To celebrate this week’s debut of my first Amish novel, SUMMER OF SECRETS, I’m going to give you some trivia about the Amish in Missouri, where my new Seasons of the Heart series is set. Researching these books and meeting these fascinating people has been a learning experience in many ways.
Did you know . . . that many Amish buggies and carriages are pulled by retired race horses? When I remarked about the beautiful horses I saw, I learned that the Amish in Missouri buy race horses which have been retired from the track–still young, but not good for racing anymore. Amishmen are excellent horse trainers and soon convert these thoroughbreds to pull their family vehicles. While Plain folks are to avoid pride, it’s no sin to save a fine, beautiful animal for a useful purpose!
Did you know . . . that Plain folks were into social networking long before computers and the Internet? Their weekly newspaper, The Budget, features articles from scribes who live in every Amish and Mennonite settlement in the U.S. and even in colonies in Ukraine, Belize, Israel, and other international locales! Scribes chronicle the daily goings-on of local families, including births, deaths, trips, and whose home will host church services next week! You’ll also see a recipe column, an information exchange column, and a “shower” column, where card showers for birthdays and money showers for folks with large medical expenses generate a LOT of cheer and donations. The Amish don’t believe in insurance, so it’s not uncommon for a money shower to bring in more than $75k.
Did you know . . . that the biggest “threat” to the Amish way of life is the lunch bucket!? Amish folks work close enough to home that—except for kids in school—they can gather around their own table for meals. This sort of togetherness, along with often having elderly parents, married couples, and children all under the same roof is the bedrock of the Amish culture. Faith and family are their highest priorities.
Did you know . . . that the largest Old Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River is in Jamesport, Missouri? Nearly 50 Amish and Mennonite settlements are scattered throughout rural Missouri, because farmland is less expensive and nearby towns provide a place to sell Amish products and services.
Did you know . . . that you can tell where an Amish woman lives by the cut of her prayer kapp? Plain women in Missouri wear the pleated style that comes partway over their ears, whereas the Amish in Lancaster County, PA are known for their heart-shaped head coverings. Other details in clothing differ from place to place, too. And while Old Order Amish women only make their dresses from solid colors, Mennonite ladies use the same dress patterns but often wear wild, colorful prints!
Did you know . . . that the average Amish family in Missouri supports itself on 30-85 acres of land? Bigger is not better, where Plain folks are concerned, because larger farms mean more debt—and they require more hired help and machinery to keep them productive. If an Amish family runs a business, like a dry goods store, harness-making shop, furniture factory, pie shop, etc. their business is on their own property rather than “in town”. You need a local map so you don’t miss any turns as you drive through the countryside to find these places! Unlike the main roads through Bird-in-Hand in Lancaster County, the rural routes through Missouri settlements are usually free of traffic jams—and not always paved!
So much for Amish trivia! Please heck out my new books here on my site, read excerpts, try out recipes, and sign up for my newsletter. You can LIKE me on my Naomi C. King Facebook page, too!