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… and who said the Amish were boring?

For those of you just starting to read of my Adventures In Amish-Land, here is the story so far … with links to the other appropriate tongue-in-cheek stories.

First – I live in an area that has a more than adequate Amish population. We all live in peaceful co-existence. Usually.

Second, it is OK to take pictures of the Amish … but only if they aren’t posing. I think their souls are pretty much still intact … but I may have compromised an Amish Hat or two, though.

Third, sometimes the difference between their lives and ours is immense. Sometimes, not so much.

The Amish have put a metal roof on my house … replacing the one with holes and leaks. And they worked in the dark, too.

Most recently they built a shed to go with the roof. Again, metal was the key ingredient.

Which brings us to today. And I thought there could be no more cool Amish Stories.

Silly Me.

Start wth a call from Jacob the Metal Roof guy. “You know I need to put on those Snow Birds. How about today?”

The only Snow Birds I had ever heard of involved pasty white Northerners flying South to Florida for the Winter.

But it turns out there are little metal bird-like items which need to go on the roof to keep the snow and ice from sliding off and destroying the gutters and downspouts.

Well that would explain the loud booming noises I have been hearing each time the snow falls around here.

“If you can come and pick me up” said the Amish Man With No Car “I can show you our Ice Tree.”

A brief explanation involving hoses, ladders and trees followed. I didn’t want to be the one to tell him that the temperature had risen to over fifty … and the ice on all the trees around here had melted long ago.

amish ice treeBut he seemed excited to show me. So I pulled on my snow boots … you never know out in the country … and off I went to pick up the Snow Bird Man … and see his ice tree.

Sure enough, there in the field beyond the fence, across from the house, stood a tree with a ladder.

And the most amazing display of frozen ice on a tree that I have ever seen.

“We go up on the ladder with the hose … and let the water flow down over the tree.” he explained. I did not ask how the water got into a hose without any electricity for a water pump.

I seem to recall something about water flowing off the mountain behind the house.

“Does this ice tree thing have a formal name?” I asked … thinking it would make a cool blog entry title. You know “Icenfreezer” or “Coldbegotten” or something Amish-y like that.

“No” he said “But we do take blocks of the ice and put them in the cold store.”

And the logic clicked. They make artificially large chunks of ice … then use them in a sub-basement or root cellar to keep food cool.

Ingenious, these Amish.

And I thought this would make a cool (no pun intended) blog entry for the day.

Little did I know.

Winding our way down the road, we started up the long narrow lane to his brother’s house … and several other houses.

Suddenly he said “Stop! Pull over there on the left by the green barrel. I want to show you something I think you will like.”

So out we went and began a quick walk down a somewhat long wide snow-covered series of steps.

amish cave (5)Thoughts of Amish Axe-Murderers notwithstanding, I followed Jacob down the walkway for a while .. and saw the most amazing frozen waterfall.

Although it would have been breathtaking in the summer, the frozen glory amish cave (8)was stunning.

The water beneath it flowed into a quickly rushing river … the sound was almost deafening.

Following the water downstream, it flowed quickly over some rocks and rushed into … a cave.amish cave (2)

Lamish cave (4)ooking closely at the mouth of the cave, you could see icicles which seemed to be growing up … out of the small river toward the sky.

“Those are icicles” he proudly exclaimed. “But they go the other way since they freeze from the water dripping from the rocks above.”amish cave (7)

Well that would explain it, I guess.

amish cave (6) “And that crease of rocks over there is filled with water coming down off the hill when the spring thaw happens.”

“When the water gets lower you can walk into the mouth of the cave … maybe five hundred feet or so.” he pointed out. 

“I see all the water going into the cave … and it is all quite beautiful … but where does it come out?” I asked.

Oh, that’s further up the road … let’s go and I will show you.”

So off we sloughed up the slush covered steps back to the car.

“I thought you might like some pictures of this” he said. He knows I like to take pictures of wonderful things in nature.

He does not know about blogging.

A short stretch down the road we came to a part that I would have otherwise driven past … not to be confused with the cave which I would never have found otherwise.

 “Stop there” he said.

And to my left I saw yet another stunning cave … with a small river flowing out.

amish cave (1) amish cave (3)

They say to find a native to show you the real treasures, and that was proving to be the case today.

But there is more.

Oh yes … there is.

At this point, we went back down the road, up the lane, around the trees until we came to a small unpaved road going up the hill.

Holly then foolishly drives her car up to the barn-shed enclosure. You know where this is going, right?snowbird

I was busy admiring the two Amish carts and a buggy sheltered in the structure … wondering what was in the enclosed room at either end. Probably an office or tack room or something.

At the top of the hill, Jacob jumps out of the car … walks to the barn-like structure … and returns with a box of snow birds.

Safety device for houses in snow country, these Snow Birds were attached to the
roofing to keep snow from sliding down onto unsuspecting guests or pets.

He jumped back in the car and I went to make a large turn to leave … and got stuck in the mud.

Hopelessly, hopelessly stuck in the mud.

I tried rocking the car. I tried turning the steering wheel. I tried low gear.

“Doesn’t this car have four-wheel drive?” he asked incredulously.

Yeah … lots of luxury Hondas have four wheel drive.

“No I don’t.” I replied “Maybe if you can put some wood or something under the front wheels I can back out.”

“I’ll get the gravel and put that under the front wheels” he said.

I had forgotten how much fun it is being with a headstrong man. And he doesn’t even drive a car.

Several shovels full of gravel … pushing by him … sliding sideways further into the mud … and the car still had no success.

“Maybe you can get someone else from the barn?” I suggested.

“There is nobody in the barn” he replied. “I’ll get the horse.”

The. Horse.

“I don’t see a horse.” I said. I also did not even see a place where a horse might be hidden.

One Horsepower.

Great.

Out galumphed a big old brown work-horse … complete with old-style harness for pulling things … like wagons and buggies and plows.

Amish may not believe in electricity and whatnot … but it appears they believe in carbiners and thick nylon rope.

amish horse (1) amish horse (2) amish horse (3)

Who knew?

“Does he have a name?” I asked as I held him still … it always helps when you are hooking up a horse to a car bumper.

“He may, but I do not know what it might be,” he answered.

Like I didn’t feel stupid enough as it was.

Fighting the earworm “… been through the desert on a horse with no name …” I jumped back into the car … highly doubting his ability to pull me out.

In no time flat, the nameless horse pulled my car out of the mud and back onto firmer driveway.

I was stunned. And grateful.

Getting back in the car, I feebly said to Jacob “Well, sometimes the old way is the best.”

“Yes,” he replied. “We have done this before. It takes four horses to pull out a dump truck.”

Good to know.

On calling Linda later, I said “Did you know a single horse can pull a car out of the mud?”

“Of course” she replied. “A cow works just as well … but goats are not strong enough.”

I didn’t ask.

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