August 2018

Good morning! Summer is whizzing by, before we know it fall will be here. There are some things that make me think it may not be far off, it is hard to tell though, so many things enter in.

We are having a dry summer in this area. The pastures and hay have been affected most. Surprisingly the corn is looking good, most of it was planted early, it had moisture to start out and we had heat early, getting it going before the dry weather came. There are some areas that are very dry and the yields are poor. Thunderstorms are usually spotty, I thought they seem extremely so this year. We had some rain this week again, every little helps.

Milk production is at the low point, the cheese makers are having a hard time getting enough hours in. It’s too bad we can’t even it out more, in the winter they can hardly keep after. Maybe some day we will have a more level flow. Our good cheese makers are Nathan, Roy, Trevor, Jordan, Stephen and Aaron. Next week Aaron will go back to college, he will only work part time. Joseph is now in the office, he is the SQF practitioner. He is a good one to slog through all the paper work and legal jargon on some things, Junior is happy to turn some of that over to him. He can still fill in if needed.

The cutting room ladies are Taylor, Tonya, Julie, Amanda & Kari. Jordan & Judy do most of the packaging, with Jordan doing the orders and helping with the heavy work. They don’t seem as busy as some years because we finally have enough of help, they can stay worked ahead instead of scrambling to keep up. Sales are up, we know we are putting out more product. We have new accounts starting, although sometimes that can take a couple of years till the first pallet actually goes out.

Cindy is our retail person and office manager. She does such good work, we miss her when she has off. And Jay Alan is still hanging in there, hauling milk, maintenance and whatever else we ask him to do. Sometimes he works for Junior on the farm, he’s a jack-of-all-trades.

A new packaging machine is ordered, one that will seal the retail pieces without having to put them in bags first. We plan to cut exact wt. 6 oz. pieces to accommodate some of the stores. The new machine is to arrive in the next couple of months, we have to make room for it first. We have 3 rooms we are still using to age cheese in. The men are working at palletizing the cheese to move it to Heartland to the storage where we have most of the cheese aging. The one wall will be taken out in between the cutting room and aging room to enlarge the cutting room. It will make things unhandy for a bit in the process, isn’t that how progress works?

School starts next week, Junior’s Jeremy will start 1st grade. He is so excited, counting the calendar days till the 28th. Crystal and the children were here last evening. It’s been quite a while since they were. They were doing grapes, they cut 3 banana boxes full off their vines. The children helped pick them off the stems all day, Crystal brought the last box over last evening and I helped finish them. The children deserved a chance to play, they helped real well. She will finish putting them through the steamer today. Jeremy thinks it will be for his lunches, Jessica is worried the rest won’t get any if they don’t take a lunch anywhere!

The flowers at the cheese plant did well this year, even without a lot of watering. I do want to make sure they get soaked good this fall, for the winter. The flowerbeds are one of my hobbies, they aren’t work to me. I can’t really say that about a vegetable garden. The Hardy Hibiscus sure get lots of attention. The majority of the customers walk over to them to take a look or a picture. But they are almost finished blooming for the year. Flowers do make things more cheery.

In July my family hosted a Martin reunion on my Mom’s side. We had 237 people from 5 states. It was a very warm day, but an enjoyable one. It rained just before supper, we were glad for the big tent to get under. It started at 10:30 am and the last ones of us cleaning up left at 9:30 pm. We also had overnight guests for 3 nights, enjoyed every minute of it, but it took me the whole next week to catch up again. We are glad we don’t need to do it every year.

Rufus is extra busy this summer, seems like. He is away a lot, and we have had to turn events down for the next couple of months, he can only be at one place, there are a few days he could be at 3. We are looking at hiring someone to help him out. The first week of August I went with him to New Orleans. He went for a restaurant show, we went a few days early to do some sightseeing. One thing wrong, it wasn’t a good time of the year to go, the temperatures weren’t the best for doing things. We went on a Plantation Tour to the Whitney and Oak Alley Plantations, wished for more time. Also went on a walking culinary tour where we learned about Creole and Cajun cooking, and went on a steamboat cruise on the Mississippi. We did a lot of walking. I thought I had a hotel close to the convention center for the restaurant show. It wasn’t that far but the convention center was huge. We walked and walked to get to our area and still weren’t at the end. I saw later it says it is 10 city blocks long! It was a 20 minute walk from our hotel till the show place, the one day I walked it 8 times, going back to get more things, etc. I should keep up with that exercise at home. But if I don’t have to. . . . . . .

Rufus is in New York City this week. He flew in Tuesday, had a food show yesterday and another today. This evening he will take the train to Lancaster, PA, and go to his Dad for the night. His Mother passed away on March 1, Dad is always glad when he comes. Friday morning they will go to a lawyer, some things weren’t finished with the will, etc. Hopefully this will be the last time he has to go.

Rufus’ niece is getting married in New York, the Finger Lakes area on Saturday August 25. Rufus will go to New York with his Dad on Friday. Early Friday morning I will head for New York with Renee, Rufus’ niece and another girl, they are also going to the wedding. We will head home on Monday, Rufus will come home with us. I know, not everyone has a schedule like we do, but it works. The first week of September he is scheduled to go to Dallas, another week to Houston, and yet another to Jackson, MS and Lafayette, LA on the same trip. The past weeks he has been to Phoenix, AZ, Alameda, CA, Pittsburg, PA, New York City, New Orleans and Minneapolis, plus some closer home things.

Grandson Curvin, 2 ½, (son of Jane Marie & Randall) had eye surgery the end of July. He was cross-eyed, discovered the muscles were tight, he couldn’t turn them. They cut the muscle and reattached it. Now his eyes aren’t crossed, but he still can’t turn them. He may have Dwayne’s Syndrome, whatever that is. I didn’t take the time to read up on it. He is the one who had a side opening at birth and a broken femur at 20 months old, but is very active and seems healthy and normal. He doesn’t like hospitals though.

On August 31st we are planning an employee picnic, I’m looking forward to meet their families. Hopefully it will be a nice evening, although I think if it would rain, no one would mind. We had an ice cream social for the milk producers on the 8th, I met some of them for the first time.

Granddaughter Emma (dau. of Galen & Rachel) is 2 today. I want to take her gift, a doll stroller and a little diaper bag with a few things in. She is a very smiling little girl, petite with sparkling eyes. She doesn’t talk yet, makes noises but no words. She definitely knows what is going on and what she wants to say. One of these times she’ll probably start and won’t know when to quit!

Junior is building a hog barn to expand. He grows hogs for Niemen Ranch, wants to have enough of room for 1000 head. Last Sunday they went out the door to go to church, and a bunch of hogs were in the yard. They went back in to change, 50 minutes later it was too late for church anymore. Crystal says Jessica is good at chasing hogs, her shrill voice when she screams at them makes the pigs turn, they don’t like to hear it!

Wishing each one a wonderful fall, with winter not coming too early!

Jane Musser