Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Drive / Amish Farmlands

         I remember, when I was a boy in the early 1960s, Sunday afternoons were so quiet and peaceful. Almost everyone in our little town of Midland, Michigan were church going people.

         Nowadays, we have shaken ourselves free of "rules" about not working on Sundays, but I feel the pendulum swung a little too far.
         Our Amish neighbors teach us something about what we used to have... and were SO happy to leave behind. Life was "going to be" so much better when we didn't have to hang laundry out on a clothesline day after day. When we got bigger tractors, faster vehicles, electric kitchen devices, (ie: can openers, toasters, coffee makers, and finally microwave ovens) and a whole plethora of modern conveniences.
          Okay, I'll admit we have a cushy lifestyle in 2016. However, have we taken the freedom to do a load of laundry (in our set of electric machines) and let it become a burden of seven equally non-restful days.
          I've never stopped in at any of my Amish neighbors and found them too busy to talk. In fact, I'm the one that has only a few minutes. I even hesitate to stop my Amish friends homes for fear that I won't be able to "get away" soon enough. Whole families gather around and listen to what their dad and an older neighbor man are talking about.
          TV, movies, video games, music devices, cell-phones, computers, and what all else has crept in and crowded out our lives from simple pleasure and natural beauty. I wonder how many "English" homes I could stop in and have the entire family gather around to listen to me and their dad talk... all with smiles on their faces. Good luck getting the earbuds out of their ears.

         My wife and I stopped in the "Mall" last Sunday. Almost every person seemed glued to their hand-held communication device. Storefronts advertise with huge photos of scantily dressed women. The place was filled with the hustle/bustle of buying and selling.

         Then, we took an evening drive though Amish country and reveled in the tranquility. I stopped at a stop sign behind these middle-school-aged Amish children. I know they didn't hear my truck. He was feeding his sister a piece of apple or something while she drove the horse. They turned around in surprise when they realized someone was behind them.

I invite you to take a drive though Amish farmlands on a Sunday afternoon,
and see for yourself what we left behind.

My novels are all about these contrasts, and lessons learned by observing Amish neighbors.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Out of the Wind

 My horses, Karm and Coke were standing on the west side of our corncrib/horse-barn this morning. Winds are from the east. They have many windbreak options including going inside.

Some folks think I should pen them inside and force them to stay warm... I disagree. They are sixteen and thirteen, fully grown and mature, and know where they are most comfortable. I believe they should be free to decide.

Some folks don't have options, they have to keep their horses in a stall most of the time. Others don't have a barn and their horses have to make do with a wind break, like wild horses. I guess if I'm gonna force them to do what seems comfortable to a human... then I should trap our squirrels and pen them in the barn too!
  I had to lure them inside with grain and hay... as soon as they are done eating they will most likely head back outside where they love to stand.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Amish Bookends

 Sunrise 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.