When a couple is married, they spend the honeymoon night at the girls parents house. The following day(s) they visit Aunts & Uncles, etc. Building of their new home begins with the groom digging an entire basement by himself. This is to show that he is worthy. It's takes abt 3 months. Once that is done the community comes together and builds an entire house in about a day. Funds are borrowed from other Amish in the community if needed. They do not borrow from banks and money is paid back on an "as you can afford it" and your word. There are no foreclosures. Apparently even in town a lot of the English ran stores are on a "put it on my account" basis too .
They pay property taxes and sales tax on what they sell. They have such beautiful and clean land. It's certainy not hard to tell as soon as you are off Amish land - junky, trashy yards and people. They have neat little wooden pointer signs at the end of most of the driveways that say "jelly" , "furniture", "quilts", etc. so you can do your own shopping through the farms. Just pull up to the the farms of the things you want and purchase them from little greenhouses, or sheds. Some of these folks are more advanced with their resources than others. One man had a wind mill that generated the energy to pull the water out of the well. And while taking a hot bath is a rare thing for most, one man had a large outdoor boiler type deal that his water went straight into and there was enough water for more than one bath heated in this....just pull the plug on the boiler and run the hot water into your nearby tub and then pull the plug on your cool water from your roof rainwater and let it run on it the tub too. Some had irrigation systems that were self sustained. The water was at a higher level so gravity let the water flow to their garden when they needed it.
It's interesting to see how they have adapted to allow some modern things. They do buy things in the local grocery store like flour and cornflakes, canning jars, leather, pvc and lots of other stuff. But no modern technology is allowed like TV's, cd's, anything requiring power/electricity. But they did have some solar panels. The communities vary as to what they will allow. The cane creek community had some tractors and bicycles; Ethridge allows nothing with rubber tires, only steel. Everyone has green houses covered with simple plastic, so neat and clean.
A few more things; they make their own toys in Ethridge (pretty cool ones too), womens dresses would not have buttons, they were held together with pins; however men did have buttons. All buttons had to be dark colored and plain also. Most of the elders are millionaires. They dont allow mules on there fields, but will bring in mules to train for outsiders. They are kept in separate areas and trained in separate areas or on the road. One Amish man had purchased a horse once and the guide remembered them panicing when the horse gave birth to a mule! He said the look on their faces was priceless, and the family scurried around trying to get rid of it before the bishop found out. They ended up giving it to a little kid for the change he had in his pocket )) And, the funniest and most embarassing part of or Amish trip was when we stopped at one farmhouse and bought some candles and stuff. They had their things in a shed, about like grandaddys old shed. We got in and shut the door to get out of the rain and Grayson very stern and matter of factly blirted out "I'm gettin outta here, there's RATS in this place!" At first I was embarassed but then he looked around again and said "I mean it, I'm leaving! There's rats in here", we said no there isn't Grayson, he insisted "YES THERE IS! THERE'S RATS!" ....all the while this Amish girl standing there with us. She's probably still looking for a rat....hee! But Amber says he says that any time he wants to leave somewhere...haa! Oh, on on the subject of taking pictures....the guide said it had something to do with their interpretation of "graven images" in the Bible.
Finally, we went shopping for Amish things in the English stores We ate the best meatloaf ever at this little country kitchen! And I'm not big on meatloaf. Had it served up with pinto beas, potato salad like granny made and cornbread....mmmmm good!
The grand Ole Opry was great too! We all loved it! Saw some of the country legends from back in the Hee-Haw days, as well as Craig Morgan and Dierks Bentley. The Zoo in Nashville....left a lot to be desired as far as upkeep. The aquarium with the sting rays was great, the Aquarium Restaurant super neat, the virtual roller coaster was fun fun fun and the shiatzu messages , one for each of us.....fantastic!