Minding the past: fireworks, haying

Post 29/2021 Thursday 8 July . . . The fireworks display on Independence Day corresponds in a small way with the day-after photos of Amish farmers harvesting hay. July 4, July 5. These two days, in the grand scheme of things, stand still in reflection, even as time ticks on.

We watched the fireworks in LaGrange County and haymaking in LaGrange and Elkhart Counties on our way home the next day. The former marks 245 years since the Declaration of Independence of the United States; the latter, 328 years since the beginning of the Amish in Switzerland in 1693.

Here, you’ll neither hear the fireworks nor smell the hay. Pity.

Fireworks over Oliver Lake.
Raking hay into windrows for further drying and baling.

Chances are you may still be hearing and seeing the odd boom of fireworks near you in the US or Canada. Or you may have visited or live near one of the major Amish settlements in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania or Ontario and have witnessed retentive customs along with adaptations in farming.

Wherever you live in the world, happy the home where good memories merge in commemorating special and ordinary moments and help chart the way forward.

Boom, boom, hiss, hiss, sparkle, sparkle

Tradition at work among Amish farmers

I caught a few pictures from the car as we were driving back to Elkhart County. These Amish farmers still use almost age-old customs in making hay. I say “almost age-old,” since these farmers have adopted some more modern conveniences such as motorized balers and rubber-tired wagons. A major innovation is the sanctioned addition of gas engine Bobcats to their farming equipment, alongside horses. What hasn’t changed is the attention to weather and the hard work involved in doing the harvest. Work by day, Zzzs by night.

These photos show only a brief snapshot of Amish life and ways, taken at 45 miles per hour, or so, on a drive through the countryside. The fuller picture would include background on Amish entrepreneurship in other businesses and trades, including greenhouses, furniture making, construction, large-scale egg production, and much more. I don’t know the family’s faith tradition or related background, but look up the website of Dutch Country Organics, Shipshewana, Indiana, and you’ll be amazed at this family farmed organic eggs enterprise. Open mouth amazed.

Horses pull the gas-powered baler that pushes the twine-tied bales onto the wagon for loading.
A three-horse hitch pulls this wagon loaded with hay bales to a nearby barn.
Sure enough, that’s a Bobcat pulling the load of hay, a mechanical creature the passing horse just has to get used to.
Seldom does one come across a wheat field cut by a binder, stooked (or shocked) to dry, then loaded onto wagons and taken to be fed through a threshing machine. That’s how we did the harvest in the 1950s. Just yesterday, it seems.
Solar power is becoming more the vogue in the Amish community.

Bursts of red and green welcomed us home

A touch of the normal

A touch of normal life has returned.

We enjoyed an extended family gathering on Marty’s side last Saturday. We all made it. We rejoiced in welcoming the addition to the family of a newborn.

We are able to take in the summer season at the Wagon Wheel Theatre in Warsaw, Indiana. The Music Man performance last Sunday had me bubbling in a most happy state. Church is still by electronic carriage. We walk in early morning on days when the temperatures are set to soar to stratospheric heights. It’s life somewhat akin to normal.

Now, if only, if only, more people (supported more by their political representatives) would get the available vaccination to shoo away Covid, the community and world would be better off. It’s a sobering statistic: 99% of people who die in hospital from Covid have not been vaccinated.

Self care needs minding. Creation care needs minding. Sins of the past, such as the awful fate of Indigenous children, needs minding. All God’s children need minding. All matter of things need minding. It may seem overwhelming, but together, the few and the many, will do the minding, if only for the three-day-old baby that was present at our family gathering.

Thank goodness for all those in the present, as in the past, who do and did their good minding part. Thank you!

I’m going to make coffee. Mind now, a good week to you!

-John

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