|The Commons in Mesopotamia|
Most of the Amish in Ohio are in Holmes County and areas south of Wooster, Ohio, but there are a lot of Amish who live and farm in Middlefield and Mesopotamia, Ohio. Both of those Amish communities are not much more than fifteen miles north of me. Because the cost of land has increased in those areas since a lot of people from Cleveland have moved out into these areas, into a township north of me and now some Amish have moved south and there are several Amish families close to me in my township now. Several families live less than a mile down the road on a side road. Because the Amish have church in their homes or barns every other Sunday, the Amish families in horse and buggies go past my house. Maggie, either from the front window in my living room if she’s inside or beside my house if she’s outside barks at them, probably because she thinks horses don’t belong on the road.
Eli Miller was the first Amish I became acquainted with. He had a tack shop in the Mesopotamia commons where I went to buy tack for my horses. He was a very friendly and nice man. One night when my husband and I were at an auction in Middlefield, we sat next to Eli. When the auction was over, whoever he came with must have left without him so we took him home.
|Sugarloaf Nursery my favorite nursery.|
There are other Amish I’ve enjoyed visiting with, too. My brother Phil gives my sisters and me sizeable gift certificate for Bluestone Perennials in Madison, Ohio at Christmas so on the first Saturday of May the three of us go there to use them, but first we stop at Sugarloaf Nursery in Parkman, Ohio just about 8 miles northwest of me on a side road. An older Amish woman and her husband have four greenhouses and the shop, and the woman was always glad to see us as we chatted away about flowers and vegetable plants. My sisters always bought plants from them, and I’d buy maybe only one or two because I lived close enough to come back the following week while my sisters lived too far south and with all the plants the three of us buy, there wouldn’t be room for them in the back of whoever’s car we were riding in. In the last few years her teenage granddaughters have taken over at the sales desk. We always stop at an Amish farm bakery just down the road, too, when we leave there, and we each buy something good like homemade bread or something sweet like cookies or sweet rolls.
|This is not anywhere near me.|
Although I haven’t met the families slightly south of me, I have met Levi Eicher, who lives a few miles north of me and is the blacksmith for my ponies. I have to drive to his house to pick him up, and several times he was out back working so his wife invited me in to wait for him. She found out that I write mysteries and said she loved reading them so I gave her a copy of my first book The Blue Rose and signed it to her. Another time I hired their teenage daughter to clean my house, too.
I shop at Aldi’s and on certain days there are lots of Amish women in there with their little ones. We have what are called Amish Taxis - people with vans or large SUVs who bring them shopping and they really pile their carts high with groceries. I love their little ones. They are so adorable.
About ten years or so ago, at the Buckeye Book Fair in Wooster, Ohio, I met Karen Harper, who writes several series about the Amish as well as some stand-alone books. She lives in Columbus, Ohio and Naples, Florida. Because she was interested in the Amish she often visited their area and would visit their shops in the small towns and ask questions of them which they nicely answered. I fell in love with her books, and only recently I have started to reread them because it’s been so long since I finished them.
And then there’s Linda Castillo’s books which I blogged about a while ago. She’s written at least seven Amish mysteries. I first met her when she gave a talk at the Hudson Library where Amanda Flower is the librarian. She lives in Texas with her husband, but I think she mentioned that she had lived for a while in the Amish area not too far from Columbus. Her books seem so real to the area that I think she did live near there. I was fascinated listening to her and bought the first three books in her Amish series and fell in love with them.
Amanda Flower also writes an Amish series. She’s a member of my NeoSinc chapter of Sisters in Crime. I’ve read and enjoyed hers, too, but like mine the murders aren’t quite as bloody. They’re much more in a very cozy nature.
|This is not Lavinia but I picture her like this.|
Also, I read a weekly column written by Lovina Eicher, an old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She lives in southeastern Michigan, and is the co-author of three cook books. She writes about her family and what’s going on. She’s a grandmother now, too. I love reading her columns.
I just started my tenth book a month ago and because of Christmas, etc. I haven’t gotten too far with it yet, but because it takes place in a fictional town in Northeast Ohio, I have decided to add two Amish families to it. I’ve already written their bios. Now that all my Christmas decorations are down and taken out to the garage by the barn, maybe I’ll have more time to get back to the book, a March book since I’m going by the months. Right now t’s called Daffodils in March and I’ve already murdered my first person in a prologue which is the first prologue I’ve written in any of my books.
Note: Except for the first picture I took in Mesopotamia at the Commons Store, and the picture of the Sugarloaf Nursery, I diidn't take the others but downloaded them because I know the Amish don't wsant their pictures taken.
Have you ever met any Amish people?