My granddaughter and I recently took a trip to the Amish community nearest me in Yoder, Kansas. Although I have visited several times in the past this was the first time that I visited with an Amish woman and her family in their home.
Ann Knepp has what I would call an unusual hobby. She likes to cook for large groups of people, and she serves them in her home. She asks for a donation of $15 per person and I can assure you the donation is well worth it. She and her daughters serve up plenty of food.
Yoder Kansas has three Amish church districts. Ann’s husband is the bishop of the northern district. The bishop was busy overseeing a funeral that day and I was unable to speak to him but Ann was happy to answer my questions. If you know much about the Amish then you know that every Amish community is a little bit different. In Yoder they have recently allowed phone shacks at every Amish home. Not in the house. The phone booth is outside with an answering machine where people can make reservations to dine with Ann, order harnesses or leather goods from her son’s workshop on the same property or contact the bishop.
Here is my granddaughter trying to decide if the contents of the dish were homemade strawberry or cherry jam. It was strawberry and delicious. I’m behind her in the pink shirt. You can just see several of Ann’s daughters beyond the counter in the kitchen. Another thing I noticed in the Knepp household was the beautiful wooden furniture, as you can see in my pictures, but what surprised me were the decorations on the walls and on top of the cabinets. I have always read that such decorations were considered fancy and not allowed. This is just another example of the differences in Amish communities. There was no electricity in the home. The lighting and appliances are run by propane gas.
Ann was excited to learn that I was an author. She is also a writer and has published several poems and stories in the Amish newspaper The Budget. I left her one of my books, but I told her to take my view of Amish people with a grain of salt because I am not Amish. I had to laugh because she had no idea what “taking it with a grain of salt” meant until I explained that I may not have portrayed some of the details accurately. The family speaks Pennsylvania Dutch at home. She homeschools her six children and she loves hummingbirds. There were multiple hummingbird feeders hanging across the front of her porch as if her lovely flowers weren’t temptation enough for the birds to stop by.
Transportation in the community is by bicycle, buggy and tractor. Field work and farming is done with modern machinery. They raise wheat, hay, soybeans and milo along with corn.
Next time I’ll talk about the businesses to visit in Yoder that cater to the Amish. The town isn’t much more than a wide spot in the road off Highway 96. It’s just10 miles southeast of the city of Hutchinson, but if you ever get west of Wichita be sure to stop in. It’s well worth the visit.
USA Today Bestselling author Patricia Davids grew up on a Kansas farm with four brothers. After college she began a wonderful career as a nurse. In 1973 Pat wrote a letter to a lonely sailor. Little did she know her talent with words would bring her love, marriage and motherhood.
An avid reader, Pat longed to write a book, but put her dream on hold as she raised a family and worked in an NICU. It wasn’t until 1996 that she began writing seriously. Today, Pat enjoys crafting emotionally satisfying romances where love and faith bring two people together forever.