Friday, October 3, 2008

A day in Amish country

Photo: Horses waiting to serve customers in Intercourse, PA.

Driving around Lancaster and Chester Counties, PA, is always an edifying adventure with sis-in-law Linda, because though she knows her starting point and destination, she makes the intervening turns purely on gut instinct, with an eye on the directional compass rather than a map. There are enough winding crossroads and between-farm breaks to make such a trip successful, and no big rivers to impede progress. I love these little driving adventures we have in that beautiful area of the country.


Some of the leaves are just beginning to turn, but we will miss the height of the color season by several weeks. The countryside is beautiful and green, with the multicropped Amish farms creating a huge quilt across the rolling land, much of the beans, corn, and alfafa ready for harvest.

Amish farmers guided their teams through the fields, standing on their harvest wagons or machinery. No sitting for them. As Linda says, these are Real Men; they've raised and trained the horses, planted and grown the crops, and have their teams of sometimes six horses under perfect control.

We saw numerous enclosed black buggies, each drawn by a single horse, scurrying along the two-lane highway, buffeted by passing traffic. A group of children played games in an Amish schoolyard, the little boys picturesque in their straw hats. An Amish or Mennonite woman made her way along the highway on a scooter that looked like it had been fashioned from a bicycle, one foot on the running board between the wheels, the other propelling her along. She carried a bag that appeared to contain goodies from a shopping trip.

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