Mike Sparks, who gave us a look at the Amish community in Ashland County, OH, returns to share his recent visit to the settlement in Holmes and Wayne Counties.

Mike has been visiting and learning about the Amish for over four decades now. I’ll let Mike take it away with a little description of his background and then his photos of the early-July trip. If you haven’t been to an Amish community before, this is a great one to visit.

I lived in northern Wayne County, Ohio, from the time I was 6 until my second year in college. Although I knew there were Amish communities to the south of me, I really paid no interest early on.

In the Fall of 1975, our English teacher gave us a class project to write letters to Amish kids in Holmes County. A few of the best letters (mine included), were chosen to hop into a school van and go to the school where these Amish kids attended. That was my first real insight to the culture.

From that moment forward, after reading countless books, doing research papers in school, visiting numerous communities throughout the US and even having Amish friends….the past 42 years have become a passionate journey to learn more about the Amish culture.

Because I visited on a Thursday, the Kidron Auction (Wayne County) was going on that morning.

Both Amish and non-Amish bring in livestock to be auctioned off each week on Thursday. The little town, made famous by Lehman’s Hardware, buzzes each week when the auction takes place.

These three shots are of Amish bringing wagons of livestock to the auction.

A Swartzentruber home just south of Kidron. Although the farm sits way back off the road, they make it known for people passing what they have for sale on simple homemade signs.

Last year during one of my visits, I came across Raber’s Produce stand. I was happy to see that they had sweet corn available.

The Amish gal running the stand stated it’s some of the first picked. I was able to get 6 ears of corn, 2 zucchini, 2 cucumbers, 2 kohlrabi and 2 onions for a whopping $6.75. All of the produce is grown on their farm and is non-GMO. A great place to visit.

I ventured into Holmes County and started taking pictures of farm houses and their well-kept lawns and fields.

I tend to like to take pictures of schools. In the area, you can see the real plain, and the more new/modern. This school I would call “middle of the road” for the area.

A couple examples of Swartzentruber homes in the area. The blue doors give it away.

Also got a shot of the vegetable offerings at one of the farms. Not too many places I have seen offer homemade butter.

I always enjoy the farms/houses with laundry out to dry.

There is something about clothes whipping in the wind that brings peace to your soul.

It’s wheat harvest season in Ohio and a visit to Amish country will certainly allow one to see the old-fashioned farming method of “shocks”.

I mentioned earlier about how I like to see clothes drying on lines. This shot really caught my interest, because, unlike non-Amish homes, you see little boys’ and girls’ clothes as miniature replicas of their father’s and mother’s garb.

After looking at this shot when I got home, I call it my “postcard shot”. What more do I need to say? A very serene and peaceful shot.

Another blue door Swartzentruber house.

I have passed by this Swartzentruber produce stand many times and actually stopped last summer.

This time, it was unattended, but, being the trusting people they are, there was a sign for self-service money to be left.

This is the farm and the large garden area from which the produce comes from.

A wheat field only partially harvested.

This is from a more modern school established in 2013, one of the nicer and more complete playgrounds I have ever seen at a school.

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