage was being built, his Father was taken to the hospital  for, what they thought, was a heart attack.  He was very close to passing.  Bishop and his wife, came down to be with his Father and Step-mother.  What they found out, it was not a heart attack, but heat stroke.  That was what made Bishop decide to put central heat and air in the cottage - and told his Father not to work in helping to build the cottage.  His Father fully recovered, but can't go out if the heat gets high.  He has problems breathing. 

There are some seniors here, who have medical problems and have medical equipment that needs electric.  As we get older, these things happen.  Some Amish houses up north are allowed electric for medical reasons.  Not many, but there are some.

I can't get over how Marilyn came up with a picture of Pinecraft for the top picture.  It is a picture of Pinecraft's post office.  The way I heard it is the post office is owned and run by the people of Pinecraft.  Post Office was going to close it, so Pinecraft bought it.  We get our mail, stamps, and can mail from our post office. 

Another interesting thing is our paper, Budget comes in once a week, on one of the busses.  The bus brings passengers, but it also brings our newspaper. 

Oh, I thought something else that might interest you is that some of the Beachy  Amish and Weaverland Mennonites drive down here with trailers and motorhomes they park here and enjoy their vacation in them.  Those trailers and motorhomes are something to see.

Can Englishers rent a cottage here?  Yes, they can.  There are some Englishers that are renting here among us Amish and Mennonite.

Another thing that is different here is some of our way of dress.  When we got here Anna, took off her black stockings and black shoes.  On went flip-flops in place of the shoes.  I wear jeans with elbow length blue shirt.  Of course we wear our formal wear at church. 

Will answer more of your questions in my next post.  Please ask questions, so I know what write about.  Guess I will be on Tuesdays, at least while we are at Pinecraft. 

Trust God's Wisdom,

Monday, February 17, 2014


Marilyn spoke of the pictures she didn't take in comments of a previous post regarding someone's viewing which I really appreciate her not taking pictures.  In your questions, someone asked how do we deal when a family member passes away.

Our personal belief and Amish belief is that: "It is God's will." The person has done their time on earth and it is now their time to go to the Lord.  We cry, are sad, and know we will miss them. 

When someone passes, it is usually in our home.  We call the funeral parlor who will come, take the deceased person to prepare them.  Word travels fast among Old Order Mennonite.  You call one person and it seems everyone knows shortly.  Old Order Mennonite come to our home, take over our chores, prepare our meals, prepare our house and more. 

The men make our own coffins.  Most men make their family coffins, but there are times when either do to age, health or other situations where they can't.  If that happens other men take over and make it.  David has made coffins for our family and also for other people that couldn't make theirs.  Even if they can't make the whole coffin, people sometimes would like to at least nail a nail in the coffin just to have part in it.  Michael and Edward help David make coffins.  The hardest David had to make was his grandmother's when she passed.  Michael and David made it.  That was before Edward joined our home.  Our coffins are wider from the waste up and narrower from the waste down.

The coffin is laid usually on saw horses in the living room. Saw horses are covered with black covering, When the body returns from funeral parlor, it is dressed by the lady (wife, daughter, etc.) and laid in the coffin.  From that time until the funeral, people are sitting by the coffin twenty-four hours a day.  Old Order Mennonite decide who will stay what hours, so the family can  meet the people, get rest and more.  The Bishop comes to work out, with the family, the date and time of the funeral. 

We do not usually have a set viewing time like that one in the paper did.  Viewing time is from day break into the evening with no set time.  People come and go. 

Above, we and the Amish are alike, but from here we change.  Also, in our area, Amish will help with chores, prepare meals, help prepare the house right along with the Old Order Mennonite.  They will come to our funeral and we will go to theirs.  Some areas do not allow this, but ours does.  Elmer and Anna were at David's Father's house when his grandmother passed.  Also, they came to the funeral.

On the morning of the funeral, the Bishop comes to hold a service in our house just for the family and close friends.  Then the body is put on a horse pulled or automobile hearse.  All the buggies with the people coming to the funeral line up behind and we go to the meetings (church).  Funeral is held in the meetings.  After meetings, we raise the lid of the coffin one last time so we can file buy and see the person for the last time. 

From the church (the Amish from the house) line up and file to the cemetery.  At the cemetery, the grave is already dug. All year around the grave is dug when we arrive there by some of the men.  The coffin is laid on the top of the grave.  Bishop says prayers and some words about the person.  He ends with the Lord's Prayer.  Then the body is lowered into the grave.  As we walk by the grave we get a hand fill of dirt and toss in on the coffin.  It is for us to remember: "Remember man, that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return."

The Amish and Old Order Mennonite do not bury their people in public cemeteries.  We and the Amish have our own cemeteries.  Sometimes the cemeteries are next our meetings.  Or, it might be like the Amish, someone from our meetings or church donates the land where we have the cemetery.  Both the Amish and Old Order Mennonites do have headstones.  On the headstone is the person's name, date of birth and death.  They are plain headstones, nothing fancy.

After the funeral, we go back to the people's home or other family or friend's home for a dinner, same as the Amish.  It is usually a large dinner.  Many times we like to think of the good and happy times of the person that passed, not the illness or tragic of their death.  I know David's Father stood at the door and told us all to leave our tears outside of the house.  We had cried them.  Now was the time to remember her in laughter and joy.  It was quiet when we first got inside, then David's Father told a story of something funny she did.  We all laughed and others started telling funny or kind things she did.  All of us had a cheerful time, thinking of her. 

I hope this answers your questions regarding our funerals.  We do not have flowers at our homes, meetings or graves.  The Amish don't either.  Maybe Elmer would like to add something to this. 

Be With God,


Sunday, February 16, 2014


Since we finished the four churches on the four corners, I am doing other churches now.  This is St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church on Church Street, in Palmyra, NY.  I was baptized in this church, my first communion in this church and confirmation in this church. 

St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church was first organized in Palmyra back in 1849 by Father Edmund O'Connor of Canandaigua, NY who came by horse and buggy to Palmyra to hold Mass.  The Bishop blessed the above church in 1861.  Although the church was unfinished, the congregation attended Mass in it.  It was completed and consecrated by Right Reverend Bernard McQuaid on October 23,1870.  During 1903 the congregation added a belfry a vestibule and a bell was hung. 

Next to the church is the rectory, where the Priest lives.  To answer the big mystery question: Yes, there is a wine cellar in the basement of the rectory.  We have had Priests living here that didn't know there was one.

Right now there is talk of closing St. Anne's.  The Diocese would like to unite several Catholic Churches into one parish.  St. Anne's is the Mother Catholic Church in this area.  When she was founded there were no churches in Macedon, Newark, Shortsville, etc.  We hope the Diocese reconsiders, now that we have a new Bishop, and saves St. Anne's.