Sunday, November 22, 2015

Peace on Earth

With all of the violence in the news nowadays, I can't help but think that we all could learn a little something from the Amish.

What an iconic image of peace on earth, Amish children walking home from a one-room school house.

Do Amish children ever squabble while they trek a few miles through the cold toward home? Oh yeah, I wont say they never do. In fact, I have a story about that.

Our "English" neighbor lady told me that she saw a rather large lunch-pail setting on the side of our road. She had noticed a group of Amish children walking along that area a short time before, so she stopped in at the nearest Amish farm and asked about it. The Amish mother was rather embarrassed, but admitted, "That belongs to us. Our children take turns carrying one lunch pail that holds all of their lunches. They had a dispute about whose turn it was and our older son told his little sister, 'It's your turn.' and set it down. She refused to pick it up."

Our "English" neighbor asked, "Do you want me to pick it up and bring it to you?" The Amish mother said, "No, it will set there until our daughter finishes her chores and goes to get it."

If only this was the full measure of conflict in our world, what a peaceful life it would be.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Amish Farm Tour

Amish farms are peaceful. (near Shipshewanna, Indiana)

Gardens, livestock, and families working together. (northern Indiana)
Clothes on the wash-line in almost any weather. (Iowa)
Buggies, wagons. (Iowa)
Draft horses work and relax in green pastures. (Near Shipshewanna, Indiana)
Extended families live in close proximity with each other. 
Big barns, small sheds, pole buildings, and chicken houses.
Fences, fields, and wild flowers.
White farmhouses.
Ponds, windmills, martin houses. (Odom, southern Indiana)
Hay-fields (southern Illinois)
Silos. (near Arthur, Illinois)
Big houses with lots of children, and big barns with lots of horses. (near Nappanee, Indiana)
Peaceful  (Wisconsin)

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Best Kept Amish Secret

There are many wonderful Amish recipes for food and healing, as well as multitudes of  Amish ideas for working with horses and other livestock. In fact, I truly feel the best kept Amish secret has something to do with how willingly Amish children join in with work around the farm.

Maybe this blog post should read: A very well kept Amish secret, Under the Heavens.

Up to this date, my novels have been read almost exclusively by Amish and Mennonites. When my first novel, Under the Heavens came out, I was very nervous for those of Amish background to read it. One of my greatest surprises was how well it was received by older Mennonite folks. Many former Amish enjoy reminiscing about their early days and life on the family farm. Under the Heavens seems to bring back many good memories.

One older Mennonite man in our community actually called me on the phone to ask questions. "Where is this farm? I've been trying to figure out who this family is, do I know them?" I was very pleased that my story was so believable, he wanted to figure out just who the family was. 

My books are novels, however, they are based on my real life experiences with our Amish neighbors and friends. We have had many over the past 35 years.

My draft horses came from an Amish family not far down the road. I have had many wonderful opportunities to learn about farming with horses from that family and others in our community.

I have also been pleasantly surprised to learn that Amish folks themselves want to read books with Amish settings. It does make sense. Many Amish love to read and have made every effort to keep life simple, and separate from the world. Why would they want to dwell on that "other" lifestyle when reading.

If you have memories of life on the old-fashioned farm, these books will take you back to those days of simple pleasures, and good clean fun.

You can purchase a copy of Under the Heavens on Amazon, or receive a signed copy directly through me, Thomas Nye.

Book I  Under the Heavens  $15
Book II Catbird Singing       $15
Please send $5 for shipping costs
Whispering to Horses           $7
Plus $3 for shipping

(If you order two books, there is no extra shipping charge for the second book)

Make the check payable to:

 Thomas Nye
P.O. Box 495 Kalona, Iowa 52247

Amazon Link  also available as an eBook for $2.99 each! (Amazon or Barnes & Noble)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Amish Fall

 I am sharing a selection of fall photos here. They are pictures that I took with my cell-phone this year and last year during October.

There could be so many more Amish pictures if I wasn't trying hard to not offend my Amish friends and neighbors.  I try to photograph barns, fields, livestock, and of course horses.

I took this picture of Karm and Coke (below) yesterday
 These corn shocks (below) were in an Amish field in Wisconsin. My wife and I took a little get-a-way there last week and, as usual, I drove through an Amish area. (ask my wife about that)

Amish buggy heading up a beautiful road in Wisconsin

My wife's dad lived up this farm lane when he was about 12. He grew up and still is a Mennonite, but back in those days the difference was small.
 I already shared this picture (above) on another blog post. However, it's one of my favorites and a great Amish fall pic!
 This Amish school house was in session when I drove past. Look at the children running through the yard during recess. Amish are less opposed to photos of children. In fact, they enjoy discovering their children in a photograph that comes out in the paper. (They would never admit that but I've seen them smiling and showing each other.)

These calves (below) were enjoying the last green grass of the season, on an Amish farm.
 This Amish farm (above) is where one of Amish friends grew up. He is still Amish but now lives in Ohio. We went to a visitation at this place when his dad passed away.

These calves (below) are in front of another Amish farmstead. Right before I took this pic, I passed an elderly Amish woman walking on the road. She had several cats that were following her and I slowed way down. She called as I passed by, "Thank you for not running over my cats!"

Friday, October 16, 2015

All About Horses

You wake up ... and there are horses.
I write about the Amish. I'm not Amish, nor did I grow up Amish. In fact, I didn't even know a group of people that depend on horses for transportation existed, until I was around eighteen. I moved to an Amish area right after I graduated high school and was I shocked when I saw girls my age driving a horse and cart, like this young lady pictured here.
 It so happened that I met an Amish family and started asking questions. They were kind enough to let me go along to Amish Church, Singings, youth gatherings, and even let me help when they were making hay. 35 years later, I'm still hanging around the area and learning more.
 My love for horses adds to my fascination with Amish life. Those who have read my books know that they are "all about horses." I have found that Amish life begins with, centers around, and ends with the horse. If you really want to know what life is like for most Amish people, young and old, then you will have to learn something about working with horses.
 Little Amish children are as comfortable around horses as most children are with the family dog. The other day I passed an elderly Amishman, head sagging, asleep, as his horse trotted down a gravel road. (I stopped at the next intersection to be sure that he was okay and he waived at me.)
Amish life is about a lot more than just horses. Christ is the true center of many Amish homes, as well as hard work, family, friends, a lot of fun, and simple pleasures. All of these things find their way into my books as well, but at the end of the day, you look out of the window and there they are ... Horses.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Whispering to Horses

An old fence separates a modern community from their Amish neighbors, until a little boy opens the gate and breaks down barriers between them. Main characters, Matt and Eli, find friendship, hope, and a future through a mutual need, which creates an opportunity for them to learn to understand each other. Eli and his little sisters will touch your heart by Whispering to Horses.

My newest book is due to be released on November 2nd.

This short novel is about a man who doesn't like his Amish neighbors, that is, until he actually gets to know them.

Whispering to Horses is available for pre-order on Amazon by clicking the link below.

Amazon Link

Blogger Lue Shetler added this review below:

Being formerly Amish, there are certain things I look for in an Amish novel. In Whispering to Horses, Thomas Nye held my attention and did a wonderful job of bringing out the authenticity of farm life for an Amish family. An interesting and quick read about a young man, Matt, who comes back to his roots in Amish country and learns particular life lessons from a very mature youngster, Eli. The bond they form is heartwarming, sincere, and leaves one hoping these two will remain in each other’s lives for a very long time. There are interesting twists regarding Eli and his mother. I look forward to reading more about Eli’s mother, and how she finds peace and an end to the conflict she wrestles with deep within. Oh, and for you romantic types, there is a touch of romance. (wink, wink)
Lue Shetler, blogger, writer, formerly Amish.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fall in Soybean Country

 Iowa farm fields are mostly covered with cornstalks, but soybeans are a close second! Many farmers, my brother-in-law included, rotate those two crops 50/50 because that is best for the soil. This farmland you see beyond my horses has been in our family for 97 years, and will be a "century farm" in 2018.
 When my wife's grandparents moved here, everyone in this area was still farming with horses, Amish or otherwise. Soybeans didn't become a cash crop until many years later. Back in those days farmers rotated corn with hay and oats. All of the field edges and rough areas were used as pasture in the summer, and cornstalks for winter grazing.

 I was laying on the ground to capture the photo you see above. My wife looked out of the kitchen window and, for a moment, wondered if I had been kicked by one of my horses.

That wouldn't be impossible, but these horses are about as gentle as can be. I trust them completely.

I added a photo of horses grazing near cornstalks on an Amish farm. This is a typical fall view in our part of the country as well.

If you enjoy my blog, consider reading one of my books.
(click on the link below)