Sunday, October 30, 2016

Amish Tour of Wisconsin

 The last several years, my wife and I have taken a fall trip to Wisconsin. We have a secret, inexpensive hideaway up there and it's only a few hours from home.

 We go as a weekend retreat, not to tour Amish farms. However, when you are married to an author who writes about the Amish, guess what happens.
 My wife and I were driving along enjoying a nice conversation about our children and grandchildren until my keen eye spotted horse manure on the road. Like a scout in the old west, my eye is trained to notice tiny details that clue me in about my surroundings.

We came around a bend in the road and I blurted out, "There's an Amish farm!"
There are certain tell-tale signs that are a dead-giveaway. Of course, horse manure lying along the shoulder of the road is one. White boxy looking houses with white tin out-buildings, another. Windmills that are still functioning. And then, of course, buggies or other slow-moving horse-drawn equipment.
Sure enough, buggies began to come into view along our scenic route. We passed a long line of buggies that seem to have all just left a function of some kind. They all gave us a friendly wave. My wife said, "That would've been a great picture."

"I know, but I can't make myself take pictures of Amish folks."
 Most Amish groups have strong rules about pictures. They are considered to be a form of idols. As the Bible teaches, "Thou shalt make no graven images." I reminded myself and my wife, "Oh well, I'm not a photographer, I'm an author. If I were a photographer I couldn't pass up a pic like that."
 We came up on these buggies traveling together. Very often, large Amish families crowd into two buggies, because they can't all fit into just one. Maybe this family had been invited to another Amish home for an evening meal? Something that is quite common among the Amish.
We passed these buggies and continued on our way. More Amish farms and buggies came into sight. As you may have guessed, your's truly was on cloud nine. My wife patiently put up with her husband's fascination with Amish culture.
 After all, the views were breathtaking, even if you are not totally infatuated with the Amish.

We enjoyed the fall weather, a quiet drive along a beautiful road, good company, and I took all of these great photos to share with my Amish Horses friends, like you.

I noticed some Amish men working on that large barn beyond the cattle. I snapped a photo of them. It may seem like a contradiction to what I said earlier. It's not, I know the Amish well enough to know that they don't mind photos that are taken from a distance. It is important to them that the faces are not visible, or are indistinguishable because of distance. Most Amish groups don't mind photos being taken of children. That doesn't mean that they appreciate people treating them like circus monkeys. Please, if you take pictures of the Amish, be respectable and kind about it.

 After we finally passed by the last Amish farm, we came upon a beautiful park. I saw a sign along the road that read, Country Park. That caught my attention and we pulled in. We were not disappointed. We took a long walk around a lake and sat in the shade on a park bench.

We took a couple of "Selfies" and some other nice photos of the area. I will share a short video of me, pumping water.

(footnote) If you click on the photos they will appear larger and you can enjoy the details a little better.

The park is in the Amish area and I'm quite sure Amish families have reunions at this spot regularly. The little drinking fountain is powered by a hand pump. Hand pumps are fun to operate. They are a thing from days-gone-by unless you are Amish, then it is just another part of daily life.

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