The Big Valley

For those of you who remember the TV show with Hoss and Little Joe, no, I haven’t forgotten what this blog is about. I’m talking about Big Valley, PA. Also known as Kishacoquillas Valley or Kish Valley. Kish Valley  is home to the second largest Amish settlement in Pennsylvania, with Lancaster County being the first. But in terms of uniqueness, the Valley wins hands down.

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Over the course of the next few months, I’ll be blogging about Kish Valley and all the interesting things I learned while I visited there. Here are a few of the beautiful pictures I took last month. Enjoy!

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Here’s me and Stace on the top of Jacks Mountain. Down below you can see the Valley. Incredibly beautiful!

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The Valley from the top of Jacks Mountain.

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Peight’s Store in the Valley.

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“Byler Amish” farm. The Valley is home to twelve different sects of Amish and Mennonites, the Byler Amish among them. (more on the Byler Amish later.)

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“Peachey” or “Renno Amish” buggy. They go by either name and are the most progressive of the Valley Amish, though that’s not saying a great deal. They are still conservative Old Order Amish. More on the Peachey Amish later. (Yes, I prefer calling them by this name since almost every mailbox we passed had the name ‘Peachey’ on it.)

KV wildflowers

These beautiful purple wildflowers were all over the Valley. I loved seeing them against the weather-worn fence posts.

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A road-side store. This one was closed the first day we were there, but open the second. Two very helpful Mennonite women worked there and gave us some great information about the local Amish. Stacey and I bought a jar of church pickles, some corn on the cob, and a couple of tomatoes. Yummy!

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A Valley farm. So picturesque!

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Oh, you know how I love cows!

Well, that’s the last picture for this post. Which one is your favorite? Be sure to leave a comment. At the end of the month, everyone who commented will have their name put in a drawing to win a copy of one of my books!

Be watching for more about the Valley Amish, along with news about the new mystery series, updates on the new romance series, and other great info about the Amish in general!

Thanks for reading!

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The Chouteau Amish Experience

I have to admit that I spend a great deal of time with my eyes glued to a computer screen as I craft one story or  another. So much so that it’s embarrassing how little I get out. #writerproblem34 But I recently made the effort to get over to Chouteau (the loose inspiration for Wells Landing) and visit with the Amish. I’ve been before–several times actually–but I’ve never had what I would consider a successful visit. This time, I would say it was a success.

My assistant and bestie, Stacey Barbalace, came to visit and go with me to the Books In Bloom Festival in Eureka Springs, AR. From there we decided to check out Chouteau. We wrangled my husband into driving for us and away we went!

We had a great time just driving through the back roads and seeing what we could find. Most all of the pictures we took were unplanned, just snapped when we happened upon something we wanted to remember. I wanted to share a couple of those pictures with you.


We caught Augustus Yoder snoozing on his tractor as he waited for his ride to work.

schoolhouse1This is one of very few Amish school houses in the area. A great deal of the Amish children go to ‘regular,’ English schools there instead.

girl on tractorThis girl left after her shift at The Cheese House and zipped down the road on her tractor.


And this was Nelson Yoder spreading manure at his son’s dairy farm. We stopped and talked to him for a while. It was cool this day and Nelson was wearing a pale yellow shirt with a lined denim vest and barn-door denim pants.  Nelson explained to us that the farm had been his, but he turned it over to his son and now worked for him. It was a hoot watching the cows run in a line behind the manure spreader. But for Nelson, it was all in a day’s work.

If you’d like to see the rest of the pictures from our trip check out my Chouteau 2015 page under Amish Pictures.