Here’s a little-known fact about my family: my stepdad and mom raise chickens so they don’t have to buy eggs.
Actually that isn’t a little-known fact if you know me at all because I think it is so fun and I tell everyone the first chance I get. (Even though I actually do not like birds at all. I appreciate the process from afar.)
Over dinner one night my stepdad dropped the bombshell on me that he buys his chickens from a nearby Amish community. Talk about taking interesting and multiplying it by fascinating! I was hooked, and made him promise to take me along the next time he ventured out there.
We picked a date and I wrote it in big block letters in my planner. I was eagerly awaiting my visit with the Amish. Finally the date arrived! Did you guys know that there is an Amish community in Mississippi? I did not.
It was a little tricky to find (translation: there is no way I would have ever found it, or my way home, were it not for my stepdad.) I clutched my camera (though I was careful not to actually photograph any of the people so as not to offend) as we approached the ten or twelve houses sprawled across a large plot of land.
This windmill is used to draw their water up from the well below:
Each “house” has several buildings associated with it. The house below had a barn, a greenhouse, a shed used as a shop to sell vegetables, and several other storage buildings for keeping their horse-drawn buggies, woodpile, etc. Oh and we can’t forget the outhouse. (and we have just landed on the biggest hurdle in my surviving as a member of the Amish community. Well, that and the lack of wifi…)
By the mailboxes were signs indicating which goods that family has to sell. They add or remove signs based on the season and the crops. There was a wide range from vegetables to leather goods to soaps and candles, and so on. I loved the handlettered signs:
All of the families had these gourds hanging near their homes. My stepdad told me they are to attract birds that protect the crops from insects and other threats.
The people were very quiet and friendly, though they seemed shy. Everyone wears handmade clothes, the guys in pants/suspenders and straw hats, the girls in dresses and bonnets. I would have loved to sit and ask them questions about their life for hours, but everyone seemed very busy, doing chores or tending the little sheds that served as shops, even the smaller children, so I did my best to stay out of their way and not distract them. The children seemed to have a hard time keeping their eyes off of us though, I am sure they are curious about the strangers who visit.
This is their schoolhouse:
I noticed the hats hanging out on the porch of this family’s house, and we figured they must be getting ready for the next day’s Sunday service, which takes place in different house each week.
The whole experience was so interesting to me, I can’t wait to go back when they get their corn crop in. On this trip we bought: eggplants, onions, tomatoes, homemade bread, peanut brittle, and a blueberry pie.