Friday, February 5, 2016

Amish Bookends

 Sunset and Sundown are bookends to everyday life on an Amish farm.

Waking up to the sound of a rooster crowing and birds singing, is a beautiful and refreshing way to start your day. Head out and cows bawl for you to feed them.

Each evening, chore time closes the day as the sun goes down. Heading into a farmhouse knowing that your livestock is fed and bedded down is a relaxing feeling.

 Every morning The Lord paints a new mural on His massive canvas 
 Every evening God's watercolors lightly touch the clouds
The Moon hangs over this Amish farm as chores are being done
Even stormy weather has a certain beauty in Amish country
Many chapters, in my novels, begin with a descriptive sunrise on an Amish farm.
And chapters often end with a moonlit scene.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Amish Friends

        Four families are represented in this photo, some were Amish and the rest Mennonite. Our four families were close friends back in those days but times change and we don't see each other as often. These Children are all grown-ups now, (one of the young men has gone home to be with the Lord.) All of our families grew after this photo, and one of them ended up with twelve children.

        The littlest of them is my cover model for Catbird Singing. Yes, believe it or not, that little blondie in the middle with her yellow dress hiked up, is the same girl pictured below between my team of draft horses. She is 25 now!

We always had a great time together and yes, their parents approved us taking a photo. I'm hoping they will get a chance to see this blog, because I know they will really enjoy this picture.

One of these families left the Amish and I see their daughter (the second smallest blond girl) working at a grocery store on my mail route. I like to remind her that she was a little Amish girl when I first knew her.

The family that stayed Amish, moved to Ohio and we don't see them much anymore.

I don't tell any of our Amish friends personal stories in my books. The experiences we had in their homes are the foundation of what I write.

We have found that our Amish neighbors build their lives around faith, family, and friends.

Catbird Singing on Amazon

Friday, January 15, 2016

Attention Horse People

 If you wake up thinking about horses. focus all day on a horse issue you need to fix. (i.e. getting hay, wormer, equipment, or thinking of your training methods.) And fall asleep dreaming about horses. Then, you have a whole lot in common with me!

I love to read about horses and people who work with them. That is why I wrote several adventure novels about horses.
 Under the Heavens is about a teenage city guy who goes to spend a summer on his Amish relatives farm. Lenny is planning to stay away from horses. Little does he know, that is impossible on an Amish farm. From sunup to sundown his summer is filled with horse adventures

Grandpa is a horse whisperer and determined to teach his grandson horse-sense.

Catbird Singing is about Lenny's second trip to this Amish Horses wonderland. On this visit he finds out that if he wants to date girls, he will have to hitch up and drive high strung buggy horses on the highway.

The girls are a little too cute to resist and he has to find a way to get along with some ornery horses.

 Horses are a way of life on an Amish farm.

These books are based on my 35 years of living in an Amish community. When I bought draft horses from local Amish farmers, they didn't just sell me horses. My Amish friends seem to enjoy watching a city boy struggle to do what is second nature to them.

They don't just laugh though. They make every effort to help me succeed. That is the basis of my books.

If you love horses, you have to own one of these books.

Under the Heavens:if you love to read about life on the good-old-fashioned farm. Plowing, making hay, and then going to a young folk's gathering in a buggy.

Catbird Singing: if it sounds fun to read about a young man's funny adventures courting Amish girls while hanging onto a set of driving lines.

Either book can be read first even though they are part of the Amish Horses Series. If you love the first one, go ahead and get the other.  Book III is on the way!

P.S. Whispering to Horses is a short story about a man who hates his Amish neighbors... until he actually gets to know them. Horses are the heart of this story as well.

Click on one of the links and read a few reviews!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Snowy Pastures

A little bit of snow is a good thing. Up until the past few days, Iowa has had about as mild of winter ever recorded. It rained a lot and my horses were having to deal with mud. When the temps drop below 32 degrees we get cold weather cement. (our mud hardens)

 I don't know how much these horses are able to find under that snow but they never give up looking for something to nibble on. I know this Amish farmer provides hay for his horses, but when horses have their fill of hay they like to look for an extra treat.

As I've said before, horses are as tough as buffalo and prefer to stay out in the weather unless there are subzero temps and wind. It was snowing the other day and my own horses (pictured above) didn't come inside until I called them in and fed them hay. The doorway (I'm standing in to take this pic) is always open and they have two sides of a barn they can enter at will.
There are two ponies in this field. A small white pony is standing behind this brown one. Ponies get really furry in the winter months and don't seem to notice cold or snow.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Amish Countryside in Winter

 If you want to step back in time, drive through Amish farmlands.

The views are so classic and beautiful.

Life seems so wholesome and healthy.

All of the glitz of flashing lights disappear.
 Let the beauty of nature paint its own Christmas display...
                                            And let the heavens provide the Christmas lights!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas Cookies

My wife decided to invite all five of our grandchildren over for a Christmas Cookie making party last Saturday. She put on her Santa's-helper apron (Santa thought she looked really cute in it!)

Last Christmas she made little aprons for all of our grandchildren to wear while doing art projects or baking cookies. They all put on their aprons and "chef hats" and we were ready to get started.

 Our littlest chef had to stop for a few moments and send an important text message. (actually he was looking at pictures on my phone, his favorite thing to do... especially my horse pics)

Two of our four daughters were there to help, and you can see them at the table with our grandchildren.
Of course we had to make some horse shaped cookies too.

 and everyone loved adding frosting, sprinkles, and colored sugar.
 Of course we had to do taste testing too!
Everyone put on a reindeer hat and lined up for a photo with Santa's helper. 
Cookie dough and sprinkles approximately $5... memories of making Christmas cookies with grandparents... I'm gonna guess, priceless.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Winter Scenes on the Amish Farm

There is something cozy about Amish farms during the holiday season, don't you agree?

I think it's that old-time, down on the farm quality of life that we all miss. We long for it all year, but the holiday season brings it out more than ever.

We long for the sweet, simple life. A time when people knew and cared about their neighbors.

A time when we knew the names of horses and cows instead of "cell phone aps." A place in history where little boys and girls ran and played in the snow, and also knew how to do chores.
 I love visiting Amish farms because all of this is still happening at this very moment... just as it did when my grandpa was a boy.

A few simple toys at Christmas were enough. They were toys that we enjoyed but didn't get "addicted" to. Instead of staring at a "little screen," or a "huge screen" all Christmas day, people sat and visited with each other.

Just as they still do on Amish farms.