Sunrise in Monument Valley

Sunrise in Monument Valley

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Visit to Lapps Valley Dairy

Today was a lazy day in the Lancaster area. It was still a little chilly outside and Kathy and I had plans to go see the local musical play "Half Stitched". It was a small production in Bird in Hand, but the performers were very talented with both acting and singing. We enjoyed it very much. Mark and David relaxed in the MH while we were at the "theater".

After the show we went to Lapps Valley Dairy which has wonderful ice cream. Nothing like getting the product direct from the source. The ice cream has 20% cream, so it is very rich and creamy. This is one of our regular stops when we come to Intercourse. It's also nice to go at 4:30PM because you can go in at 4:30 and watch them milk the jersey cows. The cows are just so clean as well as the dairy and milking area. We couldn't;t get over how clean and automated everything was. They have about 70 cows and milk a dozen at a time. Their fresh milk was $3.75 a gallon which was a great price.

 The new baby calves are so sweet and liked to be petted. They had about 5 new ones at this time.

This sign was posted on the deck outside the ice cream store. Check out the last paragraph.

Later, we went to Miller Smorgasbord for dinner. As usual the food was excellent. We are eating too much and too well on this trip. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dinner with Ben and Emma

When we went on the buggy ride we met Ben Kinsinger. He and his wife Emma live nearby  and run a small bed & breakfast. He was kind enough to invite us to his home to share a meal and give us a tour of his property and talk more to us about the Amish lifestyle. As Ben told us, he is a people persona and he loves meeting new people and talking to them. He told us to arrive at 5 and we would eat at 6. That gave him an hour to give us a nice tour of his home and property.

Since he is Amish we did not take any pictures, but spent a long time talking with him and Emma. When we arrived, Ben came out to meet us followed by Emma who was in the middle of preparing the meal. Ben's property was very nice. It was very neat and clean and it reflected his interest in animals and trains. His big red barn had a train whistle that he liked to blow to tell Misty, his horse in the lower pasture, that it was time for dinner. The little gray barn cat followed us all around wanting lots of attention. In the barn Ben had 2 buggies. One was more of a working buggy with 2 seats and a flat bed  area on the back for carrying things. Our version of a pickup truck. The other buggy was more of a Sunday buggy with room for 2 up front and the kids in the back. Buggies cost $8,000 to $10,000. Ben had set to a solar panel to charge the battery in his buggy that operates the turn signals. He said when young people are courting they use a open 2 seat buggy. We saw several couples in these buggies on the way home to the CG.

Around back Ben had his cages with the Bob-white birds that he kept. He said he loved the sounds they made and he had several of them to call back and forth. He also had Rhode Island Red roosters and chickens with fresh eggs. Everything was neat and clean which was unexpected of a farm environment. In the back of the barn was a garden with apple, pear, & peach trees and a small section of  a grape vineyard. On the other side of the house was his vegetable garden. The little gray kitty was still following us all around. At 6 he brought us into his home where Emma was finishing up dinner.

We were surprised to see very large open rooms. There was a living room area with large windows. This is where Emma did her sewing with her treadle machine near the window. Emma made all of their clothes including his.She does not quilt. There were lots of big windows, but also lanterns around for lighting. One lantern was on a pole mounted to a rolling table. In the bottom of the table was the propane tank for lighting the lantern. The inside was simple and plain with vinyl flooring. On the wall was a framed calligraphy of his family history with Ben and Emma's birthdates along the all of their children's.The only picture was of their horses Diamond and Misty.

The kitchen was large and Ben explained that the rooms had partitions between them that could be taken down when they had church service at their house (usually once a year) or for their daughters wedding in the house. The kitchen table was large and set for dinner. The meal was simple, but good. We had ham, mashed potatoes, pickled beets, corn, salad and homemade bread. For desert there  was rhubarb cobbler and peach cobbler.The meal started with a silent prayer. After dinner Kathy and I helped clear the table and rinsed and dried the dishes. while men talked

After dinner Ben showed us the map on the wall. One side was the USA and the other the world. There was a pin showing where people from all over world who had visited him were from. It was incredible how many pins were there. There were visitors from Australia, Europe, South Africa and other countries. Most from the USA were from the northeast. No one had visited him from Chattanooga, so we put in our pin for Chattanooga. Ben also told us he and Emma love to travel and usually travel by train for a month each year. They have been all over the US, where ever Amtrak goes. They buy a 30 day ticket for $800 and travel from east to west coast. They have also done the Canadian Railway from Vancouver to Nova Scotia 8 times. They do not drive or fly, but it is OK to ride in a taxi or stay in a hotel. Emma said she liked to stay in the hotels.  Ben showed us an article in the NY Times that interviewed him about his train travels. Ben said the didn't want his picture taken, but the reporter did it anyway. I was able to find the article.
If you click on the multimedia on Ben's picture, you can hear him talk about his travels.

Ben was never a framer and he made his living as a butcher at various groceries including Shady Maple. He also started saving money when he was young and was able to purchase 10 older properties which he fixed up, and rented out for income. He has sold all but the one next door which  is still rented out. He still makes extra money driving buddy rides and with his bed and breakfast.

We had a wonderful time and an experience we could never forget. How many people get to have dinner with an Amish family and talk to them about their lifestyle.

Great Times in Lancaster,Pa

We've had a wonderful time here in the Lancaster area. There is just so much to see. We took the Farmlands tour of the area which was very informative. We learned lots of new facts about the people in this  area. Our tour took us through the countryside with a stop at a shop that sold lots of quilts made in the area and small items to purchase. We had a fun time looking at all the items. I imagine if we were not quilters or didn't sew it we would have been purchasing. These are a few pictures from our Farmlands Tour.

 Most of the farmers in the area were plowing with their team of mules or horses. Across the street from the CG Sam was reaping, bailing and storing fields of alfalfa.  Most of the farms were quite large. The houses were also very large as the Amish usually have a large family. The parents bedroom is downstairs and the children upstairs. The houses are added on to so it may have different sections as the family grows. When the daughter reaches the age of 16 she get her own bedroom. When the parents get old and retire the youngest son inherits the farm if he wants it and the parents live with them in a new section of the house called a dawdy house.

Here we are all bundled up, waiting for our tour.

After the farmlands tour we took a buggy ride with Ben Kinsinger an Amish man from Eprhata, Pa.
After the ride Ben invited us to his house for dinner with him and his wife Emma.

Kathy and Mark on the buggy ride.

An Amish farmer plowing his farm.

This is Sam's farm right across from where we are staying. It is so interesting to just sit and watch all the work that is going on at his farm. We can see and hear when the cows go out in the morning after milking and again at night. We can watch as he brings in the crops and stores them in his silo. Everyone, including the children work hard on the farm. After school the children run home, change their clothes and start helping with the chores.

Later, we went back to the Kettle Village to do a little more shopping.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spending Time in Amish Country

Finnegan and Bentley enjoying the ride.

Even Finnegan decided to try out David's lap and is rather enjoying it.

We arrived in Intercourse after a slower drive with construction along the way. Beacon Hill is our favorite CG in the area. It is right in the middle of Amish county, close to town and Renie and Cliff, the CG owners are always so nice and accommodating. They always have plenty of information for us and make the stay so pleasant.

We are parked right on the corner of the CG so we see all the Amish buggies go by as well as all the action at Sam's farm across the street. Friday and Saturday there were a LOT of buggies going by. We think there must have been a big hat sale going on up the hill as everyone was coming down  the hill with new straw hats in their buggies. The little children were just so cute in the buggies with their families.

We had a nice dinner Friday night in Kathy's MH and a very good night's sleep. The next day we visited some of the shops near the CG including the quit shop next door.Then Kathy, Mark and David walked to downtown Intercourse to the Kettle Village shopping area to check out the shops. I  drove the car so we would have transportation to our next stop.

After that we went to The Amish Experience to make reservations for that. We were able to take the farm house and school tour right then and will come back Monday for the remainder of the tours. It was a very interesting tour.

Afterward we went to Good's department store where they sell everything but food. They have hardware, kitchen supplies, fabric, clothes, shoes,--you name it. Then we went to our favorite grocery, Shady Maple. It's huge and has a very large variety of fresh vegetables. I bought a bunch of fresh asparagus for $1.24. Of course we bought Whoopie pies and apple dumplings too.

Since we were there we decided to go to Shady Maple Smorgasbord. They were swamped with lots of business on Saturday night as well as bus loads of people. We waited in line for quite a while, but there was still plenty of food when we got in. Way TOO MUCH food which none of us really needed to eat, but you have to have one visit to Shady Maple Smorgasbord. After that we were too full and miserable to do anything but go back to the MH and relax. It had started to rain and it made for a very lazy evening.

Mark and David in front of the picnic table.

 Bentley in his now usual position checking everything out.

A quilt shop of already made quilts in Kettle Village.

On the Way to Pa

Our trip this year is with Kathy and Mark to Intercourse, Pa in the Amish country.
The first day is almost a 400 mile drive, so we needed to get started and leave early at 8 Am.
Since our MH is parked full time in the storage facility and we have decided not to drive it home to pack it up there before a trip. We had to take our clothes, food, etc over to it. The clothes and food weren't an issue, but then we had to corral the kitties into their carriers. Bentley, as usual was eager to go. Nicky and Finnegan----not so much, But they all got there. The storage facility told us that what others will do if they need to get an early start is to sleep in their MH in the storage facility, so that's what we did. It sure made it easier. We all had a good night's sleep before we got up and headed over to Walmart to meet Kathy and Mark in the parking lot. The kitties had time to settle in and get used to their surroundings too. We usually forget something we need on a trip and it's handy to visit Walmart anyway. This trip it was salad dressing. When we came out of Walmart Kathy and Mark were waiting for us and ready to go-------so away we went. The drive was nice and uneventful.

This is Nicky's favorite way to ride. He is usually either in David or my lap.

We stopped in Natural Bridge, Va and Bentley and Nicky couldn't wait to check out the landscape from the dashboard.

It was a beautiful CG and Bentley and I took a walk around the area. Kathy, Mark, David and I also took a little walk around.We needed a walk after riding all day.

Bentley sunning himself the next morning.

Nicky looking out the door for squirrels.

Finnegan has assumed ownership of my chair. The old MH had a chair by the door and he loved to ride in it. This MH has a table, so he has decided to take over my chair instead.

Another view of the CG from our spot in the CG.

Our convoy parked side by side. FUN!

Bentley and Nicky sitting on the dashboard, enjoying the view and the sun shine.

The owner of the Natural Bridge CG. They were very nice and helpful here.

Kathy and me.

Mark and Kathy

David and Mark.

After Natural Bridge we headed to Beacon Hill CG in Intercourse, PA