The View from the Buggy Lane is written by Mahlon Miller. Mahlon has lived all of his 30 years in the Amish community around Shipshewana. His family (wife Marietta and three daughters) and work (Crystal Valley Organics and teaching school, all subjects for four grades) keep the schedule pretty full, but there’s always time for his favorite method of communication, writing.
Slosh, slosh, slosh….
Last night I woke up and heard a steady rain on the window again, and I almost complained a little too myself. We are so saturated all over, and ankle deep in mud at some areas. The cows and horses are confined to little “sacrifice” plots, till it dries up a bit. At the farm it’s not quite as noticeable as at my house. With only 3 acres to start with I can’t sacrifice a very big area. So they spend quite a bit of time in the barn when it’s raining, and every time they go out I ask them not to kick up their heels too much because one fast take-off and a sliding stop destroys many earthworms’ homes, but when freedom calls, a horse can’t resist.
At school we have a heavy clay soil that gets smeary and tracks onto the classroom floor when it rains a lot. Some of the boys shared my younger horse’s philosophy and couldn’t quite keep it at a safe speed in our dare base game today. A couple of them ended up plastered with mud all over.
Yesterday a barn burned down just south of Dad’s house. They believe it started in the little entry room. There was an LP gas fridge in there with medication, and they think that the gas line burst, which quickly turned it into an inferno. Not to fear, the animals came pouring out the south end of the building, which is what alerted the folks in the house. They hauled away they scrap metal and pushed the charred stuff into a hole, lit it and, once it was done burning, covered it up. Today they were planning to pour the concrete walls for the new one and if the weather is good tomorrow, they are planning to start framing it. Plans are to have the rafters up and the roof ready for metal by Saturday night. By Wednesday or Thursday they should be ready to move the calves back in.
We have a plan, called Amish Aid, for disasters like that. It works basically like insurance except we pay premiums based on the evaluation of our personal property, the ‘office work’ is done by elected men (1 in each district) on donation so nobody is actually pocketing any money out of the pot, and collection is usually pretty prompt and hassle free.
Some folks call our Amish life “simple,” but “simple” doesn’t mean “boring!”
That’s the view from the buggy lane.