Last week I shared 5 unexplained photos from my latest Amish trip, each with a story behind it. Today we have the answer key.

You had some good guesses. Going through all the comments, you gave the correct answer, or were close, on nearly everything. Nice job!

Here are the photos and questions again, and the explanations:

1. There’s something unusual about the bicycle this Amish woman is riding – any guess what it is?

Answer: As Al in KY and two Jasons correctly guessed, this is an electrically-assisted bike. Here’s a closer view – you can see the battery unit mounted on the frame behind the rider’s leg, and the motor on the back wheel:

These bikes (popularly known as “e-bikes”) have become quite popular among the Amish in this community. They can enable a rider to reach throttle-assisted speeds of 20 mph or more.

If you are driving through Holmes County, you’ll notice this by the odd punchy speed they have when the rider is not pedaling, or seemingly not pedaling hard enough, to go as fast as they are going. It is noticeable particularly when going up hills.

I visited an Amish shop selling them and learned more about them. I’ll share more on that in an upcoming post. As you might guess, they have come with some controversy both from a standpoint of regulation (see this recent article for a discussion of the difference between e-bikes and mopeds) and general acceptance by the Amish.

You can buy a dedicated e-bike from a maker specializing in them, which has everything built-in. Or you can purchase a conversion kit and attach it to a regular bike, which is what you see above.

2. Which Amish girls wear this style of head covering?

Answer: I would’ve been surprised if someone knew this one, as it comes from a fairly obscure though noteworthy community. This is from Milverton, Ontario, one of the oldest Amish settlements, which has its own specific customs different from other Amish. Terry Berger came the closest.

I took this photo at the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin, OH, which Laura F correctly noted. They have quite a few example prayer coverings on display there. To the untrained eye, it can be hard to tell the differences between Amish women’s coverings, but there are differences. I’ll share some more examples from the exhibit in a later post.

3. Where did I take this photo?

Answer: Some people thought this was from the Pennsylvania settlements of Big Valley or New Wilmington (kudos to Don for catching one less obvious detail), both of which have buggies bearing a resemblance to this one.

However this is actually from Enon Valley, PA, located not far from the New Wilmington community (nice job, Jason). It is a 94-year-old settlement which is just one church district in size.

One of our readers brought this community to my attention on a post on Amish buggy colors, describing their buggy as “cream” or “pale yellow”. I would even call it a muddy yellow.

You can see the color difference between the above, and the brighter yellow of the Big Valley buggy below:

byler amish buggy

I know my first photo is a bit on the dark side, but hopefully the difference is clear. I believe Enon Valley is the only place you’ll see the pale/muddy yellow-colored top. Stay tuned for more.

4. What kind of pies are these? I drove my friend’s mother to her daughter’s place, where they baked 39 of them. Any guess why so many? I got one as thank-you for my taxi services.

Answer: So the story here is that my friend’s mother’s daughter was having church at her place on the coming Sunday, and mom went down a couple days beforehand to help bake snitz pies, which is the traditional pie served at the church meal in Lancaster County. Snitz is a simple pie made from dried apples, and is delicious.

Those of you with a sharp eye noticed that the pie in the center differs from the others. That is a regular apple pie. They put the slit in the center to distinguish them. Or as I put it on learning this, “if the pies have slits, they’re not snitz”. I believe my Amish friends’ laughter at the time was genuine, but not sure I deserved it 🙂

5. Why is this rainbow-colored bus parked outside an Amish home? (I’ve blotted out the one give-away detail)

Answer: As several of you (Kim, AlJerry, Jason) correctly pointed out, this is a bookmobile. As Charles Hurst and David McConnell tell us in An Amish Paradox, “The Holmes County Public Library’s bookmobile with an annual circulation of nearly two hundred thousand volumes (predominantly to Amish families), is one of the most active in the nation” (p. 166). This is the bookmobile from neighboring Wayne County, also heavily populated by Amish.

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