Tuesday, July 16, 2013

At the Amish quilt auction in Lancaster, PA

This particular Amish auction (also called a mud sale) was in Bird-In-Hand, PA and is always held the last Friday in June.  I plan my whole vacation around this auction and the one held in Refton which is always held the last Saturday in June.  (I feel like I get two for the price of one since I'm driving 6.5 hours)

Amish auctions are HUGE!  And when I say huge I mean they have various large tents set up in a field and different auctions going on under each one, and some right out in the field under the blazing hot sun!  They auction carriages, horses, handmade wooden items and my favorite quilts among a lot of other things.

Over the next few months I'll be going into more detail about some of the photos I took but I first wanted to start with the way they auction quilts.  It is very methodical and easy to follow if you can understand the auction calls.  And a big shout out to my mother-in-law who introduced me to the auction scene about eight years ago (although not Amish based). 
Under this particular tent they have scaffolding set up on each side of the tent with a clothes line in between them.  Two Amish boys are on each side, one side attaching the quilt with clothespins and the other side taking the quilt down after the highest bid is placed. It is fascinating how quickly and smoothly this goes. 
This is a view from the back where they have all of the quilts folded, numbered and displayed before the auction so one can walk up and inspect them more closely.

After the quilt is auctioned and taken off the clothesline it is then passed to Amish women waiting to "tag and bag" it (next photo).  If you won the auction then you need to go pay for it at another tent, get the receipt, then take it back to this tent to show the Amish women who will then find your quilt or quilts.

A fun photo of a quilt being thrown down after the winning bid was placed, oh and it happened to be me who was the high bidder!

Here's a look as some of the other beautiful quilts being auctioned that day:

This was just a glimpse of the Bird-In-Hand auction, in a few days I'll post pictures from the Refton Quilt auction where they do it a little differently.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Life gets in the way sometimes...

and that's why I haven't posted in a while.  I promise I have lots of good stuff coming but until now a few more pictures from my trip to Lancaster, PA
At the quilt auction

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I have been going to two specific Amish auctions for a few years now, the Bird-In-Hand auction and the Refton Auction, both held at the end of June in PA.  At the Refton auction there is a hill that all the Amish sit on during the horse bidding.  Three years ago when I was there I climbed to the top and plopped down.  I wanted to experience "being among the Amish", just watching them interact and how the children took care of each other was fascinating.

Because of their beliefs on photography I was careful not to be too obnoxious about taking pictures, but it was definitely the perfect opportunity.

As I was sitting there I noticed three girls giggling and looking back at me.  Certainly they weren't talking about me.  Amish, especially children, never interact with us English (as they call us).  I waved to them to let them know that I was friendly and if by chance they wanted to talk to me I was totally open to that.  I could definitely tell that one of the girls was more outgoing than the other two and wanted to interact with me.  I also think her friends were telling her not to!  Eventually we scooted closer to each other and Mary said "hi!"  I quickly hid my camera because I wasn't interested anymore in taking their picture but I wanted to talk to them.  I asked their ages and Mary was seven, her friend Sadie was also seven and the third little girl, also named Mary, was eight.  They were interested in my camera because Mary kept looking at it.  "Do I dare pull it out?"

I also had my cell phone with me.  This was three years ago so I didn't have a smart phone, but this phone took pictures and video.  Since my phone was smaller than my camera I kept that out.   They wanted to see how it worked but I told them that I knew their rules about technology (especially photography).  I also explained that I didn't want them to get into trouble for talking to me.  But eventually I did show them pictures of my boys back home.  They were fascinated by the videos.

Then I did something daring... I asked them if they wanted me to take their picture so they could see what they looked like "in my camera".  Mary's two friends shyed away but Mary was super excited.  To be sneaky (because I didn't want them to get in trouble by their parents) I told them to scoot back a little bit then on the count of three turn around and I'll quickly snap one picture.  Mary was the only one that turned around:
Soon after that someone called them and they all got up and left.  But this picture will forever hold that special memory.

Whenever I go to the Refton auction now I sit on this same hill in hopes that I will see my friend Mary.  I know that she will not recognize me but I will surely know who she is.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

During the Carriage Auction

This photo was taken about a month ago during the carriage auction in Bird-in-Hand, PA  I was standing behind an Amish lady and happened to notice her writing down the high bids and bidder numbers.  I had the same book and during the quilt auction I did the same thing, wrote down all the high bids.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Ordnung

The Ordnung are the rules of expected behavior.  It is a code of conduct that baptized members must follow.  From Amish Society by John A. Hostetler:  The ordnung clarifies what is considered worldly and sinful, for it to be worldly is to be lost.  Some of the rules have direct biblical support; others do not.  Regulations that cannot be directly supported by biblical references are justified by arguing that to do otherwise would be worldly.

The ordnung evolved gradually over the decades as the church sought to strike a delicate balance between tradition and change.  Specific details of the Ordnung vary across church districts and settlements.  (From The Riddle of Amish Culture by Donald B. Kraybill)

Before children and youth are baptized they are under the care of their parents, and not the church, thus many teenagers may or may not conform to the Ordnung.  When they are baptized and join the church they must submit to the Ordnung for the rest of their lives.