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

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Another Amish Wedding

A few months ago I attended my third Amish wedding.  This one was for a granddaughter of “Mrs. R.,” whom I talked about in another post, and that's how I got my invitation.  I’ve watched the happy bride (and her busy mother) get ready for this event all spring, and I looked forward to the big day!

An Amish wedding starts out with a regular Amish church service, which lasts about three hours.  Things began at 9 a.m. in the basement of the farm next door, which is the home of one of the bride’s aunts.  (This is where they hold church whenever it’s their turn to host it—about twice a year.)

The women sat on half a dozen benches on the right side of the entrance.  The men and older boys sat on benches on the left side. The young unmarried girls, along with the half dozen “English” guests such as myself, sat on the third side. The ministers sat in the center, with the couple and their two pairs of attendants.  One of the highlights of the service was the fact that the bride’s father was one of the two ministers who preached.

At about noon the regular service ended and the bride, groom, and their four attendants (or as they say, “witnesses”) stepped forward.  The bishop for their church district performed the short ceremony; only Amish bishops are allowed to perform Amish weddings.

Now the guests made their way from the wedding farm to the farm house next door, by way of a wood-chip path that had been laid down between the farms, just for the occasion.

The wedding dinner (actually a series of meals over the course of the of day) took place at the farm of the bride’s parents, shown below.  I was there for the first meal, which happened about 1:00 in a large building on the farm.  The bridal party sat on a raised table under a canopy of flowers.  The ten pairs of servers chosen by the couple served the food—being chosen as a wedding server is an honor.  There was a large tent set up nearby for the work of the cooks, and a third tent for the gifts.

 The Amish drink their coffee black.  I forgot about that fact, and asked one of the servers for some sugar and cream.  He looked baffled—which caused me to say, “Never mind!”  But a few minutes later, the mother of the bride came around with sugar and cream, which she had gone to the house to fetch, just for me. 

I left after the meal, but Amish wedding celebrations last all day.  There was a second meal sitting for those who weren’t invited to the ceremony due to lack of space; then a third sitting for the cooks and servers; then later in the day, the opening of gifts in a special tent; then in the evening, another meal sitting for the young unmarried people.  At many weddings, a game of volleyball occupies the teens in the afternoon, as the younger kids run around and play.

The wedding season ends about now (late October).  By the time I got around to writing this, the new couple are settled in their new home and, I hope, living Happily Ever After! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Winter Is Here

Saw this at a friend's house this morning... Time to bring in the winter firewood!

Many older Amish homes, like this one, are heated using firewood, coal, or wood pellets in a basement furnace. Newer Amish homes might be heated from a propane tank, or in some districts, perhaps even from the public natural gas utility.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Krider World's Fair Garden

Right down the road from our new Middlebury home, near downtown, is an enchanting place called the Krider World’s Fair Garden.  It’s a beautiful place to spend an hour or two, even without knowing the story behind it—but here's the story.

Krider Nurseries was an up-and-coming business early 1900s, and they had big dreams.  They created a display garden at the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair.  From the guest register at that display, they collected over 250,000 names and addresses—and using that list, Krider Nurseries became the biggest mail order nursery in the country.  They practically invented the concept!

After the World’s Fair was over, many of the plants and other features were brought back to Middlebury, and the display garden was recreated across the road from the nursery headquarters.  It served as a display garden for the retail business.

At Krider’s peak, in the 1940s and 1950s, they employed over 100 people.  They obtained the patent for the very first thornless rose, which they named “Festival.”  Krider’s shipped plants all over the United States and overseas.  But the rise of big box stores in the late 1900s signaled the end of the business.  Krider Nurseries closed their doors in 1990, and five years later, the family donated the garden to the Town of Middlebury.  It is a popular spot for outdoor weddings.

 The map below shows some of the main features of the garden.  Those marked with * were part of the 1930s World’s Fair display garden, either originals or reconstructions.

1 - The Dutch windmill *

2 - The quilt garden – one in a series of Elkhart County Quilt Gardens
3 - The toadstools *
4 - The Pergola and sunrise benches *
5 - The lily pond *
6 - The “Garden with a Cause”
7 - The English Tea House *
8 - The goddess of youth statue
9 - Three historical markers
10 - The mill house *
11 - The Krider Garden fountain (1935)
12 - The gazebo (2015)
13 - The rose garden
14 - The pavilion
15 - The rain garden
16 - Restrooms
17 - The historic 158-foot trestle bridge, part of the original Pumpkinvine Railroad and now part of the Pumpkinvine Bike Trail, which runs through the park.

Note:  This post was written in 2018.  I wrote another post in 2023 here, with an updated map.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Very Delicious Truck

This afternoon my husband parked his Silverado in a horse corral (he had a good reason) -- and his truck was covered with a dusting of ground-up animal feed from a stop earlier in the day -- and then this happened!...

After more horses gathered around, licking his truck, he finally had to get out and shoo them away, because one of them was trying to munch on his vinyl truck bed cover!