Did you know that Wisconsin has the fourth largest population of Amish in the country? I love Wisconsin Amish country so much that all of my books are set there. My three earliest books are set in Cashton on the southwest end of the state and my Huckleberry Hill series is set in Bonduel to the northeast. I spent the first week of July on a long road trip visiting some of my favorite Amish sights in both places.
Ken Natzke lives in Bonduel and regularly drives his Amish neighbors around town. He also conducts tours of Amish farms for curious tourists. This trip, Ken took us to an Amish egg farm, a fabric store, the bishop’s house, and a cabinet shop.
I find Amish children delightful. I’m sure they find us as fascinating as we find them. Ken’s Amish friend gave us a tour of his cabinet shop, and one by one the man’sinto the shop to stare at the peculiar Englisch visitors. By the end of our tour, we were surrounded by four little girls, one little boy, and a curious dog. Four of the children were shoeless. One wore flip-flops. I visited with each of the children briefly, asking them their names and how old they were.
I asked Luanne, the eleven-year-old, if her dog was a boy or a girl.
“I don’t know,” she said.
“What is its name?” I asked.
“Princess,” she replied. I drew my own conclusions as to the sex of the dog.
When we left the shop, the children stepped out and kept their eyes on us until we drove away.
Amish children work hard. They milk cows, care for the farm animals, weed the garden, mop floors, and cook meals. They live a simple, uncomplicated life unencumbered by video games and electronic gadgets. Theirs seems like an almost idyllic childhood. How many of our own children know how to entertain themselves with nothing but a few friends and the great outdoors?
I can’t help but think that in our hectic, technology-saturated lives our children and grandchildren have lost something they’ll never get back.
Jennifer Beckstrand is the award-winning author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill Amish romance series. After growing up with a steady diet of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen, she went slightly crazy and got a degree in mathematics, which came in handy when one of her six children needed help with homework. After her fourth daughter was born, she started writing. By juggling diaper changes, soccer games, music lessons, laundry, and two more children, she finished her first manuscript in just under fourteen years. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. Jennifer and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and three adorable grandsons, whom she spoils rotten.
Love your post and photos, Jennifer. I agree. I think our children have lost the simplicity of childhood in so many ways. Thanks for sharing your trip with us!
Enjoyed reading this article. I am in the process of reading my first book(s) by you. I am in love! I only enjoy Amish books. I am on my forth series of: The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill.
I have been reading them with Kindle. Wish our Public Library carried them.
What a precious picture of the children watching you go. They’re all good pictures. I read Huckleberry Christmas, would like to read them all.
Great Post and Photos… I have 5 Amish Families living on my Road here in Ashtabula County OHIO.. There are Several Amish Districts near me..Both Old Order as well as New Order ( don’t know if that’s the right way to describe them?). Nice hardworking families.
Well a new author, guess I’ll have to look you up at the local Christen bookstore..I love the Amish live only about one and a half hours from Lancaster , Pa…so have visited there many many times, love the peace and serenity ,when I just ride through the back roads…:)
I love all your books, every time I go to the store I look for them! I read quite a lot and you certainly have portrayed Anna and Felty Helmuth so well that I can picture in my mind a sweet elderly couple every time, and their matchmaking makes me chuckle !
I really enjoyed reading this article. The pictures were all beautiful. Especially the ones of the Amish children and your children. Thank you for sharing.
What beautiful children and scenery! I did not realize Wisconsin had that many Amish! Being born in Pennsylvania near Lancaster, but now retired in Texas, we make a point to visit the Amish villages every time we go back to Pennsylvania. Last year, after a Notre Dame game in Indiana, we rented a car for several days and visited all the Amish communities in that area. It was Fall and the flowers were GLORIOUS! We followed buggies of children who were being picked up after school and they were simply precious. My Kindle is filled with so many Amish books but I’m so addicted that I still buy more! Thank you for your post and photos…
Thanks so much for sharing
Enjoyed reading this. I’ve really enjoyed reading Amish novels and am continually seeking out more authors. I’m looking forward to reading your books.
New to you blog, love your pictures, love reading about the Amish……thanks
I too am from Wisconsin, but was unaware the it was the 4th largest in Amish population I started reading Amish books about 15 years ago and haven’t stopped since. I have read all of yours and keep them coming. I have enjoyed them all. Often we are out driving in the country on the weekend on our travels and we buggies and I get excited.
And your right about children now a days, how would they be able to occupy they days without electronics I don’t think many could let alone have to do such chores so to speak.
Love to read amish books and enjoyed the post you visiting with them that must have been so great. I haven’t read any of your books yet but hope to sounds like you are a good writer. THANKS