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

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hope "Springs" Eternal

          I'm confident that if we tell ourselves often enough, Spring really will return to greet us.
          But optimism is tough in these frozen and trying times.
          It's 8:30am and the thermometer is hovering at one degree.
          That's ONE above zero.  It's a heat wave.
          Last Monday's low was minus 17.  Tuesday's was minus 15.  The rest of the week was little different.
          Then there's the snow.  Of course it's not too bad so long as you don't have to go anywhere.
          Including outdoors.
          Son Alan and Granddaughter Liz stopped in for a visit yesterday and spent  the afternoon snowmobiling around the farm.  Reminded me of the 70s, when I painstakingly installed 1,100 hex-headed screws in a pair of dirt bike (off-road motorcycle) tires.
          Equipped with those tires, my Yamaha TT500 would go anywhere . . . until the snow depth exceeded about 10 inches.  Most fun were frozen lakes, like Lake Harmony near Orrville and Lake St. Clair, east of Detroit.  There's nothing like throwing a bike sideways at about 50 mph while the spinning spiked tire spits out shaved ice.
          Jonas observed that, "My children have finally found out what an old-fashioned winter is like."  The Amish youngsters have been sledding and skating at every opportunity.  They're eager to finish their chores early so then can hit the slopes or the nearest pond.
          They borrowed a small skid loader a couple years ago to clear snow from the ice but that idea's been shelved.  Although they are wonderful farm tools, skid loaders concentrate an inordinate amount of weight on a relatively small footprint, which could be a recipe for disaster on a skating pond. 
A few wise adults who happened to notice the creative snow-clearing process, were quick to put the kibosh on skid-loaders-on-ice. 
Since then, it's been back to snow shovels and elbow grease.
However . . . there have been rumors of a pony being lured onto the ice to tow a snowplow contraption of 2x8 lumber. 
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