How about a glimpse of Amish life through the eyes of someone living it every day? There are currently three Amish women writing columns published in newspapers across the nation. They are Gloria Yoder, Lovina Eicher, and Millie Otto.
These three columns follow a similar model, with reports from daily life running an Amish household, being a mother, and handling all the tasks and challenges life throws at you, coupled with a recipe or two at the end.
You’re usually not getting scintillating accounts of dramatic events, but more of a look into what goes on in a normal day or week, including life’s joys and tribulations (though with life being life unexpected happenings do occur). Weather, gardening, food, chores, children and family life are among the topics that appear on a regular basis.
These aren’t the only Amish women writing columns, but these three are picked up and published in various local and regional publications, from tiny county papers to media outlets covering major metropolitan areas.
Other Amish women (and men) write columns for publications that are targeted to a Plain audience (The Connection, a Topeka, Indiana-based monthly, is one), so those are generally only available in print versions. But you can find these three women published online on a weekly basis.
Three Amish Columnists You Might Like
Lovina Eicher writes Lovina’s Amish Kitchen, and formerly wrote the Amish Cook column. Lovina’s Amish Kitchen columns are collected online here and appear in local papers such as the Pratt Tribune (Pratt, Kansas), the Arizona Republic (Phoenix), and the Bradenton Herald (Bradenton, Florida).
Lovina lives in Michigan and is the mother of eight. We recently featured Lovina’s cookbook and answers to your questions here. Here’s an excerpt from Lovina’s freshest column, “Hard lessons using Gorilla glue”:
Tomorrow son Kevin and I will travel to the children’s hospital in Ann Arbor. He has an appointment with the surgeon that did our daughter’s surgeries. It’s such a big hospital and I still get turned around so I am always glad when my husband Joe can go along. This time he won’t go along as they were off so many days and with the four-day work weeks they are having he’s glad for every day he can work. Next week he will have to take a day off for a dentist appointment with a specialist and possibly have surgery to remove a tooth.
The glue that my husband Joe used to fix my washing machine hose last week gave up. Daughter Loretta and I wanted to do laundry on Monday so I used Gorilla glue to glue the end back on the hose. I didn’t know that glue swells up so when I wanted to drain the water from the wash machine it wouldn’t come out. The glue had swelled up enough to plug the whole inside of the hose. I had to break the glue back out so now before we wash clothes again the hose needs to be repaired. I did figure out that you need to use Gorilla glue sparsely.
Mornings have been foggy lately. I’m hoping it won’t be tomorrow morning when we travel the two hours to the appointment.
Our one garden is all cleared out and tilled now. Not much left in the garden anymore. Autumn begins this week already. Its always nice to finish up the canning season from the gardens. I am so thankful though for every jar that was filled and all that could be frozen.
Gloria Yoder is the current Amish Cook, and is a young mother of five children. She lives in a small New Order Amish settlement in Illinois. Newspapers carrying Gloria’s column include the Columbia Tribune (Missouri), the News-Sentinel (Knoxville), and the Morning Times (Penn-York Valley area of PA and NY).
My younger brother, Micah and his wife, Rose, and there three little children were hosting my parents and siblings beside the pond they dug several years ago. The setting was quiet and beautiful, it was out back far enough where you couldn’t see anyone or anything besides those of us at camp.
Arriving with the tractor and trailer, which we had used to transport a load of camp chairs, a mower, and our little tribe, we found Micah building a fire. Soon he and Daniel were grilling hot dogs and burgers, including some beef burgers. The beef burgers were made especially for Mom since she is quite fond of beef and seldom has the chance of having it as we use mostly venison and pork.
Besides the delicious sandwiches, Rose had prepared a most unique gourmet salad layered with all sorts of veggies and even some fruits. Perhaps the most unique item on the table that really displayed Rose’s creativity was a half watermelon, decoratively cut to make the sides look like waves of water. In the center, she had all kinds of bite-sized chunks of fresh fruit with “dolphins” (bananas) splashing “out of the water” (fruit). The dolphins each had a “ball” (grape) in their mouth. It really looked just about too cute to eat. Julia and Austin were totally impressed with it and were especially intrigued when it was time to eat the “dolphins” and other fruit. Sister-in-law, Regina had prepared one of our summertime favorites, pepper poppers. This time she used mild peppers, sliced them in half and stuffed them with cream cheese and bacon bits. They were then placed in a pan and heated on top of the fire.
After supper, we huddled closer to the crackling fire as the cool air began settling in. Soon we were rehashing memories of when us children were still young. There were some details that I didn’t remember until my brothers filled them in for me.
Millie Otto is a contributor to the Champaign-Urbana News Gazette. Millie writes My Amish Home about life in her Arthur, Illinois community.
You can find her columns collected here. Millie begins each of her columns with a verse from Scripture. Millie has recently written about lawn mowing challenges and dealing with personal tragedy. Here’s an excerpt from Millie’s latest, titled “Back to our usual routine with the horse”:
“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart. So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:3-6
This is Tuesday evening as I start to write my column. It is a very beautiful evening after an equally beautiful day. May we have many more. The nights are getting kind of cool, but that’s OK. It makes for good sleeping. Just as long as it warms up during the day!
It’s now way early Wednesday morning. It is again a very nice morning. It is on the cool side. It is so very quiet except for the noisy train that goes bellowing across the countryside.
Somehow, right now, the trains seem too extra loud, but it is done now and has moved on. I can once again hear the crickets. I kind of like their chirping, except when it is inside. That I don’t like. Crickets are really kind of gross!
Another thing I really, really dislike is being in close proximity to a Golden Garden Spider. Ew! I haven’t seen any for a long time. But the other afternoon I was out in the garden picking tomatoes, and there was one! I kept my eye on it so I wouldn’t reach into the web.
Suddenly, I couldn’t find it anymore! Where did that thing go?! Well, if that’s the way of it, I’m out of there! That thing can just have the tomatoes! I went over to my mom’s patch and picked hers.
Weekly Slices of Amish Life
It’s possible there is someone else I’ve missed, but these three ladies are the ones you’ll find showing up regularly in your news feed under keyword “Amish.”
Ah and of course you can’t forget the recipes. In recent columns these authors have shared how to make everything from Poor Man’s Bread Pie to Pasta Salad to Cousin Owen’s “Perfect Punch.”
These columns are a nice look at what life is like filtered through the eyes and pens of Amish women in three different communities. It’s not all peace and quiet and simplicity, but there is some of that too. All in all they are a nice read if you want to get a picture of what Amish do every day, some of the challenges and problems they face, and the things they value. Not a bad way to spend five minutes a week.