August, 2016

August, 2016

       The end of summer is drawing near, I’m not sure where the time has gone. This letter is long over-due and I have had several reminders from subscribers, I apologize.

      A new granddaughter, Emma, was born to Galen & Rachel on August 23rd! She has a nice amount of darker hair, darker complexioned than big sister Rebecca, who is blue-eyed and has blond curly hair. Rebecca is 18 months and she isn’t too sure about this new baby as of yet. She will touch her, and smile to her, but hold her - - - the other day Rachel wanted a picture of Rebecca holding Emma. We sat her on the rocker, Rachel got the camera ready and I tried to lay Emma on Rebecca’s lap. She pushed her away with both hands and I didn’t get her on! She had a big stuffed dog, we put the dog between them, that was okay. Then I tried putting Emma on the chair in front of her, that little foot came out and shoved her away.  I saw they did get a picture later with Galen’s help. One of these days she will probably like her too well. That makes #14 grandchild for us, 6 girls and 8 boys.

       All the moving changes have taken place, we are basically settled in, altho I don’t have everything unpacked yet. I finally got my sewing machine out of the box on Saturday and the things placed in drawers, but haven’t used it yet. There is a stack of mending to work at. Also some other things I’m not sure where I want to put yet. Slowly but surely I keep working at it.


      Rufus is in New York City this week, left early Monday morning and will come back Saturday, a longer-than-usual trip. Last week he spent 4 days in Chicago. Next week is another trip to Chicago, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. I plan to fly on a small plane from Burlington, IA to Chicago on Thursday late afternoon. Friday morning we will fly to Philadelphia, rent a car and spend 4½ days in PA. Rufus’ nephew is getting married on Saturday Sept. 10th. We are taking extra time to do research on the Musser Family History, where some of the ancestors lived, are buried, etc. When we fly back Tuesday the 13th, I will come back to Burlington in the evening, Rufus will stay in Chicago for another 2 days before driving home. I hope all the flights work out.

     The cheese makers are having a semi-vacation, with only 7 vats a week. Milk production is at the low point, a good time to take extra time off if they want to. The orders are coming in good and strong, so we can use some extra help in filling those. New distributors are starting, Junior is too busy to keep after everything, Jeff is now his right hand man, helping out in production only as needed. But things are looking well, we will try not to complain about being too busy. J

      The American Cheese Society conference was held in Des Moines this year. Since it was so close and we didn’t have to fly people to get there, more attended. Jeff & Nathan attended all 3 days, Rufus and Junior were there 2 days (due to meeting people at the plant who came for the ACS) For Saturday evening, the Festival of Cheeses, most of the employees and their wives attended. It was possibly a once-in-a-lifetime event, and quite an experience, with over 1800 cheeses to sample. All enjoyed it, even tho it was late till we got home. Some of them stayed for the night and enjoyed Des Moines on Sunday yet. And the Flory’s Truckle won a blue ribbon! It won 2nd and 3rd before, this time it was 1st. The Flory girls were able to attend also, since it was only a few hours away.

      Our work force has changed dramatically over the last couple months. Kiel broke his hand at a soft ball tournament, so he was filling in at the retail since he can’t use his hand. This week he has a checkup and can hopefully get the okay to go back into production. Nathan, Joseph and a new man, Harold, are keeping it floating most days with Jeff’s help. Jason was here for a bit and gone, Stephen and Lester are no longer here. A new man will be starting next week, and hopefully we can hire more people as the need arises when production picks up again.

         In the cutting room, Renee, Jeanette, Emma and Brenda are no longer with us. Renee was there over 3 years, she is now a teachers helper. We sure miss her, she was one of those who quietly made things happen, was very dependable. Jeanette is into fostering, Emma and Brenda both quit because of personal reasons. So now we Have Nicole & Rae Ann, with a new girl starting on the 15th. Everyone is having to work extra in that department to try to keep up. With new people things take longer, there is so much to learn. It is going better every week. Harold will be helping in the shipping department when the new man starts. And yes, I have been there pretty much full time the last month and more. I am bringing some things home to work at, label cutting, labeling bags, etc. that Emma always made sure happened. I hope to be able to cut back again with the new person coming. As for the Pa trip, I’m just going to go and let them struggle. J But I will try to work ahead on some things.

       The second week in August, we, Junior’s family & Jay Alan went to Wisconsin to our daughters for a few days. The men started installing an outdoor wood furnace at Daughter Jane Marie and Randall. There was one there, but not in good shape, this one came off our farm. They are also replacing all the duct work, adding registers, etc. The system there was bad shape. But they didn’t get finished, so the last week in September is planned to go again a few days to finish before cold weather sets in. 

        We women cleaned and blanched green beans, weeded the blueberry patch and mulched it, that was a 2 day process, made noodles. (Actually, Rose mixed the noodles before lunch, they all took their children to bed for naps afterward, and Rufus and I made the noodles J) It was raining that day. With 12 children together for 3 days, naps were a necessary part! But it was an enjoyable time.

     In some ways it seems as tho we might have an early fall. Son Mark chopped corn silage the other week. Harvest starts next week for the outfit he works for. Providing the weather cooperates. We had 2 1/10 inches of rain on Monday evening, it came fast. The back yard had a lake for a bit. At the cheese plant, only ½ mile away there was only 1½ inches and 4 miles north they had 4 inches.

       Yesterday I helped Rachel do grapes. We cut them, picked them off the stems and steamed them for juice. We had 31 qt. when I left at 7:30 last evening with the last steamer on yet. There should have been 5 -6 quarts yet. They had trimmed the grapes pretty hard in the spring and fertilized with manure, they really yielded. She was happy with the results, last year she only got 15 qt. from the whole patch.  We are happy to have that off the list. Crystal was cutting hers last evening. Those had been neglected quite a few years by the looks of the stalks and aren’t yielding as well. Next year they need to be cut back hard. Crystal is also canning pears, she got 3 bushel to do.

      I have started a new job, I guess you would call it. I am an assistant mid-wife to a lady in Memphis, MO. So far I have attended 2 births and look forward to doing more! I will be taking turns with another lady, so it won’t be happening too often in a month. It is an exciting experience for me.

      Junior is slowly getting his place in shape. His hogs keep getting out. One morning Crystal said she thinks she hears hogs in the yard. Sure enough, 300 head all over the place. After 2 or more hours they were all back in. Thankfully they live along a gravel road, not the main road. He was late for work that morning. The children really enjoy living on the farm. They play outside all day. If Austin (19 mo) isn’t around, he is probably sitting on a tractor in the shed. They have their much-longed-for kitties, 4 of them. The only thing they miss at this place is the sand box, and this winter they will miss the basement for playing.

      Such is life for us at this point. We are thankful things are going well, everyone is healthy. May the peace and love of God dwell in each one’s heart and home as we continue on this pathway of life. Have a safe and happy fall.                    


                                                                                                                                 Jane Musser