Yoders train a pony


Summertime is winding to a close, and cooler days have arrived in the southern Illinois countryside we call home. Fall is here at last. Labors in the fields and gardens are ending for another year. Once more, we have time to pursue things that have been pushed off until we have time. Such as yesterday.

We finally began training our pony, Sassy Sundae. She’s the perfect size for me to hitch onto a cart: not too little, not too big. Not only that, my husband, Daniel, is wanting to ride her to and from work after we’ve moved to our new home a mile from his rustic furniture shop.

Julia and Austin watched with delight as I brought Sassy in from the pasture, then handed the lead rope to Daniel, who coaxed her into running in circles. As she kept running around and around, she began getting a feel of following directions from Daniel.

Julia and Austin watched wide-eyed when the time finally came for Daniel to ride on her back. I watched Daniel’s training sessions between running to the kitchen every now and then, where I quickly threw together a zucchini casserole for our supper.

I was amazed at how well Sassy responded to Daniel’s calm commands. I do admit that I did feel myself tensing up a bit when it was time for Daniel to first mount the pony. I couldn’t help but chuckle a bit as I told Daniel that I’m very grateful that it doesn’t take prayers a long time to reach heaven.

Daniel and his friend, Owen, who was helping him, made a great team of working with Sassy as they gently yet firmly worked with her, affirming her for her good work and the progress she was making. Julia almost can’t wait to have a turn riding Sassy. I informed her that she and I both need to wait a while longer, until Sassy is completely safe and used to riders.

After Sassy has mastered the basic concepts of “whoa” and “giddy-up,” we’re ready to hitch her to the pony cart and see how she does with that. Julia and I are both very excited for that part. We also need to purchase a harness and cart for her one of these days.

Sassy Sundae was given to us by one of our friends and column readers in northern Illinois, Jim and Linda. It was interesting for me to learn how Sassy got her name. She was born on a Sunday morning and Jim was especially fond of ice cream sundaes, so it simply clicked to name her Sundae. Along with that, she had an energetic, sassy way about her, so the two names fitted together perfectly: Sassy Sundae!

We love her name, it fits her well. Generally we call her by her first name, although Julia does use both names when she goes out to spend time sweetly talking to her. As for the casserole I made between running outside and watching Daniel’s training sessions, I had decided on a simple one that has been a standby around here. My sister-in-law, Regina, first made it four years ago for my family when we were getting ready to host a wedding at my parents’ shop. It has been a hit ever since. We always have a bountiful harvest of zucchini and enjoy using it in many ways. This casserole is “Danielized” in our household by pouring a little bit of barbecue sauce over the top before eating, so that is another option for enjoying it.

Yoder’s Zucchini and Hamburger Casserole

3 eggs

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded cheese

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup onion, chopped

2 cups shredded zucchini

2 cups fried meat of your choice (hamburger is a favorite)

Beat eggs and batter. Add flour, salt, baking powder, onion, and cheese. Mix well. Fold in zucchini and pour into greased 9-inch by 9-inch pan. Sprinkle with black pepper and parsley flakes.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Serves 5.


By Gloria Yoder

Readers with culinary or cultural questions or stories can write Gloria directly at Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427-2019. To see more on the Amish go to www.amish365.com.

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