Self sufficient does not always mean less

I recently had the privilege of visiting the Amish community near Nappanee Indiana where I attended the Self Sustaining Expo 2011. For those of you who struggle with the idea of having less because you see that getting off the grid will mean compromise, read on.

If I had remembered to take my camera, I could have shown you how to make vanilla ice cream without electricity. You know, the method where you fill a container with iced water and turn the crank for a half an hour to mix the delicious ingredients which are inside the maker. Mmmm, you think as your arm gets more tired with each minute.

But, not so at this expo. They had a horse-sized treadmill with some gears tied to the ice-cream maker and (if you haven’t guessed by now) there was a horse walking the treadmill providing the power. I thought that it was a Clydesdale, but I really don’t know all that much about horses – but it was certainly a large workhorse for sure.

As I watched the horse walking along at a very steady pace, I saw it turn its head toward its master with big puppy-dog eyes as if to say, ‘can I stop yet?’ But the master caught the horse’s attention, made a simple but sharp gesture with his hand (a lot like the gesture¬†that Greek cabbies make), and the horse was off again – churning, churning, churning.

Who said that off-grid living means that you have to give up something as good as ice-cream?  It was delicious.

Hey! I don’t remember them giving any to the horse!

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