Editor’s Note: Lovina’s church belongs to is more progressive when it comes to safety-oriented technology like smoke detectors. When their home was built local home inspectors required such detectors be installed. Some more conservative Amish groups, like the Swartzentruber Amish, have opposed such devices.

We are having some snowy days this week although there is not much of an accumulation. We have had quite a day already. Joe left for work around 3:30 a.m. I had turned off the light and was ready to go back to bed until 5 a.m. I heard an alarm go off in the basement so I went to go out and check it out and it was a carbon monoxide alarm. I could smell soot so I checked our coal stove but it looked OK. I figured that it might be the gas water heater and shut it off. I get worried more since the fire we had last year and decided to wake all eight children. I called 911 to ask what I should do. They said to get everyone out of the house and they would send someone to take a look. Everyone was still sleepy and it was difficult to find clothes and coats by flashlight. I didn’t want to turn on our gaslights just to be safe. Remembering the fire we had everyone was shook up a little more. It was cold and around 20 degrees outside so I told the children to go inside the tool shed where it would be warmer. It ended up that the whole fire department showed up. They checked the carbon count and it was 32 close by the water heater. It had probably aired out since I had shut it off. Elizabeth didn’t go back to sleep since she leaves for work around 5:15 a.m. I think everyone will be ready for bed early tonight.

We have someone here now checking out the water heater. It sounds like we could be getting some downdrafts, too. They are adding a fresh air vent to prevent the build up of carbon monoxide. With so many gas appliances running plus the coal stove we need more ventilation. Our house is so air tight and during the winter months when we don’t have windows to air it out in builds up faster.

They tested our propane gas lights and they throw off a little too. We use them longer during the winter months also. We hope this will take care of any more problems. I am glad we had the carbon monoxide detector down there.

We received word that Joe’s great Uncle Amos died. We regret that we didn’t find out in time to attend his funeral which was yesterday. Our sympathy goes to the family. The children enjoyed their two-day mid-winter break. It went way too fast. Friday evening and Saturday we helped Jacob butcher hogs. They have lots of meat now. We made pon hoss out of 12 gallons of juice from the pork bones. We have had quite a few meals of it already. Everyone in our family likes it. We have also been using the fresh sausage Jacob sent home with us. We use it in breakfast burritos, casseroles, gravy, and fry it for sandwiches. We have two hogs on order but they are not quite big enough to butcher. We are thinking they should be ready it about three weeks. We plan to cut up a big beef before that. I will be glad to get those greasy jobs off the list. By then it will already be time to do some spring cleaning. Time does not stand still. Try this sausage and rice bake



1 pound sausage

2 cups grated cheese

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

3 cups hot cooked rice

3 eggs, beaten

1 4-ounce can of mushroom pieces

1/2 cup milk

Cook the sausage, crumble, and drain. Combine cooked rice and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese. Spread into a buttered 2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle sausage over rice. Combine rest of the ingredients except for a half cup of cheese. Pour over the sausage. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese over on top of everything. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. Cover loosely with foil while baking.

Editor’s Note: We are experimenting with preparing the recipe from the column each week and providing photos of the process and finished product. It’s fun to see what a recipe looks like. To view this week’s recipe visit www.theamishcookonline.com/cheesysausage