Monday, April 27, 2009

Monkey Cookies & Some Other Odd and Ends

I've started letting Emily pick out one recipe each week before I go grocery shopping that she would like to make. The children's recipe books from Gooseberry Patch ( ) have some really neat stuff that kids love and easy enough for them to help out too! For our first week of doing this, she picked out Monkey Lollipops. Well, our creation did not become a lollipop, but a cookie instead. I couldn't get the silly lollipop sticks to, well, stick in the rice crispy part like the recipe said. My job was making the rice crispy treat part, attaching the ears and face (with chocloate frosting). Emily stuck the eyes and nose on with the frosting, and made the mouth. It was messy but fun!

Last Sunday we stopped at the pet store. Emily thinks of it as a zoo! She likes the lizards and spiders and snakes. Thankfully, we came home with a hamster, that isn't creepy! She took the money that her goat sold for, and decided to get a hamster with a nice cage, food and bedding. So Princess has now been Emily's pet for a week, and they seem to really like each other. Each evening we put Princess in her run around ball, and she just runs all over the place and Emily has fun running with her.

I have my garden spot all tilled up and waiting. I'm waiting for a few weeks before I really plant much, because we have killing frosts clear into early June. It's a small garden, but that is just fine this year since I have so much going on. Our asparagus is just now poking through the ground. I like to steam it, and just put a little bit of butter or cheese on it. Mmm...
It's a beautiful day today, with a nice breeze. I'm going to do up some laundry, hang them out to dry, save some electric, and have nice smelling blankets to tuck in with tonight.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I lost a week..

Where did this past week go?!? Oh, now I remember, my week went by in a daze because I was taking some Vicadin and seemed to sleep the week away. I had my appointment with the oral surgeon on Monday, funny, I didn't even meet him, so I suppose the dr. is the one who took out my wisdom teeth. I remember them putting the IV in my arm, then suddenly I felt really dizzy and weird. I do remember chatting it up with the nurse, I hope they ignore what is said when a patient is drugged up. I remember waking up, sort of, again, I was chatting up a storm. I have no idea what about. Of course, it probably couldn't be understood since my face was swollen and I looked like a chipmunk. It took us about 2 hours to get to our hometown where I could get my pain med. prescription filled. That was a long 2 hours on the road. The nurse told Al that I was supposed to eat, I did not want to eat. Not at all. I do remember Emily wanted to go inside at the McDonald's because they had a play area, I didn't feel up to that either. The trip home was a bit foggy.
The rest of this week has been a bit here and there, since I've been taking the pain meds. every 4-6 hours. They zonk me out! Al has been taking Emily with him as much as possible. When she stayed with me, she would hang out in my room and somehow we ended up having all of her stuffed toys, a baby doll stroller (which by the way, smacked me in the jaw a couple of times) and all of her blankets. I remember her using my arm as a cave for a teddy bear, or at least I think that's what she was chatting about. I also noticed that Vicadin makes a person have some really odd dreams. Wow... what a week. Glad it's over.
I did miss the Ohio Proud meeting today, and was disappointed about that. But, I was still groggy today and don't think I could have made the 3 hour drive, plus sit at that long of a meeting and face 3 hours driving home. I hope to make the next one. I've made myself take only Motrin today, that way I don't have the weird foggy thing going on.
Tomorrow we're planning on going to New Concord to visit a store that handles our cheeses. They are having their Grand Opening celebration. If you are in that area of Ohio, stop over, from what I've heard, she handles some really good stuff. And our cheese!
Saturday, I'm planning on being at Marietta farm market, bruised face and all. We're having a customer appreciation breakfast planned, so anyone stopping in is welcome to a bite to eat, all it costs is a donation. And the weather is going to be beautiful! Sunny and warm. We've already opened the big doors to the building, and have vendors lined up inside and outside.
We got our issue of the newspaper today, and we're featured in it! We dropped off one of our brochures that was issued by American Dairy Assoc. and the local paper made a note of it in this weeks issue.
That's pretty much the happenings around here, that I can remember anyway!!
No cheese made this week, which is a good thing, because I would have messed that up considering where my head has been. But, I did finish up last weeks batch, it had to be taken out of the brine (salt water), dried and coated. I still need to coat the other side of each wheel later tonight. Tomorrow I will be packing for Saturday's market. Our packages of cheese look pretty cool with the "Ohio Proud" logo stickers on them!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring has Sprung

Spring has sprung, and with it comes work, and a lot of it! I should have enjoyed the winter rest a little more, but I suppose being indoors all winter gets a little boring.
The cows are out on pasture and they seem to be so happy and content. They are coming up on milk fast too. We've had several more freshen (calve), and that adds to the bulk tank. Unfortunately, it's been mostly bull calves born, we really need more heifers.

It's been such a hectic week here. Monday we made a batch of cheese, and things went fairly well, until the hot water heaters decided to stop heating water for us. We use the hot water to circulate through coils in the vat to heat the curds and whey to cook it. Thankfully, we squeezed the last bit of hot water out of those tanks to just get it cooked to the correct temperature. But, that was 12 wheels of cheese added to our cooler.
Tuesday I spent the afternoon washing up, after we went to town to pick up our taxbooks from our accountant.
We've recently been featured in a brochure that was put together by the American Dairy Association ( ), that has been exciting, and customers at the farm market have enjoyed getting their copies. (We ended up with close to 4oo of them to hand out).
I spent yesterday morning in Zanesville at the oral surgeon's office. I'm scheduled to have 3 wisdom teeth out on Monday. Ick.... Thankfully it's at a time that Al is able to drive me home. I'll be driving over since my blood pressure is supposed to be normal, and his driving makes me nervous! And, I know where the place is at, only after going around the block about 3 times.
We made another batch of cheese today, that makes 2 for the week, which is enough to wear me out! It looks like we've made about 250 lbs. of cheese this week. I won't know exactly until later. The wheels are still in the press until about 10 ish... Was hoping to be done sooner, but that's just how it goes this time of year. I won't clean up until tomorrow afternoon, after the farm market, and before I mow yard. If I let it grow anymore we'll have to just make hay from the yard!
Our first baby chick hatched out today. I'll have to get some pics of it, it's a cutie! I had an old hen wanting to sit, so I figured I'd put some eggs under her and see if we could get some babies to come out. Out of six eggs, so far one showed up, hoping to see the rest pop out soon. The hen is such a good mama hen. She growls and clucks at anything that gets close to that little baby.
We are also proud to announce that we are now members of Ohio Proud. We are so excited about this. We've thought about doing it for about a year now, and finally decided to sign up this month. So many benefits to being a member. A lot of marketing material and promotional stuff. I'm planning on going to a meeting on Thursday near Columbus. Seems I'm getting A LOT of travel time in lately.
On Friday we're planning on going to the Grand Opening celebration of a new specialty store. They handle our cheese, and this will be our first visit to their store.
So, since spring has sprung, the work has picked up along with other things going on. I guess it's good, but I'm sure tired right now. Will be glad to put this batch of cheese "to bed" and tuck in myself. Will be heading to Marietta around 6:30 in the morning...night night...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Church In The Wildwood

There's a church in the valley by the wild wood.
No lovelier spot in the dale; No place is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the vale.
That is an old hymn we sang often at the little country church that I grew up in. And for some reason, when Easter and spring roll around that song and my memories take me back to that dear little church. I woke up the other morning with that song in my head, and before long, I was singing it. And I've been humming it for a few days now. In fact I went and looked it up in our old hymn book and refreshed my memory of the rest of the words.
My dear grandma saw to it that I went to church. I didn't realize at the time, but she was making sure that my faith, even as a little child was well established. I honestly believe if it had not been for her, and my roots starting back in that little church, I would not have the faith that I feel so strongly now in life. It has seen me through so many difficulties.
The church attendance was down quite a bit when I was a child, so many members had passed away, or married and moved, or just lost interest in such a quiet, "boring" service. I admit, I didn't understand most sermons, or hymns that we sang, but I always felt so comfortable and welcome there.
Oh, come to the church in the wildwood,
To the trees where the wildflowers bloom;
Where the parting hymn will be chanted,
We will weep by the side of the tomb.
My grandma and grandpa both are buried in the cemetery. I also remember having our Easter egg hunts in the cemetery. Amazing how many good hiding places that can be found around grave stones. There are many civil war veterans buried there. I found the dates on the stones very interesting, so that is probably why genealogy interests me. I think the funniest moment that occured during church service was when the black snake fell out of the ceiling. Oh my!! That sure did liven things up a bit! One poor lady stood up and hollered "It's the Devil!" As a kid, that was fun!
How sweet on a clear Sabbath morning,
To list to the clear ringing bell;
It's tones so sweetly are calling,
Oh come to the church in the vale.
When I reached a certain age, my job, along with another girl that was about my age, was to ring the bell. Which was a fun job for a couple of ornery girls. Pull that old rough rope down with all our might, and we'd soon be lifted up, up and up. Seemed very high, but looking back, it was probably because we were not that big yet. I always loved to hear that sound of the bell ringing, loud and clear, as if waking up the morning to let it know that Sunday had arrived. I also had the job of passing out the program for the service. I felt so important handing them down the pews, just as I had seen it done.
From the church in the valley by the wildwood,
When day fades away into night,
I would fain from this spot of my childhood
Wing on my way to the mansions of light.
Pastor Conrad O'Diem was a minister that I loved dearly. He was a German immigrant, and came to America and didn't know English. He was self taught. I don't remember a time that he didn't come through the church doors (they were the old swinging type), saying "Good Morning! Isn't it a beautiful morning??" He would say that no matter the weather. He was also a farmer, which made some sermons a lot of fun to try to follow. Somehow we would end up in the hayfield, or talking about "little yellow fuzzy things" that a mama chicken hatched out, but they were not chicks.. maybe ducklings, or baby turkeys. He has since passed away, I think about 15 years ago. Not sure. He sure was a happy man though.
I feel blessed to have been a part of such a wonderful little country church and be raised around some good, country folks who worked hard, and did their best to take care of each other. That little church is still there, meeting each Sunday morning at 8 a.m. Pleasant Hill Methodist, Logan, OH is still a wonderful place I like to go every now and then for some wonderful memories of my childhood.
Hope everyone has a very blessed Easter. Remember the reason why we observe the day, not because of the Easter bunny, as fun as that little fairy tale may be.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Daffodil Time

Our daffodils have bloomed, and are probably sorry for it too! It snowed today. Once we come to the first day of spring, I'd rather not see snow until maybe November or December. I'm in Easter/spring mode, not Christmas/ Jingle Bell mode.
We took Emily to our back hayfield. It is the one farthest from the house, so we took our truck and drove around the road to our back entrance to the field. Thankfully we have 4-wheel drive, it was muddy! It was so warm that day, almost 70 and sunny.

We finally bit the bullet and bought a used-but-new-to-us truck. It is a nice one, for a Ford. haha.. I've always been a Chevy person, but I figure if it runs, how can I complain? And it is an automatic, so I can drive it, with an extended cab. Al had been in love with it from the time our local dealer got it in. You know how you're not really supposed to let the dealer know how badly you want a vehicle? Well, I don't think Al followed that rule very well!! LOL

Hoping to do our 3rd batch of cheese this Thursday, but that will depend on how cold it will be! We have to keep the make room warm, but don't want to have the furnace on during make. So, the day should be fairly comfortable to plan on that day. If not, Monday will do just fine. I'm already picking up goodies to put in gift baskets this Christmas, and I already have some ideas about 4th of July this year too. I BBQ gift basket with cheese would do good for those cookouts this summer!

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