We have snow today over large swaths of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, so some of the major Amish communities are battling blizzards or just heavy wet snow. A buggy like the one on the top of this page can be warm and cozy during such storms. Some Amish even outfit the insides of their closed buggies with propane heaters during the winter. Cram a buggy full of a family of 8 or 10, plus a propane heater and you have a toasty buggy even on the coldest of days. But not all Amish have it so “easy.” The Amish in the Berne, Indiana area continue the tradition of using open buggies much like they have for generations, even though the original reasons for the lack of roof have long disappeared from general knowledge. I’m seeing some evidence that churches on the edge of the Berne area are starting to abandon the open buggies, but for the vast majority of Amish in the Berne area the open buggy still rules. The only guard against the elements are thick blankets and these ubiquitous black umbrellas, huge shields against the wind. Still, you have to be really hardy to drive around in an open buggy on a cold day like today! This Amish man driving outside of Berne doesn’t even seem to be bundled up that much in braving the elements.
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