Sunday, June 12, 2011

Our Summer Day-cation

We had a day "off" last week, where no one had to work, play ball, or teach summer we drove a couple of hours southwest to the Amana Colonies!

Amana, Iowa picture taken from cupelo of Amana Visitors Center (a restored corn crib)

The Amana Colonies´╗┐ are an area in eastern-Central Iowa  comprised of 7 villages that were in their hey-day from 1855 to 1933.  The Amana people are different from the Amish in that they embraced technology, yet similarities show in living in relative isolation from the outside world and learning fine craftsmanship.  "Amana" means to "remain true" and is taken from the Song of Solomon 4:8.  Here is a good summary of their way of life (pictured below from a museum display).  Basically, all of the families were given a home, medical care, meals, all household necessities, and schooling for the children.  Property and resources were shared.  In exchange, men and women were assigned jobs by the village council of brethren.  No one was paid wages because everything was provided for them.  The Amanas were a religious communal society.

 Most women worked in communal kitchens (there were 50 of them all over the Amanas), gardens, and the woolen mill, while their children ages 1 to 5 spent the day in "kinder schule" (day care).  The children would go home (to a large house for extended family) for a few hours at lunchtime, but then return to kinder schule for the remainder of the work day while their moms were at work.  Of course, some of the women were teachers at the kinder schule or regular school (for older kids).
And I thought my garden was overwhelming. !!
If you were a really lucky lady, you'd get a job in the laundry room.  Again, I have no excuse to complain anymore.

Farming and wool production were the 2 main ways that the community was supported, so most of the men worked in one of those areas.  After the visitors center, our first stop was the Amana Heritage Museum, where we saw several displays of the Amana way of life, including farming and wool production.  Here's what we could call the "lawn & garden center"!

Since I took about 50 pictures during our "day-cation", I will share them in bite-sized blog posts.  We saw several old farming implements, miniature replicas, the wool mill, and trade shops which were truly fascinating and inspiring.  Cy was so inspired that he just had to sit down and take a break from it all!!
You know where he's sitting, don't you?
Listening to their stories on videos, reading their writing in displays, and seeing the proof of their work and craftsmanship, we could easily surmise that the Amanas were hard-working, God-fearing, fun-loving people.  They call this little contraption their "honey stick"!
Mark & Cy are glad that the outhouse has already been cleaned!!
More trip details to follow!

 Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards.--Song of Solomon 4:8


Blogger Astrid in Bristling Acres said...

It looks like you guys had a fun day-cation! I've only been to the Amana colonies once- that was before we had the girls. It looks like we'll have to do a visit there- I don't remember a museum.

We have lots to be thankful for, don't we? I'm so glad laundry cleaning facilities have come a long way! ;-)

June 13, 2011 at 4:31 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I thought of you often when we were in the Colonies, Astrid. You would be able to pronounce all of the German words there - and there are several museums. Unfortunately for us, most were not open! But the kids really enjoyed it. Definitely a must-see place.

June 13, 2011 at 12:27 PM  

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