An Amish Home
So what would you find in an Amish home? The home is one place that really hasn't changed much since the 18th century, but then it is, after all, a refuge from the world. There are not a lot "things" sitting around. Furnishing and decoration would fall under the classification of "primitives," that is, functional and simply styled. Some of the appliances, such as a stove, may be a little newer, but there is no electricity to operate modern appliances. All lighting is by candle or oil and gas lamp. Bottle-gas appliances are acceptable, although bottle gas can be expensive. If you think about it, little more is needed in a place where you will eat, sleep, read, study the Bible and socialize with the family.

If you were to visit the Amish at home, what would you expect to find in the dairy barn? Surprise -- a thoroughly modern, automated milking system complete with refrigerated tanks! The Amish are not totally self-sufficient. They must trade what they have for what they need just like the rest of us. When you choose to sell dairy products, you encounter organizations such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and the three-legged stool and metal pail will not do. The Amish do not expect special treatment in these matters. Electricity is required to operate a modern dairy barn, so gas or diesel generators are employed. Generators are more expensive than the power company product, but generators have the virtues both of avoiding the intrusion of electric lines and of running on petrol fuel, a product that can be purchased and transported as needed.

"Real horsepower" is used whenever possible. Included would be the moving of buggies, wagons and farm equipment. It is permissible to use small gas engines on farm equipment, but all equipment must use horses for locomotion.

Amish horses are draft horses. Draft horses have thick legs and muscular shoulders and haunches. They have been bred to pull things. The Amish do not ride draft horses -- they ride in wagons or buggies. Draft horses are not fast, but they can pull a buggy uphill and downhill without breaking stride.

Wind, water and solar energy are also allowed as power sources because they promote separateness. Wind power has a long history in farming.

It is permissible for an Amish person to use modern transportation provided that he does not personally own or operate the equipment. Some travel has become a necessity as growing communities have had to move westward in order to acquire additional farmland for young couples. Some of the newest communities are in Utah.