I probably shouldn’t complain. It’s not like I’m the only person living in NJ or the polar vortex, for that matter. But when I heard that our weather is supposed to top out at 15% tomorrow…well…let the complaining commence.
Many of you know that, on Christmas, I went to Belize for a month with my children. My husband joined us for part of the trip, too. When we flew home, a snowstorm delayed us in Florida, of all places! Talk about good luck!
But now, here I am back in NJ and watching the weather channel with a growing sense of anxiety.
Simply put…I hate winter.
And it’s times like these when I have to really respect the Amish farmers and their families. On Sunday morning, it will be 5 degrees at 4am when many dairy farmers wake up to begin their day. By the time they are finished and head back inside their house to, hopefully, get some very hot coffee, it will be a balmy 4 degrees.
That’s right…1 degree colder than when they woke up!
This is my number one reason why I could not be an Amish farmer: getting up at 4am to milk cows on freezing cold winter mornings. Number two is the lack of Internet access but that’s a whole different story.
Certainly most of the families will stay home and not go visiting this weekend. Frankly, it’s too cold for the horses to be on the roads. Extreme weather like this can endanger a horse’s life.
So, what will they do all day?
The family that is fortunate enough to stay home—for some of them might have outside jobs that they still require them showing up—will most likely stay together in the main room of the house: the kitchen. Mother and daughters will bake cookies and bread while the father and sons will sit and play board games. Some of the favorite games that I have played with my Amish friends on lazy Saturdays and Sundays , include Scrabble, Rummikub, and different marble games.
And let me tell you…Amish people who play Scrabble take it very, very seriously. Egos must be checked at the door if you play Scrabble with an Amish man or woman…you will not win. Scrabble is not for the faint of heart in an Amish household.
It might surprise people to know that some Amish people play musical instruments. On my recent trip to Ohio, I learned that some communities are very musically inclined. That differs from my experience in Pennsylvania where I had never thought about Amish playing musical instruments. In the communities where I stayed, it was simply not permitted. Yet, a few years ago, one of my friend’s pulled a harmonica out of a drawer and began to play. With her foot stomping the floor in rhythm to the music, she played beautiful, upbeat, and rather fancy music. When I asked her about it, I learned that Amish youth sometimes played instruments up until their baptism and then, secretly, they continue afterwards. It’s all permitted unless the bishop finds out (wink, wink).
Cooking. Games. Music. Not a bad way to spend the winter. In fact, that’s basically what I did with my children when we were in Belize: I cooked while they played games as we all listened to music. I suppose one of the big differences, however, is that no one in my house will be awake at 4am to milk the cows…although Marc will have to leave at 7am to tend to our horses at the barns.
Hmmmm…maybe I could be an Amish farmer after all. Or at least an Amish farmer’s wife…Just as long as I’m not the one milking the cows in 5 degree weather!