Archive for July, 2012

Well my post about Moses the Amish hat maker is finally here, and even I have to admit that its about time ! Before I stopped in to talk with Moses I would pass by and take a mental note that I needed to stop in one day and see if I can take some pictures and talk with the folks that owned this Amish hat business, and that moment happened last year.

So when I traveled down the long driveway of Irishtown Hats I noticed a man and woman both Amish sitting outside eating what looked like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, with a side of vegetables. I notice things like that folks as I’m sure your very aware of,lol, so they appeared to be having an early lunch at 11 am, so not to spoil a good lunch I told them that I would be back in an hour which they agreed to.  
After about an hour I did return and was welcomed by Moses and explained to him why I was there and wanted to see if he had a little time to spend talking about his business and allowing me to take pictures for Amish Stories. I was pleased that he seemed eager to show me around and to be honest with everyone I never know how something like this is going to go because I’ve had some not so good experiences in these type of cold call visits, so I was now in and wanted to make the most of my visit here.

A little back ground on Moses Stolzfoos: Moses started Irishtown Hats in 1999 after retiring from has days as a farmer, Irishtown Hats was an established hat making business before Moses decided to buy it. Since Moses had no experience making hats the previous Amish owner stayed over to help train until he was ready to make a go of it on his own. 

And Moses seems very content making and selling hats from his farm and business is pretty good selling and restoring for his Amish customers, and his wife does the sewing so it’s a very cozy family business so it looks like it works very well. 

I think there’s something to be said for rolling out of bed and going to work which had always been a dream of mine but sadly I was never able to do myself, so for me its nice seeing someone else being able to do that. This is also a working farm that Moses son now handles with his dad now retired and working full time in the hat shop, so it’s a complete family run operation which I admit have a big soft spot for.   

The hat shop

Hat making equipment

A nice window letting in the sun and a view of the corn field

The sewing area where you will find Moses wife spending most of the time at the shop

More of the hat making area, notice the gas lighting above.

Most hats here waiting to be finished with tags on each hat as there Amish owners wait for their hats! 

Finished hats and ready for customers

Close-up of the classic Singer sewing machine used by Mrs. Stoltzoos
A good view of the shop and most of the equipment used
I’m not too sure what exactly is, but it looks Important! 


The long driveway leading out from the Stoltzfoos farm and IRISHTOWN HATS. Which really shows that you never know what lies beyond a long country drive-way, and what kind of folks that will be there to hopefully greet you………………

At the time (last year) I was with Moses and IRISHTOWN HATS the price for a new hat (felt) was around $80.00, and for a reconditioned hat the price was about $40.00 (my personal  favorite and a good buy). 

I will have all the Information needed (see business card below) if anyone would like to write Moses and find out how much a certain hat costs and for the shipping. Moses does ship UPS. 

I did receive his phone number which is a cell phone used for family or emergencies so because of that fact I’m only giving out the information that is on  his business card folks. 

Pennsylvania Dutch Meat Loaf

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 (8 ounce) can Hunt’s tomato sauce, divided
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 tablespoon vinegar

In a medium bowl, lightly mix beef, bread crumbs, onion, green pepper, 1/2 can tomato sauce, egg, salt and pepper. Shape into a loaf in a shallow baking pan.

Combine remaining tomato sauce with remaining ingredients. Pour over loaf. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 1/4 hours. Baste the loaf several times during baking.

Yield: 6 servings  

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1960 Del Monte Foods original vintage advertisement. With endorsement from Bonanza’s Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Laramie’s John Smith and Checkmate’s Doug McGlure. Image courtesy of 

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A real picture of a  Swartzentruber Amish buggy  from New York State that was sent in by a reader a while back, and that I have used on Amish Stories one time before. So I wanted to do something a little different and turn this Image into a water color painting (Art)   using  photo editing.I think it came out pretty good! 

Reader Tom had sent me 2 sets of Images from his own Amish community in upstate New York, so this is the first of those sets with the second one having some very nice buggy Images and farm scenery from one of New York’s Amish settlements.  I decided to add this well done video showing some of what Tom sees driving the back roads of New York’s country side.   Richard

                                 Video Of an Amish community in New York State.

Tom writes:
There is a Swartzentruber settlement in the Pulaski NY area. This is in Oswego County along the east end of Lake Ontario. These pictures were taken over July 4, 2012.

There are going to be a lot of tomatoes coming off this field.

I find it difficult to meet and engage Swartzentrubers in conversations so I only know what I see in this area. In more progressive areas it is easier to talk to folks.


Tom explains that compared to Amish homes in Lancaster Pa, most of the homes in New York State are much less fancy and very simple like in this picture.     

  “A night journey”  

A real Image of an Amish buggy from myself in  Lebanon,Pa that I made into a stencil using photo editing as well. 

Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup

1 (4 pound) chicken
4 quarts water
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery
2 1/2 cups fresh or canned corn
2 hardboiled eggs, chopped
Salt and pepper

Simmer chicken in salted water slowly until it is cooked tender. Remove chicken and strain broth. Add corn to broth and bring to a boil. Cut pieces of chicken and celery into bite-size pieces, and add to broth along with onion. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes.

Five to 10 minutes before serving, add hardboiled egg and rivels made by mixing 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup milk and 1 egg with a fork until the dough is the size of peas. Simmer for 5 minutes. Recipe from http://www.Recipegoldmine.

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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.

I was asked several questions about our horses, so I thought I would do a post on our horses and buggies. And please feel free to ask me your  questions, and I will try and answer them.  

Most of our horses come from horse adoption agencies.  A while back a local adoption agency had to close a horse farm because the horses were not being taken care of.  It was on television and Marilyn called us after she saw it on TV . We contacted the agency and found that they needed several people, like ourselves  to take some of them in and care for them-they just didn’t have the room for all the horses.  David, myself and a few other farmers went to the agency to check the horses out.  We ended up having three delivered to our farm for us to take care of.  One of the horses was all brown with a black main and tail-that was my favorite.  All the other farmers took some, also.

They had all been examined by the vet, but needed care-mostly to be fed correctly as they were all starving.  We fed the horses, walked the horses, brushed the horses (hadn’t been done for a long time),  and more.  Finally it came time to return them to the agency for adoption.  They never got back to the agency-we bought all three of them.  David trained two of them to pull a buggy.  The brown one is a riding horse.  It was trained before we got it.  David, Michael and myself have ridden the brown horse.  We are in the process of teaching Edward how to ride a horse. 

As we had three buggy pulling horses, after David trained them, someone that lives near us needed one, so we sold it.  Now we can use either of the horses for our buggy or both of them for our hauling buggy.  Our riding horse is for us to ride.  I haven’t ridden it since my operation but David, Michael, Susan and now Edward ride it.  I hope to be able to ride it soon.  We have more people to ride than we do horses, so we are thinking of getting another riding horse.

Are our horses members of the family?  Yes, I would say that they sure are.  We take of them, they have names and when the times come to put them down Susan and I cry over them.  It is hard on the men, too. 

It seems that I have always known how to drive a buggy.  The first I remember is sitting on my Grandfather’s lap and holding the reins.  I thought I was driving the buggy, but I wasn’t.  My grandfather firmly had the reins and was driving it.  The first I remember driving was a small cart that we had.  Either my Mother or Father were with me when I first drove it around our farm yard.  I was about 7 or 8 when I first took the buggy out on the road.  Again, one of my parents was with me.  

When I was a year or two older I drove the cart on the road by myself to school and back,  When I learned to drive the cart back and forth to school my parents taught me how to drive the bigger buggy.  Again, they were with me.  I was about 9 or 10 when I drove the big buggy alone.  We are now teaching Susan to drive the cart.  As we are close to the road we are teaching her on David’s parents farm.  It has more room off the road.

First buggy David owned was the courting buggy that his parents had made for him in Romulus, New York.  There was a man there that made them.  When we married our buggy was given to us by David’s parents and they bought a new one from a man that makes them in Clyde, New York.  We are going to have to get a bigger buggy as we have more people that room in our buggy.  Some how we fit in-but room is very tight.  David and Michael thought of making one, but with farming season we wouldn’t get it made very fast.  

Right now we are looking to buy a used bigger buggy.  We change buggies like Englishers trade cars.  Some people with a big buggy want a smaller one as their children have grown, married and left home.  Then there are people like us that have a small buggy, but need a bigger one because we have more people in our home now.  So we will buy a bigger buggy and sell our smaller one.  Like I said, we would like to buy a used one as a new one is very expensive. 
I hope this gives you more information about our horses and buggy.
Be With God, Jean

Renee’s  Home made gardeners soap

          From reader Renee

                              You will need:
Dish soap or hand soap
Corn meal
An empty container

Fill an empty container with dish soap – enough for one hand washing or enough to wash your hands a bunch of times. The choice is yours.
Then, add corn meal to the soap – just a sprinkle for a small batch and as much as a tablespoon for a big batch.
Stir the mixture up, and rub a bit between your fingers to test the grittiness.
Add corn meal (if needed) until you reach the right consistency.
Use immediately, or store in an air-tight container for future

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Part Seven: A Final Look at the Amish Family

The final part of this series

Traditional family values seem to have a better chance of surviving, as they have around the world, in rural farm settings. The U.S. Department of Agriculture examined several groups in its 1940 Rural Life Studies. Familism, or “the integration of the activities of individual family members for the welfare of the group as a whole,” was found to be an important dimension. Five characteristics of familism were found in the communities studied, one of which was the Amish of Lancaster.

The first of these characteristics was the feeling of belonging expressed by visits between family members. The Amish were noted for their frequent and sometimes long visits between siblings, parents, and children. Secondly, “the integration of individual activities for the achievement of family objectives is manifested more clearly in farming than in any other occupation.”

Thirdly, common interest in family property, and helping and supporting individuals in need, were especially observed among the Amish. The writer went so far as to say that “the closest approximation to the ideal construct of familism was in the Old Amish, where the family universally recognized its responsibility to give relief to needy members and to provide for aging parents.”

Fourth was rallying to support a family member in trouble. Finally, there was “concern for the perpetuation of the family as evidenced by helping an adult offspring in beginning and continuing an economic activity in line with family expectations, and in setting up a new household.”

In conclusion, the writers noted that “the highest valuation of familism was among the Amish. However, this is not typical of rural life today, but is a survival resulting from a combination of circumstances, of the characteristic situation in rural America a hundred years ago.”

In this last statement, an important point has been missed. The Amish have lived their peculiar way of life for three hundred years. They have weathered persecution, the pressures of modern life, technology, development, and tourism. They have adapted, changed, and survived. They are and are not the same people they used to be. But, as a booklet from the Amish publishing house Pathway states, “our everyday life cannot be separated from our religion.”

Their way of life and preservation of traditional values, whether conscious or not, cannot be called merely a “survival of the characteristic situation in rural America a hundred years ago.” It is rather the result of a commitment to their religion and way of life.

In Amish society the family, school, church, and community complement each other as an integrated whole. These same units in modern America seem at times to be at odds with each other, if not in the process of breaking down entirely. What children hear at home, in church, at school, in the community, and from the media are often wildly conflicting views of morality and success. Since even parents often can’t come to grips with today’s most complex issues, is it any surprise their children get confused and lost in the maze to adulthood?

The Amish were seen as radicals when their religion started. In America, they were sometimes viewed with suspicion due to their German background and pacifism in the World Wars. The 1950’s saw them as quaint curiosities in musicals like “Plain and Fancy.”

For some in the 1960’s, they represented an alternative lifestyle. Even foreigners found their ways fascinating during the energy crisis and turmoil of the 1970’s. In recent years, many Americans nostalgically saw in them a people who had held onto something they had lost, and now missed. People asked, “Have we rushed too quickly into the future without looking at what we have left behind?”

Now there is talk of “learning from the Amish,” and involvement by outsiders in their problems with state and local governments. No doubt the Amish find all this attention somewhat amusing, baffling, perhaps downright silly. Being not entirely “of the world,” some of them nevertheless take a great interest in its affairs, observing where the rest of the world might be headed. The Amish are more than a “survival;” they are a group, imperfect to be sure, who have given up some things to keep others, a people who live in this world while waiting for another. Many of us manage to survive, but to find meaning and direction in life is perhaps the greatest challenge. With so many new and difficult problems confronting modern society, we need to look to  the family not only for the blame, but also for the answers.

It seems only fitting to let the Amish have the last word here. Once again, here are the words of one Amish writer from the pages of the Pathway magazine Family Life

“Some families are just so many individuals with the same last name, living in the same house. They seem to lead separate lives, go their own ways, each independent of the other. Each is busy leading his own life. They lack the essential elements of a joyful family life—love, togetherness, loyalty, sharing. These sad little groups of lonely individuals are not families at all—they are failures. They are missing out on one of the greatest challenges on this earth—building a meaningful family relationship where work, possessions, and even feelings can be shared in love and trust. Published with permission from

Next Friday will be a post of my visit with Moses Stoltzfoos, the Amish hat maker. 

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1955 7Up original vintage advertisement.
“Enjoy a Seven-Up float!” Just put one scoop of ice cream in a glass, pour chilled 7Up down the side and enjoy. 
Image courtesy of

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Mother’s Potato Salad

 Combine the first five ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, combine the mayonnaise and yogurt and add to the salad. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  Variation: Add chopped olives to the salad, or slice olives and arrange on top.
Makes about 3 cups
2 c. cooked and diced potatoes
1/2 t. dried or 1 T. chopped fresh celery leaves
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 t. dried or 1 T. finely chopped fresh onion
1/2 t. celery seed
1/2 cup  Mayonnaise1/2 c. plain yogurt
Betty Groff’s newly revised and illustrated Country Goodness Cookbook is a virtual cornucopia of family recipes and home-spun anecdotes. This 326 page soft-cover edition has seasonal menus, common sense cooking, and microwave ideas. Betty Groff’s Country Goodness Cookbook To order this book see our friends at

Join me this Thursday as I try out a new feature called “classic ad of the week”

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