Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Positive New Year Ahead!

A new year is almost here, yet again.  And I always ask the same question,"Where did the year go?"
I think most of our year is spent with a lot of work, never ending work.  I've accepted the fact that we may never catch up with our chores, but what would that mean if we did?  I guess for life to go on, it just means that the work we are meant to do continues. 
This past year was difficult in many ways, mostly the slow economy and the milk price bottomed out.  It went Kaput!  Watching what we spend, shopping at second hand shops and just making due with what we already have has been something that's kept us going.
The new year coming looks to improve.  Milk price is said to be in the increase, along with cattle prices.  We'll have some of our equipment paid off this coming year, which gives us some more income to be tossed someone else's way. 
Emily will be starting Kindergarten in the fall, and she's excited. 
If my drs. appointment on January 6th confirms my hunch, we'll be welcoming another little one to our family.  I'm thinking late August to early September.  Course, I'm already feeling sick and so very tired, but so excited! And very thankful that we did not get rid of anything from when Emily was a baby.  We're all set.
Cheese orders are coming in very consistently.  In fact I have 8 wheels heading out either tomorrow or on Monday, depending on the road conditions.  Looking forward to getting back to making cheese this March.  But, until then, I have some work that needs to be done in the cheese house.  Going to start that stuff today.
I've got 2 batches of cheese that is due to be waxed right now, clean up the mats that we lay wheels of cheese on in the cooler (it helps keep the air circulating underneath each wheel, helps for development), want to wash down the floor in the cooler and wipe off shelves (they will be wiped down with salt and vinegar, takes care and prevents any mold growth), need to also bleach down all packing room tables and store any Christmas gift basket items.  It will feel good to tuck in for a couple of months.  Thinking of adding a new cheese to our lineup, but also want to concentrate on the cheeses that we know our customers know and love, and just keep improving them!  Quality is always better than quantity.  It would be easy to slap out 8-15 types of cheese, but what if they don't taste consistent each time they are made?  Nope, that's not the right way to be an artisan cheese maker, and we are focusing and getting it good. 
Al will be heading out to haul the manure for today to the field, run the gutter (we have a chain gutter system that when turned on it carries the manure from behind the cows and takes it out to the manure spreader, a lot easier than pitching it by hand! We're spoiled by that handy gadget!), but it still can take about 15-30 minutes to run it out.  This time of year we watch it carefully, since it can freeze in cold weather.  Almost milking time for evening as well.  If I get the waxing done in good time, I'll be heading down to the barn and help out there. 
Even during the holidays, our work is never finished up.  Would love to have some overtime pay for the hours we put in! haha! 
Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas is Almost Over...

Christmas night always makes me feel a little....sad, I guess.  All the crazy errands, baking, sending packages out, wrapping, shopping, listening to those Christmas songs, and then in one day, it's over.  We had a very nice day.  It rained, so no white Christmas, but it was ok, we had a white, snowy week. 
This past week was so busy, had an order for 5 gift baskets that I put together and shipped out on Monday.  Made a delivery on Wednesday so the folks wouldn't have to come down our icy road.  Al's mom and dad made it in on Tuesday, and that was a wonderful visit!  I ran some last minute errands yesterday morning, and then just tucked in today. 
We opened presents this morning, had a wonderful breakfast of bacon and eggs, a simple breakfast, but on Christmas morning, it was special!  Of course, even though it's Christmas, those cows want to be milked! ;) So, off to the barn we went, Emily carried her new toy dozer to play with in the sawdust.  I grained the girls while Al got the milkers turned on.  It wasn't long before Emily was missing her new toys at the house, so we went up to the house for about an hour.  Then went back down and I threw the hay into the girls.  Finished up milking, and made sure the Christmas music was playing for them. 
I was so tired when we got to the house, so I laid down and took a nap.  It felt so good! 
Fixed a yummy glazed ham, potatoes au gratin, lemon-pepper green beans, sweet potato casserole and warmed up some store bought rolls.  YUM!!  That reminds me, we have some leftovers that will be calling my name soon...
Planning on dropping off a couple more goodies tonight after Al is finished with the milking and I finish cleaning our hamsters cage.  She'll like the new bedding for Christmas. 
I did cut up some cheese for tomorrow.  I still hate that I missed last week, and I'm sure I will hear about that! 
Hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  Keep in mind the reason we celebrate! 

Saturday, December 19, 2009

First Snow!!

Our first good snow of the year!  Makes it look like Christmas!  It started last night as rain, then ice, and finally snow.  Right now we have a good 6 inches on the ground.  I missed the farm market today, and I really didn't want to miss, but roads were not the best, and didn't want to take a chance.  Good day to cozy up in the house, except, Miss Emily is excited to be outside!  We went out for a bit earlier, and will be getting the sled out in a few minutes.  Hoping to make some cookies after that. 

Snow this morning on our pines.

The view of our neighbors hill from our place.

What our road looked like about 2 inches of snow ago.
Only 4x4 pick ups have been through, and they did
their fair share of sliding.

Emily all set to go play!

Making some snow angels.  I really don't
think I could do this anymore!!

Emily found some icicles and
brought them in the milk house to show us.

Helped hay and bed the cows. 
They are so happy they don't have to slop around
in the snow.  Barn is about 60-65 degrees.  Feels
cozy!!! Also, turned on some Christmas tunes for
the girls! 

Emily loving on her barn cats, Lola and Gomer.

We did a little bit more decorating.  Found some old ornaments that belonged to my Grandma, I don't hang them on the tree for their own safety! So, I tucked them in a nice pie plate and tucked an old snowman in the middle.  It sits on my island in the kitchen.  Looks cheerful!

Also have been doing some cookie and candy making.  Found a good recipes for Cherry Crisps and Peppermint Bark.  I will post recipes tomorrow for these. I want to make some Peanut Butter Blossoms today, before the Hershey Kisses are all gone, and need to get those peppermint chip cookies made.  Will be leaving some goodies this coming week for our mail carrier, milk hauler and his wife, and our feed guy, and anyone else who pops in!  This is the fun part!

I snapped this picture of Emily, right after the tree was decorated.  She is really having fun! Loving every minute of the Christmas season.  I'm so glad!  Making sure that we do something fun each day, bake cookies, decorate, read a Christmas book or watch a Christmas video.  So far her favorite movie is A Charlie Brown Christmas, it's mine too.  She loves it when I keep the holiday songs playing in the kitchen, non-stop, except for when the radio station plays the hockey game, then we stick our CD's in. 

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season!  Be safe when out and about with the snow and ice.

"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air." W.T. Ellis

Monday, December 14, 2009

Enjoying the Day

After a busy weekend, I'm taking some time today to just enjoy playing catch up around the house. 
The event "Good for You, Good For Barnesville" went very well!  I made up about 7 gift baskets, and sold all but one, plus almost all of the cheese that I packed in individual packs.  Very good feedback from the customers! Yesterday we braved the crowds at St. Clairsville.  It was crazy busy, and we didn't even go into the actual mall, just stopped at a few places and had to pick up our other computer from Staples. 

So, after all the running this weekend, today I decided to focus on getting the house in order, including some laundry, dishes, organizing in my spare room and few other odd and end stuff.  It actually feels good to have that day that I don't have to hurry, hurry.  I will have to go to the cheese house this afternoon and gather my gift basket stuff up so that it's not all over the front room.  I also have about 40 lbs. of cheese to cut up for the week, and for the 6 orders that will be shipped out tomorrow.  We've had a few calls from folks wanting to stop in this week and visit and buy some cheese.  I did promise Miss Emily that we would make some cookies too.  She gets the job of rolling the cookie balls in colored sugars.  She should have fun with that! 

I just popped lunch/dinner in the oven, and it looks like it will be a yummy one!  I finally got around to picking some apple cider up on Saturday from Rockwell Orchards, so I wanted to get this made before we used all the cider up. 

Cider Pork Chops

1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 (1 inch thick) bone-in pork chops
3 Tbsp. butter, divided (I actually use cooking spray instead)
4 Granny Smith apples, sliced (I had Golden Delicious on hand)
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup apple cider

Combine first 3 ingredients in zip loc bag; add chops.
Seal and shake to coat.
Remove chops and set aside.
Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in large skillet.
Add chops, cook 5 minutes each side, or until browned.
Grease a 13x9 inch baking dish with remaining butter.
Place apples in bottom of dish; top with raisins, if desired.
Sprinkle with brown sugar.
Arrange pork chops over brown sugar and drizzle with apple cider.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until pork chops are done.

I'm taking a small break while I wait for the pork chops to bake.  I poured myself a cup of coffee, a large cup, and have some Christmas tunes playing from our local radio station that plays all Christmas until New Year's.  Also have my potpourri burner going with Sparkling Vanilla tart from Yankee Candle. Mmm....the house smells so nice and cozy! 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Our Tree Is UP!

Our tree is UP!
Now, with 2 cats, a dog and a 4 year old little girl,
we hope it stays up until Christmas!
Of course, the ornaments are put on the tree,
but, Emily feels the need to move them around,
she likes to find the "perfect" spot everyday
until Christmas.

Our family picture! We actually have one this year
with all three of us.  It's amazing what you can
do when the camera has a delay for the flash!

Our tree, I need to work on the lighting a bit
with the camera, but this is as good as I could get.

Little Miss Emily, wrapped up in the "garlic".
Um...that's what she called garland. ;-)

It's feeling like Christmas here!
We had the Christmas tunes playing last night,
turned the lights off, except for the tree,
and the evening was beautiful!
I went crazy with the lights on the tree this year,
I used both multi-colored lights and white.
I'll remember that for next year.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I'm slowly decorating our house for Christmas.  Seems like I can't get into the mood to do it. I have done our kitchen and our window sills.  Still need to venture outside, after I find the outdoor decorations in the garage.  Going out there is like the Bermuda Triangle!

I stopped at the Goodwill in Marietta, which is my favorite store! Thankfully, I found a couple of things for Emily for Christmas.  The hard part, she was with me.  So.....she is now convinced that the toy vanity is for someone else.  But, it was such a good deal, 99cents and it's in great shape.  Also found the Cat In The Hat game.  Money is scarce for Christmas this year, but I feel that is going to be a blessing!  We're going to focus on the simple things, and not over do the gift part.  It's easy to get caught up in the "greed" of the holiday.  I noticed that Emily was starting to want everything she saw on tv and in the stores.  This Christmas will be a bit of a lesson for us all.  Getting back to the real reason our family celebrates Christmas. 

I found myself worrying the other day as I was driving.  I felt terrible thinking that we would be able to do very little this year, but I realized the worrying was not going to make it any better, or easier.  I've quit worrying now about it (at least not as much) and am putting it into God's hands.  There are a lot worse things going on in this world than lack of toys!  And by the looks of our house right now, my daughter has never lacked! :-) So, now I'm thankful for finding gently used toys that is within our means to buy.  

I'm just about finished with the Christmas shopping, just need to wrap it all up.  Again, I'm keeping it simple this year.  I found some cute soup mugs, and thought that putting them with some soup mixes would be a nice gift idea. 

We had snow yesterday!  As Emily and I were driving to the farm market, we drove in some really heavy snow!! It was so pretty, and really made it seem like Christmas time.  Loved it!  And it was enough to put a skiff on the ground.  It's been very cold here in the Ohio Valley, we had 15 this morning.  Our cows are still staying outside, but with plenty of good hay and shelter.  Our problem, we are milking 60 cows, and our barn holds 50.  We can easily double some of the younger heifers up in the stalls during milking time, but can't do that during the winter.  So, we dried 5 cows off yesterday, and need to figure out which 5 should be dried off tomorrow.  We have one cow due in January, she'll be the first of the calving season.  February- April we'll be busy with babies!  So, as soon as we dry the cows off, and separate them from the milk herd, we'll be keeping the girls in the nice, cozy barn.  We have a lot of sawdust stored for bedding and the hay has been brought in from the fields.  So, we're ready to tuck in for the winter. 

Now, I need to go and get our tree set up, so that when milking is done for the evening, we can put on some Christmas music and decorate! 

Hope everyone is having fun during this Holiday Season!!! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We Have A Winner!

December 1st, and we have a winner for our Gift Basket Giveaway! 
We gathered all the goodies together for the basket, and had Emily stand next to it all and draw out a name.
And the winner is.......

Jenny Matlock of Arizona!!!!!!


We'll be shipping her goodies out to her on Monday, December 7.  What a fabulous Christmas gift!! 

You can follow Jenny's blog by the link on my blog! It's a great blog to visit!
And I do believe that she had the most chances in this drawing, she ordered 8 lbs. of cheese total!
We hope that you enjoyed your cheese order, and this basket! 

Thursday, November 26, 2009


It was such a quiet Thanksgiving.  We stayed home again this year, it was just the three of us.  Family is far, and gas prices are up.  I started cooking yesterday, and was up around 5 a.m. today.  We ate A LOT!!!  I made my usual cornbread casserole, green bean casserole (since we can't have onions here at our house, I shredded up some of our Dixie Swiss cheese and sprinkled it on top), sweet potato casserole (just like my grandma used to make!), turkey, mashed potatoes, noodles, rolls, made up a cheese and veggie tray, and lots of other goodies! Oh, and of course, pumpkin pie! YUM!!! 
Milking was started and finished earlier than usual.  I had the turkey in the oven by 7:30 a.m. Emily watched a marathon of Tom & Jerry, wow, that takes me back a few years! ha!  After eating, Emily fell asleep for a nap on the couch, so we had control of the tv.  Well, Al had control of the tv, so that meant watching Detroit  Lions play the Green Bay Packers.  It was a good game, at least what we saw of it.  Emily woke up during the 3rd quarter, and we took the easy road, and turned Tom & Jerry back on.  Had our phone calls to family to wish them Happy Thanksgiving.  Rested a lot, and nibbled on leftovers.  That is what I LOVE about Thanksgiving....leftovers!! My fridge is full. 
As we slowed our pace down today, I felt really content. 
And was thinking, that even though we are really pinched financially right now, things are good.  So, here is what I am thankful for today, considering that this is a day to reflect on these things, not just about turkey.  (Although, that part is good too!)

~I'm thankful to have a wonderful husband and daughter. 

~For our home.

~Our business is doing well, considering the economy has really hit a lot of folks hard.

~The sun came out today, and it was beautiful!

~My dishwasher (Rosie) finished most of our dishes today that we made dirty.

~Cows came in easily this evening, no chasing them all over the county.

~We had a lot of food, even though grocery prices made me a little more careful as to what I bought for our dinner.

~And having time this evening to watch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Now that is a life to be thankful for....

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, with a lot of blessings!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Feeling So Much Better!

Well, we have survived whatever kind of flu bug we had for the past week and a half.  I do not want to ever experience that again!  At least not for awhile.  Still coughing, but the fever that my daughter and I both had is long gone! Yay!
So, now that we are all recovered and feeling more like the living, we've been busy!  I guess I could consider my sick time my "break".  Hmm...not enjoyable though.. 
I did start some Christmas baking the other night, ran across a really yummy recipe, and sounded fairly easy too.  The recipe says it should make about 3 dozen or so. Funny, I only have about 1 dozen as of right now.  Now I'm pretty sure I made more than that!!  Keeping husband and daughter out of the refrigerator and freezer this time of year is next to impossible.  My plan is to have several differnt goodies all made up and in the freezer in plenty of time to make sure everyone on our list gets a nice gift basket/cookie tray.  But, if we don't stay out of the goodies, we won't have anything ready for them!

Chocolate Dipped Maple Logs

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. maple flavoring
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (6 oz)semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. milk
3/4 cup ground walnuts

In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla and maple flavoring.  Combine flour, oats and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
On a lightly floured surface, shape dough into 1/2 inch wide logs.  Cut into 2 inch pieces.  Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 325 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until set and very lightly browned.  Remove to wire racks.
In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and milk; stir until smooth.  Dip one end of each cookie into chocolate; allow excess to drip off.  Roll in walnuts. Place on waxed paper until set.*
*I like to place the cookies in the refrigerator until set.  They set faster and look nice.
This recipe is from Taste Of Home.

The picture for the cookies is not my photo.  That is also from Taste of Home.  Mine didn't turn out quite that pretty! 

Most of the work that I have been doing, now that I feel more like doing something, has been laundry!  It still amazes me how just 3 of us can accumulate so much!  And of course, with milking over 60 cows right now, Al's clothes are really dirty after just one milking.  He sometimes comes in and changes at lunch time.  And if anyone has any good suggestions as to getting cow manure out of clothing, I'm open to try anything! 
I did get some cheese orders shipped out on Monday.  I cut up several pounds of cheese for the farm market this Saturday.  And yes, I will be there.  I don't like missing even one market, especially this time of year, when holiday shopping has already started.  I'm hoping to have a couple of gift baskets already made up so that they can be on the table for customers to look at and get an idea of what they consist of.  I have found a couple more items to add to our gift basket giveaway.  A maple leaf shaped bottle of Pure Maple Syrup, made right here in Ohio.  We have quite a few names added to our giveaway!  Looking forward to announcing a winner! 
We have an order heading out to California this next week.  Can't believe we're getting orders heading to the west coast! 
We've wrapped up cheese making for the winter.  I'm focusing on waxing the last batches of cheese we've made this fall and getting gift basket stuff lined up!  That combined with the usual holiday stuff we do here as a family, will keep me busy! 
Sawdust hauling has begun for the year.  This is something we do each year when November comes along.  Thankfully we don't have to use the dust yet, but some years we do keep the cows in this early.  The warmer than usual weather and grass still good and green has allowed our girls to stay out to pasture longer than usual.  And they are enjoying it.  But, I guarantee, that first snowflake falls, they will not leave the barn!  Winter in our barn is cozy! I love it!  The cows stay in,  nice and dry, we make sure they have plenty of good grass hay, and bed them up nice and warm with sawdust.  Barn stays right around 60 degrees, and Christmas music plays from Thanksgiving until just after New Year.  Decorating the  barn for the girls has crossed my mind! ;)  I'm thankful that the dust we get is free and kept inside where it stays dry.  The past 2 days I've helped Al load the dust.  The guys that work at the shop where we get it has quit early.  But, it doesn't take us long to load up. 
Our local paper came today, and I was so surprised to see an article about me!  Now I have no idea who sent it in, but it's cool!  They wrote about how a recipe of mine was featured in a Gooseberry Patch cookbook and how you can find the book at our local gift shop.  I'll keep that paper, thought it was really something neat! 
Now I am off to cut up some more cheese for Saturday.  I want to start getting things ready before Friday night.  Seems I like to procrastinate, and then I'm feeling rushed at the last minute.  If I actually work on it a little at a time, I may actually be ready without worrying.  I'm sure this is a brand new concept, figured out by me, right? 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's a Stay-At-Home Weekend

We're staying home this weekend, away from anyone and everyone. And I'm going stir crazy!  We all are sick, and just doing what work needs to be done, and that's it.  I did try to help Al get the cows in last night, I didn't do well though.  The cows obviously realized that I was not feeling well, and would be really easy to ignore!  That's what they did too.  Al drove the truck back to our back hayfield to pick up an Amish friend of ours, so on the way, he dropped me off at the spot way behind our pond so that I could get behind the cows and convince them to head to the barn.  They were moving really well too, but it got dark, and when it gets dark, these cows do not move.  Well, after about 15 minutes of waving a stick, well it was actually the stem from a weed, but they didn't know it, I realized they were not taking me seriously.  Probably because the farmer or his wife should not be on the ground huffing and puffing for air if we want the cows to see how serious we are about getting them to the barn.  Yes, I was the one gasping for air.  I will know next time to let Al get the cows in when he is able to get around to it, and not offer my help when I'm already sick and can't breathe. 
Of course, as soon as the girls heard the truck coming, they decided to mosey to the barn, at their own pace, of course.  I came to the house and decided that the recliner was where I should be.  With a nice warm blanket and the remote to the tv so I could flip through channels.  Emily picked, so Dora the Explorer was our evening tv program of choice. 
I did get bored of just sitting, so went to the kitchen, and decided to fix something good, something sweet, and yep, something I really should not have.  Emily and I fixed a cake.  I did fix chicken pot pie for something good for you too.  But, the cake was the best!  It's a good one from the GBP booklet called Cake Mixes. 
Gooey Cherry-Mallow Squares

4 cups mini marshmallows
18 1/4 oz. pkg. yellow cake mix
21 oz. can cherry pie filling

Spray the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking pan with non-stick spray; arrange
marshmallows evening in pan.  Prepare cake mix according to pkg. directions.
Pour over marshmallows.  Spoon pie filling on top; bake at 350 degrees for
45-50 minutes.  Cool and cut into squares to serve.  Makes 15 servings.
*We used Blueberry Pie Filling instead, it was what we had on hand.

I skipped the farm market today, so I apologize to anyone who may have went there and didn't see me.  I am planning on being back this next weekend, and each Saturday (except for December 12).  So far today I've done very little.  I did play a little bit of Super Nintendo with Emily, and have found that I'm not as good at the Mario games like I was when I was 12.  Guess that's been awhile.  Al is now relaxing, watching Ohio State play.  Go Bucks!! 
And, I guess that is where I'm going to head off to, sit back, watch some football, and hopefully by tomorrow I'm feeling more like my old self!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Christmas Baking

This year I am determined to start my Christmas baking soon, within the next week or so.  Wanted to start making and freezing some dough this week, but, unfortunately, a cold bug has caught up with me, despite my efforts with the Lysol spray and hand sanitizer.  So, until I feel better, I am just sorting through my recipes and getting my ingredients needed listed, so that when I do start my baking, I'll be ready. 
I'm sharing a couple of recipes.  I will add more recipes off and on this holiday season as I run across some favorites. 

The first recipe is one that I love to make, and they are so yummy.  Really very easy to put together and they turn out very pretty!

Chocolate Mint Sugar Cookie Drops

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mint chocolate morsels
Red & Green coarse sugar

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; set aside.
Combine 1 cup sugar, oil and vanilla in large bowl.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating
well after each addition.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in morsels.  Shape
into 1-inch balls.  Roll in coarse sugar.  Place on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 7-9 minutes, or until centers are just set.
Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks. Makes about 5 1/2 dozen.

Cherry Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped maraschino cherries

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sguar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and
vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture
and mix well (dough will be thick).  Stir in pecans and cherries.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake
at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes, or until set and lightly browned.  Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Now I think I'll look through some more to get more ideas.  Also planning on getting a book from the library called "Oh, Fudge", recommended by my sister-in-law.  Need to brush up on making fudge, and getting it to turn out really good!
Only 2 more weeks until Thanksgiving!  Time to pick up those turkeys and all the goodies that go with it! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How Many Cookbooks.....

....do ya need??  In my kitchen, I believe I have last counted close to 300.  Do I use them all?  Actually, yes, at one time or another.  Now my favorites that I turn to most of the time would have to be the Gooseberry Patch collection.  So many to look at, and they are all so cozy! 

The fall collection of the GBP cookbooks are
full of wonderful recipes that are sure to
be comforting and cozy!  Fall & Christmas
cookbooks are among my favorites with GBP.

I also enjoy looking at antique shops and
thrift shops for old cookbooks. The "Recipes
From Old Virgina" is dated 1946, and the "Homemade
Bread, Cake and Pastry" is dated 1937.  I want to get back
up to Riverfront Antique Mall in New Philadelphia, OH and
look for some more sometime soon.

I'm a fan of the Andy Griffith Show, so when I
ran across "Aunt Bee's Delightful Desserts" at the
library, I knew I had to find a copy of this one
to add to my collection, and thanks to Ebay,
I found both "Aunt Bee's Delightful Desserts" and
"Mealtime In Mayberry".

Being the farm wife that I am, I have to add some good old
fashioned farm cookbooks. 

This is the complete collection, for the most part.  Does not include magazines and the small booklets that you can pick up at the checkout counter at the grocery store. 
Amazing, when Al and I were first married, one of my first "meals" I cooked for him was tomato soup (from Campbell's) and grilled cheese.  Now don't get me wrong, that is a wonderful lunch, and we still love it from time to time, especially on a chilly day, but that was just about the extent of my cooking knowledge.  Then I discovered how much I loved to cook, and started out just getting books at the library and jotting down favorite recipes out of those books.  But, one Christmas, our local gift shop had a sale on Gooseberry Patch, and that was the beginning of my cookbook addiction.  After the first 3 books, Cozy Home Cookbook, For Bee's and Me and A Pinch of This, I was determined to collect them all!  And I have almost accomplished that, and have even had a few recipes published. 
With the holidays coming up, I have found that my attention has turned to my cookbooks more frequently.  I've been sitting back more often, and picking out what I should fix for Thanksgiving, and which cookies would be best for Christmas gifts. 
I will try to include some of my favorite holiday recipes in future blog posts! So keep checking in!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Goodness, It's almost Thanksgiving!

I can't beleive that November is already here! Where did October go? Where did the pretty leaves go already? Our trees are bare. We picked up our turkey for Thanksgiving the other day. Feels nice to already have it tucked in the freezer. Getting some ideas for sides, and wanting , still to get some Christmas goodies lined up. We're making cheese through this month, which we usually don't do. But, we are wanting to get some cheese stocked up to carry us through the winter until we make again in March. And since we've picked up a few new places, we may need this extra cheese.
Received a call about participating in an event in Barnesville, OH at the beginning of December. I will update with more information as it comes. So, if you are in the area, you can stop by!
Emily ended up with a good amount of candy for trick-or-treat last Saturday evening. She found a dinosaur costume at Goodwill about a month ago. We painted her face and got her all dressed up. She was a cute little dinosaur!

Emily all set to go get some candy!

Look at that cute little green face!
Emily's hamster, Princess, passed away this past weekend. Very sad day for us. :( Poor Emily took it hard, so we went to St. Clairsville to the pet store and found another Princess. My only worry is that she was living with a boy hamster, so there is a chance that we may see little ones. A hamster is only pregnant for 16-18 days. I did not know that. We won't have to wait long to see if babies are in our future. Thankfully, the pet store told us if she does have babies, that they will take them off of our hands. We'll deal with that when and if the time comes. Because I'm sure Emily will end up attached to them all.
While we were getting another hamster, we stopped at my favorite store of all time, as if you couldn't tell, Goodwill. I find so many goodies while I'm there. This time, Emily found a roller skate set, Barbie knee/elbow pads with the adjustable skates. She loves them! And she is really very good at staying on her feet. At least much better than I ever was!
Ready to roll!
For those who stop by the River City Farmer's Market in Marietta, our hours will be changed starting this Saturday! We'll be open 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Longer days for the holiday season! I'll be getting gift baskets ready and have them available at the market and taking orders.
Now, I'm off to get a few things done, I have about 4 batches of cheese that will be waxed tomorrow, plus getting some cut up for the market. Will have to make adjustments on how much I take with me with the longer market day.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

An Unsual Slow Day

It's a slow day around here. It shouldn't be, I have a lot of stuff that is needing done. But I am tired! Tired and woke up with a headache, so that just set the mood for the whole day. We made cheese yesterday, and for some reason the day after we make, I get a headache. I think it's because of the stirring we do for so long, and it causes my neck to tense up. So, I rested a bit this morning, got a call from the Sears guy, he came in and worked on the washig machine for the second time this month. Thank goodness it's working. Not willing to pull out a washboard just yet. Had someone recommend a wringer washer, and I'm not going that far yet either. My grandma had one of those. Although I thought they were a lot of fun, especially when grandma would let me put the clothes through the wringer.
We did run to town for a bit, had to pick up some steel fence posts to patch a whole in the fence near our hayfield. Really don't enjoy 65 cows going into the hayfield and woods when it's time to come in for the evening milking. Tomorrow we'll work on that. It didn't help that the deer are so thick on our place, that they just run through our fence like it's nothing. Counted over 50 deer the other night, just in our hayfields. That's just about the number of cows we're milking. So, we have a herd of deer.
Well, the cheese has been shipped to Jungle Jim's this week, so if you stop in there, you just might be able to get some. Got a call from another store/deli in the Cincinnati area, and they are wanting to get some of our cheese in their business. I'm encouraged when they call us just out of the blue. He said that he's had several folks inquiring.
I'm amazed at our yield with our cheese! Rule of thumb is, and this is generally with Holstein milk, 1000 lbs. of milk will make 100 lbs. of cheese. Well, we only had 730 lbs. of milk yesterday, and came out with 110 lbs. of cheese. Good yield!! The milk is almost orange when it comes in, it's so rich right now. Very hard to stir at first, until those curds shrink a bit during cook. Yesterday's batch was "tucked" in for the night around 11:00 p.m. I still have to go up and clean up. Also have about 3-4 batches of cheese to wax. I don't mind doing that, except it seems to take forever to get the wax to melt and be hot enough to do the waxing.
Will need to cut up some cheese for Saturday market. Will have several things to print out so that I can hand out. I want to make sure I get word out that we are doing gift baskets, and let customers know about the gift basket giveaway. Need more business cards too. They seem to go fast.
I'm usually not a winter person, but this year, I am looking forward to some snow days, where we can just tuck in for the day and spend some family time together. I'm getting geared up for Christmas already. But it will be here before we know it. I'm getting recipes lined up for our cookie trays that we give out. May tuck some goodies in my gift baskets as well. First thing I'll probably make is Buckeyes. They freeze nicely, then all you have to do is dip them in chocolate. I got a double boiler last Christmas, and I'm anxious to use it.
Well, I am off to wash up some cheese moulds and wax cheese.
Since trick -or- treating is going on tonight through Saturday night, have a fun, safe trick-or-treating!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I got an award! Thanks Staci!

Well thank you Staci!
Staci has a really cool blog, over at The Podunkian Post Gazette.
I see that there are questions I have to answer as I pass this award on to 6 of my favorites, so here it goes! Oh, and to make them harder, the answers are to be one word. Hmm....

1. Where is your cell phone? cheesehouse

2. Your hair? ponytail

3. your mother? funny

4. your father? busy

5. Your favorite food? pizza

6. Your dream last night? odd

7. Favorite drink? coffee

8. Your dream/goal? heaven

9. What room are you in? office

10. Your hobby? cooking

11. Your fear? spiders

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? content

13. Where were you last night? home

14. Something you aren't? patient

15. Muffins? blueberry

16. Wish list item? peace

17. Where did you grow up? Ohio

18. Last thing you did? cheese

19. What are you wearing? jeans

20. Your tv? On

21. Your pets? crazy!

22. Friends? wonderful

23. Your life? circus!

24. Your mood? happy

25. Missing someone? grandma

26. Vehicle? van

Now for the bloggers I choose to give this award to!

Jenny Matlock

Jessica at The Sheidegger's

Elizabeth at Loagan Ranch

Amy at Learning to be an Oak Tree

Robyn at Happy House of Haas

Tina at Sunnyflower Days

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gift Basket Giveaway!!

I have put together a HUGE gift basket, full of goodies!!! And on December 1st I will be drawing a name and giving it away!

For every pound of cheese purchased, whether it be an online order, here at the farm, or at the River City Farmer's Market in Marietta, your name will be placed in the drawing. If you buy more than one pound of cheese you get that many chances!

This is for purchases starting November 1 until November 30.

UPS charges do apply to orders that must be shipped.

This is only for our retail customers, wholesale orders do no apply.

Shipping is free on the prize if it is to be shipped. You may also pick it up here at the farm or at the farm market, whichever is convenient at that time.

The gift basket includes (but not limited to, since I'm still seeing some goodies here and there):

*4 lbs. of cheese (this includes one pound of each of our varieties; Jersey Emment, Dixie Swiss, Hill Folk Jersey and Boeren Kaas Gouda)

*Uncle Bunk's Chili Seasoning, this stuff is so good, I can't even make chili anymore without it!!!

*Uncle Bunk's Southwest Sizzle seasoning, YUM!!! (you can visit their site for more good stuff at http://www.unclebunks.com/ )

* Summer Sausage

*Gingerbread Spice tea

*Assorted cocoa's in cute Christmas tins

*Cutting board

*cheese plane

*Gooseberry Patch booklet (http://www.gooseberrypatch.com/)

*2 Christmas scented votives

*2 packages of Dip Mixes

*Christmas bowl with spreader for the dip mixes

*There will also be assorted recipe booklets.

This basket is approximately $100 in value!

See our website for more information about our cheeses and ordering! http://www.buckeyegrovefarmcheese.com/

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bringing in Firewood

We brought in a load of firewood on Wednesday, we only need about 39 more to keep us cozy all winter. It is a lot of work! But, we try to make it enjoyable by being outside and getting some fresh air. I do want to try to pack us a little lunch and something to drink next time. Emily had fun looking for leaves and bugs, and Annie, our little dog had fun running the woods. I am thankful that we have plenty of firewood, even though we did not want to timber our woods, something good has come out of it.
The date on the pictures isn't correct, I need to get that changed on the camera.

Leaves are almost past their peak, but still very pretty!

Emily and Annie exploring.

Almost a full load! Just need to split it once
we get it to the house.

Emily and Annie taking a break on the
tailgate of the truck.
Al working hard at sawing the wood.

Now, beside taking pictures and goofing off, I did load the wood. Emily helped until she tangled with a briar bush, then figured it was more fun to go climb up on some fallen trees with Annie.
Thought about getting more wood today, but it is pouring rain! So, I will clean up the cheese house from yesterdays cheese make (we made Gouda), and cut up cheese for tomorrow's farm market. But, before I do anything else, I'm going to get some coffee going, and take the chill off from the rainy weather outside.
Also, to just put this in, if you are ever in the Fairfield Ohio area (near Cincinnati), stop by Jungle Jim's, they will have some of our cheese next week! :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blustery Day!!

We took a fall walk the other day. Enjoyed having a sunny, somewhat warm day to go for our adventure. I took some pictures as we went. Wanted to make sure I captured some of the fall color before the rains and winds knock the leaves down.

Al and Emily walking on our newly made paths through on of our woods.

Emily showing off how strong she is by lifting
a branch.

The red tree in the background is always one
of our first trees to show color. On top of that hill is
one of my favorite places on the farm.

It is cold, rainy and windy. It's the perfect fall day! Well, if you enjoy a day staying in the house, keeping warm and sipping on some Pumpkin Coffee. YUM! Needed to make a batch of cheese today, but we don't like to make if it is so cold in the mornings, and it was in the low 30's here. We need to try to keep that milk fairly warm on the trip up the hill to the cheese house so that we can get the batch started at a reasonable time. It's also a challenge to keep the cheese house warm during the make if it is cold outside.
Today will be my day to work on tidying up the house, doing some laundry, dishes and will sort some toys later. Also working on Christmas cards, I like to get that done early. Then I will need to find a good recipe to include with the cards.
A group from our county extension office stopped by on Monday for a visit. It was a group of 6 folks, but for me, speaking to a group of more than 1 (lol) is a challenge!! I think I managed pretty good, and sounded slightly intelligent! It still amazes me how much I have learned in the past 2 years about making cheese and the science behind it. Yes, it's actually been 2 years since we have officially taken over the business.
I have a customer coming by this afternoon. Not sure of the time, just know it will be before 5. We're very encouraged by the local interest. I thank the owners of our local diner for spreading the word about us. The Beallsville Diner has been wonderful about passing out the Discover Ohio Cheese booklets. So, if you are ever in our neck of the woods, and need a great place to get a bite to eat, that is the place!
Starting November 1st, we will be doing something special for our cheese buyers, keep an eye on here, or our website www.buckeyegrovefarmcheese.com or on our page at Facebook. We'll post complete details. This will be something for all of our retail customers that buy online, at the farm or at the farm market.
Now I'm off to go get something put together for our lunch. I'm going with a perfect comfort food lunch! Will post a recipe for it later today!
Keep warm and dry today!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's October!!

October is here! And fall is really here, we had 36 degrees last night! Brrr... Looks like it's time to start bringing in some firewood.

9 years ago today Al and I were married. I can't believe the past nine years have gone by so quickly! We spent a nice day together. Didn't really do much, but enjoyed it! I made a rotisserie chicken, with some yummy sides, we then went to Wheeler's Pumpkin farm in Jerusalem, OH and let Emily pick out some pumpkins. She found two pumpkins and some gourds and a small little pumpkin with a face painted on. So cute! Thankfully, I remembered my camera! After that we went to our local diner and got some ice cream.

We also found that Ohio's Country Journal did an article on us! The interview was done a couple of months ago, but it is still exciting reading the article and seeing the pictures!

You can take a look at the article by clicking on this link: http://www.ocj.com/article/208/monroe-county-couple-pass-crash-course-in-cheese-making.html

Family picture taken by Kyle Sharp, of Ohio's Country Journal.

Daddy & Emily picking out the "perfect" pumpkin.

Found it!

Looking for another...

Emily had a lot of fun running in circles around the pumpkins.

Mommy & Emily

Love the orange! Such a nice fall color!

Bright colored gourds!

Funny Faces!

Emily posing with her

pumpkin friends!

Smile and say "pumpkin"!

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