Saturday we decided to visit the local Amish community with some friends. It is always intriguing to see how they live and now that we know one of the Amish women (our milk connection) we can visit together. The men and children were visiting the shops of the husband and father-in-law. There they make leather goods and weave baskets. I hope to be able to purchase a few baskets in the future. They are beautifully made and seem to be very sturdy.
While we were visiting on the porch I noticed a large, round stove and asked about it. It was huge! Our friend quickly explained that it was a water bath canner. The bottom part is where a wood fire is built. The top is a huge vat that can hold 33 quart jars with pint jars sitting on top. There is a small drain to empty the water when the canning is done. Our Amish friend said she was able to do 100 jars of applesauce in one day last fall! Now, that's productive!
I also noticed some a very heavy duty gutter system on the outbuildings which all ran into a HUGE tank. I'm talking huge as in maybe 1000 gallons or more! Huge!! And there were several smaller ones as well. I'm sure they use that water for the animals, garden, washing and more. I wonder if they use it for drinking and cooking and if so, do they have a way to filter it? Do they have a British Berkfield sitting on the kitchen counter? Hmmm...
She also showed us her butter churn that her grandfather made for her. It is a frame that holds a gallon jar of cream. There is a special lid for the jar that has small paddles extending off a post that fits into the jar. The jar is locked into place and then is rotated end-over-end when the crank is turned. I'm sure it takes a lot longer to make butter that way than in my Bosch, but it was still very handy.
After making our purchases, we headed down the road to another home where the man of the house makes outdoor furniture. Adirondack chairs, porch swings, gliders, picnic tables of all shapes and sizes, children's furniture and more were added to our wish list. Jeff said next time we will bring the trailer and load up!! An 8 foot picnic table was just $115. It was extremely sturdy and very heavy!! The Adirondack chairs were only $50 and again, very heavy.
I have to tell you that my friend, Becky, goes out to buy from the Amish 4 times a week from one particular woman. This Amish mother has 7 children 13 and under and recently had a miscarriage. We were able to send some baked goods for them and Becky sent a lot of food. Later the Amish friend sent us all a loaf of her homemade bread. She told Becky that she didn't realize that when she started coming out there that she would soon be her friend! You can definitely reach across the cultural barrier to share God's love with others. We have learned so much from this connection and feel blessed to see a little bit into how the Amish live.