Sunday, July 29, 2012

Could you live without electricity like the Amish?

I’ve always wondered if I could live without electricity, like the Amish. Well, we lost our power for three days due to a thunderstorm: three long days. Yes, the days seemed lengthened without electricity. Time slowed down…as well as my mind.

After we got batteries for our flashlights, candles, etc. Tim and I looked at each other? Now what? But our son and daughter-in-law soon knocked on the back door, asking how we were (they live in back of us). We soon started chatting longer than usual. It reminded me of the Walton’s, and it was simply charming.
After an hour, they went back to their place. Tim and I read a lot at night, but we looked at each other: Our Kindles are dead! Did we have to read the old-fashioned way? Turning pages in a book is so….cumbersome. But I got out my Jan Karon book I’d been meaning to read, and by candlelight started  In the Company of Others: A Father Tim Novel . Karon helps us celebrate the simple things in life, so the book starts out with Father Tim and his wife Cynthia arriving at an inn in Ireland, and the power is off due to a storm. How ironic! They read by candlelight and talked into the night, relishing time together.

Karon always helps me see the charm in everyday life. So I looked for it over the next few days, as we lived without electricity. Without the distraction of the internet, (We don’t watch television, but I love watching things on YouTube or gabbing on Facebook) I closed my eyes to listen to the many birds at my birdfeeders. But I heard cows! I told my husband, and he said with a cocked eyebrow “There's cows down the road...” I’d never noticed them before. I see them all the time, but was thrilled to hear them moo. Then a rustling sound, a clanking. No way! I could always here the train whistle two miles away, but the boxcars? That was baffling because I love farm country and railroads, and to think that over the past 15 years I’d missed the sound of cows and the railroad. Tim said he hadn’t noticed how loud the crickets were. I hadn’t noticed them at all.

Over the next few nights, Tim and I lit all the candles we owned to make a brilliant light over our breakfast nook as we played 500 Rummy. Was it my imagination, or was it more fun? More romantic? (Tim had a winning streak, so I know for sure I need glasses…something else I noticed ;) And we talked, read Psalms out loud, talked about life. We were Father Tim and Cynthia.

We could have gone to stay at my sister’s place during this time, and I’m sure it would have been fun. But Tim and I lived “off-the-grid” for a reason. And it wasn’t to see if we could be like Marge and Joe in my fictional Amish Friends Knitting Circle Series No, we seriously needed to know if we could handle having a camp without electricity. We bought 15 acres of land in Smicksburg, PA, from an Amish friend, and hopefully next summer we’ll have a small cabin. These past three days helped us see that living without power makes time stand still, and who doesn’t want more time? We’ll be foregoing the electricity while at camp….and I really believe I could live without electricity like the Amish… as long as I had a place to charge my Kindle and laptop ;)


Friday, July 6, 2012

Do Amish women giggle? Do they have a sense of humor?

I got a one star review for Amish Knitting Circle 8 months ago, stating:

“characters that were not believable... from giggling grannies to very angry Amish characters. Their emotions jumped from happy and giggling to anger to fretful to anger and back to giggling.”

I just shake my head, because the series it’s about 6 women, so they would have varying emotions, but the part about giggling? Are there people who think Amish women don’t double over laughing?

Well, today I got a letter from my friend, Ida, who made me laugh, fret, then giggle, and then back to laughing. If you think Amish women are serious, somber and stoic…let me share with you parts of Ida’s letter. She starts out with:

“Here I am finally answering your letter! Isn’t this just terrible J I’m very sorry and hope you will forgive me J (She made funny looking smiley faces with huge eyes)

She has a paragraph of small talk about her husband and twelve children, but then goes right into shopping:

Today I go to Punxsy to buy groceries. I pay a taxi to take me, wish you’d be the one taking me, I haven’t forgotten our shopping trip! J (Really big eyes in smiley face) I love auctions, flea markets and yard sales J If we go to town, we stop at every garage sale we see. Saturday, (a week ago) we went to Blairsville to that big Flea Market and it was so much fun! Now I’d like to go to ______ of course, now I can’t think of the name but it’s up there near Spartensburg. I do a lot of my Christmas shopping like that since I have 12 kids other friends and relatives. It can get very expensive so I’m always watching my money $  J

Then she went on to tell me about her quilts:

Mom sent for more batting, but it felt too soft to handle etc. I was very disappointed in it cuz you can’t make fine even stitches, and hopefully the lady that owns the quilt isn’t fussy L (Here she has a big frowning mouth)

The problem with the batting was that they got a bad batch. It happens, but they had a deadline on this one quilt. All her quilts are exquisite. But she went on to say how hard it is to sell quilts now etc. and other personal things. She was actually fretting, and asking me advice on where to sell, etc. Then she reminds me that she still doesn’t have a copy of my book Knit Together that I promised to drop off at the store, seeming a tad bit ticked off, since it’s been over 2 months since I gave my word…hint, hint…but then she lightens right up again:

My garden is doing pretty good. We have radishes, onions, some early tomatoes, squash & lettuce. I have all this stuff in my garden because I want to lose some this unwanted fat! L (BIG FROWNING FACE HERE) I went on a 3 week diet and lost 20 lbs. which I was very pleased, but now I want to lose another 20.

Ida is an herbalist, and she tells me the herbs her family is taking:

I have an order to send out for some herbs and I want to make a ginseng tincture for Joe (her husband) That’s all he’ll takes. NO PILLS! And I want to make “Malissa Supreme” for the children. It’s for their brains. Helps their learning – like school children. (She has teenagers who are out of school, since Amish only go to eighth grade, so she’s saying her teens’ brains need some help ;)

She ends by saying:

Well here I am still scribbling, but I could go on and on, talking would be so much better! Love and God Bless, Ida.

Ida is a spunky Amish woman and went through a gamut of emotions in this four page letter, but notice the humor. She really cracks me up. She wants to be a character in one of my books. She said, “Don’t use my real name, but you could use Iva…sounds similar.” So, in Amish Friends Knitting Circle, she’s Iva, and I have to say, I use lines she comes up with. I sure don’t have to go far for material. And for fans of Amish Knitting Circle, Ida is the granddaughter of Granny Weaver…although Deborah Weaver is not Granny’s real name. So, Ida takes after her grandma, an apple that doesn’t fall far from the tree…since Granny Weaver’s a giggling granny…