In what has lately been a very hard winter here in Ohio, we got a break in temperatures these last few days, and I made a trip to Holmes County to see what the Amish people there were doing with the respite. In typical fashion, they were out using the day to good purpose, mucking out the stalls and loading up manure spreaders. Almost everywhere we turned, we saw teams hitched to red spreaders, walking slowly over the fields, pitching manure left, right and aft, preparing the soil for spring planting, or working over a field planted earlier with winter wheat.
Gaus, Paul L.'s blog
If you’re like me, you are worried. Times being what they are, we are worried about the economy, we are worried about politics, and we are worried about global conflict. It’s an almost irresistible sense of worry that draws us to the news reports each day to learn what the latest crisis has been. Or to learn what has become of our retirement accounts. Or to listen to the politicians talk about what should be done to fix this or fix that. I think it is an affliction—this modern, electronic, hyper-sense of doom. And I often wish I were immune to it. Like the Amish are.
Where is Amish country? If you were to ask that question in Ohio, the answer would be Holmes County. There we have the largest Amish settlement in the world. In truth, this region of Plain People sprawls out over all of the adjoining counties, too, but Holmes County is the center of it. Its rolling hills and secluded pasture lands reminded the earliest Amish settlers of their lands in the foothills of Germany and Switzerland, and the first group settled here in the Killbuck Valley in 1807, led by Jakob Miller, who brought a group over from Somerset County in Pennsylvania.
It started in Wal-Mart about ten years ago – Amish men stepping to the cash register with their checkbooks, after all the items had been scanned. Before that, all such purchases would have been done with cash. And an Amish father might typically carry several hundred dollars in cash to town, enough at least to cover all of the stops the family wanted to make. You’d see the fathers and grandfathers clustered just inside the doors, or outside on the Wal-Mart parking lot, passing the time of day, while the women shopped for food, or shoes, whatever.
I have been posting regularly to a new blog site maintained by my publisher (http://blogs.ohioswallow....). There I write P.L. Gaus's Ohio Amish Journal, with comments and musings (with photographs sometimes) about life in Holmes County, Ohio. Lately, I have given considerable attention to the very real Amish murder trial taking place in our area, one formerly-Amish lady having been convicted of the murder of an Amish lady married to Eli Weaver, in Maysville, Ohio, because the murderer wanted the husband for herself. I think you'll find my postings on this quite interesting.
I began writing the Ohio Amish Mysteries in 1993, with the purpose of illuminating Amish culture in a mystery novel, where everything about a person’s motive, thinking, background, and mindset is pertinent to the solution of the mystery. The series (six novels at present) is set in Holmes County, Ohio, where the largest Amish community in the world is found.