My Thoughts About One of My Favorite Places--Northeastern Indiana's Amish Country

Monday, October 28, 2013

Buying a Dawdi Haus, Part Two

So as I said in my last post… My oldest and original Amish friends recently bought a Dawdi Haus.  They had been eying the “English” home next door for a number of years, and when it went up for sale, they bought it to use as their future retirement home.  Since I never show street-view photos of my friends’ houses, I’ll not make an exception here, so you’ll have to imagine a blue house on a hill, overlooking the old family dairy farm.

This is out of the norm in three ways:  Firstly, it is not on the home property—it is next door.  Secondly, it is presently an “English” house, not Amish.  Thirdly, they are not ready to retire; their youngest son is only fifteen.  They will rent the house out for a few years until they need it.

They bought the house from empty nesters who had let it go to rack and ruin, both inside and out.  They have already started the process of cleaning it out.  I saw it recently, and what a mess!  On the outside, they are going to build a small horse barn, but for now, they turned the small yard barn into a horse barn for their renters.  There is an in-ground pool that was in terrible shape, which they are filling in.  The gardens had been neglected for years.  The garage floor and part of the driveway had to be torn out, and their cement-contractor son-in-law is pouring a new floor, complete with a garage drain—which is useful when your ‘garage’ isn’t for cars, but for laundry days, canning, and other messy tasks.

The inside looks like it was done in the 1970s.  Lots of old carpet which will eventually be torn out; the Amish prefer linoleum.  (It’s hard to vacuum carpet when you don’t have plug-in electricity.)  Lots of dated built-ins that were topped with mouse poop.  A balcony which had been enclosed and now is home to hundreds of flies.  A tiny kitchen which will be a lot more Amish-friendly when a wall is knocked out. 

But the house has advantages.  It is large and roomy with lots of natural light, and it sits on a hill where it has beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.  It will be wonderful when it’s done.  And best of all, it’s next door to the old family farm.

So there’s lots to do, but they are up to the task.  Right now the house still has electricity; the Amish around here are allowed to take up to a year to remove the electricity from an English home they purchase, and in the meantime they are allowed to use it, so they can use power tools without having to hook up to a gas-powered generator.  I look forward to seeing their progress!

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