Thursday, May 10, 2012

Amish Country!

I've been so obsessed and busy with posting my May Photo A Day challenge pics that I almost forgot to post about my trip to Amish Country! It was sooooo much fun and we learned so, so much about the Amish people and their amazing way of life.

These pics are all courtesy of my friend Paige. I don't know what happened but I think I must have just been in such awe that I only took a few measly pics on my own camera! Paige took some really great ones though so all was not lost.

The info and facts are also from Paige. She's an amazing 5th grade teacher so she's filled with so much great info and she's really good at sharing it!

There are approximately 200, 000 Amish people living in the US today. The highest population of Amish are currently living in Homes County, Ohio but a close second is Pennsylvania followed by Indiana. As the land in Holmes County and surrounding areas is diminishing, the Amish have relocated to Colorado, and even Australia.

From the time they arrived in the US around the 1700's, all Amish families owned and operated a farm. Since religious persecution pushed them into rural areas in Europe, the Amish have always nurtured the land and are known to be excellent farmers.

Today only about 15-20% of Amish families consider farming their source of income. Farming has given way to other industries like construction, furniture building, crafts, etc...

The Amish only attend school through the 8th grade, while the Mennonites usually continue on to high school and sometimes college. Before 1950, most Amish children attended public school. In 1972, The US Supreme Court ruled that the Amish children could end their formal schooling at eighth grade. They don't feel that further education is necessary to live on the land and farm.

Giddy for our Amish buggy ride!

Mr. Kline! He's an Old Order Amish. He was very friendly and was as interested in us as we were in him. He asked us questions about Los Angeles and movie stars. (Funny huh?) Mr. Kline worked his family farm for 26 years before retiring and turning it over to his oldest son. He started giving buggy rides soon after retiring and loves meeting and talking to new people every day. After the buggy ride we stayed and talked to him for about 45 minutes. He answered all of our questions truthfully and even elaborated on a lot of the questions giving us a real peek into the lives of the Amish.

We LOVE Mr. Kline and often wonder what he is up to!

We left Amish Country around 6 pm, right when most of the Amish were getting off of work and headed home so we were stuck in a sort of Amish traffic jam. It was awesome!

A typical Amish home.

Love this photo! Even Amish girls like to coordinate with their husbands. Ha!

Children are not part of the church until they are about 20 or 21, until they decide IF and when they want to become part of the church and obey all of the rules. At this point they would be baptized. They feel that giving their children the right to choose their faith, strengthens their willingness to obey and live the lifestyle. During a time known as Rumspringa which means "Running around", kids aged 16-20, may choose to dabble with dating, modern clothes, buying a car, watching TV, dating, and even trying drugs. Typically about 85-90% of their youth join the church.

 Since they do not use electricity, the Amish create extensive drying lines that are set up on a pulley system and can be as long as 200 yards.

 This is an Amish cemetery which must be constructed on top of a hill. There is no grieving in the Amish faith and they believe that the cemetery should be plain with no flowers. They simply feel that this is the end of God's path for them so there is no sense to be sad

Love these signs! They dot the road as you enter Holmes County.

The long and winding road home. Beautiful!

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