Amish home, Middlebury, IN
Quilt Garden, Shipshe, IN
Amish home, memory garden
Amish home, produce garden
Quilt Garden, Shipshe, IN
Amish home, produce garden
Today I thought we’d talk about Amish gardens. Raise your hand if you’ve seen one.
I live in Texas, so I’m well acquainted with gardens. My husband’s Uncle Joe had a very large vegetable garden even after he’d gone blind. Uncle Joe was pretty amazing. So I thought I knew what to expect from Amish gardens. Ha! I was wrong.
- Amish gardens are big because they try to grow as many veggies as possible to provide for their large families.
- Amish gardens are also rather old-fashioned. For instance, look at the picture above with the gas tank in the bottom right-hand corner. I remember my grandma telling me that adding anything rusty to your garden puts iron back in the soil. Have you ever heard that?
- Amish gardens are natural, and by that I mean that they’d rather not use costly pesticides. Instead they’ll do things like plant marigolds next to vegetables to ward off insects.
- Some Amish gardens are for Englischers. Aren’t the quilt garden pictures above fun? You can find these through Shipshewana, and they’re wonderful to visit.
- Occasionally you’ll find a memory garden. The top right picture is one of my favorites. See the wooden marker? What a lovely way for this family to remember a loved one.
Amish are known for their large and beautiful gardens. Of course this is in addition to the crops they grow. What about you? Have you seen any Amish gardens? Do you have a garden? Leave a comment below, and we’ll pull one winner to receive an autographed book from yours truly. Last week’s winner was Kimberly K. (Kimberly, you should have received an email from me today.)
Announcements for this week
- I have 2 summer specials in my VC Boutique Store and you’ll see some new spring items. I hope you’ll check it out!
- The anthology I’m participating in, Summer of Suspense, is now with our editor. You can preorder at BN and Apple and Amazon. Pre-order price is 99c for 16 awesome inspirational romantic suspense novellas. These are all original stories.
- I’ll be in Shipshewana the week of August 1-4. Mark your calendars in you’re in the area. I’ll post more soon about when and where we’ll be having our book signing. Lots of Amish authors are attending, so this should be a fun event.
It’s been fun to share with you some of the things I’ve learned from the Amish in my many trips to visit their communities. Today I thought I’d share something the Amish are very well known for–their quilting.
VC with Kris Stutzman, Lolly’s Fabrics
Amish Quilts, Lolly’s Fabrics
Amish Quilt, Lolly’s Fabrics
- The Amish don’t purposely put an error in every quilt. They’ve told me there are always errors in quilts. It would be prideful to try and make something perfect.
- The Amish will quilt in red, but they don’t display red quilts in their homes. There’s nothing wrong with the color red. It’s simply too bold for their tastes.
- The Amish will use calico or patterned fabrics. There was a time when Amish only quilted with solid fabrics, and some stricter communities may still abide by that rule. Everyone I’ve spoken with says that they are free to use whatever fabric they like.
- Amish women often quilt with salvage fabrics to lower the cost.
- Amish women do still hand piece and hand quilt. However, some women also use treadle machines, and others will hand-piece the tops and then have them quilted by a machine. If you buy a quilt in an Amish home, it’s probably hand pieced and hand quilted.
Amish schoolhouse, Middlebury, IN
It has been my pleasure to visit with Amish families in a variety of settings. Needless to say it’s been an eye-opening experience. In many ways their lives are the same as ours. But in other, more fundamental ways their lives are remarkably different. Last week I shared that one of the first things I learned from the Amish was focus. Another thing I’ve learned is to slow down.
This picture is a perfect example of that. It was taken outside an Amish schoolhouse in Continue reading
One of the first things I learned from the Amish was focus. Now that may sound a little strange, I mean how focused can you be in a house with upwards of 10 children? But when I have visited Amish homes, I am immediately struck by how Continue reading
It’s here! The dog days of summer … or is it “dog daze.” Regardless, it feels like we’re melting in the south. So I thought I’d do a blog on how the Amish survive summer because as Continue reading
I’m often asked if the Amish cast a vote in local and national elections. Since I wasn’t sure, I asked some Amish folk when I was visiting northern Indiana. Their answer was typically brief, “Some do.”
When I pressed the point, the person told me that largely it will depend on the community that you live in. Some bishops encourage participation. Others suggest that they remain apart and not involve themselves in politics. It is never forbidden to vote.
What impressed me was when an Amish woman admitted, “We may vote, but we don’t sit around and watch the news or read the paper worrying over the outcome. We leave that to God.”
I don’t know about you, but I could do with a little less news watching myself.
Announcements for this week:
One thing I’ve learned from the Amish is that it’s perfectly ok to take the time to garden. I’m not that busy! Sometimes I feel too busy, but then when I take the time to go outside and putter around, my soul and my heart and my mind all feel better! It’s amazing what a few minutes in the garden can do. Below are a few pictures.
This is a trumpet vine. It provides good shade and the hummingbirds love it. Not really gardening, I know … but I wanted to share the blooms with you!
Impatiens that I kept in the “greenhouse” – converted dog shed – all winter. They’re happy to be out in the sun!
My tomato plant, and if you look very close, you’ll see a green bean plant popping through the ground.
I’d love to know – are you gardening? Have you ever gardened? What was your favorite thing to grow?
Resolutions that Affect Your Health
So we’ve been talking resolutions. January is a good time to do that, right? Last week we talked about budgets. If you missed the post, folks chimed in with some good ideas. You can read about them here.
But of course finances aren’t the only types of resolutions we make. How about health resolutions? I’m not talking about dieting–that Continue reading
Financial Budgets in 2015
Now I wonder why most of us cringe when we hear the word budget. I know that I do! It just doesn’t sound fun. It sounds like the opposite of fun. The Amish folks I’ve met are pretty frugal with their money–sort of like this photo to the right. They don’t have a lot of different clothes or a super fancy buggy. They live plainly, and that’s Continue reading
Today I wanted to write to you about GRACE and how we can extend it to our families. I don’t mean the kind of grace like you say before a meal, though those are good too! I’m talking about offering something special to your family this holiday season.
Wikipedia defines grace as “the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it.” That’s an awesome definition. I’ve always thought of grace as “unmerited favor.” You don’t earn it. You receive it. And you can offer it to others.
Have you ever noticed that some people get tense if you even mention the holidays? I’ve seen people groan, roll their eyes, change the subject, even reach for more chocolate. I’ve been guilty of a few of those things! I think there are a lot of reasons for this, but the primary one is that life is complicated. Right? Kids grow up, move to different places, have various obligations. Not to mention the pressure to have the “perfect meal” or “perfect day” is incredible.
So how about we offer each other GRACE instead? We can say and believe that “it’s okay.” Can’t make it for dinner? Not a problem–because we know you love us. Have other obligations? Not a problem! Burned the turkey? Heat up a pizza!!!!
Part of the reason we respect the Amish is they are able to keep these things in perspective. This holiday season, we could step back, take a deep breath and thank the Lord for our blessings, and then we perhaps we can find the courage to offer one another GRACE. And if you really enjoy making the traditional dinner, and are worried your family can’t come, then ask folks at your church. Be a special blessing to someone else.
ps – the winner of the cancer wall hanging and book was RUTH SMITH. All of your comments really touched my heart. A big thank you to everyone who entered, and stay tuned for more give-aways!