Tuesday, September 19

Time travel

Amish Hauling Hay
Originally uploaded by chasealpha1.
I recently took a trip back in time with my wife. Jennifer needed some tack and harnesses repaired for the farm she works for. We made the trek to the Seymour, MO area which hosts a vibrant Amish community.

I'm familiar with this area, having graduated from high school in Mansfield, just 11 miles to the east, but I never really knew any Amish folks. I worked at the town's grocery store which was equiped with a horse barn. Many of the businesses in the town have hitching posts including the local McDonalds [click for an interesting juxtaposition].

The photos pictured here and that I linked to are not my own, but belong to a local resident of Webster County with a good photographic eye. I hope he doesn't mind me using the image to help tell my story. You can view the rest of his Amish set here.

Having an Amish community means having the goods and services necessary to keep the Amish choice of transportation clip clopping along. The proxmity of such establishments comes in handy when you've got draft horses (such as the farm where Jennifer works) that pull carts for entertainment using the same tack that the Amish use for working their horses. We needed to make two stops, one at the Schwartz Buggy and Farrier Shop north of Seymour on Highway C the other at Triple S Harness.

Our visit with the shop keeper at Schwartz Buggy and Farrier shop was a pleasant one. I don't know why, but I was quite surprised by how friendly he was, especially considering my wife was obviously the authority of our house on such things as horseshoe nails and buggy whips, and I knew nothing. I thought he might not think it's "woman's work."

The older gentleman who helped us made small talk about how long they had been in business and was generally a great help. Despite that, I didn't feel like I could ask him if I could take some pictures, even though there were postcards for sale picturing the business and some of their custom-built buggies.

I would have loved to snapped my own pictures. The inside of this shop was like peering back to a simpler time. Horseshoes of every size and shape lined the tightly spaced shelves. All sorts of interesting specialized tools and implements where stacked neatly in the room light only by natural light coming through the windows.

After we got what we needed from the buggy shop we went south back to the intersection of C and V and took Highway V East to 1.5 miles into Wright County. There we made our final stop at Triple S Harness shop. A young lady was working the shop for her father, who was traveling at the time. She wasn't able to answer many questions but her two younger brothers were able to find some of the things Jennifer was looking for.

I took a business card from Triple S, which made me laugh a little. No phone number of course, certainly not an e-mail address or a URL to visit. Simply "Triple S Harness" and a physical address.

It was an educational experience and the prices were quite reasonable. I'm sure that's not going to be our last trip to the Seymour area.

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Ed Abbey said...

As you may know, one of the largest concentrations of Amish in the midwest happen to be in SE Iowa, right where I live. The county seat of a neighboring county imposed a horse diaper law to help "clean up the streets" several years ago. Now most of the Amish park a block or two off the square where the diapers aren't required.

Amish typically shy away from having photographs taken but I'm guessing you already knew that since you didn't take any pictures.

Chase Davis said...

Thanks for blogging my photos.

pablo said...

There is a large Amish community near Roundrock. We see their buggies on the highway often when we go there and back.

I wonder if they drink sweetened tea or real tea.

Hal at Ranch Ramblins said...

Three years ago I drove from NC Arkansas to Cedar Rapids, Iowa via Missouri. Along the way I passed numerous Amish buggies rolling along the highway. I suspect (and you probably know) that the Amish might be as well known for their excellent tack craftmanship as they are for their fine woodworking skills.

Ed Abbey said...

Pablo - The Amish around here drink some sort of mint tea, unsweetened. They pick leaves from a bush that smell minty when crushed, steep in water, cool and drink. The resulting minty tea is quite tasty. I have no idea as to what kind of bush it is but they all have them growing out behind their house.

Duane Keys said...

Ed, Pablo and I have an on-going debate...

I'm on the sweet tea side of the fence, Pablo and Hal, well, I just don't know about them sometimes.

Ed Abbey said...

That is a debate that seems to be everywhere. Fortunately, I'm an outsider since I don't drink tea. The only tea I really liked was that Amish mint tea and I can't find that in grocery stores.

karl said...

i occasionally work with a group of amish (i think they live near pablo's RR). they are timber framers and do excellent work. i like working with them because they have a strong work ethic. very trust worthy individuals and well worth being friends with them.

Leslie said...

I know this post is 18 months old but the tea controversy knows no time limits. SWEET TEA.
But then, I grew up in Georgia and I like boiled peanuts, too.

Duane Keys said...

Hey I like boiled peanuts too!