12/30/08, Elnora, IN - Today was a short day of travel and a long day of rest in the best of towns.
I started off the day by hitching up and driving from the John Deere dealership outside Newberry, to the town of Elnora. The terrain was flat and we drove the 5 miles in about an hour and a half. My reception in Elnora was fantastic. We had an escort from the town employees and Marshall. There was a significant number of town residents to welcome us, including this young fellow who has a “Doc Hairdo”.
My goal in stopping by Elnora was to dump my waste water tanks at the town treatment plant by the fairgrounds. Instead, we ended up staying the day. The horses are comfortably bedded on some grass. A nice guy (Chuck) took me over to the Amish settlement a few miles away to get some logistical support.
The first stop was the Graber machine shop. Marvin Graber used a trolley crane and some floor tiedowns to take the one foot bow out of my wagon tounge. His father Nick gave me some free horseshoes and nails. Brother Philip was kind enough to give me a gallon of mineral supplement for the horses (guaranteed to make them feel several years younger). The Graber family was fantastic and have the distinction of holding the “Horse Progress Days” for 2009 on the family farm. This is an annual event that draws in excess of 10,000 people and demonstrates the latest in horse drawn implements.
The next stop was the harness/collar shop where i picked up some harness parts, got a new clip on my spare collar and got some other needed supplies. While there, I took some pictures of the collar making equipment. Making a horse collar is a real art that takes years to master. The first picture shows the three straw machines for stuffing the collar. They include the long straw for the rim, the chopped straw for the bulk of the padded section of the collar and the finish straw machine. The second picture shows the molds and presses, while the third shows the bench where the leather is cut and stitched.
Today, as when I always talk to Amish folks, they are quite interested in the wagon and my travels. This is partly because the wagon is horse-drawn, and all horsemen have interests in common. But more importantly I think it is because the people of the Amish faith have many of the same thoughts as me about what people should do to truly pursue a happy life: Spend good quality time with your family and friends, slow down, don’t try to make money just to spend it on stuff you don’t need, and be community minded.
The last picture shows a typical scene of a buggy leaving an Amish house. The Odon, IN community has several car/buggy collisions in the past year. If you see a horse or horse drawn vehicle on the road, slow down and give it a wide berth. Horses can react unpredictably and the results can be tragic. When hit by a car, the legs on a horse are long enough to sweep the horse through the windshield of a car, often killing the occupants.
I really like this town and the surrounding community and I’m going to take an extra day off here to enjoy it and ring in the new year. 2008 has been a wonderful year for me. What better place to end it, then in a warm, friendly town!