Weekend With Amish Farmer (life before internet)

Sep 19, 2021 3.2M Views 6.8K Comments

Here’s a peek into what life was like before the internet, away from the stresses of the modern world, a world revolving around weather and family. Join me as we meet Ivan–a charismatic Old-Order Amish man–who loves life and has volumes of uplifting wisdom to share.

♪ country music ♪
Good morning, guys.
Here in Amish Country
where farming is the backbone of life.
So today we have the great privilege or
more like it, sheer luck.
of getting in
with an Old Order Amish family.
Just to be very clear
this is not easy access
to get into these situations
but we’re doing it.
We’re getting on a farm.
So I’m gonna get out there in the fields
and see what it’s like
and learn how they farm
and how they live
Amish style.
♪ country music ♪
Here we are out in the fields.
Should I jump on?
-Probably not, this one isn’t that safe.
-Oh, go on with the kids?
-Yeah, we’re gonna trade.
That’s one thing.
See, they stopped.
They heard me say, “Ho.”
So Ivan, to get this straight
Old Order Amish
use a hybrid of technology and
means like horses and whatnot, right?
-So for this you do horses?
-But you’re gonna use a baler, right?
-Yeah, we use the baler
-Who makes that decision?
Is that the church?
-Yeah, probably elders of the church
and the ministry.
There’s like 140 churches
-Like in this area.
There’s more than 140.
There’s a lot more than 140.
What’s your name buddy?
Okay, Kieth you probably
just go back and forth.
Leave a space in the center
because you probably
can’t rake it together with that.
It’s only when dry.
Did you have a ride already?
-First time.
Do you like school?
Not really?
I didn’t either.
You ever had a blackberry?
-Yeah, I’ve had a blackberry.
You got blackberry bushes here?
-Yeah, there’s some right along here.
So your whole property,
everything is organic?
-How do you feel about that?
Apart from making more money with organic.
Do you
feel better about doing organic or
doesn’t really matter?
-I definitely do
because of the chemicals.
Now these are more sweet
like a tart.
Tart, sweet, tart…
Okay, no.
These don’t have any bugs
-So Ivan, could you
imagine living in a city?
-I can’t imagine.
I cannot imagine
because you wouldn’t get to do this.
-What does it look like to you
living in Amish world
when you look out you see
the other parts of the country?
What do you think of it?
Or you’re just in your own world
you don’t even notice?
-Yeah, you notice that.
I follow the news some
and it’s just
I can’t imagine the stress
of just being…
I mean what we have here
is unbelievable.
I mean there’s…
Wherever there’s people
there’s gonna be problems.
but it’s still neat.
The lifestyle we have and
it’s more laid back and
in farming you get that even more.
Just for example
my neighbor out here over that hill
William Miller.
He had an accident.
He was mowing hay
and he had an accident
real bad accident.
just this last cutting
there were five of us
went in and cut all his hay.
The next day there were
14 of us raking his hay.
-He’s just your neighbor?
So everybody shows up and does his stuff.
He’s still hurt.
-You guys are really connected?
-Yeah, we’re really connected.
Us farmers in this area
We have like a pasture walk
We go out through the pastures
and we just
go over the farms and help each other.
That’s one thing.
In construction…
That was a big eye opener to me.
In construction
you don’t tell
all the people your secrets.
it might hurt your business
and you don’t
help each other out as much.
You have to do your work
or somebody else might
come in and do your work.
On a farm
if you don’t do your work
it doesn’t get done but
the farmers are so willing to share.
-Is it because no one came come and take
your field is your field?
There’s no competition or what?
-No, there’s no really competition but
as far as just help
like one year I was hurt.
I had a skid loader accident.
I had a broken arm.
I had
surgery on my knee.
-In one year?
-Yeah, in one year and
I got caught in the PTO.
-What’s a PTO?
-The power take-off on the tractor
or a power cart.
It was going to the picker.
just for example
most of the church and
some of the neighbors
showed up one morning
and we hauled 80 loads of manure.
Stuff like that.
People just showed up and did it.
-So you’re sitting at home on the couch?
Yeah, I couldn’t…
-And everyone came in and helped?
That’s beautiful.
So back the original question.
When you look out
to the rest of the world
you’re not seeing as
much of that going on?
-No, I don’t see that as much.
Neighbors helping each other.
So it might be
I just might not see it.
-Okay, yeah.
Yeah, I think it depends.
-It really depends.
But it takes a certain type.
You gotta like hard work.
‘Cause I saw you last night at what, 9:00 p.m.?
And you probably finished at 10 p.m., right?
Yeah, we were done wrapping at 10:00 p.m.
Right at 10:00 p.m. I got in the house.
And then when were you up this morning?
-A little bit before 4:00 p.m.
So you guys are going to bed
normally at 10:00 p.m. getting up at 4:00 a.m.?
-During the winter it’s usually
8:00 p.m., 8:30 p.m.
-To bed?
-Do you have electricity in the house?
-We have kind of like electricity.
It’s off of a
like solar power.
-And every time our motor runs for
to milk
it charges a battery.
Then we have a big battery pack
and that same as creates electricity.
-So yeah, 8:30 p.m. during the winter
and then in the summertime it varies.
It’ll vary from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
and if there’s a lot of hay
it can go later.
-You gotta do the hay
when it’s here, right?
It’s really cool, Ivan.
I really respect the way you guys
have held onto your values.
Especially this last year.
English world got a little mental.
♪ country music ♪
It was the spring I think
when that went through.
Okay, I go like this?
-You just point it like that.
-So what am I doing?
I’m just holding it like this?
Holding the strap like this?
-Yeah, and then you make sure you get…
I probably didn’t get that.
-I think you’re a natural.
I’m not sure if I’m a natural here.
-What is it?
-Oh okay, okay, great.
You have good fishing around here?
-We’re hoping to go my…
-I would.
-They have a lot of responsibility
but a lot of freedom, right?
-Yeah, mm-hmm.
-Like they have to do their chores, right?
There’s no avoiding that.
-You read a lot?
-You read a lot?
-What do you guys like to read?
-Oh, mostly it would be…
-What do you like?
What topics?
What’ I’m learning here is
whatever is the simplest way.
In a way.
-Not always, but yeah.
-But then again, technology
what we did yesterday
would be easier with machines.
-Oh yeah.
-But it would would be a
totally different experience.
-Yeah, it would be a different experience.
-Like I see when you’re
on there it’s almost like
maybe it gets boring.
I wasn’t on there for that long
but it’s almost like
You’re like connected with the land a bit.
You get connected
with the land quite a bit
you do.
Just like
look at this
you’re totally relaxed.
Okay, see those
lines on the side there?
It’s always on the left side.
Don’t know if you can see those.
There’s only a shade difference
and it kind of looks like ripples.
-You see those ripples?
They have those, they’re relaxed
they’re happy.
You can see a couple
ripples on that one too.
So that’s…
You really believe that?
So if they have that do you notice that?
Their behavior?
-Well, and also they get plenty to eat.
They’re in good shape.
-So a cow that has happy lines
are they gonna produce better milk?
Probably because it’s
the salt count would be lower probably.
If a cow is relaxed
and feeling good
how should I say?
They enjoy life…
They should have happy lines
and they should give good milk.
-What about Amish people?
Do you guys have happy lines?
-We have happy lines here.
You don’t but I’ve seen
a lot of guys that do
because if you get on
that pie program every day…
You know I’ve been eating pie every day.
-Oh, every day?
-You’ll get happy lines.
The boys really love it.
-So you all have a close relationship
with your cows?
-A lot more so
and same way with the calves
if they’re used to you when they’re young
and they grow up with you
it’s a big difference.
-So say if a cow dies
is that a sad thing?
-It’s a very sad thing, yeah.
I should probably go out and…
-All right.
-She’s got it.
-Oh, okay, they went off the road.
Probably a lot of horses
don’t like that shack there.
-Okay, so every time the
horses go by this shack
they get scared, spooked?
-Yeah, they smell pig
and they hate pig.
I don’t know why.
Did you have a ride on those already?
You didn’t have any buggy ride yet?
You didn’t have any buggy ride yet?
-You didn’t?
-Well maybe we should hitch up
and go for a ride.
-Let’s do it.
Let’s do it.
We need bees.
That’s the main thing that keeps us going.
Bees and stuff like that to
pollinate all our plants.
-What’s up with bees right now?
Is that a healthy ecosystem or
are there issues?
-I think it’s better than it was.
-Okay, ’cause I don’t know much about
bees but…
-How should I say?
-What, like the cell phone towers?
-You know what she’s doing right now?
[dog barking]
-What are they doing just
cruising around for fun?
They’re making a fence?
You guys in Amish country do such a
great job with your landscaping.
Gardens, flowers.
My theory is it comes from Swiss heritage.
-Because I’ve never seen dairy farms
where they care this much about their
gardens and
it’s like you’re doing
enough work in the field
the last thing most people are doing
are spending time in the garden.
There’s a lot of farmers
that stop in and…
-So you got a pretty social life out here?
There’s neighbors, there’s farmers
but yeah, we don’t get out much at all.
-You stay within your zone here?
-Yeah, mm-hmm.
-Like what’s your zone?
The two mile radius, something like that?
-Yeah, two, three.
Three, and then there’s more…
my neighbor there.
The ones that live right up here.
The next house up.
-So I notice that a lot of people have
battery powered bikes.
-Yeah, that really…
-Has that changed recently,
like the last few years?
-Yeah, in the last couple
years it’s really changed.
-So before, everyone was pedaling?
She probably still needs
to pedal to keep going.
-Okay, okay.
-They came to get posts.
-Oh, they’re working on the fence?
-Oh, they’re working on the fence?
-He waits right here?
-Rex, yup.
-It was kinda neat.
I bought him from a friend.
He was born in this neighborhood
he’s always been here
not just on this farm but
within three miles probably
and he’s probably had
four different owners.
Those Martin houses…
Horses always scared me.
I’ve rode them a couple times.
It’s like one bee sting and you’re done.
Ya know?
They freak out
and what are you gonna do?
I think that’s where the
most biggest problem is
the big farms…
Big ag.
-That’s the big threat?
-That’s the biggest threat.
-How do you compete with those guys
with all the machinery?
-There’s no way you can.
And they get all these
government subsidies
-The Amish don’t?
Well, we probably could.
We don’t, no.
-Why not?
-I guess we try not to
depend on government.
We take care of our own.
It’s kind of what we go on.
Big farms, a couple thousand cows
I can’t imagine how they do it.
As far as
what lifestyle that would be
even the cow’s lifestyle.
Can you imagine?
You never get out on pasture and…
-It’s like a factory, huh?
-Yeah, it would be like a factory.
-So to compete against that
when they have the
machinery and the subsidies
how do you do it?
Niche market.
-Your organic?
-Organic, yeah.
They can’t do organic?
-Not like we do.
How can you graze a
couple thousand cows?
I’m really curious
how many people die in 14 years?
my grandfather
this was his farm.
He died in 2006.
He got a
letter on the mail this year
this past election, before the election
like for an absentee ballot.
-Come on.
-Yeah, 14 years ago, he died.
How does that work?
You know what I could’ve done?
I could’ve sent that in.
I could’ve sent it in and
voted for him probably.
You guys are pretty much
away from politics, right?
-Yeah, but I was like,
“You know what?
In 14 years how many people die?
How many
people that already died
voted in this past election?”
I don’t know.
-And you guys don’t vote typically?
-Some of them do.
I know some of them do but…
-The majority don’t though, right?
-Yeah, majority don’t.
-And that’s because you’re in your own…
How do you say it?
You’re in your own world?
-You connect with your people
not so much the state
or the government, right?
These days
it’s probably a good thing.
[horse walking]
So the
steel on the wheels is
♪ country music ♪
♪ country music ♪
♪ country music ♪
The old one.
Do you like seeing the old stuff going away
and the new stuff coming in
or what’s your thoughts on that?
-I don’t like it.
-‘Cause I gotta say this old school
has got some style to it.
-Yeah, I don’t like it but
hey, it wasn’t safe.
The foundation wasn’t good.
The block were cracking at some points
you could see actually
out through the joint.
It wasn’t good anymore.
But yeah, you can take a look in here.
-So it was pretty cold in the winter here?
-Yeah, but we had a good furnace in here.
See all that insulation?
-Yeah, we made a mess last night.
That was the furnace room in the back.
See there’s concrete on top?
-When did this go up?
This last year?
-Oh wow, went up quick.
-So do you feel like some of your
culture goes away when you go from the
old school house to something new?
Or not so much?
-Not so much on schools I don’t think.
I mean it’s a much better zone
obviously inside here.
Yeah, we
were gonna reuse some of this but it’s
just not working out.
This is the flooring
that was in and it’s…
-Oh, this is the flooring?
Look how thick it was back then, huh?
-It’s not working out as far as
what we were hoping.
This is the one-room schoolroom?
-Oh, right.
-Because the old school house had
like 10 foot ceilings.
So this will
take something to get used to.
-Who paid for this?
-The community did.
-So how does that work?
-The community takes up
money for new schools.
You pay like a fund
so much every year
and then that goes to the schools
to get so much and every
school get allowed that much.
for a new school house.
-Who is paying for the teachers?
The district will pay for the teachers.
-As in Ohio state?
-Government money?
-No, it’s
whoever’s sending pupils.
-The parents?
-The parents, yeah.
The average teacher age is probably 18.
18 to 20.
-Why so young?
It works.
It definitely works.
-It works?
So they get out of school…
It’s first through eighth grade, right?
-Yeah, mm-hmm.
-Nobody is going to high school?
-And then eight grade is what age?
-They’ll be 14 when they get out.
-The teacher has kids after that
after they teach?
-Yeah, a lot of times they get married
when they’re done teaching.
-Okay, so it’s like a few years.
-Now there’s some that don’t marry
right away and they might teach
for maybe 10 years.
Five years is…
-About max?
-Oh there’s a lot of stuff to do
There’s games to play
sitting around a fire
there’s all kinds of stuff to do.
It keeps you happy.
Like tonight there’s
practice singing at the church.
We go practice some songs and
every other Thursday night
a lot of the times we play volleyball.
-Your ears are tuning
in on all these birds?
-Yeah, I love bird watching.
So I hear all these birds.
Like if they’re migrating I
see a lot of them but yeah.
We pick up that sound.
Because that’s something we love to do
is bird watching and…
-So how many different types
of birds are here would you say?
If you count the migrating
birds and everything.
I’m not even quite sure on the number.
-But there are hundreds?
-Yeah, mm-hmm.
With migrating
now just the summer birds
it’s probably around a hundred.
Just the summer birds.
-And you know
a hundred different noises?
You know all their…
-Oh yeah.
More than that.
The horses know where the stop is?
And they know which way to stop.
-You just pick one out?
-Right, right, right.
So even though it’s like a modern house,
looking house.
They don’t have…
-Do they have electrical
plugs in their house?
So some are running off solar?
This is the hay we’ll bale dry.
-When, today?
-Probably not.
I don’t think it’s gonna dry enough.
Now if I wouldn’t have
that practice singing
with the church tonight
and then I probably would bale it today.
And we might bale the back part of it.
-Your dream to buy that farm, 154 acres?
-It’s close.
One of the boys could farm it.
Oh, it would be so nice.
-You want to take on
that much more work?
-Oh, I’d do it just so they could farm.
I’d do it.
-For the kids?
And that way they’d
have the chance to farm
because I only have one farm
and so
only one of the boys can farm.
-So your farm could not
sustain your three boys?
-You need to get more farm?
-And that’s not possible in this area.
-So what are they gonna get
into, construction or something?
-Yeah, or if they can somehow
it’s a running joke with my neighbor.
He moved to New York
where there’s a lot more farms available
and I always had this
joke with him,
“Which one of your boys is gonna farm
or are they all gonna marry for a farm?”
Is it just gonna be marry for a farm
or are they gonna marry because
they want to marry this girl
or is it just gonna be for the farm?
-That happens?
I don’t think that would happen.
-Or it’s more of a joke?
-Yeah, it was more of a running joke.
Because it’s not possible to buy any farm
like this
this got sold
this guy over here owns this.
I think he paid like
$12,000, I’m not even sure
$12,000 -$13,000 an acre.
Right now this would be $30,000+
$30,000 an acre plus.
Two of his children
might put a house in here.
Then it’s gone.
It’ll never come back.
-Is that happening out
here in Holmes County?
Some of the fields turning into homes?
-How does that make you feel?
-They need a place to build
and it’s nice that they’re close.
It’s community but
we lose the farms.
-So renting the field makes sense?
-Makes sense, yeah.
-This field would be $150, everything…
-A year?
-A year an acre.
-It’s amazing.
So I have this pasture back here
and then this field.
I rent 15 acres from him.
-What advice would have
to give to the outside world?
What could they learn from you guys?
How about that?
-Maybe we should be learning from them.
-These days, no.
-I think if they go back and
base a lot of stuff off the Bible
I think a lot of stuff would clear up.
How should I say that?
As far as
I think that would help a lot.
-So you’re saying Christianity is
what you need to be on board with?
-I guess that’s what my idea would be
but it’s definitely not for everybody.
As you know.
As you know it’s
definitely not for everybody
and I respect that as far as
if they believe something else
that’s okay.
-But you’re saying the outside world
could use some of those values maybe?
-Yeah, if they’d have those values
I think it would really…
Because see how some of them would
really think quite a bit different.
The drug, alcohol, all that.
that’s not good
and the Bible clearly states that.
It’s just…
-And you have some of that…
That hits everywhere, right?
Because humans are humans.
-Humans are human and you can have that
even in this community.
You can have that in this community.
-No, I think there’s a
lot to learn from you guys
’cause I see
what’s missing
is family values
just doing dinner every night
or even once a week.
That’s sort of gone
away for a lot of people.
-That would be tough, only once a week
would be tough.
-Doing dinner with the family?
-That would be tough as far as
if you wouldn’t get to
to be with the family
but once a week.
I think that would be tough.
-How many nights do you do dinner?
Every night?
-Every night.
-So once a week would be…
-Yeah, I mean there might be
maybe once a night
that somebody’s missing.
Once a week I should say.
That somebody is missing
but most of the time, no
everybody’s home and…
-Doing dinner.
-You think that’s important?
-Yeah, very important.
-What keeps you strong?
I understand religion.
-And the community, church.
I couldn’t do without the church.
I simply couldn’t.
-‘Cause it’s your
glue right?
It’s your bond, it’s your community?
I don’t think I could
make it without that.
-Some people leave it, right?
-Yeah, there’s some people but they still
probably 99%
would still
go to a different church and
cling to that church.
That church relationship is probably big
in this area
and in other communities too.
-You ever feel alone?
There’s so many people around.
-There is and there isn’t.
Like I don’t see anyone but
you know everyone, right?
-Oh, there’s…
-You lock your doors on your house?
-You’re not locking much.
You’re just not going to lock.
You don’t lock anything at your barn or
people don’t do that?
Oh, there’s some that do, yeah.
You know I grew up
we didn’t lock anything.
I grew up in the countryside.
But in those times.
Now it would be different.
-Yeah, it is different and
we do lock some but…
I guess if they want to get in
they’d probably get in anyway.
-Yeah, that’s how it is.
I don’t know, I guess
respect would go a long way.
Why would you want to go
and steal from somebody?
Which I guess you said
$950, it’s not a big deal
in San Diego.
-San Francisco, it’s now a misdemeanor
which most aren’t getting prosecuted.
There’s a lot of thievery going on.
-What do you think of that?
You could walk into a store
and take up to 950 bucks
of whatever.
-Could you even ask
the clerk if it’s okay?
Am I close to 950?
-Well, at the Walgreen’s
where I used to live
nearby the guy said
people would try to return
the products they stole
without a receipt.
That’s how brazen they’ve become.
But no, I guess it’s not
a laughing matter really.
-It’s so crazy it’s laughable
but the fact that it’s
reality is a little bit sad.
-That is sad.
That is so sad
and I think
take that for example.
You shouldn’t steal
but really
what are they taught when they’re young?
Do they have a chance?
Are they innocently stealing?
-What do you mean innocently stealing?
-Were they ever told that
you’re not supposed to steal?
Or are they taught
you’re just
not supposed to get caught stealing?
-So it’s all the
-Yeah, is that?
I mean I would think everyone
sort of knows it’s the wrong thing to do
but if everyone around you is doing it
you sort of become
what you’re around, right?
-And if you’re taught
just don’t get caught stealing
other than
you should not steal, I don’t know.
-Everyone’s got problems.
Your problems here
are completely different
than the outside world.
-I mean we’re human.
There’s problems in here but I guess…
-What are the biggest
problems would you say?
-My biggest problem is being
a good father to my children.
As far as just
trying to be the best I can
as far as for my children but
I’m human.
They get frustrated with me I’m sure.
I might be working too much one day.
I might be…
I might have to
be on the phone quite a bit one day,
and I should be working.
Stuff like that.
And they might have to pitch in
and do a little bit more work
because I couldn’t be at work
all the time.
So we’re just human
but we have a lot of fun at home.
-Looks like it.
It’s just
I can’t imagine not having that
growing up
I had
seven sisters and two brothers.
So I was in the middle and
there was always something happening.
You can imagine.
-Yeah, I’ll bet.
You’re never bored.
-No, all the cousins.
We had a lot of fun.
Oh, we had a lot of fun.
There’s so many memories and
we had so much fun growing up.
-There’s so much to learn from you guys
I’m telling you.
You’re worried about
being a
good father.
I don’t know you.
We met yesterday
but I’m seeing the environment
you have with your kids and
the work you’re doing together
and all the time together
and I’m like,
“Wow, that’s pretty rare these days.”
-It probably is
but then again
I had…
Okay, back to influence of parents.
I had that growing up.
-Yeah, so that’s what you know.
-You thought we were
just going on a nice little ride
and I’m asking you these hard questions.
Four to five, yeah.
-Four to five?
Amish is more a way of lifestyle.
-My question was do the
Amish look down on the
outsiders because they
maybe lost their way
or live a different life?
And you were saying…
-I don’t really think they do.
-You don’t think so much?
-I don’t think, no.
-The feeling I get, you guys
are so in your own world here
it’s like that’s another universe.
-That’s probably too much so.
seems like you’re doing fine here so
I wouldn’t worry about it.
-Your probably right,
that’s probably too much.
We’re too much in our own little world
and just wrapped around it.
-Ah, look what he’s got.
He’s got three worms
and that’s gonna be…
What are you gonna do with the worms?
-He’s gonna put ’em in a jar
and that’s what they eat.
-What eats?
They eat the milkweed.
-One more chance
-Oh boy, you want me to hold it?
You’re fast.
it’s been nice to meet you.
-Really nice to meet you.
Thank you for everything showed me.
-And hopefully it answered
a lot of questions and
it was fun.
-Yeah, I learned a lot.
-It was fun.
You guys are awesome.
What a cool guy, Ivan.
What an experience.
beautiful insight to another person’s world
and I was surprised a bit actually
how much he opened up
and came out with his struggles and
I want to make that point here
’cause I’m talking to a lot of people
off-camera too.
It’s not like…
Actually the majority
is probably off-camera.
And a lot of people have said that.
A lot of Amish people
have said that they’re like,
“Look, our lawns are perfect and
we know our gardens are nice and
everything’s clean
but we have our problems too.
We’re humans just like everybody else.
We have our own set of problems
in our culture.”
And I want you to keep
that in mind while I’m showing
all these beautiful and amazing things.
I’m not trying to say it’s utopia
by any stretch of the imagination.
I think for some people
this is the best place for them
for others it’s not.
I think that can be said for everyone
in every part of the globe.
hope you got something out of that.
I think this is one of those day’s I’ll
treasure until the end
how can you not love this?
Beautiful Holmes County Ohio.

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