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AgArts from Horse and Buggy Land

AgArts from Horse and Buggy Land, hosted by Mary Swander, explores life among the Amish and the arts and agriculture in the wider rural community.

Season #1, Episode #10: Vernon Ropp: Sewing Machines to Tractors

Host Mary Swander interviews Vernon Ropp, a local Mennonite man who makes lawn art, converting sewing machines to toy tractors. Ropp tells of attending an Amish one-room school and struggling to learn English. During the Korean War, he became a conscientious objector, performing his service work at the Alexian Brothers hospital in Chicago. Ropp traveled the world with the Mennonite Disaster Service and other relief organizations, to return to his off-farm job selling John Deere tractors. Music by Dean Gray.

Season #1, Episode #9: Farm Jokes

Host Mary Swander tells farm jokes and stories that she has garnered from her Amish and Mennonite neighbors, Practical Farmers of Iowa members, and her own experience of living in an old one-room Amish schoolhouse. Music by Alan Murphy from his album Hogs in the Cornfield.

Season 1, Episode #8: Star Gazing

Host Mary Swander tells a story about star gazing with the Amish and what it means to stay home for long periods of time. She explores the connections to the night sky in her poem “Heaven?” She reads about a universal cure from the Balm of Gilead tree when she browses Special Interests, the Amish newspaper. Music by Annie Chapman Brewer, Too Many String Band, and Marco Cacho.

Season 1, Episode #7: Heavenly Harmonicas

Host Mary Swander explores the history and use of the harmonica, the one instrument that the Amish are allowed to play. Gospel tune: “We are Going down the Valley” Story of harmonicas as wedding presents. “Heavenly Harmonica Potatoes” recipe by Ruby, the grossmommie. Music by Patrick Hazell.

Season 1, Episode #6: Adeste Fideles in Chinese (Mary Swander’s book Adeste Fideles in Chinese is the third in a series of handmade books published by Timothy Fay of Route 3 Press in Anamosa, Iowa, depicting the author’s interactions with her Amish neighbors. This book captures a poignant Christmas story of multicultural exchange. More about Swander’s books here.)

Season 1, Episode #5: Marcia Wegman: Farm Country Landscapes (Images of Marcia Wegman’s artwork and her artist statements here.)

Season 1, Episode #4: Drive-In Church Services

Season 1, Episode #3: Hunting Bear and Bugs

Season 1, Episode #2: Taking Livestock to Market

Season 1, Episode #1: Online Implement Dealership