Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas and Good By Snow

Hello: I hope your Christmas was wonderful. Ours was. We had the first Christmas without most of my children home. I have to say it was very different. But we enjoyed opening gifts and hanging out together. Ali and Danyel got us a massager chair pad... it has heat too. It feels good. We got the girls a few jewelry things from the markets that we thought they would like. Danyel knows I love books, so she got me one of my books for a collection I am doing. David got some ceramic pigs to add to his collection. We ate fudge and frosted sugar cookies. We watched the snow and wondered when it was going to go away. In the afternoon we hitched up the flat bed to the tractor and took some of our cheese around to our neighbors and wished them a Merry Christmas. We were cold and ready for some hot chocolate when we got into the house. But it was fun to see our neighbors and visit a little with each.
I have gone to market Friday and Sat of this week with David. We tried an new way of selling out cheese for us any way. We took the whole round of Grande' Rosa and Pepper Rosa and cut it as we sold it. It seemed to sell pretty good. I stayed home today so I could go get the hay. I broke out hitch trying to turn to sharp when I was backing up. So I'll go to market tomorrow and sell cheese and David can go and get the hitch fixed. The people we buy the hay from brought us up one round of hay today.
We are milking 10 goats now and I am trying to keep these last ones on as long as possible so I can experiment with some new cheese. I have 20 gallons in the tank right now and will make that into Grande' Rosa and Pepper Rosa and then I'll freeze the rest of the milk to make yogurt for a store that is selling it. We are all ready for a break.
We will sell everyday until the first weekend of Jan. then we'll go to Fri and Sat. and Sunday until Farmers Markets Start.
Tonight David and I will look over our markets and see which ones we will be in next summer.
We took some pictures of our barn when the snow melted a little and fell off the roof. It was pretty cool to see.
When I got up Sat. morning to clean the parlor and make up some cheese I was very glad to hear drip drip drip. The snow is very pretty but I like it on the mountains. We made it through the snow and now the wet rain is a good thing. We can start getting back to normal.
When we were at Pikes Place on Sat. I met two different groups that were from Winlock. I got to meet some new people that live close to us. Its funny how small a world we live in. They were really nice and it was fun to chat about our small community.
Well you all have a nice peaceful evening and remember the best cheese comes from MY Goats!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas. Its Christmas Eve day and it doesn't feel like Christmas is even here. We are snowed in up here and non of our older children are coming for Christmas. Its really a blessing in design, because we have no money to buy gifts or to feed them all. So after the snow goes away we are planning a big dinner - Mom's gift to her kids.
David got home alright last night from Seattle... he did a good Tue - but a bad day for two days before Christmas. Danyel and David left this morning at 6am for Seattle again. I bet he comes home around 2 today though, cause its snowing pretty good here.
This is our house on Monday

This will give Danyel a chance to do some Christmas shopping for her nieces and nephews. The girls have so much fun shopping for their brothers and sisters.
Today Ali and I will wrap the gifts we have for each other and make some fudge. Tomorrow we are going to frost our sugar cookies and decorate them pretty.
Yesterday Danyel and I worked on the family puzzle in the front room and read our books. Danyel took off another 10 goats on the milk line. So we are down to two loads about 15 goats now. We did the evening chores, which consisted of separating horned goats, from milkers from non milkers. The horned got locked on one side of the barn to be grained - the milkers got the hay first and the non milkers went through the milk parlor to get fed one at a time (8 can eat at once). That took about an hour to feed them but I bet it was 45 min. to separate them all into their special spaces. Tonight, we are going to grain everyone through the milk parlor except the horned goats. Their horns don't fit in the stantions, so they eat in bowls on the ground. Hopefully it wont take us so long to feed.
When Ali and I went out to this morning there was no sign that a car left or the goats were fed - there were no shoe prints in the snow. The snow is blowing off the roof and the icesicles are still dripping from my roof. The icesicles could kill you if they fell, they are so big.
My book I am reading is really good, its getting me motivated for this spring to do some planning and make our house run a little more self sufficient. Use some of the canning jars I'v saved for years - I probably have about 900 jars. But today they are all empty.... so next year the goal will be to fill them. Or at least some.
Danyel worked on her Biology project - CAE - its a goat virus that can kill your goats. She also finished one of the three books she is reading.
As I look outside its so peaceful and beautiful. I have a warm house and good smells coming from my kitchen. I have things to keep me busy. We have no TV anymore- so we watch DVD or VHS movies. We listen to the radio for our news and entertainment. Its great and simple. I enjoy my life here at the dairy - even when I am stressed about finances. But all in all its a good life and it has great potential. Everyday I wake up with goals to complete and visions of the future. What more can you ask for..... Peace on Earth.
Have a Great Christmas Eve and a Very Merry Christmas from our Family and Farm to Yours.
Remember the Reason for the Season. JESUS
May God Bless You and Your Family.

From The David and Rhonda Rider Family

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Snow- and cold weather

Good Morning. Another white day. We are not going up to Mt. St. Helens on Christmas Day this year, because she came to us (the snow).
Yesterday David went to town to get FOOD for the cupboard. He went and got 10 bags of grain and some new boots for Ali (she was taping a hole in her boot- good sign someone needs new boots). And while out he decided he could make it to Seattle today. He called our hay supplier to find out if they could bring one round of hay up- cause our van won't make it up our hill and driveway, because its a two wheel drive 2 ton Van.

Some of our last year kids playing in the snow!
Neighbor's helping neighbors is the motto in small towns around here. They said yes they could and would. So come about 7pm last night here comes our neighbor with that round of hay. He wouldn't take any money for the gas it took him to drive 15 miles, after he got done with his work. We are truly blessed with the people we know around our small community.
After that we loaded the car and counted cheese. David needed more garlic and dill chevre packaged and he needed some more Grande' Rosa and Pepper Rose labeled. He went out to our cheese cave to get some cheese we had already packaged from my last batch of Grande Rosa and Pepper Rosa. All the packages are not sealed right..... how, when, why are the questions we ask. We don't know but its a loss of about $1000. We have to throw it out - All. OUCH! It happens that I made these cheeses on Monday so we will have some by Friday or Sat. for the weekend coming up. If we can get over to package it up. Maybe we'll try selling it by the slice at the market since its so cold out. That might be fun. Anyway he had a few pieces of this cheese to take today to market.
I got up at 5am to help David get ready to go to market today. They left at 5:15 got gas, and bought ice and was driving on I-5. He said it was pretty good driving all the way to market.
Ali went with him so she could make her $20 for helping - she has gifts in her head for Christmas to buy. Danyel will go tomorrow and earn her $20 for some more of her gifts.
I made sugar cookies this morning and plan to make fudge this afternoon. Danyel and I are stuck at home all day.....DARN!
We started graining all our goats last night. The ones that haven,t been in the milking parlor were a little afraid. Hopefully tonight they will feel a little more comfortable. I know they like the food. It takes about 1 hour to grain everyone through the parlor - but we know that everyone is getting what I want them to have. No fighting or spilling the grain either.
I am reading the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle book, and find it very good. I am inspired again to go back to the way we use to do things. David keeps reminding me about the little time I have when not doing the farm and cheese making stuff. And that is so true. But I think I can figure some stuff out with the local farmers and veg. and fruit this summer. I know eating local here would be heaven. Anyway, anyone that hasn't read the book you should. When I started reading it I was slightly turned off by the Green Approach to everything. I am anit-green so to speak. I believe in doing what I should to make my farm run its best. Like no pesticides and using our manure to fertilize our pasture. Not injecting our goats with unnatural substances - unless thats all I have left to do to save them. Doing preventative methods with the goats. I love canning and using my own stuff to feed my family. But I am not anit- business. That is what made out country grow and prosper. Yes, some can do better but its not a bad thing. It is my CHOICE to do the good things I think are right and work for our farm and family. I have always had a stubborn streak in me - just ask my mom. I think we should all be advised about the right things to do - then let people make choices. Choices are what we as farmers are all about. Letting people buy good cheese from me or mass produced cheese from Tillamook. Its taste and community that help us make good choices. Its hard for all of us to fit into the same box. Its the variety in our world that makes it go round. My goats are happy not because someone told me to only feed them some specific thing. Its my choice to choose the foods and meds. I do for my goats. It's my choice to feed my family what ever I choose. I know I take good care of my family and farm. I read and gather information then make MY choice. I am sorry there are stupid people in this world, but I think its because they gave their choices up. I think we need to start giving people choices again about everthing they do, eat, buy or whatever. The ones that do research and find the information they need to make the choice are the ones that really care. The one's that follow the pack are just that followers. The leaders are the ones that inspire us to go deeper and want more of what is right and good. The laws are for the lawless and the criminals - but for us plain folk they are restrictions on good choices we can make on our own. Anyway, off my soap box. Just make good informed choices and then Choose.
Onto another subject - the weather -They say we are going to have 2 inches of snow tonight and then more tomorrow and then the thaw is going to happen.
How often in the Northwest do we get a White Christmas? Not often.
Have a Very Merry Christmas and Enjoy your Family.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas

Good Morning. It sure white at our house. We got another 4 inches of snow and it hasn't stopped snowing this morning yet. We got chores done. And we are almost out of hay, and grain. David is going to try and get some grain today. And if he gets out he has a grocery list a mile long to get too. He has plowed our driveway and is clearing our road up to the barn. He has kept a walkway cleared for me to the processing plant and the milking parlor. Where we buy our hay from they are going to try and get us a round of hay up here with their dump truck and trailer.

This is our driveway yesterday afternoon.
14 inches of snow
I called into our morning radio show "Lets talk about it" and complained about our state road dept. - about no sanders or graders on I-5 Sat. Let a little steam off my chest.
We have gone to one milking a day now. But will run all the non-milkers through the milk parlor at night and give each 1lbs of grain until kidding season in Feb.
New Cheese Class March 21, 2008
I have a lady coming from NY, Colorado, Arizona, and Paris France to my cheese class in March. So if that doesn't perk interest in my class.
Some of my goats are looking like they don't feel good. So one more thing David has to pick up is more minerals. We are going through one 50 lbs. bag every week right now.
We have been calling around to our neighbors to make sure everyone is doing alright.
I am going to make David hook the flat bed trailer on the tractor and pull the neighborhood kids around singing Christmas Carols today. He won't be thrilled but I think it would be fun.
So today with my cheese -I'll turn them over and put the weight back on them for the rest of today. And clean my pasteurizer and wash some buckets.
And maybe, if David gets to town I'll make some cookies. We do a tradition of frosting the sugar cookies and decorating them as a family. So I want to do that too. And what is Christmas without fudge. My grocery list keeps getting longer. If we can have some sweets in the house we'll all feel better.
I personally love being stuck at home. I think its relaxing and less stressful. Even if we can't go to things its all right with me. My kids love being home too. David doesn't. He loves to go places and he is usually bound to break out of the house somehow.
Well I hope your all doing well and getting all the things done you want and need to do. Enjoy each other and the small things that make up Christmas. Like the blinking lights on your tree. The smell of pine in your house. The quietness when you turn off your lights at night just before you fall into bed. These are the things that make The season, not the holiday and not the birthday of Jesus - just the season of the year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Big Snow Storm and Drive Home

Good Morning
I am not sure where to even begin this blog. It snowed on Wed. so we decided we wouldn't try and go to market till Friday. So on Thur. we packed the car and prayed for no snow and clear roads as we went to bed that night. I packed extra clothes in case we had to walk when we got stuck. I wrote a note in case something happened to us, to where the girls wanted to go - if need be, one of their sisters and not to the STATE. Friday morning 4:30 came, and David and I were up doing our chores, Haying and cleaning the parlor and setting it up. We got in the car with our hot thermos and and cups of coffee and buckled up. Backed out of our nice dry carport and headed down our driveway. The grooves were pretty deep. We had 8 inches of snow on the ground.
( Ali sculped this goat on our deck on Thur.)

Just getting to the freeway 7 miles away was very bad, icy compacted snow. We drove slow and careful. Once to the freeway it was pretty icy too. We drove no higher than 60 miles an hour but down to 30 all the way there. It took us at least 3 1/2 hours to get to Seattle. Once we got closer to Seattle you could see the darkness of the freeway. We took one of the exits that kept us low in Seattle. Those roads were icy too but no hills. Once we got there at 8:45 - there were no other vender's there yet. We ended up being one of three farmers that showed up to sell the rest of the market was full of crafter's. We did better than an other Friday on sales, but not that good. It was so cold- we had hand warmers that kept our hand warm but our toes froze. Our ice in the tubs that we display our cheese in (because the State says so!) had not melted any so we just dumped it into our coolers and decided to reuse it tomorrow. We stayed until 4:30 and packed up and were surprised with the drive home. The roads were bare and dry and driving was easy. All the way home we heard the weather report for Sat. but figured the roads would be dry going back to Seattle the next day so we would go.... we had to go.... our finances are pretty dependent on the market right now and we had missed 4 days of some of the best market money due to weather. While we were gone to market Danyel and Ali had to hold down the farm. We always leave my cell phone with them so they can beep us anytime they need too. Their day went not without incident too. About 2pm Danyel called us to tell me her new puppy, Maggy, ate my Dairy Goat Journal. Doesn't sound like a big issue until you know it was the one I had saved from 2005 that had our first article in it, I was rereading it as I wrote my new article for the Dairy Goat Journal. Oh well, I'll just reorder the mag. but DARN! The next call came about 6pm telling me Danyel had dropped my cell phone in the barn and Cloe had chewed on it and she though she broke it. Great! And of course things always happen in threes so I was a little nervous what I was going get for the third incident. That one came about half hour later, when they called again and said the switch to turn on the compressor didn't work - so they had to turn it on at the junction box. Alright enough is enough. When we got home David unloaded the car and I went out to check the parlor - to make sure things were done the way I had told them. Like water running though the hose. Nope it wasn't running so it was froze. So I proceeded to run hot water on the hose to get it thawed out. The iodine was also froze cause they hadn't put it in the bulk room. So I move it and I was so unnerved that I decided to clean the milk parlor then.
On our way home Friday night we decided we'd have fun with the storm news, so we put together a survival one night basket. (Wine, 2 glasses, garlic and dill chevre, plain chevre, honey, bread, chocolate hazelnuts, candles and matches). We displayed this with a reader board announcing the Emergency Storm Kit on our table on Sat.
So the trip Sat morning went great as it did with our drive home Friday night. We got there at 7:30 normal time and set up the table and then went and got a donut and sat in the car warming up until 8:30 when we went in and put the ice in the tubs we use to display our cheese. We also had brought a light with a 150 bulb in it to hook under the table to warm our toes. So we turned it on and put our honey bottle under it to warm up, we like to sample the honey with our chevre to show people how wonderful natural frutose tastes with our cheese (like berries and such). There were more farmers today at the market. The traffic through the market started right at about 9am but it got pretty heavy at about 11am. No snow yet and no wind. They had expected the storm to hit Seattle between 3-8pm and we were hoping for at least 5:00pm. We kept calling the girls to get the weather report... thiers was always snowing mom (that started about 8:30am). People loved our survival kit. We also had put extra decorations for Christmas on our table - the market was having a contest. Needless to say we won - we got a package of smoked salmon. No one else did much to show the season were are in. That was fun. David and I took turns sitting in the car during the day warming up and listening to the weather report. We had decided when it started snowing we'd head out. Well about 2:45 it started spitting snow and we kept close watch, by 3:00 it was snowing and had put a light coat on the ground. So we packed up and started tword home. To make a long story short it took us 6 hours to get home. You couldn't see the lanes on I-5 and no one seemed to know where they were so everyone was driving all over. I want to know where the snow Plowers were........we never saw one. We had to stop about every 20 miles and de-ice our windshield wipers. It was pretty bad and very dangerous. And seeing what the freeway looked like we couldn't imagine what our off the beaten path roads were going to look like. Well they were really bad. We got to our hill and had to take three tries at it before we acutally crested the hill and then we just had our driveway to get up. NOT! we made it half way up and then walked to the house.
This morning David took the tractor and moved snow and dug under out tires of the car so he could get it in the carport. It worked. No we will unload and put away the cheese. I will atempt to get some milk down to the processing plant this morning to make some cheese.
The goats are happy as they are dry and have full tummies. But our hay is running out and so is our grain. Hope the thaw comes very soon or at least a snow plow. Living on a hill is awsome until you need to get down.
Well I will post some other pictures on the blog tomorrow and fill in any of the other things happening on our little farm in Washington.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hello, I hope everyone is enjoying the snow. I know the kids are. Us, adults we are if we are not having to go anywhere. David didn't go to Seattle today and as I listen to the news this morning I am very glad. There was a big semi wreck past Centraila and it closed two lanes of I-5 in both directions. And it happened about the time David would of been heading toword Seattle. God Knows!
Last night we put warm water in all the buckets in the barn. We are down to 12 goats at night for milking and 40 in the morning. I have about 22 gallons of milk in the bulk tank right now and I am going to make Grande Rosa and Pepper Rosa today. I'll pull some pasteurized milk to make buttermilk too.I have to pull some milk for a lady in Seattle so she can make some soap, don't know if we'll be able to get it to her though. The goats are nice and snug in the barn.
The girls went sledding yesterday on the road... until the grader came and cleared the road. This morning we have about 8 inches or so and its the good sledding snow. I know the girls will be very happy when I wake them up at 7pm.
I was up at 5:30am this morning, went out and cleaned the parlor and when I get the girls up and David up I'll go clean the processing plant. And get ready to make cheese after the milking is done. I should only have to haul about 5 buckets down to the processing plant today.
Yesterday David and I found a good book and sat and read. The homeschool thing only got one subject done -Math. I'll have the girls work on Math again today and maybe get them to do some English too.
David too the pictures of our house in the snow.
Have a great day - take a deep breath and enjoy the view. God is just reminding us of WHO is in control. And how powerful HE is. The car industry may be shutting down for a month - planned shut down. But God can shut down a whole area when he wants.... Proof - look outside.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Its Snowing again!

Good morning. I think. I got up at 5am to get David off to Seattle. Its about 25 degrees here and the wind is blowing pretty good.
Yesterday we stayed close to home. David did run me to Winlock as my book was in at the library and I knew if he was gone tomorrow I wouldn't get to get my book. So after I got the parlor clean and the children on task - about 5:30 we ran to town. The book Animal, Veg., Mineral was in and I had been told how good this book was and that I'd like it. We also ran to the store to pick up a few loaves of bread.
There isn't enough milk in the bulk tank to make cheese yet.... the goats are really slowing down. So today its another day at home. Personally I love it. I will homeschool today. I am not sure if Danyel will go to Biology - though her dad is home and so are the stud's. (The car has studs). We are going to hook up a new water trough in the barn that will have warm water flowing in it with the water valve on it so it will stay warm and full. I sure am glad that we moved all the goats and dogs into the barn. It s easier to feed and water and they have good shelter.
While I was cleaning the parlor this morning there was snow coming into the milking parlor.... David filled our propane tanks for the heater in the milking parlor.
I am already thinking of spring....and babies. Today Summer sounds good too.
David turned around this morning just past Centraila, he said it was a white out and his car was sliding on the ice. So no Pikes Market Today.... OUCH! We will try and go Friday, Sat. and Sunday. So much for Christmas gifts, we were counting on that money to get the girls some gifts. I guess we'll have an old fashion Christmas. Meaning, we'll make things for each other. Thats what Christmas is about anyway. Maybe I'll give them their own cheese too. This brings the true meaning of Christmas back to the home front. God is always in control and knows what we need - and supplies it. David is going to build a fire in our fireplace - it doesn't really heat anything but it sure looks cool, (meaning WARM).
Well enjoy the snow it could stay this way until Christmas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Good Morning. It is surely cold this morning. Our temp. reads 16 degrees. But nothing is frozen in the milking parlor or the milk parlor or processing plant, YA! I went out and cleaned the milk parlor at 6:30 and came in at 7am and woke the girls. They are getting dressed now to get ready to go out. David isn't going to market today. And with the snow tomorrow who knows.
The girls will have to haul water from the milking parlor hose as its not froze and it can be turned onto warm water. But it takes the hammer to break the ice in each of the buckets. We will also have to go out and fill buckets at noon today - goats drink a lot of water when its cold out. David hays really heavy for the goats too.
Today is going to be clean the house. I want the clutter gone. And the spare room cleaned.
For Christmas I don't know if anyone will be here. With my X having liver cancer they may all stay up his way. Thats alright with me, they should be there. So it would be the first Christmas by ourselves (2 girls and David and me). I know they will all come after Christmas, even my daughter and husband and grandchildren from Montana will be over this year.
Tami my #4, daughter, is here right now. She wanted to see her dad. I don't expect to see her this trip as the roads are icy and their dad is in Portland in the hospital.
You know the thing with large families, is that they are very flexible because nothing ever goes the way its planned.
Last night I read to the girls for half hour before I sent them to bed. David and I hit the sack about 10pm.
The girls have home school today and Danyel has Biology at Napavine. We also need to go to the library to pick up one of our requested books.
When its cold everyone stays inside unless necessary to go out. The girls are occupied with thier computer game. They did go outside yesterday to sled on the ice. They are hoping for a better ice run today though.
Have a Great Week and Think of Summer Days. Have a Merry Christmas

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Frozen Week

David took the winter picture the other day from our deck. And Katie, our neighbor is checking out the picture above the goats today while she was helping milk. Are you cool enough? I sure am. Our temp. today high was 19 degrees and a wind chill factor of 8. Well, Sunday morning I was going to go to Seattle with David. We packed the car and got everything ready to go. The snow hadn't started coming down. But at 4:30am when we got up it was very icy and white on the ground. So we did our chores and then came and got dressed to go. And headed out ..... only to get to the bottom of our road... a little slippery but really shinny. We were listening to the Seattle radio station for road reports and all we heard were lots of crashes and really icy roads.
We decided to turn around at the road that leads us to the freeway and come home. It wasn't worth our lives. It was a hard decision since we are really needing this money to pay some bills. But in the end God will take care of our needs and watch over our farm. We had arranged for the youth paster to come get the girls for play practice that day too. He called and we told him not to try and come up our hill it was really icy. Anyway we spent the day at home - trying to get ready for the cold weather to come. I went out and drained the milk out of the bulk tank as it was to old to use, and clean out the tank. I got creative and decided to make it really shinny inside - so I used this stong acid stuff that makes it really bright. Boy it smelled like rotten eggs. When Danyel came out to milk she said it stunk, so she opened the parlor window to air out the room. We had the heater going in the bulk tank room and the propane heater going in the milking room. Milking was over and we decided to watch a movie while we ate dinner. I decided I should write down all our farmers markets in a record book so we could see really what we have done this year. I got all of them but about 20 market sheets wrote into the record book. I logged the stall fees and all the meals out we have eaten. Wow, I was impressed. I finished the rest of it on Monday. We decided to not go to market on Monday either. So Monday morning I went out and started to clean the parlor to find the window had never been shut and there was no water running in the parlor or milking room. We will have to milk by hand - unless we can get this water running. So started the morning. We hauled warm water to all the goat water buckets and I hauled water to the parlor sink so I could wash the inline system . It took till about 8:30 before we could start milking this morning. I got the water running in the bulk tank room but not in the milking room. David worked on the other water faucets/ to recover them and to check to see if they were frozen. We got to eat breakfast about 10:30 this morning. Our little neighbor girl is staying with us and their house was totally frozen - her dad was working on getting them unthawed. So the girls ended up taking warm water from our house in the wagon to their animals. This afternoon David went and got the studs put on our car. And picked up some dog food and milk filters for the bulk tank. I stayed home and finished the bookkeeping stuff. The Christmas music is playing in the background and its so peaceful. Our milking is done for the evening and now we'll sit down to a fried chicken, baked potatoes, corn and green salad for dinner. And watch a movie together and then off to bed. The life of a farmer in the winter is really nice - the days are short and you don't seem quite as tired as the summer days.
Our tree is up and its half blue and half pink for our two daughters. We have no gifts under the tree yet. David and I will do shopping a few days before Christmas. Most everyone on our list gets a cheese basket. But there are a few surprises for the rest of the family. So all is ready for the holidays.
Have a Great Holiday Season. Enjoy the small things that seem to get un-noticed.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

December A month to Enjoy

Good Morning. Its cold out and its white.
On Thur. we started preparing for this cold front coming. The girls started turning the water faucets off and uncoiling and draining the hoses. Friday evening David got out the faucet covers too. We turned the heater on in the milk room and turned a drip on in the processing plant. The goats got extra hay starting yesterday and I think we are ready.
Thur. I didn't make cheese, to much running around. Friday I had bazaar and so no cheese now till Sunday. Friday we got up at 5am - I cleaned the parlor and then got the girls up at 5:30. They milked and I got my stuff ready to go to the bazaar in Rainier, Ore at the Rainier Marina building. Danyel was done by 6:45 and I headed out to clean the parlor so we would be ready to milk when we got home at 7pm. At 7:30 I ran to Winlock to get some grain (prep for the snow storm) about 20 bags, that should take me to mid week before I need more. Then home to unload the grain and load the truck with ice chests and get dressed in market clothes. On the road by 8:35. We got to the bazaar at 9:25 and ready to sell by 10am. They closed the bazaar at 5pm because the weather and there was no one there. So we got home at 6pm and I then got in the van which was hooked up to the flat bed trailer to go get two rounds of hay (this lasts us right now about 9 days), which is 1/2 hour drive one way. It was pouring and blowing but I made it there and back by 7:30pm and then Ali and I had to unhook the trailer from the van and hook it up to the tractor then take it up to the barn and then it got interesting. Only because its me and a 90 pound girl (when wet) trying to push a one ton bale of hay off the trailer - the trailer is wet and slick and so we are slipping and can't find a foot hold to get leverage. We did get the hay off the trailer and into the barn. Then I had to hay everyone. We usually eat on the way home from a market but non of us were hungry so we skipped dinner. Now we are hungry but no energy to make anything... we just fended for ourselves. I then unloaded my cheese and put the blue ice back in the freezer to re-freeze so I can load up tomorrow morning for the last day of the bazaar. I counted the cheese and then my money bank.... wow I sold $30.00 of cheese today - that made my table space fee. What a waste of time. The girls had fun though they did their Christmas shopping at the thrift store in town. I guess I made some good contacts about doing some cheese classes at their facility next year. I fell into bed at 10pm and didn't hear anything.
Now this morning there is a little snow on the ground, the hoses are frozen and the girls have to be in their blue's uniform for Civil Air Patrol by 7:30am - So they are taking turns milking because they needed to iron their uniforms. (Ali told Danyel she would only milk one load though). I won't leave for Rainier until about 8:30 providing there isn't more than a skiff of snow on the ground. I am driving a two wheel drive pick up - little one. I'll put 4 bags of grain in the back before I leave for weight.
Well I wish you all a very Wonderful Day.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Has our Ship come in?

Good Morning.
We are just finishing milking this morning. Our time has changed again back to the 7am milking instead of 6am. We are now down to four loads of 8 does. Our milk is dropping fast as the winter sets in and the goats are wanting a rest. I am trying to make 50 gallon batches of cheese twice a week to stock up for the off months of milking. Its starting to get tricky.
I made a 48 gallon batch of chevre on Tue., its ready to come down this morning. I'll take it down and put it in the refrigerator, until this evening when I have to package chevre's for the
One of our sunsets from our deck
Bazaar this weekend. I am going to make an other batch of Grande Rosa and Pepper Rosa today too.
I packaged up 2 - ten pound buckets of chevre for two restaurants that are going to start using our chevre. Now I can tell you the names: Dockside Bistro in Olympia and Michou at Pikes Place Market. We are so excited. We also picked up the Pike Place Creamery with our yogurt. I've sent them two batches so far.
We are going to go deliver the cheese in Olympia today. Danyel has Biology and then we will leave from there.
We have our grange Christmas Party this Sat. so we are making some brownies, cake and a cheese basket for the party today. They will do a silent auction and the basket will go for that and the cake and brownies are for the cake walk. I will be at the Bazaar, but the girls will be Santa's elves for the evening. So, milking on Sat will be about 3pm so the girls can get picked up at 5:45. I'll stop by the grange after the bazaar. The girls will be up milking on Sat. at about 5am too, they also have CAP and will get picked up at 7:30am.
Sunday morning I drove 4 goats up to Seattle that some people had bought for thier holiday. I was back in time to take the girls to church. What a crazy morning. We layed low the rest of the day though.
Monday I went over and vacuumed up marinated feta and brushed, re-oiled and charcoled my aged cheese and turned them over too.
Tue. David took off - from his sales in Seattle. We went over to Black Sheep Creamery and vacuumed 10 rounds of Grande Rosa and Pepper Rosa - that should keep us for awhile stocked of that cheese. David put up Christmas lights outside. And we went to Longview Wa to look at Christmas Lights - a family tradition. We went out to dinner at the Rose Tree - another family tradition for 14 years on Christmas Day. They are not open anymore on Christmas day so we thought we'd go eat there early. It was a nice day. We loaded up the car for market and all went to bed by 10pm.
Wed. I stared working on an article for the Dairy Goat Journal - Our 5 year anniversary is coming up and I wrote an article for them in 2004 about the life and times of our dairy. So I thought it would be fitting to bring the magazine up to date of our life now. So I spent a great deal of time writing on the computer. We ran to town to do errands. And then we started chores early so we could go to church. Home from church and we cleaned the kitchen up and visited with David.
Well I best get off the computer and start working to get things done around here. I will run out and hay the bucks and then come in and change clothes and take down the cheese and then run Danyel to school and Ali and I will run to the library to drop off a CD that didn't get put back in the audio book checked out. Then pick up Danyel and run to Olymplia then home to bake and then run that stuff to the grange then home to package cheese and make dinner. CRAZY!
TALK TO YOU ALL SOON. Have a Great Day.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Getting ready for market

Here is the picture I promised - my Thanksgiving pie table.
Yesterday I was running like crazy . I got the cheese made. I made it to the Grange event, with a potluck dish (cheese & crackers). And got the kids to church on time. I was in bed by 11pm. David got home before I had to go get the girls at church. He didn't do very well at the market again.
Today is off and running too. I have to turn the cheese and re-press it. Go to the bank and get cash for my cash box for the bazaar tomorrow. Run by the craft store and pick up some Styrofoam to make mock cheese pieces for my gift basket so I can set it on my table. I also need to go pick up my business cards if they are ready. I will take Danyel to class and then come home and package and label Chevre's and Feta's. I also need to get the yogurt mixed up and packaged and labeled. I will go through my box I take to markets to make sure all my supplies are in there. I want to decorate my table very Christmas like - so that is extra stuff . I will also make a picture board to put out so people can see our farm. On top of this I need to drive and pick up my grandson in St. Helens Oregon by 2pm today. Two more thing, make turkey noodle soup and take the girls to play practice at 6pm and picked up by 7:30pm. Oh yes, we have to milk and feed the goats before play practice.
My daughters will decorate the house and Christmas tree while I am gone today. They will do about 3 hours of school today too.
I just need to remember to breath today.
Well, you have a wonderful day. Its going to be sunny out today and that always brings up my spirits.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Busy Days in December

Well its already December and things on the dairy are slowing a little. We are down to 5 loads at morning and 4 loads at night (meaning the most is 40 does being milked). I made a 50 gallon batch of chevre that turned out great. Today a 51 gallon batch of Grande Rosa and Pepper Rose is in the making. I got up at 5:30 this morning and cleaned the parlor. Then went and put all the dishes away in the processing plant and washed the buckets to haul the milk over to the pasteurizer. Have I mentioned that is 10 buckets weighing between 35 and 42 pounds that I haul. Anyway I woke the girls up at 6:15 to do their chores. I went into the processing plant and washed and sanitized the buckets and then went and started transporting the milk to the pasteurizer. I got that all done and started the pasteurizer at about 8 am. I will start school at 9am this morning, we are studying Psalm 23 its an awesome book from a Shepard view. Ali has two tests today and grammar to do. Where Danyel has Biology class at 10:23 to 11:25 and then she will do her math and grammar. I will be leaving at 11:35 for a Lecture meeting for our grange and won't be home until 2:30 or so.
My milk will stay in the pasteurizer until I get home at 2:30 - cooling down so I can make cheese when I get home. That will take me to 4:00 which then I'll clean the milk parlor so the girls can milk the goats at about 4:30 and be done in time to eat some pancakes (made with 7up in place of the water- they are so good) and then we are off to church at 6:45 till 8pm.
Then it is home to turn cheese and package more chevre and garlic and dill.
We have two neighbor girls living with us right now while thier mom is going through cancer surgery. They love helping my girls do chores and they don't complain about our schedual. Its always nice to have good kids around - let alone be my daughters friends.
David didn't do very good at market on Monday or Tuesday - so we think we will drop those two days. We are in a tight way right now trying to make the house payment in order to avoid loosing the farm.... and its tough. There are no jobs here in Lewis County and the markets are not good for saleman. I just don't see a bright side to this ---- right now. Anyway we will keep walking forward and TRUSTING GOD.
The goats need wormed but I am trying to hold off until after the 15th. I can get away with the pour on dairy cow wormer - the small bottle will do all my girls and guys. I have I think 7 meat goats that will go to the butcher on the 20th of December.
Danyel and Ali and Katie and Nichole went for a walk on Monday. Danyel always takes her pack goat Koosko, well the neighbor's dog down the way spooked him and he fell. Now he like has a hard time walking - maybe like he pulled a muscle or something in his hip. We penned him up and are watching and taking care of him best we can. He seems alright. When he falls he falls forward like on his head. Its really weird. Then there are our cats..... we are doctoring one with a icky cheek and another one has to have penicillin because he has an internal infection from some hawk claw holes in his head. Everyone is doing better - just takes a little extra time to take care of all needs.
Our turkey is just about gone. I am making Turkey noodle soup for dinner tomorrow night. I am going to St. Helens Oregon about 75 miles from here to pick up my grandson for a few days. CJ is 5 years old and loves to ride the tractor. His mom's dad is going in for surgery and thought it easier to have CJ at Nana's. I agree. So I'll have him until Sat. when they pick him up at the Bazaar I am going to in Rainier, Oregon.
Did I mention I'll be in Rainier at the Marina for a two weekend Bazaar. Well its suppose to be busy and very nice. Its on Fri. and Sat. Dec. 5 &6 and 12 &13 from 10-6pm. I sure hope I do well there. I made up three sizes of baskets to take orders on. I am planning on delivering the baskets on the 22 of December at the bazaar location. We'll see how this goes.
As you can see I have my hands full as usual and running as usual.
Hope everyone has a great day. I will post that table of pies as soon as David downloads them.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

Good Morning? Wow I am still stuffed from yesterday.
I made my coffee this morning and as I opened the refrigerator I saw all these wonderful pies and new my mind wanted to have a piece - but my stomach said not yet.
David was up this morning at 4:45am to get dressed and head out to hay the goats and I got up at 5am and started the coffee and made turkey sandwiches for him and my son-in-law to head to Pikes Place.
Yesterday before dinner at 1pm, David cut up two rounds of cheese and went over to Adna to vacuum pack them for Friday market. I labeled all of them after dinner. My daughter and I packaged and labeled 60 chevre for Friday Market. Our evening ended at 10pm with everyone in bed.
Yesterday was a very nice day. Heather and Jamie and CJ (daughter, husband and grandson) are staying until Sat. before they head for home. My mom called from Arizona to tell me that a lady would be calling me about buying a goat. She also wished me a Happy Thanksgiving and check on my pie count. When the guys left, my son, brother and nephew we sent pie and cheese packages. They were very happy as they drove down the driveway.
Pies are my thing so let me name what I made this year: Blueberry Cheesecake, Marble cheesecake with cherries on top, Peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake, apple, pecan, raisin, pumpkin, Cherri Cha Cha, Chocolate Cream, Vanilla Cream, Banana Cream, Cherry.
My brothers comment was this was the smallest Thanksgiving dinner he has been to, for me.
So all in all everything went as planned.
Now today will be relaxing and or sort of relaxing -- I have about 70 gallons of milk I need to do something with. So for sure cheese making will happen. And some yogurt and butter milk making. And some turkey sandwiches and some pie to top off the day. Oh yes I have to go get some hay as David used all the rest this morning. So thought I'd take the crew for a ride today.
I'll put a picture of the pies tomorrow as David hasn't downloaded them onto the computer yet.
I hope your holiday was wonderful and that you ate some cheese, preferably goat!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Day Before

You know I was thinking as I was baking of all the things I am thankful for and I came up with of course the usual, family, home, car, children, grandchildren, friends and a turkey on the table. But as I looked deeper into this thankful issue I find there are some very small things to be thankful for that are usually over looked. Like that the sun rises each day, like the light switch works in the middle of the night. How about the key on your key chain and that it opens an important door. Or like I am thankful for the plug in my tub - that it keeps the water in the tub. Like the simple thing of having running water at my sink. Or that by pulling down on a handle makes your bathroom clean and sanitary. These are just a few of the small over looked things I am thankful for. I bet this Thanksgiving you can find some of your own small things to be Thankful for.
Well I have made 12 pies and two batches of rolls. I have a tour coming at 3pm and then chores start at 4:30. Ali went with David to Pikes Place, just figuring people will be eager to buy.... and she can be a calming factor to her dad as he tries to get home in the traffic. My daughter and family will be here this evening. Everyone else will be here tomorrow.
My first turkey is already cooked and is in the refrigerator. The giblet gravy is simmering on the stove. I have washed a load of towels - so the company can take a shower or bath if they want.
My guest list this year is small - my brother, my son, my nephew, my daughter and her husband and their son, and our own family. So the total is 10.
I think I will go take a short nap before the tour gets here.
Have a Great Thanksgiving and give a little thought to the small things.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Rush!

Hello, its been a week since I last posted ---- did you miss me??
I'v been running around like crazy. David has been going to Pikes everyday. Making cheese and packaging and labeling it all by myself is crazy. With David gone its a lot harder to get everything done and keep up with just my normal stuff.
The girls finished their recipe books and just have the name tags for the table and little name tags for the pies to make. They helped me make pies today - we got 8 pies made today and tomorrow we still have 5 more to make. There are 12 different kinds of pies. (We make two pumpkin - its the only one doubled). Our family tradition is that everyone gets to pick what ever kind of pie they want and I make it. The little kids all get mini pies of their choice. The big kids have to share a big pie with everyone. I will start cooking one of the turkey's I have tomarrow. We are doing two 14.5 pound turkey's. On Thur. I will cook the other turkey - stuffed. I make ten pounds of mashed potatoes. I have to make a quad. batch of homemade rolls (not just for dinner but for turkey sandwiches afterwards). We always have the bean casserole, sweet potato's with marshmallows on top, fruit salad, cottage cheese salad, gravy. I think that is our menu. I make all the food and have my girls help. I don't let anyone bring food - Its kind of my gift to my family. I love this holiday its the best one.
We are still milking goats - about 43 and I am still able to make two batches of cheese a week. I was suppose to make some chevre today, but never got that done. Maybe tomorrow I will work it into my schedule. We are getting close to 100 gallons of milk a week, but it is dropping fast. So I have to get what I need made and hope it lasts until the middle of Feb. - when I can start making cheese again.
I went over to Black Sheep Creamery and brushed my aged cheese and turned them on Wed. They are coming along nicely.
The other day it was 28 degrees when we went out to do chores. The night before I uncoled all the hoses and turned off all the faucets in anticipation of our first freeze. When the hoses all freeze up - who ever is doing watering has to carry buckets of warm water from the milk parlor. We only have about 12 buckets to fill twice a day. Anyway none of us like freezing weather. Now the snow the girls love and I love to look at it. And carrying water doesn't seem so hard if the ground is white.
David has been taking samples to all the restaurants up there at Pikes Place. On slow days he can go wandering. We have one restaurant in Olympia that will start buying our chevre in the next week or so. I'll post their name as soon as I have an order.... don't want to jinks it.
All we need is a couple good orders to put us on a good road.
On Friday the 21 Danyel and Ali went with their Civil Air Patrol squadron to Napavine Gradeschool to serve dinner for the Grandparents Dinner. They wore their camo uniform (BDU's). This goes for their community service badges. They also got dinner that day too. I think the girls will of each had four Thanksgiving dinners this year - counting our family one. All day today all they could say was, I can't wait for Thanksgiving - I can taste my pie already.
Well if I don't get back onto the computer for an other week you will all know why.
Have a Great Thanksgiving and remember at least 5 things your are Thankful as you take that first bite of your turkey dinner.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good Morning:
Well today is a semi quiet day. I have to go over and brush my cheese at the Black Sheep Creamery today. I have 8 rounds in thier cave aging. The girls and I want to go to the library in Winlock - to return books and check out new ones. I will order some new labels with just a phone call and then with another call I'll order some new vacuum bags. The girls will work on finishing their cookbooks. I already went and turned my cheese I made last night and cleaned the milk parlor. I have a sink of dished in the processing plant that I'll get done today too. This evening I'll label some more plain chevre for David tomorrow at Pikes Place.
I am recovering from last weeks abrupt change.
I am glad right now for a break from extra kids. Its time to gather my thoughts and to compose my insides (heart, soul and spirit). You know God said he can call our children home anytime he wants (for foster kids its leaving), because they are on loan from Him. He wants us to prepare them for the road of life and each stop has something new for them to gain on this trip. Why he puts some children out there to wander the roads isn't mine to ask why, just to say I will feed and love you if you stop here for a rest. This is what makes me smile after I have my mad and upset about how the State handles these children. Today I am better, and each day I am reminded of What God Has done and Will do - not why he does it or when he does it.

If you haven't sent in your money for the cheese class please do and then call me and let me know its on the way. Other wise I may have to cancel this class. I totally understand all the other projects you have going this time of year. But let me offer you a suggestion: Making cheese for the holidays and for gifts saves alot of money and its with your hands that you give this wonderful gift.

Have a Great Day and watch a leaf float to the ground. Notice a few things as it floats down to the earth: Its color, its size and its gentleness with which it glides. In these things you'll see the truth of the world. It doesn't matter what color you are, it doesn't matter the size your world is, if you trust in God you'll be able to float without effort and no extra burdens.

There is no more important spiritual and practical lesson we can teach our children than the principle of sowing and reaping. Choices always have consequences. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows. taht he will also reap. Galations 6:7

Monday, November 17, 2008

Make Day of the week

Hello again:
It seems I'v not written for a long time. How time flies when your having fun. Or when you have little mind left and just don't notice the darkness outside. Which may describe me... all days running together.
Thur. I went and got two rounds of Hay at noon. Danyel had Biology and I made Chevre. That evening I went to W.O.W. at our church (womens gathering) at 6:30pm. David took the day off.
Then on Thursday without much warning our 13 year old foster son was moved. No word to where and No good- byes. No explanation to what is going on. Just ordered by the courts was all we got. We packed up his stuff and the State came and got it and picked him up at school. Good By foster son. I don't know if I can handle this states protocol for handling foster children. So right now we don't have any foster children and I am not sure I want anymore at this point.

Well on Friday of last week I got up at 5am and cleaned the parlor and then cleaned the processing plant. My inspector was coming at 9:30am - He showed up at about 8:40. He inspected my dairy and checked the thermometers on the pasteurizer. In all we got a 100% on everything. Then I hung the chevre after he left. I had a tour show up at about 11:30am and they bought some milk to make cheese. I home schooled the girls on their Thanksgiving Unit. I also packaged up 60 containers of Garlic & Dill Chevre and 40 containers of Chevre. I labeled 50 marinated feta packages and 30 each of Feta, Grande Rosa and Pepper Rosa. When I lable cheese this is what I do: I have to first write the date they were made or when they expired, then weigh them and put down the oz. and the grams, then I have to price them. Then I have to peel the lables off and put them on the cheese packages. So it takes me about 3+ hours to do all that cheese I said I did. When David got home he unloaded his cheese and we counted the cheese and the bank. Then about 9:30pm we load it all up again for two markets. Do the paperwork in double and start all over. I got to go to bed about 11pm.
Then Sat. morning got up at 5am and clean the parlor and take down the chevre and put it in the refrigerator. Then into the house to turn on the coffee pot. Got the girls up at 6am and they started their chores. David got the haying and watering done. He left the house at 6am and I left at 6:30am. We both had to stop and buy ice before we left town. The girls were picked up about 8am for Civil Air Patrol - they had to wear their blues and take their BDU's (camo clothes) for some uniform inspection thing. They will be home about 12:20 today. The weather was great and the market was a little slow. We both did fair at our markets. I got into town and had to run by the store to get supplies for the family gathering on Sunday. After that stop it was right home. 4:30 was already here and I was getting a headache so thought we best get our chores done right away. I cleaned the parlor and the girls rounded the goats up. I then went and unloaded the truck and counted the cheese and put it away. I had re-salted some feta on Friday also and so I had to brush off the salt and put them back into the oil. The salt make more of the whey come out of the feta and makes it dryer. Then I went inside and took some asprin and laid down on the couch and that is where I stayed until about 10pm and I went to bed. The girls had to make their own dinner and fend for themselves. When David got home he asked me a few questions and I answered and that was it for me.
Sunday morning I was up at 5am to go out and clean the parlor and leave for Pikes Place at 6am. David had the girls up at 6am to do their chores. They had to meet his mom in Longveiw at noon to leave for his nieces for the family gathering. I had all the stuff ready for thier pot luck meal. David made up a cheese basket for his niece as a house warming gift. So off to Kalama they went. He had a good time and the girls did too. This was a memorial for David's grandpa who passed away last month. I was at market and it was slow. We were down about $100 dollars from last Sunday. I got home about 7:30 and the chores were all done and the girls were fending for themselves for dinner. I unloaded the car and counted the cheese. David had to go get grain after he got home too.
This morning the same routine. I am making Grande & Pepper Rosa this evening. We are getting low. And then on Wed. I'll make another batch of Aged cheese. The chevre in the refrigerator will last us this week. I have a cheese class on Sat. so I'll be getting ready for that.
Well that is about it for this last week.
Have a Great Evening and relax.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The rains are back

Good Morning
Lets see this morning its warm and wet. The rain has put the girls on Emergency Alert for their Civil Air Patrol Squadron. We are waiting for the call or email to put their group into action. The girls had to get their 24 hour packs ready and have their uniforms and rain gear ready when and if called. So they wait. They got up and have anticipation of being called this morning when the sun comes up.
Yesterday we had computer class, and Danyel had Biology in the morning. The girls finished their emergency Thanksgiving recipe book. I was so tired after making Thanksgiving dinner for my daughter from Montana - I relaxed yesterday. We did go to church at 7pm. When we got home David was home from a very slow day at Market. He still hasn't recovered from his cold this last week. So he thought maybe he would stay home today. And this morning he said he was going to stay home.
Which is good cause I have to go get hay at noon - and now he can do that.
I am going to make Chevre this morning after I go drop Danyel off at her Biology class at 10:30. (If the girls arent called up to help their CAP squadron). I'll make a 40 gallon batch and then I am planning on Sunday to make Feta. That should make me have to make a call to the processing plant that picks up our milk to say that we have no milk for pick up.
My inspector is coming tomorrow to check the probes that go into my pasteurizer at 9:30. Then at noon I have a tour coming. And I'll hang my chevre after the inspector leaves. I think I have enough fresh cheese to make up the containers of chevre for the Sat. Markets. This should be a good weekend for both of us. The Bazaar that I was signed up to go to was canceled. So I'll be going to Proctor in Tacoma. And the weather is suppose to not be so bad. Ya!
The goats are already starting to look pregnant. The Boar buck I put in with the herd has been quiet so I am assuming everyone is bred now. So we will have a few kids coming in April. The big birthing will happen from Feb. 15- to the end of March.
In communicating with one another, God expects us to be honest and loving. Problems arise when we are honest but not loving.
Have a wonderful Day!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Early Thanksgiving and Market News

Hello to all:
Yesterday was market day. So I am up at 5am. I went out and cleaned the parlor and then came in and woke up everyone at 5:30am. We are short one kid so we have to do her chores - so everyone adds one or two things to their own list. I went in and turned my NW Comfort and Black Jewels aged cheese and put the weights back on them. They look really good. Then into the house to get dressed - Ali doesn't have CAP today so she is staying home to watch over the farm. She is on the milk line and that is another reason she is staying home. So we all don't have to get up at 4am to do all the chores. We use to do that and man by the time it was time to milk again after market we were all pretty grumpy and tired. This way we all leave by 6am for our markets and she is still milking. I had to get gas before I hit the road. But we made it to the Proctor Tacoma Market on time and even a little early... thank goodness. Cause as soon as we got the tent up and the sides on it poured and poured and the wind blew. It got it out of its system and the rest of the market was fine. David's drive to Pikes was fine too. He said he was there on time, no traffic messes. But the good news to the day was that David and I sold the same exact amount. And that made our market day great because we can pay bills that are looming over our heads. I was so thankful to God for the blessing of sales.
When I got home at 4pm I had to unload and get the blue ice back into the freezer so its frozen by the time David loads his car up at about 9:30pm tonight for market the next day. Then I got the call from David that he had sold out of his Chevre and Garlic and Dill and had only a few Grande Rosa left. This all means packaging up more cheese and labeling. So I got onto that right after we started chores at 4:30. I made pancakes for dinner - easy and fast. And then I packaged up 15 lbs of chevre for Sunday market and then labeled about 12 more Grande Rosa for David. David pulled in about 7:30pm and unloaded his car and counted his cheeses and Money. Thats when we found out our $ amounts were exactly the same. By 9:30 I was so tired and we still had to load the car for market and do the bookwork. So I was on the couch by 10:15 with my head on the pillow and asleep shortly after. David woke me up at 11pm and said he was going to bed. Amen the day is over.
Today we will go to church and then do some running around and then be over at the gun club to pick up Danyel by 2pm and then we should be home by 3pm or close. By then I'll know what the stasis is with the cheese in Seattle. I'll do some laundry and mop some floors. I have to have my stuff done in case I have to pull a Monday in Seattle (David is getting a cold).

David did really well on Sunday at Market and fairly good on Monday.

We are having an early Thanksgiving dinner today. My daughter and grandchildren will be here from Montana. So the house smells really good. We will have a small version of my Real Thanksgiving dinner - but everything will be served. Homemade rolls, pies, dressing, gravy, real mashed potaotes, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, and a cottage cheese salad. YUM! I will take my aged cheese over to the sheep creamery today too. And label some more cheese and package some chevre for market tomorrow. Today will be hopping just to get everything done.

Well I hope I didn't wear anyone out with my routines.

Have a Great Day and enjoy each others company.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Don't Give Up Hope!

Wow! Its really warm outside, its about 59 here. Doesn't feel like morning.
Don't Give up Hope! God will use even the tough experiences of life to build your child's character, as well as your own. An not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
I think this sums up the next four years we are about to endure.
Well it took David about 6 hours driving time yesterday to get to Seattle. There were wrecks all over. He averaged going and coming 3 hours each way. That is crazy. He was pretty tired after waiting in traffic that long. He doubled his sales of last Thur. so that is good - but its still not enough to make it feel like its worth the drive and time.
I cleaned off the deck yesterday. Took the table and chairs and stacked them and then raked - yes I said raked the leaves on the deck. I bet I had a pile big enough for a 5 year old to throw himself into it and not feel the ground. They were pretty red leaves off my Chinese Plum tree. I love that tree in the summer but fall it makes a mess. Anyway there was still a deck under those leaves.
The girls Thanksgiving Survival Book is making headway. They have been devoting about 3 hours a day to this project. We will start making pies and rolls in two weeks, so they have to have the actual cookbooks done. Then we get to start the decorations and table setting stuff. I'll have to take a picture and show all of you.
I love teenagers just because they can do their own thing... like wash and fold laundry. I remember when I had six small children in the house. I think I was doing laundry everyday and folding every evening and then putting the clothes away. I was much relieved when they could put their own clothes away. Now its like I don't even think about laundry for them. I have to say also my husband is good about doing laundry too. I actually haven't had to do our laundry for a year or so. I have to put away now. He does wash, dry and fold in the evening. That though has all come to a stop.... now that he is driving to Seattle everyday to Market. But I am ready to take the task on again.
I have to go get change for our banks today, for the two markets tomorrow. Its already Friday, how time flies. I guess I was so worked up for Tue. I forgot that the other days would follow behind. Anyway I have lots to keep me busy today.
Yesterday I made bread and donuts (chocolate).
Yesterday a few does came in heat so we just stuck one of the Boar bucks in with all the does. This will just make sure everyone is bred in case we missed someone. The funny part was our sannen buck broke the fence to get to the barn and does. We put him back three times and then I said enough. I stung some hot wire around the pen. As soon as I turned my back he touched the wire with his nose and jumped back. He hasn't climbed the fence since.
Well have a great day and look for the Son to come.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Sun isn't out but the day is still Warm

Here I am again. I am amazed I woke up this morning... thought the world would of ended by now. I am kidding! It will be a wonderful day to be alive and an American. I may not agree with the politics of our country but I bet there is no place else as good as the Old USA.
The dairy still goes on... we will still milk twice a day and grain and water all the goats. I still have to feed and manage my home and even be a wife to my husband. Amen for routines.
I mixed up some more garlic and dill chevre and plain chevre for David last night, to take to Pike this morning. Had to label some more pepper and grande rosa too. I went and got our new labels and what a convince they are - and they don't melt in water. Our milking went good except one glitch - the drain to the milk parlor was plugged and I had to unplug it. When my younger daughter milks and cleans things up ..... everything goes down the drain. I think the hay plugged it - but as children are "they didn't do it". Anyway it put a little glitch in the routine. We were in the truck on our way to church by 6:45. We got home at 8:40. I did my cheese stuff and then I laid on the couch and fell asleep. David loaded his car for market again. He is holding up pretty good, doing all the driving and standing.
The girls had computer class yesterday, so we went an hung out at the grange for 70 min. Then we ran Danyel to Biology class and Ali and I went and picked up the labels, got some laundry soap and picked up dog food - got done and picked up Danyel at school. The girls hit the cookbooks and got back onto doing their home ec. class. I kept the laundry going in the washing machine all day.... I hate folding!
I am going to make yogurt today - since I didn't get out there yesterday. I am going to clean the processing plant and make some cheese today. David moved all my cheese to our own cheese cave. Its holding the temp and the humidity too. Ya! It will work for us all winter, by the time warmer weather is here we should be able to get the compressor on and running, so through the summer it will be good too. My schedule is full for today.
This photo is Bernie our Anatolian Shepard - He is 5 years old.
Hope you all have a great day and get all that you have on your list done.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Day After Pill!

Well its another day in the U.S. A. - I think!

Have a glass of water and wait for the death of the things you once thought you valued. It won't hurt and you really won't miss it......until.........

My chevre is almost done dripping. I'll start some yogurt this morning. We have church tonight - so that makes us start milking early.
Yesterday we started chores at 4pm and were done by 6:15. My soup had been cooking all day and was ready to go by 6:50. I had made our Grange flier for our Christmas Party a few days earlier - it was tucked away in my briefcase. Off to Grange we went. The potluck dinner is always looked forward to by my children. Mostly the desserts!
Grange was really nice. The Indian Chief that told the stories was very good. My daughters really liked the stories. Grange went long last night so we didn't get home until 9pm. So the kids went right to bed.
A few slow does came into heat and so we put them in the pen with one of the Boar bucks. Well Ice didn't like that so he climbed the fence and got into that pen. Needless to say we ended up taking the Boar buck out and leaving Ice in with the does. (Ice is a reg. sannen Buck).
Our home school day was all around Thanksgiving, its a unit study. The girls have to make the menu and then adjust the recipes to make enough for the group coming for dinner. I made them use what our traditional dinner is. Its a great project. Lots of math and what better way to get girls really into homemaking. They will finish their project with helping make dinner and serving it. They said their new Thanksgiving cookbook is a Survival Cookbook - in case mom can't make Thanksgiving dinner they have all the directions to do it themselves. Ya! Independence.
Today I have to pick up our new labels that are done. I am totally out of Garlic and Dill Chevre. And David needs some made for the rest of this weeks Markets. David isn't going to take anymore yogurt to Pikes Place as its not selling very well. He did a little better yesterday selling cheese. Not anything like what we do at a local farmers markets.
Well I am trying to not show my emotions over this election, BUT......
I fear life is going to change..... and that all that I have learned in order to survive will come in handy. I don't know if we will be making cheese and living here on the dairy though. I will put ALL my trust in God. I know He will lead me through the valley of death and that I should not fear.
Anyway today we have computer class at Hope Grange for an hour. Then I need to do some domestic shopping for laundry soap. We rarely run out but somehow we did - and of course everyone NEEDS clean clothes TOday! That's just normal isn't it.
I am working also on my accounting - I am determined to have my accounting done by the end of the year in order to take it to the accountant for Taxes. I hate bookwork, it takes my total concentration and I have to sit and stay sitting to accomplish it. And a multi tasking brain has a hard time doing that.
This picture is me pinning my daughter Ali - at her Civil Air Patrol Encampment - a few weeks ago
Well, try and see the silver lining on the clouds - and Remember God is IN ControL.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Farming just keeps going, and going and going - like an battery!

The leaves are so beautiful today. A good rain and wind bring down the leaves. Our cement pad in front of the processing plant is covered with red leaves while the path leading to the buck pens is covered with yellow. The mountains show such pretty colors all around us. I think Fall is one of my favorite seasons. And Thanksgiving falls in that season and thats my favorite holiday.
Well David is going up to Pikes Place everyday. What a grooling week. The market hasn't done very good since we started going back up there.
Yesterday we had two girls on holiday from Australia stop by and tour the dairy. What sweet girls. They headed onto Portland to visit a friend there then onto Calf.
I made Chevre - 42 gallons, yesterday and so this morning I hung it to drain. The left over milk was picked up also yesterday. We are down to about 113 gallons a week now and dropping. Not sure I'll have any milk to pick up next week for them. I want to make a batch of Northwest Comfort and Black Jewel. And some feta, that should use up all the milk I get this week.
This evening we have to milk early in order to be at Grange by 6:00. I am the lecturer and its kind of important that I am there. We are having a guest speaker tonight, he is a Cowlitz Indian and he is going to tell some Indian stories for us. He is such a nice guy and we sure enjoy having him in our grange.
I think I'll make a refrigerator soup for the potluck. That is all the left overs in your refrigerator - no older than three days old - It always is very interesting. So I know there is stir fry and rice, spaghetti, roast with carrots and onions to start with.
I made chocolate cake donuts yesterday. YUM! Needless to say they are gone this morning.
I got grain last night too. I remember when we first moved here and was paying about $6.50 a bag for our wet cob and then $7 for our alfalfa pellets. We are now paying over $10 for both of those grain today. We shop around to find the best deal. Right now we are spending close to $300 a week on feed for our dairy, where it was about $450 a month for grain before. That is crazy. Our finances are really tight due to this huge increase in feed. Thank goodness gas prices are down. But the grain prices haven't started coming down yet and I expect they won't either.
I am taking our ballot into the court house this morning.
I just want to thank all the people that have bought our cheese and supported us through the year. We are also going to have holiday baskets for sale this year... if anyone is interested just contact us.
Well have a nice day. Will talk to you all very soon.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Start of Pikes Place Market

Good Morning: The weather is warm out and the sky is clear. We have been working to get things winterized. The sunshine was wonderful and the goats were all outside. We got the fencing done up behind the barn so the goats can go up there and there is lots of grass up there.
David started Pikes Place Yesterday. He leaves at 6am and gets home about 8:30pm. It is a really long day. He is going to try and do five days in a row. He didn't do so good money wise, but now the word will be out that we are back and I am sure things will pick up. The market has a $5 coupon redeemable at our stand - our name is on it. Pretty Cool!
I stayed home yesterday and worked on homeschooling the girls, and c leaning house.
I packaged up garlic and dill chevre and plain chevre for the market today. I went and got two large rounds of hay and unloaded it into the barn.
We have a 4-H meeting today. We will be planning our sleepover in March.
I had a couple come and talk goats yesterday, they want to buy two of my meat goats to eat brush and be pets. They will call me in a week once they get the fencing thing done.
I have to run to the Farm Store this morning and get some more teat dip for the parlor. And also a couple of markers to mark the goats. Danyel wants to start moving some goats to every other day because they are drying up. I need to make cheese today - probably not until this evening.
My daughter from Texas flew in yesterday, her dad (my X) is in the hospital. We will probably drive to St. Helens Oregon tomorrow after school is out - they have half day- to see my big kids.
Well not much going on today.
Have a great day.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Good Morning. What a weekend. The Sat. cheese class was really great. I thought I was going to run out of soup though. It didn't happen. After cleaning the hall up I came home and unloaded the stuff into the house. The girls did chores and loaded up the goats and I started milking them so they could leave at 4:45. David took the girls to their CAP (Civil Air Patrol) gathering in Chehalis. They got to have pizza and watch a movie and meet some new officers from up by Seattle. I actually enjoyed milking, except for the second load that got out of the stantion while still hooked up to the sucker things. All the rest of the loads I locked the stantion. Its relaxing to do milking ONCE in awhile. After milking I took some aspirin and laid down. I started getting a headache. I ended up falling asleep on the couch until about 9:45pm when I heard David talking to the girls on the phone. He went and got them then and I went to bed. My headache felt better, but thought I should get some rest.
Got up Sunday morning at 7am and went and cleaned the parlor and the girls did the milking. The girls were going to hang out at the airport and help with the glider flights. So when they were done with chores they got dressed in their BDU (camo clothes). We left at 9:50 for the airport and dropped them off before we went to church. After church we called them and they were ready to come home so we went and picked them up and went and ate some lunch. The rest of the day was pretty mellow. I worked on the library in our basement. My headache came back and by 8:30pm I was ready for bed.
This morning I felt pretty good and was up by 6am. The stars are out and its does not feel cold out either. Though its 33. Today my milk gets picked up so I will just be working with the girls and our homeschool.
NEWS BREAK: CHEESE CLASS SCHEDULED FOR NOVEMBER 22 AT THE HOPE GRANGE. It will be posted on my web page. So if you couldn't come in October how about November. Get signed up first 25. This makes great Christmas gifts and holiday goodies.

David is working on the fencing behind the barn so the goats can start cleaning up the brush up there. I did alittle more caulking in the milk parlor too.
Well you have a great day and think of Warm Summer days.....only when your not having a hot flash!
This is Danyel's new puppy -boarder collie and blue heeler cross. 10 weeks old.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cheese Class

Good Morning. Today is my cheese class.
Yesterday I had to make up some garlic and dill chevre and plain chevre for the Longview Market, Sat.. David went and vacuumed the marinated feta and grande rosa and the pepper rosa Thur. Our lables are in, but we both got to busy and forgot to go get them. So we have temp. lables on our grande rosa and pepper rosa.
We worked on making the farm presentable for the tour today. David put carpeting on the cement for walk ways for the winter. Its so slippery on the cement basketball court (soon to be new processing plant). I cleaned the Parlor this morning so it would look clean for the tour this afternoon.
I took supplies over to the grange last night. And then this morning I went over at about 5:15 to set up most of it and take the rest of my stuff over. I will leave at 8am to go over there to finish setting up and make coffee and put the tea water on. I have to cut up the cheese samples. I only got cheese from the sheep dairy too. The cow/goat dairy is no more. I guess after the flood it was to much to get going again.
David's Book signing gig in Kalama went pretty well. He said that just about everyone bought some cheese.
The girls have CAP (Civil Air Patrol) this morning and will be leaving about the same time as I leave. Afterwards they will be dropped off at the grange to help me clean up. And they can eat lunch there too.
David will get home about the time the tour is on the farm.
Well got to run. I think I have everything if not its a short hop to get back home.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Farm from the Air!

Good Morning. Wasn't yesterday great! Sunshine and warm weather. Yesterday was a run day and alot didn't get accomplished at the farm. I got most of my grocery list taken care of for the cheese class, just ran out of time. I'll finish today. I took the chevre down that I stared on Monday. I got about 70 pounds to my 33 gallons I made. Which is good numbers.
I am going to be cleaning the creamery really good today, and the milk parlor too. So I have less to do tomorrow. I also will be making a gallon batch of cheese for the cheese class. David will be vacuuming some cheese today. I have computer class this morning, Danyel has Biology and we have our first 4-H meeting today and then the new caseworker is coming to meet us and our foster son. This evening will be all around packaging cheese for Friday evening's book review thing in Kalama that David is going to.
The weather is suppose to be great this weekend.
The girls had a great day to fly planes yesterday. I thought you'd like to see this picture of our property from the air. We are the farm right next to the gravel pit on the right - on the other side of the brown dirt pile. Our barn is the long building and our house is in the trees below the long barn. Our property is the pasture in front of the barn and a small green patch behind the barn. Hope you can all understand my directions.
Have a Great Day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Flying in the Sky

Good Morning to all. The sky is clear its alittle chilly out, but sunny.
Yesterday I got my chevre hung up and packed my other chevre for the freezer (about 50 lbs). Danyel gave her biology report and did a good job - no grade yet. And then we called a CAP piliot who was offering O flights. The girls got booked for a 1:30 flight. They didn't get to fly because Danyel got alittle sick from the other kids flying. So they were down by 4:30pm. I went and picked up the girls, and we went to Rochester to pick up an Australian cross blue healer puppy for Danyel - Free. She has wanted her own dog and since she is a 10th grader it means she will only be around a few years - I thought she should have her own dog now. That brings our total up to 5 dogs. And I am the one who doesn't even like dogs.... Yikes!
So today we have a busy schedule I will go pick up my foster son and take him to his dr. appt. and David will take Danyel to her biology class. When I bring the foster son back to school - I'll pick up Danyel from her class. While the foster son is in his Dr. appt. I'll run to Walmart and get my supplies for the cheese class (the food). After that the girls will go fly today at 1pm. And its going to be a beautiful day to go flying. They both will fly. They must wear their uniforms and be all proper today too. So after the flying there is chores and church this evening.
Danyel named her puppy Michelle, she is black and white like a boarder collie.
Well its about time to go so, you have a great day and enjoy the sunshine.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Good Morning. Its a little foggy out but its not freezing.
David hooked up our propane heater and got the propane tank filled so its not so cold in the milking room. He added a small fan that blows over the top of the heater so the heat spreads around the room better. I did some more caulking yesterday too. The holes and cracks are slowly disappearing.
I made a 33 gallon batch of chevre yesterday. Today I will hang it to drain. I have about 28 people signed up for my cheese class on Sat. I have all my books made and put together. Tomorrow I'll go get my supplies for the lunch.
Danyel has to give her presentation today in Biology. I think she is ready though.
David is heading to Longview for the farmers market this morning. He is returning the water pressure cleaner to our friend after the market too.
Our milk was picked up yesterday also. So before milking I had the tank to also clean. I scrub the sides and top, with the same stuff I clean my milk lines with. It takes about 15 more min. to my cleaning schedule.
This morning I let the girls sleep in until 6:20 - Its because I slept in till 5:45am. Anyway school will be normal today. And I'll be in the processing plant messing with my cheese. I need to go and vacuum pack some marinated feta for Thur. book signing gig. in Kalama Wa. and then Sat. Market in Longveiw across from the fairgrounds. This is the last Sat. market for the Longveiw one.
This is a picture off our deck, taken by Ali Rider
Have a great day and know the little mountains you must climb are only bumps in the road.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Blustry weather is here!

Good Morning. Its windy and pouring rain this morning. This weekend went well, no rain and little wind. The farmers markets were alright, mine was down in dollars but that is they way it goes with farmers markets. After David's market he ran to Cash and Carry to get some more containers for the garlic and dill chevre and the yogurt. And he got the taster spoons, $53 for a box. That is crazy. When we got home it was about 1 hour before we had to start chores. We were short one person as Ali was with her CAP platoon for the weekend. So we covered her chores and got finished about 6:30pm. I ran in and made dinner - baked salmon (Ali doesn't like fish), baked potato and veg. And then we all sat around and read books. Bed came early as we were all tired.
Sunday was a little slower. I got the kids up at 7am to do chores and after chores we headed to church. After church was lunch... chili and all the fixings. I went out and cleaned the parlor and then we all got dressed again and headed up to Lake Mayfield to go to the ceremony for the Civil Air Patrol. Ali got pinned and moved up a rank. Ya! I had to pin the pins on. Well, my fingers are numb and pinching those frogs (the little clips) that go on the back of those pins was almost impossible. I even dropped one on the ground. But I got it done. And was so proud of her passing her test. We ate cake and visited with other parents. We left at 5:45 for home. Everyone changed clothes and jumped into doing their chores. I cooked hamburgers and fries for dinner. At 8:30 we all sat down so I could do our reading time. Only have three more chapters and we are done with this book - the girls already have the next one picked out. Since we turned off the satellite we spend more time reading. And we started this half hour reading thing. We have read two books now since the NO TV thing. The girls didn't like not having their half hour reading while Ali was gone.
I am going to make some chevre this morning before milk gets picked up. I will make about 30 gallons. I will also make some buttermilk and start some yogurt. I have some running around to do while Danyel is at Biology. David has market in Longview tomorrow and will go to Winco to get my grocery's for the Cheese class this weekend. I can't believe its almost here. Anyway I am going to try another one the 22 of November, as some people cant make it to this one.
We decided that we won't bred anymore does to Ice this year, as his feet are hurting him and I am not sure he is doing his thing. The boar bucks all perform quicker. Anyway I think I have all most all my girls bred anyway.
I hope you all have a great day and remember who really is in control....Not us!