After the hottest summer in recent memory the Mid-Missouri Amish are now getting ready for winter and playing a little. After sleeping on the front porch for much of July and August these Old Order Amish have taken most the field corn from the fields and are finding time, to socialize, finish home projects and to spend some hard earn profits on next years enterprises.Eyeballing the Texas Range Cattle Texas cattle is flooding into the Midwest, range cattle is being trucked out of the frying pan called Texas where droughts and huge grass fires have reduced their feed and ability to survive. Amish farmers expect to spend more this winter to feed their adoptees and hope to double their investment from the butcher in March. Meanwhile Edward Yoder’s mother-in-law is moving in to help her daughter Millie, 34, with her eight kids and Edward is building a new store where Amish and English both will shop and enjoy the home baked goods and low salvage prices typical of Amish stores spread throughout the large community of maybe 200 Amish families.New Floor for the store. The Clark Missouri numbering more than 2000 souls, makes it the largest Old Order community in the United States and likely the strictest anywhere, except for a small sect of 200 in Orange County Indiana who can’t buy anything scanned with a bar code. Meanwhile another 50 new families have started up farms here near Clark, Missouri perhaps another 15-20 have joined up with Amish from Wisconsin and Iowa to create news colonies in Macon, Keytesville, LaPlata and Gibbs where they plan to farm, and grow new communities where they can escape some of their main colonies hardships and at the same time find good and cheaper farmland where their kids can buy land next door and grow old with mom and dad. Outside Macon Missouri at Ten Mile Corner, one new group allows their number to wear stocking caps and use snow guards on their buggies and to work in town every day, if they can find the work. The Clark Colony which started up slowly in the 1950’s is very prosperous and thriving. When kids reach the age of 17, on friday night all Amish youth gather somewhere to socialize and find someone to grow old together. Soon however there will be too many to fit in any room in the colony and they will have to divide them up in districts much like they do with schools and the colonies’ ten church districts. The community has grown prosperous from their produce and crafts auction which is getting bigger and bigger every year and the sawmills, lumberyards, metal and carriage shops have all the work they can handle. Quilts Sales at the 9th annual Craft AuctionSquash and Gourds are big sellers this time of the year. Still individuals busy themselves in the slower winter months making rugs, Amish dolls and quilts, cedar lawn furniture and made-to-order cabinets and fine furniture. In recent years, giant igloo cooler buildings have been built, so in winter, pond ice can sawed and stacked and then that cools perishables all summer long.This September view of last winter pond ice My favorite is the home-baked banana or wheat bread found in many of the farmhouse-based bakeries, like the saddle, clock or basket shops where seasonal produce like sweet corn, tomatos, onions and now pumpkin and squash can be purchased. Saddle and Harness Shop But the Tuesday and Friday produce sales, bring in English now by the droves to buy for themselves or nearby restaurants who cater to the organic market. Milk prices have been a godsend, many Amish have struggled with prices near $7.50 and some almost quit, before this fall’s prices tumbled down to $20 giving the whole community of dairy cows a new lease on life. Clark Amish have for a long time been hooked up with the milk industry, and have more than twenty refrigerated milk stations where they drop their milk so large trucks can pick it up and drive it out for sale. The cost and utilities of the milk stations is deducted from their profits but ownership belongs to outsiders. Still new convenience sneak-in, phone shacks have been added around the community who shun cars, pickups and tractors so the Amish can call out in emergency or lineup a ride to town, too far for a quick trip in a horse-drawn buggy. I recently attended an Amish auction where a 100 year old McCormick and Deering Combine sold for $5500. The Amish auctioneer noted that “this combine had many more years of use and was just getting broke in”, a real steal for someone. In addition to window frames, steel wheels, gates, levelers (for horse teams), canvas, buggy horses sold for $1450 down to $950, they had a grab bag. Two fine black and white heifers, had spent 30 days in the same pasture with a prize bull and as the auctioneer pointed out, it was highly likely a calf could greet the lucky buyer this spring–but who could say for sure. Those heifers brought almost a $1000, with the possibility of a two for one purchase. Personally, I was impressed by the pies, cakes and cobbler covered with homemade ice cream that the women folk had worked hard to sell and auction off to the several hundred Amish who came to shop and socialize.
IF YOU GO: The weekly produce auction is found from Columbia by taking Highway 63 North 20 miles to Highway 22 East (Collier’s Junction), then two miles to Highway Y North, continue on Highway Y approximately six miles to Auction on right. Cash is preferred.
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