Archive for June, 2011

Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State.Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories

The Amish house went up Friday and the barn Saturday on the property they purchased from us. It was all set to be put up and then everyone thought it might be cancelled because rain was due this weekend, but they went ahead anyway because all the people were coming. Amish, Old Order Mennonite, other neighboring farmers and vans from Pennsylvania, and from New York state. David is going to tell most of the telling here as I was baking for the bake sale on Friday and at the sale on Saturday. I did send food over for meals of the people building and served on Friday-but I was not there very long.

Before a house can be built a lot must be done first. As we live in the town of Gorham, but not the village, when the plans for the house are done they must be submitted and approved by the Town Board. Once that is done the building permits are issued. These permits must be attached to a tree, or telephone pole, etc. where they can be seen from the road. Next the basement and ground floor of the house is dug and completed. As the Amish couple are going to have running water in their home-the Water Department comes out and runs the pipes from the main line near the road to the basement of the house and hooked to the basement but not turned on. Water will be turned on once the plumbing is through out the house and passes the building inspection. While the basement is being put in all the wood, roofing, nails, etc. needed for the house are ordered and brought in. Then the four sides of the house frames are constructed and all the wood is cut and piled for where it will go in the construction of the house leaving room for the windows and doors.

Because this couple was getting a new house and barn the above was done for the house and the barn. Because they are dairy famers, they also must have electric in their barn so the electric company has to come out and after a discussion with the farmer decide where the electric lines will go into the barn. The lines are laid from the road to the barn, but will not be connected to the barn until the barn is completed and will not be turned on until the barn passes the building inspection. The base of the barn is all constructed and after that is done the Water Company runs the line to the barn. In our area if you have a Dairy Farm you must have electric-it is law. When I was a child I remember when electric wasn’t necessary, but it is now. Old Order Mennonite approved electric in the early 1990’s, but our house was approved earlier do to my late grandfather’s illness. Amish do not have electric in their homes.

So once all the above is done construction can begin on the house and the barn. The day before the construction the four frames of the house were laid in their correct place for the beginning of the construction. Any ladders, equipment, etc. are brought in. The women were also trying to decide where they would have the food, refreshments, etc.. At first they had planned on setting up some tarps and putting the tables under them where the house was being built, but the weatherman said rain was coming so they decided to put it in one of our Old Order Mennonites yard or house depending on the weather. Seeing the house was down the road a little way, we had a couple of port-a-potties brought in to the construction site so we would have local rest rooms. During the construction some of the young girls ran coffee, tea, lemonade, ice tea and refreshments back and forth from the house. They also brought buckets of water and towels so we could clean up when necessary. We always make sure we have First Aide supplies there and that one of the non-Amish or Mennonite brought their charged cell phone.

Next morning, after milking the cows and breakfast, we hook up the buggy, load my tools and Jean’s food for dinner and leave. We get they by 6:00 AM. Some are there earlier and some later. One man is in charge for who goes where, what is done, I guess you would call him the boss. As the house was for the Amish couple, the “boss” was Amish. We are assigned where our positions will be. As the ground floor to the house is in-two of the sides are brought up and construction begins. At noon time, we take a brake for lunch and start in again about 12:30. By the time we got done the outside of the house was up, the windows were in, the roof was on.

We did get a little interrupted when the trucks pulled up to deliver the Amish couples cows on Friday. They were not suppose to come until next weekend, but the drivers of the trucks were family and had a family commitment next weekend. So here they were. There was talk of putting up a wooden fence and putting them in there, but that would take a lot of time. As we have lots of room in our barn at this time, I and the Amish man whose cows they were, got in the car with one of the local farmers, the trucks followed us, and the cows went in our barn. Jean was very surprised to look out the window to see the trucks of cows unloading especially when she knew we hadn’t bought any recently. Once we made sure the cows were all right, fed, and calmed down we went back to the construction.

While we were putting the roof on the outside the ladies were on the inside putting on the seal of the wooden floors on the first and second floor of the house. We got home in time for the milking the cows and dinner. For some reason this Amish couple called in an outside plumbing company to come and install on Saturday. When we build our house, we will be putting the plumbing in the house and an outside plumber will come in and inspect it. After the plumbing was in and inspected- now the insulation will go in and the walls will go up. Also the cupboards will go in the kitchen, the porches on the front and back, the painting of the house and more has to be done before they can move in. All the Mennonites and Amish will come and lend a hand, when they can, until it is done. The next day we went through the same with the barn. Actually the barn is completed except the electrical wiring but we didn’t move the cows in because the couple are living with relatives closer to my house than their new one. When the barn and their house is completely finished and they move in-we will move the cows over. It never did rain until near the end of the barn on Saturday it started to sprinkle a little bit. God watched over us. No one got seriously hurt on these constructions although we had, like always, a few mislead hammer hits.

Men think that after the barn and house are constructed that’s it until they have to help move the furniture in. Once the house is done, the local ladies both Amish and Mennonite go the house and clean it from top to bottom-spotless. We make sure the floors are sealed, the plumbing works, the drapes are up, etc. Anything that might have been over looked in the men’s department one of us gets their husband over to correct it. On the day the couple move in, we will be there with food, direct where she wants the furniture-set up the kitchen, and any jobs that we are asked to do or see necessary for us to do. When we leave they will be stocked with food, all set up and ready to relax in their new home. They will also be exhausted. We women might hold the men off from bringing the cows over for a day or two so they can relax and enjoy their new home before the work comes in. They are a young, newly married couple and just need to enjoy their new home. They’ll see those cows and get back to work soon enough.

Another humorous thing was when David and the young Amish man went to milk the cows. The young Amish man went into shock when he found out we milked our cows with automatic milkers. He had seen automatic milkers before, but for some reason thought we milked our cows by hand-David smiled and said only when the electric goes off. David told him if he wasn’t allowed to use the electric in the barn for milkers to get a generator to use them. We hoped the man wasn’t thinking we offended him. The young fellow had worked on his Father’s farm for many years, but now he was getting his own and you look a little different at things when it’s yours.

Our house and new barn will be going up next, but we are not sure when yet. We haven’t even drawn up the plans yet. Everything that was done on their barn and house will be done to us. They have already said that the dinners will be at their house when ours goes up. We tried to talk them out of it, but they said there will be enough people, both Amish and Mennonite, to help them. I guess they will be, but they are a young couple and just starting out. They said since we did it for them our house is their turn to help with, So we didn’t argue with that. We really didn’t do it for them all by ourselves, our people and the Amish just all pull together. It is times like this we are happy that we have so many friends and relatives willing to help.

Be With God,
David and Jean

Look for Jeans homemade Whoopie pie recipe this Wednesday on Amish Stories

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Kunzlers history : In 1901, Christian F. Kunzler, a German immigrant, invested his life savings of $700 and began making sausage in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. From the very beginning, Christian Kunzler insisted on using only the finest quality ingredients in all of his meat products, never settling for second best.

More than a century later, his legacy of insistence on quality and excellence continues as the company is managed by the third and fourth generations of the Kunzler family.

Rich in history and tradition, the Kunzler brand name is now recognized as one of the most respected in the industry. From hams, franks, and bacon, to luncheon meats and specialty items, Kunzler’s Company proudly manufactures over 500 quality meat products.

Today, Kunzler’s fine meat products can be found in supermarkets, delicatessens, convenience stores, schools, theme parks, sports complexes, finer restaurants, and quality-conscious kitchens throughout the United States.

As Kunzler & Company celebrates over 100 Years of excellence, the one thing that will never change is the Kunzler family’s absolute dedication to producing only the finest meat products, with a quality you won’t taste in any other brand. Thus continuing the tradition and heritage passed on by the young German immigrant, Christian F. Kunzler.

Kunzler’s Grilled Cheese & Bacon Club Sandwich

Serves: 4

16 slices of your favorite Kunzler Bacon
1/4 cub butter, softened
12 slices your favorite bread
4 slices white American cheese
8 slices yellow American cheese


Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, and set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spread butter onto one side of each slice of bread. Lay 4 slices of bread, butter side down, in the skillet. Top with a slice of yellow American cheese and 2 slices of bacon. Cover with a slice of bread, butter side out. Fry sandwiches until golden on both sides.
To complete the club lay another 4 slices of bread, butter side down in the skillet and top with a slice of yellow American cheese then 2 slices of bacon and another slice of white American cheese. Once the cheese starts to melt, add on top of a finished grilled cheese. Richard from Amish Stories.Published with permission from the Kunzler company for Amish Stories.

Peppered Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog

Serves: 8

8 Kunzler Grill Franks
8 hot dog buns
8 slices Authentic Select Pepper Bacon
Diced onion


Wrap bacon around each hot dog and put on the skillet and cook until bacon is done (cook the bacon to your satisfaction). The bacon usually sticks to the hot dog if not you could use toothpicks to keep together.
When dog is done pull from grill or oven.
Put the bacon wrapped hot dog on the bun.
Garnish with the onion and add mustard and ENJOY!

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A completed RV built with Amish craftsmanship. 


Middlebury, Indiana


Beautiful Middlebury’s countryside.

A finished Interior, notice the fireplace.

I’m sure a lot of you have maybe seen in newspaper articles or on other web sites about the Amish who work in various industries throughout the united states. I’ve seen the same things I’m sure, but what was usually missing were images of the Men/woman at work in those factories. That’s about to change with these images(top 8 pictures) sent to me by John Macdonald marketing service manager with RV maker Jayco. Before i continue lets look at the history of Jayco based in Middlebury Indiana  as told in their web site.
Jayco, Inc. was founded in 1968 by a man of strong faith and vision. The late Lloyd J. Bontrager, family man and inventor, felt he could build the world a better RV. He longed to create a company of his own, one that clearly reflected his ideals: a company where everyone would be treated as “family”. With encouragement from his wife Bertha, Lloyd started Jayco on their farm–in two chicken houses and a barn! He developed his own prototype camping trailer and a unique lifter system for fold-down campers, the basic design of which is patented and still in use today. By the end of 1968, his fledgling company of 15 employees had sold 132 fold-down camping trailers. Today, Jayco’s “family” of employees has grown to nearly 1,600 people, while more than 25,000 people join our “extended family” of customers each year.Well the history of Jayco is the good news, now unfortunately the RV industry has faced reduced demand for its products with a  reduction in its  labor force due to layoffs. According to Steven N. Nolt who has published many books on the Amish, In 2007, before the RV industry started to plummet, 53.3 percent of the heads of Amish households in the settlement did factory work, primarily making RVs and manufactured homes. I was not able to get an exact percentage of Amish and Mennonites working in the factory at Jayco, but figures that I’ve seen are approximately in the 70% range. So with that many plain folks working at Jayco those folks would feel it the most regarding any layoffs. Its interesting to note that only 17.4 percent of heads of households supported their families by farming. By 2007, that figure had dropped to 14.2 percent. I wanted to get a better idea of how the R.V market was right now, so i called Gayle Kline R.V center in Lancaster Pennsylvania. I talked with a salesman who told me that the market is still on the slow side, but it is picking up just a little  compared to the last few years. They seem to be selling more of the entry level models more than they used to, so folks are buying less extravagant R.Vs with less features. But they are buying so that is a very good thing at least, so how many laid-off workers who are being called back is unknown.This economy is the worst that i have ever seen in my lifetime, and I’m sure many readers would agree with me on that. Lets all hope for a better year with the employment situation picking up with more folks able to find jobs, because many lives are counting on this including Amish and non Amish alike. (story sources Jayco corporation)  (The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne In)  (Gayle Kline R.V center in Lancaster Pennsylvania) Richard from Amish Stories.

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On June 14 our oldest child Elizabeth will turn 17. We were still living with my parents at the time she was born. It was nice having my mother there to give advice on how to care for a little newborn for the first time. And I still had 3 sisters living at home, too, so Elizabeth never lacked for attention those first couples of years. When Elizabeth was just 3 or 4 months old, we moved into a trailer house across the driveway but it was close enough that she saw grandma, grandpa, and her aunts almost daily. My husband Joe would help my father with milking the cows and doing the chores morning and evening. Mother and I would do a lot of our chores together while my sisters were at work during the day. Now those are just memories and it is hard to believe how fast time has gone by.

Elizabeth has moved into her new bedroom and is excited about it. It feels like we have accomplished something to have another bedroom finished.

On Thursday sister Emma and family assisted me with my work, there‘s just so much to do still with church services being held here this coming Sunday. After lunch sisters Susan and Verena also came to help. The walls and ceilings in our bedroom, living room, dining room, and kitchen were all washed off. Some of the windows and furniture were also cleaned. Emma’s husband, Jacob, came here after work and helped Joe with his outside chores. Jacob and Emma and family stayed for an early supper before heading for home. Joe grilled some chicken and I cooked some potatoes to go along with it. A lot of jobs were marked off my list that day. We appreciated all the help. And, once again, on Saturday Jacob and Emma’s family came to help and also Elizabeth’s friend Timothy. Manure was hauled, the pasture field was mowed, plus a lot of odd and end jobs that Joe needed done. Here in the house we did a very huge laundry, more windows were washed and the upstairs bedrooms were all cleaned.

We had told everyone to come for breakfast We had a breakfast casserole which I will share the recipe for at the end of the column. We really like this casserole. Our noon dinner consisted of mashed potatoes, beef and gravy, macaroni and cheese, corn, fresh peas, radishes, green onions, and lettuce out of the garden. We have had a few hot peppers, green peppers, and a cherry tomato out of our garden so far. Also the strawberries are really ripe. All these goodies have been just enough for a taste and makes us hungry for more. That time will be here before we know it. I would like to go to a u-pick strawberry field since I don’t get enough from our patch. Our family loves strawberries but they are not my specialty in growing. The children enjoy my homemade strawberry freezer jam, strawberries on ice cream and strawberry pie.

Yesterday, Sunday, Jacob and Emma told us to get away from home for awhile and come for dinner. So we all headed over there using different means of transportation. Daughter Susan and some of the children took Tiger, our new miniature horse to Emma’s. That was the first time Tiger had done such a long trip (4 miles each way). He did really well and gave Susan a lot more confidence in his ability to share the road with cars. I took the horse and buggy with Verena and Kevin, while Joe and the rest of the children rode their bicycles. This was the longest bike ride ever for Lovina.

Emma’s had fixed a good meal consisting of mashed potatoes, gravy, grilled pork steak, ham, and we also took along some t-bone steak to put on the grill. Also on the menu: radishes, green onions, rhubarb, dessert, ice cream cones, fresh lemonade, and iced tea that was made from Emma’s garden herbs.

Daughter Verena is still on crutches She was seen last week by a rheumatologist and also a sports doctor. They think her foot needs therapy. It comes from an injury three years ago when she sprained her foot really bad. It was painful for a long time and doctors said she should have hadtherapy on it back then. They said the therapy should allow for a 100 percent recovery. This week we will find out how often she needs to go for therapy. They want to get her off the crutches as soon as possible. Her foot is still numb so she does not have pain in it. Verena soaks it in warm water and massages it several times a day. She is determined to get back to walking on her own.

This is the breakfast casserole I mentioned earlier. I make my own homemade biscuits and gravy for this and use eggs, potatoes, and pork from our own supply. You could, though, use canned biscuits, gravy and store-bought ingredients to make it. If you make your own homemade gravy or use store-bought, you want the gravy to be on the thinner side.


12 biscuits

2 dozen scrambled eggs

Potatoes or 1 32-ounce package of frozen hashed browns

2 pounds of bacon, fried and crumbled

2 cups Cheddar cheese

1 gallon of sausage gravy

Bake biscuits and break into bite sized pieces. Put into bottom of a greased roaster Next, layer potatoes, eggs, bacon, and cheese on top of the biscuits. Take a spoon and make holes in the casserole so gravy can run down into the rest of the ingredients. Pour gravy over the top. Bake at 350 until thoroughly heated, about 30 minutes. Optional: you can add green peppers, onions, and mushrooms whatever you wish can be added.

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Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State.Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories

The sun is shining. The crops are growing and it is a beautiful day today. I thought this time I would answer some of your questions.
A few people have asked for pen pals. I have asked  some of my friends that I thought might be interested and they are not saying no-but not right now. This is our busiest season right now. With all the farming duties, houses going up (one will be ours), farmer markets, etc. we are all really busy. Maybe after the harvesting I will be able to get some pen pals for you. I don’t promise, but I will ask again.

My biggest sellers at the Farmers Markets are donuts, cookies and breads in that order. The people that set up for the Farmers Market usually would like a cup of coffee and snack after they set up. Also the first outside customers through like the donuts and cookies with coffee. We are right near an electric plug so my mother-in-law came up with the idea of us selling coffee also-so now we have three coffee urns set up-one regular coffee, one decaffeinated coffee, and the third is water for tea. We also have tea bags, cream and sugar. We thought this might not work, but it has increased our sales. The urns we have now are borrowed, so we are going to buy some new ones when get a chance and return the ones we have now to the owners. After the donuts, cookies and breads are the pies. Pies sell a lot better than cakes or cup cakes. But of course we have cakes and cup cakes.

People do drift to our bake food stand. I don’t know if it is because of the food or the way we dress. I always thought it was because of the food. I do know that if a child is lost or afraid they will come to us before someone in jeans or shorts. Also children will talk more to us than they do some other people. If David is with me-girls will come to me and boys will go to David. Also, I think adults come to us more to ask questions about the area than they do people in jeans and shorts-even though they may be wearing the same.

We dress the way we do and live the way do for several reasons, but the most important reason is in the bible. Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Also Romans 12:9 “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” Yes, we each bring our bibles to the Farmers Market with us. We also have a bible that we keep in our buggy. In our house are several bibles. At the market, at home, or in the buggy-we keep then to read if times are slow or if we need the word of the Lord after maybe something happened that upset us. Also, if someone asks us questions-we have the bible close so we can show them certain passages. We do not preach , but people ask questions or ask us to pray for them.

Yes, I read quite a bit-when I have the time. At this time of the year, I don’t have a lot of time for reading, but I do get some in every now and again. Yes, I read the bible-David and I read in the morning, and in the evening. Also, David tries to get  some reading in  with  small passages at lunch and dinner, but when harvesting begins it is hard sometimes. Through out the day, I also try to get some bible reading in. We also read Family Life, Young Companion and Blackboard Bulletin magazines that come once a month. Also we receive the newspaper every day and the Budget once a week. Most of the books we read have a religious background to them or are religious. Do I sit and read a good novel? Sure I do. Because Marilyn’s favorite author is Beverly Lewis, I have read a couple of her books. Also, there are some other authors I read once in a while. I do most of my reading during the winter. David gets a couple of farm magazines that he enjoys reading.

What do we do for fun ??? We visit friends, relatives and the sick. We like to get in the buggy and go to flea markets, garage sales, auctions and alike. Also, we sometimes drive around in our buggy just to see the flowers, crops, alike. As David and I like to fish-Susan is learning-I sometimes pack a picnic lunch, bundle up Baby David and we go on a combination fishing, picnic. David enjoys going hunting with a couple of his friends during hunting season. If we have a barbecue  and  sometimes sit outside after dinner and cook smores to eat. We play games with the children, take them to the school where Susan plays with all the swings, climbing, etc. that they have there. We have a swing set in our yard, but the swings are better at the school,LOL.Sometimes Susan’s playmates are there and they all play together while parents talk. In the winter we go ice skating, and sledding. It’s fun to have small children-because you have to go with them and do what they are doing. We enjoy taking walks, Sometimes we go to the park and have a picnic or in this season take the buggy into town and get an ice cream cone. We do make ice cream in our home, but sometimes it tastes better at the store-especially in this hot weather. In the evening we sometimes read books to Susan and have popcorn. On occasion we make taffy. Sometimes we sit on the porch, watch the sunset, with ice tea or lemonade and cookies. I know we do a lot more things-I just can’t think of them off hand. We don’t just sit around, LOL.

Yes, people are allowed to come attend our service. Most people know someone who belongs to our church and come with them-but no one is turned away. All are welcome.

Most Old Order Mennonites do have large families. We believe our children are a gift from God. Some people have large families like 8, 9, 10 and more. Also, we leave our choice to have children with God. Some families like ours are small-because that is all God has given us-although David and I have discussed maybe adopting. There are so many children in this world that need homes. We also thought of maybe taking in foster children, but we are still in prayer over these thoughts.

I have a request for recipes and will would be glad to put one in once in a while if it is okay with Richard. I know he has other recipes on and I don’t want to over do. Maybe there is something else I could put on that would interest you if you have any suggestions.

Be with God,


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Dairy cows resting on a cool spring day , and can you blame them.

It was starting to get ready to rain as this image was taken.

Lebanon county Amishman starting to work his fields as spring returns.

One of mother natures natural speed bumps for the eyes.

When i was driving around Lebanon county in what was in early spring, it had me wondering “which farmer is thinking about selling his land”, and to who?. I admit i was starting to take all the beauty that is around me for granted just a little, as maybe a lot of the residents have come to do. But deep down i know a lot of it can disappear, and there is only so much anyone other than the farm owner themselves can do about it.sentimental feelings for the Land here in this part of Lebanon county’s Amish settlement run high i would say, but that does not stop someone who gives in, and sells to a developer for hard cash. So now my outlook is different when i go out and drive around and take images, and knowing some of what I’m seeing might not be around much longer. the beauty of this area is one reason why i moved here in the first place, but sometimes nothing last forever, so i try to take nothing for granted. Richard from Amish Stories.     To help save farmland in Lebanon county, go to

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Garden Slaw

Pour 1/2 c. water over vegetables and set aside. Soften an envelope of Knox gelatin in cold water.

Mix together the dressing ingredients.

Bring vinegar sugar, celery seed, salt and pepper to a boil. Remove from heat and add gelatin and salad oil. Beat with beater. Drain vegetables and pour dressing over it and chill thoroughly. This is best if made the day before used. Keeps well in refrigerator.
8 c. cabbage =- shredded
2 carrots – shredded
1/2 c. cold water
1/2 c. onions – chopped
1 green pepper – diced
1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin
2/3 c. salad
2/3 c. vinegar
2/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. celery seed
1½ tsp. salt
dash of pepper

This excellent collection of authentic Amish recipes will be a treasured addition to any cookbook collection. Includes Amish home remedies. 217 pages, 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″, comb bound, illustrated. To buy “the Amish Way cookbook” please see our friends at                Richard from Amish Stories

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