Tag Archives: road trip

Amish Medical Sharing


At the Amish Auction, there are many, well, Amish people. Dressed in Amish clothes, believe it  or not. As a modest dress fashionista – is that possible? I am fascinated with examining the Amish costume. I admire the talent these women possess, to sew clothes for their entire families.



Many are color coordinated, obviously sewn from an entire bolt of the same cloth. The colors are muted, but beautiful. The styling is loose and flowing, full coverage and yet pleasing to the eye. The prayer kapps are pure white or black and stiffly starched. Straw hats for nearly all the men, though one or two winter black hats are in evidence. I marvel at the women and children who can walk and run around on these sticker and gravel strewn fields bare footed. I remember as a child walking around on hot asphalt and cement, barefoot, all summer. We even had contests to see who could tolerate the hot black asphalt on their bare feet the longest. I guess we must have had some pretty tough soles back then. I have tried going barefoot at the Homestead – much the same landscape with stickers and gravel and rocks – but do not seem to have the stamina, or desire to toughen up my feet these days. Some of the women and children are wearing shoes and hose, but most are barefoot. This goes a long way toward conserving the shoes and stockings for the colder months.


Another Amish event here, which is open to the community, are their benefit dinners. The Amish do not participate in government programs such as social security or medicare and now, mandatory insurance. But they do pay their taxes and they help their own with medical bills. Several times a summer, the Amish community will hold benefit dinners, with homemade Amish food, to help raise funds to pay medical bills for one of their members who may be having a hard time. There is no suggested donation, so it is left to each one’s heart to help out as they can. I don’t think anyone is refused a meal, yet there always seem to be a good amount of funds raised. These dinners are followed by a quilt auction. Frequently including the other same small items as the community auction – hand woven rugs, kitchen sets and handmade baskets. There are also usually baked goods for sale.



If you go to the Amish auction or benefit dinner, bring cash. The auction may take credit cards for auction items, I don’t know, call and check. But the Amish, themselves, only take cash (maybe checks but I bring cash just to be safe). You’ll get some great tasting, homemade food and quality, handmade goods and you will also be helping out some hard working folks who believe in sustainable, off grid living and community.


Amish Auction


One of the things I enjoy most in Southern Colorado, is going to the local Amish auctions. There are several during the summer months. They are actually consignment auctions, open to the entire community, like one big garage sale. You can bring your stuff and they will auction it off for a commission. A professional auctioneer is hired, but the event is held at an Amish owned business and run by the Amish. These auctions are fundraisers for the Amish community. They use the monies raised to support their schools and to help one another pay their medical bills, as they do not participate in federal programs.


Outside you can find tools, parts, equipment, hay, appliances including woodstoves, wood cook stoves and old fashioned washing machines. Under the tent is usually Amish made furniture and tack, new tools, a few young chickens and rabbits, fire arms, and miscellaneous items. Inside the warehouse is my favorite. Donuts, pies, breads, sticky buns and fry pies homemade and sold by Amish women. Also a variety of sandwiches, chicken, drinks and homemade ice cream.



Then there is the quilt auction. Amish quilts have a very well deserved reputation for being of high quality and quite beautiful. I have examined the stitching and found it to be, indeed, hand done. At least the quilting part. There are also many smaller items being auctioned off – potholder and kitchen towel sets, handmade baskets, woven rugs. Quilts are not just available from the local Amish communities. A few are also sent down from communities in Canada and other parts of the midwest.


This location has a pond out back and the horses and buggies are usually parked by the pond. The horses stand patiently, tied to the fence and seemingly having their own social hour or gossip session. If it is possible that Amish horses gossip. The buggies are simple, black and well maintained. Clean, if not for the blowing dust of the parking area. On this particular day, a small wagon filled with small Amish boys and pulled by a small pony is making its rounds of the outdoor yard sale area. One boy holds up a sign – perhaps this pony and cart are also going on the block? It looks like they are having a great time, anyway.


Those of us who are not Amish also enjoy the social aspect of the auction. Friends and neighbors stop to visit and see what everyone has to offer. Even here in Small Town America, sometimes we get too busy to catch up with each other until we find ourselves at an event such as this. Fortunately, many of the small towns in the area have goings-on during the summer, so that one could be busy, virtually every weekend until fall. There are rodeos, founders/pioneer days, county fairs, classic car shows, farmers markets and music and art festivals. Also many outdoor concerts. Sometimes they get rained out, but here in the San Luis Valley, the precipitation is rather low, so there is usually something to do nearly every weekend.


Brown Bagging for Road Trips

This weekend marks the official beginning of the summer season. Whether you are going on a day trip or traveling from one location to another, it is nice to save on the fast food and restaurants by having some quick meals, ready to eat. With a little planning and preparation, meals on the road can be quick, easy and tasty.

Here are some ideas:



  • Boil, cool and peel a few eggs. Put them in bento boxes or mason jars to avoid squishing. When ready to eat, they can be consumed as is or smashed with mayo, sour cream or yogurt for egg salad and spread on bread. If you don’t have an rv fridge or a cooler, put in an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack.
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  • Yogurt and cottage cheese can be combined with fruit or granola, used as a sandwich spread (plain) or as a sour cream substitute on wraps. They will also keep fairly well with less refrigeration, as they are already fermented.
  • A loaf of hearty, homemade bread is very versatile. It can be breakfast, spread with butter, peanut butter or jelly; lunch with slices of meat and/or cheese; snacks with butter, cinnamon and sugar or butter and garlic salt.
  • Tortillas can also fill bellies, stuffed with salad fixin’s, leftover chicken, slices of beef or leftover hamburger and sour cream or yogurt. Beans and avocado also make good tortilla stuffers.

Keep leftovers and spreads in bento boxes, mason jars or small containers in the cooler or lunch bag with ice packs. Bread and tortillas do not need refrigeration, just keep in a bag, covered with a blanket to keep off the heat. Some fruits and veggies are hardier than others and can be stored the same way. Apples, bananas, oranges, carrots, onions, potatoes, etc. can travel in an insulated bag as long as they are in a cool place. Lettuces and berries will need to go in the cooler or lunch bag with ice packs.

If it is likely to be very hot or if you are going to be driving for several days, it is better to have a cooler to keep more of your food in. Also, you may need to restock your ice on the road if you don’t have a freezer to refreeze ice packs.

Bringing your own food on a road trip can help you eat healthier, save money and stop at more scenic places to eat. And that can help you take more trips. Enjoy.


It’s Christmas Time in the City


I just got back to the homestead from visiting my family in the Big City.  It was a particularly enjoyable visit, and for once I wasn’t quite ready to come home.  This trip, I was able to appreciate the little pockets of respite in an otherwise dingy, expensive, lonely city life.
I sat outside my son’s apartment, watching him play basketball with his little brother, and admired the palm trees, stretching up above the rooftop of the complex, swaying and rustling in the chilly breeze, waves of green against the blue of the sky.  I took delight in watching the Christmas decorations going up in mom and dad’s neighborhood; twinkling lights, inflated, lit-up snowmen, front yard Nativity scenes.  I soaked up some last autumn rays of sunlight on a strategically placed patio nook with southern exposure at my parents’ house.  Over the years the old neighborhood has gone from plain and drab to green and well tended, with colorful flower beds, not restricted to the edges of the houses, but creatively scattered throughout front yards.
As much as I basked in the comfort and love of my family, there were those moments when I knew I must eventually return home to my own life, where the background noises come from the chicken coop and the paddocks and a wild indian of a boy, not from constant traffic and electronic buzz.  The early morning aroma is from the barnyard and the juniper trees, and not that peculiar big city odor of mingling garbage and sewage.  And the blankets of stars in the darkness before dawn, outnumber the streetlights ten billion to one.