Monday, August 13, 2012

#makesmesmilemonday Amish Weekend in Shipshewana and Kayaking the Pigeon River

We spent a lovely weekend in Shipshewana, Indiana.

Less than two and a half hours from Chicago, this small Amish village took us back in time. We stepped out of our car and into a horse and buggy, and rolled over the hills to a dairy farm run by an Amish couple and their three beautiful girls. The kids climbed bales of hay, played with the barn cats, fed two-week-old calves their baby bottles, milked cows with their own two hands, and then drank a cup of that fresh, raw milk.

King of the Barn 
My son has a whole new appreciation for the milk in the fridge.
I am fascinated with the Amish culture, so this was an amazing opportunity for me: the chance to catch a first-hand glimpse of Amish life. I felt like a wide-eyed child as I spent time in the barn with an Amish woman my same age but with a life so very different from mine, and yet we live less than two and half hours driving distance from one another. Thelma shared with me a typical day in her life: waking up at 4:30am, milking the cows with beside her husband and children, carrying on with the rest of the farm chores, milking the cows again in the afternoon, spending most evenings quietly reading with her family before going to bed early. I was impressed with the manner in which her three daughters went about their tough farming duties with absolute grace, wearing their beautiful yet simple pastel dresses while carrying through with some pretty dirty and difficult routines. I want to thank Kenny of Buggy Lane Tours for arranging this special horse and buggy ride and farm visit for our family!

We spent the night in a rustic, small cabin in the woods, overlooking a farm. 
Sunset view from our cabin. 
We fueled up for our Pigeon River trip with a breakfast of
Amish bakery fresh blueberry pie!
The next day we headed 20 miles east to Mongo, Indiana, where we set off to explore the scenic Pigeon River on a ten mile canoe/kayak trip. Daniel piloted his own kayak for the very first time! Chiara even helped paddle with a long stick. About 8 miles into the trip, just when my arms started to feel like Jello, I thought to myself, "Yep, we should have signed up for the four mile trip!" 
Daniel was an awesome kayaker. Chiara even chipped in by paddling with a stick.
The river was empty but for us, the birds, fish and sunbathing turtles. Such a quiet, peaceful, clean river! 

Three hours later we landed and celebrated with lots of high fives - though my arms were pretty much out of commission for the rest of the day and are still hurting me today! I was so proud of both of the kids for taking on the challenge - they both did great! As a mom, seeing my children be open to new adventures and better yet, take them on with gusto, just warms my adventuresome heart! 

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