Thursday, August 30, 2012

Free Range Amish Turkey

My Thanksgiving Turkey taking a stroll.
One of the advantages of living in the country is that you can order a turkey from a local Amish farmer, then watch it grow!

I pass by the Raymond Mast farm quite often and this year he is raising a Thanksgiving Turkey for me.

See the turkey in the picture? The one in the middle of the road is mine .... He seems to have a death wish. The turkeys are allowed to range free during the afternoon, and like to wander across the road, where they feast on grasshoppers!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Amish First Day of School

Walnut Creek Amish School
 Today marked the first day of the Amish school year. The teachers at Walnut Creek Parochial School have been busy cleaning and preparing the school house for the arrival of the children.

I was allowed to see the classroom prior to the beginning of class. The sun had just risen and was still low on the horizon when I arrived. It had rained just yesterday and the grass was still wet and the air was fresh and filled with the promise of blue skies and fair weather.

One Room School House
There were three Amish ladies there preparing to teach the class. There were two regular teachers and one special education teacher. They said that the kids are always excited on the first day and everyone was happy that the day had finally arrived.

I have been planning this visit since the end of the last school season, but as usual, I procrastinated throughout the Summer and did not actually visit until this morning .... just 2 hours before class began!

The blackboard was already prepared with today's assignments and the teachers were getting the name tags prepared for the children to complete. The walls were covered with familiar sights and a few unfamiliar ones as well. There were two alphabets on display, both English and German. The teachers explained that Friday was German. The children read, write, and sing in German on Friday.

Wood stove provides winter heat.

The school library is at the rear of the classroom and the mudroom is large enough for all the students to hang their coats and store their belongings. There is a wash sink there, but the rest rooms are still outdoors.

The school yard is very large and has play swings, a slide, basketball hoop, and of course, a baseball diamond. Outdoor activity is popular among the Amish.

Teacher's Desk
There is no electricity in the classroom. Light is provided by propane lantern and large windows and both sides of the room.

I enjoyed my visit this morning. There was a warm feeling about the classroom, and I had a sense that the children were fortunate to have such a nice atmosphere to grow and learn with friends who will last a lifetime.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Rescued Squirrel - Rusty is His Name

Rusty the Squirrel
This week I heard that their was a baby squirrel that was rescued after being abandoned by its mother.  This happens fairly often on Amish farms.

The squirrel was named Rusty and will be raised until old enough to return to the wild.  It is not recommended to capture or raise wild animals unless you are a skilled animal rescue practitioner. We are fortunate to have many such skilled rescuers in our community.

I love to see these little critters. This is just one more reason I like living in Jamesport.

Update 10/18/2012 ... Saw Rusty today. He is getting regular visits outdoors and spends hours in a large tree near the H&M Country Store. He will probably begin living totally free very soon.

Bacon Ranch Bread

Bacon Ranch Bread
I stop in at the Countryside Amish Bakery almost daily. I was speaking to the owner about my favorite baked goods and she told me to try something new. She created a new recipe for "Bacon Bread".

I took a loaf home and heated it up for breakfast the next day. It was great! It was like eating breakfast sandwich without the egg. Now I have to try it sliced with a fried egg.

You never know what little treasures will show up at the bakery. Their most popular novelty bread is the "Jalapeno Cheese Bread". My favorite is "Apple Bread".

Monday, August 20, 2012

Amish Buggy Legroom

The Ubiquitous Amish Leg
After living around the Jamesport Amish, you begin to notice subtle behavior patterns. One of the local Amish habits always brings a smile to my face. In the summer, local Jamesport Amish like to dangle a leg out the door of their buggies while they cruise the highway.
I asked a local Amish girl (see photo) if she agreed that it was a common practice to dandle a leg while driving the buggy. She laughed and said that I was correct, and that they do like to dangle a leg as they ride. Just one more reason to enjoy the laid back life here!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Amish Phone Booth

Amish Phone Booth with Solar Panel

Leave a message

Most tourists visiting Jamesport ask about the little buildings scattered throughout the countryside. They look for the most part like out houses. They are actually Amish phone booths.

The Amish here will not allow phones in their homes, but will allow the use of phones as long as they are away from the house and cannot be heard. The idea is that a phone in the house would detract from family quality time. The Amish do "not" answer phones. If you want to reach an Amish friend, you have to leave a message on their answering machine. They will call you back

Inside of Amish Phone Booth
This is another example of how the Amish have adapted to modern devices. In the photo above, there is even a solar panel to charge the batteries in the phone booth.

The inside of the phone booths appear to be small offices where Amish check messages and make business calls.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Amish Kittens Adopted

Relaxing at H&M Country Store
I was acting as tour guide on Saturday and stopped at the H&M Country Store for my last stop of the day. I was relaxing in a porch chair in front of the store and witnessed an amusing drama that took place over the adoption of a kitten.

There were two families with children looking at the cute kittens for adoption on the porch of the store. One of the mothers ducked into the store to avoid the pleading of her daughter, who obviously had fallen in love with the kittens. Poor dad was left to deal with the pleading kids.

Kittens for Adoption
The other family agreed on adopting a kitten and their child was overjoyed when she was allowed to choose one of the kittens to take home. That left two of the kittens left in the cage for adoption. The young girl who was still bargaining with her father was relentlessly going through the age old promise of how she would feed and care for her new pet everyday until eternity and beyond. Dad kept shaking his head .... no.
At that point I chimed in with a comment that as a grandfather, I had a vote and I voted yes for the young girl to get her cat.

The pleading continued until mom came out of the store and rejoined the discussion. The young girl immediately used the old "dad said it was OK routine" and mom was temporarily perplexed.

That's when the Amish owner came by and noticed the family group that was surrounding the kitten cage. She walked up just in time to overhear mom utter the words that would be her downfall. Although she really did not want a kitten, mom explained to the children in her most sympathetic voice that she really did want to have a kitten, but she only wanted the black and white one that had been taken by the other family just minutes before. Mom smiled, thinking she had slipped out of a tough situation and could refuse the kitten without taking responsibility for saying no.

That is when everything went sideways. The Amish owner, having heard mom's excuse, stepped in and happily announced that everyone could be happy because she had more kittens hidden in a cool storage shed and immediately walked over to the shed and produced a black and white kitten! The kids were jumping with joy and you could tell by mom's slow head shake that she was defeated.

I almost laughed out loud when the kids sealed their victory and snatched up the black and white kitten. I know this battle will go on again and again as long as there are kittens and children. It was nice to see the kids win this one with the help of a quick thinking Amish woman.