Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sleepers and Amish

It’s a long way to Iron Bridge, near Sault Sainte Marie, but it feels like another world there. More like a frontier, less traffic and history abounds in the form of pioneer settlements and farms still left intact.
Last year I was up there to take down a 12-sided 62-foot diameter barn and then erect it on municipal property about six miles away. This year we began the process of putting it up. Well, the foundation is poured to replicate the old one using boards and I went up there last week to help install the joists, or sleepers as they are called in barn terms. We tried to use as many of the old ones as possible, which span a distance between 20 to 25 feet. Even dry, these old timbers weighed a lot and with the use of a crane, Amish and some volunteers we managed to install about 60 old sleepers and new fresh cut red pine ones. The average size of the sleepers was about 10 inches, flat on two sides and 14 to 16 inches wide. One could not move any of them without the use of machinery and I wondered how they were installed 90 years ago when the barn was built.
I had great hosts, Will and Elaine Samis, who farm 164 acres near Iron Bridge. They both love reading and discussing everything from farm problems to the world’s philosophers and laughter was a common theme around the kitchen table.
One day I worked just with Joseph Yoder, a 20 year old Amish man, finishing up some notching on short connecting joists. He forgot his lunch and as there are no restaurants around I drove him to a small Trans Canada Highway general store that looks forgotten in time. An enthusiastic clerk greeted us and Joseph asked for bologna and a loaf of bread. Nope, they had run out of bologna, but had ham instead. Joseph was disappointed, as he really wanted bologna! Well, with a loaf of Bambi white sliced bread and ham, he managed to have a meal, while I contributed some chips and an orange. We sat in the shade eating, watching his horse graze, and laughed about the silliness of the fast world.


Anonymous said...

i met joseph yoder in station malll today. talked for 2 hrs. wonderful young man. gave me his address so we can correspond with eachother. will go visit him his family and the small amish community there next year. indeed, hes a down to earth fella. actually felt like we had a lot in common though we

tiffany said...

my names tiffany. i live here in the soo. im the girl who posted the coment. what a comely fellow joseph was. a pleasant change from the usual. i love the amish community soo much