14 April

An Amish Backyard

by Jon Katz

In the country, it’s the custom for people to keep their old and used cars in their backyards in case they need spare parts. Many backyards look like junkyards, although they are just car and truck graveyards. You never know when you will need an old fender..

I see that Amish backyards are different. There is no stuff in an Amish backyard because there is no “stuff” in Amish life. Their simplicity is deep and real.

My life is so often filled with clutter and debris that it suffocates me. I life without stuff would denude me. But it is striking to see lives without stuff.

They are filled with newly cut and cleanly stacked lumber, there are usually 10 to 12 horses in wide pastures, there are clotheslines filled with jeans and shirts and dresses and there are rows of carts, nearly lined up and waiting to go.

Otherwise, the backyards are spotless.

My friend Moise’s backyard is different and lovely. I could take photos of this farm all day.


  1. Seems to me they have stuff – it’s just different stuff. The Amish near us have yards full of stuff (more established farms the more stuff). The Mennonites branch here have immaculate farms but the old order Amish not so much!

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