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Eicher family rings in New Year in style

1/21/2014

Happy New Year to all you wonderful readers. I hope 2014 will be a great year for everyone.

Here in Michigan, 2014 is bringing frigid temperatures and a lot of snow. Approximately 8 inches of new snow was dumped on us New Year's Day. It made for some pretty scenery. This morning, our mercury on the thermometer dipped way down to minus-14 degrees. It only warmed up to 13 degrees all day.

On New Year's Eve, my husband Joe, our eight children and I, Timothy, Mose and my sisters Verena and Susan, all went to sister Emma and Jacob's house for the evening. We all stayed the night there, so their house seemed pretty lively with 21 people there. The children were excited to be able to stay up playing games until midnight and shout "Happy New Year" to the dark world outside. Four air mattresses were blown up to help make enough beds for everyone.

The next day, we had a brunch, which was a haystack breakfast. The haystack menu was biscuits (cut up in bite-sized pieces), scrambled eggs, hash browns, tater tots, bacon (crumbled), ham (diced), onions (chopped), tomatoes (chopped), green peppers (chopped), hot peppers, salsa and cheese sauce topped with sausage gravy. To make a breakfast haystack, everyone takes whatever they like and stacks it on top of each other in a pile on their plate. Haystack is one of my favorite breakfasts. Along with haystack, there were all kinds of desserts, such as chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal whoopie pies, peanut butter and cherry pies, butterscotch muffins, and a variety of Christmas candy. Also, coffee, tea, orange juice, grape juice and milk were served.

We had exchanged names for the gift exchange earlier in December. After brunch, we all exchanged gifts, which was exciting to see who had our name. I had sister Susan's name, and sister Verena had my name.

The rest of the day was spent playing games, singing and visiting. Everyone had snacks before leaving for home. It was a short, enjoyable day.

Our parents always had the family together for Christmas on New Year's Day. Everyone would gather early in the morning to have breakfast together. Dad and Mom would have wrapped gifts for everyone. Such an excitement for all the grandchildren. Now, us siblings take turns having the family every year, although most do not take it around Christmas anymore so that takes a lot of the fun away. Usually the gathering is during springtime.

It is brother Albert's turn for the 2013 Christmas gathering but haven't heard of any plans, so it is probably this summer sometime. It is nice for the four of us siblings who live here in Michigan to at least get together in memory of our dear parents on New Year's Day. A blessed 2014 to all.

This week, I will share the recipe Joe used to make our venison summer sausage.

Venison summer sausage

5 pounds ground venison

2 tablespoons Tender Quick

2 teaspoons mustard seed

21âÑ2 teaspoons garlic salt

21âÑ2 teaspoons black pepper

1 teaspoons liquid smoke

1 cup cold water

Stir water, Tender Quick, mustard seed, garlic salt, black pepper and liquid smoke in a large plastic bowl. Add venison and mix well. Stuff into bags and refrigerate for one to two days. Smoke in a smoker until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.