Day 5 12/17/04
I can’t believe this is only Day 5; it feels like I have been doing this for weeks.
I’m bonding pretty well with everyone even Elizabeth, Albert’s mom(1). She’s funny, she’s hardcore Amish. She walks stiffly and slightly bent over, but she’s super tough. She’s refused my help a couple of times. She always talks to me about church. I’ll say “Hi, Elizabeth, how are you doing today?” She’ll say “Are you going to church with us Sunday?” Today I was talking with Naomi (they pronounce it “Yomo” in Penn Dutch) about a Fed Ex delivery she was getting ready for tonight. Elizabeth pipes in and says, “Are you getting ready for church?” I said, “Isn’t it Friday?” Naomi laughed.
I spent 2 hours packaging and bottling kefir today. I drank so much. No mas kefir for a little while. I have unlimited access to food here. Anything, I want, I can have instantly, I just need to go to the freezer. Sour cream, crème fraiche, cream, butter, piima cream, whenever I tire of one dairy fat, I move to the other.
The cows are letting me pet them more now. I kind of screwed up today. I was alone and was letting the cows in. I forgot to put grain in their stalls beforehand and they got all snooty. They wouldn’t listen or go to their stalls, they just milled around like a bunch of lemmings(2).
And that bull got in again. He loves sniffing the gutter and the cows’ vaginas. He scares me, Marie says they can sense fear. Marie just runs at him and yells and he moves. She says she wouldn’t do that in a field though. Amish women are tough(3).
Peter was moving hay tonight while we were milking. He had hooked up two of the Belgians (big horses) to this strange gasoline powered contraption. It was a forklift in front, horses in middle, and him at the back with levers and a flashlight. He looked like Merlin or Gandalf. His black Amish hat, his gray, long, wispy beard shining eerily in the light of the moon and backwash of the flashlight. He looked regal, commanding this horse/man/machine mixture(4).
I saw the same look on George’s face (Albert’s Brother) earlier in the day as he was commanding four of the horses with a large manure container thing on wheels.
Quick funny memory of a couple of days ago, when I was at the Amish farmer’s meeting, there was an English there who was a constitutional scholar who was giving advice on legalities and loopholes. He was explaining the difference between legal and lawful. He said legal is obeying the government’s laws, and lawful is obeying God’s laws. He said to all the Amish there, “Which one are you going to do?” It was awesome, he was calling the Amish out to see what they really believed. I think that guy could help them a lot. These Amish farmers truly are heroes. Some of them are selling raw milk and raw milk products event though it’s illegal because they know it is helping people and saving people’s lives. They could lose their farms, go to jail, but they are doing it anyways because they truly care(5). More people should be like them.
Goot-Nag. For breakfast I made French toast, onion and cheese omelettes and scrapple. Marie got a break cooking and everyone loved my food. First time making French toast. I let it sit overnight in the marinade. Gave the leftovers to Peter, he loved them too. Lunch was cream and kefir. Dinner was hamburger meat, roasted potatoes and garden fresh frozen peas, sour cream and sauerkraut.
2. Grain is the “worm on the hook” for cows. The only reason that they let me get “all up in there” is because they are happily munching on grain. It’s kind of like human females. If I show the cows a good time (dinner, dancing, etc) I’ll be getting some (milk) by the end of the night!
3. Marie was never afraid of the bull. She would run straight at him, grab the chain attached to his nose, etc. I was too much of a sissy.
4. Driving a fork lift is hard enough. Imagine driving a forklift attached to 3 horses!
5. The Amish are hardcore. The Amish don’t go to public school. Instead each community has their own one room schoolhouse. After 8th grade, the children are usually taken out of school to work at home and learn their family’s trade. In the early 1990’s the government began forcing Amish children to go to high school.
Albert said that they were sending Amish to jail over it. He said he had a little old lady neighbor who had 15 year old and an 8 year old. She refused to send them to school after 8th grade because she needed them to help around the house or they would starve. So they threw the old lady in jail and the 15 year old ended up taking care of the 8 year old. Albert gets calls every day from new people, “they want good food”. Never seen it grow like this, people want stuff that they have never had aaj (Aajonus) and Sally are doing best job, educating people.”