Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
We all stopped at the Mount Hope horse auction. The amount of horses & buggies parked outside was astronomical. They seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see. Inside the barn, we could not believe our eyes. Hundres of Amish men, gazed only on the 20 foot horse-run in front of them. It was a massive sea of straw hats. The auctioneer, who couldnt have been more than 30, was spitting out random horse facts like a gatling gun spits bullets. It obviously smelled of horse shit in there, so I laughed heartily when my grandma (mom's side) took a step in the barn & said, "Oooh, it STINKS in here." Wow, ya think? We stuck around for about 5 minutes, watching Amish teens race their horses around, in hopes that a straw-hat clad man in the bleachers would throw up his hand, signifying a bid. The frustrating part of the Amish is that they strongly discourage pics taken of them. A part of me wants to be an asshole & snap pics like a tourist, giving the excuse "well, I'll never see them again". The other part of me knows better, and since I've come to respect their way of life, I've respected their wishes not to be photographed. (Note - of course, on the last day of my trip, my Aunt informed me that they 'allow'pics of them to be taken, they just won't 'pose' for any. Wish I would have known that at this time, as the view of a hundred straw hat men hunched over in bleachers was quite a spectacle. But, the few non Amish people (us) that were there already stood out like a sore thumb, so the flash would have made things MIGHTY awkward. Anyways..)
The next stop was the Ashery Country store. They specialized in handmade jams, jellies, cooking ingredients, organic foods & more. I bought some organic spinach spaghetti, corn salsa, black raspberry seedless jelly, and bacon horseradish veggie dip mix. Next stop, my mom & dad and the gang went to Lehman's Furniture & Amish museum. There was a small flea market outside the 3 building complex, which my parents always go for. I bought 2 beer mirror/signs, a flour advertising tin, and 5 old car/ santa claus advertisements. Before I bought those, I went into the overpriced Lehman's store and bought something. I'll give you one guess. Yup - bought a an Amish straw hat and wore it proudly around the grounds. One of the vendors, after buying the flour tin said, "Where'd you get that hat?" He was a middle-aged, tanned man with a black t-shirt that was about 6 sizes too small. "In the general store," I replied. "How much they want for it?" "12 bucks". "The Amish will be talkin to ya in no time with that hat on." For some reason, I wasn't sure what to say back. I kinda froze actually. So I say back, "Oh, we don't want that, do we. I better watch out!" I had no idea why I said that. With a heavy cackle, he continued, "They'll be askin you to marry their daughters, they will!"
I took the hat off.
This was the 2nd reference to Amish desperation! Earlier yesterday I remember hearing my aunt say something to the likes of "expanding the gene pool". Reluctantly, I told my parents about Mark's Amish $5k offer, and they of course didn't believe it. It's 5pm now, and we're on our way to the family style Amish Dinner. I'm expecting good things.
We pulled up to a small white Amish farmhouse about quarter to 7. 17 of us in tow now, seated in a small room on benches. There was a few skylights that brought a small amount of light into the room. Tiny decorative china plates that had the 50 states on them were hung from the rafters. The floor was composed of black & white tiles. 2 Amish women arrived with some fresh baked bread and homemade sweet & sour coleslaw. Butter, strawberry and black raspberry jam, and Amish peanut butter were laid out for bread toppings. This Amish peanut butter was insane. It's already sweet as it is, but then they add marshmallow fluff in it. I felt like having a heart attack everytime I looked at it, let alone when I ate it. They then offered sweet spearmint tea, with mint grown fresh from their garden. I didn't have any. Next came buttery whipped mashed potatoes, followed by chicken stuffing. The highlight of the meal, oddly enough, was the corn. I had 3 helpings. It was ridonculous. Kernels cut straight from the cob earlier in the morning. Drenched in butter, simmering in a porcelain serving bowl. Calling me to serve him up on my plate. Oh god, the corn, how i miss thee. Then came the mac & cheese. Then gravy. Then more bread. It was a miracle I didn't have to be rolled out of that room like Violet Beauregard a la Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. But oh no, this stomach overhaul wasn't done yet. Then came the baked chicken and the roast beef. Then came the 2 huge bowls of date pudding, which sounds gross, but was very good, of course. My intestines were on the brink of explosion. At that very moment, the Amish officially started to mock me. Out of the kitchen, came the 2 Amish ladies in aprons, wheeling 2 gigantic carts out with about 50 slices of pie on them.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Mom made a mix cd for the trip. I thought Rihanna's "Please Don't Stop the Music" was an awkward choice, but she definitely surpassed it with "Hollaback Girl" immediately following. I have no words. Dad - "This might be one of the worst songs I've ever heard." Hahah AWESOME! Dad made it to 9:56 - love it.
So Ohio looks exactly like Wisconsin, just a tad more hilly. The scenery is a mirror image. Rolling hills...oak, maple, pine, and willow trees scatter the landscape. Numerous times we discussed the resemblance to mid-northern WI. Gray, drab tiny 1 bedroom houses on the side of the road no less than 20 feet away, battered by what I can only imagine as a less menacing winter. Silly-named towns, villages, and obscure little shops (like Jake's Handcrafted Oak!) are also prevolent. It's summer, obviously, and all is a vibrant shade of green. It may be boring at times, but I still have love for the midwest. Gas was as low as $3.57, a sure bargain.
Monday, September 08, 2008
In early August, my family headed out to my Aunts lakehouse located smack-dab in the middle of Amish country Ohio. In three words: It Was Awesome (my next post will be taken directly from what I wrote about the trip). This post will be dedicated to the INSANE words of some of the Amish newspapers and publications strewn around various little townships in Holmes county. In no way have the following been altered - these excerpts are the real deal. Thousands and thousands of these publications are distributed weekly/monthly, and they are (for the most part) hilarious:
These are not the tomatoes and peppers that you buy at your local roadside market. They are shipped in from Mexico and California. You will never see the people who raise them. ou can't ask the farmers questions about their food safety. Instead they are raised on huge mega-farms by migrant workers and are shipped by trucks burning Osama Bin Laden's petroleum to your local supermarkets and taco bell stores.
-The Vendor, July 30, 2008
So it's an article on Food Safety that warps into a Bin Laden gas thing? Wtf?
" 'Cherokee' Mike Edmonson remembers what he was doing when he heard the news that three members of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd had been killed in a 1977 plane crash. "I had just come out of the high school gym from wrestling practice at Maple Heights," Edmonson remembers. "I got in my Camaro, turned the radio on and heard the news. I couldn't believe that plane went down. Right then, I thought, "Skynyrd's done".
-Holmes County Fair Preview, August 7, 2008
Good god the visual stereotype can't get any better...
" Dear Farmer John: Can someone tell me how to pickle tongue? I am 86 years young and like the old fashioned things. I would also like to get some cracklins like we used to make on butchering day. Thank you and your readers so much. VC, Louisville, KY"
-Holmes County Shopper News, August 7, 2008
Ain't nothin better than pickled tongue!
And now, by far the best section of any paper I've ever read. In the Sugar Creek, Ohio's Budget, there's a front page section titled 'Letters from Home'. Yes, the following are on the FRONT PAGE:
"Clare, Michigan. July 29th...We have a local bakery that is kind of handy to have close by. Donuts and fry pies were ordered for Sat. breakfast and the fry pies for dessert in the p.m. Now for the most I'd recommend these to anyone. We learned you'd best check the fry pies as they may contain foreighn objects. The first one was filled with a paper towel (was discovered when broken in half for a small child). The second was like Billy goat gruff's pie, nothing in it, and the last was filled with a hard boiled egg. I bet they didn't think of this end of the joke. Mrs. Herman Stutzman"
" Bloomington, Wisconsin. July 28...Some fellow came to the door of Ruth Miller (Ezra) recently and asked for night crawlers. But she badly misunderstood and thought he asked for neck collars. Don't know if her southern accent (hearing) had kicked in or what happened. She originally comes from KY. She sent him over to the harness shop for those "neck collars". We all had a good laugh. Mrs. Lonnie Yoder."
" Thompsontown Pennsylvania. July 28...There was another load gone fishin in the deep sea at N.J. on Fri. and had lots of fish to bring home. Joseph Peachey and a neighbor were recently out fishing on the Juniata River in his motorboat (trolling) when they caught a small bass and were reeling it in when they got a sharp jerk and had to fight to get their catch in, a 27" walleye which had swallowed the bass and got hooked on the lure besides. Katie E. Yoder"
So watch out for those prankster bakeries, southern-speakin Amish, and fish-eatin fish. Good laughs all around. I saved all the brochures, newspapers, and publications for future lolz-fests. Stay tuned for the (very long) Amish Country Ohio Adventure blog...