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

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    1. Janice, Pinecraft is bursting at the seams this time of year with snowbirds, but there’s always room for one more. pinecraftpauper@gmail.com

    2. lanore
    3. Dianna

      Would love to win a subscription to the paper!

    4. Oh how neat!!! I live vicariosly through Sherry, so this would be the icing on the cake!


    5. Linda Geertsma

      This would be awesome to win!!! I think I have copy coming when I purchased Sherry’s cookbook awhile ago! Hope it comes soon 🙂 I think Sherry is one wonderful lady 🙂

    6. Mary Alice Helmuth
    7. Dena Casey

      I would be thrilled to receive the subscription! Thanks for the chance!
      Dena Casey

    8. Betty Jo Huff

      I would love a subscription of the Pauper I have been so blessed by the stories in Sherry’s cookbook~~~ Blessings to you!

    9. Kathleen Faberge

      I would be delighted to win a subscription to The Pinecraft Pauper. Thank you for the opportunity to enter!

    10. Debbie Feavel

      I would love a chance to win a subscription to the Pinecraft Pauper. It looks so interesting. I’ve wanted it for a while but my husband is out of work trying for disablity so I didn’t want to spend too much extra money and cause us problems. I think the world of Sherry and her wonderful family.

      I plan to use all 3 ways to register to win. Thank you for the chance to win. And God bless who ever does when and may this paper be a blessing to them.

      Debbie Feavel

    11. Linda Bontrager

      This sounds like a neat paper.We usually get to Pinecraft once and sometimes twice in a year! It’s a great place for our 5 children to get out in the sunshine during the cold winter in Indiana.

    12. Michelle Crawford

      I have lived in Sarasota for 45 years. As a child I remember seeing the old horse and buggies going through Pinecraft. Pinecraft is a peaceful place with big hearted people that have their soul in the right place!

      Please enter me in! I would love to enjoy and keep the Pauper with my genealogy records.

    13. Michelle V

      Please throw my name in the hat !

    14. My daughter subscribes to a couple of Amish newspapers and I’d love to receive one too !

    15. Alice Aber

      Did I miss the winner’s list? It’s Thursday,,, are you running late Erik? Sure hope everything is OK. Missed you this morning. 🙂

    16. Appreciate it Alice, I am getting through the day 🙂

      Thanks everyone for entering–we have a winner, which you can find here: Pinecraft Pauper winner

    17. Alice Aber

      You are missed when you don’t show up on time Erik, LOL. Hope you get to feeling better really soon.

      Hugs, Alice

    18. Aletha Lee

      Hello, I would love to win a subscription to The Pinecraft Pauper:) I love reading and learning new and interesting things about The Amish and Mennonites.

    19. Eugenia McQueen

      I am originally from north Florida and my daughter-in-law is from Sarasota, so a subsriptionto to The Pinecraft Pauper would be great fun and most intersting!

    20. Eugenia McQueen

      I am originally from north Florida and my daughter-in-law is from Sarasota, so a subsriptionto to The Pinecraft Pauper would be great fun and most interesting!

    21. Kathy R.

      When is the auction this year in Sarasota? Can you tell me a bit about it?
      Thank you.

    22. Katie Troyer

      The auction is going to be January 22, 2011, but I don’t know any other details.

    23. Mona Greer

      Would love to win the Pinecraft Pauper…..

    24. Ivan Gromling

      Just read every thing about Pinecraft Flordia
      enjoyed it very much
      Thank You

    25. Nancy Bryant

      I am suppose to be receiving the Pauper after ordering a cookbook from Sherry, but have not received it yet. Really anxious to get it.Thank you and God bless!

    26. Nancy, Please send me your mailing address because I am the one that sends out the Paupers and I will see to it that you get the issues. My email is:

    27. Marilyn

      I’d love a subscription to this paper….What a special gift it ‘twould be in this my b’day month!!!

    28. Alpha Ruth

      I hope to be able to buy a copy of the Pinecraft Pauper when I vacation in Pinecraft the end of Feb.
      I’m wondering if Daniel Fisher still contributes to the Pauper now that he is teaching school in Northern Indiana

    29. For Alpha Ruth – Much to our delight, Daniel contributes a regular piece titled “Ridgebottom School.” He shares in detail of his adventures while teaching with what some may call “unconventional methods.” I accepted Daniel’s offer to visit the school (fictitious name for privacy) March 4th for an author’s presentation and plan to write of my experience there in the following edition of the Pauper. -Ed

    30. James

      still published?

      Is The Pinecraft Pauper being published this winter?

    31. Hiatus

      Thanks for asking, James. Unfortunately The Pinecraft Pauper is on hiatus this winter as all five key folks involved in putting it together (editor, photographer, main writers) are involved with larger-than-life projects this season. Lord willing we’ll be cranking it out next December. This quirky little homespun paper of ours has literally made its way around the world. -Sherry Gore – Editor.

      1. future

        I hope to be able to read it again in the future.

    32. Ouida F. Tannehill

      I would like to read the Pinecraft Pauper to know what goes on in the Amish world

    33. MaryAnn Pepe

      Please enter me in the contest. It would really make my day to win something unique as something like this newspaper!!!

    34. Mary McGeechan

      Just found this site

      Are you still publishing this paper?
      If so what is currently the cost for a subscription?
      Mary McGeechan

      1. Mary I believe the Pinecraft Pauper is not being published at present, though someone else may have fresher information than I do.

    35. cathy miller

      wonderful community-pinecraft

      I recently read a book called The Healing Quilt an awesome book about the community of pinecraft. One of the best books I’ve read in a longtime! I highly recommend it. I know I would thoroughly enjoy the pinecraft pauper! Hopefully I will be fortunate to win a subscription to the pauper.

    36. Susan Campbell

      Would love to win a subscription to this paper.

    37. Roc A Yauilla

      Short term summer rentals

      Looking for short term summer rentals for my mother / she grew up on Bimini street in the 40s and 50s