Friday, May 17, 2013

A Day in the Life of the Amish ...

Finally, a morning we were able to sleep in! We boarded our bus at 9:30 am and after my morning stop at McDonald's we were headed on down the highway headed for Hershberger's Truck Farm. This is always a favorite stop for the ladies and I couldn't let them down! Besides a huge selection of pastries, candies and produce they also have an elderly Amish gentleman hovering over a huge black cauldron making fresh kettle corn! As soon as our bus door opened the smell of popping corn floated inside, even if you're not hungry you're soon ready for some kettle corn! Also on the grounds is a petting zoo, Amish buggy rides, hand made toys, and purebred puppies for sale .... no, we didn't bring any home with us!
This McDonald's was just a mile down the road from our hotel in Sugarcreek! Now keep in mind I wasn't the only one with a Micky D's addiction! Paula was in need of a Sweet Tea, Teri wanted a Diet Coke and a couple other gals were in need of some Frappe's!
A yummy Vanilla Iced Coffee! It's so tasty it made my green braids curl! Woo hoo!!
This is Saturday morning going through the heart of Berlin. Traffic, traffic, traffic! And they think California has traffic jams, at least we don't have to tangle with horse drawn buggies!!

See what I'm sayin!! An Amish traffic jam! It was Saturday and this is the big day for the locals to get out and do their shopping, visiting etc ....
Isn't this so cool! The buggies are all lined up in front of a store very similar to a mini Walmart! Check these fellas out, they even have a shopping cart to load up the buggy. Here's a bit of Amish fact, do you see that most of the buggies have an orange marker on the back? The 3rd one from the left does not. The Amish have ordinals, a pecking order of sorts. The lowest order are called the Schwartzentruber Amish. They do not use the orange markers as they were not used in the old times. The man in the darker straw hat is a Schwartzentruber as well. This ordinal paints their homes white and barns are red. They have only dirt driveways, pump their water by hand, wood burning stoves, the women wear only black and use straight pins to keep their clothes together. No buttons, no zippers.
We had lunch in a level 6 home which was very modern in appearance but still no electricity, later we visited Mary a level 1 Amish and the difference in the way they lived was shocking. The schwartzentruber Amish are very strict and automobiles are not allowed on their property. However, because Mary has two handicapped boys she weaves baskets, sells eggs, makes bread and jellies to assist in paying for their special needs.
Caleb is one of Mary's sons. He was working hard in the chicken coop when we arrived. He was as interested in us as we were in him. Caleb suffers from mild retardation and has very noticeable motor skills issues. He is a product of the level one Amish marrying to close genetically. So sad.
After enjoying a delicious meal at the Amish home of Sara Hershberger our Amish guide Jonas took us to the back roads, far off the beaten path of the tourists and shared his "Holmes" county. One of our stops was a first for me! We visited the original home of Jonas Stutzman. Jonas was the first Amish to come the Ohio and settle in Holmes county.
Here is the Stutzman family home just as stood over 200 years ago!
 After winding through narrow, rolling roads that we needed to share with many Amish buggies we finally made it to this quaint quilt shop. These quilts were amazing, all hand done in true Amish style. The prices were quite hefty so I don't think any of them made it on our bus. These were all done by  level one Amish women with no assistance from a sewing machine! Yikes, I can not begin to imagine!!

After we finished our day touring Holmes County it was again time to head south to Columbus to our hotel. As we passed the beautiful green rolling hills of Ohio we saw so many Canadian Geese. They were on their way north as the Canadian cold weather is slowing warming. Many of them had goslings and they were so darn cute and fast. I tried to capture a picture but just couldn't do it! These geese mate for life, the Drake and the Gander hover closely over their brood and chase anything off that tries to get to close. These beautiful geese are not to welcome to the locals ... they are very noisy, messy (poop everywhere and don't clean up after themselves) and many time wear out their welcome by staying too long!
Well, we are all home now with only pictures and fond memories of our trip.

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