Saturday, March 27, 2004

Hot rural news alert!

Amish find refuge in Wisconsin
Levi Fisher's ancestors farmed the fertile land of eastern Pennsylvania for more than 275 years while living a quiet, traditional Amish lifestyle.

But squeezed in recent years by encroaching suburbia, rising land prices and increasing tourism, Fisher sought a place that reminded him how things used to be. He found it in the rolling pastures of southwest Wisconsin.

Fisher moved here in 1999 with a dozen children. Soon after, his brother Henry and family followed.

Now the Fisher clan is building a cinder-block house on its 118 acres for a third brother, Gideon, who moved this month with his wife and six children from Pennsylvania.

"We don't like the rat race out east," Gideon Fisher, 38, said while installing a window in his new home.
Who knew that the Amish needed to get away from the rat race?

Actually, I'm just teasing. If you are familiar with Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, you know that it has become a Philadelphia suburb and an Amish "theme park." I can sympathize with their plight. There's much more in the article, but I liked:
Hollywood has portrayed the Amish as shy, reclusive and backward people. In reality, the Amish are proving to be sharp business folks.

"There is a certain tipping point for [the Amish], and when outsiders get too close, they move," said Richard Dawley, a writer who has chronicled the Amish in Wisconsin and conducts seminars around the state to teach residents about them.

"They are generally experts at buying low and selling high," Dawley said. "There is a calculated method to their moving. It's rather well thought out."

Before considering a region to move into, they send advance teams to scout out the properties, evaluate the quality of the soil, gauge the receptiveness of the locals and calculate land prices.
"Howdy, ma'am. I'm an Amish advance man."