Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Amish Life

We learned a lot about the Amish culture during our time at the farm. Living next door to Eli & Lizzie and their ten children has been interesting. We've also read a few books to find out more information so we don't ask them too many personal questions. They are the old order called the Swartzentruber Amish. They speak Pennsylvania German to each other but can speak fluent English to us. The children start school around age five and that is when they learn English. They go to school until age fourteen and then stay home to help with the chores and the other children. Most of the Amish, if not all of them around us, sell goods they produce to the English (that is their name for non-Amish people). Eli & Lizzie sell baskets at the farmer's market in town. They sell up to Christmas time even after the market closes for the year. It gets really cold standing outside, but they need the money so they do what they can to make it. They also sell raw milk to our other neighbors. I am thinking of buying some to make butter. Just one of the things on my list to learn. They trade us butter sometimes when I bring them herb tinctures. It's really good! Right now we are letting them pasture their cows & horses in our front pasture and keep the hay they cut down in our fields. We have about 9 acres of hayfield. Eventually we will be using the land ourselves & hope it doesn't cause too much of a hardship for them. Next spring we are planning on planting 100 hazelnut trees which will probably take up a half acre or so of the hayfield. They have also come over with fresh pies, bread, raspsberries, veggies, cider. One time Eli was over he told us Lizzie was baking pies & thought she had one for us. I think he was wrong since he came over after 9pm with a steaming hot pie in his hands. Bet Lizzie wasn't too happy with him!
Eli is great for helping us when we have heavy stuff to unload from the van. He is always joking around too. Lizzie is really nice & seems to crave company. I would too if I had ten kids to look after!
We recently put in modern plumbing. The kids are very curious about that. It's fun to show them and wonder what they are thinking. They do without a lot of things we take for granted, but they are happy. It is refreshing. None of them have their noses in video games or have headsets in their ears. Of course the women don't have equal rights in their world, but I do think Lizzie can hold her own with Eli!
The pictures below were taken with respect in mind. The adults don't like their pictures taken. I made sure they weren't close-ups.

This is the barn before we bought it.

It was like going back in time.

Amish work in the fields with draft horses &
have no rubber on their wheels.
Eli & Lizzie's house

The kids help out as they get older with the chores.

Church time on Sunday. They attend services
at other Amish homes every other week.
One of the boys taking the cows to pasture.
That is the neighbor's house in the distance.
They had just finished with the oats.

Another Sunday with church at the neighbors.
It usually starts around 9 am & lasts all day.
They all dress in their finest clothes on Sunday.
The women always have their heads covered.

1 comment:

PatQ said...

I think it's wonderful that you're learning the ways of the Amish. They are very interesting. But you know, I need plumbing!