Thursday, November 19, 2015

Yoder's Amish Home

Hey kids, I'm back with the penultimate Ohio post.  On Saturday afternoon the weekend we were in Ohio, we went to Yoder's Amish Home.  Apparently Yoder is a pretty common last name in the Amish community.

It was cloudy and overcast for most of the day, and we even got a tiny little snow flurry that night on our way back to the B&B after dinner.

We arrived at the farm kinda close to the end of the day; our tour of the barn and houses was one of the last ones of the day.  They do buggy rides too, but we didn't opt to do that.

Quite the selection of produce here, how do you like that warty one in front?

Our tour started off in the barn, and the older gentleman who was the tour guide for that part explained about the different kinds of animals they keep.  This is Sally, she's a Belgian draft horse and she works in the fields.  They use a different breed of horse for pulling the buggies.

This dude was standing around giving editorial comments until the tour guide shooed him off.

Ahh, baby pygmy goat!  I die from the cute.  Seriously, this lil guy is probably not even as tall as my dogs, and just the cutest thing ever.  I got to pet him and he nibbled on my fingers, which tickled.  I also got to pet a litter of puppies, who are also the cutest thing ever.

Sally again, because she's pretty.

There's our tour guide and a baby donkey who didn't want to go back in his pen, he wanted to say hi to all the people.

And there's me going down the barn to greet the buggy horses.

There's the outside of the barn (duh).  We had to wait for a couple of minutes before the house tour started so Lee had time to take a couple pics.

And I drew his attention to this kitty in the drain pipe.  I think I actually got a pretty good shot of her on my phone, but I need to figure out how to download pics from my phone onto the computer.

The barn again, and also flowers.

So, there were two Amish houses that we toured--kind of more replica houses really, but this is the stove we saw in the first house.  That's kind of an amazing piece of furniture.  We went to this big hardware store while we were in Ohio and I saw LOTS of stoves like this for sale.  They look pretty awesome but I'm not at all sure I'd want one.  Oh, the hardware store also had these really awesome giant furnaces that are like three feet wide and five feet tall and one of those I might want because I bet it's all toasty warm but I'm sure it weighs an absolute ton and where would I put it?

Pretend Amish mom & dad's bedroom with a nice quilt on the bed, and some examples of Amish clothing on the walls.  The clothing is different depending on which sect you belong to; some of the strictest sects don't allow you to have buttons on your clothes so women's dresses are held closed with straight pins.  Which sounds not fun to me.

Mom's sewing machine is almost always in the living room so she can spend time with family while working on her projects in the evenings.  Because all the guys get to relax, but Mom has to keep working.  If Mom is a really messy seamstress though her machine might be tucked away in a corner though.

Hey, there's a little furnace like what I was talking about.  The one I liked in the hardware store though was about twice this size and all shiny.

Last pic from the Amish house:  Amish dolls don't have faces, because of the stricture in the Bible about graven images.  I would think that it might encourage more imagination in the child playing with the doll too, though I kinda think they're a little bit creepy.

And here's a pic of our room at the B&B.

Not great quality pictures, but I wanted to share them anyway.  And there's Juan on the chair in the corner.

I've got just one more post of Ohio pictures to go unless I can figure out how to download pictures from my phone.  And most of the bestest pics are in that last post : )

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ohio: Warthers Museum and Sugarcreek

How about some more pictures from Ohio?  The whole reason we decided to go to this part of Ohio for our anniversary was because Missy had spent time out there a few years ago with her mom and highly recommended it.  One of the things she recommended we do was go to the Warthers Museum, so we did, even though it has nothing to do with Amish people.

So, what's at the Warthers Museum?  Ernest "Mooney" Warther was a carver.  He made pliers out of wood as souvenirs for children (which I don't have any pictures of, oops) and started a company making knives.  And later on he started carving some really extraordinary things, which happily I do have pictures of.

This is the lock on Mooney's workshop, I just liked the colors and textures here : )

And there's the original (tiny) workshop.  The museum is built right alongside, and there's a window where you can see into the workshop but I don't think I looked.

Just because it's cute, the little decorations in front of the museum.  The pumpkin says "Jens" on it; Jens is the cat who lives at the museum.

So, what did Mooney make other than knives and wooden pliers?

How about a model of the steel factory he used to work in.  Click on the photo to see it bigger, it really is incredible.   And it moves!  The little dudes in front go back and forth, and there's a guy on a bench in the back (look under that person's hand, he's just below that) and he eats a sandwich.  There's a guy who falls asleep on the job and another one who drinks from a bottle of "buttermilk" (yeah right, it's whiskey, I mean not actual whiskey because there's no liquid, but I bet the original dude in real life wasn't drinking buttermilk).

Mooney's wife was also an artist; she collected thousands of buttons and used them to make geometric designs on something kinda like foam board.  There's a tiny little building that's all covered on the inside with her designs, I remember one that had horse shoes that was pretty.  They kind of remind me of quilting patterns.

And because I am a stitcher, I had to go around the back of this one and see what the back of her pieces looked like.

Ok, so the steel factory was pretty cool (I mean, it was way cooler than it looks in that one single photo, I promise), but what I'm going to show you next is really, really cool.

Mooney carved the history of steam trains.  And a lot of these, if not all, move as well.  The website says he started out using walnut and bone for his designs, but later moved on to ebony, ivory (like piano keys), and pearl.

Here's a thought to really blow your mind:  see the letters on the side of the train, and on the base?  They're inlaid in the wood.  So he carved the letters out of ivory or bone, and then he carved the same shape out of the wood and fitted the letters into it.

And on this one he did the letters IN CURSIVE.

Sorry there's a glare in the glass on this display case, but it's the funeral train of Abraham Lincoln.  And if you can see in the tiny windows, the seats have red upholstery on them.  Mooney took a nail and scraped fuzz off some velvet curtains that his wife had in the attic for winter and used that to make upholstery for the seats.  Mrs. Mooney was not best pleased.

Some of the later trains he did completely out of ivory.  They said the ivory was all "responsibly sourced" and that elephants weren't slaughtered just to get the ivory, supposedly it was harvested from elephants who expired of natural causes.  Not sure I believe that, but I'm fairly sure Mooney wasn't gallivanting about Africa trying to shoot an elephant in his pajamas.*

The level of detail on these is just staggering.  Our tour guide told us that engineers from real-life steam trains looked at them and everything that you can see is accurate down to the tiniest detail.  Except they don't make trains out of ivory.

The tour ends at the knife factory and the gift shop, but we didn't buy any knives.  Lee thought about it though, I think he picked up a catalog.

After we left the museum, we drove a little ways down the road to the wee town of Sugarcreek.

Home of the world's largest cuckoo clock, I kid you not.  And lucky for us, we arrived just a few minutes before the hour so we got to see it in action.

The way that the man and lady were positioned before the clock started up, I couldn't get a really good shot of both of them, though this one of the dude turned out alright.

But getting both of them at the same time wasn't a good picture.  So anyway, Sugarcreek is quite tiny; we were hoping to get some lunch there but couldn't find any restaurants so back to the car we went.  Basically this "tourist" area of Sugarcreek has the clock and then a half a block of buildings mocked up to look like an Alpine village, and that's it.

And also one weathered Coca-Cola sign.  That's it for this edition of Snapdragon, cheers peeps!

*It's a Marx Brothers joke.  Look it up, I ain't esplainin'.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ohio's Amish Country

At long last, I'm getting around to posting some pictures from our trip to Ohio's Amish country for our anniversary last month.  Fair warning:  I have a ton of pictures to share, so this will be multiple posts, and I think most of our favorites are at the end.  So it'll take a while to get there.

It was about a 6.5-hour drive from our house to where we stayed in Millersburg, which was the Miller Haus bed and breakfast.  Our first experience at a B&B!  Anyway, we got in around 3 in the afternoon and Lee took some pics around the B&B to start us off.  

That's the actual building of the B&B.  If you look on the website linked above, we stayed in the Quilting Corner Room, which is now painted butter yellow and not pale blue like in the photo.  It's right next to the kitchen, which is good because you're closest to the food in the morning, but bad because you hear the staff making breakfast pretty early ; )

Can I just say nice shot, Lee!  I like the composition on this one.

Proof that I was there.  And I tried out the swing.

At this point, I'm pretty sure this picture fairly well sums up my view on life.  Totally off kilter but at least I get to look at Lee : D

The next day, we drove in to the town of Berlin to visit the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center.  The first thing we did there was take a tour of the one-room school house and a barn.

The furnace inside the school house is a Frost Killer, I like it.  Our tour guide explained that the Amish only educate up to 8th grade, and they teach fewer subjects than regular public schools.   On the other hand, by the time Amish children graduate, they're fluent in three languages (English, German, and the Amish dialects that are most closely related to the dialects from Swabia in Germany) and they teach their subjects more in depth.

All the kids from a small area will attend school together and likely have the same teacher for all eight grades.  Personally, I had some teachers that I was very happy to bid adieu at the end of the school year.

The guide showed us one book that was about buggy safety and driving a buggy on the roads.  He said thirty years ago they thought that book was really stupid because you can't learn driving a horse from a book, but there's so much more car traffic now than there used to be that the book learnin' of the laws of the road actually is a good thing.  But we laughed when he flat-out said he thought it was stupid at first.

And there's the outside of the school.  Next up was the barn, and it was hard to take pictures in there because of limited light and lack of windows, but I gave it a shot.  Haha punny, I was shooting pictures.

The barn contains two Amish buggies and a restored Conestoga wagon (remember Little House in the Prairie?).  The Conestoga wagon is narrower and taller than you might think it is, and our guide explained that even children likely wouldn't have ridden in the wagon, they would have walked along behind it.  Because there's not a whole lot of room to store all your worldly possessions and what you'd need to start a life in a faraway territory.

This is a summertime buggy from the 1860s, believe it or not.  The former owners spruced it up a bit before they donated it.

And this one is only about 10 years old or so from what I remember.  Our guide said a buggy like this might cost around $5800, but it should last a lifetime (depending on how good a driver you are, because even Amish teenage boys are reckless drivers).  We were told that you can tell exactly what sect a person or family belongs to based on certain features of the buggies.  There are lots of sects of Amish people, varying in how strict they are with dress code, religions beliefs, how much technology they use, etc.

And there's inside the back of the Conestoga wagon.  If you look at the bottom of the photo you'll see a little bucket hanging off the rail; that was filled with grease which was used to grease the wagon wheels every morning before the pioneers started off.  And the bucket still smells like greasy smoke.

More pics later.  Cheers, peeps!