Amish Tradition and Harvesting Hickory

We have several Amish communities in our area and even with our cultural differences our paths cross. I have used the Amish for pressing my cider for years. And with our property containing a large selection of hickory the Amish make arrangements to harvest the smaller trees to use in their bentwood rockers.

Today our side yard has one Amish buggy in the lower drive and one draft house tied to a tree near the barn. A group of Amish are starting to harvest the small branches needed for their furniture.

They only select branches under four inches and cut the trees in such a way that they will grow back, usually with more small branches that can be harvested in four or five years.

The Amish have cut Hickory off of our property on and off for about 15 years. Part of the deal often includes an Amish rocking chair or Amish love seat.

Eli, one of the Amish, told me they would be here cutting for about two weeks. He asked for permission to park the buggy by the barn and tie the horse to a tree. At the end of the their job they will bring several draft horses to haul the hickory bundles off the hill and load them into a wagon.

One year they harvested Hickory in the late spring when there was a foot of snow on the ground. When they came to haul the wood away they used an old wooden sled that could be pulled by horses. The sled was over 10 foot long and six foot wide with sides to hold the hickory bundles in place.

I asked about the history of the sled and was told it was over 100 years old and has been passed down through the family for generations.

So far today the Amish have collected about five bundles of branches. They cut them in four to eight foot sections. They then sort them before they are bundled by length and for what purpose they will be used for later. At this moment they are sorted by length and propped against my front trees.

The harvesting of the hickory will make for an interesting few weeks. The Amish in my area do not allow photographs to be taken. They are from an older sect and their beliefs are more controlled. They believe that the photographic image steals their soul.

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