Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Amish Country Anyone?

            We took a drive out to the Northern Indiana Amish Country for a sort of field trip over the weekend. I've always been intrigued by the Amish way of life and have thought it would be a great experience for the kids to learn about the diverse cultures that live around us.
            Our trip started out  bit rocky having left later than planned. I didn't have time to do research on the area like I should have before we left either, so off we went, winging it. Some of our best trips have been impromptu so why should this be any different!
            When we arrived we asked the woman at the front desk of our hotel what a "must do" would be for the area. She said, "A buggy ride of course." So off we went, we scheduled a buggy ride out to a working Amish farm to check it out!
The horse in the photo above was not the horse that pulled our buggy
 The ride was very tranquil. Our driver let the kids ride up front and even let them drive the buggy in turns most of the way to the farm! We found out that a good buggy costs about $7000, and that they have to have plates on the back like cars!
The handsome guy above was our horse!

When we got to the farm we were very surprised to see that it wasn't as primitive as we thought it would be. The farm that we visited was a dairy farm. They had very modern dairy equipment as well as a tractor due to the need to meet codes.  
They did not however have motor vehicles, only horse and buggy! While there we were able to milk a cow both by hand as well as by machine!
Yes, he really is getting a taste of the milk straight from the cow's utter!
The cow's utters were carefully cleaned and prepared for milking prior to.

After the cow's were milked each one's utters were cleaned again to prevent mastitis. The milk went straight into a large refrigerated container. It would later be picked up and taken to another facility that would then process and pasteurize the milk. 
We were able to taste the milk raw in it's best and healthiest form!
The yard where the animals lived was a bit of a hodgepodge, but all of the cows, horses, chickens, and even the cats and dog seemed to get along very well!

The kids were also able to feed the baby calves which of course was such a treat!
Over ice cream we learned that Amish children normally only go to school through the eighth grade, that's when courting begins. They normally get married between 18-early twenties. Amish weddings last about 4-5 days! And much like our culture FOOD is a big part of it! The kids and I plan to try an authentic Amish recipe toward the end of the week. 
The family who owned the farm had three daughters which all attended the local public school which was also a surprise to us. They had the choice to either attend the local public school or the Amish school.
After a great tour that my hubby felt was a little haphazard, I felt was relaxed, the kids said their goodbye's to their new found friends.

And off we went back to the main town area. We had the pleasure of meeting a new driver and horse for our return trip!

After we bid our farewell's to Amish country we started making a list of the things we would like to do and learn on our next trip! Over the next week we'll also learn more about the Amish culture!
I think it's such a wonderful thing that we have such diversity all around us. We can learn and respect each other, as well as embrace the world that God made!
Happy Exploring to all!!!!
P.S. This post is linked to the Field Trip Friday Blog Hop!

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