Thursday, May 30, 2013

Under the Heavens {Character foreshadow in Photos}

Thirsting of what's to come? Looking for a way to take a peek into Lenny's world? Although the book is entirely fictional it was built upon actual interaction with Amish over the years and a love for horses that has been over a lifetime.

We acquired Amish clothing, found a few willing "models", booked a session for an evening, and hitched up Tom's team! As a photographer and the daughter of the author I found myself praying an extra prayer on the way out for just the perfect skies as a backdrop for this session. The good Lord did not disappoint!

Does this get you all ready for a good read? It should! As one of the lucky "editor's" of the first draft copy of this book I was more than inspired to capture what my imagination was vividly able to piece together from this beautifully written story of a young man and his experience on an Amish farm one summer.

Keep coming back to this blog for short stories, personal experiences with the Amish, a glimpse into my Dad's team and much more. This blog is designed for you to get to know my dad as more than an author of a stunning book series, get to meet him as a good friend!
All images are ©Ruby Ellen Photography 2013 please do not copy, download or distribute without permission. Thank you.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Road Less Traveled

Belgian horses on an Amish farm
       Everyday, when driving to work and back home, I have to choose which road I will take. There is a faster, more heavily traveled highway, or I can take a back road that is lined with Amish farms. As you might have guessed, I take the road less traveled.

       Amish buggies take that road too and I often have to wait for a horse to slowly make its way over the crest of a hill before I can pass. Yesterday, it was pouring rain and I followed an Amish teenager riding a horse. A few days back I saw a boy riding a pony, galloping along the shoulder of the road carrying a bouquet of lilacs. I wondered where he was heading at 7:30 in the morning with his flowers.
       I'm glad not everyone takes the road less traveled! (That could be a yogi-ism) It is so peaceful to be one of the few driving a gas powered vehicle. I may have to leave home a few minutes earlier, or get to work a few minutes late, usually the later of the two but I think it's worth it. When all is said and done, these little things make life so much more meaningful!

       A few days back I snapped this picture (above) with my cell-phone, so you could enjoy the moment with me! This line of Belgian draft horses was heading up toward their barn. The Amish family that owns this beautiful herd of horses obviously takes great care of them. I often see these horses in harness, doing a variety of field work. I will try to get you some pictures like that, if I can do it without offending my Amish friends.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Under the Heavens {Testimonial by Twila}

"Under the Heavens" by my brother, Tom Nye, is an amazing book! I was so happy to get my hands on one of the rough drafts, and cannot wait until it's published so that I can sell it in my shop. I loved reading about Lenny and his adventures. Tom did a fabulous job capturing life on an Amish farm...especially focusing on the relationships with family, and had me in tears by the end of the story! I couldn't be more proud that my brother is the author, and can't wait to read the sequel!" -Twila
*photo courtesy of Twila, taken of Tom and his great-nephew, while she was visiting the "home place" with her daughter and grandchildren.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Under the Heavens {Behind the Scenes of the Photo shoot}

Sunday was the big day for Robyn Rasmussen from Ruby Ellen Photography to do the cover photo shoot for the first book in the Amish Horse Series, "Under the Heavens". Take a peek at some of the behind the scenes look at the horses and their owner, the author of the book, Tom Nye.

 More photos of the horses with the actors standing in as Lenny and Leah, to come later. Keep coming back for more!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I gave up my horses for lent!


                                                Took these pictures yesterday at our home place!

       Have you ever woke yourself up laughing, because you made up a joke in your dream? A few years back I used to loan my horses to my Amish neighbor quite often, he used them for field work. I must have been thinking about that in my sleep. I woke up laughing and wondered why, then I remembered my dream.
       I had been telling a buddy of mine, "I gave up my horses for lent!"  He asked me, "What do you mean?"
I told him, "I lent my horses to my neighbor and he never brought them back!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Draft Horse Sale

       Kalona Sale Barn has a draft-horse sale twice a year. On my way up to see what horse-drawn equipment was available, I saw this nice team of Percheron draft-horses. Notice the steel wheels on this Amish hay rack. This draft-horse sale is a huge event for our local Amish community and for all draft-horse enthusiasts in the area. If you have an interest in rubbing shoulders with Amish folks, check out a sale barn during this type of event.

         If you are looking for Amish Horses to buy, click on this link below.

       At our sale in Kalona, Amish women set out long tables full of baked goods offered at a reasonable price. I had a big plate of snicker-doodles, but I noticed a variety of freshly baked pies on the table too. Mmmm, mmm!

       One chapter in Under the Heavens, gives a detailed account of a visit to this sale barn. I believe that if I write about things I've experienced in my own life, it will ring true. This is the place where I bought a number of wonderful draft-horses, and met some Amish horsemen that I think qualify as horse-whisperers. Just seeing 2000 pound horses, all decked out in beautiful harness, is a great experience!

Are you interested in reading a novel all about farming with horses on an Amish farm?
click on the orange words here: Under the Heavens, Amish Horses Book Series
                                   If you enjoy this, check out Amish horses Facebook page                  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

On the Amish Wagon

       Riding in a horse drawn wagon is not like riding a car! Over the last six-thousand years people walked, rode animals, or rode on wagons behind horses. In the last one-hundred years everything changed and we lost touch with our own past. I am 52, my own grandpa was the first member of his family to own a car. When my grandpa was a boy, he farmed with horses, chances are your grandpa did too.
       Every time I hitch up my horses, it takes me back to the good ol' days! I often think, while riding in my wagon, of what it must have been like to cross the U.S. behind a team.

       I usually only hitch up my draft horses when the weather is accommodating. Amish don't have that luxury! True, it is by choice, but that choice brings with it some real advantages too.

       In a horse drawn wagon you see the world better! You are going so slow, you are forced to reflect, to look at flowers in the ditch, to watch birds flying overhead, and many other things we overlook at 60+ miles per hour. Riding behind horses there is a beautiful, primal sound of hoof-beats. Horse snorts and horse smells, some good, some bad. Even more entertaining, each horse has a personality all its own. Interacting with living, breathing creatures is good for the soul!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Karm and Coke, An artistic view {by Ruby Ellen Photography}



All images courtesy of Ruby Ellen Photography, copyright 2013 


       My horses, Karm and Coke, have finally shed their winter coat! We had temperatures in the 90's yesterday. I brushed my Percheron mares in the evening and winter hair was coming off in globs. I could tell they enjoyed getting scratched all over with a curry comb, they stood quietly nodded as though trying to reciprocate.
       If you have ever watched horses groom each other in the pasture, you'll notice they each nip at the same spot on their partner. That way they know where it itches! If I chew on your lower back, that means, I want my lower back chewed on (in the horse world). Well I notice, when I'm brushing my horses, they get a chewing motion going as if they want to groom me! I have them tied, so they can't reach me. I'm sure it would hurt anyway, if they nipped on me like they do each other.

Rats on a Plate and the Smell of Fresh Manure


Large white farm houses tucked in rolling hills lined with gravel roads and sided by freshly tilled black earth. Clotheslines lined in multiple sizes of black tights and white underwear. Horses, sheep, calves and chickens, a poor little cat that never made it across the road. A store clerk oblivious to the fact that she lives a mile away from debit cards and scanners, carefully reading each hand ticketed item before ringing into the 10 key calculator, printing out a narrow tape with 1.65, .45x8… Rows of healthy plants, crops of young women in pastels, bonnets and bare feet carefully arranging flats of flowers. A neatly folded white paper sack, 4 large pastries tucked inside. A pair of little boys safely buckled in car seats with 9 toy rats squished strategically between their tiny fingers ride up behind an Amish boy and his dad, both wearing straw hats, bouncing along on an open cart behind a quick trotting horse. The mix of strong manure-spreading scent lingering on clothing with a hint of sweet-smelling car-heated petunias.  Right before I pulled out of the lane onto the pavement that leads home I gave my mom a big hug, apologizing for coming out for her birthday and then having her drive me around the dusty countryside, spotting me 5 bucks for the plants and buying the treats. I turned to her as I laughed at my littlest using a new method for transporting his new rubber Amish-bought toy rats on a paper plate, that’s it!” I said,” today’s post is going to be called ‘Rats on a plate and the smell of fresh manure'.”

-Robyn (Nye) Rasmussen

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Please Come back Soon!

I- Robyn Rasmussen, am just getting started with helping my dad- Thomas Nye, start a web presence for his book that he has just written titled: "Under the Heavens". I myself have loved writing for quite some time now and have several blogs that I have manage including Tips from the Heart and Ruby Ellen Photography. I have a diploma in Retail marketing, combined with an AA in Interior Design, a photography business as well as 13 years of retail experience that have led up to me becoming my dad's "marketing" manager. Which leads me to the real topic at hand, my Dad! :)

As long as I can remember my dad has been a talker and a great story teller. As a little girl I remember having long conversations about things he remembers from being a young boy to when he met my mom and when he got his first horse. I must have gone over those stories dozens of times but listening to my daddy tell stories with so much detail and enthusiasm, I never got tired of them.

About this time last year I was blessed to have the rare opportunity to go with my parents and my brother on a trip to their timeshare. As an adult, with children of my own, it rarely happens that I am without children, and my other sisters, with time to just talk to my dad and mom. While on this trip my dad brought up the fact that he was writing a book!?! I thought maybe it was just a short story, as he had done many times before. But this was different. As he read the first chapter to me aloud I began to get tears in my eyes and chills up my spine- the good kind. That's when I knew this was something special, something different than before, something big.

Fast forward one year.

Throughout the year I remained diligent in asking him if his book was finished yet and so excited to see where it would take him. I will never forget the first night when I got my hands on that beautiful single spaced, inch thick, neatly-typed copy. As I sat down to delve into the book for the first time I had no idea the amount of pride that would flow from my heart as I finished reading it.

I knew that I was to be reading it with an editing eye but as I read and started making minor corrections I almost felt guilty, like I was changing something sacred? I took my time reading it, turning each page to the back of the stack as I reached for the next. Pen in one hand, thick stack of paper in the other I spent mornings curled up with my coffee mug and evenings curled up with a bowl of ice-cream. Carefully sipping and lapping each word in.

As I began to read about a young man, confused about where he really fit in, I began to connect with Lenny as I knew him. A clear picture of his surroundings, in beautiful Iowa Amish countryside, was ingrained in my head, the words painting the perfect picture. The climax of the story drew me in and tears flowed from my cheeks and I had that huge lump in my throat, as I could feel the pain of Lenny's heartache, the character that I felt so connected to. Yet, even through the pain, the story has a silver lining that brought a gentle smile to my face as I read the last paragraph and already started planning the sequel in my head.

Maybe I am partial, maybe I am trained to love horses, maybe I already wish I was Amish at times, or maybe this book is just plain amazing! I'm thinking the later of the choices is the truth. The copy I read, although not grammatically perfect, was the perfect marriage of truth, opinion, history and story.  What a little editing can do is no match to what it can't do, and that is-  make a beautiful story to read.  I am told by my Dad that after submitting to some publishers the critiques have led to an even better story line that I have yet to read. At any rate I am excited to see where this book is headed.

I am a strong believer in what is meant to be will be and I am just feeling like this is the time that my father is meant to get his voice out there in a big way.

Congrats to my daddy and please join us as we embark on the big and sometimes scary-overwhelming task of publishing a first book. I love you to pieces daddy! -Your oldest daughter, Robyn