The Amish Way

One of the coolest things about living where I live (about 45 minutes south of Lancaster, PA) is the frequent sightings of Amish in our area. They are called “The Plain Folks” and I admit it….I still get excited seeing them –even after living here for 30+ years.

I’ve watched them in a variety of circumstances-in the market place, in the fields working with their teams of horse drawn equipment and playing outside the one room schoolhouses (with the outhouse out back). I love to see the little boys in their summer straw hats peering through the back window of the buggy while we share the roads. This past winter, I was taking some of the back roads home from Lancaster and saw a school recess time where all the students were ice skating on a frozen pond-dressed in their long, black winter coats-it was a scene from Currier and Ives. Perfection.

Nuts about this Amish sect, I am.

I love their family farm houses, which keep getting added on to each time a son marries and can easily be recognized as an Amish household by the lines of fresh laundry running from the house to the barn-full of dark colored clothing. I’m envious of their tidy gardens bordered with beautiful rows of marigolds and cockscomb.

I love going to the Lancaster Central Market early on Friday mornings to see the freshest produce, baked goods and Amish wares. BTW—this market is THE oldest farmers market in NORTH AMERICA. Pretty cool, huh? One Friday—decades ago, I was there with my parents and we saw Harrison Ford coming out of his trailer while the movie, Witness was being filmed. Amish market + Harrison Ford= doesntgetbetterthanthat!

Side note: Last week I was driving back from Lancaster and I stopped at a water area to check their paddle board situation. It was a place where we used to take our boys to row around this large area with an island to explore. We would make the boys take turns (with us) rowing… builds character you know.

Anyhoo—on this day there was an Amish family at the waters edge. The mom and girls waited patiently on the picnic tables while the dad and 5 boys piled into one of the row boats….and….proceeded to get the attendant to attach a MOTOR BOARD so they wouldn’t have to paddle! What is the world coming to when Amish opt for gas over wood?

Back to the current story:

We have had a huge building project going on at our farm for over 4 months now—we are almost to the end. I was tired of it after the first two weeks. Every morning at 6am truck loads of workers came across our bridge sending our farm dog, Cassie, into fits. Between her barking and the constant noise of equipment and beeping of trucks backing up, banging lumber and men yelling—both Cassie and I were on edge.

One day after the major portion of our project was finished, my hub announced that the old spring house was about to fall in and he was going to hire an Amish contractor to restore the aging structure. He said he did not want it to collapse when I went to get food from the freezer we keep out there. (His precious deer meat is in there too…so what is the real motive, right?)

I perked right up. The Amish? The Plain People-are coming to my house? I had visions of calm and tranquility and soft spoken bearded men. There would be peace in our valley once more. <sigh>

Out with modern construction gang-in with the sound of saws and hammers. I couldn’t wait! Cassie couldn’t wait! Their reputation as quality craftsmen is legendary in these parts-working together, they can raise a huge barn in one day.

The Amish crew started on a Monday morning, their work trailer pulled by a Ford F150 driven by a hired man (who seemed to always be snooping around our barn—creepy). This is how the Amish get around in the “English” world when they need to get things done. Within 15 minutes of their arrival I heard the familiar hum of a compressor coming from the spring house. I looked out the window and saw that they had plugged into the electric out there and were gearing up for the day’s work. What? They were going to use electric tools?


This wasn’t the way I had expected it to be! The Amish Way is NO ELECTRICITY! It’s forbotten!

(Makes me wonder if there is any truth to all the reality shows about the Amish cropping up recently…..Amish Mafia and Breaking Amish are just a couple of the titles I’ve seen. I refuse to accept that these shows are truth…and I’m too chicken to ask any of them what they think about all this attention. Not that they should know….no TV’s! I’m sure word still gets around.)

Add to that our young Amish contractor wears Oakley sunglasses, chain smokes hand rolled cigarettes and told me that he would give me pricing on new shutters after he checked them on the internet.

The internet?

A cheater he may be…but he is an outstanding craftsman. Barely 30 and married with five daughters under the age of 7….he is quite the business man as well. Best of all….his crew cleans up the worksite. Every evening. LOVE IT!

Friday was his last day working here. His crew saved our spring house, shored up the foundation to our barn and replaced the windows (now that our lacrosse days are over, they might have a fighting chance to stay intact—besides these are Plexiglas.) He reglazed a couple of old wavy glass windows that I wanted to save. They even painted our barn after first telling us that Amish never paint. (But their barns are always white–go figure.)

With their driving away it brings closure to the projects I thought would never end. I am thankful that all the work is done, and now we have a good contact for more work if we ever need it.

I know I can always catch him on his cell phone.


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1 Response to The Amish Way

  1. cber says:

    It sounds lovely! But… a cell phone? and power tools? Are you sure he wasn’t an Amish poser? 😉 Btw, you could be his agent, book work for him around here, and retire on your cut of the action…

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