June 25th I packed up Grandma and Ella and we headed to South Ontario. We stopped in Bowmanville for the day and visited with Great Grandma and Uncle Dennis. Unfortunately my sister was too busy to come by -they were looking for a new vehicle since theirs got totaled the Tuesday before -thank the Good Lord they were ok this time.
Poor Ella, she's only used to going to Walmart. When we went to the shopping mall in Oshawa (to burn off energy before G. Grandma's), Ella asked if she had to go in a cart :) We spent some time in Chapters, but I find it frustrating, they never have the books I want in store. Ella got a new story book and I picked up my Australian Smocking magazine. It's a little expensive, but I like to treat myself once in a while. It's worth the money though, because all the dresses/outfits shown have the patterns included. That's the one complaint I have with Sew Beautiful, they show beautiful dresses, but you have to buy the pattern separately (most of the time).
We had a very nice visit and stayed the night at our friends' in Enniskillen. If you are looking for a nice place to stay, I highly recommend their B&B.
We headed out for southwestern Ontario first thing in the morning. Ella did a very good job in the car. She doesn't like long drives but does her best. Guess where we went...
Yep, we were in Mennonite country. More specific St. Jacob's. We stopped in Floradale at the General Store.
This store is amazing, it is stocked floor to ceiling with bolts of fabric. Downstairs is the cotton and the whole upstairs is dedicated to poly fabrics. The other half of the downstairs is filled with all sorts of stuff for everyday life and there is a bakery out back. I picked the perfect weekend to go because it was their 30th anniversary and all the cotton was half price!! Boy did I stock up. I couldn't take any pictures inside the store, there were too many Mennonite ladies shopping and I didn't want them to feel uncomfortable.
We actually were able to find a B&B run by a Mennonite lady. Her house was beautiful and surrounded by flowers. We had a living room all to ourselves, which is nice when traveling with children. That way you can put them to bed and slip out to the other room instead of trying to be quiet for the rest of the night. Ella thought it was so neat, our hostess' name was Ella! She was so friendly and gave us a very delicious breakfast. I think we'll stay there again when we are next in the area.
After breakfast we headed into St. Jabob's to the Farmer's Market. We never miss it when we are in the area. I like to stock up on cuts of meat that I just can't find up here and Grandma loves the Oktoberfest-type sausage that the Mennonites sell.
Many of the booths are "manned" by Mennonite girls. I'm not sure what branch they belong to, they wore very different caps. They were black and sort of pleated down the back. They also wore plain dresses. I think they must have been a kind of Old Order. There are lots of Mennonite families selling produce outside.
Not all Mennonites live on farms. Some live in small towns. This home is in St. Jacobs and the lady of the house has a very large garden and sells flowers and vegetables from the front yard. Mennonites all seem to have such beautiful gardens.
One last shot as we were heading out of Elmira. This is one of the local grocery stores. Note the covered "buggy parking" area beside the store.
In the Waterloo area there are many different kinds of Mennonite. They range from horse and buggy driving Mennonites to ones that barely look different from the rest of society (usually women wear small black lacy bits in their hair). Even the ones that drive buggies don't all look the same.
Here are two examples.
Here's a picture of an Old Order Mennonite homestead. I had a hard time getting a picture because the trees are so full of leaves right now. Old Order homes aren't hard to pick out, they don't have any power lines running to the house.
The picture on the right is a Mennonite school. We have one over where my Mom lives too. Our Mennonites are Conservative and tend to send their kids to the parochial school instead of public. If we weren't going to homeschool, I'd love to send Ella to their school.
One of the main things that separate Mennonites from Amish is where they hold their church services. Amish have their service in members' homes, while Mennonites have actual church buildings.
The one on the left is an Old Order church. You can see the hitching posts for the horses. Also note that the cemetery stones are all uniform, plain white stones. This one on the right is a more modern branch of Mennonite, they drive regular cars.
The Mennonites Colin know up here attend a church that looks like the one on the right, but they drive plain black vehicles (vans mostly).
I'm tempted to attend a service at the church of Colin's friends, but I'd have to find out if it is still in German. If that's the case, there would be no point. But, Colin has been invited to come, so I think it must be in English. It would be nice to fit in more than I do with most of society. And, in future years, it would be nice not to have to worry about a boy's "intentions" if they came to take Ella out. I'm not sure how well becoming Mennonite would go over with our families.
I'll continue part two of our trip later, this post is getting a little long.