Down on the Farm

Amish Farm Equipment

Mixing the Old with the New

So you’re thinking – “I thought they distanced themselves from ‘technology’ and did their work manually – why are they pulling powered farm implements behind a team of horses/mules? What is the difference with using animals or a tractor – the equipment is still powered!?”

Answer – the traditions and rules of their church.

Amish Lifestyle

Amish Transportation


Buggies are a very strong and visible example of tradition in the Amish culture. Much like my Olde Order English culture, the horse & buggy takes on the same life as cars.  In the Amish youth, the H&B is a symbol – I’m sure some horses lend to more of a muscle buggy than others.

The photo above is a unique sight – I call it the Crossover since it has two opposing seats behind the typical buggy enclosure. Watch for photos of buggy variations I have seen in the Lancaster over the years.

Keep Your Hands to Yourself

The Courtship Buggy adds some accountability to a young couple as they cruise down the road. I came upon this young Amish couple on my way home from church on a cold December.  I assumed they were not brother and sister. With temps in the 30’s they had a heavy blanket over them since this buggy is completely open. The young man sits on the right and drives the buggy while the lady gets very close to him to stay warm.

Dating to them is what many of us would refer to as Courting.  Traditionally this young man would have discussed his intentions with his own parents before going to the young lady’s father to ask permission to spend time with his daughter. The Amish and Mennonite communities take any level of dating rather seriously.

The Amish Youth Buggy

Amish buggies often show the character of the driver much like our cars do. The typical Amish Youth Buggy often has a bit more flair and character to it than typical one owned by the married Amish adult. This buggy had blue lights along the bottom of the mud flap. I suspect the owner was in the “Youth” category and still sowing his wild oats a bit.

Tractor-Trailer Buggy

This was cruising through the residential area where I used to live.

Buggy Drag Races

The buggy in the rear is drafting the other while getting ready to pull a NASCAR move to pass.

Their ownership of buggies is much like what we had or have. Think muscle cars.

Buggy Pickup

These folks were harvesting their corn.

Humorous and Interesting

Gramma’s Ham

We Have Always Done It This Way

I heard an excellent story from a Mennonite friend who grew up Amish that explains many of the things they do because of their culture – being so grounded in tradition.

A young girl was in the kitchen with her mom one Sunday after church while dinner was being prepared.  The mom took the ham out of the fridge, cut off a few inches from one end, placed it in the roasting pan, and put it in the hot oven to cook.

The young girl asked “Mom – why did you cut the end of the ham off”, and the mom replied “I’m not sure, dear – that’s what Gramma always did and I learned from her”.  Gramma was over that quiet Sunday afternoon so they went into the living room and inquired about the practice.

Gramma’s reply was simple – “because my pan was short”.  The Mom cut the ham because that was what they always did, even though her pan could accommodate a larger ham!

Many of the things that the Amish and Mennonites do are thought to be for “religious” or biblical reasons when in fact they are merely tradition.  Simply put – they do what they do because “that’s what we’ve always done”.  Simple – traditions – and very strong ones at that!

On The Road Again

Drive-Thru Dairy

Five Gallons of Whole Milk, Please

Halfway between Intercourse and New Holland is a family-owned farm with a drive-thru dairy that has great milk and ice cream!

This place is a rare gem and is a very busy tourist destination – mostly for the ice cream – and a favorite to locals for both the milk and frozen delight.

This farm produces the milk on site without using growth hormones and has Jersey cows which makes both the milk and ice cream rich and delicious.

Amish Lifestyle

Church on Sundays

Go To Sunday Meeting

The Amish meet for church within their communities every other week. Their Sunday best is mostly black for the married folks while the single young ladies often wear colors.  Interesting.  This woman wore a cape and a black head covering while the man wore a felt black hat and a suit and white shirt without a tie.  This attire is very different from what they wear day to day.

Valet Parking?

Their Church Districts are very local.  While many of us travel 10-20 miles or more to church on Sundays, their Districts are basically their neighborhoods as travel by buggy is not fast.  (I have passed a buggy on my bicycle going 12 mph.) Their neighborhood is their church and their church is their neighborhood. Each District meets every two weeks and families take turns hosting in their homes.  Their churches are not public like the churches most of us are familiar with and there is no sign inviting strangers to worship with them each week.

Not Everyone Takes Their Buggy

Sunday is their day of rest.  And that they do.  The other six days are spent working hard while they relax on the seventh day.

The women are responsible for feeding the masses and the men and women usually segregate into different rooms after the meal while the youth will head out to the yard or barn to play games.