Wednesday, September 27, 2023

It's Been Awhile....

And it's going to be awhile longer....Our rig is mostly done, but waiting still for skirting parts which will be another two to three weeks. We haven't gone over to look at it, because Sparky has been busy subbing, and Eldo just finished his assistant coaching position  with his granddaughter with the high school girls' golf team, in which they qualified to be in the regionals--a wonderful finish for both coaches' first season.

Sparky is really enjoying teaching again....the kids for the most part have been really great, and she feels very welcomed in the schools. Finding enough substitutes each day is a real challenge in this area, so she is in demand. And she gets hugs, drawings, and little notes which are great. The drawing at the left was from a little third grader who got every detail down from what Sparky was wearing that day, from earrings to a brown fanny pack, badge, black capris, and athletic shoes.

Sparky is still riding the Pumpkinvine Bike Trail, it's the best one in the area and it's a wonderful trail to ride as the seasons change. Now, in late September, the asters are starting to peek through the fading summer coneflowers, ornamental grasses, and the leaves are starting to turn on the trail. A new portion/extension of the trail has been added near County Rd. 35 and County Rd. 20, it's been a couple of years in the making and that means that you no longer have to go out and ride two lane county roads for over a mile to get back to the portion of the trail that leads to Middlebury. It was always a little scary when construction trucks, garbage trucks and other speeding vehicles whizzed by you on the two lane roads as you got off one part of the trail to get back on the next part of the Pumpkinvine. On one ride, Sparky saw tomatoes for sale! They were delicious, the last ones off the vine this late in the year....

An old farm truck on the Vine

We took a trip one weekend to one of the local apple orchards, Kercher's. We were going to pick apples with the apple picking pole, but the crowds were enormous. So we just picked up some cider, enjoyed looking at the ample pumpkin and gourd selection, and went on our way. We will go visit another day during the week when it is not so busy. We are going to revisit Miller's Old Cider Mill, too, in Middlebury, where you can view an old original cider press being used by Mr. Miller and his family to press cider. Talk about fresh cider!

Sparky saw an Amish buggy for sale. It was around 2,000.00 for a closed one. That seems like a bargain when new ones can range from 4-10,000 dollars and the average is 9-10,000. The buggies have makes and models just like cars. Amish buggies can be more high tech than you think with automotive style brakes, a dash console with LED components and switches, taillights, and turn signals powered by cordless tool batteries. They are made from wood, metal, and/or fiberglass. The material used affects the price. Buggy accessories/choices include: plexiglass or no plexiglass, shapes and cushioning of seats, different types of brakes, upholstery materials, curtain doors, sliding doors, hinged doors in the back, some dashboards made from inlaid or exotic wood, and then there are a variety of lighting options. The cost of the horse is extra--figure around 3-12,000. Many Amish buy retired thoroughbred race horses, that's why you see such spirited, beautiful trotting by beautiful horses pulling buggies as you drive around the northern Indiana countryside near Elkhart, Middlebury, and Goshen. Even though Amish buggies are becoming more updated with more modern options, horse drawn transportation is still seen as a way to avoid the distractions and temptations of modern technology. According to some writers, the Amish are not all against technology, but only adopt something new after deciding that it won't drastically change their way of life, like solar panels! 

Each buggy takes about 100-150 hours of labor to make. There are two main types of buggies--open or closed. Open buggies are wagon like for hauling and shopping trips, sometimes referred to as a "hack", an equivalent to a pickup truck. A two seater is sometimes referred to as a "courting buggy". You can buy buggies as single, double--a two seater, or a queen which has one seat with extra storage behind the seat. The most common buggy is the surrey. They are built with a bench seat and a storage area in the back. Surreys come open or closed. Covered buggies are called top buggies. The newest version of the buggy is called the mini-surrey, which holds more passengers than the regular top buggy. Sounds almost like the Amish version of the minivan!

Did you know?....According to a well known Amish buggy maker... A good buggy maker will make a buggy so it collapses in a crash. Even if they did not, the entire buggy collapses if a wheel is damaged. You WANT to be thrown from a buggy. If car or truck weighing several tons crashes into you, being thrown is your best chance to survive. The buggy may be designed to splinter, eject, and throw the passengers and driver, hopefully into the grassy roadside. Living in this area, we hear of crashes more often than not, as buggies share the roads in this county with big semis, construction vehicles, and careless drivers who don't realize the hazards of driving and sharing the roads with the Amish and Mennonite communities. We have seen more than one crash directly as well, and it's always very upsetting to see that, as buggy injuries are usually more severe than car to car crashes and the horse is often the one to suffer the most.

What's coming up in the near future? We don't know....Golf season has ended and different holidays are nearing...maybe a day trip for foliage viewing in Michigan?....Festivals are always wonderful to see and there are plenty in the area.

That's it for now...thanks for following along and catching up with us...See you later!