Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fresh Turkeys From Amish Farm

Sometime this summer I spoke to an Amish friend about his poultry. As a sideline he raises chickens, pigs, and turkeys for local market. He mentioned that he was taking orders for his Thanksgiving turkeys and asked if I needed any. Not being bashful, I spoke up and asked for two.
The call came this morning that my turkeys were all grown up and ready to get all dressed up for Thanksgiving. Refrigeration is scarce on an Amish farm, so Gail and I drove over to the farm to claim our prises.
As you can see from the photo, our turkeys are being packaged for us. We decided on the way home to have turkey dinner tomorrow, and save the second turkey for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Change comes slow to the Amish

I was out visiting at County Line Tarps (a local Amish business) and was reminded of changes within the local Amish community that take place once in a blue moon. I was out to see the new windmill that pumps air to run the power equipment.
While I was checking out the windmill installation I happened to notice a wagon with rubber tires. A year ago you would not have seen this. Amish carts and wagons always used the old all steel wheels. As you can imagine, riding on steel wheels can be a bone jarring experience.
The local Amish have approved the use of rubber on their wagon wheels and are now enjoying the benefits of a smoother ride. Older steel wheels are still in common use, but more and more I am seeing them wrapped with old automobile tires.
It isn't much, but it is change.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Amish Construction

I have been working on several construction projects around the Arbor House Inn that require help from local Amish craftsman. One of the Amish was telling me about the efforts of Amish house framing crews traveling to Joplin to help rebuild homes destroyed by the tornado.
Amish volunteer crews from Jamesport go to Joplin on a regular basis to help our neighbors in the south of Missouri. Amish framing crews can erect a building in one day if the materials are ready on site.
The Amish employ drivers with 15-passenger vans for transportation to and from construction sites. Jamesport crews are well known throughout the Kansas City Area and can be seen on construction sites all across the area. This winter I will be using Amish crews to build a room addition, pour concrete, and remodel the Arbor House. If you live in Jamesport you eventually find yourself hiring or working with Amish craftsmen. This is one of the things I love about Jamesport!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Good news, bad news!

The good news about fall is the great abundance of leaves for our grandchildren to play in. Preschool age kids seem to love jumping into piles of leaves. This is grandson Noah during a visit to Jamesport.

The bad news is that I have to rake leaves from four giant trees at the Arbor House. I worked at it for six hours yesterday and did not get the job done. I have to burn the leaves after collecting them. Our trash collector does not accept yard waste.

Fall is a beautiful time of year, but for those of us with large trees, there is a price to pay in labor and chance encounters with garden snakes. I uncovered two types of non-poisonous snakes this year hidden beneath the leaves.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Annual Amish Quilt Auction

Every Fall people come from all the surrounding states to participate in the Amish quilt auction. The event has grown as the number and quality of the quilts has increased over the years.

The event is sponsored by the Jamesport Community Association (JCA). The JCA purchases a quilt each year and conducts a raffle to raise funds for local events. The JCA quilt is displayed at City Hall where raffle tickets can be purchased.

This event is one of the highlights of the year in Jamesport. Other events during the year include Heritage Days, the Antique Consignment Auction, May Days Festival, All American Handcrafted Auction & City Wide Garage Sale, Christmas Craft Festival, and annual Amish Farm Consignment Auction for the benefit of the local Amish school.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Reason to move to Jamesport #2

AMISH CULTURE.  My wife Gail and I brainstormed for years about where we would like to live after we left the Silicon Valley. We wanted to get away from the overcrowded city and from the rat race of urban life. Sound familiar? We wanted to live in a small town, but one with some sort of cultural attraction. In our hunt for our future home we looked at college towns and places that offered some kind of ongoing intellectual interest. The Amish community in Jamesport was more than we could have hoped for.
Now that we have lived here for 10 years we feel a part of the community and have a deep appreciation for all things Amish. Yesterday I stopped in at the Amish produce auction to take a few seasonal pictures of the fall produce. The colors were spectacular. Mums and pumpkins were in abundance. Jamesport Amish make good friends and remind us everyday of the excellent quality of rural life.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Reason to move to Jamesport #1

The four seasons! Growing up in Los Angeles I can remember longing as a child to see snow. I dreamed of making a snowman and throwing snowballs. I could hardly appreciate at such a young age the true meaning of "four seasons". Looking at the cottonwood tree outside my front door today reminds me that Fall has come again in all it's glory. The countryside is coming alive with color and the dog days of Summer are gone at last. Sitting on the porch at the end of the day is always a favorite activity. The seasons are especially important here because of the local agrarian society. Harvest time is here, pumpkin patches are overflowing, apple cider is in the make, Mums are everywhere, and everyone is buzzing about how great the weather is. Fall is our favorite time of year. I can't imagine not living with the gentle rhythm of the seasons to guide my days.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Barn Cats

You can't live in the country without finding kittens. I found one near dead in the middle of the road a few days ago. His eyes were stuck shut and he was too weak and dehydrated to move. After a trip to the vet and $60 dollars later we have a rescued kitten living on the sun porch. In two weeks he should be well and then back to the vet for neutering ... sorry kitty.
The first question grandkids ask when they come to visit is ... Do you have any kittens? You just can't have enough kittens.
Sidney Update: Sidney was rescued about 5 weeks ago and is now a healthy little kitty. He has recovered from worms, respiratory illness and an ulcer in his eye. He has had all his shots and seems to be a normal house kitten now. He is however missing a few parts. Sidney lost his male reproductive organs! Sidney is officially neutered and available for adoption.
Sydney is currently living at the Arbor House, awaiting adoption.

Final Chapter: I am happy to report that Sidney has found a good home. We took him to H&M Country Store in Jamesport with a sign explaining that he needed a good home. Within 20 minutes he was adopted by a man from Kansas City.  We will miss Sidney around the Arbor House, but we are happy that he has a permanent home.

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The Amercan Heartland Dream

Back in the 1950's I was daydreaming while attending Saint Mary's Grammer School in East Los Angeles California. I was studying U.S. geography and developed a facination with the Ozark Mountains in the "Heartland" of America. I could feel the word "Heartland" beginning to pull me in the direction that would eventually result in my journey to find my own piece of the American dream.

Fast forward to 2011 and here I am in a small Amish town in Northwest Missouri running a country Inn. The journey took 40 years and included multiple wives, careers, children, and countless misadventures. This blog is about my experiences living here in rural Missouri and about the culture of small town America.

My wife Gail and I live in Jamesport, Missouri. Population 500. Hope you enjoy our stories about our life among the Amish.