Submit your Amish questions

This will be our last post of 2011, with a little break from new posting until the New Year.

amish windy laundryBut in the meantime I wanted to put out an invitation for Amish-related questions–anything from questions about Amish beliefs to settlements to cultural practices and so on.

I can’t promise I’ll be able to answer everything, but your questions may form the basis of some interesting posts.

For instance, over the past year we’ve had posts answering reader questions such as “Do Amish play football?”; “Do Amish evangelize?”; “What are your Lancaster County favorites?”; “Are Swartzentruber Amish saved?”; “Do you have Amish friends?” and so on.

We also did something similar last December, answering 54 of your Amish business questions.

So, wishing everyone the happiest of New Years, and if there’s something you’ve wondered concerning the Amish, don’t be bashful, just post your question in the comments.

We’ll try to get to those starting in January 2012 (and even though this is the last official post of the year, I’ll still be bouncing around the comments section).

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    1. lisa kuhn

      couples without kids?

      hi erik, i was wondering what happens to a couple unable to have children. first, if they are able to benefit from fertility treatments, even egg donation, or whether, say, a sister might give up a young child so the couple would have one? it seems both sad and impossible to run a farm without offspring, and that life might seem a bit pointless… thanks, lisa

      1. Mona (Kentucky Lady).

        Good question there Lisa…..think I read somewhere of them adopting children…is this so Erik ?

      2. Mary Ann Chase

        I read in a story that sisters or cousins who can have children are sometimes willing to let a childless couple have one of theirs….if that really happens I’m not sure but it seems to me that they would not go outside the community, to the English world, to adopt. Maybe there would be a young woman who had goofed during her ‘running around time’ who would give up her child to an Amish couple especially if she had no plans to marry. I’ve received the gift of adoption so I understand the emotions of it and can see how it would be even more so when a farm and inheriting the land is involved.I love the whole ideal of the amish family life but wonder about the reality of it.

    2. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      I just thought of a question:

      When an Amish person buys clothing “off the rack” is there a particular brand that the Amish may prefer, I think this probably impacts menswear among the Amish, because it seems difficult/impossible to find plain Amish style women’s clothing in big box stores. What would a person look for when buying off the rack to be “plain” in an Amish sense.

      1. Patricia Tiffany

        off the rack

        Slightly handled orader man, i have been in country stores in communities with many amish, and have noticed racks of “ready made clothes” for the amish,which i assume were made by women and possibly consigned there.

      2. Mary Ann Chase

        I’ve looked at the encyclopedia of Amish questions and found a partial answer to my question about using straight pins instead of buttons….that they can be too fancy….sure would make the actual sewing of clothing easier with no button holes…but what about a baby getting poked by the pin when being held and why don’t they allow hooks and eyes? Safety pins? They would be hidden like pins. Also, do men also have straight pins for their shirts and where did they get the idea that suspenders are more plain than a belt? Maybe they came before belts. And are there zippers or just a flap? I wonder about cleaning the common white shirt. Seems like if they want to dress like Jesus did then it would be robes like a Monk with a cloth tied secture instead of belt. I kinda like the head coverings, prayer caps, for the women…not cumbersome, tho bonnets for going somewhere seem to be so but it would make you feel more private. Wouldn’t the straw hats for the men during summer be scratchy? The felt hats during the winter seem better. I wouldn’t mind having a common dress, like nuns do too (well, some still do). I suppose Amish underwear is fairly modern. As far as I know the women don’t wear bloomers. I think their shoes are plain and modern styles…work boots for men, slip ons for women? How ’bout velcro instead of ties? I’m asking too many questions but my main one was about the straight pins being used for both men and women and poking babies with them. MA

    3. Theresa

      Amish Questions

      Erik, I have another question you might be able to get the answer from Lovina when you see her next. I have 3 of her cookbooks and she talks about canning meat after slaughter. My question is, when you can meat it’s cooked,so how would you can something like pork chops or t-bone steaks? Or even a ham? Maybe if you talk to Kevin he’ll have the answer.


      1. Lattice

        My Amish friends don’t cook their meat before canning, of course it’s cooked a little during processing. They don’t seem to have the usual cuts (t-bones, chops). They make a lot of ground beef and everything else is in chunks. I have no idea if that’s typical or not, but that’s how they do it.

        1. Mary Ann Chase

          Years ago my sis in law would can stew so therefore the meat was cooked before processing. I imagine the Amish would do that too. If they can meat before cooking then they’d just cook it more when they use it for a recipe. I wonder how many now have freezers to keep their meat in…powered by propane or something else like their fridges are and stoves in many stories I’ve read. In our american history in certain areas they’d save their ice from winter in a straw in a cave. Did the Amish ever do that?
          It is fascinating to me the different communities having different rules, the Ordung is it called? You’d have a period of adjustment if moving from one to another. I would just love to study it. MA

    4. Mona (Kentucky Lady).

      Good question Lovina, I too have Lovina’s Mother’s cookbooks….we used to CURE the hams, some people smoked them in a smoker or called a smoke house….never heard of canning pork chops,or t-bone steaks…..
      Looks like Erik has his work cut out for him eh?

      Get busy Erik……when are you coming back from Poland ?

      We are suppose to get snow here in Ohio tomorrow…..not looking forward to it 🙁


    5. Mona (Kentucky Lady).

      Good question Theresa I too have Lovina’s Mother’s cookbooks….we used to CURE the hams, some people smoked them in a smoker or called a smoke house….never heard of canning pork chops,or t-bone steaks…..
      Looks like Erik has his work cut out for him eh?

      Get busy Erik……when are you coming back from Poland ?

      We are suppose to get snow here in Ohio tomorrow…..not looking forward to it 🙁


    6. Theresa

      Amish Question

      Thanks Mona (Kentucky Lady), Let me ask you something on curing hams. Have you ever heard of salt & pepper cured ham? My electicinan’s father was raised on a farm in W.VA & he said that’s how they did it back then (he’s in his lat 70’s now) He says he’d really like to find one of those hams. i asked him if he looked when he goes back to W. VA but he said they don’t have them anymore.
      And yes Erik you are going to be a very busy man.


      1. Mona (Kentucky Lady).

        Hi Theresa, yes I have heard of salt & pepper Hams, I think that is the way my dad did them….but we never cured any….he did bacon like that too, we called it salt bacon, was good to season beans, etc.I remember my grandmother had this little house she rented and on one side was a room, that she kept just to put the meat in it when they killed a hog.And I can remember my dad going there in the very cold room and slicing some ham for breakfast and salt pork for seasoning….We did have a fridge, but wasn’t that big to hold all that meat…. and he would go to the apple orchard and buy apples and store in that room and we would have apples to eat during the winter……Hummmmmmmm I wonder how much of this my sisters would remember lol….they were 5 yrs. younger than me, and there were 5 girls….. boy that goes way back………………..


    7. Amish Livestock Auctions in Mechanicsville, MD Area

      Hi I was told that that Amish hold a livestock auction every week or once a month in the Mechanicsville, MD area. I am interested in attending and would like to know where I can go to get updates or information on theses events. thank you, Sheila

    8. NELSON

      Mona,,,snow in Ohio

      where are you at in Ohio, Mona,,,,,
      you should eat at Mrs. Yoders restaurant in MT HOPE,,, for breakfast on Saturday Morning.
      E-mail me if you want,,, am in Holmes County Ohio right now.

      1. Mona (Kentucky Lady).

        Hi Nelson, about 50 mins. from Cincinnati…..Where is Mt. Hope ? I live in Highland County….
        My daughter and I go to several Amish places around here, but the closest is about 20-30 mins. We go to JR’s General Store., but it’s a bit further…but we love to go there…..


      2. Mona (Kentucky Lady).

        HI NELSON, JUST REREAD YOUR MESSAGE AND YOU SAID , Snow in Ohio….yes we get snow in ohio, don’t you ? Today about 4:00 we had such a downpour of snow for about 15 mins. everything was covered, and then it stopped….and now just wet, but they are saying we’re suppose to get 2-3″ by morning…..not looking forward to that at all……it is beautiful, but I hate driving in it……but thank God, I don’t have to…..I plan my days according to the weather lol……I always have milk, bread, eggs,and peanut butter, so I know I’m not going to starve….so that will hold me over till I can get to the store after the roads clear up…..BTW, I’m only a mile from the store :)I could walk if there were sidewalks, but it’s only a 2 lane highway with no room to walk on the side…..hate that……


    9. nelson

      Mrs. Yoders.

      All of you should eat at Mrs. Yoders restaurant in Mt Hope,,, It is the best restaurant, in Ohio,, for their breakfast buffet,,,,
      am not going to be there myself,cause if it snows too much am not going anywhere,,,,
      have other things I have to do that day if it does not snow…

    10. Judy Cosgrove

      woman shaving

      Are any Amish women allowed to shave…I just cant imangine a woman with long hair on her legs and especially growing under her arms

      1. Sharon Gerstman

        Women Shaving

        I have not seen any Amish women that were shaven. Even their facial hairs were not plucked out of the old women. Looks gross actually to see that long gray hair on women’s chins.

    11. Connie

      Northern Ontario Amish

      Hi Erik,

      I was wondering if you or any of your readers can tell me anything about the Amish that have started a community in Northern Ontario. Chisolm Ontario to be exact. Over the past several years they have bought land and farms and are quickly growing into a fair sized community – well, fair sized for Northern Ontario anyway. They own a few Furniture businesses and are doing a wonderful job at bringing some old forgotten farms back to life!

      I travel the rural roads that aren’t far from where I live and I enjoy seeing them on the roads with their buggys and often stop to by fresh produce from them.

      We go to St. Jacobs Ontario at least once a year to visit the Farmer’s Market down there and up until a few years ago that was the only place to see and admire Mennonites and the way they live.

      Some people in the area say they are Mennonites and others say Amish. Any info would be greatly appreciated.


    12. Bill Gunderson

      Illinois Amish Wood Pallet Manufacture

      I’m trying to locate an Amish Lumber mill in the Sandwich, IL area that manufactures Wood Pallets.
      If you have a listing of other Amish Lumber Mill in Illinois I would also be interested in this information as well.

      Thank you,

      Bill Gunderson

    13. Gabriela

      Amish and vets

      Hello Erik!
      I’ve just found your website and I am reading it with much interest. I am a vet student (from Argentina) and I was wondering about how the Amish care for their animals (i.e. horses). Would it be OK with their faith and way of life to accept the assistance of vets when treating their animals? I do not wish to cause offense with my question, I am genuinely curious.
      Many thanks

    14. Henry Troyer

      Amish and vets

      Yes, Gabriela, the Amish utilize the services of vets just like anyone else. That goes for all the Amish that I know of, although it is possible that some of the most conservative Amish like the Swartzentruber Amish would have certain reservations about vet services.

      1. Gabriela

        Thanks for your answer, Henry! Much appreciated

    15. Barbara

      Looking for info on Washingtonville, PA auction

      I have been searching everywhere for information on the dates of the next Beaver Run School Benefit Auction held in Washingtonville, PA and cannot find any information on it. The Susquehanna River Valley info center gives out several different dates when called. I have found the April date in these articles but not the September (or August) date. I believe it to be Sept and not Aug. Can anyone give me the exact date and information on it? Thank you.

      1. Autumn

        Beaver Run Auction 2014?

        Can anyone tell me when the Beaver Run Amish auction is in April of 2014? I have looked everywhere and cannot find this. Seeing how our is March I figured something would be published.

    16. Lin

      Barbara: my contact said the Beaver Run School Benefit Auction is the first Saturday in September, and the third Saturday in April.

    17. Laura


      I would like to have an Amish pen-pal there are no settlements out in Oregon and I was wandering if i could find a free magazine that has Amish pen-pals willing to write to a non Amish.


    18. MIke from florida

      Beaver run amish sale in washingtonville pa

      CAn some one on here please tell me what day the april 2015 sale falls on this yr

      1. Linda

        Beaver Run School Auction 2015

        Mike, the Beaver Run School Auction will be on April 18, 2015, the third Saturday of April. The fall auction is on the first Saturday of September.

    19. Beards

      If many Amish men tend to bathe once a week, then how do they keep their beards from itching? I have a beard, and I have to use conditioner every two or three days before I cut my chin while itching.

      1. Yoder in Ohio

        Once a week?! I shower daily, in warm & humid weather like now, more apt twice a day. But itchy beard? Yep. I use shampoo on my beard and maybe once a week or so conditioner, but I also use beard oil. “Viking” is my favorite. It helps keep your beard from getting wiry and seems to help keep the skin under the beard from getting dry & itchy.

    20. Jerome McAndrew

      Western New York Amish

      Hi there is a lot of amish moving into western new york i would like to know who are the ones in centerville .