The Amish Cook from Oasis Newsfeatures

Amish Barn-Raisings....

Barn-raisings - while legendary among the Amish - are actually relatively rare these days. Why?  Many reasons.  Perhaps the main reason is that properties in older Amish settlements most already have barns.  So if a young Amish couple moves into a home chances are they have bought it from Amish who have a barn on the property.  Even in "from scratch" settlements in places like Colorado and Kentucky many Amish are buying existing properties with structures in place as opposed to starting from the ground up. This isn't to say that barn-raisings don't occur, they are just less common than they used to be.  Elizabeth Coblentz, Lovina's Mom, lived near the Amish settlement of Berne.  Berne is a very old Amish settlement so not many new barns are being built.  In fact, Elizabeth remarked to me before her death that she had only been to one in her whole life.  "Frolics" are more common these days and usually involve smaller scale projects but they employ the same "many-hands-make-light-work" spirit of more elabroate barn-raisings. A "frolic" may consist of a few men gathering to till a garden, paint an outbuilding, or put up hay.  One of my favorites scenes in the movie "Witness" is of the barn-raising, it is actually pretty authentic in its depiction.  The Mohawk Valley of Upstate New York is a place where the Amish are newer and there are barns that need to be built.  The Syracuse newspaper featured an enjoyable article today about a recent barn-raising among the area Amish. Click here to read it.

Re: Amish Barn-Raisings....

i have never seen one but my father's farm has a barn that, as a youngster, he was able to see and be part of. the timbers, etc.were milled from the farm's "woods". It is interesting to view the barn from inside and see where there are wooden pegs to fasten boards together. Any nails in it are from repairs made in the ensuing years. He and the neighbors and family that raised it are/were English.

The list/menu another writen mentioned looked like the sort of thing my great-grandmother and her helpers prepared for threshers. Everyone thought she made the best tea and lemonade but she said it was the spring water.

Re: Amish Barn-Raisings....

Very interesting!! I wish they had mentioned the food more...I have a list in another cookbook of the tradional menu for a barn-raising. It is as follows: 115 lemon pies,500 donuts,3 gallons applesauce,3 gallons rice pudding,3 gallons cornstarch pudding,16 chickens,3 hams,50 # roast beef,300 rolls,16 loaves of bread,red beets and pickled eggs,cucumber pickles,6 # dried prunes(stewed),1 large crock of stewed raisins,5 gallon stone jar of white potatoes and the same of sweet potatoes. This is from Emma Showalter's Mennonite Community Cookbook. Quite  a list,don't you think???Wink

Re: Amish Barn-Raisings....

Wow, great information Barb! Bet it takes many hands to prepare that meal!  Tongue out

Re: Amish Barn-Raisings....

I have actually been lucky enough to see a barn raising, the amish put up a huge barn, you know, the old fashioned kind with a haymow, outside of town last year, there must of been a hundred men and boys working all over it when I went by, I still regret I did not have my camera with me, it was an awesome, spectacular, once in a lifetime thing to witness and I have no pictures..........

Re: Amish Barn-Raisings....

My wife and I were able to see a barn-raising in Lancaster County about 25 years ago, just passing by chance...Laughing 

By the way, Kevin, one of the primary reasons for barn-raisings even in the old, established areas like Lancaster is, unfortunately, barn fires! Cry That was the case here, we could see that a large maple that stood between the barn and the house had been badly singed.  We were able to talk to the wife, and she said that they were able to get all the animals out safely, and the house itself was not damaged, thankfully.

Re: Amish Barn-Raisings....

I regret you didn't have your camera also!! Well, at least you got to see it with your own eyes...I have never seen one myself, but hope to someday!