Saturday morning I headed up to the Berlin Community Park, in Berlin, Ohio, to set up our Amish Country Pics booth at the Berlin Bluegrass and Arts/Crafts festival. After I finished setting up, I proceeded over to the German Village IGA to pick up a gift card at The Gospel Bookstore. As soon as I got inside, I ran into the “mayor of Berlin”, Eli (Small) Hochstetler, also the owner of The Gospel Bookstore. Small was having another one of his book signings at the store. Lester Beachy was on hand to sign his just-released book, “Our Amish Values – Who we are and what we believe”. Small introduced me to Lester and we started “sharing stories”. Lester grew up in “Limpytown”, a place near Walnut Creek, barely large enough to be called a town. My mom, Marie Erb (Schrock), lived in Limpytown for a while when she was a young Amish girl. Lester knew my Grandpa Erb and had at one time rented an apartment in Berlin from my Uncle Dan Erb. We also discovered we had a cousin in common, Floyd Mullet, of Sugarcreek. I was related to Floyd on “one side” of the family and Lester was related on the “other side”. Learning these family and community connections happens all the time in Holmes County. There are so many connections, you just keep “learning” new ones. [Read more…]
A number of weeks ago, my wife, Wanda, worked longer than normal at the Walnut Hills Nursing Home in Walnut Creek, Ohio. It was National Nursing Home week and she helps create events and activities for the nursing home residents. In the past she has also worked at the Walnut Hills Retirement Home which is adjacent to the nursing home. Walnut Hills has an excellent reputation in the community as a place that provides excellent care. Every summer Wanda and I enjoy attending the employee’s picnic and the “summer gathering” event that is held for families of residents. These events are well planned and executed and we always look forward to going. [Read more…]
Wanda and I stayed at Ferngully Creek Cabins recently and we had an awesome experience. Ferngully is set in a beautiful wooded setting off Holmes County Township Road 319, right in the heart of Ohio Amish Country. Though very secluded and private, the property is only several miles from both Berlin and Millersburg, Ohio. We stayed for two nights but wish we could have spent a whole week here. We arrived the first night after dark. We loved our cabin the minute we opened the door. The ambiance, at night, created by the well-placed, subdued lighting was exceptional. We stayed in The Cherry Blossom cabin which was well-furnished, immaculate and beautifully decorated.
“My history is in publishing,” Joy Schrock begins, telling how she entered the business world over thirty years ago. She began her career working with her father and says she “absolutely loved it, gaining really, really good formalized training over the course of the next decade.” Joy’s father, the late John E. Schrock, added other ventures to the family partnership, building a hotel, a restaurant, and a fitness center in their hometown, Berlin, Ohio. When her father asked for her help with the flagging businesses she left publishing behind and set to work, reorganizing and building new teams of employees, finally turning a profit in her third year.
Success came with a heavy price. “I was working seven days a week, nonstop. That’s what those businesses required to be successful,” Joy says. Even though her successful team-building eventually allowed her more leisure time, her father, whom she describes as “very much an entrepreneur” was acquiring more businesses and bringing them to her to “fix them.” It was a cycle that continued “over and over again.” [Read more…]
Most Amish young people finish their formal education at the eighth grade. They are legally exempted from compulsory schooling beyond that, unlike the general population. Now there is another option for those who would like more. The East Holmes School system in conjunction with Buckeye Joint Vocational School provides a program for those between the ages of 14 to 22 years who wish to add a practical knowledge of business to their repertoire.
Amy Stauffer-McNutt’s enthusiasm is clear to see as she talks about the forty to fifty students she teaches throughout the school year in the detached classrooms beside the Berlin Grade School. She describes her career path as a twisting one that eventually “led me to a job I love!” She feels God brought her to this place doing something for which she has passion, to help young people be ready for their entry into the work force.
Several weeks ago, in Coshocton county, I ran across a system of feeder lines and a collection tank that are used to collect sap from maple trees. So today I was delighted when I inadvertently ran across a small operation that takes the sap, cooks it down into maple syrup, and bottles it for retail sale. I found this maple syrup operation in full swing when I drove a couple of Amish ladies and children from Berlin to a farm east of Walnut Creek, Ohio. I love the name of this Amish owned business: TAP-TAP MAPLE. The owners are brothers, Josiah and James Mast. [Read more…]
There are still a few places where laundry is dried on the line, fresh with the scent of whatever is wafting by on the breeze. Pinecraft, Florida, a place filled with rows and rows of tiny, white clapboard houses is one such place. What was once a quiet little community on the edge of Sarasota is now surrounded with four-lane highways; as the city expanded it eventually completely surrounded it. But Pinecraft remains a distinct entity even so. Like a timeless bubble of nostalgia.
The residents of Pinecraft are mainly Amish and Mennonite, or are descended from those unique people groups. Cars and trucks whizz by on the busy thoroughfares surrounding the quiet little lanes that crisscross the community [Read more…]