Three years ago, we began our partnership with Amish craftsmen. With this community being so close to our home and business, their presence has always been a part of our everyday life. Whether shopping in our local grocery stores, following their buggies on the road, or admiring their hard work in the fields from spring to fall, their quiet lifestyle is a constant reminder to us that it is ok for things to slow down.
Over time, our mutual interest in hardwood furniture has created strong relationships built on trust. Through trust we are able to work together to create one-of-a-kind, quality custom furniture for those all across our beautiful country to enjoy. By safeguarding identities, being upfront and honest about business, and creating products of the utmost quality, a sincere mutual respect has developed. Because of these relationships and to put it plainly, my overall interest in this amazing community, one of our Amish craftsmen agreed to answer some of my questions regarding his every day way of life. This is his account.
Q: Tell me about you and your family?
A: I am 48 years old, and got married when I was 30. We have 7 children ranging in ages from 7, to 19. Three are of working age, 4 in school.
Q: How long have you owned the business?
A: I bought the business from my dad five years ago. He is in his 70’s and still helps out around here. Two of my sons also work here in the shop.
Q: Tell me about your day to day activities?
A: I wake up every morning at 3:30am. Fire up the natural gas stove and make my organic coffee. Then I make the fire in the fireplace, and sit by the fire enjoying my coffee for a while.
Q: How do you make your coffee?
A: I heat up water on the stove to 170 degrees, place the coffee in the filter, and pour the water over the coffee into my thermos. I then make a large thermos full so I have coffee throughout the day.
Q: What time does your wife wake-up?
A: She wakes up around 4:30am and begins cooking breakfast. The kids like eggs and cereal, I just have Ritz crackers with peanut butter, dipped in chocolate. (Chuckles).
Q: What time does the rest of the family get up and what do they do?
A: The kids get up about 5:30 and eat breakfast and then the older kids head to the barn to feed and water the animals. We have four horses and 10 sheep and our oldest son has a couple of dogs. The younger kids then get ready for school.
Q: What time do the kids go to school?
A: They walk to school around 8am.
Q: At what age do they go to school?
A: Kindergarten to 8th grade.
Q: What time do you walk over to the shop?
A: I like to be in the shop around 5:00am. We have to turn the battery powered lights on until about 6 or 6:30, which is when everyone starts working. Until then, I work on paperwork, read the newspaper or read books, and check the diesel oil in the engine for the power unit.
Q: What is the power unit?
A: We use a belt driven line shaft which powers all of our equipment.
Q: So work begins around 6am and then what?
A: Everyone takes a break around 9am, and I then take my scooter and ride down to the phone booth to make my customer calls and follow-ups until about 10 or 10:30.
Q: What time is lunch?
A: Lunch is every day at 11:30. My wife prepares it for us. We have a lunch break until 12.
Q: What time does the shop close?
A: We close between 4:00 and 4:30 depending on light. Dinner is at 4:30 so we have to be finished up by then.
Q: Do you come back to the shop to work on anything?
A: Yes, I come back and work on paperwork, invoices, etc. usually until 6 or so.
Q: What does the family do in the evenings?
A: The kids have chores after dinner, working the barn, carrying in wood, helping with dishes. My wife also cleans.
Q: What responsibilities does your wife have?
A: She cooks, cleans, washes clothes, gardens, and makes all of our clothes.
Q: What do you all like to do for fun?
A: Reading, enjoying nature, fellowshipping with our friends and neighbors, riding bikes, swimming in the summer, sledding and ice-skating in the winter.
After the conclusion of my interview, I had even more admiration for this talented craftsman and for the rest of his community. What I was reminded of mostly is the importance of finding your passion. For your work, for your family, and to what you deem are the important things in life. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes, like the Amish, simple is better.