early this spring, about the time i was inspired to write homeowner haiku ( strong winds leave debris / shingles come off one by one / garage roof failing ), we decided that it was high time to replace the aging garage room before every last shingle blew off in the next 100 year storm that seems to happen every year or so.
as it happens, there’s a large, local amish commmunity who, we’d been told, work for reasonable rates and are, generally speaking, honest and forth right in their dealings with “The English” ( the amish term for non-amish ) so we thought it’d be fun to see if they could help us in our time of roofing need.
but the amish don’t advertise their services to The English so we had to figure out how to find someone to do the job. it turns out that unless you know someone, you just put out the word with someone who knows someone and word will travel from amish household to household until finally someone with just the right skills and just the right availability who lives just the right distance to travel by horse and buggy will give you a call on a borrowed phone ( borrowing phones to make calls is apparently acceptable to the amish ) and ask if you are in need his services. in our case, to my amusement, the amish roofer and all-around handyman who eventually called didn’t know the person we knew with amish contacts who put out word that we needed a new roof on the garage. i guess word of work just sort-of meanders.
we are somewhat notorious for not owning a cell phone, which i think was a source of bewilderment for our would-be amish handyman as he left several voicemails for us over the ensuing months mentioning that we were difficult to reach! but we eventually worked it all out, including making sure we’d provide whatever electrical tools they’d need. my understanding is that the rules regarding ownership and use of tools of the trade can vary widely from family group to family group. some come with their own tools, but in our case he asked that we provide whatever tools he would need with an understanding that if we couldn’t provde a tool it would just take him and his men a little longer to accomplish the task without power. and, of course, time is money.
and so, after a few delays due to rain and whatnot the team arrived via horse and buggy to repair our garage roof on a sweltering hot day and we soon realized that the most important thing we could provide was not electrified, but was, rather, a constant flow of cool water for horse and man.
odin, enjoying the sights and sounds of the horses while they lazily mowed weeds at end of the driveway, declared “i think i’d enjoy being amish.”
[ note, no amish were shown in this photograph because they asked that i not take their picture. they’re standing just out of the frame on the left side of roof. ]