The Pinecraft Pauper

Florida Plain newspaper The Pinecraft Pauper gears up for season #2

The Pinecraft Pauper is a community newspaper of the Pinecraft neighborhood of Sarasota, Florida, home to a small but sturdy collection of Amish and Mennonites.

pinecraft pauper logo
The Pinecraft Pauper logo

The Pauper was founded by local writer Daniel Fisher, and features news, human interest stories, puzzles, cartoons, tips (“Make your own carryon luggage for pennies, by taping a cardboard handle to a cardboard box”) and a healthy dollop of humor.

Contributors include Daniel, Sherry Gore (Budget scribe and author of Taste of Pinecraft) and the mysterious nautical correspondents “Captain Ahab” and “Moby Dick” (who seem to spend more time on land than at sea, but we’ll cut them some slack).  Photos are by Katie Troyer.

Daniel has kindly passed along issues from the first edition, which ran last winter.  To give you a sense of the paper, here are a few excerpts which I felt captured it well:

From the 3rd issue, January 15, 2010:


If you live in Sarasota you may have seen iguanas diving out of trees.  When the temperature dips below 40, these cold-blooded lizards essentially go comatose, losing their grips and toppling from their perches.  Though they may appear dead while in this state, they will usually come back to life if it warms up soon enough.

pinecraft pauper amish newspaper
Inside the Pauper

From issue #7, March 15, 2010, a piece on gospel/country music favorite John Schmidt:

Schmidt came to Pinecraft for the first time in  ’68-’69.  Pinecraft used to be “a sand road with chicken coops.  It was pretty primitive.”  He used to come down for a month or so in the winter.  Folks asked him to play.  He said, “Pinecraft is one place where I really sharpened my skills.  I knew eight or ten songs, and played them over and over.”


These days he spends a lot of time in prisons, singing, encouraging, and ministering.  “I am well-suited for prison ministry,” said John.  “I look like a convict.”  There’s almost always a response in a prison chapel.  His message is pretty simple: Jesus Christ can change your life.

He has made 19 albums, the latest a tribute to Johnny Cash.  Schmidt said, “Not all of my songs are Christian, but they are all sanctified.”

He has written songs in Pa. Dutch, and sings them for his Pinecraft audience.  It’s funny, the Amish don’t have CD players, but he sees them mouthing along.  He said it must be magic.

sarasota florida beach
On the beach in full-color Sarasota, Florida

From “A Walk in the Sky”, issue 5, Feb 15, 2010:

On Thursday morning, the 4th, Nik Wallenda went for a little walk.  So did you, you say?  But were you 200 feet up, on a 5/8 in. cable? Nik was.  He walked on a tightrope streched taut between the roofs of the Ritz-Carlton and the Watergate Condominium Building, right downtown, north of Marina Jack’s.


Nik is a 7th generation Wallenda.  He lives in Sarasota.  The Flying Wallendas were German.  They used to tour Europe in the 1900s, performing highwire acts.  In their home country they were billed as Die Fliegenden Wallenda.  Nik’s greatgrandfather, Karl, was born in 1905.  He began performing at age six.  Some years later, John Ringling saw Karl perform in Cuba, and swiped him up at once, to be part of the Ringling Bros. Circus.

In 1978 Karl fell and was killed, performing a walk in Puerto Rico very like the one which this crowd in Sarasota was awaiting.  Thursday’s walk was to be a tribute from Nik to his greatgrandfather.  Moreover, it was held to promote Circus Sarasota, which is to show daily through the latter half of February, in the tent at 12th & Tuttle.


But they knew what they were doing.  And so did Nik.  He paused to rest, shaking his hand to alleviate fatigue.  He went on.  400 feet, 500 feet, 575 feet, 595 feet…and then he ran the last couple of steps.  He had done it!  How the crowd roared!  He turned and waved acknowledgement.

The walk took 12 minutes.

Moby Dick was there watching, too. When asked if he would consider undertaking such a feat he said he wouldn’t, unless he were allowed to do it on stilts, and on condition that the cable be covered with a fresh layer of thick grease, to make it challenging.

Other features from the first season include a review of Yoder’s Restaurant; “A Pinecraft Artisan”, on wheelchair-bound painter Barbara Zook; Birdbox, a series of articles by 15-year-old Steven Fisher, “avid birder from Newburg, Pa.”;  “Ed”, on 92-year-old local Ed Bender, “finalist for World’s Oldest Full-Time Active Mechanic”; “The Auction”, on the record-setting 13th Florida Haiti Benefit Auction;  and numerous health tips and recipes.

florida amish newspaper pinecraft pauper
The front page of issue 4 of the Pauper, from the inaugural season

The Pauper was temporarily retired after the 2009-10 winter season.  Sherry Gore has since taken over editorship, and under her guidance it has come roaring back for another season.

The first issue of the second run has just been released, and I can say it is continuing in the same vein.  Highlights in this issue include “Christmas, Florida” (on a small town near Orlando),  “Mischievous Logic Puzzles”, a recipe for squirrel stew, and a report on the Flying Dutchman’s hard landing (he’s pretty banged up, but sounds like he’ll survive).

(SEP 2012 UPDATE: to the best of our knowledge the Pinecraft Pauper is not currently being published).The Pinecraft Pauper is published twice per month, and sells for $1.  It is black-and-white, with photos and illustrations.  There are 10 issues, beginning December 15th and running through April 6th, 2011. For subcriptions send $12 to Pinecraft Village Publishers, P.O. Box 50231 Sarasota, FL 34232 (single issues are $1.50).

And: Richard Stevick has already paid homage, much better than I can, to the Pauper here: Richard Stevick on the Pinecraft Pauper.

Read more on Florida Amish communities.

Read an interview about Pinecraft with editor Sherry Gore.

Find Amish furniture in Florida.
Photo credit: Sarasota beach-Fabio

Get the Amish in your inbox

Join 15,000 email subscribers. No spam. 100% free

    Similar Posts

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. Katie Troyer

      Love this post. Well, I like all of your posts but this one is closer home.

    2. Alice Aber

      It looks like it would be a fun paper to read, even if you are not from Florida or Amish!

    3. Sharon Holweger

      I would love to read the Pinecraft Pauper. I know it has to be very interesting

    4. Allison Steinke

      It looks like a fascinating paper… And a breath of fresh air from all the sad news out there.

    5. Dawn Searcy

      Wow would love to read the paper! I hope I win! Thanks!

    6. Betty Sheehan

      After meeting Sherry Gore via Facebook and her cookbook, her position as the Editor of the Pinecraft Pauper will surely make this newspaper interesting!

    7. Leo

      I’m curious… is this publication done entirely by Amish people? I am asking this question because of the photographs, which are not usually a part of
      Amish life.

    8. Katie Troyer
    9. Mary Stahl

      Dear Mr. Wesner & Pinecraft Pauper,

      Please keep up all the great work with the Amish! There are many people who love the Amish, or who are fascinated by them or who are just interested in knowing more about them (as much as possible about them in my case). They set a wonderfully good example and deserve all the advertisement to help with their businesses. If only ALL of us lived lives as good as them. May God continue to bless them.

    10. Leo, we have a photographer whose view from the lense of her camera is unlike any other. The rest are Beachy Amish Mennonite, (myself included), Mennonite, and Old Order Amish. And then there’s this Captain Ahab fellow. He’s in a class all by himself, though he does speak PA Dutch fluently.

    11. Marilyn

      I would love to read The Pinecraft Pauper. I use to live in Florida, went to Sarasota several times, but never went to Pinecraft. My friend I went with was always in hurry. Really would like to win Pinecraft Pauper.

    12. Denise Flynn

      I enjoy reading The Pinecraft Pauper online. I use to live in Florida and had heard about the lizards jumping from trees.

      Keep up the good work.

    13. Tammy

      I would love to win a copy of the Pinecraft Pauper. Something to look forward to in the mail box 🙂

    14. Amanda Creasy

      I would love to read the Pinecraft Pauper. It looks like such a tight-knit community and I would love to be able to share the stories from the paper with my husband! 🙂

    15. Alice Aber


      Thank you both Erik and Sherry for a chance to win a subscription to the Pinecraft Pauper. I have already posted on facebook and will be adding to my blog just as soon as I get my coffee. LOL. I am still not awake yet!!

      Please count me in the contest of course, LOL.

      Blessings, Alice

    16. Mary Miller

      OH! I would love to win a subscription! It sounds like such a fun paper! And with KT as the photographer, I’m sure it has excellent photos!
      BTW, why am I no longer able to get to Katie’s blog? I miss it!

    17. Mary, Katie’s blog was apparently hacked into. She shared the bad news with us on a post a couple of days ago. Sounds like she may have another one in the works though.

    18. Please enter me for the subscription contest. I would love to receive these!

    19. Adrian

      This looks like a great paper. I subscribe to The Diary and love it.

    20. Kristie Donelson

      Interesting to read an Amish paper. I would love to win a subscription. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

    21. Lenise

      I would love to win a subscription! I would love to keep up with what’s going on in Pinecraft!

    22. Alice Aber

      Hey Erik, I put it on facebook and in my blog and sent you an email. Count me in for three chances please. I sure would love to win this!!

      Blessings, Alice

    23. kristin jager

      I have read some wonderful comments about the Pinecraft Pauper. I would love a chance to be able to check this out myself. I hope I am given this wonderful opportunity to do so. A Merry Christmas to you all.

    24. john dunning

      looks like an interesting paper

    25. kristin jager

      Erik, I have read some wonderful comments about the Pinecraft Pauper. I would love a chance to be able to check this out myself. I hope I am given this wonderful opportunity to do so. A Merry Christmas to you .

    26. kristin jager

      I am going over to my FB page and post this contest now:-)

    27. Diana Montgomery

      Would love to win . If I don’t how can I get one. Love to read it..

    28. Marilyn

      I’d love to be a winner of a subscription to Pine Craft’s new paper!!!

    29. Mary Brandenburg

      I would love to have a scrip to the P-Pauper!

    30. Rose Goddard

      I would love to read this paper. I am very interested in all literature of Amish culture and someday hope to be able to read one of the Budget publications. Thanks for a chance to win.

    31. Mary Miller

      Thanks for the info about Katie’s blog. That’s too bad what happened!

    32. Gary Sloan

      Would really like to visit this area. The paper could be a great primer for a visit. Local things there are what I would be interested in. Especially with the Amish there.

    33. Katie Troyer

      My new blog is up, but I don’t have any pictures on it yet. Today I plan to go shooting pictures. It is the perfect weather and a high among of children here because of Christmas vacation. My blog’s name is:Katie in Pinecraft.

    34. Great to hear that, Katie, and whenever it’s ready please let us know the address too so we can find you.

    35. Would LOVE to win a subscription to the Pauper. 🙂 Thanks for the chane.

    36. Would LOVE to win a subscription to the Pauper. 🙂 Thanks for the chance.

    37. Kimberly Musgrove Brewer

      I know I will enjoy reading the Pauper as well as I do the Budget.

    38. Katie Troyer

      It is: http://ktkatietroyer.blogspot.com

    39. Katie Salpas

      This looks interesting,maybe I can use it to help teach my girls more about Amish…

    40. Albertine

      I live in Switzerland, so I guess I am de facto excluded from entering the competition. However, reading an Amish newspaper in old Switzerland would be great!

    41. Heidi

      Please enter me into the drawing!!

    42. Norma Jean Talbert

      Never read it but would love to as I’ve seen the “Budget” and it’s a very unique paper! 🙂

    43. Carol Evirs Quinn

      thank you for the opportunity to recieve this publication, you are truely an angel in disguise sherry

    44. Jonna E Marsh

      Would love to win a subscription to the Pinecraft Pauper. count me in!

    45. patricia davis

      I would love to win this paper,I really enjoy reading the articles.

    46. Susan Fryman

      I’ve heard so much about it, would cherish a subscription to the Pinecraft Pauper. Thank you for this opportunity. Blessings.

    47. JoEllen McNeil

      Would love, love, love to win a subscription to the Pinecraft Pauper. To be able to read more of Sherry Gore and other Amish/Mennonite contributors would be a blessing. Looking at more of Katie Troyers pics would be wonderful also. Thanks for the opportubity Eric! Can you tell us in Deutsch how to say Merry Christmas?

    48. Happy to share this neat paper JoEllen…and Merry Xmas in Deitsch? Good question…maybe Katie T or one of our other visitors with PA Dutch in the blood will see this and can help out here! 🙂