Amish Country Journal

Reports and musings from Indiantree Farm, in Holmes County, Ohio -- the largest Amish community in the world. See more about author Larry D. Miller and Amish Country at

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Keep an eye on our covered bridge, will you?

Want to watch a covered bridge being built? You can watch it online.

The county is building a covered bridge on the south side of Walnut Creek, at the bottom of the hill as you head toward the Mennonite Church. Someone thought it would be good for tourism, and we can't argue with that. (Imagine the photo possibilities as buggies emerge from an old-time covered bridge!)

Someone thought it would be a good idea if people could watch the construction on County Road 145, so they installed a webcam, and you can see it on the county engineer's web site.

It's Sunday, and it's raining, so there's not much to look at today. I just saw a bird fly over the idle equipment.

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Spring is busting out all over on Indiantree hill

Yesterday, the pear tree in the side yard had green buds. Today, it's a tree full of flowers.

Several weeks ago, we spent a couple of days pruning our orchard of apple, pear, peach and cherry trees. We also ravaged the grape vine planted by our ancestors. It pains us to cut it back so hard, but it seems to like it. It made for some amazing grape jelly last year -- and some grape pies to die for.

Now, the grass is greening up. The pasture is lush, awaiting the day very soon when neighbor Jonas will turn his cows and horses loose on grass that grows inches overnight.

Jonas was planting in his field beyond the pasture on Saturday, standing tall on the back of his planter as he drove his team up and down the hillside.

On our side of the fence, we planted 50 Christmas trees on Saturday. Most are no bigger than a pencil, and fuzzy like a squirrel's tail. They're tasty morsels for deer, so we made 50 cages to protect the tender seedlings from the four-legged, doe-eyed vermin that have ravaged so many other tender shoots on the farm. Seven years from now, if we're lucky, we'll have trees tall enough for our family to cut and decorate.

Smell the sawdust... and the pies baking

Friends tell us it's been a little cramped in the Der Dutchman dining room this winter as work on a larger bakery pushed a temporary bakery into dining-room space.

But the construction is winding down, and the bakery should be moving into its new, larger space within the next few weeks.