I Am Learning So Much...

not just about herbs and how these plants that God made at creation, for food for both mankind and animals, are healthy and healing for our bodies. 

 I am learning about sharing and community from the Plain women that attend this class.

First of all I have to say that these women are not "plain" in their looks.  Unadorned by make up or even a wedding ring, these ladies are beautiful.  They radiate good health.  They are women, who for most of them, formal education stopped at 8th grade.  They are full of useful knowledge and skills, and are interested in learning more.  One of the ladies at today's class was likely 60 years old or so...Malinda was her name.  She was spry and interested in how Rosanna (our teacher) made her tinctures.  Did she use the root or the flowers and leaves?  What proof vodka did she use and could you use another kind of liquor other than vodka?  Malinda even brought the bottle of the kind of vodka she had used to make some kind of tincture at home!  I chuckled inside when she came into class with her basket and purse and sat beside me and I got a glimpse of that empty vodka bottle!

This lead to the discussion of where did Rosanna buy her alcohol for the tincture.  "At the liquor store," was the answer.  This lead to a lot of laughing as they all pictured themselves going into the state run liquor store to buy vodka!  Can you imagine what the employees of a liquor store would think to be selling 80-100 proof vodka to Amish and Mennonite women?!  Too funny - they thought so too!

These women are used to a kind of community spirit that we just don't have, even if we have good friends.  They don't email each other or talk on the phone together, but they love to be together and share knowledge.  The talk today was about when the next "Women's Day" was going to be.  They were all looking forward to it.  It is big doings for these women who work making their homes and families a priority.  Malinda passed around a magazine of sorts...it had started out as a 'circle letter' among friends in Ohio and grew to a multipage quarterly newsletter that ladies contribute articles on subjects of interest to them all.  Those who had never seen it before were eagerly writing down the address to send for it.

I was so happy to have Lindsay with me to share all this.  My daughters and I have community with each other.  And in many ways I have it with some of my fellow home educating Moms.  It is just different.  I think it is because these ladies grow up with it - knowing it's importance in their lives.  We 'English' (non-Amish), we western cultured women, are taught to value individualism, independence, self reliance. They are taught the value of needing each other, helping each other, the value of what everyone can contribute.  

It is interesting at these classes that no one will be the first to grab a jar and start filling it or anything, unless Rosanna specifically asks them to get it started.  They learn young to not put themselves first.

Another of the Amish women who has come both weeks is named Emma.  She is probably not yet 40.  She is beautiful, with Irish coloring, red hair, fair skin, lovely eyes.  She brings 3 children with her, whom I assume are her youngest children.  They are so well behaved.  The boy about 5 or 6 helps with the younger sister and the baby.  Emma has an interest in all of these things we are learning...they all do.  For they know the value of their work on behalf of their families.  They are the caregivers, the healers of boo boo's and coughs.  They like knowing the old remedies, the natural ones.  

I will be sad when our classes are over.  I will miss seeing them, and learning from them.


  1. This is a fascinating post. What a blessing to be able to take this class with your daughter. I also loved what you said about your daughters and having community together. I feel the same way. It's one of the blessings of home schooling.

  2. oh, what a wonderful experience for you and your daughter! are more classes available for you to take?

    there's a Mennonite community 'bout 1.5 hours south of me - i wonder if they have classes like the one you attended..?

  3. jAne,

    We are going to take a class next week. It is a walk to find the plants growing in the wild and to be able to recognize them.

    Lindsay just loves this kind of thing. Emily may take this one too.

    Our instructor is Mennonite - she looks as if she would be horse and buggy Mennonite but she has a cell phone and an email address and lives on her own. She is a part of a very conservative order though, so it is interesting.

    You should see if there are natural foods stores in that area that are Mennonite run and see if they offer classes.

    You would love it!

  4. oh...just reading this, made me wish I was there. Such a simple time. Did you make the items that you showed pictures of? Will you be making them? What a blessing this is for you...jealous in a good way and great memories to you and your daughter.

  5. Marcia,

    I so agree with you!


    Yes, we did make those things today. The larger jars are tinctures one made with glycerin and vodka (the dark one) and it has white oak bark, comfry, and black walnut. It is used for teeth problems.

    The lighter one is made with apple cider vinegar, onion, garlic, ginger, cayenne peppers, and horseradish. This is called "super tonic" and is used to help with colds etc. In about two weeks we will strain the tinctures and squeeze all the liquid out. You could then make soup or something with all the yummy veggies! I guess I should just do a post about this!

  6. Everything we need for good health is already located on this earth. In doing a bit of research in family history, one of my ancestors was a doctor in New England. He lived among the indians for awhile to learn their ways of medicine. I am hoping that you will share your knowledge with all of us! I'm very interested!

  7. I am glad you are getting to do this series of classes. It sounds like something that you would just thoroughly enjoy.

    Speaking of....there is a Tea Room in East Berlin we need to take the girls to. Pricey, but Georgia says it is well worth it!

    Becky K.

  8. Wish they had something like that around here!

  9. Wonderful opportunities the Lord has given you! Love your choice of music too!

  10. These posts are fascinating, Deanna! What a joy to be able to sit and learn from these ladies, and to actually make these tinctures, and concoctions. What a wonderful time !


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