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.