Saturday, September 29, 2012

Amish Home Tour

Amish Kitchen
I have been taking tour groups to the Graber Farm this year for an inside peek at the Amish life style. The tour only includes a walk through the downstairs are where the Grabers do summer cooking, canning, and daily laundry.

Some of the folks who took the farm tour were cusious about the upstairs portion of the house, so I asked permission to take some photos. I was able to take quite a few pictures. Here are a few

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Amish Hospitality

Free Amish Carriage Rides
Jamesport, Missouri celebrates Heritage Days every year at this time. One of the Amish attractions in the area is Shearwood Crossing.

At Shearwood, they are having customer appreciation days to coincide with the Jamesport Heritage Festival. They are giving free carriage rides, and miniature train rides all day.

Amish ladies are serving food and dessert, as well as home made ice cream.

Train Rides at Shearwood Crossing
The turnout this year is exceeding expectations. The interest in all things Amish seems to be on the increase. I have noticed that a large number of tourists from the St Louis area are coming to Jamesport. Many of the tourists share that they have seem stories about Amish on the TV. This might account for the current uptick in Amish tourism.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Amish Open House

Amish Open House Draws Community Together
Several times a year businesses around Jamesport will have a customer appreciation day or open house. This past weekend we had several Amish businesses running sales, offering raffles to give away merchandise and gift certificates, and serving  free coffee, donuts, and home-made ice cream to all visitors to their stores.

Last week I was at Countryside Bakery and noticed that they were preparing to make two thousand donuts for the open house events around town. They were bringing in extra help to get the job done. During the open house I had an opportunity to try a few of the donuts and can absolutely state that the Amish ladies made up a great batch of donuts! The weather has been cooler and the dough has been rising perfectly. The donuts were big and fluffy.

The stores having open house included: Jamesport Sales and Surplus, Jamesport Country Store, Jamesport Truss, Jamesport Lumber, and Jamesport Builders. These Jamesport Amish businesses are a vital part of our community and remind us all here in Jamesport that "hospitality is a way of life".

5 Gallon Ice Cream Makers.
You cannot have a local Amish event without home-made ice cream. Jamesport Sales and Surplus had two 5 gallon ice cream makers going  on their front porch. You cannot beat their ice cream! I cannot get enough of this stuff.

This coming weekend is the Heritage Festival. There will be more ice-cream, more open houses, free buggy rides, and more free coffee and doughnuts. Heritage Days is one of the best festivals of the year. We step back in time to celebrate the old crafts. Demonstrations will take place all during the festival. Music, crafts, dancing, and shopping will highlight festival activities. We are looking forward to record crowds at this years festival.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Breaking Amish TV Series

Breaking Amish TV cast.
I watched the first episode of the new reality show "Breaking Amish" I have mixed feelings about it, since it deals with very sensitive personal issues, in a very public way.

The situations portrayed on the show are being played out as a result of larger family tragedies. It may be enlightening, but my heart goes out to the families that have to face these decisions with a camera crew looking on.

The Amish here in Jamesport, Mo take a much more reasonable approach to their children who go modern. They are accepted back to visit and Amish families here accept and cherish their non-Amish grandchildren. It seems to me that the Amish here cling to love and understanding of their children, and do not shun their children for fear of damnation. I personally do not believe any God would want parents to reject their children .... in the name of their God. On the other side of the equation, these kids need to grow up and be realistic about leaving home. Even non-Amish families have to deal with this issue. It remains to be seen if these kids are leaving home for the right reasons. Bottom line ... This is like watching a train wreck, and I hope no one gets hurt too bad!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Amish Tractor?

Amish Tractor? Interesting combination of horse and engine.
I was attending the North Missouri Produce Auction this week and noticed a team of horses pulling strange looking rig. I snapped this shot with a telephoto lens. On closer inspection I could see the details enough to determine that the team was pulling a Power Take Off (PTO) unit  and hydraulics that were operating a cultivator.

It appears that this unit is 1/2 of a standard tractor. The horses supply the pulling power, while the engine operates the cultivator.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Amish Pony Carts Proliferate

Amish Children Exit School House.
Over the past ten years I have noticed a steady change in the Amish community. I can remember when I used to drive by an Amish school when kids were coming or going to class. I would always smile at the line of kids, walking barefoot and carrying their lunch pales and books. Times has changed.

If you look closely at the picture, you will notice that only two of the kids are actually walking home from school. Amish kids in Jamesport mostly "drive" themselves to school in miniature carts and wagons.

A little over ten years ago I noticed that miniature horses began appearing at Amish farms around Jamesport.  As the years went by I began to see Amish kids riding miniature horses. That was apparently only the first step in a quiet evolution that has culminated in a proliferation of miniature horses and pony carts. Now it seems that you cannot pass an Amish farm without seeing a pony cart for the kids. This is making the littlest Amish more mobile.

The size and style of the pony carts is diverse. The kids are as cute as ever. I hope they stay safe on their journeys to school and back.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Amish Farrier Delivers On Site Service

Traveling Amish Farrier Provides Vital Service.

On many occasions I have noticed a strange Amish horse drawn rig on the highway. I didn't think much of it, but over time my curiosity got the best of me. I asked an Amish friend if he knew who was driving the unique  team and wagon. My friend told me that it was the farrier wagon, and that the strange trailer being pulled is the tool wagon. The traveling farrier goes from farm to farm and shoes horses for local farms.

Once I knew what to look for, I began to keep a watch for the farrier, hoping to catch him at his work. At last, this week my vigilance paid off. Yesterday I happened across the traveling farrier while he was shoeing horses.

Amish Farrier Uses Mobile Tool Cart
On the first real full day of rain in months, I caught the farrier working under the roof of a barn at a nearby farm. I asked if I could get some pictures of him at work, and he graciously agreed. From the photo hear you can see the team of Belgian horses he uses to pull his farrier wagon.

He said that he likes doing this work and had relatives that taugt him the trade when he was younger.