April 2020 – From Jane

Cheery springtime greetings to all! This page has long been neglected due to various reasons, by the help of others we will try to have this a regular feature again.

       It’s a bit chilly again, but only for a couple of days, then much warmer for a few days. The grass is green, daffodils are blooming, a few trees are showing a bit of color. On the 1st day of spring, I received a text message that read; “On a brighter note, spring is in the air and has not been cancelled”. With all the changes taking place with the pandemic, that was like a breath of fresh air to me. I printed it and hung it in the retail store for more people to see.

      As a refresher to our subscribers and to fill in the new ones, I’ll give an outline of our family and things that are happening at Milton Creamery.

     First of all, Rufus and I are married 35 years, we have 5 children and 22 grandchildren. We lived in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, helping Rufus’ parents on a produce farm, and marketing produce from a stand on the farm. In the fall of 1992, we moved to Milton, Iowa, to a dairy farm. We milked cows, farmed 170 acres. But Rufus missed being involved with people, the cows didn’t talk to him. We started researching cheese making. In 2002, two Amishmen came to the door, long story short, after 4 years of research, Milton Creamery made its first batch of cheese on May 8, 2006. Son Junior took over the cows and farming, until 2010, when he sold the cows. Things have evolved, and almost 14 years later, Milton Creamery has grown dramatically.

      Our oldest daughter, Jane Marie, married Randall Martin. They live in Withee, WI on a dairy farm. Their family consists of Leon Earl – almost 12, (Kenneth, was killed at 20 months old, a skid loader accident) Sheila – 8, David & Daniel – 7, Randall Jr. – 6, Curvin – 4, Janita – 2½, and Michael will be a year old this month. Randall was ordained a minister in 2010. He also has an eye problem, Achromatopsia. He doesn’t drive, and has some limitations in some areas, making for some differences from other people, but he is not handicapped. He had signed up for an experiment for gene therapy for his eyes, was waiting for 2 years, was told it shouldn’t be long now, then received a call, they have too many people and can’t use him. He was really disappointed, why did they lead him on and keep giving him hope? Maybe someday he can look back and be thankful, for whatever reason.

    Rufus IV, (he goes by Junior since he is involved at Milton Creamery to make it easier for people to know which Rufus) is the oldest son. His wife Crystal, comes from New York, in the Finger Lakes region. Junior moved there for a time, but missed the Midwest and came back to help at Milton Creamery. As most of you know, he now manages Milton Creamery. They live on a farm, he fattens hogs for Niman Ranch, has room for 1050 head at a time. They have some hair sheep, and are taking care of some for others. Their family is Jeremy- 8, Jessica – 7, and Austin – 5.

       Daughter Rose, married Dennis Martin (a brother to Randall) They live in Thorp, Wi, about 9 miles from Randall’s. It’s nice, we can visit both when we go. They were blessed with Mary Ann – 10, Lori – 8, Brian – 6, Maegan – 14 months and Clifton – 2 months. Clifton spent 13 days in the hospital for RSV, just coming home this week. We only saw him once, when he was a few days old. I guess it will have to wait till this virus thing lifts, till we can go again. I wish I could go now! Dennis is away from home most of the time, he has his own business. He installs the electric and computer boards in chicken barns, some equipment, traveling to different states. In the summertime, Rose and the children go along, staying in a camper, but over school time, they are home. Right now he is working on a job in Wyoming, he has his own crew of a few workers, and hires a Mexican crew as sub-contractor to help. He also cash crops.

      Son Galen found his wife in Ontario. Rachel was a cheesemaker there, came to us for 10 days to see if she can learn more. They worked well as a team, and by the time she went home, something had changed! She is 8 years older, so neither of them had any ideas about it before, and her Mother wasn’t concerned, surely nothing will happen if Galen is that much younger. They got married here, as they couldn’t get the paperwork to marry there and then have her move. It was a long story on that part. Galen started making cheese at 16, he was the one who helped get the Prairie Breeze on the map. Several years ago, he felt burned-out, is now doing carpenter and mason work. His hobbies are honey bees, a few beef cows and smoking meats in his little smokehouse. Their family is Rebecca- 5, Emma – 3 and Ivan – 13 months.

      Son Mark and his wife Mabel Ann live on what was our farm. He converted the barn to use for raising beef, also has beef cows. He hauls milk for goat farmers. (It’s a family joke, all our children’s partners come from out of state. Mabel Ann lived in MO, a few miles south of the state line, so even though she was from the same area, she was from out of state!) They have 2 girls, Tonya – 3, and Heather – 5½ months. Heather has a bad cough, Mabel Ann took her to the Dr, her lungs are clear, thankfully. Tonya stayed with me while they went to the Dr. She was playing in the basement, came to me, saying she can’t find more cups to her dishes. I went to help find them, then was told I shall sit at the table, we’re having a tea party! I did, she had the table set for 6, one for me, one for her, 2 dolls and her imaginary playmates Jill & Nancy.

        The other day in the afternoon, I dug up some perennials at the cheese plant that needed dividing, and replanted them. Some of the employees took some along home, the rest were thrown away. I want to do some at home, too. I enjoy doing the flowerbeds, I don’t always have time to care for them as well as I’d want to. I’d rather do flowers than vegetables. We do have a small raised bed for fresh things.

      The new building is nearing completion, it is wonderful to have so much space for cutting and packaging. We moved that out in February. I haven’t helped since they moved out there, I’m happy to turn that over to others, but will help if the need arises. We still need some things organized a bit better, more shelves, etc. The offices are being worked at in the second story. Several of us spent some time cleaning, we have the worst of it now. The drywall dust is a mess.

      The people currently working at the plant are Jay Alan, milk hauler, maintenance, Friday delivery person, and a handy person to have around. On the production floor, are Joseph, Austin, Kelly, Alex, Roy, Stephen, Robert, Kolby & Cameron. Brett will be starting, also. In the cutting room are Tonya, Vera, Rebecca, Vera and Susie. David and Marvin are in packaging, with Shariah helping them, helping with maintenance, relief milk hauler, transporting cheese from the main building to aging, and another handy man to have around. Brooke is in the office, Shyanne in retail. Joseph and Jay Alan have been there over 5 years. Joseph is our SQF person.

       There would be more things to write about, but this is long enough for now. Since we plan to do this monthly, I can fill in on more the next time.

Wishing each one good health in this time of uncertainty, and may we all remain sane in this time of social distancing!

                                                                                                       Jane Musser