Amish and their way of life

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by fitwind, Apr 29, 2006.

  1. fitwind

    fitwind Well-Known Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    SW Missouri
    I live in Missouri and we have a lot of Amish ppl. I have become quite fascinated with their lifestyle.They have nothing really but the basics. If only I could get back to the basics as much as they are. Does anybody no any Amish ppl I was wondering how friendly they are I would love to learn some of the things they know. If you had a chance to learn would you?And are the quakers similar?
  2. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Feb 24, 2003
    The Amish here have Cars and Electric and all that.But the Mennonites still have Horse and Buggy.Thing is with them around here you can't sell anything Farm Raised Locally without going through them.

    big rockpile

  3. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

    Oct 18, 2004
    NW Pa./NY Border.
    We are litterally surrounded by Amish here in NEOhio. They are people just like everyone else, there are nice ones, rude ones, fat ones, skinny ones, don't assume because of beards, blue jackets and straw brimmed hats that they are all the same.

    They are at every auction we go to around here, and we do business with a few of them. I go to the Amish saw mill about 10 miles from here and they are rather quiet and not very outgoing. Another guy who presses cider is much more outgoing and friendly. Although their lifestyle is different, they are just people, some you will like, some you won't.

    Around here they have a lot more than just the "basics", they have many things that we do today, it's usually just a perception that folks have.

    Our Amish around here (for the most part) buy their soap, they don't make it. They purchase cheap chinese tennis shoes and work boots, etc. and even use (egads) rubbermaid formed chairs on their decks of their houses.

    Periodically this question arises and will garner a large variety of responses from the Amish being the perfect archetype of the modern homesteader to them all being violent child abusers and molesters. Neither are true characterizations and I would say it's best just to try to meet and get to know a few. It will take some of the sparkle off the image, but it will answer the questions you have.
  4. copperkid3

    copperkid3 Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2005
    Dwelling in the state of Confusion -

    Sorry Big Rockpile, don't know where you're from, but I think you've got that backwards.......the Amish don't drive motor vehicles or have electricity in their homes......while the Mennonites (at least some sects) make more allowances in their lifestyles and have the more "modern" conveniences. The Amish that I know of; if they want to get some place have to consider time/distance ahead of time.....if it's close by, then they hitch up the buggy or buckboard and off they go.....if it's too far away, then they will contact an "English" (or a Mennonite brother with a car/truck) who is friendly to the Amish and makes arrangements (usually a small fee for gas money) to get to and from and bring back whatever items they may have purchased......usually a farm auction or some such..... :hobbyhors
  5. seanmn

    seanmn Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2006
    We have some here in southeast minnesota and I've known and done business with a few. The ones I've had contact were always real friendly good people. Around here they sell beautiful furniture, run a few lumbermills and farm. Alot of people I talk to have the asumption that all they do is beat there children and horses and I've found that to be definently untrue. I even know one guy who hates them for the simple reason that they dont drive cars. I admire their independence, simple lifestyle, strong sense of family and community and belief in god.
  6. Horselover

    Horselover Joyce

    Mar 22, 2006
    Eastern Shore, Maryland
    I get upset with the way the Amish treat their horses. They are no more horsemen because they drive a horse than I am a mechanic because I drive a car.
    They like the dollar! You can get cheated real quick sometimes by them.
    They call us "Englishmen". They tend to cling together. They don't care for our ways.
    I know there are some really good hearted Amish people and they mean well. It is just like someone else said they are people too.
  7. ozarkcat

    ozarkcat Well-Known Member

    Sep 8, 2004
    We had set up a stand at a local festival and were next to an Amish ice-cream stand. We were doing some traditional crafts, and were being gawked at by the Amish children who had apparently never seen anyone dip taper candles, spin yarn or weave - that was a big eye-opener for me, at least!
  8. fricknfarm

    fricknfarm Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    I have found the Amish to be very good people. The adhere strictly to the Bible to the point where they are sometimes taken advantage of by the "English" around here. Amish workmen have been cheated out of wages because they cannot sue. We had one Amish friend that was really biting his nails a couple of years ago. He built a very large and extravagant "barn" for a Dr. on the outskirts of KC. The project required some real specialty items which my friend saw to,he ordered them on his own account. It was a "pay as you go" type of project, but the Dr. got further and further behind in payments. Then he started making demands for work that was NOT part of the original deal without any extra pay. My friend had a number of his fellow Amish working on this project too. These workmen needed to be paid on a weekly basis. In the end, my friend ended up with very little for himself from a very large and tropublesome project. He was LUCKY. A large retailer built a store in a little town 25 miles away quite a while ago. One of the subcontractors hired Amish workmen knowing that they could not bring suit. they weren't paid for more than a year. i know of more instances but why bore you.
    We have a few Amish folks we count as friends. They have a delightful sense of humor, are very humble people, like to learn new concepts/business ideas, are very astute business people, men and women, love their kids, both fathers and mothers are VERY active in child raising, and their kids are crazy about their parents,obedient,happy children that are always outdoors when they have the chance. The kids are given chores and responsibilities from an early age. They help out with the family farm and/or business, kids are thrilled to be allowed the responsibility of helping out. We have friends whose children have chosen to leave the Amish lifestyle and friends whose children had left and returned. They love these kids too and visit them at their homes many miles distant.
    Our Amish are allowed cell phones OUTSIDE the house, they make small separate buildings that look like outhouses. Many also have a central phone, sort of an Amish phone booth with voice mail. Some Amish can ride bikes(Ohio and Florida I'm told) most can't. Our Amish have many stores here that are patronized by both Amish and "English" .
    Amish have their own schools and do NOT pay into SS. Because of the Bible they will not accept a SSN. They are exempt. While the Amish DO pay their county School Taxes, they receive no funds/aid from any government agency for their schools, and their school system is supported by the Amish community.
    Amish tithe to their church, and lend money to each other, I believe without interest(not positive on that, it's implied). Amish have "frolics" where a group of men get together and work on major projects for community members. They do this gratis, but those who recieve free labor are expected to reciprocate in kind.
    Amish are GENERALLY happy people, hardworking and successful people. They genuinely LOVE their neighbors and will truly try to be pleasant and see the other persons point of view.
    My home was built by Amish, I was lucky to know some that were available for a relatively small project.I buy my beef from the Amish, the cows are grass/whole grain fed. Ditto for farm fresh eggs.
    Amish are the "plain folks" and cannot have buttons on their clothes or zippers. The men and women alike use straight pins to keep their clothes "closed" I guess that goes for "flies" too...ouch! They wear clothes in specific colors to denote ages, starting with pastels as babies and working up to the blacks/navys and purples as they get older. Men grow beards AFTER marriage, before that they are cleanshaven. Mosy Amish here have skylights and a solar panel on their roof. The solar panel charges battery powered items, power tools. cell phones, etc.
    Amish are modest about their deeds, abilities, accomplishments and will never bore you with bragging. They're not supposed to be photographed, and Amish dolls don't have faces either, part of their belief system.
    I have found only one or two "cranky" Amish over the years, and in almost twenty years of living outside of Jamesport, a small town with a large Amish community, I can honestly say that I've never heard an Amish individual raise his/her voice in anger.
    None of the Amish here drive cars, most Mennonites do.
    These descriptions are about the Amish that live here around Jamesport, MO, other Amish may have different rules.
    Nice people to get to know. With a LOT of knowledge.
  9. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2004
    SouthEastern Illinois
    What other group gets special Highway signs? :)
  10. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    Like others have said, some are good some are bad. They aren't living the idyllic self sufficient life people think they are. They have people drive them places, work off the farm and so on. I don't like the way people treat them like some sort of freak show or walking sideshow attraction. I've seen that happen in tourist areas and angered me. I don't know why exactly but it did to see people point and take pictures and stuff. I don't know, maybe just the sheer bad manners or rudeness of it. We have a few Amish around here. Nice enough folks. I know a few Amish well enough to call friends and they are fine folks. A couple of them I don't particularly care for. They are sorta tough to do business with and you have to watch them close. They'll take advantage of you if they can and their neighbors I know really dislike them because of their farming practices regarding a creek and them not protecting it from erosion.

    I personally have very close friends who are former Amish who left for religious reasons and have converted to another religious faith (all baptists of various extractions independent and southern etc). They still live fairly simply but don't observe all of the heavy restrictions. Great folks whom I think the world of. Have wonderfully behaved kids that they homeschool. They are types of folks who if you were ever in trouble or in need they would be the ones right there to help you.

    We have more Mennonites in my area. One of my neighbors with property next to mine is a Mennonite and they are a nice family. I've never had any sort of problem with them. They're great folks. I've got a cousin however who has nothing but problems with his Mennonite neighbors. They won't help fix fences as required by law and their cattle get into his crops. They steal from him. They cut his timber. The wife and daughters steal his berries, mushrooms and walnuts. The husband and boys poach game on his land. The trespass constantly. They get caught in the act and play dumb lie about it.
    More and more around the area it is said that the word Mennonite is prefaced by an exasperated expletive. I don't know why this is happening but I think it is a shame. Maybe it is a younger generation of Mennonites or that there is a higher number or something but there is some disturbing friction happening. I even heard from guy who had Amish boys out working on his barn and fencing who heard them of all people bad mouthing Mennonites. What in the world is up with that? I just don't understand it.
  11. Brighid1971

    Brighid1971 Well-Known Member

    Feb 27, 2006
    New Jersey
    I really, really wanted to post a pic of a highway sign created by California's highway department just for the illegal aliens...but that would be highjacking this thread :hobbyhors
  12. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

    Dec 7, 2002
    Dysfunction Junction
    We had an Amish gentleman and his son visiting last night. They came along with my stepdaughter and her husband in the car. I offered the Amish man coffee, but he declined, saying he'd just had a cappuccino in the car! For some reason, it struck me as kinda funny to picture this fellow with his long grey beard and black hat sipping cappuccino ... lol

    People are just people, IMO. :shrug:
  13. PLPP

    PLPP Boer Lover

    May 24, 2005
    New Castle, PA
    WE live in WEstern PA. and we have a lot of Amish. WE have never had a problem with them, of course we respect them highly, we go wide around the buggies slowly and we yield to them, I have been in a house and my friend have been in many of the houses, they have nothing spetacular, no electricity, very sporless and wonderful wood floors. We have felt that they under charge us for stuff but they set the prices. We got 72 veggie plants for 10 dollars and they were very healthy.

    They take wonderful pride in the things they make. That is why we are buying a crib, high chair and bedding from them for the baby. They are very respectful and as soon as I find a place out there for sale or rent I am moving out of the damn city.

    WE are ready to live the Amish life, we have a place we are going to look at that the Amish bought from a family and started t oconvert it to Amish but did not finish due to health, so its half done and they cant sell it to Amish like that, we will finish converting it to Amish, I am even going to get a horse and buggy fo when we dont need to go far,they are very welcoming if you are respectful and dont stare and gawk at them. I mean that is just plain rude! LOL

    I keep hearing about the mis treatment of the horses but yet to see it here, the horses are in wonderful shape, better than most of the "englishmen" horses. But that could just be here, I dont know.

    Despite what people say they pay all the taxes we do if they work, they just dont pay social security because they dont collect it, they take care of thier own seniors.

    Are you sure they were not Menninites?
  14. thequeensblessing

    thequeensblessing Well-Known Member

    Mar 30, 2003
    Buckfield, Maine
    We live on the outskirts of a large Amish community. The Amish have the best kept farms, homes, and grounds of anyone around here. Their houses aren't peeling paint and the grass isn't a foot tall in their yards. They take care of everything they own. Their animals are well cared for, and they do many things for both the Amish and the English communities here.
    We have an Amish friend who gives us free piglets to raise for the needy in our church every year, and we're Mormon!
    Around here, there are differing degrees of "obedience" as this Amish freind calls it. Some Amish use cell phones and drive cars. Others, the old order, do none of that, but try to stick to the old ways as closely as possible in todays society. Yes, the Amish go to walmart, just as the rest of us do. But almost all of them that I know have vegetable gardens, raise livestock, have orchards, make furniture, baked goods, crafts, and canned goods that they sell. They are very frugal people who seem to do well financially. I would say they are blessed people.
    Some of them are a little stand-offish with "the english", but others are friendly and outgoing. As has already been stated, in that regard, they are just people.
    I wish all humans had some of the Amish standards, at least when it comes to their sense of community and self-sufficiency. No, they may not be 100 percent self sufficient, but they are far moreso than most other people. I think the rest of us could stand to learn a lot from them.
  15. marcath

    marcath Active Member

    Nov 27, 2003
    My wifes sister and her husband, Karen & Steve did a unique thing about 15+ years ago

    He worked for Boeing, making good money, but.......

    They were in debt up to their eyes and could see no way out.

    They finally came up with a plan, eliminate all unnessasarys (?)

    They moved themselves and their 4 small children to an Amish area about an hours drive from work, and took on the Amish lifestyle.

    They had no electric, an outhouse and just a hand pump in the kitchen for water. They did have a house phone for work and emergencys. They also started dressing like their fellow Amish, and were eventually welcomed and respected in the communnity.

    Although they didn't take 100% to the Amish religious beliefs. Both grew up in a Christian church and retained their original beliefs.

    They raised their own food, gardens, chickens, beef cow ect.

    All the money they saved they applied to their debt, however small it was.

    5 years later ...completly debt free!!!!!!

    15+ years later,they still live this way and just bought a 150 ( I believe) acre farm, their kids have married into Amish familys, have started their own Amish style buisnesses, ( one raises and trains draft horses, one raises organic produce and eggs and both make a comfortable living)

    They have no desire to come back to the English lifestyle (our lifestyle). They find their lifestyle very simple,relaxing, enjoyable and satisfying.

    My bother-in-law has even written a few articles for a Amish publication nd had them printed.

    I am constantly amazed, my wifes family were upper middle class. not rich but didn't have to set up a savings plan of so much a week just to get a new TV or Fridge. Know What I mean? If they needed it, the money was available, and it was just purchased.

    My sister-in-law lived that way all here life, and then took on this Amish lifestyle, fell in love with it and never wants to return to previous way of life.

    My wife and I have talked many times of copying their lifestyle.

    Interesting story....

    I took my wife to a bed & breakfast up near the area that our Amish family lived. We had no idea at the time, where their home was, but figured it couldn't be that big of a community.

    As we were driving through the country side, hoping to find Steve & Karens home, we saw an Amish couple in their horse and buggy. We stoped them and asked if the knew Steve a Karen. They really didn't look at us and were very shy or distant, maybe uncomfortable. But once we told them we were Steve & Karens Family they eyes lit up, smiled and said sure we know them, come we will take you to them. and we followed that little black buggy all the way to their home.

    Upon thinking about their original backward response to us, and then a total turn around once they knew we were family, I came to this conclusion...

    The Amish are often looked at as a circus side show, or something stuck in a life style from 100-200 years ago. They are gawked at, mocked, made fun of, constatly asked to pose for pics, although their beliefs are against their pictures being taken. ( think about if the poparatzee were constantly following you and taken pics of you ) Autos zoom by maybe causing possibly their horses to be uneasy. I have even heared of people throwing things at them as they drive by.

    This couple we met probably thought, oh great, another "English" we have to endure. But once they found out we were family, they knew they didn't have to worry about us, we just needed help.

    We found them to be freindly, helpful and the life style wonderful,we are slowly changing our lifestyle to more theirs

    We have a huge respect and intrest in them and their lifestyle.
  16. PLPP

    PLPP Boer Lover

    May 24, 2005
    New Castle, PA
    Great post, Its wonderful what your family did! How nice, that is my dream, if I ever make it there I will be so happy.
  17. TexasArtist

    TexasArtist Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2003

    I didn't know there was an amish mafia!
  18. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

    Sep 16, 2005
    AR (ozarks)
    LOL! watch out they are coming for you now!
  19. bostonlesley

    bostonlesley Guest

    I have many Amish friends back in Pennsylvania..they are Old Order Amish and very friendly people..because they don't use electricity, their home life is not that much different from many of the folks who post here regularly..they have many games they play , puzzles, etc. and they love to visit.
    Canning, quilting, gardening, nothing different there..
    Someone mentioned straight pins..the men have snaps on their clothes, the women use straight pins..buttons are considered prideful since they can be found in many colors, shapes and sizes of decoration.

    As far as getting to "know" Amish? If you are a neighbor, it's not a problem usually..if you are friendly, they will be as well..if you don't live near them and have no business with them, but just want to "get to know them" I think you'd have a tough time doing that. Picture someone strange coming to your yard and saying "Hello..I find your lifestyle fascinating and would like to meet you." LOL