What do the Amish do during the winter?
This is a great question. When most of us think about “Amish,” we think farmers. However, in more congested areas like Lancaster County and Holmes County, many Amish people work outside of the house. There simply is not enough affordable land for all Amish people to be farmers. So, for the most part, the Amish do whatever they normally do in the other seasons: They work.
However, I suspect that might not really answer your question completely. 😉 So, let’s explore it further.
Many of the elderly Amish folks are not working anymore. Perhaps they are retired or they have turned over their farms to younger sons. There are many widowed women who are not part of the workforce. What about them?
THIS is a much more interesting question. There are communities in Florida where many of the Amish travel to spend the winter. I’m referring specifically to the Amish of Lancaster County as I’m not 100% certain if Holmes County Amish do the same thing. Other Amish people who do not have access to a home in the Pinecraft (or other) communities might travel to warmer locations. Young people will also take vacations and travel. When we were in Belize during the month of December and January last year, we saw TONS of young Amish people from both Lancaster and Holmes Counties. We spoke to many of them and they were on rumschpringe. They wore their regular Amish clothes and spent the days bicycling, touring, and enjoying exotic food.
For the record, at no point time did I see any of those young folks misbehaving–although they did rent motorbikes and one gal got into an accident, hurt her nose. Overall, they were just having a good time in Belize during the cold months at home.
Several of the elderly people that I know in Lancaster either own homes in Pinecraft or know people who own homes. Hired vans are available for people to travel to Florida–whether in large groups or collections of individuals. When they travel to Pinecraft, they will usually stay for two or more weeks. It’s a long drive to just travel for a few days.
Back at home, farmers need to keep tending to the animals on their farms. Manure might be spread in the fields so that the ground can absorb new nutrients. Farmers might also till the ground in preparation for an early spring planting. Fence lines will be fixed and the barn might be spruced up. And, of course, with the extra time in the day, farmers will undoubtedly visit with neighbors and friends. The women still have regular chores, too. Houses need to be cleaned, meals prepared, clothing washed. But they, too, will have extra time on their hands. Many women will host special gatherings for their women friends. They might quilt, crochet, or knit while enjoying each others’ company.
Winter is a special time for the Amish. Even those that work non-Amish jobs have more time to relax in the evenings since there are no yards or gardens to tend or outdoor projects to occupy time. For the most part, winter is a time of spending more time in each others’ company, whether at home or away from home. Personally, I think that’s a great example for all of us to follow!
Thanks again for your question and I encourage other people to send their questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hugs and blessings,