Pet summer at the Yoders


Yes, more toasty summer days, more water fun, and many happy hours with family pets. As I write, the latest pets are three kittens from a stray mama cat. Much to the delight of our five little children, a mama cat randomly came to our farm and hid where we could not see her and then had three baby kittens. Now you can only imagine how our little ones have all been doing their best in helping care for them. With not having discovered the kitties until they were several weeks old, they needed some extra attention to be tame enough to be handled. Julia is just like a mama when it comes to caring for animals. I remember when she was only three or four years old, she would snuggle with kittens and proudly listen to their “motors,” as she called the purring. She knew that hearing their motors was a sure sign of them being cared for and content.

Now that brings to surface a very lopsided remark I obliviously made two weeks ago, which has, of course, brought questions to your minds. My incomplete story was in regards to our dear pet, Gracie who is a Toy Poodle. I apologize for the misunderstanding. Since day one, Gracie has been a special part of our household; she continues to be so. She thrives on all the attention she gets from the children as they romp and play with her. Her and the children both seem to never run out of energy. I’ll always remember that first moment when Daddy walked in the door with Gracie wrapped in a blanket. Julia, as were the rest of us, had been waiting on the big day of her arrival. Now in walked Daddy a few hours earlier than expected. Julia was in the middle of combing her hair and putting on her covering when daddy slipped in with Gracie. I don’t know who was the happiest, Julia, or her parents in seeing her joy. Julia would be the primary caregiver, even though she was a pet for all of us.

Now it’s been close to a half year since that day, and yes, she still does deserve all the love and attention she gets. She looks a lot like her puppy, Gumdrop, her reddish-brown spots are only a shade darker. Thanks to those of you who have brought my incomplete remark to my attention. We always love hearing from you; we need your input! And yes, we do have a firm commitment to providing good care for all our family pets. Not only pets but also teaching children to give the best of care when chasing fireflies to being gentle with frogs hopping in the garden.

Talking about rescuing animals, yesterday, I had as much fun as the children rescuing one of my favorite bird species. Ever since I had gone to school and did a study on hummingbirds, I’ve been intrigued by their most unique character and unbelievable lightweight and tiny size. With Daniel being a bird lover, we’ve had the opportunity of feeding many quarts sugar water to these most amazing feathered friends. Anyway, yesterday Julia came running into the house where I was preparing supper. Breathlessly she told me that for some unexplainable reason, there was a hummingbird on the warehouse floor, weak and unable to fly. “Daddy told us we could give it sugar water,” she explained, “help me, quick!”

In no time, the two of us had some sugar water ready and ever so gently I helped it dip his long beak into the sweet solution. The younger children were completely fascinated and wanted to help, yet this particular pet did not need extra petting. We were elated as we watched its teeny hair-like tongue swiftly go in and out as it sipped up its invigorating drink. In less than a minute it was easy to tell that it was already regaining strength. When it was finished drinking Julia placed it in a shaded spot in the front yard and to our delight it mounted up soared away. Wow, what a satisfaction to care for such a helpless little creature which would undoubtedly never have regained strength on its own.

Now for wrapping up with our standby smoothie these days. It’s a light dessert for hot days. Daniel never tires of it.


• 2 cups ice cubes or frozen milk chunks

• 1 cup whole milk

• 1 /3 cup sugar*

• 2 teaspoons instant coffee

Put everything in a hand-cranked or electric blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses, top with a dab of whipped cream if desired. If you like, try adding 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and a tablespoon chocolate syrup. Enjoy!

*We use xylitol or stevia instead of sugar.

Serves one or two

Gloria Yoder

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

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