Community offers glimpse into Amish way of life


| October 2005


A tour through Harmony, a small town in Southeastern Minnesota, offers insights into the Amish lifestyle. Although they aren't the only ones who live in the area, everywhere one looks are reminders that this isn't a typical American community, from the handmade quilts and expertly crafted furniture to the occasional reminder in the road that a horse-drawn buggy has recently passed by.

Originally from Germany and Switzerland, Harmony's ancestors came to the area by way of Pennsylvania and New York, attracted by the rolling hills and sparsely populated forests and fields. Taking a two-hour summer tour by van offered a chance to experience this country and its people and learn more of their gentle way of life through the commentary by guide Russ Nagel.

The community around Harmony numbers between 700 to 900, he told us, with groups being kept relatively small by design. When one gets too large, another is formed. The schools are built four miles apart. Getting to one means, at most, a two-mile trek on foot or by horse-drawn buggy. Just 20 to 30 children attend each school.

Our first stop

We had our first encounter with a member of the community's youth on our first stop - a small, roughly built farm structure sporting a homemade 'Open. Self-Serve' sign on an unpainted door.

Inside was a young girl in bare feet and traditional Amish clothing. She was selling hand-woven baskets, each item bearing the name of the individual who made it. As for her lack of footwear, Nagel explained that all the children go barefoot in Harmony all summer.

The next attraction offered another meeting with a barefooted stranger - this one with four legs. At the Austin Goat Farm, visitors were encouraged to stroke the silky, white coat of a small goat. In a large display room, various goat-related products were for sale: soap, cheese, meat and items woven of mohair. There were even sample cubes of goat sausage. (It tasted like beef.)





mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: June 2-3, 2018
Frederick, MD

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE



Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at Grit.com — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265