Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Camping

Grove City Tour Part 4

Simple Life Amish Tours

When I realized we were in Amish country, I was secretly giddy with excitement! I love reading about the Amish and their simple ways of life. Their devotion to faith and family are truly admirable. They work so hard. If you’ve ever worked a long hard day in the summer heat, you know how it feels to do a good days work. I admire that and so many other things about the Amish community. So I spent a little time investigating the options in the Grove City area and came across the Simple Life Tours and promptly booked a tour for Friday morning.

Although my sister in law grew up here, among the 10th largest Amish community in the United States, she had never taken a tour or visited the shops we discovered on our tour. We weren’t really sure that the kids would like it, but the tour guide Susie was so incredibly engaging that even the kids had a great time! It was such a pleasure to have Susie share her wealth of knowledge about the local community.

Volant, PA

We began our tour in Volant, PA where we headed to New Wilmington. These towns are so small that they really run together. One farm after another line these small streets with covered bridges. Colorful laundry hangs out to dry on the clothes line until a young girl brings it in to fold, once the breeze has completed the task of drying the clothes. No one has electricity. And no one is allowed to have a bathroom (outhouse) inside the house. Just recently they have allowed the outhouse to be attached with a covered walkway. The Amish are superstitious about many things: drains inside your home, having a photo taken, no faces on their dolls (no graven images), and the list goes on.

Banks Covered Bridge

This beautiful bridge was one of our first stops. This bridge was built in 1889 and restored in 1999. The craftsmanship of the bridge was absolutely stunning!

Local Amish Farms

The next part of the tour was a lovely drive through the countryside to see the oats in the fields, community telephone booths on the roadside, which led to our first stop where we purchased corn from a new farmer. The family had picked 500 dozen ears of corn! We grilled some with our lunch when we got back and it was so delicious!

You would never know that these are Amish stores! Just a little sign by the driveway indicates that there is something for sale. All of the “stores” we visited were in the basement of their home except the wood workshop. It was a stand alone shop. We visited it on our return trip on Saturday.

Amish School

The teacher at this little community school is 16 year old Emma.  She has 37 students! She was at the school, probably cleaning in preparation for class to begin again. It’s a one room schoolhouse where the children learn reading, writing, math, and English as a second language. At the age of 15, the boys begin training in the trade they choose, usually whatever their father does. They aren’t strict about it though. With such big families, it is likely that at least one will follow in their father’s footsteps. The girls begin training in housekeeping, gardening, cooking, canning and quilting. They must learn all the skills they will need to have a family of their own. In this area, they usually aren’t wed until age 20-21.


Amish Donuts

In winter they cook over a fire and in summer they use propane to cook with. Here are some outside fryers used to cook the amazing Amish Donuts:

These donuts were enormous! So fresh and perfectly delicious! As you can see, we all enjoyed one immediately. We did take some back to the guys, since they were still home working on the kitchen remodel. The sweet ladies here had pies, cookies, jams, jellies, and even some fresh fruit for sale. Want to guess how much one of those huge donuts cost? $1.50- can you believe it!!!

Our last stop with Susie was the quaint little quilt shop. It is located along one of the main roads, and is well marked for an Amish store. They had quilts, birdhouses, and a variety of other handmade wares inside!

Simple Life Tour Review

Susie was an absolute joy! She shared such valuable information about the history of the Amish, about their lifestyle, and faith. You can tell she has a close relationship with the people of the community. An awesome thing about this tour is that it provides an open door for Susie to share her faith in Jesus with everyone who takes her tour. She exudes the love of Jesus in her words and actions and interactions with those in the Amish community in such a beautiful way. I highly recommend this tour. Susie was professional and we truly enjoyed every minute!

Amish Tour Take 2

Well, after we told the guys all about the wonderful time we had on the Amish Tour, they insisted that we take them on Saturday! We traveled back through Volant and into New Wilmington to Banks Covered Bridge, the grocery store, bakery and this time we visited the Furniture shop. The furniture shop was so impressive! Rudy makes beautiful tables, benches, futons, chairs, and pretty much anything you ask him to make. He supplies some of the local stores in Grove City where his pieces are a prized purchase for many buyers. Here are some pictures from our 2nd day in Amish Country New Wilmington.

© Copyright 2020– or current year, Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

The Pavilion Barn Raising


With the experience of the equipment barn only a day behind us, our little crew moved on to setting the Pavilion trusses. Jamey was a little concerned with the stability of the Pavilion, so he and Jedediah added more bracing. We also discovered one truss that needed to be painted, so my little helper and I painted it while the guys set the trusses.

This added a lot more stability to the structure so they began setting the trusses with the tele handler. At first they just used the forks but decided to use the sling to allow for more flexibility in the placement of each truss.

The first truss was stabilized with 2×4 bracing but after the second truss was set, the purlins were used to stabilize between the first and second truss and so forth. This is time consuming work, but it has to be done and the stability of of the project was improved with the addition of each truss and each purlin.

The battle with heat and rain was exhausting. I was fortunate enough to be able to find a little shade to get a break from the sun. Jamey and Jedidiah were in the sun all day. Even on the days when they worked on the pavilion after their regular jobs, it was a minimum of 5-6 hours in the humid summer heat. I was on standby to hand them whatever was needed, to help place the truss on the forks so we could nail the 3 together before putting the sling on and lifting them into place. Thankfully, Jamey’s Dad and Madison came to help! I don’t know what we would have done without friends and family helping us this past week!

Here is a video of the last truss being placed! In case you were wondering, the tele handler AND the lift beep the entire time we worked. A couple of nights I went to sleep with that beeping still ringing in my ears!

We were so relieved to have completed the project a day early! It was a well deserved day of rest for us all on Independence Day!

A few days later we had a crew come finish the pavilion roofing. Jamey has already been spreading the gravel. I love the design Jamey came up with and how it is all coming together!  Next we will work on soil stabilization and painting the posts.

I hope our little barn projects have inspired you! You will never know if you can do it unless you try! ” What would you try if you knew you could not fail?”- author unknown.

© Copyright 2020– or current year, Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.


Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

Raising the Barn Roof


The past two weeks have been physically and mentally exhausting! Although we have lots of experience remodeling and have even managed our own construction business, this is beyond any scope of experience we have ever done on our own. I am not physically strong enough to manage lumber this big. Jamey strained his back trying to manage the brunt of the load a few days ago. After a public plea for volunteers, a crew of 6 joined us on Saturday morning to set the trusses on the equipment barn. In all the excitement, I completely forgot to get a picture of the first truss being set!


The trusses made quick work of assembling the roof! I was terrified watching them place the first truss, but it went so smoothly! Just before lunch a torrential rain blew through our area. My friend Miriam and I had just gone to prepare lunch for the guys in our RV so we managed to stay dry. The guys just kept working. They were determined to get all the trusses set before they broke for lunch. Soaked to the bone and famished, they finally came to the top of the hill to have a picnic of sub sandwiches, chips and cookies.


With everyone pitching in, all the trusses were set by the end of the day! All the rain made it almost comical to try to work as we were all slipping and sliding our way around the job site trying to hand 2×4’s up to Jedediah and Zook to temporarily brace the trusses until the purlins could be added. While Fisher, Sarah, Miriam and I were not busy helping the guys, we painted all the joist hangers, hurricane ties and brackets a fashionable flat black.

I don’t remember when we stopped for dinner, but Noah cooked hot dogs on the grill for us and then we continued working until almost dark. We had to call it a day. Thankfully our volunteers came prepared to stay overnight, so we enjoyed a little time to visit too!

Sunday morning we headed back to finish the purlins. Most of our volunteers had to head home around 1pm and we had a wedding to attend that afternoon so we had a short day to finish the work on the equipment barn!

Not bad for a day and a half work! I can’t possibly express how INCREDIBLY grateful we are to Jedediah, Zook, Fisher, Sarah, Miriam, Madison and Noah for all their help! There is no way we could have done this without them! We raised the barn! YAY!

  • Philippians 1:3 (NIV)

    I thank my God every time I remember you.

  • Luke 10:27 (NIV)

    He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

    Tomorrow we will begin raising the Pavilion Barn trusses!

    © Copyright 2020– or current year, Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

Building a Barn Part 2


At the crack of dawn we headed out to Sanctuary Ridge to begin the daunting task of building our first barn. The crew of two consisted of me and Jamey. I’m not sure what we were thinking! Our confidence exceeded our skill, at least it exceeded mine.

We began by moving the concrete and concrete mixer closer to the barn site. Today we begin the pavilion barn. It is 20×36 feet and a little over 14 feet high at the bottom of the truss. We set our batter boards a week ago but measured everything again to make sure it was all square before we began digging for our posts.

The measuring and squaring everything up took a couple of hours. We just kept measuring and moving things until we had it all square. Jamey ran the tractor and auger while I made sure the auger was level and plumb as he drilled each post hole.

The auger makes quick work of digging the post holes! Next we used a sling to maneuver the posts into place. Jamey drove the tractor and I helped position the posts as he dropped them. Then we moved on to making sure the posts were level and square.

It was an exhausting weekend full of work. Sleep is never better after you’ve sweated all day and worked til you can work no more! No rest for this weary crew though- we still have the top band to put on and the equipment barn to build!

Jamey bought this “basket” to go on the forks of the tractor. He intended to use it as a lift so he could safely reach the top of the posts to install the band board. I think it will make a great berry picking basket. Just imagine it! Jamey can lower me right over the middle of the blackberries and when I have picked them all we can move to the next patch! It will be perfect! We haven’t tried it yet, but I have picked a few berries the old fashioned way this week!


I consider myself a beginner on the tractor- especially with the lifting mechanisms. I am not a smooth operator at all! Thankfully Jamey had on a safety harness and the basket was chained to the forks. This is not a job for the faint of heart- his life was literally in my hands. Noah was much better at operating the lifting mechanisms so he operated that and I drove the tractor. It was a very stressful day. Scary but successful. Maybe picking berries in the basket is not such a great idea after all!

So every evening we head out after our paying jobs to work at the farm until dark.

The equipment barn went much smoother than the pavilion. I credit it to having the experience of doing the pavilion first. Perks of working in the evening are the shade provided in the field and we can only work 5-6 hours before it is too dark.

I’m always so impressed with Jamey’s ability to envision, plan, draw, and build whatever crazy idea I come up with!

The trusses were delivered and we set to work painting them Alabaster White- this will be our theme color for all of our buildings on the farm. We will use a dark metal roof for all the buildings as well. I love the warmth of Alabaster White!

The trusses for the pavilion.
Jamey spraying the trusses
The purlins- all 50 painted Alabaster White.


I’ll leave you with this video update:



I’ve been too busy to write much, so I have lots of updating to do! This weekend is our final stretch of long hours- we have equipment rented and help is on the way too!

  • Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

    but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

  • Proverbs 30:5 (NIV)

    “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

  • Psalms 5:11 (NIV)

    But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

© Copyright 2020– or current year, Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.





Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

Building a Barn PT 1

Madison Pushing the batter boards into place with Jamey assisting

We just finished working all weekend to prepare for the next step for our barn buildings. The first will be an open barn style pavilion and the second will be for storing our farm equipment. We decided to order trusses and they will be triple trusses to get the design look we want in an economical manner. It’s designed to look like bulky timber trusses. The plan is to paint them all Alabaster White. The metal roof is a dark gray. All the accents will be in black. Here is a little inspiration we found recently. My Pinterest board is full of inspirations for the future wedding barn. It’s important to me to have consistency in the building designs throughout the property.

Step by step, we are getting to a point where these building are becoming a reality! With sites leveled, designs completed, and buildings laid out, we are ready to start putting in posts this coming weekend. Madison helped Jamey get the batter boards in to keep the post layouts square. It’s essential that the prep work is laid out properly.

Jamey is pretty excited about using the new auger to drill holes for the barn poles. Here’s a video of his first attempt at using the new auger.

Trying the new auger attachment!

Hopefully I will get some video and pictures of the work we are planning for this weekend. I’m excited to see this finished!

© Copyright 2020– or current year, Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.