Spring Amish Greenhouse Visit with Bluffscape Amish Tours in Lanesboro, MN

Spring has finally arrived in Lanesboro, Minnesota! We are excited to put away our winter boots and mittens and soon we will be wearing sandals and garden gloves. After the long winter we look forward to operating our Bluffscape Amish Tours again this year. It’s always exciting to see the Amish folks preparing their greenhouses and gardens.

Amish Flowers
Amish Greenhouse Flower Baskets
Cassia Plant
Cassia Plant – Smells like popcorn!

Lenora Flowers is a greenhouse at one of our Amish tour stops. The greenhouse opened for the season on Saturday. What a treat to see the flowering plants and green foliage. It is a great contrast to the brown countryside sans the white snow. When you step inside the greenhouse the smell of fresh flowers and plants fill your nostrils with a scent of summer to come. They even have a plant, Cassia didymobotrya, which smells like popcorn! When the leaves are rubbed a buttery popcorn scent reminds one of going to the movie theater. Hundreds of hanging baskets with multiple, colorful flowers fill the greenhouse along with other beautiful annuals and perennials. You will also find a few vegetable plants to add to your garden. Lenora Flowers will have beautiful Mums to sell in the Fall, but I can wait a while before seeing Fall once again.

Get out and revel in the beautiful, Spring weather and join us on a Bluffscape Amish Tour in historic Lanesboro. You will enjoy the fully narrated, three -hour tour about our Amish neighbors by our pleasant, knowledgeable guides. The greenhouse is available to browse as well as Fannie’s quilt shop, the Amish bakery, Amish hand-crafted basket shops, and Amish-made wood furniture stores. Soon you will see fieldwork done with horse-drawn equipment, no tractors used in Amish fields. You will also find pickles, jams, jellies, candles, leather goods and remember to pick up a bag or two of the delicious, buttery cashew crunch! Bluffscape Amish Tours depart from the Stone Mill Hotel and Suites in Lanesboro at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday – Saturday. Please call 507-467-3070 to reserve your seat on the tour.

Summer in Minnesota Amish Country

Amish Produce
Amish Garden Produce

Summer is a very busy time for the Amish people.  The Amish women and children tend to their large gardens, keeping them free from weeds and picking ripe fruit and vegetables.  Many of the Amish farms we stop at tend to have small garden plots near their home with  larger gardens elsewhere on the farm.  After nine years of giving these tours, I’m still amazed at the size of their produce – imagine onions the size of  softballs!

A hard frost damaged some of the strawberry plants this spring, so strawberries have  not been as plentiful for the Amish as they had wanted.  It looks like many of the raspberries are ready and are quite abundant.  Most Amish women are canning raspberry jams, jellies, and pie filling this time of year.  One of my favorite berries they often sell  are wild black caps (black raspberries).  The Amish folks venture out into their woods to pick the sweet, wild black raspberries. Their arms often bear lots of scratches from the brambles, showing their hard work in finding the berries.  One of my favorite desserts is vanilla ice cream topped with fresh, Amish-picked, black caps!

While the Amish women and children are busy tending gardens and canning produce, the Amish men and boys (and sometimes the women) are busy cultivating corn, mowing, raking, and loading hay from their fields.  All of this field work is done with a team of work horses.  They do not use tractors in their field like their English (non-Amish) neighbors.  It is tough work loading cut, loose hay onto the hay wagon only to  then unload it into the upper level of the barn in the hay mow.  Hot weather is needed to dry the hay before it can be brought out of the field and placed in the barn.

Amish Field of Shocked Oats
Shocked Oats

While on the tour, I spied a couple of Amish men shocking oats in their field.  The oats are cut with a binder pulled by a horse and bundles of oats are dropped on the ground.  The Amish men and boys walk the field, stacking the oats into shocks to dry.  Once again, much walking and hard work is done in the field.  When the oats are dry, the Amish farmers will collect the oat shocks by tossing them onto a horse-drawn wagon and bringing them to the farm to harvest.  The Amish farmers use a large engine-and-belt-driven threshing machine to separate the grain.  Often they set the thresher in the barn and  toss the oat bundles into the thresher.  The threshed grain is unloaded into one bin while the straw is blown out in another bin to keep for livestock bedding.

Don’t just take my word for it, though!  Join us on our Bluffscape Amish Tours and be transported to another time as you watch the Amish farmers labor in their fields. See  how the strong, beautiful horses pulling field equipment behind them are the ultimate Amish hybrid vehicle.  Witness Amish women work tirelessly to produce and preserve food to feed their families, run a household, and craft beautiful quilts, baskets, and other goods for sale. The scene may  spark a memory for many of the guests as they, too, worked in a similar fashion on the farm once, or recall parents and grandparents sharing stories of the days before tractors.  So take a step back in time with me and book your ticket today!

Rhubarb in Lanesboro, Minnesota

Today is all things rhubarb in Lanesboro, Minnesota.  Laneboro is designated as the Rhubarb Capital of Minnesota and we are very proud of it!  Each year on the first Saturday in June is the annual Rhubarb Fest starting off with a Rhubarb 5k Run, then heading to Sylvan Park for rhubarb tasting, rhubarb games, and for entertainment listening to the Rhubarb Sisters sing.  The Bethlehem LYO kids sell Rhudogs – hotdogs with rhubarb ketchup/relish.  The Bethlehem WELCA as well as other churches sell baked goods with rhubarb as the main ingredient.  Bethlehem Church also offers hot sandwiches with a rhubarb mustard.  Of course, there will be plenty of rhubarb pie to eat!!

Many people attend the Rhubarb Fest in the morning and ride along on Bluffscape Amish Tours in the afternoon.  A large group from central Minnesota is bringing two coach buses down for the Rhubarb Fest and then we are offering a step-on guide to take them on an afternoon tour with Bluffscape. Since I am guiding tours today, I will have to miss the fest, but my daughters will fill me in on all the rhubarb splendor.

Below is a favorite rhubarb dessert recipe that is very easy to make.  I shared it with an Amish friend last week and she loved it and plans to make more. Yesterday I made the dessert with lemon cake mix and it was very good.  Enjoy!

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

1 box white or lemon cake mix
3-4 cups of diced rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 pint cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cake mix according to box directions.  Pour batter into greased 9 x 13 pan.  In another bowl mix the rhubarb and sugar.  Sprinkle rhubarb on top of cake batter. Evenly pour cream on top of the rhubarb. Bake in oven for 60 minutes, test with toothpick when done.

Serve while still warm or chilled.

Bluffscape Amish Tours in Lanesboro, MN

If you are making plans to venture to Lanesboro, Minnesota for a family vacation, a quiet get-away for two, or a day trip with your friends, be sure to include a Bluffscape Amish Tour in your itinerary.  Your Bluffscape guide will take you on a fun, educational tour of our Amish neighbors.  This June you may see the Amish plowing and dragging their fields with their horse-drawn equipment and planting their crops as we are experiencing a late spring with many rain showers, therefore, a later than usual planting is taking place.

With all of this rain we have been having, the grass grows fast and that means lawns need mowing.  A lawn mower some of the Amish use is pictured above.  They hitch up their horse and ride along on their “one-horse mower”!  Otherwise, many Amish use the manual push lawn mower on their yards to cut the grass.
Take a break from your lawn mowing and head to Lanesboro to ride along with Bluffscape Amish Tours located at Stone Mill Hotel & Suites and enjoy munching on sweet, buttery cashew crunch, too.  Now, I better check on my lawn . . .

Autumn Bluffscape Amish Tours in Lanesboro

September and October are one of the premiere times to ride along on a Bluffscape Amish Tour in Lanesboro.  As autumn arrives the Amish of Southeast Minnesota are harvesting their crops of corn and picking late summer produce out of their gardens.  You may see shocks of corn drying in the fields while your Bluffscape tour guide drives you along country roads to visit the Amish people while narrating about their simple lifestyle.  While out on a Bluffscape Amish Tour, you may want to purchase buttery, sweet cashew crunch made by the Amish.
Bluffscape Amish Tours depart Lanesboro daily at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. from the Feed Mill building and Stone Mill Hotel & Suites.  Please call now to reserve your seat with Bluffscape at 507.467.3070 or learn more about our quality Bluffscape Amish Tours at www.bluffscape.com.  

Happy Holidays, from Bluffscape Amish Tours

Another beautiful day in Lanesboro. It is overcast with a few snowflakes floating outside. We could use the sun, but at least it isn’t too cold. Amish tours are done for the season. It was a whirlwind year scheduling tours, lining up guides, and meeting so many great guests on our tours. The time off helps us to rejuvenate for next year’s tourist season.
Dave and I plan on visiting a few of our Amish friends to wish them a merry Christmas this week and catch up on the happenings of their families. One Amish lady’s daughter had triplets, two boys and one girl, in November. Hopefully, they are all doing well and adjusting to the busy-ness of raising multiples with their other children at home. Dave’s brother and sister-in-law had triplets six years ago which encompassed much organizing and care in tending to all their needs along with their two other daughters. They now have six children, and they are a fun bunch of kids! Holidays are exciting times with them around.
As Christmas is soon approaching, we wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous and Peaceful New Year!