They have greatly improved the land in the Lawrence County area with lots of manure, lime, fertilizer and rotation of crops. Care is taken to prevent soil erosion. All of their farming is done with horses and without the aid of tractors or modern equipment. No electricity is used. They have been living this way for over 300 years. As to how much longer they can resist technology and change, only time will tell.
The Amish derive their livelihood from growing crops such as:
They also sell:
- Fresh vegetables
- Sorghum molasses
They cane chairs as well as slaughter hogs and cows. They have their own sawmills and buggy and wagon makers in their community.
There are five Amish schools in this district. Children learn English when starting to school. They go to school until they finish the 8th grade or until 14 years of age, whichever comes first. The children study reading, writing, arithmetic, spelling and speak three languages: English, Pennsylvania Dutch and some German.
The women wear black, dark blue, green or brown dresses with black aprons for everyday and white for Sunday. Teenage girls wear black caps until they marry. Men wear no collars, barn door britches, felt hats for winter and straw for summer (handmade). Buttons are used on men's shirts, trousers and underwear, but only hook and eyes on coats and vests.
Sunday night singings are where the young people "court." They call it running around. On the day of a wedding, church service begins in the morning and ends at noon. Banns (the public announcement in a church that a marriage is going to take place between two specified persons) are said a week or two before the wedding in the church. The bride's parents furnish the food at their home, which is a big event. The couple spend their first night at the bride's home. Their honeymoon consists of visits with aunts and uncles.
When an Amish dies, the body Is kept in the home. Embalming is required by the state. They use no make-up on their people. They are put in a pine box and buried in the Amish cemetery. They do have concrete markers.