Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Busy Summer

The first summer in Somerset County was very busy. Not only were we trying to get our 15 acres to look better, there was a large garden to take care of, a new 1 acre strawberry patch to start and keep weeded. We also were adding a large L shaped addition to the house that was almost twice as big as the house was right now. The blue back porch was torn away a number of fruit trees and lilac bushes removed and a neighbor came over with his bulldozer and started digging away at the ground behind the house to make a basement. John, David, and I enjoyed watching as the earth was moved from the ever increasing hole in the ground to a big pile in the pasture.

Once it was finally deep enough Daddy dug a footer by hand and the cement truck came. Uncle David came to help pour the concrete for the footer and then the basement floor. As soon as the cement had dried we played on it with our wagon. Daddy did the cement work, laying the blocks etc by himself. He gave John and me each a small tool to smooth the concrete that showed between the blocks. Once the walls were too high for us to reach he did it by himself.

Once the blocks were all laid we had a frolic to get the floor, walls and roof on. We soon learned that the Somerset Amish were true to their farming roots and really had no idea what to do unless they were told. It was a very frustrating day with only a fraction of the things done that we had been hoping to get accomplished in one day.

Once chore time came and everyone went home to milk their cows Enos Lee stayed behind a little longer and offered that his oldest son could help out as long as Daddy needed him. We were very glad to accept the offer. The following days Edwin would arrive right after breakfast and help with what ever Daddy had planned. The addition progressed slowly, there were quite a number of days that nothing was done at it until evenings because there were lots of other frolics going that summer and Daddy always went. One was to build a new school house and the other one was to build a church house.

The church house was painfully slow in getting built since most of the older men thought it had to be built exactly like the ones in the other districts that had been built in 1881. They had a big fuss about finding square nails and old windows and who knows what kind of siding. They finally compromised somehow and our church house got vinyl siding and normal nails. But they managed to find old windows somewhere and ancient stoves to heat it. Daddy used to come home from a frolic at the church house and when Mom asked him how his day went he would just shake his head. We children knew they wouldn't talk about it in front of us but if we managed to stay awake long enough we could hear them talk about everything once they thought we were asleep.

Our addition finally got done and we move our kitchen sink and cupboards into our new kitchen. It looked strange with it's bright orange counter top since there were no matching orange doors and walls any longer. We also had a large pantry now and so the refrigerator could be moved in from the front porch and into the pantry. The rule in the Somerset Amish is that you can not have a refrigerator in your kitchen. So for seven months we had to go outside whenever we needed something. It seemed really nice to have it indoors once again.

There was a nice sewing room at the one end of the addition. A really big kitchen and then a cement porch. The porch was supposed to be turned into a laundry room in the future but for now it was an exciting place to play since it was almost ten feet off the ground and had no railings.

Our old kitchen was turned into the master bedroom. So now I had a room of my own upstairs and no longer had to sleep in the hallway. It seemed really great. The new school house was done too and John and I were looking forward to starting back in a few weeks. The church house still wasn't completed but we were looking forward to that too. I had never been inside of a church house before and could hardly wait to see how it would seem.

21 comments:

  1. Can I ask why your family was allowed to have a fridge, but not in the kitchen?

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  2. Re @ Mama Hen:

    I have no idea why you couldn't have a refrigerator in the kitchen, except that was one of the church rules which had to be obeyed by everyone not just our family.

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  3. Thanks for visiting my blog today! I am intrigued by this post... I'll be back for sure and am now going to wander around in your past entries. Have a nice day :)

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  4. "We children knew they wouldn't talk about it in front of us but if we managed to stay awake long enough we could hear them talk about everything once they thought we were asleep."

    Now, THERE'S a universal childhood truth! :-)

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  5. Your posts are so fascinating, I really enjoy reading them.
    Sunny :)

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  6. How very interesting your tales are, I could read them over and over.

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  7. How very interesting your tales are, I could read them over and over.

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  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I've enjoyed reading your childhood memories and will enjoy browsing through your past posts!

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  9. In answer to the question of why you were allowed a fridge but not in the kitchen, was/is so the kitchen still looks plain Amish instead of worldy "English".

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  10. An interesting post, I enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing your memories.

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  11. Thanks again for sharing this story. So fascinating!

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  12. I love hearing stories about building houses and buildings and such. We designed and built our house and barn and I just love to build.

    Hugs,
    Angela

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  13. I love hearing stories about building houses and buildings and such. We designed and built our house and barn and I just love to build.

    Hugs,
    Angela

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  14. Having a "frolic" to build a house or barn sounds like a wonderful idea. I guess the disadvantage is that some of the neighbors, as in your case, might not have a clue what they're doing!
    I like how your dad let the kids have a tool to smooth out the concrete.

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  15. Just curious about your mention of building a church house. That is one of the only times I have heard of Amish having a meeting house instead of meeting in homes.

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  16. I was going to say the same thing as "Farmwife" above about having a church house - or rather, ask the same thing. Sometimes I wish my refrigerator wasn't in my kitchen - then my kids might not go in there as much and it might stay clean a little longer (maybe that's the REAL Amish reason!!) HA HA Have a good weekend ~ ♥

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  17. o boy i think i stumpeld opon treasure. i found u via imperfect housewife. i will definitly be back to catch up on all your posts but for now i need to hang out some clothes. waa the dryer broke, actually i'm not whining, i do enjoy the satisfaction of hanging out clothes.

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  18. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm now following your blog and can't wait to continue to receive your updates.

    A Sister Through Christ
    ~Michaila

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  19. Mama Hen, I can't say for sure, and I believe rules vary from community to community. At one time we lived close to an Amish community and became friends with some of them. They once told us that they need to keep things somewhat "inconvenient" because to have everything handy would make them lazy.

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  20. Hello neighbor! I live just a short jaunt over in Blair County, right in the heart of Mennonite country. My dad was raised plain,(although not mennonite nor amish) but they did own a car and have electricity.

    I'll be looking forward to reading more about life as a former Amish. :)

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  21. This is all so fascinating, and you are teaching us a lot about the Amish.

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Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.