Saturday, January 26:
Well, to begin with, a traditional farming community has grandmas and grandpas who remember how it was done. Correction, it has mamas and papas who are still doing it. Okay, huge advantage, our Mennonite and Amish farmers have been learning how to do it since they were old enough to follow Mother and Father around on toddling feet.
Advantage number two: they are not paying for health insurance or college savings accounts. I think.
Further advantage, and this one mustn’t be underestimated: whatever austerities they practice – austerities from the standpoint of the average American, but not, it may be supposed, from theirs –not only presumably do they do it because they like it, but they live in communities in which everyone else is doing the same thing.
To be a little girl in Amish dress among a bunch of little girls in blue jeans or soccer shorts is to be cute, but a freak. It feels better if we dress like our friends.
To stay within walking distance or biking distance of your home is no sacrifice if all your friends, and there are a good many, live within a few miles of you.
Doing chores for two or three hours a day – being tied to the timely performance of tasks day after day, forever – is both soothing and energizing, so long as all the people around you aren’t rushing off to somewhere more important or more fun.
Family and friends in permanent close settlements, passing on skills and information.