Part of living in rural Wisconsin was experiencing the Amish people. It was not uncommon to hear the “clipity-clop” of the Amish horse and buggy coming into town. They did their banking in town, their farming business with the feed mill, as well as purchasing their grocery needs from Friesland Foods.
As a little girl, I couldn’t wait till I heard them come into town. My ears were tuned to the sound of the buggy wheels and the horse’s hooves hitting the asphalt. I would launch from the house to the edge of the yard and look toward downtown. If I was lucky, the horse and buggy would be parked by the store. They always parked the buggy by the nearest light pole.
a horse is a horse of course, of course
I learned from experience you didn’t come upon a horse without calmly announcing your presence. Amish buggy horses have blinders on, so they can only see straight ahead. I always made sure to start talking to them as I picked grass on the lawns nearby and then I would feed them grass. And on occasion, I would sneak them a sugar cube.
Usually, I waited long enough and an Amish man or woman would come out. They always had time for small talk. These horses were not the pets that I had imagined. Horses were an important part of their everyday life and worked hard bringing the Amish folk around their community and beyond.
Dressed for success
Photo Credit: emailamyd
Always the same color scheme of grays, blues, browns, purples for clothes. Denim pants with suspenders and a colored shirt for the gentleman and boys and polyester tops and skirt bottoms with black tights and black shoes for the women. Most everything was pinned on with straight pins. The fun part was seeing the little babies and toddlers in their Amish garb, bonnets, and straw hats. Very cute! Younger children were always barefooted till it began to freeze and then shoes were put on.
The Amish are a very tight community. Each Amish community has it’s own Bishop. The Bishop is the spiritual leader for the community and also sets the tone for what “technologies” the community can participate in. Any baptized male members are eligible for the Bishop position. Members are voted upon for nominations, then they become a candidate and finally lots are drawn. The bishops’ position is a very heavy spiritual responsibility and most consider it a relief to have not drawn the lot.
My favorite Amish store to go to was Mischlers Country Store. All sorts of Amish brand food as well as homegrown produce, eggs and a large variety of bulk foods like flour, sugar, spices and more. A late fall Saturday afternoon was my favorite time to go shop. I enjoyed the many skylights, the soft lamplight lining the shopping aisles, along with the soft murmurs of the broken German the Amish girls spoke as they worked.
this ain’t your mama’s amish
Photo Credit: JoeKeim
I got an eye-opener the last time I stopped in the Lilac Woodshop. I was walking around enjoying all the handcrafted furniture (some hand built right there and other pieces from Indiana). As I approached the desk the Amish owner looked up from his (wait for it…) laptop computer. WHAT!!?? Rewind… Yep, I saw that right. He had a laptop computer and was telling me he was working on building his website. ! Don’t look now, but he also has a Facebook page.
In light of all this “English” (they refer to us non-Amish as the “English”) allowances he had, I decided to snoop around for electric lights and indoor plumbing. I found the indoor bathroom (yahoo!) but was unable to find electrical outlets. Somehow he must power his laptop… this would be fun to question the Amish owner. But Brad was with me that day and could sense my curiosity, so he began herding me towards to door before I could begin my fifty questions with the owner.
I have a beautiful rocking chair made of hickory from “The Old Mr. Miller” who did a great job of crafting rocking chairs. Mr. Miller also built beautiful bed sets and dining tables. There are several families that have greenhouses, and an Amish bakery. Some of the ladies offered (for a fee) an Amish tour of their home complete with an Amish home-cooked meal followed by a showing of the local ladies quilts.
If you ever get the chance to be out in Columbia County Wisconsin (same county Wisconsin Dells is in) be sure to wheel your way over to the Pardeeville/Dalton area. Take a step back in time and enjoy a simpler way of life- the Amish way.
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Michele Bruxvoort is sure to draw you in with her delightful sense of humor and love for living life. She enjoys reading, repurposing, as well as remodeling the family home with her husband. Drawing from her life experience as wife, mom, and follower of Jesus, Michele brings you a very honest and real perspective on life. When you don’t find her writing, you can find her mowing lawns, stocking shelves, and tackling her latest life adventure.
Wisconsin native and empty-nester, she now makes her home with her husband of 26 years in the South West Prairie plains of Minnesota.