This second week of October turned out to be nice and sunny although mornings are cool. It was a perfect week to catch up on outside work. One evening my husband Joe and the boys cleared out one of our gardens and tilled it. Joe planned a ground cover crop this year to help replenish the soil. We weren’t used to doing this when we lived in Indiana but with the soil being so sandy around here it will help. His year we are trying a winter radish, although not edible, that will help prevent weeds and also replenishes the minerals needed in the soil. Several families in our church district have tried them and had good results.

The girls are also raking leaves every chance they get. They are accumulating on the ground faster than they can keep up with our many trees. There are signs of autumn everywhere, including farmers who are starting to harvest their crops.

We had some very happy children last night. Minnie, the miniature pony that daughter Susan trained and is also the mother of our miniature pony, Prancer, is ours to keep now. Her owner called and wondered if we would want her. He said we can just have her since Susan trained her and he’s not really set up to take care of her this winter. The children wanted to go get her right away last night.

Grapes are ripening late at the U-pick orchard this year due to the colder weather we’ve had. Tomorrow we plan to go pick grapes to put into juice. We are out of grape juice so it will be nice to have some on hand again.

Cider and popcorn and apples are also a favorite snack around here this time of year. 

Saturday morning we started out for Berne, Ind., to attend the reunion of my Grandpa and Grandma Graber’s family who are both deceased. They have almost 1,400 descendants now. It was a large gathering which I’m guessing over 1,000 attended. This reunion was held in a large shed at my cousin Dave and Mary Graber’s. They furnished all the grilled chicken for everyone. We sure appreciated all the bother they went through. It’s not easy getting ready for a crowd this big.

The rest of the food was a carry-in. There were casseroles, mashed potatoes, gravy, salads of all types, lots and lots of desserts: cakes, pies, cookies and bars. Lemonade and coffee were served for drinks. There was more than enough food. I took cherry and apple pie but there were many different kinds of pie there.

The last time this reunion was held was 9 years ago at Uncle Elmer and Aunt Emma’s. We were unable to attend so it’s been awhile since I’ve seen some of my cousins. I did see a lot of them at the funerals of cousins Dan and Chris in January. Our thoughts went to their families that day thinking of their missing loved ones.

Our family went in two different vans since the 14 passenger vans are harder to schedule. Sisters Verena and Susan rode with Joe and I and the six youngest in a 10 passenger van. Elizabeth, Susan, and their special friends came in a mini-van. Jacob’s oldest daughter Elizabeth also came with them so Jacob’s family could fit in a mini-van.

We stopped in at sister Liz and Levi’s on the way home. Liz set out snacks for everyone. We started home around 5 p.m. and arrived home around 7:45 p.m. A long, but enjoyable day!

Broccoli Cauliflower Soup

4 cups chicken broth

2 teaspoons chicken boullion granules

1 large bunch broccoli, diced

2 cups cauliflower florets, diced

2 cups milk, divided

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups cooked chicken, cut up

6 tablespoons cornstarch

6 slices white American cheese

In a 4-quart saucepan, cook broccoli and cauliflower in chicken broth and  until soft. Add  1 1/2 cups of milk and salt. In a small bowl, stir cornstarch into 1/2 cup milk. When smooth, stir into saucepan. Cover and heat over low heat, stirring frequently. When soup is hot enough and  thickened, stir in cheese until blended into mixture.