Travels in Holmes County

Today, day 2 in Holmes County. Arriving Monday, in places it almost looked like fall already.  Apparently it has been pretty dry. It rained a bit yesterday though.

Lot of nice visits so far, including a stop at Marlene Miller‘s. Marlene is as warm in person as she comes across in her book.

Monster cookies and other treats came from this place:

Yoder Acres Amish Produce

Pumpkins are available already. You can get giant ones here for just 3 bucks apiece. Yoder Acres Produce at 5274 Fredericksburg Rd, Wooster, OH 44691. Other places too, no doubt.

We ate a Trash Can dinner yesterday. It tasted better than it sounds. One of Izabela’s favorite meals so far.

The most interesting quote came from a New Order Amish friend. Paraphrasing: “It would be easier to join the Amish than to become English”. I had him repeat to make sure I heard right.

How about another photo? Taken in Wayne County, post-rain:

Wayne County Ohio Rainbow

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    1. Lattice

      That is an interesting quote, indeed! (“It would be easier to join the amish than to become English.”) However, I’m inclined to agree. There is a standard blueprint for “how to be Amish,” while the English style and culture is ever changing. I think that most Amish never feel that they completely fit in.

      Of course, I think that as Christians we are called to be strangers in this world, but many ex-Amish have a tendency to want to blend in and feel comfortable at it, although I don’t think they ever really are.

    2. Valerie

      Interesting quote!

      Erik, you are having such a great trip! I am trying to imagine how Isabela is taking all this in-she must be in awe of it all, yet you’ve probably shared it all so much it’s now become reality for her. Will you be in Holmes long? The Harvest Festival & Rib cook-off is Saturday-the Amish even participate in the rib contest! And many come out for the parade about 5-it’s one event I see the Amish mix with english, as well as day after Thanksgiving.

      Lattice-I so agree with your comments. I know a man who left Amish over 2 decades ago,being led to Christ, started a ministry to reach Amish, but I have picked up on that he’s still never really felt english, yet has been in the english world all these years, and, a Christian. Too much is instilled in them from the beginning which is so different than the mindset outside of Amish, even, in Christians outside of Amish. And yes, I feel bad for those who leave who are trying to blend in when we are called to do opposite.
      Have a blessed day, everyone!

      1. Thanks Valerie. Izabela is having a blast and learning a lot. Just tonight an Amish friend asked what had made the biggest impression on her about the Amish. She said how they take care to teach their kids what they believe.

        This, alas, is going to be just a short visit. Leaving tomorrow. We’ve packed a lot in though.

      2. Elizabeth Snoke

        Valerie, I’m confused about what you had to say in your second paragraph about the former Amish person becoming Christian and reaching out to the Amish. Do you believe the Amish are not Christian? That’s what I thought I understood. Frankly, I believe that most Amish are FAR MORE Christian than most of us English. To have someone available to reach out to those who chose to leave the Amish way of life and help them adjust to our “English” ways is one thing but…

        1. Rose

          Assurance of Salvation

          Elizabeth, Amish live a ‘holy’ lifestyle, as they are taught to, but they do not have assurance of salvation. They are taught that they cannot know that they are saved until they go to heaven, and to think that they are is prideful. I can understand someone who finds out the bible preaches assurance of salvation after being told all of their lives that they can’t know, he would want to tell others about that.

    3. Annmarie

      At times, I feel I would have to agree with that statement. I think in close knit communities, everyone has a role and they embrace it.(mostly). Whether that be Amish, Mennonite or even Hasidic Jews. These communities are closely woven and traditions are upheld. Their values tend not to get watered down as it does to us Englishers. I view them as a people even though they do hard physical labor….they do all of it..To glorify the Lord and that brings them peace and Happiness. In my eyes that is a simple life that I admire so deeply. My coworkers joke and tell me I MUST have been Amish in my previous life bc of how much I love their lifestyle and will defend them. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t fit…especially when I make a statement like I would have another baby(would be my 6th) and people act like I said I want to be a murderer. Children are a blessing and money does not impress me- no need to store up materialistic riches in this world….I am trying to show my kids the AMISH got it right…with all their simplicity. As an Englisher, I do find it hard to strike that balance between living in this world and not being of it…..that is why I think it could be easier to be Amish(spiritually speaking).

    4. Betsy Thompson

      My daughter and I have a trip planned to Holmes County early next month, so I’m looking forward to following your trip to see where you go!

    5. Holmes and Knox Counties

      Just got home from a trip through Holmes to our cabin in Knox. Yes, it’s been dry, but they had a whale of a storm on Saturday night. Four inches fell in less than 12 hours. The corn looked OK standing in the fields, but a farmer friend said that many of the ears have few kernals.

    6. OldKat

      Dry weather is tough.

      People in the midwest have had a rough go this year. I’m glad they got some much needed rain. I know all too well how tough it is to farm and/or ranch when you are not getting the normal amount of rain. Too much rain can be a big problem, but I’ll take it any day over having an extended drought.

      I suspect that for most areas of the midwest the rain that fell is too little, too late. Still, at least maybe some of the crop can be saved.

      I am a little surprised that in the pictures that Erik has been posting this week there is still quite a bit of green vegetation in the background. That is a good sign; because at least they shouldn’t lose trees, shrubs, grass in lawns etc like we have in the previous couple of summers. Maybe they will have a more normal summer next year. I hope so for their sake anyway.

    7. Randy A


      If you are still in our area, you may want to go to Kidron and visit Lehman’s General Store. I suspect you may have on your other trips to our area. They have everything Amish.

      1. Lehman's root beer, stoves, etc.

        Thanks Randy, as it happened we did drop into Lehman’s. I really like the store but I feel it is a little “beyond Amish”–I’m actually not sure how many buy things there (I’ve never seen any Amish shopping there, though I’ve just been 2 or 3 times). Lot of great nostalgia items in addition to the remarkable collection of non-electric goods (enjoyed the wood-burning stoves today). Also, I think they must have the greatest selection of root beer brands in the world.

        1. kerry

          Randy, do you shop there still? Just wondered. They built the new store and now it seems to have become a tourist destination mainly. Sadly I don’t know any locals who go there anymore, except sometimes for gifts. Occasionally I will run over there for something weird like cheesecloth or maybe a small kitchen appliance (I’m about 15 minutes away so it’s handy). But we really are only in there maybe once a year even living this close. The old store seemed much more locals-oriented.

        2. Valerie


          Did you know, the threat of Y2K sold Lehman’s out of many non-electric appliances? Woodburners, etc? Was amazing I hear, how well that store did by those thinking Y2K would leave us all in the dark.

          My boss had me take him & his relatives from WA state who wanted to visit Holmes, having me be their tour guide-we stopped at Lehman’s and my boss’ cousin said he didn’t consider that a “real Amish” store (but, it is a waonderful store They sell alot of things that outsiders wouldn’t be interested in. One nice thing, they have an indoor small theatre playing a great doucmentary on the Amish that does explain alot of their ways, narrated by an Amish man.

    8. Katie Troyer

      Is it a sin if I am part Amish and part English? Can’t we former Amish be a part of both worlds? What about the Irish who come to America?

      1. Elva Bontrager

        Feeling 'English' is a no-brainer

        I never think of whether I am an ‘english’ or not. I have not been Amish since I was 17 years old and I am now 79. It never occurred to me to wonder which I ‘feel’ like. Of COURSE I am English. If there is such a thing. To me it’s just normal.

        I mostly lost the language over the years but I and my siblings are trying to get back some of it. In the Amish Terms of Language I easily got 8 of them- and I suspect part of the problem in the others is the phonetic spelling. For instance, ‘droke’. If that is meant to be “dry”, I would spell it ‘drukka’. Other than that, I have no idea what it’s supposed to be.

        1. Elva it’s always interesting to me to hear how people who were formerly of an Amish church or grew up Amish view themselves. Did this change for you as time went by? Did you feel more Amish, say 10, or 30, or 50 years ago? It sounds like something remains at least in the language knowledge you still carry.

    9. Part Amish and part English

      No sin Katie. Life is complicated. People are complicated. We are all part this and part that. I would welcome you into my world.

    10. Lattice

      I hope I didn’t offend you, Katie.

      Okay, then, what is your thought on it? If you were “the other,” which would it be more difficult to fit in to? Of course, in the English world, there are all kinds of niches in order for one to find a comfort zone, but having in mind the very typical Englisher… It just seems to me that there would be so much more to process and figure out in the English world.

      I think it’s really cool that you fit into both worlds. I would imagine that you are a very flexible person.

    11. Valerie


      Isn’t Erik an example of being both? Well, almost 🙂
      Katie, we who’ve never been Amish can’t imagine trying to transition into our culture. Much, I wouldn’t want you or any formers to transition into that we’ve embraced in our society. But actually, to try & be both in my viewpoint, is opposite of sin, trying to fellowship with people that love the Lord in both cultures. But I could never relate to your heritage, history, upbringing and visa versa-(and I’m glad for YOU that you couldn’t in many ways)

      Regarding the Irish, they were anything but embraced when they first arrived in America-some businesses even had signs not welcoming Irish, they went through some very, very difficult times feeling rejected or looked down on.
      Cross culture is always a challenge to blend but I think that all people in God’s kingdom need to find a way to embrace each other and look for common ground and enjoy our differences, we learn valuable information.

      1. Valerie I would say definitely not 😉 Though I do appreciate what I experience and am exposed to. I sense this thread could veer into definition of being Amish discussion, which had some good responses earlier this year:

    12. Alice Mary

      Different perspective...

      An interesting quote, alright! But I see it a little differently. It seems to me (especially as I watch my 18-mo. old granddaughter growing up before my eyes) that we all start out “Amish”—at least in some aspects of life. First, we learn to use (eat, play with, etc.) very basic, simple things (like the Amish). Take my granddaughter—she has hundreds of dollars of “English” toys, but she loves playing with rocks and sticks…observing different sizes, shapes, sparkly, rough, short, long, heavy, light, lining them up neatly, putting them back on the ground. Her foods are simple…no fancy sauces or seasonings, very basic fare (simple but filling, like a lot of Amish fare). She could care less about the frilly, cutesy clothes my daughter dresses her in. She’d be just as comfortable in a diaper and t-shirt. I think we’re that way, too, until the “outside” world complicates matters with too many choices & expectations.

      There are a lot of things about the Amish that I feel very comfortable with—clothing, simple food & homes—I think that lack of air conditioning would be my main problem, but certainly not year-’round. I could “settle back” into a life of the basics and gladly give up most of the technology that changes every day, quite literally. Heck, I can feel my BP drop as I think about turning Amish. (What a nightmare to think of all that the “Amish turning English” would need to learn just to “get by” in today’s “English” world!)

      I like the idea of silent prayer, too. (There’s just too much yammering in the world for my liking, these days!) Peace & quiet…of course, I know the Amish don’t take a vow of silence, just sayin’…their life is more ordered and thus, more peaceful than my own. (And I wish I had a dawdi house!)

      I can go on, but won’t (too much yammerin’!)

      Alice Mary

    13. kerry

      I think we must have passed each other on the road today, lol, from seeing the photos you took! Just a hop and a skip from my home…

      More rain in that part of Wayne today? I’m envious, lol! Nothing here a few miles away! The neighbors were already out today harvesting corn, which is much earlier than they normally do it. And the leaves have indeed yellowed and are falling off the trees. The lack of rain this year has been awful. It’s going to be a very unattractive fall. Pumpkins are everywhere, early too – just saw several horse-wagon loads go by today.

      Enjoy your trip! The weather has been horribly humid but it’s supposed to get better.

      1. Thanks Kerry, I heard it was patchy on the rain…an inch in one place, two inches a little way up the road. It seemed that way driving around.

    14. Roberta McGowan

      comment on travels in Holmes county

      I totally agree with that statement. I grew up English and never found a place where I felt like I fit in.I am not like any of the english people I grew up with. I would feel more comfortable living among the Amish. I find that the english world has become more uncaring and unfriendly as the years go by. All they think about are themselves. I see it where I work and it’s sad.I wish every day that I had been born Amish.

    15. Don Curtis

      Don't forget the most important visit!

      You haven’t mentioned the most important visit on your trip of all, Eric. That being, of course, visiting Belle Center, OH. You got to meet my Amish son, Mark, out on his farm. Then you got to come in to Belle Center and meet yours truly. Plus, let us not forget you got to mention the one and only Fritzi, the three-legged dachshund. Mark and I both enjoyed meeting you and Isabella and hope you can come back, soon, for a longer visit.

      1. Don that was really a treat to meet both you and Mark in person…I have a post upcoming on the visit so stay tuned 🙂 And Fritzi was in top form, what an energetic dog (especially for having 3 legs)!

    16. Nelson

      Holmes County

      Erik,,, I wish you would have let me know you are going to be in the area,,,
      and anyone else coming this way,, let me know on my cell,, 330-275-5537
      Nelson Miller
      weekends would be better than during the week,,,,