Painting Pinecraft, Tributes in Verse, and Chemo Confusion

Good morning!  A Friday grab bag of news and other items of interest:

Chemo case confusion

An unexpected twist in the Ohio chemo case, summarized in this headline:  “Guardian wants Ohio court ruling to stand in Amish chemo case even though she wants off case” (article no longer online).  We got news about a month ago that the court-appointed guardian wished to drop the effort to enforce chemotherapy treatments on Sarah Hershberger, an Ohio Amish girl with leukemia.

It sounds like guardian Maria Schimer still wants to be removed from the case, but for unclear reasons, wants the court’s ruling to remain.  Could this be for reasons of professional integrity, or does Schimer wish someone else be appointed in her place?  The latter may be the case:

Clair Dickinson, the guardian’s attorney, argued that even if the resignation is accepted, the court legally would remain the girl’s “superior guardian” and could appoint a replacement.

However, Dickinson said earlier that an attorney told him the hospital won’t continue its legal push to get chemotherapy for Sarah if Schimer’s resignation is approved.

Watching paint

Remember our autumn visit to Pinecraft?  A reader has shared a clip of Amish woman Anna Lapp painting the mural in Pinecraft Park.  It’s one of a number of interesting Pinecraft scenes in this video by Ernest Bontrager:

All of you struggling to survive in winter storm lands, I thought you might appreciate this.

Accidental shooting

Last month an 8-year-old Amish boy was apparently accidentally shot by his older brother in Cattaraugus County, New York.  The 20-year-old brother was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Many Amish children grow up in homes with guns.  I assume most get lessons from their parents on what to do and what not to do with firearms.  Still, people do irresponsible things, sometimes with tragic results.  Thankfully the brother has survived his injuries.

Thanks for your service (in verse)

Amish appreciate the many English who provide them services, and sometimes even honor them in verse. An excerpt from a poem in the Feb 2013 issue of The Diary (the blunt humor–intentional? unintentional?–of this poem cracked me up):

A Reader from Berne, IN

Our mailman is really a nice ole guy
What would we do if he should die
He’s prompt, he’s good, makes no mistakes
Has a friendly wave as our letter he takes

He sorts the mail and takes good care
He looks rather old, with iron gray hair
He gets up early to do his job
There’s always a chance that he’d get robbed


Next, this was shared by a reader, found in Die Kurier, a newsletter serving Daviess County, Indiana. The reader points out that the deceased was probably a taxi driver (also an excerpt):

One day in the year nineteen hundred eighty five
As we were coming home a vehicle followed us in our drive
It was the first we met Bobby, not knowing our friendship would grow
Later Mary Sue and some more from Kentucky we learned to know
Week after week our Saturdays with Bobby were spent
Visiting and eating and to local stores we went
It was never too much bother for him to make a run
Gathering up goodies and having some fun–
Weeks turned to months, then into years
Many special memories we hold so dear…

Amish depend on each other, but they also depend on English people, to which this touching eulogy and amusing poem attest.

Photo of the day


Feathered friends in Indiana enjoying some bird chow.

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    1. Al in Ky

      A great mixture of varied topics. I especially enjoyed the clip about Pinecraft. I’ve seen many “still life” pictures of life at Pinecraft, but never one that showed people in action like this clip. I also enjoyed the poems. They reminded me of poems I read in The Budget. Each week has several poems on the obituaries and in memoriam page, and others about various themes on the “Ponderings and Musings” page.

    2. Fran Handrick

      I have a question, about that video. In the last clip, there was a buggy being driven away into the distance, with a young Amish girl inside it, and maybe others too. How was it powered as there didn’t seem to be any horses? Loved the painting though, it was great and the video was interesting too. Thanks.

      1. Christina Foster

        At the bottom of the video it said it was a solar powered buggy. My interest is peaked though!

        Any chance we can find out more about the solar powered buggy Erik?

        1. ShipshewanaIndiana

          I can’t watch the video, so I cannot positively ID the solar powered buggy, but I’m guessing its Larry Yoder’s creation. Larry has local shops build his creations and he takes them down to pinecraft during his winter trip south. Larry is not Amish but a liberal mennonite who owns a company called Yoder Drainage. Over time Larry has had many unique mobile creations. They are toys, not the next wave of Amish innovation.

        2. Solar Buggy

          Sure thing–there are two videos here at this link, and a link to an article about it:

    3. Nancy @ A Rural Journal

      Thanks for the updates and love that bird feeder!

    4. Juanita Cook

      Love the painting. The poems were nice too. Really loved the bird feeder. Where can they be found. Are they for sale and how much do they cost? Could you send me an e mail on this please. Thank you.

      1. ShipshewanaIndiana

        Green Meadows

        The bird feeder is made by John Hochstetler, an Amishman here in Shipshewana, Indiana. The number below is a voicemail, but if you leave a message he will call you back. The metal feeder pole with hooks is also something he sells. I think it was about 65 dollars, it’s a great deal. He also makes some fantastic blue bird feeders, including one that suction cups to the window. I’m not sure how much shipping would be. also sells his feeders over the Internet.

        Green Meadow Bird Houses & Feeders
        0725 North 840 West
        We specialize in quality built, maintenance free bird houses and feeders. All colors to choose from. Eco-friendly polywood materials. Will last a lifetime. 260.768.7863

    5. Anne

      age comments

      The gift of poetry to the postal carrier really resonated with me. When Ed (our “English” son turned Amish) and Ruth (his OO Amish wife) were here over a year ago, we had an open house, so friends could come see Ed and meet Ruth. Our dear Ruth, not schooled in the youth culture we all know well, happened to be at the door when one of our good friends arrived. He’s almost 70, all gray, very dignified. Ruth greeted him with these words: “Please come in and welcome. How old are you?”

      Once he got over being stunned, he laughed and told her, but since then we’ve all realized that to the community Ruth grew up in, age is revered. If you are “gray headed” you are considered worthy of respect. So she was giving proper acknowledgement: another example of how the two cultures are at odds with one another. Little doubt in my mind as to which is the more Biblical.

      1. Naomi Wilson

        replay to Anne

        What a sweet, disarming story about Ruth. My husband and I started attending an Amish Mennonite church last year. We were surprised that when the 2014 church calendar was published, it included everyone’s birth year along with month and day. It’s neat to know how old the oldest members are, and also to realize (!) how much older we are than some of the younger couples. It also helps us to know our children’s age peers. I’ve always thought the stigma against knowing someone’s age to be a bit silly.

        I wish we could meet Ed. I believe you have mentioned that he went to VA Tech and played cello. My husband and I met as music majors at JMU, also in the Shen. Valley. I hope he and Ruth are managing to stay warm.

      2. I’m not 70, but younger Amish acquaintances and friends of family aren’t shy of telling me I’m getting old and pointing out grey at the temples. I guess they’re just showing respect?? 🙂 Loved this story Anne.

    6. Rich Stevick

      Oh the pain . . .

      . . . of not being in Pinecraft in January for the first time in fifteen years. But when I tell my friends, they are unmoved by my longings for warmth, citrus, and lots of great chatting at Der Dutchman with breakfast and coffee and long-time friends. But this too will pass, and spring will come to southcentral Pennsylvania–eventually. Rich P.S. I was actually there when the first Pinecraft mural was painted–warm memories on an otherwise bitter day.

    7. Alice Mary

      Thanks for the diversion from a gloomy (though warmer—over 32 degrees—Winter’s Day in Northern Illinois.

      I think I saw myself in the Pinecraft video 😉 , or at least a future vision of myself. I’ve always “threatened” my adult children that it won’t be long before I get a 3-wheeler and start cruisin’ around town. Of course, I wouldn’t mind using a solar buggy, either, but I doubt the “rules of the road” here would allow it.

      Once again, with the accidental shooting, English vs. Amish laws come into play. I’m glad the brother survived, and hope the older brother fares well despite the charges.

      Anne, I sure wish the rest of the world “respected their elders” the way the Amish do! What a charming (from my perspective) “welcome” from Ruth! It made me smile! 🙂

      Alice Mary

      1. Anne


        Thanks to Alice Mary for your enjoyment of Ruth’s comments. So innocent, yet so inappropriate for a culture that idolizes youth. Soon I hope to write more to Erik, about more funny things that happened on our trip last October with them. Had a great time, some good laughs.

    8. Linda

      If you’ll look in the lower right hand corner of Watching Anna Lapp Paint, at :42 and :56, you can see the picture she looked off of as the basis of her mural. The mural is way better than I could ever even think of painting.

    9. Slightly-Handled-Order-Man

      Polly want a plain cracker?

      I’ve been wondering when Erik would what he at one time called a “Brain drain” and this is it I suppose, I’d look into Amish America when there wasn’t activity – when I’m home on weekends (recently I’ve been working weekends, and disconnecting online at home afterwards) and wondering “when will he drop another brain drain?”, I like the idea of them.
      When I saw the bit about the artist in Pinecraft my thought process, the play on words section instantly went to “watching paint dry” or “watching grass grow”, but clearly this video ain’t that, I’ve seen weird trippy murals, in my municipality there is an artist who makes these bizzare marianette people looking three demensional instalations in civic buildings, libraries and hospitals, they’re not to my taste, but there is talent in that person’s work, just as there is talent in what I can see in Lapp’s work just based on the thumbnail-link thing.
      I have no comment on the chemo story, well I do, but it is intensely personal, emotional and frustraiting in addition to not having any relation to lukemia, so I’ll keep that card close to my chest.
      I was once told “do not aim your weapon at anything you do not intend to kill” and that has stuck with me, not everyone has this philosophy, and clearly the elder brother intended no harm, but accidents DO happen, not to call the 20 year old man one but comedians in Canada once gravely joked riffing on gun control and registries in this country “guns don’t kill people – idiots kill people”.
      I think the memorial and thank you poems are really sweet.
      When I was a boy my family had budgies as pets (why I used the Comment Title that I did), poop machines they where, this night (Sunday/Monday January 12/13 2014) I dreamed about these things trying to get their cage door open, they succeeded (as they did in real life) and I bet they would figure out, as birds do, how to get the food out of the buggy bird feeder, super cute! I suppose the the farm on which this feeder isn’t “‘truber” judging by the presence of the safety triangle.
      Any how, thanks for the updates on all this stuff.

      1. Shom you are right, there are often a lot of little items that are not really worthy of a full post, but might be worthy of discussion. Maybe should start doing these more regularly.

        I recall a few times that a “brain drain” item started out just as an item, then got too long and became its own post.

    10. Guardian can drop chemo attempt

      Just an update on the chemo case, from a story that came out on Friday: it’s been ruled that the guardian can drop her attempt to enforce chemo treatments on Sarah Hershberger. The Hershberger family apparently returned home to Ohio from an out-of-state location a few weeks ago.