Sunday, March 10, 2019

Amish Ice Hockey

Last Monday, March 4th, I drove to Kalona, heading to the horse sale. Kalona Sale Barn has a horse sale on the first Monday of every month.

My 10-mile drive to town takes me through as many miles of Amish-farm country. I passed by several Amish schools and noted that the children were all having fun with an outdoor recess. Keep in mind, the temps were in single digits and there happen to be a cold wind.

These Amish children were blessed with a naturally formed hockey rink. Our Iowa winter has been brutal this year, with lots of freezing rain followed by extremely cold temps. When life gives you lemons... make lemonade! When winter gives you icy fields... play ice hockey!
Amish children love to sled and ice skate. The temperature doesn't seem to keep them inside. The other morning, I passed by an Amish farm on my way to work at 7:00 am and noticed some Amish boys getting in a little sledding before they had to head to school.

I'll share a picture taken at the horse sale. These teenage Amish girls seemed to be enjoying a relaxing afternoon watching horses pass through the sale-ring. Amish children only go to school through 8th grade.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Shades of Blue

How about a few winter scenes from Amish country?

This horse is enjoying the power of solar heat on a chilly morning.

Note: people often panic about how cold horses must be. Keep in mind that they, like deer, buffalo, cattle, moose and other creatures, have built-in defenses for all weather conditions.
Fortunately, horses and cattle have people providing them with food, open water, and shelter. Deer, buffalo and other wild animals have to fend for themselves.
 Snow and cold make farm life difficult. Amish people don't let it keep them from doing what must be done.
 Many hands make light work.

 Dashing through the snow.
 Winter shades of blue and gray with a hint of fire!
 Horses know how to stay out of the wind and how to use solar power.
 Sometimes you have to shovel around a gate to get the thing open!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Coming in 2019

 Scroll down

to see 

the opened 

Coming in 2019
         A new novel by Thomas Nye
            Samson and Amish Delilah

A cover "reveal" and "back of the book" info to follow!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Amish Thanksgiving

If you know anything about the Amish, you've learned that they have their own set of holidays.

You won't find Christmas trees or colored lights flashing on an Amish farm.

Many Amish families choose to celebrate "Old Christmas" on January 6th instead of modern America's December 25th.
It's unlikely that you'd see anyone Amish at a 4th-of-July parade or trick-or-treating at Halloween. Instead, Ascension Day and Good Friday are major Amish holidays, something the rest of us Americans almost overlook.

When Celebrate Lit Publishing asked if I'd be interested in writing an Amish Thanksgiving short story for a collection, I began to wonder what Amish do on Thanksgiving.

 I asked a number of Amish and formerly Amish friends how they celebrate Thanksgiving and found that, for the most part, they take time to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal with family. It turns out, this is one American holiday the Amish share with the rest of us. Minus- the after-the-meal football and setting up of a Christmas tree.
Amish families might not spend time watching Christmas movies or football during the "Holiday Season" but they love a good sale as much as anyone! You may notice a few Amish shoppers in an aisle near you this Friday.

Here are a few lines from Love's Thankful Heart  a book with three Amish Thanksgiving stories.
On sale now. .99 cents for an eBook copy.

Thomas Nye's story: Thanksgiving Frolic

Finally, Esther called everyone to the table for the late afternoon meal. The whole family chatted and laughed as they gathered around, squeezing together closely in an effort to fit every member in. When they were finally seated, the talking hushed until the room became filled with silence. Even the smallest children sensed that it was time for prayer.

Instead of saying let's pray, as he usually did, Joe cleared his voice and began to speak. "You know, this accident of mine has proven to be one of the best things that ever happened to me." A tear rolled down his cheek as he spoke. "I lost track of what is most important in life." He took a moment to compose himself, then continued. "At first, I was actually angry with God. I thought, why would God allow me to suffer an injury that will keep me from being a good steward of the possessions He has entrusted to me? I didn't understand that I was failing to be a good steward of something more important than possessions. I was failing to be a good steward of the relationships God has given me..."

 Everyone around the table sniffled, and Esther passed around napkins for them to wipe their eyes and blow their noses. The children watched in amazement at the unusual display of emotion. 

 If you want to read it today, download for only .99 cents!
Nov. 22nd - 27th. 2018
click here: Love's Thankful Heart

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Amish Harness Shop

 There are at least three Amish harness shops within 15 miles of my home.
I've done business with all three and enjoy stopping in at each of them as often as possible.
This picture (on the left) I snapped a few weeks ago. The harness maker is leading his horse away from a buggy. That's my hand in the foreground.
Everyone I know calls this harness maker, Davey Dutch. Mennonites and Amish are big on nicknames, partly because so many people have the same name

 Our little dog, Wesley, keeps breaking those little nylon collars we buy at Walmart, so I used an old piece of horse harness as a collar.

My wife said that my old harness part looked nasty and I should stop in at my Amish friend's shop and have him make a new one.
I took her advice.
Davey Dutch spent 15-20 minutes cutting a piece of leather, punching holes and crimping the ends. I stood and watched, listening to a crackling fire in his wood-burning stove.

When he finished his work, Davey handed me the new collar and said, "That must be a small dog you have."
The little collar did seem tiny.
He headed to the cash register and said, "I'll call that scrap leather. You can give me $2.00.
Granddaughter Lyla and Wesley

Amish harness shops are amazing!

Who wouldn't rather have a custom Amish-made leather collar than an el-cheapo nylon one that costs 4times more?

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Big Stage

My wife and I took a day-trip to the Percheron World Congress in DesMoines, Iowa this past week.

That's the "Big Stage" for Percheron horses.

I took some pics and videos of the Six-horse gelding hitches.

This picture above was shot a few seconds before the one below.

It kind of gives a time-lapse effect. You can see that I got as close to the action as possible.

The view from up high is better for the overall picture... but I like to be right there to feel the thunder of all those huge hooves.
 The photo above shows a few of the six-horse hitches being looked over by the judge. Three to four teams came in the area at a time. There were seventeen six-horse hitches in this gelding division. In the photo below you will see the top four teams. At one point they brought all seventeen hitches into the arena for the final awards. That is a whole lot of horsepower all standing in close proximity. It may look simple to an outsider, but if just one horse blows up things could get wild in a hurry.

My two favorite hitches came in 1st and 3rd. I really loved these six geldings in the video below. They were perfectly matched and super calm.


 I told my wife during the competition that the Young Living Hitch was going to win. That's the horses in the video below. She can verify that I called it!!! LOL. The Young Living Hitch did not make one mistake that I could see, and they were so powerful and lively. They won, and totally deserve to be World Champs!
By the way, a group of around fifteen-or-so Amish folks was sitting behind us. The Amish in my area would not take in such an event but other Amish groups are more lenient. I'm gonna guess that those Amish either had relatives showing horses or had raised some of the horses in the show.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Horsing Around

 For this blog post, I decided to share a few pictures of people enjoying their horses! You will see a mixture of pics with Amish and non-Amish folks "Horsing Around."
This man seems pleased to give us a look at his amazing stallion.
 If you want to enjoy a buggy ride, head to Shipshewana, Indiana. The price might have gone up since I took this pic about 3 years ago. At the time, an Amish man gave the tours and I believe he still the one taxying people around.

 These horses are showing off their raw power. At least one Amish man is taking in the sight.

 The Budweiser Hitch is a joyful sight to behold.
 These young folks are having fun getting horses ready for a show.
 This is a fun pic... but actually, the gal is a horse chiropractor and busy doing her job.
 This little girl is as cute as her pony. She is bathing it at the Iowa State Fair.
 These Amish sisters are enjoying some horseback riding.
 If you have a team, it's fun to hitch them up and drive around the farm.
 My little granddaughters love sitting on my draft horses.
 These Amish sisters love taking their ponies over some jumps.

 Amish folks enjoy seeing beautiful horses in action. They seem to love horses as much or more than anyone. Like cowboys, Amish people work with horses almost every day. People that do, seem to develop a deep connection and understanding with them. I know some people are bent on showing Amish as harsh with horses. I can't defend the whole group any more than they should condemn all. Almost all of the Amish I know personally (and I know many) treat their horses with deep respect and are amazing horse handlers. 
 This pic was taken during a photo session for a book cover.
 (Yep, that's me, my daughter, and my horses)
To see the results, click on this link: Catbird Singing

 This Amish gal trained her horse to lay down.
 I love this pic of my three grandchildren sitting on my sweet, old mare, Karma.
 A very old pic of my daughter sitting on one of my other favorite mares, Sal.
(Yes, that's me holding the lead rope.)
Many of these pics have appeared in other posts on the Amish Horses Blog. They all seem to fit together under the heading of, Horsing Around.
Sweet eyes!