Latest Visit To The Amish Community In Mississippi

We made – I think it’s our third (first visit here) – visit to the Amish community outside Pontotoc, Mississippi a couple of weeks ago. It was wonderful, and the best part was that many of the people there were really, really friendly so we spent a lot of time just visiting with each other.

I had wondered before what this little building was in the middle of this field, and turns out it’s their schoolhouse:

At one of the homes I bought jellies from, the sweet girl that helped me told me that this next Sunday was their day to have church at their home. Rather than the community have a church building, each family takes turn holding church in their own homes. She said that there are 26 families. Just in this one girl’s family, she has six brothers and four sisters in ages between an infant and a 17-year-old. So although 26 families doesn’t sound huge, with all the children in some of the families that must be a real crowd!

All the people that have something to sell (which is almost every single house) has a sign out by the road telling what they offer:

I asked at one home if they accepted visitors/customers in the winter, and they do…in fact, they said that winter is almost a better time to come visit because they are free to work on things they can’t spend time on during the summer due to the work in the fields and gardens going on. One of the ladies that made mud / rag rugs said that she switches over to making quilts in the wintertime (Queen size Tumbling Block: $300).

I got all this from five or six different families – tomato juice (saving this to make an aspic), pepper jelly, pea hull jelly, *real* buttermilk – that’s the pic to the right, below – so real that it had the tee-tiniest bits of butter inside, and a fresh baked loaf of bread:

These are the two rag rugs I got – I asked about washing these and was told that they actually wash theirs in a gas-powered washing machine so it’s fine! I had visions of them doing all their clothes by hand, but there are some things that they will hook up to a generator (or something) to help out. These rag rugs did turn out fine from the washing machine, but they shed a lot of threads the first time.

Of course I had to get another basket – the gentleman that makes these told me that the way he stains these brown is that he puts them in a bath of walnut shells. He has a brother that lives in the Amish community of Ethridge, Tennessee that also makes baskets.

The gentleman who made the baskets told me that he had just been reading “The Diary” and described it as an Amish newspaper for people all over the country. When I looked it up just now, I found an article that the AP did recently about another Amish newspaper called “The Budget” (although it carries other news than just Amish) – here’s just a little from the AP piece:

In a world where news still travels at a mail carrier’s pace, the farmers, preachers and mechanics responsible for filling The Budget threatened to go on strike if the 119-year-old Amish weekly went ahead with its plan to go online.

The writers, known as scribes, feared their plainspoken dispatches would become fodder for entertainment in the “English,” or non-Amish, world. The editors hastily rescinded the plan shortly after proposing it in 2006, and today, only local news briefs appear on The Budget’s bare-bones Web site.

“My gosh, they spoke in volume,” said Keith Rathbun, publisher of The Budget, a newspaper mailed to nearly 20,000 subscribers across the U.S. and Canada. “I’d be a fool to not pay attention to it.”

The national edition — and the source of its faithful following — is a patchwork of dispatches from scribes, which include both fresh-faced teenagers and bearded old men.

“Supper and singing were held at our house last night, so have been busy this morning getting dishes away and house in order,” says a writer from Sligo, Pa.

“We’ve had some nice rain the last few days and grass is greening up nicely,” says another in Middlebury, Ind.

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