23.09.2013 - 23.09.2013
Breakfast at 7.30am with French toast, yoghurt, white bread and gratin from earlier day. The ranch staff saved all leftovers and served it the following day or cooked something else out of it. Since it was raining today they decided we were leaving for Crook County just west of Hulett. This was the place where the very first Amish families settled down here in Wyoming. The land was chosen carefully due to its fertility.
Facts about the Amish people and their believing…
Amish people, also called The Plain People, originally came from Switzerland. The founder of the religion was Jacob Amman who built the movement up in between 1693 and 1697. You get a member of the Amish people by baptize which is a demand for marriage and once baptized one can only marrying within the faith. Adult baptizing was at that time (end of 17th Century) a criminal act in Europe why the Amish people became martyrs. They were chased for their opinions and punished for their faith with deportation and death penalty. They were sentenced for heresy and many got burned or stuffed in bags thrown in the river. Because of the chasing in Europe the Amish people immigrated to the States during 18th Century. They settled down mainly in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana and some parts of Canada. They speak some kind of Pennsylvanian-German language among each other but to cope with the rest of the society they do learn English in school.
What distinguish an Amish is that he believe the technical development has gone too far and therefore live in a way the modern man consider to be an old-world. The Amish community endeavor to be self-supporting in most ways and the farming runs like farming in the 19th century. Amish only deals with cash since loans are prohibited. Insurances aren’t allowed but if you do get sick or hurt you can always count on getting help from your neighbors and friends. In communities where Amish lives among the modern society the cities has adjusted for everyone. In example, outside the bank office there is a parking lot for cars respectively horse carriages as well as water for the horses. The straitened logic in what an Amish can or can’t do is hard to understand. There are many examples… One is they can ride a kick-bike and even roller blades but cannot ride a regular bicycle. Exceptionally they can ride in a car as long as they don’t drive themselves.
The foundation of their culture and strict regulations is a highly fear of dividing the group why any forms of automatic forward operations of vehicles are banned. This means they are allowed to have a lawn mower where the motor cuts the grass as long as a human/horse pushes or pulls it around. Diesel compressors running different compressed air machineries inside the house are allowed as well as battery-supplied lightning on the carriages and butane gas systems for illumination inside the house. Another strong driving force is independency which makes connection to the power net not wanted. Though many Amish has secretly access to some kind of radio or and telephone in an outhouse near the boundary building site. The Amish woman never cuts her hair. She wears long dresses with a cape and apron. She also wears a white hat if she’s married and a black hat if unmarried. She does not wear jewelry. Men and boys wear dark suites and black broad-brimmed hats or straw hats. They don’t wear moustaches but allows the beard to grow once married. Their clothing is an expression for their faith.
We first stopped at Lester Abraham Yoder. As an Amish son, you always get the father’s name as middle name which meant Lester's fathers name was Abraham. Lester is a saddle maker and we got to see some of his skills. It was fascinating to see how he worked the leather. He cut and carved out nicely flower prints in the leather with certain and precise movements, like a sketcher handles his pencil. While he sat there working we had a look around in his workshop. No electricity as far as you could see and work during evenings in the winter was made in the light of kerosene lamps. I don’t remember how long it took him to make one western saddle but he had just done his saddle no. 100 when we were there. And for the record Lester wasn’t that old either, I would say about 30-35 years. When we were all there suddenly two small adorable children came into the shop carrying a coffee thermos almost as big as them. It was Lester's two sons Nathan and Norman (2 and 4 years old). They were so cute. But they didn’t speak a word of English and were obviously a little shy. But that’s how their kids are raised, learning English in school, but also for the kids not to be seen or heard.
We left Lester and went to the next Amish farmer David Burkholder. David makes handmade bridles and harnesses for draught horses and sold homemade marmalade and juice. And whilst being there his young daughter Maria came into the shop. Wow, what a cutie pie she was in her little dress! We also visited his barn and stable. He didn’t only have his own horses but also other horses to break in. David breaks horses the old fashion way as they said. Meaning he mounted the horse and sat on it and wait the horse out during all the bucking and protesting. This method nowadays seem old and dated when other methods and horsemanship are very popular.
When we arrived back at the ranch the rain had stopped and the sun tried to break through the clouds. Lunch was served at noon with Cheese toasts, tomato soup and leftovers. Finally at 1pm we gathered for some riding. My horse for today was Chocolate, a beautiful dark bay quarter mare with a few white signs. It was love at first sight! And she was very sensitive for both neck reining, leg aids and the seat. In the afternoon we moved the herd to another pasture. It was fun and exciting and all the horses loved it! Two girls and I got to herd the left side of the pasture. It wasn’t just to push the cows and calves in the direction you wanted. The cow mostly went in the direction we wanted but the calf often ran the opposite way. So we had to co-operate with the other riders to keep the cow and calf together in the right direction we wanted. After a while we had gotten the entire herd of 126 animals to the other pasture. But now the real work had to be done. I had noticed cow no 110 were limping pretty bad and I told Lance what I had seen and he told us she needed antibiotic. So Lance gave us the task to separate the cow and her calf from the rest of the herd and to herd her and the calf into a pen. Reluctantly the cow went our way and once near the pen she went crazy. But we did manage to get her into the pen somehow. And now Nick (ranch owner) had arrived with the antibiotic and gave it to the cow. Then we let her and her calf back to the rest of the herd.
Before riding back home to the ranch we raced uphill on a long trail which was fun for both riders and horses. You could tell the horses competed against each other. When we arrived at the ranch time was 6.30pm and dinner was ready at 7pm. Broiled pork, potatoes, garlic sauce and white bread. During the evening we got into party mood and according to the staff it was the first time that year it had happened spontaneously because of great solidarity. We went late to bed looking forward to team penning and fencing tomorrow.