In November, I traveled from California to Pennsylvania to visit Ron & Kelly. I have never been on a plane before and just flying across the country was a fun new experience! I am very small and not very heavy so my plane ticket only cost me 42 cents. It is much cheaper to be a spider than it is to be a human or a pig.
When I got to Ron and Kelly's house, I rested for a few days before venturing out to see their town. Traveling can be very exhausting for a little spider like me.
On my first night out, Ron & Kelly took me to Downtown Lancaster. They stopped at the bank and got a Burrito at Senorita Burrita. I stayed in the car and ate some flies. Spiders are not allowed in restaurants. After dinner, we drove to the city square and saw the Christmas tree. It was very pretty!
The next day, we went to The Amish Village. Here I learned all about The Old Order Amish People (also called "The Plain People") and their way of life.
The Amish are members of an Anabaptist Christian denomination, known for living simple, plain dress and resisting modern conveniences. The roots of the Amish began in Switzerland and then, in the early 18th century they began immigrating to Pennsylvania because of intense persecution. Today, they continue to speak German; the language of their former homeland.
Amish church membership begins with baptism, usually between the ages of 18 and 21. Church districts average between 20 to 40 families, and worship services are held every other Sunday in a member's home. The district is led by a bishop and several ministers and deacons.
The rules of the church must be observed by every member. These rules cover most aspects of day-to-day living, such as no power-line electricity, limiting the use of telephones, prohibition of ownership and operation of an automobile, and specifying the style of dress. Amish do not buy insurance nor accept government assistance, such as Social Security. Also, Amish practice nonresistance and will not perform any type of military service. Nonresistance also means that the Amish people are unlikely to squash spiders! I think I might like to live on an Amish farm.
The Amish emphasize church and family relationships and limit contact with the outside world. They operate their own one-room schools where all the children learn together until 8th grade when their formal education stops.
Older Order Amish are known for their avoidance of certain modern technologies. Amish do not view technology as evil as is commonly thought, and individuals may petition for acceptance of a particular technology in the local community. Electricity was rejected by the Old Order Amish to avoid reliance on the outside world.
Although most Amish will not drive cars, they will hire drivers and vans, for example, for visiting family, monthly grocery shopping, or commuting to the workplace off the farm. Regular bus service between Amish communities has been established in some areas, and train travel is also accepted.
The Amish have a different style of dressing than the outsiders, or The English, as the Amish refer to the Non-Amish Humans. Their clothing should not call attention to the wearer by cut, color, or any other feature. In all things, the Amish put a high value on plainness. Some groups tend to limit color to black and white, while others allow muted colors. Amish typically sew their own clothing.
Women wear calf-length dresses in a solid color, such as dark blue or black. Aprons are often worn at home, usually in white or black, and are always worn when attending church. In the colder months, a long woolen cloak is worn. Heavy bonnets are worn over the prayer coverings when Amish women are out and about in cold weather. Young girls wear colored bonnets until age nine when they start to wear black bonnets like the older girls and women.
Men typically wear dark-colored trousers and a dark vest or coat, suspenders and hats. They choose broad-rimmed straw hats in the warmer months, and black felt hats in the colder months. Married men and those over forty grow a beard which serves the same symbolic function as a wedding ring and marks the passage into manhood.
I think the Amish are very interesting!
I spent so much time with the Amish that I didn't get to go to many of the other neat places in Pennsylvania like Philadelphia which is the largest city in the state and home of so much history as well as the Liberty Bell, Gettysburg where the Civil War was fought, York which was once used as our Nation's Capitol, and most deliciously, Hershey Pennsylvania which is famous for....Chocolate of course! I don't think spiders can eat chocolate though, so it's probably better that I didn't get eight legs deep in choclate!
I did get to drive through some neat "Burroughs" and "Townships" though. During my stay with Ron and Kelly I learned that a borough is a self-governing township. That means that a measure of land (which is a township) has it's own government. It is very similar to a city.
Weeeee! Riding on top of a horse drawn carriage is very fun! I had to spin some web to help me hang on tight.
Here I am in front of Willow's Hill Covered Bridge. The bridge crosses over Miller's Run which flows into Mill Creek which springs off of the Conestoga River. It was built in 1962 by Roy Zimmerman who used parts of the Miller's Farm Covered Bridge (which was built in 1871) and Good's Fording Covered Bridge (which was built in 1855). The bridge is 93 feet long and 15 feet wide.
After lunch one day, Ron and Kelly took me to Dutch Haven for some Shoo-Fly Pie. I don't understand why anyone would want flies to "shoo." Flies are delicious. They should try to make this pie with some crunchy toasted fly toppings. That would be so good!
On the way home from one of our adventures, Ron and Kelly stopped so I could take a picture on this Amish farm. There are many Amish farms around. Some of them grow corn, some have many cows and others have tons of chickens. It's hard to see the farm way in the distance behind me, but if you enlarge it, you can see the grain silos and the barn.
I really enjoyed my stay in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. There is so much more that I want to do and see. I hope I can come back to visit with Ron and Kelly someday soon. If I can't, then maybe one of my own spiderlings will be able to venture out across the country and make a home with some nice Amish people!