A stock photographer based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, George Sheldon creates travel, business, lifestyle, and art photography. For decades, George has generated many thousands of images in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, and Virginia. George Sheldon contributes editorial and stock images to numerous agencies.
A basic part of the Amish lifestyle is the farm. Agriculture is a tradition and their way of life. For generations, farming has been handed down from the parents to the children.
The Amish practice traditional agriculture, as it has been done for dozens of decades. The Amish fertilize their fields, rotate crops, and use teams of horses to pull their plows and their wagons. They work the soil, toiling to grow their crops. Farming remains important to them because it keeps the family together because they all work together.
The Amish are primarily farmers. Some, however, are full-time carpenters and cabinet makers, blacksmiths, buggy, or harness makers. Because farmland is expensive and increasingly difficult to obtain, some younger Amish have taken jobs in nearby factories and restaurants. Others have started service businesses or manufacturing companies. Yet others find employment in general stores that provide the rural Amish community with those goods necessary to their lifestyle that they cannot produce themselves.
The current Amish lifestyle is much like that of their ancestors of centuries ago.
Their neat Amish farms, without electricity and telephone lines, look very much like those of their non-Amish neighbors – those that the Amish call “the English.” Their farmhouses are comfortable structures with numerous rooms to support typically large families. Older houses often have extensions that were added on to the original structure to accommodate another generation of the Amish family.
Wood or coal-fueled stoves provide heat. Propane powers the cooking stove. Kerosene or clear gas lamps deliver light.
One of the most distinctive features of many older Amish farms is the windmill. It is used to pump water for house or farm use. While some farms use gasoline engines to operate pumps with pressure tanks to provide running water for bathrooms and kitchen sinks, the old-fashioned hand pump is still found in many Amish houses.
To provide hot water in the home, some use kerosene-fired water heaters. Others use an elaborate system of pipes through the wood-fired kitchen stove to obtain hot water for both kitchen and bathroom use.
The Amish farm provides food for the family and a source of income. Products produced on the farm are sold at markets or from stands built along the road. Homemade signs often advertise products available for purchase on the farm. Some products produced on the Amish farm are sold at nearby auctions. Dairy production is common, and the milk is picked up by commercial truckers, and transported to a nearby dairy plant.
### Special Note: Amish Wisdom is an ongoing feature of various entries about the Amish on George Sheldon's website and blog. Written and produced by George, it is intended to provide information about those of the Amish faith.