Along with fascination of the Amish lifestyle and their culture, many visitors to the Amish Communities purchase their rustic handmade crafts to use for décor in their own homes and in their yard and flower gardens. The Amish have their own unique style of outdoor décor, just as they continue their simple quaint lifestyles in a modern electronic age of living.
One of the first items you will notice in many Amish yards is their well-known purple martin houses. Building purple martin houses are just one of the many handmade products that the Amish are so well known for. In the middle of a small flower garden that will probably slope slightly down over a small hill, you will find a country style open bird feeder hanging on a shepherd hook, sitting on a roughly made table or a log. Beside the bird feeder you will find a tree branch with a Y shape at the top, pushed into the ground so the birds can also feed from the branch as well as the feeder. This seems to attract the birds faster and keeps them coming back year after year.
In a flower garden for the sun, most of the flowers will be perennials such as sweet William, mums or hardy snapdragons, added to that you’ll find bright marigolds, petunia and coxcomb. In the midst of the array of colors you’ll probably find a small reclaimed barn wood bench or rocker with small birdhouses on the top of each side of the back. In the flower garden that is in a shady spot, you might see a wooden keg with the appearance that it was tipped over with rich black soil rolling out cascading down a slight incline full of dazzling colors from impatiens and a bit of ivy. There will probably be the handle and spout of an antique outside water well placed just right to appear to be filling a small handmade birdbath along with hand carved wooden mushrooms or pieces of old wood with unique shapes and in different sizes.
Not far from the flower gardens that appear as sparkling dabs of radiant paint drops against the dark earth, you will find a small patch of dark rich earth that has been tilted to hold the many herbs that the Amish women will harvest and dry to use in there many family dishes through the year. You will find fresh sage, basil, dill weed, oregano, and especially peppermint. The Amish use the mint to make peppermint tea that they not only drink for enjoyment but they use for stomach aches and upset stomachs. The Amish do not believe in waste, so you can be sure that every bit of the herbs will be put to good use.
Fran E Kestner was fortunate enough to meet an Amish family that lives not far from our new home. It was love at first sight. That is why I started my website to honor and sell authenic Amish products, I guess you could say the rest is history. We travel from their home in Bremen, Ohio to Holmes County, which is the largest Amish Community in Ohio to visit her side of the family and then off to Kenton to visit his side of the family.
I am so grateful to them for welcoming us in as part of their family and for letting us experience first hand their simple, but hard life style. I have learned how to milk a cow, drive a buggy, even how to make and dry homemade grapenut cereal.